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How Diabetes Can Affect Your Eyes

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Diabetes is a condition that occurs when your blood sugar is too high. This occurs because the disease makes it difficult for your body to make enough insulin or use it properly. There are two types of diabetes. Type I diabetes is also known as juvenile diabetes and it occurs in children and young adults. This type occurs when the body doesn’t make insulin. The second type is Type II diabetes. This type can occur at any age and it is caused if your body doesn’t make insulin or if it doesn’t use it well.

If not treated properly, diabetes can cause serious health problems including:

  • Kidney disease
  • Food problems
  • Nerve damage
  • Dental problems
  • Stroke
  • Heart disease
  • Eye problems

What Is Diabetic Eye Disease?

Diabetic eye disease is more than one disease that can affect people who suffer from diabetes. People who don’t keep their diabetes under control are at greater risk of eye complications. Also, each of the conditions can cause serious vision loss and even blindness. If you suffer from diabetes, it is important that you understand each of the diseases and what they can do to your eyes.

  • Diabetic Retinopathy: Diabetic retinopathy is the most common cause of vision loss and blindness in people who have diabetes. The condition affects the blood vessels in the retina, which lines the back of the eye. If your blood sugar is often high, it can cause damage to the retina’s tiny blood vessels. This can result in the blood vessels bleeding or leaking fluid which can cause distortions in the vision. When the condition progresses, it can result in scarring and cell loss in the retina, causing complete blindness. In many cases, vision loss due to diabetic retinopathy is irreversible. Early detection and treatment can reduce your risk of going blind by 95 percent.
  • Diabetic Macular Edema (DME): DME often occurs in people who have diabetic retinopathy. While it often occurs when the disease progresses, it can occur at any time. It is a build-up of fluid in the macula. This part of the eye is used for seeing straight ahead to read, drive, and recognize faces. Half of the people who develop diabetic retinopathy develop DME. If left untreated, it can cause vision loss.
  • Cataracts: A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens. When a person has cataracts, their natural lens would be removed and replaced with an artificial one. Anyone can develop cataracts, however, people with diabetes are two to five times more likely to develop cataracts than those who aren’t diabetic.
  • Glaucoma: Glaucoma damages the eye’s optic nerve, which connects the eye to the brain. Glaucoma is often the result of high pressure in the eye, and it is very common in people with diabetes. Studies have shown that adults who suffer from diabetes are twice as likely to develop glaucoma than those who don’t have the disease.

Preventing Diabetic Eye Disease

The only way to prevent diabetic eye disease is to be vigilant when it comes to your blood sugar levels. You should also see your eye doctor every six months. The sooner a problem is detected, the sooner it can be treated, saving your eyesight. Many of the diabetic eye diseases won’t show any symptoms at first, therefore, it is very important that you see your eye doctor regularly.

Diabetes can wreak havoc on many of the body’s systems including your vision. The only way to prevent permanent vision loss and blindness is to check your blood sugar levels regularly and take the necessary steps to keep it at a healthy level.

 

 

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Improving your Lung Health

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Improving Your Lung Health

The lungs play the important role of feeding oxygen to your blood, the oxygen you need to burn glucose and produce energy. They’re also responsible for getting riding of the byproduct – carbon dioxide. This makes them a very vital facilitator of the life sustaining metabolic process.

Like most parts of the human body, your lungs are built for high performance scenarios that we rarely subject ourselves to. For instance, a great deal of the typical daily activities will rarely push your lungs above the 50 percent capacity mark.

A Normal Lifestyle Isn’t Good Enough for Your Lungs

If your normal daily schedule doesn’t push the lungs to the limit, it means that you aren’t exercising your lungs and putting each and every corner into good use. This could encourage the buildup of toxins, environmental pollutants and other alien bodies since the lungs aren’t self-cleaning.

Here are some basic tips to help your lungs workout and improve their health and the ability to perform when under pressure.

Practice Diaphragmatic Breathing

Diaphragmatic breathing is what professional singers use to increase their lung capacity and stir up those impressive melodies for longer. Good news is you don’t really have to sing to practice this technique. It is as easy as paying attention to you diaphragm and actively using it as you breath. The result is deeper breaths that force your lungs to inhale and exhale to their maximum capacity.

Mind Your Posture

The lungs are soft squishy organs. They have no structural integrity to help them maintain their shape and size at all times. This means that the bad posture could easily compress your lungs and limit their efficiency. You can easily remedy this by occasionally leaning back in a chair with your back stretched up and breathing deeply by raising your diaphragm and the chest.

Apart from this, ensure that you maintain an upright posture when sitting or while walking. This will ensure that your lungs occupy their full volume and you don’t end up compressing some sections into inactivity.

Don’t Hold Back Your Laughter

Laughing is a great way to exercise your diaphragm and abdominal muscles that control the lungs. Every time you lough until your sides ache, you are expelling most of the stale air out of your lungs and letting more fresh air into all parts of your lungs. Laughing hard is actually good for your lungs.

Leading an active life is the best way to keep all parts of your body healthy. A brisk walk, a jog, a walk up the stairs time in the gym will definitely pump up your breathing rate. The harder you push yourself the harder your lungs work and flex to meet the air exchange demand. The heightened activity is not only good for your heart but also perfect your mood, overall productivity and well-being.

If you cannot set aside special time to work out, incorporate some moderate to intense activities into your schedule. Walk up a decent flight of stairs instead of taking the lift. Walk to the hotel for lunch instead of taking a cab or driving. The little extras you do will go a long way into making your lungs healthier.

Apart from just working out your lungs, you should also be keen on what goes into them. Keep off cigarettes and other smoking related drugs. Ensure that your air conditioning is clean and avoid dust and contaminated environments at all conditions.

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The Stunningly Made Heart

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If your heart skips beats, has an irregular beat, you have congestive heart failure, and many other issues, you can say that your heart is not healthy.

Other disease diagnoses can shorten your life, however, when this primary vital organ is not working well, your other vital organs suffer as well.

Never Figure, Out of Sight, Out of Mind

Do you take the opinion that if anything, including your heart, is out of your sight, you simply do not think about all the work your heart does in your lifetime? That is until you start showing symptoms of a malfunctioning heart.

So What Does Heart Health Mean?

Consider how many times your heart beats, well over 2 billion times on an average. It is for this reason that you need to keep your heart healthy. The heart is responsible for carrying oxygen, hormones, energy, nutrients, and vital cells to other vital organs every second of every day. The heart also is keen on getting rid of waste products from the metabolism.

If your heart should cease beating all other vital organs, fail quickly. So it is essential to keep your heart-healthy and to function at optimum levels. But, how do you keep your heart healthy?

You would have to agree that the heart is an amazing, vital organ given all the responsibilities of the heart.

Never Abuse Your Heart

The heart takes a lot of abuse from many people. Hopefully, you are not harming your heart with a poor diet, no exercise or lack of exercise, smoking, drug, alcohol abuse, and obesity.

Maybe you inherited some “bad” genes, and heart problems run in your family history. Never compound your likelihood of inheriting heart difficulties with a poor diet, lack of a good exercise program, smoking, drugs, or alcohol.

One critical issue is atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Plaque builds up in the arteries brought on by lack of exercise and a poor diet high in fats.

When this plaque builds up in the main arteries and breaks apart, as it often does, a piece of floating plaque or cholesterol can cause you a stroke or heart attack.

High cholesterol increases your blood pressure and a high blood pressure can pre-empty a stroke or heart attack.

Take Responsibility for Your Heart Health

No one including your doctor will be responsible for your heart’s health; only you can make the necessary changes for a healthier heart.

Devote yourself to a healthy lifestyle as early as possible in your life your ability to maintain heart health. It is never too late to change your way of living through a forever lifestyle change.

Your lifestyle change for the better increases your chances of preventing cardiovascular disease. Follow your doctor’s orders for prescribed medications to decrease your cholesterol levels. Speak with your doctor about a lifestyle change, including a healthy eating pattern and age appropriate exercise plan.

Ask your doctor if you can have, at least annually lab tests show cholesterol levels. Lab tests can pinpoint any health issues before they get out of hand.

If your doctor has told you that you have damage to your heart, you can still help your heart remain as healthy as possible by,

  • Following doctor’s orders
  • Healthy foods
  • Weight management within your ideal body weight
  • Medication
  • Frequent physical check-ups
  • Possible mechanical heart support

In Conclusion,

It is never too late to get on the right path towards heart health with,

  • Frequent doctor visits
  • Lab tests
  • Healthy eating for life
  • An age appropriate exercise plan
  • Medication as ordered
  • Losing weight
  • Maintaining an appropriate weight

 

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National Stroke Awareness Month

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Image is from National Stroke Association

The National Stroke Awareness Month is an event that occurs during the month of May every year in the United States. This annual event is observed to promote public awareness of stroke in the United States, help save lives of people experiencing a stroke, and reduce the incidence of the disease in America. Crucial resources for stroke survivors are mostly unveiled during this period by various concerned parties.

The National Stroke Awareness Month commenced in May 1989 under President George H. W. Bush. As mentioned earlier, it aims to promote public awareness by warning the masses on the signs and symptoms of stroke and how to prevent it. During this month, the public is well informed of the risk factors of stroke and how it impacts on caregivers, families, and survivors. It is also a timely reminder of survivors of stroke and how organizations like the National Stroke Association supports them throughout their lifetime journey of recovery.

Apart from the United States government, other key players that combine efforts to educate American citizens include; the American Heart Association, numerous non-profit organizations, and the National Stroke Association.

Warning signs and symptoms of stroke

This momentous program emphasizes on informing the masses about Acting FAST. The National Stroke Association suggests that 80% of strokes can be prevented if individuals can act FAST since the victims can get treated. FAST is an acronym for the following signs of stroke that can be witnessed in a suspected victim:

  • F – Face / Check if the face droops on one side when the suspected victim smiles
  • A – Arm / Confirm if one of the arms drifts downwards when you raise both arms of the suspected victim
  • S – Speech / Notice if the suspected victim’s speech sounds slurred after they repeat a simple phrase
  • T – Time / If you observe any of the above, call 9-1-1 (if in US or 999 in UK) and ask for medical assistance.

Other symptoms that may come along with FAST signs include:

  • Sudden dizziness
  • Sudden loss of coordination or balance
  • An ‘impromptu’ headache without a known cause
  • Rapid confusion and trouble understanding speech or talking
  • Sudden trouble seeing
  • Sudden numbness on one side of the body

Types of Stroke

There are three main types of stroke namely; Ischemic, Hemorrhagic, and Transient Ischemic Attack.

  • Ischemic (clots)

This type of stroke accounts for around 87 percent of all cases of stroke. It’s brought about by a hindrance within a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain.

  • Hemorrhagic (bleeds)

This is a type of stroke that is brought about by a rapture of a weakened blood vessel. Aneurysms and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) are the two main types of weakened blood vessels that cause bleeds. However, high blood pressure (hypertension) is the most common cause of hemorrhagic stroke.

  • TIA (transient ischemic attack)

TIA is mostly caused by a temporal clot. Although it’s mostly referred to as a “mini stroke”, it should be taken very seriously.

Prevention of Stroke

Strokes can be prevented since 80 percent of strokes occur due to an unhealthy lifestyle. Although few risk factors including race and age are uncontrollable, there are numerous steps individuals can undertake to significantly reduce their chances of falling victims of stroke.

Identifying the signs and symptoms of stroke is crucial since tPA (a clot-busting drug) can only be administered within the first three hours of the stroke’s onset. For this same reason, the National Stroke Awareness Month is observed to educate the public on how to recognize the symptoms of stroke.

 

 

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Tests to Determine Heart Disease

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Image is from Harvard Health Publications-Harvard University

All of your body’s vital organs are essential to your living a quality life. However, it is your heart that you must consider as your body’s engine. You must take care of your heart if you desire to live a long life full of quality and vitality.

If you have any signs and symptoms that something may be amiss with your heart, you are wise to get to your doctor as soon as possible, so the physician checks your heart. Your doctor may order some tests, specifically geared to the health of this vital organ.

Your doctor puts his knowledge and skill at work to determine what he or she thinks is the problem with your heart, or if there is any problem by ordering tests for you can take according to his best possible diagnosis.

There are many different tests the doctor can order for you such as blood tests and a variety of X-rays depending on his findings. The following are some tests done to determine heart disease.

Thanks to the advancements in medical technology in testing for heart disease, many heart problems are recognized before they cause irreversible problems. These heart tests enable the doctor to begin treatment that can reverse or manage your heart condition for years to come, allowing you to live your life as normally and comfortable as possible.

Holter Monitoring

The technician gives you what looks like a small box with straps that is attached to you and taken home. You wear the long strap across your body, and the box hangs loose. This monitor records any irregularities in your heart pattern that are otherwise not recorded in other tests like an Electrocardiogram. You wear this monitor for one to three days.

Electrocardiogram at Rest
Electrocardiogram During Activity

This test records your heart’s electrical pattern, thus recording any irregularities in the pattern of your heart.

Chemical Stress Test

The technician attaches electrodes to various parts of your arms, legs, and chest. The technician performs an IV and injects a chemical that causes your heart to pump gradually faster until your heart reaches a pulse rate of 150-170 beats per minute. This test is useful for people who cannot tolerate running on a treadmill.

Stress Test on a Treadmill

Electrodes are attached to your chest, arms, and legs, and you walk, gradually run on a treadmill until your heart rate reaches the required rate of 150-170 beats per minute.

Echocardiogram

While in a laying position the technician gently runs a smooth device over the area of your heart to record images of great detail of the structure and function of your heart.

Catheterization of the Heart

Under local anesthesia, the doctor runs a thin hair tube into the main artery located in the groin. The tube is inserted into a sheath and threaded through the artery until it reaches your heart. This tube examines all the chambers of your heart and measures the pressure in your heart. The doctor frequently injects a dye through the tube that lights up all your blood vessels, valves, chambers and heart to visualize any abnormal areas.

Cardiac Computerized Tomography or CAT scan

The technician has you lay on a table that slides inside of an open circle. The beams from this scanner rotate around your body, taking images of your heart and chest.

MRI or Cardiac Magnetic Resonance

You lie on a table inside of a long enclosed machine. The machine has magnets that take pictures of your heart. As you lie in this machine, you find it very noisy as due to the clicking of the magnets.

 

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Heart Disease Prevention

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Cardiac disease in on the rise and many medical professionals believes that it is the way you live in today’s busy world.

While our digital technologies of today are supposed to make life easier at work and home, in many aspects is only making life more challenging.

You may complain that you do not have the time to prepare well-balanced meals offering your body the essential nutrients it needs to stay healthy.

You may, like many may have a sedentary job at a computer that provides no worthwhile exercise.

You must take time for yourself. You must pay attention to what you feed your body and fit in some attractive exercise options for yourself to keep your heart as healthy as possible.

Recognize that if heart disease runs in your family history, this puts you at risk for heart problems. There is nothing you can do about your genes, but you can change your lifestyle to help prevent this family history from becoming a more serious heart problem.

Smoking

Smoking adds to heart problems in addition to other risks like cancer. If you smoke, cut this out of your life. If you are devoted to living your life to the fullest, you can and will quit smoking. Smoking shortens your life because of the chemicals in tobacco, no matter what form you use, narrows the heart’s vital arteries. When artery walls narrow this leads to a heart attack you may not survive.

Obesity

Did you know that close to 60% of all Americans are overweight?

. 30 pounds over your ideal body weight equals overweight

. 30 pounds over your ideal body weight equals obesity. Get in your perfect body weight for you, for a healthier heart. Stops making excuses of why you overweight, such as,

  • It is in your genes
  • The medicine you take
  • Your mental health
  • Stress

It is time to avoid excuses and get on a heart-healthy lifestyle.

Never say diet, and never consider going on a diet. Diets cannot last the rest of your life, and while they may initially work, when you stop your diet the weight comes back two fold at least.

Exercise

No weight loss plan works without constant exercise. If all you can do is walking for 30 minutes a day, devote yourself to doing an exercise you enjoy. It is only 15 to 30 minutes out of your day, and it helps you,

  • Lose Weight
  • Strengthens your heart muscles
  • Decreases Blood Pressure
  • Decreases Cholesterol Levels
  • Decreases Diabetes

Eat Well-Balanced Meals and Snacks

Three meals a day with three fruits, vegetable, or protein snacks per day. Refer to the original food pyramid for guidance on what to eat and what proportions every day. Your food pyramid includes just the right amounts, the body requires daily to provide the right amount of essential nutrients.

  • Whole grains
  • Fruits
  • Vegetable
  • Fats
  • Proteins (Greatly decrease red meat and eat more chicken, turkey, fish)
  • Dairy

Think about removing from your kitchen every white food such as salt, sugar, and white flour. White is not healthy or good for your heart. Decrease or avoid alcohol, caffeine, and sodas.

Preparation of Foods

Learn how to prepare meals healthy. Avoid,

  • Deep fried foods
  • Using a lot of oil (use extra virgin olive oil for cooking
  • Canned goods, use fresh or fresh frozen
  • Use a vegetable steamer. Steaming does not destroy essential vitamins and minerals
  • Bake, broil, or grill

Visit your doctor as soon as possible. Talk to your doctor about your ideas for a lifestyle change and weight loss to prevent or decrease your risks for heart disease before initiating any changes.

 

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Causes and Risks of Heart Disease

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Image is from Fox News

Heart disease (also called Coronary heart disease) is the leading cause of death among adults in the USA. Learning about its causes and risk factors may help you prevent heart problems.

What Causes Heart Disease?

Heart disease typically occurs when plaque (a waxy substance made up of fatty molecules, minerals, and cholesterol) develops in the blood vessels and arteries leading to the heart. The plaque ends up blocking oxygen and vital nutrients from reaching your heart. Elevated cholesterol or triglycerides, cigarette smoking, and high blood pressure usually destroy the inner lining of an artery thereby providing room for plaque to accumulate.

Risk Factors for Heart Disease

Several risk factors play a significant role in determining your chances of developing a heart disease. Out of the many factors, few stand out since they are beyond your control. These are age, gender, post –menopausal, and heredity. Men are more likely to get heart disease than women. The risk of Coronary Heart Disease intensifies when men are around 45 years, and women are around 55 years of age. The latter implies that the risk of women increases after they reach menopause. If you are related to close family members with a history of the disease, your risk may be greater. Other common risk factors for heart disease include the following;

  • eating unhealthy diets
  • smoking
  • obesity
  • Age
  • being physically inactive
  • clinical depression
  • High blood pressure and cholesterol
  • diabetes or insulin resistance

Unhealthy Lifestyle Choices

Living an unhealthy lifestyle can also play a huge role in increasing your risk of developing a heart disease. Some of these unhealthy lifestyle choices that can contribute to heart disease are:

  • excessive drinking
  • smoking
  • Lack of proper stress management techniques while living in a stressful environment
  • lack of enough physical exercise and living a sedentary lifestyle
  • eating an unhealthy diet that contains high sugary foods, fat proteins, sodium, and trans fats
  • not managing or controlling your diabetes

Depression

Several studies have shown that people suffering from depression are at higher risk of developing heart disease than the general population. Depression can result in some changes in your body that can increase your chances of developing heart disease. Consistently feeling sad or too much stress can elevate your blood pressure and your levels of C-reactive protein (CRP). CRP is typically a marker for inflammation in the body. CRP levels that are higher than normal have shown to predict Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)

Type two diabetes

Doctors estimate that individuals with type 2 diabetes (especially those at middle age) are twice likely to experience a stroke or get a heart disease as individuals who don’t have diabetes. Diabetic adults tend to have multiple heart attacks if they have high blood glucose levels or insulin resistance

How to avoid heart disease

Though heart disease is catastrophic, it can be prevented in most cases. By maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle, everyone would benefit. However, it would be more advantageous to those with increased risk. The following strategies can help you avoid heart disease:

  • drink in moderation
  • stop smoking
  • take supplements, as recommended by your doctor
  • maintain a healthy weight
  • reduce stress in your life
  • exercise on a regular basis
  • maintain a healthy diet
  • Learn the warning signs of strokes, heart disease, and heart attacks
  • get annual physicals from your doctor to assess risk factors and detect abnormalities

One of the most effective ways of preventing stroke, heart attacks, and heart disease is by living a healthy lifestyle as mentioned above. Preventing heart disease should be a priority regardless of your age.

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Salt and Heart Disease

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Image is from Live Science

Do you know how much salt you consume on a daily basis? If not, you are not alone. Most people erroneously believe that their salt consumption is under control because they don’t pick up the salt shaker at home very often and when they do, they just use a little bit. The truth is that less than 25 percent of the average person’s salt consumption comes from table salt. Instead, the majority of most people’s salt consumption comes from processed foods and pre-made foods.

Increased Heart Disease

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This means that many people don’t even realize the deadly effects that high levels of salt can have on their lives. The problem with too much salt in your body is that is it pushes water into your blood vessels, which increases the total volume of blood in your system. This increase places more pressure on your heart and puts you at much higher risk for high blood pressure. As most people know, high blood pressure can lead to heart disease, which can cause a stroke, heart attack, or even heart failure.

How Much Salt

While salt is an important part of a healthy diet, most people consume a lot more than is necessary. According to the American Heart Association, most people require about 1,500 mg of sodium daily, but everyone should limit their salt intake to no more than 2,300 mg per day. Studies show, however, that the average person consumes more than 3,400 mg every day, and most don’t even realize it. This hidden danger is affecting millions of people across the country.

How to Reduce Your Salt Intake

The first step to reducing your salt intake is to start tracking how much salt you consume on an average day. You can use the Nutrition Facts Label on the foods you purchase at the grocery store to find out how many milligrams of sodium are in each serving. You also can start making healthy food choices. Trade in high sodium foods, such as red meat, candy, chips, and sugary drinks like soda for healthier alternatives like fruits, vegetables, fish, poultry, and fish. The American Heart Association also list six salty foods, including pizza, cold cut meats, soup, chicken nuggets, bread, and packaged tacos/burritos.

One positive step you can take today to avoid the dangers of high blood pressure is to reduce the amount of salt you consume on a daily basis. You can make this change by making smart food choices that limit process foods, which oftentimes are packed with high levels of sodium. Eating healthy has many other great benefits, including weight loss.

 

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How to Prevent Heart Disease

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Image is from Born to Style the World

Heart disease is caused by problems with your blood flow through the arteries and chambers of your heart. One major cause of heart disease is the buildup of plaque in the walls of your arteries which is called atherosclerosis. This buildup can get worse and cause narrowing of the arteries, which can lead to blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes.

Heart disease can also be caused by cases of arrhythmia, heart failure, and heart valve defects. The good news is that you can help prevent heart disease by maintaining a good lifestyle and healthy habits. 8 ways you can prevent heart disease include.

Quitting Smoking

Smoking not only raises blood pressure, it also causes damage to the lining of your arteries and aids in the buildup of plaque along the artery walls. Even if you have smoked for a long time, quitting can significantly lower your chances of heart disease.

Maintaining a Healthy Weight

Being overweight can lead to elevated cholesterol levels, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar, which can result in diabetes. Maintaining a proper BMI will also take the stress off your heart that comes from excess weight around the middle.

Eating a Balanced Diet

Eating a balanced diet not only helps you to feel healthier, it can also help to maintain your heart, keep your cholesterol and blood pressure under control, and prevent blood sugar related conditions such as diabetes. A proper diet will also ensure that you are receiving all the nutrients you need to maintain a healthy heart.

Keeping Your Blood Pressure under Control

High blood pressure can put excess strain on the heart which causes strain and problems with blood flow. This can lead to a buildup of fat and plaque in the arteries causing the arteries to narrow. The stress from the additional pressure in your arteries can cause strain on your entire cardiovascular system.

Exercising Regularly

Being active and participating in regular exercise will help keep your weight maintained, your cholesterol down, and your heart and blood pumping and flowing at an optimum level. Regular exercise can also help maintain good blood pressure.

Maintaining a Healthy Cholesterol Level

Consuming foods high in cholesterol will lead to artery plaque buildup. This will narrow the flow and sometimes cause clots which can lead to heart attack and stroke. Keeping your cholesterol at a manageable level will help maintain blood flow and prevent our heart from overworking.

Monitoring Your Blood Sugar

If you have high blood sugar or diabetes, you should have your blood sugar regularly checked. Diabetes can increase your risk of heart disease especially if it is not being treated.

Having Regular Doctor Visits

Scheduling routine wellness visits and going to the doctor when you have symptoms is an integral part of preventing heart disease. Your doctor will not only monitor you blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol levels, and heart rate, they will also be able to look for early signs of heart disease and schedule appropriate follow-up if necessary.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. Following the steps above will not only help you prevent heart disease in the future, but put you on the path to a new and healthier you.

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Understanding Type 2 Diabetes

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Type 2 diabetes is a life-long disease that affects the way your body handles the glucose in your blood. There are 27 million people in the United States who suffer from this condition and 86 million people with prediabetes.

What Causes Type 2 Diabetes?

There are several things that cause type 2 diabetes. Usually, it is a combination of a few of the causes.

  • Genes: Recent studies have shown that different parts of you DNA can affect the way that your body makes insulin, resulting in type 2 diabetes.
  • Being overweight or obese: If a person is carrying extra weight, it can cause insulin resistance, causing type 2 diabetes.
  • Metabolic syndrome: People who are insulin resistant often have high blood glucose, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high triglycerides, and extra weight around the waist.
  • A liver that doesn’t function properly: If you have low blood sugar, your liver produces glucose. After you eat, your blood sugar will go up and the liver will slow down. Some people’s livers don’t function properly, so it keeps cranking out sugar even when it is not necessary.
  • Poor communication between cells: If the cells in the body send the wrong signals or they don’t pick up the signals, it can affect the way that the cells make insulin or glucose, causing diabetes.

Risk Factors

There are certain risk factors that won’t cause you to develop type 2 diabetes, but they can increase your chances of developing it.

  • If you are 45 years or older
  • If a parent, sister, or brother suffers from diabetes
  • People of certain ethnicity are more prone, including African-American, Pacific Islander-American, Alaska Native, Native American, Hispanic, Asian-American.
  • Prediabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Having a baby over 9 pounds
  • Having gestational diabetes during pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Stress
  • Too much sleep

Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Many of the symptoms of type 2 diabetes are so mild that they are unnoticeable. There are millions of people who have it and don’t know it. This is because many of the symptoms can be blamed on something else.

  • Excessive thirst
  • Excessive urination
  • Blurry or cloudy vision
  • Irritability
  • Numbness or tingling in your hands and feet
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Wounds that don’t heal
  • Recurring yeast infections

Long Term Effects of Type 2 Diabetes

Over time, high blood sugar can cause damage and lasting problems. These include:

  • Heart and blood vessels
  • Eyes
  • Kidneys
  • Nerves
  • Would healing
  • Pregnancy

Diagnosing Type 2 Diabetes

There are a variety of tests that your doctor can perform to confirm your type 2 diabetes diagnosis.

  • A1C: This test determines the average of your blood glucose over the last 2 to 3 months.
  • Fasting plasma glucose: This test measures your sugar when your stomach is empty. You cannot eat or drink anything but water for 8 hours before the test.
  • Oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT): This is a test that checks your blood glucose before and two hours after you consume a sweet drink. It tests the way that your body handles sugar.

How to Manage Your Type 2 Diabetes

You can still live a healthy life as long as your take the necessary steps to manage your diabetes.

  • Take your insulin faithfully
  • Take your diabetes medications that are prescribed by your doctor
  • Check your blood glucose often
  • Eat a proper, diabetes-friendly diet
  • Don’t skip meals
  • See your doctor for regular checkups and make an appointment if you are not feeling well

Type 2 diabetes can be a very serious condition if it is not diagnosed and treated properly. When managed properly, you can live a full and healthy life with this disease.

 

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