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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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Autism Risk Factors

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What is Autism?

Autism was first defined in 1943 by Leo Kanner as the inability to create normal, determined, emotional contact with others. Other definitions surround this primacy of lack of social reciprocity. Over the years, there has been major improvements in the conceptualization of autism and related disorders.

Risk Factors for Autism

There has been a lot of awareness that has been created concerning autism due to the rising number of autism cases in the last decade, but most people are still in the dark when it comes to establishing what puts unborn babies at risk of developing this disorder. With 10-15% of all babies being born with one neurodevelopment disorder or the other, it is crucial for people to be knowledgeable on the avoidable and unavoidable risk factors.

Mycotoxins

Mycotoxins are mold byproducts that are mostly found in wine, grains, coffee and pork. Several studies have been able to positively link the presence of mycotoxins in these foods with autism. Mycotoxins are known to put males at a higher risk of developing theses disorder. Although there are numerous studies being conducted on the effects of mycotoxins on animals and human beings, the jury is still out on the long-term effects. This does not mean that mycotoxins are not a risk factor just that you need to be careful with foods that contain them.

C-Sections

There has been a new study that has shown that babies who are born through C-Section, rather than other traditional methods stand a higher chance of developing autism-related disorders. This study is important because 1 in 3 babies in the United States is born via C-Section. The reason for the increased risk is because the babies are born before their due date. It is therefore important for parents to pursue other methods of giving birth before settling on C-Section.

Maternal Antibodies

This is an unfortunate risk factor since our own bodies produce these maternal antibodies which attach themselves to the baby’s proteins that are used for cognitive and neurological development therefore hindering the normal process of fetal development. Scientists are now working on ways of separating these antibodies and prevent them from causing autism.

Placenta abnormalities

Studies have established a relationship between placentas that have an abnormal structure and children who have neurological disorders such as autism. It is therefore advisable to check the condition of the placenta at birth so as to predict whether the child will have any neurological disorder.

Smoking

Tobacco smoking comes with a plethora of health issues and unfortunately, smoking while pregnant can lead to autism in children. Although a direct link has not yet been established between smoking and autism, women who smoke while pregnant stand a higher chance of birthing children suffering from Asperger’s (an autism spectrum disorder).

Air Pollution

New evidence has come out suggesting that some particles in polluted air may increase the risk of autism. By reducing air pollution indoors and doing our part as the society to deal with outdoor pollution, we can contribute to an overall healthy society.

Endocrine Disruptors

Endocrine disruptors affect chemicals that are crucial in the development of the thyroid and many experts believe that they are hormone related since males are 4 times more likely to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.

Vaccines

Thimerosals and aluminum found in vaccines have a causal relationship with autism. Vaccines have the power to save lives but we need to do more research so as to establish a clear relationship between ingredients in vaccines and neurological development.

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Heart Disease Prevention


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Heart disease is among the leading causes of death across the globe. The incidence of cardiovascular complications continues to rise. This is largely attributed to the stress of modern life, the pollution in the water we drink and the air we breathe, as well as the abundance of unhealthy food. Whereas all these factors have a part, it often comes down to your individual lifestyle choices. In that light, we look at a few tips that you can follow to lower your risk of heart disease.

Practice Healthy Eating

Nutrition and diet play an integral role when it comes to preventing heart disease. In fact, research shows that in spite of having a family history or genetic predisposition for cardiovascular problems, maintaining a healthy diet can lower your risk. In order to avert heart disease, you need a diet rich in vegetables, raw fruits, fiber-rich whole grains, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Moreover, in the spirit of practicing health eating, there are foods that you’ll have to limit or avoid altogether. They include:

  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Foods with high amounts of salt and sugar
  • Foods with partially hydrogenated vegetable oil

Also, you’re advised to watch your calories. It’s important to know how many calories you need and focus on consuming a variety of foods that are abundant in nutrients and low in calories.

Work Out for Your Health

Regular exercise is another essential habit when it comes to prevention of heart disease. You need to realize, however, that getting exercise doesn’t have to include the gym or the grueling aerobic sessions. You can actually exercise at work, school, home, or anywhere else.

Here are some effective, but less strenuous exercises:

  • Walk instead of driving
  • Park the car a little far from your destination, and walk the rest of the distance
  • Always take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • When you are at the store, just make an extra trip around the aisles, to ensure you picked everything on your shopping list.

Wherever you are, you need to be conscious of the amount of workouts you have every day. This will not only improve your overall health, but will also make you look and feel better than ever.

Uphold Positive Habits

When it comes to heart disease prevention, positive habits include:

  • Reducing or avoiding alcoholic drinks
  • Stopping smoking
  • Managing stress

Managing stress may not be easy, but with a few tricks, you will be able to live longer, healthier, and happier. Just counting to ten or taking a couple of deep breathes will normally calm you down, and make you feel more under control, in even the most stressful of circumstances.

Medication

If you have a particularly high predisposition of cardiovascular complications, your doctor may prescribe medication to lower your risk. The medications that are often used to help prevent heart disease include:

  • Blood pressure tablets – these include angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors that are used in the treatment of high blood pressure.
  • Low-dose aspirin – this is used to prevent blood clots.
  • Statins – are used to minimize blood cholesterol levels.

With the number of heart disease cases rapidly increasing, it has become more vital than ever to take care of our hearts. In that light, it is imperative that you seriously follow heart disease prevention methods. Fortunately, heart disease prevention isn’t so difficult, and you can do it with a few lifestyle changes. Therefore, follow the above lifestyle habits to safeguard your heart health and improve your general health and well-being.

 

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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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How Common is Heart Disease in Women?

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Heart Disease is very common in women. In fact, it is the number one killer of women. Approximately one woman per minute is killed by heart disease. What causes heart disease in women? Do all women have the same risk for heart disease? Are women from different ethnicities more at risk for heart disease? Do women with heart disease have the same symptoms as men? Can you really die of a broken heart? These questions are very important and we will attempt to answer them in this article. Understanding the facts about heart disease can help you spot the signs and protect you from this disease.

Symptoms

Heart disease symptoms tend to be different in women than in men. When most people look for symptoms of a heart attack, they look for chest pain. Women are more likely than men to more subtle heart attack symptoms that do not include chest pain. The reason for this may be because women often have blockages in the small arteries that supply blood to their heart rather than only in their main arteries. Common symptoms that are often reported by women include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Shoulder, neck or stomach discomfort
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Sweating

Types of Heart Diseases That Affect Women the Most

Women are more likely than men to be affected by the types of heart diseases below.

  • Broken Heart Syndrome-This condition occurs when your heart literally breaks. Extreme emotional stress leads to heart muscle failure. Women are much more likely to have this form of heart disease than men.
  • Coronary microvascular disease- This disease affects the heart’s smaller arteries. Women are more likely to have this form of heart disease, which is why they tend to have different heart attack symptoms than men.

Risk Factors for Women

Although some of the risk factors are the same for both men and women, such as being overweight and having high blood pressure, there are some things are more likely to cause heart disease for women.

Depression and Anxiety

Stress and depression play a much bigger role in the development of heart disease in women than in men. Both depression and anxiety make it hard to lead a healthy lifestyle and follow treatment recommendations by physicians. It is important to get help if you are depressed or under chronic stress.

Menopause

During menopause, low levels of estrogen pose a risk factor for heart disease in women.

Being African American

African American women have higher rates of heart disease than Caucasian women. This is likely because there are higher rates of high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes among African American women.

Can Women Reduce the Risk for Heart Disease?

Most women do not care for their heart as much as they should. Engaging in regular physical activity and eating healthy are two of the easiest things that you can do to take care of your heart. Here are some other important ways to prevent heart disease:

Manage Stress and Depression

High levels of stress and depression are related to heart disease. Talk to your physician or a counselor if you need help with depression or stress.

Weight management

This is a very important part of heart disease management. The benefits of weight management go beyond smaller clothing sizes. Excess weight increases the amount of work that your heart must do. By maintaining a healthy weight, you can improve the overall quality of your life.

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