High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

High blood pressure, or hypertension, seldom shows noticeable symptoms. But if it is not treated, it increases risk of serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes. Many people have high blood pressure, although they won't realize it.

The only way to know if your blood pressure is high is to have your blood pressure checked. 
Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers such as systolic and diastolic . The systolic pressure (higher number) is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body. The diastolic pressure (lower number) is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels. Both of them are measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg).

Risks of high blood pressure
  • heart disease
  • heart attacks
  • strokes
  • heart failure
  • peripheral arterial disease
  • aortic aneurysms
  • kidney disease
  • vascular dementia

Causes of high blood pressure Certain things can increase your risk of high blood pressure if you:
  • are over the age of 65
  • are overweight or obese (check BMI)
  • have a relative with high blood pressure
  • eat too much salt and don't eat enough fruit and vegetables
  • don't do enough exercise
  • drink too much alcohol or coffee (or other caffeine-based drinks)
  • smoke
  • don't get much sleep or have disturbed sleep

Your lifestyle plays an important role in both preventing and treating high blood pressure. Based on the condition of your blood pressure doctor may suggest medication.
Reduce your blood pressure The following lifestyle changes can help prevent and lower high blood pressure:
  • reduce the amount of salt you eat and have a generally healthy diet
  • cut back on alcohol if you drink too much
  • lose weight if you're overweight
  • exercise regularly
  • cut down on caffeine
  • stop smoking
  • try to get at least six hours of sleep a night

Healthy blood pressure diet
The more healthy your eating habits are, the lower your blood pressure will be. If you have high blood pressure, it is even more important to make healthy changes to your diet. If you take medicines for your blood pressure, then a healthy blood pressure diet can decrease the number you may need.
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Two most common types of diabetes

Diabetes occurs when the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high because the body can’t use it properly. If the diabetes is not treated, high blood glucose levels can cause many serious long-term health complications which include heart disease, stroke, chronic kidney failure, foot ulcers, and damage to the eyes. Although diabetes has no cure, we can take steps to manage our diabetes and stay healthy.

Two most common types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2. They are serious and need to be treated and managed properly.

  • Type 1 diabetes – where the body's immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes is generally diagnosed in children and young adults, although it can show at any age. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin every day to stay alive.
  • Type 2 diabetes – s where the body doesn't produce enough insulin, or the body's cells don't react to insulin. Type 2 diabetes is far more common than type 1. Type 2 diabetes usually shows in people over the age of 40, though in South Asian people, who are at greater risk, it often appears from the age of 25. Type 2 diabetes is treated with a healthy diet and increased physical activity. In addition to this, medication and/or insulin are often required.

During pregnancy, some women have such high levels of blood glucose that their body is unable to produce enough insulin to absorb it all. This is known as gestational diabetes. Most of the time, this type of diabetes goes away after the baby is born. However, if you’ve had gestational diabetes, you have a greater chance of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. 

Pre-diabetes Many more people have blood sugar levels above the normal range, but not high enough to be diagnosed as having diabetes.  This is sometimes known as pre-diabetes. If your blood sugar level is above the normal range, your risk of developing full-blown diabetes is increased.
It's very important for diabetes to be diagnosed as early as possible because it will get progressively worse if left untreated.

When to see a doctor?
Visit your doctor as soon as possible if you experience the main symptoms of diabetes, which include:
  • feeling very thirsty.
  • urinating more frequently than usual, particularly at night 
  • feeling very tired
  • weight loss and loss of muscle bulk 
  • itching around the penis or vagina, or frequent episodes of thrush
  • cuts or wounds that heal slowly
  • blurred vision

Type 1 diabetes can develop quickly over weeks or even days. Many people have type 2 diabetes for years without realizing because the early symptoms tend to be general.

Causes of diabetes The amount of sugar in the blood is controlled by a hormone called insulin, which is produced by the pancreas (a gland behind the stomach). When food is digested and enters your bloodstream, insulin moves glucose out of the blood and into cells, where it's broken down to produce energy.
However, if you have diabetes, your body is unable to break down glucose into energy. This is because there's either not enough insulin to move the glucose, or the insulin produced doesn't work properly. Although there are no lifestyle changes you can make to lower your risk of type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes is often linked to being overweight.

Data shows the best way to reduce your risk of Type 2 diabetes is by:
  • eating better
  • moving more
  • reducing your weight if you’re overweight

What health problems can people with diabetes develop?
Over time, high blood glucose leads to problems such as
  • heart disease
  • stroke
  • kidney disease
  • eye problems
  • dental disease
  • nerve damage
  • foot problems
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Blood Cholesterol

Lipid profile is a group of tests that are often ordered together to determine the risk of heart disease, heart attack, obesity, etc. The lipid profile tests are good indicators of the likelihood of heart attacks or strokes caused by blockage of blood vessels due to hardening of arteries.

The following tests are what lipid profile encompasses of:
  • Total Cholesterol.
  • Triglycerides.
  • LDL Cholesterol.
  • HDL Cholesterol.

What is cholesterol?
Cholesterol is complex isoprenoid which helps the body to form hormones, vitamin D and other important biological compounds. The body produces most cholesterol naturally, and it is found in some foods. Sadly, too much of it is harmful as it can clog and damage the blood vessels as it doesn’t dissolve in blood. The two main types that carry cholesterol to and from cells are called low density lipoproteins (LDL-C) and high density lipoproteins (HDL-C). Not all cholesterol in the blood is bad. Cholesterol is carried by the blood in two main forms: LDL (low density lipoprotein) and HDL  (high density lipoprotein).

Your body needs a certain amount of cholesterol to work properly, but not too much. If there is too much cholesterol in your blood it can build up on the sides of your arteries,narrowing them and increasing your risk of a heart attack or stroke.

Why are lipoproteins important?
Lipoproteins are special proteins that carry fats around the body via the bloodstream. The lower the density of the lipoproteins the more fats it contains.

LDLs (low-density lipoproteins) carry fat from the peripheral parts of the body to the heart. Hence, too much LDL contributes to heart attacks and increases risk of heart disease and stroke.

HDLs (high density lipoproteins) carry fats to the liver. There are hence good for us because the liver then removes the lipids from the body.

Total cholesterol is a reading of the good and bad cholesterol.

What is the role if triglycerides in the body?
Triglycerides store energy for the body to use in the shortage of sugars. However, an excess of triglycerides can block blood vessels, cause other problems such as pancreatitis and abdominal pain as well as lead to obesity.

  Dietary changes can help to lower cholesterol as long as the following suggestions are integrated into the diet:
  • Eating more mono and polyunsaturated fatty acids. e.g. olive oil.
  • Dietary cholesterol should be less than 300mg/dL.
  • Five portions of fruits and vegetables should be consumed per day.
  • Two portions of fish per week, including one portion of oily fish.

Other lifestyle measures
  • Regular physical exercise
  • Smoking cessation
  • Avoidance of excess alcohol ingestion
  • Good blood pressure and glycemic control

Your body uses saturated fat to make cholesterol therefore eating too much saturated fat will raise your cholesterol. Too much cholesterol can raise your risk of heart disease and stroke, so if you have high blood pressure it is very important to keep your cholesterol levels low. Saturated fat is usually found in animal products for example red meats, pork, butter, ghee and cheese. It’s also found in many baked goods such as pastries, cakes and biscuits and in the plant-based oils coconut oil and palm oil.

A diet that is rich in unsaturated fats can help lower the levels of unwanted cholesterol even further. One of the best ways to keep your cholesterol levels in check is to enjoy a balanced diet. This means eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, with starchy wholegrain foods and low levels of saturated fat.

It is very important to consult with doctor, measure the blood cholesterol and get proper medication. Healthy life style is very important to control your blood cholesterol.
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