Diabetes- The soft and silent killer !

The minute most of us hear “Diabetes”, we think of Blood Sugar.

Blood sugar is elevated level of sugar or glucose in the blood which if unchecked overtime, leads to diabetes. Diabetes is a disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to insulin is impaired, resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates, inability of our body to convert sugar into glucose and subsequently elevated levels of glucose in the blood.

We all know about Type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes but whats important is what happens in the body, when we have elevated levels of sugar in the body for long.

Common Effects and Risks associated with high sugar levels and diabetes are:

Diabetes
Diabetes complications affected organs. diabetes affects nerves, kidneys, eyes, vessels, heart, brain and skin

Risk of stroke: Diabetes or elevated sugar levels, increase our risk of stroke, about 4 times more than non diabetics

Risk of Heart Disease:  Diabetes increases risk of heart attack , heart disease. As the blood vessels get damaged, it puts the heart under pressure and an increased risk of heart attacks.  High glucose levels also lead to fatty deposits. Coupled with obesity, high blood pressure, it puts you at a severe risk and an angioplasty  or an open heart bypass surgery may even be required.

Risk of Cataract: Diabetics are at an increased risk of developing cataracts

Risk of Glaucoma: Glaucoma risk is significantly more for diabetics. If left untreated, Glaucoma can lead to blindness.

Risk of Pancreas Malfunction: A malfunction in pancreas leads to diabetes and higher blood sugar levels in turn continue to damage the pancreas.
Risk of Gastroparesis:   Increase in blood sugar levels also makes it hard for the  stomach to empty completely. This also in turn leads to an increase in blood sugar levels. Nausea, vomiting, bloating, and heartburn are common symptoms.
Risk of Kidney Damage:  Unchecked High sugar levels and diabetes, damages the kidneys, leads to diabetic neuropathy and eventually one may need a dialysis or even a kidney transplant.
Risk of Nerve Damage: Diabetics often  have tingling sensation in the foot and suffer from nerve damage. Lack of sensation or peripheral neuropathy is dangerous as due to lack of sensation, one may fail to notice injuries

.
Foot Problems:  Unchecked diabetes can lead to diabetic foot where the entire foot may even need to be amputated.
Ketoacidosis:   In absence of insulin,  the body uses alternate hormones to turn fat into energy, which creates a high level of toxic chemicals such as acids and  ketones, which may lead to a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis.  Diabetic ketoacidosis  often leads to loss of consciousness and other life threatening complications. A Fruity Breath or a sweet smelling breath is often an indicator of diabetes and calls for a check on blood sugar levels.
Visual Problems:  Diabetics often face visual problems, as high glucose levels often lead to swollen, leaky blood vessels in the eye, leading to a condition called diabetic retinopathy.  These vision problems,  may even lead to partial or total loss of vision Vision problems can be gradual hence routine eye checkups if you are diabetic or have pre diabetes are a must.

Risk of damage to blood vessels:  High blood sugar levels or high glucose levels,
restrict blood flow, damaging the blood vessels.

As unchecked diabetes, leads to a host of problems, it is important to make life style changes. Pre diabetes conditions can be reversed by exercise and dietary changes.  Type 2 diabetes can be controlled and even reversed if significant life style changes are made.

One of the most important life style change is to Quit smoking as diabetes and smoking leads to an enhanced risk of heart disease.

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Swollen Legs and Feet ! Could it be something serious ?

kidney disease
Edema, swelling in legs

Many of us have swollen limbs, especially legs , ankles, feet which feel soft and cushiony due to water retention.

More often swollen legs and feet can be due to inactivity, sitting and standing at one position without moving.

This pulls the fluid down towards lower limbs, making them swell.

The swelling due to water retention is called edema.

However swollen legs and feet are often a sign of serious health problems such as kidney disease, cardio vascular problems or heart disease, liver disease, hormones being taken during HRT, deep vein thrombosis and sometimes even medication for diabetes and anti depressants.

Chronic pulmonary embolism may also lead to thromboembolism where a blood clot may travel to other parts of the body.

Incase the blood clot travels to the brain, it could lead to partial paralysis and even a stroke. Blood thinners may be advised to reduce risk of clotting.
As a 1st check, your doctor may prescribe diuretics and ask you to cut down on salt.

Then a few diagnostic tests such KFT( Kidney Function test), LFT( Liver function test), Echo, ECG may be advised.

Do watch out for signs like pain in one limb, heat generated in one limb, loss of consciousness, shortness of breath, fast or rapid heart beat and rush to the doctor as you may be experiencing thromboembolism.

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Heart Disease -Stuff you must know !

open heart bypass surgery
open heart bypass surgery

Heart disease kills more people than any other disease. Over 30% of deaths across the world are due to heart disease as per WHO estimates.

Ignorance, lack of awareness, refusal to get basic routine checkups, account for the high mortality rate.

Unhealthy dietary habits, alcohol abuse, use of tobacco, lack of exercise, obesity, diabetes, hypertension and genetics are the primary reasons for developing heart disease.

Most cases go undiagnosed till the patient suffers a heart attack.

Here is a list of types of heart disease which we should all know about.

Clogged Arteries: Fat and cholesterol build up in the arteries leads to plaque and mineral deposits which restricts or blocks blood flow to the heart. Usually clogged arteries are not diagnosed unless one gets chest pains or gets breathless. An angiography is often carried out for diagnosis. Stenting or an angioplasty takes of blocked arteries. A surgeon may insert a balloon or a wire mesh to open up your arteries. If the blockage is severe, a CABG or open heart bypass surgery may be required. In CABG, or open hear bypass surgery, blood vessels from other parts of the body are taken and damaged blood vessels of the heart are replaced or bypassed.

Arrhythmia: Irregular heart beat can either be too slow or too fast. Although rarely fatal, arrhythmia increases pre disposition to heart attack, heart failure and even stroke.
An ICD  detects irregular heart beat and send electric impulses to takes care of Arrhythmia.

Hole in the heart :  PDA, VSD, ASD, Mitral Valve Defects,  commonly known as hole in the heart, sometimes congenital heart defects are not diagnosed even till adulthood. Growth milestones may be compromised and problems may persist later in life.
Serious defects require surgical intervention however some can be managed with medical management.

Heart Muscle Disease: Our heart is a muscle which weakens due to obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and hence the heart struggles to pump blood in the body.
Heart muscle disease or cardiomyopathy can lead to heart failure.

A Pacemaker is implanted to take care of heart muscle disease.

Enlarged Heart: As the heart muscle becomes weak, the heart enlarges in order to pump blood and the rhythm increases. However the heart also becomes weaker and consequently it leads to decreased blood flow.

Heart Attack: Clogged arteries can restrict and even stop blood flow to the heart. Without blood flow, our heart doesn’t get the oxygen required which damages the heart and this is what is known as a heart attack. The more restricted the blood flow, the more life threatening and severe, the heart attack.

Heart Failure: Failure of the heart to pump blood to the body is known as heart failure and this can lead to death.

Without surgical intervention or medical management as may be required, heart disease progresses and even post diagnosis and surgical intervention, drastic life style changes are required for managing the medical condition.

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How Does High Blood Pressure Affect Your Heart

Blood Pressure,Open Heart SurgeryUncontrolled blood pressure can damage the heart , the main organ responsible for pumping blood in the body in a number of ways.

Cause narrowing of arteries- As the pressure of blood flowing from your arteries increases. it damages the inner lining of your arteries. Fat from food collects in the damaged part of your arteries causing further narrowing and damage. Eventually arteries become less elastic limiting proper blood supply to the body.

Coronary heart disease-  As the arteries get damaged due to narrowing, a high blood pressure can lead to sudden chest pains  and subsequent heart attack or even arrhythmias.

When the damage becomes extensive, angioplasty, stenting also may not help and an open heart surgery maybe required.

Enlarged Left Heart– As high blood pressure forces the heart to work harder to pump blood , the left ventricle or the left heart becomes thicker and tougher increasing risk of heart attack,  heart failure or a cardiac arrest.

Heart Failure–  Over a period of time, the heart becomes, weaker, less efficient and begins to fail.

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Can the colour of your Phlegm indicate Pulmonary Embolism ?

Some amount of Phlegm is normal as our body produces mucous. However excessive amounts of Phlegm in a healthy person is not normal. Moreover the colour of phelgm, may indicate an underlaying disease or a medical problem.

Can the colour of your Phlegm indicate Pulmonary Embolism ?

1. Grayish White Mucous 
Significant amounts may indicate an upper respiratory tract infection or sinusitis that is congestion of sinus. Grayish white mucous also indicates pollutant accumulation in the body which the body is trying to get rid off
2.  Green or Yellow Mucous
Indicates an underlying  bacterial  or lower respiratory tract Infection
3. Pink Frothy Mucous
Often an indicator of Pulmonary Edema or fluid accumulation in the lungs.
Small amounts of blood may also indicate bleeding.
Patients with heart disease often have pink frothy mucous
4. Brown Mucous
A problem which smokers face due to accumulation of tar and other residue in the body.
Phlegm is brown in colour as the body tries to get rid of the toxins.
5. Bloody Mucous
Coughing up a large quantity of blood in the  phlegm could be a sign of lung cancer, tuberculosis, pneumonia, or pulmonary embolism.Coughing up Bloody Phlegm needs to be taken seriously and warrants a visit to  the doctor to enable diagnosis of serious diseases lung cancer, pulmonary edema or pneumonia.
Pre existing heart diseases also need to be ruled out incase one notices pink frothy phlegm.
Incase you are experiencing some of the above symptoms, get a second medical opinion.
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Hole in the Heart

Babies born prematurely, experiencing shortness of breath are often diagnosed with what is called in layman’s language as “Hole in the Heart”

Hole in the heart however is one of many pediatric congenital heart defects such as PDA, TOF, ASD, VSD, Fontan and Truncus Arteriosus amongst others.

Some of these conditions may be minor and self correcting however a majority of babies, depending upon size of the defect and severity of symptoms will require corrective surgery.

Although many children with simple heart defects survive into adulthood, congenital heart defects remain a leading cause of childhood deaths or death amongst babies.
Those surviving with slightly complex heart problems will often have developmental delays, delayed learning and limited capacity for physical exercise
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Physical Activity

Routine physical activity can lower many risk factors for coronary heart disease, including LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, high blood pressure, and excess weight. Physical activity also can lower your risk for diabetes and raise your HDL cholesterol level. HDL is the “good” cholesterol that helps prevent another heart attack.

Moderate-intensity aerobic exercise at least 2 hours and 30 minutes per week, or vigorous aerobic exercise for 1 hour and 15 minutes per week. Aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, is any exercise in which your heart beats faster and you use more oxygen than usual. The more active you are, the more you will benefit. Participate in aerobic exercise for at least 10 minutes at a time spread throughout the week.

Alcohol

Too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure and triglyceride levels, a type of fat found in the blood. Alcohol also adds extra calories, which may cause weight gain which again leads to heart diseases.

Men should have no more than two drinks containing alcohol a day. Women should have no more than one drink containing alcohol a day. One drink is:

  • 12 ounces of beer
  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 1½ ounces of liquor

 

Hypertension the culprit

High Blood Pressure very often leads to heart problems.
Exercise, diet control help with controlling blood pressure.An eating plan focused on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and other foods that are heart healthy and low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium and salt would help with controlling blood pressure along with regular exercise.