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12 Tips to avoid diabetes complications

Tuesday, 21 October 2014 12:42

Choose Carbohydrates Carefully

DIABETES doesn't mean you have to cut carbohydrates completely. Choose carbohydrates that break down in the body slowly, providing steady energy. Reach for whole grains, beans, nuts, and fresh vegetables and fruits. Yes, you can eat fruit even though it's sweet. It's about eating the right amounts of carbohydrates at each meal. A registered dietitian can help you learn how much is right for you.

 

Lose Weight If You Need To

Start small. If you are overweight, shedding just a few pounds can improve the body's ability to use insulin. It'll help lower your blood sugar and improve your blood pressure and blood fats. You'll also have more energy. Ready? Aim to burn more calories than you eat. To start, try cutting fat and calories from your diet, such as chips or fries.

 

Get Enough Sleep

Getting too much or too little sleep can increase your appetite and cravings for high-carbohydrate foods. That can lead to weight gain, increasing your risk for complications such as heart disease. So shoot for seven or eight hours of sleep a night. If you have sleep apnea, treating it can improve your sleep and lower your blood sugar levels.

 

Be Active: Exercise and Diabetes

Pick something you like -- walking, dancing, biking, or just marching in place while you're on the phone. Do it a half-hour a day; work up to that if you need to. Exercise can help you lower your cardiovascular risks, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels, and keep your weight down. Exercise also relieves stress and may help you cut back on diabetes medication.

 

Monitor Your Blood Sugar Daily

You know you're supposed to check it. And actually checking your blood glucose levels can help you avoid diabetes complications, like nerve pain, or keep them from getting worse. Checking it can also help you see how foods and activities affect you, and if your treatment plan is working. Your doctor can help you set a target glucose level range. The closer you get to your target, the better you'll feel.

 

Manage Stress

When you have diabetes, stress can cause your blood glucose levels to rise. Get rid of whatever physical or mental stresses you can. Learn coping techniques to deal with others. Relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises, yoga, and meditation may be especially effective if you have type 2 diabetes.

 

Say No to Salt

Reduce the salt in your diet. It may help lower blood pressure and protect your kidneys. Not salting the food on your plate may not be enough. Most of the salt in Americans' diets comes from processed foods. Avoid convenience foods and use fresh ingredients when you can. Season your food with herbs and spices instead of salt when you cook.

Adults age 51 and older, and individuals with high blood pressure, diabetes, or chronic kidney disease should talk with their doctor about how much to reduce their sodium intake. In general, people with diabetes should decrease to less than 2,300 mgs per day, however your doctor may recommend lower amounts.

 

Heart Disease Risk and Diabetes

Heart disease can be a serious diabetes complication. Keep an eye on your risk by getting these ABCs checked:
A1C level. This is a measure of your average blood sugar control for the last 2-3 months. You may need it checked two or more times a year. Talk to your doctor about setting a goal.

 

Take Care of Bumps and Bruises

Diabetes raises your risk of infection and slows healing, so treat even simple cuts and scrapes quickly. Properly clean your wound and use an antibiotic cream and sterile bandage. See a doctor if it's not better in a few days. Check your feet every day for blisters, cuts, sores, redness, or swelling. Moisturize them to prevent cracks.

 

Break Your Smoking Habit

People with diabetes who smoke are two times more likely to die prematurely than those who don't. Quitting helps your heart and lungs. It lowers your blood pressure and risk of stroke, heart attack, nerve damage, and kidney disease. Ask your doctor about help for quitting tobacco

 

Pick Super Foods, Don't Supersize

There's no single diabetes diet. But here are basics to keep in mind: Enjoy super foods like berries, sweet potatoes, fish with omega-3 fatty acids, and dark green, leafy vegetables. Look at food labels and avoid saturated fat and trans fats. Instead, opt for mono and polyunsaturated fats like olive oil. A registered dietitian can give you personalized advice.

 

Set Up Doctor Visits

Expect to see your doctor two to four times a year. If you take insulin or need help balancing your blood sugar levels, you may need to visit more often. Also get a yearly physical and eye exam. You should be screened for eye, nerve, and kidney damage, and other complications. See a dentist twice a year. And be sure to tell all health care providers that you have diabetes.

Source: webmd.com

 

32 Myths about the flu vaccine you don't need to fear

Wednesday, 22 October 2014 12:00

BRACE yourselves: Flu season is coming. And along with the coughing, fevers and aches, you can expect a lot of unreliable or downright wrong information about the flu vaccine.

Many people underestimate the health risks from flu. Thousands of Americans die from flu-related complications in a typical year, and last season's H1N1 strain hit young adults particularly hard.

Flu and pneumonia combined consistently rank among the top 10 causes of death in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It was ranked eighth in 2011, the most recent year for which data are available.

Getting a shot (or an immunizing spritz up the nose) isn't a perfect defence against flu. Some years the strains used to make vaccines aren't a good match for the type of flu that eventually strikes. But vaccination remains the most reliable way to reduce the risk for illness.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older gets vaccinated against flu every year, with rare exceptions, such as those with severe, life-threatening allergies to flu vaccine ingredients or potentially those with a history of Guillain-Barré syndrome following a previous flu shot.

The options for the flu vaccine this year include a shot that protects against the three different flu strains the World Health Organization predicts will be circulating. There are also shots that include protection against four strains. And adults ages 65 and have the option to get a high-dose flu shot, yet another variation.

Traditionally, flu vaccines have been made using chicken eggs, but new technologies have led to two relatively new vaccines without a trace of egg.

The nasal spray uses four live flu virus strains that have been weakened. The CDC recommends kids ages 2 to 8 get the spray instead of the shot when available, though healthy adults up to age 49 can also get the spray. The live-flu vaccine isn't recommended for pregnant women, older adults and people whose immune systems are compromised.

Now is when doctor's offices, drugstores and many companies offer vaccinations in preparation for the upcoming flu season, which typically lasts from October to April.

So it seemed like the right time to round up a list of common misconceptions about the flu vaccine and some information to set them straight.

Each fact links to a more detailed explanation on Red Wine and Applesauce, a blog where I write about parenting, health and science. Those posts contain links to peer-reviewed research and other sources.

If you have specific questions about vaccination, including which type of vaccine is appropriate for you, consult your doctor or other health professional.

Myth #1: You should fear Ebola more than the flu.

Fact: Flu kills more people in a year in the U.S. than Ebola has killed in the history of the world.

Myth #2: You don't need the flu vaccine this year if you got it last year.

Fact: You need a new flu shot each year because the circulating strains change and immunity from the vaccine fades.

Myth #3: The flu shot is a "one size fits all" approach that doesn't make sense for everyone.

Fact: You have many flu vaccine options, such as the shot, including egg-free versions, and a nasal spray.

Myth #4: The flu shot makes some people able to only walk backward.

Fact: The condition of a young woman who could apparently only walk backward after getting a flu shot was found to be psychological, not neurological.

Myth #5: Deaths from the flu are exaggerated.

Fact: Thousands of people die from flu in the U.S. in a typical year, including more than 20,000 in the 2006-2007 season.

Myth #6: The flu vaccine can give you the flu.

Fact: The flu shot can't give you the flu because the virus it contains has been inactivated or severely weakened.

Myth #7: Flu vaccines contain dangerous ingredients, such as mercury, formaldehyde and antifreeze.

Fact: Flu shot ingredients are safe, but people with allergies to ingredients in some vaccines, such as gelatin, should avoid vaccines with those ingredients.

Myth #8: Pregnant women shouldn't get the flu vaccine.

Fact: Because influenza can cause miscarriages, pregnant women should get vaccinated against flu to lower the miscarriage risk.

Myth #9: Flu vaccines can cause Alzheimer's disease.

Fact: There is no link between flu vaccination and Alzheimer's; flu vaccines protect older adults who are at increased risk for flu-related health consequences.

Myth #10: Pharmaceutical companies make a massive profit off flu vaccines.

Fact: They're a tiny source of profit and are made by only a handful of companies.

Myth #11: Flu vaccines don't work.

Fact: Flu vaccines reduce the risk of flu, though their effectiveness in any particular year varies.

Myth #12: Flu vaccines don't work for children.

Fact: Flu vaccines effectively reduce the risk of flu for children ages 6 months and up.

Myth #13: Flu vaccines make it easier for people to catch pneumonia or other infectious diseases.

Fact: Flu vaccines reduce the risk of pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses or complications from the flu.

Myth #14: Flu vaccines cause heart problems and strokes.

Fact: Flu shots reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular events.

Myth #15: Flu vaccines can damage a protective barrier between the blood and the brain in young children, hindering their development.

Fact: Flu vaccines have been found safe for children 6 months and older.

Myth #16: Flu vaccines cause narcolepsy.

Fact: A European vaccine against the swine flu in 2009 was linked to narcolepsy, but the U.S. seasonal flu vaccine does not cause narcolepsy.

Myth #17: The flu vaccine weakens your body's immune response.

Fact: The flu vaccine prepares your immune system to fight influenza by stimulating antibody production.

Myth #18: The flu vaccine causes nerve disorders such as Guillain-Barré syndrome.

Fact: Only the 1976 swine flu vaccine was linked to Guillain-Barré syndrome, and influenza is more likely to cause the nerve disorder than the flu vaccine; the CDC says those with the Guillain-Barré should consult a doctor before getting the flu shot.

Myth #19: The flu vaccine can cause neurological disorders.

Fact: Neurological side effects linked to flu vaccination are extremely rare (see Myth #18); children with neurological disorders are actually at the highest risk for flu complications.

Myth #20: Influenza isn't that bad. Or, people recover quickly from it.

Fact: Influenza can cause fever, muscle aches, cough, headaches and a sore throat for one to two weeks.

Myth #21: People don't die from the flu unless they have another underlying condition already.

Fact: Otherwise healthy people do die from the flu. The elderly and young children are most vulnerable.

Myth #22: People with egg allergies can't get vaccinated against flu.

Fact: People with egg allergies can get a flu shot but should consult their doctor or allergist on options if their allergy is severe.

Myth #23: If I get the flu, antibiotics will help me get better.

Fact: Antibiotics can't treat a viral infection.

Myth #24: The flu shot doesn't work for me, personally, because last time I got it, I got the flu anyway.

Fact: The flu shot cannot offer 100 percent protection against the flu, but it reduces your risk of getting it. Many people mistake symptoms from colds and other illnesses for the flu.

Myth #25: I never get the flu, so I don't need the shot.

Fact: You can't predict whether you'll get the flu.

Myth #26: I can protect myself from the flu by eating right and washing my hands regularly.

Fact: A good diet and good hygiene are healthful habits that reduce the risk of illness but cannot prevent the flu on their own.

Myth #27: It's OK if I get the flu because it will make my immune system stronger.

Fact: Even if the flu in a future season resembles a strain you've had before, the protection is likely to be incomplete and fades over time. Flu weakens your immune system while your body is fighting it and puts others at risk.

Myth #28: If I do get the flu, I'll just stay home so I'm not infecting others.

Fact: You can transmit the flu without showing symptoms.

Myth #29: Making a new vaccine each year only makes influenza strains stronger.

Fact: There's no evidence flu vaccines have a major effect on virus mutations.

Myth #30: The side effects of the flu shot are worse than the flu.

Fact: The most common side effects of the flu shot are mild, such as headache, fatigue, cough, low fever and arm soreness lasting a couple of days. Fewer than one in a million people experience severe allergic reactions.

Myth #31: The "stomach flu" is the flu.

Fact: The stomach flu refers to a variety of gastrointestinal illnesses unrelated to influenza.

Myth #32: If you haven't gotten a flu shot by November, there's no point in getting one.

Fact: Getting the flu shot any time during flu season will reduce your risk of getting the flu.

 

Source: npr.org

Antibiotics linked to childhood obesity

Wednesday, 22 October 2014 12:04

YOUNG children who are given repeated courses of antibiotics are at greater risk than those who use fewer drugs of becoming obese, US researchers say.

The JAMA Paediatrics report found children who had had four or more courses by the age of two were at a 10% higher risk of being obese.

But scientists warn this does not show antibiotics cause obesity directly and recommend children continue using them.

Many more studies are needed to explain the reasons behind the link, they say.

US researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Bloomberg School of Public Health reviewed the health records of more than 64,500 American children between 2001 and 2013.

The children were followed up until they reached five years of age.

Almost 70% of them had been prescribed two courses of antibiotics by the time they were 24 months old.

But those who had four or more courses in this time were at a 10% higher risk of being obese at the age of five than children who had been given fewer drugs.

And the type of antibiotics they were prescribed appeared to make a difference too - those given drugs targeted at a particular bug were less likely to put on weight.

But those given a broad-spectrum antibiotic - that can kill several types of bacteria indiscriminately - were more likely to have a higher body mass.

Prof Charles Bailey at the University of Pennsylvania, said: "We think after antibiotics some of the normal bacteria in our gut that are more efficient at nudging our weight in the right direction may be killed off and bacteria that nudge the metabolism in the wrong direction may be more active."

And researchers say the study highlights that over prescribing inappropriate antibiotics could have a negative impact on child growth.

Children who were given antibiotics in the first few months of life were also at greater risk

Prof Nigel Brown, president of the Society for General Microbiology in the UK, said: "This study adds further evidence that the use of antibiotics early in life has a role to play in obesity.

"While antibiotic use is only one factor that may predispose children to be obese, the study emphasises the importance of rapid diagnostic tests that allow precise targeting of antibiotics, which will kill the disease-causing bacteria and cause minimum disruption to the normal gut flora."

And Prof Bailey acknowledged his study had limitations as they were not able to look at the children's weight or exercise regimes.

He says the team will now start to explore what influence lifestyle factors has on these findings.

But Dr Graham Brudge, at the University of Southampton, said: "The design of the study did not allow testing as to whether antibiotic use during infancy causes obesity in childhood, only that there may be an association.

"It would be a concern if parents took from this that they ought to be reluctant to allow antibiotic use in their children.

"The key risk factors for childhood obesity are over-consumption of high energy, nutrient-poor foods and lack of exercise."

Meanwhile in a separate study, scientists reporting in the journal of the American Society for Microbiology found that a species of gut bacteria - called Clostridium ramosum - could promote weight gain in mice.

Mice with these bacteria present in their guts became obese when fed a high-fat diet, while those that did not have the bacteria put on less weight despite being given high-calorie meals.

The scientists, from the German Institute of Human Nutrition, in Nuthetal, are now trying to understand how the bacteria interact with digestion.

Source: bbc

Nine million have TB - WHO report

Monday, 27 October 2014 12:26

THE World Health Organization has revised up its estimate of how many people have tuberculosis by almost 500,000.

In 2013 nine million people had developed TB around the world, up from 8.6 million in 2012, the WHO said.

However, the number of people dying from TB continued to decline, it added.

TB campaigners said that one of the biggest problems in tackling the deadly disease was gauging how many people were affected.

About 1.5 million people had died in 2013 from TB, including 360,000 people who had been HIV positive, the WHO said in its Global Tuberculosis Report 2014. And in 2012, there had been 1.3 million tuberculosis deaths.

The WHO said its report underlined that a "staggering number of lives are being lost to a curable disease and confirms that TB is the second biggest killer disease from a single infectious agent".

One of the main factors in revising up the number of cases had been improved national data collection, the organisation added.

In the long-term, the mortality rate from TB had fallen, dropping by 45% since 1990, the WHO said.

Since then, the number of people developing the disease had declined by about 1.5% per year. But about three million people with TB had remained undiagnosed in 2013, the WHO added.

One of the biggest issues facing organisations tackling the disease was the number of undiagnosed cases, said tuberculosis charity TB Alert.

"The fact that three million people are missing out on treatment every year explains why there are still so many avoidable deaths from tuberculosis," said TB Alert chief executive Mike Mandelbaum.

"By strengthening health systems, especially in high-incidence countries, we can turn the tide of this global epidemic and finally move into sight of eradicating this disease," he added.

The WHO report also said:

·        Most of the people who developed TB in 2013 were in South East Asia and the Western Pacific

·        India accounted for 24% of cases alone

·        China saw 11% of total cases

·        A further quarter were in the Africa, which had the highest rates of cases and deaths relative to the population

The WHO said that insufficient funding was hampering efforts to combat the disease. An estimated $8bn (£5bn) was needed each year, but there was an annual shortfall of $2bn, it said.

Tuberculosis that is resistant to drugs, which is harder to treat and cure, had accounted for 3.5% of new cases in 2013, the WHO said.

Globally, 5% of TB cases were estimated to be drug resistant. But in some parts of the world, including Eastern Europe and Central Asia, there were "severe epidemics", the WHO said.

For example, in Belarus, 35% of new cases were drug resistant.

"Improved diagnostic tools and access mean that we are detecting and treating more cases," said Dr Karin Weyer, WHO coordinator for laboratories, diagnostics and drug resistance.

"But the gap between detecting and actually getting people started on treatment is widening and we urgently need increased commitment and funding to test and treat every case," she added.

Extensively drug-resistant TB, which is even more difficult to treat than drug-resistant TB, had been reported in 100 countries, the WHO said.

Aid network Medecins Sans Frontieres said that the rise of drug resistant TB, especially in the former Soviet Union, was of "critical concern".

"Access to proper treatment is drastically low: only one person in five with multidrug-resistant TB receives treatment; the rest are left to die, increasing the risk to their families and communities and fuelling the epidemic," said Medecins Sans Frontieres TB advisor Dr Grania Brigden.

"This dismal news must serve as a wake-up call for governments, donors and drug companies," she added.

 

 

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Y chromosome linked to cancer and death risk in men

Monday, 27 October 2014 12:27

THE male Y chromosome may have a role in prolonging men's lives and fighting cancer, scientists have said.

Research into 1,153 elderly men at the University of Sweden found those who had lost part of their Y chromosome died on average 5.5 years earlier than those who had not.

Women live on average 7.5 years longer than men in Europe and the reasons behind this are not fully known.

Cancer Research said the study was "intriguing".

Scientists assessed how many blood cells had age-related loss of the Y chromosome (LOY) through blood tests in the men, aged between 70 and 84.

Men with a "significant amount" of loss died earlier, said researchers. LOY was associated with general risk of death in 637 out of the group of men and risk of death due to non-blood related cancer in 132 of the cases.

Researchers said the association between LOY and early death was significant when the results were adjusted for age and other health conditions.

Women don't have the Y chromosome, but have two Xs instead.

The co-author of the study, Jan Dumanski from Uppsala University in Sweden, said: "Many people think the Y chromosome only contains genes involved in sex determination and sperm production.

"In fact, these genes have other important functions, such as possibly playing a role in preventing tumours."

The study said Y chromosome genes were not expressed when LOY occurred, meaning its potential role in tumour prevention could be reduced.

It said LOY in blood cells was associated with many different cancers, including those outside the blood system.

Researchers said this could be because Y chromosome genes enabled blood cells to help with immuno-surveillance, where the immune system detected and killed tumour cells to prevent cancer.

The finding means blood tests looking at the state of the Y chromosome could help predict a man's risk of cancer, say the authors.

Head of health information at Cancer Research Dr Julie Sharp said: "This is an intriguing theory but more research is needed to establish whether loss of the Y chromosome really could be a predictor of cancer risk.

"While a man's risk of cancer does increase with age, there are things all men can do to stack the odds in their favour, such as not smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, eating healthily and cutting down on alcohol."

Source: bbc

Australian doctors in heart transplant breakthrough

Monday, 27 October 2014 12:28

 

AUSTRALIAN doctors say they've made a breakthrough that could save the lives of many more people in need of a heart transplant.

 

Surgeons at Sydney's St. Vincent's Hospital say they've discovered how to use hearts that have stopped beating, rather than relying on still-beating hearts from brain-dead donors.

 

The team says the technique represents a game-changer for organ donation.

 

The team from St. Vincent's and the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute say the key is a preservation solution that's taken 12 years to perfect. This solution reduces the amount of damage to the heart when it stops beating, making it more resilient once it is restarted.

 

Cardiologist Peter MacDonald, MD, says researchers developed a technique for restarting the heart in a so-called "heart in a box" machine.

 

"We removed blood from the donor to prime the machine. We then take the heart out, connect it to the machine, warm it up, and when we warm it up, the heart starts to beat," he says.

 

The first patient to undergo surgery was Michelle Gribilas, 57, who had congenital heart failure and was operated on 2 months ago. She said she now feels "like a different person."

 

The second patient, Jan Damen, 43, also had congenital heart failure. He had surgery about 2 weeks ago. "It's a wild thing to get your head around,” he told reporters. "But it's an amazing thing.”

 

A third patient reportedly underwent surgery using the same surgical technique on Wednesday.

 

The Australian team says the technique could result in a major increase in the pool of hearts available for transplantation.

 

In a statement, Maureen Talbot, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, says: "This is a significant development that will hopefully increase the number of donor hearts available for transplant in the future."

 

"It is wonderful to see these people recovering so well from heart transplantation when, without this development, they may still be waiting for a donor heart."

 

Still, she said, the number of registered donors needs to rise.

 

Source: webmd.com

 

 

 

Be careful about Ginseng - It's more dangerous than you think

Tuesday, 28 October 2014 13:54

By Kirsten Schofield

 

Managing high cholesterol and related conditions

Tuesday, 28 October 2014 13:54

A PATIENT with high blood cholesterol is likely to develop other conditions that affect the heart and vascular system. For example, someone with high blood cholesterol is likely to develop high blood pressure as well. The likelihood of high cholesterol-related conditions can be reduced with proper treatment. In this article, learn more about how high cholesterol affects your body and what you can do to prevent future problems.

Cholesterol and the Body

The word “cholesterol” often gets a bum rap. Cholesterol earns the blame for a lot of physical ills, but it turns out that your body needs cholesterol. In fact, your body naturally produces cholesterol because it requires this waxy substance for many functions. However, as with so many things in life, too much cholesterol can be a bad thing.

Cholesterol comes in two types: “good” and “bad.” High-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as “good” cholesterol, can reduce your risk of heart attacks, rid your body of bad cholesterol, and lower your stroke risk. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as “bad” cholesterol, high levels increase your risk for several conditions and diseases if it is not diagnosed, treated, and managed properly.

In an ideal world, the levels of HDL and LDL would be beneficial—HDL would help pick up remaining pieces of LDL and remove them without harm to the body. However, when the balance is off, HDL cannot keep up, and waxy plaque begins to build in the body’s arteries.

In America today, one in six adults have high cholesterol. Unfortunately, two out of every three adults with high cholesterol do not have the condition under control. Additionally, less than half of patients with diagnosed high cholesterol are not being treated for it.

 

These numbers have real-world consequences. When left untreated, high cholesterol can cause real damage to your body. Having high LDL levels puts you at a greater risk for developing certain conditions. In some cases, the factors that contribute to high cholesterol also contribute to other conditions. In other cases, high cholesterol itself is a risk factor for another condition.

Conditions Related to High Cholesterol

The following section lists out some related conditions people with high cholesterol may be more likely to develop.

Coronary Heart Disease

One of the biggest concerns for people with high cholesterol is coronary heart disease (CHD). This is because cholesterol greatly impacts your heart’s health. High blood LDL levels increase your risk of heart disease.

Plaque build-up hardens the arteries and eventually narrows the arteries. This reduces blood follow to and from the heart. If the narrowed arteries or vessels close completely or become blocked, you will suffer chest pain or possibly a heart attack. Too little HDL cholesterol can also increase your risk for CHD.

Peripheral Arterial Disease

Around your heart, arteries that have plaque build-up can cut off blood supply to your heart. The heart is not the only part of the body that can be affected by plaque build-up, however.

When plaque build-up on artery walls occurs elsewhere in the body, it can lead to peripheral arterial disease (PAD). PAD is most common in the arteries that lead to the legs and feet. If left untreated, PAD can cause pain, numbness, and eventually tissue death.

Stroke

A stroke occurs when cholesterol plaque narrows and eventually blocks the vessels and arteries in your brain. Blood vessels in the brain are responsible for bringing oxygen and nutrients to your brain. When flow is cut off, the brain does not receive enough oxygen and blood, causing brain cells to die.

Hypertension

High blood cholesterol levels are one of the leading causes of hypertension, also known as high blood pressure. Too much bad cholesterol floating in your blood can cause plaque build-ups in your arteries. As the blockages build, they restrict blood flow. In order to overcome this restricted blood flow, your heart has to work harder and must increase the pressure it uses to pump blood efficiently. As a result, your blood pressure can quickly become too high.

Type 2 Diabetes

People with diabetes must monitor their cholesterol levels carefully. This is because diabetes has the ability to lower levels of good cholesterol and increase levels of bad cholesterol. Subsequently, the higher levels of LDL increase your risk for other conditions, including stroke, coronary heart disease, and hypertension.

Source: healthline.com

 

High cholesterol treatments

Tuesday, 28 October 2014 13:55

UNLESS your cholesterol is dangerously high, lifestyle modifications — such as exercising regularly and eating a heart-healthy diet — are often recommended as the first line of treatment.

Healthy Diet

Dietary modifications combined with weight loss can lower LDL cholesterol by as much as 20 to 30 percent. Heart-healthy diets promote fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes and limit foods high in sugar, sodium, and saturated fat.

Vegetable shortening and any item made with hydrogenated oil contains trans fat and should be avoided. What sets heart-healthy diets apart from others is the emphasis on good fats, such as those found in fish, nuts, olive oil, avocados, and seeds.

When used in place of saturated and trans fats, these oils — known as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats—can help reduce cholesterol. Some research also indicates that avoiding refined carbs may boost “good” HDL cholesterol and lower triglycerides. Refined carbohydrates include white rice, white bread, soft drinks, and baked goods.

Avoid or Quit Smoking

Quitting smoking is good for your heart in more ways than one. Research shows that giving up cigarettes can increase a person’s “good” HDL by 4 mg/dL, on average. HDL helps clear the body of artery-clogging “bad” LDL cholesterol.

 

Exercise

Research shows that being inactive elevates LDL. Exercise, on the other hand, can lower it. Moderate activity like brisk walking can also help lower triglycerides, while vigorous exercise like running can boost HDL. Cardiovascular exercise can also strengthen your heart and reduce blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for stroke.

 

Medication

In addition to lifestyle changes, your doctor may also recommend taking medication to manage your cholesterol. In general, drug therapy tends to affect cholesterol levels more quickly than your diet and exercise will.

So if your doctor feels it’s important to get your cholesterol down immediately, he or she will likely opt for medication. There are several different types of cholesterol-lowering medications. Your doctor can determine which one or ones are right for you.

Source: healthline.com

Sleep woes common among troubled young children - Study

Monday, 03 November 2014 15:20

SLEEP difficulties, particularly problems falling asleep, are common among toddlers and preschoolers with mental health issues, according to a new study.

"Sleep problems in young children frequently co-occur with other behavioral problems, with evidence that inadequate sleep is associated with daytime sleepiness, less optimal preschool adjustment, and problems of irritability, hyperactivity and attention," said the study's leader, John Boekamp, clinical director of the pediatric partial hospital program at Bradley Hospital in Providence, R.I.

However, he said, sleep disorders may be unrecognized and underdiagnosed in young children, particularly when behavioral or emotional problems are present.

The study, published online in Child Psychiatry & Human Development, involved 183 children aged 6 years or younger receiving outpatient treatment for psychiatric problems. The researchers examined the prevalence of sleep disorders among these children and the nature of the sleep problems.

"The most common sleep difficulties reported nationally for toddlers and preschoolers are problems of going to bed, falling asleep and frequent night awakenings. Collectively, these problems are referred to as behavioral insomnias of childhood," said Boekamp in a hospital news release.

Recognized sleep disorders, particularly sleep onset insomnia, were more common than expected, the researchers found. Overall, 41 percent of children in the study met the criteria to diagnose a sleep disorder.

Sleep problems were most common in kids with disruptive behavior, and attention, anxiety and mood problems, the researchers found.

Early sleep problems could not only be the result of behavioral and emotional problems, but could also contribute to them, the researchers noted.

"Essentially, these young children might be caught in a cycle, with sleep disruption affecting their psychiatric symptoms, and psychiatric symptoms affecting their sleep-wake organization," said Boekamp. "It is important for families to be aware of how important sleep is to the behavioral adjustment and well-being of young children."

Sleep problems can complicate treatment for challenging behaviors, such as aggression and attention and mood problems. Daytime sleepiness and fatigue can make these problems even worse, the study's authors noted.

"This study is a great reminder that it's critical for mental health providers working with young children and their families to ask about children's sleep," said Boekamp.

"Simple questions about children's sleep patterns, including how long it takes a child to fall asleep at night and how frequently a child awakens after falling asleep, may yield important information that is relevant to clinical care, even when sleep problems are not the primary focus of treatment," he explained.

Source: healthDay