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Just like diabetes, pre-diabetes is also a growing health problem. Pre-diabetes is defined as a condition in which your blood sugar level is higher than the normal range but not high enough to be called a diabetic. It is more like a warning sign, that you might become a diabetic soon.Pre-diabetes is also referred to as borderline diabetes. In this condition there is a reduction in the production of insulin hormone.
What are the symptoms of pre-diabetes?
Generally, there are no symptoms associated with prediabetes. However, one common sign that can indicate about your risk of type 2 diabetes is darkening of some skin areas. Also, if you have been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, watchout for these symptoms and consult your doctor if you notice them:
Feeling thirstier than you used to
Increased number of urine breaks, especially during the night
Sores or cuts that won’t heal
Here is a good news, pre-diabetes is reversible. Lifestyle changes may help people in managing the condition and prevent it from developing into diabetes. You can practice the following changes:
- Manage your weight: If you are obese and overweight, then pre-diabetes may turn into diabetes. Hence, losing some amount of body weight, at least 5% to 10% can make quite a difference.
- Make exercising a habit: You should perform moderate exercises regularly, such as swimming, cycling or brisk walking. This helps in the management of prediabetes.
- Eat nutritious food: You must make some dietary changes as well. Consume food items which contain low-fat protein. Eat a lot of vegetables and whole grains, limit your calorie intake and reduce the amount of sugar and starchy carbohydrates. Increase your intake of fiber-rich food.
So, don’t let diabetes affect you and harm your quality of life.
Sleep apnea or obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is one of the most common sleeping disorder. Snoring, gasping of air while sleeping and irregular breathing are some of the first few signs of OSA. What most people might not know is that OSA is associated with an increased risk of hypertension.
Factors that affect sleep apnea-associated hypertension
If you have OSA, it doubles the risk of hypertension. So, it is important to know about a few other factors that increase your risk of sleep apnea-associated hypertension:
Weight: If you are overweight or obese it increases the chances of both hypertension and OSA.
Gender: Due to the differences in male and female hormones, males at a greater risk of OSA and hypertension as compared to females.
Age: Aging is significantly associated with increased blood pressure levels and OSA. More number of cases are often seen after 60 years of age.
Sleep duration: If you are sleeping for less than 7 to 8 hours, then it increases your risk of hypertension.
How to prevent sleep apnea-associated hypertension?
You can prevent sleep apnea-associated hypertension through the following ways:
Medication: Treatment of OSA along with antihypertensive medications, helps in preventing the complications of OSA.
Physical activity: 30 minutes of physical activity daily helps in controlling your body weight, getting better sleep and management of blood pressure. Avoid exercising before going to bed.
Say no to smoking: Smoking increases the level of blood pressure, so avoid indulging yourself in this habit. Also, stay away from secondary or passive smoking.
Stress management: High stress levels may impact your sleep and increase the risk of hypertension. Try listening to music, or having a warm water bath. Such practices are known to relax your mind and body.
Hypertension is a common lifestyle disorder and is increasing at an alarming level in India. One in four men and one in five women above 18 years of age are at the risk of developing it.
Who is at risk of hypertension?
Hypertension can affect anyone, but the following factors increase its risk:
Age - As you grow old, the functioning of your heart is affected. This impacts blood pressure. In general, 55 or above for men and 65 or above for women is considered as a critical risk factor.
Weight - Being overweight or obese increases the risk of high blood pressure.
Lifestyle - Eating out too often, or consumption of packaged food may increase BP. lack of exercise, alcohol consumption and smoking is also related to increased risk.
Family history - A family history of high blood pressure raises the risk of developing prehypertension or high blood pressure, at an early age.
How to prevent hypertension?
Hypertension needs regular monitoring to prevent any complications. A few tips that will help in its better management include:
Improving the level of physical activity: 30 minutes of daily physically active reduces the risk of hypertension. Try to involve yourself in sports or take a brisk walk for 30 minutes.
Better weight management: In case you are overweight or obese, reducing a few kilos, can help in better BP control. It also avoids other complications like diabetes and heart problems.
Avoid alcohol consumption and smoking: Consumption of alcohol and smoking are associated with sudden increase in the BP levels. And may also lead to unnecessary weight gain.
Regular health check-ups, a healthy lifestyle along with physical activity is the key to preventing hypertension. In case of any other metabolic disorder or cardiac problems, consult your doctor for better management and prevention of hypertension.
Hypertension or high blood pressure is common these days. Stress and poor lifestyle practices are known to be the common causes behind it. It is also called as a silent killer and a major risk factor associated with cardiac problems. The symptoms of hypertension aren’t very clear. So, regularly monitoring your blood pressure level is very important to prevent any complications.
How to monitor BP?
In case, your blood pressure (BP) reading is often above 130/80 mm Hg, your doctor will advise you to go for regular blood pressure monitoring. You can choose from any of the following methods:
Ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM): In this method, a monitor is attached to your belt and a cuff is wrapped around your arm, the machine automatically monitors the blood pressure in every two hours. The values may vary depending upon the activity you are performing. There might be a difference in morning and evening time. If you are following the ABPM method, an average of 14 readings is considered.
Home blood pressure monitoring (HBPM): Home monitoring is easier as compared to ABPM. The device used is similar to the device used at hospitals or your doctor’s clinic. The general recommendation, in this case, is monitoring your BP twice a day, once in morning and once in evening.
How to take correct blood pressure reading?
Sit comfortably, with back straight. Avoid moving or talking
If possible take a reading from the left arm, while resting it at a flat surface
It is best to take the readings at the same time daily in morning and evening
Maintain a log to keep the record of your readings for minimum 1 week
If you are suffering from hypertension, the goal is to maintain a reading as close as possible to 130/80. Also, if you have any other disease related to kidneys, heart etc. management of hypertension becomes even more important.
Poor eating habits, obesity and sedentary practices have adversely affected the health of young population. Most of them are ignorant about the repercussions of leading such an unhealthy lifestyle. Hence, it is not surprising that medical conditions like skin allergies, childhood obesity etc. are on a rise among the youngsters. And, hypertension being one of the most common issues among them.
What is hypertension?
Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, happens when your blood pressure, which is defined as the force of the blood flowing via your blood vessels, remains frequently too high. Worse is that, it can lead to other dangerous problems of the heart, kidney etc.
Risk factors of hypertension among youngsters
In many cases, it is hard to identify the main cause behind raised blood pressure levels among the young population. This is called primary hypertension, which happens to occur on its own, without an underlying condition. However, there are certain risk factors that increase a child’s risk of suffering from hypertension, which include:
Lack of physical activity
Being overweight or obese
High intake of salt
Family history of hypertension
Kidney disease or disorder
Signs and symptoms of hypertension among youngsters
In most of the cases, there are no early signs and symptoms of hypertension, but in case you observe the following signs, check with your doctor:
Fatigue or lethargy
Headache and blurred vision
How to prevent hypertension
Lifestyle modification is the best way to prevent hypertension and associated complications. Below are the few ways that can help in better management of hypertension:
Maintain a healthy weight
Avoid sedentary lifestyle
Reduce screen time i.e. less of time on TV, mobiles, tablets and ipads
Start any kind of physical activity like walking, aerobics etc.
Eat a healthy diet
Avoid fried and junk food
Hypertension is a growing concern in early childhood and adolescents. A healthy lifestyle can help in preventing as well avoiding any complications related to hypertension.
Coronary artery diseases (CAD) or blockage of arteries due to deposition of cholesterol is one of the most common problem of heart, which impacts its functioning. In case your doctor finds something alarming in your reports, he might suggest coronary angiography and angioplasty. One is a diagnostic procedure and the other one is carried out to treat the blockage
What is coronary angiography?
Coronary angiography is a test, that is carried out to check the level of blockage in the arteries. In this process, a thin tube is put inside your arteries, it can be inserted from the elbow, waist or groin. After the insertion of tube, a special dye is used to get a clear picture of the level of blockage.
What is coronary angioplasty?
Coronary angioplasty is carried out to remove the blockage of the arteries. Thus, resulting in a better blood flow. It also lowers the chances of angina and its symptoms.
Types of coronary angioplasty
Coronary angioplasty is usually of two types and is named after the type of procedure being carried out.
- Balloon angioplasty: In this procedure, a special balloon-tipped tube is inserted into the artery. When the tube reaches the point where there is deposition of cholesterol, the balloon is inflated, which causes pressure on the cholesterol, resulting in compression of cholesterol.
- Stenting: Stents are a small, flexible tube, made up of mesh wires, that are placed permanently on the site of blockage. Stenting avoids the deposition of cholesterol again, this is also called restenosis. In most cases, stenting is required even after a balloon angioplasty.
Coronary angioplasty, reduces the risk of heart complications. Following a healthy lifestyle and good eating habits along with medications as prescribed by your doctor is very important.
The heart has a basic function to pump blood to the body. But due to certain conditions or heart diseases, the functioning is impacted. In such a condition, your doctor may suggest a open heart surgery.
Any type of surgery where the chest is cut open and surgery is carried out on the muscles, valves, or arteries of the heart, is known as open-heart surgery. It is an age-old method to treat heart problems and is also called traditional heart surgery.
Common conditions where open heart surgery is required:
Coronary artery disease (CAD): It is amongst the most common cause of heart problems, and is caused because of the obstruction of arteries. The arteries may get blocked because of deposition of cholesterol.
Types of open heart surgeries
Open heart surgery is of many types, but which one will be performed on you is decided by your doctor after examining the medical condition. Few of the most common types of open heart surgeries are:
Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG): This is primarily used for the treatment of CAD. In this procedure, the route of blood flow is changed from the blocked blood vessel to a new one. During the surgery, the heartbeat is stopped for an interim period and an artificial system like a heart-lung machine is used to maintain the rhythm.
Heart valve surgery: This is used to repair or replace the non-functioning valves.
Heart transplant: As the name suggests, this procedure is used to replace a non-functioning heart with a healthy heart
Thoracic aortic surgery: Any procedure that is being used to restore the functioning of the aorta.
You might experience some pain, tiredness or breathlessness post surgery. Hence, a close monitoring by doctors is required before, during as well as in the recovery period. So don’t miss your follow up visits.
Congestive heart failure (CHF) or heart failure is a medical condition in which the heart’s function is affected due to weakening of the heart muscles. This affects the functioning of heart, resulting in lower volume of blood and oxygen in the body.
Common reasons for the weakening of the heart muscles:
- Hypertension or high blood pressure
- Coronary artery disease
- Dysfunctioning of heart valves
- Genetics or birth defects
- Family History
Signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure
In CHF, the heart muscles become weaker with time and the condition further deteriorates. Therefore, it is important to look for early signs and symptoms to avoid any complications later. Early signs and symptoms of CHF are:
Shortness of breath (Dyspnea): This is one of the most common and an early alarming sign, which is experienced when you exert yourself or when you lie down. This is also called orthopnea.
Fatigue and weakness: Simple household activities like cleaning or taking stairs, may result in fatigue, this happens due to lack of oxygen in blood. You may also experience a decreased ability to exercise, difficulty in concentrating and decreased alertness.
Edema (water retention): Heart failure also impacts functioning of the kidneys, this might cause accumulation of fluids in blood. You might observe swelling in areas like ankle, legs, and abdomen, this is called as edema.
Palpitations: Palpitations are experienced, because the heart has to work harder to pump blood and oxygen to the body. You might sometimes feel that your heart is beating fast
CHF is not a condition that can be reversed, but regular health check-ups and early identification can help in better treatment and improve your quality of life.
There are various types of cardiac problems like coronary artery disease, atherosclerosis, congestive heart disease or arrhythmia that can impact your well-being. Arrhythmia, also known as irregular heartbeat, is a common condition and your doctor will suggest a pacemaker implantation for treating it.
What is a pacemaker?
A pacemaker is a small device that operates with the help of a battery, and regulates the heartbeat. It is implanted near the chest or the abdomen, with the help of a surgery. Conditions in which pacemaker implantation is required are:
Cardiac arrest or heart attack
Tests that determine implantation of pacemaker
To undergo pacemaker implantation, your doctor will suggest a few tests to check the working of heart. Here is a list of tests:
Echocardiogram: It helps to measure the thickness and size of the heart muscle
Electrocardiogram: It helps to measure the pace at which the heart is sending the signals
Holter monitoring: It helps to monitor the heart rhythm for 24 hours
Stress test monitor: It helps to check the heart rate under conditions like exercising
How does a pacemaker work?
Pacemaker works on sensors. It senses your heart’s activity, breathing rate, and body movements. On this basis it sends a signal if you have missed the rhythm or pulse. It consists of two parts a pulse generator and leads, which vary from one to three, depending upon the type of pacemaker. The pulse generator operates with the help of a battery and has a small circuit, which is connected to the leads, that send an electrical impulse to the heart.
Pacemakers are considered life saving and can significantly improve your quality of life. Your doctor will suggest, the kind of pacemaker that is required as per your condition. A regular follow up after every six months is recommended, to check if the pacemaker is functioning properly.
Kidneys are critical for healthy functioning of the body, they remove extra waste products and fluids from blood. We have a pair of kidneys which are located in the abdomen, on either side of the spine, but in rare cases, people have one kidney. This condition is called solitary kidney. If the kidney is functioning normally, there are no such complications and one can lead a healthy life.
Causes of solitary kidney
There are three main cause of solitary kidney, which are:
Birth defect - There are two types of birth defects that can cause solitary kidney. One of the condition is that the child is born with only one kidney, this is known as kidney agenesis. The other condition is called kidney dysplasia, where the child is born with two kidneys, but only one of them functions.
Surgical removal of a kidney - Due to any medical condition like a disease, infection, acute injury or tumor, functioning of kidney can be impacted. In such a case your doctor might suggest to remove the kidney.
Kidney donation - In case if somebody has donated the kidney for a transplant.
Precautions to avoid complications and any disorders of the kidney
A single kidney can perform all the functions and chances of complications later in life are very less. However, your doctor may suggest a close monitoring and may recommend the following tests, to check for the early signs of kidney damage or any problem:
To lead a healthy life and to avoid any risks or further complications, go for regular check-ups and follow a healthy diet and lifestyle, as suggested by your doctor.