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Diabetes has been affecting almost every second individual, irrespective of age or gender. It brings along a number of other health complications too, and it is common to experience problems in your eyesight if you are a diabetic.
Therefore, it is important to take a few preventive measures to prevent diabetes-related eye problems and the associated complications.
Follow these simple measures:
Manage your diabetes well: Amongst different eye care or preventive measures, foremost is to make sure that your blood glucose level is within control. A glucometer can help to monitor the blood glucose levels at home. Eliminating the underlying factor can work wonders to avoid the various eye problems resulting from diabetes.
Don’t miss those regular eye check-ups: Consult your family physician or a specialist at the earliest for discomforts and symptoms such as a headache, watery eyes, blurred, distorted or double vision. Regular eye-checks and screening tests are equally important to safeguard the eyes from the harmful consequences of diabetes.
Watchout for other medical disorders: Conditions such as Hypercholesterolemia (elevated levels of blood cholesterol), high blood pressure, along with diabetes, are the worst enemies that can result in a myriad of eye disorders. Make sure the blood pressure is within control and so is the level of bad cholesterol or LDL (Low-density lipoprotein).
Get yourself in motion: Exercises and physical activities (morning or evening walks, jogging) can play a pivotal role in keeping diabetes under control, thereby shielding the eyes from problems such as cataract, glaucoma. Keeping the body weight within the healthy and recommended range can also work towards managing the blood glucose level.
Healthy dietary modifications: Diabetic patients should be careful with their choice of foods. Dark chocolates, lean meat, whole grains, fish, cinnamon, turmeric, fruits and vegetables such as broccoli, blueberries, spinach, walnuts, sweet potatoes, asparagus, apricots, apples, are some of the healthy eating options for a diabetic patient.
Wear sunglasses outdoors: Make it a point to wear good quality sunglasses whenever you are heading out. They protect your eyes from the harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV rays can increase the risk for cataracts. Diabetic patients are already 60 percent more likely to develop this eye condition
People with diabetes are at a risk of developing a host of problems such as stroke, hypertension, nerve damage, skin conditions and so on. Also, you are certainly at a higher risk of developing heart diseases.
Your body cells are responsible for the essential breakdown of food into energy, as it is vital for the body’s functioning. Cells break down food into glucose and then convert glucose into energy through insulin, which is an important hormone in the body. Diabetes is associated with the inappropriate functioning of insulin and can be classified into two types: Type I and Type 2 Diabetes.
Both conditions cause blood glucose levels to rise in the body. Diabetes is more than one disease as it poses serious health risks. High amount of blood sugar level can cause damage to the blood vessels leading to blocked arteries restricting blood flow to the heart. Poor blood glucose control can lead to high blood pressure and other blood lipid abnormalities including high levels of HDL (good cholesterol) and triglycerides.
The link between cardiovascular disease and diabetes is well established by medical science. It is estimated that 65% of diabetics die of heart disease, which makes it a leading cause of all deaths among diabetic patients. Doctors refer to this connection as DHD- Diabetic Heart Disease. The term DHD covers coronary heart disease, heart failure, and diabetic cardiomyopathy.
A sedentary lifestyle with little or no physical activity, smoking, stressful life and unhealthy eating habits all contribute to weight gain, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart diseases and diabetes. Thus, weight and lifestyle management is the best way to prevent and control such health risks.
Here are a few effective ways to manage your blood sugar level:
Healthy eating: Avoid fried and packaged foods as they are full of fats, salt and sugar. Include seasonal vegetables and fruits in your diet and drink plenty of water. Dieticians recommend eating a heart-healthy diet including superfoods like broccoli, spinach, berries and a fibre rich meal.
Exercising: Adopt a 30-minute exercise rule to remain healthy and fit. For diabetic patients, a morning and evening walk is highly recommended. You could walk, run, go to gym, climb stairs, do yoga, aerobics or any other physical activity that interests you.
Managing weight: Keeping weight under check is an effective way to prevent the risk of heart diseases. Consult a dietician for a customised diet plan as per your medical condition.
Vitamin D plays a vital role in the functioning of your body, it helps in maintaining your bone health, etc. You can get it through certain foods and is also produced by your body’s in response to the sun.
So, are you getting enough sunlight? Maybe yes, but despite adequate sunlight throughout the year, Vitamin D deficiency has become a common problem. You might be surprised to know that a deficiency in Vitamin D can be a risk factor for developing type 2 diabetes.
The relation between Vitamin D and diabetes
Vitamin D helps in improving the body's sensitivity to insulin, which is a hormone meant for regulating blood sugar levels. Thus, this vitamin can reduce the risk of insulin resistance which is often considered a warning sign for type 2 diabetes.
Some experts believe that Vitamin D can regulate the production of insulin in the pancreas. Moreover, it has other health benefits too that can have an impact on the regulation of blood sugar levels. Some of the benefits include:
Helps in weight loss- One of the major risk factors for diabetes is obesity. Many studies indicate that having adequate levels of Vitamin D can help in reducing the parathyroid hormone levels, which can promote weight loss and reduce the risk of obesity.
Regulating appetite- Vitamin D can raise the level of hormone Leptin, which is responsible for controlling the fat storage in the body. It helps in triggering the sensation of satiety which would make you eat less hence, lowering your hunger levels.
Reducing fat around the visceral organs- When there are adequate levels of Vitamin D, it can help in lowering the levels of cortisol which is a stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands. This hormone is responsible for performing many important functions including regulating blood pressure. When the cortisol level is under control, it helps in reducing the abdominal or visceral fat which is detrimental to health and has an adverse effect on type 2 diabetes.
Where can you get vitamin D from?
Vitamin D is found in some food items such as healthy fats and sea fish. It is also produced by the body when our skin comes in contact with the UV-B rays of the sun as the cholesterol derivative is converted into Vitamin D. Every cell and tissue present in the body acts as a Vitamin D protein receptor.
There are two forms of Vitamin D- Vitamin D2 and Vitamin D3. D3 is synthesized by the human body when the sun rays fall on the skin. This form is 300% more powerful than D2, which is the plant-synthesized form that is available as supplements.
So, if you think you are at a risk of vitamin D deficiency, then soak yourself in the sun for 10 - 15 minutes every day, or start taking supplements only after consulting your healthcare provider.
With an increase in poor lifestyle habits, lifestyle diseases are also on a rise. Diabetes, is a common one among them. This is because it is commonly found in people who are not physically active, and the ones who do not have a healthy weight.
Diabetes is a disease in which your body is not able to make sufficient amount of insulin or is unable to use normal amounts of insulin properly. Insulin is a vital hormone in the body which regulates the level of sugar in the blood, and when this level is elevated, it can lead to issues in various body parts. It impairs several organs and may even decrease your quality of life.
Effects of diabetes on the kidneys:
When a person has high blood sugar, the tiny blood vessels in the body are injured. When the blood vessels in the kidneys are damaged, the kidneys are not able to clean the toxins from the body properly. It results in the retention of water as well as salt in the body, which typically leads to weight gain and swelling in the ankles. Also, a person may have protein in the urine along with waste materials in the blood.
High blood sugar can also lead to nerve damage in the body, causing difficulty in releasing the contents of the bladder. The pressure exerted from the bladder may back up and cause harm to the kidneys. Also, when the urine remains in the bladder for an extended period, one may develop infections from the rapid growth of bacteria in the urine owing to high blood sugar level.
About 30 percent of people affected with Type 1 diabetes and around 10 to 40 percent of people with type 2 diabetes would eventually be affected by kidney damage.
Symptoms of kidney damage due to diabetes:
This increase in the protein is confirmed through various general tests. Therefore, it is essential to get these tests done on yearly basis. In its early stages, diabetes can lead to weight gain and swelling in the ankles.
There is an increase in blood pressure, and it causes frequent urination, particularly at night. If you are affected by diabetes, you should get your blood, urine and blood pressure checked at least once, every year.
If this condition is not treated on time, the healthy of your kidneys will keep deteriorating. So, if you identify any of these symptoms, then see your doctor without delaying
The harsh effects of drinking alcohol on your healthy have not been unknown. It affects your brain, liver, heart and majorly your overall health. Let’s understand how it harms the health of your heart. Long-term alcohol abuse puts you at a greater risk of suffering from heart problems.
How alcohol damages your cardiovascular health?
Your heart pumps blood throughout the body. The blood delivers various nutrients and other substances to your body parts, including alcohol. The alcohol is then absorbed directly into your bloodstream.
Alcohol causes temporary increase in heart rate
Studies have shown that drinking alcohol on regular basis can lead to tachycardia (increased heart rate due to problems in the electrical signals that produce a heartbeat). And, ultimately it can cause a heart attack or stroke.
Alcohol raises your blood pressure
Consumption of alcohol increases your blood pressure (BP), which puts more strain on the heart muscle. This as a result can lead to hardening and thickening of the arteries, which increases your risk of heart attack and stroke. On other hand, studies have found that reduced alcohol intake can lower blood pressure.
Alcohol causes irregular heartbeat
In medical terms irregular heartbeat is called as arrhythmia. It can happen due to changes in the heart's electrical system. A few common arrhythmias include the heart beating too slowly (bradycardia), or too fast (tachycardia). No matter whichever form of arrhythmia, you are suffering from, a cardiac arrest or stroke, can be a likely outcome.
So, you must completely avoid alcohol intake for not only keeping your heart in good shape but for your overall well-being too.
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is defined as a chronic condition which affects your heart muscle's ability to pump. Usually, it is referred to as heart failure. It can turn out to be a fatal condition, if the right measures are not taken on time.
There are a few risk factors that increase your chances of suffering from CHF. The most common ones include:
Heart attack: The sudden, unanticipated blockage of the coronary artery and the stoppage of the flow of the blood causes a heart attack. The heart muscles are damaged in such a case and are unable to carry out their normal functioning.
Diseases: Though the term may be generic, most of the ailments which people suffer from tend to manifest themselves by posing a potential threat to the functioning of the heart. High blood pressure, kidney disease, even thyroid can cause congestive heart failure.
Though CHF may not show any symptoms in the early stages, but you will eventually notice the following symptoms as the condition progresses:
CHF can be prevented by making lifestyle changes and regular health check-ups. So never miss your doctor’s appointment and follow his suggestions.
Every year thousands of heart attack cases are reported. With this ever-rising number, it is important to understand the reason behind heart ailments. Atherosclerosis, is one such condition that eventually leads to blockage in an artery.
Let’s first know what is atherosclerosis:
As the arteries start narrowing because of the plaque buildup, it is known as atherosclerosis. It is also referred to as arteriosclerosis, which means that the arteries become very hard. The blood vessels that are responsible for carrying oxygen and the necessary nutrients from the heart to the entire body are the arteries. As you grow older, the cholesterol and the fat starts getting deposited in the arteries, which leads to the formation of plaque. Arteries are lined by the cell layer which is known as the endothelium.
Atherosclerosis starts to develop when there is damage caused to the endothelium. This leads to the lipoproteins of low density getting accumulated in the wall of the artery. These lipoproteins are known as atheroma. The pieces of the plaque may break off, and the flow of blood through the arteries is restricted due to the blood clot. Atherosclerosis may cause stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and peripheral vascular disease if it is not treated properly. This disease can occur in any artery that is located in any of the body parts, which include the kidneys, the legs, or the heart.
How atherosclerosis happens?
Atherosclerosis starts when the arteries located in part of a person’s body become hard and narrow due to the buildup of excess fat in the artery walls. These damages lead to the development of plaque. The plaque starts creating a bump on the wall of the artery. As the disease starts to progress, the bump starts to get bigger. This leads to a blockage. This process goes on throughout the patient’s body, placing his heart at a great risk. This may also lead to stroke or other serious health problems.
Once the disease starts progressing, it may rupture the plaque lining. This causes the LDL cholesterol and the other unwanted substances to spill out in the blood stream. This leads to the blood clot, and the blood clot, in turn, may travel to any other body part, blocking the flow of blood to the nearest organ. The plaque can either stay in the wall of the artery, or it may start growing in the path of the flow of blood.
Cardiomyopathy is a heart muscle disease which makes the blood pumping process harder. The heart muscle gets progressively weak due to a disease. If it is not treated on time, then heart failure or death can be a likely outcome.
Symptoms of cardiomyopathy include:
In the early stages of cardiomyopathy, there might be no obvious symptoms. However, with time as the condition progresses, you might be able to notice the following symptoms:
Discomfort or heaviness in the chest
Feeling breathless with exertion or even at rest
Swelling of the legs, ankles and feet
Cough while lying down
Dizziness and lightheadedness
Cardiomyopathy has been divided into the following types:
- Dilated Cardiomyopathy: This is the most common form. In this condition your heart muscle becomes too weak to pump blood. The heart muscles stretch and become thinner, leading to the four chambers of the heart to expand causing a pathology called an enlarged heart.
- Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy: This happens due to genetics. It occurs when the walls of your heart thicken and prevent the flow of blood through the natural pump.
- Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia: This is a rare form of cardiomyopathy. It causes sudden deaths of athletes and happens when fat and fibrous tissues replace muscle in the right ventricle of the heart.
- Restrictive Cardiomyopathy: This is the least common form of the disease. The cause is the stiffening of the ventricles, the part of the blood which receives blood. When these stiffen, the heart doesn’t get enough blood to oxygenate. Scarring of the heart due to heart disease and a heart transplant operation can be a cause of this stiffening.
- Ischemic Cardiomyopathy: Ischemic cardiomyopathy is caused due to coronary artery disease which causes blood vessels supplying blood to the heart to become narrow. The heart doesn’t get enough oxygen and a person can die due to a heart attack.
The risk of cardiomyopathy can be reduced by living a heart-healthy lifestyle. So, consult with your doctor and seek guidance on what to do and what to avoid.
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A few signs can be quite helpful in early detection of a damaged kidney such as foamy urine, loss of appetite, muscular cramps, among others.