Diabetes Mellitus

November 28, 2016

The term Diabetes Mellitus refers to a group of diseases characterized by high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. Diabetes is caused by problems with the hormone insulin. Insulin regulates and controls blood glucose and its uptake into the body’s cells where it is used as energy. Without insulin, glucose cannot enter into the body cells and thus sits in the blood, creating high blood sugar levels whilst offering no usable energy for the body. This creates a problem as every single body cell and process relies on a continual supply of usable energy, as without it our brain function, muscle use and body

processes are compromised.

There are multiple types of diabetes, including type 1, type 2 and gestational diabetes. All forms are characterized by elevated blood sugar levels and need to be managed, but unlike type 1 and 2 which are for life, gestational diabetes lasts only through pregnancy (a serious condition that has the potential to harm the baby if left untreated). Management can include oral hypoglycemics (tablets) and/or injected insulin, both of which help the body use the ingested glucose and decrease blood glucose.

People with diabetes need to pay special attention to their dietary intake as this has a direct effect on their diabetes. As mentioned above they should aim for a diet rich in complex carbohydrates (think wholegrain and high fiber options with a low glycemic load), as well as plentiful vegetables and legumes. The emphasis is on high fiber and lower sugar foods. Although some fruit is fine, diabetics should avoid processed sugars found in baked items, sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages. Exercise is also very important with regular moderate to high intensity aerobic activity being encouraged multiple times per week.

Diabetes, especially type 2, can be diagnosed at any age so it's important to know the symptoms. Common symptoms include, but are not limited to; excessive thirst and hunger, frequent urination, weight loss or gain, fatigue and irritability, slow-healing wounds and frequent infections. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms we recommend you seek medical advice.


November 28, 2016

Hypertension (HTN) is a long-term disease that is characterized by persistent high blood pressure in the arteries. Specifically it is defined as a systolic blood pressure of 140mmHg or more, or a diastolic blood pressure of 90mmHg or more. Nearly 95% of HTN diagnoses are genetics and lifestyle related, where no one causal factor can be identified. This is called essential hypertension and is influenced by genetics and lifestyle factors such as obesity, smoking and high alcohol or salt intakes. Only about 5% of hypertension cases have a diagnosable cause such as kidney disease, endocrine disease or medications. These cases are classified as secondary hypertension.

Most patients with hypertension will experience very few clear symptoms. Although these can include palpitations, dizziness, easy fatigability and whats called a "hypertensive headache"; many are only noticed when the hypertension is already severe. If left untreated hypertension can lead to serious conditions such as angina (chest pain), myocardial infarction (heart attacks), heart failure, stroke, kidney disease and blood vessel damage. Long-standing hypertension can also result to targeted organ damage.

Hypertension management always involves lifestyle changes. This includes increasing physical activity and maintaining a healthy/balanced diet; one that is low in salt (sodium), saturated fat, cholesterol and alcohol. Patients with hypertension are urged to stop smoking and are sometimes given the recommendation to reduce their body weight.

Coronary Artery Disease

November 28, 2016

Coronary artery disease is a group of diseases that includes angina, myocardial infarction (heart attack) and sudden cardiac death. In coronary artery disease, the arteries which supply blood (and oxygen/nutrients) to the heart are obstructed or blocked, reducing and sometimes eliminating blood flow and oxygen supply to the heart.

The cause of this blockage or obstruction is the build up of fatty plaques or deposits in the walls of the arteries. When this event occurs symptoms of chest pain can develop and may often radiate to other areas such as the shoulder, arm, back, neck or jaw. Whilst this pain can sometimes be excruciating it can also just feel like something similar to heartburn, or a mild discomfort. Sometimes people experience shortness of breath, dizziness or palpitations. These symptoms can be brought on by physical activities or even stress and can lead to further complications such as heart failure, an irregular heartbeat or cardiac death (mentioned above).

Depending on the severity of the condition and its onset of symptoms, patients may need emergency attention, like that saught in the event of a heart attack. If however the condition is found before major symptoms start or severe heart damage has occured then management strategies can be put in place. These include lifestyle modifications (similar to those mentioned in the above hypertension section) which are then often combined with medications. Some of these medications include statins (cholesterol reducing medication), anti-platelet agents (to thin the blood), beta-blockers and calcium channel blockers (to control the heart rate and rythym). In some cases medical professionals will suggest a surgical procedure such as an angioplasty, stent placement

or coronary artery bypass grafts.

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