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Lipid Disorders: What Are They And How Can I Treat Them?

Introduction Do you have a lipid disorder, or are you at risk for one? People with high cholesterol or triglycerides have a lipid disorder. A lipid is a type of fat found in your blood. Lipid disorders are common, but many people don't know they have one. High cholesterol and triglycerides can lead to heart disease, stroke, and other problems. However, you can take steps to lower your risk. This blog will discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment of lipid disorders. What is a Lipid Disorder? Lipid disorders are conditions that prevent the body from properly metabolising fats. As a result, it can accumulate harmful fats in the blood, increasing the risk for heart disease, stroke, and other serious health problems. However, with proper treatment, many people with lipid disorders can manage their condition and live healthy lives. To the untrained eye, it might seem like all fats are the same. However, there are several different types of fats, each impacting the body differently. You should know the difference between these fats to make informed decisions about your diet and lifestyle. What are The Causes of Lipid Disorder? The causes of lipid disorders vary depending on the type of disorder. In general, however, these conditions are caused by an imbalance in how the body metabolises fats. In addition, it can be due to genetic factors, lifestyle choices, or other underlying health conditions. Some of the most common causes of lipid disorders include: High cholesterol: This is one of the most common causes of lipid disorders. Cholesterol is a type of fat found in the blood. Too much cholesterol can lead to a buildup of plaque in the arteries, which can increase the risk for heart disease, stroke, and other problems. High triglycerides: Triglycerides are another type of fat found in the blood. Like cholesterol, too many triglycerides can lead to plaque buildup in the arteries. It can increase heart disease, stroke, and other problems. Obesity: Obesity is a major risk factor for lipid disorders. People who are obese are more likely to have high cholesterol and triglycerides. Obesity can also lead to other health problems, such as diabetes, which can further increase the risk for lipid disorders. Unhealthy diet: A diet high in saturated and trans fats can increase the risk for lipid disorders. These types of fats can raise cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Lack of exercise: A sedentary lifestyle can also increase the risk for lipid disorders. Exercise helps to improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Smoking: Smoking is a major risk factor for lipid disorders. Tobacco smoke contains harmful chemicals that can damage the arteries and raise cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Family history: If you have a family history of lipid disorders, you may be at increased risk for these conditions. Diabetes: Diabetes is a condition that can lead to lipid disorders. People with diabetes are more likely to have high cholesterol and triglycerides. Kidney disease: Kidney disease can also lead to lipid disorders. It is because the kidneys play a role in cholesterol and triglyceride metabolism. What are The Symptoms of Lipid Disorder? Lipid disorder symptoms vary depending on the type of disorder. In general, however, these conditions can cause a variety of problems. Some of the most common symptoms of lipid disorders include: Atherosclerosis is a common complication of lipid disorder. It is when your arteries harden and narrow, and it can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Angina pectoris at rest and exertion (pressing pain, burning sensation in the heart region at rest or during physical work) can also be a symptom of lipid disorders. Other lipid disorder symptoms include sudden dizziness, noise and buzz in the ears, memory impairment, and a sharp decrease in concentration. Some people feel pain in the legs when walking. It can also be a symptom of lipid disorders. Fat deposits are formed in the skin (xanthoma) or the eyelid area (xanthelasma). If you have any of these symptoms, it's important to see your doctor so they can run some tests and determine if you have a lipid disorder. Lipid disorders are often detected by blood tests for lipid screening. This may be a part of Lipid Profile screening , Cardiac Risk Assessment or as part of regular whole body check up. Regular blood glucose level testing for Diabetes mellitus is also recommended as its a precursor for lipid disorders. . Apart from these, some specific tests are also used to detect lipid disorders.These include:: Biochemistry of blood and measuring lipid metabolism will give your doctor an idea of your current state and can start to see the effects of treatment. Determination of the coefficient of atherogenicity - determination of the ratio of high and low-density lipoproteins. Ultrasonic duplex scanning of colour vessels using an ultrasound machine. With its help, the doctor determines the foci of poor circulation and compares the blood flow in paired organs. Magnetic resonance angiography - allows you to evaluate the anatomical and functional features of blood flow. Computed angiography is used to visualise large blood vessels and identify their pathological changes. Treatment for Lipid Disorder With lifestyle changes, medications, and regular screening one can often manage  the lipid disorders. Conclusion Not all tests and methods are required. They are prescribed at the doctor's discretion and in the absence of contraindications. The treatment of lipid disorders aims to reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and its complications. To do this, you need to normalise your lifestyle and take medications. For example, it would help if you quit smoking, lead an active lifestyle, and eat right. In addition to diet and physical activity, you need to take drugs that lower cholesterol. These include statins, fibrates, niacin, and other drugs. The choice of drug and dosage is determined by the doctor individually.

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Tips on how to prevent heart disease

1. Go for a heart-healthy diet Experts have concluded that people who follow the right food habits have more than 30% lower risk of heart disease. What is the most-recommended heart-healthy diet? Taking a low-calorie but nutrient-rich food is important. Avoid foods like cakes, biscuits, sausages, pudding, butter, red meat, cheese, fatty dairy products, pasta, bacon, etc. These have high saturated content. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, low-fat dairy products, and nuts in your diet. Include low-fat proteins like yogurt, legumes, skinned poultry, and soy products. Reduce the intake of salt. Limit or avoid canned soups, ketchup, mayonnaise, tomato sauce, soy sauce, etc. How much you eat is as important as what you eat. So, control the portion size of the food you eat. Based on the above recommendations, plan daily menus to make sure that you have a well-balanced diet. 2. Exercise regularly Exercising regularly is one of the major steps to avoid heart attack and keep your heart healthy. It is recommended to be physically active to avoid heart ailments.There are three types of exercises that are very effective in preventing cardiac conditions:. Aerobic exercises like running, cycling, brisk walking, swimming, and skipping help to increase the blood circulation. Exercising also helps to  lower the blood pressure and decreases the risk of type 2 diabetes. Resistance training like dumbbells, pushups, resistance bands,, and other such exercises help reduce the LDL also known as “bad cholesterol”. It also reduces body fat, one of the major culprits of heart disease. Body-stretching exercises like yoga and Tai-Chi not only lay a good muscular and skeletal foundation, but also help to reduce stress and anxiety. Although these three physical activities are highly recommended, you can do any physical activity that you like. It could be dancing, jogging or playing a favourite sport like tennis and football. Regular physical activity will surely reduce the chances of heart disease. They are the best tools for cardiovascular disease prevention. 3. Live a tobacco-free life Tobacco control is one of the key elements in preventing heart disease. This is because tobacco increases the risk of heart attack by Damaging lungs Clogging arteries Increasing blood clots, Weakening your immunity Increasing inflammation Moreover, carbon monoxide that enters your bloodstream decreases the oxygen supply to all organs and tissues. It also narrows the blood vessels and increases the blood pressure and heart rate. As a result, your heart is forced to pump blood faster than usual. What happens when you quit smoking? Research has proven that your blood pressure decreases in a day, and blood circulation improves in a couple of weeks after you stop smoking. In a few months, your cough will disappear. In a year, the risk of heart disease reduces by 50%. Live a tobacco-free life to keep your heart healthy. 4. Limit alcohol consumption Several studies have shown that people who took less than two drinks daily had a 20% less risk of heart disease. Heavy drinking can increase the risk of: Elevated Blood pressure Irregular heart rhythm Obesity A disorder in the heart muscle called cardiomyopathy Heart failure Moderate drinking (two drinks for men and one for women) will decrease the risk of heart disease. Limit consumption of alcohol to lower the risk of heart disease. 5. Reduce stress Stress leads to the release of a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol can increase the blood sugar, blood pressure, triglycerides, inflammation, bad cholesterol, and decrease the blood flow to the heart muscles. All these are common risk factors that trigger heart diseases. So you should reduce stress by: Exercising regularly Following relaxing strategies like yoga and meditation Having a hobby that can relax you Being positive Spending time with family and friends Enjoy a stress-free life as it is a precaution against a heart attack. 6. Keep your blood pressure under control  Excessive blood pressure narrows the arteries supplying blood to the heart due to the build-up of cholesterol and fat. The hardening of arteries leads to the formation of blood clots. This results in an interruption in the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the heart muscles, and ultimately causes a heart attack. So, it is important to keep your blood pressure under control. To control blood pressure, you have to Sleep well Avoid stress Be physically active Reduce sodium intake and Drink less alcohol. 7. Keep diabetes under control How does diabetes increase the risk of heart disease? It damages the cardiovascular nerves and blood vessels. High sugar levels can also damage your arterial walls. The risk of formation of plaque in the blood vessels is high. It can also increase triglycerides. In cases of known diabetics, it is recommended to get the blood glucose (fasting and postprandial) as well as the HbA1c levels tested at periodic intervals. It is also recommended to test the cholesterol and triglyceride levels regularly as they are closely linked with diabetes. How to keep diabetes under control? Be active. Follow the right meal plan. Check blood sugar levels as directed by the physician. Take the prescribed medications. People in the prediabetes range are also at risk for heart diseases. Hence, they should also follow the necessary precautions. It is recommended to monitor the HbA1c levels and lipid profiles at least annually. 8. Keep your triglycerides and cholesterol under control Cholesterol can be in the form of HDL or LDL. HDL or High-Density Cholesterol is known as good cholesterol. LDL, or Low-Density Cholesterol, similarly is synonymous with bad cholesterol. HDL takes the cholesterol to the liver for disposal. On the other hand, too much LDL may cling to your arteries and block them. Clogged arteries prevent blood from reaching the heart and cause a heart attack. Hence, HDL levels should be high, and LDL should be low, if you want to avoid the risk of heart disease. To raise HDL and lower LDL, you should: Boil, grill, or bake foods instead of deep-frying. Use vegetable oils instead of butter. Consume more citrus fruits, grapes, nuts like almonds, and berries. Include whole grains, beans, lentils, and fish, like sardines and salmon, in your diet. Avoid high-calorie foods. Remove the skin from poultry before cooking. As a precaution against heart attack, you should go for periodic checkups and take the tests recommended by the doctor. One of the most important tests is the HDL test. This helps to find out the risk of developing heart disease. If you have any doubts, take the HDL test as early as possible without any delays. Even individuals with diabetes and also those in the prediabetes range should get regular check ups of the cholesterol and triglyceride levels to prevent the risk of heart diseases. Those with a family history of diabetes and hypertension should go periodically for cardiac risk profile assessment  to monitor cardiac health.

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Triglycerides: Everything You Need to Know

What are triglycerides? Triglycerides are essential fats you can get from foods like butter, oil, and meat. Most of our body fat are triglycerides because they are unused calories we eat but don’t need. Triglycerides in the blood help transfer adipose fat from one tissue to another and glucose in the blood from the liver. It is also a vital constituent of our skin oils. Eating excess food or food that is high in fat content that the body does not require are instantly stored in the fat cells in the form of triglycerides. The VLDL cholesterol particles in our body help transport Triglycerides to the tissues. The enzyme lipase causes the breakdown of triglycerides into fatty acids and monoglycerides. Chemical composition of triglycerides Triglyceride is chemically an ester formed by bonding three fatty acids and a glycerol molecule. We can broadly classify triglycerides into three main types - saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Some examples of saturated fats are Butyric acid, lauric acid, palmitic acid, myristic acid and stearic acid. We get them from meats like beef, pork, lamb, and chicken with skin; dairy products like cream, cheese, butter and eggs; and coconut, palm and their products. Saturated fats carry the potential to increase your risk of heart diseases. Therefore, we should limit their consumption in our daily diet. As per AHA (American Heart Association) recommendation, the maximum allowed dietary intake of saturated fats should not be more than 13 g per day (for a daily diet of 1200 calories). It is advisable to replace saturated fats with healthier fats, to eat lean meat and poultry without skin, and substitute your diet with more whole grains, plant proteins, and fruits and vegetables. In comparison, unsaturated fats are healthier for you. Contrary to popular belief, they are now found to help lower your risk of heart disease. Some unsaturated triglycerides are Oleic acid, Sappenic acid, Vaccenic acid, Linoleic acid, Gadoleic acid, and Gondoic acid. Unsaturated triglycerides can be found in avocados, olives, peanuts, canola oil, almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, pumpkins, and sesame seeds. How are triglycerides Different from Cholesterol? Triglycerides and cholesterol are different fats that circulate in our bodies. Triglycerides help store and use the fats, which can later be converted into energy when the body requires it. Cholesterol is essential for building cells, body tissues, and hormones like testosterone and oestrogen. What happens when you have hypertriglyceridemia? Triglyceride levels within the normal range are essential to maintain good health. But high triglyceride levels can cause heart problems like coronary artery disease, heart attacks, and arteriosclerosis (hardening of arterial walls). Very high levels of triglycerides in the body can also cause inflammation of the pancreas, known as pancreatitis. Hypertriglyceridemia is caused by a regular intake of excess calories that the body cannot utilise instantly. This can happen due to Excess sugar intake Obesity Smoking Excess alcohol consumption Consuming certain types of medications like beta blockers, diuretics, steroids, retinoids etc. Genetic disorders Thyroid problems Uncontrolled type 2 diabetes., Liver diseases Kidney diseases Checking your triglycerides level A couple of blood tests known as the lipid profile are prescribed to measure your triglycerides and cholesterol levels that can help you keep tabs on your fat levels. The value of triglyceride level also works as an aid for your physician to help you have a controlled diet in case of a risk of heart disease. Triglycerides are measured as milligrams per decilitre of blood. It is a simple blood test which may require you to fast for 12 hours to get an accurate reading. Interpretation Triglycerides level Normal less than 150mg/dL   Borderline high 150-199mg/dL   High 200-499mg/dL   Very high 500+ mg/dL   (Readings are for a normal adult blood sample) It is either done as an individual test or in conjunction with other cholesterol and lipid tests as part of Lipid profile tests.  What do the values suggest? Any value over 150mg/dL of triglycerides in the blood can be interpreted as follows: It can increase your risk of heart disease like a stroke. You will also need to test for metabolic disorders (high blood pressure and uncontrolled diabetes and obesity combined). It is an indicator of borderline or type II diabetes. Hypothyroidism Genetic disorders may cause poor conversion of fat into energy. In most cases other cholesterol tests like HDL, LDL , Lipid profile, cardiac profile etc are also done along with triglyceride tests to infer better results. Available treatments for increased triglycerides You should talk to your primary health care physician to make lifestyle changes if triglycerides are above the prescribed range. The following lifestyle changes could be recommended: Weight control Regular physical exercises and activities (for at least 30 mins) Stop smoking Prohibit the use of Alcohol Limit sugar Limit refined and processed foods Using healthy fats instead of saturated fats Intermittent fasting Modified diet to suit your needs and health If lifestyle changes are not enough, your physician may prescribe medications like fish oil, niacin or statins, which may help reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels. How can you change your diet if you have high triglycerides? If you find that you have hypertriglyceridemia, then there are several options to make your diet more health friendly - Limit the use of starchy vegetables like corn and peas. Canned beans should be replaced with black beans, and you should avoid cooking them with pork or sugar. Too much natural sugar should also be avoided. For example, 2 to 3 servings of fruits should be the limit for a single day. Dried foods for consumption should be measured using a teaspoon. Buy canned fish preserved in water rather than in oil. Coconut is a common ingredient in most of our foods. If you have high triglycerides levels, it is better to talk to a doctor about how much coconut you should consume in your daily diet. Monitor your pasta, white bread, cereals, potatoes, and oatmeal servings. Sugary drinks like soda, fruit juices, iced tea, and sweet coffee should be limited. Bakery items made in butter can be skipped or taken as a tiny serving. Processed meats like bacon, sausage, and hams should be limited or avoided. You can replace butter with canola, olive, walnut or flaxseed oils for cooking and salad dressings. Conclusion Triglyceride levels could be high in your blood without any obvious symptoms or visible signs. High levels of triglycerides are a problem because it causes long-term damage and increases the chances of grave diseases or proves to be fatal. Hence, it is important to keep a regular check on your triglyceride levels and get routine screening done with the Lipid Profile Test. This test covers not just triglycerides but also other cholesterol levels that can cause damage to your body and heart.  The frequency of the test is dependent on age and current medical conditions as recommended by your treating physician. At times, certain other blood tests to assess the levels of cardiac markers are also suggested. High triglycerides if left untreated may also contribute towards high blood glucose levels. Hence, it is also recommended to keep a  check on the blood glucose levels with regular testing and HbA1c monitoring.

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This is How a Healthy Heart Diet Looks Like

A healthy heart is what it takes to keep the clock running smoothly for the long haul. Anything that burns up energy from walking, running, cycling, swimming etc. involves function of the heart and if you plan on living a long and active life, you need to always ensure that the heart is functioning well. In fact, various incidences of heart attack in young adults have drawn attention to how crucial your heart health is. Eating right accompanied by regular exercising is the basic need for a stronger heart and a healthier body. Apart from following certain healthy heart diet tips, you should also be wary of and subside by certain lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, working on the belly fat, stretching, trying to keep the blood pressure, sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides in check, keeping the inner child alive, enjoying life, avoiding stress and meditating. Make sure to schedule your full body check up from time to time and keep an eye on your vital numbers. Heart health needs a little care of other body systems to The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases states, “High blood glucose from diabetes can damage your blood vessels and the nerves that control your heart and blood vessels. Over time, this damage can lead to heart disease.” If you have diabetes, your chances of developing heart disease at a younger age are higher than people without diabetes. Those who have a family history of diabetes should get the HbA1c test, also known as glycated hemoglobin, which measures the average glucose levels. HbA1c normal range is between 4% to 5.6%; a higher range indicates excess of sugar in the body, meaning you are likely to develop diabetic problems. It is a vital part of full body check up too. Please note that the HbA1c test is a blood test and different from a regular finger pricking test. As per some studies, optimum vitamin B12 levels and folic acid can help prevent heart disease by reducing the body's levels of homocysteine. It is an amino acid homocysteine that has been shown to cause harm to the heart by raising clot formation in the blood vessels. Wondering when to get a vitamin B12 blood test? If one is feeling certain symptoms such as depression, fast heartbeat, poor memory or dementia, it may indicate vitamin B12 deficiency. One should also go for a regular master health check up, including heart checkup that will help you keep your heart and overall body health in check and make recommendations for precautions and measures accordingly for a long, healthy and prosperous life. Here are some dietary suggestions that will ensure the finely tuned machine is fueled right. Fresh fruits and vegetables:Rich in essential minerals and vitamins, these are high in dietary fibre and low in calories. Berries, papaya, tomatoes, oranges, kale, spinach etc. help improve arterial function, and keep blood pressure in check. Higher the portion of fruits and vegetables in your diet, lower are the risks of heart diseases. Dark chocolates:Interestingly yes, consumption of dark chocolates has been associated with lowering the risk of getting heart problems. Chocolates contain antioxidants like flavonoids that have been found to promote heart health as per some studies. Moderate intakes are advisable as chocolates are still high in calories and sugar. Almonds and Walnuts:They contain various vitamins and minerals and are a great source of fibre and other micronutrients. Incorporating them in your diet, soaking them overnight or keeping them on your office desk, will help reduce bad cholesterol, keep the arteries clear and ultimately shield us from heart diseases. Olive oil:With strong evidence based on various studies and experiments, olive oil is found to be an essential ingredient lowering the risk of developing heart problems. Thanks to its rich antioxidant properties, it has been proven to be a relief for inflammation as well as for treating hypertension. Sprinkle it on vegetables and enjoy the many benefits it offers. Green tea:Among the many benefits it has, green tea may prevent cell damage, improve insulin sensitivity and reduce inflammation. Replacing your regular tea with green tea can be a first step to manage blood pressure and blood sugar. Protein enriched foods:Fish, lean meat, poultry, dairy products, eggs etc. can be some good low fat protein sources to include in your diet. If you are a vegetarian, you can eat beans, peas, lentils etc. whereas non vegetarians can go for omega 3 fatty acids found in fishes like salmon, mackerel etc. Flaxseed oil:mixing it with about anything, be it morning cereal, afternoon veggies or yoghurt or dessert muffins, will yield high antioxidant properties. Rich is omega 3, flaxseed oil contains both soluble and insoluble fibre. Eating right is vital for the heart. Changing eating habits is often tough, but controlling the portion size of what goes inside the belly can be your way towards a healthy heart and incorporating these dietary tips in your schedule can be a great way to kick start. Ultimately the power to maintain and keep ourselves fit is in your hands; so make healthier choices and live a lifestyle that keeps your heart healthy and always smiling!

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9 Ways to Lower High Blood Pressure Without Medicines

High blood pressure is often referred to as the “silent killer” because it may show no unusual day-to-day symptoms. If left uncontrolled, it boosts the chances of heart attack and stroke. But the good news is that you can lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease naturally, without using medicines. Lifestyle changes are effective in preventing and treating your high blood pressure. Here are 10 effective ways to lower your high blood pressure without medicines: 1. Stay physically active and exercise regularly Regular physical activity, even as simple as walking, can bring your blood pressure down to safer levels. Great amount of physical activity makes your heart stronger and improves the heart's ability to pump blood, which lowers the pressure in your arteries. Not only does regular exercise helps control high blood pressure, it also helps you manage your cholesterol levels, weight, lower your stress level and strengthen your heart. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise, such as walking, or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, such as running, per week to lower blood pressure and improve your heart health. Try a combination of aerobic exercise (such as walking, jogging, cycling or swimming), resistance training, high-intensity interval training or walking 8,000-10,000 steps a day. Try to find something you enjoy doing, it will help you to commit to a regular routine and motivate you to get up and moving. 2. Lose extra pounds Blood pressure often rises as weight increases. So, weight loss is one of the most effective ways of lowering your blood pressure. Losing even 5% of your body weight can significantly help reduce your blood pressure. Various studies have shown a direct relationship between blood pressure and body mass index. A weight reduction of about 10 kg can likely reduce the systolic blood pressure by 5 to 20 mmHg. 3. Limit sodium intake There is strong evidence that even a small reduction in sodium intake can improve your heart health and reduce blood pressure. The recommended daily intake of sodium is 2300 mg, with an optimal limit of less than 1500 mg, for people with high blood pressure. Look for low-sodium alternatives to the foods and beverages you normally buy. Swap out processed foods with fresh ones and try seasoning with herbs and spices rather than salt to add flavor to your food. Be a smart shopper and make sure you read food labels for high sodium, saturated fat, and cholesterol before buying. Try to stick to your healthy diet plan when you're dining out, too. 4. Include more potassium in your diet Not only does potassium help regulate blood pressure, but it can also nullify the effects of sodium in your system and ease pressure on your blood vessels. However, patients with significant kidney disease should restrict the amount of potassium. Foods that are particularly high in potassium include dairy, such as milk and yogurt; tuna and salmon; vegetables, especially leafy greens, beans, tomatoes, potatoes, and sweet potatoes; fruit, including melons, bananas, avocados, oranges, and apricots; dried fruits, nuts , and seeds. 5. Limit alcohol consumption and quit smoking You may have read that alcohol consumption in moderation can be beneficial for your heart. However, heavy alcohol consumption can cause a sudden spike in your blood pressure. Stay mindful of your alcohol intake. Moderate drinking is up to two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women. A standard drink is one 12 ounces of regular beer, 4 ounces of wine, 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits. Each cigarette you smoke causes a temporary increase in your blood pressure. The chemicals in tobacco increase your blood pressure by damaging your blood vessels, causing inflammation, and constricting your arteries. It is advisable to quit these lethal practices in order to stay healthy.Not sure if you are taking enough care of your health? Book a comprehensive health checkup right away. 6. Cut back on caffeine Several studies revealed that the amount of caffeine in one or two cups of coffee raises both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. But the effect is temporary. It lasts 1 to 2 hours and the reaction varies from individual to individual. People who don’t consume caffeine regularly may be more sensitive to caffeine than those who drink caffeinated coffee and tea. If you’re caffeine-sensitive, you may want to cut back on your coffee consumption or switch to decaffeinated coffee as it has the same flavor without the side effects. 7. Chocolate fan? Indulge in dark chocolate Eating one to two squares of dark chocolate per day may help lower your blood pressure. But look for the dark chocolate bar that has a cocoa content of 70% or higher. Various studies have shown that cocoa consumption is associated with about 2 mm Hg lowering of both systolic and diastolic BP. Hence, eating small amounts of dark chocolate or cocoa products can be beneficial and this benefit is thought to come from the chemical compounds in the cocoa products called flavonoids. The flavonoids help dilate, or relax your blood vessels, lowering blood pressure. 8. Try these healthful herbs Some herbs such as parsley, basil, celery seeds, garlic, thyme, ginger root, and cinnamon have been shown to possibly lower blood pressure by relaxing blood arteries and lowering cholesterol and low-density lipoproteins. These herbs are rich in antioxidants and vitamin C. Always consult your doctor before taking these herbal supplements. 9. Find ways to manage stress Finding ways to manage your stress is important for your health and blood pressure. When you are stressed, your body releases hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones can raise your heart rate and constrict blood vessels and can lead to temporary spikes in your blood pressure. Stress can also result in poor sleep, overeating, and misusing drugs and alcohol. There are lots of different ways that can help in mitigating stress, so find what works for you. Practices like meditation, yoga, deep breathing can help keep you manage your stress hormones and blood pressure. Try to carve out time for things that bring you happiness. Whether that’s chilling out with friends, spending time with loved ones, eating a good meal, reading a book, watching a comedy or listening to soothing music, find some time to embrace small moments of enjoyment throughout the day. These nine ways can help you to lower your blood pressure and give you a healthy head start in life. But it is important to note that if you have prolonged high blood pressure; your treatment may require both healthy lifestyle changes like these, along with medications as prescribed by your physician.

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Increasing Trend of Heart Attacks Amongst Youngsters

Your heart is a hard-working organ that keeps you going 24*7 365 days by pumping blood throughout the body. It is this pumping action of the heart that provides your vital body organs with oxygen, nutrients and helps eliminate carbon dioxide and waste materials. Like any other muscle in your body, the heart muscle also needs oxygen to survive. When the blood flow that supplies oxygen to the heart muscle is severely or completely cut off, it causes a heart attack. While earlier people used to believe that heart disease affects the elderly only, the sad demise of the well-known actor and model, Siddharth Shukla, has left the entire nation shocked and fueled a debate among fans on can a young (and in fact, quite physically fit) person get a heart attack too! Are heart attacks common in young people? In general, men age 45 or older and women age 55 or older are at an increased risk of getting a  heart attack. However, young heart attack victims are more likely to be smokers, obese, and have chronic conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes. So all in all, it’s quite evident that an unhealthy lifestyle may be putting a lot of stress on the heart, predisposing young adults to a heart attack.  Make sure to take extra care of your health and get health tests done from time to time. Book our TruHealth Youth Package here. Symptoms of heart attack At many times, heart attacks can sneak up on you without any warning signs. The process of blockade of heart vessels has no symptoms. What happens is that when blood vessels supplying the heart muscle narrow, other nearby blood vessels that serve the heart, called collateral circulation, sometimes enlarge to compensate for the reduced blood supply, hence you may not experience any early signs of heart attack. Following are the symptoms that characterize occurrence of a heart attack Chest pain or discomfort: Most heart attacks cause discomfort or pain in the center of the chest. Some people can feel uncomfortable pressure, squeezing or fullness. It can last more than a few minutes. It may get relieved on its own and then come back. Shortness of breath either in presence or absence of chest discomfort. Cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, or neck. Symptoms may vary between men and women As with men, the most common heart attack symptom in women is chest pain or discomfort. However, women can be somewhat more likely than men to have some of the other symptoms, including difficulty breathing, nausea/vomiting, and pain in back or jaw. You can have a heart attack and not even know it It is called a silent heart attack. It gives no symptoms, or mild symptoms or goes unrecognised by the sufferer. Reasons for heart attack An excess cholesterol and fat can build up in the coronary arteries, vessels that supply the heart muscle with blood flow. This can cause them to become narrow. This process is known as atherosclerosis and the build up is called plaque. When such a plaque within a coronary artery break, a blood clot can be formed around it. This blood clot can cause blockage in the blood flow through the blood vessel to the heart muscle, leading to oxygen and nutrients scarcity. As a result, a part of the heart muscle can get damaged, causing a heart attack. Keep a check on your cholesterol levels with a lipid profile test. How is a heart attack diagnosed? A heart attack can be diagnosed through certain health tests which include: Imaging tests, such as X-rays, CT scans, and echocardiograms Electrocardiography, a test that measures electrical activity in the heart Blood tests for heart attack can confirm that a (silent) heart attack has occurred. A test that measures cardiac troponin helps to know if a heart damage has occurred. How does a heart attack feel? Having a heart attack is a scary experience. But, not everyone who gets a heart attack succumbs, many people survive heart attacks and enjoy their lives. For this, it is important you know about the risk factors and stray them away.   Risk factors Factors that put a youngster at high risk of a heart attack include: Smoking and alcohol High cholesterol levels High blood pressure Obesity Uncontrolled diabetes Sedentary lifestyle A family history High levels of stress Usually, a heart attack results from a combination of factors and not just any one factor.   Heart attack emergency treatment at home Heart attack is a medical emergency that you cannot treat at home. However, you should know things that you can do if someone experiences a heart attack   Stay in the know with these tips: Let the person sit down, rest, and be calm but quick. Loosen any tight clothing. If the person is unresponsive, call an ambulance, in parallel, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or perform manual chest compressions. If the person has a known heart condition and takes any chest pain medicine, such as nitroglycerin, and help them get the medicine. If the pain does not subside within 3 minutes of taking it, reach out for medical assistance. Heart attack after COVID-19 Studies have suggested that COVID-19 can cause damage to the heart muscle and affect heart function. Several reasons have been proposed for this including the high levels of inflammation circulating in the body. The effect on the heart can be more severe in people having pre existing heart disease. Ensure taking doctor’s help if you feel any warning signs even after recovering from COVID. Book COVID monitor recovery test here.   Preventing heart attack in youngsters A healthy lifestyle is the key to prevention of heart attack. Quit smoking. Smoking more than doubles the risk of getting a heart disease. Keep your vital numbers in check including blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood glucose. Lose weight if you are overweight or obese. Get regular exercise. Even brisk walking for 30 minutes can be extremely beneficial for heart health. Limit bad fats (saturated and trans fats) and sugars. Increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. Check if you are taking too much of alcohol and limit it if the answer is a yes. A heart attack is life threatening and needs emergency medical attention. However, many people have survived heart attacks due to effective and timely treatment. All you need is to start incorporating those small changes one step at a time .  

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Heart Attack: Causes, Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment

  A heart attack also called myocardial infarction is a serious medical emergency in which the blood supply that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off and the heart muscle begins to suffer damage or start to die. It often results from a blockage in the coronary arteries that feed the heart. The lack of blood supply can cause lasting damage to the heart muscle and can be life threatening. Heart attack vs cardiac arrest A heart attack is different from cardiac arrest. In the latter, the heart stops working completely and suddenly stops pumping blood around your body. Both are medical emergencies. What causes a heart attack? Coronary heart disease, the leading cause of heart attacks, is a condition in which one or more coronary arteries become narrowed or blocked. The blockage is most often a buildup of fat, cholesterol, calcium, proteins, and inflammatory cells, which form a plaque in the walls of arteries. One of the plaques can rupture, forming a blood clot at the site of the rupture. This blood clot can starve the heart muscle of oxygen by blocking the blood flow through arteries, resulting in a heart attack. Risk factors like smoking, a high-fat diet, diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension and obesity can increase your risk of developing coronary heart disease. People aged 65 or older usually have a higher risk than young adults to get a heart attack. Make sure to check your health parameters regularly. Book TruHealth Senior Package here. A spasm in your coronary artery is another rare cause of heart attacks. During coronary spasm, your arteries restrict or shut down blood flow to part of the heart muscle. Use of tobacco and stimulants such as cocaine can cause a life-threatening spasm. Symptoms of heart attack Some people who are having a heart attack have warning signs or symptoms while others show no signs at all. Symptoms of a heart attack that many people report include: Chest pain Pain in upper body Feeling lightheaded Sweating Trouble breathing Nausea or vomiting Coughing or wheezing An overwhelming sense of anxiety Sleep disturbances, weakness, extreme shortness of breath, indigestion, body aches or discomfort in the back or upper body, a general feeling of being unwell are some atypical heart attack symptoms in females that can occur with or without chest discomfort. Recognizing these early symptoms and seeking immediate medical attention is crucial to save a person’s life. How can one reduce risk of heart attack? Adopting a healthier lifestyle is the most effective way to prevent having a heart attack. Lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent a heart attack are: Eat a healthy diet Quit smoking Limit alcohol Control your blood pressure Control your cholesterol and triglyceride levels Maintain a healthy weight Manage diabetes Manage stress Get regular exercise Get enough sleep Treatment of heart attack Diagnosis and treatment of heart attack might be complex and different depending on which type of heart blockage you've had. A complete blockage means you've had an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) and a partial blockage means you've had a non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI).Treatments differ for STEMI versus NSTEMI, although there can be some overlap. If you have a STEMI, the most serious form of heart attack, get immediate medical assessment and treatment. It is important to get prompt treatment, to unblock your coronary arteries restoring blood flow to part of the heart muscle and minimizing the heart muscle damage. Treatment may involve different techniques like use of clot-dissolving drugs (thrombolysis), coronary angioplasty (percutaneous coronary intervention) or a bypass surgery depending on when your symptoms started and how soon you can access the treatment. Coronary angiography is done first to assess your suitability for coronary angioplasty. Coronary angioplasty and stenting: In this procedure, also known as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), doctors guide a long, thin tube with a sausage-shape balloon at the end (catheter) through an artery in your groin or arm to a blocked artery in your heart. Once the catheter is in position, the balloon is inflated to open a blocked coronary artery and restore blood flow. A flexible metal mesh stent almost always is inserted into the artery to help keep it open afterwards. You may also be given blood-thinning medicines, such as low-dose aspirin, to prevent further clots from forming. You may need to continue taking these medicines for some time after angioplasty. In some cases, coronary angioplasty may not be technically possible. In such circumstances, coronary artery bypass surgery may be considered as an alternative operation. Coronary artery bypass surgery:  It involves taking a healthy blood vessel from another part of your body, usually your chest, arm or leg and sewing it to the coronary artery above and below the narrowed or blocked area, allowing blood flow to the heart to bypass the narrowed section. You'll likely remain hospitalized for several days after blood flow to your heart is restored and your condition is stable. If you have the less serious types of heart attack (NSTEMI), blood-thinning drugs (antiplatelet agents and anticoagulants) are usually recommended to inhibit blood clot formation. The drugs used to break down blood clots, known as thrombolytics or fibrinolytics, are usually given by injection. In some cases, further treatment with angioplasty or bypass surgery may also be recommended in cases of NSTEMI or unstable angina, after initial treatment with various drugs. Be aware but don’t panic Having a heart attack is a frightening experience. A heart attack can be life threatening and requires immediate medical treatment. If anyone has symptoms of a heart attack, access medical care at once. With immediate medical attention, there is often a good chance of a positive outcome.  

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