Debunking Top 5 Myths around Diabetes
Diabetes is a chronic condition that leads to high blood sugar (or glucose), causing a plethora of symptoms and predisposing to various other health conditions such as high blood pressure, kidney disease, etc. While diabetes is highly prevalent among the Indian population with around 72 million people affected, there remains a huge information gap around this condition. Being aware of the authentic scientific facts helps one take the right steps towards diabetes management and delay complications. Here we have provided science-based information on the top 5 myths around diabetes. Myth: Once a diabetic always a diabetic Fact: In the early stages, diabetes can almost be reversed if diet and exercise are taken care of, especially in young people. If your blood sugar is normal with no treatment, then the diabetes is considered to have gone away. Hence, you cannot say that once a diabetic always a diabetic. But remember that even when the blood sugars are controlled, the risk for diabetes always exists. The best thing is to keep following the lifestyle measures even after you have managed to get off the medicines.Want to manage your diabetes well? Get your HbA1c test done regularly and track your blood sugar levels. Myth: If you have a family history of diabetes, you will always develop it in the future. Fact: Having a family history of diabetes has a strong correlation to developing diabetes, but other risk factors such as age, being overweight, how much physical activity you get, and how healthy your diet also play a role. Apparently, many people think that family history is the only risk factor for diabetes, but the fact is even people with no family history of diabetes can develop it, and people having family history but following a healthy lifestyle may not develop diabetes in their lifetimes.Think you can be at risk of getting diabetes due to your family history? Follow a healthful routine and keep an eye on your blood sugar numbers. Myth: People with diabetes need to eat special foods. Fact: Not at all! A healthy diet plan for people with diabetes is usually the same as the principles of healthy eating for anyone. A healthy eating plan includes lots of fiber-rich, low-on-carb vegetables, less sugar, whole grains in place of refined grains, healthy fats, and an abundance of proteins. Fruits like mango and banana can be eaten too. Just that you need to be a bit vigilant of the amounts of foods you consume.Do not blindly trust packaged foods with special “diabetes-friendly” claims. They may still impact your blood sugar levels badly, be more expensive, and/or contain sugar alcohols that can have a laxative effect. It is important to be watchful of how your food impacts your blood sugar levels. Book a post-meal sugar test and get tested at your doorsteps. Myth: Eating too much sugar can cause diabetes. Fact: Diabetes is a complex disease that occurs due to many underlying factors. Though consuming an excess of refined sugar along with other risk factors may increase your risk of getting diabetes, eating too much sugar isn’t a direct cause of diabetes (both type 1 and type 2 diabetes). In fact, (most of) the food we eat is converted to glucose which our body cells use as fuel for energy. A hormone called insulin unlocks our cells and lets glucose get inside. Diabetes occurs when your body fails to produce enough insulin or makes no insulin at all. This leads to an excess of blood sugar in the blood as it cannot enter the cells to be utilized. Myth: I use a blood glucometer at home, so an HbA1c test isn’t needed. Fact: Having a blood glucometer and tracking a constant eye at your blood sugar is no doubt an extremely important step towards better diabetes care. However, it is equally important to get your HbA1c test done. HbA1c stands for glycated hemoglobin and it helps measure the average blood sugar levels for the past 3 months.Your glucometer will test your sugar values at a particular point in time and the type of meal you had will affect the results at large. But, HbA1c won’t be affected by a one-time binge or unhealthy meal, so it will give more reliable results that can help your doctor get better insights into your diabetes status.You do not need to fast for a glycated hemoglobin test. Book your test right away. Got more questions or doubts regarding diabetes? Let us know in the comments section below and we will apprise you with the expert answers in our next article. In the meantime, believe only in health experts and do not pay attention to just words of mouth that have no sound scientific reasons.For all your lab test-related needs, explore Metropolis.
Diet Dos and Don'ts If You Have High Cholesterol
High cholesterol is a chronic condition that is extending its claws in India gradually. Recent studies have reported that 25–30% of urban and 15–20% of rural India are affected by high cholesterol.* Cholesterol is a fat-like substance found in all body cells. However, an excess or a disbalance of cholesterol values is a major contributor to compromised heart health, heart disease, and stroke. Want to cut your risk of heart disease? Then, it is mandatory to get tested and keep a track of your cholesterol levels. Cholesterol travels within the body with the help of protein molecules, the combined molecule called lipoprotein (lipo: lipid or fats, in addition to protein). Majorly, cholesterol can be of two types, based on the type of protein that transports it through the bloodstream: Low-density lipoproteins/ LDL cholesterol: Carries cholesterol from the liver into the blood, where it can stick to the blood vessels. As this kind of cholesterol is likely to build up, people often refer to it as “bad” cholesterol. High-density lipoproteins/HDL cholesterol: Carries the cholesterol in the blood back to the liver, where it is broken down. For this reason, HDL cholesterol is called “good” cholesterol. A health goal worth achieving for every individual is to elevate levels of good cholesterol and control the rise in bad cholesterol. Book a lipid profile test and know the values. Role of diet in cholesterol The diet, especially fats, we eat has a significant role in blood cholesterol values. Hence, it is of utmost importance to pay attention not only to what types of food we are consuming but also their quantities entering the body. Let’s learn the most important dietary dos and don’ts to follow if your cholesterol levels are high: Dos Watch the type of fat you consume: The dietary fats can primarily be of three types. Different types of fat impact your cholesterol levels differently: Saturated fats: They instruct the liver to produce more bad cholesterol, hence their intake should be limited. Unsaturated fats: Certain unsaturated fats can facilitate the reabsorption of bad cholesterol through your liver. Hence, it is a healthy type of fat that can help reduce bad cholesterol. Trans fats: These fats are produced by an artificial process called hydrogenation, and they might also harm your good cholesterol levels. Fried and packaged foods often contain trans fats. In addition, refined oil, ghee, etc contain saturated fats. Add more sources of unsaturated fats to your diet. Foods like nuts, dry fruits, and seeds are rich in unsaturated fats. Choose healthful fats to lower bad cholesterol levels while maintaining good cholesterol levels. Please note that a completely fat-free diet can also be harmful because it would impair normal nerve and brain function, and can cause inflammation. Fibers for a healthy heart: Fiber can be of two main forms: soluble and insoluble. Many foods contain both forms. At large, the more natural and unprocessed the food, the higher is its fiber content. While insoluble fiber is pivotal for gut health, soluble fiber binds to cholesterol in the blood and helps remove it through feces. Fiber-rich foods have the added benefit of controlling blood sugar levels as well. Include more peas, broccoli, spinach, carrot, pear, oranges, strawberries in your diet. Eat plenty of vegetables. Note that there is no fiber in meat, milk products, or sugar. Use healthy oils for cooking: Mustard oil is a healthier option as it remains stable at high temperatures usually used in Indian cooking. Olive oil is rich in healthy fats too. But limit its usage in salad and dressings, and avoid using it for cooking Indian recipes. Refined oils usually contain more saturated fats. Consume healthy protein sources: Limit unprocessed red meat. Select lean meat (trimmed of fat, and poultry without skin). Including protein-rich foods like fish, eggs, legumes (such as beans and lentils) in your diet keep you full and helps you avoid munching on unhealthy fatty snacks. Dont's Restrict takeaway foods to once a week: Fast food and readymade processed items such as pastries, bread pakodas, burgers, pizza, chips, etc are usually made of unhealthy cheese and rancid oil. Eating them too frequently can hurt your cholesterol levels drastically. Consult with your doctor about how often you can consume outside food. Limit salt in daily food and snack: Limiting salt won't decrease your cholesterol levels directly, but it can help maintain blood pressure levels and decrease your risk of heart diseases. Both high cholesterol and high salt intake can increase blood pressure, and predispose to heart attacks and strokes. Even if you have not been diagnosed with high blood pressure, you should eat less salt. Along with a healthy diet, make sure to get your cholesterol tested regularly. It is important to track so that you know the measures are taking are working well for you.
How to Prevent Flu Naturally: 8 Easy Tips for a Flu-Free You
Feared of that blocked nose and aching throat? Lost an important day at the office due to that bad headache and fever? Well, all these symptoms of flu that appear minor, are known to being problematic to many of you during weather changes. Flu is an infective illness caused by influenza viruses that infect your respiratory system- the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs, when complicated. It can lead to mild to severe disease. And the fact is catching flu with changes in season is extremely common with most people. The best way to prevent flu is by getting a flu vaccine each year. But do you know of other natural ways to reduce the chances of falling sick to flu? How do you prevent becoming prey to the flu? Here we are covering 8 most useful ways to prevent flu naturally. Follow a healthy, nutrient-rich eating plan: Include a variety of fruits and green leafy vegetables in your daily diet. These are superfoods- full of vitamins and antioxidants. These health elements help promote good health and reduce the risk of catching flu. If you still get the infection and have a fever, do not presume it to be flu on your own; fever can be a symptom of various infections. Get tested within the comfort of your home and rule out the more serious causes. Amp up your vitamin C supply: Although the evidence is a bit conflicting, vitamin C intake appears to boost some aspects of the body’s defense system. Certain studies have shown that vitamin C helps prevent colds in people who are exposed to cold weather or who have undergone extreme physical activity. Some studies show that vitamin C can help in the treatment as well due to some extent. It might reduce the duration of a cold by as much as 24 to 36 hours. It is advisable to include vitamin C-rich food like oranges, lemon, etc., in your diet. Some people can get an aggravation of symptoms when they consume vitamin C-rich fruits if they have already caught flu. In such cases, do not force-fit fruits rich in vitamin C. Garlic for immunity: Garlic is considered to stimulate the immune system. There is some preliminary evidence available that states garlic may decrease the chances of catching a cold and flu. Ensure to avoid overcooking garlic, it works best when consumed raw. Overcooking may destroy important medicinal elements and reduce its health benefits. Sleep like a baby: Sleep is a crucial step to strengthen your immune system. However, it is usually overlooked by many of you, which increases the risk of catching the disease-causing virus. Prioritize your sleep schedule as it is the most natural way to fend off the flu and some other pesky illnesses. If you are dealing with sleep issues, limit caffeine intake to at least 4-5 hours before nighttime. You can consider consulting an expert as well. Get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. Up your zinc intake: Zinc is an essential mineral that is important for your immune system. It is involved in numerous cellular processes such as helping your body make white blood cells (WBCs). The WBCs fight germs and keep you safe from infections. Some research has shown that zinc can help alleviate symptoms of flu and cold. A possible reason for how zinc helps is that it may slow down the virus multiplication. Though the evidence is not robust, you can still give it a shot. A balanced diet with fresh fruits, vegetables should be able to make up for your zinc needs. You can choose to take zinc supplements during the flu season as well. Make sure that moderation is the key to include any health supplements in routine life. You can take a zinc supplement or a multivitamin with zinc during flu season. Sip on herbal tea: Herbal teas are rich in antioxidants and natural flavonoids and can impart some natural germ-fighting properties. In addition, sipping on herbal drinks soothes your throat and sinuses. While plentiful readymade options are available that you can relish, you can make your own herbal kadha (decoction) by adding turmeric, ginger, cloves, star anise, and cinnamon. The readymade bagged teas contain some or many of these as dried ingredients combined together. Think you have been taking good care of your health and still lack enough immunity? Get a health test done and find out for yourself what might be hurting your health. Follow hygiene etiquettes: Sick people can transfer respiratory viruses like the influenza virus on to the surfaces through coughing and sneezing into their hands and then touching the surface. These viruses can then be transferred into your body and get you sick if you come in contact with the infected surfaces and do not maintain proper hand hygiene. Ensure to wash your hands often. Or, carry a bottle of hand sanitizer and sanitize your hands when soap and water are unavailable. Avoid touching your nose, mouth, or eyes since the flu virus can can also enter your body when your infected hands touch your face.Sneeze into a tissue or into your elbow. Throw tissues away in a dustbin promptly. Maintain some moisture in the air at your homes: Dry indoor air can allow the flu virus to live longer which makes the virus spread more easily. Use a humidifier to add humidity in your home and workplace to reduce dryness of air and reduce flu viruses in the air. The final word Pay extra attention to the hygienic measures during weather changes. Getting a flu vaccine is another easy way to combat flu-causing viruses. Do not ignore your symptoms if they worsen or do not get better even after 7-8 days, reach out to an expert and get help.
Dark Chocolate for Weight Loss and More Frequently Asked Questions about Dark Chocolate Answered
Love the intense taste of dark chocolate but worried about the overconsumption? Or, think you can eat as much as you want but not gain a single inch? While dark chocolate has a huge fan following, many people have a lot of questions about them. Today we are answering some of the most frequent questions about dark chocolate. Here you go: Question: Is dark chocolate good for weight loss? Dark chocolate can play some role in weight loss, though it is not considered to be an effective weight-loss measure when used alone. Improves insulin sensitivity: Some research suggests that dark chocolate could help improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin, the hormone responsible for transferring sugar from your blood into your cells where it can be used for energy. Dark chocolate has polyphenols which help insulin being better available to the body cells. This may be associated with less glucose storage and weight loss. Decreases hunger: Some studies show that dark chocolate may reduce cravings and promote feelings of fullness, which may help in weight loss. A study has also found that the effects of milk chocolate and dark chocolate and found that participants felt less hungry and fuller and more satisfied after eating dark chocolate. Question: Can dark chocolate boost mood? Several studies have found that dark chocolate may positively affect our mental health and mood, which can ensure that we feel our very best. A happy mood is associated with measures to promote self-care. According to one study, those who consumed higher amounts of dark chocolate had 57% lower odds of experiencing depressive symptoms than those who did not regularly consume dark chocolate. Your physical health is a pivotal factor to control your mental health. Think you are feeling burnout or fatigue more often than before? Get a health checkup done and look for yourself if there is anything that you can fix physically to stay calm mentally. Question: Is dark chocolate actually healthy? Let’s try to understand that how dark chocolate is healthy. Loaded with a lot of nutrients- if we buy quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, then it is actually quite nutritious. It contains a decent amount of soluble fiber and is loaded with minerals. Dark chocolate can contain the following nutrients 11 grams of fiber 67% of the RDI for iron 58% of the RDI for magnesium 89% of the RDI for copper. 98% of the RDI for manganese In addition, it also has potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium. (The constituents and amounts might vary among different products available in the market.) A powerful source of antioxidants: Dark chocolate is loaded with biologically active organic compounds that function as antioxidants. These include polyphenols, flavonoids, and catechins, among others. May reduce heart disease risk: The ingredients in dark chocolate appear to be highly protective against heart health. It should cause much less cholesterol to lodge in the arteries, resulting in a lower risk of heart disease. In a study of 470 elderly men, cocoa was found to reduce the risk of death from heart disease by a whopping 50% over a 15-year period. Yet another study showed that eating dark chocolate more than 5 times per week lowered the risk of heart disease by 57%. Improve the functioning of the nervous system: Cocoa contains stimulant substances like caffeine and theobromine, which may be a key reason why dark chocolate can improve brain function in the short term. Question: Can we eat dark chocolate every day? You can eat some amounts of dark chocolate daily, however, a better thing is to restrict daily consumption if you have diabetes or obesity. The daily recommended dosecan bearound 30-60 g, as per some sources. Indulging in anything more than that means you may be consuming too many calories. There isn’t a standard dose for dark chocolate that can be followed by everyone. A 40-45 g dark chocolate bar has approximately 190 calories plus some plant nutrients. In comparison, you take only around 95 calories and lots of nutrients if you eat a medium-sized apple. So, it is very clear that you should never replace healthy foods with dark chocolate. Question: Can dark chocolate reduce period pain? Many women like to eat chocolate during the periods. Now the question is whether dark chocolate reduces the period pain or just creates an overall sense of well-being? Dark chocolate has been seen to provide help to some women dealing with menstrual cramps. A study conducted by the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology in 2013 found that consuming chocolate can help in improving our mood, making us feel calmer and more satisfied. Experts say its magnesium content can have a role in relaxing the muscles and easing period pain. In addition to that, it causes the brain to release endorphins, hormones that help you feel happier. Dark chocolate can be helpful during PMS too, owing to the same reasons of relieving stress and facilitating the release of happy hormones. Question: Can diabetics eat dark chocolate? You may eat some dark chocolate but moderation is the key. Overdoing has to be avoided. Dark chocolate contains polyphenols, which are naturally occurring compounds that have antioxidant properties. Polyphenols in dark chocolate improve insulin sensitivity, which may help in controlling blood sugar, according to research published in Endocrine Abstracts. However, you need to watch your calories to keep track of your blood sugar levels. Though dark chocolate is considered healthy, it still is calorie-dense as compared to other natural foods like fruits and green vegetables. This is why you should not assume that you can eat as much as dark chocolate you want if you are diabetic. Question: Can you eat dark chocolate when pregnant? Pregnancy demands extra care at each and every step. Having certain cravings during pregnancy is a normal thing, chocolate craving is experienced quite commonly. The good thing is you can enjoy dark chocolate in moderation throughout your pregnancy. The benefits are largely well-proven, including better blood pressure and improved blood flow to the baby. In fact, an older study had revealed that eating dark chocolate may cause sweeter temperaments in babies. Though it is generally safe to eat dark chocolate in pregnancy, make sure that you are not allergic to any of the constituents in the pack or dark chocolate. Also, discuss with your gynecologist what type of diet is best for you and the baby. Question: Is dark chocolate good for the skin? Consuming dark chocolate can impart beauty benefits to the skin. It has bioactive compounds and is rich in minerals which helps dark chocolate nourish our skin inside out. Thanks to its antioxidants and flavonoids that prevent aging and might improve blood flow in the skin tissues. Now, when you get your dark chocolate bar the next time, do keep these facts in mind. If you got more question about dark chocolate, let us know in the comments section.
What will your Skin say to you if it can Talk?
Just like our stomach growls to let us know that we are hungry, similarly, our skin too talks to us to let us know how healthy or unhealthy it is. We often tend to ignore the vital signs that our skin wants to tell us. It’s just like a plant that needs constant care and nourishment to grow and remain healthy. A lot of us don’t take care of our skin the way we should, either because we are too busy or occupied in our day-to-day lives, are very lazy to listen to the damaging signs that our skin shows or we are unaware of how we can actually take care of our skin. All those dryness and roughness is our skin telling us to look after it and nourish it soon before it gets too late. We readily buy skincare products but do we actually understand how to use them? Do we really need a skincare routine? Listen to your skin talk!! When we follow a strict or for that matter a good skincare routine, it shows on our skin, our skin thanks us in many ways; it starts to glow, and the result? Well, we can just put aside all the hefty makeup to cover our skin as it does the trick for us automatically without having to use ten different creams and foundations to cover it up. You will be glad to show off your skin daily, but all it takes is a little effort from your side for healthy and beautiful skin. Every acne, or that fine line is a communication message our skin is trying to reach us with. While this may sound new and surprising, it is factual as our body works as an entire ecosystem. Whatever happens inside the body gets reflected outside. For example, if you lack enough red blood cells, your skin appears pale and washed out. Another example what most of you will find relatable is, if we get acne or pimples, it is our skin telling us that some hormonal imbalance or blood sugar levels have been compromised. Common hormonal imbalances that can affect skin include deranged levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). When we feel hot, we sweat profusely, why? It is our body’s way of telling us to cool down by secreting excess heat. Also,, it is crucial to take extra care of facial skin and dry skin areas by following a daily skin care routine at home, especially during seasonal changes. Encrypt what your skin says Acne/Hair fall/hair thinning- faulty lifestyles in today’s generation have led to increase in body fat which in turn causes insulin resistance. This can lead to raised androgens (testosterone) levels- hormones that start to act on our body thereby causing acne and hair fall. Recurring boils- white spots or patches visible on the skin are warning signs that something is not right with your skin. If the bad bacteria i.e. the pathogenic bacteria start to invade, it reflects poorly on your skin. This can be due to the excsessive use of antiseptic soaps or due to staying damp/wet for a long period of time. They might kill the good bacteria and pave way for the bad ones to grow. Cold sores- those blisters that pop up every now and then are a consequence of too much stress, being sick for long, harmful exposure to the sun, etc. A common cause is herpes virus and at times can be very painful too. Go that extra mile for your skin When you put in a little effort and energy towards making your skin better, it will reciprocate with the same love and energy. Feel more healthy from within and present yourself more beautifully and energetically. If you have to start taking care of your skin from today, start from the natural and easy ways. There’s nothing like following a skincare routine at home, especially during this COVID pandemic. Start by exercising often if not daily at the least 2-3 days a week. It is important for you to be in good health, once you start exercising, it will increase your oxygen and blood flow to help carry all the essential nutrients to all the cells in your body. It will also aid in the elimination of waste materials from the body. The other important factor to keep your skin in check is to drink plenty of fluids. Natural drinks like coconut water can work wonders for your skin in no time. All the dryness visible in the form of white flakes on the elbow or knees is your skin telling you to drink more and more water and remain adequately hydrated. Another easy natural remedy is the regular consumption of vitamin C; plenty of vitamin C can be found in leafy vegetables and fruits. Lemon, oranges, kiwis, broccoli, etc should be consumed to get the required dose of vitamin C for your skin. People who get up early for walking or exercising get the best sunlight, which is an excellent source of vitamin D for your body. Get that sun on your body during early morning hours as it acts as a natural source of vitamin D. While vitamin D is essential, one should be wary of the harmful UV rays that can damage your skin and body, hence always wear a good sunscreen (with adequate sun protection factor) before stepping out. These are just some basic ways in which you can listen to your skin and take care of it. All these will do their work eventually but it must be You who should be willing to put in the hard work for yourself. You need not spend lavishly on your daily skincare routine, just understand when your skin is trying to speak to you, pay heed to the signs it displays, and work towards repairing it. Make sure you are in a healthy relationship with your skin, and fully committed to protecting and nourishing your skin!
Top 9 Blood Tests Name List to Keep You Healthy, Happy, and Active
Regular blood testing is an important way to keep track of your overall well-being. Getting testing regularly can help you visualize the changes your body undergoes as you age and empower you to make informed decisions about your health. Blood tests provide a crucial picture of your overall health and well-being. These investigations aid in the early identification of an illness, which in turn, can avoid its progression into more severe stages. They can also help you in putting a tab on how well your body responds to different treatments for your diseases. How Often Should You be Tested? Your doctor can usually recommend getting your routine blood testing done at least once a year. Other causes that can prompt you to take blood tests are: If you desire a change in lifestyle patterns. Abnormalities in different parameters such as high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) can help you alter your diet or fitness plan If you are experiencing unusual, persistent symptoms such as fatigue, abnormal weight gain or loss, or new pain If you are at an increased risk of certain conditions due to family history or lifestyle habits. If you want to assess or reduce the risk of diseases or complications as regular blood tests can identify the warning signs of most of the diseases. Here is the list of the top ten routine blood tests that have a pivotal role in maintaining good health and stay worry-free of the sneaking health concerns: 1. Complete Blood Count (Hemogram) A routine complete blood count test measures levels of different components of every major cell in your blood, including: Red blood cells (RBCs) White blood cells (WBCs) Platelets Hemoglobin (protein in RBCs) Hematocrit Mean corpuscular volume and some more blood parameter. The abnormal levels of these lab tests can indicate: Lack of enough blood cells Nutritional deficiencies, such as vitamin B6 or B12 Tissue inflammation Iron deficiency Signs of an infection Heart conditions. 2. Electrolytes Panel A basic electrolytes test comprises of measurement of certain mineral compounds in the blood, such as: Sodium Potassium Magnesium Chloride Abnormality in these parameters suggests dehydration, malnutrition, or hormone imbalances, etc. 3. Liver Panel A liver panel or liver function test checks different parameters such as enzymes, proteins, and other substances produced by the liver. Some of the important values that a liver function test provides include: Albumin Alkaline phosphatase (ALP) Alanine aminotransferase (ALT) Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) Bilirubin. Raised levels of these components can indicate liver diseases such as fatty liver, hepatitis, cirrhosis, etc., while reduced ALP levels could be a diagnostic marker of bone metabolic disorders. 4. Lipid Panel This test determines the levels of different types of cholesterol and related fats in the blood. It usually includes: HDL or “good” cholesterol LDL or “bad” cholesterol Triglycerides Total cholesterol. This panel is done to assess the risk of heart diseases, especially in older individuals. The results of this test can also influence and improve your lifestyle choices. 5. Thyroid Panel A thyroid panel, or thyroid function tests, evaluates how well your thyroid is producing and reacting to certain hormones. It includes: Triiodothyronine (T3): This hormone in combination with T4 regulates your heart rate and body temperature. Thyroxine (T4): Along with T3, this hormone regulates your metabolism. Thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH): This hormone modulates the levels of hormones your thyroid releases. Abnormal levels of these hormones can result into numerous conditions, like low protein levels, thyroid growth disorders, and abnormal levels of sex hormones including testosterone or estrogen. 6. Diabetes Panel Diagnostic tests for diabetes include fasting plasma glucose (FPG), post-meal blood glucose, and glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) tests. Your clinician will evaluate your test results and determine how well controlled your blood sugar is. HbA1c test evaluates the amount of glucose in the body and is mainly done to monitor the sugar control of a diabetic patient. They can also aid in analysing possible diabetes or pre-diabetic individual. 7. Test for Essential Nutrients Blood tests assessing the body’s levels of certain nutrients like iron, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and magnesium are important, as these are crucial for optimal bodily functions. Most people are deficient in these nutrients for different reasons, hence, it is imperative to evaluate these levels and supplement them when they are not adequate. Supplementation of these nutrients can prevent several disorders such as iron deficiency anemia, risk of falls, fractures, acute or chronic pain etc. 8. Inflammatory Markers Tests for inflammatory markers include C-reactive protein (CRP) and homocysteine. Raised levels of CRP is indicative of inflammation in the body and is related with an increased risk of cardiac events, artery inflammation, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), rheumatoid arthritis or depression. Elevations in the level of homocysteine, a common amino acid suggest a spectrum of conditions such as stroke and heart disease, vitamin B6, B12 and folate status, and kidney diseases. 9. Coagulation Panel Coagulation tests include prothrombin time (PT) test and international normalized ratio (INR), these two measure the ability of your body to clot blood and the time taken for blood clotting. Clotting is a crucial process for the body and these blood tests can prevent you from bleeding out in case of an injury, surgical procedure, etc. In addition, outcome of these tests can diagnose any underlying conditions associated with improper clotting, such as: Acute myeloid leukemia Hemophilia Thrombosis Liver conditions Vitamin K deficiency. Takeaway Diagnostic tests are often described with a slogan like “prevention is better than cure”. Early diagnosis of certain diseases can offer prevention against its progression into a more severe form. However, these lab tests are often not suitable to make a final diagnosis. Numerous blood tests are used initially to detect any abnormality, which is further correlated with other investigations with the help of a healthcare professional to obtain a final diagnosis. The majority of blood tests require fasting for 8–12 hours, which can ensure that the results of the test are free from any variables including vitamins, proteins, and other nutrients, so as to make your test results as accurate as possible. Hence, it is necessary to get routine blood tests done at least once a year. Always take your doctor’s advice to understand whether you require any other tests to ensure optimal health.
Food Allergy and Food Intolerance: Are They the Same?
Ever had gastric discomfort after eating a particular food item and claimed it as a food allergy? Then, you just need to rethink! Discomfort due to a food item may mean you are sensitive or intolerant to that food, and not allergic. Feel perplexed what is the difference between food allergy and food intolerance? And more importantly, should you know it? Well, yes. Both these conditions are different and you must know whether you are allergic or intolerant/ sensitive to food since they have different symptoms and how you need to manage it will also vary. Did you know there is a simple test that can check food intolerance? Book a food intolerance test and know for yourself. Food allergy Vs. Food intolerance Food allergy means your body identifies a certain substance in a food item as an intruder and reacts by making antibodies against it. This is an immune system response. On the other hand, food intolerance is a relatively simpler condition where your body is unable to digest a certain food. It might occur due to a lack of enzymes that are needed to breakdown that food (or a particular substance in that food). Your immune system is nowhere involved in this. Symptoms and their significance Food intolerance results in gut-related symptoms including bloating, stomach ache, constipation, nausea, etc. Also, the symptoms are usually dependant on the amount of food eaten. In case you are intolerant to peanuts- the more peanut you consume, the more discomfort you experience. This implies if you are intolerant to a food item you really relish, you can restrict the amount eaten and enjoy the taste with very mild or even no symptoms at all.Food allergy causes symptoms like any other allergy which may include skin rashes, itching, swelling, etc. in addition to gut problems, and can even lead to a more severe reaction (called anaphylaxis),. This severe reaction can cause a drop in blood pressure, loss of consciousness, etc., and needs immediate medical care. If you are allergic to a food, even consuming the smallest amount of that food (or at times, even touching the food item) can give you the symptoms. So you need to completely take out the food from your diet. Food allergy or food intolerance: Which is more common? Food intolerances are more common than food allergies, as per the British Allergy Foundation. Speaking of food allergy, while any food can be a trigger, some of the common triggers for a food allergy include the following: Triggers in children:-Eggs-Milk-Peanuts Triggers in adults:-Peanuts and tree nuts-Fishes-Fruit and vegetable pollen Can food allergies go away on their own? Many people with food allergies wonder if their condition is permanent. There is no definitive answer. While allergies to milk, eggs, wheat, and soy may disappear over time, allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, and fish can stay lifelong. It is noteworthy that children can outgrow food allergies to milk and eggs. Can food allergies develop as an adult? Although most food allergies appear in people when they are young, they might develop in adults as well. The most common food allergies that affect adults are shellfish, fish, and peanuts. Some adults might ignore symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea as food poisoning. Make sure to pay close attention to symptoms and don’t miss the crucial hints. It can get people at risk if they continue to eat the food. Tips to prevent food reactions Know your triggers and avoid them: The best way to avoid getting the symptoms is to know what foods you are allergic or intolerant to. Now how do you know it? Usually, most people only know it after repeated exposure and developing symptoms. If you doubt having a food reaction, you can maintain a food diary, watch back and correlate your meals and foods with days you had got symptoms. If you are allergic to a food, completely avoid it. Get yourself tested: A food intolerance test is an easy way to know if you could be intolerant to a certain food. If you know it, you can skip eating that and get rid of the discomfort. A little caution while eating out: If you have to eat out, make sure to ask the staff that no item in your order has any of the substances you are sensitive to. The cutlery should be also clear of any food remnants. Check product labels carefully: While getting pre-packed foods, make sure to double-check the product label. Even if it is your repeated purchase, recheck labels as the manufacturers might add new ingredients in the old formulations. Keep an action plan ready: Consult your doctor on what you need to do in case you get exposed to a food substance you are allergic or intolerant to. He might prescribe medicines to take in case of any health emergency (related to food allergy, food intolerance has very less chances of needing emergency care).