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.
Understanding Electrolyte Tests, Normal Range & Levels
Electrolytes are minerals like sodium, potassium, and chloride,, with electric charges controlling several vital functions. They enable the transport of nutrients into the cells and help remove the waste matter. An electrolytes panel or electrolyte test determines abnormal levels of electrolytes in the blood to diagnose multiple diseases and health conditions. Significance of electrolytes We know that the total water content in a healthy adult human body is about sixty per cent. Fluids in our body comprise electrolytes. These are vital for regulating the body's fluid balance and stabilising the pH level. In fact, electrolytes are helpful in maintaining heart rhythm, muscle movements, and nerve activities. Electrolytes are present in various body fluids like blood, sweat, and urine. These comprise: Sodium- Facilitates the body's fluid control and enables proper activities of muscles and nerves. Calcium- Besides building bones, calcium regulates heart rhythm, transmits nerve signals, and ensures muscle control. Phosphate- It plays a crucial role in moving compounds and molecules from cells. Magnesium- It boosts functions of the brain and muscles while helping cells to produce energy from nutrients. Chloride- It plays a vital role in the maintenance of a fluid balance between inside and outside the cell structure. Bicarbonate- It helps maintain the pH balance to prevent alkalosis and acidosis The term electrolyte has a close association with an electrical charge. An imbalance of electrolytes means your body cannot maintain balance at the basic chemical level. Electrolytes help cells conduct electricity, induce chemical reactions, and preserve the fluid balance between the inner and outer environment of cells. Electrolyte imbalance and related medical conditions Maintenance of the electrolyte balance is vital for the functioning of the body. Each electrolyte element has a specific role, and an imbalance can lead to different medical conditions requiring restoration of the electrolyte balance. Following are some conditions because of higher or lower electrolyte levels. Hyperkalemia- Excess potassium in the blood leads to arrhythmia, muscle weakness, and confusion. Hypokalemia- Low potassium levels can cause severe issues, including kidney damage. Hypercalcemia- The presence of higher levels of calcium in the blood can affect the heart, brain, and kidneys. It also causes digestive disorders and joint pain. Hypocalcemia- Low sodium levels in the blood may cause behaviour changes, confusion, muscle spasm, and loss of muscle control. Hypernatremia- Excess sodium in the blood causes behaviour issues, coma, or seizures. Hyponatremia- Insufficient sodium levels in the blood cause seizures, coma, confusion, and weak reflexes. Acidosis- Deficiency of bi-carbonate increases the acidity of the blood. This condition is known as acidosis. It may cause shortness of breath and confusion. Alkalosis- It is the opposite of acidosis. The blood becomes alkaline in alkalosis, with higher bicarbonate levels. It can cause muscle twitching and irregular heartbeats. Considering an electrolytes test There are conditions with vague symptoms like severe diarrhoea, vomiting, confusion, weakness, and irregular heartbeats. Physicians may order a serum electrolytes test if they suspect an electrolyte imbalance as the root cause. The electrolytes test involves taking out a blood sample from the individual's vein with a small needle. The test is not very painful as one may experience a minor sting-like sensation as the technician inserts the needle. No fasting is necessary before the electrolyte test unless your physician recommends additional tests like a fasting glucose test. Drink plenty of water to facilitate easy blood withdrawal. The test results will show the levels of electrolytes in mmol/L. The following are normal ranges of electrolytes: Potassium- 3.5 to 5.2 Sodium- 134 to 144 Chloride- 96 to 106 Bi-carbonate- 20 to 29 You need not panic if the results are not within the normal ranges, as several factors like medicines and dehydration can affect these values. Your physician will study the results of the electrolyte test. The main difference between positively charged and negatively charged electrolytes may suggest disorders of the kidneys or lungs. Depending on your medical history and clinical assessment, they may order additional tests if there is an electrolyte imbalance. Visit us for the electrolyte panel test! Highlights of electrolyte test The electrolyte panel test is another term for the Serum Electrolytes Test, which measures the body's electrolyte levels. A physician may order the test as part of a routine health check or to study the abnormal electrolyte levels to understand the underlying causes of irregular heart rhythm, hypertension, and kidney disorders. Measurement of Serum electrolytes may involve testing a particular electrolyte if the physician wants to check the level of a single electrolyte. Usually, the testing of common electrolytes is a routine procedure. Your physician will study the results to know the variance between normal and actual levels of different electrolytes. These levels may be normal, higher, or lower. The physician will correlate the results with other factors before reaching any conclusion. There are multiple reasons for abnormal electrolyte levels. These may not always be serious. Fluid loss because of diarrhoea or excessive sweating may cause an imbalance of electrolytes. Abnormal Serum electrolytes levels can be because of blood pressure medicines or antacids. Why does an individual need an electrolyte test? An electrolytes blood test is helpful in many situations since electrolytes play diverse roles in supporting and maintaining multiple functions. Besides ordering an electrolytes test as a routine screening test, a physician may suggest an electronic panel because: An electrolyte imbalance may involve problems in the liver and kidneys. The electrolyte panel helps monitor kidney and liver functions. It is also helpful to check the nutritional status and hydration if a physician suspects malnutrition or dehydration in a patient. An electrolyte test is helpful for checking brain health, as sodium is a significant electrolyte for a healthy brain. Calcium, potassium, and magnesium are vital electrolytes for proper heart functioning. The test is suitable for monitoring electrolyte levels in diabetes. An electrolyte blood test is suitable to assess nonspecific symptoms, such as appetite loss, dizziness, or fatigue. Physicians use the test to rule out specific endocrine, liver, and kidney conditions. The takeaway The electrolyte test helps assess body fluids. It provides a clear picture of different electrolyte levels in the blood along with the acid-base balance. A physician may order a serum electrolyte test to monitor the effectiveness of various treatments. The test helps understand the course of a specific medical condition. There are multiple causes of an electrolyte imbalance, including dehydration. An electrolyte test helps physicians arrive at a specific diagnosis or rule out a suspected disease. Electrolyte panel may also be a part of testing for other systems like Renal function tests and Comprehensive metabolic panel. Get in touch for a reliable electrolyte panel test!
Significance of Estradiol Test - Its Uses, Procedure, and What to Expect
Doctors leverage several tests to determine the underlying causes affecting fertility, puberty, menopause, and other concerns. The female hormone estradiol is one of the important types of estrogen. Estradiol test is a helpful test for women suffering from post-menopausal vaginal bleeding, infertility, or concerns about menstrual cycles. It measures the levels of estradiol in the blood. It also helps in studying the causes of night sweats and hot flashes. Women undergoing Hormonal Replacement Therapy (HRT) during menopause may need an estradiol test to assess the effect of HRT. Read ahead to understand what to expect from the estradiol test besides its uses and procedure. Importance of appropriate estrogens levels The hormone estrogen plays a vital role in maintaining a woman's health, from menarche to menopause. There are three types of estrogen hormones, each having a specific function during different stages of a woman's life. Estrone (E1): Occurring during the post-menopausal period Estradiol (E2): An important hormone supporting the development of reproductive organs, breasts, and outer genitals Estriol (E3): Has significance during the period of pregnancy Occasionally, a few problems arise because of abnormal estradiol levels, such as: Ovarian tumors Breast cancer Development of breasts in men (gynecomastia) Fluctuations in the levels of sex hormones or having an excess or inadequate amount of these hormones can significantly affect a woman's health. The hormonal imbalance may cause infertility, menstrual problems, post-vaginal bleeding, and menopausal symptoms. What is the estradiol test? Usually, doctors recommend estradiol test to study the development of an individual's sex characteristics. The test is helpful for both men and women because estradiol can affect the growth of both sexes. Detection of early or late puberty is an essential aim of the estradiol test. Monitoring hormone levels is crucial in transgenders undergoing feminization or women having problems with menopause who need hormone therapy. It is also necessary to monitor the effectiveness of infertility treatment in women. Estradiol is also released by the testes in men in small amounts, although the produced hormone level is lower than in women. In men, estradiol plays a significant role in the healthy functioning of the brain and sexual drive and the development of reproductive organs. Estradiol test for males helps doctors determine estradiol levels, as this helps prevent the early death of sperms. Sudden stopping of the menstrual cycle may signal early menopause. An estradiol test provides insights into the onset or progress of menopause. The production of estradiol reduces during and after the commencement of menopause. Doctors can determine whether a woman is about to enter menopause or is going through the same. The estradiol test is vital for examining the functioning of ovaries. Women experiencing the following symptoms may have problems in their ovaries: Rise in the frequency of urination Loss of weight Pain in the pelvic region Pain in the lower abdomen Sudden fullness during meals Bloating Estradiol test [E2 Estradiol Serum Test] is usually one of the several tests for diagnosing many conditions affecting a woman's health. Doctors use the test results to correlate with other tests and clinical examinations before reaching the final diagnosis. Estradiol test - what to expect The serum estradiol test involves collecting a small amount of blood by puncturing the vein. An expert lab technician will use a small needle to withdraw blood from the individual's arm or wrist. It is normal to experience a pricking sensation as the needle punctures the vein to draw blood. The amount of blood depends upon the number of lab tests a doctor requests besides the estradiol test. The technician will provide a cotton swab or bandage to help the site of the injection heal. It may take three to five business days to receive the test results. Checking estradiol levels at a particular time and day is vital because the levels fluctuate throughout the day and during the menstrual cycle. Discuss with the doctor if you are taking any particular medication as these can affect the hormone level and, thereby, the test results. These medicines may have to be temporarily stopped before the test. Some of the medicines that impact the levels of estradiol are: Antibiotics Steroids Contraceptive pills Hormones used in HRT Estradiol test normal range The normal range of estradiol tests can vary slightly depending on the laboratory. The range can also vary according to the individual's age and gender. The values of estradiol levels are in picograms per milliliter or pg/ml. Following are estradiol test normal range values: Men: between 10 and 50 pg/ml Women in the postmenopausal stage: between 0 and 30 pg/ml Women in the premenopausal stage: between 30 and 400 pg/ml Interpretation of estradiol test results The serum estradiol test results can indicate various abnormalities depending on the sex and age of the individual. Pregnancy can influence estradiol levels. The test results help assess the cause of an individual's symptoms. However, this test alone may not be adequate to conclude a diagnosis. Higher than normal levels of estradiol Higher estradiol levels may suggest: Development of breasts in males Overactive thyroid gland leading to hyperthyroidism Presence of ovarian tumors Tumors in testes Liver cirrhosis Lower than normal estradiol levels Lower values of serum estradiol test may signal: Presence of a single X chromosome in women (Turner's syndrome) Low body fat because of diminished production of estrogen Problem with the functioning of ovaries like in ovarian failure Infertility because of polycystic ovarian disorder Reduced hormone production by testes and ovaries in hypogonadism Conclusion Estradiol is a helpful hormone secreted by adrenal glands and ovaries. Estradiol plays a crucial role in maintaining several bodily functions and the development of sexual organs. The estradiol test [ Estradiol Serum Test] is a simple blood test to measure serum estradiol levels. Physicians recommend the test to determine levels of a particular estrogen in the blood.
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. InterpretationTriglycerides levelNormalless than 150mg/dL Borderline high150-199mg/dL High200-499mg/dL Very high500+ 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.
Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) Infection Diagnosis, its Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment
Several blood-borne infections can pass on from one individual to the other irrespective of the fact that person may not have any symptoms. This is because Hepatitis C Virus or HCV may not exhibit symptoms even at an acute stage. No wonder, then, that it is also often referred to as a silent epidemic. About Hepatitis C (HCV) Infection HCV infection is caused by Hepatitis C Virus (HCV), resulting in swelling and damage to the liver. Such is the silent nature of the disease that one in two individuals with HCV infection may not experience symptoms for decades after contracting HCV. Without HCV treatment, the chances of the spread more than double. HCV infection progresses through different stages. The period between HCV entering the body and the start of the Hepatitis C disease is called the incubation stage. The next stage lasts for about six months and is termed Acute infection. Few patients with acute Hepatitis C may get rid of the HCV infection without moving to the chronic stage. Over 85 percent of patients in the acute phase may enter the chronic stage, leading to severe conditions such as cirrhosis or liver cancer. Early diagnosis and medication are known to be effective in curing the infection. Hence, HCV screening is advisable for people at high risk How Can You Get an HCV infection? The Hepatitis C Virus enters your body through infected syringes and blood transfusion. Sharing personal items like toothbrushes, shaving razors, or nail clippers will make you more likely to contract the disease but this is rare. In addition, individuals with multiple sex partners can get HCV if they are not taking precautions like using condoms. An infected person's partner is equally at risk of being infected with the Hep C virus. What are the Hepatitis C (HCV) Symptoms? As mentioned earlier, you may not exhibit any HCV symptoms despite an active Hepatitis C infection. It may take two weeks to six months for the initial symptoms to surface. In certain cases, though, symptoms remain mysteriously absent even at the stage where the infection has turned chronic. It is only when HCV begins to damage the liver that you experience severe symptoms. An acute HCV infection comes with the following symptoms: Nausea and vomiting Pain in the abdomen Appetite loss Yellowing of skin, eyes, and urine Poop having clay colour Fever Weakness Symptoms of chronic HCV infection are more serious. Chronic HCV infection causes scarring of liver tissues and may lead to cancer. Why is HCV Screening Crucial? Chronic HCV infection can damage the liver and patients may end up with terminal illnesses like liver cirrhosis or cancer. HCV testing involves detection of HCV antibody Simple and quick test- HCV screening involves a simple blood test to determine if you have the infection. In addition, the physician may recommend a repeat test to rule out the probability of a chronic infection. High-risk individuals should consider a repeat HCV test even if the first test was negative as HCV antibody take some time to rise after exposure Confirmation through PCR If you have a positive HCV antibody test it is advisable to get a HCV PCR test done to confirm diagnosis.The PCR test involves the detection of RNA, a type of genetic material. A quantitative HCV RNA PCR test measures the viral load in patients who test positive for the anti-HCV screening test. It is also helpful in assessing the effectiveness of the antiviral treatment for HCV infection. Visit us for HCV RNA Detection Test.
Blood Clotting Disorders: Types, Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis, And Treatment
Blood clotting is a life-saving process, as it stops the bleeding from any injury. Blood clotting disorders are conditions that affect the formation of normal blood clots in the body. Disorders causing blood clotting may become life-threatening if they cause too much or too little clotting. Platelets are the cells present in our blood which are responsible for the formation of clots. Platelets combine with some blood proteins and form a plug at the place of injury to stop the bleeding. Types Of Blood Clotting Disorders There are some blood clotting disorders in which the blood does not clot easily. Such individuals suffer from excessive blood loss during any surgery or injury, which may become dangerous. On the contrary, there are other blood clotting disorders in which blood coagulates too much, resulting in the formation of blood clots inside the arteries or veins, which interrupts the blood supply and can cause a heart attack, stroke, or even death. Some examples of bleeding disorders in which the body does not form enough clots are: Haemophilia Von Willebrand’s disease Examples of excessive blood clotting are: Deep venous thrombosis (DVT) Pulmonary embolism (PE) Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC) Symptoms Of Blood Clotting Disorders Though the symptoms vary according to the type of blood clotting disorder you have, some common signs and symptoms include: Easy bruising. Excessive and prolonged bleeding from even small cuts. Heavy bleeding during menstrual periods. Recurrent nose bleeding. Pain, swelling, and tenderness in the legs (DVT). Chest pain and shortness of breath (PE). Black or blue patches on skin with minor injuries. What Causes Blood Clotting Disorders? Blood clotting disorders occur when there are either too many or too few platelets or there is a deficiency of blood clotting proteins/factors. The reasons can be genetic or acquired. Genetic: Factor V Leiden mutation Prothrombin gene mutation Protein C, Protein S, or antithrombin deficiency Elevated Factor VIII, IX, or XI Acquired: Certain Cancers. Chemotherapy drugs or some other medication side effect. Hormone replacement therapy. Pregnancy. Bedridden or lack of physical activity. Placement of central venous catheter. Vitamin K deficiency. Vitamin B or folate deficiency. Liver disease. HIV. Diagnosis Of Blood Clotting Disorders Your physician will do a physical examination to look for any signs of bruising or swelling. He will ask you about your family medical history to rule out any genetic bleeding disorder. You must tell your doctor if you have noticed any of the above-mentioned symptoms suggestive of clotting disorder. If your physician suspects that you may have a coagulation disorder based on the above findings, he will order some confirmatory tests to establish the diagnosis of the blood clotting disorder. Some tests for blood clotting disorders are: D-dimer test: This blood test measures the level of D-dimer in the body. D-dimer is a protein fragment that forms when a blood clot dissolves. Elevated levels of D-dimer indicate that you may have a blood clotting disorder. Complete blood count (CBC): CBC is ordered to look for abnormalities in the blood cell count such as red blood cell count and platelet count, as these affect blood clotting. Prothrombin time (PT or PT-INR) and activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT): Prothrombin is a protein produced by the liver. Prothrombin time determines the time it takes for your blood to clot. If it is longer than normal, it may indicate a blood clotting disorder. Von Willebrand factor test: This test determines if your blood lacks the von Willebrand factor, which is required for blood clotting. Clotting factor test: This test is performed to look for deficiency of any clotting factor, as it can cause clotting problems. Genetic testing: Genetic testing identifies any gene mutations responsible for coagulation abnormalities such as factor V Leiden mutation, prothrombin gene mutation, factor IX etc. Thrombophilia profile: Consists of battery of tests to diagnose diseases related to high risk of clotting of blood. Tests include Antigen and Activity of Protein C, Protein S, AT-III. APCR, Lupus Anticoagulant, Homocysteine, Beta-2 Glycoprotein 1 (IgG / IgM), ACA(IgG / IgM) Imaging: Imaging studies such as CT scans or sonography may also be done to locate any blood clots in the body. Why Book A Blood Coagulation Test? Blood coagulation tests assess your body’s ability to clot blood, and the time taken for clotting. They are also helpful in determining the exact cause of your blood clotting issues, which guides your physician in planning the best treatment for you. They pinpoint the specific deficiency you may have, such as platelet deficiency or clotting factor deficiency, which can then be replenished to successfully manage the condition. If your genetic testing shows a gene mutation that is causing a clotting disorder, your family members should also undergo testing to see if they too are at risk of having a coagulation issue and can take appropriate precautionary measures. Doing blood coagulation tests at regular intervals for individuals who are on medicines that affect the clotting process, such as warfarin or heparin, are crucial in monitoring the efficacy of such medications and making dosage adjustments as required. It is also useful to undergo coagulation tests before any upcoming surgery or childbirth to assess your risk of bleeding during these procedures, and to make appropriate arrangements in advance. Book a D-dimer test and other coagulation tests to rule out any blood clotting disorders! Who Treats Blood Clotting disorders? You should consult a vascular disease specialist, a haematologist, or a physician specialising in coagulation disorders for the treatment of your blood clotting disorder. Blood Clotting Disorder Treatment The treatment approach varies according to the type of bleeding disorder and its severity. Treatment aims at relieving the symptoms, as blood clotting disorders cannot be completely cured. Transfusion: If there has been an excessive loss of blood due to a clotting disorder, the lost blood is replaced through blood transfusion. Patients with deficiency of factors V or VIII are treated with fresh frozen plasma transfusion. Treatment of clotting problems due to deficiency in clotting factors is done with injections of concentrates of clotting factors using factor replacement therapy. Iron supplementation: Iron supplements are given to treat iron deficiency resulting from excessive blood loss. Iron-deficiency like anaemia causes dizziness, weakness, and tiredness. Vitamin K supplementation: If you have a deficiency of vitamin K, it can lead to coagulation problems. Thus, your physician will prescribe you vitamin K supplements to bring the levels back to normal. Getting timely treatment of your blood clotting disorder can be life-saving. Consult your physician promptly if you observe any signs or symptoms suggestive of a coagulation issue.
What You Need To Know About Low Testosterone
What is testosterone? Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone produced by the testes. It is responsible for developing male characteristic features like facial and body hair, muscular strength, deep voice, etc. Moreover, testosterone is needed to produce sperm. Although testosterone is a male sex hormone, it is produced in small amounts in women’s ovaries. It combines with oestrogen to help in bone mass and maintenance and growth of reproductive tissues. What is low testosterone? The average testosterone levels vary depending on factors like protein levels, thyroid functioning, etc. However, the AUA (American Urological Association) has fixed 246-836 ng/dL as the normal level for a man. Normal testosterone levels in men are different from that in women. The average testosterone levels for women vary from 15-70 ng/dL. Testosterone levels below this are said to be low levels of testosterone. Testosterone levels are at their peak in adolescents and young adults. Then they start declining at 1% every year after 30 years of age. This is natural. However, too low levels of testosterone can cause undesired effects. So, it is better to test your testosterone levels if you suspect deficiency and decide if you need treatment for low testosterone. How do you test testosterone levels? To determine if you have testosterone deficiency, your doctor will ask you to measure the hormone levels in your blood. The hormone levels are usually high in the morning. So, it is generally recommended to take the test before 10 am for young adults and before 2 pm for men of age 45 and above. You should mention your medications because some may affect hormone levels. Your doctor will ask you to stop taking them before testing. It is a simple test, and there are no risks involved. Measuring total testosterone is usually sufficient for diagnosis. However, in cases of mild abnormalities total testosterone and bioavailable/ free testosterone should be measured What are the causes of low testosterone? Causes of low testosterone in men include: Ageing Injury to the testicles Infection in testes Trauma leading to head injury Medications like corticosteroids and pain meds like opioid Obesity and high body fat Extreme weight loss Overconsumption of alcohol Drug abuse Treatments for cancer, including radiation and chemotherapy Emotional stress Chronic illnesses including liver cirrhosis, hypothyroidism, uncontrolled type 2 diabetes mellitus, and kidney failure Pituitary gland diseases like tumour and dysfunction Genetic reasons like Klinefelter syndrome Sleep apnea What are the symptoms of low testosterone in men 1. Low libido Sexual desire will decrease drastically if the testosterone levels are low because testosterone plays a significant role in libido. 2. Erectile dysfunction Testosterone commands your brain to produce nitric oxide that stimulates a few reactions necessary for erection. When the hormone levels are low, the risk of difficulty getting and maintaining an erection is high. 3. Decrease in muscle mass Testosterone levels and muscle mass are directly proportional. The more the level of testosterone, the more muscle mass. Hence, when testosterone levels decrease, the muscle mass also decreases. 4.Tiredness If you feel extremely exhausted and cannot find the energy to perform your everyday tasks, it could be one of the symptoms of low testosterone. 5. Hair loss Low testosterone not only affects the hair on top of your head but has an impact on facial and chest hair too. 6. Heavy sweating Feeling hot, sweating excessively, sweating suddenly while sleeping, and redness of the skin are symptoms of decreased testosterone levels. 7. Changes in mood Low testosterone levels can cause anxiety, anger, irritability, hostility, and mood swings. It also increases stress. 8. Small penis Testosterone plays a vital role in the development of the penis, and it may make your scrotum look softer than usual. What are the symptoms of low testosterone in women? Decreased sex drive Mood swings Weight gain Infertility Sleep issues and Loss of memory How can you increase testosterone levels naturally? 1. Exercising and weight lifting Studies have proved that exercising regularly can boost testosterone levels. Weight lifting, resistance training, and high-intensity interval training are the best exercises that work to a large extent. 2. Proper diet Include more protein in your diet. It helps in weight loss which is essential for increasing testosterone. Carbohydrates are also needed for better resistance training. A balanced diet with protein, carbs, and healthy fat will help to optimise hormone levels. 3. Good sleep A study shows that people who slept for just 5 hours a day had low testosterone levels compared to those who slept for 7 or more hours a day. Experts have concluded that there is a 15% increase in testosterone production for every additional hour after 5 hours of sleep. 4. Onions, ginger, and garlic Include onions, ginger, and garlic in your recipes. They contain flavonoids that boost the production of testosterone. Add spice to your foods to increase testosterone. 5. No stress Get rid of stress because stress increases the production of cortisol, which decreases testosterone. What are the treatment options for low testosterone? Testosterone therapy is the best testosterone treatment. Testosterone replacement therapy can be in one of the following ways. Gel - Topical gels rubbed on thighs, shoulders, and upper arms increase testosterone levels. Skin patch - A patch applied on the skin in the evening is very effective. The patch has to be changed after 24 hours. Injections - Testosterone levels rise instantly to very high levels after the injection, but the sudden rise may cause mood changes. Oral medications - It may be in the form of capsules that can be swallowed or tablets that are attached to the side of your inner cheek. However, testosterone treatment may cause undesired side effects like sleep apnea, shrinking of testicles, decrease in sperm count, and acne. It should be taken only if the doctors recommend it. Taking a testosterone profile test is essential to decide if you need testosterone therapy or not. So, if you are experiencing the symptoms of low testosterone, take a testosterone profile test without delay.