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Monday, 6 June 2011

Heart disease

Heart Disease

Heart Disease

You know how important your heart is, so it's no wonder people worry when they hear someone has heart problems.
Heart disease, also called cardiovascular (say: kar-dee-oh-vas-kyoo-lur) disease, mainly affects older people and means that there are problems with the heart and blood vessels.
You might know someone who has cardiovascular disease because 61 million Americans have some form of it. This disease includes a variety of problems, including high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, chest pain, heart attacks, and strokes.

What Is Heart Disease?

The heart is the center of the cardiovascular system. Through the body's blood vessels, the heart pumps blood to all of the body's cells. The blood carries oxygen, which the cells need. Cardiovascular disease is a group of problems that occur when the heart and blood vessels aren't working the way they should.
Here are some of the problems that go along with cardiovascular disease:
  • Arteriosclerosis (say: ar-teer-ee-oh-skluh-row-sus): also called hardening of the arteries, arteriosclerosis means the arteries become thickened and are no longer as flexible.
  • Atherosclerosis (say: ah-thuh-row-skluh-row-sus): a buildup of cholesterol and fat that makes the arteries narrower so less blood can flow through. Those buildups are called plaque.
  • Angina (say: an-jy-nuh): people with angina feel a pain in the chest that means the heart isn't getting enough blood.
  • Heart attack: when a blood clot or other blockage cuts blood flow to a part of the heart.
  • Stroke: when part of the brain doesn't get enough blood due to a clot or a burst blood vessel.

 

Skin Cancer

 

Definition

Skin cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal skin cells. If left unchecked, these cancer cells can spread from the skin into other tissues and organs.
There are different types of skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma is the most common. Melanoma is less common, but more dangerous.

Alternative Names

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The outer layer of skin, the epidermis, is made up of different types of cells. Skin cancers are classified by the types of epidermal cells involved:
  • Basal cell carcinoma develops from abnormal growth of the cells in the lowest layer of the epidermis and is the most common type of skin cancer.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma involves changes in the squamous cells, found in the middle layer of the epidermis.
  • Melanoma occurs in the melanocytes (cells that produce pigment) and is less common than squamous or basal cell carcinoma, but more dangerous. It is the leading cause of death from skin disease.
Skin cancers are sometimes classified as either melanoma or nonmelanoma. Basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are the most common nonmelanoma skin cancers. Other nonmelanoma skin cancers are Kaposi's sarcoma, Merkel cell carcinoma, and cutaneous lymphoma.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the Unites States. Known risk factors for skin cancer include the following:
  • Complexion: Skin cancers are more common in people with light-colored skin, hair, and eyes.
  • Genetics: Having a family history of melanoma increases the risk of developing this cancer.
  • Age: Nonmelanoma skin cancers are more common after age 40.
  • Sun exposure and sunburn: Most skin cancers occur on areas of the skin that are regularly exposed to sunlight or other ultraviolet radiation. This is considered the primary cause of all skin cancers.
Skin cancer can develop in anyone, not only people with these risk factors. Young, healthy people -- even those with with dark skin, hair, and eyes -- can develop skin cancer.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

High Blood Pressure

Definition

Hypertension is the term used to describe high blood pressure.
Blood pressure readings are measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and usually given as two numbers. For example, 120 over 80 (written as 120/80 mmHg).
  • The top number is your systolic pressure, the pressure created when your heart beats. It is considered high if it is consistently over 140.
  • The bottom number is your diastolic pressure, the pressure inside blood vessels when the heart is at rest. It is considered high if it is consistently over 90.
Either or both of these numbers may be too high.
Pre-hypertension is when your systolic blood pressure is between 120 and 139 or your diastolic blood pressure is between 80 and 89 on multiple readings. If you have pre-hypertension, you are more likely to develop high blood pressure.
See also: Blood pressure

Symptoms

Most of the time, there are no symptoms. Symptoms that may occur include:
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Ear noise or buzzing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Nosebleed
  • Tiredness
  • Vision changes
If you have a severe headache or any of the symptoms above, see your doctor right away. These may be signs of a complication or dangerously high blood pressure called malignant hypertension.
 

Definition

Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 and Exercises

Definition

Type 1 diabetes is a chronic (lifelong) disease that occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin to properly control blood sugar levels.
See also:

Symptoms

Some people will have no symptoms before they are diagnosed with diabetes.
Others may notice these symptoms as the first signs of type 1 diabetes, or when the blood sugar is high:
  • Feeling tired or fatigued
  • Feeling hungry
  • Being very thirsty
  • Urinating more often
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Having blurry eyesight
  • Losing the feeling or feeling tingling in your feet
For others, warning symptoms that they are becoming very sick may be the first signs of type 1 diabetes, or may happen when the blood sugar is very high (see: diabetic ketoacidosis):
  • Deep, rapid breathing
  • Dry skin and mouth
  • Flushed face
  • Fruity breath odor
  • Nausea or vomiting, unable to keep down fluids
  • Stomach pain
Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) can develop quickly in people with diabetes who are taking insulin. Symptoms typically appear when the blood sugar level falls below 70. Watch for:
  • Headache
  • Hunger
  • Nervousness
  • Rapid heartbeat (palpitations)
  • Shaking
  • Sweating
  • Weakness

Treatment

The immediate goals are to treat diabetic ketoacidosis and high blood glucose levels. Because type 1 diabetes can start suddenly and have severe symptoms, people who are newly diagnosed may need to go to the hospital.
The long-term goals of treatment are to:
These goals are accomplished through:
  • Blood pressure and cholesterol control
  • Careful self testing of blood glucose levels
  • Education
  • Exercise
  • Foot care
  • Meal planning and weight control
  • Medication or insulin use
There is no cure for diabetes. Treatment involves medicines, diet, and exercise to control blood sugar and prevent symptoms.
LEARN THESE SKILLS
Basic diabetes management skills will help prevent the need for emergency care. These skills include:
  • How to recognize and treat low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and high blood sugar (hyperglycemia)
  • What to eat and when
  • How to take insulin or oral medication
  • How to test and record blood glucose
  • How to test urine for ketones (type 1 diabetes only)
  • How to adjust insulin or food intake when changing exercise and eating habits
  • How to handle sick days
  • Where to buy diabetes supplies and how to store them
After you learn the basics of diabetes care, learn how the disease can cause long-term health problems and the best ways to prevent these problems. Review and update your knowledge, because new research and improved ways to treat diabetes are constantly being developed.
SELF-TESTING
If you have diabetes, your doctor may tell you to regularly check your blood sugar levels at home. There are a number of devices available, and they use only a drop of blood. Self-monitoring tells you how well diet, medication, and exercise are working together to control your diabetes. It can help your doctor prevent complications.
The American Diabetes Association recommends keeping blood sugar levels in the range of:
  • 80 - 120 mg/dL before meals
  • 100 - 140 mg/dL at bedtime
Your doctor may adjust this depending on your circumstances.
WHAT TO EAT
You should work closely with your health care provider to learn how much fat, protein, and carbohydrates you need in your diet. A registered dietician can help you plan your dietary needs.
People with type 1 diabetes should eat at about the same times each day and try to be consistent with the types of food they choose. This helps to prevent blood sugar from becoming extremely high or low.
People with type 2 diabetes should follow a well-balanced and low-fat diet.
See: Diabetes diet
HOW TO TAKE MEDICATION
Medications to treat diabetes include insulin and glucose-lowering pills called oral hypoglycemic drugs.
People with type 1 diabetes cannot make their own insulin. They need daily insulin injections. Insulin does not come in pill form. Injections are generally needed one to four times per day. Some people use an insulin pump. It is worn at all times and delivers a steady flow of insulin throughout the day. Other people may use inhaled insulin. See also: Type 1 diabetes
Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes may respond to treatment with exercise, diet, and medicines taken by mouth. There are several types of medicines used to lower blood glucose in type 2 diabetes. See also: Type 2 diabetes
Medications may be switched to insulin during pregnancy and while breastfeeding.
Gestational diabetes may be treated with exercise and changes in diet.
EXERCISE
Regular exercise is especially important for people with diabetes. It helps with blood sugar control, weight loss, and high blood pressure. People with diabetes who exercise are less likely to experience a heart attack or stroke than those who do not exercise regularly.
Here are some exercise considerations:
  • Always check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program.
  • Ask your doctor or nurse if you have the right footwear.
  • Choose an enjoyable physical activity that is appropriate for your current fitness level.
  • Exercise every day, and at the same time of day, if possible.
  • Monitor blood glucose levels before and after exercise.
  • Carry food that contains a fast-acting carbohydrate in case you become hypoglycemic during or after exercise.
  • Carry a diabetes identification card and a cell phone in case of emergency.
  • Drink extra fluids that do not contain sugar before, during, and after exercise.
You may need to change your diet or medication dose if you change your exercise intensity or duration to keep blood sugar levels from going too high or low.
FOOT CARE
People with diabetes are more likely to have foot problems. Diabetes can damage blood vessels and nerves and decrease the body's ability to fight infection. You may not notice a foot injury until an infection develops. Death of skin and other tissue can occur.
If left untreated, the affected foot may need to be amputated. Diabetes is the most common condition leading to amputations.
To prevent injury to the feet, check and care for your feet every day.
See: Diabetes foot care.

Thursday, 2 June 2011