Monday, March 19, 2012

General Knowledge about Popular Medical Conditions : Cholesterol, Diabetes, High Blood pressure and Obesity

This blog post is a lot and dense but, I  felt the need to write it.
Medical Disclaimer: The medical information provided on this blog is just information and cannot substitute for the advice of a medical professional (for instance, a qualified doctor/physician, nurse, pharmacist/chemist, and so on). I am not a doctor.
I do not take responsibility for the results or consequences of any attempt to use or adopt any of the information presented on this blog.

I am sure we all know someone who has high blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes, is overweight or obese. Some of these people are really close to home, they can be a family member, a close friend or even yourself. The sad thing these things do not frighten us anymore. When someone says they have diabetes you don’t say “I am sorry to hear that, it must be hard for you to deal with this is disease”. We have become so accustomed to people having all of these conditions that we don’t think that is serious disease.

Let’s break it down:  A simple overview of each condition.
High Blood Pressure
 Your body for some reason is pumping your blood throughout your body at a fast rate even though you are not running, climbing, are fighting for your life. Your poor hard working heart has to deal with this fast rate – it’s getting pounded!
So… what is the danger?: you could have a stroke, heart attack, go blind, or faint.  There many different types of blood pressure medication. One type is called beta blockers, they  reduce your heart rate and the way  your heart pump blood throughout your body. BTW normal blood pressure is consider 128/80. High blood pressure is 140/90.
How is it controlled by: Medication, Exercise, Diet, Stress relieving techniques. MEDS is an acronym I came up this because these methods are used to control most heart related conditions.
Bottom Line: There is no one single way to get high blood pressure (some people are pre-disposed due to genetics, other people it’s their lifestyle: smoking, drinking, and eating unhealthy).  There is no cure that we know of as of yet. Therefore, there is no magic pill that will cure you once you take it, this is a lifelong disease that can be controlled and you can live a happy life. You can reduce your blood pressure by changing your lifestyle – you can even get off medication- only if you doctor says you can.

 Your hard working liver makes cholesterol for our bodies every day. We also consume cholesterol by eating things that are from animals (meats, poultry, fish and dairy products). The problem is when we eat too much cholesterol our body is getting clogged up with the waxy stuff.  This is called plaque - having clogged arteries is no laughing matter or something to take lightly. 
So…what is the danger?: If you have clogged blood vessels they can’t carry blood to your arteries which deprives you heart from getting enough oxygen. This can lead to a heart attack or the vessels in your brain may not get enough oxygen- you could have a stroke.
How is it controlled: Medication, Exercise, Diet, =MED
Bottom Line: Your cholesterol can be controlled and you can be high cholesterol free.  If your genes increase your chances of having cholesterol you might have to be on medication if diet and exercise does not work. Make sure you know your numbers! When I ask my loved ones what was your numbers they say “I don’t know – my doctor said they were good”. It’s your job to ask about your numbers and it’s the doctor’s job to explain it to you.
Your TOTAL cholesterol reading is made of two numbers: HDL( Good)  and LDL ( bad L) .  A High cholesterol reading is  240 and above, the ideal cholesterol reading should be less than 200, new studies now  say less than 170 is best. You also get a triglyceride test.  You should be more mindful of what these numbers mean!
HDL ( the good one) : an very good score is that you have  60 or higher. If you have less than 40 -its poor.
LDL ( the bad L) : You want less than 100-HOWEVER – if you are high risk for heart disease you want it even lower like 70. High LDL is 160 or more.
So what does this mean? If you doctors says your total cholesterol was 200 , you feel good about it! But find out that that your LDL is 160 and your HDL is 40. Then you may feel concerned.   Talk to you doctors about how you can decrease the LDL and increase your HDL.
Triglycerides: ( this is fatty substance found in the body) A good score is less than 150. A high amount of Triglycerides is 200 or more.

For me diabetes is more complicated to explain. I will give it my best shot. We all have heard of  type 1 or type 2 diabetes. We know that diabetes has something to do with the sugar levels in your blood. Here is why is more complicated than that.
If you have diabetes one or two of these scenarios could be happening:
·         Your wonderful pancreas is the one who regulates your glucose ( sugar), sometimes it  has problems such as making enough insulin
·          Your cells are responding to insulin,
·          or both.
 We need insulin to convert the sugar we eat and turn it into fuel for us to burn.
Here are the different types of Diabetes:
Type 1: This where your body make little or no insulin. It can occur at any age, but mostly its diagnosed during childhood –young adult age.
Type 2: Your fat, liver, and muscle cells are not responding correctly to insulin. The sugar just accumulates on your blood- this is called hyperglycemia. If you are overweight it’s harder for our bodies to use insulin the right way. This generally occurs in adulthood, however there more and more  teens and young adults diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.  
Gestational Diabetes: A pregnant women develop  diabetes who do not have the disease prior to being pregnant. There are risk factors for gestational diabetes-some of them are: genetics, body weight, and too much amniotic fluid. Generally after they give birth most women do not have diabetes.  To make sure women are tested after birth to see if they still have diabetes. Having gestational diabetes puts a woman at risk for developing diabetes later in life.
So…what is the danger?: If you have diabetes and do not control it over time you can eye problems, foot and leg infections ( sometimes an amputation of the foot or leg is needed), you can have a harder time controlling blood pressure and cholesterol which puts you at risk for heart problems. Nerve and kidney damage can occur.
How is it controlled:
Type 2: MED
Type 1: You may need insulin shots and MED
Gestational Diabetes: monitoring of your baby, EDS= (some women may need medication)
Again you need to know your numbers. When you go to your doctor’s office ask what where my diabetes numbers:
You can receive two types of test: You doctor should explain to you what is test represents and why he is giving you each test.
Fasting glucose blood test: you want your score to be less than 100mg/dL. If your score is 126 mg/Ld or higher you have a high sugar content in your blood.
HbAlc: This is tests tell the doctor how well your body is handling your sugar over a three month period.
Normal : Less than 5.7%
Pre-Diabetes: 5.7-6.4 % ( this generally means you do not have diabetes but, your high than normal amount of sugar in your blood. Be careful.
Diabetes: 6.5% or higher
Only your doctor can diagnose you with having diabetes.
The Bottom line: It can be overwhelming to deal with diabetes and hard to manage each day. However, your doctor should provide great support. Also, there are nutritionist and diabetes counselors that are available to help, you can ask your doctor for a referral. Being pregnant is already a challenge, having gestational diabetes can make this more complicated but, pregnant woman can have nutritionist and diabetes counselors that can support them through pregnancy. Being pregnant with gestational diabetes can be very difficult as cravings for sweets  or carbs can increase and the thought of being on a special diet while being pregnant seems so unfair. Diabetes is a complicated disease and should be taken seriously. If you are at risk for having diabetes it would be a great idea to talk to your doctor about prevention, if your loved has it try to be supportive as you can.  Sugar is addicting!... and it is hard  stop the cravings – if you feel you have a problem talk to your doctor. You can greatly improve your diabetes by diet and exercise.!
Overweight/ Obese:  
Extra fat on our body does more damage than giving us a muffin top.  This is a sensitive issue, there many many many reasons why people are overweight: genetics, environment, diet and lack of physical activity, eating fast foods, stress, depression, hormonal imbalance.
I feel that it hard to keep your weight off living a world of hundreds of commercials about fast food , unhealthy foods and  drinking. Then you have the media that have mostly slim people and you are left confused. Yes there are more commercials for the gym and there are warning or recommendations about being healthy but, still do not compare the Pepsi and Coke and MC Donald’s campaigns. I am not saying are to blame but they are not helping!
So…What is the danger: Being overweight and obese puts our bodies in danger of many diseases such as High Blood pressure, diabetes, and coronary heart disease. Your body does function as well as should with the extra fat.
How its controlled: Well if I knew the answer to that I would be a millionaire! We know that maintain a healthy lifestyle is the best way to keep your body healthy. What does that entail:
Eating: Fruits, Veggies, Whole grains, low fat diary (cheese, milk, yogurt), sweets and junk in moderation ( ice cream, juice, candy, cake, chips, all fried foods)
Exercise: You should be getting 30 mins of moderate exercise on most days ( jogging, speed walking, dancing, jumping rope, swimming). You can do 10 minute intervals at one time.
Stress reducing activities: yoga, meditation, praying, laughing with a friend, having a support group.
Educate yourself: read food labels so you know what you are eating. Learn about different whole grain – such as Quinoa or bulgur. There are many Asian and Indian veggies that taste great and are good for you. Like bitter melon, chana and bok choy
Know your numbers: Know your cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose numbers. Ask the doctors what they were- don’t just settle for they were good.
For people that want to look thin,   “Sexy “or “ “healthy”: Some people set these unrealistic bars for themselves and then they fight to keep their weight at that level until they give up. Let me explain ( like my father in-law would say) I am talking about people who want to look thin by only dieting and not by lifestyle change. I am not talking about going from a size 12 to a size 6 but going from a size 12 to a size 0 within two months. I am talking about this group of people because some them end up in the overweight category as well and they need support. It’s normal to want to be thin- its much easier doing it if your change your lifestyle: eating healthy exercise, stress relief , getting your annual checkup, cooking at home,  and reading food labels.  
Again - It’s much easier said than done, as we are human as our emotions are complex- and so is life -things happen. So we all gain weight that we don’t want -it’s just how we handle it that makes the difference. 

Much of this information is combination of work experience, the DASH eating plan and general knowledge from


  1. I think your blog will help so many people understand the dangers of these conditions. You broke it down into easy to understands format. The information is very accurate and everyone could benefit from it, if they take it seriously. Great job!!

  2. Thank you so munch for this informative peice of information. I shall hire you to help educate my company on this, please contact me so that we can talk further.