Frequently asked questions on important topics

Zumba Fitness at Kemps Corner with Zumba Fitness Instructor ZIN Swetha Jairam
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Wed
October 18, 2017
Zumba classes at kemps corner
Research Expert Panel Member ZIN Swetha Jairam
 
 

Active Lifestyle Coaching

What causes diabetes?

Researchers believe diabetes is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. While a person may be genetically predisposed to having either type 1 or type 2 diabetes, it takes an environmental trigger to actually set the wheels in motion.

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What tests are recommended for diagnosing diabetes?

A fasting blood plasma glucose test, performed first thing in the morning, is the preferred test for diagnosing type 1 or type 2 diabetes. However, a diagnosis of diabetes can be made based on a random (i.e., any time of day) plasma glucose test and an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). The findings should be confirmed with a follow up test on a subsequent day.

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What should my blood glucose levels test at?

Everyone has individual goals for diabetes management. You should work with your doctor to set your target goals for self-monitored blood glucose levels. However, the American Diabetes Association suggests the following general guidelines for people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes*:

  • Fasting or before meals (preprandial) – 90 to 130 mg/dl (5.0 to 7.2 mmol/l)
  • At bedtime – 110 to 150 mg/dl (6.1 to 8.3 mmol/l)
  • Two hours after eating (postprandial) – under 180 mg/dl (<10.0 mmol/l)
    The American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists suggests slightly different goals for SMBG*:
    -Fasting – <110 mg/dl
    -Two hours postprandial – <140 mg/dl

    *Note: all values are plasma.

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Is type 2 diabetes curable or reversible?

 At this point in time, there is no known cure for type 1 or type 2 diabetes. While symptoms of type 2 diabetes can be well controlled with diet and exercise in some people with type 2 diabetes, they continue to have the disease even if their blood glucose levels remain within target ranges.

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What is an A1c test?

An A1c test, also called a hemoglobin A1c, HbA1c, or glycosylated hemoglobin test, is a measurement of your long-term blood glucose management. The blood test, which the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends at least twice yearly, represents an average of the last three months of blood glucose levels. The ADA suggests that patients and their providers try to keep their A1c at 7% or lower, while the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) recommends a target of 6.5% or less.

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I have type 2 diabetes, and just started insulin. Does that mean I’m type 1 now?

A: No. Many people with type 2 diabetes who can’t adequately control their blood glucose levels with diet, exercise, or oral medications go on insulin. The type of diabetes you have is defined by the cause, not the treatment. People with type 1 diabetes have experienced beta cell destruction and make insufficient insulin to control their blood glucose levels. People with type 2 generally make enough insulin, but they are resistant to its effects. To further complicate things, people with type 1 diabetes can become insulin resistant, and people with type 2 diabetes can experience some degree of beta cell destruction. However, this usually occurs many years post-diagnosis, and doesn’t change the fundamental type of diabetes you have.

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How does exercise lower blood glucose levels?

Several ways. When you work out, your muscles use glycogen-a glucose source stored in muscle tissue-for energy. With prolonged exercise, the muscles take up glucose at an accelerated rate, turning to blood glucose once glycogen stores have been depleted. In addition, if you have type 2 diabetes and are overweight, exercise can help you lose excess body fat, which will in turn decrease your insulin resistance. The blood glucose lowering affect of exercise can last for up to 72 hours after a work out. It’s important to note, however, that exercise can also have a hyperglycemic (or high blood glucose) effect on some people. In particular, long sessions of very strenuous exercise can cause blood sugars to rise. Always consult with your diabetes care provider before starting an exercise program.

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Why are carbohydrates so important in diabetes care?

Carbohydrates are important because they’re your body’s main source of glucose. Overload on dietary carbohydrates and your blood glucose levels rise. That’s why knowing the quantity of carbohydrates you’re eating, and other related nutrient qualities of your food, is so important.

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Now that I have diabetes, do I cut all sugar out of my diet?

Eating right with diabetes is more about moderation and healthy food choices then severe dietary restriction. While you do need to manage your intake of all carbohydrates (i.e., starchy vegetables and grains and cereals as well as sugar), people with diabetes can occasionally enjoy foods containing sugar as part of their overall daily meal plan. It should be remembered, however, that sugar is calorie-rich and nutrient-poor, so moderation is key. Many people with diabetes prefer to use artificial sweeteners and sugar substitutes for its lower calorie content and minimal impact on blood glucose levels. A registered dietitian can help you create a meal plan that works for you.

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What makes my blood sugar go up?

Blood glucose levels go high for a variety of reasons-illness, stress, injury, improper diet, and medication, to name a few. In addition, some prescription drugs taken for other conditions (e.g., estrogens and corticosteroids) can cause hyperglycemia. If your blood glucose levels are consistently running too high, talk to your doctor about possible culprits and how to adjust your treatment plan accordingly.

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Why do I go to bed with normal blood sugar levels and wake up with high levels when I haven’t eaten all night?

Morning highs are typically caused by one of two things: The Somogyi effect (also called rebound hyperglycemia) or Dawn Phenomenon.
With the Somogyi effect, you may be experiencing hypoglycemia (or low blood glucose episodes) during the night. In reaction to these untreated lows, your body releases stress hormones and the subsequent high blood glucose levels that you’re seeing in the morning. The Dawn Phenomenon is an early-morning (4:00 to 8:00 AM) natural rise in blood glucose levels that is caused by a release of hormones as your body prepares to meet the day.
Sometimes these morning highs can be avoided by a bedtime snack at night or other adjustments in insulin or medication. Talk to your doctor about any unexplained irregularities in blood glucose levels and how you might adjust your treatment plan accordingly.

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What is prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a condition that precedes type 2 diabetes. It’s also called impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) or impaired fasting glucose (IFG), depending on the test used to diagnose it. People with prediabetes have higher than normal blood glucose levels, but they aren’t elevated enough to be diagnosed as diabetes.

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Why is smoking dangerous to health?

Smoking is responsible for several diseases, such as cancer, long-term (chronic) respiratory diseases, and heart disease, as well as premature death. Scientists say there are over 4,000 compounds in cigarette smoke. A sizeable number of them are toxic – they are bad for us and damage our cells. Some of them cause cancer – they are carcinogenic. Smoking causes an accumulation of fatty substances in the arteries, known as atherosclerosis, the main contributor to smoking-related deaths. Smoking is also a significant contributory factor in coronary heart disease risk. People with coronary heart disease are much more likely to have a heart attack.

Tobacco smoke raises the risk of coronary heart disease by itself. When combined with other risk factors, such as hypertension (high blood pressure), obesity, physical inactivity, or diabetes, the risk of serious, chronic illness and death is huge.

Smoking also worsens heart disease risk factors. It raises blood pressure, makes it harder to do exercise, makes the blood clot more easily than it should. People who have undergone bypass surgery and smoke have a higher risk of recurrent coronary heart disease.

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What medicine should I choose to quit smoking?

All of the medicines work well in helping a person to quit smoking. If you associate smoking with having something in your mouth, you may do better with nicotine gum. The patch delivers nicotine continuously for 16 hours while you are awake, or 24 hours if you use a patch that’s worn all night. If you haven’t had success with other nicotine products, the nasal spray or inhaler may help you. A non-nicotine prescription medicine such as bupropion hydrochloride or varenicline can help most people and may be used with nicotine medicines. Talk to your doctor about which medicine might work best for you.  Following are few options you can use:

Nicotine Replacement Medicines

Nicotine Chewing Gum or Lozenges

Nicotine Patch

Nicotine Spray

Nicotine Inhaler

 

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How does smoking affect my risk for respiratory disease?

Smoking injures lung tissue and affects the lungs’ ability to fight infections. Tissue damage from smoking can lead to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is sometimes called emphysema. COPD is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. More than 90 percent deaths from COPD are caused by smoking.

Smoking also can cause other respiratory diseases, such as chronic bronchitis and pneumonia. Smokers are more likely than nonsmokers to have upper and lower respiratory tract infections, perhaps because smoking suppresses immune function. Smokers’ lung function also declines more quickly than that of nonsmokers.

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How does smoking affect my risk for cardiovascular disease?

Heart disease and stroke are cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) diseases caused by smoking. Heart disease and stroke are the first and third leading causes of death in the United States. Most cases of these diseases are caused by atherosclerosis, a hardening and narrowing of the arteries. Smoking speeds up this process, even in young smokers. Cigarette smoke damages the cells lining the blood vessels and heart, causing swelling that prevents the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart. Smoking also increases a person’s risk of dangerous blood clots, which can also cause a heart attack or stroke.

Fortunately, risks for heart disease and stroke decrease steadily after a person quits. One year after a person quits, their risk for a heart attack drops sharply. Two to five years after quitting, their risk for stroke falls to about the same as a nonsmoker’s.

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How does smoking affect reproductive health in women?

Women who smoke have more difficulty becoming pregnant and have a higher risk of never becoming pregnant. Those who smoke during pregnancy also have a greater chance of complications, including placenta previa, a condition in which the placenta grows too close to the opening of the uterus, and placental abruption, a condition in which the placenta prematurely separates from the wall of the uterus.

In addition to complications, women who smoke during pregnancy are at higher risk for premature birth, a low birth weight infant, stillbirth, and infant mortality.

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How does smoking affect reproductive health in men?

Although only a small number of studies have looked at the relation between smoking and erectile dysfunction, research findings suggest that smoking may be associated with an increased risk for this condition. More studies are needed, however, before researchers can conclude that smoking is causally related to erectile dysfunction.

Research also suggests that cigarette smoking may affect the amount of semen and sperm produced and adversely affect sperm quality.

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How does smoking affect my risk for cancer?

Certain agents in tobacco smoke can damage important genes that control the growth of cells, which increases a person’s risk for many types of cancer.

Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death. About 87 percent of lung cancer cases are caused by smoking. Smokers are about 20 times more likely to develop lung cancer than nonsmokers. Smoking also causes cancers of the mouth, throat, larynx (voice box), and esophagus, and it increases a person’s risk of developing cancer of the pancreas, kidney, bladder, cervix, and stomach. Smoking may also contribute to the development of acute myeloid leukemia, which is a cancer of the blood.

For smoking-attributable cancers, the risk generally increases with the number of cigarettes smoked and the number of years of smoking. Risks generally decrease after a person quits completely. Ten years after quitting, the risk of developing lung cancer decreases by as much as half.

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What health problems are associated with excessive alcohol use?

Excessive drinking both in the form of heavy drinking or binge drinking, is associated with numerous health problems, including—

  • Chronic diseases such as liver cirrhosis (damage to liver cells); pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas); various cancers, including liver, mouth, throat, larynx (the voice box), and esophagus; high blood pressure; and psychological disorders.
  • Unintentional injuries, such as motor-vehicle traffic crashes, falls, drowning, burns and firearm injuries.
  • Violence, such as child maltreatment, homicide, and suicide.
  • Harm to a developing fetus if a woman drinks while pregnant, such as fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  • Alcohol abuse or dependence.

 

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Why are women’s low-risk limits different from men’s?

Research shows that women start to have alcohol-related problems at lower drinking levels than men do. One reason is that, on average, women weigh less than men. In addition, alcohol disperses in body water, and pound for pound, women have less water in their bodies than men do. So after a man and woman of the same weight drink the same amount of alcohol, the woman’s blood alcohol concentration will tend to be higher, putting her at greater risk for harm.

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Isn’t drinking good for the heart?

For some drinkers, the answer can be “yes,” depending on the amount. Regular light to moderate drinking can lower the risk for coronary heart disease, mainly among middle-aged and older adults (other factors also cut the risk, including a healthy diet and weight, exercise, and not smoking). Heavy drinking can actually increase blood pressure and damage the heart.

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Is “low-risk” drinking just another term for “moderate” drinking?

Not exactly—the weekly amounts may be the same, but the daily ones are different, and the recommendations serve different purposes for different types of drinkers.

  • Low-risk drinking for healthy men under age 65 is no more than 4 drinks on any day and 14 per week and for healthy women (and men over 65) is no more than 3 drinks on any day and 7 per week.
  • Moderate drinking, according to the U.S. dietary guidelines, is up to 2 drinks per day for men and up to 1 drink per day for women. (Per week, this corresponds to an upper limit of 14 drinks for men and 7 for women.)

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Why do some people react differently to alcohol than others?

Individual reactions to alcohol vary, and are influenced by many factors; such as:

  • Age.
  • Gender.
  • Race or ethnicity.
  • Physical condition (weight, fitness level, etc).
  • Amount of food consumed before drinking.
  • How quickly the alcohol was consumed.
  • Use of drugs or prescription medicines.
  • Family history of alcohol problems.

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How does alcohol affect a person?

Alcohol affects every organ in the body. It is a central nervous system depressant that is rapidly absorbed from the stomach and small intestine into the bloodstream. Alcohol is metabolized in the liver by enzymes; however, the liver can only metabolize a small amount of alcohol at a time, leaving the excess alcohol to circulate throughout the body. The intensity of the effect of alcohol on the body is directly related to the amount consumed.

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What is high blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the force of blood against your artery walls as it circulates through your body. Blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day, but it can cause health problems if it stays high for a long. High blood pressure is called the “silent killer” because many people don’t realize they have it. High blood pressure often has no warning signs or symptoms.

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What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?

High blood pressure is sometimes called the “silent killer” because it usually has no warning signs or symptoms. Many people do not know that they have high blood pressure. That’s why it’s important to get your blood pressure checked regularly.

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What can you do to reduce your risk?

There are several things that you can do to keep your blood pressure in a healthy range—
  • Get your blood pressure checked regularly.
  • Eat a healthy diet.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Be physically active.
  • Limit alcohol use.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Prevent or treat diabetes.

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Do you have any guidelines on the correct way to measure blood pressure?

The patient should be seated for at least 5 minutes, relaxed and not moving or speaking
• The arm must be supported at the level of the heart. Ensure no tight clothing constricts the arm
• Place the cuff on neatly with the centre of the bladder over the brachial artery. The bladder should encircle at least 80% of the arm (but not more than 100%
• Some monitors allow manual blood pressure setting selection where you choose the appropriate setting. Other monitors will automatically inflate and re-inflate to the next setting if required.
• Repeat three times and record measurement as displayed. Initially test blood pressure in both arms and use arm with highest reading for subsequent measurement.

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How do I know which cuff size to use?

The bladder of the cuff should fit around at least 80% of the arm but not more than 100%.  A cuff that does not fit properly will not give an accurate reading so it is important to use the right size.

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How many readings do I have to take when measuring blood pressure and how do I record them. Which one do I use?

Two measurements should be taken (1-2 minutes apart), the initial value being discarded if there is a large (>10mmHg) difference between the first and subsequent readings and further measurements made.

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When measuring blood pressure, should the tubes of the cuff bladder be pointing up or down?

If you are using a manual blood pressure monitor, it is sensible to position the tubes to the top of the cuff so that they don’t interfere with the stethoscope.  If you are using an automatic device then it doesn’t matter which way up you use the cuff.  Some cuffs are conically shaped i.e. larger at the top than the bottom to fit the shape of the upper arm.  In this case there is only one way to fit with tubes downwards.

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Do you have any guidelines on the correct way to measure blood pressure?

Stage 1 hypertension Clinic blood pressure is 140/90 mmHg or higher
and subsequent ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) daytime
average or home blood pressure monitoring (HBPM) average blood
pressure is 135/85 mmHg or higher.
Stage 2 hypertension Clinic blood pressure is 160/100 mmHg or higher
and subsequent ABPM daytime average or HBPM average blood pressure
is 150/95 mmHg or higher.
Severe hypertension Clinic systolic blood pressure is 180 mmHg or higher
or clinic diastolic blood pressure is 110 mmHg or higher.

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What is heart disease?

Heart disease is a term that includes several more specific heart conditions. The most common heart disease in the US is coronary artery disease (CAD). CAD occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle become hardened and narrowed due to the buildup of plaque. The narrowing and buildup of plaques is called atherosclerosis. Plaques are a mixture of fatty and other substances including cholesterol and other lipids. Blood flow to the heart is reduced, which reduces oxygen to the heart muscle. This can lead to heart attack. Other heart conditions include angina, heart failure, and arrhythmias.

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What are symptoms of heart attack?

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. This can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath. This often comes along with chest discomfort. But it also can occur before chest discomfort.
  • Other symptoms. These may include breaking out in a cold sweat or experiencing nausea or light–headedness.

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What are the risk factors for heart disease?

Some conditions as well as some lifestyle factors can put people at a higher risk for heart disease. The most important modifiable risk factors for heart disease are high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, cigarette smoking, diabetes, physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, and obesity. In principle, all persons can take steps to lower their risk for heart disease. For more information about these risk factors.

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Can’t I just prevent heart disease by taking the right vitamins?

The concept of taking vitamins to prevent heart disease is a great one – the problem is that we don’t have any proof that they really do. Evidence based on nutritional surveys suggest that people who eat foods richer in vitamins E, vitamin C and other vitamins are less likely to have heart disease.

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How can I make my heart disease go away?

You are asking about the potential for “regression,” the process by which heart blockages can be made to partially get better. There is now evidence that this is possible in some people through a combination of lifestyle changes, exercise, diet, and when needed, cholesterol lowering. However, in general the major issue is not making heart blockages go away, rather just making sure that they don’t get worse or cause another heart attack. We now have tremendous evidence that future heart attacks can be prevented, especially by aggressive treatment to lower cholesterol.

 

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Can’t I wait until I get heart disease and then have angioplasty or bypass?

If only things were that easy! First, having a heart catheterization and bypass surgery is no fun and to be avoided if at all possible. But even more importantly, almost half of the people who have heart attacks die of their first heart attack before they ever have the chance of having things fixed. Therefore, it’s better to try to figure out if you’re at risk and to try to decrease your risk to prevent heart disease.

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What are the warning signs of angina or a heart attack in women?

Unfortunately, many women believe that heart disease predominates in men and is less likely a threat to a woman’s health than conditions like breast or ovarian cancer. The reality is that approximately 1 in 2 women will die from heart disease or stroke, and during any given year, cardiovascular disease will claim nearly twice as many lives as all forms of cancer combined.

While it is true that cardiovascular disease tends to strike men approximately 5 to 10 years earlier than in women, after menopause, the rate of cardiovascular disease in women accelerates and approaches the rate in men. Women are also at risk for doing worse after suffering a heart attack than men. Part of this may relate to the fact that women are typically older and have more hypertension when heart disease strikes and, thus, less able to withstand such damage to the body.

The typical symptoms of heart attack include chest pressure, tightness, or pain that may or may not radiate to your jaw, shoulders, or down your arms. If you are experiencing a true heart attack, these symptoms can come on at any time of the day or night, and can occur during rest or activity. The important consideration is that these chest sensations usually persist for more than 5 to 10 minutes (chest sensations resolving earlier than this time may be a warning sign not to ignore) and do not resolve with rest. Symptoms commonly associated include shortness of breath, clamminess, sweatiness and a nauseated feeling. Palpitations, light-headedness, profound fatigue, a heartburn-like sensation in the upper portion of your abdomen, confusion or agitation, and even a “heaviness” in your legs may occur.

Silent heart attacks are more common in older, typically female individuals, and those with diabetes, a history of smoking and prior heart disease. While these heart attacks are considered “silent,” in reality, many individuals will complain of new ill-feelings, including shortness of breath, fatigue or nausea that arise over the span of several days.

Learning about the warning signs and ways of prevention of heart attacks is one of the first steps to fighting cardiovascular disease. Listening to your body when something does not feel right is the second. Discussing these issues with your doctor and understanding the ways of prevention will allow you to follow a personally tailored prevention program that maximally reduces your risk for the years to come.

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What are normal heart rates, and how do I know if mine is too high?

Your resting heart rate is best described as the number of times your heart beats per minute when you are in a fully relaxed physical and mental state. For the typical adult (older than 18), this value usually ranges between 60 and 100 times per minute. Younger ages, however, are strongly associated with higher normal resting heart rates. Normal rates can be as high as 160 beats per minute for infants and 120 beats per minute for children. Females also tend to have slightly higher heart rates than males, as do individuals with higher body masses.

Heart rates, particularly during and after exercise, though, are also highly sensitive to a person’s hydration and nutrition status. Dehydration represents a state of diminished water supply in your body. Because circulating blood is composed of approximately 83 percent water, dehydration effectively lowers the amount of blood that your heart is able to circulate with one beat, or contraction. Your heart compensates for this low “water” volume by beating more times per minute.

Occasionally, though, medical conditions and medications must also be considered if, in fact, your resting heart rate is truly high for your current age. High stress and anxiety are the most common conditions. Anemia, overactive thyroid function, diabetes, eating disorders like anorexia nervosa, and any illness causing a fever can also each associate with higher-than-normal resting heart rates.

Certain stimulants that are smoked, ingested in your diet, or taken as dietary supplements or pills can cause significant increases in your heart rate without causing any other symptoms. These include nicotine (tobacco), caffeine, dietary pills such as ephedrine, and over-the-counter cold remedies such as Dristan and Sudafed.

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What Is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that occurs naturally in all parts of the body and is made by the liver. Cholesterol also is present in foods we eat. People need cholesterol for the body to function normally. Cholesterol is present in the cell walls or membranes everywhere in the body, including the brain, nerves, muscles, skin, liver, intestines, and heart.

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Why Should I Be Concerned About Cholesterol?

Too much cholesterol in your body means that you have an increased risk of getting cardiovascular diseases such as heart disease. If you have too much cholesterol in your body, the cholesterol can build up on the walls of the arteries that carry blood to your heart. This buildup, which occurs over time, causes less blood and oxygen to get to your heart. This can cause chest pain and heart attacks.

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What’s the Difference between “Good” and “Bad” Cholesterol?

HDL (high density lipoprotein) cholesterol is known as good cholesterol. HDL takes the bad cholesterol out of your blood and keeps it from building up in your arteries. LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol is known as bad cholesterol because it can build up on the walls of your arteries and increase your chances of getting cardiovascular disease. When being tested for high cholesterol, you want a high HDL number and a low LDL number.

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What Makes My Cholesterol Levels Go Up?

Eating foods such as meats, whole milk dairy products, egg yolks, and some kinds of fish can make your cholesterol levels go up. Being overweight can make your bad cholesterol go up and your good cholesterol go down. Also, after women go through menopause, their bad cholesterol levels tend to go up.

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What Can I Do To Lower My Cholesterol Levels?

You can lower your cholesterol levels by making changes to your lifestyle. Here are some tips.

  • Eat foods with less fat, saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • Take off the skin and fat from meat, poultry and fish.
  • Broil, bake, roast, or poach instead of frying foods.
  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables everyday.
  • Eat lots of cereals, breads, rice, and pasta made from whole grains, such as whole wheat bread or spaghetti.
  • Get lots of exercise everyday. Talk to your doctor about what are the safest and best ways for you to exercise.
  • Lose weight if you are overweight.
  • Stop smoking.
  • Take your high blood cholesterol medication as prescribed by your doctor.

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At What Age Should People Begin Having Their Cholesterol Checked?

It is important to have your cholesterol level checked when you are young, since clogging of the arteries (atherosclerosis) is a gradual process that takes many years. Total cholesterol should be measured at least every five years starting at age 20.

Note: If you have high cholesterol and your doctor has told you there may be an underlying genetic cause, you may want to have your children, under age 20, get their cholesterol levels tested. Talk to your children’s health care providers about cholesterol testing.

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What are the uncontrollable and controllable risk factors for high cholesterol?

A person can control lifestyle options to maximize their potential to control high cholesterol levels with a healthy diet, exercise, weight control, and avoiding or quitting smoking.

However, there are some situations that are beyond control of the individual. Family history and genetic predisposition to high cholesterol, aging (men older than 45 and women older than 55), and diseases that cause the liver to produce more cholesterol or prevent it from metabolizing cholesterol are risk factors for high cholesterol. These risks can be minimized by living a healthier lifestyle but may require cholesterol-lowering medication.

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How is cholesterol checked?

Cholesterol screening is part of a blood test called a lipoprotein analysis that measures not only total cholesterol in the body but also different types of cholesterol and triglycerides(another type of fat in the body). Total cholesterol is made up two types of cholesterol;

  1. High density lipoproteins (HDL) which may protect the body against narrowing blood vessels and is considered good cholesterol, and
  2. Low density lipoproteins (LDL) is considered bad cholesterol and may make arterial narrowing worse.

The test is done after a 9 to 12 hour fast and your health care practitioner can help interpret the results and decide whether treatment is required.

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What kinds of problems are caused by high cholesterol?

High cholesterol may cause atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), which can lead to narrowed coronary arteries to the heart and chest pain (angina) or heart attack.

Narrowed carotid arteries that supply blood to the brain may cause a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or stroke (CVA).

Narrowed arteries to the legs can cause pain with walking (claudication) which is a symptom of peripheral artery disease.

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". . . Swetha has great knowledge of body mechanics, muscle function and is capable of determining the individual abilities of her clients. Her pleasant and positive attitude is a great asset to her willingness to work with her clients at their own levels. She instills confidence and encouragement to make you want to work further and apply yourself more diligently. . . "
Susan D'souza - Student