6 Surprising Health Benefits of Donating Blood

Every three seconds, someone needs a blood transfusion!

Moreover, 20% of the recipients are children, cancer patients, accident victims or patients undergoing surgery who just need a little pint of your blood that could save their lives.

It’s shocking to say that though 60% of the population are eligible to donate blood, yet less than 4% do! Car accident victims, cancer patients need pints of blood that gets hard to obtain.

Since blood can’t be made or manufactured, these patients depend on blood donors for their lives. After a poll on the reasons why people hesitate giving blood, we found out a good number of reasons.

Though you’re considering donating blood but are unsure of the effect it will have on your body. Or maybe you’ve done it before and are curious about how it might impact you if you donate regularly. In any case, you may be surprised at some of the advantages. We consulted with health professionals to identify some of the biggest benefits of donating blood.

The benefits of giving blood

1. Giving blood can reveal potential health problems

While it isn’t the same thing as a trip to the doctor, donating blood can be another way to keep an eye on your cardiovascular health. You’ll receive a mini-physical prior to the blood draw, in which someone will check your pulse, blood pressure, body temperature, hemoglobin and more.  This can sometimes shed light on issues you didn’t even know about.

“If your blood is too low in iron, the clinic will tell you and won’t draw your blood. They will also inform you of any other blood issues they notice or if anything seems unusual. An occasional check up on your blood quality could be the key to spotting a health issue before it becomes life-threatening.

2. Giving blood can reduce harmful iron stores

One in every two hundred people in the U.S. is affected by a condition called hemochromatosis and most of them don’t even know it. Hemochromatosis is a disease that causes an iron overload and is labeled as the most common genetic disease.

Blood donation helps reduce the body’s extra iron stores and maintains optimum levels of iron in the body.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the removal of red blood cells by phlebotomy (or donating blood) is the preferred treatment for patients with excess iron in their blood.

3. Giving blood may lower your risk of suffering a heart attack

Donating blood at least once a year could reduce your risk of a heart attack by 88 percent, according to a study conducted by the American Journal of Epidemiology.*

High levels of iron in the blood constrict your blood vessels and create more risk of a heart attack. Depleting those extra iron deposits by donating blood gives your vessels more room to operate and flow

4. Giving blood may reduce your risk of developing cancer

In an average, completely healthy person, the link between giving blood and decreased cancer risk is slim. But research does support a reduced risk of cancer for blood donors with different maladies, one of which is hemochromatosis.

A study focused on patients affected by peripheral arterial disease (PAD) describes the patients affected with this disease had a common circulatory problem. PAD patients who regularly donated blood had a lower risk of developing cancer than those who did not.

5. Giving blood can help your liver stay healthy

Another danger of iron overload is the health of your liver. “In recent years, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the hepatic expression of metabolic syndrome, has reached epidemic proportions,” reports the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Research has linked too much iron with NAFLD, Hepatitis C and other liver diseases and infections. Though there are many other factors involved in these problems, donating blood can help relieve some of those iron stores and avoid extra issues in your liver.

6. Giving blood can help your mental state

While there are several physical benefits to donating blood, the most powerful health benefit is arguably in the psychological realm. Donating blood means that someone (or multiple people) somewhere will be getting the help they desperately need.

This kind of interaction has major psychological benefits. Getting out of your usual environment to do something good for someone else is stimulating in the best kind of way.  Volunteering has been shown to have positive effects on happiness. In people over 65-years-old, volunteering also reduces the risk of depression and loneliness.

Blood donation benefits everyone

The health benefits of donating blood are considerable—but of course, the most important part of the process is helping to save lives. Donating blood is good for you, and it’s even better for all the people who desperately need the help.

Donate blood, stay healthy and save lives!

Common Asthma Triggers and how to avoid them

Asthma can be stressful and challenging. Though you can’t see it coming, you definitely can prevent its trigger by avoiding certain circumstances, material or environment known as Asthma triggers. Asthma triggers can either worsen asthma symptoms or cause an asthma flare-up.

With a little planning, you can learn to prevent exposure to your triggers and reduce your risk for an asthma flare-up or attack. Here’s an article which tells you how you do it.

Triggers in the air

Exposure to pollen, air pollution, cigarette smoke, and fumes from burning vegetation can make your asthma flare up. Pollens are most troublesome during spring and fall, although flowers, weeds, and grasses bloom throughout the year. Avoid being outside during peak pollen times of day.

Use air conditioning to reduce indoor air pollutants, such as pollen, to lower the humidity in the room or house. This reduces your risk of exposure to dust mites and prevents you from the risk of a flare-up. Sometimes, exposure to cold weather may also cause a flare-up in some people. It is best to avoid extreme cold environment as much as you can.

Exposure to Feathered and furry pets can trigger asthma.

Pets and animals, though adorable, can trigger an asthma episode in people who are allergic to them.

Additionally, proteins found in an animal’s saliva, feces, urine, hair, and skin can trigger asthma. The best way to avoid a flare-up from these triggers is to avoid contact with animals altogether.

If you’re not ready to part ways with a beloved family pet, try keeping the animal out of your bedroom, off furniture, and outside most of the time if possible. Indoor pets should be bathed frequently.

Stay out of Dust-Mites

Dust mites is a common allergen found in places and rooms we frequent, including bedrooms, living rooms, and offices. You can purchase dust-proof covers for your mattress, box spring, and sofa. Washing linens on the hottest water setting cleans the trapped dust mites.

Carpets and rugs are dust magnets, too. If you have carpeting in your home, it may be time to bid adieu and have hardwood floors put down instead.

Don’t be friendly to mold

Mold and mildew are two big asthma triggers. You can prevent flare-ups from these triggers by being aware of damp places in your kitchen, bath, basement, and around the yard. High humidity increases the risk for mold and mildew growth. Invest in a dehumidifier if humidity is a concern. Be sure to toss out any shower curtains, rugs, leaves, or firewood with mold or mildew.

Threats that crawl

Cockroaches aren’t just creepy; they can make you sick, too. These bugs and their droppings are a potential asthma trigger. If you discover a cockroach problem, take steps to eliminate them. Cover up, store, and remove open water and food containers. Vacuum, sweep, and mop any areas where you see cockroaches. Call an exterminator or use roach gels to reduce the number of bugs in your home. Don’t forget to inspect your home’s outside to see where bugs might be hiding.

Other conditions can cause asthma

Infections, viruses, and diseases that affect your lungs can trigger your asthma. Examples include colds, respiratory infections, pneumonia, and the flu. Sinus infections and acid reflux can also cause an asthma flare-up, as can some medicines.

Perfumes and heavily scented items can aggravate your airways. Stress, anxiety, and other strong emotions can also trigger fast breathing. This irritation in your airway or fast breathing can cause an asthma flare-up too. Additionally, food allergies may cause an asthma attack, especially if you have a history of having an anaphylactic reaction to a food allergen.

Balance your exercise

Exercise can be a common asthma trigger, but this is one trigger you shouldn’t avoid. Physical activity is important for your overall health, and it’s a risk worth taking.

Be wise about incorporating physical activity, exercise, and outdoor activities into your life. If exercise-induced asthma is a concern, talk with your doctor about medications that help prevent asthma flare-ups when you’re physically active.

What to do when you can’t avoid triggers

In some situations, you cannot help getting exposed to some common allergens. Dust is a good example. People who are highly sensitive to dust will have a difficult time avoiding it.

In this case, your doctor may recommend allergy shots for you. Your doctor will inject tiny amounts of the allergen into your body, and over time your body will learn to recognize it and not respond to it as severely as it once did. This treatment can reduce your asthma symptoms during a flare-up and may make some triggers more manageable.

What’s your experience with Asthma triggers? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

How healthcare technology is impacting our lives

Technology has changed the world so much that if someone from 100 years found themselves in today’s world, they would probably think that they have been teleported to another world. The speed of change is so rapid that it’s difficult to anticipate where we are heading to in the span of 10 years.

Healthcare technology is no different. From improved operational efficiency to standards in patient care, the healthcare transformation has enhanced the entire experience for both patients and medical professionals.

Moreover, breakthroughs like robot-assisted surgery, virtual healthcare, nanomedicine are pushing boundaries of innovation that technology has brought to healthcare.

The following are five of the top healthcare technology and healthcare industry trends and innovations that are revolutionizing the field at the present.

Availability of Information and big data

There isn’t a doubt in the fact that big data has changed the way we manage, analyze and leverage data in any industry. Even in healthcare, its application has a lot of positive and lifesaving outcomes.

Healthcare data has helped doctors in gathering data and convert it in critical insights, that can then be used to provide better care. Healthcare data analytics is used now to analyse the data-driven findings to predict and solve a problem before it is too late, but also assess methods and treatments faster, keep better track of inventory, involve patients more in their own health and empower them with the tools to do so.

Electronic Medical Records

Electronic medical records allow all patient histories, test results, diagnoses and relevant information to be stored centrally in an online location. The data allows for more focused and accurate care as well as the ability to see health trends for each individual. Moreover, it’s becomes easier to access, share and store the voluminous health information in a single place, without the risk of misplacing or losing critical health information.

Telemedicine/Telehealth

The barriers of getting a professional medical advice is now shorter as medical professionals can now use media such as video, online discussion platforms for real-time consultation with patients. It gives patients options to consult right from home without having to travel. It also have opened up opportunities to patients to consult specialists out of town. The launch of electronic medical records has added to the efficiency of teleconsultation, making patient health records accessible to all relevant departments and care providers for discussion and deriving health insights . This results in improved case management, treatments and patient recovery.

Mobile apps

Mobile apps are key to improving accessibility for patients and healthcare professionals. It enables people to easily manage their health and wellbeing- right from prompting them to get checkups, to finding general medical information or accessing their test results securely online without having to spend more time in waiting to visit GP. There are also apps where healthcare professionals, can quickly access information relating to diseases and drugs, images for clinical matters, continued education activities and so on.

Medical breakthroughs

VR For workforce training: In a study, radiologists who viewed images of arteries through 3D VR technology were more confident when diagnosing splenic artery aneurysms.

VR for physical and mental health: Specialists use VR for pain management where immersion of virtual worlds have been shown to lower levels of anxiety and have relaxing effects. It is also used in Expose therapy where VR simulators can recreate frightening or tramautic environments to help patients accept emotions and face fears.

Healthcare technology have made lives easier, increased efficiencies and brought the world closer.

What are your thoughts on this? Share your thoughts in the comment section.


5 Lesser known Health benefits of Fasting

While fasting for Ramadan is down to spiritual beliefs, many of us choose to fast with the belief that it benefits our health. But does it?

Check out what our health experts say on this.

1. Fasting Aids Weight Loss

Many dieters pick up fasting looking for a quick and easy way to drop a few pounds.Research studies have found fasting may boost metabolism by increasing levels of the neurotransmitter nor-epinephrine, which is responsible for enhancing weight loss. Fasting may increase metabolism and help preserve muscle tissue to reduce body weight and body fat.

2. Fasting Improves Hunger

To experience the true nature of hunger, this would take anything from 12 to even 24 hours.

Fasting helps to regulate the hormones in your body so that you experience what true hunger is.

Fasting is more like a reset button: the longer you fast, the more your body can regulate itself to release the correct hormones, so that you can experience what real hunger is.

3. Fasting Improves Your Brain Function

Fasting has shown to improve brain function because it boosts the production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF.)[

BDNF activates brain stem cells to convert into new neurons, and triggers numerous other chemicals that promote neural health. This protein also protects your brain cells from changes associated with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

4. Fasting Improves Your Immune System

Intermittent fasting improves the immune system as it reduces free radical damage, regulates the inflammatory conditions in the body and starves off cancer cell formation.

Some studies prove that fasting for as little as three days can regenerate the entire immune system. However, it’s always safe to fast with respect to your body’s capability to withstand sudden changes in the body. If you are looking to experiment, seek your nutritionist’s advice on the best way to fast.

5. Fasting Improves Insulin Sensitivity

Fasting has shown to have a positive effect on insulin sensitivity, allowing you to tolerate carbohydrates (sugar) better than if you didn’t fast. A study showed that after periods of fasting, insulin becomes more effective in telling cells to take up glucose from blood.[

There are a myriad of other benefits that fasting offers along with a few drawbacks that you should not ignore. Let’s face it, there are some who can’t take more than others. Start off with one day at a time and slowly progress to more till a time when you can fast and make sure you don’t feel tired, dizzy, wobbly.

What most fasting enthusiasts who are new should realize is that fasting is a world that you should take one step into slowly. If you feel ill or your heart starts racing, don’t continue. Some could get a persistent cold or blood pressure going down or even emotional distress. Some end up becoming anemic with an imbalance of minerals in the body.

This Ramadan, let’s fast with a positive mind for the sake of spiritual enlightment and get the best of everything. Klinikals wishes you a happy Ramadan!

Everything You Need to Know About High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

High blood pressure, or hypertension, occurs when your blood pressure increases to unhealthy levels. The amount of blood passing through your blood vessels and the amount of resistance the blood meets while the heart is pumping determines your blood pressure.

The narrower your arteries are, the higher your blood pressure will be. Over the long term, increased pressure can cause health issues, including heart disease.

What are the symptoms of hypertension?

Hypertension is generally a silent condition. Many people won’t experience any symptoms. It may take years or even decades for the condition to reach levels severe enough that symptoms become obvious. Even after that, these symptoms may be attributed to other issues.

Symptoms of severe hypertension can include:

  • headaches
  • shortness of breath
  • nosebleeds
  • flushing
  • dizziness
  • chest pain
  • visual changes
  • blood in the urine

These symptoms require immediate medical attention. These symptoms don’t occur with everyone with hypertension, but it’s always wise to check your symptoms with the doctor as soon as you notice them.

The best way to know if you have hypertension is to get regular blood pressure readings which you can get in every doctor’s appointment.

What are the effects of high blood pressure on the body?

Since hypertension is a silent condition, it can cause damage to your body for years before symptoms become obvious. If hypertension isn’t treated, you may face serious, even fatal, complications.

Complications of hypertension include the following.

Arteries

Healthy arteries are flexible and strong. Blood flows freely and unobstructed through healthy arteries and vessels.

Hypertension makes arteries tougher, tighter, and less elastic. As a result, dietary fats easily deposit in your arteries and restrict blood flow. This damage can lead to increased blood pressure, blockages, and, eventually, heart attack and stroke.

Heart

Hypertension makes your heart work too hard. The increased pressure in your blood vessels forces your heart’s muscles to pump more frequently and with more force than a healthy heart should have to.

This may cause an enlarged heart. An enlarged heart increases your risk for the following:

  • heart failure
  • arrhythmias
  • sudden cardiac death
  • heart attack

Brain

Your brain relies on a healthy supply of oxygen-rich blood to work properly. High blood pressure can reduce your brain’s supply of blood:

  • Temporary blockages of blood flow to the brain are called transient ischemic attacks (TIAs).
  • Significant blockages of blood flow cause brain cells to die. This is known as a stroke.

Uncontrolled hypertension may also affect your memory and ability to learn, recall, speak, and reason. Treating hypertension often doesn’t erase or reverse the effects of uncontrolled hypertension. It does, however, lower the risks for future problems.

Dietary recommendations for people with high blood pressure

One of the easiest ways to treat hypertension and prevent possible complications is with your diet. What you eat can go a long way toward easing or eliminating hypertension.

Here are some of the most common dietary recommendations for people with hypertension.

Plant based diet

A plant-based diet is an easy way to increase fiber and reduce the amount of sodium and unhealthy saturated and trans fat you take in from dairy foods and meat. Increase the number of fruits, vegetables, leafy greens, and whole grains you’re eating. Instead of red meat, opt for healthier lean proteins like fish, poultry, or tofu.

Reduce dietary sodium

People with hypertension and those with an increased risk for heart disease need to keep their daily sodium intake between 1,500 milligrams and 2,300 milligrams per day. The best way to reduce sodium is to cook fresh foods and avoid eating restaurant food or prepackaged foods, which are often very high in sodium.

Cut back on sweets

Sugary foods and beverages contain empty calories but don’t have nutritional content. If you want something sweet, try eating fresh fruit or small amounts of dark chocolate that haven’t been sweetened as much with sugar. Studies suggest regularly eating dark chocolate may reduce blood pressure.

High blood pressure: Tips for prevention

If you have risk factors for hypertension, you can take steps now to lower your risk for the condition and its complications.

Add healthy foods to your diet

Slowly work your way up to eating more servings of heart-healthy plants. Aim to eat more than seven servings of fruits and vegetables each day. Then aim to add one more serving per day for two weeks. After those two weeks, aim to add one more serving. The goal is to have ten servings of fruits and vegetables per day.

Cut sugar

Try to incorporate fewer sugar-sweetened foods, including flavored yogurts, cereals, and sodas. Packaged foods hide unnecessary sugar, so be sure to read labels.

Set weight loss goals

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends a weight loss goal of one to two pounds a week. That means starting off eating 500 calories less per day than what you normally eat. Then decide on what physical activity you can start in order to reach that goal. Tune your body slowly to reach your weight loss goal instead of pressuring your body all of a sudden.

Monitor your blood pressure regularly

The best way to prevent complications and avoid problems is to catch hypertension early. You can come into your doctor’s office for a blood pressure reading, or your doctor may ask you to purchase a blood pressure cuff and take readings at home.

Keep a log of your blood pressure readings and take it to your regular doctor appointments. This can help your doctor see any possible problems before the condition advances.

The key to hypertension prevention is watching out for symptoms and management. What are your thoughts on this article? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

Why is immunization important?

It is always better to prevent a disease than to treat it after it occurs.

Diseases that used to be common around the world can now be prevented by vaccination. Thanks to vaccination the outbreak of smallpox was nullified because of its discovery. There are many cases where vaccines have prevented countless cases of disease and saved millions of lives.

While some of us are clearly against the use of vaccination for developing body immunity, we”l show you reasons why you should administer vaccines for immmunization.

Why vaccination?

Children are born with an immune system composed of cells, glands, organs, and fluids located throughout the body. The immune system recognizes germs that enter the body as “foreign invaders” (called antigens) and produces proteins called antibodies to fight them.

The first time a child is infected with a specific antigen, the immune system produces antibodies designed to fight it. The immune system “remembers” that antigen and when it enters the body again, even after many years, the immune system can produce antibodies fast enough to keep it from causing disease a second time. This protection is called immunity achieved by administering vaccines.

And as the famous adage goes” Prevention is always better than cure”.V prevent.

What happens in the body when we vaccinate?


Vaccines contain the same antigens (or parts of antigens) that cause diseases. For example, measles vaccine contains measles virus. But the antigens in vaccines are either killed, or weakened to the point that they don’t cause disease. However, they are strong enough to make the immune system produce antibodies that lead to immunity. In other words, a vaccine is a safer substitute for a child’s first exposure to a disease. T. Through vaccination, children can develop immunity without suffering from the actual diseases that vaccines prevent.

A good vaccine will provide adequate and prolonged protection against the disease.However, the number of doses needed varies from vaccine to vaccine. For some vaccines, there is a need for a booster dose later in life to maintain protection. These include vaccines against tetanus, diphtheria, polio and pertussis. Booster doses may also be required for travel vaccines.

Offers lifelong immunity

The best time to vaccinate is when we are tyoung. There are ample well resaerched reasons why health experts have chalked out atime table for administereing vaccinations. Once your body is introduced to vaccinations, your body rovides a lifelong vimmunity to that disease. Many diseases have been eliminated completely and others are close to extinction– primarily due to safe and effective vaccines.

Is safe and effective

Vaccines are only given to children after a long and careful review by scientists, doctors, and healthcare professionals. Vaccines will involve some discomfort and may cause pain, redness, or tenderness at the site of injection but this is minimal compared to the pain, discomfort, and trauma of the diseases these vaccines prevent. Serious side effects following vaccination, such as severe allergic reaction, are very rare. The disease-prevention benefits of getting vaccines are much greater than the possible side effects for almost all children.

Saves time and money

Some vaccine-preventable diseases can result in prolonged disabilities and can take a financial toll because of lost time at work, medical bills or long-term disability care. In contrast, getting vaccinated against these diseases is a good investment and usually covered by insurance. The Vaccines for Children program is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children from low-income families. Ask your child’s health care professional for more detailsI

Protects future generations

Vaccines have reduced and, in some cases, eliminated many diseases that killed or severely disabled people just a few generations ago. For example, smallpox vaccination eradicated that disease worldwide. Your children don’t have to get smallpox shots any more because the disease no longer exists. By vaccinating children against rubella (German measles), the risk that pregnant women will pass this virus on to their fetus or newborn has been dramatically decreased, and birth defects associated with that virus no longer are seen in the United States. If we continue vaccinating now, and vaccinating completely, parents in the future may be able to trust that some diseases of today will no longer be around to harm their children in the future.

Have you vaccinated your child yet? It’s time to get going. Share your thoughts about it in the comments section.

A beginner’s guide to Vitamin D

It’s not easy to estimate if you’re getting enough vitamin D. The only way to know for sure if you have a deficiency is to get tested, which most people rarely do.

Maintaining healthy levels of vitamin D is crucial for many of your body’s functions, but many of us aren’t getting nearly enough of it. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to increased risks of various cancers, cardiovascular disease, immune disorders, depression, and other adverse health conditions.

If you’re suffering from a vitamin D deficiency, it’s in your best interest to get yourself back up to recommended amounts quickly. Restoring your levels can help prevent health problems and complications. Fortunately, there are many simple, healthy, and effective ways to increase vitamin D levels.

What is Vitamin D and how does it help in the processes in our body?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that’s stored in the liver and fatty tissues. Unlike other vitamins, Vitamin D is mostly made up by our body on its own, rather than solely relying on food sources.

To obtain vitamin D, our body first converts sunshine into chemicals that are used by the body. In particular, when UV-B sunshine rays land on the skin,  a substance in the skin called 7-dehydrocholesterol converted into vitamin D3.

7-dehydrocholesterol is very similar to cholesterol itself and converts “previtamin D” to make it into usable vitamin D3. Previtamin D first travels through the kidneys and liver in the bloodstream and then is converted into a biologically active and usable substance called calcitriol.

Vitamin D actually becomes a hormone within the body, particularly a secosteroid hormone which impacts not only our skeletal structure, but also our blood pressure, immunity, mood, brain function and the ability to protect ourselves from cancer.

How Our Bodies Get Vitamin D From the Sun to Prevent Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms

Many people assume that the best way to acquire vitamin D is through drinking milk, eating fish or even taking supplements like cod liver oil. While these do serve as food sources of vitamin D, direct exposure to the sun is actually the best way to absorb this important vitamin.

When you sit in the sun unexposed, without sunscreen, for roughly 10 minutes, you likely absorb about 10,000 units of natural vitamin D. However, keep in mind that this amount differs from person to person, depending on skin tone.

Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency

You might not realize that you have a vitamin D deficiency as the symptoms can be very vague and unnoticeable. But certain signs are more common than others — manifestations of a deficiency can include lower back pain, throbbing bone pain marked by feelings of pressure over the sternum or tibia and muscle weakness. These symptoms sometimes lead to a misdiagnosis of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome or arthritis.

Testing for a Deficiency

Ask your doctor for a vitamin D test, known as the 25(OH)D test which will measure your levels in nanograms per milliliter.  The insufficiency levels is often categorized as under 30 nanograms per milliliter and a deficiency as less than 20 nanograms per milliliter. It is recommended that the level of 50 nanograms per milliliter. If your results return as insufficient or deficient, speak with your physician about the best course of treatment.

Top Vitamin D Sources to Prevent Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms

While some foods provide vitamin D, exposure to sunlight is still the best way to get the vitamin D you need in order to prevent vitamin D deficiency symptoms. However, eating foods that are rich in vitamin D also helps you acquire more. This good-quality , natural sources of vitamin D into your diet regularly really helps:

  1. Sunlight: Aim to spend 10–20 minutes of unexposed time in the sun daily (between 1,000 and 10,000 IUs).
  1. Food Sources: Such as Halibut, Carp Fish, Mackerel, Eel, Maitake Mushrooms (exposed to UV light), Salmon, Whitefish, Portobella Mushrooms (exposed to UV light), Swordfish, Rainbow Trout, Cod Liver Oil, Sardines, Tuna, Eggs, Raw Milk
  1. Taking a vitamin D supplement If you’re vitamin D deficient, it’s likely that your doctor will recommend a vitamin D supplement

Top 7 Health Benefits of Vitamin D

1. Contributes to Bone Health

Vitamin D plays a role in absorption into the bones. It also has effect on other important vitamins and minerals that contribute to both health, including vitamin Kand phosphorus.

A deficiency in vitamin D can result in the softening of your bones, which is called osteomalacia, or a bone abnormality called rickets. Additionally, a deficiency increases your risk for developing osteoporosis and experiencing fractures or broken bones.

2. Helps Manage Blood Sugar Levels and Can Prevent Diabetes

Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption and utilization, therefore contributing to the regulation of insulin secretion. (16)

According to a 2015 study published in Current Diabetes Reviews, vitamin D replacement has beneficial effects on all aspects of type 2 diabetes, including the incidence, control and complications of the disease. There is also mounting evidence linking low vitamin D levels to diabetes. (17)

3. Protects Against Cancer

Researchers have found that increased sunlight exposure and circulating levels of vitamin D are associated with the reduced occurrence and mortality in many types of cancer. (18)

Moreover, vitamin D deficiency symptoms have been correlated with increased risks for cancer development, especially breast, colon and prostate cancers.

4. Enhances the Immune System

Our immune cells contain receptors for vitamin D, and it’s been shown that vitamin D seems to prevent prolonged or excessive inflammatory responses. Inflammation is often at the root of many modern, chronic diseases and autoimmune disorders: multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive disorders, high blood pressure, and more. (22)

6. Facilitates Hormone Regulation and Helps Improve Mood

Because it acts like a hormone within our bodies and affects brain function, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an increased risk for mood disorders, including depressionseasonal affective disorder, and severe mood problems experienced during PMS, insomnia and anxiety. (23)

What are your thoughts on this article? Are you aware of your Vitamin D levels? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

Managing Type 2 Diabetes in Older Adults

Diabetes is common in the elderly population. By the age of 75, approximately 20% of the population are afflicted with this illness. Diabetes in elderly adults is metabolically distinct from diabetes in younger patient populations, and the approach to therapy needs to be different in this age group.

Moreover, the diagnosis of diabetes in the elderly is often missed because its symptoms, such as dizziness, confusion, and nocturia, are often common and nonspecific.  When left untreated, it can cause further health complications which cannot be corrected in later point of time.

This article will walk you through the risk factors and the diabetes management techniques in older patients. Let’s begin.

Why are seniors at risk of diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is linked to an unhealthy lifestyle. Major risk factors for diabetes include age, being overweight, genetic predisposition to diabetes, and a reduction in activity levels. The rates of type 2 diabetes steadily increase with age.

Type 2 diabetes is most likely to occur if you:

  • are over 45 years old and have high blood pressure;
  • are over 45 years old and are overweight;
  • are over 45 and have (or have had) one or more family members with diabetes;
  • have had a heart attack in the past;
  • have heart disease;
  • have or have had a blood sugar test that is borderline-high;
  • have or have had high blood sugar levels during pregnancy (a condition called gestational diabetes);
  • have polycystic ovary syndrome and are overweight;

What are the effects of diabetes on seniors?

A key issue for seniors with diabetes is that, sometimes, the symptoms may not be very obvious.

In addition, symptoms of type 2 diabetes such as excessive thirst or frequent urination ar e not strong symptoms to be noted and other symptoms like feeling tired and lethargic can often be misinterpreted as just part of the normal ageing process. For all the above reasons, older people with diabetes may be relatively free of symptoms and may remain undiagnosed until damage has been done.

If left unchecked, the accumulation of glucose in the blood can cause enormous damage to nearly every major organ in the body, including kidney damage; artery damage, which increases the risk of stroke and heart attack; eye damage, leading to vision loss; erectile dysfunction (impotence) in men; and nerve damage, which can lead to traumatic injury and infection. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to mend the damage that has already been done, but you and your doctor can work together to control your blood sugar and help minimise the impact of diabetes in the future.

How do other conditions affect diabetes for the elderly?

Many older people have other health conditions along with diabetes, and this can complicate diabetes management.

For example, high blood pressure or high levels of certain fats in the blood can progressively speed up the common complications of diabetes, such as kidney problems, eye problems, foot problems and heart and blood vessel problems.

Particularly elderly affected with diabetes and whose blood glucose levels are high are more prone to infections than people with normal blood glucose levels.  It ‘s important to keep your blood glucose levels in check while simultaneously taking precautionary measures against additional infection. Having regular vaccinations against ‘flu and pneumonia can help in this case.

Medications, herbs and supplements can also have an impact on your blood glucose levels, so make sure you tell each doctor, pharmacist and complementary healthcare practitioner who treats you that you have diabetes so they can recommend the appropriate treatment for you.

How can doctor help in diabetes Management in the elderly

Your doctor needs to run regular tests on the following:

  • Blood tests  to check that your diabetes is under control;
  • Eye check to keep track of possible eye disease (diabetic retinopathy);
  • Blood pressure monitoring
  • Foot health for any signs of foot ulcers or infections and recommend a specialist or podiatrist to help manage any diabetic foot problems, if necessary;
  • monitor your levels of cholesterol and triglycerides (types of fat found in the bloodstream), and provide treatment if your levels are outside the normal range;
  • Urine tests to check for any kidney problems (diabetic nephropathy);
  • Provide vaccinations against ‘flu and pneumococcal disease up-to-date to help prevent additional illness; and

Self management techniques for the elderly

For diabetes, the golden rule is management. Let’s explore a few self management techniques which by regular practice can show consistent results.

  • Wear proper footwear and monitor feet regularly
  • conduct regular blood glucose monitoring to keep track of your condition;
  • watch your diet and make healthy choices such as eating less fat and more healthy, carbohydrate-containing foods such as fruit, vegetables, bread and legumes;
  • quit smoking
  • lose weight if you need to;
  • Do some form of physical activity, under the guidance of your doctor;
  • keep any recommended vaccinations up-to-date; and
  • Ensure you take your medication according to your doctor’s instructions.

Remember, while untreated diabetes puts you at significant risk of a range of serious health problems, the risks can be minimized by appropriate medical and lifestyle treatment.

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Health Facts and Myths on Coffee

For most of us, this aroma filled golden vice is what starts our day! But when we are tempted to drink more of it, the endless conflicting stories about coffee fills us with guilt. Here we are with some deep research on how coffee affects your health, so that you can satisfy your taste buds and devour your next cup of brew with clear conscience. Let’s begin

Myth: Coffee causes heart disease

Fact: Two or more cups of coffee a day was associated with increased risk of heart disease and decreased mortality. This is not true.

There are many research evidence that coffee consumption does not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease nor does it raise cholesterol levels or cause irregular heartbeat. There weren’t any high alert observations noted, except a slight temporary rise in the blood pressure in individuals who were sensitive to caffeine. Moreover, this rise was temporary and not very different from the result from normal activity, such as climbing stairs.

Note: People with high blood pressure need to watch out and are required to consult their physician about the caffeine intake as there are metabolic issues in this case.

Myth: Coffee causes decreased mortality

Fact: High coffee intake was associated with death from cancer, heart disease or anything. This is not true and there was a long research to prove this wrong.

The Harvard Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which began in 1986, and the Nurses’ Health Study, which started in 1976, have been following coffee consumption habits of healthy men and women for decades.

The statement given by Dr. Rob Van Dam of Harvard’s school of health is –

“We did not find any relationship between coffee consumption and increased risk of death from any cause, death from cancer, or death from cardiovascular disease. Even people who drank up to six cups of coffee per day were at no higher risk of death.”

Note: Some populations can find coffee consumption potentially harmful. People with sleep issues or uncontrolled diabetes may need to ask their doctors before adding caffeine to their diets.

Myth: High amount of coffee causes Cancer.

A huge study of more than 25,000 coffee drinkers in South Korea shows that moderate daily consumption — that’s three to five cups a day – is found to moderately reduce one’s risk for melanoma, a highly dangerous skin cancer. But in the case of decaffeinated coffee, it was not the same and didn’t provide protection. The study supports a previous finding of a link between coffee and a reduced risk for basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer.

The reality check

Weighing between the benefits and the harm caffeine gives our body, it was noted that high intake of caffeine significantly reduced the benefits that coffee gives to our body. That means- it’s necessary to watch your coffee intake and limit it to 3 times a day. High caffeine intake is associated with:

Women should take particular note. Coffee may increase menopausal hot flashes. And pregnant women might be more likely to be at risk as it reaches the fetus and might restrict growth. Doctors recommend only a cup a day during pregnancy.

  • Contributes to higher blood pressure

There’s a genetic mutation many of us have that can affect how fast our bodies metabolize caffeine. The gene is called CYP1A2 — if you have the slow version, it might contribute to your high blood pressure. If you already have High BP, it’s advisable to consult a doctor on your caffeine intake.

There’s more…

There multiple studies with Caffiene intake, but one thing is clear- high intake of caffeine is harmful (in some cases). And interestingly enough, the way you make your coffee could also make a health difference — there’s a compound called cafestol in the oily part of coffee that can increase your bad cholesterol or LDL. It’s caught in the paper filters, so as long as you use paper filters to strain those, it should be fine. But if you’re a lover of French press, Turkish coffee or the boiled dark coffee popular, you could be putting your health at risk.

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A beginner’s guide on lowering Cholesterol

Cholesterol is an essential type of fat that is carried in the blood but too much of it is a risk factor for heart disease. Managing your cholesterol by maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle can help reduce your cholesterol levels. The catch is: even if the changes don’t show up directly in the cholesterol numbers, they can be lowering your risk for heart disease. So if you still haven’t made the change to a heart-healthy lifestyle, Check out this guide to get started.

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in all the cells in your body. Your body needs some cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest foods and it makes all the cholesterol it needs. Cholesterol is also found in foods from animal sources, such as egg yolks, meat, and cheese. Two types of lipoproteins carry cholesterol throughout the body:

  • LDL (low-density lipoprotein), sometimes called “bad” cholesterol, makes up most of your body’s cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol raise your risk for heart disease and stroke.
  • HDL (high-density lipoprotein), or “good” cholesterol, absorbs cholesterol and carries it back to the liver. The liver then flushes it from the body. High levels of HDL cholesterol can lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.
  • When your body has too much LDL cholesterol, the LDL cholesterol can build up on the walls of your blood vessels. This buildup is called “plaque.” As your blood vessels build up plaque over time, the insides of the vessels narrow. This narrowing blocks blood flow to and from your heart and other organs. When blood flow to the heart is blocked, it can cause angina (chest pain) or a heart attack.

    Check out tips from our health experts.

    Follow the golden rule: Exercise

    exercise

    If your cholesterol numbers aren’t where they ought to be, working out should be a key part of your get-healthy strategy. The right kinds of workouts or activities, done regularly, can raise levels of heart-protecting HDL cholesterol and drop dangerous triglyceride levels. The AHA (American Heart Association) recommends the following activies as safe to follow

  • Brisk walking
  • Bicycling
  • Racewalking, jogging, or running
  • Swimming laps
  • Playing tennis (singles)
  • Aerobic dancing
  • Hiking uphill
  • You can add Resistance Training for Heart Health to lower LDL levels. Resistance training uses machines, free weights, bands, or your own body weight to build muscle. Adding muscle increases your metabolic rate, so you’ll burn more calories even when you’re at rest. The AHA recommends strength training at least twice a week for heart health.

    Be food aware- track your Diet

    Your body can produce all the cholesterol it needs. High-cholesterol foods are often foods that are also high in saturated fats. These foods should be limited in a healthy diet Try to avoid much amount of – fatty meats, processed meats like salami and sausages, snack foods like chips, deep-fried foods, cakes, biscuits and pastries.

    Here are our dietery recommendations:

  • Increase the amount and variety of fresh fruit, vegetables and wholegrain foods you have each day.
  • Choose low or reduced-fat milk, yoghurt and other dairy products or have ‘added calcium’ soy drinks.
  • Choose lean meat (meat trimmed of fat or labelled as ‘heart smart’).
  • Limit fatty meats, including sausages and salami, and choose leaner sandwich meats like turkey breast or cooked lean chicken.
  • Have fish (fresh or canned) at least twice a week.
  • Replace butter and dairy blends with polyunsaturated margarines.
  • Include foods in your diet that are rich in soluble fibre and healthy fats, such as nuts, legumes and seeds.
  • Limit cheese and ice cream to twice a week.
  • LDL cholesterol can be lowered by polyunsaturated oil (for example, sunflower or safflower oil). Eating oats and legumes can lower LDL cholesterol by five per cent. Food components like saponins (found in chickpeas, alfalfa sprouts and other foods) and sulphur compounds (like allicin – found in garlic and onions) may also have a positive effect in lowering cholesterol levels.
  • Plant sterols can lower cholesterol level. Consume nuts, legumes, cereals, fruit and vegetables.
  • Don’t go by the labels

    Don’t avoid dairy foods just because they have cholesterol.

    Some people believe that cutting out dairy foods altogether is the safest option, but this isn’t true. Dairy foods are an important part of your daily diet and contribute many essential nutrients, especially calcium. Vegans, however, can obtain calcium from many other sources including soy milk.

    You don’t need to avoid eggs and seafood

    Some foods are high in cholesterol but are fine to eat in moderation, as long as your overall diet is low in saturated fats. For example: Egg yolks – a single egg yolk contains 200–250 mg of cholesterol, which is almost the uppermost recommended daily intake (300 mg). However, reducing egg intake is probably not important for healthy people with normal blood cholesterol levels.
    Seafood – prawns and seafood contain some cholesterol, but they are low in saturated fat and also contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Seafood is a healthy food and should not be avoided just because it contains cholesterol. However, avoid fried and battered seafood.

    Reduce Portion Size to Lower Cholesterol

    Reduce food portion sizes to help keep your weight down to a healthy limit for heart health.Controlling your weight is an important part of getting to healthy cholesterol levels, so it’s crucial to know your portion sizes if you’re trying to lower cholesterol. A portion of starchy carbohydrate, like potato or pasta, should be only about half the size of a baseball. A heart-healthy portion of meat should be about the size of a deck of playing cards, or about three ounces.

    Restaurants commonly serve more food that you need, so consider splitting an entrée. Cooking at home will give you more control over your portion sizes, as well as what goes into each dish. You can learn more ways to enjoy smaller portions at the USDA’s Choose My Plate site.

    Stop smoking to lower cholesterol and protect your heart health.

    smoking

    There are many reasons your heart will thank you for not lighting up. Cigarette smoke raises levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, and a blood fat called triglycerides. Those cause waxy plaque to build up in your arteries. At the same time, it lowers HDL, or “good” cholesterol and increases the risk of heart disease.It also indirectly affects the heart in the following ways.

  • Clogs your arteries
  • Increases clotting
  • Fills your lungs with tar
  • Thickens your blood
  • Take help when needed

    For some people, diet and lifestyle changes are not enough. High blood cholesterol levels often have a genetic component. Some people inherit altered genes that cause high cholesterol and this cannot usually be changed sufficiently by lifestyle or diet. If you are not able to cut down cholesterol levels on your own, it is advisable to do so in your doctor’s guidance.

    What’s your thought on this article? Share your thoughts in the comment section.