Category Archives: High Blood Pressure

Type II Diabetes Epidemic

Diabetes Increases Risk for Heart Disease

Obesity ConceptMillions of people have Type II diabetes and the number is growing with the obesity epidemic. At first, as blood sugars rise, Type II diabetes is a silent disease without recognized symptoms, but behind-the-scenes, excess sugar molecules in the blood are causing harm.

Diabetes occurs when inadequate insulin is available for sugar metabolism. Instead of being used by cells for energy, the sugar molecules increase in the blood and interfere with cell function. This leads to heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, vision impairment and kidney damage.

Type II diabetes is a complex metabolic problem. Although the body produces enough insulin at first, it isn’t being used properly because at the cellular level, insulin resistance develops. This stimulating the pancreas to produce more and more insulin, until the cells become distressed and die off, leaving the body unable to maintain proper insulin production. The disease worsens.

Treatment for diabetes is variable. It can be very complex, requiring numerous medications, self testing and the addition of insulin injections. Some people do very well for years in a pre-diabetic state. If a fasting blood sugar is minimally elevated, just taking the oral medication metformin, may reduce progression. But if the sugar continues to rise, additional treatment must be started as soon as possible to normalize the sugar.

If someone you know is overweight, particularly if the weight is carried around the waistline, blood sugar levels should be monitored and treated if elevated. Losing weight will help, but weight loss is not easy.

Best results occur with reduced caloric intake and healthful food choices, combined Family exercisewith exercise. Even walking thirty minutes a day, helps lower blood sugar, burns calories and improves longevity.

Type I diabetes is different from Type II. Type I is usually seen in young often thin people, including infants and children. Cells in the pancreas that make insulin are destroyed and are unable to produce insulin, a hormone essential for sugar metabolism. Insulin cannot be taken orally. It must be injected or taken as a nasal spray.

obesityType II diabetes had been a disease of aging people until recent years when overweight children began developing this serious problem. Like adults, children are at risk for serious cardiovascular disease. Elevated blood glucose levels damage arteries throughout the body. Over time the vessels become so narrowed they cannot carry an adequate supply of oxygen-rich blood and nutrients to vital organs. As more children become obese, more of them develop diabetes and are at risk for early heart disease.

So, what should we do? First, understand that Type II diabetes is a serious health risk even when no symptoms are apparent. The American Diabetes Association recommends having a fasting blood sugar test performed at least annually. Blood is taken after having nothing to eat or drink for at least eight hours. A fasting blood sugar above 100 is abnormal.

Another blood test, the hemoglobin A1C, measures red blood cell glucose attachment. This test correlates directly with the blood glucose levels over preceding weeks/months. If the A1C is 8, the glucose average has been 183mg/dl. Until more information becomes available, specialists believe an A1C goal of <7% is valuable in reducing health risks.

Symptoms of High Blood Sugar:
Excess urination (Ex.-Getting up at night repeatedly.)
Excess water consumption (Ex.-Drinking water during the night.)
Increased appetite, blurred vision, low energy
Neuropathy (burning pain and numb feelings in hands and feet)

Additional information regarding diabetes, healthful eating and weight control can be found on the following websites:
www.realage.com, www.diabetes.orgDiabetes Health in your handsBetty Kuffel, MD

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Share YOUR HEART

Greetings from Betty and Bev
February is National Heart Month!

Heart disease is the #1 cause of death, but

with the right knowledge and actions, it is preventable.

We’d like to share our heart health guide FREE as a Valentine gift for you, your friends and family members. Click on YOUR HEART and it will take you to the Amazon purchase page where you and your friends can download a kindle copy of YOUR HEART FREE.

2016 Promo Graphic - 2

 

If you are healthy and want to stay that way, or if you are overweight, have diabetes or heart disease, our book Your Heart, can help. It provides the science behind coronary artery disease with actions to improve health and longevity, including information on the 5/2 Mediterranean diet. This is a healthy way to maintain your weight over a lifetime. It’s easy and it works. Overweight children show signs of early heart disease. The book contains information on how to keep kids healthy, too.

Please share this link with everyone! Your Heart

Happy Valentines Day and Have a healthy 2016.

Betty and Bev

Sleep Apnea Affects Memory and Heart Health

Are you sleepy during the daytime? Is snoring a problem? Both are symptoms of a serious health problem. Apnea means without breath. Sleep apnea occurs when air movement in and out of the lungs is reduced during sleep, making blood oxygen plummet. Brain sensors identify the low oxygenSunset level and high carbon dioxide shift. This, in turn, triggers partial awakening to correct the problem. Deeper breathing is stimulated, often accompanied by loud snoring as increased effort overcomes the obstruction.

Once the airway is opened again, oxygen rises and carbon dioxide drops. The extra breathing stimulus isn’t needed…and sleep resumes. This cycle repeats many times each night. During most episodes, full awakening doesn’t occur. Other times, the person suddenly awakens gasping and choking. Individuals with sleep apnea may not experience overt symptoms, may be unaware of snoring episodes, and don’t realize their memory lapses and frequent naps are related to a problem that also increases their risk for serious heart problems.

Obesity contributes to this problem, but many thin people are affected, too. Alcohol, narcotics and sedatives relax throat muscles resulting in breathing problems. A narrow airway or large tonsils, even in children, can cause sleep apnea.

There are two primary types of sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the airway is blocked by oral tissue when throat muscles relax during sleep. Central sleep apnea is related to reduction of the respiration mechanism in the brain. Both types negatively affect health.

To diagnose the problem, a sleep study to continuously monitor oxygen, heart rate rhythm, and wakening is needed. The primary treatment for sleep apnea is “continuous positive airway pressure,” known as CPAP. This means wearing a carefully fitted mask attached to a small machine. The pressure and fit are individualized for each person to produce enough air pressure to keep their airway open during the normal relaxation of muscle tone during sleep. The adjustment to wearing such an apparatus may be inconvenient and a bit awkward at first, but can be life-saving.

After a good night’s sleep most people with sleep apnea experience a significant improvement in health and wellbeing. Small travel units are available.

What are the symptoms of sleep apnea?
• Restless sleep and fatigue
• Frequent awakening
• Daytime sleepiness, irritability
• Reduced memory
• Morning headaches and confusion
• Chest discomfort
• Children and teens may be poor students
• Behavioral problems in children

Health and heart risks associated with sleep apnea:
• Car accidents due to daytime sleepiness
• Atrial fibrillation, irregular heart beat
• Heart attacks and strokes
• High blood pressure
• Sudden death
• Dementia

Consult a physician and inquire about a sleep study if you are concerned about this health problem.

www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/sleepapnea
Betty & Bev

NEW BLOOD PRESSURE GUIDELINES

September 11, 2015

High blood pressure increases risk for:
heart attacks, heart failure, strokes, and kidney failure.

Blood pressure.2Until today, physicians did not have an optimal goal for patients with high blood pressure. New information released from the Sprint study was reported by officials from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. A paper with all the data will be published in a few months.

The Sprint study examined nearly 10,000 men and women, ages 50 and older, who were at risk for heart and kidney disease. Twenty-eight percent of the participants were over the age of 75.

Officials from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute announced they ended the study a year before the planned conclusion because of the potentially lifesaving results. This is extremely important information because high blood pressure is so prevalent. One in three people (79 million adults in the US), have high blood pressure and half of those being treated have systolic pressures over 140.

About two years ago, a panel of experts at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute panel recommended a systolic goal of 140 because there was no convincing data to show lower was better, now we have that data.

There have been improvements over the past few years with healthier lifestyles, more exercise and lowering abnormal lipid levels, but cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death. Uncontrolled high blood pressure contributes to heart disease in addition to the other disorders noted above. It is important to monitor your blood pressure and take control of your health. If your blood pressure is consistently above 120 systolic (the upper reading), see your healthcare provider for assistance in lowering your blood pressure to 120 or below.

Betty Kuffel, MD