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hypertension

Nowadays, Nigerians who lead sedentary lifestyles and who have adopted irregular food habits, appear to be more prone to liver diseases than others. Fatty liver disease is the result of a build-up of fat in the liver. If the liver is healthy, there should be little or no fat in it. However, sometimes, fat molecules begin to collect in the liver cells. Small amounts of fat in the liver usually cause no problems. However, when too much fat builds in this organ, it can pose a lot of health hazards.

With the exception of the brain, the liver is the most complex organ and second largest organ in the body. Its function is to process everything we eat or drink and filter harmful substances from the blood. This process is however interrupted when the liver contains too much fat. When fat accounts for more than five percent of the liver’s weight, the condition is described as fatty liver.

It is becoming one of the most common types of liver disease and it’s also one of the causes of liver cancer and cirrhosis. The disease may also occur due to metabolic problems such as diabetes, obesity or Hepatitis B and C infection.

A diagnosis of fatty liver could raise the alarm for an impending Type 2 diabetes. Fatty liver disease can lead to an inflamed liver and scarring. This is called alcoholic hepatitis if it’s caused by drinking too much alcohol and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis if it’s not related to alcohol.

Risk factors

From what I have explained so far, it should be obvious that fatty liver disease is a lifestyle disease. Most people living with this disease are fat, obese and they take alcohol.

It is more common in men and persons above the age of 50. Hypertensive and diabetic patients are most likely to be diagnosed with fatty liver as they are already battling with high blood sugar, glucose and cholesterol.

However, chemicals like methotrexate and tamoxifen can, but rarely cause non-alcoholic fatty liver.

Symptoms

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease usually causes no signs and symptoms. When it does, they may include fatigue, poor appetite, pain in the upper right abdomen and weight loss.

Its complications include a swollen abdomen, itchy skin, vomiting of blood,  confusion or poor memory, weakness and muscle wasting and jaundice.

Diagnosis

Fatty liver disease can sometimes be difficult to diagnose because one may not have any symptoms. There is no single test that can be used to diagnose fatty liver disease, but one may carry out some blood tests, liver biopsy,  ultrasound, CT or MRI scan which help to create images of the liver. These images will show if there are any forms of fat in the liver.

Prevention

You may be able to prevent non-alcoholic fatty liver disease by maintaining a healthy weight for your height. Being active try to do at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week or 30 minutes of exercise for days.

Those who are obese or overweight, a gradual weight loss and regular exercise is advised. This not only helps with fatty liver but also it will help to reduce other risks of developing cardiovascular problems.

Limit or avoid alcoholic beverages because alcohol even in modest amounts may make fatty liver worse.

Eating healthy foods that are low in saturated fat and reduce your sugar intake to control your blood sugar. Manage your cholesterol levels and use liver supplements.

Conclusion

Alcoholic fatty liver disease is reversible. The liver should return to normal if one stops drinking alcohol. Even if one has been a heavy drinker for many years, reducing or stopping alcohol intake will have important short and long-term benefits on the liver and one’s overall health.

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With the vast majority of people surrounded by computers and the internet, either at home or work, sometimes tracking your life can be more convenient when it’s done online. Whether you’re calorie counting, tracking your weight or devising a new exercise plan, there are a number of free online tools that can help you to achieve success. If you’re considering starting a new exercise regime or eating plan, be sure to check out these great online tools for some handy hints and great tracking techniques.

Online Tools For Tracking Your Health

Calorie Burn Calculator

The Calorie Burn Calculator can help you to determine how many calories your everyday activities will burn. You may be surprised but simply daily tasks, such as brushing your teeth and carrying an infant, all burn calories. While the Calorie Burn Calculator helps to track your everyday life, you can also add just about any activity, including the difficulty level and duration of the exercise. If you’re an avid cyclist, for instance, you can enter cycling for leisure, fast-paced riding, and even mountain biking, to determine how many calories you have burned.

If you haven’t yet discovered the benefits of cycling, it’s time to see what all the fuss is about. With various mountain bikes for sale, you can easily find a style that suits your skill level and your budget. One of the best things about cycling is that you can ride in just about any environment. Get the most out of your exercise routine and bring the fun back to your weekends, by leisure cycling along pristine coastlines or breathtaking mountain ranges.

Diet & Weight Loss Trackers

What seems like a limitless number of diet and weight loss trackers are now available on the internet. When beginning a new health kick, most people will record their starting weight to enable them to keep track of their progress. A diet and weight loss journal or tracker is a great way to regulate your eating and exercise habits. Tracking what you eat will enable you to see what foods make you gain weight and which foods help you to lose weight. An activity log can also help by allowing you to record your daily or weekly exercise routine.

While it’s sometimes easy to slip away from your dieting plan and enjoy an unhealthy snack or two, recording your results often helps people to be more honest with themselves, about what they are actually consuming. Understanding why you are gaining weight or developing an unhealthy lifestyle is the first step in changing your future.

Free online tools are a great way to gain extra motivation and encouragement for your diet plan. If you’ve tried dieting in the past but have failed miserably (haven’t we all!) then why not enlist the help of professionally designed programs online?

The heart can be considered to be the engine that keeps the blood moving through all the veins in the human body. In order for heart muscles to pump legitimately, it should be sustained by different coronary veins. Any malady or blockage of the veins can deny the heart muscle with the fundamental oxygen and blood it needs for operating in a full and legitimate capacity.

A heart attack that is medicinally reputed to be extremely difficult for the body, is the unhindered localized death of a zone of the heart muscles created by the obstruction of a coronary vessel. This hindrance of blood moving through one of the extensions of the coronary course is regularly brought about by a burst of a medical condition called the atherosclerotic plaque. Bloodstream may be so extremely contracted, or completely blocked that a segment of the heart muscles ceases to exist. Although it is difficult, there do exist some treatments for heart failure.

What Is heart failure?

The most average side effect of a heart attack is torment or pain in the midsection which is known as angina pectoris that may transmit to the left arm, neck, and jaw. Different side effects might incorporate the shortness of breath, dizziness, high temperature in the midsection, or lack of awareness. Heart failure happens due to insufficient blood flow for a long time to a certain portion of heart due to which the muscles of that part get damaged or dies. This situation is known as myocardial infarction in medical terminology. There are many treatments which are famous for heart failure aiming to improve its functioning and relieving the patient from frequent and severe heart failure. Some of the surgeries for heart failure are listed below.

Bypass surgery: This is one of the most used and known surgical treatment for heart and used in case where the artery is blocked and it must be cleared for the smooth flow of blood to the heart.

Left ventricular assist device: This surgery helps your heart to provide the blood throughout the body as per its natural smooth flow.

Heart valve surgery: In case where the valves of the heart are damaged, this treatment makes the valves in previous situations as naturally they should be and help the blood flow to run smoothly. In case of heart failure due to valve problems, blood flow may get disrupted which is taken care in this surgery.

Enhanced External Counterpulsation Therapy: Basically this is a treatment for chronic heart pain which happens due to disturbed blood flow towards the heart. In this therapy, cuffs are fitted to the outer body which functions in accordance with the heart rhythm and makes the blood flow regularly.

Heart transplant: This surgery is opted in such situation where due to heart failure the damaged heart does not respond to any therapy or treatment at all and need to be replaced.

These are the most well-known treatments for heart failure across the world and are recommended and adopted by expert doctors as per the condition of the patients.

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Mention the phrase ‘blood pressure,’ and the average adult is likely to stand still. For all reasons, issues relating to blood pressure readily arrest attention because it’s one aspect of personal health that determines whether or not you stay alive — and in sound health.

Physicians say the normal blood pressure is below 120/80mmhg (millimetres of mercury). Pre-hypertension is diagnosed between 120/80–139/89; Stage 1 hypertension is between 140/90–159/99; and Stage 2 hypertension is a blood pressure above 160/100, hence the need to monitor your blood pressure religiously once you hit age 40.

Blood pressure and health

Cardiologists say about one in three adults has high blood pressure. And, as scary as it is, they warn that the condition usually presents with no signs or symptoms. As such, you may be walking around blissfully unaware that your days are numbered because of uncontrolled high blood pressure!

Consultant Cardiologist, Dr. Peter Olumide, warns,“You can have hypertension for years without knowing it. During this time, the high blood pressure can damage your heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and other organs in your body.”

Knowing your blood pressure numbers is important, Olumide counsels; even when you’re feeling fine. “If your blood pressure is normal, you can work with your physician to keep it that way. On the other hand, if your blood pressure is too high, treatment may help prevent damage to your body’s organs,” he says.

The age, sex factors

Physicians warn that blood pressure tends to rise with age. However, they add, following a healthy lifestyle helps some people to delay or prevent rise in blood pressure altogether.

“People who have high blood pressure can take steps to control it and reduce their risk for related health problems. Key steps include following a healthy lifestyle, having regular medical check-up, and following your treatment plan,” General Practitioner, Dr. Folabi Awolaye, counsels.

In terms of gender, experts say men are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 40 inches (102cm); while women are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 35 inches (89cm).

Good life, good BP

Of course, those whose blood pressures are high are advised to keep in constant touch with their physicians, just as they are also counselled to imbibe healthy dietary habits and lifestyle that will not only return their blood pressure to normal, but also keep it at healthy level.

So, what is the natural way to realise a healthy blood pressure level? Here…

Lose weight

Olumide says there’s no arguing the fact that unwieldy weight poses health risks any day. He warns that the heavier you are on the scale, the more likely is your risk of high blood pressure; and that by losing weight, you are doing your blood pressure a world of good!

He also reveals that if you’ve been placed on some blood-pressure medications, losing weight would make the drugs more effective.

Lower your salt intake

Olumide notes that people with family history of high blood pressure could have blood pressure that is particularly salt sensitive. Nutritionists corroborate this, saying since there is no way to determine if an individual is sodium sensitive, it is advisable for all of us to lower our sodium (salt) intake.

A nutritionist, Mrs. Tolu Afuwape, says the problem is with the “hidden salts” rather than with using a salt shaker.

“When you habitually eat processed or canned foods, you unwittingly consume more than the recommended daily salt intake, because processed foods such as bacon, salami, cured meat, barbecued meat, etc.; or canned foods of all categories, contain added salts that are meant to preserve them from going bad.

“Loading yourself with such foods will ruin your health in no time; so, avoid them like the plague that they are,” Afuwape advises.

Take tea

Generally, tea is good for the body; but when it comes to lowering high blood pressure over a period of time and keeping it at healthy level, nutritionists recommend hibiscus tea.

For instance, researchers from Tufts University say “the phytochemicals in hibiscus are probably responsible for the large reduction in high blood pressure when taken as tea.”

They are of the view that many herbal teas contain hibiscus and should therefore be adopted as healthy drinks because they are known to reduce blood pressure in pre- and mildly hypertensive adults.

Again, a Professor of Preventive Medicine at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medical, Dr. Linda Van Horn, says consuming potassium-rich fruits such as beans, baked potato, green leafy vegetables, plain yoghurt, salmon fish, avocados, bananas, cashews, walnuts, coconut water, watermelon seeds, home-made orange juice, sweet potato, fresh tomatoes, etc., will boost your blood pressure-lowering efforts.

Go easy on booze

While the debates have continued unabated about the pros and cons of alcohol use, Awolaye is categorical in warning that alcohol can actually raise blood pressure by several points. “It can also reduce the effectiveness of high blood pressure medications you may be using,” he notes.

His advice? “As much as possible, avoid alcohol; the disadvantages outweigh whatever advantages you may be told it has.”

Reduce your stress level

Increased stress can mean increased blood pressure, at least temporarily. If you’re at risk for high blood pressure due to being overstressed, you’ll want to pay particular attention to lowering your stress.

Many activities can help you stay calmer in the face of daily life stressors. Many of the same healthy actions that are good for your blood pressure — like eating right and exercising — can also be stress preventers.

In addition to exercise, other forms of relaxation like meditation or deep breathing can also be helpful, physicians say.

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For some, being diagnosed with diabetes can be seen as a great misfortune or even a ‘curse’. To medical experts, however, being diabetic is not a ‘death sentence’. While there’s still no cure for the disease, those who have it can live relatively healthy and productive lives when it is well managed to avoid complications. One way of managing it, besides taking proper medication, is through the adoption of a healthy lifestyle and diet.

“Diabetes is mostly treated with a change in lifestyle and diet,” said Dr Kamoru A. Omotosho, a Lagos-based medical practitioner. “At the hospital, the patient will have to undergo blood test and guide on appropriate diet. It is when tablets are not working that injection is then given. People tend to say that alcohol and soft drinks are contributory to diabetes, but I would say that it does not necessarily follow. But I will advice that one should not take too much of sugar. Do eat a lot of carbohydrates; government can help more by providing more enlightenment on diabetes,” he added.

To avoid diabetes-related eye problems, Segun Oluwaseun John, Green World International

Abuja, recommends an increased intake of Vitamin A diet. “It can prevent night blindness, macular degeneration, and cataracts, alleviate eye dryness and swollen eyelids,” he said. “People with diabetes get eye problems at an earlier age and the condition progresses more rapidly than in those without diabetes, though eye disorders can happen to everyone. High blood sugar (glucose) either caused by insufficient insulin secretion or insulin resistance will lead to many complications like cardio-cerebravascualr disease, nerve damage, kidney disease, eye disease among others. Diabetic eye problem is the most common complication of

diabetes and the leading cause of blindness in adults aged 20 to 74,” he added.

Speaking further, he said: “Take regular physical exercise, which is particularly vital for those with diabetes. It helps to increase glucose uptake by storing glucose. Control your blood sugar and blood pressure by regulating your life style and taking medicine and thus reduce the risk of diabetic eye complication.”

Dr Godwin M. Inwang, Senior Medical Officer of St. Luke General Hospital, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State while advising diabetics to eat sensibly noted: “If you indulge in taking a lot of sugar, you will burn out your pancreas. You have to eat rationally and sensibly. Most recommended food to take to stay healthy is to eat farm-fresh foods. Avoid processed foods and you will improve your chances of getting healthy nutrition,” he advised. He also advised people to avoid living an excessive lifestyle, stating, “What you eat or drink contributes a lot to getting diabetes or not. Do not live an excessive life. Do not take unhealthy drinks and avoid sugar and non-sugar sweetened foods.”

He noted that patients may be able to control their type 2 diabetes symptoms by losing weight, following a healthy diet, doing plenty of exercise, and monitoring their blood glucose levels. “However, type 2 diabetes is typically a progressive disease – it gradually gets worse – and the patient will probably end up having to take insulin, usually in tablet form.”

Apart from the genetic factor, experts point out that some people are at risk of diabetes due to their weight and lifestyle choices. For instance, overweight and obese people have a much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes compared to those with a healthy body weight. People with a lot of visceral fat, also known as central obesity, belly fat, or abdominal obesity, are especially at risk.

Being overweight, physically inactive and eating the wrong foods all contribute to the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, they warn. Drinking just one can of (non-diet) soda per day can raise the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 22%, researchers from Imperial College London reported in the journal Diabetologia. The scientists believe that the impact of sugary soft drinks on diabetes risk may be a direct one, rather than simply an influence on body weight.

If badly controlled, complications can arise with diabetes. Some of these according to Dr Saheed Ogunmola, a medical practitioner, include male infertility, low ejaculation, erectile dysfunction (male impotence), obesity, eye complications such as glaucoma and cataracts, foot complications (neuropathy, ulcers and sometimes gangrene which may require that the foot be amputated) and skin disorders.

Others are heart problems, hypertension (common in people with diabetes, which can raise the risk of kidney disease, eye problems, heart attack and stroke), mental health (uncontrolled diabetes raises the risk of suffering from depression, anxiety and some other mental disorders), hearing loss, gum disease, healing of wounds (cuts and lesions take much longer to heal in diabetics) among others.

A serious ailment

Experts warn that if not well managed, diabetes can cause death. “Diabetes is deadly, very deadly,” affirmed Inwang, adding, “Diabetes is deadly because it is associated with various types of complications. In younger people, there is so much insulin in the body which is not used and eventually it leads to coma. If the person is not treated immediately, the person can die. Even if you treat immediately, if you are not careful, you will still lose the person to death.”

“There is so much that too much sugar in the body does. It draws water away from the cells and makes the cells flabby, makes the person dehydrated; increases acid in the body, and then it affects the heart, liver, practically every other organ of the body. Diabetes is very dangerous.”

To Dr Adebiyi Ebimisan of Tolu Medical Hospital, Lagos, people should reduce intake of heavy carbohydrate food items like rice, yam, fufu, eba, which can be supplemented ‘with moi moi and pap. Use honey instead of sugar, no industrial sweeteners. Diabetes can kill very fast when the blood sugar is not controlled. Diabetes is not communicable, you can’t transfer it to your neighbor.

“Diabetes can affect the sight, breath, skin, bone, heart and kidneys, almost every system of the body. People should go for checkups regularly to know their health status,” he advised.