HOW TO AVOID A HEART ATTACK? 0

Heart Attack is a medical emergency. Before we start digging deeper let us get used to the following Terms/definitions.

Coronary Artery Disease(CAD): Arteries that feed the heart, are called coronary arteries. A type of heart disease due to plaque build-up in the coronary arteries is known as coronary artery disease(CAD)

Plaque: An accumulation of cholesterol deposits in an artery

Atherosclerosis: Narrowing of arteries due to plaque build-up

Cholesterol: a waxy substance found in all body tissues. High levels of cholesterol circulating in the body could lead to heart attacks

 

Most Heart Attacks are preventable

DEFINITION OF HEART ATTACK

Heart Attack occurs when an artery supplying your heart with blood and oxygen becomes blocked.

 

SYMPTOMS OF HEART ATTACK.

The symptoms of a heart attack do vary. Classical symptoms include:

Pain in the centre or left side of the chest, lasting several minutes, that comes and goes..

The pain may feel like squeezing, pressure, tightness, heaviness, cramping, burning, aching sensation.

The pain may radiate to the neck, jaws, shoulders, upper back, and upper Arms

A heart attack may present with symptoms, other than chest pain, especially in the older, female, and diabetics. The symptoms may be Unexplained Indigestion, Belching, Upper Belly pain.

 

Associated Symptoms:

Shortness of breath, Cough

Nausea or Vomiting,

Cold sweats

Palpitations, irregular pulse

Feeling weak,

Unusual tiredness,

Lightheaded, or

Faint

HOW TO PREVENT A HEART ATTACK

 

 HEALTHY DIET

Eat more of fresh fruits and vegetables, avoid processed foods

West Africa has an abundant supply of healthy foods. Let us discuss a few of the controversial staple foods

Cassava: Cooked cassava is Rich in Fiber, Proteins, minerals and Saponins. The saponins and fibers, lower unhealthy cholesterol by binding to bile salts and thus, prevent absorption of dietary cholesterol from the intestines. Cassava reduces Bad cholesterol levels

Caution: Do not eat Raw cassava tubers and Raw cassava leaves. They need to be boiled, or grated and soaked to remove the low levels of cyanides (linamarin and lotaustralin) in them.

The finished products of cassava: Gari, Fufu are very safe for consumption, Other Tubers such as Yams, Cocoyam, Sweet potato are very healthy foods as well. Plantain, Bananas are both healthy foods

Avoid frying these foods, instead, cook and roast them.

Add vegetable oil to stew without frying the oil.

Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables and fewer processed foods.

LIMIT SATURATED FAT INTAKE

some sources of saturated fats

Sources of saturated fats:

  • Pork,
  • Lamb,
  • Goat,
  • Beef
  • Cheese and
  • Butter
  • Palm Oil and Palm kernel oil, Coconut oil
  • Palm oil is 50% saturated, palm kernel oil and coconut oil have 85% saturated fat content. The higher the fat content in these oils, the more solid, they become at room temperature. Since palm oil is semisolid at room temperature, they should be preferred to palm kernel and coconut oils.

Saturated fats have been known to cause elevation of LDL-Cholesterol. However, research upon research has shown that Palm oil does not increase LDL-Cholesterol levels, unless one consumes lots of animal meat, with the oil. Actually, studies have confirmed that total and LDL-cholesterol are lower in people who follow palm oil-rich diet than those who consume a diet high in trans and animal fats.

Palm oil has Vitamin A and E, which are great for Eye and Brain health

PEANUTS/GROUNDNUTS, ALMONDS and NUTS in general, are great for the heart.

LIMIT SALT INTAKE.

Limiting dietary salt intake lowers blood pressure It is recommended, no more than 1.5G of dietary salt per day. No Maggi cubes (1 Cube has 62.5G salt), No Koobi, they have too much salt.

Salt is used as preservatives in Canned foods, avoid canned foods, if you can. One can also drain and wash the foods with water, before preparing them.

Chose low sodium foods. When reading food labels, low sodium is defined as 140mg sodium per serving.

MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT

Being overweight increases the risk for heart diseases.

The surest way to know if you have a healthy weight is to measure your abdominal circumference, at the level of the umbilicus.

You can then, determine your abdominal circumference to height ratio.

How to maintain a healthy weight

  • Eat Slowly. When you eat fast, you may not feel full early, and you rather tend to overeat. The practice is to chew your food, 25 times before you swallow that food
  • Cut out snacks
  •  Avoid refined carbohydrates like white rice, potato, white bread. Instead, go for high fibre whole grains and legumes. They are digested slowly and they have a low glycemic index

INCREASE PHYSICAL ACTIVITIES

Regular physical activities prevent heart diseases

Adults should get a minimum of 30 minutes per day for exercise, 5 days per week; children do twice as much, and more.

Exercises include fast walk, running, jogging, jump ropes and any other aerobic exercises.

STOP SMOKING

Stop smoking if you do; Do not start smoking, if you do not.

Quitting smoking reduces the risk for heart diseases

LIMIT ALCOHOL INTAKE

Avoid drinking too much alcohol as this leads to hypertension and heart diseases. No more than 2 drinks/day for men, and no more 1 drink/day for women.

Take cholesterol medications when your bad cholesterol levels are high

In summary, Heart Attacks could be prevented and avoided if one chooses healthy diets and leads a healthy lifestyle, and promptly control disease states with medications. The choice is yours

Dr Alex k Sarkodie

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Risk Factors of Cervical Cancer 0

Today, we are going to discuss some of the risk factors of cervical cancer. They are many that it will not be possible for us to exhaust all of them, but let us see how far we can go today.

1) HUMAN PAPILLOMAVIRUS INFECTION (HPV): This is the most important of all the risk factors associated with the cancer of the cervix. Doctors believe that before a woman can develop cervical cancer, she must have been infected by HPV. Some types of this HPV are classified as “high risk” because they are the main causes of cervical cancer. These types include HPV 6, HPV 18, HPV 31, HPV 35, and HPV 45 and many other. About two-thirds of all cervical cancers are caused by HPV 16-18.

2) Smoking: Women who smoke are more likely to get cervical cancer than women who don’t smoke. Smoking exposes the body to many cancer-causing chemicals that affect not only the lungs but other parts of the body. The lungs will, first of all, absorb these harmful substances, and later transfer it into the bloodstream throughout the body. The by-products of tobacco have been found in the cervical mucus of women who smoke. These substances damage the DNA of the cervix cells and may equally lead to the development of cervical cancer.

3) IMMUNOSUPPRESSION: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the virus that causes AIDS. This virus damages the immune system of the body completely and makes women be more at risk for HPV infection. This is one of the causes of an increased risk of cervical cancer in women with AIDS. The immune system is very important in destroying cancer cells, and slowing down their growth and spread. A cervical pre-cancer is likely to develop into invasive cancer faster in women with HIV.

4) CHLAMYDIA INFECTION: This is a very common bacterium that can infect the reproductive system. The spread is mainly through sexual contact. Women whose blood tests show past or present Chlamydia infection are at a higher risk of cervical cancer, as against women with normal test results. This type of infection often shows no symptoms in women. Unless a woman goes for the examination of her pelvic region, she may not know that she is infected with Chlamydia. When this stays long in the body, it leads to pelvic inflammation, which also leads to infertility.

5) DIETS: Diets low in fruits and vegetables can increase the risk of cervical cancer. Also, overweight can equally lead to cervical cancer.

6) BIRTH CONTROL PILLS: The usage of birth control pills for a long time increases the risk of cervical cancer in women. The longer these pills are used, the risk goes up and goes down after it is stopped.

7) MULTIPLE PREGNANCIES: Women with many full-time pregnancies have an increased risk of the cancer of the cervix. This may be because some of these women may have been exposed to unprotected sexual acts which have therefore exposed them to HPV infection. This is because the immune system of the pregnant woman is weak, which allows for HPV infection/ cancer growth.

8) LOW SOCIO-ECONOMIC STATUS: Many women with low income don’t have access to adequate health care services, including pap tests, and the implication of this is that they will not be screened or treated for pre-cancerous cervical diseases.

9) FAMILY HISTORY: Cervical cancer runs in some families. If your mother or sister has cervical cancer, your risk of developing this disease is higher. Women from the same family as a patient already diagnosed of cervical cancer may be more likely to have one or more of the other non-genetic risk factors previously described in this section.

I will love to hear what are your own views or opinions on this post

 

30 Things You Need to Know About Herpes 0

1. Genital herpes is caused by two forms of the herpes simplex viruses: HSV-1 or HSV-2.
2. Most oral herpes is caused by HSV-1, and most genital herpes is caused by HSV-2.
3. Most people do not show signs or symptoms from HSV-1 or HSV-2 infection.
4. At least 45 million people ages 12 and older, or 20% of U. S. adolescents and adults, have had genital herpes.
5. Genital HSV-2 infection is more common in women (approximately one out of four women) than in men (almost one out of eight).
6. Both herpes Type 1 and 2 can be transmitted by contact with the sores that the herpes viruses cause, but also between outbreaks (sometimes called OBs) via “shedding” from skin that does not have a sore on it. 
7. Herpes transmission frequently occurs from an infected partner who does not have a visible sore, and may not even know that he or she is infected with the virus.
8. Genital OBs of HSV-1 recur less frequently than genital outbreaks caused by HSV-2.
9. First symptoms of genital herpes, they can be quite intense. Subsequent OBs are milder. Symptoms can include:
10. A small area of redness, sometimes with raised bumps or fluid-filled blisters;
11. Itching, burning or tingling in the genital area;
12. Flu-like symptoms (a headache, swollen glands, fever);
13. Painful urination and/or discharge.
14. Initial herpes outbreak usually occurs within two weeks after the virus is transmitted, and the sores usually heal within two to four weeks.
15. Sometimes, a person does not become aware of the infection until years after it is acquired.
16. Do not squeeze OB blisters because that may cause infection to spread.
17. Genital herpes infection can be more severe in people with immune systems depressed due to other causes.

  1. Genital herpes can cause psychological distress in people who know they are infected, due particularly to the attached social stigma.

    19. Any area in the groin can be affected by genital herpes.

    20. Herpes is not the only infection that causes genital sores. Bacterial infections have also been known to cause sores that resemble herpes sores. So, it’s best to get tested.
    21. Genital herpes can lead to potentially fatal infections in babies.
    22. Genital herpes can sometimes be diagnosed by visual inspection of the outbreak, or by taking an actual sample from a sore.
    23. The only sure way to avoid getting herpes and other STDs is abstinence, or a long-term, mutually monogamous relationship with someone who is not infected.
    24. If you inform your partner of your herpes, you can discuss it instead of making excuses as to why you don’t want to have sex.
    25. Genital herpes caused by HSV-2 carries an 80-90% chance of OBs.
    26. Genital herpes caused by HSV-1 carries a 50% chance of OBs.
    27. OB sores can occur in areas that are not covered by a latex condom, so condoms are not fool-proof in protecting from contracting genital herpes.
    28. Even if a person does not have any symptoms he or she can still infect sex partners.
    29. You can’t get herpes from swimming pools, towels or toilet seats.
    30. Frequency and severity of herpes OBs vary between individuals.

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