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Heart disease and diabetes - making the connection

By: femurs
Date: Wed-Feb-3-2016-
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High blood sugar
When you eat food, your body absorbs the nutrients it contains through your gut wall. The nutrients circulate in your blood so that every cell in your body has access to them.

Carbohydrates are broken down into simple sugars in the gut. This means that after any snack or meal your blood sugar levels will rise. If you have eaten a highly processed meal or snack e.g. chocolate, your blood sugar levels will rise rapidly, and often drop rapidly not long later i.e. they spike. If you eat a meal or snack with plenty of fresh foods (e.g. fruits and veg) then your blood sugar levels will rise much slower. This is because the fibre needs to be processed in the stomach for the sugars to be released.

Sugar in the blood can be irritating and damaging to the walls of your arteries and veins. Fortunately, in order for your cells to be able to use the sugar, it needs to be taken out of your bloodstream and into your cells. To facilitate this process your body produces a hormone called insulin. Insulin is produced in the pancreas and is released in response to a meal.

Whereas people with type 1 diabetes do not produce insulin at all, people with type 2 diabetes either do not produce enough insulin, have tissues in their body that do not respond to insulin properly, or both. If this is not corrected with lifestyle changes and appropriate medications (where type 1 diabetics MUST use insulin injections, type 2 diabetics may need one or more medications, including insulin) a persons blood sugar levels can be chronically elevated. Type 1 diabetics can become comatosed without their insulin; depending on the severity of type 2 diabetes, they can as well. However for now we will assume people are getting insulin or medicines to allow their body to function, but will discuss what happens if their blood sugar levels are generally higher than they should be i.e. how poorly controlled diabetes or even undiagnosed diabetes (type 2 diabetes is not always picked up right away as it does not display symptoms in the early stages) relates to cardiovascular disease.

When blood sugar levels are persistently high, the very small blood vessels (capilliaries) that supply blood to your eyes, ears, and other parts of your body can become affected. The irritation and damage the high sugars levels have on your arteries and veins can lead to high blood pressure and reduced blood supply to the organs and tissues those blood vessels supply. This is why people who are diabetic are at risk of losing hearing, sight, and feeling in their hands and feet. It is also why they can develop serious infections that can warrant limb amputation.

High blood pressure
High blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood sugar levels often appear together - the black trio. High cholesterol and its relation to cardiovascular disease has been discussed in detail last week. Lets now take a brief look at high blood pressure.

If your blood pressure is high, your heart has to work harder to compensate and push blood out against the increased baseline pressure. As previously described, the heart is made of muscle. Like other muscles in the body, when increased resistance is applied to it, the heart muscle increases in size so that it can work harder. In the short term this is manageable but as the blood pressure slowly increases and the blood vessels become more rigid and less flexible, the heart is not able to continually pump harder and harder to meet the body's needs.

The high blood pressure gradually makes the heart too stiff to fill or pump efficiently, and can progressively lead to heart failure. Although there are medical options available for heart failure, none of them can treat or cure the condition. In this case, prevention is always best.

Burden of Cardiovascular disease
The term 'burden if disease' is used to describe the impact of a condition in financial terms, in relation to the conditions' impact on quality of life, as well as its impact on quantity of life (mortality). You can probably guess that the impact of cardiovascular disease on the world is high. In fact, the World Health Organisation estimate it to be the number one cause of death globally. It is estimated that by 2030, the death toll will rise to 23.6 MILLION each year. When you consider that behavioral risk factors account for 80% of cardiovascular disease cases, it is staggering to think why type of impact we can have by making simple lifestyle choices.
[d] By: extend
Date: Wed-Feb-3-2016
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What is 1 + 100



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