Category Archives for "Health"
There has been significant advancement in healthcare over the past decades. Despite good research on diet, exercise, genetics, diagnostics, clinical trials with pharmaceuticals and expert clinical medical management there is a steady increase in the chronic non-communicable diseases.
All over the world there is problem as more and more adults and even children are being diagnosed with non-communicable diseases. The United Nations had a high-level meeting to discuss and declare that there is now an epidemic of non-communicable diseases NCDs. These chronic diseases have emerged as the leading cause of death globally. In 2001 non-communicable diseases accounted for 54% of deaths in low and middle income countries.
In 2008, of the 57 million global deaths, 36 million or 63% were due to NCDs. The majority of NCD deaths are due to cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), including stroke, heart attack and hypertension, which have emerged as the leading causes of death in most countries of the world.
Without appropriate intervention, projections are that 24 million people will die from cardiovascular disease in 2030. Cancers pose another major threat to global health. It is estimated that approximately 7.6 million persons died from cancer in 2007 as well as in 2008 with over two-thirds of cancer deaths occurring in low and middle income countries. Despite these worrisome figures it is estimated that 80% of deaths from cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes and 40% of deaths from cancers are preventable.
Global efforts to reverse or halt the increasing trend of the non-communicable diseases
Addressing the Risk Factors
The World Health Organization WHO has focused on reducing four risk factors, namely unhealthy diets, physical inactivity, tobacco use and harmful use of alcohol. These four (4) risky behaviors are responsible for the majority of NCD deaths. It is estimated that 80% of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes and 40% of cancer could be avoided through healthy diets, regular physical activity and avoidance of tobacco use.
The Center for Disease Control CDC has published ‘Strategies to Increase Physical Activity across the Life Course’. The CDC has indicated that less than 48% of all adults meet the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines. Another finding is that 3 in 10 high school students get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day www.cdc,gov/physicalactivity/data/facts.html.
Screening, Early diagnosis and treatment of Metabolic Syndrome
There is still much debate on the definition or cause of metabolic syndrome. Having 3 or more of the above conditions puts you squarely in the high-risk group.
The health professional community is paying more attention to insulin resistance. This is because of the link between metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. Insulin is a hormone your body produces to help you turn sugar from food into energy for your body. If you are insulin resistant, too much sugar builds up in your blood, setting the stage for disease.
Now it does not follow that if you have one of these conditions symptoms you have metabolic syndrome. However, any of these conditions increase your risk of serious disease and more than one of these conditions could increase your risk even more.
If you have metabolic syndrome or any of its components, drastic lifestyle changes can delay or even prevent the development of serious health problems.
What are the causes?
Metabolic syndrome is closely linked to overweight and a sedentary lifestyle. There is also a close association between metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance linked to a condition called insulin resistance.
Vitamins are essential nutrients which we must have daily for normal growth and development. Vitamins are categorized into two groups i.e. water soluble (vitamins B and C) and fat soluble (vitamins A, D, E and K). There is a keen interest among health professionals to use vitamins not only to support treatment but also as preventive therapy for some diseases. Vitamins are required daily in small quantities to work optimally to boost the immune system and promote optimal tissue and organ function. There is insufficient evidence from clinical research to demonstrate the effectiveness of mega doses of vitamins as therapy. Some vitamins if use above the recommended daily dose can result in toxicity.
What is Vitamin B12?
B-complex vitamins include Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, B9 and B12. Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin which plays a key role with the formation of red blood cells. It is also essential for the proper functioning of nerve cells and by extension, the nervous system and the brain. Vitamin B12 is needed for metabolism at the cellular level to synthesize DNA, amino acid and fatty acids. The structure of Vitamin12 is comprised of vitamers and cobalt. We are not able to synthesize Vitamin B12 but it is produced by certain bacteria. We in turn get our source of Vitamin B12 from the food we eat.
Synthetic Vitamin B12 is produced commercially in large quantities. This is done by chemically modifying bacterial hydroxocobalamin. This synthetic Vitamin B12 is an important ingredient for the pharmaceutical and food industries. The food industry uses it to fortify foods especially cereals and health drinks. Dietary supplement of all kinds include Vitamin B12 in the formula for multivitamins but is also available as a single vitamin.
Why is Vitamin B12 necessary?
The association of Vitamin B12 with an autoimmune illness called pernicious anemia underscored for health professionals and researchers, the importance of this vitamin. Vitamin B12 is required for proper red blood cell formation. Researchers have also demonstrated the integral requirement for Vitamin B12 to prevent other neurological disorders. Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause severe damage, to the brain and nervous system. Symptoms as mild as fatigue, depression, and poor memory could be as a result of Vitamin B12 deficiency. More severe symptoms are psychosis and mania.
What are the signs of Vitamin B 12 Deficiency?
Vitamin B12 (cobalamin) deficiency is a common disorder with potential irreversible hematological and neurological consequences. The main causes of vitamin B12 deficiency include vitamin B12 malabsorption from food, pernicious anemia, postsurgical malabsorption, and dietary deficiency However, in many cases, the cause of vitamin B12 deficiency is unknown. The following groups are among those most likely to be vitamin B12 deficient.
Elderly persons: Individuals with atrophic gastritis are unable to absorb the vitamin B12 that is naturally present in food. Atrophic gastritis is a condition which affects 10%–30% of older population. In this type of gastritis there is a decrease in the secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. This in turn results in decreased absorption of vitamin B12. In addition to this, decreased hydrochloric acid levels might also increase the growth of normal intestinal bacteria that use vitamin B12.
Synthetic vitamin B12 added to fortified foods and dietary supplements is fairly well tolerated with good absorption by the intestinal tract. The IOM recommends vitamin B12 supplements and fortified foods for adults 50 years and older. Elderly patients with atrophic gastritis require higher doses to prevent vitamin B12 deficiency.
Medical researchers and physicians are paying more attention to the metabolic disorder called insulin resistance. The very early detection of insulin resistance could halt or even reverse the onset of diabetes for millions of individuals. It has been predicted that by the year 2020 there will be approximately 250 million people worldwide affected by type 2 diabetes mellitus. It is now accepted by clinicians and public health specialist that insulin resistance is playing a major role in this epidemic.
The Critical Role of Insulin
Diabetes is a metabolic disorder which if not diagnosed early and managed properly can be life-threatening. The organ which produces insulin is the pancreas and it is insulin which allows the body to metabolize and utilize sugar efficiently. Insulin acts on the cell membrane to facilitate sugar crossing the barrier to provide energy. In the diabetic child or adult, there is either little production of insulin or poor utilization of insulin by cells and tissue. The three (3) types of Diabetes are Type 1, Type 2 and gestational Diabetes. Diabetes if not controlled causes damage to blood vessels and tissues of major target organs (kidney failure, heart failure, impaired vision and neuropathy of the lower limbs).
Most individuals are insulin sensitive and so insulin keeps the blood sugar level from hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) or hypoglycemia (too low). The cells in our bodies must have sugar for energy. However, sugar cannot pass through the cell membrane directly into the cell. When we eat the blood sugar rises and the beta cells in the pancreas release insulin into the bloodstream. Insulin attaches to the cells to facilitate the absorption of the sugar molecules from the bloodstream. Some have referred to insulin as the “key,” which unlocks the cell membrane to allow sugar to enter the cell to provide the energy needed for cell functions.
Insulin helps store excess sugar in the liver and releases it when your blood sugar level is low or if you need more sugar, such as in between meals or during physical activity. Therefore, insulin helps balance out blood sugar levels and keeps them in a normal range. As blood sugar levels rise, the pancreas secretes more insulin.
When the body does not produce adequate amounts of insulin or your cells are resistant to the effects of insulin, we may develop high blood sugar. Sustained high blood sugar over time can cause long-term complications.
Persons with type 1 diabetes cannot make insulin because the beta cells in their pancreas are damaged or destroyed. These individuals are insulin dependent and will need daily insulin injections to allow their body to metabolize and utilize sugar.