COVID-19 disease advice: When and how to use face mask

The use of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as face mask can reduce the spread of infection when used correctly and in the appropriate context. This may be recommended in workplaces where people are more likely to come in contact with the coronavirus disease.

When to use a mask

– If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection.

You should wear a face mask when you are around other people (e.g., sharing a room or vehicle) and before you enter a healthcare provider’s office.

If you are not able to wear a face mask (for example, because it causes trouble breathing), then people who live with you should not stay in the same room with you, or they should wear a face mask if they enter your room.

– Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.

– Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

– If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.

How to put on, use, take off and dispose of a mask

– Before putting on a mask, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

– Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.

– Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

– Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp and do not re-use single-use masks.

– To remove the mask: remove it from behind (do not touch the front of mask); discard immediately in a closed bin; clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

Source: WHO

Researchers found a cure for diabetes (in lab mice)

A research team led by Jeffrey Millman at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri found last year that infusing mice with stem cells could offer a better treatment option.

Building on that research, the same team may have found a cure: at least in lab mice.

Diabetics are characterized by their difficulty producing or managing insulin. This requires careful monitoring, a strict diet, exercise, and expensive insulin shots — which many diabetics find themselves rationing due to the cost of drugs in the United States. Insulin is normally produced in the pancreas, but those with diabetes don’t produce enough of it. To treat diabetes, many diabetics have to monitor their blood sugar levels, and inject insulin directly into the bloodstream as needed. Millman’s treatment foregoes these shots and instead uses beta cells to secrete the insulin for you.

The treatment relies on induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells). These cells are essentially a blank slate and can be tricked into becoming almost any other type of cell in the body.

In a new study, the team improved on the technique it had developed last year to produce and introduce these cells into the bloodstream. When converting the stem cells into another type of cell, there are always mistakes and random cells enter into the mix along with the insulin-producing ones. These cells are harmless, but they don’t pull their weight.

“The more off-target cells you get, the less therapeutically relevant cells you have,” Millman told New Atlas. “You need about a billion beta cells to cure a person of diabetes. But if a quarter of the cells you make are actually liver cells or other pancreas cells, instead of needing a billion cells, you’ll need 1.25 billion. It makes curing the disease 25% more difficult.”

The new method would rid the sample of those unwanted cells. Millman’s team built a process that targeted the cytoskeleton, the structure that gives the cells their shape, and produced not only a higher percentage of effective beta cells, but better functioning ones.

When these new cells were infused into diabetic mice, their blood sugar levels stabilized, leaving them “functionally cured” of the disease for up to nine months.

Granted, it’s just an animal trial. The results shouldn’t be interpreted as a cure for humans. But it’s a promising start.

The team plans to continue testing the cells in larger animals, and over longer periods, with their sights set on human clinical trials in the future.

Source: Medical News Today

How to protect yourself from coronavirus?

World Health Organization recommends people take these simple precautions against coronavirus to reduce exposure and transmission

How does the coronavirus spread?

The Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak is a new illness and scientists are still assessing how it spreads from person to person, but similar viruses tend to spread via cough and sneeze droplets.

When an infected person coughs or sneezes, they release droplets of saliva or mucus. These droplets can fall on people in the vicinity and can be either directly inhaled or picked up on the hands then transferred when someone touches their face, causing infection. For flu, some hospital guidelines define exposure as being within six feet of an infected person who sneezes or coughs for 10 minutes or longer.

Stay six feet from infected individuals.

Viruses can also be spread through droplets landing on surfaces such as seats on buses or trains or desks in school. However, whether this is a main transmission route depends on how long viruses survive on surfaces – this can vary from hours to months.

There is anecdotal evidence that the virus can be spread by people before they have symptoms. Some other illnesses such as flu can be passed from one person to another before symptoms occur – but the extent to which this is happening with the Wuhan coronavirus is not well understood yet.

How to protect yourself and others

Wash your hands.

Wash your hands: wet your hands with clean, running water and apply soap. Lather your hands, including the backs, between your fingers, and under your nails and scrub for at least 20 seconds. Rinse.

Cover your mouth.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the bin and wash your hands. If you do not have a tissue to hand, cough or sneeze into your elbow rather than your hands.

Facemasks offer some protection.

Face masks offer some protection as they block liquid droplets. However, they do not block smaller aerosol particles that can pass through the material of the mask. The masks also leave the eyes exposed and there is evidence that some viruses can infect a person through the eyes.

Seek medical help.

Seek early medical help if you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, and share your travel history with healthcare providers.

Avoid live animals.

If visiting live markets in affected areas avoid direct, unprotected contact with live animals and surfaces that have been in contact with animals.

Avoid raw foods.

If you are in an affected area avoid eating raw or under-cooked animal products and exercise care when handling raw meat, milk or animal organs to avoid cross-contamination with uncooked foods.

Quarantine yourself after travel from affected areas.

If you have returned from an affected area in China in the last two weeks, stay indoors and avoid contact with other people for 14 days. This means not going to work, school or public areas.

Seek medical advice before leaving home.

If you have returned from an infected area and develop a high temperature, cough, runny nose, sore throat or difficulty breathing do not leave your home until you have been given advice by a doctor.

Source: The Guardian

13 Foods That Are Good for High Blood Pressure

Hypertension, or high blood pressure, refers to the pressure of blood against your artery walls. Over time, high blood pressure can cause blood vessel damage that leads to heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and other problems. Hypertension is sometimes called the silent killer because it produces no symptoms and can go unnoticed — and untreated — for years.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Trusted Source (CDC), an estimated 75 million Americans have high blood pressure. Many risk factors for high blood pressure are out of your control, such as age, family history, gender, and race. But there are also factors you can control, such as exercise and diet. A diet that can help control blood pressure is rich in potassium, magnesium, and fiber and lower in sodium.

13 foods that help lower blood pressure

  1. Leafy greens

Potassium helps your kidneys get rid of more sodium through your urine. This in turn lowers your blood pressure.

Leafy greens, which are high in potassium, include: romaine lettuce, arugula, kale, turnip greens, collard greens, spinach, beet greens.

Canned vegetables often have added sodium. But frozen vegetables contain as many nutrients as fresh vegetables, and they’re easier to store. You can also blend these veggies with bananas and nut milk for a healthy, sweet green juice.

  1. Berries

Berries, especially blueberries, are rich in natural compounds called flavonoids. One study found that consuming these compounds might prevent hypertension and help lower blood pressure.

Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are easy to add to your diet. You can put them on your cereal or granola in the morning, or keep frozen berries on hand for a quick and healthy dessert.

  1. Red beets

Beets are high in nitric oxide, which can help open your blood vessels and lower blood pressure. Researchers also found that the nitrates in beetroot juice lowered research participants’ blood pressure within just 24 hours.

You can juice your own beets or simply cook and eat the whole root. Beetroot is delicious when roasted or added to stir-fries and stews. You can also bake them into chips. Be careful when handling beets — the juice can stain your hands and clothes.

  1. Skim milk and yogurt

Skim milk is an excellent source of calcium and is low in fat. These are both important elements of a diet for lowering blood pressure. You can also opt for yogurt if you don’t like milk.

According to the American Heart Association, women who ate five or more servings of yogurt a week experienced a 20 percent reduction in their risk for developing high blood pressure.

Try incorporating granola, almond slivers, and fruits into your yogurt for extra heart-healthy benefits. When buying yogurt, be sure to check for added sugar. The lower the sugar quantity per serving, the better.

  1. Oatmeal

Oatmeal fits the bill for a high-fiber, low-fat, and low-sodium way to lower your blood pressure. Eating oatmeal for breakfast is a great way to fuel up for the day.

Overnight oats are a popular breakfast option. To make them, soak 1/2 cup of rolled oats and 1/2 cup of nut milk in a jar. In the morning, stir and add berries, granola, and cinnamon to taste.

  1. Bananas

Eating foods that are rich in potassium is better than taking supplements. Slice a banana into your cereal or oatmeal for a potassium-rich addition. You can also take one to go along with a boiled egg for a quick breakfast or snack.

  1. Salmon, mackerel, and fish with omega-3s

Fish are a great source of lean protein. Fatty fish like mackerel and salmon are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and lower triglycerides. In addition to these fish sources, trout contains vitamin D. Foods rarely contain vitamin D, and this hormone-like vitamin has properties that can lower blood pressure.

One benefit of preparing fish is that it’s easy to flavor and cook. To try it, place a fillet of salmon in parchment paper and season with herbs, lemon, and olive oil. Bake the fish in a preheated oven at 450°F for 12-15 minutes.

  1. Seeds

Unsalted seeds are high in potassium, magnesium, and other minerals known to reduce blood pressure. Enjoy ¼ cup of sunflower, pumpkin, or squash seeds as a snack between meals.

  1. Garlic and herbs

CDC advises that arlic can help reduce hypertension by increasing the amount of nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide helps promote vasodilation, or the widening of arteries, to reduce blood pressure.

Incorporating flavorful herbs and spices into your daily diet can also help you cut back on your salt intake. Examples of herbs and spices you can add include basil, cinnamon, thyme, rosemary, and more.

  1. Dark chocolate

A 2015 study found that eating dark chocolate is associated with a lower risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD). The study suggests that up to 100 grams per day of dark chocolate may be associated with a lower risk of CVD.

Dark chocolate contains more than 60 percent cocoa solids and has less sugar than regular chocolate. You can add dark chocolate to yogurt or eat it with fruits, such as strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries, as a healthy dessert.

   11. Pistachios

Pistachios are a healthy way to decrease blood pressure by reducing peripheral vascular resistance, or blood vessel tightening, and heart rate. CDC found that a diet with one serving of pistachios a day helps reduce blood pressure.

You can incorporate pistachios into your diet by adding them to crusts, pesto sauces, and salads, or by eating them plain as a snack.

  1. Olive oil

Olive oil is an example of a healthy fat. It contains polyphenols, which are inflammation-fighting compounds that can help reduce blood pressure.

Olive oil can help you meet your two to three daily servings of fat as part of the DASH diet (see below for more about this diet). It’s also a great alternative to canola oil, butter, or commercial salad dressing.

  1. Pomegranates

Pomegranates are a healthy fruit that you can enjoy raw or as a juice. One study concluded that drinking a cup of pomegranate juice once a day for four weeks helps lower blood pressure over the short term.

Pomegranate juice is tasty with a healthy breakfast. Be sure to check the sugar content in store-bought juices, as the added sugars can negate the health benefits.

Through a heart-healthy diet, you can reduce your risks for hypertension and promote good health overall.

Source: Healthline.

Take a deep breath: is this the future of cancer diagnosis?

Scientists have developed a breath sampler which is able to detect lung cancer at a far earlier stage than other tests, opening the possibility for quicker, more effective treatment. Could this non-invasive method become the new standard for lung cancer diagnosis?

The later cancer is diagnosed, the less treatable it is. At early stages, many cancers present with minor or zero symptoms and aren’t detected by patients. Even when they do begin to feel unwell and seek treatment, the process can be arduous – biopsies, blood tests and CT scans followed by an anxious wait for test results.

Of course, cancer is a complex collective of diseases and finding a quick and efficient test which can accurately diagnose them all isn’t going to be an easy feat. But researchers have growing faith in the ability of breath biopsies to swiftly, accurately and non-invasively diagnose cancer.

In 2016, the University Hospital of South Manchester Trust (UHSM) offered smokers and ex-smokers aged 55-74 across 14 participating GP practices a ‘Lung Health Check’. A breathing test (spirometry) was carried out on each patient who took part, alongside a discussion with a lung specialist nurse of any potential symptoms of cancer they were exhibiting and a calculation of their individual lung cancer risk. Patients judged to be high risk were invited to have an immediate low-dose CT scan.

Over 2,500 people were checked, with 46 incidences of lung cancer discovered across 42 patients. Typically, around 50% of lung cancer diagnoses are made at stage 4 of the disease, which is usually incurable, but in this study almost 90% of patients were diagnosed at a stage early enough to be offered curative treatment.

Not only do these results highlight the importance of early diagnosis for patient survival, but they demonstrate the successes clinicians can have using breath tests to diagnose disease.

Now, Owlstone Medical’s ReCIVA Breath Sampler technology is being used to measure volatile organic compounds (VOCs) through a breath biopsy to find different types of cancer. Co-founder and CEO Billy Boyle began to work towards increasing early diagnosis rates of cancer when his wife, Kate, died on Christmas morning of 2014 from colon cancer. Her diagnosis was made too late for her to benefit from potentially life-saving treatment.

Breath biopsy: the future quick and non-invasive diagnosis

The ReCIVA Breath Sampler picks up VOCs, gaseous molecules which can be sampled quickly and non-invasively from a breath sample. While previous breath tests for disease have focused largely on respiratory illnesses, VOC biomarkers are produced as the end products of metabolic processes all over the body, and so the ReCIVA aims to be able to use these to detect several different kinds of illness.

The device consists of a nose and mouth piece, which can be held up to the face or gently strapped to the head. A patient using the apparatus to seek a specific diagnosis breathes in a controlled supply of air for a minute, and their exhaled breath is stabilised in breath biopsy cartridges. It takes roughly a minute for all the blood in the body to flow around the circulatory system, so by sampling breath for this time, Owlstone Medical hopes to be able to detect even very low levels of VOC biomarkers.

The breath biopsy cartridges are then analysed by the team at Owlstone Medical, using mass spectrometry or field asymmetric ion mobility spectrometry (FAIMS) to determine their VOC profile and pinpoint any abnormalities.

Breath biopsy has a number of benefits over traditional screening methods. It’s non-invasive, meaning that should it become part of routine disease screening in future it’s likely to drive patient compliance compared to more intrusive procedures such as the cervical smear test.

Boyle says: “Breath biopsy can be pre-enriched simply by taking a longer sample so that even very low levels of VOCs, which may be present at even the earliest stage of disease, can be captured and analysed. Comparatively, samples such as blood are restricted for volume, placing limitations on the sensitivity that is achievable.”

Source: medicaldevice-network

Russia provides remote healthcare services to Vietnam

The Vietnamese and Russian sides have reached a deal to promote cooperation in the field of telehealth.

telehealth_vietnam

The signing ceremony for a strategic partnership agreement between the Russian Centre of Corporate Medicine (CCM) and Vietnam’s Dr. Binh Tele Clinic was held in Hanoi on March 5, marking a new milestone in providing management and remote healthcare services for individuals, households, and businesses in Vietnam.

Under the agreement, CCM will provide services in emergency first aid, remote health care, chronic disease management, and prevention of occupational and malignant diseases to international standards.

The cooperation is expected to provide high-efficiency healthcare for laborers in enterprises, especially in the field of chronic disease management and prevention of malignant and occupational diseases due to toxic environments. The model also promises to make changes, particularly in the sense of “prevention rather than cure.”

Professor Sergey Antipov, Director General of CCM, said that the application of telemedicine technology with the help of TeleHealth Centre 24/7 – an online healthcare services center, will help to maintain regular and timely health care in the home, while minimizing costs and reducing the load for hospitals.

dr_binh_telehealth

Dr. Vu Quoc Binh, Chairman of the Dr. Binh Tele Clinic said that the online medical centre TeleHealth 24/7 in Hanoi will be synchronously connected with the Central Call Centre in Russia, thus ensuring the connection and coordination among 43 medical facilities in six countries for the provision of professional health services, emergency medical rescue, and patient transfer at home and abroad.

CCM owns 42 medical examination and treatment facilities and five representative offices in Russia and other countries around the world. In Vietnam, it has set up clinics and offices in Nghi Son (Thanh Hoa province) and Vung Tau (Ba Ria-Vung Tau province). The Hanoi-based Dr. Binh Tele Clinic has pioneered the application of 4.0 technologies to facilitate its activities.

How to manage diabetes: Some tips for you

While there is no cure for diabetes, with treatment and self-management strategies, a person can live a long and healthy life.

Diabetes is a chronic disease that affects millions of people around the world. In the United States, 1.5 million people receive a diabetes diagnosis every year.

Diabetes also affects children and adolescents. Approximately 193,000 people younger than 20 in the country have diagnosed diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) note in 2017 guidelines that self-management and education are crucial aspects of diabetes care.

Diabetes self-management can reduce blood sugar levels, mortality risk, and healthcare costs, as well as weight in people with excess weight.

In this article, we discuss strategies that people with diabetes can use every day to improve their health.

Self-monitoring

People can self-monitor their diabetes with a blood glucose meter.

Two important indicators of diabetes control are levels of glycated hemoglobin and blood glucose. Measuring glycated hemoglobin requires a blood test in a doctor’s office, but a person can measure their blood glucose at home.

Doctors recommend that people using insulin check their glucose levels. The right frequency of these checks varies from person to person, but doctors usually recommend monitoring levels before and after meals, at bedtime, and before exercising.

People with diabetes who are not taking insulin should also check their blood sugar levels. Self-monitoring can provide information about the effects of dietary changes, physical activity, and medication on blood sugar levels.

With a blood glucose meter, a person can measure their blood sugar level at any time.

There are also continuous glucose monitors, which provide real-time information about blood sugar levels. These automatically measure levels every 5 minutes through a small sensor inserted under the skin.

When a person uses it appropriately, this type of technology can improve health outcomes.

A healthcare team can use at-home blood sugar readings to modify medication, nutrition, and self-management plans.

Maintain a healthy weight

It is important for people with diabetes or prediabetes to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. When doctors closely monitor weight loss progress, a person more likely to achieve their goals.

Research suggests that, among people with excess weight, modest, consistent weight loss can help manage type 2 diabetes and slow the rate at which prediabetes becomes diabetes.

They also noted that making dietary adjustments can lower glycated hemoglobin levels by 0.3% to 2% in adults with type 2 diabetes. Nutrition therapy can also lead to improvements in the quality of life.

To facilitate these lifestyle adjustments, the ADA recommend consulting a registered dietitian with expertise in diabetes and weight management.

Get good nutrition

Following a meal plan can be among the most challenging aspects of diabetes self-management. Developing a plan with a registered dietitian who is knowledgeable about diabetes-specific nutrition can help.

For some people, dietary changes alone are not enough to control blood sugar levels. Diabetes is a progressive disease, which means that it can worsen over time. The ADA recommend using a combination of medication and nutrition therapy to reach blood sugar targets.

The basis of meal planning involves portion control and favoring healthful foods. The diabetes plate method is one tool designed to help people control their calorie and carbohydrate intakes.

It involves mentally dividing the plate into three sections. Half of the plate should contain nonstarchy vegetables, a quarter can contain grain-based and starchy foods, and the remaining quarter should contain protein.

Exercise regularly

Regular exercise may help control blood sugar levels.

Research has shown that exercise can help control blood sugar levels, reduce cardiovascular risk factors, promote weight loss, and improve well-being.

Researchers behind one study found that engaging in a structured exercise program for at least 8 weeks lowered glycated hemoglobin levels by an average of 0.66% in participants with type 2 diabetes.

The ADA recommend exercising for at least 10 minutes per session and getting a total of at least 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week.

If a person exercises every day — or lets no more than 2 days pass between workouts — this may help reduce insulin resistance.

Members of a diabetes healthcare team can help develop and tailor an exercise plan that is safe and effective.

In addition to exercising regularly, it is important to avoid spending long periods in a seated position. Breaking up sedentary periods every 30 minutes can help with controlling blood sugar.

Stop smoking

The ADA advise all people with prediabetes or diabetes to avoid tobacco products, including e-cigarettes.

People with diabetes who smoke have higher risks of cardiovascular disease, premature death, and diabetes complications, as well as less blood sugar control, compared with people who do not smoke.

Take medication regularly

A person should take their diabetes medication as prescribed to prevent further complications.

Nonadherence is a medical term for not taking medication as prescribed.

If a person with diabetes does not take their medication as recommended by a doctor, it can lead to:

  • lower success rates in achieving clinical targets
  • increased complications
  • increased likelihood of early mortality
  • increased overall healthcare costs

A diverse range of issues can contribute to medication nonadherence. Some may relate to psychological, demographic, and social factors. Key elements can include the cost of treatment and difficulties with healthcare providers and the healthcare system.

People who have a good support network are more likely to take their medication as prescribed.

Doubt about the seriousness of diabetes and the effectiveness of a treatment plan can keep a person from taking their medication, and this can lead to complications.

Nonadherence seems to be more common among people who have chronic diseases with symptoms that are not obvious. Also, complex treatment plans can be challenging to follow.

The quality of the patient-doctor relationship is often a key factor in nonadherence. It is important for doctors to address a person’s reasons for not following the treatment plan.

Likewise, it is important to raise concerns about diabetes treatment with the doctor, who can adjust the plan to help ensure that targets are being met and no complications develop.

Researchers have estimated that the collective cost of medication nonadherence for diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol in the U.S. was $105.8 billion in 2010.

Takeaway

Diabetes is not curable, but a person can help manage it at home. This often involves following nutrition and medication plans.

For a better outcome, it is important to stop smoking, and many programs are available to help.

A person with diabetes or prediabetes should also be physically active and maintain a healthy weight. A diabetes care team can help develop and tailor an exercise plan.

Blood glucose meters and continuous glucose monitors can help a person track their progress and see the effects of self-management techniques.

Source: Medical News Today

What are the early signs of type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes causes a person’s blood sugar levels to become too high. Recognizing the early signs and symptoms of this chronic condition can result in a person getting treatment sooner, which reduces the risk of severe complications.

People with prediabetes have higher-than-normal blood sugar levels, but doctors do not consider them to have diabetes yet. According to the CDC, people with prediabetes often develop type 2 diabetes within 5 years if they do not get treatment.

The onset of type 2 diabetes can be gradual, and symptoms can be mild during the early stages. As a result, many people may not realize that they have this condition.

Early signs and symptoms

The early signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes can include:

  1. Frequent urination

When blood sugar levels are high, the kidneys try to remove the excess sugar by filtering it out of the blood. This can lead to a person needing to urinate more frequently, particularly at night.

  1. Increased thirst

The frequent urination that is necessary to remove excess sugar from the blood can result in the body losing additional water. Over time, this can cause dehydration and lead to a person feeling more thirsty than usual.

  1. Always feeling hungry

Constant hunger or thirst can be early signs of type 2 diabetes.

People with diabetes often do not get enough energy from the food they eat.

The digestive system breaks food down into a simple sugar called glucose, which the body uses as fuel. In people with diabetes, not enough of this glucose moves from the bloodstream into the body’s cells.

As a result, people with type 2 diabetes often feel constantly hungry, regardless of how recently they have eaten.

  1. Feeling very tired

Type 2 diabetes can impact on a person’s energy levels and cause them to feel very tired or fatigued. This tiredness occurs as a result of insufficient sugar moving from the bloodstream into the body’s cells.

  1. Blurry vision

An excess of sugar in the blood can damage the tiny blood vessels in the eyes, which can cause blurry vision. This blurry vision can occur in one or both of the eyes and may come and go.

If a person with diabetes goes without treatment, the damage to these blood vessels can become more severe, and permanent vision loss may eventually occur.

  1. Slow healing of cuts and wounds

High levels of sugar in the blood can damage the body’s nerves and blood vessels, which can impair blood circulation. As a result, even small cuts and wounds may take weeks or months to heal. Slow wound healing also increases the risk of infection.

  1. Tingling, numbness, or pain in the hands or feet

High blood sugar levels can affect blood circulation and damage the body’s nerves. In people with type 2 diabetes, this can lead to pain or a sensation of tingling or numbness in the hands and feet.

This condition is known as neuropathy, and it can worsen over time and lead to more serious complications if a person does not get treatment for their diabetes.

  1. Patches of dark skin

Patches of dark skin forming on the creases of the neck, armpit, or groin can also signify a higher risk of diabetes. These patches may feel very soft and velvety.

This skin condition is known as acanthosis nigricans.

  1. Itching and yeast infections

Excess sugar in the blood and urine provides food for yeast, which can lead to infection. Yeast infections tend to occur on warm, moist areas of the skin, such as the mouth, genital areas, and armpits.

The affected areas are usually itchy, but a person may also experience burning, redness, and soreness.

Importance of early diagnosis

An early diagnosis may help prevent complications.

Recognizing the early signs of type 2 diabetes can allow a person to get a diagnosis and treatment sooner. Getting appropriate treatment, making lifestyle changes, and controlling blood sugar levels can greatly improve a person’s health and quality of life and reduce the risk of complications.

Without treatment, persistently high blood sugar levels can lead to severe and sometimes life-threatening complications, including: heart disease, stroke, nerve damage, or neuropathy, foot problems, kidney disease, eye disease or loss of vision, sexual problems in both men and women

Untreated diabetes can also lead to hyperosmolar hyperglycemic nonketotic syndrome (HHNS), which causes a severe and persistent increase in blood sugar levels. An illness or infection will usually trigger HHNS, which can require hospitalization. This sudden complication tends to affect older people.

Keeping blood sugar levels under control is crucial for preventing some of these complications. The longer that blood sugar levels remain uncontrolled, the higher the risk of other health problems.

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes

Anyone can develop type 2 diabetes, but certain factors can increase a person’s risk. These risk factors include:

  • being 45 years of age or older
  • living a sedentary lifestyle
  • being overweight or obese
  • eating an unhealthful diet
  • having a family history of diabetes
  • having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • having a medical history of gestational diabetes, heart disease, or stroke
  • having prediabetes
  • being of African American, Alaska Native, Hispanic or Latino, American Indian, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander descent

Takeaway

Type 2 diabetes is a common condition that causes high blood sugar levels. Early signs and symptoms can include frequent urination, increased thirst, feeling tired and hungry, vision problems, slow wound healing, and yeast infections.

Anyone who experiences possible signs and symptoms of diabetes should see a doctor for an evaluation, especially if they have other risk factors for developing this condition. The early detection and treatment of type 2 diabetes can improve a person’s quality of life and reduce the risk of severe complications.

Source: Medical News Today.

What are the signs and symptoms of diabetes?

Are you worried that you, your child or someone you know may have diabetes? Having some of the signs of diabetes doesn’t mean you definitely have the condition, but you should always contact your GP, just to make sure.

The common symptoms of diabetes

  • Going to the toilet a lot, especially at night.
  • Being really thirsty.
  • Feeling more tired than usual.
  • Losing weight without trying to.
  • Genital itching or thrush.
  • Cuts and wounds take longer to heal.
  • Blurred vision.

Why does diabetes create these symptoms?

These symptoms occur because some or all of the glucose stays in the blood, and isn’t being used as fuel for energy. The body tries to reduce blood glucose levels by flushing the excess glucose out of the body in the urine. High levels of glucose being passed in the urine are a perfect breeding ground for the fungal infection which causes thrush. But not everyone gets symptoms, in fact 6 out of 10 people have no symptoms when they’re diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.

I have some diabetes symptoms. What now?

If you have any of symptoms of diabetes, you should contact your GP. It doesn’t necessarily mean you have diabetes, but it’s worth checking – early diagnosis, treatment and good control are vital for good health and reduce the chances of developing serious complications.

What happens if you ignore the signs of diabetes?

It’s hard to ignore the signs of Type 1 diabetes because symptoms can often appear quite quickly. But leaving it untreated can lead to serious health problems, including diabetic ketoacidosis, which can result in a potentially fatal coma.

Although the majority of people with Type 1 diabetes are diagnosed in childhood and early adulthood, the symptoms are the same at any age. Adults with Type 1 diabetes may not recognise their symptoms as quickly as children, which could mean their diagnosis and treatment may be delayed.

Type 2 diabetes can be easier to miss as it develops more slowly, especially in the early stages when it can be harder to spot the symptoms. But untreated diabetes affects many major organs, including your heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys. Being diagnosed early and controlling your blood sugar levels can help prevent these complications, so check your risk here.

Source: Diabetes UK

Know Your Risk for High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Risk factors that can increase your risk of high blood pressure include health conditions, your lifestyle, and your family history. Some of the risk factors for high blood pressure cannot be controlled, such as your age or family history. But you can take steps to lower your risk by changing the factors you can control.

Unhealthy Diet

Too much salt (sodium) in your diet

Too much sodium in your diet can cause your body to retain fluid, and also causes the arteries in your body to constrict. Both factors increase blood pressure. Most of the sodium we eat comes from processed and restaurant foods.

Too little potassium in your diet

Potassium helps balance the amount of sodium in your cells. Potassium is found in many foods; bananas, potatoes, beans, and yogurt have high levels of potassium. Not eating enough potassiumexternal icon—a mineral that your body needs to work properly—also can increase blood pressure.

A diet low in vitamin D

It’s uncertain if having too little vitamin D in your diet can lead to high blood pressure. Researchers think that vitamin D may affect an enzyme produced by your kidneys that affects your blood pressure. More studies are necessary to determine vitamin D’s exact role in high blood pressure. However, talk to your doctor about whether you may benefit from taking a vitamin D supplement.

Physical Inactivity

Exercise increases blood flow through all arteries of the body, which leads to release of natural hormones and cytokines that relax blood vessels, which in turn lowers blood pressure. Lack of physical activity also increases the risk of being overweight.

Getting regular physical activity helps your heart and blood vessels stay strong and healthy, which may help lower your blood pressure. Regular physical activity can also help you keep a healthy weight, which may also help lower your blood pressure.

Obesity

Having obesity is having excess body fat. Having obesity or overweight also means your heart must work harder to pump blood and oxygen around your body. Over time, this can add stress to your heart and blood vessels.

Obesity is linked to higher “bad” cholesterol and triglyceride levels and to lower “good” cholesterol levels. Learn more about cholesterol.

In addition to high blood pressure, having obesity can also lead to heart disease and diabetes. Talk to your health care team about a plan to reduce your weight to a healthy level.

Too Much Alcohol

Having more than two drinks per day can cause hypertension, probably by activating your adrenergic nervous system, causing constriction of blood vessels and simultaneous increase in blood flow and heart rate.

Women should have no more than one drink a day. Men should have no more than two drinks a day.

Tobacco Use

Tobacco use increases your risk for high blood pressure. Smoking can damage the heart and blood vessels. Nicotine raises blood pressure, and breathing in carbon monoxide—which is produced from smoking tobacco—reduces the amount of oxygen that your blood can carry.

Stress

High levels of stress can lead to a temporary, but dramatic, increase in blood pressure. If you try to relax by eating more, using tobacco or drinking alcohol, you may only exacerbate problems with high blood pressure. Relaxation and meditation techniques effectively lower blood pressure.

Medications

A number of medications contribute to heart disease, including corticosteroids, oral contraceptives, some decongestants, medications that contain caffeine, and many others. In general, it is best to check the label to see if hypertension is one of the side effects of any medications you take, especially if you already have hypertension or if you are at increased risk for it.

Genetics

Family members share genes, behaviors, lifestyles, and environments that can influence their health and their risk for disease. High blood pressure can run in a family, and your risk for high blood pressure can increase based on your age and your race or ethnicity.

When members of a family pass traits from one generation to another through genes, that process is called heredity.

Genetics plays a role in hypertension, and much of essential hypertension could ultimately turn out to be genetic in origin.

Genes are believed to have approximately 30 percent to 50 percent impact on blood pressure. Specific genes have not been identified as responsible for hypertension, however.

This may be due to the fact that there are many genes that interact together to influence blood pressure, with some of these genetic variants being more common than others.

Overall, genes that contribute to hypertension are common in the population, as evidenced by the fact that hypertension is one of the most prevalent health conditions. The CDC reports that 33.5 percent of adults over age 20 have treated or untreated hypertension, and it is believed that essential hypertension is the leading type of hypertension.

Family History

Family health history is a record of the diseases and health conditions people in your family have had. Family health history is a useful tool for understanding health risks and preventing disease.

There is a link between family history and hypertension. If you have a parent, sibling, or grandparent with hypertension, you are at a higher risk of developing the condition yourself, especially if your family member has essential hypertension.

Other Characteristics

Both men and women can have high blood pressure. Some other characteristics that you cannot control—such as your age, race, or ethnicity—can affect your risk for high blood pressure.

  • Because your blood pressure tends to rise as you get older, your risk for high blood pressure increases with age.
  • Women are about as likely as men to develop high blood pressure at some point during their lives. Hypertension is more common in men than women until the age of 45. Thereafter and until age 64, the percentages of men and women with high blood pressure are similar, and women may be more likely to develop hypertension after age 60. 
  • Race or ethnicity. Black people develop high blood pressure more often than white people, Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders, American Indians, or Alaska Natives do. Compared with white people, black people also develop high blood pressure earlier in life.

Source: CDC

What is high blood pressure (Hypertension)?

High blood pressure is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease.

What is blood pressure?

When the heart pumps blood through the arteries, the blood puts pressure on the artery walls. This is known as blood pressure.

Blood pressure is the pressure of blood pushing against the walls of your arteries. Arteries carry blood from your heart to other parts of your body.

Your blood pressure normally rises and falls throughout the day.

What do blood pressure numbers mean?

Blood pressure is measured using two numbers:

The first number, called systolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats.

The second number, called diastolic blood pressure, measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart rests between beats.

If the measurement reads 120 systolic and 80 diastolic, you would say, “120 over 80,” or write, “120/80 mmHg.”

What are normal blood pressure numbers?

A normal blood pressure level is less than 120/80 mmHg

What is high blood pressure (hypertension)?

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is blood pressure that is higher than normal. Your blood pressure changes throughout the day based on your activities. Having blood pressure measures consistently above normal may result in a diagnosis of high blood pressure (or hypertension).

The higher your blood pressure levels, the more risk you have for other health problems, such as heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

Your health care team can diagnose high blood pressure and make treatment decisions by reviewing your systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels and comparing them to levels found in certain guidelines.

The guidelines used to diagnose high blood pressure may differ from health care professional to health care professional:

Some health care professionals diagnose patients with high blood pressure if their blood pressure is consistently 140/90 mm Hg or higher.2 This limit is based on a guideline released in 2003, as seen in the table below.

Other health care professionals diagnose patients with high blood pressure if their blood pressure is consistently 130/80 mm Hg or higher.1 This limit is based on a guideline released in 2017, as seen in the table below.

How do I know if I have high blood pressure?

There’s only one way to know if you have high blood pressure: Have a doctor or other health professional measure it. Measuring your blood pressure is quick and painless.

High blood pressure is called the “silent killer” because it usually has no warning signs or symptoms, and many people do not know they have it.

What can I do to prevent or manage high blood pressure?

Many people with high blood pressure can lower their blood pressure into a healthy range or keep their numbers in a healthy range by making lifestyle changes. Talk with your health care team about

  • Getting at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week (about 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week)
  • Not smoking
  • Eating a healthy diet, including limiting sodium (salt) and alcohol
  • Keeping a healthy weight
  • Managing stress

Learn more about ways to manage and prevent high blood pressure.

In addition to making positive lifestyle changes, some people with high blood pressure need to take medicine to manage their blood pressure. Learn more about medicines for high blood pressure.

By taking action to lower your blood pressure, you can help protect yourself against heart disease and stroke, also sometimes called cardiovascular disease (CVD).

Source: CDC

What is diabetes?

Diabetes is a chronic (long-lasting) health condition that affects how your body turns food into energy.

Most of the food you eat is broken down into sugar (also called glucose) and released into your bloodstream. When your blood sugar goes up, it signals your pancreas to release insulin. Insulin acts like a key to let the blood sugar into your body’s cells for use as energy.

If you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use the insulin it makes as well as it should. When there isn’t enough insulin or cells stop responding to insulin, too much blood sugar stays in your bloodstream. Over time, that can cause serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.

There isn’t a cure yet for diabetes, but losing weight, eating healthy food, and being active can really help. Taking medicine as needed, getting diabetes self-management education and support, and keeping health care appointments can also reduce the impact of diabetes on your life.

Types of Diabetes

There are three main types of diabetes: type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes (diabetes while pregnant).

Type 1 diabetes

Around 10% of all people with diabetes have type 1 diabetes.

Type 1 diabetes is caused by an autoimmune reaction where the body’s defence system attacks the cells that produce insulin. As a result, the body produces very little or no insulin. The exact causes of this are not yet known, but are linked to a combination of genetic and environmental conditions.

Type 1 diabetes can affect people at any age, but usually develops in children or young adults. People with type 1 diabetes need daily injections of insulin to control their blood glucose levels. If people with type 1 diabetes do not have access to insulin, they will die.

The risk factors for type 1 diabetes are still being researched. However, having a family member with type 1 diabetes slightly increases the risk of developing the disease. Environmental factors and exposure to some viral infections have also been linked to the risk of developing type 1 diabetes.

Symptoms of type 1 diabetes

The most common symptoms of type 1 diabetes include:

  • Abnormal thirst and dry mouth
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Frequent urination
  • Lack of energy, tiredness
  • Constant hunger
  • Blurred vision
  • Bedwetting

Diagnosing type 1 diabetes can be difficult so additional tests may be required to confirm a diagnosis.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes, accounting for around 90% of all diabetes cases.

It is generally characterized by insulin resistance, where the body does not fully respond to insulin. Because insulin cannot work properly, blood glucose levels keep rising, releasing more insulin. For some people with type 2 diabetes this can eventually exhaust the pancreas, resulting in the body producing less and less insulin, causing even higher blood sugar levels (hyperglycaemia).

Type 2 diabetes is most commonly diagnosed in older adults, but is increasingly seen in children, adolescents and younger adults due to rising levels of obesity, physical inactivity and poor diet.

The cornerstone of type 2 diabetes management is a healthy diet, increased physical activity and maintaining a healthy body weight. Oral medication and insulin are also frequently prescribed to help control blood glucose levels.

Risk factors

Several risk factors have been associated with type 2 diabetes and include:

  • Family history of diabetes
  • Overweight
  • Unhealthy diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Increasing age
  • High blood pressure
  • Ethnicity
  • Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT)*
  • History of gestational diabetes
  • Poor nutrition during pregnancy

*Impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) is a category of higher than normal blood glucose, but below the threshold for diagnosing diabetes.

Changes in diet and physical activity related to rapid development and urbanisation have led to sharp increases in the numbers of people living with type 2 diabetes.

Symptoms of type 2 diabetes

The symptoms of type 2 diabetes are similar to those of type 1 diabetes and include:

  • Excessive thirst and dry mouth
  • Frequent urination
  • Lack of energy, tiredness
  • Slow healing wounds
  • Recurrent infections in the skin
  • Blurred vision
  • Tingling or numbness in hands and feet.

These symptoms can be mild or absent and so people with type 2 diabetes may live several years with the condition before being diagnosed.

Prediabetes

In the United States, 88 million adults—more than 1 in 3—have prediabetes. What’s more, more than 80% of them don’t know they have it. With prediabetes, blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough yet to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. Prediabetes raises your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. The good news is if you have prediabetes, a CDC-recognized lifestyle change program can help you take healthy steps to reverse it.

Source: CDC, IDF