What you need to know

*Heart Attacks-Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Most heart attacks are caused by a blood clot that blocks one of the coronary arteries. The coronary arteries bring blood and oxygen to the heart. If the blood flow is blocked, the heart is
starved of oxygen and heart cells die.

A hard substance called plaque can build up in the walls of your coronary arteries. This plaque is made up of cholesterol and other cells. A heart attack can occur as a result of plaque buildup.

  • The plaque can develop cracks or tears. Blood platelets
         stick to these tears and form a blood clot. A heart attack can occur if this blood clot completely blocks oxygen-rich blood from flowing to the heart. This is the most common cause of heart attacks.
  • The slow buildup of plaque may almost block one of your coronary arteries. A heart attack may occur if not enough oxygen-rich blood can flow through this blockage. This is more likely to happen when your body is stressed (for example, by a serious illness).

The cause of heart attacks is not always known. Heart attacks may occur:

  • When you are resting or asleep
  • After a sudden increase in physical activity
  • When you are active outside in cold weather
  • After sudden, severe emotional or physical stress,
         including an illness
  • Proper diet and exercise can help you keep you heart
         healhty this is a fact.
  • Keep your weight under control. Stay Fit 4 Life
         can help you, you are not alone.

 

 

*Stroke- Causes, incidence, and risk factors

If blood flow is stopped for longer than a few seconds, the brain cannot get blood and oxygen. Brain cells can die, causing permanent damage.

There are two major types of stroke:
ischemic stroke and hemorrhagic stroke.

Ischemic stroke occurs when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot. This may
happen in two ways:

  • A clot may form in an artery that is already very
         narrow. This is called mnjh/,na thrombotic stroke.
  • A clot may break off from another place in the blood
         vessels of the brain, or from some other part of the body, and travel up to the brain. This is called cerebral embolism, or an embolic stroke.

Ischemic strokes may be caused by clogged arteries. Fat, cholesterol, and other substances collect on the artery walls, forming a sticky substance called plaque.

A hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in part of the brain becomes weak and bursts open, causing blood to leak into the brain. Some people have defects in the blood vessels of the brain that make this more likely.

See also:

STROKE RISK FACTORS

High blood pressure is the number
one risk factor for strokes. The other major risk factors are:

People who have heart disease or poor blood flow in their legs caused by narrowed arteries are also more likely to have a stroke.

The chance of stroke is higher in people who live an unhealthy lifestyle by:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Drinking heavily
  • Eating too much fat or salt
  • Smoking
  • Taking cocaine and other illegal drugs

Birth control pills can increase the chances of having blood clots. The risk is highest in woman who smoke and are older than 35.

Symptoms

The symptoms of stroke depend on what part of the brain is damaged. In some cases, a person may not know that he
or she has had a stroke.

Symptoms usually develop suddenly and without warning. Or, symptoms may occur on and off for the first day or
two. Symptoms are usually most severe when the stroke first happens, but they may slowly get worse.

A headache may occur, especially if the stroke is caused by bleeding in the brain. The headache:

  • Starts suddenly and may be severe
  • Occurs when you are lying flat
  • Wakes you up from sleep
  • Gets worse when you change positions or when you bend, strain, or cough
  •  Other symptoms depend on how severe
    the stroke is and what part of the brain is affected. Symptoms may include:
  • Change in alertness (including sleepiness, unconsciousness, and coma)
  • Changes in hearing
  • Changes in taste
  • Changes that affect touch and the ability to feel pain,
         pressure, or different temperatures
  • Clumsiness
  • Confusion or loss of memory
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Difficulty writing or reading
  • Dizziness or abnormal feeling of movement (vertigo)
  • Lack of control over the bladder or bowels
  • Loss of balance
  • Loss of coordination
  • Muscle weakness in the face, arm, or leg (usually just
         on one side)
  • Numbness or tingling
         on one side of the body
  • Personality, mood, or emotional changes
  • Problems with eyesight, including decreased vision,
         double vision, or total loss of vision
  • Trouble speaking or understanding others who are
         speaking
  • Trouble walking
  • Fight strokes by eating properly more fruits and veggies it's hard to do but you have to try. Start an exercise program, it's not as painful as you think, Stay Fit 4 life can help you.

 

 

Alzheimer's disease

Senile dementia - Alzheimer's type. Dementia is a loss of
brain function that occurs with certain diseases. Alzheimer's disease (AD), is one form of dementia that gradually gets worse over time. It affects memory, thinking, and behavior.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

You are more likely to get Alzheimer's disease (AD) if you:

  • Are older. However, developing AD is not a part of
         normal aging.
  • Have a close blood relative, such as a brother, sister,
         or parent with AD.
  • Have certain genes linked to AD, such as APOE epsilon4
         allele

The following may also increase your risk, although this is not well proven:

  • Being female
  • Having high blood pressure for a long time
  • History of head trauma

There are two types of AD:

  • Early onset AD:
         Symptoms appear before age 60. This type is much less common than late onset. However, it tends to get worse quickly. Early onset disease can run in families. Several genes have been identified.
  • Late onset AD:
         This is the most common type. It occurs in people age 60 and older. It may run in some families, but the role of genes is less clear.

The cause of AD is not clear. Your genes and environmental factors seem to play a role. Aluminum, lead, and mercury in the brain is no longer believed to be a cause of AD.

Symptoms

Dementia symptoms include difficulty with many areas of mental function, including:

  • Emotional behavior or personality
  • Language
  • Memory
  • Perception
  • Thinking and judgement (cognitive skills)

Dementia usually first appears as forgetfulness.

Mild cognitive impairment is the stage between normal forgetfulness due to aging, and the development of AD. People with MCI have mild problems with thinking and memory that do not interfere with everyday activities. They are often aware of the forgetfulness.
Not everyone with MCI develops AD
Symptoms of MCI include:

  • Difficulty performing more than one task at a time
  • Difficulty solving problems
  • Forgetting recent events or conversations
  • Taking longer to perform more difficult activities

The early symptoms of AD can
include:

  • Difficulty performing tasks that take some thought, but
         used to come easily, such as balancing a checkbook, playing complex games (such as bridge), and learning new information or routines
  • Getting lost on familiar routes
  • Language problems, such as trouble finding the name of
         familiar objects
  • Losing interest in things previously enjoyed, flat mood
  • Misplacing items
  • Personality changes and loss of social skills

As the AD becomes worse, symptoms are more obvious and interfere with your ability to take care of yourself. Symptoms
can include:

  • Change in sleep patterns, often waking up at night
  • Delusions, depression, agitation
  • Difficulty doing basic tasks, such as preparing meals,
         choosing proper clothing, and driving
  • Difficulty reading or writing
  • Forgetting details about current events
  • Forgetting events in your own life history, losing
         awareness of who you are
  • Hallucinations,
         arguments, striking out, and violent behavior at this point medication
         will be needed.
  • Poor judgment and loss of ability to recognize danger
  • Using the wrong word, mispronouncing words, speaking in confusing sentences
  • Withdrawing from social contact

People with severe AD can no longer:

  • Understand language
  • Recognize family members
  • Perform basic activities of daily living, such as eating, dressing, and bathing at this point home attendants should be used to care for the person.
  •  Stay Fit 4 Life would supervise their duties.
  • Incontinence
  • Swallowing problems

Signs and tests

A skilled health care provider can often diagnose AD disease with the following steps:

  • Complete physical exam, including neurological exam
  • Asking questions about your medical history and symptoms
  • A mental status examination

A diagnosis of AD is made when certain symptoms are present, and by making sure other causes of dementia are not present.

Tests may be done to rule out other possible causes of dementia, including:

Computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging
(MRI) of the brain may be done to look for other causes of dementia, such as a brain tumor or stroke.

  • In the early stages of dementia, brain image scans may
         be normal. In later stages, an MRI may show a decrease in the size of different areas of the brain.
  • While the scans do not confirm the diagnosis of AD,
         they do exclude other causes of dementia (such as stroke and tumor).

However, the only way to know for certain that someone has AD is to examine a sample of their brain tissue after death. The following changes are more common in the brain tissue of people with AD:

  • "Neurofibrillary tangles" (twisted fragments of protein within nerve cells that clog up the cell)
  • "Neuritic plaques" (abnormal clusters of dead and dying nerve cells, other brain cells, and protein)
  • "Senile plaques" (areas where products of dying nerve cells have accumulated around protein).

Treatment There is no cure for AD. The goals of treatment are:

  • Slow the progression of the disease (although this is
         difficult to do)
  • Manage symptoms, such as behavior problems, confusion, and sleep problems
  • Change your home environment so you can better perform daily activities
  • Support family members and other caregivers

DRUG TREATMENT

Medicines are used to help slow down the rate at which symptoms become worse. The benefit from these drugs is
usually small. You and your family may not notice much of a change.

Before using these medicines, ask the doctor or nurse:

  • What are the potential side effects? Is the medicine worth the risk?
  • When is the best time, if any, to use these medicines?

Medicines for AD include:

  • Donepezil (Aricept), rivastigmine (Exelon), and galantamine (Razadyne, formerly called Reminyl). Side effects include stomach upset, diarrhea, vomiting, muscle
         cramps, and fatigue.
  • Memantine (Namenda). Possible side effects include agitation or anxiety.

Other medicines may be needed to control aggressive, agitated, or dangerous behaviors. Examples include haloperidol, risperidone, and quetiapine. These are usually given in very low doses due to the risk of side effects including an increased risk of death.

It may be necessary to stop any medications that make confusion worse.
Such medicines may include painkillers, cimetidine, central nervous system depressants, antihistamines, sleeping pills, and others. Never change or stop taking any medicines without first talking to your doctor.

SUPPLEMENTS Some people believe certain vitamins
and herbs may help prevent or slowdown AD.

  • There is no strong evidence that Folate (vitamin B6),
         vitamin B12, and vitamin E prevent AD or slows the disease once it occurs.
  • High-quality studies have not shown that ginkgo biloba lowers the chance of developing dementia.
  • DO NOT use ginkgo if you take blood-thinning
         medications like warfarin (Coumadin) or a class of
         antidepressants called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).

If you are considering any drugs or supplements, you should talk to your doctor first. Remember that herbs and supplements available over the counter are NOT regulated by the FDA.

 

*What is High blood pressure(HBP)
is a serious condition that can lead to coronary heart disease (also called coronary artery disease), heart failure, stroke,
kidney failure, and other health problems.

"Blood pressure" is the force of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. If this pressure rises and stays high over time, it can damage the body in many ways.

Over view- About 1 in 3 adults in the United States has HBP. The condition itself usually has no symptoms. You can have it for years without knowing it. During this time, though, HBP can damage the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, and other parts of your body.

Knowing your blood pressure numbers is important, even when you're feeling fine. If your blood pressure is normal, you can work with your health care team to keep it that way. If your blood pressure is too high, treatment may help prevent
damage to your body's organs.

Blood Pressure Numbers Blood pressure is measured as
systolic (sis-TOL-ik) and diastolic (di-a-STOL-ik) pressures.
"Systolic" refers to blood pressure when the heart beats while
pumping blood. "Diastolic" refers to blood pressure when the heart is at rest between beats.

You most often will see blood pressure numbers written with the systolic number above or before the diastolic number, such as 120/80 mmHg. (The mmHg is millimeters of mercury—the units used to measure blood pressure.) The table below shows normal blood pressure numbers for adults. It also shows which numbers put you at greater risk for health problems.

Categories for Blood Pressure Levels in Adults

Category

Systolic

  (top number)

 

Diastolic

  (bottom number)

Normal

Less
  than 120

And

Less
  than 80

Prehypertension

120–139

Or

80–89

High blood pressure

     

Stage 1

140–159

Or

90–99

Stage 2

160 or higher

Or

100 or higher

The ranges in the table apply to most adults (aged 18 and older) who don't have short-term serious illnesses.

Blood pressure doesn't stay the same all the time. It lowers as you sleep and rises when you wake up. Blood pressure also rises when you're excited, nervous, or active. If your numbers stay above normal most of the time, you're at risk for health problems.

All levels above 120/80 mmHg raise
your risk
, and the risk grows as blood pressure numbers rise. "Prehypertension" means you're likely to end up with HBP, unless you take steps to prevent it. If you're being treated for HBP and have repeat readings in the normal range, your blood pressure is under control. However, you still have the ondition. You should see your doctor and follow your treatment plan to keep your blood pressure under control.

Your systolic and diastolic numbers may not be in the same blood pressure category. In this case, the more severe category is the one you're in. For example, if your systolic number is 160 and your diastolic number is 80, you have stage 2 HBP.

If your systolic number is 120 and your diastolic number is 95, you have stage 1 High Blood Pressure.

If you have diabetes or chronic kidney disease, HBP is defined as 130/80 mmHg or higher. HBP numbers also
differ for children and teens.

Outlook Blood pressure tends to rise with age. Following a healthy lifestyle helps some people delay or prevent this risein blood pressure. People who have HBP can take steps
to control it and reduce their risk of related health problems. Key steps include following a healthy lifestyle, which means eating a healthy diet, excerise regularly and following your treatment plan if your doctor has given you one. You ar not alone Stay Fit 4 Life can help you cope.

 

*The Basics of Cholesterol

Have you been diagnosed with high cholesterol? Is lowering your cholesterol a goal? The first step is to find out: What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance made in the liver and other cells and found in certain foods, such as food from animals, like dairy products, eggs, and meat.The body needs some cholesterol in order to function properly. Its cell walls, or membranes, need cholesterol in order to produce hormones, vitamin D, and the bile acids that help to digest fat. But the body needs only a limited amount of cholesterol to meet its needs. When too much is present health problems such as heart disease may develop.

 

Cholesterol and Heart Disease (LDL)

When too much cholesterol is present, plaque(a thick, hard deposit) may form in the body's arteries narrowing the space for blood to flow to the heart.
Over time, this buildup causes atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) which can lead to heart disease.

When not enough oxygen-carrying blood reaches the heart chest pain -- called angina -- can result. If the  blood supply to a portion of the heart is completely cut off by total blockage of a coronary artery, the result is a heart attack. This is usually due to a sudden closure from a blood clot forming on top of a previous narrowing.

Types of Cholesterol high density lipoproteins (HDL):HDL, also called "good" cholesterol, helps the body get rid of bad cholesterol in the blood. The higher the level of HDL cholesterol, the better. If your levels of HDL are low, your risk of heart disease increases.

  • Very low density lipoproteins(VLDL):VLDL is similar to LDL cholesterol in that it contains mostly fat and not much protein.
  • Triglycerides:Triglycerides are another type of fat
         that is carried in the blood by very low density lipoproteins. Excess calories, alcohol, or sugar in the body are converted into triglycerides and stored in fat cells throughout the body.

What Factors Affect Cholesterol Levels?

A variety of factors can affect your cholesterol levels. They include:

  • Diet.Saturated fat and cholesterol in the food you eat increase cholesterol levels. Try to reduce the amount of saturated fat and cholesterol in your
         diet.
  • Weight.In addition to being a risk factor for heart disease, being overweight can also increase your cholesterol. Losing weight can help lower your
         LDL
    and total cholesterol levels, as well as increase HDL cholesterol.
  • Exercise.Regular exercise can lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol. You
         should try to be physically active for 30 minutes on most days.
  • Age and Gender.  As we get older, cholesterol levels rise. Before menopause, women tend to have lower total cholesterol levels than men of the same age. After menopause, however, women's LDL levels tend to rise.
  • Diabetes.Poorly controlled diabetes increases cholesterol levels. With improvements in control,
         cholesterol levels can fall.
  • Heredity.Your genes partly determine how much cholesterol your body makes. High blood  cholesterol can run in families.
  • Other causes.Certain medications and medical conditions can cause high cholesterol.

 

Cholesterol Guidelines

National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) guidelines recommend that all adults over age 20 have a cholesterol test at least once every 5 years. Take a look at the guidelines below to get a better idea of where your cholesterol levels should be.

Total cholesterol level

  • Less than 200 mg/dL Desirable
  • 200-239 mg/dL Borderline high
  • 240 mg/dL High or higher

 

Total cholesterol is based on your LDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol counts.

Generally, a lower cholesterol level is better.

  • Less than 100 mg/dL Optimal
  • 100-129 mg/dL Near optimal/above optimal
  • 130-159 mg/dL Borderline high
  • 190 mg/dL Very high or higher 

LDL is considered the “bad” cholesterol because if you have too much LDL in your bloodstream, it can lead to the buildup of plaque in your arteries over time, known as atherosclerosis. Generally a lower LDL cholesterol level is better.

  • Less than 100 mg/dL is Optimal
  • 100-129 mg/dL Near optimal/above optimal
  • 130-159 mg/dL Borderline high
  • 160-189 mg/dL High
  • 190 mg/dL or higher is very high

HDL is considered the "good" cholesterol because it helps return cholesterol to the liver, where it can be eliminated from the body. Generally, a higher HDL cholesterol level is better.

  • 60 mg/dL or higher is High
  • Less than 40 mg/dL is Low

Triglycerides:

  • Less than 150 mg/dL Normal
  • 150-199 mg/dL Borderline high
  • 500 mg/dL or higher is very high

Triglycerides, like cholesterol, are another substance that can be dangerous to your health. Like LDL, you want to keep your Triglycerides low.

Source: National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP)