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8 Ways to Lower Your Heart Disease Risk

There are a lot of ways to lower your chances of getting heart disease. Taking action will improve your health and possibly will save your life. These are 8 ways to get on track.

1. Quit smoking. Smoking is a major cause of heart disease. A person’s chance of heart disease increases with the number of cigarettes they smoke. If you smoke, you are much more likely to die if you do have a heart attack.

2. Improve cholesterol levels. You’re more likely to get heart disease if you have:

  • Total cholesterol level over 200
  • HDL (“good”) cholesterol level under 40
  • LDL (“bad”) cholesterol level over 160
  • Triglycerides over 150
  • Cholesterol is not the only thing that matters. Your doctor will consider the big picture, including all your potential risks. To help lower cholesterol levels, eat a diet low in cholesterol, saturated fat, and refined sugars and high in fiber.

3. Control high blood pressure. High blood pressure significantly increases the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Exercise and healthy eating as well as avoiding salt is one of the ways to control your blood pressure. It is important to get your blood pressure checked regularly.

4. Get active. Regular physical activity makes you less likely to have a heart attack or develop heart disease. It also helps to control other heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and being overweight. Check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you are not active now.

5. Follow a heart-healthy diet. Eat foods that are low in fat and cholesterol. Eat more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts, legumes, and other plant-based foods. The fiber is good for your cholesterol, and you will get vitamins from the natural way, which are from foods.

  • You can still eat fish (especially salmon or tuna, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids), poultry, and meat, but make it lean and keep the portions modest. Also limit salt and sugar.

6. Get to a healthy weight. Losing extra weight is good for your heart. It can also help you lower high blood pressure and manage diabetes.

7. Control diabetes. Diabetes greatly increases the risk of heart disease. The high glucose in the bloodstream can damage the arteries, causing them to become stiff and hard. Get tested and get treated.

8. Manage stress and anger. It is normal to get angry now and then as everyone has stress. Managing your stress and handling your anger in healthy ways puts you back in charge.

Source: WebMD, American Heart Association

MERS-CoV Common Symptoms

MERS-CoV is a zoonotic virus, which has entered the human population in the Arabian Peninsula on multiple occasions from direct or indirect contact with infected dromedary camels or possibly camel-related products (e.g. raw camel milk). Several studies have shown that MERS-CoV-specific antibodies are widespread in dromedary camel populations in the Middle East and Africa. The evidence from animal seroepidemiologic surveys suggests that MERS-CoV has been circulating in camels for decades.

– WHO –

A guide to understand your blood test report

A guide to understand your blood test report

Have you gone for a medical check-up before? If yes, do you understand what does the blood report tells you?

Basically, your test results will be interpreted together with your personal medical history. All these information are essential in diagnosing a disease or even to check for your health condition. Below are some of the most commonly requested blood test and the descriptions:

No. Blood test profile Description
1. Full Blood Count (FBC)

The test might include:

  • Total Red Blood cell
  • Total White Blood Cell
  • Differential Count
  • Haemoglobin
  • Haematological Indices (MCH, MCV, MCHC, PCV)
  • Platelet Count
FBC measures the amount of different types of blood cells. An FBC test alone cannot provide a definitive diagnosis of a condition but it helps to give important “clues” about possible problems. For example;

  • A low platelet count might be caused by a viral infection or an autoimmune condition where the immune system attacks healthy tissue.
  • A high platelet count might indicate inflammatory conditions, infection or a problem with the bone marrow.
2. Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate (ESR) ESR is often used to aid diagnosis in conditions associated with inflammation such as arthritis, endocarditis, Crohn’s disease and etc.It is used together with some other tests to confirm presence of infection in your body.
3. Blood Glucose Monitoring your blood sugar level by regular blood glucose tests is very important especially for diabetic patients. If the blood glucose levels become too high, a range of serious complications may appear such as kidney related diseases or nerve damage.It is important for you not to eat for at least 10 hours before the test so that your blood sugar level would not increase during the test.
4. Lipid Profile

The test might include:

  • Total Cholesterol
  • HDL-Cholesterol
  • LDL-Cholesterol
  • Triglycerides
  • Cholesterol/HDL Ratio
This test is to provide a picture whether you are at risk of developing cardiovascular diseases (CVD) such as stroke or heart attack.High cholesterol level can effect on your health because it increases your risk of having heart attack, stroke or etc.

Same as blood glucose test, this test also requires fasting before blood sampling.

5. Thyroid Function testThe test involves:

  • Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH)
  • Free T4 (FT4)
  • Free T3 (FT3)
Lower or higher-than-average levels of these hormones means that you have thyroid problems or at risk of developing one in the future.

  • A high TSH level with a low FT4 level: Hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid).
  • A low TSH level with a high FT4 level and a high FT3 level: Hyperthyroidism (over-active thyroid).
  • Abnormal TSH levels together with normal FT4 levels indicate you may be at risk of developing a thyroid disorder.
  • A low TSH levels together with a low FT4 levels can indicate a disorder of the pituitary gland

 

6. Liver Function TestThe test mainly includes:

  • Total Protein
  • Albumin
  • Globulin
  • A/G Ratio
  • Total Bilirubin
  • Alkaline Phosphatase
  • Alanine Transaminase (SGPT)
  • Aspartate Transaminase (SGOT)
  • Gamma-Glutamyl Transferase (GGT)

 

All these indicators are enzymes and proteins that will be elevated due to the damaged of the liver. This profile can help to diagnose certain liver conditions, including:

  • Hepatitis
  • Cirrhosis
  • Alcohol-related liver diseases
7. Renal ProfileThis test might include:

  • Urea
  • Creatinine
  • Glucose
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Chloride
A renal profile is a diagnostic test that is designed to collect information about kidney function. Any abnormalities will be compared to your medical history.

The test profile here shows just a basic blood profile and might vary depending on the doctor’s request. The results need to be counter check with medical history and physical examinations in order to get a clearer picture of one’s health conditions.

(Source: www.nhs.uk, www.btf-thyroid.org, www.wisegeek.com)

Dr. Zaidi Zakaria

Head of Medical Services,

Pantai Hospital Ampang.