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What You Need to Know about Gluten & Celiac Disease

Gluten free diet

A lot of people eat a gluten-free diet. For people with celiac disease, it’s a must.

Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that’s triggered when they eat gluten. Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye, and other grains. It is the protein that makes dough elastic and gives bread its chewy texture.

But when someone with celiac disease eats something with gluten, their body overreacts to the protein and damages their villi, which are very small finger-like projections found along the wall of the small intestine.

When the villi are injured, the small intestine can’t properly absorb nutrients from food. Eventually, this can lead to malnourishment, as well as loss of bone density, miscarriages, infertility — even to the start of neurological diseases, or certain cancers.

Symptoms

Celiac disease isn’t the same thing as a food allergy, so the symptoms will differ.

If you’re allergic to wheat, you may have itchy or watery eyes or a hard time breathing if you eat something that has wheat in it.

But if you have celiac disease and accidentally eat something with gluten in it, you may have intestinal problems (like diarrhea, gas, constipation) or any of the following symptoms:

Abdominal pain

Nausea

Anemia

Itchy blistery rash (doctors call this dermatitis herpetiformis)

Loss of bone density

Headaches or general fatigue

Bone or joint pain

Mouth ulcers

Weight loss

Heartburn

In children, intestinal problems are much more common than they are for adults. These symptoms include:

Nausea or vomiting

Bloating or a swelling in the belly

Diarrhea

Constipation

Pale, foul-smelling stool (steatorrhea)

Weight loss

Not everyone with celiac disease will have these symptoms. And some people have no problems at all, which makes diagnosis very difficult.

Diagnosis

Most people with celiac disease never know they have it. Researchers think as few as 20% of people with the disease ever get a proper diagnosis. The damage to the intestine is very slow, and symptoms are so varied, that it can be years before someone gets a diagnosis.

Doctors use two blood tests to help determine whether you have celiac disease:

Serology tests that look for certain antibodies

Genetic testing to look for human leukocyte antigens to rule out celiac disease

If the blood test shows you might have celiac disease, you’ll probably need to have endoscopy done. This is a procedure in which your doctor can look at your small intestine and take a little bit of tissue to see if it’s damaged.

Treatment

There are no drugs that treat celiac disease. You’ll need to go on a strict gluten-free diet. In addition to staying away from bread, cake, and other baked goods, you’ll also need to avoid beer, pasta, cereals, and even some toothpastes, medications, and other products that contain gluten.

If you have a severe nutritional deficiency, your doctor may have you take gluten-free vitamins and mineral supplements and will prescribe medication if you have a skin rash.

After you’ve been on a gluten-free diet for a few weeks, you should start to feel better, as your small intestine begins to heal.

Who’s at Risk?

Celiac disease tends to run in families, as it is a genetic disorder. If you have a parent, child, brother, or sister who has celiac disease, you have a 1 in 10 chances of getting it yourself. But having the genes for celiac disease doesn’t automatically mean you’ll get it.

Sometimes, a stressful event such as a viral infection, surgery, or some emotional trauma can trigger it. It could also happen after pregnancy. Of course, you would need to be eating foods with gluten for any harm to happen.

The disease is most common among Caucasians and people who have had other diseases like Down syndrome, type 1 diabetes, Turner syndrome (a condition where a female is missing an X chromosome), Addison’s disease, or rheumatoid arthritis.

 

References:

webmd.com/digestive-disorders/celiac-disease/celiac-disease

deputyk.ga/tumu/treating-risks-2032.php

kagoradio.com/cote/treating-risks-cetu.php

valleystamp.com/xuza/treating-risks-1713.php

geolectica.com/dihu/treating-risks-1585.php

iqing.info/valccia-celiac.html

itdeck.ga/qijot/treating-risks-299.php

wikihow.com/Test-for-Gluten-Intolerance

 

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Chocolate: Best food for your heart and brain

Dark chocolate is loaded with nutrients that can positively affect your health because it’s believed that it may help protect your cardiovascular system. The reasoning being that the cocoa bean is rich in a class of plant nutrients called flavonoids.

Made from the seed of the cocoa tree, it is one of the best sources of antioxidants on the planet.

If you buy quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, then it is actually quite nutritious.

A 100-gram bar of dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa contains:

11 grams of fiber.

67% of the RDA for Iron.

58% of the RDA for Magnesium.

89% of the RDA for Copper.

98% of the RDA for Manganese.

It also has plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.

Flavonoids help protect plants from environmental toxins and help repair damage. They can be found in a variety of foods, such as fruits and vegetables. When we eat foods rich in flavonoids, it appears that we also benefit from this “antioxidant” power.

Antioxidants are believed to help the body’s cells resist damage caused by free radicals that are formed by normal bodily processes, such as breathing, and from environmental contaminants, like cigarette smoke. If your body does not have enough antioxidants to combat the amount of oxidation that occurs, it can become damaged by free radicals. For example, an increase in oxidation can cause low-density lipoprotein (LDL), also known as “bad” cholesterol, to form plaque on the artery walls.

Flavanols are the main type of flavonoid found in cocoa and chocolate. In addition to having antioxidant qualities, research shows that flavanols have other potential influences on vascular health, such as lowering blood pressure, improving blood flow to the brain and heart, and making blood platelets less sticky and able to clot.

These plant chemicals aren’t only found in chocolate. In fact, a wide variety of foods and beverages are rich in flavanols. These include cranberries, apples, peanuts, onions, tea and red wine.

Are all types of chocolate healthy?

Before you grab a chocolate candy bar or slice of chocolate cake, it’s important to understand that not all forms of chocolate contain high levels of flavanols.

Cocoa naturally has a very strong, pungent taste, which comes from the flavanols. When cocoa is processed into your favorite chocolate products, it goes through several steps to reduce this taste. The more chocolate is processed (through things like fermentation, alkalizing, roasting, etc.), the more flavanols are lost.

 

Most commercial chocolates are highly processed. Although it was once believed that dark chocolate contained the highest levels flavanols, recent research indicates that, depending on how the dark chocolate was processed, this may not be true. The good news is that most major chocolate manufacturers are looking for ways to keep the flavanols in their processed chocolates. But for now, your best choices are likely dark chocolate over milk chocolate (especially milk chocolate that is loaded with other fats and sugars) and cocoa powder that has not undergone Dutch processing (cocoa that is treated with an alkali to neutralize its natural acidity).

What about all of the fat in chocolate?

You may be surprised to learn that chocolate isn’t as bad for you as once believed.

The fat in chocolate comes from cocoa butter and is made up of equal amounts of oleic acid (a heart-healthy monounsaturated fat also found in olive oil), stearic and palmitic acids. Stearic and palmitic acids are forms of saturated fat. You may know that saturated fats are linked to increases in LDL cholesterol and the risk of heart disease.

But, research shows that stearic acid appears to have a neutral effect on cholesterol, neither raising nor lowering it. Although palmitic acid does affect cholesterol levels, it only makes up one-third of the fat calories in chocolate. Still, this does not mean you can eat all the dark chocolate you’d like.

First, be careful about the type of dark chocolate you choose: chewy caramel-marshmallow-nut-covered dark chocolate is by no means a heart-healthy food option. Watch out for those extra ingredients that can add lots of extra fat and calories. Second, there is currently no established serving size of chocolate to help you reap the cardiovascular benefits it may offer, and more research is needed in this area. However, we do know that you no longer need to feel guilty if you enjoy a small piece of dark chocolate once in a while.

So, for now, enjoy moderate portions of chocolate (e.g., 1 ounce) a few times per week, and don’t forget to eat other flavonoid-rich foods like apples, red grapes, tea, onions and cranberries.

References:

https://web.extension.illinois.edu/fmpt/eb282/entry_6414/

http://coolvup165.weebly.com/

http://coolvup165.weebly.com/blog/watch-heart-of-truth-stream-in-english-with-english-subtitles-1080p

http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/benefits-of-chocolate-heart-health

https://nutrawiki.org/Chocolate/

https://speakingofwomenshealth.com/newsletter/chocolate-the-sweet-truth

https://www.gayleschocolates.com/faq/

http://drbergwerk.blogspot.com/

https://jamaicahospital.org/newsletter/?p=840

http://www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/team_messageboard_thread.asp?board=0x47217x46069231

http://stuffedchocolate.com/health_benefits.htm

https://diets-usa.com/daily-chocolate-heart-health/

http://www.superhealthykids.com/chocolate-a-sweet-story/

https://texascprcourse.com/extent-heart-disease-stroke.html

http://greensuperfoods.us/chocolate-for-your-valentine-some-sweet-science/

https://medium.com/@punecakeshop_78505/benefits-of-eating-chocolate-cakes-8d8005ab18d4

https://yourwholenutrition.com/chocolate/

http://www.theday.com/article/20160706/ADV0101/160709703

http://arawakpurecacao.com/

http://healthimpactnews.com/2013/the-rich-benefits-of-eating-chocolate/

http://uwyoextension.org/uwnutrition/2015/02/11/death-or-health-by-chocolate/

https://www.healthnutnews.com/the-rich-benefits-of-eating-chocolate/

http://www.antioxidants-for-health-and-longevity.com/facts-about-chocolate.html

http://www.pennlive.com/bodyandmind/index.ssf/2012/12/a_spoonful_of_chocolate.html

http://www.aunaturalenutrition.com/articles/yes-chocolate-can-be-a-health-food-a-recipe-for-triple-chocolate-cake-oh-baby

http://ayny.org/chocolate/

https://thefriendlyfig.com/2014/09/16/antioxidant-smoothie-bowl/

https://www.smithmountainhomes.com/news-for-dark-chocolate-lovers-just-in-time-for-valentines-day/

http://collington.kendal.org/2016/03/16/bad-good/

http://nutritiontwins.com/cocoavia-chocolate-mousse/

http://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/antioxidants-vitamine-betacarotene-cv-disease-heart-health

http://www.medicaldaily.com/mothers-day-health-5-healthy-activities-help-you-celebrate-mothers-day-281662

http://www.purevolume.com/DangersofCardioPreventingHeartAttacksDarkChocolateAndHeartHealth

 

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Cerebrovascular Accident (Stroke)

Cerebrovascular Accident (Stroke)

Symptoms
Watch for these signs and symptoms if you think you or someone else may be having a stroke. Note when your signs and symptoms begin, because the length of time they have been present may guide your treatment decisions:
• Trouble with speaking and understanding. You may experience confusion. You may slur your words or have difficulty understanding speech.
• Paralysis or numbness of the face, arm or leg. You may develop sudden numbness, weakness or paralysis in your face, arm or leg, especially on one side of your body. Try to raise both your arms over your head at the same time. If one arm begins to fall, you may be having a stroke. Similarly, one side of your mouth may droop when you try to smile.
• Trouble with seeing in one or both eyes. You may suddenly have blurred or blackened vision in one or both eyes, or you may see double.
• Headache. A sudden, severe headache, which may be accompanied by vomiting, dizziness or altered consciousness, may indicate you’re having a stroke.
• Trouble with walking. You may stumble or experience sudden dizziness, loss of balance or loss of coordination.
When to see a doctor
Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any signs or symptoms of a stroke, even if they seem to fluctuate or disappear.
Think “FAST” and do the following:
• Face. Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
• Arms. Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? Or is one arm unable to raise up?
• Speech. Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is his or her speech slurred or strange?
• Time. If you observe any of these signs, call 911 immediately.
Call 911 or your local emergency number right away. Don’t wait to see if symptoms go away. Every minute counts. The longer a stroke goes untreated, the greater the potential for brain damage and disability.
If you’re with someone you suspect is having a stroke, watch the person carefully while waiting for emergency assistance.
Causes
A stroke occurs when the blood supply to your brain is interrupted or reduced. This deprives your brain of oxygen and nutrients, which can cause your brain cells to die.
A stroke may be caused by a blocked artery (ischemic stroke) or the leaking or bursting of a blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke). Some people may experience only a temporary disruption of blood flow to their brain (transient ischemic attack, or TIA).
Ischemic stroke
About 85 percent of strokes are ischemic strokes. Ischemic strokes occur when the arteries to your brain become narrowed or blocked, causing severely reduced blood flow (ischemia). The most common ischemic strokes include:
• Thrombotic stroke. A thrombotic stroke occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in one of the arteries that supply blood to your brain. A clot may be caused by fatty deposits (plaque) that build up in arteries and cause reduced blood flow (atherosclerosis) or other artery conditions.
• Embolic stroke. An embolic stroke occurs when a blood clot or other debris forms away from your brain — commonly in your heart — and is swept through your bloodstream to lodge in narrower brain arteries. This type of blood clot is called an embolus.

Hemorrhagic stroke
Hemorrhagic stroke occurs when a blood vessel in your brain leaks or ruptures. Brain hemorrhages can result from many conditions that affect your blood vessels, including uncontrolled high blood pressure (hypertension), overtreatment with anticoagulants and weak spots in your blood vessel walls (aneurysms).
A less common cause of hemorrhage is the rupture of an abnormal tangle of thin-walled blood vessels (arteriovenous malformation) present at birth. Types of hemorrhagic stroke include:
• Intracerebral hemorrhage. In an intracerebral hemorrhage, a blood vessel in the brain bursts and spills into the surrounding brain tissue, damaging brain cells. Brain cells beyond the leak are deprived of blood and also damaged.
High blood pressure, trauma, vascular malformations, use of blood-thinning medications and other conditions may cause an intracerebral hemorrhage.
• Subarachnoid hemorrhage. In a subarachnoid hemorrhage, an artery on or near the surface of your brain bursts and spills into the space between the surface of your brain and your skull. This bleeding is often signaled by a sudden, severe headache.
A subarachnoid hemorrhage is commonly caused by the bursting of a small sack-shaped or berry-shaped outpouching on an artery known as an aneurysm. After the hemorrhage, the blood vessels in your brain may widen and narrow erratically (vasospasm), causing brain cell damage by further limiting blood flow.

Ischemic stroke

Transient ischemic attack (TIA)
A transient ischemic attack (TIA) — also known as a ministroke — is a brief period of symptoms similar to those you’d have in a stroke. A temporary decrease in blood supply to part of your brain causes TIAs, which often last less than five minutes.
Like an ischemic stroke, a TIA occurs when a clot or debris blocks blood flow to part of your brain. A TIA doesn’t leave lasting symptoms because the blockage is temporary.
Seek emergency care even if your symptoms seem to clear up. Having a TIA puts you at greater risk of having a full-blown stroke, causing permanent damage later. If you’ve had a TIA, it means there’s likely a partially blocked or narrowed artery leading to your brain or a clot source in the heart.
It’s not possible to tell if you’re having a stroke or a TIA based only on your symptoms. Up to half of people whose symptoms appear to go away actually have had a stroke causing brain damage.
Risk factors
Many factors can increase your risk of a stroke. Some factors can also increase your chances of having a heart attack. Potentially treatable stroke risk factors include:
Lifestyle risk factors
• Being overweight or obese
• Physical inactivity
• Heavy or binge drinking
• Use of illicit drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamines
Medical risk factors
• High blood pressure — the risk of stroke begins to increase at blood pressure readings higher than 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Your doctor will help you decide on a target blood pressure based on your age, whether you have diabetes and other factors.
• Cigarette smoking or exposure to secondhand smoke.
• High cholesterol.
• Diabetes.
• Obstructive sleep apnea — a sleep disorder in which the oxygen level intermittently drops during the night.
• Cardiovascular disease, including heart failure, heart defects, heart infection or abnormal heart rhythm.
Other factors associated with a higher risk of stroke include:
• Personal or family history of stroke, heart attack or transient ischemic attack.
• Being age 55 or older.
• Race — African-Americans have a higher risk of stroke than do people of other races.
• Gender — Men have a higher risk of stroke than women. Women are usually older when they have strokes, and they’re more likely to die of strokes than are men. Also, they may have some risk from some birth control pills or hormone therapies that include estrogen, as well as from pregnancy and childbirth.
Complications
A stroke can sometimes cause temporary or permanent disabilities, depending on how long the brain lacks blood flow and which part was affected. Complications may include:
• Paralysis or loss of muscle movement. You may become paralyzed on one side of your body, or lose control of certain muscles, such as those on one side of your face or one arm. Physical therapy may help you return to activities hampered by paralysis, such as walking, eating and dressing.
• Difficulty talking or swallowing. A stroke may cause you to have less control over the way the muscles in your mouth and throat move, making it difficult for you to talk clearly (dysarthria), swallow or eat (dysphagia). You also may have difficulty with language (aphasia), including speaking or understanding speech, reading or writing. Therapy with a speech and language pathologist may help.
• Memory loss or thinking difficulties. Many people who have had strokes experience some memory loss. Others may have difficulty thinking, making judgments, reasoning and understanding concepts.
• Emotional problems. People who have had strokes may have more difficulty controlling their emotions, or they may develop depression.
• Pain. People who have had strokes may have pain, numbness or other strange sensations in parts of their bodies affected by stroke. For example, if a stroke causes you to lose feeling in your left arm, you may develop an uncomfortable tingling sensation in that arm.
People also may be sensitive to temperature changes, especially extreme cold after a stroke. This complication is known as central stroke pain or central pain syndrome. This condition generally develops several weeks after a stroke, and it may improve over time. But because the pain is caused by a problem in your brain, rather than a physical injury, there are few treatments.
• Changes in behavior and self-care ability. People who have had strokes may become more withdrawn and less social or more impulsive. They may need help with grooming and daily chores.
As with any brain injury, the success of treating these complications will vary from person to person.

 

Reference:

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/stroke/symptoms-causes/dxc-20117265

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Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease in which your blood glucose, or blood sugar, levels are too high.

Glucose comes from the foods you eat. Insulin is a hormone that helps the glucose get into your cells to give them energy.

Common warnings signs of diabetes include:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased hunger (especially after eating)
  • Dry mouth
  • Frequent urination or urine infections
  • Unexplained weight loss (even though you are eating and feel hungry)
  • Fatigue (weak, tired feeling)
  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches
  • Diabetic coma (loss of consciousness)

Prevention:

  • Eat healthy foods. Choose foods lower in fat and calories and higher in fiber. Focus on fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Strive for variety to prevent boredom.
  • Get more physical activity. Aim for 30 minutes of moderate physical activity a day. Take a brisk daily walk. Ride your bike. Swim laps. If you can’t fit in a long workout, break it up into smaller sessions spread throughout the day.
  • Lose excess pounds. If you’re overweight, losing even 7 percent of your body weight — for example, 14 pounds (6.4 kilograms) if you weigh 200 pounds (90.9 kilograms) — can reduce the risk of diabetes. To keep your weight in a healthy range, focus on permanent changes to your eating and exercise habits. Motivate yourself by remembering the benefits of losing weight, such as a healthier heart, more energy and improved self-esteem.

Additional Information:

Normal Random Blood Glucose Level:

Average Adult: 79–140 mg/dl

Syringe with drugs for diabetes treatment

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World Blood Donors Day

June 14 is World Blood Donor’s Day.
World Blood Donor Day (WHO) is celebrated on 14 June annually all around the world for safe blood and blood products awareness. It also encourages people to donate blood and save a life. Everyone has a life-saving gift which is Blood.
The blood you donate gives someone another chance at life. One day that someone may be a close relative, a friend, a loved one—or even you.

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Foods that are beneficial during fasting

Foods that are beneficial during fasting:

Complex carbohydrates will help release energy slowly during the hours of fasting. They are found in grains and seeds such as barley, wheat, oats, semolina, beans, lentils and basmati rice

Fibre-rich foods are also digested slowly. These include bran, cereals, whole wheat, grains and seeds, potatoes with the skin, vegetables such as green beans and almost all fruit including apricots, prunes and figs.

Foods to avoid, Heavily processed, fast-burning foods containing refined carbohydrates in the form of sugar and white flour. Too much fatty food should also be avoided, cakes, biscuits, chocolates and sweets. The drinks such as tea, coffee and cola could also be avoided because of their caffeine content.

Suhoor – the pre-dawn meal This should be a wholesome, moderate meal that is filling and provides enough energy for many hours. It is very important to include slowly-digested foods. iftar – the meal that breaks the day’s fast, This could include dates or fruit juices to provide a refreshing burst of energy.

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High Blood Pressure

Understanding High Blood Pressure Before It’s Too Late

Be honest, when was the last time you had your blood pressure checked?

Do you have a family history of Heart disease or Kidney disease?

Did you know that HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE is mostly symptomless health risk that can lead to heart attacks, heart disease, and strokes?

Every person over the age of 40 should get his/her blood pressure checked regularly. It is the best way to diagnose any irregularities in blood pressure early and help with establishing the necessary interventions.

Early interventions allows for easier treatment options such as:

  • Exercise
  • Dietary changes
  • Medications

It’s important to know what the numbers mean. General rules for blood pressure readings are: [source: WebMD]

  • Normal: Less than 120 over 80 (120/80)
  • Prehypertension: 120-139 over 80-89
  • Stage 1 high blood pressure: 140-159 over 90-99
  • Stage 2 high blood pressure: 160 and above over 100 and above
  • High blood pressure in people over age 60: 150 and above over 90 and above

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, can be broken down in several ways.

~Primary hypertension is usually seen in individuals with a family history of high blood pressure.

~Secondary hypertension is associated with another underlying health condition.

In most cases, symptoms of high blood pressure are seen only when there is a hypertensive crisis, such as blood pressure readings above 180/110 mm Hg.  Some of these symptoms can easily be confused as other issues. The symptoms can include:

  • Headache or blurred vision
  • Increasing confusion
  • Seizure
  • Increasing chest pain
  • Increasing shortness of breath
  • Swelling or edema (fluid buildup in the tissues)

Left undetected, hypertension could lead to arterial damage, which in turn could cause many other life threatening health conditions such as:

Blood Pressure is one of the most common problems for men and women. That’s why it’s important to have regular checks ups and monitor it as you get older.

Get more insights into heart disease here… 

There are times a more skilled hand is needed to monitor blood pressure and properly assess the readings. For example: when caring for an elderly or a person after a heart surgery; someone who has Kidney disease. There are many circumstances that require BP monitoring by your doctor or a more trained professional.  A professional home health care provider like Florida Home Care, can provide you with highly skilled nurses to help you with regular monitoring of Blood Pressure. They are trained to recognize symptoms before they become an emergency.

Don’t you think it’s time to get  your pressure checked?

Florida Home Care – Empower people for a better life

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