Cholesterol & Heart Diseases

Cholesterol – the dreaded word, which most Indians believe it to be a sign of heart related issue. However this is not completely true. Cholesterol is a waxy, fatty substance present in the body cells. It is found in certain kinds of food and is produced in the body too. It is essential for the body so that it can make Vitamin D, hormones and other factors needed to digest food.

Like everything else, an excess of cholesterol is harmful to the body and is the leading cause of many cardio vascular diseases. But what is truly harmful is that there are no visible signs to recognize that someone has high blood cholesterol. Like slow poison, it could keep damaging your body from within till one day you realize it, perhaps after serious damage has been done to your system.

The liver produces 80% of the required cholesterol and the remaining is available to the body through food. Such as foods derived from animal products like cheese, meat, poultry, fish.

Lipoproteins carry cholesterol in the blood. There are four kinds of lipoproteins in the body:

  • High density lipoprotein (HDL) or “good cholesterol”
  • Low density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad cholesterol”
  • Very low density lipoproteins (VLDL), which are really bad forms of cholesterol
  • Chylomicrons, actually have very little cholesterol but a lot of another harmful fat called triglycerides

Who is Safe?

People often trick themselves into believing that they can’t have a certain disease. Similarly with cholesterol. Women believe that they cannot have high cholesterol; only men are likely to have it. Some believe that its only once they cross into their fifties then they have to worry about cholesterol. Some even think that being thin is their ticket to safety. Unfortunately, all of them are wrong. Anyone can have high cholesterol.

In fact one should start getting checked for it after 20 years of age. With the advent of smartphones and computers, the younger generation has adopted a sedentary lifestyle where exercise has reduced to tap of thumbs on their phone screens. The food choices have also changed from simple but healthy food to dishes soaked in butter and garnished with extra cheese. Putting them at higher risk of high cholesterol levels.

If you are over-weight or have a history of high cholesterol in the family or if you suffer from other diseases like diabetes, you should be extra careful. Smokers or obese people should also get tested regularly.

The Guilty Foods

A heart healthy diet and plenty of exercise can help you control excessive cholesterol. Avoid foods with high saturated fats. Animal produces like veal; pork, beef, eggs, milk and cheese are the usual suspects.

Coconut oil, palm oil or cocoa butter is equally guilty. And finally your favourite munchies like cookies and chips are loaded with saturated fat. Steer clear of these as much as possible.

What Are the Signs?

High cholesterol is a disguised disease. It never shows any symptoms. Most people discover it only when it results in a more serious health concern like

  • A heart attack – caused by the blockage of arteries of the heart
  • Angina – pain caused by the narrowing of the arteries
  • Stroke – caused by blockage in the arteries of the neck or brain
  • Pain on walking – caused due to blockage in a an artery of the leg

What Can I Do?

Regular testing can help detect and treat high cholesterol.

Considering the Indian lifestyle, doctors suggest that your first test should happen at the age 20 years, to determine the baseline of cholesterol and then you should get tested every 5 years. If you have family history or other diseases or lifestyle as mentioned above, you should get tested more often.

Adults with coronary artery diseases should get tested at least once a year, similarly for those suffering from diabetes and hypertension.

The lipid panel and lipid profile are the most common tests for checking cholesterol levels, which you can get done at almost all diagnostic centres. But if you see your physician, upon physical examination, he might suggest some other tests too.

Following a healthy lifestyle and getting your preventive diagnostic test done regularly is the key to enjoy a good healthy life and keep all the other health issues created with cholesterol away.

You Really Shoul To Know This – Heart Surgery And The Pain Management You’ll Need

Heart surgery is a serious surgery, that isn’t anything you don’t already know, right? After all, you wouldn’t be reading this right now if you or somebody you know wasn’t about to have a heart surgery. And you’re probably curious as to how painful this will be during and after, and you should know, it’s going to be pretty painful. But your doctor will put you on a pain management regimen before you’re discharged.

However, by discharge time, your pain will be at a mild to moderate level, because if it isn’t, then your doctor most likely won’t release you. You’ll be prescribed pain management medication when you go home, be sure to take it as instructed. This is prescribed to assist you in getting up and moving around. Don’t worry about being addicted to it as long as you take it only as prescribed.

Then when your appointment for follow-up comes around, your pain level will be at a minimal level by then. There are patients that have expressed concern about chest and shoulder pains, causing them alarm that it may be angina. This is understandable and you shouldn’t hesitate to call your doctor if you do experience this pain.

However, this is typically nothing more than your bones and muscles aching. Again, don’t be afraid to call your doctor, though! Better safe than sorry.

With effective pain management medication, you will heal faster and in comfort. This medication you’re prescribed will keep possible complications risks minimal too. Believe it or not, you will be up walking around quick because your doctors will a physical therapist teach you breathing exercises. Those exercises will get your strength back sooner and they are also good for pain management.

Where Will The Pain Be Felt?

During your recovery period, you’ll feel burning, pain, or pressure in your chest and especially around the incision site while the tubes are still in place. When the doctor and nurses remove the chest tubes, you’ll have some discomfort and you’ll find it painful as you begin to move around and when you a cough, sit up, walk.

You will have pain in other areas as well. Your throat will be scratchy and sore from the breathing tube that was inserted during your surgery. If the doctor took an artery or vein from other areas of your body, you will have some pain there as well. And you’ll have some soreness and stiffness from lying down during your surgery and while you were in ICU. Again, your doctor will prescribe pain management medication and treatments that will ease the discomfort and pain.

Incision Area Numbness

Some patients have complained about having temporary numbness in their arm, chest, hand, or leg where an arterial line was inserted. This is completely normal and will improve over time. It can take months for some people and others just a few weeks. This happens because of the manipulation during surgery to the nerves.

Controlling and Monitoring Your Pain

Once the anesthesia you are under has worn off in the ICU, you will be given pain management medication by an IV line and after you are returned to your room your pain management medication will be in pill form or a suppository if you’re unable to swallow.

Or you may be kept on an IV line for another day or two. The nursing staff will keep regular checks of your vitals and ask you about your pain level so they can keep you comfortable following the doctor’s orders for pain management medications.

This is Proof That Butter Is NOT a Heart Risk

Butter is not bad for you, and it does not increase the risk of developing heart disease, research has found.

A major study by scientists from Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts, has shown that eating a tablespoon of butter a day has no ‘significant’ link with heart disease and strokes.

The study also found that butter could even marginally help to reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.

The research is one of the biggest studies ever conducted on the effects of butter on health. This dairy product has for long been accused of being ‘bad for you’.

The results of the study add weight to demands for an end to the ‘demonizing’ of all saturated fats – not only butter.

The study follows reports in June 2016 that the UK Government is reconsidering its advice to ‘restrict saturated fat intake’. This is due to two other studies also having found no link to heart disease.

For over thirty years the public has been warned by official health guidelines to avoid eating butter and full fat milk. This advice was given in the hope of reducing the number of deaths from heart disease and stroke.

First issued in 1983, the UK population was asked to significantly reduce its saturated fat intake. Now that advice is changing, no doubt much to the relief of the dairy industry.

There has been steadily growing evidence that saturated fats are not to blame for heart disease. In fact there has never been any real evidence.

Indeed, some experts claim that the 1983 guidelines have actually ‘increased’ obesity levels by encouraging the consumption of more and more carbohydrates. With the disaccharide fructose being added to many processed foods, the suspicion now is that this particular sugar is the main cause of the obesity epidemic.

The Tufts University study analysed the results of nine other studies published since 2005, from a total of 15 countries. In all, nearly 640,000 adults were covered.

The scientists found that a daily serving of butter of roughly a tablespoon was associated with only a 1 per cent higher risk of death. However, butter consumption was found to have no ‘significant’ association with any kind of cardiovascular disease. It has no link with coronary heart disease or stroke.

A smaller sample produced results indicating that eating butter every day was associated with a 4 per cent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, the researchers did say that this needs further investigation.

The scientists ended their report suggesting that their findings support only minor changes in public dietary guidelines on butter consumption.

It appears that health scientists are at last beginning to ask ‘serious’ questions about the reliability of current health guidelines. High levels of obesity do not just happen; they are caused by the foods people are eating.

Man-made products such as polyunsaturated spreads and cooking oils are looking like the chief causes of illnesses such as heart disease and stroke. Butter, especially that made from the milk of grass-fed cows has far more nutrients than any man-made alternatives.

Is it really no wonder that butter should no longer be demonized?