Cut Back on Sugary Soft Drinks and Lower Risk of Heart Disease, Diabetes

Many people enjoy soft drinks, especially in hot weather. These beverages are an effective way to quench one’s thirst and taste good, besides. Unfortunately, regular sodas and sport drinks are also laced with high levels of sugar.

Choosing to drink them regularly not only increases an individual’s risk of heart disease, but it also means that person is more likely to develop diabetes. These sugary beverages are also laden with calories and contribute to weight gain and obesity.

Does this mean that no one should ever drink soft drinks? No, it doesn’t. If knowledge is power, then knowing that sugary drinks are not the most healthy choice means that consumers can make informed decisions about whether they want to drink them or not.

A good decision about soft drinks would be to choose more healthy beverages more often and relegate soda to an occasional treat. Even people who consume only a single serving of a sugary soft drink per day are putting themselves at a higher level of risk for a heart attack or diabetes.

Pure fruit juices don’t affect the body in the same way and are a better choice. Drinking water is probably one of the best decisions that a person can make for themselves. Most people don’t drink enough water, and this beverage helps to keep the body well hydrated and flush out impurities without any added sugar or caffeine.

A well-established soda habit may be hard to give up, and like all positive lifestyle changes, it’s best to start by making small ones first. It’s probably unrealistic to expect that someone can make a decision that they will never again allow a sugary soft drink to pass their lips, but they can slowly cut back on their consumption. Eventually sugary beverages like these can be relegated to the “treat” category instead of something that is consumed regularly.

Diabetes Epidemic Affecting Population in China

With approximately 1.3 billion people, China has the world’s largest population. This country is also dealing with a massive increase in the number of people living with diabetes. The New England Journal of Medicine has released the results of a study indicating that an estimated 92 million people have the disorder, which represents nearly 10 percent of the population.

The study, which was conducted by Chinese researchers, included the following released statement: “”Given its large population, China may bear a higher diabetes-related burden than any other country.” Along with the number of people who have been diagnosed with diabetes in China, another 148 million people are considered to be pre-diabetic. These people are showing early signs of developing the disease, which has been linked to the risk of heart disease. Cardiovascular disorders are the leading cause of death in China.

It’s possible for a person with diabetes to be unaware that they have the disorder, and this is certainly true in China, where most cases remain undiagnosed.

Economic Conditions Lead to Health Consequences

As China’s economy picked up speed in the 1980s, the country saw a large influx of people to cities in search of work. The change in residence led to change in lifestyle, with more people driving cars instead of riding bicycles. Instead of following a traditional diet, Chinese workers started eating more fast food.

The urban population is no longer dealing with challenges in finding enough to eat, and as a result, obesity is a growing problem in this country. An estimated 60 million people in China are obese, and another 200 million are overweight.

Diabetes Treatments May Increase Risk of Heart Disease

BloodPressureIf you are one of the 21 million people in the United States who have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, your doctor’s advice about how to reduce the risk of heart disease may be ineffective. It may even make it more likely that you will have cardiac issues, according to the results of a study conducted by researchers at Columbia University’s Irving Institute for Clinical and Translational Research.

Complications of Diabetes

Patients diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes have unusually high levels of sugar in their bodies, which can lead to a number of health problems. Diabetes can cause a number health complications, including:

  • Depression
  • Diabetic neuropathy (nerve damage)
  • Diabetic retinopathy, which causes blindness
  • Eating disorders
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Eye problems (glaucoma and cataracts)
  • Foot ulcers or infections
  • Kidney failure
  • Skin infections

The most common cause of death for people with Type 2 diabetes is heart attack. Even though people with diabetes only account for nine percent of the population in the U.S., between 25-33 percent of people who experience a heart attack are diabetic.

Treating Diabetes to Lower Risk of Heart Disease

Since having high blood sugar levels increases the likelihood of having a heart attack, doctors have advised patients with diabetes to be vigilant about controlling their blood sugar levels. Unfortunately, this measure on its own did not reduce the risk of heart disease, since patients with diabetes tend to have other health issues that contribute to the risk of heart disease:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • High triglyceride levels


Lowering Blood Pressure

A group of participants in a study conducted by the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Memphis were given medication to bring their blood pressure down to a normal level (a systolic pressure of no more than 120). The results of the study indicated that patients were at risk for having blood pressure that was too low, as well as elevated potassium levels, which can lead to kidney failure. The study also found that the patients who were instructed to bring their blood pressure down increased their risk of heart attack and stroke by a whopping 50 percent.

Excessive Thirst May be Sign of Diabetes

Being thirsty is a signal that we aren’t ingesting enough fluids, but feeling thirsty all the time may be a sign of a more serious health condition, such as diabetes. Many people don’t drink enough fluids as part of their daily routine and the advice to drink eight glasses of water per day is good something that we should be doing.

Is the change in your level of thirst sudden? Consider your recent health. If you have recently had a bout of a stomach bug or diarrhea, your body may be letting you know that you need to replenish the fluids lost during the illness.

Other lifestyle changes can trigger increased thirst as well. If you have recently started increasing your level of physical activity or started dieting, you may feel more thirsty than usual. Taking certain medications can also increase thirst. If you have recently started taking a new one or have changed your dosage for an existing prescription, check with your doctor or pharmacist to see if your medicine may be the culprit.

If your overall health has been good and you haven’t made any changes to your lifestyle recently and you are feeling more thirsty than usual, make an appointment to see your doctor. The excessive thirst is even more alarming if it is accompanied by other symptoms of diabetes, such as:

  • Blurred Vision
  • Cuts That Don’t Heal Properly
  • Dry/Itchy Skin
  • Fatigue
  • Increased Urination
  • Recurring Vaginal Yeast Infections
  • Tingling/Numbness in the Hands or Feet
  • Unexplained Aches and Pains
  • Weight Loss

Many people have diabetes and aren’t aware of it. The early symptoms of this disease are easy to overlook, and without being tested, the patient will not know they have it.

Excessive thirst is a symptom that warrants a trip to the doctor. Diabetes can lead to several serious health issues, and needs to be managed appropriately. Getting tested is a simple process, and if diabetes is the reason for excessive thirst the patient can get the help he or she needs.

Flu May Increase Risk of Heart Attack

Here’s another reason why getting your flu shot is a good idea: Contracting influenza increases your risk of suffering a heart attack. During the flu season, the rate of heart attacks jumps up between 35-50 percent.

Now that countries are taking the threat of H1N1 swine flu seriously (and they should), people who have heart disease should make sure that they get their flu shot once it becomes available.

If British statistics are anything to go by, most people who are living with chronic heart disease don’t get a flu shot. In that country, only 47 percent of people who have this disorder, diabetes, or asthma actually got their shot.

When the H1N1 flu shot becomes available in your area, go and get it. You may think it’s too much trouble or too time-consuming, but your health needs to be a priority.

Diabetes and Lack of Vitamin D Equals Higher Heart Disease Risk

If you have diabetes, make sure that you are getting enough Vitamin D. A deficiency in this important Vitamin means that the individual will have trouble processing cholesterol. As a result, this substance builds up in the person’s blood vessels. The resulting plaque increases the risk of heart attack.

Vitamin D, the “Sunshine Vitamin,” is introduced to the body by exposure to ultraviolet light. It is also added to certain foods, such as milk. to help ensure that people are getting enough in their diet.

Without sufficient Vitamin D in the body, the individual will not be able to absorb calcium appropriately. This Vitamin is responsible for preventing rickets in children and helps to protects adults from osteoporosis. The recommended daily amount of Vitamin D is between 200-600 IU (International Units) daily.

Insulin Resistance Reason Smoking Increases Risk of Heart Disease

The results of a study conducted by researchers at Charles Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles and Western University of Health Sciences in Pomona are in, and shed new light on why smoking and heart disease are related. Nicotine, a highly-addictive substance in cigarettes, promotes insulin resistance, which is a pre-diabetic condition. People with insulin resistance have blood sugar levels that are higher than normal, and diabetes is recognized as a risk factor for heart disease.

Even though individuals who are insulin resistant have blood sugar levels that are elevated, their levels aren’t high enough to cause diabetes. People who smoke tend to have higher rates of diabetes, but research hasn’t yet determined whether smoking is the cause or other factors are responsible.

8 Symptoms of Diabetes You Shouldn’t Ignore

Type 2 Diabetes is a chronic health condition affecting more than 16 million Americans. A person with this disorder has a higher-than-normal level of blood glucose. Glucose levels are elevated because the person’s body doesn’t produce enough insulin, the substance needed to convert glucose into energy. Glucose levels stay high, while the cells that need it can’t the the nutrition they need. People who have diabetes are at increased risk for heart attack and stroke.

Here are 8 symptoms of Type II diabetes that you shouldn’t ignore:

  1. Blurred vision
  2. Cuts that don’t heal
  3. Dry mouth
  4. Excessive thirst
  5. Increased urination
  6. Itchy skin
  7. Pain in the lower extremities
  8. Yeast infections

If you have any of these symptoms, make an appointment to see your doctor. They may be caused by something other than Type II diabetes, but your doctor is the one who can tell you for sure.

7 Symptoms of Diabetes You Need to Know

Since the symptoms of diabetes can seem harmless, you may not immediately think of this disorder if you have them. Many people have diabetes and aren’t aware that they have this condition. Here are some signs to be on the lookout for:

  • Blurred vision
  • Excessive thirst
  • Fatigue
  • Increased appetite
  • Irritability
  • Frequent urination
  • Weight loss

If you experience two or more symptoms on this list, you need to make an appointment to see your doctor to find out whether you have diabetes. If you do have this condition, you will need to monitor your blood sugar levels on a regular basis so that they remain in the normal range.

The other part of treating diabetes involves injecting yourself with insulin on a daily basis. Some patients are given an insulin pump, where the insulin is administered through a tube that is placed under the skin.

10 Factors That Increase Your Risk of Heart Disease

There are a number of risk factors that have exist for heart disease. The more of them that apply to you, the more likely it is that you will have some type of cardiovascular problem at some point in your life. Here are 10 factors that you need to aware of:

1. Family History

If your parents or siblings have been diagnosed with heart disease or had a heart attack, then you are more likely to have the same kinds of health issues. Your risk also goes up if an aunt or uncle has a similar history. Blame it on your genes, and be sure to let your doctor know.

2. Smoking

Using tobacco products is another factor that increases your risk of heart disease. If you don’t smoke, don’t start. Your doctor also needs to know if you ever smoked, and if so, how many cigarettes you smoked per day and how long it has been since you quit.

3. Being Overweight or Obese

Carrying around extra pounds means that your heart has to work harder to pump blood to your organs. It also can lead to high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol levels, and higher triglycerides.

4. Lack of Exercise

A sedentary lifestyle increases your risk of heart disease. To lower your risk, you need to get of the couch and participate in an activity that is going to increase your heart rate for 20 or 30 minutes at a time. You can start by taking a brisk walk and slowly increasing your level of activity.

5. Poor Eating Habits

To keep your heart healthy, load up on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein. You will want to avoid foods that are high in fat and salt, which includes a lot of processed foods.

6. Depression

Research has shown that people who are depressed are more likely to be diagnosed with heart disease. This may be because someone who is in the midst of a depressive episode is less likely to eat well, exercise, or get enough rest.

7. Lack of Religious Faith

Some people may scoff at the idea of going to church to stave off heart disease, but having some type of spiritual belief can help to eliminate stress and worry. People who are under a lot of stress are at increased risk of heart disease.

8. Diabetes

There is a definite link between diabetes and several health issues, including heart disease. Unfortunately, many people who have diabetes are not diagnosed right away, which only adds to the risk of vascular problems.

9. Sexual Performance Difficulties

When men have erectile difficulty, it can be distressing to them and their partner. It also may be sign of heart disease. This is not something that should be ignored. Rather than attribute this symptom to getting older or stress, it is something that you should discuss with your doctor.

10. Race

People who are African-American, South Asian, Chinese or Aboriginal are at a higher risk of developing heart disease. Like your family history, you can’t do anything about it, but you can be aware of this fact and take steps to live a healthy lifestyle to keep your heart healthy.