KNOW YOUR BODY
The brain and body are always working together and what happens in the body affects the brain. Taking care of your brain-body relationship is part of maintaining or bettering your brain health. And having a healthy body includes managing medical illness such as hypertension, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cholesterol.
Diabetes is a serious illness where the body can’t properly process food to use for energy. Most of our food is turned into a simple sugar called glucose. Glucose is what our body uses for energy, either using it for daily activities or storing it for later use. The pancreas (an organ behind your stomach) makes a hormone called insulin to help get glucose into our body’s cells so that it can be used to help us perform daily tasks. When the sugar leaves the bloodstream, the blood sugar level is lowered.
There are two main types of diabetes: Type 1 and Type 2:
• In Type 1 diabetes, the pancreas makes too little or no insulin. This means that sugar can’t get into the cells for use as energy. Those with Type 1 diabetes must use insulin injections to control their blood sugar levels.
• In Type 2 diabetes (adult onset diabetes), the pancreas makes insulin but the insulin doesn’t work properly or it doesn’t produce enough. A combination of good diet, weight management and exercise can help control Type 2 diabetes. Insulin injections or other glucose-lowering medications (taken by mouth) may be part of the treatment.
The causes of diabetes are not known. While family history, pregnancy, surgery, autoimmune disease, age and physical stress may increase the risk for diabetes, the exact causes of diabetes are not known. Diabetes can lead to serious health complications including heart disease, blindness, hormone problems and kidney failure. But there are measures you can take to reduce your risk of getting diabetes, such as eating a healthy diet, being a healthy weight, having low cholesterol levels, exercising and reducing alcohol use.
MANAGING YOUR DIABETES
Follow a healthy diet
Drink a moderate amount of alcohol (if any)
Take your medication as prescribed by your doctor
Test your blood glucose levels regularly
Stress can raise your blood sugar and make you less sensitive to insulin. When you’re stressed, your body goes into a ‘fight or flight’ response, which ensures you have enough sugar and fat available for energy. Mental stress causes blood sugar levels to go up in people with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Acting to manage your stress can help manage your diabetes or prevent you from getting it. Learn more about managing stress here.
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the blood and cells of the body. Your body needs it to build cells and make hormones and vitamins.
At normal levels, it is essential to the body. But high levels of cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.
TYPES OF CHOLESTEROL
Your total cholesterol is made up of HDL and LDL levels.
The only way to know your levels is to get them checked at a pharmacy or clinic. Your doctor can also send you for these tests.
While cholesterol is one of the most easily controlled risk factors for cardiovascular diseases, if you have high blood pressure and diabetes your risk of bad cholesterol increases. Eating a healthy diet, exercising, keeping a healthy weight and not smoking can all help lower ‘bad’ cholesterol. Knowing your cholesterol numbers means you can act to keep high cholesterol at bay. Too much bad cholesterol increases fatty deposits in the arteries and increases risk of blockages.
Controlling your cholesterol levels is possible.
Choose healthier fats
Select whole grains
Fruits and Vegetables
Eat heart-healthy fish
Lose extra pounds
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is called a ‘silent killer’ as it may have no signs or symptoms. It is a serious medical condition that increases the risks of heart, brain, kidney and other diseases. Blood pressure is the force exerted by circulating blood against the walls of the body’s arteries, the major blood vessels in the body. Hypertension is when blood pressure is consistently too high. Having diabetes can increase the risk of hypertension.
How to control Hypertension?
1. Exercise regularly
5. Avoid tabacco products
2. Eat a healthy diet
6. Cut back on caffiene
3. Maintain a healthy weight
7. Reduce stress
4. Limit alcohol consumption
8. Monitor blood pressure
Reducing your salt intake, eating more fruit and vegetables, exercising regularly, eating healthy good fats, getting enough sleep, managing your weight, not smoking and reducing alcohol intake can help prevent hypertension. If you require medication to treat high blood pressure, be sure to take it correctly. Mental stress also contributes to hypertension. Learn how to manage stress here.
Heart disease, heart attack, stroke, congestive heart failure, arrhythmia and heart valve problems are cardiovascular diseases. Major risk factors for cardiovascular disease are high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, smoking, poor diet and family history. Each leads to complications, some of which can be managed through medication and lifestyle changes. Getting exercise, having a good diet, getting enough good fats, lowering high blood pressure, practising good hygiene and maintaining a healthy weight can also help prevent certain types of heart disease. Stress (acute and chronic) is just as deadly. Chronic stress may damage arteries and increase risk for heart disease. Learn how to manage stress here.