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Disease Management

  • Advice for Teenagers

    HIV Prevention: Advice for Teenagers

    Advice for TeenagersAvoid any kind of sexual intercourse is undoubtedly one of the most effective means for avoiding sexually transmitted diseases (also known as STDs) which also includes HIV/AIDS.

    If you wish to be sexually active, the below measures can reduce your odds of developing an HIV infection.

    Say NO to drugs and alcohol

    The use of the alcohol and drugs can force you to make sexual decisions you would not make clearheaded.

    Avoid sexual activities which involve anal, oral or vaginal sex.

    Have sexual relationship with no more than 1 uninfected individual.

    Wear a latex condom each time you engage in any sort of sexual intercourse.

    Understand all the possible risks associated with HIV and other STD’s.

    Most youngsters with HIV infection are found to be sexually active. As the number of teenagers who’re aware of these risk is increasing, fewer are engaging in sex while those who’re sexually active are wearing condoms each time they involve in such an activity.

    The 2nd biggest cause of an HIV infection is usage of intravenous drugs, however any activity in which there is a possibility of blood exchange can be risky. Teenagers shouldn’t share needles of any type, which also includes tattooing, body piercing or steroid drug injection.

    Next, stay always informed when it comes to HIV. Whilst many people with the infection are found to live much longer today because of all the new drugs and medical research, still there isn’t a definite cure to this particular disease.

    Learn how to Identify the early signs of the disease

    How could you identify if you or somebody else might already be infected? In case you haven’t shared the needle or had unprotected sexual intercourse, it’s very improbable you’ve HIV.

    The lone way to identify the disease is by undergoing an HIV test.

    Symptoms: HIV

    Loss of weight
    Frequent sweats and fears
    Little to no energy
    Swollen lymphatic glands in groin, neck, or armpits
    Skin rashes that stay unhealed
    Major herpes infections which result in sores on genitals, anus or mouth
    Short term loss of memory

    Nobody must assume that they’re infected with HIV if they’ve the above symptoms. They could be associated with other illnesses as well. Again, HIV test is the only means to find out whether you’re infected or not.

    Read about fitnessbetter lifestylessee more here

  • HIV Support

    HIV –Human immunodeficiency virus has become a major topic over the years in the health sector and beyond.

    HIV is a virus that attacks our immune system. The immune system helps our body fight against diseases. If your immune system is not strong, your body will have difficulties fighting diseases.

    HIV Exercises, Diet Treatment and Lifestyle choices

    HIV infects and destroys the white blood cells called CD4+ cells and if too many of this cells are destroyed, your body would be susceptible to every kind of infection.

    The last stage of this virus is AIDS- Acquired Immunodeficiency Virus. People living with AIDS have low numbers of CD4+ cells and they get infections that rarely occur in healthy people.

    However, that you are living with HIV doesn’t mean you also have AIDS. It usually takes HIV 10 to 12 years to progress to AIDS even when not treated.

    When HIV is diagnosed, medicines can be taken to stop or reduce the damage that has been done to the immune system. In the situation whereby AIDS has been developed. Medicines will be taken to return the immune system to a healthier state.

    With these treatments, people living with HIV can live a healthy life just like others.

    However, living a healthy life if you have this virus goes beyond taking your medications regularly, exercises, diet and lifestyle also play a vital role in keeping you healthy and fit.

    Eating plan for people living with HIV

    There is really no specific kind of diet plan for people who are living with this virus, all you need is to eat healthy foods. The virus weakens the immune system and you need nutritious foods to fuel your immune system.

    Eating nutritious foods would help your body defend itself against diseases, boost your energy and keep you feeling strong.

    Just follow these simple diet tips;

    • Eat fruits and vegetables

    These kinds of foods are high in nutrients that are good for the body. They supply the body essential vitamins and minerals. They are high in antioxidants which protects your body from different kinds of diseases.

    At each meal, fill half your plate with fruits and veggies, and use varieties, this will supply you with all the nutrients you need.

    • Eat lean protein

    Your body needs protein to build lean muscle and a strong immune system. You will need to eat more protein if you are underweight or if you are in an advanced stage of HIV.

    Your physician will tell you the right amount you need.

    Go for low-fat options like, egg, lean beef, nuts, poultry and beans.

    • Eat healthy fats moderately

    Healthy fats provide energy but they are also high in calories, so if you are not trying to add weight, you should eat this moderately.

    Heart healthy fats include avocados, nuts and vegetable oils.

    • Eat whole grains

    Carbs fuel your body with energy. Eat whole grain carbs like brown rice and whole wheat bread, they are loaded with energy boosting B vitamins and fiber.

    Consuming plenty of fiber can prevent you from getting fat deposits known as lipodystrophy, a side effect of HIV.

    • Limit sugar and salt intake

    HIV increases your risk of getting heart diseases. This may be caused by the virus or the medications you are taking.

    Too much sugar and sodium can increase the risk of heart disease. So aim to consume less of these.

    • Get the right amount of calories

    If you have unwanted weight loss, your health care provider would recommend supplements for you. Ensure you take the right amount of calorie your body needs.

    • Drink plenty of fluids

    A lot of people don’t take enough fluids. Liquids helps transport nutrients throughout your body and helps flush out used medications from your body.

    Fluids prevent you from getting dehydrated and help lift your energy. Drink lots of water or healthy liquids throughout the day.

    Exercise for people living with HIV

    Being physically active is essential for everyone for good and sound health. Exercise cannot fight or treat HIV but it can help prevent side effects of the virus and its medication from occurring.

    Exercise also helps you live a healthier life as you grow older with HIV.

    Exercising offers people living with HIV many benefits such as;

    • Improve muscle mass, strength and endurance
    • Decrease stress
    • Enhance your sense of well being
    • Improve appetite
    • Reduce fat in the abdomen
    • Enhances sleep
    • Increase bone strength
    • Improve heart and lung endurance
    • Increases energy level
    • Increase good cholesterol (HDL)
    • Reduces bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides

    A combination of aerobic and resistance exercises, three times a weekly for at least six weeks, is recommended to improve cardiovascular, metabolic and muscle function in people living with HIV older than 50 years of age.

    • Aerobic exercises

    Aerobic exercises strengthens the lungs and the heart. Forms of aerobic exercises include jogging, running, hiking, walking swimming and cycling.

    This exercises increases the rate and depth of your breathing, and this in turn increases the amount of blood and oxygen your heart pumps to your muscles.

    To achieve the maximum benefit of aerobic exercises, your heart rate as to reach the target rate for at least 20 minutes. It may take you weeks to reach this level if you haven’t really being exercising before.

    • Resistant training

    This kind of exercise is very good for HIV patients because it helps offset muscle loss which is caused by the virus.

    Resistance training involves exertion of force by moving (pushing or pulling) objects that has weight. The objects can be barbells, machines in gyms or dumbbells.

    You can also make use of safe, common household objects such as plastic containers filled with water or sand, or you can make use of your own body weight in exercises such as push-ups or pull-ups. The purpose of this exercise is to build muscle mass.

    Make sure you use the right amount of weight for the exercise you are performing. It is important that you do not feel pain during the exercise.

    When you are starting a resistance training program, you will probably feel a little sore for a day or two, but you shouldn’t feel too sore to limit your regular activities. If you find out that you do feel very sore, it means you have used too much weight or you have done too many repetitions.

    Make sure you rest a day more and start again using less weight.

    Exercise program

    When starting an exercise program, begin slowly and build. Start your exercise session with a warm up.

    Your warm up can be as short as just a few stretches, if you are going to work out later in the day when your muscles and joints are already loose. It can also be a short 10-minute stretch session if your work out is first thing in the morning, when your muscles and joints are still tight.

    The purpose of your warm up is not to make you weak but invigorate you and decrease the risk of joint or muscle injury.

    A balanced exercise program is best for you. You can start with an aerobic exercise as a good warmup to a resistance training session.

    Also don’t forget that learning the correct form in a weight training program will reduce the chance of you getting an injury. Go at your own pace. You are not in completion with anybody. Listen to your body. If your work out hurts, stop it.

    Risks of exercise

    • You can become dehydrated if you do not drink enough fluids
    • You can develop injuries which may take time to heal
    • You may lose body mass if you overdo your exercise
    • The wrong form exercise will cause you to be injured

    Cautions

    When starting an exercise program, you should have these important things in mind;

    • Drink water

    Drink water before you start your exercise, during your exercise and after your exercise. If you are feeling thirsty, you have already lost important fluids and electrolytes and you may be dehydrated.

    • Eat nutritious food

    In order to build your muscle stronger, exercise tears it down. You need nutritious foods to supply the raw materials needed to build your muscles.

    • Get enough sleep

    Get enough sleep, your body needs it.

    Lifestyle changes

    Asides exercising, taking your treatments and eating nutritious foods, there are also some lifestyle changes you need to make so as to live a healthy life.

    These changes include;

    • Quit smoking

    People living with HIV, who smoke have more HIV symptoms like coughing and dizziness.

    • Stop illicit drug use

    If you use illegal drugs such as cocaine, stop it or seek attention for your addiction. Sharing needles for the use of such drugs will make you vulnerable to other infections like hepatitis.

    • Practice safer sex

    That you have HIV doesn’t mean the end of your sex life as come. You should always use a new condom whenever you want to have sex. This is to prevent your partner from being infected with the virus.

    Conclusion

    When you find out you are living with HIV, you will be troubled, angry, depressed, but you should know that having this does not mean you are going to die.

    Taking your treatments regularly, making the necessary lifestyle changes, exercising and eating nutritious foods is the key to a healthy life.

  • Cardiovascular Disease: Management & Treatment

    Cardiovascular Disease: Management and treatment options

    Coronary Exercises and diet solutionThe heart is like any other muscle in your body. It requires an adequate blood supply to provide oxygen to allow the muscle to contract and pump.

    The heart does not pump blood to the rest of the body alone. It also pumps blood to itself via the coronary arteries. These arteries originate from the base of the aorta,the major blood vessel that carries oxygenated blood from the heart) and then branch out along the surface of the heart.

    When one or more coronary arteries narrow, it may become very difficult for adequate blood to reach the heart, especially during exercise.

    This can cause the heart muscle to ache like any other muscle in the body. If the arteries continue to narrow, it may take less activity to stress the heart and provoke symptoms. The classic symptoms of chest pain or pressure and shortness of breathe due to cardiovascular or coronary artery disease are called angina.

    If any of the coronary arteries blocks completely—usually due to a plaque that ruptures and causes a blood clot to form, blood supply may be lost.

    This leads to the death of a piece of heart muscle. This refers to as heart attack or myocardial infarction.

    How Can Cardiovascular Disease Be Treated?

    Although cardiovascular heart disease (CVD) has no known cure, treatment can help manage the symptoms and reduce the risk of further problems for you.

    You can manage this condition with certain lifestyle changes, medicine, and some cases surgery. With the right treatment, the symptoms of cardiovascular disease can be reduced and the functioning of the heart improved.

    Cardiovascular treatment options include:

    Lifestyle Changes

    If you have been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, a very easy way to prevent further episodes is to make some lifestyle changes. These lifestyle changes are;

    • Eat a Healthy Diet

    Eating a healthy balanced diet is very important for your general well being, so you shouldn’t be surprised if your doctor tells you diet plays a big role in improving your cardiovascular health.

    A low-fat, high-fibre diet is recommended. This diet should include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables (five portions a day) and whole grains.

    You should limit your daily intake of salt to no more than 6g (0.2oz) a day, as too much salt will increase your blood pressure. 6g of salt is about one teaspoonful. There are two types of fat: saturated and unsaturated.

    You should avoid food containing saturated fats, because these foods will increase the levels of bad cholesterol in your blood.

    Foods that are loaded with saturated fats include;

    • Butter
    • Cream
    • Hard cheese
    • Cakes and biscuits
    • Foods that contain coconut oil or palm oil
    • Ghee
    • Meat pies

    Your diet should still include unsaturated fats, which have been shown to increase levels of good cholesterol and help reduce any blockage in your arteries.

    Foods that contain unsaturated fats include;

    • Nuts and seeds
    • Avocados
    • Sunflowers
    • Olive oils
    • Oily fish
    • Rapeseed

    Also avoid adding sugar to your diet. Sugar can increase the risk of diabetes, which may increase your chances of getting cardiovascular disease.

    • Maintain a healthy weight

    Being overweight increases your chance of getting cardiovascular disease. Check your BMI. Your GP or practice nurse can tell you what your ideal weight is in relation to your height and build.

    • Be Physically Active

    The best way to maintaining a healthy weight is combining a healthy diet with regular exercise. Having a healthy weight greatly reduces your chances of developing high blood pressure.

    Regular exercise will help you make your heart and blood circulatory system more efficient, lower your cholesterol level, and also keep your blood pressure at a healthy level.

    Aerobic exercises like running, swimming, cycling, brisk walking, rowing should be done if you have cardiovascular disease. They help improve the cardiovascular system.

    • Quit Smoking

    If you have being smoking, giving it up will reduce your risk of developing cardiovascular disease.

    Smoking is a major risk factor for developing atherosclerosis (furring of the arteries). It also causes the majority of cases of coronary thrombosis in people under the age of 50.

    • Limit or Avoid Alcohol

    Avoiding alcohol will benefit your cardiovascular health. If you drink alcohol, do not exceed the maximum recommended limit.

    Men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week. Spread your drinking over three days or more if you drink as much as 14 units a week.

    • Keep Your Blood Pressure Under Control

    Eating a healthy diet low in saturated fat and exercising regularly will help keep your blood pressure under control. If required taking the appropriate medication to lower your blood pressure.

    Your target blood pressure should be below 140/85mmHg. If you have high blood pressure, ask your GP to check your blood pressure regularly.

    • Keep Your Diabetes Under Control

    If you are diabetic, you are at a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease. If you have diabetes, being physically active and controlling your weight and blood pressure will help manage your blood sugar level.

    Your target blood pressure level should be below 130/80mmHg.

    • Take Your Medications

    If you have cardiovascular disease, your doctor may prescribe medication to help relieve your symptoms and stop further problems developing.

    If you do not have cardiovascular disease but do have high cholesterol, high blood pressure or a history of family heart disease, your doctor may prescribe medication to prevent you developing heart-related problems.

    If you are prescribed medication, it is essential that you take your medication and follow the recommended dosage. Do not stop taking your medication without consulting your doctor first, as doing so is likely to make your symptoms worse and put your health at risk.

    Medications

    A number of different medicines are used to treat CHD. Usually these medications either aim to reduce blood pressure or widen your arteries.

    Some heart medicines have side effects, so it may take a while to find one that works for you. Your GP or specialist will discuss the various options with you.

    You shouldn’t stop your heart medicines suddenly without the advice of your doctor as there is a risk this may make your symptoms worse.

    Medication treatment options include:

    • Antiplatelets

    These are a type of medicine that can help reduce the risk of a heart attack by thinning your blood and preventing it clotting.

    Common antiplatelet medicines include low-dose aspirinclopidogrel, ticagrelor and prasugrel.

    • Statins

    If you have a high cholesterol level, a cholesterol-lowering medicine called statins may be prescribed for you.

    Examples include atorvastatin, simvastatin, rosuvastatin and pravastatin.

    Statins work by blocking the formation of cholesterol and increasing the number of LDL receptors in the liver, which helps remove the LDL cholesterol from your blood.

    This helps slow the progression of cardiovascular disease, and will make having a heart attack less likely to occur.

    Not all statins are suitable for everyone, so you may need to try several different types until you find one that is suitable for you.

    • ·         Beta-blockers

    Beta-blockers, including atenolol, bisoprolol, metoprolol and nebivolol  are often used to prevent angina and treat high blood pressure. These medications work by blocking the effects of a particular hormone in the body, which slows down your heartbeat and improves blood flow.

    • ·         Nitrates

    Nitrates are used for widening of your blood vessels. Doctors sometimes refer to nitrates as vasodilators.

    Nitrates are available in a variety of forms which includes tablets, sprays and skin patches such as glyceryltrinitrate and isosorbidemononitrate.

    Nitrates work by relaxing your blood vessels, letting more blood pass through them. This lowers your blood pressure and relieves any heart pain you have. Some mild side effects, including headaches, dizziness and flushed skin have been associated with Nitrates.

    • ·         ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitors

    ACE inhibitors are commonly used to treat high blood pressure. Examples include ramipril and lisinopril.

    These medicines block the activity of a hormone called angiotensin II, which causes the blood vessels to narrow. As well as stopping the heart working so hard, ACE inhibitors improve the flow of blood around the body.

    Your blood pressure will be monitored while you are taking ACE inhibitors, and regular blood tests will be needed to check that your kidneys are working properly. Around 1 in 10 people have kidney problems as a result of taking the drug.

    Dry cough and dizziness are side effects that are associated with these medications.

    • ·         Angiotensin II receptor antagonists

    Angiotensin II receptor antagonists and ACE inhibitors work in a similar way. They are used to lower your blood pressure by blocking angiotensin II.

    Mild dizziness is usually the only side effect associated with this medication. They are often prescribed as an alternative to ACE inhibitors, as they do not cause a dry cough.

    • ·         Calcium channel blockers

    These medications also work to decrease blood pressure by relaxing the muscles that make up the walls of your arteries. This causes the arteries to become wider, reducing your blood pressure. Examples include amlodipine, verapamil and diltiazem.

    Side effects associated with calcium channel blockers include headaches and facial flushing, but these are mild and usually decrease over time.

    • ·         Diuretics

    Also known as water pills, diuretics work by flushing excess water and salt from the body through urine.

    Procedures and Sugery

    If diet, lifestyle changes and medications aren’t enough, it’s possible that your doctor will recommend specific procedures or surgery.

    The type of procedure recommended will depend on the type of cardiovascular disease and the extent of the damage to the affected areas.

    Natural Treatments For Cardiovascular Disease

    Some nutritional supplements and herbs have been proven to be effective in treating cardiovascular disease.

    Some of these natural treatments may interfere with your prescription drug or may not be suitable for some cases. So, make sure you seek the advice of your doctor before you take these herbs and remedies.

    Effective home remedies for cardiovascular disease are:

    • Turmeric

    Turmeric is popularly known to be effective in maintaining heart health. It has an active ingredient called curcumin which aids in the maintenance of heart health by reducing cholesterol oxidation, plaque buildup and clot formation.

    Turmeric also helps lower LDL and provides anti-inflammatory benefits. Being a potent antioxidant, it helps neutralize free radicals that contribute to aging and several chronic diseases.

    Use turmeric regularly in your cooking. You can also boil one teaspoon of turmeric powder in one cup of water or milk. Drink it once or twice daily for several weeks to a few months.

    Alternatively, you can take turmeric in supplement form. The general dosage is 400 to 600 mg of standardized curcumin powder supplement three times daily.

    Ensure you consult your doctor for the proper dosage suitable for your case.

    • Garlic

    Garlic is commonly known to be a remedy for many ailments. It has been proven to be beneficial for conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and coronary heart disease.

    This powerful herb helps slow the development of atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries.

    Garlic also improves circulation and has antithrombotic and antiplatelet aggregatory effects.

    Eat one or two freshly crushed garlic cloves daily. If you find the taste of garlic too strong, drink a glass of milk after eating it.

    Alternatively, you can take garlic supplements. The general recommendation of the supplement is 600 to 1,200 mg of garlic extract divided into three equal doses per day.

    Caution: Garlic may interfere with certain medications due to its blood-thinning properties. Consult your doctor before taking this herb.

    • Fenugreek

    Fenugreek is widely known for its ability to supply the body with antioxidant and cardio-protective benefits.

    This powerful herb is excellent for reducing the risk of atherosclerosis due to its strong modulating effect on blood lipid levels.

    Fenugreek also has the ability to reduce platelet aggregation, thus decreasing the risk of abnormal blood clotting associated with heart attacks and strokes. It also helps lower cholesterol, blood sugar and excess fat.

    Soak one teaspoon of fenugreek seeds in water overnight. The next morning, eat the soaked seeds on an empty stomach. Do this everyday for a few months.

    • Green Tea

    Green tea is widely known to be loaded with powerful antioxidants that improve the health of cells that form the innermost lining of the heart and blood vessels. It helps reduce cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
    Green tea also helps control blood sugar and boosts metabolism.

    Drink three to four cups of green tea (preferably caffeine-free) daily. Alternatively, you can take 100 to750 mg standardized green tea extract per day.

    Conclusion

    If you are living with heart disease, the most important thing to have in mind is that the future is not blank.

    Listening to the advice of your doctor, making positive lifestyle changes, and knowing where to look for the support you need, can help you maintain a full and productive lifestyle. Learn more here