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Do You Have PCOD? Here’s Why You Need To Check Your Blood Sugar Levels; Expert Tips To Manage Both

The Kashmir Monitor

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It’s well understood that type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle related disorder. The risk factors for type 2 diabetes include poor lifestyle with poor eating habits, lack of exercise, obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, family history and a history of gestational diabetes. It’s is now well established that PCOS is a strong risk factor for diabetes among women of reproductive age. Studies have shown that the risk of developing diabetes is 4 times greater and the diagnosis can be done much earlier in women suffering from PCOS.

PCOS (Poly cystic Ovarian Syndrome) is a condition associated with menstrual irregularities, infertility, hair loss, and appearance of facial hair, menstrual cramping and pain. Women with PCOS typically have multiple immature follicles in their ovaries, caused by an over production of hormones called androgens. Uncontrolled PCOS increases the risk of diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and endometrial cancer too.

We know that our pancreas produce insulin and the role of insulin is to drive blood sugar into the cells. When someone becomes insulin resistant, the insulin receptors in our body cells become inefficient and the body is not able to use the sugar circulating in the blood. In response, our pancreas produce more insulin and our body constantly needs higher levels of insulin to utilize the circulating blood glucose. Insulin is an appetite-stimulating and a fat-storage hormone and the higher circulating levels of insulin in the blood lead to obesity.

 

High circulating levels of insulin also alter the reproductive hormones, thus disturbing the menstrual cycle and leading to the typical PCOS symptoms, though symptoms can vary a lot from person to person.

Consistently high level of circulating blood sugars over the years can lead to pre-diabetes and eventually diabetes. Infact, PCOS and pre-diabetes frequently co-exist.

Most doctors prefer to use the most common hypo-glycemic drug, Metformin, as the first line of treatment for PCOS.

Since, insulin resistance, PCOS and diabetes can be attributed to poor lifestyle (apart from genetic factors), its management requires lifestyle strategies as follows:

1. A diet high in refined carbs, starchy and sugary foods increases insulin resistance.

2. Consume high fibre whole grains, whole pulses, local and seasonal fruits & vegetables too as these have a low glycemic index.

3. Also include nuts, flaxseeds, omega-3 rich fatty fish

4. Include lean protein like whole pulses, beans, legumes, egg, dairy, lean cuts of chicken.

5. Abstain completely from colas, alcohol, sugary snacks like muffins and cookies, all processed and packaged foods and also fruit juices.

6. Look out for hidden sugars on food labels especially biscuits and breakfast cereals.

7. Try to eliminate/minimize the use of plastic in your kitchen.

8. Exercising regularly improves the efficiency of your insulin receptors. A minimum of 150 minutes of exercise a week goes a long way in overcoming insulin resistance, improving your PCOS and reducing your risk for diabetes.

9. Weight training or strength training regularly in particular is the most effective way of overcoming insulin resistance.

10. Managing your stress, getting adequate sleep, yoga and meditation are also very helpful lifestyle strategies.

Do not get lured by starvation/ crash/ fad diets to achieve quick weight loss as it further compromises nutrient availability and worsens your hormonal imbalance.

(Pooja Malhotra is a nutritionist based in Delhi) COURTESY:NDTV


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Health

Never ignore the common signs of A Heart Attack in Women

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Every person knows the common signs of Heart attack is chest pain. It’s not like how it is shown in movies where a man is shown gasping for breath, clutches his chest and falls on the ground. When it comes to real life, the symptoms of heart attack are more than just pain in the chest. Yes, chest pain is a symptom of heart attack, but there are other subtle signs of cardiovascular problems, which are important to know. As per studies, women do mostly feel chest pain when they suffer from a cardinal problem, there are few other signs you should be cautious about. If these signs are overlooked then it can even turn fatal.

The common signs of a heart attack one should not ignore in women

  1. Do you feel uncomfortable pressure in your chest?

One of the most common signs of a Heart attack in women. If you are feeling pressure and tightness around your chest, then ask for help. Pain can happen anywhere in the chest, it is not necessary to be the middle of the heart. Do not brush off the situation just because the pain is on the left side.

 
  1. Breathing Difficulty

Uneasiness and difficulty in breathing is another sign of heart attack in Women. If you are not able to catch your breath and move around even a little bit, then it is an indicator that something is not right with your heart.

  1. Sweating

Sweating on a sunny day or due to intense workout is normal, but if it is random then you should immediately call someone for help. Profuse and sudden sweating can be a sign of a cardiovascular problem. This sign is easily confused with night sweats or hot flashes, which is common with age Overlooking this can be dangerous for you.

  1. pain experienced in both the arms

It is not necessary that pain be experienced only in the chest or in the middle of the heart. At times it can even be on the left or right arm, or even in the upper abdomen. It is important to note that any type of pain above the waist could be due to a heart problem. The pain could be irregular or intense

  1. The most common sign Dizziness

Nausea and vomiting are common symptoms in women. These signs of a heart attack are mostly confused with food poisioned or gastrointestinal issues. But if you are experiencing nausea and vomiting along with pain in the upper part of the body, then it is time immediately rush to the hospital.

  1. Exhaustion

One feels very exhausted, but just like other signs of heart attack, if you feel excessively tired than usual then you get yourself checked. You would actually feel overwhelmed and would not be able to perform any other activity. This sign is often mistaken for anxiety. If you suddenly feel fatigued and uneasy then speak to your practitioner.

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Health

Cutting screen time may reverse sleep problems in teens

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Limiting exposure to blue-light emitting devices such as phones and laptops in the evening for just a week can help teenagers improve their sleep quality and reduce symptoms of fatigue, lack of concentration and bad mood, a study has found.

Recent studies have indicated that exposure to too much evening light, particularly the blue light emitted from screens on smartphones, tablets and computers can affect the brain’s clock and the production of the sleep hormone melatonin, resulting in disrupted sleep time and quality.

The lack of sleep does not just cause immediate symptoms of tiredness and poor concentration but can also increase the risk of more serious long-term health issues such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

 

Other studies have suggested that sleep deprivation related to screen time may affect children and adolescents more than adults, but no studies have fully investigated how real-life exposure is affecting sleep in adolescents at home and whether it can be reversed.

Researchers from Netherlands Institute of Neuroscience, the Amsterdam UMC and the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, investigated the effects of blue light exposure on adolescents at home.

Those who had more than four hours per day of screen time had on average 30 minutes later sleep onset and wake up times than those who recorded less than one hour per day of screen time, as well as more symptoms of sleep loss.

The team conducted a randomised controlled trial to assess the effects of blocking blue light with glasses and no screen time during the evening on the sleep pattern of 25 frequent users.

Both blocking blue light with glasses and screen abstinence resulted in sleep onset and wake up times occurring 20 minutes earlier, and a reduction in reported symptoms of sleep loss in participants, after just one week.

“Adolescents increasingly spend more time on devices with screens and sleep complaints are frequent in this age group,” said Dirk Jan Stenvers from the Amsterdam UMC.

“Here we show very simply that these sleep complaints can be easily reversed by minimising evening screen use or exposure to blue light,” Stenvers said.

“Based on our data, it is likely that adolescent sleep complaints and delayed sleep onset are at least partly mediated by blue light from screens,” he said.

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Health

Common chemicals can increase risk of metabolic disorders

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Do you know that your everyday exposure to everyday harmful chemicals can land you into serious trouble?

A recent study has found that people exposed to chemicals called Phthalates, increasing the risk of metabolic disorders. The study was discussed in the meeting, ‘ECE 2019’. Researchers found a correlation between levels of phthalate exposure and markers of impaired liver function, which are indicators of increased risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

These findings suggest that more actions may need to be taken to reduce people’s exposure to these potentially harmful, yet commonly used chemicals. Phthalates are common additives used in manufacturing to produce plastics and they can be found in numerous everyday items including milk, bottled water, instant coffee, perfume, makeup, shampoo, toys and food packaging.

 

Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals has previously been implicated in causing serious harm to fertility and development, as well as increased obesity risk in rodents and people.

However, no studies have directly investigated how Phthalate exposure is associated with obesity and metabolism. In this study, Professor Milica Medi Stojanoska, one of the researchers correlated the levels of Phthalate absorbed by people with their body weight, type 2 diabetes incidence and markers of impaired liver and metabolic function.

Higher exposure to the chemical was associated with increased markers of liver damage, insulin resistance and cholesterol in people with obesity and diabetes.

Prof Stojanoska says, “Although a small association study, these findings suggest that not only do phthalates alter metabolism to increase the risk of obesity and diabetes but that they are also causing toxic damage to the liver.”

Prof Stojanoska’s research is now looking at the effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals on human health in adults, adolescents and babies.

“We need to inform people about the potential adverse effects of endocrine disruptors on their health and look at ways to minimise our contact with these harmful chemicals,” adds the professor.

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