Friday, October 12, 2018

Why Is The Blood Sugar Level High In Morning?

Diabetes, whether Type-1 or Type-2, is a risk factor for a number of diseases including heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. Managing and controlling the blood sugar level within the healthy range is, therefore, very important for all diabetics. It is not uncommon for some doctors to advise their diabetic patients to measure at home their blood sugar regularly using a blood glucose monitor. Sometimes, certain group of patients may find that their blood sugar readings are noticeably high in early morning. This is properly due to either dawn phenomenon or Somogyi effect, the two common causes for such phenomenon.

Usually occurs between 3 and 8 am, the dawn phenomenon is a natural rise in blood sugar because of hormones secreted at night that trigger the liver to dump sugar into the blood to help prepare for the day. While everybody experiences these natural changes in hormone levels, the body of people with diabetes may not adjust appropriately. For healthy people, the body can just make more insulin to balance everything out, so they do not even notice that is happening. For diabetics, however, the fasting blood sugar reading can go up since the body may not have enough insulin to counteract those hormones. This can lead to higher-than-normal blood sugar at the start of the day.

While the dawn phenomenon happens naturally, the Somogyi effect occurs as a result of poor diabetic management. Taking too much insulin or not having enough food before bed can cause a condition called hyperglycemia, also known as low blood sugar. The body will then release stress hormones like glucagon and epinephrine, to raise the sugar level causing blood sugar to elevate in the morning. That is why Somogyi effect is also known as reactive hyperglycemia. It is thought to be more common in people with Type-1 diabetes than Type-2 diabetes.

To determine what cause the hike in blood sugar level, doctor may ask the patient to check the blood sugar levels between 2 am and 3 am for several nights in a row. If the blood sugar is consistently low during this time, the Somogyi effect might be the cause. If the blood sugar is normal during this time period, then the dawn phenomenon is more likely to be the cause. Some additional clues that the Somogyi effect may be the cause include nightmares, restless sleep and overnight sweating as these are all signs of low blood sugar levels. Some patients with Somogyi effect may also experience difficulty waking up in the morning.

Some research scientists also recommend checking blood sugar levels for several nights specifically between 3 am and 5 am using a continuous glucose monitoring system (CGM). Making use of a CGM enables one to get the information without having to wake up for it. These monitors potentially help identify patterns and severity of high and low blood sugars. In fact, many healthcare practitioners are now offering loan of CGM for a few days.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Heart Disease Prevention - Why Is Hypertension Linked To Atrial Fibrillation?

Hypertension is a condition in which the blood is pumped around the body at high pressure. If this goes on for too long, the added stress on the artery can cause damage that might narrow and cut blood flow. Because of this, all kinds of problems can then happen and one of them is atrial fibrillation. Find out more at:

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Can Vision Be Affected By Hypertension?

Hypertension or high blood pressure is not only a common risk factor for heart disease, stroke and kidney disease but also capable of causing eye disease. Hypertension can damage the blood vessels in the retina, which is the area at the back of the eye where images focus. This can limit the retina’s function and put pressure on the optic nerve, thus causing vision problems. The condition is known as hypertensive retinopathy (HR) that can lead to blurred vision or the complete loss of sight. People with hypertension and diabetes are at an even greater risk for developing this condition.

Most people with HR do not have symptoms. It is usually discovered during a routine eye examination or until the condition has progressed extensively. Some possible signs and symptoms may include eye swelling, reduced vision, double vision accompanied by headaches, or vision loss.

The extent and severity of the retinopathy is generally represented on a scale of 1 to 4. In Grade 1, there is a mild narrowing of the retinal artery. Grade 2 is similar to Grade 1, but there is more severe or tighter constrictions of the retinal artery. This phenomenon is known as arteriovenous (AV) nipping. In additional to all the signs of Grade 2, Grade 3 also has retinal edema, microaneurysms, cotton-wool spots (fluffy white lesions on the retina), and retinal hemorrhages (bleeding). Grade 4 has severe signs of Grade 3 along with optic disc swelling called papilledema and macular edema. People with Grade 4 retinopathy have a higher risk for stroke and may have kidney or heart disease.

Patients with HR on the lower end of the scale may not have any symptoms, but for those on Grade 4, their optic nerve may begin to swell and cause more serious vision problems. High-grade retinopathy (Grade 3 and 4) tends to indicate serious blood pressure concerns and is associated with higher rates of stroke, heart attack, congestive heart failure and even death.

A study released in 2013 in journal ‘Hypertension’ reported that HR predicts the long-term risk of stroke, independent of blood pressure, even in treated patients with hypertension with good hypertension control. Another paper published in July 2008 in ‘Journal of vascular and interventional neurology’ suggested the presence of hypertensive retinal vascular changes is linked to higher risk of cardiovascular disease (heart disease and stroke).

Controlling and lowering hypertension with a combination of lifestyle changes and medications are the key for an effective treatment for HR. Lifestyle changes include adopting healthy diet, getting regular physical activity, and reducing salt intake. Smokers should kick the habit and those who are overweight should lose weight. Medications must be taken as prescribed by doctors. Last but not least, patients should go for regular medical examinations to ensure that their blood pressure readings are normal.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Heart Disease Prevention - How Is White Coat Hypertension Linked To Heart Disease?

Although white coat hypertension was traditionally considered a transient and largely harmless, recent research suggests that this may not be the case. Some doctors suspect white coat hypertension could be a warning sign of real hypertension. There were studies linked white coat hypertension to an increased risk of stroke, heart attack, heart failure and other cardiovascular conditions, as well as death from heart disease. Find out more at:

Thursday, August 09, 2018

Blood Pressure Swing Can Be Bad For Heart!

Any healthy adults who are not using any hypertensive medications is said to have high blood pressure if 3 to 6 elevated blood pressure measurements are recorded over several months. If the 2 pressures (systolic vs diastolic) fall in different categories, the higher one is used to determine the severity of hypertension. For instance, the normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. So if one has a reading of 130/80 or 120/90 mmHg, he or she is still considered as having high blood pressure. This is the standard definition of high blood pressure, determined by the Joint National Committee (JNC) on Detection, Evaluation, and Diagnosis of High Blood Pressure.

High blood pressure or hypertension is a risk factor for many diseases including heart disease, heart failure, stroke and kidney failure. While sustained high blood pressure is not desirable, big swings in blood pressure may be equally bad for the health, warned by a recent study.

Researchers from the Intermountain Medical Center Heart Institute in Salt Lake City tracked and reviewed medical records of 10,903 patients. They found that those patients whose systolic blood pressure varied by as much as 30 or 40 points between doctor visits were more likely to die over 5 years of follow-up than those with less extreme variances in their blood pressure. Results of the study was reported at the 2017 American Heart Association Scientific Sessions in Anaheim, CA, on November 13.

Fluctuations in blood pressure may, in fact, raise the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease or failure, vision loss, sexual dysfunction and peripheral artery disease. An earlier finding published online July 27, 2015 in ‘Annals of Internal Medicine’ suggested that people with wide variations in systolic blood pressure readings were linked to a higher risk of heart attack, fatal heart failure and stroke. Researchers analysed data from a major trial involving the use of medicines to fight high blood pressure and high cholesterol for nearly 26,000 patients.

Compared to patients whose blood pressure remained stable, an average blood pressure variation of about 15 mmHg was found to link to a 30 percent raised risk of heart attack or fatal heart disease, and a 46 percent raised risk of stroke. The risk for death from any cause was increased by 58 percent, too.

In another study published August 9, 2016 in journal ‘BMJ’ indicated that long term variability in blood pressure might put a person at the same risk for cardiac problems and mortality outcomes as high cholesterol.

White coat hypertension (blood pressure is higher at the doctor's office often because the patient is anxious about the appointment), medications, emotional upset, anxiety, and stress, temperature, as well as street drugs are some of the possible factors that can cause fluctuations in blood pressure.

To manage blood pressure fluctuations, one should see a doctor to determine the underlying cause. The doctor will review the medical history, get to know the patient’s lifestyle and perform some tests. Sometimes, medications can be prescribed to stablize the blood pressure and to prevent dangerous swings in blood pressure. Meanwhile, patient may have to make some lifestyle changes, for instance, stop smoking, eat more fruits, engage regular exercise, limit alcohol consumption, find ways to reduce stress, consume less sodium (salt), and lower caffeine intake.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Heart Disease Prevention - Can Drinking Tea Prevent Heart Disease?

It is believed that tea has beneficial health effects, including cancer prevention, weight loss, skin improvement, protection the brain from Alzheimer's and dementia, and helps lower blood sugar because it is a good source of the compounds known as catechins and epicatechins. Find our more at:

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Heart Disease Prevention - Can Taking Probiotics Prevent Heart Disease?

Research also indicated that taking probiotics regularly may help lower blood pressure, cholesterol and keep the lipid levels healthy. High blood pressure, high cholesterol and high blood triglycerides are all risk factors for heart disease. Good management of these risk factors can reduce the risk of heart disease. Click the following link for more details:

Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Can Meditation Help Cut Heart Disease Risk?

Being a 7000-year-old practice, meditation is a technique used to achieve a mentally clear and emotionally calm state by focusing the mind on a particular object, thought or activity. Meditation may be employed to reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and pain, and increase peace, perception and wellbeing. Stress is a risk factor for heart disease. 

Research on meditation and cardiovascular health is limited, but some studies did suggest that meditation may boost the defense against heart disease. In fact, there is some evidence that meditation may speed up activity in the parasympathetic nervous system, which is involved in lowering blood pressure and heart rate during periods of relaxation.

According to a scientific statement from the American Heart Association (AHA) published September 28, 2017 in the ‘Journal of the American Heart Association’, the studies on meditation suggest a possible benefit of meditation on heart disease risk reduction.

The attention was focused on the effects of various sitting meditation practices, including mindful meditation, Samatha, Zen meditation, and transcendental meditation, and excluding combined mind-body practices like yoga and Tai Chi. This is because the physical activity involved in such practices has already been shown to benefit heart disease risk.

In their review of previously published studies, researchers found that meditation is associated with reduced stress, anxiety, and depression and improved sleep quality and general wellbeing. The researchers also reported that meditation may also help to lower high blood pressure, help people who smoke quit, and may help lower heart attack risk. 

One of the studies being reviewed involved 201 people with coronary artery disease participated in either a transcendental meditation program or a health education program. Transcendental meditation is a type of meditation that involves sitting with the eyes closed and repeating a mantra. After about 5 years, mortality and the number of heart attacks or strokes was significantly lower in those in the meditation group.

While the findings suggested that meditation has a possible benefit on cardiovascular risk, researchers emphasize that more high-quality, large-scale clinical trials is needed before any conclusions can be made.

Nevertheless, as stated by the researchers, meditation may be a low-cost, low-risk practice that can be used together with conventional strategies like diet, exercise, and other lifestyle modifications.

Generally, other health experts not involving in the study agree that meditation may help lower the risk of heart disease by countering the impact of stress on the body. When people are under stress, their fight or flight response can be triggered, leading to a release of stress hormones and spikes in blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen consumption and a release of inflammatory chemicals in the body. Meditation can trigger the opposite of a fight or flight response, encouraging the body to slow down and improving risk factors for heart disease like metabolic problems or inflammation.