General Health & Wellness

Are chances of getting diabetes higher if someone in your family has it?

Yes, the chance of developing diabetes is higher if the illness runs in the family. However, many lifestyle changes can be made to limit genetic influence on your health.

  •  10% of type 1 diabetics have a family history of diabetes
  • At least 30% of type 2 diabetics have a family history of the disease

The strongest precursors for developing diabetes:

 Age: risk increases with age, and 52 is the average diagnosed age for type 2 diabetes

  • Weight: over 80% of type 2 diabetics are overweight

  • Physical Activity: lack of physical activity can increase odds of contracting diabetes

  • Nutrition: a diet high in sugar and refined carbohydrates may trigger diabetes onset

Can diabetes be prevented?

Since type 2 diabetes appears to be linked with obesity, regular physical activity and healthy eating can significantly reduce the risk of developing the illness. This means exercising 3-5 times weekly and eliminating or restricting foods high in refined sugar.

Is body weight a risk factor for diabetes?

Being overweight or obese is one of the leading risk factors for type 2 diabetes onset. Being overweight limits proper production and usage of insulin, a hormone required to break down sugar after every meal. “Diabesity” is a coined medical term for combined obesity and diabetes symptoms.

What are the physical complications of diabetes?

Diabetes can become a debilitating illness affecting many regions of the body, including the heart, kidneys, eyes, reproductive organs and central nervous system:

  • Heart disease is the #1 killer of people with diabetes, as a link exists between diabetes and high blood pressure

  • Kidney damage and dialysis can be caused by high blood sugar and high blood pressure

  • Poorly controlled diabetes can lead to blurred vision and blindness

  • Diabetes can cause impotence (inability to get erections) in men and vaginitis (yeast infections) in women

  • High blood sugar from mismanaged diabetes can lead to weakened senses and nerve damage

The side effects of diabetes can be mitigated with stringent healthcare paired with unwavering diet and exercise.

How is stress related to diabetes?

Stress reduction is one of the best ways to both prevent and manage diabetes. Stress can sometimes affect the quality and/or frequency of meals, which must be regulated to maintain stable glucose levels. Stress can also lead to depression or anxiety, consequently discouraging diabetes sufferers from attending appointments and following treatment.

What are the symptoms of insulin dependent diabetes?

Nausea, vomiting, or stomach pains may accompany some of these basic symptoms in the abrupt onset of insulin-dependent diabetes.

What are the signs of diabetes onset?

 There are other symptoms or signs of diabetes:

  •  Slow-Healing Sores or Cuts
  • Itchy, Dry Skin

  • Frequent Yeast Infections (in women)

  • Impotence (in men)

  • Acanthosis Nigricans (dark, velvety skin changes around neck, armpit and groin)

  • Numbness and Tingling of Hands and Feet

  • Decreased Vision

Are there noticeable symptoms of diabetes?

Many uncomfortable symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Frequent Urination

  • Extreme Thirst and Hunger

  • Unexplained Weight Loss

  • Sudden Vision Changes, i.e. Blurred Vision

  • Tingling or Numbness in Hands or Feet

  • Feeling Tired Often

  • Dry Skin and Sores

  • Weakened Immune System and Infections

These symptoms can be mitigated or lessened with proper diet and exercise.

Are there different types of diabetes?

There are three types of diabetes:

  1. Type 1 diabetes is chronic condition where insufficient or no insulin is produced by the pancreas. Type 1 diabetes is usually detected in childhood, but adults can also develop the illness. Sufferers of type 1 diabetes are insulin-dependent for the duration of their lives.
  2. Type 2 diabetes is a long-term condition where insulin is not used properly to move glucose from the bloodstream into the cell. Type 2 diabetes is non-insulin-dependent because lifestyle adjustments can manage the illness. It is possible to reverse the effects of type 2 diabetes.
  3. Gestational diabetes is usually a temporary condition that develops near the halfway mark of pregnancy. Placental hormones necessary for fetal growth can inhibit insulin and cause hyperglycemia. However, symptoms of gestational diabetes can be qualmed after labor with a proper health regimen.

Which type of diabetes is the most common?

Type 2 diabetes, also known as non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus, accounts for 90-95% of all diabetes cases. Type 2 diabetes is preventable with regular exercise and a healthy eating regiment.

What are the different risk factors for type 2 diabetes?

Risk factors for type 2 diabetes include:

  • Older age

  • Obesity

  • Family history of diabetes

  • Prior history of gestational diabetes

  • Impaired glucose tolerance

  • Lack of physical inactivity

  • Race or ethnicity 

What are the different risk factors for type 1 diabetes?

Risk factors are less well defined for type 1 diabetes than for type 2 diabetes. It is believed the onset of type 1 diabetes is caused by a combination of autoimmune, genetic and environmental factors.

What do ketones do?

A surplus of ketones in the bloodstream can lead to fatal ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis is more likely to develop in people with type 1 diabetes. Signs of ketoacidosis include: 

  • Vomiting

  • Weakness

  • Fast breathing

  • Sweet, smelling breath

What are the initial symptoms of diabetes?

Few symptoms appear immediately with the onset of diabetes; in fact, symptoms do not occur until diabetes enters advanced stages. Initial symptoms of diabetes include:

  • Excessive Urination

  • Frequent Thirst

  • Dry mouth

  • Extreme Hunger

What is a hemoglobin A1c diabetes test and what does it measure?

The hemoglobin A1c test measures the amount of glucose bound to the hemoglobin protein in red blood cells. Once glucose attaches to the red blood cell, it stays there for about 120 days, or the lifespan of the cell. This test is useful to track average blood sugar over the course of several months.

How do you interpret a hemoglobin A1c Diabetes test?

The purpose of using hemoglobin A1c diabetes testing is to monitor blood glucose levels. Hemoglobin A1c diabetes test results are reported in percentages. Patients with diabetes should aim for a hemoglobin A1c level of 7% or less, and should not exceed 8%. A1c levels should be monitored on a daily basis to regulate diabetes.

How often should I do hemoglobin A1c diabetes test?

People affected with diabetes should perform a hemoglobin A1c test at least twice a year, although the recommended frequency for the hemoglobin A1c diabetes test is every 3 months.

What is the best way to prevent diabetes?

It is possible to prevent diabetes by losing a small amount of weight, approximately 5 to 7% of total body weight. Incorporating 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week and a healthy diet can also keep diabetes at bay.

How can I change my lifestyle to prevent diabetes?

Diabetes is preventable by keeping blood glucose levels under control:

  • Limit or eliminate sugar from the diet

  • Eat wholesome carbohydrates and healthy fats

  • Become more physically active

  • Listen to health care provider’s advice

  • Monitor blood pressure and cholesterol regularly

Why is it important to monitor blood glucose level in diabetes patients?

Managing blood sugar is a vital component of sustaining long-term health. The imbalance in blood sugar caused by diabetes has physical implications. People with diabetes should see a healthcare provider for instructions on how to manage their illness. 


97% of type 2 diabetes cases are due to excess weight, making obesity the strongest precursor in the development of type 2 diabetes. Fortunately, obesity can be reversed with proper diet and exercise. 

Do our bodies produce blood sugar or glucose?

Sugar enters our bloodstream via ingestion of carbohydrates, so we cannot manufacture glucose on our own. Food is broken down into simple sugars like glucose, which is the preferred source of fuel for our brains and bodies. After digestion, glucose passes into our bloodstream where becomes available for cells to use for energy and growth.

How do I know when to monitor blood sugar?

Blood glucose testing should be performed at the same time of day every day as needed recommended by your doctor. Monitoring blood sugar levels is the best way to identify which foods respond well within your body as you manage your diabetes.

What are most common symptoms of a heart attack?

When a coronary artery becomes blocked, the part of the heart muscle supplied by that coronary artery dies, this is more commonly known as a heart attack or myocardial infarction. Heart attacks can occur without warning. Symptoms of a heart attack:

  • Severe, Persistent, Crushing Chest Pain

  • Radiating Pain to the Arms

  • Sweating

  • Nausea

  • Vomiting

  • Breathlessness

How can I prevent a heart attack?

Many lifestyle changes can help prevent the onset of a heart attack:

  • Avoid smoking, which can elevate heart rate and blood pressure

  • Check blood pressure periodically, as high blood pressure can lead to a heart attack

  • Check cholesterol levels, especially if high cholesterol and/or diabetes runs in the family

  • Limit salt intake, which is known to cause high blood pressure and trigger heart attacks

  • Eliminate unhealthy fats from the diet, which can clog arteries and impair blood circulation

What is Coronary Heart Disease?

Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) is interchangeable with Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), Atherosclerotic Heart Disease (AHD) or Ischemic Heart Disease (IHD). The most common form of CHD is Atherosclerosis.

CHD is the result of cholesterol plaque buildup on the inner arterial walls which supply oxygen and nutrients to myocardium heart muscles. Cholesterol plaque narrows the arterial passageway and inhibits blood flow to the heart, consequently reducing oxygen available for tissue support. This causes infarction, or tissue death of artery walls. Without full arterial support, the heart must work harder to pump the same amount of blood, raising the risk of heart attack or stroke.

What are the symptoms of Coronary Heart Diseases?

Accumulation of cholesterol and lipids in the artery walls causing blood clots is characteristic of CHD. Blood clot build up may not immediately produce any symptoms until there is a significant fall in oxygen supply to the blood. Angina pectoris, or chest pain that travels through the left arm, jaw, neck and shoulder blade is another sign of CHD. If this occurs, the arteries may be coping with up to 75% damage.

What precautions should I take if I’ve been diagnosed with Coronary Heart Disease?

There are many ways to reduce the symptoms associated with Coronary Heart Disease:

  • Avoid smoking and drug abuse

  • Check blood pressure often

  • Keep triglycerides below 5.0 mmol/L

  • Modify your diet and exercise regularly

  • Take medication prescribed by your doctor

If you suspect you or a loved one might be having a heart attack, call an ambulance and chew an aspirin in the meantime. Aspirin reduces further blood clotting and is commonly prescribed to heart problem sufferers.

What is the role of cholesterol in CHD? 

Elevated cholesterol levels increase the risk of developing CHD, however there are two types of cholesterol. People with high levels of good HDL cholesterol in proportion to bad LDL cholesterol are less likely to develop CHD. High HDL concentrations have a protective effect against CHD development, since HDL cholesterol does not create plaque along the artery wall. Those who have a genetic disposition for heart disease must be attentive to their cholesterol levels to lower the risk of a heart attack.

What are some methods to measure cholesterol levels?

There are several ways to measure cholesterol levels in order to predict cholesterol-related disorders:

  • Laboratory blood testing

  • Home cholesterol testing kits

  • Thin layer chromatography

  • Eye-laser method

What are normal cholesterol levels?

Firstly, there are good and bad types of cholesterol:

  • HDL, or "good" cholesterol, is optimal at 35 mg/dL or lower

  • LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, should not exceed 100 mg/dL of blood

  • Triglycerides, the total blood lipid level, is ideal near 150 mg/dL of blood

What are the permitted levels of blood cholesterol?

Recommended amounts of different types of cholesterol for men and women:


Risk Threshold


50 ~ 200 mg/dL [1.29 mmol/L] in women


40 ~ 200 mg/dL [1.03 mmol/L] in men





What is the difference between HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol?

HDL refers to High Density Lipoproteins, whereas LDL refers to Low Density Lipoproteins. When LDL cholesterol levels exceed a threshold, excess lipoproteins are deposited along the inner walls of blood vessels forming harmful plaque. Fatty plaque buildup can create a cascade of cholesterol-linked disorders like Coronary Artery Disease, cancer, vascular dementia, Alzheimer's, etc. HDL Cholesterol, on the other hand, is regarded as “good cholesterol” because it removes plaque buildup and encourages heart health.

How do HDL and LDL cholesterol levels influence the probability of CHD?

Coronary heart diseases kill more men and women than any other disease. An individual with a cholesterol count of 250 mg/dL or higher is almost three times more prone to developing CHD than someone with a cholesterol count of 200 mg/dL. Arterial plaque is usually made up of harmful LDL Cholesterol, whereas healthy HDL cholesterol decreases the amount of LDL plaque buildup. People with higher HDL counts have a lower risk of developing CHD, which is why most physicians encourage high HDL concentrations.

How does high cholesterol pose a health risk?

High cholesterol levels can block blood circulation by creating cholesterol plaque buildup on the inner walls of the heart’s arteries. Cholesterol blockage forces the heart to pump harder which may trigger cardiovascular disease, or a potentially fatal heart attack.

How can I control my cholesterol levels?

It's easy to control cholesterol levels by simply adjusting eating habits and lifestyle. Dietary therapy and statin therapy are popular methods to lower levels of HDL cholesterol. Incorporating healthy fats into your routine, as well as statin cholesterol-lowering drugs (with doctor’s approval) can help tremendously. Physical activity and meditation to lower stress also helps to prevent high cholesterol.

Does chronic stress raise cholesterol levels?

Genetic factors dictate whether or not stress triggers high cholesterol levels, or hypercholesterolemia. It is known that stress increases short-term cholesterol levels, but emerging research suggests a long-term increase in cholesterol levels as well. Stress management techniques such as mindful breathing and meditation lowers production of stress hormones, including cortisol and epinephrine.

Why should I test my cholesterol levels?

Monitoring cholesterol levels helps to identify an individual’s predisposition to cardiovascular complications, such as angina pectoris and atherosclerosis. Elevated levels of cholesterol can even result in non-cardiovascular related diseases, e.g. cancer, Alzheimer's, vascular dementia, etc. Consistent regulation of blood cholesterol levels is a sure way to prevent many diseases.

Why is it important to check triglycerides and how are cholesterol levels measured?

Triglycerides above the recommended threshold presents a significant risk for developing heart disease and stroke. It is possible to monitor your cholesterol levels without a doctor by purchasing a home cholesterol test kit.

What is C-Reactive Protein?

C-Reactive Protein (CRP) is produced by the liver in response to inflammation in areas such as the heart. High levels of CRP provide a warning for possible heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes. Doctors measure CRP levels in heart disease sufferers to assess the risk of recurrent coronary events.

How is C-Reactive Protein related to hypertension 

High-sensitivity C-Reactive Protein (hs-CRP) detects a lower degree of inflammation which might indicate high blood pressure or hypertension. The onset of hypertension can lead to more devastating cardiac disorders in the future, such as heart attacks or strokes.

What are the dangers of having excessive body fat?

A sufficient amount of body fat is required to protect internal organs, maintain life and support reproductive processes.

Excessive body fat can create many serious health problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and even cancers.

How is body fat percentage measured?

Body fat percentage cannot be obtained by merely weighing oneself. Several techniques can isolate fat measurements from other physical components, including:

  •  Near-Infrared Interactance
  • Dual Energy X-ray Absorptiometry

  • Expansions

  • Average Body Density

  • Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis

  • Anthropometric Methods

  • Skinfold Calipers

What’s the difference between body fat percentage and body mass index (BMI)?

Body mass index (BMI) is not the same as body fat percentage. BMI categorizes overall body composition as Underweight, Normal, Overweight, or Obese, whereas body fat percentage is a precise measurement of extraneous body mass.

BMI is obtained by dividing weight in kilograms (kg) by meters squared (m²). BMI does not account for age, sex, lean body mass, or body fat percentage, and therefore does not provide an accurate representation of health.

What is a yeast infection?

A vaginal yeast infection is an excessive growth of yeast cells in the vagina. Since a small number of yeast cells is necessary to maintain vaginal health, yeast infections are very common. Most women deal with yeast infections at least once in their lives, while nearly 50% of women experience yeast infections on two or more occasions. Vaginal yeast infections are very uncomfortable, but rarely lead to serious health problems.

What is a urinary tract infection (UTI)?

A urinary tract infection refers to any kind of bacterial overgrowth in the kidneys, bladder, or anywhere along the urinary tract.

How do urinary tract infections start?

Urinary tract infections are caused by bacteria that travel to the urinary tract, either from the intestinal pathway or the vagina (in women). Many factors encourage growth of this bacteria:

  •  Sexual activity
  • Use of contraception, i.e. diaphragm or spermicide

  • Shape of internal organs

  • Genetic predisposition

  • Catheter insertion

Are bladder infections and UTIs the same thing?

A bladder infection is only one type of urinary tract infection. The urinary tract has four major components divided in the upper and lower regions:

  • Kidneys and ureters in the upper region, which connect the kidneys and bladder

  • Bladder and urethra in the lower region, where urination occurs

Infections in either section of the urinary tract causes feelings of discomfort, or a need for frequent urination, which is why a UTI may be mistaken for a bladder infection.

Could I have a UTI if I don’t have any symptoms?

You can have a UTI without suffering any symptoms, especially if you’ve had an active infection for several days or weeks and are accustomed to discomfort. Your natural immune response or medicine plan might also control the infection.

Not having UTI symptoms does not mean the infection is less harmful. Urine should be checked after the infection is treated to prevent escalation of the problem.

What if I don’t get treated for my UTI symptoms?

Untreated UTIs can cause permanent scar tissue in the kidneys and make a person unable to properly filter waste from the blood. Fortunately, the kidneys have a high reserve capacity where filtration is concerned, but may lose some of their capacity after repeated, untreated infections.

Does my urine look different if I have a urinary tract infection?

Urine with a UTI may look whitish or cloudy instead of yellowish and clear. Urine may also have a red tinge, which might suggest the presence of blood in the tract. An odd urine smell might also be characteristic of a UTI.

Does drinking alcohol increase chances of a UTI?

Drinking alcohol does not cause or increase the risk of a UTI; however, alcohol may worsen UTI symptoms by promoting the emptying of the bladder.

Are UTI symptoms different in seniors?

Older adults with a UTI may not experience obvious symptoms apart from minor fever or discomfort.

What are the warning signs of kidney disease?

Kidney disease is preventable with early detection of the following symptoms:

  • Burning or difficult urination

  • More frequent urination, particularly at night

  • Bloody or cloudy urine

  • Puffiness around the eyes

  • Swelling of hands or feet

  • Back pain below the ribs

  • High blood pressure

  • Fever

What are the signs and symptoms of a food intolerance?

Common food intolerance symptoms include:

  • Diarrhea

  • Gas

  • Bloating

  • Nausea

  • Abdominal Pain

Less common symptoms of food intolerance are:

  • Shock

  • Welts

  • Fluid Retention

  • Rash

  • Wheezing

  • Sinus Inflammation

  • Vocal Cord Swelling

  • Headaches or Migraines

What are the most common triggers of food intolerance?

Triggers of a food intolerance vary from person to person and can be hard to detect, especially if consuming foods containing many ingredients. The most common culprits of food intolerance:

  • Artificial additives, e.g. MSG, food coloring

  • Artificial sweeteners

  • Citrus

  • Caffeine, e.g. coffee, tea

  • Corn and corn derivatives

  • Dairy products

  • Eggs

  • Peanuts and tree nuts

  • Shellfish

  • Soy

  • Wheat and refined flour

What is a food allergy?

Food allergy is an abnormal response to a harmless food triggered by the body’s immune system. An allergic reaction to food usually takes place within a few minutes to several hours after exposure to the allergen. The process of digestion and the location of immune cells affect the timing and location of an allergic reaction.

What are the symptoms of a food allergy?

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) provides a complete guide to help sufferers cope with food allergies. An allergic reaction to food may cause the following symptoms:

  • Itching or swelling in the mouth

  • GI symptoms, such as vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain

  • Hives or eczema

  • Tightening of the throat

  • Trouble breathing

  • Drop in blood pressure

What is a food intolerance?

According to the American College of Gastroenterology, when ingestion of a particular food or food additive causes unpleasant symptoms, the sufferer is said to be intolerant to that food or additive. Symptoms of a food intolerance occur as a result of poor absorption from the intestine into the bloodstream. In rare occasions, food intolerance symptoms are caused by the release of chemicals within the body in response to the consumed ingredient.

How is food intolerance detected?

Since symptoms do not appear for one or two days after eating, food intolerances are hard to diagnose. Food sensitivity testing kits can test blood, skin, and fecal matter samples for food intolerances in the safety and privacy of home. Comprehensive wellness tests can detect 100 commonly eaten foods known to trigger intolerance.

What is the difference between food allergy and food intolerance?

Food allergy and food intolerance are types of food sensitivities. The main differences between them are the length of time between food consumption and appearance of symptoms, as well as the types of symptoms. A food allergy occurs when the immune system produces antibodies against a harmless substance, e.g. peanuts, shellfish, etc. There are many ways to test for potential food allergies by measuring the reactivity of immune system components:

  • Skin prick

  • RAST blood tests

  • Patch testing

Food intolerance is a digestive problem and not an immunological problem. Food intolerances usually occur because of the body's inability to produce enough enzymes to aid proper digestion.

Are there treatments for food intolerances and food allergies?

Treating food intolerances and allergies is as simple as avoiding or reducing intake of trigger foods. Mild symptoms of food intolerance usually go away without treatment; however, food allergy symptoms should be treated with over the counter or prescription antihistamines to relieve itching, swelling, rashes, runny nose, or headache.

How are fecal occult blood tests performed?

Fecal occult blood testing requires three stool specimens which are collected on special cards in the safety and privacy of home. The samples are then examined for the presence of blood in a certified laboratory setting.

To prepare for this examination, individuals are asked to abstain from interfering foods, medications and vitamins, including meat, vitamin C, iron, aspirin, and ibuprofen for 3-5 days before stool collection.

What is the importance of early disease detection?

Early disease detection is important as it could mean the difference between a simple fix for a benign disorder and acute treatment for a terminal illness. Early disease detection is possible with screening tests which detect disease before symptoms appear. For example, when prostate cancer is detected early in development, it is curable in 90% of cases.

What are the most common blood types and the rarest blood types?

Percentage distribution of blood types and Rh factor varies by race or geographical origin. The most common blood types are O Rh negative and A Rh positive, while the least common blood types are AB Rh negative and B Rh negative.

Blood Type


Frequency %

O Rh-positive



A Rh-positive



B Rh-positive



O Rh-negative



A Rh-negative



AB Rh-positive



B Rh-negative



AB Rh-negative