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There are a group of conditions that make-up what is called heart disease. The problems may be associated with the muscles, the valves or the heart rhythm. It could be cardiomyopathy, atrial fibrillation or heart failure. Some other problems affect the blood vessels, like hardened arteries which can lead to strokes.

Most of the heart problems are caused by unhealthy food, lack of exercise, smoking and alcoholism. So can high blood pressure, infections and birth defects cause heart problems.

Apart from all the above there are certain surprising reasons that can cause heart problems, here are a few of them.


We all know about noise pollution and its health impact but we may be unaware that traffic noise starting at around 50 decibels can raise your blood pressure and the risk of a heart failure. For each 10 decibel increase, your odds of heart disease and stroke goes up manifold. It is believed that the whole phenomenon is linked to how the body reacts to too much stress.


The reason though not established if you have migraine in all likelihood you may get stroke, chest pain and heart attack. If heart attacks run in your family or you have already had a stroke of some sort, you may not be able to take medicines called triptans for treating migraine, since these medicines are usually narrow the blood vessels.


With the birth of each child the risk of heart disease goes up for both the parents. But women who get their first period before there are 12 years old or stop having periods before they are 47 are more likely to have a stroke as well as a heart disease. A woman’s risk goes up if she has had a miscarriage or had her ovaries or uterus removed.


It is observed that for every 2.5 inches less than average height, the chance of heart disease goes up by 8%. Shorter people tend to have higher cholesterol and  triglyceride levels. Apart from this being shorter leads to less healthy choices and habits and this could be another reason.


It is said that having few or no friends and being not on terms with your relations increases the odds of getting heart disease.In loneliness the blood pressure actually rises and symptoms of stress appears. It is hence better to join a walking group, a club or sports activity in the neighbourhood to prevent the ill effects of loneliness.


Although the stimulant drugs can help you focus on a short term basis, in the long run they cause high blood pressure and increase the heart rate. Overtime this could lead to heart problems.


A violent, bullied and abused childhood including seeing harm done to others can be linked to lifelong high blood pressure, obesity, and type 2 diabetes when the child turns into an adult. All these problems in turn are pathways to heart problems of various kinds. The stress in early childhood and the ways adopted to overcome this stress could later lead to many heart problems and health  issues.

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Antioxidants are compounds that inhibit oxidation. Oxidation is a chemical reaction that can produce free radical, there by leading to damage the cells of organism.  The source of these antioxidants are plant and animal based foods, but the body can itself make a few of these, too. Vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and the minerals flavanoids, phenols, plyphenols and phytoestrogens are also antioxidants.

What are their functions?

Each antioxidant works in a different way and together they team-up to fight free radicals. These chemicals cause the oxidation process that damages the cells and the genetic materials inside them. Free radicals are produced in the body when food is processed, gets sunlight, and gets affected by toxins like smoke, pollution and alcohol. Antioxidants usually stop the free radicals in their tracks, which means they don’t allow the free radicals to form or just breaks them down, so they turn harmless.

Where to find them?

You can easily get antioxidants from your body itself. The food we eat is what gives us the majority of antioxidant supply.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is obtained from whole grains, vegetable oils (olive, sunflower, canola), nuts, and green leafy vegetables.

It is stored in fat and fights off free radicals that attack fats in the cell walls. It can also stop LDL cholesterol from turning thicker and harden the arteries leading to cardiovascular deisease.

Vitamin C

It is obtained from papaya, red bell pepper, broccoli, tomatoes, citrus fruits, it is best obtained in raw food because cooking can destroy the antioxidants in them.

Vitamin C is also known as ascorbic acid and it is stored in water as it is water-soluble. It helps prevent cancers of stomach, lung and digestive system.

Beta Carotene

You get this antioxidant from fruits, grains, coloured vegetables, spinach and other greens.

It is also a fat-soluable carotenoid (giving colours to vegetables and fruits). The body turns it into retinol which helps in our eyesight. It is best when it is natural and not taken as a supplement.


Lycopene is best obtained from cooked and processed tomatoes. Heating tomatoes makes it easier for your body to absorb the lycopene. A bit of fat like olive oil further helps the body use the nutrient well.

They help protect against prostate, lung and breast cancer.


It is plentiful in grains, onion, garlic, nuts, soybeans, seafood, meat and liver.

They help in maintaining the thyroid and protects against cancer, especially of the lung, colon and prostate. Too much of selenium causes hair and nail loss and cirrhosis of the liver.


Our body gets flavanoids from green tea, grapes, red wine, apples, chocolate and berries. Flavanoids are plenty in fruits and vegetables. Every plant has a different flavanoid.

Flavanoids provide protection against heart disease, cancer, arthritis, aging, cataracts, memory loss, stroke, inflammation and infection.

Omega 3 & 6 Fatty Acids

Omega 3 comes from salmon, tuna, sardine, flax seeds and walnuts whereas Omega 6 comes from vegetable oils, nuts and poultry.

Omega 6 is required about four times to Omega 3 to obtain the balance. They help stop inflammation.

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You may be suffering from diabetes, hypertension or other ailments which can lead to heart complications. There may be several subtle problems and changes that can lead to some sort of heart ailment, yet you may be unaware of it.

Here are a few health problems/signs that you may indicate a heart problem.


Feeling short of breath is not all that normal it could be the result of a heart problem. When you feel breathless on doin a normal task which you used to do with ease then it could be due to heart failure, rhythm problem or heart attack. You  should consult your doctor at once.


A feeling of lightheadedness can be a result of some sort of heart problem because the heart is not pumping enough blood to the brain. Dizziness can also be a sign of abnormal heart rhythm and it is called arrhythmia. The weakening of the heart muscles or heart failure can also make a person unsteady. Feeling dizzy is an often ignored symptom of a heart attack.


When you are snoring and it is broken up by pauses inbetween for breathing, then your brain may not be getting enough oxygen. The lack of oxygen will send signals to your blood vessels and the heart to work still harder to keep blood flowing in a normal way. This will put more strain on your blood vessels and heart and raise the risk of a higher blood pressure, abnormal heart rhythms, strokes and heart failure.


Studies suggest that bleeding, swollen or tender gums may be a sign of trouble with your heart. The bacteria from your gums gets ito your bloodstream and sets off an inflammation of your heart. Gum disease that leads to tooth loss may raise the risk of a heart disease many times.


Thick dark spots develop in the skin folds, creases of your neck, armpits and groin when the body has trouble using insulin. The patches could also have skin  tags. This is an indication of uncontrolled blood sugar and it is dangerous for your heart, the immediate solution is to control high blood sugar.


When your body has high triglyceride levels it can make your skin break around the knuckles of your fingers and toes and on your bottom. The extra fat in your blood actually goes to harden your arteries. Ultimately this kind of condition increases your risk of developing heart disease, strokes and other heart conditions.


It is said that the strength of your hand can be an indication of the strength of your heart. Several research shows that your ability to squeeze something well can mean that you have a lower risk of heart disease. If you find it hard to grip something strongly or squeeze something well then the odds are higher that  you have some sort of heart problem or soon may develop one.


If you have hurt your fingers recently and it shows dark spots of blood trapped under the nails, then it could point to an infection of the heart’s lining or valves and is called endocarditis. The dark spots under the nails can develop even for those suffering from diabetes, and more often diabetics are more prone to develop some kind of a heart problem or suffer a stroke.


We all know that a change of skin colour is due to bad circulation. Blue or grey fingers and teos could be due to poor circulation of oxygen rich blood. This could happen due to congenital heart problem or due to narrowed or blocked blood vessel. The skin shows a lacy, mottled, purple pattern when bits of built-up cholesterol plaques break off and they get stuck in the blood vessels. You get bloody spots just under the skin, on the inside of your hands and soles of the feet when you have endocarditis.

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Glucose, or blood sugar, is the source of energy for the human body. It is derived from the food we eat. The hormone insulin helps the cells of the body to convert glucose into fuel. Diabetes occurs when the body either does not make enough insulin or cannot sue what it already has. The result is the amount of sugar in the blood increasing beyond normal levels. A continuously raised blood sugar levels for long years result in a wide range of serious health problems.

Now, let us look at some of the effects of diabetes on our body and organs in particular.

Circulatory System

Diabetes has a devastating effect on your blood vessels. It causes macrovascular disease and microvascular disease that affects the large blood vessels and small blood vessels respectively. Microvascular disease causes eye, kidney and nerve problems. Whereas macrovascular disease leads to heart attack and stroke.

Cardiovascular System

Higher level of blood sugar affects the elasticity of blood vessels and causes them to narrow, causing problems with blood flow. Thus diabetes is a big risk factor for heart disease, the risk for stroke or heart attack increases by 200-400 per cent for adults.

Nervous System

People with diabetes develop neuropathy or nerve damage, this is because blood vessels do not deliver enough oxygen. The most common form is peripheral neuropathy, which affects toes, feet, legs and arms.

Urinary System

Diabetes also damage blood vessels in the kidneys and prevents kidneys from functioning properly or filtering waste out of blood. Diabetes is the main cause of chronic kidney disease (CKD).


Eye Sight

Diabetes causes damage to retina and loss of sight mainly in patients over 40 years.


Diabetes cases gastroparesis or slowness in movement of food to small intestine. The symptoms include nausea, vomiting, acid reflux, bloating, stomach pain and weight loss.

Sexual Function

The damage to blood vessels and autonomic nervous system interferes with the body’s ability to react to sexual stimuli and causes sexual dysfunction.


Due to poor blood circulation people with diabetes have slower healing than normal. It also reduces immunity or interferes with the ability of white blood cells to fight infection.

Diabetes affects all parts of the body including feet which if severely infected may need amputation; eye problems include blurred vision, reduced vision, blindness and cataracts; dry skin, skin tags, dark patches, bacterial and fungal infections and itching affects the skin; obesity and stress can aggravate in diabetics leading to severe heart problems.

Fortunately, we can take a proactive approach to the diabetes and actually manage our sugar levels and maintain a normal level through medical care and few lifestyle changes. This helps to limit the effects.

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Many foods we consume, pollutants, chemicals and materials we use can trigger life threatening allergies and consequent conditions like anaphylaxis. Here are a few of the more commonly consumed foods and substances that trigger such dangerous reaction.


The unassuming peanut is found to be potentially a lethal cause for food related allergy deaths. Peanuts can trigger anaphylaxis, a reaction that makes breathing difficult and prove fatal if not treated instantly. The symptoms start within minutes of having peanuts, they may also take a few hours to manifest. The signs include swelling, hives, trouble breathing, rapid pulse and dizziness.


Shellfish such as lobster, shrimp and crab can be triggers for fatal allergic reaction in some people. Shellfish and fish allergies are so potent that even inhaling the cooking vapours can start a reaction. The symptoms include swelling of tissues, blocked airways and having serious heart and circulation problems.


Who would believe that the tiny sesame seed can trigger a huge anaphylactic reaction? Legumes like lentils, peas, soy beans and other seeds can also cause reactions. They are similar to the peanut which is a legume. The nutritious and much like cashew and walnuts are also potentially dangerous as they may cause allergic reaction in some adults.


Some children are more susceptible to allergies due to milk, wheat and eggs. These substances can be hidden in other foods, like baby food and can cause the allergic reaction Ingredients made from milk, wheat, nuts and soy such as lecithin (soy) and whey (milk) can  also cause allergy causing in some adults as well as children.


When a victim gets stung by a honeybee, wasp or hornet it can trigger anaphylaxis. If you suspect an allergy due to an insect sting then immediately consult an allergy specialist who might prescribe some inject-able medications. go for an allergy shot. The shot may prevent the onset of anaphylaxis from insect sting. Sometimes avoiding wearing perfumes and colognes or bright colours can prevent flying insect and bug stings.


Hospitals and doctors take care to get information from the patient about any allergy to particular drug. Pencillin and other antibiotics can trigger drug-related anaphylaxis. Certain chemotherapy drugs, imaging dyes, muscle relaxants used in anaesthesia are all triggers for allergic reaction. The doctor may either give allergy shots before administering a drug or give alternative medications.


Patients who undergo repeated surgeries and health care workers are more at risk of latex allergies. The triggers can be latex gloves, IV tubes, syringes, and all other items made with natural rubber latex. Even other materials like balloons, condoms and rubber bands can cause severe reactions.


There are many signs and symptoms for Anaphylaxis:

Trouble in normal breathing

Slipping into unconsciousness

Lower blood pressure

Chest pain or tightness and trouble swallowing

Hives, swelling, itchiness and skin rashes

Nausea, dizziness and diarrhoea

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