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Ways to prevent hypertension, Alzheimer’s, liver and kidney disorders
We know that prevention is better than cure. But do we really practise it? It is only after contracting a disease that we become aware of ways to avoid it. But it’s never too late; follow these measures to prevent some common diseases.
Hypertension—commonly known as high blood pressure—is when your heart persistently pumps blood with a force that is above normal levels. Although hypertension does not show prominent symptoms, it must be kept in check or avoided as it often causes complications such as heart attack, stroke, and renal failure.
To prevent high blood pressure [BP]:
Alzheimer’s is a brain disorder marked by memory loss and impairment of other intellectual faculties, which seriously impede normal life. It is a degenerative disease and has no cure. To prevent Alzheimer’s:
There are many kinds of liver diseases—while viruses cause some of them, others are a result of drugs, poisons or drinking excess alcohol. Common liver diseases are hepatitis [inflammation of the liver], cirrhosis [formation of fibrous tissue in the liver], haemochromatosis [accumulation of iron in the body], Wilson’s disease [accumulation of copper in the body] and Budd-Chiari syndrome [obstruction of the hepatic vein].
Here are some ways to prevent diseases of the liver:
Kidney diseases are numerous; the most common being glomerulonephritis [inflammation of small blood vessels in the kidneys]. Other disorders include chronic kidney failure, polycystic kidney disease [cystic genetic disorder of the kidneys], Alport’s syndrome [inherited cause of kidney failure], hereditary nephritis, primary hyperoxaluria [increased excretion of oxalate resulting in renal and bladder stones.] and cystinuria [formation of cystine stones in the kidneys].
Complications of the kidney could be a result of various factors—diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity or heredity. Although there is no permanent cure to the disease, there are ways you can prevent them.
Preventing an illness becomes easier if you know where you stand with regards to it. For instance, you are genetically predisposed to diabetes or heart condition, or are exposed to the risk factors. The only way you can find out how close or far you are from contracting these disorders is by screening. Screening becomes extremely important particularly in case of lifestyle disorders or critical illnesses such as cancers. “Enough can’t be said about the importance of screening in preventing, detecting and curing cancer. It’s simply your best line of defence when it comes to protecting yourself from this deadly disease. You aren’t see-through. Screening is the best way to stop cancer in its tracks or prevent it from developing in the first place,” says a Government of Ontario, Canada directive. But this is true for any disease.
Regular medical check ups also help identify the reason for minor ailments, which keep ailing us. They also help maintain one’s medical history and bring to light areas that need attention or modification. After 30, you should regularly get yourself checked once every year, and undergo thorough screening at least once every five years and more often as you age.
The common diagnostic tests one must undergo include:
Your doctor will guide you on the diagnostic tests you need to undergo based on your health, family history and lifestyle.
With inputs from Anil Ballani, Internal medicine, Lilavati Hospital and Research Centre, Mumbai
This was first published in the September 2010 issue of Complete Wellbeing