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What is congestive heart failure?

Written by Rhamises Ragpa

What is congestive heart failure? This condition is also known as heart failure. It is when the cardiac muscle fails to pump blood as efficiently as it should.

This condition is also known as heart failure. It is when the cardiac muscle fails to pump blood as efficiently as it should. Over time, that muscle has grown less able to contract or has a mechanical defect that prevents it from filling with blood.

As a result, it cannot fulfill the needs of the body, and blood returns to that organ quicker than it can be pushed out, clogging the arteries. Blood might back up, and fluid can build up in the lungs, resulting in shortness of breath.

The chambers may respond by either expanding to hold more blood for pumping across the body or stiffening and thickening. This keeps the blood flowing, but the cardiac muscle walls may weaken with time and become unable to pump effectively.

The beating gets quicker to allow for rapid refilling following contraction, but less blood flows in the long term, and the extra effort might induce palpitations.

Furthermore, when the kidneys don’t get enough blood, they start to retain water and salt, which can cause kidney failure. The body becomes congested when fluid builds up in the arms, legs, ankles, feet, lungs, or other organs.

The left ventricle, right ventricle, or both sides of the organ might be affected by CHF. This condition generally begins on the left side of the affected organ, particularly in the left ventricle, which is the major pumping chamber.

It is essential to take note of the Ejection Fraction (EF). This is a measure of the amount of blood the left ventricle pumps out every contraction. And this is important in diagnosing the disease. An EF of 60% means that each pulse pushes out 60% of the total blood volume in the left ventricle.

In diagnosing this condition, your doctor will check your medical history, signs and symptoms, and risk factors like high blood pressure or coronary artery disease. They may listen to your lungs for fluid buildup and the pumping organ for murmurs that are indicative of CHF.

There may even be some tests that are ordered, such as:

  • Chest X-ray
  • Blood tests
  • Echocardiogram
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG)
  • Cardiac computerized tomography (CT) scan
  • Stress Test
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Myocardial Biopsy
  • Coronary Angiogram

Whether treated or not, this condition is progressive, meaning it grows worse with time. More than 5 million people in the United States have it, and it’s the most prevalent diagnosis among individuals over 65 admitted to the hospital. This is a contributing factor in one out of every nine fatalities.

What are the main causes of congestive heart failure?

Conditions that damage the cardiac muscle can serve as a cause.

  1. Myocardial Infarction – This causes harm to your cardiac muscles. A possible cause is a sudden blockage of the coronary arteries, creating scarring and decreasing the ability to pump correctly. A greater demand for blood flow owing to a permanent block may potentially cause harm.
  2. High Blood Pressure – Your pumping organ has to work harder than it should to pump blood throughout your body if your blood pressure is high. This increased exertion might cause your cardiac muscle to become too stiff or weak to pump blood over time adequately.
  3. Myocarditis – This is the inflammation of your myocardium. A virus, such as the COVID-19 virus, is the most prevalent cause, developing into left-sided CHF.
  4. Nonischemic Cardiomyopathy – It is a disease in your myocardium that shows ventricular hypertrophy or dilation. An obstruction in the coronary artery causes weakening of the cardiac muscle. Genetic disorders, medication side effects, and infections are all possible reasons.
  5. Arrhythmias – Abnormal cardiac rhythms can cause your heart to beat too quickly, putting additional strain on it. However, CHF can also develop because of a sluggish heartbeat.
  6. Faulty Valves – The valves keep blood flowing in the proper direction. A broken valve, caused by a defect, coronary artery disease, or infection, causes a weaker heart.
  7. Cardiac Muscle damage – Damage to the myocardium can have a variety of causes, including specific illnesses, infections, high alcohol use, the toxic effects of drugs like cocaine or chemotherapy treatments, and genetics.
  8. Coronary Artery Disease – The coronary arteries give blood to the cardiac muscle. The blood flow reduces when these become clogged or constricted, and the heart does not receive the necessary blood supply.
  9. Congenital Heart Defect – The healthy parts of your pumping organ have to work harder to pump blood if your heart and its chambers or valves don’t form correctly at birth, which can lead to CHF.

You may also be at risk of CHF if you have these factors:

  1. Obesity
  2. Thyroid Problems
  3. Smoking
  4. Lupus
  5. Diabetes
  6. Anemia
  7. Alcohol use
  8. Sleep Apnea
  9. Smoking
  10. Viruses

What are the 4 stages of congestive heart failure?

In 2001, the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) defined the stages of this disease. These stages show how the illness is progressive and can develop over time.

Stage A. Individuals who are at Stage A are those that are at risk of developing the illness. They have the following conditions:

  1. Diabetes
  2. Coronary artery disease
  3. Hypertension
  4. Metabolic syndrome
  5. Family history of cardiomyopathy
  6. History of alcohol abuse
  7. History of rheumatic fever
  8. History of cardiotoxic drug therapy

Stage B. These are people who had never had symptoms but diagnosed with systolic left ventricular dysfunction. They experienced a prior myocardial infarction, cardiomyopathy, and valve disease.

In diagnosing the disease, an echocardiogram test should give out a result of an ejection fraction that is less than 40%. 

Stage C. These patients have systolic heart failure and have exhibited symptoms in the present or the past. These symptoms are fatigue, shortness of breath, and a diminished ability to exercise.

Stage D. After already receiving the best hospital care, these patients with systolic heart failure still experience advanced symptoms. It is already hard to manage, even with typical treatments.

Another form of classification is from the New York Heart Association (NYHA). It ranks people with regards to your functional limits and the degree of symptoms you experience.

Class I.  There is no effect on your physical activity. During typical activities, you also don’t experience any strange fatigue, palpitations, shortness of breath, or pain.

Class II.  You begin to experience some minor limitations when doing everyday activities. Starting here, you feel mild fatigue, palpitations, pain, or shortness of breath while you perform routine activities. However, you don’t feel any symptoms while you’re resting.

Class III. You already have limits on everyday activities. During less than usual activities, you feel shortness of breath, fatigue, pain, or palpitations. There are still no symptoms at rest.

Class IV.  At this point, you already feel discomfort at rest. When you do any physical activity, it worsens.

What is the life expectancy of someone with congestive heart failure?

If you have CHF, your life expectancy can be nonlinear and dependent on many factors. Many clinicians do not believe they can accurately anticipate a patient’s clinical trajectory in a 6-month time period.

The 1-, 2-, 5-, and 10-year survival rates for all-type CHF are 87 percent, 73 percent, 57 percent, and 35 percent, respectively, as stated by a meta-analysis in 2019. However, the life expectancy of those suffering from CHF has gotten better over time.

The age of a person during diagnosis might influence their prognosis. The 5-year survival rate for those under 65 was about 78 percent, but it was 49 percent for those 75 and over.

Another factor to take note of is your ejection fraction. Your doctor will have to monitor it more closely if your ejection fraction is reduced. If the echocardiogram reports that your ejection fraction drops too low (35% or lower), you will have a higher probability of having a fatal rhythm in that organ.

However, a 2017 study says all patients with CHF, regardless of ejection fraction, had a poor 5-year survival rate of 75.4%. The 2019 meta-analysis found no significant difference in survival rates between people with an ejection fraction of less than 40% and those with above.

Your life expectancy will also be affected by which stage you are at with your CHF. Those 4 stages will show how serious your CHF has become.

Comorbidities, such as coronary heart disease, can influence life expectancy. They were frequent in CHF patients, according to age-adjusted research, and linked to increased mortality rates. Diabetes was found in 28% of fatalities, while the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease was in 16%.

If you have good lifestyle choices, you could extend your life expectancy too. Try to avoid smoking and drinking. Don’t forget to heed your doctor’s advice. Also, take your medications. Control your sodium and fluid intake as well.

Is congestive heart failure curable?

There is no known cure for this illness. However, some treatments can alleviate the symptoms and delay further damage. This will depend on what stage you’re at and the type of CHF, any possible comorbidities or conditions, and the individual patient.

It would help if you started considering lifestyle changes. An increased sodium intake would be bad for fluid retention, so avoid salty food. You should also avoid drinking coffee or caffeinated drinks because of heartbeat irregularities. Also, consider how much fluid you’re drinking as advised by your doctor.

You may also be advised to take the following medication as prescribed by your doctor:

  • Diuretics
  • Vasodilators
  • Aldosterone inhibitors
  • Digitalis glycosides
  • ACE inhibitors
  • Beta-blockers
  • Anticoagulants or antiplatelets
  • Tranquilizers

In some cases, you may not respond well to drug treatments, so you will have to undergo surgical options:

  • Coronary artery bypass graft
  • Pacemaker
  • Percutaneous coronary intervention
  • Cardiac ablation
  • Implantable left ventricular assist device
  • Valve surgery
  • Transplant

Can the heart repair itself after congestive heart failure?

Your pumping organ has the potential to grow new muscle and heal itself in some cases. However, the regeneration rate is so sluggish that it can’t repair the damage done by myocardial infarction. That’s why, in the aftermath of myocardial infarction, scar tissue forms instead of functioning muscle tissue.

These scar tissues aren’t made of cardiomyocytes (the beating muscle cells). Instead, they are made of fibroblasts. They have no pumping ability. Thus, your vital organ will get weaker and weaker over time. However, with the proper treatment from your doctor, this organ can sometimes become stronger.

How do they remove fluid from congestive heart failure?

If the pumping organ in your body is struggling, your kidneys go into overdrive: they activate chemicals that instruct your body to hold on to whatever water it has to boost blood volume. Excess fluid in the body can be fatal because it puts too much pressure on vital organs like the lungs and liver.

You can know that you have excess water retention if you experience weight changes, swollen legs, ankles, and feet, bloating, nausea, fatigue, persistent coughing, shortness of breath, and loose stools.

So, to counteract that fluid buildup, you should take diuretics to remove the excess fluid. These drugs make you urinate more often. There are three common types of them, namely thiazides, loop diuretics, and potassium-sparing agents. Take them according to your doctor’s advice.

Also, don’t forget to watch your fluid and sodium intake. Limit the amount of fluids you drink. Take into account the food you eat because sometimes they have a lot of water in it. Salty food can make you thirsty, making you drink more, so limit your consumption of it. They also cause fluid retention.

Keep tracking your symptoms and take the medications, and visit your doctor regularly. These small changes can help you manage your CHF and fluid retention.

References

Ask the doctor: Does exercise help damaged heart muscle? (2019, June 21). Retrieved from Harvard Health Publishing: https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/ask-the-doctor-does-exercise-help-damaged-heart-muscle

Beckerman, J. (2020, August 22). Congestive Heart Failure and Heart Disease. Retrieved from WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/guide-heart-failure

Blumenthal, R., & Jones, S. (n.d.). Congestive Heart Failure: Prevention, Treatment and Research. Retrieved from John Hopkins Medicine: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/congestive-heart-failure-prevention-treatment-and-research#:~:text=Congestive%20heart%20failure%20(also%20called,is%20about%20to%20stop%20working.

DeSanto, L. (2020, August 3). Heart Failure: Simple Ways to Manage Fluid Buildup. Retrieved from Health Central: https://www.healthcentral.com/slideshow/how-to-fight-fluid-buildup-heart-failure

Heart failure. (n.d.). Retrieved from Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-failure/symptoms-causes/syc-20373142

Heart failure – fluids and diuretics. (n.d.). Retrieved from Mount Sinai: https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/selfcare-instructions/heart-failure-fluids-and-diuretics

Huff, C. (2021, January 26). Ways to Maximize Your Lifespan With Heart Failure. Retrieved from WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/heart-failure/features/heart-failure-life-expectancy

Johnson, J. (2021, May 28). Congestive heart failure: Life expectancy and stages. Retrieved from MedicalNewsToday: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321538

Newman, T. (2021, May 5). What to know about congestive heart failure (CHF). Retrieved from MedicalNewsToday: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/156849#stages

Paddock, C. (2017, October 5). Severe heart failure may be reversible. Retrieved from MedicalNewsToday: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319649#Silencing-the-Hippo-pathway

What does the integumentary system do?

Written by Acel Joy Cimafranca

What does the integumentary system do?To live without even the skin is unimaginable. It would surprise you that the hair and nails you have are part of the same system.

Living in this world, we have touched and felt many wonders. Most organisms have skins, thick fur, or any covering that helps them thrive and survive. To live without even the skin is unimaginable. It would surprise you that the hair and nails you have are part of the same system. Together, they make up the integumentary system.

This particular system is the body’s biggest organ. It forms a physical barrier between the external and the internal environment. The skin helps protect and maintain our body’s internal structures. It may be from physical, chemical, biological, radiological, and thermal damage. Besides its barrier function, it performs many intricate processes. For example, body temperature regulation, Vitamin D synthesis, and stimuli detection.

The components of the system work together to carry out the following functions:

  • Physical protectionits’ most clear function is protection as it covers the body. Each of the layers contributes to the strength of this network of cells knitted tight. Created by layers of dead keratin, the epidermis makes up the outermost layer. This part withstands the wear and tear of the outer environment. The dermis provides the epidermis with an adequate blood supply. It has nerves that announce danger amongst other functions. The hypodermis allows physical cushioning to any mechanical trauma.
  • Immunity- the skin is a physical barrier preventing entry of pathogens. Antimicrobial peptides and lipids on the skin act as a biomolecular barrier. They disrupt the bacterial membranes. Resident immune cells are available in the skin. In contrast, dermal dendritic cells travel and activate the more excellent immune system.
  • Wound healing- this occurs when our body undergoes trauma with injury. The integumentary system orchestrates wound healing. It does this through hemostasis, inflammation, proliferation, and remodeling.
  • Thermoregulationthe skin is very vascularized. It allows it to conserve and release heat through vasoconstriction and vasodilation. The system helps regulate body temperature by association with the sympathetic nervous system. It monitors body temperature and also initiates appropriate motor responses. Sweat glands secrete water, salt, and other substances to cool the body when it becomes warm.

When body temperatures drop, the arterioles will constrict to lessen heat loss. This reduced circulation results in the skin getting pale. Although the skin temperature drops, it prevents passive heat loss. Hence, internal organs and structures remain warm.

  • Vitamin D synthesisthe primary sources of vitamin D are sun exposure and oral intake. The epidermal layer synthesizes vitamin D when exposed to UV radiation. With enough sunlight, the body forms vitamin D3 called cholecalciferol. The liver converts cholecalciferol to calcidiol. Vitamin D is critical for the normal absorption of calcium and phosphorous. Healthy bones need this vitamin. Also, it is vital for general immunity against bacterial, viral, and fungal infections. Recent studies are also finding links between insufficient vitamin D and cancer.
  • Sensationthe sensory nerve endings cause skin innervation. It allows you to distinguish against pain, temperature, touch, and vibration. Each type of receptor and nerve fiber is unique in its adaptive and conductive speeds. These lead to a wide range of signals used to understand the external environment. It helps the body react the right way.

Why is it called the integumentary system?

The explanation behind this is quite simple. Integumentary is an adjective used when referring to a covering or coating. It derives from integumentum, a Latin word for “a covering.” In a figurative sense, it means a cloak or a disguise. In English, “integument” is a modern word. Its origin traced back to the early seventeenth century. It can mean material or layer that encloses, clothes, or covers in the sense of cladding or coating.

In biology, the integument is the natural covering of an organism or an organ, such as its skin, husk, cover, or peel. An integument is any coating or covering. But, the term refers to the outer layer of natural things like animals and plants most of the time. With that in context, the system’s name comes from its largest organ, the skin. Since it makes up most of the surface area, it is sensible to refer to the system with the word integument.


What organs are in the integumentary system?

The integumentary system consists of the skin, hypodermis, hair, nails, and exocrine glands. These organs have their function in maintaining and protecting the body. Since they are external, you may think of them as accessories. But, they serve essential physiological roles. For further details, read the following:

  • Skin- it is the body’s largest organ. The standard square inch of skin has 20 blood vessels, 650 sweat glands. Also, it has more than a thousand nerve endings. It has 60,000 incredible cells producing pigment. All these structures manifest as a stack of cells that is 2 mm thick.

The skin makes up of two prominent layers. These are the superficial epidermis and the deeper dermis.

1. Epidermis– the tough outer layer. It is the first line of defense against the external environment. It comprises squamous epithelial cells that further break down into layers. In the palms and soles is an extra layer between the stratum corneum and stratum lucidum. It makes the skin there thicker.

2. Dermis– the underlying connective tissue framework provides supports to the epidermis. It subdivides into two layers. The dermis is under the epidermis. It contains connective tissues, nervous tissues, blood, and blood vessels. The dermis is way thicker than the epidermis. It also gives the skin strength and elasticity. There are two separate regions: the papillary layer and the reticular layer.

  • Hypodermis- rests between the dermis and underlying organs. It is also described as subcutaneous tissue.

This layer encompasses loose areolar tissue and adipose tissue. It provides more cushion and insulation through its fat storage function. Also, it connects the skin to underlying structures such as muscle.

The hypodermis serves as the adaptable connection between the skin, muscles, and bones. The areolar connective tissue in the hypodermis contains elastin and collagen fibers. It allows the skin to stretch and move free of its underlying structures. Fatty adipose tissue in the hypodermis supplies energy.

  • Hair- originate from the epidermis. But, it grows its roots deep into the dermis. Its structure splits into the visible hair shaft and the hair follicle within the skin. The hair is an accessory organ of the skin. It is dead keratinocytes found in most body regions.

The hairless parts of the body include the palms, feet, lips, labia minora, and glans penis. The hair protects us from UV radiation by blocking sunlight from striking the skin.

  • Nails- form as layers of keratin at the dorsal tips of the fingers and toes. The nail growth set out at the nail matrix generates new cells and drives worn-out cells.

The discernible part of the nail is the nail plate covering the nail bed, where it clings to the finger. Nails operate to protect the fingers and toes. It does so while increasing the accuracy of movements and enhancing sensation. They are keratinocytes congealed and found on the ends of the fingers and toes. Fingernails and toenails strengthen and protect the end of the digits. These also scrape and manipulate small objects.

  • Associated Glandsthere are four exocrine glands within human skin. These are sudoriferous, sebaceous, ceruminous, and mammary glands.         
  • Sudoriferous glands are one of the exocrine glands found in the skin’s dermis. They are also called sweat glands. There are two major types of sudoriferous glands. These are eccrine sweat glands and apocrine sweat glands.
  • Sebaceous glands are part of the pilosebaceous group. It includes the hair, hair follicle, and arrector pili muscle. These secrete an oily substance called sebum.
  •  Ceruminous glands are special glands located only in the dermis of the ear canals. These produce a waxy secretion known as cerumen to protect the ear canals.

What are the three layers of the skin?

Like our planet Earth, the skin has three prominent layers. These are the epidermis, dermis, hypodermis (subcutaneous tissue)

  • Epidermisthe outermost layer of skin. The epidermis provides a waterproof barrier and creates our skin tone.

The epidermis is a water-resistant outer layer of the skin. This layer has 4-5 sublayers of packed cells. The epidermis processes the cell renewal cycle. The dead skin cells shed off the stratum corneum. Then, new, healthy cells generate. The epidermis also consists of your pores that allow oil and dirt to escape your body.

The epidermis contains specialized cells, including:

1. Keratinocyte cells – produce and store keratin (the protein that strengthens skin)

2. Langerhans cells – help prevent infection and defend the immune system

3. Melanocyte cells – produce melanin (the pigment that determines skin color)

4. Squamous cells and basal cells – cause basal cell and squamous cell carcinoma


The epidermis is super thin on selected parts of your body and thicker on others. This layer handles:

a. Making new skin cells

b. Giving skin color

c. Protecting your body

  • Dermisfound beneath the epidermis. It contains tough connective tissue, hair follicles, and sweat glands.

The dermis also contains nerve endings that send messages to the brain when you feel. Blood vessels located in this layer help supply your skin with fresh blood. They carry the oxygen as well as the nutrients it needs to be strong.

Within its connective tissues, the dermis makes two essential proteins: Collagen and elastin. The two are responsible for the shape, structure, firmness, and elasticity of your skin. The roles of the dermis include:

a. Making sweat.

b. Helping you feel things.

c. Growing hair.

d. Making oil.

e. Providing blood to your skin.

  • Hypodermis (subcutaneous tissue)- composed of fat and connective tissue.

The hypodermis comprises subcutaneous fats, connective tissues, blood vessels, and nerve cells. The blood vessels in this layer are larger. Stored fat helps track body tissue. Also, it cushions your body’s internal organs against negative impact.

The tissue in the hypodermis produces one crucial cell called Adipocytes. These cells store fat used for energy, cushioning, and insulation. The bottom layer of the skin is the subcutaneous fat layer. This layer plays an essential part in your body by:

a. Attaching the dermis to your muscles and bones.

b. Helping the blood vessels and nerve cells.

c. Controlling your body temperature.

d. Storing your fat.

What are the two primary components of the integumentary system?

In this part, we will tackle the two primary components of the integumentary system. These are the cutaneous membrane and the accessory structures.

  • Cutaneous membrane- the operational term for our skin. It is a multi-layered membrane composed of epithelial and connective tissues. The apical surface of this membrane subjects itself to the external environment. It is dead, keratinized cells that help protect the body from pathogens. As mentioned, our skin comprises three layers. They are the epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous tissue.
  • Accessory structures- include the hair, nails, sweat glands, and sebaceous glands. These structures originate from the epidermis. Often termed “appendages”, they can extend down through the dermis into the hypodermis.

Accessory structures of the skin consist of not only the hair and nails. This group also includes sweat glands and sebaceous glands. Although these structures appear to be part of the dermis, they come from the epidermis. Dead, keratinized cells make up the hair shaft and get their color from melanin pigments. Nails are also keratinized. They protect the extremities of our fingers and toes from damage. Sweat glands and sebaceous glands create sweat and sebum.

What material makes the epidermis tough?

Look at your toes, your face, and your hands. What you’re watching are your keratinocytes. They put together over 90% of the epidermis cells, the outermost layer of the skin. The keratinocytes make the epidermis strong. The skin on every part of your body is not the same. This difference is due to toughness. The number of keratin proteins produced in certain parts causes this distinction. Keratin is an intermediate filament protein made by keratinocytes.

The main aim of these keratin-producing cells is to preserve. It may be against microbial, viral, fungal, and parasitic invasion. They also protect us against UV radiation. Apart from that, they cut the heat, solute, and water loss.

Keratinocytes are very well specialized. They play an indispensable role in protection because they form a tight barrier. It prevents foreign substances from entering the body. Also, they shorten the loss of moisture, heat, and other constituents. In maintaining them in their locations, they form tight bonds with the other cells. Also, keratinocytes function as immunomodulators following skin injuries.

Which layer of the skin does hair grow from?

Your hair is a keratinous filament growing out of your epidermis. Dead and keratinized cells predominate this layer. Strands of hair originate in an epidermal permeation called the hair follicle.

The hair shaft is part of the hair. It is not anchored to the follicle, and much of this is visible at the skin’s surface. The rest of the hair lies below the surface of the skin. This is the hair root. The hair root stops deep in the dermis at the hair bulb. It also includes a layer of active basal cells called the hair matrix. The hair bulb surrounds the papilla hair. It contains blood capillaries and nerve endings from the dermis.

The basal layer of the epidermis creates the layers of epidermis that get shoved to the surface. This happens as the dead skin sheds. The same cells of the hair bulb divide and push cells out in the hair root and shaft. It occurs as the hair grows. The medulla structures the core of the hair. The cortex surrounds it. The cuticle covers this layer of compressed keratinized cells.

Hair grows, then sheds, and the new hair replaces it. There are three stages to this. The first is the anagen phase, when cells at the hair’s root divide, pushing the hair shaft up and out. We use years to measure this phase, and it usually lasts between 2 and 7 years.

Also, the catagen phase lasts only 2 to 3 weeks. It announces the end of the growth phase of the hair follicle. Finally, the hair follicle is dormant throughout the telogen period. By this time, no new growth occurs. A new anagen phase begins after this phase, which lasts roughly 2 to 4 months. As the growth cycle repeats, the basal cells in the hair matrix generate a new hair follicle. It pulls the old hair out. During the anagen phase, hair develops at a rate of 0.3 mm every day. Every day, about 50 inches fall out. Hair loss happens when the amount of hair shed exceeds the amount of hair restored. It can occur due to hormonal or nutritional changes.

REFERENCES:

American Academy of Dermatology Association. (2021). What kids should know about the layers of the skin. https://www.aad.org/public/parents-kids/healthy-habits/parents/kids/skin-layers

American Hair Loss Association. (2010, March 1). Hair Loss: The Science of Hair. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/hair-loss/science-hair

Betts, J. G., Young, K. A., & Wise, J. A. (2013). Anatomy and Physiology. OpenStax.

Biga, L. (2021). Anatomy and Physiology (1st ed.). Pressbooks. https://open.oregonstate.education/aandp/chapter/4-1-types-of-tissues/

Hoffman, M. (2021, August 1). The Skin (Human Anatomy). WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/picture-of-the-skin

Kim, J., & Dao, H. (2021, May 9). Physiology Integument. National Center for Biotechnology Information. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK554386/

Lumen Candela. (2020, August). The Skin. Lumen Learning. https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-ap/chapter/the-skin/

Martini, N., & Ober, K. (2018). Visual Anatomy and Physiology (3rd ed.). Pearson. https://www.palmbeachstate.edu/slc/Documents/AandPch05LecturePearson.pdf

Mohs Skin Cancer Surgery. (2020, January 30). The Layers of Skin. Florida Dermatology and Skin Cancer Center. https://fldscc.com/2020/01/30/three-layers-skin/

Pane, C. (2020, September 27). Keratinocytes. PromoCell. https://promocell.com/cell-culture-basics/keratinocytes/#

Physiopedia. (2020, October 23). The Integumentary System. https://www.physio-pedia.com/Integumentary_System

Reina, O. (2016, September 13). Keratinocytes: Their Purpose, Their Subtypes and Their Lifecycle. Tempo Bioscience. https://www.tempobioscience.com/blog/keratinocytes-their-purpose-their-subtypes-and-their-lifecycle/

Taylor, T. (2021, May 17). Integumentary System. Innerbody Research. https://www.innerbody.com/anatomy/integumentary#continued

Xandrea, P. (2019, December 9). Skin 2: accessory structures of the skin and their functions. Nursing Times. https://www.nursingtimes.net/clinical-archive/tissue-viability/skin-2-accessory-structures-of-the-skin-and-their-functions-09-12-2019/

What is Wisdom?

from InkSights n Letters

Sunday Verse and Words of Wisdom

Sunday Verses and Words of Wisdom. Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
from InkSights n Letters

Happy World Teacher’s Day!

Happy World Teacher's Day! We appreciate the mentors in our lives who have molded us to become better individuals! Thank you dear teacher!
from InkSights n Letters

What is Faith?

from InkSightsnLetters

Words of Wisdom for Learners and Mentors

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
from InkSights n Letters

What is hypertension, and how to control it?

Written by Risa Mae Q. Paladar

The condition that you will read more about in this article is one of the leading causes of death. Hypertension is a disorder in which your blood level increases than conventional values.

Another term for it is high blood pressure or HTN. It is a prevalent ailment in which the blood’s long-term force against the artery walls is high enough. It contributes to heart diseases.

Before going into much detail, you will learn first about what blood pressure is.

It is the exerted force by flowing blood on the walls of one of your body’s primary blood vessels. These are the arteries. BP is its acronym. Readings of BP that are higher than average for consecutive days are the basis for the diagnosis.

How do you measure BP?

There are two crucial components considered. One is the blood quantity that your heart pumps. The other one is defiance to blood flow in your arteries.

When diagnosed with HTN, it indicates that your heart has been working too much harder. It is also a sign that it is pumping more blood than usual, with your arteries becoming narrower than ever. mmHg or millimeters of mercury is the unit of measurement. Two digits represent it.

The top number reflects your systolic pressure. It denotes the tension in your arteries whenever your heart contracts or beats. The bottom number reflects your diastolic pressure. This digit represents the stress in your arteries when your heart relaxes.

BP should be less than 120/80 for it to be normal. You may be at risk when your systolic and diastolic is equal to or greater than 140mmHg and 90mmHg.

Types of Hypertensions

Primary hypertension is when there is no known cause for your condition. It is also known as essential hypertension. Identification happens after a doctor detects that your BP is high. This should be for consecutive visits. Diagnosis occurs when the physician has ruled out all other reasons.

If diagnosed with primary hypertension, you may not experience any symptoms at all. But, there is still a probability that you will experience fatigue and headache at times. It stated that the cause is not definite. Yet, researchers still identified related factors. These include genetics, alcohol intake, smoking, diet, and obesity.

The second significant type is secondary hypertension. Unlike essential hypertension, this type has a known cause. According to researchers, the most common reason for this type is an anomaly in the arteries.

There is a disruption of blood distribution to the kidneys. An underlying severe condition or disease may give rise to this. Examples of these are tumors and cancer.

Symptoms

“Silent killer” is another term for hypertension. It may be present without you experiencing any symptoms. It may be hard to persuade you to take medications, knowing that you may be asymptomatic.

Yet, it is crucial to remember that there can be an early detection for hypertension. This highlights the importance of having regular check-ups. Whenever diagnosed, your doctor will give you medications to control the disease.

While most people may be asymptomatic, you may encounter headaches and dyspnea. These symptoms do not appear until your BP has reached a dangerous level.

What is the main cause of hypertension?

According to research, there are a couple of risk factors that can cause HTN. For primary hypertension, there is no known cause. Your lifestyle, such as gaining weight and consuming much sodium and alcohol, genetics, and certain diseases are the leading causes of secondary hypertension.

Primary Hypertension

As mentioned earlier, there is no known or definite cause for primary HTN. It usually develops over time.

Secondary Hypertension

Causes of secondary hypertension range from a variety of illnesses to drugs, including:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Kidney disease
  • Adrenal gland tumors
  • Thyroid problems
  • Certain defects you’re born with (congenital) in blood vessels.
  • Certain medications: birth control pills, cold remedies, decongestants, and some prescription drugs
  • Illegal drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines

Risk Factors

There is no certainty that these are causes for hypertension development. But, they can still be threats and could escalate your risk of developing them in your later years.

These are the following:

  • Male gender: Men appear to have a more significant chance of acquiring the disease than women.
  • Old age: Higher rates of hypertension are prevalent in older people. Along with the risk factors are the primary and usual reasons for HTN diagnosis.

1. Genetics

Some DNA can cause the disease. Although you cannot solve this problem, you must tell your physician if it runs in your family.

2.  Obesity

Several studies have found that those who are obese have higher BP than those who are fit. Greater weight accounts for almost forty percent of all hypertension diagnoses.

3. Too much sodium intake

Excess salt consumption correlates with an increased HTN risk. If you overeat sodium, your body will not excrete fluid, which will raise your BP.

4. Little potassium intake

Potassium plays a significant role in your body. It helps stabilizes the sodium amount in your cells. Thus, the right amount of potassium intake equates to the excellent health of your heart. If not, sodium may build up in your blood.

5. Inactive physical activity/sedentary lifestyle

Having such a lifestyle increases your heart rate. It implies that every time your heart contracts, it has to work harder. Additionally, the force applied to the arteries is also more potent and more complex. It could also lead to obesity or being overweight.

6. Excessive alcohol consumption

In the long run, heavy drinking causes detrimental effects on your heart. There are recommendations on the number of drinks both for men and women to protect your health. Furthermore, excessive alcohol intake may also cause an elevation in your cholesterol levels.

7. Kidney problems

Kidneys also play a crucial role in eliminating harmful toxins and wastes as you urinate. When the kidneys get damaged, they cannot do their job with efficiency. There is a retention of the fluid inside your body. This situation leads to high BP and HTN.

What can happen if you have hypertension?

Because of its ability to keep patients unaware of their state, HTN is often known as the “silent killer.” You may experience symptoms like headache, irregular heart rhythms, fatigue, and others. It may also lead to heart diseases, stroke, kidney disorders, and blindness.

Symptoms

  • Nosebleeds
    • Irregular heart rhythm
    • Vision changes
    • Headaches
    • Buzzing in the ears

If the extent of hypertension that you have is more severe, you may also experience the following:

  • Nausea
    • Fatigue
    • Anxiety
    • Vomiting
    • Muscle tremors
    • Chest pain

Aside from the various manifestations, it can also cause catastrophic damage to your other organs such as the heart, eyes, kidneys, and brain.

1. Heart Attack and Heart Disease

HTN makes your arteries less flexible which may cause a decrease in the blood and oxygen flow to your heart. This situation leads to heart diseases. Additionally, decreased blood flow may also contribute to the following:

  • Heart attack– The blockage of blood supply causes excellent damage to your heart. It is because the oxygen does not also reach the organ. Without adequate oxygen, the cardiac muscle begins to perish. The longer the time there is a restriction of your blood flow, the more damage the heart suffers.
    • Heart failure– It is a disorder in which your heart becomes unable to pump adequate blood and oxygen to your other organs.

2. Chest pain (angina)

  • Stroke and brain problems

A stroke occurs when the arteries delivering oxygen and blood to the brain become blocked or rupture. During this, your brain cells may die because they become deprived of oxygen. You may also find yourself having disabilities in your speech and movement.

Another is a brain aneurysm. Your vessels become weak and bulge, forming an aneurysm. If this ruptures, it could be life-threatening.

4.  Kidney disorders

The blood vessels in your kidneys become weak and narrow, preventing the organ from functioning with efficiency.

5.  Loss of vision/blindness

The blood vessels in your eyes become thick, narrow, and torn.

6.  Death

Can hypertension be cured?

It is relevant to understand the difference between cure and treatment. The term “cure” usually refers to a complete recovery of one’s health. Treatment may not mean the absolute eradication of the disease. It only leads to your health’s improvement. HTN has no cure, but there is prevention and treatment.

A chronic illness such as hypertension is an example. Medication and maintaining or switching to a healthy lifestyle can help moderate it. But there is no cure.

Written below is a list of things that you can do and apply in your lives to ward off and mitigate HTN.

  • Cutting back on salt or sodium

As adults, you should consume no more than 2 grams of sodium per day. You should check the salt amount of packed goods found on the nutrition labels.

  • Eating a balanced diet.

Eat fruits, vegetables, fish, lean meat, and low-fat dairy products in reasonable amounts. You should avoid foods heavy in salt, sugar, or oil on a regular basis.

  • Exercising

Do not sit all day. Engage yourselves in physical activities that will allow you to sweat.

  • Limiting alcohol consumption

If you must consume alcohol, keep your consumption to the least amount.

  • Managing stress

Allow yourself to feel all emotions. Have a sound support system whom you can vent out your sentiments. Meditate and allow yourself to rest every once in a while.

  • Avoiding smoking

What food causes hypertension?

You may be conscious of your diet once you identified the effects of hypertension. Table salt, a few condiments and sauces, foods with saturated and trans-fat, fried food, fast food, canned, frozen, and processed foods all cause HTN.

·         Table salt

You may always end up looking for more salt, out of habit, in preparing your snacks and meals. It is important to remember that high salt intake is one of the causes of hypertension. Usage of it should be with much precaution. You may also opt to avoid using it and look for alternatives such as herbs and new spices.

·         Some condiments and sauces

Once you have decided to replace your salt, there is a list of condiments that you should not use as substitutes. These include soy sauce, ketchup, steak sauce, and salad dressing. Because of their high sodium content, it is the case.

·         Foods with saturated and trans fat

Even if you have HTN, you can eat healthy fats, but saturated and trans fats are not among them. Foods with saturated and trans-fat include donuts, ice cream, cakes, and margarine. BP and cholesterol are both affected by foods fried in many oils or meats with a lot of fat. You must consume low-fat dairy foods.

Reduce or cut your red meat in your diet. If you cannot resist eating one, check the labels and select the leanest cuts possible.

·         Fried food

Fried meals are high in saturated fat and sodium. Examples include chickens, French fries, crispy pata, and many more.

·         Fast food

Frozen foods cooked in high-fat oils are common in fast-food restaurants. They’re also salted often. All these increase your risk of having HTN. These include your favorite hamburger, chicken, and fries from Jollibee or McDonalds.

·         Canned, frozen, and processed foods

Most of these contain much salt to preserve the flavor through all the processes. Canned soups are significant examples. Frozen pizzas are on the list too. Sodium levels are high in frozen pizzas with thick crusts and a lot of toppings.

What is the best drink for hypertension?

You have read the foods mentioned above that pose a greater risk for HTN. It is time to turn your eyes to the different drinks that could help ease your HTN. Tomato juice, beet juice, prune juice, skim milk, and tea are the best drinks for HTN.

In this part of the article, you will be learning about the different drinks best for HTN.

·         Tomato Juice

Japanese researchers surveyed in 2019. Findings say that tomato juice helps both your diastolic and systolic pressure. Participants in the study were people with heart disease risk factors.

In the later studies, an average of one cup a day also improves the BP of pregnant women. The same goes for people suffering from stage 1 hypertension.

·         Beet Juice

The juice of both raw and cooked beets can lower BP. This finding was according to a randomized pilot research published in 2016Trusted Source. Raw beet juice had a more significant effect on BP.

·         Prune Juice

A 2010 studyTrusted Source says that prune juice is effective in lowering BP. People who ate one dosage of three prunes each day had lower BP, according to the study. There was a more significant reduction in the systolic blood pressure in people who ate six prunes per day.

·         Skim Milk

Low-fat dairy products can prevent and treat your HTN. Skim milk, belonging to the group, would be another drink best for your condition. A 2011 review concluded that your consumption of low-fat milk yielded a lower risk.

·         Tea

The effect of tea on your condition varies depending on the type. According to a 2014 study, green tea yields a more significant decrease in blood pressure. But, long-term consumption of both green and black tea also had a positive impact.

Does coffee lower blood pressure?

Caffeine is a chemical found in your coffee. There are contradicting studies about the topic. Coffee causes a brief but significant spike in your blood pressure. To some, yes, it lowers BP and poses less risk for hypertension occurrence.

According to some researchers, caffeine can block a hormone. This blocked hormone keeps your arteries open or widened. Others believe that caffeine stimulates your adrenal glands to generate extra adrenaline. A temporary increase in BP is the result. Moreover, caffeine is an example of a vasoconstrictor. It produces the same effect.

Previous studies have produced contradicting results when it comes to this topic.

In a medical review, there is a statement that blood vessels get stiffer as you age. This situation could trigger an elevation in blood pressure. According to the latest research, moderate coffee consumption may help to offset this.

In the same study, older people who consume a moderate amount of coffee have more elastic vessels. This finding is despite having HTN.

According to a 2012 study, caffeine intake has a variable influence on blood pressure. Caffeinated coffee causes a significant increase in BP. This is when compared to decaffeinated coffee.

Increased coffee intake causes a slight reduction in the incidence of hypertension in prospective cohort studies, according to 2017 prospective cohort studies.

Despite all this, there is more research conducted in the present to gain a better and single perspective about the relationship between coffee and your blood pressure.

References:

Coffee consumption and blood pressure. (n.d.) Coffee & Health. https://www.coffeeandhealth.org/topic- overview/coffee-consumption-and-blood-pressure/

11 Foods that increase blood pressure. (n.d.) Durham Nephrology. https://www.durhamnephrology.com/foods-that- increase-blood-pressure/

High blood pressure. (2021, May 18). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/about.htm

High blood pressure. (2021). Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood- pressure/symptoms-causes/syc-20373410

Hypertension – the preventable and treatable silent killer. (2013, March 1). Centre for Health Protection. https://www.chp.gov.hk/en/features/28272.html#:~:text=Hypertension%20is%20a%20chronic%20disease,fol low%20up%2C%20usually%20for%20life.

Hypertension. (2021, August 25). World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/newsroom/fact- sheets/detail/hypertension

Iliades, C. (2009, November 18). Different types of hypertension. Everyday Health. https://www.everydayhealth.com/hypertension/understanding/types-of-hypertension.aspx

Laino, C. (2010, September 1). Coffee may combat high blood pressure. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/news/20100901/coffee-may-combat-high-blood- pressure

Lopez-Jimenez,     F.                   (2021,   June 8).     Caffeine: How   does                    it         affect             blood   pressure?      Mayo      Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/expert-answers/blood-pressure/faq- 20058543#:~:text=How%20does%20caffeine%20affect%20blood,t%20have%20high%20blood%20pressure

Treatment vs. Cure. (n.d.) Merriam Webster. https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/treatment-vs-cure- difference#:~:text=Cure%20usually%20refers%20to%20a,the%20complete%20elimination%20of%20diseas e.

Vandergriendt,       C.         (2020,         September          17).  7             Drinks for             lowering            blood           pressure.   Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/drinks-to-lower-blood-pressure

What is the largest cell in the human body?

Written by Alexis Marian Balisbis

There are 100 trillion cells or more in the human body. These make up tissues, tissues make up organs, and organs make up the organ system. The various functions performed by cells lead to their different shapes and sizes. The female ovum or egg cell is the largest cell in the human body.

Its size is about 120 micrometers (0.0047 in) in diameter and 20 times the size of male sperm, making it visible to the naked eye without the aid of a magnification device. The female ovum is the reproductive cell in the female body. It needs to gather enough nutrients to support a growing embryo after fertilization.

There are approximately 1 million eggs at birth. Moreover, by the time of puberty or menstruation, only 300,000 eggs remain. Usually, females ovulate one egg per month.

What is the smallest cell in the human body?

A cell is the smallest, basic unit of life that controls all the processes of life. Most scientists suggest that the smallest cell in the human body for volume is the male sperm. The reproductive cell of males is the sperm.

A bit smaller than your red blood cell, the sperm head is about 4 micrometers in length and a tail 50 micrometers long. A fertile man may produce between 40 million and 1800 million sperms in total. It will only survive in warm environments; thus, it dies outside the body or when ejaculated.

Which blood cell is smallest in size?

A blood cell is also known as a hematopoietic cell, hemocyte, or hematocyte. The three main types of hemocytes include red blood cell or erythrocyte, white blood cell or leukocyte, and platelet or thrombocyte. The smallest hemocyte in size is the platelets or thrombocytes.

Platelets are minute discs 1 to 4 micrometers in diameter, only about 20% of the diameter of erythrocytes. 150,000 – 350,000 per microliter of blood is the average platelet count. But, they are miniature, so they make up a tiny fraction of the volume. They play a significant role in the repair and regeneration of connective tissue.

  • Production:

The production or formation of platelets occurs in the bone marrow from megakaryocytes or the “giant” cell, which are giant hematopoietic cells in the marrow. The thrombopoietin or TPO, a dominant hormone controlling megakaryocyte development, regulates the production.

Megakaryocyte develops into a giant cell that releases over 1,000 platelets per megakaryocyte due to fragmentation. They break up into the minute platelets either in the bone marrow or soon after entering the blood, especially as they squeeze through capillaries.

  • Structure:

Platelets are the smallest of the circulating fragments of cells, so they are not actual cells. Their average lifespan is about 5 to 9 days only. The shape of platelets, usually plate-like, may change when a break in the blood vessel stimulates them.

When there is a break in the vessel, they become round and extend long filaments. They look like octopuses with long tentacles reaching out to contact the broken vessel wall or other platelets. Then, platelets form a plug to seal the damaged vessel with the long filaments.

Platelets also contain many structures that are necessary to stop bleeding, such as proteins and granules. Proteins on the surface allow them to stick to breaks in the vessel wall and each other. Like muscle protein, they also allow them to change shape when sticky. Granules secrete other proteins that create a firm plug to seal vessel breaks.

  • Function:

Platelets are being pushed out from the center of flowing red fluid to the vessel wall because they are the lightest. They pass along the surface of the vessel lined by cells called the endothelium. Endothelium prevents anything from sticking to it.

The platelets react first to injury. When there is a wound or bruise and a broken endothelial layer, this causes exposure of the tough fibers surrounding a vessel to the liquid flowing blood. The tough fibers attract platelets like a magnet, which stimulates the shape change. They clump onto the fibers, forming blood clots or the initial seal to prevent bleeding.

  • Disorders: (You can explore more conditions but the ones mentioned are some of them)

Thrombocytopenia, a term derived from an old name for platelets, “thrombocytes,” is a disorder with low platelet counts. The cause can be due to the failure of the bone marrow to produce the standard number of platelets. Increased platelet destruction may also happen once production finishes and when releasing it into the circulation.

Thrombocythemia is a disorder in which your bone marrow makes too many platelets. Some symptoms may include bleeding, headache, bruises, and bloody stools.

Which blood cell is known as a scavenger?

White blood cells or leukocytes are the fewest of the hemocytes. There are only 5,000 to 10,000 leukocytes per microliter or about 1% of your blood. The several types of leukocytes all connect to immunity and fighting infection. The hemocyte called macrophages, also known as natural scavengers, is a type of leukocyte.

Macrophages, also called granulocytes, are cells in the immune system that belong to the so-called scavenger cells or the phagocyte family. They live in almost all body tissues, such as the liver, brain, small intestine, and skin. They destroy bacteria, stimulate other immune system cells’ action, and remove dead cells.

They are also made in the bone marrow and protect the body against infection. Granulocytes have granules in their cytoplasm. The three classes or subdivisions of Macrophages are:

  • Neutrophil

Neutrophils are the most common type and the most many, making up about 50% to 70% of all leukocytes and have a lifespan of 7 hours. The granules are very tiny and light, so they are challenging to see. They are the first line of protection when infection strikes to kill and digest bacteria and fungi.

  • Eosinophil

These are less common, making up less than 5% of leukocytes and a lifespan of 8 to 12 days. They damage the cells that make up the cuticle or body wall of larger parasites and cancer cells. The large granules contain digestive enzymes that are effective against parasitic worms in their larval form.

  • Basophil

Basophils are the least many and rarely seen, making up less than 1% of all leukocytes and a lifespan of a few hours to a few days. They release heparin which is a substance that inhibits blood clotting, histamine, and other substances that have essential roles in some allergic reactions to help control the immune response or the inflammatory response.

What is the largest blood cell?

The other type of white blood cell is the Agranulocytes that have no distinct granules in their cytoplasm. Examples are lymphocytes and monocytes. The largest blood cell is the monocyte, a leukocyte averaging 15 to 18 micrometers in diameter and making up about 7% of the leukocytes.

In the cytoplasm, large numbers of granules often appear to be more in number near the plasma membrane. The nucleus is big, kidney bean-shaped, and tends to have indenting or folding. Monocytes enter areas of inflamed tissue later than the granulocytes or macrophages.

 Monocytes are capable of motion and are phagocytic (engulfing) cells. They can ingest infectious agents and other large particles. They may help break down bacteria, but they cannot replace the function of neutrophils in the removal and destruction of bacteria.

Production in the bone marrow takes place, then they leave and circulate in the blood. After a few hours, the monocytes enter the tissues, where they develop or mature into macrophages. They have a life span of 3 days which is longer than the life span of many white blood cells.

The other type of agranular leukocyte is the lymphocytes, a part of the immune response to foreign substances in the body. They make up about 28% – 42% of the white cells of the blood. These are much smaller than the three granulocytes. The nucleus is enormous for the size of the cell.

Many lymphocytes are in the spleen, lymph nodes, tonsils, thymus, and lymphoid tissue of the gastrointestinal tract. The T-lymphocytes act against tumor cells and virus-infected cells, while the B-lymphocytes produce antibodies against possible harmful invaders. Both of these are memory cells that may live for many years.

What blood cells carry oxygen?

Blood is the life-sustaining fluid that circulates through the entire body. It also carries nutrients to the body tissues. The life-sustaining cells that transport oxygen all over the body are the red blood cells or erythrocytes. These are the most many, about 5,000,000 per microliter, making about 40% of your total blood volume.

  • Production:

The hormone erythropoietin or EPO manages the production of erythrocytes, which occurs in the bone marrow. With small amounts made by the liver, the kidneys are the leading site for EPO production in response to decreased oxygen delivery, such as anemia and hypoxia or increased levels of androgen hormones.

  • Structure:

Disks that are a bit flattened with an indented center or round, biconcave discs are usually the shape of erythrocytes. The microscopic view looks like an orange or red tire with a thin, almost transparent center. They live for about 120 days or four months. Your body makes new erythrocytes to replace the dead or lost ones.

  • Function:

The hemoglobin in erythrocytes is a protein that carries oxygen. When hemoglobin picks up oxygen in your lungs, the life-sustaining fluid gets its bright red color. The hemoglobin releases oxygen to the different parts of the body as it travels. Erythrocytes also bring carbon dioxide to the lungs for you to exhale, removing it from your body.

  • Illness: (Mentioned below is only one condition, but you can search other types of anemia)

Some causes of these illnesses are diseases, a lack of iron or vitamins in your diet, or inherited from family.

Anemia is a disease in which too few erythrocytes carry enough oxygen all over the body. Pale skin, feeling cold, tiredness, and fast heart rate are some symptoms of anemia. In severe cases, it may cause heart failure. Children with anemia develop slower than other children.

There are many types of anemia, including the most common, iron deficiency anemia. Your body would not make enough hemocytes if you did not have enough iron in your body. Causes may include sudden blood loss, inability to absorb enough iron from food, a low-iron diet, and ongoing chronic fluid loss such as from heavy menstrual periods.

What vitamin helps the body make red blood cells?

The body needs enough erythrocytes to provide oxygen to body tissues. Foods rich in iron and vitamins can aid in maintaining healthy erythrocytes. The vitamin that helps the body erythrocytes is Vitamin B12.

You can get vitamin B12 from eating meat, cheese, eggs, milk, and cereal – usually absorbed by your digestive systems, such as the stomach and intestines.  Supplements containing B12 along with other B vitamins or folate are also available.

Some factors that make it difficult for your soma to absorb enough vitamin B12 include:

  • Poor nutrition during pregnancy
  • Poor diet in infants
  • Eating a strict vegetarian diet
  • Alcohol use
  • Surgery that removes particular parts of the stomach or small intestine, such as some weight-loss surgeries
  • Pernicious anemia happens when the body destroys cells that make intrinsic factor, a protein produced by specialized cells that line the stomach wall.

References:

Extend Fertility. (2017, November 20). Five fascinating egg cell facts. Retrieved from https://extendfertility.com/egg-cell-facts/

Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (2021, March 6). Study reveals how egg cells get so big.Retrieved from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/03/210306113142.htm

Byju’s. (n.d.). Name the smallest and largest cell in the body?

Vedantu. (n.d.). Questions & answers. Retrieved from

https://www.vedantu.com/question-answer/smallest-blood-cells-are-arbc-bwbc-cplatelets-class-11-biology-cbse-5f7c1286de7d79546eff0c98

George, J. (2015). Platelets on the web. Retrieved from

https://www.ouhsc.edu/platelets/platelets/platelets%20intro.html

Humphrey, J. & Perdue, S. (2020). Immune system: Macrophages. Retrieved from

https://www.britannica.com/science/immune-system/Interferons

University of Rochester Medical Center. (n.d.). What are white blood cells? Retrieved from

https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentID=35&ContentTypeID=160

Conley, L. & Schwartz, R. (2020). Blood: Monocytes. Retrieved from

https://www.britannica.com/science/blood-biochemistry/White-blood-cells-leukocytes#ref62367

Wick, S. (n.d.). Immunology. Retrieved from

https://www2.nau.edu/~fpm/immunology/blood.html

University of Rochester Medical Center. (n.d.). What are red blood cells? Retrieved from

https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentID=34&ContentTypeID=160

The American National Red Cross. (n.d.). Red blood cells and why they are important. Retrieved

from https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/dlp/red-blood-cells.html#:~:text=Red%20blood%20cells%20carry%20oxygen,our%20lungs%20to%20be%20exhaled.

KidsHealth. (2019). What’s blood? Retrieved from https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/blood.html

MedlinePlus. (2021). Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia. Retrieved from

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000574.htm

Healthwise. (2020, September 23). Vitamin B12 deficiency anemia. Retrieved from

https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hw65706

What is hypertension?

Written by Ian Jay B. Francisco

Did you know that the world’s leading cause of death is preventable? Hypertensive heart disease causes more deaths than any other illness. It begins as elevated blood pressure—hypertension (HTN).

The heart is a powerful pump the size of a fist. It circulates approximately five liters of life fluid every minute. The exerted force against your arteries is your blood pressure (BP).

Your blood pressure varies with the different activities you do. When you are relaxing, it is lower. In contrast, it increases when you do strenuous activities.

You can gauge it using millimeters of mercury (mmHg) as a unit. A healthcare worker uses a sphygmomanometer to measure the force inside your arteries.

You may wonder what blood pressure numbers, systolic and diastolic, imply. Systolic pressure measures the pressure within your arteries when your heart is beating. Diastolic pressure measures the stress in your arteries when your heart is resting.

BP depends on the amount of blood in your body and the resistance it encounters in your vascular system. If your blood volume is high and your arteries are narrow, you may have hypertension. These are the BP ranges:

Normal. You have normal BP when the reading is < 120/80 mmHg.

Elevated. You have elevated BP when the measurement is 120-129/< 80 mmHg.

Stage 1 high BP. If it reads 130-139/80-89 mmHg, you are in the first hypertension stage.

Stage 2 high BP. You are at this stage if it is ≥ 140/≥ 90 mmHg.

Hypertension crisis. You need to seek professional help right away when it reads > 180/> 120 mmHg. Keep in mind that doctors did not set hypertensive values in stone. Healthcare professionals diagnose HTN when the reading exceeds or equals 140/90 mmHg. Others identify HTN when it is 130/80 mmHg or higher.

HTN is not one disease but a syndrome with many causes. It causes ischemic heart disease, the leading cause of death globally. Because HTN has no warning signs or symptoms, people call it the “silent killer.”

What is the main cause of hypertension?

Now that you know the definition of this so-called silent killer, you may wonder what causes it. Experts say that the exact cause of HTN is unknown yet. But increased peripheral vascular resistance causes it.

Hypertension takes years to develop. The factors that influence the likelihood of HTN are controllable and genetic. Thus, anyone is at risk, including you.

There are two types of high HP:

  1. Primary HTN. Also called essential HTN, it is the most common type and has no known cause.
  2. Secondary HTN. It is when an underlying health condition causes it.

Unhealthy lifestyle decisions can cause HTN. You are at risk of getting sick if you don’t get enough sleep, physical activity, or nutrition.

Certain medical conditions may also cause your BP to rise. Pregnancy can elevate a mother’s heart rate.

Other risk factors include:

  • Smoking. Tobacco’s toxins can damage the lining of your artery walls.
  • Obesity. Overweight people’s cardiovascular systems work more to deliver oxygen and nutrition.
  • Inactivity. Having a sedentary lifestyle increases your heart rate.
  • Too much salt. Sodium induces fluid retention and elevates BP.
  • Too little potassium. It helps regulate sodium in your cells.
  • Too much alcohol. Alcoholic beverages can harm your heart.
  • Stress. It can elevate your BP for a short time.
  • Age. Hypertension likelihood increases with aging.
  • Race. HTN is common among African people.
  • Family history. HTN runs in families.
  • Other chronic conditions. Kidney disease, diabetes, and apnea increase your risk of hypertension.

Although some of these factors are inevitable, you can still prevent HTN. What matters is that you can avoid the disease by making better lifestyle choices.

What can happen if you have hypertension?

The medical community says that blood is the lifeline of the body. Thus, any illness affecting it and the cardiovascular system will affect the human as a whole. Hypertension can lead to a lot of other complications.

What’s scary about HTN is that little to no symptoms manifest even if BP gets high. There is hardly any early warning sign that you have HTN unless its effects on your body begin to appear. That is why you need to have your BP checked always.

HTN can hurt your general well-being. It can damage your eyes, brain, heart, kidneys, and other organs and organ systems.

Circulatory System

When BP increases, artery walls become damaged. As a consequence, cholesterol accumulates in the tears of the artery walls. Thus, the fluid passage becomes restricted.

The deficiency in oxygen and nutrients carried in blood results in organ damage. It manifests as angina (chest pain). It could also cause arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) or myocardial infarction (heart attack).

Due to HTN, the heart becomes an inefficient pump. It may cause difficulty in breathing, swelling in the extremities, or fatigue. It can also cause an artery wall to balloon out, forming an aneurysm. A ruptured aneurysm is lethal.

Nervous System

Reduced blood flow to the central nervous system may cause cognitive problems. You may experience difficulty in remembering, thinking, or understanding things. Thus, you can associate HTN with dementia.

When brain arteries get blocked, a stroke (cerebrovascular accident) occurs. When neurons cannot get oxygen, they begin to die off.

Hypertension can also affect eyesight. You may suffer from blurry vision and blindness due to the damaged capillaries in your eyes.

Skeletal System

HTN causes your body to excrete more calcium via urination. If you are a woman who has undergone menopause, you are at risk of osteoporosis (bone loss). Your bones become frail and susceptible to fractures.

Respiratory System

The lungs can also get damaged from HTN. A pulmonary embolism can occur when the arteries in your lungs get blocked. Researchers also linked sleep apnea (loud snoring and breathing problems) to hypertension.

Reproductive System

Hypertension can cause sexual dysfunction. When the penis receives insufficient blood, men will have difficulty maintaining an erection. Blocked vessels can also cause vaginal dryness in women.

Urinary System

Like any other organ afflicted by a deficiency in blood supply, the kidneys can also get damaged. They lose the ability to filter out waste from the body. When you have kidney failure, you need to undergo dialysis or a kidney transplant.

Can hypertension be cured?

The fourth industrial revolution enabled the field of medicine to improve health conditions. You may have expected that chronic illnesses now have a cure. Unfortunately, hypertension has no cure, but you can manage it with medication.

Now that you know the risk factors for hypertension, you can do these to lower your BP with natural means:

  • Exercise. It is crucial for your health and can help lower BP.
  • Improve your diet. Experts recommend a diet rich in fresh produce and whole grains.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Maintaining your weight reduces the strain on your heart.
  • Limit your sodium intake. Look for low or no salt foods to lower intake.
  • Avoid stress. You can reduce stress by meditating, engaging in a relaxing activity, or exercising.
  • Drink with caution. Limit your alcohol consumption.
  • Quit smoking. Benefits include better lung health and a lower risk of heart disease.

Lifestyle changes can help lower your BP and cut the risk of heart disease. Your doctor may also prescribe BP medication. These are antihypertensive drugs. Antihypertensive oral medicines include:

  • ACE inhibitors
  • Angiotensin II receptor blockers
  • Calcium channel blockers
  • Diuretics
  • Beta-blockers
  • Alpha-blockers
  • Centrally-acting antihypertensive drugs
  • Vasodilators

The goal of treatment is to normalize your BP. Your doctor may prescribe a medication with few or no adverse effects. This treatment works well.

If medication can only regulate your BP, you’ll need to take it forever. It’s usual to need many medications to control BP. Take the drug as prescribed. Otherwise, you’ll risk a stroke or heart attack.

What food causes hypertension?

Your lifestyle plays a very vital role in curbing hypertension. It includes the food and beverages you consume. You need to avoid food that is high in salt, sugar, and trans-fat.

Table salt. When you’re suffering from HTN, you should limit or drop salt in your diet. Try using new culinary spices and plants.

Some sauces and condiments. Sodium-rich foods include ketchup, soy sauce, salad dressing, barbecue sauce, and steak sauce.

Saturated and trans fats. Fried foods and meats high in fat are unhealthy for blood pressure and cholesterol. Limit or avoid red meat. If you drink a lot of dairy products, go for low-fat.

Fried food. You can bake or sauté instead of frying. Air fryers are an excellent alternative.

Fast food. Processed food cooked in high-fat oils is what they serve at fast-food restaurants. They also have a lot of salt.

Processed food. Manufacturers salt them to keep their flavor during canning, packing, or freezing.

Cured meats. When manufacturers preserve, cure, or salt lunch meats, they increase their sodium content.

Salted snacks. Many crackers, chips, and even cookies are bad choices.

Caffeine. You should avoid caffeine if you have HTN. If you like coffee, try the decaffeinated one if you can’t give it up.

Alcohol. A small amount of alcohol can lower your blood pressure, but too much can raise it.

Soda. It is high in sugar and empty calories.

What is the best drink for hypertension?

Therapies for HTN are not curative. You have to continue them forever to manage the disease. If you have HTN, you can add healthy drinks to your diet to help manage your BP.

There is no available source on the internet that singles out any drink as the best. If you want to manage your HTN, you might want to try these drinks:

  • Apple cider vinegar. It flushes the body of salt and poisons. The rennin enzyme lowers blood pressure.
  • Lemon water. Lemon water is a cell cleanser. It also softens arteries, reducing the pressure within them.
  • Methi water. The fiber in methi or fenugreek water helps lower the pressure.
  • Chia seeds infused water. Chia seeds have a lot of omega-3 fatty acids. They help thin the blood and reduce its pressure.
  • Tomato juice. Japanese researchers reported in 2019 that it could improve systolic and diastolic pressure.
  • Beet juice. A study from 2016 found out that raw beet juice lowered BP.
  • Prune juice. Researchers reported that people who eat prunes daily had reduced BP.
  • Pomegranate juice. People who drank pomegranate juice had lower systolic and diastolic pressure.
  • Berry juice. A literature review in 2020 said that cranberry or cherry juice might help lower BP.
  • Skim milk. Experts concluded that drinking low-fat milk yields a lower risk of hypertension.
  • Tea. Green tea was effective in reducing blood pressure in a 2014 study.

All in all, the best all-natural beverage you can take is still water. Keeping yourself hydrated daily by drinking six to eight glasses helps regulate BP. If you drink it in moderation, you are on the right track.

Does coffee lower blood pressure?

There is an ongoing debate on how caffeine affects blood pressure. Previous studies show conflicting results about this subject. But coffee has shown properties that both elevate and lower blood pressure.

Caffeine can elevate your blood pressure, even if you don’t have hypertension. This sudden rise in blood pressure is unknown. Caffeine’s effect on blood pressure varies by individual.

Caffeine may inhibit a hormone that widens arteries. Other researchers believe caffeine stimulates the adrenal glands, raising blood pressure.

Also, avoid caffeine before activities that raise your blood pressure. Examples of such are exercising, weightlifting, or intense physical labor.

Greek researchers in 2010 claim otherwise. They said that coffee improves the elasticity of blood vessels. The vascular systems of those who drank one to two cups of coffee were better than those who drank less or more.

More researchers need to look into these findings to confirm these. But you can be sure that drinking coffee in moderation will not harm you.

References

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11 Foods that Increase Blood Pressure – Durham Nephrology Associates, PA. (2019, November 14). Durham Nephrology Associates, PA. https://www.durhamnephrology.com/foods-that-increase-blood-pressure/

Beckerman, J. (2021, August 6). Causes of High Blood Pressure. WebMD; WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/guide/blood-pressure-causes

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Centre for Health Protection, Department of Health – Hypertension – the Preventable and Treatable Silent Killer. (2013). Chp.gov.hk. https://www.chp.gov.hk/en/features/28272.html#:~:text=Hypertension%20is%20a%20chronic%20diseas e,follow%20up%2C%20usually%20for%20life.

Goldman, R. (2018, January 22). The Effects of Hypertension on the Body. Healthline; Healthline Media. https://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure-hypertension/effect-on-body

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Lopez-Jimenez, F. (2021, June 8). How does caffeine affect blood pressure? Mayo Clinic; https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/expert-answers/blood- pressure/faq

McPhee, S. J., Hammer, G. D., & Mitrovic, I. (2019). Cardiovascular Disorders: Vascular Disease. In Pathophysiology of disease: An introduction to clinical medicine (8th ed., pp. 778–788). essay, McGraw-Hill Education Medical.

NOVA Online | Cut to the Heart | Map of the Human Heart | Amazing Heart Facts. (2021). Pbs.org. https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/heart/heartfacts.html#:~:text=Your%20body%20has%20about%205.6, US%20from%20coast%20to%20coast.

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