You are what you EAT!

There have been many incidences of people collapsing for no apparent reason. Now, this scary because there is no warning as such. In the recent cases, we look at a SAF regular who dies after collapsing in camp; second case this month- A Coincidence? Both are army regulars who lost consciousness while having their own physical training in Camp. Resuscitation efforts were administered immediately, but failed. Could they have had any underlying medical conditions not previously detected? Something we need to think about.
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Life expectancy has increased over the years due to medical advances that prevent fatal outcomes. However, there is an expansion of morbidity and many suffer from chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, CVD and hypertension, and as a consequence, the period of time that people spend in a state of chronic ill health and disability till death has risen. Good nutrition and an active lifestyle can lower the incidence of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and hypertension.

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As such, diet, exercise, stress, and sleep are receiving attention as environmental modifiers of chronic inflammatory diseases, including atherosclerosis, the culprit condition of myocardial infarction and stroke. In many cases, an Electrocardiogram would be able to detect these abnormalities, but with the development of plague within the lumen of the coronary arteries, a more effective method would be intra-vascular ultrasound.

Accumulating data indicate that psychosocial stress and a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet aggravate cardiovascular disease, whereas regular physical activity and healthy sleeping habits help prevent it. There could be a possibility that inflammation-associated leukocyte production plays a causal role in lifestyle effects on atherosclerosis progression. Specifically, how potent real-life disease modifiers influence hematopoiesis’ molecular and cellular machinery. Lifestyle, I hypothesize, may rearrange hematopoietic topography, diverting production from the bone marrow to the periphery, thus propagating a quantitative and qualitative drift of the macrophage supply chain.

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In recent decades, perceptions of atherosclerosis’ pathophysiology morphed considerably. We once imagined atherosclerosis as a lipid storage disease in need of mechanical artery reopening but now recognize it to be a multi-factorial condition largely driven by an overactive and dysfunctional immune system. Regardless of how it works, the message is clear, there are steps people can take to keep their heads healthy as well as their hearts as they age.

Research clearly suggests that people who closely followed a low-fat, vegetarian diet such as plant-based diet whilst restricting animal products, oils and sugars saw significant improvements in their heart health and mental wellness. In addition to the diet changes lifestyle modifications such as physical activity, all of which involve behaviors that are potentially controllable.

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One common problem is that many of us rely on eating and drinking — sometimes to excess — as a way of socializing. So it’s better to think of new ways of meeting up with family and friends that aren’t so focused on food. This way, there will be less opportunities for over indulgence especially with the rising availability of food almost in every corner of the street.

Cheers!

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