Orsmond Clinics Diet & Health Glossary

The Diet & Health Glossary is here to introduce you to key terms and health issues associated with overweight and obesity.

Diabetes

Diabetes (Diabetes Mellitus DM)

Diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. Insulin is a hormone that regulates blood sugar. Hyperglycaemia, or raised blood sugar, is a common effect of uncontrolled diabetes and over time leads to serious damage to many of the body's systems, especially the nerves and blood vessels.

Worldwide approximately 220 million people suffer from diabetes (WHO 2011). It is estimated that in 2011 there are about 180,000 people, of all age groups, with diabetes in Ireland (type 1 and type 2 populations combined). Among this number there are up to 50,000 people who have undiagnosed type 2 diabetes. More worryingly, there are at least a further 130,000 people in Ireland who have pre-diabetes, half of whom will develop type 2 diabetes in the next 5 year unless lifestyle interventions are made. 

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Cholesterol

Cholesterol

Cholesterol is a type of fat found in your blood that is needed by the cells to produce important hormones. The level of cholesterol in your blood is affected by the type of food you eat. The are two main types of cholesterol:

  • Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL) The "bad cholesterol" increases your risk of getting heart disease as LDL transports cholesterol from the liver to the walls of the arteries. For years we have been told that foods high in saturated fat raises our LDL cholesterol but all my observational data suggests that high glycaemic foods are also a major contributing factor.
  • High Density Lipoprotein (HDL) The "good cholesterol" can protect you against getting heart disease.

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Triglycerides

Triglycerides

What are they? Triglycerides are a type of fat found in our blood and is measured at the same time as blood cholesterol. Triglycerides which are absorbed in the intestine from the foods like meats, dairy products and cooking oils are transported to tissues for energy or they are stored as fat.

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High Blood Pressure

High Blood Pressure

Healthy blood pressure is considered to be under 120/80. The first reading is called systolic and records blood pressure at its highest as the heart muscle squeezes out the blood from the heart. When the heart relaxes this allows the blood to flow back into the heart and this is diastolic pressure. If you readings are 140/90 or higher, on more than one occasion there might be reason for concern and you should discuss this with your doctor. High blood pressure is one important risk factor for your health. Researchers have found an unexpected increase in the number of children with high blood pressure, and say the growing rate of obesity may be the culprit (American Heart Association Conference on Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention, Miami Florida , USA , March 2003.

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Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia (aka FMS or FM)

It is a complex chronic condition that presents with widespread pain and fatigue (tiredness) combined with a variety of other symptoms. Contrary to arthritis, fibromyalgia does not cause pain or swelling in the joints or soft tissue around them. The name fibromyalgia refers to 'fibro' - meaning fibrous tissue such as tendons and ligaments, 'my' - meaning muscles and 'algia' - meaning pain. Because the symptoms of fibromyalgia are hardly noticeable it has also been called "the invisible disability."

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Syndrome X

Syndrome X (or Metabolic Syndrome)

A person having any three of these five conditions would be classified as having Syndrome X:

  • Central (abdominal obesity).
  • Elevated fasting blood triglycerides.
  • Low levels of HDL cholesterol.
  • High Blood Pressure (Hypertension).
  • High fasting glucose.

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Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (also called the Stein Leventhal Syndrome)

The cause of this disorder is unknown. Affects women of childbearing age and typical symptoms are lack of periods or irregular abnormally light periods, difficulty falling pregnant, oily, hairy skin with often presents with acne as well and 40% of patient are obese. Weight reduction usually improves the symptoms and can even make pregnancy possibly. There appears to be significant associations between obesity and reproductive disturbances in women, including irregular menstrual cycles, reduced fertility, and increased risk of miscarriage, according to experts.

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Obesity

Obesity

Obesity is considered a chronic disease. This means that your excessive weight is affecting your health. Obesity is typically measured using BMI (Body Mass Index, see following section). A BMI over 30 is obese. Obese class I is up to 34.9 and a BMI between 35 and 40 is class II obesity and over 40 we talk about morbid obesity or class III and at this level your health is at serious risk!

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Body Mass Index

Body Mass Index (BMI)

Your BMI tells you how much weight you carry on one square meter of body surface. This index is used to assess your weight status (underweight, normal, overweight, obese). It is calculated by dividing your weight (in kg) by your height (in cm) multiplied by itself (the square root of your height - height × height). If your BMI is over 30 you are obese, between 30 and 25 you are overweight, between 25 and 18.5 is normal weight and under 18.5 is underweight.


Angina

Angina (Pectoris)

Refers to chest pain due to obstructed blood (oxygen) supply to the heart muscle (myocardial ischaemia). This can resolve or lead to heart attack (myocardial infarction).


Heart Attack

Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)

When the artery supplying blood to the heart is blocked totally either by a loosened atheroma plaque or by increasing deposits narrowing the artery it results in the death of part of the heart tissue - causing a heart attack.

Central Obesity, or excess weight around your waist is an independent risk factor for heart disease. Waistline over 36 inches for women and 40 for men is considered unhealthy.


Oral Glucose Tolerance Test

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test

Oral Glucose Tolerance (OGTT) test is used to make a diagnosis of diabetes when the fasting glucose result is borderline, meaning above the normal 5.5 mmol/l but under 6.9 mmol/l, as above this level the result is diagnostic of diabetes.

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Glycaemic Index

The Glycaemic index

Glycaemic index is a way of evaluating foods according to how quickly they are metabolised into glucose. Foods with a high Glycaemic Index enter the bloodstream rapidly, while Low Glycaemic foods promote a slower release of glucose and insulin.


Calories

Calories (Cal)

The term Calories (cal) refers to units of energy. When we talk about calories in the context of food, we use kilocalories (kcal) of energy. One kcal is the amount of energy it takes to raise the temperature of 1 kilogram of water 1 degree Celsius. So if you see the term kcal or cal it refers the same thing (kcal is just 1000 times bigger than cal). One kilocalorie (kcal) is equal to 4.184 kilojoules (kJ). Kilojoules is not used very much for food and the term kilocalorie is more common. You sometimes see in the context of "fashion diet" instructions that certain foods like vegetables are "free" so you can eat them as much as you want. Some vegetables are very low in calories but they are definitely not free of calories. There are no calorie free lunches! Only water is free of calories!

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Gout

Gout

Gout is a group of disorders of purine metabolism, which are characterized by serum uric acid elevation and urate depositions. Classic attacks start during the night and usually affect the big toe, ankle, knee, small joints of the feet and hands, wrist or elbow. The affected joint is hot, very tender and swollen. Temperature and nausea may also be present. Chronic gout can evolve and lead to complications of the kidney.

Gout is often associated with obesity, diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and arteriosclerosis.


Gastric Surgery

Gastric Surgery

Surgery is now considered to be the most effective way of reducing weight, and maintaining weight loss, in severely obese (BMI > 35) and very severely obese (BMI > 40) subjects. A variety of different surgical methods are available for the treatment of obesity. These are generally based on two principles, restriction of energy intake and malabsorption of food. Among the procedures considered effective are: vertical banded gastroplasty, Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, duodenal switch and the use of certain laparoscopic techniques. Intestinal bypass surgery is no longer recommended for the treatment of obesity. (WHO report on Obesity, Geneva, June 1997)

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Coeliac disease

Coeliac disease

Coeliac disease is believed to be present in up to 1 in 100 of the population although only about 10-15% of people with the condition are clinically diagnosed. If a someone with celiac disease eats gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley and rye) the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged reducing the absorption of  nutrients from food. This can lead to various symptoms and complications if undiagnosed.

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Ketones

Ketones

Taken from www.diabetes.ie (diabetes federation of Ireland)

What are ketones?

Glucose (a type of sugar) is the body's main energy source. When the body can't use glucose for energy, it uses fat instead. When fats are broken down for energy, chemicals called ketones appear in the blood and urine. This is known as ketosis when your body is actively using your fat stores as an energy source.

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