Anemia is a reduction of the number of red blood cells (RBC) in total blood volume. This is important because the RBCs contain hemoglobin, which is the part of the blood that carries oxygen around the body. This reduction in oxygen can lead to all sorts of problems. There are hundreds of different types of anemia, but they can be divided into three basic varieties: reduced blood cell production, increased blood cell destruction, and blood loss. These can be caused by heredity, nutritional deficiencies, trauma, or extreme conditions. In all cases, your first step should be to go to the doctor. Your doctor will have the diagnostic tools to figure out the cause and design a treatment.
I blame my dad. And my grandma before him. Because if it weren't for their genes laden with the risk of heart disease, I probably wouldn't be 27 years old, a healthy 125 pounds, and fighting high cholesterol. How does that happen? Well, all of our bodies produce cholesterol, because we need it for some essential life functions (see left sidebar). But some people—me, for instance—have a hereditary tendency to produce more cholesterol than their bodies need, and the extra ends up in the bloodstream. Add to that the cholesterol from foods like meat, cheese, and ice cream, and it eventually develops into a problem.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is widely known in the medical field as "the silent killer." Some people report nausea, headaches, dizziness, or blurred vision, but there are usually no telltale symptoms or warning signs before a major complication. If death by terminal cancer is like being tied to train tracks or lined up in front of the firing squad, then death by hypertension is having a ninja sneaking up from behind and spinning your head 180 degrees. So what exactly is this silent killer? Well, normal blood pressure is considered to be at or lower than 120/80. Moderate hypertension is between 120/80 and 139/89, and anything above this is "high" blood pressure. The first number in these pairs refers to systolic pressure which is the pressure the arteries sustain when the heart contracts. The second number represents diastolic pressure, which measures the pressure in the arteries as the heart rests.