Prevention of Stroke (Part 1)


Your brain needs a lot of oxygen and nutrients being carried by your blood, and your blood reaches it through a network of blood vessels which  serve as its passageways.  When one of these passageways is blocked, thereby preventing the arrival of blood in a certain area of yourbrain, stroke takes place. Deprivation of blood is not the only cause of stroke. When a particular blood vessel in your brain ruptures, and the blood goes into its substance,  this is also called stroke.

Types of stroke

Due to cerebral thrombosis

Your blood vessels in the brain are not spared from the deposits of cholesterol and other forms of fats. If you are prone to having these deposits, all your blood vessels will have the same tendency to have them. Hence, when the opening of your blood vessel in the brain is narrowed by these deposits which have been accumulating for years, these blood vessels are prone to be blocked by blood clots which have been traveling in your bloodstream. Since the opening of the blood vessel is narrowed, it could easily be plugged by a clot which had been admixed with your blood.  With the blockage, blood could not pass through, and a certain area of your brain is suddenly deprived of blood, resulting in stroke, which is now considered as due to a cerebral thrombosis. Had it not been for the narrowed blood vessel, stroke could not have happened.

Diagrammatic representation of a blood vessel in the brain which has been deposited with cholesterol and fats (A) and then a blood clot that plugs its opening (B). Figure 1. Diagrammatic representation of a blood vessel in the brain which has been deposited with cholesterol and fats (A) and then a blood clot that plugs its opening (B).

Due to cerebral embolism

While your brain is left undisturbed for so many years, in other parts of your body, blood clots may have been formed. Some of these are attached to the inner structures of your heart.When your heart is behaving properly, they remain where they are, without producing any trouble at all. However, when it suddenly misbehaves, its rhythm is greatly disturbed that it is now out of sync. Consequently, its pumping becomes erratic and produces vibration that it is now medically described as fibrillating. When this takes place, blood clots from its inner chambers are thrown out in the blood which goes into circulation. When these blood clots reach the brain, they could block a blood vessel, resulting in stroke which is due to a cerebral embolism.

Figure2.Diagrammatic representation of a blood vessel in the brain which was never deposited with cholesterol and fats (A) but then a blood clot arrives plugging its opening (B). The diameter of the opening decreases as its location moves away from the heart—hence, very much prone to plugging.

Figure2.Diagrammatic representation of a blood vessel in the brain which was never deposited with cholesterol and fats (A) but then a blood clot arrives plugging its opening (B). The diameter of the opening decreases as its location moves away from the heart—hence, very much prone to plugging. 

Due to ruptured blood vessel

The wall of the blood vessels in your brain is very thin. This structural design is meant to allow easier transfer of oxygen from the blood to yourbrain and the transfer of carbon dioxide from yourbrain to the blood. In short, it is meant to allow easier exchange of gases. With this design, however, it cannot withstand high blood pressure. Thus, it is necessary that you always maintain your blood pressure at normal level because if you do not, a blood vessel in your brain could rupture, and you will suffer from stroke.

Figure 3. Diagrammatic representation of a normal blood vessel in the brain (A) and the ruptured blood vessel in (B) where the blood goes out  through the leakage.

Figure 3. Diagrammatic representation of a normal blood vessel in the brain (A) and the ruptured blood vessel in (B) where the blood goes out  through the leakage.

(To be continued)

What is metabolic syndrome?(Part 1)


Metabolic syndrome (MS) refers to a medical condition wherein you have a combination of abnormal findings in your health profile. These are: 1. increased blood pressure{systolic blood pressure of 130 millimeters of mercury (mmHg) or greater, or diastolic blood pressure of 85 mmHg or greater}, 2.a high fasting blood sugar {100 mg/dl or greater}, 3.excess body fat around the waist {waist circumference of 40 inches or over in men, and 35 inches or over in women}, 4. the level of HDL cholesterol is less than 40 mg/dl in men or less than 50 mg/dl in women, and 5.abnormal triglyceride levels {150 milligrams per deciliter of blood (mg/dl) or greater}. To label you as having MS, you should have at least three of these abnormalities in your medical profile[1,2].

Stricter definition

Based on the report of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute/American Heart Association Conference on Scientific Issues Related to Definition, however, there were six components of MS which were identified. These are (1) abdominal obesity, (2) atherogenic dyslipidemia, (3) raised blood pressure, (4) insulin resistance with or without glucose intolerance, (5) proinflammatory state, and (6) prothrombotic state[3].

Abdominal obesity[3]

This refers to the increased waistline circumference as described in the preceding.

Atherogenic dyslipidemia[3]

When a substance is considered as atherogenic, this means that it can be deposited along the internal lining of your   blood vessel wall. When this takes place, your blood vessels become inelastic and rigid that eventually your blood pressure increases. Thus, as much as possible, these substances (cholesterol and triglycerides) need to be at normal levels in your blood in most of the times.

In the cholesterol profile, the factor which is more important is the level of the so-called HDL-cholesterol which is otherwise known as the “goodcholesterol. This is considered as “good” because it is responsible for the reverse cholesterol transport whose main function is to carry allcholesterol molecules from the different organs of your body back to the liver for elimination. If this is low, more cholesterol stays in your peripheral circulation, promoting possible attachment in the internal lining of your blood vessels. This becomes an atherogenic factor which should be addressed at the soonest possible time.

Raised blood pressure[3]

This refers to the elevation of your blood pressure as described in the preceding. Have your blood pressure checked regularly. When you find out that it is elevated, you need to consult your medical doctor for proper medication(s). It has to be lowered as soon as possible so that complications will not set in.

Insulin resistance [3]

The substance responsible for the absorption of glucose in your cells is the protein known as insulin. If you are suffering from MS, glucose is no longer sensitive to the action of insulin. Thus, in spite of having enough concentration of insulin in your cells, glucose is not absorbed and therefore not used.

Proinflammatory state[3]

If you are obese and your C-reactive protein (CRP) is elevated,aside from having inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, it is greatly possible that you have MS. There are a number of causes of the CRP elevation, but obesity is one of the causes because excess adipose tissue releases inflammatory substances that will cause elevation of CRP[3].

Prothrombotic state[3]

When your plasma plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI)-1 and your fibrinogen are elevated[3], then very likely you have MS. These are additional substances which indicate that some inflammatory substances are highly elevated in your body, promoting the development of cardiovascular diseases.

(To be continued)


  1. Mayo Clinic, Diseases and Conditions, Metabolic Syndrome.
  2. American Heart Association.
  3. NHLBI/AHA Conference Proceedings.

What are strengthening physical exercises?(Part 7)

Muscle groups and their corresponding functions


The shins refer to the front portions of your lower legs, and the largest muscle in this region is the tibialis anterior, whose main function is to flex your foot upward (dorsiflexion) and to extend your toes [1].Thus, it controls your foot and your leg as you strike the ground. When the muscles in the front portion of your lower leg is weaker compared to the calf muscles—which are located at the back of your lower leg and in opposite area relative to the position of yourshin muscles, you will suffer from the so-called shin splints[2].To prevent this potential imbalance between the shin and the calf muscles, thus preventing shin splints, you can perform the following physical exercises.


Strengthening exercises for the shin muscles using body weight


Toe lifts[2]

Sit on a chair, and then extend forward your legs resting on your heels until they are around one foot away from where they should be if they are immediately below your knees. Extend your toes until your feet are flat on the ground. Gradually flex your toes toward your knees while keeping your heels on the ground. When you feel that the muscles in front of the shins contract, hold it for 3 to 10 seconds, then relax. Do this 10 times[2].

Towel sweep[2]

Sit on a chair and then step on a towel with one of your feet and with your heel off the edge of the towel. Using solely your toes, move the towel outward, inward, and towards you with the heel planted and static on the ground. Do each movement 5 times with each foot [2].

Ankle band exercises[2]

Sit on a chair. With your ankles and knees together, tie a rubber exercise band around your feet in front of the ankles. Press outward with your feet then relax. Do this 10 times. After this, cross your ankles and then tie your feet with the rubber exercise band. Using one of your feet, push to the outside while your knees and ankles are kept together. Relax and then shift to using the other foot. Do 10 times with each foot [2].


Foot press[2]

While sitting down, put one of your feet on top of the other. Pull up with the lower foot and resisted by the other foot. Hold for 10 seconds. Switch the positions of your feet and do the same. Do 5 sets for each position [2].

Suggested strengthening workouts using body weight

To wrap up the discussion of the different workouts using your body weight, some of the most important strengthening physical exercises that you can perform are enumeratedhereunder:

  1. Squats, for quadriceps, hamstrings, and buttocks; {See Powertec (162)}
  2. Push-ups, for your upper body; {See Powertec (161)}
  3. Crunches, for your abdominals; {Powertec (157)}
  4. Sitting leg extensions, for your quadriceps; {See Powertec (162)}
  5. Reverse sit-ups, for your lower abdominals; {See Powertec (157)}
  6. Side leg raises, for your hip abductors;
  7. Chair press, for your hip adductors;
  8. Foot press, for your shins[2]. {See Powertec (164)}

If you do the enumerated physical exercises, start with the large muscle groups then go to the smaller ones. You can add some of the physical exercises that you want to include; however, for as long as your time permits and your body could afford, do all of the abovecited physical exercises at least 3 times a week. By doing these routinely, they will help you improve your performance and avoid injuries[2] while participating in some sport activities.

(To be continued)


  2. Glover B, Shepherd J, Glover SF. Strengthening. In: The Runner’s Handbook. 2nd revised ed. New York: Penguin Books USA Inc.; 1996:578-597.

Symptoms that could prevent you from doing physical exercises(1)

The Symptoms

Back pain

If you have been experiencing back pain for the last few months, accompanied by some urinary disturbances, such as more frequent urination and low abdominal discomfort, it is possible that you have been suffering from urinary tract infection (UTI). You need to consult a medical doctor, and, more often than not, he will request you to have examination of the urine, otherwise known as urinalysis. If it turns out that you haveUTI, then you will be prescribed with the most appropriate antibiotic(s).

If your back pain, however, is acute—that is, it happened so suddenly—then you need to consider compression of your spinal nerves. This consideration is most probable if you have a history of trauma or injury at the back. However, even if there was no trauma, you need to factor in spinal nerve(s) injury, and you need to consult a medical doctor who is either a general practitioner, neurologist, or rehabilitation medical doctor. If you have spinal nerve(s) injury, and you insisted on having your physical exercises, it is possible that you will injure yourself all the more, and you will aggravate your medical problem. Hence, prior to totally ruling out the possibility of spinal nerve(s) injury, you need to refrain from having physical exercises.

If it is confirmed that you have spinal nerve(s) injury, resulting from compression, the basic management is for you to have bed rest for at least seven days. It could be longer, depending on the severity of your medical problem. In addition, you will have sessions under the rehabilitation medicine department, wherein traction and physical therapy will be administered to you. You will be asked to report for physical therapy for around ten sessions—each session lasting for at least one hour. You will be taught how to perform the different physical therapies, and you will continue doing them at home.

Joint pain

If you have been experiencingjoint pain—whether acute or chronic—you need to refrain from having physical exercises. You need to consult a medical doctor first to find out what is your problem, and you will be prescribed with the necessary medications. If the pain is gone, then you can resume your physical exercises. If you insist to do your physical exercises, in spite of your joint pain, then you will aggravate your problem, and it will be harder to treat it.

Sudden weakness of one or more extremities

Sudden weakness of one or more extremities is a symptom that cannot be taken for granted. It could be a symptom of stroke (bleeding in the brain), especially if you have a history of hypertension and you have been taking medications for it—and worse, if you have not been taking medications in spite of knowing that you have hypertension. Immediately, consult a medical doctor so that your medical problem could be diagnosed at once. Refrain from doing your physical exercises because, if you do, you might aggravate your medical condition. Much worse, you will die from it.

Getting tired so easily

If you have been well and good, then suddenly in the last few days you have been experiencing easy fatigability or getting tired so easily, it is possible that your blood pressure has risen. Refrain from doing your physical exercises. Instead, consult a medical doctor, and have your blood pressure checked. If your blood pressure is higher than normal, then your medical doctor will surely prescribe you with the right medications. Take them regularly and faithfully! Once your blood pressure is controlled, you can return to the gym, and resume your workouts.

                                 (To be continued)


Health benefits from eating broccoli

Nature of broccoli

Broccoli belongs to the family of cruciferous vegetables. Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage are some of its close relatives in the said family. Although it containslow calories, it is rich in essential vitamins and minerals, aside from having significant quantity of fiber. A cup of the vegetable provides vitamin C equivalent to an amount coming from an orange. It also contains vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc [1].

Health benefits

Fighting cancer

A number of literature have claimed that taking broccoli willprevent the development of cancer. This effect is attributed to the substance sulforaphane which broccoli contains in high quantity. Based on research findings, sulforaphane could inhibit the enzyme histone deacetylase (HDAC) which has been incriminated to promote the progression of cancer cells.Hence, all foods containingsulforaphane could possibly impede the growth of cancer[2].

Based on epidemiological studies, apopulation who has been taking a lot of cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, has low incidence of cancer. In addition, based on in-vitro and animal studies, it was found out that phytochemicals, such as sulforaphane, reduce the frequency, size, and number of tumors [3].

Improving bone health

If your intake of calcium is low, you will be prone to suffer from bone fractures. This happens because you at the same time have low intake of vitamin K which promotes the absorption, and reduces the urinary excretion, of calcium. If you take one cup of chopped broccoli, you receive 92 micrograms of vitamin K and 43 milligrams of calcium [2], thereby protecting you from bone fractures.

Looking younger

Frequent intake of broccoli makes you look younger. This is attributed to its high content of vitamin C which is a very essential antioxidant, fighting skin damages caused by too much exposure to the elements, such as the sunray andvarious air pollutants. When you take a lot of vitamin C, wrinkles on your face will be reduced and the overall skin texture will be improvedbecause vitamin C promotes the production of collagen which serves as the supporting structure of your skin. Unknown to most of you, broccoli provides 81 milligrams of vitamin C per one cup of the vegetable. Hence, good source of vitamin C is not solely confined to the citrus fruits[2].

Improving digestion and natural detoxification

Broccoli contains a lot of fibers necessary to provide bulk in your stool. With this condition, your bowel movement becomes regular, and constipation is prevented. Consequently, different kinds of toxins produced in your large intestine—and which could have been absorbed—are regularly eliminated, preventing the development of colon cancer which is attributed to thesetoxins[2].

Preventing the occurrences of chronic diseases

Increased fibers in the diet, brought about by increased intake of broccoli, will also lead to the prevention of coronary heart diseases, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, and gastrointestinal diseases. It will also lower the levels of blood pressure and cholesterol. Since adequate intake of dietary fibers will ultimately lead to decrease in your total caloric intake, your weight may go down as well, helping you to reduce your weight [2].

Cooking broccoli

Cooking broccoli is not that hard and difficult. After cutting off the heads from the main branch, you wash them, and you can start cooking with water steam. In short, the vegetable is not mixed with, and submerged in, water; rather, it is the steam coming from the water that will cook it. However, if you want to improve the taste, you can cook the vegetable with a little water, then add shrimps, or meat, or sliced squid which was previously sautéed.



Muscle cramps (Part 2)

What are the other causes of muscle cramps?

Low potassium

Low potassium level in the blood could cause muscle cramps. However, this is more associated with muscle weakness.

Body fluid shifts

In his lifetime, if a person has drunk a lot of alcohol for some decades and if he was afflicted with hepatitis, the liver will be injured. When these injuries heal, scarring will be produced, and a lot of fibers will be formed in the liver. This medical condition is known as cirrhosis of the liver.Workout for Health

When the liver is cirrhotic, or filled with scarring and fibers, the flow of blood coming from the (1) hepatic artery and (2) hepatic portal vein through the liver is obstructed. Consequently, fluids (represented by the olive green representations in Figure 1) seeping out from both the hepatic artery and hepatic portal vein will spill in the abdominal cavity, ultimately producing a collection of fluid consisting of proteins, glucose, and electrolytes, like sodium and potassium. This movement of fluid from the blood vessels into the abdominal cavity is called body fluid shift.

When there is body fluid shift, not only fluid distribution is disturbed but also the distribution of electrolytes, such as sodium and potassium. When potassium is taken out from the circulation, this could produce muscle cramps!

Alteration in the distribution of potassium could also take place during dialysis and in some cases of kidney failure. Thus, muscle cramps could also take place in these situations.

Intake of some medications

Intake of some medications could cause muscle cramps. Foremost is the diuretic called furosemide, whose brand name is Lasix, which could effect vigorous removal of body fluids, leading to depletion of some electrolytes, like sodium, potassium, calcium and magnesium. When these electrolytes are significantly removed from the circulation and tissues, they could cause muscle cramps.

Other medications that could cause muscle cramps are the following: donepezil for Alzheimer’s disease, neostigmine for myasthenia gravis, raloxifene for osteoporosis, tolcapone for Pankinson’s disease, nifedipine for high blood pressure, terbutaline for asthma, and lovastatin for lowering cholesterol.

Vitamin Deficiency

Some vitamin deficiencies may lead to muscle cramps. These are deficiencies in thiamine (B1), pantothenic acid, and pyridoxine (B6).Thus, for individuals who go to the gym regularly, and also for some of those who do not, a daily intake of vitamin B complex tablet is recommended, containing around 100 mg of thiamine, 5 mg of pyridoxine, 5 mg of pantothenic acid and 50 mcg of cyanocobalamine.

How can we treat muscle cramps?

Stretching the muscle

Stretching the involved muscle can be used to stop the cramp. For some cramps of the feet and legs, the concerned person can stand up then walk around. For a calf muscle cramp, there are two ways of treating it: (1) the person can stand around 2 to 2.5 feet from the wall (more if the person is taller) and lean by placing the forearms against it with the knees and back straight and the heels in contact with the ground or floor, or (2) while still lying down, the ankle is flexed by pulling the toes up toward the head with the leg extended as straight as possible. For a writer’s cramp, the hand will be pressed against the wall with the palm in contact with it. This will stretch the flexor muscles of the fingers, finally stopping the cramp.


Muscle cramps (Part 1)

What are muscle cramps?

Normally, when we move, there are skeletal muscles involved in it. To execute a particular move, a muscle or a group of muscles will have to alternately contract and relax. In some instances, however, suddenly and without warning, one or more muscle(s) contract(s) in a sustained manner, and the person involved in it has no control over the muscular contraction. This is called muscle crampor true cramps. It is painful, and the concerned individual, in most of the times, will be forced to stop from whatever s/he is doing. The sustained muscular contraction could take place for a few secondsor up to a quarter of an hour.

What are the causes of muscle crmuscle cramp amps?


When there is an existing injury in the musculo-skeletal system, a muscle cramp takes place because the body tends to protect the injured part. In this situation, there is a need to treat the existing injury, lest the muscle cramp keeps on recurring!

Fatigue of muscles

When a muscle or group of muscles isoverused in a physical activity, such as in a gym or outdoor physical exercises, a muscle cramp may take place. Overusing of muscles takes place when a person suddenly executes a physical exercise whose intensity and/or durationis(are) beyond what s/he used to do. If, for instance, you have been doing a treadmill exercise for only 30 minutes in a day, but suddenly you increased it to one hour, you might experience muscle cramp, either during, immediately after, or several hours after the physical exercise.

If you have been doing weightlifting, usually lifting 10 kilograms of weight, but, without proper preparation and training, you suddenly used 15-kilogram weight, you may also experience muscle cramp.

Improper positioning

Proper positioningwhile working or playinggreatly contributes in the prevention of muscle cramps. For instance, if you are using the keyboard of a computer or a laptop, ensure that your wrists are well rested on the working table, and not left hanging beyond its edge! Ensure that your head is well rested at its back against a head support structure of your chair! Ensure that your eyesight level is in line with the computer screen, not very much lower or higher! When you play a particular sport, play it with the right form!

Improper and awkward positioning while asleep could be another cause of muscular cramp! Since you cannot really control your sleeping position, the least that you can do is to have firm and flat bed that will prevent your body from sagging!


When you work out in a gym, or engage in an outdoor sport, you will have perspiration that will release the extra heat generated in your body. However, it is not only water and heat that are released; included is the electrolyte, sodium, that plays a very vital role in maintaining the blood pressure. When significant amount of sodium is taken out from your body, arising mainly from intense physical activity and/or use of medicine, such as diuretics (medicines that promote urination), occurrence of muscle cramp is very likely.

Low blood calcium and/or magnesium

Scientific literatures have established that low calcium and/or magnesium level in the blood could cause muscle cramp. The main reason is that when the blood levels of said electrolytes are low, the excitability of the nerve endings and the muscles being supplied by that nerve is high! Hence, with the slightest provocation, the muscle contracts, producing muscle cramp.

Low calcium and magnesium levels in the blood are caused by pregnancy, vomiting, use of diuretics, vitamin D deficiency and hyperventilation (fast breathing).


Internet Website:

Suggested further readings:

  • Powertec article titled: Eleven basic rules in doing gym exercises: Importance of proper form in strength training and how Powertec machines help in reducing the risk of injury
  • Powertec article titled: Causes of injury while doing physical exercises

Interview with Powertec Brand Ambassador Mehmet Edip

1. Can you tell us a little about yourself? Did you play any sports growing up?

I am 29 years old and currently reside in London. As well as being a fitness model I am also a commercial model and have recently started acting.

Growing up I wasn’t really that sporty and I picked up my first set of dumbells at the age of 15 and after that I never looked back.

2. How long have you been training? Why did you decide to compete?

I have been training for 14 years now and I’m not really sure why I originally started to compete. If I’m honest competing was a way of justifying to myself why I was training. My first show was in 2008 and I have competed in 8 shows in total

3. Any plans to compete again in the future? If so, where can we expect to see you compete next?

I am hoping to compete again next year but I am still undecided as to where and when.

 4. What specific workout routines work best for you?

I alternate my workout on a regular basis as I tend to get bored easily and I like to listen to my body so I don’t have have a specific workout to be honest

5. What is your typical diet regimen like? What are some of the most important foods in your diet?

I generally always eat clean and my carb consumption is generally very low. I am very keen on lean meat such as chicken and turkey

6. Do you take any supplements? If so, what do you use and why?

I currently use Gaspari Superpump Max, size on Anavite and myofusion.

7. How was your first contest experience like? Can you tell us about the competition and the training that lead up to it?

My first show was a nerve wracking experience as I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. The silly things like having to wax my whole body and the fake tan was an interesting experience I didn’t quite expect to have so many problems with, but overall it was an amazing experience and the buzz from being on stage is one that got me hooked on competing. I honestly don’t expect what my training was like leading up to that show but I do remember my after show feast -pizza and chocolate! That was a great end to a long day

8. You’ve been published in magazines such as Muscle and Fitness and Ultra Fit Magazine. How did you prepare yourself for them?

I always prepare for shoots like I would do for a show so if I know about the shoot in advance I would diet for it in advance and focus on weight training that brings out the details in your body. I would also increase my cardio and reduce my calorie intake in order to get ripped accordingly and I’ve recently started carb load prior to shoots in order to make my muscles look fuller

9. Has dieting and staying lean been easy for you or was it something you have to work hard on?

Nothing in life is easy but if your regimented and disciplined enough then anything is possible. I would like to think that being organised with my training and strict with my diet is what has really helped me.

10. What is it like to become a sponsored athlete for Gaspari Nutrition?

I am currently a Gasapri Nutrition UK advocate and it is a privilege and an honour to represent such a prestigious brand and one which is led by such a trailblazer in the industry such as Rich Gaspari. I am hoping to one day become a fully sponsored athlete with Gaspari.

11. We heard you are also an actor. Can you tell us more about your acting roles? Which shows have you appeared in?

I have only just recently ventured into the acting arena and have done a lot of supporting artiste work for numerous BBC tv shows in the UK. I have also appeared in commercials for brands such as Heinz, Febreeze, and Hardees chicken wraps.

12. What the best training tips would you give for someone who wants to get ripped?

You cannot get ripped without a clean diet and cardio, best tip – reduce the calories and increase the cardio.

13. What upcoming projects are you currently working on?

All will be revealed soon ….. 🙂

 14. Any shout outs?

Obviously I would like to thank Powertec for this opportunity and also to Gaspari nutrition UK and also to my beautiful girlfriend for her continued support

15. Where can we find you on the Internet?

Catch me here:
And I also have a twice weekly blog which you can find here:

I am also on twitter: @The_MehmetEdip
And also feel free to like my fb fan page: MehmetEdip.FitnessModel.Athlete