Blood pressure is the reason for many other diseases and sodium levels greatly affect blood pressure rates. But there are certain misconceptions about blood pressure which needs immediate attention.
World Aids Day that happens on December 1st every year is an opportunity for people living around the globe to unite together and fight against HIV, to support people living with HIV and to remember those who have died due to AIDS-related illness. Founded in 1988, this was the first ever global health day.
The theme for 2017 is ‘Right to Health’ and aims to ensure better care of all the 37.4 million people living with HIV and those who are at risk of being affected by the epidemic. In 2016 alone, more than 1 million people died from HIV-related infections. Any individual living in this world, regardless of being rich or poor, tall or short, thin or fat, has a right to health which is also dependent on external factors such as sanitation, housing, availability of nutritious foods, healthy working conditions and access to justice.
A Brief Insight into the Deadliest Virus
The immune system is gravely affected in people infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) as this virus mainly targets on a person's immunity. The virus destroys or impairs the immune cells and the infected person becomes immunodeficient. Such an immunodeficiency can lead to different infections, cancers and many other diseases (which serve as symptoms of the virus too!) that are easily evaded by people with a healthy immune system.
The few months after acquiring the virus are the most critical ones as the virus tends to be most infectious then. The individuals either experience no symptoms in the first weeks after infection or may experience symptoms such as fever, headache, rash or sore throat. As the infection progresses, other symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, fever, diarrhea, cough, tuberculosis and cancers are common.
HIV is transmitted via body fluids such as breastmilk, vaginal secretions, semen and blood. It is never transmitted through ordinary contact such as hugging, kissing, shaking hands or sharing personal objects (food & water).
Prevention of HIV infection is possible by limiting exposure to risk factors. Key prevention strategies include:
Healthy foods that can boost immunity can be consumed by HIV-affected individuals to feel better. To get a complete list of foods that help promote immunity, please visit the website www.firsteatright.com.
In 2016, the number of people who died from measles was 90,000, an 84% drop from the 550,000 deaths that occurred in 2000, according to the latest report published by renowned health organizations. In history, this is the first time that global measles deaths have fallen below 100,000 per year.
Measles is a highly contagious disease caused due to a virus. The first vaccine for measles was introduced in 1963 before which major epidemics occurred every 2-3 years taking the lives of around 2.6 million people yearly. It still remains as a leading cause of death among children, worldwide and 2016 witnessed the death of 89,790 people (below the age of five), a number less than 100,000 first time in history.
Under the Global Vaccine Action Plan, WHO has taken an oath to eliminate rubella and measles in at least five WHO regions by 2020. Periodic measles vaccination for children along with immunization campaigns are main strategies to reduce the deaths due to measles worldwide. Sadly, measles is commonly prevalent in developing countries, especially Africa and Asia. More than 95% of measles-related deaths happen in countries with low per capita income and improper healthcare.
On the positive note, almost 5.5 billion doses of measles vaccines have been provided to children since 2000, saving around 20.4 million lives. Although there is a great decrease in the number of deaths, WHO’s aim of achieving zero measles cases is yet to be accomplished. This huge decrease in measles-related deaths is due to the hard work and efforts of health workers, governments and development agencies to vaccinate children residing in every nook and corner of the world. Still, too many children, almost 20.8 million to be precise, are missing their first measles vaccination. To overcome these depressing figures and enable vaccination to every child, we need to spread awareness among general public regarding the need of vaccination, encourage health institutions to provide measles vaccination at subsidized prices and recommend governments to establish more free medical camps.
Good nutrition, clean environment, adequate liquid consumption and proper oral-rehydration techniques help to recover faster from measles. Measles vaccine is safe, effective, inexpensive and the best way to protect a child from the deadly disease. Read more on good nutrition and drinking healthy fluids at the website www.firsteatright.com.
Measles in India
India has taken a record-breaking initiative of organizing one of the world’s largest vaccination campaign against measles. This campaign was created with an aim to vaccinate 35 million children in the age group of nine months to 15 years with measles and rubella vaccine. Almost 2.5 million children are affected by measles every year out of which 49,000 of them die. Such campaigns help to decrease the death rates drastically. While there were around 100,000 deaths in 2000, it has decreased by almost 51% to 49,000 in 2015. Decrease in measles-related deaths in India is advantageous globally as India accounts for 37% of worldwide measles deaths.
Nuts have been found to be beneficial to our health for a varied number of reasons. To join the long-standing list is one more advantage: Eating small quantities of nuts every week can significantly lower the risk of heart attack or stroke, according to a new study. Researchers found that compared to those who never ate or almost never ate nuts, individuals who ate 28 grams of nuts at least five days a week had 14% reduced chances of cardiovascular disease and 20% lower chance of coronary heart disease during their study period.
Nuts are rich in arginine, an amino acid required to make nitric oxide that relaxes constricted blood vessels and makes blood flow easier. Along with it, nuts also contain vitamin E, folic acid, potassium, fiber and other nutrients as well which make them a healthy yet tasty food.
Every nut is different with its unique advantages and taste. The study promotes the consumption of both, walnut and peanut as they are associated with lower disease risk. Peanut butter is not advocated as people often eat it along with some salt or sweeteners, negating the health butter of peanuts.
It is better to include a variety of nuts in your diet instead of sticking only to almonds or walnuts as each type has different nutrients that serve different purposes. The different nuts and their advantages are jotted down at the website www.firsteatright.com. But, gobbling them up along with your regular snacks or meals is not going to do you any good. Nuts are rich in calories along with their rich health content. Every 28 grams of nuts contains 185 calories and if they are not eaten with caution, nuts can cause a rapid increase in body weight resulting in heart disease. Substitute nuts in place of unhealthy junks, add them to salads or use them instead of meat in main dishes.
A study has revealed that people are confused about two things with respect to whole grains-the quantity of whole grains they should consume and where to find whole grains in food. On the positive side, more than 8 in 10 people realize the goodness of whole grains and its positive effect on our health, but they have misconceptions about the foods that contain these whole grains and almost 83% of people don’t know how many grams they should eat in a day.
One in 10 think bananas come under the whole grain umbrella while one in five believe it to be typically present in white bread. Some even assume whole grains to be a part of nuts and seeds!
Grains, Whole Grains
Rice, oats and wheat are different grains. Certain foods use only the inside portion of these grains and they are not-so-healthy. Whole-grain foods include the inside, outside and every side of the grain-the entire grain to be precise!
Whole grains are an indispensable part of a balanced diet and the WHO recommends increasing the intake of whole grains along with increased intake of fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts to reduce the risk of obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer. Every individual is advised to consume at least 6 to 8 servings of grain foods a day, specifically whole grains which are powerhouses of fiber.
Include Whole Grains in your Everyday Foods
We can include whole grains in our everyday meal by replacing certain foods with certain other foods:
Though scientific advancements have created an aura that heart surgery procedures are simple, in reality they are not! Almost half of all heart surgery patients receive blood transfusions and surgeons and anesthesiologists are till now, doubtful of the level up to which they can allow blood oxygen to drop to before giving transfusions. A recent study finds that there might be chances of reducing the number of patients who may be exposed to the potential dangers of blood transfusions.
Blood Cell Transfusions
Hemoglobin levels that indicate the quantity of oxygen that can be carried in the blood are continuously monitored during heart surgery and when there is a drop in these levels, the patient may receive red blood cell transfusions. The disturbing question here is how low to let the hemoglobin levels drop before going for a transfusion.
The study involved around 5,000 patients in 19 countries around the age of 72 out of which 2/3rd were men. The group was split into two and blood transfusions were given either using liberal strategies (giving transfusions sooner thereby increasing the risk of inflammation and infection) or restrictive strategies (delaying transfusions but increasing risk by letting oxygen levels drop too low).
The two processes generated almost the same result and the cases of heart attack, stroke, new kidney failure or death was similar among the two groups. This suggests that the restrictive waiting approach to blood transfusion can result in less blood being taken from the blood supply leading to less expense being incurred. Read more on heart attack, stroke and ways to curb these diseases with healthy foods at www.firsteatright.com.
Hence, fewer blood transfusions can be done during heart surgeries maintaining patient safety and success rates all the while along with reduced costs and decreased blood usage. Apart from this, several other factors have decreased the need for a blood transfusion. Conserving blood from the patient and re-using it, the complications involved during and after the transfusion process and directed donation where the person relies on his/her own blood during surgery are some methods to deter away from the dangerous transfusion process.
Every day we see a plethora of natural products introduced and sold as dietary supplements for improving health and well-being of an individual with little evidence behind these claims. Let’s look at the common myths about these popular natural products and the scientific explanation behind them for improved health.
Myth: Herbs such as valerian, chamomile and kava are effective for insomnia.
Fact: Valerian, chamomile and kava used as sleep aids are not effective for insomnia and even safety concerns have been raised on some of these products. For instance, kava supplements have been linked to a risk of severe liver disease. Whereas, relaxation techniques such as progressive relaxation, deep breathing exercises and guided imagery can help improve sleep. Certain studies also point out the fact that melatonin can help in treating certain sleep disorders, jet lag and sleep problems due to different work timings and shifts.
Myth: The passionfruit herb can alleviate stress and improve overall health.
Fact: There are minimum number of studies on passionfruit conducted in people and hence, we don’t have much proof to support any of these claims. Certain scientific evidence suggests the advantage of practicing mindfulness meditation (a mind and body practice that helps to focus and clear attention) to reduce symptoms of stress such as anxiety and depression.
Myth: Consuming Vitamin C supplement daily safeguards a person from the attack of common cold.
Fact: Many reviews propose the fact that prophylactic vitamin C never helps to reduce the occurrence of cold, but maybe useful in minimizing the incidence of cold for people exposed to brief periods of severe exercise (skiers, training soldiers and marathon runners).
Myth: Eating garlic supplements prevents heart disease.
Fact: While there are no evidences supporting the fact that garlic supplements prevent heart disease, minimum evidences exist about their usefulness in lowering cholesterol levels or changing other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Myth: Turmeric and Ginkgo biloba supplements aid in preventing the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in people.
Fact: A small number of laboratory studies support the use of curcumin in affecting brain functionality and causing dementia, but the results have never been demonstrated in clinical trials. Physical exercise is believed to procrastinate the risk or onset of dementia in an individual. For more details on the link between exercise and dementia please visit the website www.firsteatright.com. Ginkgo biloba is not effective against reducing the incidence rate of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease incidence either.
Time and again, we come across the benefits of walking as a primary form of exercise. Walking is the easiest way to incorporate physical activity into your life and stick to that activity. There is no device, costume or a designated place required for this activity and even those on walkers and wheelchairs can walk. While walking remains as the most popular exercise form to stay active, recently, organized walking groups and community walks are making many more people come out of their locked doors and feel the pleasant rays of the sun on their feet. Read more on the benefits of walking as a form of exercise at www.firsteatright.com.
We all know that walking has a plethora of health benefits, but are we aware that walking in a group can help us stick to our health and fitness goals? Most walkers find an increase in motivation, accountability and socialization when they walk in a group rather than walking alone.
Starting a Group
In this fast-paced world people rarely find time to even talk to their neighbors and some are even unaware of the names of their neighbors. With such a scenario existing, how is it possible to form groups to walk?
Make People Know
WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook are used to post photos and keep in touch with distant friends. Why not use them to form a group of like-minded people who strive for fitness? Reach out to neighbors, friends and coworkers with these social media platforms to form walking communities.
The time and place of walk can be discussed over mobile communication and the group can assemble at one point to start their journey of walk towards good health. Following a consistent schedule is necessary to help people plan things beforehand and allocate time for the activity.
Know Your Friends
Be aware of the people you are walking with. Are they beginners, experienced walkers or intermediates? According to the group to which most people belong, plan your pace and distance covered during a walk.
Keep it Inclusive
If you are organizing the walking event, it is your duty to keep the space emotionally and physically safe for all people. Understand the participants needs, abilities and disabilities before getting started.
Have Fun while Walking
Start small chats to keep the conversation flowing gradually. This keeps the group engaged and active. For some people, this might be the only ‘me’ time and they would hope to have fun and reenergize themselves, both physically and mentally. Never disappoint them, but keep the group peppy with some serious fun and activity.
Parents reprimand children for playing games in mobiles or other electronic gadgets. Couples keep complaining that their better half is constantly engaged with smartphones, older people feel disconnected with their family members as each is engrossed in his/her own media world and teachers advise parents to prohibit children from using electronic gadgets. Actually, virtual reality games show promising results as a treatment plan for pain and the aftermath of trauma.
A new study has found that this therapy can also help stroke patients recover some use of their arms and hands. Researchers say that making patients play these games was as effective as adding extra physical therapy to routine stroke rehabilitation. There is no question of choosing the better alternative, but the focus is on providing a variety of training alternatives to enable variation. In no given day can virtual reality replace physical therapy. It can be a motivation for the patients to undergo an extra treatment session.
Studies are ongoing on the different uses of virtual reality-right from pain reduction, controlling phobias to helping soldiers recover from post-traumatic stress disorders.
The patients were asked to join 16-hour long therapy sessions to routine rehabilitation over a month, where one group performed physical therapy and the other group played a virtual reality game. Games involved grasping an object, picking things or steering a car virtually, in different levels of difficulty.
50 patients in the physical therapy group and 52 patients in the other group completed the study and were evaluated after three months. Members from both the groups performed equally and there was similar improvement in hand and arm function. Patients who had severe hand weakness showed slight improvement, whereas patients who started with moderate or mildly impaired arm function showed improved good motor function.
Advantages of Rehabilitation Through Virtual Reality
The reach of virtual reality in rehabilitation is tremendous and can be advantageous to the stroke patients greatly. The staffs are also armed with the power of providing additional therapy sessions and therapy treatments that are otherwise impractical in rehabilitation settings. For instance, a patient can even practice risky activities such as crossing the street or driving. Stroke is a dangerous health hazard and it is better to prevent it with healthy lifestyle practices rather than curing it with therapies. To adapt yourself to a healthy lifestyle, get in touch with a registered dietitian nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com.
Previous studies proved a link between cardiovascular disease and the number of times a woman had given birth. New study published by a world-class journal shows that teens as first-time mothers were at a greater risk for heart and blood vessel disease later in life. Postmenopausal women who had their first child before the age of 20 were at an increased risk compared to women who gave birth later in life or had no children at all (these women have the least risk). This study was conducted on women who were between the ages of 65 and 74.
Sadly, WHO statistics show that 11 percent of children living in the world are born to teens aged 15-19 years. When we look at the study closely, we find that women who delivered a child before their 20th birthday mostly have grown up in lower-income families, under adverse social conditions and minimal education. On top of all these, bearing a child denies a woman of her education and career growth resulting in stress and financial crunches as well. Stress can have a toll on a person's overall well-being and needs to be controlled before it devastates the individual. Read more on ways to curb stress at www.firsteatright.com.
Apart from age, there might be other factors that invoke higher risk of heart disease in adolescent mother, such as cigarette smoking, poor diet, psychosocial stressors and lack of physical exercise. Further research is needed to understand if it is hundred percent physiological or if social circumstances play a major role.
Do not assume that motherhood at any age is unhealthy! What we must understand here is that, motherhood at an adolescent age is undesirable and incorrect. Unavailability of easy contraception access is another reason for prevailing adolescent pregnancies. Providing societal support to women who bear their first child at an early age is necessary. Be it through government-aided programs, social support or family-extended support, some support for the adolescent woman is exceedingly important to help the woman and the baby live as healthy individuals.
Family is all about bonding, sharing, being together, caring and beyond that! Families that exercise together not only spend quality time with each other, but also increase their competitive fitness levels!
Cities have started marathons, fitness campaigns and group physical activity events to promote fitness and make exercise a family affair. Parents inculcate fitness interest in their children by motivating them, being an example themselves and by doing outdoor things together.
When people from different backgrounds, age groups, interests and fitness levels participate in an event together, there exists a sense of extended family bonding among the participants. If noted, more than a quarter of the people taking part in any fitness event are couples or families with kids who love to run.
Some of the most famous marathons happen in India, such as the Standard Chartered Mumbai marathon (biggest running event in Asia and the richest marathon in India), Airtel Delhi Half Marathon, Chennai Trail Marathon, Airtel Hyderabad Marathon and Pune International Marathon to name a few. Families are coming forward extensively to participate in these marathons for various reasons. Apart from physical fitness, sports and exercise help in overall development: they help to cope up with stress, teach you to be disciplined, instill leadership role, help you face a huge crowd and much more.
Most kids nowadays go for skating, basketball or squash classes to remain fit, develop sportsman spirit and stay active. Participating in live events such as the ones mentioned above are a great way of entertainment (without the iPad or television screen!) and action.
Just like how research predicts that obese kids are more likely to grow into obese adults, healthy kids are more likely to grow into healthy adults. Read more on obesity and its related list of diseases from the website www.firsteatright.com. Insisting, encouraging and pursuing physical activity, almost every single day, right from a very young age is the best investment for long-term activeness.
Being empowered with the knowledge of performing a cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) can save a person’s life. When breathing stops in an individual, every second that we engage ourselves doing something to save the individual counts. Like how is first aid for a person who has met with an accident, so is CPR procedure for a patient whose heart has stopped or no longer breathing. Doing a CPR maintains circulation and breathing until the emergency medical team arrives.
Doing a CPR alone cannot revive the heart. It simply helps to restore flow of oxygenated blood to the brain and heart, thereby delaying tissue death and keeping the person in sizeable state until further help arrives.
The Study on CPR
A new study suggests that women are less likely than men to get a CPR from a bystander and more likely to die. Reluctance to touch a woman’s chest is quoted as the primary reason for this denied CPR treatment, according to researchers.
According to the study, only 39 percent of women suffering from a cardiac arrest in a public place were given CPR compared to 45% of men, out of which men were 23% more likely to survive. This is a first-of-its-kind study to examine gender differences in receiving heart help from public versus professional people.
Common reasons quoted by people to generally avoid giving a CPR to a woman include:
Cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death in India and doing a CPR can double or even triple the survival rate. Stop being finicky in a life and death situation and act with moral ethics to save a person’s life. Cardiac arrests are mainly due to unhealthy lifestyle practices which can be corrected with the help of a registered dietitian nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com.
Newborns and small children suffer from cold, nose block or running nose quite often. Are all these just signs of common cold or something more serious?
It could be respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), a common form of bronchiolitis and pneumonia in children under age of 1. It has symptoms similar to other viruses, such as runny nose, fever, coughing, sneezing, loss of appetite and irritability. While RSV is not a serious problem for most little ones, infants can be hit hard sometimes.
Babies under six months of age are at an increased risk of RSV because:
Children attending day care, having school-aged brothers or sisters, living in crowded areas or being near tobacco smoke increases the risk of RSV. Read more on the disadvantages of tobacco smoke at www.firsteatright.com.
No vaccine is available till date for RSV and antibiotics do not kill the virus. Vaporizers can help young children breathe and youngsters older than 6 months should be fed with plenty of liquids, such as water and fruit juices. Infants below 6 months must be breastfed or bottle-fed small quantities of liquids every now and then.
RSV can be prevented by taking safety precautions such as washing hands frequently, not sharing utensils and dishes and disinfecting hard surfaces.
In this fast-paced fast food world, relishing every mouthful of food and eating it languidly has become confined to special occasions. A new study suggests that taking time to chew every bite of what you eat and enjoying it thoroughly can be the secret to a healthier heart and a slimmer waistline. Maybe now, all of us would try to start eating food at a slower pace! Isn’t it better than sweating out vigorously at the gym to become slim?
Researchers quote that individuals who eat slowly and mindfully are less likely to add extra kilograms or suffer from metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is the name given for a group of dangerous heath problems such as high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity that can cause severe damage to the heart. More information on metabolic syndrome-its causes, symptoms and treatment options are available at the website www.firsteatright.com.
The study included more than 1,000 middle-aged men and women who were followed for five years with their eating speed and health monitored constantly. At the end of the study they found that, only 2.3% of slow eaters developed symptoms of metabolic syndrome during the study period compared to 6.5% of medium-paced eaters and 11.6% of fast eaters. This shows that fast eaters are five times at a greater risk of developing a heart attack, diabetes or stroke than slow eaters.
Scientists believe that gobbling down food prevents the brain from realizing that the body has taken too many calories. The excess calories are stored as fat which puts pressure on the heart. Eating too quickly can also spike blood sugar levels and stop the insulin from working efficiently.
Diabetes, high blood sugar levels and obesity can cause damage to the blood vessels independently, but having all three together is extremely dangerous.
What Can be Done?
Zoonoses is a disease or an infection that is transferred from an animal to a human either through direct contact or through food, water and the environment. Humans and animals coexist with each other. The coalesce between human, animals and the environments we live are sources of diseases impacting public health and the social and economic well-being of the world.
Animals are advantageous to us in multiple ways. We keep them as pets to give us comfort and happiness, use them at the circus to perform tricks, watch them at proximity in a zoo or country fair or encounter wildlife when engaged in outdoor activities. Most importantly, animals provide us with meat, dairy and eggs.
Zoonotic diseases are common worldwide, and scientists believe that more than 6 out of 10 known infectious diseases in people are spread from animals while 3 of 4 emerging infectious diseases are again spread from animals. Zoonoses may be bacterial, viral, parasitic or can even include some unconventional agents.
Animals and individuals closely connect with each other and hence, there are various ways in which infections can spread. They include:
Because you don’t have a pet or don’t go to the zoo doesn’t mean that you are safe. Schools, stores, parks, fairs and even our homes (mosquitoes, ticks and fleas bite people every single day) are common places where chances of coming in contact with animals are higher. But, there are simple ways to keep yourself and your family protected from the attack of zoonotic diseases. They include:
Sea salt, table salt or kosher salt, whatever salt type you choose to use, only the name, taste, texture and processing varies while the sodium content remains the same. But advertising gimmicks have popularized sea salt and they have become extremely popular in restaurants and supermarket aisles.
Preparation Method of Table Vs Sea Salt
Sea salt is prepared through evaporation of seawater with little or no processing at all and this is the reason for the presence of trace minerals such as magnesium, potassium, calcium and other nutrient. These minerals add flavor and color to sea salt which is sold in the market with different coarseness levels.
Table salt is made from underground salt deposits with heavy processing done to remove all the minerals that might be present in it. Additives are also added to avoid clumping of table salt. Iodine, a nutrient required to maintain normal thyroid levels, is also added to table salt to increase its nutrient quotient.
Nutrient Content of Table Vs Sea Salt
In reality, sea salt and table salt have the same nutritional value although sea salt has been promoted as the healthier option. The minimal quantities of trace nutrients found in sea salt can be easily fulfilled by consuming other healthy foods, whereas the iodine added to table salt helps to prevent the iodine-deficiency disease goiter.
In a survey conducted by a renowned organization, 61% individuals reported wrongly that sea salt is a lower sodium alternative to table salt. Table salt and most varieties of sea salt contain about 40% sodium by weight. The only difference is that kosher salt and sea salt may contain bigger crystals than table salt and hence, might contain less sodium by volume (when measured with a teaspoon or tablespoon). A teaspoon of table salt has about 2,300 milligrams of sodium while a teaspoon of kosher or sea salt might contain fewer crystals that fit into the spoon and hence, reduced sodium value.
Better or Best?
Are you still in doubt whether sea salt is better or best than the rest? Leave room for no doubts. When you are confused between choosing any of these salts, let your taste buds decide the best salt option as any salt type you select contains the same quantities of sodium.
Gourmet chefs may prefer sea salt for its coarse, crunchy texture and strong flavor; manufacturers may use sea salt to prepare potato chips and other snacks advertising them to be more natural and less processed than table salt and some health-conscious individuals might choose sea salt for its magnesium content. Whatever salt you chose to use, consume it in moderation. Individuals who consume higher quantities of sea salt assuming it to contain lower sodium levels are at a higher risk of increased blood pressure levels.
Almost 80 percent of sodium you consume every day is hidden from you in the form of processed foods. Your canned soups, chicken nuggets and pizzas contribute monumental amounts of sodium. Have a closer look at the salty foods by visiting the website www.firsteatright.com.
Consume homemade foods to reduce elevated sodium levels. Prepare your own seasonings or even make a healthy pizza to fulfill your taste buds while restricting sodium intake.
Feeling good is an emotional, mental and physical feeling and when any of these is disturbed, the goodness quotient is reduced. A nutritious diet promotes good health and strength. Healthy food helps to strengthen your hair too. No branded shampoo or salon spa can add shine and strength to your hair, if you don’t include the following foods in your diet:
Eating these foods can help you grow the strongest and thickest mane of your dream. If hair fall still exists, it is better to consult your physician to rule out problems like thyroid or PCOS as these can also be culprits for your hair fall. If that’s the case, the individuals must consult a registered dietitian nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com to make certain diet modifications along with regular physical exercise to keep themselves fit, control these problems and prevent hair loss.
Don’t be a couch potato! This is an often-quoted phrase by our parents, friends or loved ones when we spend increased time in front of the television. A study has found that risk of blood clot in the leg or lung increases when people spend ample time watching television, even when these people get the desired and recommended amount of physical activity.
Watching TV is not a bad idea. But sitting for a prolonged time with a bag of greasy potato chips or a can of soft drink is neither good. While long hours of viewing TV have already been associated with heart disease and blocked arteries, this study aims to discuss about the blood clots in veins of the legs, arms, pelvis and lungs associated with extended TV hours.
Around 15,000 participants in the age group of 45-64 participated in the study that concluded that:
Bearing the pain of an injection needle is a big deal for most of us. What will be our state of mind if doctors say that needles need to be inserted through your skin in various places in the body? Some of us may faint! That’s acupuncture-a form of treatment where thin needles are inserted through the skin at strategic points in the body to stimulate them. This has been practiced by Chinese since ages as a traditional medicine form and followed in other Asian countries as well.
Why Use Acupuncture?
Although researchers aren’t fully aware of the working principles of acupuncture, research shows that acupuncture helps relieve nausea and vomiting after surgery and chemotherapy. It can also reduce pain, trigger your body’s pain-killing chemicals and affect the way your body releases chemicals that regulate blood pressure and flow.
Some other studies prompt that acupuncture may ease chronic pains such as low-back pain, neck pain and osteoarthritis/knee pain. It can also reduce the frequency of tension headaches and prevent migraine headaches.
Between 5 and 20 needles are inserted for a typical treatment and remain in the body for 10 to 20 minutes. A mild tingling sensation or discomfort is felt when the needles are inserted, and no unease is experienced when they are removed.
Side effects of acupuncture include:
Worldwide, 2.3 billion people live without basic sanitation facilities even though the number of people gaining access to improved sanitation has risen from 54% to 68% since 1990. 335 million women and girls in India defecate in the open without much relief from the Swacch Bharat Mission, although India ranks among the top ten nations in taking effective measures to improve access to basic sanitation.
Sanitation & Health
World Toilet Day is celebrated on November 19th every year to improve public health, dignity and safety of people. We use toilets ever day at home, school and work, but still 40% of the world’s population does not have this luxury. Clean and safe toilets are more than just a place to defecate-they are integral for health, human dignity and education. Open toilets pave way for public health crisis in the form of diseases such as cholera, dysentery, hepatitis and typhoid fever. Read more on the relationship between poor health hygiene and increased hepatitis rates at www.firsteatright.com.
Diarrhea remains as the major contributor of deaths due to inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene. Countries that defecate in the open have the highest number of deaths of children aged below 5 years as well as the highest number of malnutrition and poverty.
According to WHO, 19% of health care facilities in low- and middle-income countries lack improved sanitation which is essential to:
To provide sanitation facilities for everyone, we need to contain, transport, treat and dispose each individual’s poo in a safe and sustainable way. This, combined with safe water and good hygiene can help us prevent around 842,000 deaths annually.
The World Toilet Day campaign reaches out to millions of people through social media, websites and other channels in creating awareness on using enclosed toilets and refraining from open defecation. Civil societies, think-tanks, non-government organizations, academics and corporations work on the theme of the year to create social awareness through pamphlets, shows, discussions etc.
WHO along with UNICEF has taken up the goal of providing universal access to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene in health care facilities and homes by 2030.
Are you breathing clean air? Absolutely not! Only 1 in 10 people breathe safe air according to WHO guidelines. Almost 92% of the world’s population lives in places where air quality levels exceed WHO guideline; 56% of cities and towns monitoring pollution locally have levels 3 ½ times or more above WHO guidelines; 87% of death from outdoor air pollution occurs in low- and middle-income countries. Aren’t these statistics devastating? Air pollution not only brings about climatic changes but affects our health in dangerous ways which we would have not even imagined.
Air Pollution in India
Delhi: Pollution levels are worst here and at an all-time high. They are 12.2 times greater than WHO safe levels (10 µg/m3).
Bengaluru: Pollution levels are 6.3 times greater than WHO safe levels.
Mumbai: Pollution levels are 6.3 times greater than WHO safe levels.
Kolkata: Pollution levels are 6.1 times greater than WHO safe levels.
Chennai: Pollution levels are 4.4 times greater than WHO safe levels.
Most sources of air pollution emit abundant quantities of CO2 that contributes to a vivacious cycle that threatens our health and climate. Minute, invisible pollution particles enter deep into our lungs, bloodstream and bodies. Such pollutants are to be blamed for almost one-third of deaths from stroke, chronic respiratory diseases and lung cancer alongside one-quarter of deaths from heart attack. Ground-level ozone which is a result of different pollutants in sunlight increases the risk of asthma and chronic respiratory illnesses.
Air pollution is the leading cause of many common killers- 36% of lung cancer deaths, 35% of COPD (pulmonary disease deaths), 34% of stroke deaths and 27% of heart disease deaths.
Global warming elevates the intensity of storm, drought, heat waves and enables the rapid spread of vector-borne diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, other insects and pests. Ozone affects crop growth and food productivity leading to food insecurity and undernutrition.
How Can We Reduce Air Pollution As a Nation?
Manage waste: Keep emission from waste as minimal as possible. Recycle non-organic trash, compost food items, reuse grocery bags and avoid burning trash to avoid polluting the air.
Plan outdoor activities: Involve yourself in outdoor activities when pollution is at its lowest, maybe early mornings or late evenings.
Protect yourself: Wear a face mask that helps to filter out fine particulate matter, if advised by authentic sources.
Travel mindfully: Walk, cycle or use public transportation to the extent possible. If needed, buy no or low emission vehicles to avoid black carbon that has carcinogenic characteristic which can damage our health and the climate too.
WHO has set its target as 2030 to substantially reduce the number of illnesses and deaths caused due to air pollution. WHO feels that there is no short-cut action to curb air pollution. Solution exists with sustainable transport in cities, solid waste management, access to clean household fuels and cookstoves, renewable energies and reduction in industrial pollution.
We slog during weekdays and hibernate during weekends to revitalize ourselves. But, this is not going to benefit our health anymore, according to a new study.
According to this study, individuals who catch up on 2-3 hours of lost sleep over the weekend are more likely to have poor cardiovascular health. Called as ‘sleep debt’, people who indulge in such sleeping patterns are not nullifying the effects of lost sleep in any positive way. Although income, education and overall stress contribute to sleep debt, women are the worst affected in this process. This news is shocking and of grave concern here because women live longer than men in any given country and report more sleep issues than men. Such decreased sleeping hours, sleep apnea and insomnia can result in obesity, stroke, high BP, Type 2 diabetes and coronary heart disease.
Every human should sleep for at least seven hours a day, going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. Previous studies focused on the required hours of sleep rather than sleep debt! But the main focus of this study is to look into the hours of lost sleep and the importance of maintaining a regular sleep pattern on all days of the week, be it a weekday or a weekend.
Sleep Debt & Cardiovascular Health
A sleep-deprived person suffers from altered levels of stress hormone called ‘cortisol’, inflammation and ‘fight or flight’ hormones that can lead to weight gain and increase in blood pressure which immediately increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Variating sleep patterns can negatively affect circadian rhythms, affect the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system and other factors that greatly impact well-being and longevity.
Some people are like the sun sign ‘Gemini’- they have a dual behavior. They follow a sedentary lifestyle through the weekdays and hit the gym to workout vigorously during the weekends. Such people are generally termed to be ‘weekend warriors’ and these people don’t reap any benefits. Any healthy behavior, such as eating nutritious foods, doing physical activity or sleeping well, should be followed all through the week to enjoy the positive results. To tune yourself to such active lifestyles, get the help of a nutritionist/dietitian at www.firsteatright.com.
Premature birth is a dangerous health problem. Worldwide, 15 million babies are born preterm and more than one million babies die as a result. Preterm babies who survive are affected with lifelong health problems such as cerebral palsy, vison and hearing loss and intellectual disabilities. World Prematurity Day was established with the sole intention of raising awareness of this serious health crisis.
Birth that happens before 37 weeks of pregnancy is called premature birth. Babies born preterm face health problems quite often and may have to stay longer in hospitals than babies born full-term. Beyond health problems, such babies can face long-lasting financial effects as they their education and ability to work are also affected.
There is no full-fledged explanation behind the reason for such premature births and research is still ongoing. The risk is greater in the developing world due to high rates of infectious diseases, poor overall health and lack of health care resources which increases the woman’s risk of preterm labor. Lack of knowledge and updated tools to support to help a baby survive a preterm birth are also lacking in these countries.
Even in developed nations, access to care plays an important role. Other factors that can induce preterm delivery include multiple births, babies born with fertility treatments, babies born to older mothers, chronic medical conditions, earlier C-section deliveries and inducing labor pains without any reason.
The Effect of Premature Birth on a Child’s Performance at School
Premature babies have a harder time in school than other babies. They may suffer from learning and behavioral problems all through their childhood which affect their test scores and may pose the need for special education services. Some children may not face learning problems until elementary or even middle school.
Babies born at 36 to 38 weeks of pregnancy too can suffer in academics. This is because, a baby’s brain still develops in the last few weeks and the brain at 35th week weighs only two-thirds of what it will weigh at 39 to 40 weeks. If your pregnancy is healthy and you face no issues, it is better to stay pregnant until at least the 39th week. This gives ample time for the baby’s brain and other organs to develop fully before birth.
The Effect of Premature Birth on a Person’s Ability to Work
Prematurity can affect a person’s ability to work, the quantity of work he can do or even both. Some individuals born preterm can have lifelong health conditions that prevent or limit their working capability.
Emotional Toll on the Family
Parents expectantly wait for the arrival of the baby. Instead of bringing home a healthy infant with pleasure, parents of preterm babies spend days together at the hospital seeking the opinion of different specialists. The medical equipment supporting the baby is a frightening sight and doctors use complicated words that parents don’t understand. One day their baby seems to improve and the very next day the hope is shattered.
Families of preterm babies face a roller-coaster experience of mixed emotions. Day-to-day routine is completely devastated as families may spend days or even months at the hospital which increases their financial crisis as well.
Take A Step Forward Together as A Society
Each of us can do a simple gesture to support the global movement. Women in child-bearing age should follow a healthy lifestyle of eating nutritious foods, doing physical activity and remaining stress-free. They can get in touch with nutritionists/dietitians at www.firsteatright.com to help them plan a healthy lifestyle. Medical equipment, healthcare facilities and latest technology should be made available by the government to ensure healthy full-term babies.
Social media is a great way to spread awareness. On this day, each of us can post on prematurity risks, send messages to people across the nation and host events in your community to communicate about the risks involved in prematurity. Wear purple today to show your support to end premature delivery of babies.
It’s good to quit smoking. It’s even more better to stay smoke-free lifelong. But how many smokers are able to succeed in their very first attempt? In reality, it’s just very few of them. So, what are the factors that tempt you to smoke again? Even though nicotine’s high is not as dangerous as cocaine or heroin, it’s equally addictive as these drugs. It takes a lot of mental and physical willpower to stay without smoking once you have quit this habit.
How to Distance Yourself from the Life-threatening Smoke?
Involving yourself in activities that interest and engage you is one sure way to be committed to your smoke-free oath.
Desire to Smoke May Arise Any Time Later
The desire to smoke again can occur even after staying smoke-free for years together. Avoid relapses with these hints.
If you smoke once after quitting, it is a slip and this is not threatening. But when you take advantage of this slip using it as an excuse to start smoking again, then it becomes a relapse. Slips or relapses, don’t be discouraged. Take time to analyze what went wrong and correct it. Very few individuals have succeeded with the first try. Most people take several trials before they quit totally.
Weight Should Not Be a Demotivation
Most smokers gain weight (around 4.5 kilograms) while quitting and some take it as an advantage to not quit smoking. Such thinking is absurd when you compare the benefits of quitting. Deal with quitting first, then take care about the weight gain part later. Rather than thinking about weight loss, focus should be on eating nutritious food, doing physical activity, getting plenty of sleep and keeping yourself hydrated to remain healthy. A registered dietitian nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com can help you plan a healthy diet plan to lose those added kilograms and motivate you to stay smoke-free.
Lame Excuses are Not Acceptable
Most ex-smokers quote stress as the primary factor to start smoking again. Stress is a part and parcel of every person’s life. Nicotine replacements can work for some time. You need to find out other alternatives to stay smoke-free long term. Physical activity, spirituality, meditation, yoga, music, being out with nature, creative classes, reading books and helping NGOs are some sources to alleviate stress. Plan to combat stressors with the available resources around you.
Presently, 64 million people have COPD and 3 million people died of COPD. WHO predicts that COPD will become the third leading cause of death worldwide by 2030. World COPD Day aims to raise awareness about the disease and improve COPD care throughout the world. The theme for 2017 is ‘The Many Faces of COPD’ which aims to propagate the intensity of the disease, the threat it poses to the world and efforts needed to curb it.
COPD: An Introduction
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) is not one disease but a set of chronic lung diseases that cause limitations in lung airflow. Commonly called as a ‘smoker’s cough’, it cannot be restricted just to the section of smokers, but is an underdiagnosed, life threatening lung disease that can result in death.
Smoking tobacco (including second-hand or passive exposure), indoor air pollution (use of biomass fuel for cooking and heating), outdoor air pollution and dusts and chemicals at workplace are the main risk factors for the disease. Common symptoms of the disease include breathlessness, increased ‘sputum’ production and chronic cough.
Earlier, COPD was commonly present among the male population. But, due to increased tobacco use among women and the exposure to biomass fuels, the disease is equally present among both the sexes.
Managing the Disease
Managing COPD effectively includes:
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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