Sitting continuously for long hours has been linked to poor posture, persistent back pain and increased risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Just because sitting is bad for health, all of us cannot quit jobs, switch over to jobs that demand moving around or work in a standing posture all the time. What we can do practically is to incorporate a few changes here and there to avoid the hazards of sitting together for prolonged hours continuously:
Stand: Stand for 2-3 minutes every hour to activate muscles and upregulate metabolic processes.
Sit on a yoga ball: Replace your normal chair with a stability ball and sit on it for 20-30 minutes a few times each day to work on your core. For more information on healthy tweaks to your boring desk job, please visit the website www.firsteatright.com.
Walk while you talk: Schedule walking meetings to improve mood, concentration and blood flow to the body.
Go for fitness breaks: Do as many rounds of 10 wall push-ups, 10 squats and 10 calf raises as you can in a 10-minute break.
Don’t eat at your desk: Work outside for some time or take a small walk outside to boost productivity and increase job satisfaction.
Drive a cycle: Commute by bicycle or on foot for a more active and a less stressful day.
Perform office yoga: Breathe deeply and move gently for 5-10 minutes to ease stress and cultivate mindfulness.
We can bet on the common risk factors such as obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, inactive lifestyle, stress or high cholesterol levels to cause heart disease. Some weird aspects that don’t possibly qualify as risk factors according to you and me can also trigger a heart disease. Great! So now, to escape from the clutches of a heart disease we not only have to take care of the usual risk factors but have to avoid these bizarre ones too! Let’s have a look at the weirdest heart disease-stimulating factors:
Menstruation before the age of 12: Most of us don’t even remember when we got our first periods! But now, we have no option but to break our heads and ensure that we did not get it before twelve years of age. This is because, a recent journal study has confirmed that women who got their menstrual cycle before age 12 are 10% more likely to be at risk of a heart attack than women who got theirs at age 13 or later. While the reason is not yet confirmed, some attribute it to the increased estrogen levels that can trigger blood clots and strokes.
Diet pills: Vibrator machines, slimming powders and diet pills never help you achieve your weight loss goal. Further, they could put you in more trouble or even kill you! Any pill that has a stimulating effect can hurt your heart as they increase our blood pressure and heart rate. This leads to stress induced on your heart and taking such pills on a daily basis can cause permanent damage.
Down with a flu: Flu might sound funny, but an individual is at a six-times higher risk for heart attack the year following a flu recovery, according to an authentic study. Symptoms such as breathing difficulty while lying down or a swollen face after a cold/flu needs immediate hospitalization. Some bacterial or viral infections can move to your heart and cause heart failure/disease.
Isolation: Living by yourself without company increases the risk of heart disease by almost 30%, which is shockingly the same quantity of risk associated with smoking a cigarette! Thankfully this is one risk factor that can be taken care of much more easily compared to the other ones. Get off your social media chats and join a real community or group. You can even adopt a pet that showers you with unconditional love and moreover, taking your dog outside is an exercise too.
Turbulent pregnancy period: Taking care of your baby includes a lot of stress, hard work and extra push on your circulatory system that necessitates extra work for your heart. But it does not start here and goes back to your pregnancy period. Having gestational diabetes, preeclampsia or increased blood pressure during pregnancy increases your risk of heart disease even after decades. Know more on how to take care of yourself during pregnancy, both physically as well as mentally, by visiting the website www.firsteatright.com.
Heartbreak: The name itself indicates it all! Distress, death of a loved one, breakups, financial stress or marriage breakups can cause heartbreaks and put a person in emotional distress. Avoiding one is impossible and you only learn the tactic to deal with one rightfully-maybe by practicing yoga, meditation, tai chi or some therapy.
Drinking More than One Glass of Wine Daily: We hear interesting and contrast information on drinking wine and are perplexed about what to believe and what not to believe. While drinking one glass or not drinking wine at all is fine, anything above this one glass is sure to increase your risk of heart disease.
Attacked by an inflammatory disease: Diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis affect a greater number of women and are said to increase the risk of heart disease too!
Victims of child abuse: Child abuse is distressing and to add more to this, experiencing three or more traumatic events as a child puts you at a greater risk of heart disease as an adult. By traumatic events we mean personally being abused, witnessing others being hurt or being victims of bullying.
Treatment for ADHD: Medications used for treating ADHD include stimulants and drugs that increase heart rate and blood pressure or those that cause increased strain on your heart.
Short height: All these years we were aware that being short increases your risk of heart attack without knowing the exact reason. A new research suggests that genes that determine the height of individuals are the same ones that increase the risk of heart disease in these people. While it is a non-modifiable risk factor, such individuals can take care of plenty other modifiable risk factors to prevent a heart disease.
One would feel euphoric if they can predict friendship with a person just by looking at how their brains respond to video clips and this is a reality now! The basis for this are neural activity patterns that are similar between friends. Friends-of-friends have second degree of similarity followed by friends-of-friends-of-friends.
The study was the first of its kind that included the link between neural activity of people and their response to real world stimuli (video).
The Neural Patterns
The study included nearly 280 students whose friendship was analyzed. It focused on the social distance between pairs of students depending on their common social ties. Of the lot, 42 students were subjected to videos spanning different subjects such as politics, science, comedy and music which was expected to garner different responses. Their neural activity was tracked through a functional MRI (fMRI) scanner. Every student was made to watch the same video in the same sequence with the same set of instructions.
After this, the researchers compared the neural response between sets of students to determine whether students who were strongly connected over social media had similar brain activity compared to those pairs who were distantly connected over social network. The research also found that the response similarity was strongest among friends in areas involving emotions, attention and high-level reasoning. Despite controlling variables such as left- or right-handedness, age, gender, ethnicity and nationality, the similarity in neural activity remained intact. The fMRI response can be used to find two things: if two people were friends and if so, the social distance between the two of them.
One question that remains unanswered is whether we are naturally inclined towards people who share our similar interests or whether similarity comes from shared experience. We thrive as a society together and environmental factors affect every individual greatly. Read more on how environmental factors mold an individual at www.firsteatright.com. We are connected to others in this society and understanding how our brains work in combination to each other helps us understand how the human brain works individually. When you meet a person you know, your brain instantly recognizes the influence or importance of that person and his/her priority in your social network.
Any problems related to the heart causes panic in any individual. But, most heart issues are treatable if they receive proper treatment. But sadly, many individuals don’t realize their problem on time and lose their lives unnecessarily.
While physicians and the common man talk about heart attack all the time, very few individuals discuss about heart valve disease and their ill effects on our health. As the name suggests, heart valve disease is a result of malfunctioning heart valves. These heart valves have tissue flaps that open and close with each heartbeat and these flaps are responsible for ensuring that blood flows in the right direction through your heart’s chambers and to the rest of the body too.
Heart valve can have three basic problems: regurgitation, stenosis and atresia. Regurgitation occurs when a valve does not close tightly. Blood goes back into the chambers instead of flowing forward through the heart or artery. Stenosis can happen when the valve flap thickens, stiffen or fuse together and atresia occurs when a heart valve lacks an opening for blood to pass through it.
Age-related factors, other heart conditions, rheumatic fever or infections can cause heart valve disease while certain conditions such as high BP, atherosclerosis in the aorta and scar tissue due to a heart attack can increase damage to heart valves. If you are unfamiliar with atherosclerosis, you can read A-Z details about it at www.firsteatright.com.
Some other diseases that are said to contribute towards heart valve disease include autoimmune disorders, diet medicines, metabolic disorders, radiation therapy and carcinoid syndrome.
Old age leaves no problems untouched and heart valve disease is no exception. Old age makes heart valves thicken and become stiffer. As people are living a longer life in recent times, the risk of acquiring the disease has also increased. Individuals who have rheumatoid fever, heart failure or previous heart disease are at a higher risk of acquiring heart valve problem. Smoking, high BP and cholesterol, obesity/overweight, diabetes, insulin resistance, sedentary lifestyle and family history of early heart disease are other risk factors.
The primary symptom of heart valve diseases is an unusual heartbeat sound called a heart murmur which your physician can hear with the help of a stethoscope. But, some people might hear a heart murmur without any heart valve problem and certain others might have a heart valve problem and have only heart murmurs without any other symptom until they are middle-aged or above middle age.
Some other symptoms that are similar to heart failure symptoms include constant fatigue, shortness of breath and swelling in the ankles, feet, legs, abdomen and veins in the neck.
Some individuals might also experience fluttering, racing, irregular heartbeat or chest pain while some others might experience dizziness or fainting.
Once the doctor diagnoses a heart valve disease, the patient must go for treatment. Presently, there are no medicines that can cure heart valve disease. But, medicines and lifestyle changes together can treat symptoms and delay problems for many years. Surgery is the permanent solution to repair or replace a malfunctioning heart valve.
Repair needs a small surgical procedure sometimes while at other times it might require a more extensive surgery. Valve replacement might need minimally invasive procedures or if the patient wants to have an efficient long-term solution, Ross procedure or the insertion of a new tissue or valve is suggested.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.