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Birth control pills may increase the risk of stroke: Experts



Birth Control Pills

New Delhi, Oct 28: Apart from obesity, birth control pills and additional factors such as smoking, high blood pressure or diabetes may put women at increased risk for the most common type of stroke, health experts suggest.

Oral contraceptives increase the risk of ischemic strokes, caused by a blood clot that blocks or plugs a blood vessel in the brain.

“Women who take birth control pills are slightly at higher risk of stroke as a result of the high estradiol content in these contraceptive pills, which also increases the risk of blood clots,” Vipul Gupta, Additional Director, Neurointervention Surgery, and Co-Director, Stroke Unit, Artemis Hospital, Gurgaon.

“The risk also increases for a woman during pregnancy as the increased blood pressure puts stress on the heart. Also migraine can cause chances of stroke three times up in women,” Satnam Singh Chhabra, Head Neuro and Spine Surgeon, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, added.

Women who smoke are also advised against taking birth control pills as this may increase the risk of a stroke.

Stroke is a serious medical emergency causing premature death and disability. It occurs when blood flow to an area of brain is cut off; brain cells are deprived of oxygen and begin to die.

“A stroke occurs when blood supply to a part of the brain is suddenly cut off. The brain cells in the immediate area begin to die because they stop getting the oxygen and nutrients they need to function,” Gupta explained.

Apart from the ischemic stroke, there is the hemorrhagic stroke caused by a blood vessel that bursts and bleeds into the brain.

“Rheumatic heart disease and atrial fibrillation in younger females is emerging as major cause of strokes,” M.G. Pillai, Head of the Cardiology Department at Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital, Mumbai, told IANS.

When brain cells die during a stroke, the abilities controlled by that area of the brain such as memory and muscle control are lost.

The treatment for stroke may also depend on its type. An ischemic stroke in many cases can be reversed through medicines but only if it is detected within three hours of its occurrence. Treating a hemorrhagic stroke involves finding the cause of bleeding in the brain and controlling it.

“Depending on the damage and overall health of a patient, one can regain the lost abilities to some extent through rehabilitation and medicines,” Chhabra explained.

Unlike ischemic strokes, hemorrhagic strokes aren’t treated with antiplatelet medicines and blood thinners because these medicines can worsen the bleeding.

Advanced scans, such as CT angiography, perfusion imaging and MRI are also done to evaluate the site of blockage and quantify the extent of the brain that can be salvaged.

Gains can happen quickly or over the time depending on various factors like the area of the affected part, how much is affected and the patient’s motivation. The most rapid recovery usually occurs during the first three to four months of a stroke.

“The cure for a stroke depends on the amount of area damaged. If the damage is fatal then it may take months to heal and if the damage is normal, the patient may recover within a week or two,” Kishan Raj, Consultant Neurologist at IBS Hospital, Faridabad, explained.

According to experts, 80 per cent of all strokes are preventable. This starts with managing key risk factors, including high blood pressure, smoking, atrial fibrillation and physical inactivity.

Strokes are life-changing events that can affect a person both temporarily or permanently.

After a stroke, successful recovery will often involve specific rehabilitative activities such as speech therapy, physical therapy to help a person re-learn movements and coordination along with occupational therapy to help people improve their ability to carry out routine daily activities.


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High meat intake may up liver disease risk




New York, March 21: Meat lovers please take note. Increased consumption of red or processed meat may increase the risk of developing the non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), researchers have found.

“NAFLD is considered as the hepatic component of the metabolic syndrome, with insulin resistance and inflammation as key factors in its pathophysiology,” said lead author Shira Zelber-Sagi, Professor at the University of Haifa in Israel.

Researchers noted that high meat eaters were slightly younger, mainly male, had a higher body mass index (BMI), caloric intake and a worse metabolic profile.

In addition, individuals who consumed large quantities of meat cooked using unhealthy methods including, frying or grilling, had increased levels of high heterocyclic amines (HCAs) — pro-inflammatory compounds found in burned meat — and therefore developed insulin resistance.

People who are already diagnosed with NAFLD had similar consequences, along with an increased chance of cancer, Type 2 diabetes, and chronic heart diseases, researchers mentioned in the study, published in the Journal of Hepatology.

“Unhealthy Western lifestyle plays a major role in the development and progression of NAFLD, namely, lack of physical activity and high consumption of fructose and saturated fat,” Zelber-Sagi said.

“Our study looked at other common foods in the Western diet, namely red and processed meats, to determine whether they increase the risk for NAFLD,” she added.

In order to test the association of type of meat and cooking method with NAFLD and insulin resistance, the team included 357 participants, between 40 and 70 years of age.

NAFLD and insulin resistance were evaluated by ultrasonography and homeostasis model assessment (HOMA). Meat-type and cooking method were measured by food frequency and detailed meat consumption questionnaires.

Results showed that NAFLD was diagnosed in 38.7 per cent of participants and insulin resistance in 30.5 per cent.


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Lap-band surgery may lower chronic knee pain



chronic knee pain

New York, March 20: Obese people who have a band surgically strapped around their stomach to restrict food intake not only lose weight but will also suffer less from arthritic knee pain, a new study suggests.

According to researchers, the pain proceeds from the deterioration and related inflammation in knee joints caused in part by the extra weight they bear.

While the pain relief seen with lap-band surgery applied to all patients with osteoarthritic knees, researchers found that it was most helpful in the young men and women who lost the most weight.

“Our study shows that extremely obese people seeking relief from their knee pain should consider lap-band surgery earlier because the benefits from it being successful — although significant for all ages — decrease with age,” said co-author Jonathan Samuels, Associate Professor at NYU School of Medicine.

For the study, published in the journal Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism, researchers examined 120 patients who underwent lap-band surgery between 2002 and 2015.

All were surveyed for what they remembered about their knee pain immediately before surgery, a year after their procedure, and for as long as 14 years later.

The main purpose of the survey was to find out why some extremely obese people showed more knee pain relief from lap-band surgery than others.

According to the survey results, men and women in their 40s experienced post-surgical knee pain reductions after one year of between 50 and 60 percent; while those in their 50s, one year later, had pain reductions between 30 and 40 percent; and those in their 60s, had reductions between 20 percent and 30 percent.

Pain relief persisted for a decade in all patients monitored.

People with BMIs in the upper 40s were just as likely to report decreased knee pain as people with BMIs in the lower 40s if they lost proportionally the same amount of total body weight.


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Healthy office spaces promote healthy lifestyles




New Delhi, March 20: Managed and serviced co-working spaces go an extra step to promote a healthy lifestyle. Studies have shown that employees who work in a healthy environment usually enjoy good well-being, increased productivity and a positive outlook towards the company.

Creating a perfect office set-up and turning it into an ideal workplace environment usually involves astronomical costs. From paying office rent to office furnishings, insurances, equipment and money invested in health and hygiene, the cost is mostly high.

Puneet Chandra, Founder & CEO of Skootr, a managed office solution provider, lists the five musts for creating the ideal office space.

* Maintaining hygiene: None of the healthy measures taken into consideration will be effective if the workstation itself is host to illnesses and lacks basic sanitation. There are numerous people who get satisfaction from a clean environment. An absolutely clean and a hygienic toilet with the smell of fresh lemon is on everyone’s wish list. A hygienic washroom boosts the morale of office employees and helps in increasing their productivity.

* Seeding plants: Numerous scientific studies have established the advantages — both physical and psychological — of having plants inside the office. Moreover, with pollution levels rising above the danger zone, seeding indoor plants in an office will contribute towards fresher air and a cleaner environment. It is also highly cost-effective compared to indoor air purifiers: A significant aspect for any cost-conscious business owner.

* Pantry services: Clean, healthy and hygienic food leads to happy and efficient employees. Hence, pantry services form an important ingredient of a healthy work environment. Industry experts say 70 percent to 90 percent of healthcare spending can be saved by excluding unhealthy lifestyle choices, one of the major reasons for chronic lifestyle diseases. Co-working and managed office space providers are opting for pantry service wherein snacking becomes a healthy break-time instead of employees depending on junk food from roadside shops and street food vendors.

* Bright interiors, comfortable furniture: A specially-designed office ensures innovation among employees. According to psychoanalysts, mental and physical health is majorly dependent on the physical work environment. Hence, managed and co-working spaces these days prefer bright coloured furniture along with peppy interiors. Such colours make employees more productive and help them stay active throughout the day. Comfortable ergonomic furniture has also proven to alleviate stress in employees, hence promoting a positive work environment. Interactive work desks are also a new concept offered by co-working office providers, which not only encourages interaction but can also change height and position according to the comfort postures of employees.

* Gyms for strong work life: Various studies have claimed a solid connection between the amount of time people spend in sitting and thereafter the increased chances of diabetes, obesity, cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Hence, co-working and managed office spaces are providing office gyms for employees to maintain energy, enthusiasm and positivity — while helping an individual become healthier and fitter.


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