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Depression may put women at risk of chronic diseases

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Women who experience symptoms of depression, even without a clinical diagnosis, are at an increased risk of developing multiple chronic diseases, according to a study.

The study, published in the journal American Psychological Association Health Psychology, examined 7,407 middle-aged women (45-50 years) for over 20 years.

During the study period, 43.2 per cent women experienced elevated symptoms of depression and just under half the cohort were diagnosed or took treatment for depression.

Of the total, 2,035 or 63.6 per cent developed multiple chronic diseases.

“These days many people suffer from multiple chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer. We looked at how women progress in the development of these chronic diseases before and after the onset of depressive symptoms,” said Xiaolin Xu from the University of Queensland in Australia.

“Experiencing depressive symptoms appeared to amplify the risk of chronic illness,” Xu said, adding that women suffering from depression were 1.8 times more likely to have multiple chronic health conditions.

“After women started experiencing these symptoms, they were 2.4 times more likely to suffer from multiple chronic conditions compared to women without depressive symptoms,” he added.

Women with both conditions — depression and chronic diseases — were more likely to come from low-income households, be overweight and inactive, smoke tobacco and drink alcohol.

“Maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, eating a balanced diet, and reducing harmful behaviours could help prevent and slow the progression of multiple chronic diseases,” Xu said.

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Women with sleep apnea at increased risk of cancer: Study

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London, Aug 17 Women with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) appear to be at an elevated risk of getting cancer than men with the condition, warn researchers.

The study, published in the European Respiratory Journal, is based on analyses of registry data, collected in the European database ESADA, on a total of some 20,000 adult patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). About 2 per cent of them also had a cancer diagnosis.

“It’s reasonable to assume that sleep apnea is a risk factor for cancer or that both conditions have common risk factors, such as overweight. On the other hand, it is less likely that cancer leads to sleep apnea,” said Ludger Grote, Professor at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

According to the researchers, advanced age was associated with elevated cancer risk, but adjusting the data for age, gender, body mass index (BMI), smoking and alcohol consumption nevertheless showed a possible link between intermittent hypoxia at night and higher cancer prevalence.

The connection applied mainly to women and was weaker in men.

“Our results indicate a cancer risk that’s elevated two- to three-fold among women with pronounced sleep apnea,” Grote said.

The condition of sleep apnea is well known to the general public and associated with snoring, daytime fatigue, and elevated risk of cardiovascular disease, especially in men, said the study.

This research paves the way for a new view — that sleep apnea may possibly be connected with increased cancer risk, especially in women.

“Above all, the focus has been on the connection with one form of cancer: malignant melanoma. Cancer of the breast or womb may now become a new area. There may be a combined effect of female sex hormones and stress activation, induced by nocturnal hypoxia in sleep apnea, that can trigger cancer development or a weakening of the body’s immune system,” Grote concluded.

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50-year-old woman walks after 15 years

Sandhyawati who hails from Khosli village in Rewari, Haryana said she came to the hospital last month after which she was admitted.

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New Delhi, Aug 13 (IANS) Fifty-year-old Sandhyawati could not walk straight for the last 15 years, she would only crawl reason being a rare rheumatoid arthritis in which her knees were permanently bent.

Last month, she underwent a complex knee replacement surgery and her happiness has no limits.

Sandhyawati, who now stands on her feet with support as she is recovering, said: “For the last 15 years, I have only been crawling. The fact that now I can do my own work gives me immense happiness.”

As per doctors at the Paras Hospitals where she underwent surgery, the patient was suffering from rheumatoid arthritis that affected her knees and caused severe acute flexion deformity, a condition in which knees are permanently bent more than ninety degrees.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune inflammatory arthritis which affects small as well as large joints of the body and rapidly destroys the joint cartilage unless specific therapy is started early.

“Such cases are extremely rare and we have treated about a dozen such crawling patients in the last 17-18 years of exclusive joint replacement practice. The complexity of the procedure is enormous and risks of nerve and blood-vessel damage are very high,” said Vivek Logani, Chief, Paras Joint Replacement and Sports Injury Centre, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram.

The surgery was performed with the help of computer navigation technology, to ensure accuracy and bone preservation and special soft tissue release techniques which is safer to allow correction of deformity easily in a few days of surgery.

Speaking to IANS, Sandhyawati who hails from Khosli village in Rewari, Haryana said she came to the hospital last month after which she was admitted.

Her family members told IANS she can move around and do her own chores like taking the food and roaming around in the house.

“Two or three women in the village have the same problem and we have told them the success of the surgery,” said a family member.

Despite surgeries at innumerable hospitals in the past, no conclusive solution had come to her rescue. She was later referred to Paras Hospitals.

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TB survivors at higher risk of developing lung damage

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New Delhi, Aug 9 Tuberculosis (TB) survivors, especially those living in India, are at a higher risk of developing lasting damage to lungs, according to a study done on more than 2,000 Indian patients.

Published in the Lancet Global Health, the study has found that more than one-third of patients who are successfully cured of TB with antibiotics developed permanent lung damage, which, in the worst cases, results in large holes in the lungs called cavities and widens the airways called bronchiectasis.

According to the World Health Organisation’s Global TB Report 2018, an estimated 2.8 million people have contracted TB in India which represents one quarter of all TB cases worldwide.

“This study calls urgent attention to the problem of post-TB lung damage worldwide. TB is a curable condition with antibiotics and great steps forward have been made towards eliminating the disease,” said study lead author James Chalmers, Professor at the University of Dundee.

“But this study is a wakeup call because even if we manage to eliminate all TB worldwide tomorrow, we are going to be left with a legacy of chronic lung damage and bronchiectasis which will require better recognition and better treatment,” he said.

For the study, the research team recruited 2,195 patients with established bronchiectasis from 14 Indian states.

TB survivors and patients with a history of severe infections such as childhood pneumonia made up the majority of patients with lung damage in India. The researchers found that these infections left a legacy of daily cough, further chest infections and poor quality of life.

Patients required further hospitalisations for treatment of their lung conditions in nearly 40 per cent of cases. Patients with post-TB lung damage had lost approximately 40 per cent of their lung capacity, leaving many patients with persistent breathlessness.

Compared with patients in Europe and the US, those in India had more severe lung damage, lung function was worse and patients were more likely to be hospitalised for severe infections.

Recommended treatment for these patients such as inhalers, physiotherapy and antibiotic treatment for infections were rarely provided.

Physiotherapy exercises and antibiotics are inexpensive treatments which are proven to improve quality of life and reduce lung infections, but were available to less than 50 per cent of Indian patients.

The Indian government has pledged to eradicate TB by 2025, however this study warns that the TB epidemic could have lasting consequences for the treatment of lung conditions.

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