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Exercise now to keep bones healthy in old age, say experts

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New Delhi, May 1: If you want to have a pain-free ride in your golden years, better ditch the couch now and get walking. According to health experts, failing to adopt regular exercise regime early may lead to weaker bones later, leading to joint and bone problems such as arthritis and osteoporosis and, even, bone fractures.

Studies suggest that bones respond better to particular types of exercise, including weight-bearing exercises, resistance training, high-impact exercise and balance training.

“Resistance training or plyometric training help reduce the levels of protein sclerostin, the excess of which can adversely affect bone density. On the other hand, it increases insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1, a hormone that improves bone growth),” Rishabh Telang, a fitness expert and level-2 CrossFit trainer with Bengaluru-based Cult fitness chain, told IANS.

“In response to weight bearing activities, Osteo-blasts (bone-forming cells) get migrated to the surface of the bone and starts the process of bone modelling. This entire process of Osteo blast migrating to the bony area improves bone density,” Telang added.

A recent study, published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, found that adolescents who participated in moderate-to intense physical activity during growth years exhibited greater bone mass in areas that contribute to superior bone strength.

“Bone health is crucial to our fitness and it begins with maintaining a healthy bone mass. For young adults, regular exercise, well-balanced calcium diet, exposure to sunlight are extremely important,” Rajiv Thukral, Senior Consultant-Orthopedics, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Saket, told IANS.

Muscle-strengthening exercises are any activity that requires your muscles to work harder than normal.

This type of resistance exercise works the tendons that attach muscle to bone, which in turn boosts bone strength.

Strength training also results into muscle hypertrophy — increase in size of muscle cells — which increases the force exerted on the bones.

“In response to that, the bones must increase in mass and strength to support the structure of hypertrophied muscles. Thus, an increase in muscle mass and strength may result in a corresponding increase in bone mineral density,” Telang said.

“People can also start with daily brisk walks and should not exhaust their body by sudden and extreme exercises in the gym,” Thukral cautioned.

Yoga is another option that can be explored by people who do not want to go to the gym.

“Stretching, yoga and brisk walk, etc. could be extremely beneficial in strengthening the bones,” Thukral added.

The experts also warned that women over age 50, especially post-menopausal women, have the greatest risk of developing weaker bones.

“One should also get the regular bone densitometry test done to know the real status of bone health. Older adults should do some physical activity — let be it a simple morning walk,” noted Ishwar Bohra, Senior Consultant Joint Replacement & Arthroscopy Surgeon, BLK Super Speciality Hospital.

It is also pertinent to focus on foods that are rich in calcium, Vitamin D and other nutrients as these are important for bone and overall health. A diet low in calcium can also lead to diminished bone density, early bone loss and susceptibility to fractures.

“It is very important to start exercising at an early age as it indirectly keeps joints well lubricated as well as bones strong and healthy by doing load-sharing between bone and shoulders,” added Sanjay Gupta, Associate Director (Orthopaedics and Joint Replacement Department) at Jaypee Hospital.
By Vivek Singh Chauhan
IANS

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Health

Can drinking too much water harm you?

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Toronto, May 23: Do you drink too much water? Beware, overhydration — excess fluid accumulation — can lead to dangerously low sodium levels or in the blood or result in brain swelling, researchers say.

Hyponatremia, a life-threatening condition of brain swelling, is more common in elderly patients and can cause cognitive problems and seizures.

“(Hyponatremia) occurs in common pathological conditions, including brain injury, sepsis, cardiac failure and in the use of drugs, such as MDMA (ecstasy),” said Charles Bourque from the McGill University in Canada.

While it was yet uncertain how hyponatremia develops, the study found that a defect in the hydration sensing mechanism of the brain could be the culprit.

The researchers said that brain’s hydration sensing neurons could not detect overhydration in the same way that they detect dehydration.

Overhydration activates Trpv4 — a calcium channel that can be found in glial cells, that act to surround hydration sensing neurons.

It is cellular gatekeeper implicated in maintaining the balance of water in the body.

“Our study shows that it is in fact glial cells that first detect the overhydrated state and then transfer this information to turn off the electrical activity of the [hydration sensing] neurons,” Bourque explained.

“Our specific data will be important for people studying hydromineral and fluid electrolyte homeostasis, and clinicians who treat patients faced with hyponatremia,” he noted.

The results, published in the journal Cell Reports, showed that overhydration is first identified by the Trpv4 channel which triggers the release of a type of amino acid known, taurine, which acts as a trip wire to inhibit hydration sensing neurons.

“Preclinical models of hyponatremia will be used to examine if the mechanism we report is affected in this condition with the long-term objective of designing new treatments or diagnostic tools,” Bourque added.

IANS

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An egg a day may keep heart diseases away

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Beijing, May 22: If you thought eating eggs is bad for your heart due to their high cholesterol content, think again. A large study has now shown that people who consume an egg every day could significantly reduce their risk of cardiovascular diseases.

“The present study finds that there is an association between moderate level of egg consumption (up to one egg/day) and a lower cardiac event rate,” the study authors said.

The researchers pointed out that eggs are a prominent source of dietary cholesterol, but they also contain high-quality protein, many vitamins and bioactive components such as phospholipids and carotenoids.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death and disability worldwide mostly due to ischaemic heart disease and stroke (including both haemorrhagic and ischaemic stroke).

For the study, published in the journal Heart, Chenxi Qin from Peking University Health Science Centre in Beijing, and colleagues set out to examine the associations between egg consumption and cardiovascular disease, ischaemic heart disease, major coronary events, haemorrhagic stroke and ischaemic stroke.

They used data from the China Kadoorie Biobank (CKB) study, an ongoing prospective study of around half a million (512,891) adults aged 30 to 79 from 10 different geographical areas in China.

The researchers focused on 416,213 participants who were free of prior cancer, cardiovascular disease (CVD) and diabetes.

Analysis of the results showed that compared with people not consuming eggs, daily egg consumption was associated with a lower risk of CVD overall.

In particular, daily egg consumers (up to one egg per day) had a 26 per cent lower risk of haemorrhagic stroke, a 28 per cent lower risk of haemorrhagic stroke death and an 18 per cent lower risk of CVD death.

In addition, there was a 12 per cent reduction in risk of ischaemic heart disease observed for people consuming eggs daily, when compared with the ‘never/rarely’ consumption category — about 2.03 eggs per week.

This was an observational study, so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect, but the authors said their study had a large sample size and took into account established and potential risk factors for CVD.

IANS

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Delhi govt planning free dialysis at pvt hospitals: Jain

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New Delhi, May 21 : The Delhi government is planning to make the dialysis procedure free at private hospitals and dialysis centres on a public-private-partnership basis, subject to conditions, Health Minister Satyendar Jain said today.

Jain said only those private hospitals and standalone centres which have more than 10 dialysis machines and are empanelled under the Delhi Government Employees Health Scheme or the Central Government Health Scheme would be eligible to become a partner in the project.

Delhi government through the Delhi Arogya Kosh will pay them Rs 1,274 per dialysis.

Delhi residents who have been living in the city for the past three years and having an annual income of less than Rs 3 lakh shall be eligible to avail the facility, Jain said.

The government is also installing dialysis machines at its own hospitals.

“We have installed 15 machines out of the 75 machines that we intend to install at various hospitals,” he said.

Jain said the idea behind providing the facility at private hospitals or dialysis centres is to cut the travel time for patients, who otherwise may have to go long distance to avail that facility at a government hospital.

“This would be like a reverse referral facility where patients would be referred to an empanelled hospital or centre nearby their home,” he said.

Jain said the government was in an “expansion mode” as far as health services were concerned.

“Five of our hospitals have already earned NABH entry-level accreditation – Pt Madan Mohan Malviya Hospital, Shri Dada Dev Matri Avum Shishu Chikitsalaya, Acharya Shree Bhikshu Hospital, Guru Gobind Singh Hospital and Dr Baba Saheb Ambedkar Hospital,” he said.

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