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Hypertension may up heart valve disorder risk

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London, Oct 19: People with high blood pressure may be at an increased risk of developing common heart valve disorder, researchers said.

The findings showed that higher blood pressure in early life was associated with a significantly greater future risk of mitral regurgitation — a condition which makes the heart less efficient at pumping blood around the body, and in severe cases can lead to heart failure.

“Our research suggests this common and disabling valve disorder is not an inevitable consequence of ageing, as previously assumed, but may be preventable,” said lead author Kazem Rahimi, Professor from The George Institute for Global Health at the University of Oxford.

Mitral regurgitation leads to a backflow of blood into the heart, causing symptoms such as shortness of breath, tiredness, dizziness and chest pain.

It is more common in older people and may be associated with a greater risk of mortality.

The study, published in the journal PLOS Medicine, followed 5.5 million adults in the UK over 10 years.

Despite significant advances in the understanding of valve disease, mitral regurgitation has until now been largely considered a degenerative disorder, resulting from a weakening of the valve over time due to ‘wear and tear’.

This has led medical practitioners to focus on treatment, namely surgery to repair or replace the valve, rather than prevention.

Further research is needed to test whether lowering blood pressure, through exercise, diet or blood pressure-lowering drugs, could reduce the risk of the disorder occurring, the study suggested.

“With worldwide ageing and population growth, we are likely to see an increasing number of cases of this condition,” Rahimi said.

“We need to find effective and affordable measures to tackle it, and our study suggests one possible avenue for prevention, by reducing high blood pressure,” Rahimi added.

IANS

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Ebola death toll rises to 200 in Congo

The DRC authorities declared the outbreak in North Kivu province on August 1. It was also reported in the northern province of Ituri.

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Ebola Infection

Kinshasa, Oct 21 : The death toll in the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has risen to 200, the Health Ministry has said.

According to statistics released by the Ministry on Saturday, of the 200 cases confirmed in Beni and surrounding areas, 117 have died of the virus while 61 others recovered after treatment, Xinhua news agency reported.

The DRC authorities declared the outbreak in North Kivu province on August 1. It was also reported in the northern province of Ituri.

The World Health Organization said the 10th Ebola outbreak in DRC does not currently constitute a public health emergency of international concern.

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Cycling, walking in nature may improve your mental health

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London, Oct 20: People who commute — walking or cycling — through natural environments are more likely to develop better mental health than those who commute less, according to a new study.

Natural environments included all public and private outdoor spaces that contain ‘green’ and/or ‘blue’ natural elements such as street trees, forests, city parks and natural parks/reserves and all types of water bodies.

“Mental health and physical inactivity are two of the main public health problems associated with the life in urban environments. Urban design could be a powerful tool to confront these challenges and create healthier cities. One way of doing so would be investing in natural commuting routes for cycling and walking,” said Mark Nieuwenhuijsen from the University of Barcelona.

For the study, published in the journal, Environment International, the research team examined nearly 3,600 participants who answered a questionnaire about their commuting habits and their mental health.

The findings showed that respondents commuting through natural environments on a daily basis had on average a 2.74 point higher mental health score compared to those who commuted through natural environments less frequently.

This association was even stronger among people who reported active commuting, the team said.

“From previous experimental studies we knew that physical activity in natural environments can reduce stress, improve mood and mental restoration when compared to the equivalent activity in urban environments,” said first author Wilma Zijlema from the varsity.

“Although this study is the first of its kind to our knowledge and, therefore, more research will be needed, our data show that commuting through these natural spaces alone may also have a positive effect on mental health.”

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Number of Zika virus cases reaches 100 in Jaipur

A total of 1,11,825 houses have been screened. Special precautions are being taken in the Zika-affected areas.

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Zika virus

Jaipur, Oct 18 : The number of people infected with the Zika virus has gone up to 100 in Jaipur, officials said on Thursday.

State Chief Secretary D.B. Gupta held a review meeting and directed the officials to carry out anti-larvae activities in educational institutions and administrative buildings in Jaipur.

Veenu Gupta, Chief Secretary (Medicine and Health) said, “Medical teams in Jaipur are carrying out screening and fogging activities. A total of 1,11,825 houses have been screened. Special precautions are being taken in the Zika-affected areas.”

She said that there was no shortage of medicines at health centres. She also directed district officials to monitor the regular availability of medicines and testing equipment in hospitals.

Gupta directed officials to take measures to prevent breeding of mosquitoes in the Rajasthan Police Academy, Police Line and the RAC Battalion.

She asked the Army officials to check the spread of mosquitoes and larvae in their area.

Gupta instructed officials to pay special attention to tourist places such as Hawa Mahal, Jantar Mantar and Albert Hall.

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