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World Hypertension Day: Regulating salt intake key to prevent hypertension

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World Hypertension Day

Mumbai, May 17: Regulating salt consumption is key to prevent hypertension, which is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, heart attack, stroke and heart failure, say experts.

Hypertension, also known as high or raised blood pressure, is a condition in which the blood vessels have persistently raised pressure.

It can result in hardening and thickening of the heart arteries, leading to their narrowing and causing the heart to receive less blood supply. (Photo: Pixabay)

To lower the risk of heart disease, adults should reduce sodium intake to less than 2 grams a day, or the equivalent of about one teaspoon of table salt, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Hypertension can lead to cardiovascular diseases. The rise in blood pressure caused by eating too much salt may damage the arteries leading to the heart,” Vijay D’Silva, Director at the Asian Heart Institute, said in statement.

According to a recent study, published in the journal Hypertension, about half of adults living in Asia are suffering from the high blood pressure.

While lifestyle factors, including diet and stress, are behind the high hypertension rates in Asia, one common problem is high salt intake, the study showed.

Asians not only tend to have diets high in sodium, but they are genetically more sensitive to sodium, the researchers said.

“Raised blood pressure due to high salt consumption is the biggest single contributing risk factor for non-communicable diseases and damage to your kidney,” explained Bhupendra Gandhi of the NGO Amar Gandhi Foundation.

Previously, it was believed that eating high amounts of fruit and vegetables might help counteract the effect of high salt on blood pressure.

However, another study led by researchers from the Imperial College London and Northwestern University, showed that people eating higher amounts of salt had higher blood pressure — no matter how healthy a person’s overall diet.

Hypertension can also affect fertility in both males and females, says Rajalaxmi Walavalkar of Cocoon Fertility.

“Anyone with hypertension is at an increased risk of infertility. A high salt diet leading to high blood pressure can result in delayed puberty and even impact reproductive health,” Walavalkar noted.

Besides affecting the heart and fertility, hypertension can affect the skin too, the health experts said.

“High blood pressure can harden your arteries, which decreases the flow of blood and oxygen. An impairment of the flow of oxygen, to an organ such as your face, can cause your skin to dry and wrinkles faster which can make one look less youthful,” said Amit Karkhanis – Medical Cosmetologist and founder of Dr Tvacha clinic.

Hypertension is also known to cause trouble sleeping which leads to signs of premature ageing (fine lines, uneven pigmentation and reduced elasticity).

Reducing salt consumption in everyday life, including fried foods, processed foods, can not only curb the problem of hypertension but also save multiple organs from damage and pave way for a healthy life.

IANS

Health

Natural ways to boost immunity in children

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Kids eating, children snacks

New Delhi, Jan 21: It is natural for parents to protect their children from any harm, including the endless array of germs they are exposed to every day.

As children grow up, they are continuously exposed to various germs, especially in places such as daycare centres and preschool. Children with low immunity are highly susceptible to various types of infections. The high incidence of infections has led to an increased and inappropriate use of antibiotics, which has further resulted in antimicrobial resistance.

Antimicrobial resistance, a widespread problem, takes places when microbes build resistance against the medications intended to kill them due to overuse. It is one of the world’s most pressing public health problems. The best way to tackle this is to build a strong immunity, which naturally protects your child from infections. Dr. Rajesh Kumawat, Head – Medical Services & Clinical Development, The Himalaya Drug Company, shares a few tips that can help boost your child’s immunity.

Healthy Diet

A healthy diet that comprises all fundamental components like proteins, minerals, vitamins, micronutrients and unsaturated fats in optimum quantity, helps build the immunity required to fight against various infections or diseases in children. Citrus fruits, carrots, green leafy vegetables, beans, strawberry, yogurt, garlic, and ginger help build immunity with their immunity-boosting properties.

Adequate Sleep

Sleep deprivation suppresses the functionality of the immune system, which makes children susceptible to infections. Adequate sleep is an absolute necessity to rejuvenate the body. Newborns need up to 18 hours of sleep a day, toddlers require 12 to 13 hours, and preschoolers need about 10 hours of sleep.

Hygiene

Maintaining hand hygiene before and after each meal, after playtime, handling pets, blowing the nose, using the restroom and arriving home from daycare helps prevent infections in children.

Herbal Solutions

Despite taking proper care, children’s immunity may be affected. Consumption of herbal dietary supplements like Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis), Yashtimadhu (Glycyrrhiza glabra), and Guggulu (Balsamodendron mukul) can help children stay healthier as they help build immunity.

“Naturally obtained supplements strengthen the immune system. Herbs like Guduchi, Yashti Madhu, and Guggulu are natural sources of antioxidants. The antiviral property of Yashtimadhu also helps manage asthma, bronchitis, and chronic cough. The anti-inflammatory property of Guggulu helps reduce inflammation,” Dr. Kumawat added.

“Naturally obtained supplements strengthen the immune system. Herbs like Guduchi, Yashti Madhu, and Guggulu are natural sources of antioxidants. The antiviral property of Yashtimadhu also helps manage asthma, bronchitis, and chronic cough. The anti-inflammatory property of Guggulu helps reduce inflammation,” Dr. Kumawat added.

A combination of herbs may be a safe and effective adjuvant to antimicrobials in the management of recurrent infections. When co-prescribed with antibiotics, herbs may
have a role in faster recovery, reduces the duration and cost of therapy, besides preventing reinfections.

IANS

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Anti-inflammatory drugs may put you at heart attack risk

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heart failure heart attack

If you have been hit by the winter cold and are thinking about taking medicines that relieve your aches, pains and congestion, be careful. Those may also put your heart at risk, the American Heart Association has warned.

A study has showed that both decongestants and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), found in many cold medicines, were listed as medications that could increase blood pressure.

People who used NSAIDs while sick were more than three times as likely to have a heart attack within a week compared with the same time period about a year earlier when participants were neither sick nor taking an NSAID.

“People with uncontrolled high blood pressure or heart disease should avoid taking oral decongestants. And for the general population or someone with low cardiovascular risk, they should use them with the guidance of a health care provider,” said Sondra DePalma, from the University of Pittsburgh in the US.

Decongestants like pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine constrict blood vessels. They allow less fluid into your sinuses, “which dries you up”, said Erin Michos, associate director of preventive cardiology at the Johns Hopkins Univerity’s Ciccarone Center in Baltimore.

The biggest concerns are for people who have had a heart attack or stroke, or have heart failure or uncontrolled high blood pressure, Michos said, in the paper published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

Importantly, healthy people might also be at risk.

For the study, researchers looked at nearly 10,000 people with respiratory infections who were hospitalised for heart attacks.

Participants were 72 years old on average at the time of their heart attacks and many had cardiovascular risk factors, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.

People who are sick should use both classes of medications — decongestants and NSAIDs — judiciously and understand the potential side effects.

In addition, decongestants should not be taken longer than seven days before consulting with a healthcare provider, DePalma said.

One should also rest and drink plenty of fluids if symptoms are mild or moderate, DePalma noted.

IANS

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What is to be blamed for childhood cancer?

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Childhood cancer
Representative Image , Image Credit : J Pat Carter/AP

A team of researchers has thrown light on the community beliefs about what causes cancer in children, an area which remains understudied, finds a latest research.

“Few childhood cancers are attributed to genetics or environmental factors, so when children are diagnosed with cancer, families often wonder ‘why me/why us’?” said lead author Janine Vetsch, postdoctoral research candidate from UNSW Sydney in Australia.

For the study, the team examined the beliefs of more than 600 participants — parents and childhood cancer survivors — about the causes of childhood cancer, and compared them with beliefs of 510 members of the general population.

Findings, published in Acta Oncologica, revealed that more than seven out of 10 childhood cancer survivors and survivors’ parents believed that chance or bad luck caused the cancer.

This led to most parents and survivors seem to understand that there is nothing they could have done to prevent the cancer, according to Vetsch.

However, around one in five families did believe that environmental factors and genetics played a role, despite only limited available scientific evidence, results further showed.

“It looks like healthcare professionals are successfully helping most families arrive at that view,” said Vetsch.

Such views could lead to stigma. Hence, it is important to increase community knowledge of childhood cancer causes in general.

There is a need to encourage doctors to talk about the causes with affected families to address unhelpful misconceptions,” Vetsch suggested.

IANS

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