Many people believe that heart disease typically affects men. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of mortality not only among men, but also among women. But women are actually at greater risk if not detected early, and this exacerbates the issue.
Signs of poor heart health do not appear as visibly in women as it does in men. What this means is that if a man has a heart issue, there are specific symptoms like angina which can be spotted easily and the right course of action be recommended. The same issue in a woman may not result in a sign or symptom that can be easily spotted. So often, their symptoms go ignored or unrecognised and they do not receive timely intervention to correct the problem. The issue is so acute that today 1 in 3 deaths among women is due to coronary heart disease.
There is also a significant lack of self-awareness among women about risk factors and the prevention of CVDs. Women don't only attend to matters of the home, but they hold positions at leading companies, and continue to rise to the occasion and meet impossible demands on their time. Through all of this, they take care of the emotional needs of their family members and loved ones; and still culturally are predisposed to putting the needs of others before their own. The stress they experience, among other common risk factors, often goes unnoticed by those around them. And stress has a greater influence on CVD risk in women vs men. Along with stress, other factors like diet quantity and quality also have a greater influence on CVD risk in women vs men. Additionally, women are also impacted by female-specific risk factors for CVD like polycystic Ovarian syndrome PCOS, preeclampsia, pregnancy induced hypertension and gestational diabetes.
In such a situation where symptoms of a heart problem do not manifest visibly, it is extremely important for women to be aware of their own risk factors and adopt proactive measures to take care of their heart health. For example, one risk factor, stress has been linked to a greater intake of energy and nutrient-dense foods, mainly sources of sugar and fat, and to poor diet quality. Women can take simple steps like reducing unhealthy fats and products with high content of sugar and salt to improve the quality of their diet. Choose ingredients that are good for the heart, like oatmeal, wholegrains, fiber rich vegetables, blended oils with the right balance of fatty acids, legumes, soy products, and the like. Regular and consistent exercise, adequate sleep, and other such lifestyle modifications can help maintain heart health in the long term.
Furthermore with signs of poor heart health not manifesting visibly in women, it is crucial that they get regular health check-ups done to assess their risk proactively. Self-awareness and early identification of cardiovascular risk factors can lead to better prevention of CVD in women.
This World Heart Day, let's choose self-care. Get a simple heart check-up done and encourage other women in yourselves too, to get the same done. Take proactive steps for heart health today.
(By Brajesh Kunwar)
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Mental illnesses in various forms have been a major health burden globally in recent years. Unhealthy lifestyles, poor eating habits and rise in work-related stress are factors that are contributing to the rising incidence of anxiety and depression. Psychotic drugs in treating anxiety and depression are effective but offer only symptomatic relief. Long-term intake of drugs often leads to dependence without preventing further illness or providing a comprehensive solution to improving mental health.
People suffering from poor mental health can reap rich and long-term benefits by adopting the ancient Indian practice of Yoga in their daily lives. Yoga helps in maintaining good mental and physical health. It harmonises our body and mind and restores our emotional balance. There is growing evidence that Yoga can have a positive impact on depression, anxiety and those who have Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). When adopted as a daily practice, yoga can help calm down the mind and prevent the development of mental illnesses.
Stress is the root cause of several lifestyle diseases. Yoga adopts a scientific approach of exercising and relaxing to ease the stress of modern day living. Yoga also contributes to improving memory, sleep and even quality of life in elderly persons with mild memory impairment.
Here are some poses that help improve mental health besides providing other health benefits:
Shashankasana or Child's Pose
This asana stimulates your nervous system thereby re-energizing your whole body. This asana is basically a resting pose somehow resembling a child in fetal position. It is performed by sitting down on the knees and then bending forward so that the chest touches the thighs, and the forehead touches the ground. Stretch the arms forward. If performed with precision regularly, the performer will notice a sense of mental, physical, and emotional comfort descending upon him/her. Like most yoga asanas, this one, too, should be performed on an empty stomach or at least six hours after a meal. However, people suffering from high blood pressure and back pain should avoid this asana.
This inverted pose is one of the best yoga asanas for improving blood circulation towards the head. It helps to calm anxiety, treat depression and insomnia besides regulating blood flow. This pose can be performed by lying down flat on your back. Keep the legs together. While inhaling raise the legs, buttocks and the trunk and support the hips on the palm. The trunk is held at 45 degrees angle to the ground. Breathe normally in this position. To return, lower the legs over the head and keep the hands down while exhaling. Bring the spine and the legs down.
This yoga pose is thought to be therapeutic for people suffering from high blood pressure, asthma, sinusitis, infertility and osteoporosis. It also helps to relieve mild depression and beat insomnia as it is highly beneficial as a relaxation tool. To perform this pose, stand straight. Raise your hands from the front to above your head as you inhale slowly. Bend backwards from the upper back and maintain the position with normal breathing.
This pose is typically performed at the end of yoga routines and helps boost mental health and relaxes the body. Lie flat on your back, keeping the body straight and hands at the sides with palms facing upwards. Close your eyes and hold the position for at least five minutes. Even pregnant women can practice this asana as it will help them prevent prenatal depression, a prevalent mental disorder in women during pregnancy.
It should be noted that the above-mentioned yogic practices are to be learned in a gradual manner under the supervision of a yoga expert. Yoga enables a practitioner to expand their mental faculties and achieve a greater acceptance of self and others, which ultimately leads to calmer approach to the life.
Yoga encourages practitioners to experience an open heart. Many yogic philosophers consider the entire practice to be about metaphorically connecting to our hearts. Within the chakra system, the heart lies in the middle of the seven chakras. Asanas such as arda chakrasana (back bend), kapotasana (pigeon pose), and ustrasana (camel pose) encourage the expansion of the centre of the chest which is the location of the anahata chakra, the yogic heart centre. Visualizations and pranyams in yoga also encourage open heartedness.
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Bhopal- A team of scientists at the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Bhopal have in a review identified the biomolecular relationships between Covid-19, ageing, and diabetes.
The review, published in the journal Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, presented that existing drugs used to treat diabetes, obesity and ageing can potentially be used to treat Covid-19. Similar naturally existing biomolecules were also explored in combination for the Covid treatment.
"There are classes of compounds such as polyphenols found in plant-based food, curcumin (found in turmeric), and resveratrol (found in grapes), have been shown to not only slow down the ageing process, but also possess anti-viral properties," said Dr. Amjad Husain, Principal Scientist, and CEO of Innovation and Incubation Center for Entrepreneurship (IICE), IISER Bhopal, in a statement.
Some other polyphenols that the researchers have identified as being useful for both Covid-19 treatment and comorbidity conditions such as diabetes and ageing may include catechins (present in green tea, cocoa and berries), procyanidins (found in apples, cinnamon and grape skin), and theaflavin (found in black tea).
The researchers also present evidence of some existing potential anti-ageing drugs such as Rapamycin that can be explored for the Covid-19 treatment because of the common biochemical pathways associated with these diseases. Another such example is a drug Metformin , which is usually used to control blood sugar.
The review showed that at the molecular level, there are intersecting pathways that are common to diabetes, ageing, and Covid-19. All three conditions are associated with oxidative stress and lowering of the immune response and complications arising from them lead to the onset of numerous other diseases such as cardiovascular disorders, eye diseases, neuropathy (nerve diseases), and nephropathy (kidney problems).
The researchers believe that an ideal therapeutic candidate for Covid-19 should be able to target the pathways that are common to diabetes, ageing and the SARS-CoV-2 infection.
Further, computational studies showed that lipids present in cell membranes play an important role in coronavirus infectivity.
Natural compounds such as polyphenols may affect the binding of the virus to host receptors and the molecular interactions required for virus replication and release, thereby stopping the infection in its early stages, the team explained.
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Ministry of Ayush has recently noticed safety concerns on use of Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) that were published in social media and in some scientific journals.
This advisory is being issued to confirm that Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) is safe to use but some similar looking plants like Tinospora crispa may be harmful. Guduchi is a popularly known herb, familiar as Giloy and is being used in therapeutics since long in AYUSH systems.
There are good number of studies published in peer reviewed indexed Journals to substantiate safety and efficacy of Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia). Its hepato-protective properties are also well established. Guduchi is known for its immense therapeutic applications and the practices are regulated in accordance with various applicable provisions.
It is observed that different species of Tinospora are available and only Tinospora cordifolia should be used in therapeutics, whereas similar looking species like Tinospora crispa may manifest adverse effects.
Ministry of Ayush has a well-established system of Pharmacovigilance (for reporting of suspected adverse drug reactions from Ayush medication), with its network spreading across all over India. If any suspected adverse event occurs after intake of Ayush medicine it may be reported to the nearby Pharmacovigilance centre through an Ayush physician. Further it is advised to take Ayush medicine and treatment under supervision and consultation of a registered Ayush physician only. (PIB)
Guidelines issued by Ministry of Ayush-
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Chennai, Sep 6 (IANS) Bringing down tax and providing subsidies can help decrease lead pollution that has the potential to harm the mental and physical health of people, as well as contaminate the environment, according to a study by researchers at the Indian Institutes of Technology - Madras and Kanpur.The study, published in the journal Resources, Conservation and Recycling, used a system dynamics model to explore the implications of economic policies quantitatively on the recycling of used lead-acid batteries.Lead is used in various industries such as paints, cosmetics, dyes, ammunition, and jewellery, among numerous others, but the battery sector remains the major consumer of this metal by utilising 85 per cent of the production.While recycling is a good way to deal with scarcity as well as pollution, proper recycling of lead is still a concern due to mushrooming of the unregulated battery recycling sector alongside the regulated ones.The team suggested policy guidelines such as reducing the tax on the regulated recycling sector and providing subsidies to regulated recycling and remanufacturing sectors to reduce lead pollution from lead-acid battery (LAB) recycling.A very high subsidy to the formal remanufacturing sector can also lead to the shutting down of both regulated and unregulated recycling sectors, they said."The insufficiency of primary lead sources to satisfy the demand makes the recycling of used batteries necessary. However, the unscientific way of recycling by the unregulated sector poses serious environmental and health threats due to the high amount of lead excretion," said Professor R.K. Amit, Department of Management Studies, IIT Madras, in a statement."We studied to quantitatively assess the impact of different policy instruments on shifting the recycling business from unorganised to the organised sector in India," he added.As per a recent report by UNICEF, approximately a third of the world's children, including 27.5 crore Indian children, have higher exposure to lead as their blood lead levels have 5 micrograms per decilitre or more -- levels which are hazardous to their health.Though high lead levels are equally harmful to grown-ups, the high levels of lead in children are known to reduce IQ, decrease attention span, cause anaemia, kidney and liver disorders, among other issues in children."From the implementation point of view, the policymakers can consider the results of this study to frame policies and rules for the LAB recycling activity in India," Amit said.--IANSrvt/vd
New Delhi, Sep 6 (IANS) The Supreme Court on Monday declined to entertain a PIL seeking constitution of an international body of experts to examine if the Covid-19 Delta variant could be a synthetic pathogen.A bench headed by Justice D.Y. Chandrachud told counsel that a prayer in the petition seeks direction for constitution of an international expert body, which comprises of experts from China. "You must go to the government. We have no jurisdiction on Chinese and US citizens (to be included on this task force)."The bench, also comprising Justices Vikram Nath and Hima Kohli, added: "We will rather focus on managing pandemic in our country than delving into conspiracy theories involving other nations." Justice Chandrachud told the petitioner's counsel that he had the power to move the government, as the government is meant for people. "These are matters of policy," said the top court, as it declined to entertain the plea.The plea, filed by Mumbai-based researcher and Abhinav Bharat Congress trustee Pankaj K. Phadnis, had also sought to apprise the apex court on the steps taken to prevent Covid third wave and added that the variant first found in India is now the dominant virus strain in the world, bringing condemnation upon India in the eyes of the world.The plea argued that the Covid tragedy is not yet over, and people are all forced to live under serious restrictions awaiting the third wave. It further sought direction to the Centre to scientifically keep track of any further mutation that might occur in future.--IANSss/vd