With people being contained to their homes this year as well, one may consider stepping up your workout routine. Aerobic exercises are not only beneficial to build strong bones, improve muscle strength, endurance and flexibility, but also to reduce the risk of heart disease, hypertension, stroke, diabetes and some cancers.
The benefits go beyond physical with research suggesting that it may improve your thinking and memory in just six months.
"Walking, running, bicycling, swimming and cross country are a few popular aerobic activities. To get the most out of your aerobic exercise, flexibility and strength training exercise should be worked into your fitness routine," says orthopaedic sports surgeon Vonda Wright, MD, FAAOS.
To strengthen your cardiovascular system, it is important to increase your heart rate for 20 to 60 minutes at your target heart rate each time you exercise. Exercising at your target heart rate ensures your body is exerting enough energy to reap the benefits. To accurately track how hard your body is working, calculate your target heart rate and track beats per a minute. A general calculation to determine your target heart rate is 220 minus your age.
"The FITT principle of exercise is an effective guideline to follow for aerobic activity," says Dr Wright.
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"Standing for frequency, intensity, time and type, the FITT principle can provides the building blocks for an optimal workout. No matter what you're trying to achieve or how your goals change over time-toning up, improving strength, speed, or endurance, or losing weight-you can seamlessly apply the FITT Principle to stay on track. The key is to keep your heart rate steady and to exercise to your fitness level in order avoid injury."
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons suggests these safety tips to eliminate injury while taking part in aerobic activity.
Consult your doctor. If you have a pre-existing condition, are overweight, a smoker or haven't been active in a while, consult with your physician before beginning a new exercise routine.
Wear appropriate shoes. When selecting a pair of running shoes, look for good shock absorption and construction that will provide stability and cushioning to the foot. Make sure that there is a thumbnail's width between the end of the longest toe and the end of the shoe. Buy shoes at the end of the day when your foot is the largest.
Warm up and stretch. Warm up with some easy calisthenics, such as jumping jacks. Continue with walking or light running for five minutes. Gentle stretching of the back, hamstrings can be helpful.
Cool down and stretch. Never skip stretching at the end. Stretching can help reduce muscle soreness and keep muscles long and flexible. Slowly and gently stretch after activity, holding each stretch for 30 seconds.
Hydrate. Even mild levels of dehydration can hurt athletic performance. If you have not had enough fluids, your body will not be able to effectively cool itself through sweat and evaporation.
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A large number of recovered patients from Covid-19 have encountered heart problems and even patients with existing heart problems have felt its effects. The virus can lead to heart injury, heart failure, stroke, and damage to your heart say, doctors.
"People with heart problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other co-morbidities fall into the high-risk category as they get sick from Covid. The virus not only affects the lungs and the brain but your heart as well. There is a steep rise in post-Covid patients with cardiac issues like breathing problems, chest tightness and pain, sudden palpitations, heart attack, myocarditis, swelling of the heart, low pumping capacity, heart failure, blood clotting, and arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat). The reason behind heart damage can be attributed to high levels of inflammation in one's body. As the body's immune system tackles the virus, the inflammatory process damages some healthy tissues, including the heart," said Pramod Narkhede, Cardiologist, Apollo Clinic, Pune.
Narkhede added, "Covid infection impacts the inner surfaces of one's veins and arteries that lead to blood vessel inflammation, damage to small vessels, compromising blood flow to the heart and even other parts of the body. Once you spot signs like dizziness, light-headedness, sudden palpitation, hypertension, vomiting, sweating, and shortness of breath then consult your doctor."
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Narayan Gadkar, Consultant Cardiologist, Zen Multispeciality Hospital, Chembur, highlighted, "If there is plaque build-up in the arteries then the virus will lead to a heart attack. That is why one's with Covid are at a higher risk of a heart attack. Covid caused mortality and morbidity in patients with heart disease. Covid has led to cardiac injury in people who were free of any heart disease. There will be an advancement of heart disease in people with pre-existing heart conditions. Patients with dilated cardiomyopathy need to take enough care as it can also worsen after Covid-19."
Gadkar added, "Or even if you have uncontrolled hypertension then your arteries will be damaged owing to the high blood pressure. Covid will directly attack one's heart and you will have serious complications as your heart muscles are already under stress owing to the high blood pressure. This will lead to inflammation of the heart muscle that is myocarditis due to the overactive immune response produced by the body owing to the virus. Thus, heart failure can occur in such a situation. Covid-19 could presage heart failure that is a chronic, progressive condition wherein heart's ability to pump blood throughout the body declines at a rapid rate."
Those who have developed chest pain post-Covid recovery or those who have minor heart problems already and got infected with Covid-19 should go for cardiac tests to determine the functioning of the heart, the doctors say.
It is the need of the hour to embrace a healthy lifestyle and take care of your heart. Don't forget to go for regular follow-ups, too. Try to take care of your heart by exercising regularly, eating a well-balanced diet, and adhere to Covid protocol.
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Geneva, June 7 (IANS) The World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday released a handbook to help countries measure their foodborne disease burden and identify food safety system needs.The handbook, released on the occasion of World Food Safety Day, can also help countries assess the causes, magnitude and distribution of foodborne diseases, strengthen national infrastructure and better protect people's health.World Food Safety Day is observed on June 7 every year. This year's theme is 'Safe food today for a healthy tomorrow'."Food should sustain and support human health, not harm it," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement."WHO's new handbook will help countries collect and analyse data to inform sustained investments in food safety. The Covid-19 pandemic has demonstrated the intimate links between the health of humans, animals and the planet that sustains us."WHO will continue to work with partners with a One Health approach to keep communities safe from foodborne disease," he said.Every year, 600 million cases of foodborne illnesses are reported. In 2010, 4,20,000 people died due to diseases such as salmonella and E.coli infection, a third of them children under five years of age.This figure is estimated to increase year after year, but it is difficult to get a clear picture of the real impact foodborne diseases are having around the world.In 2020, the World Health Assembly had adopted a new resolution mandating the WHO to monitor the global burden of foodborne and zoonotic diseases at the national, regional and international levels and to report on the global burden of foodborne diseases with up-to-date estimates.--IANSrvt/arm
Liver disease is a serious concern in India with more than 10 lakh cases being reported every year. Late diagnosis often leads to detection of the condition when it is at end-stage or liver cirrhosis has occurred, during which time it is difficult to treat and it could lead to death, says Rajiv Lochan, Lead Consultant HPB and Transplant Surgery, Aster RV Hospital.
The World Health Organisation has reported that liver disease is the tenth most common cause of death in India with liver cancer being the fourth common cause of cancer-related deaths.
"A pandemic like situation can be dangerous for people suffering from liver disease as they are at a higher risk of suffering from severe complications from a virus such as Covid-19. A case in point is the earlier SARS epidemic, during which liver damage was observed in more than half of the afflicted patients. During the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, it has been observed that a significant percentage of patients develop liver dysfunction, particularly those suffering from severe Covid-19," says Lochan.
He adds, "While more research and observation is required to fully understand the link, possible reasons for this could be the impact of the virus on the liver, an undesirable immune response from the body which impacts the liver, sepsis, or medication-related liver injury. During the second wave of the pandemic, more people are reporting with GI symptoms which indicate the potential of the virus to infiltrate and attack organs in the body apart from the lungs. Needless to say, patients with liver conditions need to take extra care of their body and health during this time. People who indulge in certain lifestyle habits that contribute to liver damage but who haven't seen any outward symptoms of liver disease may also find that contracting the coronavirus results in more liver-related symptoms."
Individuals with pre-existing liver disease appear to be at a significant risk of complications from the Covid-19 infection. Various studies are underway to ascertain the exact impact of this virus infection on such patients.
According to Lochan, these are some simple ways to care for your liver, with particular relevance to the current pandemic:
Avoid binge-drinking alcohol at all costs
With more time on hand people are turning to unhealthy habits such as regular drinking/binge drinking which is a major cause of liver damage. Excessive alcohol puts the system on overdrive to process the toxins in the system, the brunt of which is taken up by the liver. Smoking is equally bad for the liver and heavy drinkers often tend to smoke. Use this time to ease off of these addictions.
Eat a liver-friendly diet
The liver's function is to detoxify. Consuming fruits and vegetables which help keep the liver healthy and functioning effectively are important to prevent liver damage. Some examples are antioxidant rich fruits such as berries, green tea, healthy fats such as olive oil, fatty fish, avocado, bananas, nuts, and green leafy vegetables like spinach, fibrous foods such as whole grains, garlic, etc are beneficial to the liver. Highly refined, processed, high sodium, loaded with artificial sugars such as most ready to eat food items, fried food, and excessive maida prepared items are unsuitable for liver health.
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Do not forget to exercise
Please devote extra time to exercise. Medical studies increasingly show that exercise is most essential for liver health. Regular exercise which increases the heart rate to 80 per cent of the target heart rate, at least 4 times a week helps in keeping the liver healthy. If you have any specific illnesses, do discuss this exercise regime with your doctor before taking it on.
Obesity is a prime cause of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. If you are overweight, use this time to reduce and maintain a healthy weight for your body type. If you are at a healthy weight, avoid turning to healthy foods to deal with boredom, stress etc and continue practising a healthy diet and lifestyle. Genetics can also play a role if liver disease runs in the family; use this time to get liver function tests.
Even seemingly skinny people can accumulate fat around the liver, leading to fatty liver disease as demonstrated by various studies in India. We are on the verge of a fatty liver disease epidemic and this can be easily accentuated by the current pandemic.
Practice safe behaviours and be responsible
Unsanitary needles and unprotected sex can lead to Hepatitis B and C, which is part of a group of viruses that can attack the liver. Unhygienic tattoo parlours, injecting drugs, basically any needles that have come in contact with an infected individual's blood and reintroduced into a healthy person can lead to liver disease. Taking vaccination can help reduce the risk of contracting the disease. Wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing is still the most effective way to not contract the disease. Given the long drawn out nature of this pandemic, its economic consequences and social isolation it demands, a nihilistic attitude has set in with society (including administrators and regulators) as a whole having developed fatigue and has thrown these simple measures out of the window. This attitude is partly responsible for the current surge in infections. Being responsible to oneself and to one another is key.
If eligible, take the Covid vaccine
It is strongly recommended that you take these vaccines if suffering from any chronic liver ailment or are otherwise eligible. Please discuss this with your treating doctor.
Identifying and arresting liver disease early is important to prevent the need for long-term management of the disease. In the middle of the ongoing pandemic, if you experience any of the following symptoms -- jaundice, water retention and swelling in the legs and feet, unexplainable fatigue, strong odour from urine and dark yellow colour, severe and unbearable abdominal pain, vomiting, itchy skin, please visit a doctor for consultation.
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Gurugram, June 3 (IANS) A 10-year-old boy, Vinay (name changed), who belongs to an economically weaker section, suffered a major penetrating injury in the chest while playing with his friends.A sharp object penetrated the front of his chest and within minutes he lost consciousness and was unable to breathe. His family rushed him to a nearby hospital where he was given first aid. As the child's condition was deteriorating rapidly, he was referred to the Artemis Hospital in Gurugram and upon reaching an Emergency room, it was found that he was not breathing, and his heart had also stopped working. Immediately, the Pediatrics and Emergency team initiated Resuscitation (CPR) to revive the child. There was severe blood loss already which was not stopping and made it certain that there is a major injury to the heart.His heartbeat and breathing had stopped because of the massive blood loss from the injury. Immediately a tube was inserted (ICD placement) on the left side of the chest to relieve pressure on the heart and lungs. Around 500 ml of frank blood came out with a gush. Realizing the critical situation of the child, Dr Aseem R Srivastava (Head of Pediatric Cardiac Surgery), Artemis hospital was called in and the child was rushed to the Paediatric Cardiac Surgery Operation Theatre with ongoing CPR.Thereafter, Dr Aseem along with his team opened the breast bone (bone in the front of the chest) to realize that there was a 2 cm penetrating hole in the heart that was spurting blood all over and the chest was full of blood.He performed the surgery and the injury was repaired with sutures and the cardiac massage was continued until the lost blood was replaced. After this surgery the blood pressure picked up gradually and his heart rate and heartbeat stabilized. Dr Aseem said, "There was a penetrating wound in the right ventricle of heart which was repaired. With such massive cardiac injury, survival is rare and unheard of. Most people die before reaching the hospital because of massive blood loss. This child survived because the team identified immediately that the heart has been punctured. Post surgery, the patient stayed on ventilator support, in the Pediatric Cardiac ICU, for about 2 days and started breathing on his own on the third day of surgery. He later walked out of the hospital with absolutely normal situation". Dr Devlina Chakravarty, Managing Director, Artemis Hospitals said, "We are more than happy to see the child back with his family that too perfectly recovered". "We are grateful to the doctors and entire team of the Hospital who gave our child second life. We don't have enough words to thank them," Vinay's parents said. --IANS str/bg
New York, May 28 (IANS) People with genetic high cholesterol, heart disease or both, and infected with Covid-19 can be more at risk of heart attacks, according to new research.Familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) is a common genetic condition that increases an individual's risk for cardiovascular disease by up to 20-fold due to lifelong elevated low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels.The study, published in the American Journal of Preventive Cardiology, also confirms that Covid-19 increases heart attack rates in individuals with established atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD)."Probable FH" individuals with pre-existing ASCVD who contracted Covid had heart attacks at a seven-times greater annual rate than their counterparts who did not contract the virus, the researchers said."This study is a call to action to diagnose individuals with this deadly genetic condition who are hiding in plain sight within our healthcare system, and take particular precautions related to Covid-19 infections. FH is an untapped opportunity for heart disease prevention," said Mary McGowan, chief medical officer for the FH Foundation.For the study, the team performed an analysis of 55,412,462 individuals, separating groups into six matched cohorts including diagnosed FH, probable FH, and ASCVD, with and without Covid-19 infection.The researchers found that rates of heart attacks were highest in those with a Covid-19 diagnosis and the presence of diagnosed FH or probable FH with known ASCVD."These results are significant because these data underscore the importance of understanding if individuals have underlying cardiovascular disease or genetic high cholesterol when treating for Covid-19 infection or considering vaccination," said Kelly Myers, chief technology officer of the FH Foundation.--IANSrvt/sdr/