Did you know, sitting for long hours at a stretch can give you high blood pressure and increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and cancer? In fact, any extended sitting such as at a desk, behind a wheel, or in front of a screen can be harmful.
When we sit, we use less energy as compared to standing or moving. Research has linked sitting for long periods of time with several health concerns. They include obesity and a cluster of conditions -- high blood sugar, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels. Prolonged periods of sitting also seem to increase the risk of death from cardiovascular disease and Cancer.
Several studies done to understand the link between sitting time and health risk factors found that those who sat for more than eight hours a day with no physical activity, faced similar risks of dying as posed by obesity or smoking. Therefore, living a sedentary lifestyle can be dangerous to your health. The less sitting or lying down you do during the day, the better your chances for living a healthy life. We know that due to the pandemic, most people are confined to their homes and work-from-home has added up to more working hours, leading to long sitting hours in front of the screens. But the health impact it has is manifold.
How long sitting hours affect your body: Humans are built to stand upright. Our heart and cardiovascular system work more effectively that way. Our bowel function is also more efficient when we are upright. It is common for people who are bedridden in the hospital to experience problems with their bowel function, isn't it? Similarly, sitting for long or being inactive for prolonged hours can be very harmful to health.
Leg and gluteals (bum muscles): Sitting for long periods can lead to weakening and wasting away of the large leg and gluteal muscles. These large muscles are important for walking and for stabilizing us. If these muscles are weak, we are more likely to get injured from falls, and from exercises.
Metabolic problems leading to heart diseases and stroke: Moving the muscles helps our body digest the fats and sugars we eat. If we spend a lot of time sitting, digestion is not as efficient, so the body will retain those fats and sugars.
Hip and joint problems: Sitting causes our hip flexor muscles to shorten, which can lead to problems with hip joints. Sitting for long periods can also cause problems with the back, especially if one consistently sits with poor posture or doesn't use an ergonomically designed chair or workstation. Even if you exercise but end up spending a large amount of time sitting, you are still at risk of health problems such as Metabolic Syndrome.
Cancer: Emerging studies suggest that the dangers of sitting include increasing your chances of developing some types of Cancer, including lung, uterine, and colon cancers.
How to stay active and healthy during work time: Prolonged sitting as bad as smoking a daily cigarette pack a day. When you are active your levels and endurance improves, and your bones maintain strength. You might start by simply standing rather than sitting when you have the chance, or finding ways to walk while you work.
Every 30 minutes, take a break from sitting
Stand while talking on the phone or while watching television
If you work at a desk, try a standing desk or improvise with a high table or counter
Position your work surface above a treadmill with a computer screen and keyboard on a stand or a specialized treadmill-ready vertical desk, so that you can be in motion throughout the day
The impact of movement, even leisurely movement, can be profound. For starters, you will burn more calories. This might lead to weight loss and increased energy levels. Also, physical activity helps maintain muscle tone and leads us to overall mental well-being.
Read More► A Guide to Steer Clear of Monsoon Diseases
Beijing, July 22 (IANS) People infected with the Delta variant of Covid-19 produce far more virus than those infected with the original version of coronavirus making it very easy to spread, according to a study.Researchers at the Guangdong Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention in China found that viral load -- a measure of the density of viral particles in the body -- is roughly 1,000 times higher in people infected with the Delta variant than those infected with the original coronavirus strain, Nature reported.According to current estimates, the Delta variant could be more than twice as transmissible as the original strain of SARS-CoV-2, the virus causing Covid-19. The variant, which was first identified in India in late 2020, has now become the predominant strain and has spread to at least 111 countries.The team tracked 62 people who were quarantined after exposure to Covid-19 and tested their viral load every day throughout the course of infection to see how it changed over time. Researchers then compared participants' infection patterns with those of 63 people who contracted the original SARS-CoV-2 strain in 2020.The findings, posted preprint, showed that the virus was first detectable in people with the Delta variant four days after exposure. On the other hand, the original strain took an average six days to be present in people. This suggests that Delta replicates much faster, said epidemiologist Jing Lu at China's CDC.Individuals infected with Delta also had viral loads up to 1,260 times higher than those in people infected with the original strain.The combination of a high number of viruses and a short incubation period makes sense as an explanation for Delta's heightened transmissibility, Benjamin Cowling, epidemiologist at the University of Hong Kong was quoted as saying to Nature.Those infected with Delta carry a high number of viruses in the respiratory tract, which means that they can become superspreaders and infect more people. Moreover, a short incubation makes contact tracing more difficult, the researchers noted."Putting it all together, Delta's really difficult to stop," Cowling says.--IANSrvt/vd
The monsoon season brings with it both positives and negatives into our lives, which includes wider scope for infections and bacteria to grow and infest with that humidity in the air. We see people falling ill one after the other, that is because infections tend to stay alive for much longer than usual in an environment that is much better for them to grow in. The rainy season also has a greater number of patients with vaginal infection (or vaginal yeast infection) on its case.
Bharathi Ramesh, doctor and Consultant Obstetrics & Gynaecology, Motherhood Hospitals, says: "Women need to be extra careful during the rainy season as the chances of viral, fungal, and bacterial diseases increases. Hence, it is important for women to pay attention to their vaginal hygiene during monsoon season. If you do not take timely action, you might have to spend the monsoon in a lot of pain and discomfort."
Why are there a higher number of vaginal infections during monsoon?
"As we know that with the rain comes humidity and with that comes a lot of infections. The privates of women are already very moist and the added moisture and humidity in the environment only adds to that and causes accelerated infection in the vaginal area. It is also said that the pH levels of the vaginal during monsoons (humidity) drop which in turn increases the chances of a female getting a vaginal infection. With the monsoon, getting caught in a situation where you might get drenched is high and wearing clothes that are wet and are touching your privates for a long time becomes an invitation for bacteria and infection to infest and there is a higher percentage of catching an infection."
Here are some common symptoms of vaginal infection:
Rashes near the private parts
Redness around the private parts
Mild swelling around private parts
Burning sensation while having sexual intercourse or urinating
Vaginal discharge, which is thick, curdy white or greenish yellow or discharge with bad odour
How can women prevent themselves from infection during monsoon season? The doctor suggests:
One should make sure to keep their vagina always dry during the monsoon. It is necessary to wipe after you urinate. Dry private parts during monsoon can be a preventative measure.
Avoid wearing clothes, that are drenched in the water, for a long period of time. Wet clothes help accelerate the growth of the infection of bacteria.
One should maintain proper vaginal hygiene. Clean your private parts with lukewarm water (make sure it is not too hot) and avoid any kind of soap. Clean your privates at least two times a day to be on the safer side.
Maintaining good menstrual hygiene is also important as the sanitary napkin or the tampon is storing blood and the bacteria in the blood can generate very quickly in an environment that is humid and moist. So, changing the pad or tampons every 2 to 3 hours is a good idea, better still use a menstrual cup instead of using sanitary napkins or tampons. They are better for avoiding any kind of infection and environmentally friendly as well.
Some doctors recommend that avoiding spicy foods during monsoon can help in reducing the chances of you getting an infection, however tempting it might be with all the street vendors all around you.
Wear cotton underwear as it is very mild to the skin and has good breathability as well. It will keep the privates more at ease.
It is recommended to keep a bottle of water with you wherever you go. Staying hydrated is very important.
Wear airy clothes and avoid wearing tight denim jeans or shorts which restricts the breathability of the private parts. Tight clothes increase the risk of retaining sweat in the vaginal area which can lead to rashes and redness in the privates. (Puja Gupta)
Read More ► How to maintain good sexual hygiene
New York, July 10 (IANS) A new study of antibodies produced in saliva after Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine shows both importance of second vaccine dose and updating vaccines to combat new variants of concern.The study showed that the number of antibodies produced and protection offered by vaccination increased substantially after the second vaccine dose was given, showing the importance of receiving the second dose.The team, including Nicole Schneiderhan-Marra at the University of Tubingen, also examined whether it offered protection against Alpha and Beta variants.They found that while there was no reduction in neutralising antibodies against the Alpha variant, there was a substantial reduction in neutralising antibodies against the Beta variant, indicated the study, presented at the European Congress of Clinical Microbiology & Infectious Diseases.To see how the protection offered by the vaccine changed for different variants, the team firstly profiled the antibodies generated by vaccination and then examined their neutralising capacity.In addition to antibodies circulating within the blood, they checked for the presence of antibodies in saliva as a "first line of defence".To do this, they adapted a previously developed assay that measures the antibodies present against SARS-CoV-2 and other coronaviruses in the blood, to include targets from variants of concern and to look specifically at the neutralising antibodies.They collected samples from 23 vaccinated individuals (age 26-58 years, 22 per cent female) who had been vaccinated with the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine after the first and second doses.For control groups, the team also collected samples from 35 infected blood donors, 27 infected saliva donors and 49 non-infected saliva donors and also control samples of blood and saliva sourced commercially from before the pandemic began from different age groups.When looking at the saliva, they saw that vaccinated individuals had large amounts of antibodies present compared to infected individuals, suggesting that vaccination not only offers protection against becoming infected but should you become infected, it reduces the possibility of you transmitting it to others.--IANSvc/pgh
New York, July 4 (IANS) History of severe pain episodes and coexisting organ conditions increase the risk of severe Covid-19 illness, including hospitalisation, in individuals living with sickle cell disease (SCD) -- common inherited red blood cell disorder, finds a study.SCD can cause severe pain, joint and organ damage, and stroke; these conditions predispose individuals with SCD to worse outcomes with infections, including infection with Covid-19.The study, published in the journal Blood Advances, found that pain was the most common presenting symptom during Covid-19 illness in both children and adults living with SCD, and that many patients only had pain as their presenting Covid-19 symptom."This means individuals with sickle cell disease who come to the hospital presenting with pain should also be tested for Covid-19," said Lana Mucalo, from the Medical College of Wisconsin.Children living with SCD who had previously suffered more than two pain events requiring acute care were 2.2 times more likely to be hospitalised for Covid-19 and more than three times likely to suffer severe Covid illness.Those with more than two prior acute care visits for pain were 1.8 times more likely to be hospitalised with Covid and 1.9 times more likely to suffer severe Covid-19 illness.SCD-related heart, lung, and kidney conditions were associated with higher risk of severe illness in children, while SCD-related heart and lung conditions were also associated with higher risk of hospitalisation. However, these conditions did not have the same effect in adults."This study tells us that all individuals with sickle cell disease are not at equal levels of risk. Patients with a history of pain, as well as individuals with coexisting organ conditions, need to be even more careful to avoid Covid-19 infection than those without any comorbidities," Mucalo said.For the study, the team assessed reports on 750 children and adults between March 2020 and March 2021.About half of the patients were taking hydroxyurea, and the researchers found that hydroxyurea use was associated with lower risk of presenting with pain during Covid-19 in adults living with SCD.However, hydroxyurea did not affect whether an individual would develop a serious case of Covid-19 or need to be hospitalised in children or adults. Further studies are needed to understand the effects of hydroxyurea, they said.--IANSrvt/dpb
New York, July 2 (IANS) Many people experienced serious Covid-19 infection leading to hospitalisation and even death, while some people escaped with milder symptoms.The reason: They had prior run-ins with other coronaviruses -- the ones that cause about a quarter of the common colds kids get, according to a study.Researchers from the Stanford University in the US showed that in such people, the immune cells are better equipped to mobilise quickly against SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for Covid-19.The immune cells, called killer T-cells, roam through the blood and lymph, park in tissues and carry out stop-and-frisk operations on resident cells. The study, published in the journal Science Immunology, showed that killer T-cells taken from the sickest Covid-19 patients exhibit fewer signs of having had previous run-ins with common-cold-causing coronaviruses.Many of these killer T cells were in "memory" mode, said Mark Davis, Professor of microbiology and immunology at the Stanford's School of Medicine."Memory cells are by far the most active in infectious-disease defense. They're what you want to have in order to fight off a recurring pathogen. They're what vaccines are meant to generate," Davis said.For the study, the team analysed blood samples taken from healthy donors before the Covid-19 pandemic began, meaning they'd never encountered SARS-CoV-2 -- although many presumably had been exposed to common-cold-causing coronavirus strains.They found that Covid-19 patients with milder symptoms tended to have lots of killer-T memory cells directed at peptides SARS-CoV-2 shared with other coronavirus strains.Sicker patients' expanded killer T-cell counts were mainly among those T-cells typically targeting peptides unique to SARS-CoV-2 and, thus, probably had started from scratch in their response to the virus."It may be that patients with severe Covid-19 hadn't been infected, at least not recently, by gentler coronavirus strains, so they didn't retain effective memory killer T cells," Davis said.--IANSrvt/arm