Going in for long-distance running? Get your heart screened first

marathon-1 In the past five years or so, feel experts, middle-aged Indians have picked up on the growing popularity of long-distance running.

Are you in your 40s and eager to run your first half-marathon, or are even contemplating entering into the 42 km heart-pounding endurance challenge?

Well, hold the adrenaline rush. First, take some key tests – especially related to the heart – before you hit the road with your running shoes.

In the past five years or so, feel experts, middle-aged Indians have picked up on the growing popularity of long-distance running – thanks to celebrity runners like Milind Soman – and are joining half-marathons or full races over the weekends in surging numbers.

However, a proper health screening is a must before any professional run, warn cardiologists, to rule out any underlying condition that may have serious consequences for your life.

According to Dr. Lekha Phatak, head (Cardiology) at Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital, Mumbai, running is good for the heart but middle-age people must go for a thorough cardiac check up and begin the regimen slowly.

“Nowadays, we do not guide middle-age people to run or jog. Running is good for younger people and I personally do not advise middle-aged people for long-distance running,” she told.

Anyone who has run a marathon can witness the wear and tear on his body – especially the heart.

“If a runner indulges in ‘chronic exercising,’ he or she needs to be extra cautious as it may have several damaging effects on the heart like irregular heartbeat, stiff heart muscles and building up of scar tissues on the heart,” cautions Dr Sanjat Chiwane, consultant cardiology from Columbia Asia Hospital, Gurgaon.


It is important not to compromise on heart health while increasing endurance.

“Take a professional consultation before preparing yourself for strenuous running activities. Many studies have suggested that marathons put unusual stress on the heart; so one should not participate in it frequently,” adds Dr Chiwane.

“Those with high blood pressure, we direct them not to run or take part in any marathon,” stresses Dr. Pathak.

The best precaution is to let yourself know how much your limit is.

“Assuming that for 30 years of your life, you never exercised or led an active life and suddenly decide to go for the run. It will certainly affect your body and muscles,” explains Dr. T.S. Kler, Executive Director (Cardiac Sciences) at Fortis Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre, New Delhi.

There have been several deaths – mostly of people who are in their 40s – during the long-distance run in the recent past.

In July this year, a 43-year-old man collapsed and died while running for a marathon in Borivali, Mumbai. Doctors blamed existing ailments that spiked due to exercising and sudden pressure on the organs.

In February this year, a young techie lost his life due to cardiac arrest while running the half-marathon in Bengaluru.

A senior executive in a bank suffered cardiac arrest while running the Mumbai marathon in January last year. Comatose for nine months, he finally died.

In the US last year, two runners collapsed and died near the finish lines of half-marathons while a third runner collapsed and had to be resuscitated after completing the New York City half-marathon.

A study in the past has also found the link between sudden cardiac death and marathon running. Published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the researchers found that marathon runners may harbour underlying and potentially lethal cardiovascular disease.

Although the risk of sudden cardiac death associated with such intense physical activity was one in 50,000, proper health screening is required to ensure that you are not that ill-fated person.

“Pre-participation medical evaluations are recommended before any strenuous sports activity to identify cardiovascular disease that has the potential to cause sudden cardiac death, stroke, angina or heart failure,” elaborates Dr S S Sibia, director of the well-known Sibia Medical Centre in Ludhiana.

Before you decide to run, tests like “ECG, treadmill, echo and a complete blood profile are required,” advises Dr Subhash Chandra, chairman (cardiology) at BLK Heart Centre in New Delhi.

“Those with abnormal lipid profile, hypertension, smokers and diabetics should be considered as having increased health risk for marathons,” adds Dr Sibia.

However, what experts recommend for a normal and healthy middle-aged person is to jog or run three km a day on five days a week.

“Sixty minutes of running is more than enough for a day. Give yourself a rest for a day in a week to calm your muscles,” stresses Dr Chiwane.

If you have made up your mind for the long-duration run, pay heed to these precautions:

First, consult the doctor to find out if your body is eligible to run marathon or not. Prepare yourself not just physically but mentally as well. Maintain your nutritional stores to keep your body fit. Take a break or two during marathons to rest your body, the experts emphasise. Keep yourself well hydrated, do not go overboard in your enthusiasm and look at the bigger picture.

Last but not the least, hire a good trainer who can give you a head start after examining your health thoroughly.


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Losing weight as easy as drinking a glass of water

weight loss Those in the group who were instructed to ‘preload’ with water lost, on average, 1.3 kg more than those in the control group.

Slimming can’t get any easier than this! Researchers have shown that drinking 500ml of water half-an-hour before eating the three main meals of the day may help you lose weight.

“Just drinking a pint of water, three times a day, before your main meals may help reduce your weight,” said Helen Parretti, a lecturer at the University of Birmingham.

For the study, adult obese participants were recruited from general practices and monitored over a 12-week period.

Each of the participants were given a weight management consultation, where they were advised on how to adapt their lifestyle and improve their diet and levels of physical activity.

While half of them (41 adults) of those recruited were asked to preload with water, the other half ( 43 adults) were advised to imagine that they had a full stomach before eating.

Those in the group who were instructed to ‘preload’ with water lost, on average, 1.3 kg more than those in the control group.


Those who reported preloading before all three main meals in the day reported a loss of 4.3 kg over the 12 weeks, whereas those who only preloaded once, or not at all, only lost an average of 0.8kg.

“When combined with brief instructions on how to increase your amount of physical activity and on a healthy diet, this seems to help people to achieve some extra weight loss -at a moderate and healthy rate,” Parretti pointed out.

“It is something that does not take much work to integrate into our busy everyday lives,” Parretti said.

The study was published in the journal Obesity.

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Global life expectancy rises, but people live sicker for longer

An elderly man sits at a park in Shanghai (Source: Reuters) An elderly man sits at a park in Shanghai (Source: Reuters)

People around the world are living longer, but many are also living sicker lives for longer, according to a study of all major diseases and injuries in 188 countries. (Also read: Physical activity helps the elderly stay sharp)

General health has improved worldwide, thanks to significant progress against infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria in the past decade and gains in fighting maternal and child illnesses. (Also read: Flu vaccine also protect the elderly)

But healthy life expectancy has not increased as much, so people are living more years with illness and disability, according to the analysis, published in The Lancet journal.


“The world has made great progress in health, but now the challenge is to invest in finding more effective ways of preventing or treating the major causes of illness and disability,” said Theo Vos, a professor at the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington who led the analysis.

The study’s main findings were that global life expectancy at birth for both sexes rose by 6.2 years — from 65.3 in 1990 to 71.5 in 2013. Healthy life expectancy at birth rose by 5.4 years — from 56.9 in 1990 to 62.3 in 2013.

Healthy life expectancy takes into account both mortality and the impact of non-fatal conditions and chronic illnesses like heart and lung diseases, diabetes and serious injuries. Those detract from quality of life and impose heavy cost and resources burdens.

For most of the 188 countries studied, changes in healthy life expectancy between 1990 and 2013 were “significant and positive”, the researchers said. But in many – among them Belize, Botswana and Syria – healthy life expectancy in 2013 was not much higher than in 1990.

And in some, including South Africa, Paraguay, and Belarus, healthy life expectancy has dropped. In Lesotho and Swaziland, people born in 2013 could expect to live some 10 fewer healthy years than people born there 20 years earlier.

The study also found stark differences between countries with the highest and lowest healthy life expectancies, and in the rates and direction of change.

Nicaraguans and Cambodians have seen dramatic increases since 1990, of 14.7 and 13.9 years respectively. People in Botswana and Belize, however, saw declines of two and 1.3 years respectively.

In 2013, Lesotho had the world’s lowest healthy life expectancy, at 42 years. Japan had the highest, at 73.4 years.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/global-life-expectancy-rises-but-people-live-sicker-for-longer/

Physical activity helps the elderly stay sharp

be-active The findings could soon help doctors determine how physically active you are simply by imaging your brain.

Older adults who regularly engage in moderate to vigorous physical activity perform better in mental tasks as they are more flexible in terms of brain functions, a new study says.

The findings could soon help doctors determine how physically active you are simply by imaging your brain.

“We looked at 100 adults between the ages of 60 and 80, and we used accelerometres to objectively measure their physical activity over a week,” said one of the lead researchers Agnieszka Burzynska, professor at Colorado State University in the US.

The researchers also used functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to observe how blood oxygen levels changed in the brain over time, reflecting each participant’s brain activity at rest.


They evaluated the microscopic integrity of each person’s white-matter fibers, which carry nerve impulses and interconnect the brain.

“We found that spontaneous brain activity showed more moment-to-moment fluctuations in the more-active adults,” Burzynska noted.

“In a previous study, we showed that in some of the same regions of the brain, those people who have higher brain variability also performed better on complex cognitive tasks, especially on intelligence tasks and memory,” Burzynska pointed out.

The researchers also found that, on average, older adults who were more active had better white-matter structure than their less-active peers.

The new findings were reported in the journal PLOS ONE.

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A glass of turmeric milk can help cure your child’s common cold

turmeric-milk-main According to ayurvedic experts, turmeric is an excellent herb that can help treat common cold in children (Source: Thinkstock Images)

Cold is very common in children during the rainy reason. When a child gets common cold, it is usually accompanied with headaches, fever and a runny nose. This can cause your child to get cranky and uncomfortable. While giving usual allopathy drugs can cure the cold instantly, it is better to avoid excessive usage of chemical drugs. For something as common as common cold, one can safely choose natural alternative treatments to get the desired result.

According to ayurvedic experts, turmeric is an excellent herb that can help treat common cold in children and can be taken on a regular basis without any adverse effects.

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Turmeric which is scientifically known as curcuma longa is a rhibozome (root) and belongs to the Zingiberaceae family (a plant family). Since ancient times, turmeric has been widely used in the Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines for its versatile medicinal properties. Drinking turmeric milk when suffering from common cold is a popular age-old home remedy.


The major medicinal value and health benefits of turmeric are due to its main ingredient curcumin. Curcumin serves as an anti-inflammatory agent and also possess anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. These properties make it a powerful healing agent in conditions like common cold. The anti-inflammatory action of curcumin aids in relieving the chest congestion which typically accompanies common cold. Curcumin also helps in boosting immunity and hence makes children less susceptible to such infections.

When taken with milk, the absorption of curcumin in the body is enhanced significantly leading to a quick relief from common cold.

So the next time you have a sneezy wheezy kid, you know he or she needs a glass of turmeric milk.

For more articles, log on to http://www.homeveda.com

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/a-glass-of-turmeric-milk-can-help-cure-your-childs-common-cold/

Mother’s education can affect daughter’s birth weight

mother-main Causes of low birth weight extend much further back than the time frame that is typically focused on: pregnancy

Social factors such as a woman’s education level and marital status before pregnancy can affect birth weight of her daughters and granddaughters, a new study says.

The study looked at 1,580 mother-daughter pairs, focusing on their weight at birth, marital status and education level.

“The odds of having a low-birth-weight baby were one and a half to two times greater for mothers who themselves were born low birth weight compared to mothers who were not born low birth weight,” said researcher Jennifer Kane, assistant professor of sociology at the University of California, Irvine in the US.

“But also important are social factors, including education and marital status. Putting all of these factors – both inter-generational and intra-generational – together in a single model can tell us even more,” Kane noted.


For example, education level pre-pregnancy can be transmitted from mothers to daughters across at least three generations, and this inter-generational transmission appears to affect birth weight of future generations, Kane said.

“And knowing that biological factors perpetuate the cycle – being a low-birth-weight baby makes a woman more susceptible to delivering the same – we start to see that we cannot look at these two factors separately,” she said.

This means that causes of low birth weight extend much further back than the time frame that is typically focused on: pregnancy.

The findings tie social and biological factors together in determining causes for low birth weight.
“Knowing more about what causes low birth weight can help alleviate the intergenerational perpetuation of social inequality through poor infant health,” Kane noted.

The study was published in the Journal of Health and Social Behaviour.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/mothers-education-can-affect-daughters-birth-weight/

Four cups of coffee daily may cure colon cancer

coffee-main Coffee drinkers had a lower risk of the cancer coming back (Source: Thinkstock Images)

Four or more cups of coffee daily can not only prevent the return of colon cancer but also improve survival chances in colon cancer patients, a significant study has revealed.

Researchers from Boston-based Dana-Farber Cancer Institute found that regular consumption of caffeinated coffee improved the chances of a cure in stage III colon cancer patients.

“Two to three cups of coffee daily had a more modest benefit, while little protection was associated with one cup or less,” reported Charles Fuchs, director of the gastrointestinal cancer centre at Dana-Farber.

The patients, all of them treated with surgery and chemotherapy for stage III colon cancer, had the greatest benefit from consuming four or more cups of coffee a day (about 460 milligrams of caffeine).


These patients were 42 per cent less likely to have their cancer return than non-coffee drinkers, and were 33 per cent less likely to die from cancer or any other cause.

The study included nearly 1,000 patients who filled out dietary pattern questionnaires early in the study, during chemotherapy and again about a year later.

“We found that coffee drinkers had a lower risk of the cancer coming back and a significantly greater survival and chance of a cure,” Fuchs added.

In patients with stage III disease, the cancer has been found in the lymph nodes near the original tumour but there are no signs of further metastasis.

Fuchs said these patients have about a 35 per cent chance of recurrence.

The study adds to a number of recent studies suggesting that coffee may have protective effects against the development of several kinds of cancer.

Coffee drinking has also been shown to reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

“One hypothesis is that caffeine consumption increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin so less of it is needed, which in turn may help reduce inflammation – a risk factor for diabetes and cancer,” Fuchs explained.

Other than drinking coffee, people can take other measures to reduce cancer risks.

“Avoid obesity, exercise regularly, adopt a healthier diet and eat nuts which also reduce the risk of diabetes,” the authors reported in a paper published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

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‘Intelligent’ diaper can send SMS when soiled

diaper-main For elderly and bedridden patients, diapers could soon come with a sensor that alerts caregivers by SMS when they are soiled. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

For elderly and bedridden patients, diapers could soon come with a sensor that alerts caregivers by SMS when they are soiled.

Researchers from Singapore have developed an “intelligent continence management system” comprising a thin disposable sensor strip, a compact wireless transmitter, a receiver and software.

“Lying in soiled diapers for prolonged periods is not only uncomfortable and unhygienic, but may also cause skin rashes and infection for the wearer,” said lead researcher Jackie Ying, executive director, Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) at The Agency for Science, Technology and Research in Singapore (A*STAR).

“While increasing the frequency of diaper checks and changes may help to reduce this problem, it would also add to the workload of caregivers. Clearly, there is a need for an alternative solution,” Ying explained in a statement released by A*STAR.


The new sensor can be easily integrated into the adult diapers currently available in the market to facilitate timely diaper change.

It comes in the form of a thin, lightweight strip of metal, plastic and paper. This inexpensive strip can be embedded in the diaper and can be disposed easily after use.

The wireless transmitter, which is connected to the sensor, can be easily attached and removed for reuse.

IBN’s system tracks the wetness level in the diaper via the sensor.

Once the diaper wetness reaches a predetermined level, the sensor will transmit a signal wirelessly to the caregivers using their preferred interface such as SMS.

This will prompt the caregiver to change the patient’s diaper when needed.

Timely replacement of soiled diapers is a challenge for caregivers of patients who are unable to communicate this need, such as those who suffer from aphasia, the loss of speech after a stroke or brain injury.

Source Article from http://indianexpress.com/article/lifestyle/health/intelligent-diaper-can-send-sms-when-soiled/

Farming best fitness activity, says American trainer

farming-main The global master trainer of the brand Reebok feels that Indian farmers do the best fitness activity that comprises naturally-designed digging and dragging. (Source: Thinkstock Images)

Indians are more concerned about their fitness now as they want to look and feel better, says David Jack. But the global master trainer of the brand Reebok feels that Indian farmers do the best fitness activity that comprises naturally-designed digging and dragging.

“In India, people now want to look better and feel better. There is a lot of passion and rising interest for fitness in India, being a nation which is young and rising by itself.

“I feel that the best fitness activity is what the farmers do here. They dig all day long, carry and drag things – which is the best fitness as it’s natural by design,” Jack told IANS during a visit to India.

Jack also feels that nowadays “fitness is also a luxury and that’s where I see a lot of passion and interest”.


“The other thing I see in the country is reverence in people, and adherence to protocol, culture and customs. There is an inherent joy and desire to laugh, fun and move. Every place I have visited in India, I have seen interest in dance.

“There were Cross Fit coaches who were also Zumba instructors, strength and conditioning coaches who teach dance and yoga. That is really interesting as you need to balance your fitness activities. What I love is how open people are here to multiple modes of acquiring fitness,” he said.

The global ambassador and consultant was in India on a multi-city tour, introducing Reebok trainers to the latest buzzword in fitness – metabolic training.

Sharing the concept of the training, he said: “Metabolic training is a style of training which lives in the umbrella of fitness. It has many different methods under it which we can use it as exercise enthusiasts or fitness professionals, to deliver to other people.

Its ultimate goal is to create fast and efficient workouts that help people to burn fat, gain lean muscle and improve their cardio-vascular fitness as well as overall physical wellness”.

And he feels that the concept will work well in India if performed correctly.

“It is going to be a buzz word and people will be really interested in it. I think we still have to work on how to deliver it safely, and enthusiasts in the country need to be very careful in how they integrate it in their lives.

“Metabolic training has a higher benefit as a part of your fitness profile, but also has a higher risk if not performed correctly. If you are going to make metabolic training a part of your fitness programme, do it with care, choose the right coach, and make sure you feel comfortable doing it,” said Jack, who is also the Global Ambassador for ReebokONE – a global online community for fitness professionals to share knowledge, tips, and inspiration.

The expert also feels that “anything we do as an activity to which we have to physically respond, has a metabolic effect physiologically in our body”.

Any other fitness tips?

“Drink more water, drink less liquid calories and eat more of one-ingredient food. You should sit less and move more… Also, just walking more everyday will help make a change.

“However, make sure you take out that time for yourself everyday – whether it is 20 minutes or two hours – and think of it as an investment towards your overall health and wellness, as well as quality of life,” he shared.

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Pregnant mother’s gestational diabetes can predict father’s diabetes risk

pregnancy, pregnancy diabetes, diabetes during pregnancy, pregnant mothers diabetes, Gestational diabetes, health news, latest news, lifestyle news The researchers hypothesised that gestational diabetes in mothers signals a possible diabetes incidence in fathers.

Gestational diabetes signals future diabetes risk not only in mothers, but also in fathers, scientists, including one of Indian-origin, have found for the first time.

Gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy, affects between three and 20 per cent of pregnant women. Those who develop gestational diabetes are seven times as likely to eventually develop type 2 diabetes in the years following pregnancy.

In a large study analysing 20 years of data from Quebec, a team from the Research Institute of the McGill University
Health Centre (RI-MUHC) has demonstrated that gestational diabetes signals future diabetes risk not only in mothers, but also in fathers.


“We observed that the incident of diabetes was 33 per cent greater in men whose partner has gestational diabetes compared with men whose partners did not have gestational diabetes,” said the lead author of the study, Dr Kaberi Dasgupta, endocrinologist at the MUHC and an associate professor of Medicine at McGill University.

“This is the first study to demonstrate a link between gestational diabetes in mothers and diabetes incidence in fathers,” Dasgupta said.

Prior studies have shown partners to be similar in their weight and physical activity. Moreover, Dasgupta’s team has shown evidence in a study conducted in 2014 that spousal diabetes was a diabetes risk factor.

The researchers hypothesised that gestational diabetes in mothers signals a possible diabetes incidence in fathers.

Gestational diabetes occurs when couples are in young to middle adulthood. Diabetes risk factors in these years are of high importance as they offer an opportunity for long term prevention.

The researchers randomly selected singleton live births from 1990 to 2007 with a positive diagnosis for gestational diabetes in mothers and matched controls without gestational diabetes from health administrative, birth and death registry data from the province of Quebec.

Then, they identified fathers with type 2 diabetes from the time of the mother’s post-delivery discharge from the hospital to the father’s departure from Quebec, death or end of the study period (March 31, 2012).

Overall, 70,890 fathers were evaluated (half with partners with gestational diabetes). “Our analysis suggests that couples share risk partly because of their shared social and cultural environment, which may contribute to health behaviours and attitudes,” said Dasgupta.

“The study reinforces the findings of our previous study on shared risk for diabetes in spouses, and prior studies indicating that less healthy eating habits and low physical activity could be shared within a household. Our data suggest that gestational diabetes could be leveraged as a tool to enhance diabetes detection and prevention in fathers,” Dasgupta said.

The study was published in the journal Diabetes Care.

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