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News on Health & Science

Drinking Tea ‘Reduces Stroke Risk’

Here’s some good news for tea-lovers: having three or more cups of the drink everyday can cut the risk of stroke, says a new study.

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According to Lenore Arab, professor of medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine, drinking the beverage can reduce the threat by as much as 21%.

UCLA boffins observed that the result was obtained in tea made from the plant Camellia sinensis and not from herbs. It was contemplated that anti-oxidant epigallocatechin gallate or the amino acid Theanine in teas may be what leads to the reduced risks.

“By drinking three cups of tea a day, the risk of a stroke was reduced 21%,” the New York Daily News quoted Arab as saying. “That’s why these findings are so exciting. If we can find a way to prevent the stroke, or prevent the damage, that is simple and not toxic, that would be a great advance,” he added.

Sources: The Times Of India

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News on Health & Science

Potassium to Sodium Ratio Affects the Heart

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Consuming twice as much potassium as sodium might halve your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease.

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Ate too many nachos? Consider a banana chaser — your heart might thank you for it.

A new study suggests that consuming twice as much potassium as sodium can halve your risk of dying from cardiovascular disease. The study is the first to show that the ratio of these nutrients in your diet matters more than exactly how much you get of either one.

The best strategy for good health, experts are quick to stress, is to eat less sodium and more potassium. But the new research suggests that simply upping your intake of potassium can at least soften the blow of a high-sodium diet.

“Potassium and sodium are like peas in a pod, except they’re in opposite pods,” says epidemiologist Paul Whelton, president and chief executive of the Loyola University Health System in Chicago and one of the authors of the study. “This is the first study to show that the two together give you a benefit over and above what you can get with either one.”

Between processed foods and restaurant meals, most Americans eat far too much sodium — significantly above the 2,300 milligrams the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend as a maximum daily intake for adults. Excess sodium, according to plenty of large, well-designed studies, causes the body to retain fluids, which raises blood pressure and ups the risk of dying from heart disease.

Just as strong — albeit less commonly known — is the link between heart health and potassium. In 1997, a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. compiled the results of 33 clinical trials and found that people who took potassium supplements lowered their blood pressure by 3/2 mm Hg. (Blood pressure is measured as two numbers that indicate how hard it is for the heart to pump blood through the blood vessels. Ideally, it should be 120/80 or less.) High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart attacks and strokes.

That study was pivotal in influencing current dietary guidelines, which recommend that Americans get at least 4,700 mg of potassium daily — about double the recommended maximum for sodium. Yet, according to nationwide nutritional surveys, the average American gets just 2,600 mg of potassium a day and 4,000 mg or more of sodium — far more sodium than potassium, even though guidelines suggest we do the opposite.

Scientists have long suspected that the ratio of the two nutrients in our diets is important, but there hasn’t been strong enough evidence to say for sure. In the new study, Nancy Cook, a statistician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and associate professor at Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues were able to test the idea with data from two large trials originally designed to see how blood pressure responds to a variety of factors, such as diet and weight loss.

The studies involved thousands of people and took place in the late 1980s and early ’90s. For either 18 months or three years, some participants were assigned to cut sodium intake by up to 35%. Others went along eating like they always did. A handful of times over the course of the study, participants provided all their urine over a 24-hour period. Then, by analyzing the urine, scientists could accurately determine what nutrients each person was eating. (Prior studies relied on people reporting everything they ate — a method that is notoriously inaccurate.)

One earlier report from this project, published in the British Medical Journal in 2007, found that participants who had been instructed to reduce sodium intake, even for just a few years, were 25% less likely to die from cardiovascular disease 10 to 15 years later than were those who kept eating larger amounts of sodium.

In the current study, the researchers looked at the other group — those who had continued to eat as they normally would. They found that people who ate more potassium tended to have a slightly lower long-term risk of death from heart disease.

But they also found that people who had consumed the highest levels of potassium and the lowest levels of sodium (about twice as much potassium as sodium) were 50% less likely to die of cardiovascular disease than those who ate the most sodium and the least potassium (about four times as much sodium as potassium).

The ratio of the two nutrients mattered more than the amount of either one when it came to predicting cardiovascular disease, the study found.

Scientists aren’t sure how potassium dampens the heart-damaging effects of salt. One possibility, Cook says, is that potassium may prevent the body from absorbing as much sodium. But regardless of the mechanism, trying to boost your ratio is pretty much guaranteed to improve your health because you’ll eat more fruits and vegetables, says Edgar Miller III, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Medical University in Baltimore.

A banana has more than 400 mg of potassium, for example. There are more than 900 mg in a potato, nearly 950 mg in a cup of spinach, 600 mg in half a cup of raisins and 500 mg in an 8-ounce cup of orange juice.

A diet rich in fruits and vegetables delivers other health-enhancing properties, Miller says, including fiber and antioxidants. And filling up on fresh, whole foods may reduce the reliance on sodium-packed processed meals.

In that way, the new study supports the results of the landmark DASH trials, which in the 1990s found that even when people ate plenty of sodium they were able to lower their blood pressure by eating lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat dairy foods, and not a lot of red meat, sweets or saturated fats. “This provides further proof,” says Eva Obarzanek, a registered dietitian and research nutritionist at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, and one of the authors of the new study, “that sodium is bad and potassium is good.”

Sources: Los Angeles Times

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Ailmemts & Remedies

Muscle Pain

Alternative Name:Muscle pain; Myalgia; Pain – muscles

Definition:
Muscle aches and pains are common and can involve more than one muscle. Muscle pain also can involve ligaments, tendons, and fascia, the soft tissues that connect muscles, bones, and organs.

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Muscle pain is a symptom of many diseases and disorders. The most common causes are overuse or over-stretching of a muscle or group of muscles. Myalgia without a traumatic history is often due to viral infections. Longer-term myalgias may be indicative of a metabolic myopathy, some nutritional deficiencies or chronic fatigue syndrome.

Muscle cramps
Joint pain

Considerations:
Muscle pain is most frequently related to tension, overuse, or muscle injury from exercise or physically-demanding work. In these situations, the pain tends to involve specific muscles and starts during or just after the activity. It is usually obvious which activity is causing the pain.

Muscle pain also can be a sign of conditions affecting your whole body, like some infections (including the flu) and disorders that affect connective tissues throughout the body (such as lupus).

One common cause of muscle aches and pain is fibromyalgia, a condition that includes tenderness in your muscles and surrounding soft tissue, sleep difficulties, fatigue, and headaches.

Causes:
The most common causes of myalgia are overuse, injury or stress. However, myalgia can also be caused by diseases, disorders, medications, as a response to vaccination and withdrawal syndromes. It is also a sign of acute rejection after heart transplant surgery.

The most common causes are:
*Injury or trauma including sprains and strains

*Overuse: using a muscle too much, too soon, too often

*Tension or stress

*Muscle pain may also be due to:

Certain drugs, including:
*ACE inhibitors for lowering blood pressure

*Cocaine

*Statins for lowering cholesterol

*Dermatomyositis

*Electrolyte imbalances like too little potassium or calcium

*Fibromyalgia

*Infections, including:

*Influenza (the flu)

*Lyme disease

*Malaria

*Muscle abscess

*Polio

*Rocky Mountain spotted fever

*Trichinosis (roundworm)

*Lupus

*Polymyalgia rheumatica

*Polymyositis

*Rhabdomyolysis

Overuse
Overuse of a muscle is using it too much, too soon and/or too often. Examples are:Repetitive strain injury.

Injury
The most common causes of myalgia by injury are: sprains and strain (injury).

Muscle pain due to Diseases/Disorders

Infectious
Acute Endocarditis, African Tick Bite Fever, Bronchitis, Chikungunya, Common cold, Community-acquired pneumonia, Coccidioidomycosis, Dengue fever, Endemic typhus, HIV, Infectious mononucleosis, Influenza, Legionellosis, Leptospirosis, Lyme disease, Malaria, Marburg virus, Meningitis, Monkeypox, Pharyngitis, Pneumonia, Prostatitis, Psittacosis, Q fever, Rabies, Rift Valley fever, Ross River Fever, Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Toxic shock syndrome, Trichinosis, Typhoid fever, Upper respiratory tract infection, Viral pneumonia, West Nile virus.

Autoimmune
Multiple sclerosis, Myositis, Lupus erythematosus, Familial Mediterranean fever, Polyarteritis nodosa, Devic’s disease, Morphea

Metabolic defect
Carnitine palmitoyltransferase II deficiency, Conn’s syndrome, Adrenal insufficiency

Other
Chronic fatigue syndrome, Hypokalemia, Exercise intolerance, Mastocytosis, Peripheral neuropathy, Eosinophilia myalgia syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Barcoo Fever, Delayed onset muscle soreness

Medications
Aldara, Acrylamide, Darbepoetin, Isotretinoin, Gardasil, Procainamide, Quinupristin/dalfopristin, Spiriva, Sumatriptan, Vardenafil, Statins, Zetia, Zomig, Boniva, Pegetron, Welchol

Withdrawal Syndromes
Sudden cessation of opioids, barbiturates, benzodiazepines, or alcohol can induce myalgia.

Treatment:

Click to see:->
Astounding Treatment for Burns and Muscle Injuries

24 Home Remedies for Muscle Pain

Treatment for Pulled Muscles Ache

Muscle pain treatment

Pain Management: Myofascial Pain Syndrome (Muscle Pain)

Natural Pain Relief– Effective and Safe

Drug Free Pain Relief

Alternative treatment for muscle pain relief

Muscle Sprain Treatment through Acupunture

Use of sympathetic antagonists for treatment of chronic muscle pain

Home Care
For muscle pain from overuse or injury, rest that body part and take acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Apply ice for the first 24 – 72 hours of an injury to reduce pain and inflammation. After that, heat often feels more soothing.

Muscle aches from overuse and fibromyalgia often respond well to massage. Gentle stretching exercises after a long rest period are also helpful.

Regular exercise can help restore proper muscle tone. Walking, cycling, and swimming are good aerobic activities to try. A physical therapist can teach you stretching, toning, and aerobic exercises to feel better and stay pain-free. Begin slowly and increase workouts gradually. Avoid high-impact aerobic activities and weight lifting when injured or while in pain.

Be sure to get plenty of sleep and try to reduce stress. Yoga and meditation are excellent ways to help you sleep and relax.

If home measures aren’t working, call your doctor, who will consider prescription medication, physical therapy referral, or referral to a specialized pain clinic.

If your muscle aches are due to a specific disease, follow the instructions of your doctor to treat the primary illness.

Click to see:->Muscle Pain – Causes – Symptoms – Diagnosis – Treatment – Pain Relief

When to Contact a Medical Professional:-

Call your doctor if:

*Your muscle pain persists beyond 3 days

*You have severe, unexplained pain

*You have any sign of infection, like swelling or redness around the tender muscle

*You have poor circulation in the area where you have muscles aches (for example, in your legs)

*You have a tick bite or a rash

*Your muscle pain has been associated with starting or changing doses of a medicine, such as a statin


Your doctor will perform a physical examination and ask questions about your muscle pain, such as:

*When did it start? How long did it last?
*Where is it exactly? Is it all over or only in a specific area?
*Is it always in the same location?
*What makes it better or worse?
*Do other symptoms occur at the same time, like joint pain, fever, vomiting, weakness, malaise, or difficulty*

*using the affected muscle?
*Is there a pattern to the muscle aches?
*Have you taken any new medications lately?
*Tests that may be done include:

*Complete blood count (CBC)
*Other blood tests to look at muscle enzymes (creatine kinase) and possibly a test for Lyme disease or a *connective tissue disorder
*Physical therapy may be helpful.

Prevention
*Warm up before exercising and cool down afterward.
*Stretch before and after exercising.
*Drink lots of fluids before, during, and after exercise.
*If you work in the same position most of the day (like sitting at a computer), stretch at least every hour.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.


Resources:

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003178.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myalgia

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Featured

Senior Citizens Should Walk Fast to Live Longer

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Two studies seem to prove that aging does not necessarily mean sedentary lifestyle:

Too many senior citizens assume that becoming inactive – sitting around doing not much of anything most of the time – is just what happens with getting older. Two research reports seem to prove this is just not true – life can be different with changing our mindset and, the second study finds, we will live longer if we just walk a little faster.

The program testing the results of changing the mindsets of older people was by UCLA researchers. Seniors in the pilot program became more physically active, increasing their walking by about 24 percent – an average increase of 2.5 miles per week.

The second study on speed of walking, which found that improvement in usual gait speed predicts a substantial reduction in mortality, is from the Division of Geriatric Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh.

Both studies which looked at people aged 65 or older appear in the issue of the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Changing Mindset Works:
“We can teach older adults to get rid of those old beliefs that becoming sedentary is just a normal part of growing older,” said Dr. Catherine Sarkisian, assistant professor of geriatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA and the study’s lead author. “We can teach them that they can and should remain physically active at all ages.”

The researchers used a technique known as “attribution retraining” to effect a change among study participants about what it means to age and what to expect out of it.

“The exciting part is that, to our knowledge, this attribution retraining component hasn’t been tested in a physical activity intervention,” Sarkisian said. “It’s been very successful in educational interventions.”

The researchers worked with 46 sedentary senior citizens age 65 and older from three senior centers in the Los Angeles area.

The participants attended four weekly, hour-long group sessions led by a trained health educator who applied an attribution retraining curriculum. The participants were taught to reject the notion that becoming older means becoming sedentary and to accept that they can continue engaging in physical activity well into old age.

Each attribution retraining session was followed by a one-hour exercise class that included strength, endurance and flexibility training.

Participants were fitted with electronic pedometers, to be worn at all times, which measured the number of steps they took each week. They also completed surveys that gauged their expectations about aging — higher scores indicated that participants expected high functioning with aging, while lower scores meant they expected physical and mental decline.

As a result of the program, participants increased the number of steps they took per week from a mean of 24,749 to 30,707 — a 24 percent increase — and their scores on the age-expectation survey rose by 30 percent .

..

Also, their mental health-related quality of life improved, and they reported fewer difficulties with daily activities, experienced less pain, had higher energy levels and slept better.

“An intervention combining attribution retraining with a weekly exercise class raised walking levels and improved quality of life in sedentary older adults in this small pre-post community-based pilot study,” the researchers wrote. “Attribution retraining deserves further investigation as a potential means of increasing physical activity in sedentary older adults.”

Live Longer by Walking Faster:
The study on walking speed looked at 439 senior citizens to estimate the relationship between 1-year improvement in measures of health and physical function and 8-year survival.

Six measures of health and function were checked quarterly over 1 year.

Participants were classified for each measure as –
? improved at 1 year,
? transiently improved, or
? never improved.

Mortality was ascertained from the National Death Index.

Of the six measures, only improved gait speed was associated with survival.

Mortality after 8 years determined by the gait speed measurement was
31.6% – for improved,
41.2% – for transiently improved, and
49.3% – for never improved,.

The authors concluded, “Because gait speed is easily measured, clinically interpretable, and potentially modifiable, it may be a useful ‘vital sign’ for older adults.”

But, they also said, “Further research is needed to determine whether interventions to improve gait speed affect survival.”

About faster gait speed…
“Improvement in Usual Gait Speed Predicts Better Survival in Older Adults,” was by Susan E. Hardy MD, PhD, Subashan Perera PhD, Yazan F. Roumani MS, MBA, Julie M. Chandler PhD, Stephanie A. Studenski MD, MPH (2007)

Sources:http://seniorjournal.com/NEWS/Fitness/2007/7-11-16-SenCitCanDecide.htm

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