Wednesday, 20 October 2021

Early signs of liver damage from excessive drinking

 (Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/health-news)

Excess alcohol consumption can lead to liver damage

When it comes to your liver, alcohol consumption can prove extremely harmful. Heavy, excessive drinking can also lead to incurable liver damage and may have a heavy impact on your overall health. This form of liver damage is also known as alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD).

Fatigue

As far as your liver is concerned, fatigue can be an early tell-tale symptom for the same. Irrespective of why your liver is suffering - may be due to a virus, excess alcohol consumption or an inherited disease - feeling weak and fatigued is a common sign. This may last for a long time, can be mild or may cause drastic complications.

Decreased or loss of appetite

Large amounts of alcohol consumption can suppress your appetite. It may make you feel nauseous, less energetic. Furthermore, due to a lack of proper nutrients and minerals in the body, it may contribute to liver cell damage.

Nausea

Liver disease like alcoholic hepatitis can often lead to nausea and vomiting, accompanied by abdominal tenderness and discomfort, a low-grade fever and an overall feeling of being unwell.

Unexplained weight loss

Given that excess alcohol consumption can cause decreased or loss of appetite, rapid, unexplained weight loss can also be a sign of liver damage from alcohol. While staying in shape and preventing obesity is key to keeping liver problems at bay, drastic change in the body weight and appearance can mean something more dangerous and concerning.

Swelling of the liver

Years and years of alcohol consumption can make your liver inflamed and swollen up. A common symptom of ARLD, liver swelling is prevalent in people suffering from liver damage from excess alcohol intake. This damage can further cause scarring, leading to Cirrhosis, the final stage of liver diseases.

 

Sunday, 17 October 2021

Drug companies eye mRNA technology for flu shots

 (Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/health-news)

 With Covid-19 proving the credibility of mRNA technology, many drug companies are racing to apply the same formula for developing vaccines for influenza, Nature reported.

While Moderna, Pfizer and Sanofi have, in recent months, initiated Phase 1 trials of mRNA-based seasonal flu vaccine candidates, more companies intend to follow their leads next year.

However, unlike Covid-19, mRNA-based flu shots could also prove a more challenging test as nine flu jabs from four different vaccine manufacturers are already available in the US alone. Although the shots built around inactivated viruses or recombinant proteins are safe, they typically offer only 40-60 per cent protection from infection.

At the same time, mRNA-based jabs might produce broader immune responses, better sequence fidelity of proteins, and accurate strain selection. Moreover, the technology makes it easy to incorporate large numbers of antigens -- all of which could translate into greater immune protection, the report said.

But mRNA is also prone to tolerability issues, as seen in Covid shots developed by Moderna and Pfizer -- they often cause sore arms, headaches, low-grade fevers and fatigue. These same symptoms can occur with approved flu shots, but typically are much milder in degree. On the other hand, the potential benefits of mRNA for preventing flu are many, majorly because of how it is manufactured.

"Because mRNA vaccines are manufactured synthetically, by encoding a target antigen sequence into a plasmid template, they offer high fidelity: encoded antigens exactly match the flu strains selected for each year's vaccine. By contrast, inactivated virus vaccines that are made in egg- and cell-based systems often suffer from sequence mutations that weaken their effectiveness," the report said.

 The recombinant protein vaccines also offer that same fidelity advantage, but the manufacturing process for these is comparatively cumbersome.

 The flexibility and speed of mRNA vaccine production also means that drug makers could wait longer to begin manufacturing -- starting production in May, say, instead of February, for the northern hemisphere. This would enable them to make more informed decisions about what strains to include, the report said.

Sunday, 10 October 2021

Do you breathe through your mouth while sleeping?

 (Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/health-news)

 

Do you breathe through your mouth while sleeping? Read this

Breathing provides our body with oxygen and helps us release carbon dioxide. We all breathe through our noses. But in the case of nasal congestion, we end up breathing through our mouth, especially during our sleep. While we might think of this habit as harmless, it's not so.

Breathing through the nose can lead to a lot of health concerns. Here are some of them as listed by nutritionist Pooja Makhija in one of her social media posts.

Nasal breathing is important for your overall health. It helps in aiding weight loss. Yes, you read that right. Read ahead to know more why nasal breathing is important.

The nutritionist said, “Our autonomic nervous system has two main branches — sympathetic and parasympathetic. The sympathetic branch is responsible for our ‘fight or flight response, whereas the parasympathetic branch is responsible for the ‘rest and digest, tend and befriend response. Basically, the sympathetic branch gets you fired up and primed for movement, and the parasympathetic branch puts the brakes on and chills your body out”.

How breathing can affect workouts

She also said, “Mouth breathing biases your body towards a sympathetic state, whereas nasal breathing activates the parasympathetic response. If the body is stuck in this state due to chronic stress and breathing dysfunction, it won’t effectively rebuild tissue from all of the HIIT workouts you are doing.”

​Nasal breathing for weight loss

The nutritionist said, “Since a large portion of this recovery process happens while you sleep, it is especially important to breathe in a way that shifts your nervous system state into ‘rest and digest' mode. This is why nasal breathing is so important for weight loss.”

​How to improve oral breathing

She added, “Obviously, we switch to oral breathing only when our nasal passage is blocked. Good quality Vitamin C supplements (and foods), curcumin (opens up sinus blockages), zinc-rich foods and supplements can really help improve nasal breathing (provided of course, that’s the prime reason and not a deviated septum). Speak with your nutritionist for exact doses and duration”.

Monday, 4 October 2021

Researchers develop a sensor that can diagnose heart attacks in minutes

 

 (Source:https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/health-news)

 Heart attack is a serious health condition that requires immediate medical attention. Any delay in it can put the life of the patient in danger. However, it is difficult to detect the symptoms of a heart attack beforehand as they are subtle and often goes unnoticed. To overcome this issue and save patients lives, a team of researchers has developed a sensor that could diagnose a heart attack in less than 30 minutes.

The study showed that, by targeting three distinct types of microRNA or miRNA, the new sensor can distinguish between an acute heart attack and a reperfusion -- the restoration of blood flow, or reperfusion injury and requires less blood than traditional diagnostic methods to do so.

"The technology developed for this sensor showcases the advantage of using miRNA compared to protein-based biomarkers, the traditional diagnostic target," said Hsueh-Chia Chang from the University of Notre Dame.

"Additionally, the portability and cost efficiency of this device demonstrates the potential for it to improve how heart attacks and related issues are diagnosed in clinical settings and in developing countries," Chang added.

A patent application has been filed for the sensor and the researchers are working with Notre Dame's IDEA Center to potentially establish a start-up company that would manufacture the device. According to the study, published in the journal Lab on a Chip, currently, it takes health care professionals hours to diagnose a heart attack.

Initial results from an echocardiogram can quickly show indications of heart disease, but to confirm a patient is having a heart attack, a blood sample and analysis are required. Those results can take up to eight hours.

"The current methods used to diagnose a heart attack are not only time-intensive, but they also have to be applied within a certain window of time to get accurate results," said lead author Pinar Zorlutuna from the varsity.

Thursday, 30 September 2021

Coronavirus vaccination: Side effects from COVID boosters similar to second dose, as per CDC

 (Source:https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/health-news)

Why should you take the COVID vaccines?

While COVID vaccines come with various side effects, it is it not a matter of concern. All vaccines trigger certain immune responses in the body, which may cause mild to moderate symptoms. As is known, vaccines are a mimicry of a pathogen, which when injected into the body activates the immune system to produce antibodies and fight the foreign particles. This in turn causes inflammatory responses in the body, leading to fever, fatigue, headache, etc. If you're someone who is hesitant to get your COVID vaccines, it is important to understand that besides taking safety precautions, vaccination is the only way you can protect yourself and others from severe infections.

What we know about COVID vaccine boosters

COVID-19 boosters have been introduced in some parts of the world and discussions around its efficacy and side effects are ongoing.

According to a study by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the side effects experienced by people who have received their vaccine boosters are similar to that from the second dose. As per the agency, millions of people have received their third dose since August 13. The US recently rolled out COVID boosters for immunocompromised people and extended it for workers in high-risk jobs and people with pre-existing medical conditions.

COVID vaccine boosters

Given that vaccine-induced immunity may wane over a period of time, the demand for a third vaccine dose, also known as a "booster" shot has increased. That said, booster shots are given to people who have been fully vaccinated, so as to re-expose their immune system to the immunizing antigen, the memory of which (after the previous dose) could have been lost over a period of time. Just like the first and second doses of coronavirus vaccines, COVID boosters may also come with certain side effects. Fever, chills, fatigue and joint pain are some of the most common side effects.

Side effects from booster shot similar to second dose: CDC

Latest findings suggest that COVID booster side effects may resemble side effects from the the second dose. The CDC analysed data from nearly 12,600 people who received a third dose of Pfizer-BioNTech's Covid vaccine. They showed that side effects -- which were described as mostly mild to moderate, and occurring the day after vaccination -- were prevalent at similar rates to those from a second vaccine dose during the regular course.

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

High blood pressure: Salty foods that may increase the risk of hypertension

 (Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/health-news)

Foods that you should avoid

High blood pressure or hypertension is a slow-progressing disorder that opens the door for several health-related problems with age including heart attack, kidney problem, vision loss, sexual dysfunction and vascular dementia. Most people take this condition lightly, unaware of the wide range of health risks it involves. Here are salty foods that you need to cut down from your diet.

Bread and roll

Bread and roll are an important part of our daily meal. A slice of the bread in the morning with butter or an omelette helps to keep us fuller for a longer time. The downside is that they are loaded with sodium content. Additionally, the refined flour used to prepare it can make you more prone to weight gain. Sodium can affects fluid balance in the blood and increases the blood pressure level. It is not a healthy option for a hypertension patient.

Processed meat

All those canned chicken and fish spreads, ham, hotdogs, sausages are highly processed, which means they contain preservatives and a high amount of sodium. The excess salt is added to the meat during the curring, seasons and preserving process. Adding processed meat with another high salty food like bread and ham can make your food more unhealthy. Having food can increase blood pressure and also lead to cancer.

Soups

We all love a bowl of hot soup, especially in the winter season. But to avoid the elaborate and time taking recipe, we often reach out for ready-to-make soup packets available in the supermarket. All we need to do is add hot water and your bowl of soup is ready. What people do not know is that packed soups are stripped out of all the nutrients and are high in sodium content. It is better to make soup at home.

Canned tomato products

Canned tomato food products like ketchup, sauce and pasta sauce are also high in sodium content. The canned tomato products are high in sodium and chemicals. Having them can increase your blood pressure, increase cancer and lead to weight gain. Besides, the ketchup and sauces also contain some amount of refined sugar. It is best to use fresh tomatoes or make tomato sauce at home.

Foods to eat when suffering from High BP

Following a heart-healthy is best to live a long and healthy life. Even for people with the problem of hypertension, a good diet can help to manage the condition naturally. Here are some foods that must be a part of your diet.

Foods rich in potassium like banana

Calcium-rich foods like skim milk and yoghurt

Lean meat.

Fresh fruits

Green veggies

Whole grains

 

Wednesday, 22 September 2021

'Havana Syndrome' case reported in India: Know all about this mysterious condition

 

(Source: https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/life-style/health-fitness/health-news)

 

The US CIA team's recent visit to India has raised new concerns after it has been reported that one of the officers involved in the team developed symptoms similar to the mysterious illness, 'Havana Syndrome'. Although the condition enraged a lot of officials in the team, the very nature and name of the previously unknown condition is inviting concerns.

While this is the first time Havana Syndrome has been reported in our country, the strange illness has been known to afflict a lot of US politicians and diplomats who travel internationally. Wondering what exactly is the condition? We tell you


What is the Havana Syndrome exactly?


The Havana Syndrome refers to a mysterious, strange striking condition known to impact some people on international domains. While the disease first originated in Cuba in the year 2016 amongst some diplomats and spies. The recent case involving a member of the CIA team is also not the first time the condition has seemingly striked US politicos. More famously, it was reported that US Vice President, Kamala Harris and many diplomats accompanying her on the trip suffered from symptoms of the Havana Syndrome after coming back from an official state visit.


As mysterious as the condition sounds, it is medically referred to as a neurological illness which causes a host of symptoms, ranging from dizziness to sleep abnormalities.

While scientists and medical researchers haven't been able to truly source the origins, cause or reason for Havana Syndrome, it is considered to be a condition set in by possible microwave 'radiation', sonic weapons, while some refer to it as an entirely different form of psychological illness.

The first time Havana Syndrome was reported amongst diplomats in Cuba's capital city, Havana, officials reported undergoing 'strange' symptoms and hearing noises erstwhile staying in their residences. People have also recorded experiencing uncomfortable physical sensations with the condition. While the range of symptoms didn't connect enough to one particular disease, it was simply labelled to be 'Havana Syndrome'. As per reports, over 200 US-based officials have apparently fallen ill to Havana Syndrome ever since the condition was first discovered.


Symptoms of the disease


Even as there continues to be more research on the matter, people who have encountered the Havana Syndrome report back with strange symptoms which could impact their brain, hearing or even waking patterns. Some of the known symptoms of the Havana Syndrome at this point remain:


-Dizziness

-Hearing buzzing noises in the ear


-Difficult physical sensations


-Sleep trouble


-Nausea

-Brain fog


-Being 'hyper-aware' or 'fearful'


-Severe headaches


-Excruciating fatigue

Some researchers conducted on the same have also pointed out that the condition, even with no plausible causes may also cause some form of brain abnormalities, which could remain for months on end.