Drinking lots of water has a lot of health benefits. However, drinking too much water can lead to weight gain. When extra water is stored in your body, it is known as water weight. This condition is known as fluid retention or edema, a common side effect of chronic inflammation. From poor diet to lack of sleep, a number of unhealthy habits are to blame for water retention. It is a temporary condition taking place due to overindulgence. In women, it may take place during periods or pregnancy.
Water retention isn’t really a serious condition. However, it can make you feel sluggish and uncomfortable, adversely affecting your appearance and quality of life. So if you wish to lose some weight quickly, losing water weight is what you can do. Here’s a list of ways to help you lose water weight easily.
- Manage your salt intake
Salt is important for your health, however, too much salt can lead to water retention. Now if you think that managing salt intake is all about using the salt shaker less, you are mistaken. Most of the salt comes from processed foods. Processed meat, canned foods and packed snacks have high sodium levels which increase water retention. So to lose water weight, you must cut down on salty and processed foods.
- Exercise regularly
Exercising plays an important role when it comes to losing water weight. When you work out, your body sweats which is one of the best ways to reduce excess fluids. It also helps you look less puffy and bloated. You can practice aerobics and cardio exercises to sweat it out or try a sauna bath.
- Sleep well
Diet and exercise are important, but sleeping also acquires an important place here. Sleeping affects the sympathetic renal nerves of your kidneys which regulate body sodium levels. A study showed that the body works like a plumbing system when you are asleep and flushes out all the toxins. Aim for a good 7-9 hour sleep. This will help in reducing water retention.
- Control your stress levels
Chronic stress increases cortisol levels which directly impacts fluid retention in your body. This happens because stress increases that hormone in the body which controls water balance, known as ADH. It sends signals to the kidneys about pumping water to other parts of the body. Controlling stress will help you lower your chances of gaining water weight and long term diseases.
- Drink more water
Now this may seem ironical, but trust us, this one is effective!
Hydration can play an important role in reducing water retention. If your body is dehydrated, it will try to retain more water. As a result, you gain water weight. Achieve an optimum water intake for the day, a stipulated amount which will keep you hydrated but will not affect your body weight. Drink when thirsty, but drink more in hot temperatures and when you are exercising.
- Cut down on carbs
This one is a common practice. Cutting down on carbs can help you cut down on water weight. Carbs contain glycogen which pulls water in muscles, hence increasing water weight. This is why people who cut down on carbs or switch to a no-carbs diet experience quick weight loss. It also decreases sodium levels in the kidney, thereby reducing water retention.
- Drink tea and coffee
Caffeine supplements or tea/coffee are known to reduce water retention. It works by increasing short-term urine output, thereby reducing water weight. But moderation is the key. Studies show that moderate caffeine intake, combined with water, can help in increasing urine volumes significantly.
Beware of the silent killer
By Dr Sudhir Koganti
One may wonder what all this fuss about high blood pressure is. Hypertension causes many cardiovascular diseases that include stroke, heart attack, kidney failure and dementia, thus putting a huge burden on healthcare globally due to morbidity, mortality and associated costs. Last but not least, the public need to be aware of the correct treatment for high blood pressure.
Every year, the World Hypertension Day is celebrated on the 17th of May to increase awareness about this silent killer among general public. International Society of Hypertension along with World Hypertension League has designated the month of May as “May Measurement Month.”
The aim of this initiative is to screen as many people as possible that are over the age of 18 years for suspected hypertension. This strategy would greatly enhance in identifying silent or undiagnosed hypertensives so that they can be targeted with guideline directed lifestyle, dietary advice and treatment.
Awareness on the lower threshold of blood pressure reading required to label an individual as hypertensive is also required. American Heart Association guidelines released in 2017 clearly stipulate that a blood pressure reading of over 130/80 is now considered as stage 1 hypertension. However, the job of a cardiologist doesn’t stop with diagnosis but actually starts there. Once someone is labelled as hypertensive, it needs to be established if it is true or an entity called white coat hypertension.
Furthermore, investigations may have to be carried out to see if hypertension is secondary to a cause. Once diagnosed, a decision needs to be taken if lifestyle modification can be adopted or treatment needs to be initiated early.
Lifestyle modifications include six key steps and they are:
• Get expert advice from your doctor to help you understand your results;
• Lower salt/sodium to prevent excess fluid in the blood, which strains blood vessels;
• Eat more fruits and veggies – particularly potassium-rich ones – to balance out sodium in the blood;
• Exercise – it makes the heart stronger, putting less strain on blood vessels;
• Quit smoking – constituents of tobacco smoke damages blood vessel linings; and
• Monitor your blood pressure at home
As per studies and data, thousands of people are on wrong treatment for hypertension with a class of drugs called Betablockers (Atenolol, Metoprolol etc) being prescribed as first line or second line agent.
Betablockers have been phased out as first line or second line drugs to treat hypertension a while ago, unless there is concomitant coronary artery disease or heart failure. In fact, the same holds for other concomitant conditions too such as kidney disease, stroke etc.
Essentially, the key message is one prescription does not fit all and it need to be tailored to the individual in a dedicated specialist clinic. People need to actively undergo blood pressure screening of themselves.
They need to nudge their relatives and friends in the month of May and seek expert advice on how to manage and monitor this silent killer over the long run to lead an active and healthy life. (Writer is Consultant Cardiologist, Citizens Hospitals, Nallagandla, Serilingampally)
Dr Sudhir Koganti
Jawless fish may hold key to effective brain cancer treatment
A chemical found in jawless parasitic fish can be used to deliver anti-cancer drugs directly to brain tumours, as well as lead to more effective treatments for trauma and stroke, a study has found.
The research, published in the journal Science Advances, found that molecules from the immune system of the parasitic sea lamprey may also be combined with a wide array of other therapies, offering hope to treat disorders like multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease or even traumatic injuries.
“We believe it could be applied as a platform technology across multiple conditions,” said Eric Shusta, a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US.
When injected into the bloodstream, many drugs cannot reach targets in the brain as the blood-brain barrier prevents large molecules from leaving the blood vessels in the brain, researchers said.
In conditions such as brain cancer, stroke, trauma and multiple sclerosis, however, the barrier becomes leaky in and around the disease locations, researchers said.
The study found that leaky barrier offers a unique point of entry, allowing molecules to access the brain and deliver drugs precisely on target.
“Molecules like this normally couldn’t ferry cargo into the brain, but anywhere there’s a blood-brain barrier disruption, they can deliver drugs right to the site of pathology,” Shusta said in a statement.
Researchers said that the technology takes advantage of the fact that many diseases disrupt body’s natural defense mechanism – the blood-brain barrier, which lines the blood vessels of the central nervous system, protecting the brain from circulating toxins or pathogens.
They also linked the molecules to a chemotherapy called doxorubicin. The treatment prolonged survival in mouse models of glioblastoma, an incurable cancer.
“This could be a way to hold therapies in place that don’t otherwise accumulate well in the brain so they can be more effective,” said Ben Umlauf from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“There are several disease processes that disrupt the blood-brain barrier and we could conceive of delivering a variety of different therapies with these molecules,” said John Kuo from the University of Texas in the US.
Life expectancy linked to a person’s walking speed
People who walk slowly have a lower life expectancy than those who walk fast, a recent study has claimed. According to the study published in the Journal of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, those with a habitually fast walking pace have a long life expectancy across all levels of weight status – from underweight to morbidly obese.
Underweight individuals with a slow walking pace had the lowest life expectancy (an average of 64.8 years for men, 72.4 years for women). The same pattern of results was found for waist circumference measurements.
Professor Tom Yates, the lead author of the study, said, “Our findings could help clarify the relative importance of physical fitness compared to body weight on the life expectancy of individuals. In other words, the findings suggest that perhaps physical fitness is a better indicator of life expectancy than body mass index (BMI) and that encouraging the population to engage in brisk walking may add years to their lives.”
Dr Francesco Zaccardi, co-author of the study, said, “Studies published so far have mainly shown the impact of body weight and physical fitness on mortality in terms of relative risk, for example, a 20 per cent relative increase of risk of death for every 5 kilograms per metres squared increase, compared to a reference value of a BMI of 25 kilograms per metres squared (the threshold BMI between normal weight and overweight).”
Last year, Professor Yates and his team showed that middle-aged people who reported that they are slow walkers were at higher risk of heart-related disease compared to the general population.
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