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Did You Know: You Are At A Higher Risk Of Heart Attack During Winters Than In Summers

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An analysis shows that heart attacks are more likely to peak during winters because a fall in temperature triggers life-threatening diseases. The average number of heart attacks during winters in higher as compared to the number of attacks in summers. This is the outcome of a Swedish study. When temperature falls as low as zero degrees, the average number of heart attacks rose to four cases per day, higher than the number of attacks when the temperature was above ten degrees. Other factors contributing to it were high wind velocity, less duration of sunshine and high humidity.

“There is seasonal variation in the occurrence of heart attack, with incidence declining in summer and peaking in winter,” said the lead author of this study, Moman A. Mohammad, from the Lund University in Sweden.

In extreme low temperatures, the body constricts blood vessels decreasing thermal conduction of the skin and increasing arterial blood pressure. This is how the body responds usually to extreme cold. In other cases, the body responds by shivering which increases heart rate and increases metabolism, keeping the body warm.

 

To this he added, “Our results consistently showed a higher occurrence of heart attacks in sub-zero temperatures. The findings were the same across a large range of patient subgroups, and at national as well as regional levels, suggesting that air temperature is a trigger for heart attacks.”

Mohammad says, “In the majority of healthy people these mechanisms are well tolerated. But in people with atherosclerotic plaques in their coronary arteries they may trigger a heart attack.”

Infections of the respiratory tract and influenza are also affected by seasonal variation and are contributing factors for a heart attack.

“In addition, seasonal-dependent behaviours such as reduced physical activity and dietary changes could also play a role in the increased occurrence of heart attack during colder weather.” Mohammad said.

The results of this study were presented in the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Barcelona.


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Health

Higher salt intake can cause gastrointestinal bloating, says study

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People report more gastrointestinal bloating when they eat a diet high in salt, a study has found.

Researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US re-analysed data from a large clinical trial conducted two decades ago, and found that high sodium intake increased bloating among trial participants.

“Bloating is one of the leading gastrointestinal complaints in the US and can be exacerbated in some people by a high-fiber diet. Our results suggest that they might be able to reduce that bloating, without compromising on healthy fiber, by lowering their sodium intake,” said Noel Mueller, senior author of the study.

 

Bloating is estimated to affect up to a third of US adults overall, and more than 90 per cent of those with irritable bowel syndrome, according to the study.

Bloating features a buildup of excess gas in the gut. The production of gas can be attributed to gas-producing gut bacteria breaking down fiber. There is also some evidence that sodium can stimulate bloating.

The study, published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, is the first to examine sodium as a cause of bloating in the context of low- and high-fiber diets.

The study analysed data from the DASH-Sodium trial, conducted at four clinical centres during 1998-99. It tested the DASH diet, a high-fiber diet which is relatively low in fat and high in fruits, nuts, and vegetables, against a low-fiber control diet.

Each of the two diets was tested at three levels of sodium, and the 412 participants all had high blood pressure at the trial start.

The trial was set up chiefly to determine the effect of dietary sodium and other factors on blood pressure, but included data on participants’ reports of bloating — data that Mueller and his colleagues analysed for the new study.

The team found that prior to the trial, 36.7 per cent of the participants reported bloating, which is more or less in line with national surveys of bloating prevalence.

They found too that the high-fiber DASH diet increased the risk of bloating by about 41 percent, compared to the low-fiber control diet — and men were more susceptible to this effect, compared to women.

But the scientists also determined that sodium was a factor in bloating. When they combined data from the DASH and control diets, and compared the highest level of sodium intake to the lowest, they found that the high-sodium versions of those diets collectively increased the risk of bloating by about 27 per cent compared to the low-sodium versions.

The key implication is that reducing sodium can be an effective way to reduce bloating — and in particular may be able to help people maintain a healthy, high-fiber diet.

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Health

Second-hand smoking dangerous:study

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A recent study has discovered a link between second-hand smoking and development of chronic kidney disease (CKD).

The study, published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, found out that exposure to second-hand smoking increases the risk of various diseases and the researchers investigated the link between exposure to second-hand smoking and CKD.

The study included 131,196 never-smokers who participated in the Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study from 2001 to 2014. Participants were classified into 3 groups based on the frequency of second-hand smoke exposure as assessed with survey questionnaires: no-exposure, less than 3 days per week of exposure, and 3 or more days per week of exposure.

 

Participants with less than three days per week and those with three or more days per week of exposure had 1.48-times and 1.44-times higher odds of having CKD when compared with participants with no second-hand cigarette exposure

“Second-hand smoke exposure at home or in the workplace is still prevalent despite legislative actions prohibiting public smoking.

This exposure was found to be clearly related with CKD, even with less-frequent amounts of second-hand smoke exposure,” said Jung Tak Park, the lead researcher.

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Health

Vitamin C may lower BP, sugar levels in diabetics

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Taking vitamin C supplements can help diabetics by lowering elevated blood sugar levels throughout the day, a study has found.

The research, published in the journal Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism, also found that vitamin C lowered blood pressure in people with type 2 diabetes, suggesting benefits for heart health too. According to Glenn Wadley from Deakin University in Australia, the results may help millions currently living with the health condition.

”We found that participants had a significant 36 per cent drop in the blood sugar spike after meals. This also meant that they spent almost three hours less per day living in a state of hyperglycaemia,” Wadley said. “This is extremely positive news as hyperglycaemia is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease in people living with type 2 diabetes,” he said.

 

“We also found that the proportion of people with hypertension halved after taking the vitamin C capsules, with both their systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels dropping significantly,” Wadley added. The dose of vitamin C used in the study was about 10 times the normal dietary intake and readily available from most health food stores, researchers said.

“Vitamin C’s antioxidant properties can help counteract the high levels of free radicals found in people with diabetes, and it’s encouraging to see this benefits a number of the disease’s common comorbidities, such as high blood pressure,” he said. “While physical activity, good nutrition and current diabetes medications are standard care and very important for managing type 2 diabetes, some people can find it tough to manage their blood glucose levels even with medication,” he added.

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