For all the spicy-food lovers, this one may come off as a scary piece of news. After a man engaged in a hot pepper challenge where he had to eat a Carolina Reaper (the world’s hottest pepper), he was struck by thunderclap headaches. The thunderclap headaches are just as fierce as its name. It started with dry heaves and was accompanied by severe neck pain and headaches. The thunderclap headaches occurred quite often for several days and continued for many seconds. However, his medical emergency showed normal neurological conditions. After 5 weeks, the man returned to his normal condition. Previously, consumption of these peppers has been linked to heart attacks as well.
What are thunderclap headaches?
A thunderclap headache, just as the name suggests, is a severe headache which starts suddenly and lasts for several seconds. These headaches do not get fierce with time; instead, they are extreme right from the beginning. It is sometimes described as the worst headache of a person’s life. These headaches could be indicative of a life-threatening situation like bleeding in the brain and should get medical attention immediately. Even if they do not indicate a life-threatening situation, they should be given medical attention.
Neurologist Dr Praveen Gupta says, “Thunderclap is also known as an acute severe headache. It feels as if the head has been struck by a thunder. It starts within seconds and reaches its peak in minutes. It can be a symptom of many life-threatening conditions which should be diagnosed in time. The commonest cause for this is bleeding in the brain.”
What are the causes of thunderclap headaches?
According to Dr Praveen, thunderclap headaches are usually a symptom of a life-threatening condition. These conditions require immediate medical attention and must not be ignored under any circumstances. The most common cause is a bleeding in the brain which can sometimes be missed in a CT scan as well. Other causes include:
Blockage of sinuses in the brain which can be worsened due to coughing or sneezingRupture of the arteryA sudden and severe rise in blood pressureHemorrhage inside the pituitary glandInflammation of a blood vesselMild or moderate brain injuryBlocked, ruptured or inflammation blood vessel in the brainStroke
Other lesser common causes include
Bowel movement which causes strain
What are the symptoms of thunderclap headaches?
Irrespective of the reason, thunderclap headaches show similar symptoms. They have no specific trigger reach its peak in 60 seconds. Usually, they go away after an hour but in some cases, they may last for as long as a week. The symptoms include:
A severe headache cropping up from nowhere
Nausea and vomiting
Pain in any part of the head
Neck and lower back pain
What are the treatment options for thunderclap headaches?
Dr. Praveen says that a CT scan, MRI, and angiography to identify the cause of a headache. He said, “Identification of the cause is important because the treatment will be decided on the basis of the cause. Once the serious and life-threatening causes have been eliminated, analgesics can be given to the patient for relief. A primary thunderclap headache is not caused due to a life-threatening condition and can, therefore, be treated with the help of medication.”
(Dr. Praveen Gupta is the Director and Head of the Department of Neurology at Fortis Hospital) Courtesy NDTV
5 Foods That Will Detoxify Your Lungs And Heal Them Naturally
Are you a chain smoker? Do you live in a polluted area? Our lungs are a vital organ and the most ignored organ of our body. It is through them that we breathe.
Consequently our lungs are also sucking in harmful elements from the air around us. They are exposed to harmful pollutants and microbes that get deposited from the air we inhale. For people who smoke, their healthy lungs turn black with the deposition of tar in their lungs. Regular detoxification of lungs will help in smooth functioning and help in expulsion of toxins. Thus it is important that we choose healthy foods to cleanse our lungs, so as to reduce common lung diseases and respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia and cystic fibrosis.
Some foods which are great for good lung health are listed below:
1. Garlic: The anti-inflammatory properties along with a high level of allicin helps to fight infections and reduces inflammation. Garlic has also been considered by many as being an effective remedy in improving asthma and can help to reduce the risk of lung cancer.
2. Apples: An apple is healthy, loaded with nutrients, high energy, high fiber, low calorie food. Its flavonoids and the wide variety of vitamins, and antioxidants, particularly vitamin C, helps us to maintain a strong immune system and a healthy respiratory system. When we have healthy respiratory functions, we can fight off lung diseases and prevent them naturally.
3. Ginger: Due to its anti-inflammatory properties ginger will help to clear your lungs naturally. You can add ginger to various dishes as it is a widely used herb. Also you can add it in your morning tea.You can also use it to prepare ginger tea blended with some lemon in it. This is beneficial to remove toxins from the respiratory tract.
4. Green tea: Drink a cup of your favourite herbal green tea before going to bed to release toxins in the intestine that can lead to constipation or other stomach ailments. You should refrain from overloading your lungs with tedious work during this purification process.
5. Lentils: In order to optimize the oxygen transportation faculties of the lungs, healthy hemoglobin levels are absolutely critical. Hemoglobin is a protein molecule that is found in red blood cells and aids in transporting oxygen from the lungs to body tissue. As an added benefit, hemoglobin stimulates the internal processes that returns carbon dioxide back to the lungs to be expelled from the body. Black beans, cow peas, dried peas, lentils, red kidney beans, garbanzo beans, and soybeans are some foods containing properties that raise hemoglobin levels. Additionally, supplement beans and lentils with vitamin-C rich foods to maximize iron absorption.
Fasting may help keep age-related diseases at bay: Study
Fasting can boost the body’s metabolism and help protect against age-related diseases, a study has found. The circadian clock operates within the body and its organs as intrinsic time-keeping machinery to preserve homeostasis in response to the changing environment. While food is known to influence clocks in peripheral tissues, it was unclear, until now, how the lack of food influences clock function and ultimately affects the body.
“We discovered fasting influences the circadian clock and fasting-driven cellular responses, which together work to achieve fasting-specific temporal gene regulation,” said Paolo Sassone-Corsi, a professor at the University of California, Irvine in the US. “Skeletal muscle, for example, appears to be twice as responsive to fasting as the liver,” said Sassone-Corsi.
The research, published in the journal Cell Reports, was conducted using mice, which were subjected to 24-hour periods of fasting. While fasting, researchers noted the mice exhibited a reduction in oxygen consumption (VO2), respiratory exchange ratio (RER), and energy expenditure, all of which were completely abolished by refeeding, which parallels results observed in humans.
“The reorganisation of gene regulation by fasting could prime the genome to a more permissive state to anticipate upcoming food intake and thereby drive a new rhythmic cycle of gene expression,” he said. “In other words, fasting is able to essentially reprogram a variety of cellular responses. Therefore, optimal fasting in a timed manner would be strategic to positively affect cellular functions and ultimately benefiting health and protecting against ageing-associated diseases,” said Sassone-Corsi.
The study opens new avenues of investigation that could ultimately lead to the development of nutritional strategies to improve health in humans.
High-fibre diet lowers risk of death, non-communicable diseases: Lancet
Eating up to 30 grams of naturally-occurring dietary fibre — such as whole grains, pulses, vegetables and fruits — daily may prevent the risks of developing non-communicable diseases, finds a review of studies published in the journal The Lancet.
The results suggest a 15-30 per cent decrease in all-cause and cardiovascular related mortality; and reduced incidence of coronary heart disease, stroke, Type-2 diabetes and colorectal cancer by 16-24 per cent.
Increasing fibre intake is associated with lower bodyweight and cholesterol, compared with lower intake or synthetic and extracted fibre.
“Our findings provide convincing evidence for nutrition guidelines to focus on increasing dietary fibre and on replacing refined grains with whole grains. This reduces incidence risk and mortality from a broad range of important diseases,” said Professor Jim Mann, from the University of Otago, New Zealand.
“Fibre-rich whole foods that require chewing and retain much of their structure in the gut increase satiety and help weight control and can favourably influence lipid and glucose levels.
“The breakdown of fibre in the large bowel by the resident bacteria has additional wide-ranging effects including protection from colorectal cancer,” Mann said.
Protection against stroke, and breast cancer also increased. Consuming 25-29 grams each day was adequate but the data suggest that higher intakes of dietary fibre could provide even greater protection.
The researchers included 185 observational studies and 58 clinical trials involving 4,635 adult participants.
The study also found that diets with a low glycaemic index and low glycaemic load provided limited support for protection against Type 2 diabetes and stroke only.
Foods with a low glycaemic index or low glycaemic load may also contain added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium.
However, high intakes might have ill-effects for people with low iron or mineral levels for whom high levels of whole grains can further reduce iron levels, the researchers noted.