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Excess noise may increase heart disease, stroke risk, says study

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Chronic exposure to excess noise may increase the risk of heart disease and stroke by activating a brain region involved in stress response, a study warns.

This response in turn promotes blood vessel inflammation, said researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital in the US.

The findings reveal that people with the highest levels of chronic noise exposure — such as highway and airport noise — had an increased risk of suffering cardiovascular events such as heart attacks and strokes, regardless of other risk factors.

The study offers much-needed insight into the biological mechanisms of the well-known, but poorly understood, interplay between cardiovascular disease and chronic noise exposure, researchers said.

“A growing body of research reveals an association between ambient noise and cardiovascular disease, but the physiological mechanisms behind it have remained unclear,” said Azar Radfar, a research fellow at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

“We believe our findings offer an important insight into the biology behind this phenomenon,” Radfar said.

Researchers analysed the association between noise exposure and major cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and strokes.

They analysed the realtion among 499 people (average age 56 years), who had simultaneous PET and CT scan imaging of their brains and blood vessels.

Diagnostic validation was done in a subset of 281 subjects. All participants were free of cardiovascular illness and cancer at the start of the study.

Using those images, the scientists assessed the activity of the amygdala — an area of the brain involved in stress regulation and emotional responses, among other functions.

To capture cardiovascular risk, the researchers examined the participants’ medical records following the initial imaging studies.

Of the 499 participants, 40 experienced a cardiovascular event (eg heart attack or stroke) in the five years following the initial testing.

To gauge noise exposure, the researchers used participants’ home addresses and derived noise level estimates from the US Department of Transportation.

People with the highest levels of noise exposure had higher levels of amygdalar activity and more inflammation in their arteries, researchers said.

These people also had a greater than three-fold risk of suffering a heart attack or a stroke and other major cardiovascular events, compared with people who had lower levels of noise exposure, researchers said.

That risk remained elevated even after the they accounted for other cardiovascular and environmental risk factors, including air pollution, high cholesterol, smoking and diabetes.

Additional analysis revealed that high levels of amygdalar activity appears to unleash a pathway that fuels cardiac risk by driving blood vessel inflammation, a well-known risk factor for cardiovascular disease.


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Health

‘Unusual’ warning signs of brain tumors

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Cancer is caused by cells in a specific part of the body reproducing uncontrollably, according to the NHS.

These cancerous cells can destroy the healthy tissue surrounding them — including organs, express.co.uk reported.

More than a third of all people will develop cancer at some point in their lifetime.

You could be at risk of a brain tumor if you have a ‘severe’ headache, it’s been revealed.

Headaches that are severe and persistent could be one of the earliest warning signs of a brain tumor, said Consultant Neurosurgeon, Ian Sabin.

He told Express that the headaches are usually worse in the morning, and gradually get better throughout the day.

It’s not uncommon for the headaches to be accompanied by blurred vision when standing up from a seated position, he added.

“Early signs of a general brain tumor can include headaches that are severe and persistent, continue for an extended period and are unusual i.e. not related to an existing illness,” said Sabin, who is also Medical Director at the London Gamma Knife Center, part of HCA Healthcare UK.

“Characteristically they are present on waking in the morning and often improve once the individual is up and about.

“There may be visual disturbance when rising from a sitting position, with ‘greying’ out of vision [obscurations] and a feeling of faintness.

“Sudden onset headache, sometimes referred to as ‘thunderclap’, may be due to a hemorrhage in and around the brain and requires urgent investigation.

“Some brain tumors grow faster than others, and it is important to know when you need to see a medical professional for a second opinion.”

You could also be at risk of a brain tumor if you’re feeling constantly nauseous, added Sabin.

Vomiting and nausea is caused by a tumor interfering with the internal circulation of brain fluid, which causes ‘water on the brain’, he said.

While most people feel nauseous at some points, you should see a doctor if it’s associated with headaches or drowsiness.

An other warning signs of a brain tumour include seizures, cognitive changes, and even hearing loss.

More than 9,000 people in the UK every year are diagnosed with brain tumors.

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Top 5 Natural Ways Which Can Help Treat Piles At Home

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Piles are swelling or swollen haemorrhoids that occur inside and around the anus, and along the anal canal. Haemorrhoids are masses, clumps, cushions of tissue full of blood vessels which support the tissue, muscle and elastic fibers in the anal canal. Everyone has haemorrhoids. However, when the haemorrhoids guarding the anal passage become too big due to inflammation, the vein walls stretch, thin and gets irritated while passing the bowel movements. This is when piles develop. They become a problem when haemorrhoids start become itchy, cause pain or bleed. Piles are generally caused due to constipation, diarrhea, during pregnancy, diet lacking in fiber, lifting heavy weights or straining while passing stool. Piles, often go away on their own without treatment in a couple of weeks. Fortunately, several effective home remedies and lifestyle changes can help deal with or even avoid haemorrhoids.

Top 5 home remedies to cure piles fast:

1. Warm water baths:

Sitting in a tub of warm water may help ease the swelling and reduce irritation caused by hemorrhoids. You can also add other ingredients to the water in order to help reduce symptoms even further. These ingredients can include a cup of Epsom salts or apple cider vinegar.

2. Coconut oil:

Everyone knows the several health benefits that the coconut oil offers. Coconut oil is a natural moisturizer, which may also help with hemorrhoid symptoms. Applying coconut oil may reduce the irritation and swelling, and it may also help reduce the urge to scratch.

3. Fiber-rich diet:

Diets high in fiber is very important for digestive health, especially when it comes to bowel movements. Fiber can absorb water, which helps to both soften the stool and give it more body. This makes it easier to pass. Include lots of fruits, legumes, whole grains and vegetables in your diet. Also, try avoiding processed and junk food.

4. Fluids:

Drinking plenty of liquid throughout the day will help keep the stool soft and manageable as it works its way through the intestines. The result is a much softer stool that takes less energy to pass and causes less irritation to the hemorrhoids. You should drink plenty of water all day long or other drinks like lime water or coconut water that soothes your stomach and are good for digestion.

5. Ice packs:

Ice packs can be an effective home remedy if you have piles. Applying ice or cold packs to the hemorrhoid may also be helpful in relieving pain and inflammation. You can put a small cold pack on the spot which is troublesome several times a day. It can help relieve you of pain and bring down the swelling for a little time.

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Being overweight or underweight could take away 4 years from your life: Study

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Most of us know that being overweight or underweight is not healthy and may lead to a plethora of lifestyle-related diseases but according to a study published in the medical journal Lancet, being over or under your ideal weight might have some really serious repercussions – it could knock four years off your life.

“BMI is known to be strongly associated with all-cause mortality, but few studies have been large enough to reliably examine associations between BMI and a comprehensive range of cause-specific mortality outcomes”, the report states.

Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on height and weight that applies to adult men and women.

The report, one of the largest of its kind, involved samples from nearly 2 million people who were registered with doctors in the UK.

“Associations between BMI and mortality were stronger at younger ages than at older ages, and the BMI associated with lowest mortality risk was higher in older individuals than in younger individuals. Compared with individuals of healthy weight, life expectancy from age 40 years was 4·2 years shorter in obese men and 3·5 years shorter in obese women, and 4·3 years shorter in underweight men and 4·5 years shorter in underweight women”, the study found.

Researchers also found that, from the age of 40, people at the higher end of the healthy Body Mass Index (BMI) range had the lowest risk of dying from a disease. But people at the top and bottom ends of the BMI risked having shorter lives.

It continued, “BMI was associated with all causes of death categories, except transport-related accidents, including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and respiratory diseases.”

However, according to a BBC report, an author of the research Dr Krishnan Bhaskaran said, “Not everybody in the healthy category is at the lowest risk of disease. For most causes of death we found that there was an ‘optimal’ BMI level, with the risk of death increasing both below and above that level.”

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