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HindustanTimes Sat,29 Nov 2014

Health Scan

Hindustan Times   April 27, 2013
First Published: 23:11 IST(27/4/2013) | Last Updated: 23:14 IST(27/4/2013)

Women smokers at risk of rheumatoid arthritis

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Smoking a few cigarettes a day can more than double a woman’s risk of rheumatoid arthritis, according to a new study.

Even after 15 years of quitting the habit, the risk could be nearly twice as high among former smokers.

However, the likelihood of suffering from the condition does reduce over time after giving up smoking. The risk of rheumatoid arthritis also increases with the length of time a woman had been smoking; 25 years of smoking continuously raises the risk 1.60 times compared with smoking for one year. Now there is another reason to stop smoking as soon as possible, and for women not to start at all.

Workplace stress doubles risk of heart disease

Healthy employees exposed to stress at work are at twice the risk of cardiovascular diseases, a new German study has warned.

It is found that healthy workers exposed to stress at work display significantly elevated inflammatory parameters and face twice the risk of cardiovascular diseases. There is a clear association between stress and elevated concentrations of CRP (C-reactive protein), which is an inflammatory marker, and results in stress-related inflammatory reaction in the body. Moreover, job stress leads to harmful psychological effects such as depression and sleep disturbances as well as to unhealthy behaviour suchas physical inactivity.

However, doing sports regularly, for at least one hour per week, can significantly reduce inflammatory activity.

Anti-oxidant Vitamin E helps fight obesity

The essential nutrient, vitamin E, is the potential new way to fight obesity-related illness, according to a new study. The micro nutrient has been found to alleviate symptoms of liver disease brought on by obesity. Fat accumulation, oxidative stress, inflammation in the liver and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is a major cause of tissue scarring, known as cirrhosis, that leads to liver failure and may progress to liver cancer eventually.

Vitamin E is an anti-oxidant and there is a link between adequate vitamin E levels and liver disease. For adults, the recommended dietary allowance is 15 mg a day. Vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, leafy greens and fortified cereals commonly contain Vit E.

Unhealthy eating makes bad mood worse

A dietary compound abundant in red meat and used as a supplement in energy drinks, energy pills and some weight-loss treatments promotes hardening of the arteries, shows recent research from the Cleveland Clinic. The finding may help explain why some people, even when they get their cholesterol under control, still suffer ill effects from a diet high in meats such as beef, venison, lamb, duck and pork.

The culprit is bacteria living in the human digestive tract that metabolises the compound carnitine found in red meats and turns it into a potential health hazard.

Walking away from back pain in minutes

Lower back pain is a common complaint, and treatment often requires many hours of physical therapy over multiple weekly clinic visits. Scientists now have established that a simple aerobic walking program is as effective in alleviating lower back pain as muscle strengthening programs that require specialized equipment in rehabilitation clinics. The program includes walking two to three times a week for a period of 20-40 min.

When people walk actively, abdominal and back muscles work in much the same way as the exercises that target these areas. And unlike muscle strengthening programs, which requires expert supervision, walking is a simple activity.


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