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Health Tips
Stay healthy by reading wellness advice from our top specialists.

Prioritizing other commitments over your required dose of slumber, thinking you can catch up on sleep later? Think again. Sleep-deprivation is a long term condition of not having enough sleep, which in acute levels can further lead to various health hazards. Health issues may include high-stress levels, decreased metabolism, heart and kidney issues and a lack of general well-being. Medical experts have time and again the importance of an eight hour sleep, but the appeal seems to be falling on deaf ears, as a significant lot of the present generation is battling with sleep deprivation. And if the findings of a new study is to be believed, this deprivation could even cost them their lives!

The study, published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, reveals that, failing to sleep for less than six hours may nearly double the risk of death in people with metabolic syndrome - a combination of diabetes, high blood pressure and obesity.

The study further revealed that people with metabolic syndrome who slept for more than six hours were about 1.49 times more likely to die of stroke. In contrast, those not able to get six hours of sleep were about 2.1 times more likely to die of heart disease or stroke.

The short sleepers with metabolic syndrome were also 1.99 times more likely to die from any cause compared to those without metabolic syndrome.

The Lead author Julio Fernandez-Mendoza, Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania said, "If you have several heart disease risk factors, taking care of your sleep and consulting with a clinician if you have insufficient sleep is important if you want to lower your risk of death from heart disease or stroke,"

As part of the study, researchers selected 1,344 adults (average age 49 years, 42 per cent male) who were made to spend one night in a sleep laboratory. On basis of the results the team concluded, that 39.2 per cent of the participants had at least three of the risk factors - body mass index (BMI) higher than 30 and elevated total cholesterol, blood pressure, fasting blood sugar and triglyceride levels. And during an average follow-up of 16.6 years, 22 per cent of the participants died.

On importance of future studies in the area, Fernandez-Mendoza said, "Future clinical trials are needed to determine whether lengthening sleep, in combination with lowering blood pressure and glucose, improves the prognosis of people with the metabolic syndrome."

Did you know that there are certain foods that we can eat to improve our blood circulation and prevent many heart diseases? Yes, that's right! There are many blood thinning foods that are known to reduce the risk of clotting. But, before we talk about the variety of natural blood thinning foods, it is imperative to understand what blood clotting is and how it affects our body?

Blood clotting is a normal yet complex process which is known to prevent bleeding when there is an injury or a cut in our body. However, there are times when blood clots form in some critical parts of our body like heart, lung or brain, which if not treated in time, can cause serious complications. These clots may occur in the arterial or venous blood vessels. It is when this clot breaks and travels through the blood, it disrupts the flow of blood to important organs such as heart, lungs or brain, and can result in stroke.

Here are 5 natural blood thinners to reduce blood clots and the risk of stroke:

1. Ginger

One of the best ways to add ginger to your diet is to begin your morning with tasty ginger tea. Research says that sipping ginger tea is quite beneficial and may cure many health problems. And, when it comes to blood thinning, ginger is known to reduce inflammation and further relaxes the muscles. Who knew that a single cup of ginger tea can do wonders for your health.

2. Cayenne Peppers

Cayenne peppers are power-packed with properties that help in thinning our blood. And, the credit goes to salicylates, which are found in high amount in cayenne peppers. Adding cayenne peppers to our daily diet, in the form of capsules or in the food, could lower your blood pressure and increase circulation.

3. Salmon

It is said that foods that are high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, tuna and trout are one of the best blood thinning foods. It is mainly because omega-3 fatty acids help lower the cholesterol levels in our body. Moreover, they are known to reduce the chances of clotting in the blood.

4. Red Wine

Many experts and nutritionists believe that drinking a glass of red wine every day may help prevent heart diseases, as red wine is known to have properties that help in thinning the blood and further preventing clogged arteries. And, we know how much you fancy drinking red wine, so don't just get carried away and stick to only one glass a day!

5. Cinnamon

We add cinnamon to enhance the taste and fragrance of our dish or drink, especially when added to tea, it tastes bliss. But, did you know that it is a powerful anti-coagulant? Cinnamon is capable of lowering blood pressure and relieving inflammatory conditions. This may reduce the chances of having a stroke. However, long-term consumption of cinnamon may cause liver damage, therefore, make sure you use this spice sparingly.

Other than the natural foods and drinks mentioned above, there are other natural foods like pineapple, ginseng, kelp, olive oil, almonds and more that are known to reduce blood clotting. However, it's important to note that these foods need be taken in moderation. Always speak to your doctor before trying anything that could have an impact on your health.

A heart attack is usually characterised by the rupture of a plaque which can cause the spread of the cholesterol into the blood stream. Cardiovascular diseases are a major cause of pain, suffering and death around the world, today. Heart attacks are caused by coronary heart disease.

This is caused by the narrowing of the coronary artery when substances like cholesterol block it. If not treated and revived on time, a patient suffering from a heart attack can meet a fatal result. So how can you prevent a heart attack?

Cholesterol: We are all affected to some extent by what we eat. It is important to keep a check on your cholesterol, especially if it is on the higher side, so as to prevent a heart attack. Cholesterol is known to directly cause a heart attacks, because if applies layer upon layer to the walls of the artery, and chokes them until they cannot handle the pressure any longer. So watch your food intake and bring down the blood lipid or fat levels with proper diet and exercise to alleviate the risk of a heart attack.

Assess your Risk Factors: So are you at risk of heart disease and possible heart attack? This will very much depend on your medical history and allied ailments. If you are suffering from high cholesterol or even diabetes, your chances of having clogged arteries and a subsequent heart attack may increase manifold. Also, you may have a family history of heart diseases which can increase the risk of such ailments in your case. So, it is wise to assess your risk factors and take measures like regular checkups, medication where required and even other measures like diet and exercise.

Blood Pressure: To prevent a heart attack, you can also keep your blood pressure in check. Constant spikes and dips can lead to a malfunctioning heart which can weaken the heart muscles and lead to a fatal result like a heart attack. Further, high blood pressure can lead to wear and tear of the inner lining of your blood vessels, which makes it that much more difficult for blood flow and circulation. So keep a blood pressure measuring machine or cuff at home, or visit your doctor regularly to keep tabs on your blood pressure.

While these basic measures can help take care of the immediate and most direct causes of heart attacks, you can also avoid passive and active smoking, and indulge in a good diet with plenty of exercise to keep your heart healthy.

The onset of menstruation signals that a girl has hit her puberty. Of course, it is not an easy cycle - the whole process of menstruation, but every woman must go through it. While it makes a woman capable of giving birth to a child, on the other hand, it also brings along with it various hormonal changes which causes mood swings, abdominal pain, back ache, muscle pull, so on and so forth. There are various home remedies women can turn to for some relief, as well as resort to medication. According to traditional customs, it is considered a good thing when a girl hits her puberty, even if it is at an earlier age. Medically, menstruation occurs normally between the age of 12 to 15 years. There are also cases when some get it earlier and some later than 15, which are considered normal. But according to a new study done by the Tohoku University in Japan, girls who start their periods at the age of 13 or younger may be nearly 1.8 times more likely to suffer a stroke than those who start at the age of 15.

The study further goes on to add that these women are also more at risk for cerebral infarction, in which a section of brain tissue dies due to reduced blood flow and oxygen.

"Early menarche might predict the incidence of stroke rather than the mortality caused by stroke," said Takayoshi Ohkubo, Professor at Tohoku University.

Menopause and Stroke Risks

In addition to their research, they also found that women who stopped menstruating at 45 or younger are also more likely to get cerebral infarction, but not stroke, compared to women who began menopause at the age of 50.

For the study, published in the journal Neuroepidemiology, the team followed a group of 1,412 postmenopausal women in Japan. Through initial questionnaires and follow-up surveys, the researchers tracked the women's ages of menarche and menopause, if and when they had a stroke, and other factors such as height, weight, heart disease and hypertension. After taking confounding factors into account, the researchers still found a statistically significant association between stroke risk and early menarche.

Menstruation onset is influenced by genetic, behavioural and socioeconomic factors, among others. Trying to delay menarche to help prevent stroke is a particularly interesting concept given that girls in developed nations are starting their periods earlier, the researchers said. However, further research is required to conclude that delaying menarche would be an effective stroke prevention measure, they noted.

Preeclampsia is a high-blood pressure disorder which is unique to pregnancy and develops about 3 to 8% of all pregnant women. According to latest study, it ties alongside it a potential risk of stroke.
According to the study, one in 10 pregnant women may be six times more at a risk of having a stroke during or after childbirth, as compared to normal women.

Women suffering from Preeclampsia commonly complain about high blood pressure, swollen feet, ankles and face and severe headaches. If the current findings published in the journal Stroke are to be believed, Preeclampsia patients have another cause of worry added to their health concern list.

The lead author Eliza C Miller, postdoctoral student at Columbia University in the US said that conditions like chronic hypertension, bleeding or clotting disorders, or urinary tract infections may be at an increased risk of stroke.

Explaining the mechanism behind it the study says, that infections causes inflammation, which can contribute significantly in triggering a stroke, especially amongst the young people.

The study explained that Preeclampsia is an inflammatory disorder, and it could be the infections that could put the woman on the radar of risk.

Researchers analysed health records of 197 women who had a preeclampsia-related stroke and 591 women with preeclampsia who did not have a stroke, as part of their study. They found that the occurrence of attacks and stroke in women suffering from preeclampsia was over 200 per 100,000 deliveries, and more than one in 10 women in the study who had a preeclampsia-related stroke died in the hospital.

Alongside that data, Miller mentioned that it was crucial to take into account that the risk of stroke in women with preeclampsia doesn't end with delivery. And that nearly two-thirds of preeclampsia-related strokes trigger after birth, when the mothers are discharged from the wards.

She also advised, women with preeclampsia to not take any neurological symptoms, such as severe headache, very seriously, especially during the postpartum period.

Dr. Neha Dhakad
Dr. Neha Dhakad
BHMS, Homeopath Family Physician, 12 yrs, Pune
Dr. Sadashiv K. Deshpande
Dr. Sadashiv K. Deshpande
BHMS, Homeopath, 40 yrs, Pune
Dr. Akshay Choudhari
Dr. Akshay Choudhari
MS/MD - Ayurveda, Ayurveda Infertility Specialist, 2 yrs, Pune
Dr. Dhananjay Ostawal
Dr. Dhananjay Ostawal
BHMS, General Physician, 34 yrs, Pune
Dr. Sachin Kuldhar
Dr. Sachin Kuldhar
BHMS, Gynaecologist Homeopath, 8 yrs, Pune