What you need to know about heat stroke – Rush

Our bodies are designed to handle the heat. But high temps and overexertion can push them to the limit, leading to dangerous, potentially deadly heatstroke, according to Rush University Medical Center.

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So what, exactly, is heatstroke, and how does it happen?

The body reacts to hot conditions by sending messages to the blood vessels, telling them to dilate. This sends warm blood, fluids and salts to the skin, setting off the process of evaporation. But after prolonged heat exposure, the body sweats so much that it depletes itself of fluids and salts. 

“Problems occur when a person is in the heat for a long time or in such extremes of heat or humidity that the evaporation process fails,” says Edward Ward, MD, an emergency medicine specialist at Rush University Medical Center.

Signs of heatstroke

 How do you know if it’s heatstroke? Look for the following symptoms:

  • A body temperature above 103 degrees
  • Red, hot, dry skin
  • A rapid, strong heartbeat
  • A throbbing headache
  • Dizziness 
  • Nausea 
  • Confusion 
  • Unconsciousness

Getting help for heatstroke 

Heatstroke is a life-threatening emergency. If you have these symptoms, you need to cool down quickly while you or someone else calls for help.

“One of the most effective ways to cool down is to spray or douse your body with water and sit by a fan to kick-start the evaporation process,” Ward says. “This will help decrease your temperature while you are waiting for medical assistance.”

An ounce of prevention

Because heatstroke is so serious, Ward strongly advises focusing on prevention. This is especially true for people age 65 and older, who are at higher risk for heat illness simply because the regulating mechanism becomes less effective with time.

Cardiovascular and neurological conditions also increase the risk for heatstroke, as do medications that interfere with the body’s ability to sweat properly, such as antipsychotics and antispasmodics.

People with these conditions or on these medications should pay special attention to the weather and the heat index — the combination of heat and humidity. If temperatures rise, drink lots of fluids and stay in a cool place.

“If you’re worried or think you’re having problems because of the heat, try to contact your primary care doctor,” Ward says. “But if it’s a real crisis, go to the emergency room. We’d much rather see you sooner than later.”

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Exercise benefits your liver – Tufts

A recent trial found that getting moving can improve liver health in people with obesity, even without weight loss, according to Tufts Health & Nutrition Letter.

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Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a common condition in which excess fat accumulates in the liver, often in response to diets high in starch and sugar. NAFLD is the most common form of liver disease in the U.S. and may be present in more than 90 percent of individuals with obesity and 75 percent with overweight. According to the National Institutes of Health, people with NAFLD are at high risk of developing liver inflammation that can lead to cirrhosis (advanced scarring) and liver failure.


In this trial, 83 Japanese men with obesity participated for three months in either an aerobic exercise program (fast walking or light jogging for 90 minutes three days a week) or calorie restriction with the help of a registered dietitian. In the activity group, muscle strength increased, markers of general inflammation and oxidative stress decreased, and liver health improved, even without weight loss.

This study adds to a large body of science that physical activity, like a healthy diet, has many benefits beyond weight loss.”

The liver is not the only major organ to benefit from exercise. Check out my Page – Important facts about your brain (and exercise benefits).

Tony

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Trade the chair for fresh air—link exists between sitting time and cardio health

Research is adding further weight to the argument that prolonged sitting may be hazardous to your health. An international study surveying more than 100,000 individuals in 21 countries found that people who sat for six to eight hours a day had a 12-13 per cent increased risk for early death and heart disease, while those who sat for more than eight hours daily increased that to a sobering 20 per cent.

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The study, co-led by Simon Fraser University health sciences professor Scott Lear and Wei Li of Beijing’s Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, is published today in the journal Jama Cardiology. Their research followed individuals over an average of 11 years and determined that high amounts of sitting time were associated with increased risk of early death and cardiovascular disease. While sitting was problematic in all countries, it was especially so in low-income and lower-middle-income countries.
 
“The overarching message here is to minimize how much you sit,” says Lear. “If you must sit, getting in more exercise during other times of the day will offset that risk.”

Not surprising, those who sat the most and were the least active had the highest risk—up to 50 per cent—while those who sat the most but were also the most active had a substantially lower risk of about 17 per cent.
 
“For those sitting more than four hours a day, replacing a half hour of sitting with exercise reduced the risk by two per cent,” Lear notes. “With only one in four Canadians meeting the activity guidelines there’s a real opportunity here for people to increase their activity and reduce their chances of early death and heart disease.”
 
The study found a particular association in lower income countries, leading researchers to speculate that it may be because sitting in higher income countries is typically associated with higher socio-economic status and better paying jobs.
 
Clinicians should focus on less sitting and more activity as it’s a low-cost intervention that can have enormous benefit, Lear notes.
 
But while clinicians need to get the message out about countering sitting with activity, individuals need to better assess their lifestyles and take their health seriously, Lear adds. “Our study found that a combination of sitting and inactivity accounted for 8.8 per cent of all deaths, which is close to the contribution of smoking (10.6 per cent in Lear and Li’s study). “It’s a global problem that has a remarkably simple fix. Scheduling time to get out of that chair is a great start.”

To read further on a sedentary lifestyle in general and sitting in particular, check out my Page – Do you know the dangers of too much sitting?

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Coffee consumption linked to reduced risk of acute kidney injury

Full disclosure, I love coffee and coffee drinks like latte’s and cappucino. I drink more than one cup every day of my life.

If you need another reason to start the day drinking a cup of joe, a recent study by Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers has revealed that consuming at least one cup of coffee a day may reduce the risk of acute kidney injury (AKI) when compared to those who do not drink coffee.

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The findings, published May 5 in the journal Kidney International Reports, show that those who drank any quantity of coffee every day had a 15% lower risk of AKI, with the largest reductions observed in the group that drank two to three cups a day (a 22%23% lower risk).

“We already know that drinking coffee on a regular basis has been associated with the prevention of chronic and degenerative diseases including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and liver disease,” says study corresponding author Chirag Parikh, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Division of Nephrology and professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “We can now add a possible reduction in AKI risk to the growing list of health benefits for caffeine.”

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Higher fish consumption associated with increased melanoma risk – Study

A new analysis from a Brown University team shows a connection between eating fish and developing skin cancer, and the researchers say bio-contaminants like mercury are a likely cause.

Eating higher amounts of fish, including tuna and non-fried fish, appears to be associated with a greater risk of malignant melanoma, according to a large study of U.S. adults published in the journal Cancer Causes and Control.

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“This study is important because it’s very large and it’s prospective by design, meaning that fish intake was assessed before the development of cancer,” said author Eunyoung Cho, an associate professor of dermatology and epidemiology at Brown University. “Although fish intake has increased in the U.S. and Europe in recent decades, the results of previous studies investigating associations between fish intake and melanoma risk have been inconsistent — our findings have identified an association that requires further investigation.”

The researchers found that compared to those whose median daily fish intake was 3.2 grams (.11 ounces), those whose median daily intake was 42.8 grams (1.5 ounces) had a 22% higher risk of malignant melanoma and a 28% increased risk of developing abnormal cells in the outer layer of the skin only — known as stage 0 cancer or melanoma in situ. A serving size of cooked fish is approximately 140-170 grams (5-6 ounces); a can of tuna is 142 grams (5 ounces).

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High exposure to ‘forever chemicals’ may raise women’s blood pressure – AHA

Exposure to man-made chemicals found in common household products and in soil, air, food and water may raise the risk for high blood pressure in middle-aged women, a new study suggests.

The study found middle-aged women with higher blood concentrations of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, were 71% more likely to develop high blood pressure than their peers with lower levels of these substances. The findings appeared Monday in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension.

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“PFAS are known as ‘forever chemicals’ because they never degrade in the environment and contaminate drinking water, soil, air, food and numerous products we consume or encounter routinely,” lead study author Ning Ding said in a news release.

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Frivolous Friday …

A little nonsense now and then,
is cherished by the wisest men.

~ Roald Dahl

Have a great weekend!

Tony

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High optimism in women linked with longer life and living past 90 – Harvard

Higher levels of optimism were associated with longer lifespan and living beyond age 90 in women across racial and ethnic groups in a study led by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

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“Although optimism itself may be affected by social structural factors, such as race and ethnicity, our research suggests that the benefits of optimism may hold across diverse groups,” said Hayami Koga, a PhD student in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences studying in the Population Health Sciences program in partnership with Harvard Chan School and lead author of the study. “A lot of previous work has focused on deficits or risk factors that increase the risks for diseases and premature death. Our findings suggest that there’s value to focusing on positive psychological factors, like optimism, as possible new ways of promoting longevity and healthy aging across diverse groups.”

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Could milk increase chances for prostate cancer?

Men with higher intakes of dairy foods, especially milk, face a significantly higher risk of prostate cancer compared to men with lower intakes, according to a new study conducted by researchers at Loma Linda University Health. The study found no such associations between increased prostate cancer risk and intake of non-dairy calcium, suggesting substances other than calcium play a role in the risk dairy foods poses for prostate cancer.

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“Our findings add important weight to other evidence associating dairy products, rather than non-dairy calcium, as a modifiable risk factor for prostate cancer,” said Gary Fraser, MBChB, PhD, the study’s principal investigator and professor at Loma Linda University School of Medicine and School of Public Health.

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Get smarter about skin cancer

As summer has actually started here in the Midwest, I thought it worthwhile to share this with you.

Cover up. My dermatologist says, “There is no such thing as a healthy tan.”

If you want to read further on it, you can check out my Page – Skin Cancer Facts in General and My Three Skin Cancer Surgeries in Particular.

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Tiny sprouts provide big nutrition – AHA

Move over baby carrots and petite peas. Even tinier vegetables are catching on as go-to healthy foods, according to the American Heart Association News.

Microscale vegetables, a growing food category that includes sprouted seeds, are miniature in size yet big in nutrition. Eating sprouts well before they become full-blown plants can crank up certain nutrient levels considerably, said Emily Ho, nutrition professor and director of the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University in Corvallis.

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“Five- to seven-day-old seed sprouts can often offer more nutrition benefits than the mature plants,” said Ho, who’s known around campus as the “broccoli lady” due to her research on the health benefits of broccoli sprouts.

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Walking vs bike riding … Boots, one month in …

Exactly one month ago I adopted a new dog, a 3-year old, 20 pound mixed breed named Boots, after my previous canine companion of 16 years, Gabi, passed away.

One of the major differences in the two dogs is that Gabi used the ‘puppy pads’ I put down in my apartment. So I only had to walk her three times a day, pretty much at my convenience. My new guy, Boots, doesn’t understand the pads, so I need to walk him four times a day and on a schedule which includes a first walk at 4:00 a.m.

Additionally, Boots is a high energy little guy, so our walks always amount to one mile. Gabi, on the other hand, was aging and barely able to complete a walk of just over a half mile. So, by a process of rapid calculation, I have gone from walking around 1.5 miles a day to four miles a day … every day.

Boots watching TV with me

With Gabi, I was able to ride my bike from 100 to 125 miles a week. Now, however, with my new walking schedule, I have had to cut back biking to just under 100 miles. In case you forgot, I am 82 years old. I have only had Boots since May 19, so the whole walking/biking experience remains a work in progress.

Clearly, in this situation, I had to wonder, how do the two types of exercise compare?

As I am sure you realize, walking a dog is not a high cardio experience. Our mile walks average around 30 minutes each. Keep in mind that walking is weight-bearing exercise while bike riding is not, so the walking is a plus for my skeleton, if a bit of a minus on the cardio side.

This is what the Chicago lakefront looks like at 4:00 a.m.

Another plus for walking is that it requires no equipment. I just go out. To ride my bike, I need to own a bike and keep it in good running condition. That entails logistical and financial outlays.

The following is an interesting comparison that may be relevant to you in evaluating the two. It is not so much to me.

We Love Cycling reported that Researchers from London investigated the relationship between various commuting methods and obesity risk. Data from 150,000 participants revealed that both walking and cycling showed better results than taking a car or public transport. Walking was associated with significantly reduced BMI and body fat, but to a lesser extent than cycling. The average study participant who cycled to work would weigh about 5 kg less than a similar person commuting by car.

Chicago Skyline view from the lakefront at 4:00 a.m.

So, while I prefer cycling to walking, I have cut back on it because I need to walk more. The big plus, of course, is that I have a fun new dog in my life filling the void left by Gabi’s passing. I consider myself fortunate to live on the gorgeous Chicago lakefront and love riding my bike and walking my dog there.

Lastly, I have learned that while I knew a lot about one dog, that did not necessarily translate to knowing a lot about all dogs. Boots has been teaching me that he is a very different pooch.

I would like to add two final observations as a result of our first month together. I now have total appreciation of the pleasure of simply lying down in bed at any time. Secondly, I seem to be developing the ability to go back to sleep after finishing the 4:00 a.m. walk.

I included the lakefront photos at 4:00 a.m. because I think they are beautiful. I consider myself very fortunate to live on Chicago’s lakefront.

Tony

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Your liver is just under three years old

The liver has a unique ability to regenerate after damage. However, it was unknown whether this ability decreases as we age. International scientists led by Dr. Olaf Bergmann at the Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD) at TU Dresden used a technique known as retrospective radiocarbon birth dating to determine the age of the human liver. They showed that no matter the person’s age, the liver is always on average less than three years old. The results demonstrate that aging does not influence liver renewal, making the liver an organ that replaces its cells equally well in young and old people.

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The liver is an essential organ that takes care of clearing toxins in our bodies. Because it constantly deals with toxic substances, it is likely to be regularly injured. To overcome this, the liver has a unique capacity among organs to regenerate itself after damage. Because a lot of the body’s ability to heal itself and regenerate decreases as we age, scientists were wondering if the liver’s capacity to renew also diminishes with age.

The nature of liver renewal in humans also remained a mystery. The animal models provided contradictory answers. “Some studies pointed to the possibility that liver cells are long-lived while others showed a constant turnover. It was clear to us that if we want to know what happens in humans, we need to find a way to directly assess the age of human liver cells,” says Dr. Olaf Bergmann, research group leader at the Center for Regenerative Therapies Dresden (CRTD) at TU Dresden.

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Frivolous Friday …

And now for something new and completely different (after last week’s blunder). Friday’s humor on the correct day.

Tell me more about your lazy, irresponsible father. -We’ve been over this a million times, Mother.

Have a fun weekend!

Tony

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How walking speed and memory might predict dementia

Dementia is predominantly associated with advancing age. So, as the average age of humans on planet Earth steadily rises, the burden of dementia is set to increase.

Currently, there is no cure; however, starting treatment early is associated with better outcomes. Because of this, researchers are focused on finding ways to predict who is most likely to develop dementia.

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Also, certain factors increase the risk of dementia, including hypertension and sedentary behavior. Understanding which groups tend to develop dementia helps scientists and doctors identify and manage further risk factors.

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Alcohol may be more risky to the heart than previously thought

Levels of alcohol consumption currently considered safe by some countries are linked with development of heart failure, according to research presented at Heart Failure 2022, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

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“This study adds to the body of evidence that a more cautious approach to alcohol consumption is needed,” said study author Dr. Bethany Wong of St. Vincent’s University Hospital, Dublin, Ireland. “To minimize the risk of alcohol causing harm to the heart, if you don’t drink, don’t start. If you do drink, limit your weekly consumption to less than one bottle of wine or less than three-and-a-half 500 ml cans of 4.5% beer.”

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