Category Archives: Health

Effects of Hot  Temperature on the Body

Effects of Hot  Temperature on the Body

The recent hot winds that have brought in very hot temperature is of great importance. At this time of the year, one would expect the cold dry harmattan winds to be around, but the climate change that is threatening the world, has not spared Nigeria. The usual set pattern in weather has been merged with wild unthinkable conditions. Therefore, the recent onslaught of extreme hot weather is of great importance.

The human body also is sensitive to the degree of hotness and coldness of the environment.   This is the external temperature.

The make up of the body makes it very sensitive to extreme changes in temperature. This could lead to various malfunctions in the body. Therefore it is important that we do all possible to ensure we are protected during situations of extreme environmental  temperature.
Adverse effects

Some might like it hot, but extreme heat can overpower the human body. Climate change promises to bring with it longer, hotter summers to many places on the planet.

Heat exhaustion is a relatively common reaction to severe heat and can include symptoms such as dizziness, headache and fainting. It can usually be treated with rest, a cool environment and hydration (including refueling of electrolytes, which are necessary for muscle and other body functions). Heat stroke is more severe and requires medical attention—it is often accompanied by dry skin, a body temperature above 103 degrees Fahrenheit, confusion and sometimes unconsciousness. But when sustained heat waves hit a region, the other health ramifications can be serious, including sunstroke and even major organ damage due to heat.

How do humans cope with hot, hot weather?

The two ways we cope with heat are by

• perspiring and

• breathing.

So is it the heat or humidity that is the real killer?

The humidity is a huge factor. If you have tremendously high temperatures and high humidity, a person will be sweating but the sweat won’t be drying on the skin. That’s why it’s not just heat but the combination of heat and humidity that matters. That combination results in a number called the apparent temperature or “how it feels”.

Obviously there are thresholds for both temperature and humidity above which we see an increase in death.

The other major factor in terms of temperature that causes both mortality and morbidity is the temperature it falls to in the evening. If the temperature remains elevated overnight, that’s when we see the increase in deaths. The body becomes overwhelmed because it doesn’t get the respite that it needs. The effect of heat on our bodies varies with the relative humidity of the air.  High temperatures with high humidity make it harder to lose excess body heat.  This is due to the fact that when the moisture content of air goes up, it becomes increasingly more difficult for sweat to evaporate.  The sweat stays on our skin and we feel clammy.  As a result, we do not get the cooling effect of rapid evaporation.

While evaporative cooling is very effective in dry climates, there is a major drawback.  That is the rapid loss of water and salts from the body through sweat.  This can be fatal in less than a day if they are not replaced.  It is common to lose a quart or more of water through sweating each hour in harsh summer desert conditions.  Commercial “sport drinks” are designed to help people in these situations rehydrate and replenish lost mineral salts.  It is easy and inexpensive to create your own equivalent drink without the unnecessary food coloring and sugar that the commercial drinks often include to make them more appealing to customers.  Diluted lemonade with added salt can satisfactorily serve the same purpose.

Most people have the ability to physiologically acclimatise to hot conditions over a period of days to weeks.  The salt concentration of sweat progressively decreases while the volume of sweat increases.  Urine volume also reduces.  In addition, vasodilation of peripheral blood vessels causes flushing, or reddening of the skin because more blood is close to the surface.  That blood brings heat from the core body areas to the surface where it can be dissipated easily into the environment by radiation.
Hot weather

Hot weather and high humidity increase your risks by slowing the transfer of heat to the air around you. When you produce heat that raises internal temperature, your heart rate increases and vessels expand to bring more blood to the outer layers of skin, where the heat is released.

The body’s normal core temperature is 37-38C.

If it heats up to 39-40C, the brain tells the muscles to slow down and fatigue sets in.

At 40-41C, heat exhaustion is likely – and above 41C, the body starts to shut down.

Chemical processes start to be affected, the cells inside the body deteriorate and there is a risk of multiple organ failure.

The body cannot even sweat at this point because blood flow to the skin stops, making it feel cold and clammy.

Heatstroke – which can occur at any temperature over 40C – requires professional medical help and, if not treated immediately, chances of survival can be slim.

The best method of cooling people down is to immerse them in ice water or apply ice packs to the groin and armpits where crucial arteries are located – but it all depends on how long the body has been at an elevated temperature. Humidity – the amount of moisture in the air – is critical in determining how much we can sweat out.

 

Who is the most vulnerable to extended high temperatures?

We know the risk factors for dying from heat are urban dwellers who are elderly, isolated and don’t have access to air conditioning. Obese people are at increased risk as are people on certain medications. And people who are exercising or working in the heat, who don’t meet those criteria, can be at risk.

Some medications can make the body more susceptible to extreme heat:

A study showed  that diuretics for high blood pressure and beta blockers—a number of studies showed that people taking them could be at increased risk.

There are some studies that have shown that certain mental health medications may impact a person’s ability to deal with the heat. But that’s a difficult one to get at. When you look at the number of people who die in a heat wave and the number of people who are taking those medications, the numbers can get pretty small pretty quickly.

Illnesses from excessive heat

Heat exposure causes the following illnesses:

• Heat edema is swelling which generally occurs among people who are not acclimatized to working in hot conditions. Swelling is often most noticeable in the ankles. Recovery occurs after a day or two in a cool environment.

• Heat rashes are tiny red spots on the skin which cause a prickling sensation during heat exposure. The spots are the result of inflammation caused when the ducts of sweat glands become plugged.

• Heat cramps are sharp pains in the muscles that may occur alone or be combined with one of the other heat stress disorders. The cause is salt imbalance resulting from the failure to replace salt lost with sweat. Cramps most often occur when people drink large amounts of water without sufficient salt (electrolyte) replacement.

• Heat exhaustion is caused by loss of body water and salt through excessive sweating. Signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion include: heavy sweating, weakness, dizziness, visual disturbances, intense thirst, nausea, headache, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle cramps, breathlessness, palpitations, tingling and numbness of the hands and feet. Recovery occurs after resting in a cool area and consuming cool drinks (e.g., water, clear juice, or a sports drink).

•    Heat syncope is heat-induced dizziness and fainting induced by temporarily insufficient flow of blood to the brain while a person is standing. It occurs mostly among unacclimatized people. It is caused by the loss of body fluids through sweating, and by lowered blood pressure due to pooling of blood in the legs. Recovery is rapid after rest in a cool area.

• Heat stroke is the most serious type of heat illness. Signs of heat stroke include body temperature often greater than 41°C, and complete or partial loss of consciousness. Sweating is not a good sign of heat stress as there are two types of heat stroke – “classical” where there is little or no sweating (usually occurs in children, persons who are chronically ill, and the elderly), and “exertional” where body temperature rises because of strenuous exercise or work and sweating is usually present.

• Heat stroke requires immediate first aid and medical attention. Delayed treatment may result in death.

• What are symptoms and first aid steps for heat exhaustion?

• Symptoms of heat exhaustion may start suddenly, and include:

1. Nausea or irritability.

2. Dizziness.

3. Muscle cramps or weakness.

4. Feeling faint.

5. Headache.

6. Fatigue.

7. Thirst.

8. Heavy sweating.

9. High body temperature.
First aid for heat exhaustion

1. Get medical aid. Stay with the person until help arrives.

2. Move to a cooler, shaded location.

3. Remove as many clothes as possible (including socks and shoes).

4. Apply cool, wet cloths or ice to head, face or neck. Spray with cool water.

5. Encourage the person to drink water, clear juice, or a sports drink.

What are the symptoms and first aid steps for heat stroke?

Heat exhaustion may quickly develop into heat stroke. Symptoms of heat stroke include:

• Hot, dry skin or profuse sweating.

• Confusion.

• Loss of consciousness.

• Seizures.

• Very high body temperature.
First aid for heat stroke includes

• Stay with the person until help arrives.

• Move to a cooler, shaded location.

• Remove as many clothes as possible (including socks and shoes).

• Wet the person’s skin and clothing with cool water.

• Apply cold, wet cloths or ice to head, face, neck, armpits, and groin.

Do not try to force the person to drink liquids.
Source: ThisDay

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Nine Amazing Benefits of Fenugreek 

Nine Amazing Fenugreek Benefits

The health benefits of fenugreek include relief from anaemia, loss of taste, fever, dandruff, stomach disorders, biliousness, respiratory disorders, mouth ulcers, sore throat, diabetes, inflammation, wounds, and insomnia. It is beneficial in lactation and helps in improving digestion, as well as in various hair care applications. It is also shown to reduce cholesterol levels and protect heart health, while simultaneously boosting the immune system and protecting you against flu and various infections.

What is Fenugreek?

What Is Fenugreek?
Fenugreek is an annual plant that is also known as methi in many places of the world. It is native to the Middle and Near East and is widely used in the Indian sub continent. It has small round leaves and that can be dried. There is even evidence that the ancient Egyptians understood the benefits of fenugreek since its seeds have been found in tombs, particularly of Tutankhamen.
This plant is grown in countries across the globe, but the majority is cultivated and consumed in India. Fenugreek is interesting because it can be used for three distinct purposes. The leaves can be dried and used as herbs, the seeds can be ground into a spice, and the plant matter itself can be used as a vegetable, like sprouts and micro greens. This makes it so important because there are good attributes in all of those plant parts that can boost your health!
Most of the health benefits of fenugreek are due to the presence of saponins and fibres in it. It is also used for herbal healing. Its seeds contain a gumming substance called mucilage and when mixed with water, mucilage expands and becomes a gelatinous salve for irritated tissues.
It is a member of the bean family and its scientific family name is Fabaceae. These health benefits are due to the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals found in this powerful plant.
Also see

Health Benefits of Spices
Fenugreek Nutrition Facts
It contains a variety of beneficial nutrients, including iron, magnesium, manganese, and copper, as well as vitamin B6, protein, and dietary fibre. Fenugreek also contains a number of powerful phytonutrients, including choline, trigonelline, yamogenin, gitogenin, diosgenin, tigogenin, and neotigogens.
Health Benefits Of Fenugreek
The health benefits are explained in greater detail below.
Good for Breastfeeding Mothers
India’s traditional Ayurvedic physicians prescribe fenugreek to nursing mothers. This benefit is attributed to the presence of diosgenin in it. This can help increase the amount of milk that is produced by the breasts, and the magnesium and vitamin content of fenugreek also help improve the milk’s quality to keep the infant healthy.
Reduces Menstrual Discomfort
Fenugreek is considered as a potent substance that eases the process of menstruation and relieves the associated symptoms. It is an emmenagogue, which means that it can open up obstructed menses to make the most feminine of processes work smoothly and comfortably.
Minimises Symptoms of Menopause
Fenugreek contains the chemicals diosgenin and oestrogenic isoflavones, which are similar to the female sex hormone, oestrogen. Loss of oestrogen causes menopausal symptoms. So, eating it helps to reduce menopausal symptoms like mood swings, depression, cramps, and abnormal hunger pangs. It helps to monitor a number of other hormones as well, keeping many other bodily processes in line as well.

Lowers Cholesterol
Research studies show that fenugreek consumption helps to reduce cholesterol level. It helps to reduce the level of low-density Lipoprotein (LDL) significantly, which can prevent various conditions like atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. It is a rich source of fibre, which scrapes excess cholesterol off of the arteries and blood vessels of the body. By reducing cholesterol content in the bloodstream, you reduce the chances of clots forming or becoming stuck in the vessels.

Reduces Cardiovascular Risks
The seeds contain 25% galactomannan. This is a type of natural soluble fibre which specifically relates to a reduction in cardiovascular diseases.
Controls Diabetes
Fenugreek helps to alleviate type II diabetes. According to one study, it may also help people with type I diabetes. Studies by Indian researchers revealed that fenugreek added to the diet of type I diabetes patients helped to drop urinary sugar level by 54%. Because of the presence of the natural fibre galactomannan, fenugreek slows down the rate at which sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream. A certain amino acid (4-hydroxyisoleucine) in fenugreek induces the production of insulin so therefore, 15-20 grams of fenugreek is recommended for controlling blood sugar on a daily basis. By slowly releasing insulin to the body rather than in massive chunks, the overall bodily function is improved, and the plunges and peaks of blood sugar won’t be an issue for diabetic patients.

Relieves Sore Throat
Fenugreek’s soothing mucilage helps to relieve a sore throat, associated pain, and cough.

Treats Kidney Problems
Traditional Chinese medicine recommends fenugreek for patients suffering from various kidney conditions.
Prevents Colon Cancer
Fenugreek possesses anti-carcinogenic potential. The steroid diosgenin in fenugreek has been specifically linked to colon cancer prevention. Furthermore, the various non-starch polysaccharides like saponins, hemicellulose, mucilage, tannin, and pectin, lower cholesterol levels and inhibit bile salts from being re absorbed by the colon. This can bind to the toxins and protect the colon’s mucous membrane, which can reduce colorectal cancer and other conditions that can negatively affect the colon.
Suppresses Appetite
The natural soluble fibre galactomannan can swell in the stomach and thus suppress appetite by making you feel full.

Other Benefits
Fenugreek is also used to treat wounds, inflammation, and gastrointestinal ailments. It helps in battling free radicals due to its antioxidant property. According to Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, it can be used for inducing labour and aiding digestion. It is also good at improving the body’s overall metabolism and health. Irritated skin conditions can even be soothed by the external application of fenugreek. Furthermore, it is used for fevers and muscle aches.

Fenugreek is considered to be a safe, herbal food. It is used as a spice in many cultures and tastes like bitter celery and maple syrup.
Word of Caution: The only side effect seen in people taking high doses of fenugreek is mild gastrointestinal distress. It is not recommended during pregnancy because it may lead to miscarriage due to its strong effect on the female reproductive system.
Fenugreek FAQ’s
Where to buy fenugreek?
Fenugreek can be found in major health food stores, such as GNC, as well as traditional big-box stores, from Target to Walmart. Fenugreek seeds can also be purchased from herbalists, and fenugreek leaves are available in many markets around the world. If you have your own fenugreek plant, you’ll have all the seeds you need! 
What are fenugreek seeds?
Fenugreek seeds are, as you might expect, the seeds from the fenugreek plant, which bears the scientific name Trigonella foenum-graecum. The seeds are primarily used as a spice and can be found sprinkled on top of many Asian dishes. These seeds can also be found in powdered form and used as a flavoring agent in curry pastes, soups, and stews and the seeds look like small yellow-to-brown kernels.
What does fenugreek do?
Fenugreek has a number of minerals, organic compounds, antioxidants, and vitamins that help to regulate blood sugar, protect against heart diseases, lower cholesterol levels, optimise digestion, protect the immune system, and soothe the respiratory system. Fenugreek seeds or spice can even help you lose weight!
How much fenugreek to take?
If you are taking fenugreek for a particular reason, there can be some restriction or guidelines for the usage amount. For example, if you want to take fenugreek to increase milk production (as a lactating mother), you can take up to 5500 milligrams every day (about 2-3 standard capsules 3 times per day). However, if you are simply using fenugreek as a general health booster, much lower doses are recommended and required to feel the effects.
How much fenugreek to take for increasing milk supply during breastfeeding?
One of the main reasons that women take fenugreek is to increase their milk supply while lactating and breastfeeding. Experts recommend taking fenugreek supplemental capsules if you are using the spice for this purpose. Each capsule is approximately 600 milligrams, and 2-3 should be taken at once at three different times of the day.
Is fenugreek safe?
Fenugreek is safe and is widely known as a great tonic for various parts of the body. It can help to improve digestion and heart health, while protecting hormone levels, easing menstruation issues, and protecting the body against infections. However, fenugreek can cause diarrhoea, gas, and indigestion in some, particularly those who are allergic.
How to eat fenugreek?
You can consume fenugreek in any number of ways. Fenugreek seeds can be eaten whole and are often used as toppings for certain dishes or soups. Fenugreek seeds can also be ground into a powdered spice form, which is another popular flavouring agent in the cuisines of some countries. Fenugreek leaves are a popular option to replace other leafy greens, and the powder can also be used to make a healthy, energising tea.
Where to buy fenugreek tea?
Fenugreek tea can now be found on the shelves of major grocery stores and health food chains, including Walmart, Walgreens, GNC, and Target. Seeds, powder, and leaves are all available at some of these locations, in addition to smaller-scale natural health food stores and herbalists.

You can contact Mrs Suleiman on 08032235743 for your processed Fenugreek 

Coping with the challenges of harmattan 

Harmattan tied to rise in BP, stroke, heart failure
By Chukwuma Muanya, Assistant Editor

*Researchers validate natural ‘cures’ for cold, dust-related ailments
The Harmattan is here again. Most parts of the country are already feeling the harsh weather condition. The Harmattan is a season in the West African subcontinent, which occurs between the end of November and the middle of March. It is characterized by dry and dusty northeasterly trade wind, of the same name, which blows from the Sahara Desert over West Africa into the Gulf of Guinea. It is cold in most places, but can be hot in some places, depending on circumstances.

It has been shown that during Harmattan, humidity drops to as low as 15 per cent, which can result in spontaneous nosebleeds for some people. Other health effects on humans may include conditions of the skin, eyes, and respiratory system, including aggravation of asthma.

The weather is associated with frequent headaches, cough, cold, sore throat, sneezing, wet eyes, catarrh and general nasal tract disorder causing great discomfort.Several studies have shown that the dry, cold and dusty wind associated with the Harmattan weather can also lead to more complicated diseases like rheumatism, cardiac arrest, nose bleeding, arthritis and even death from hypothermia, because the respiratory system suffers greatly when the body is exposed to cold and dry weather. It can also triggers crises in sickle cell patients.

Then there are of course the mild challenges like cracking of lips or breaking of lips, sole of the feet, conjunctivitis, dry skin and others.However, according to a recent study published in the journal Environ Health Insights, the cold dusty Harmattan is a season of anguish for cardiologists and patients.

The Harmattan, the cold dusty season in Sub-Saharan Africa, is the season of greatest concern for hypertension and cardiovascular diseases, which have demonstrated a seasonal pattern.According to the study, Harmattan aggravates and worsens the outcome of blood pressure, stroke, heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases.

Harmattan and cardiovascular diseases
The researchers led by Basil N. Okeahialam said their experience in Jos, Nigeria, is that during the Harmattan period, blood pressure rises among hypertensives, along with a rise in admissions for congestive cardiac failure and stroke or cerebrovascular accident (CVA). This observation, albeit on hospital cohorts, can be extrapolated to the population. The burden of care on the cardiologist rises, constituting an additional burden, while readmission rates, higher morbidity, and reduced quality of life with attendant high economic burden constitute further burden for the patient. Occasionally, death results suddenly, leaving the patient in no position to tell his/her story.

Particularly among temperature-sensitive subjects, during cold weather, mortality from hypertension is higher, as blood pressure tends to rise. This has already been observed, as our own local experience in Jos. This is thought to be a response to thermoregulatory vasoconstriction, which seeks to conserve core temperature. Apart from this, exposure to cold increases the activity of the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system activity, with resultant rise in blood pressure. If the period of cold-induced hypertension is long, blood pressure may not become normal again. Also in cold ambient temperatures, sweating is reduced, leading to increased sodium loading, resulting in elevation of blood pressure.

Other mechanistic explanations for rises in blood pressure as enunciated by Cuspidi et al. include activation of the sympathetic autonomic nervous system and increased hemorheology with attendant rise in peripheral resistance. Additionally, the intensity of dust haze reduces the quantum of ultraviolet rays of the sun during Harmattan. This reduction results in low temperatures in the environment that reduces vitamin D3 and parathormone production with attendant hypertension. This physiological change would naturally be more manifest if temperature variations are large, which as shown in the PAMELA study increases blood pressure variability with a higher pre-awakening morning blood pressure surge. These perturbations significantly contribute to myocardial infarction (MI) and CVA, which arise during this season. They also create a dilemma for the cardiologist who does not know how to respond to these increases with drugs that could give rise to the problems when the weather warms.

Heart failure (HF) admissions are also known to increase during the cold season. This arises in the context of hypertension. The reduced sweating and insensible fluid loss that contribute to elevated blood pressure also result in fluid overload, resulting in HF. Those patients already in chronic HF are bound to decompensate due to elevation of blood pressure and its variability. The arrhythmogenicity trigger potential of cold weather also results in acute HF or acute exacerbation of chronic stable HF. In cold weather, hemodynamic change in increased heart rate and total peripheral resistance with a fall in cardiac output result in acute pulmonary edema, especially in the background of hypertension or ventricular disease. It is also likely that the causes of this seasonal variation go beyond temperature changes. Neuroendocrine and metabolic function changes have been reported to operate, especially with regard to thyroid and adrenal function.

Harmattan and rise in infections
The researchers noted that in low temperatures, the respiratory tract is dried of mucus and the bare epithelium loses its first line of defense. There is a proneness to infections primarily viral, which increases platelet stickiness, thrombus formation, and hypercoagulability of the blood due to cytokines and other inflammatory factors elaborated. These increase morbidity and mortality. In people with chronic bronchitis, the acute exacerbations caused by infections acutely upset the pulmonary vascular hemodynamics, placing a heavy burden on the heart.

There is also a worsening of the airway disease with significant background low-grade inflammation. This accelerates atherosclerosis, increasing risk of MI, sudden cardiac death, and CVA. Again in cold weather, the lipid profile becomes atherogenic (tending to promote the formation of fatty deposits in the arteries) also increasing atherosclerosis. Heating needs during the cold season usually lead to people trying to manipulate indoor climate conditions. This results in seasonal blood pressure and cardiovascular disease (CVD) morbidity and mortality being attenuated if not completely abolished.

In Nigerian environment, attempts to increase the indoor ambient temperatures lead to pollution through smoke emission by biomass fuel combustion, lamps, and stoves. The benefit of greater warmth is counteracted by the smoke that brings about cough, infection, and obstructive airway disease. The inflammation, secondary polycythemia, and pulmonary hypertension conjointly produce cardiovascular diseases.

Solutions
Foods to boost immunity against cold-related infections
However, scientists have identified over fifteen natural foods that boost the immune system and prevent cold-related ailments including pneumonia and respiratory illnesses.

Indeed, several local herbs have been shown to have antibacterial and antiviral properties. Although there are no cures for the flu virus, researchers suggest many natural remedies can ease the symptoms. They have been shown to provide relief and prevent viral infections.

Top on the list is gin-garlic. It has been touted as the most potent herbal combination in the world. It has been used to treat from heart diseases to tuberculosis. A cocktail of ginger and garlic has been shown to be effective in bursting the cold and influenza viruses.

A United Kingdom research suggests people who take a garlic supplement each day are far less likely to fall victim to the common cold than those who do not. Nigerian researchers have also demonstrated that local species can be successfully used to beat the cold virus.

The spices include: pepper fruit; African pepper; scent leaf; thyme; onion; garlic; nutmeg; Benin pepper; black pepper; wild pepper; curry leaf; chili pepper; red pepper; grains of paradise or alligator pepper; and ginger.According to the study, crushed garlic (soup) is used against microbial infection, asthma cough and respiratory problems. The juice of the bulb is given as ear-drops against earaches. As a seasoning and flavouring agent, garlic is principally taken against fevers and chills.

A cold infusion serves as a body-wash for infants as protection against chills. The bulb also serves as effective remedy for hypertension, muscular pain, giddiness and sore eyes. It is digestive and carminative and removes pains of the bowels. When powdered with nation it is applied as a dressing on ulcers and skin diseases.

Before now, garlic has been traditionally used to fight-off and treat the symptoms of the common cold.A United Kingdom study found that a daily garlic supplement containing allicin, a purified component of garlic considered to be the major biologically active agent produced by the plant, reduced the risk of catching a cold by more than half. It also found that allicin-containing garlic supplements were effective in treating infections caused by the hospital superbug, Multi-drug Resistant Staphylococcus Aureous (MRSA).

Until now, ginger has been extensively used in herbal remedies. In fact, ginger has been used to control or prevent nausea, vomiting, and motion sickness; as an anti-inflammatory (a drug that reduces pain and swelling as in arthritis), a cold remedy, an aid to digestion; a remedy for intestinal gas.

The rhizome is used to toothache, congested nostrils, cough, colds, influenza and flu, asthma, stomach problems, rheumatism, piles, hepatitis and liver problems. Ginger tea is commonly taken against coughs, colds and flu.

“Gingerol” is one of the oleoresin compounds found in ginger. It is also the spiciest part of the rhizome and may be specifically responsible for coming to the aid of cold symptoms. When heated, it becomes sweeter by nature and known as “zingerone.” As the ginger root, or rhizome, begins to dry, shagaols also form. These, like gingerol, seem to provide some positive benefits.

Hot ginger teas have been shown to be one of the ways to enjoy the benefits of ginger and possibly relieve cold symptoms. The steaming effect is part of the reason it can clear congestion and soothe the linings of a stuffy nose.The leaves and bulb are used for asthma, convulsion, hypotension, ulcers, cough, cold and skin infections.

Juice of onion is mixed with honey in the treatment of asthma, cough, cold convulsion and hypotension. Fresh onion leaves is mostly used to eat roasted meat (suya) as a carminative and to reduce cholesterol level. Onion bulb is mostly used for flavouring and garnishing soup and foods.

Next on the list is Pepper fruit, which is botanically called Denniettia tripetala and belongs to the plant family Annonaceae. In Nigeria, it is ako in Edo; nkarika in Ibibio/Efik; nmimi in Igbo; imako in Urhobo; and igberi in Yoruba. The study found that the leaves, fruits and seeds are chewed for cough and enhancing appetite.

Ethopian pepper, African pepper or Guinea pepper (Xylopia aethiopica) is of the plant family Annonaceae. The Edo calls it unien; Efik-atta in Ibibio; uda in Ibo; urheri in Urhobo; and eeru in Yoruba. The stem bark, fruits, seeds and roots are used for stomachaches; dysentery; bronchitis; cancer; ulcers; fever and debility; rheumatism; post-partum management and fertility-enhancing; and vermifuge (a medication capable of causing the evacuation of parasitic intestinal worms).

Pergularia daemia of the plant family Asclepiadaceae has no common English name. To the Igbo it is utazi; and Yoruba – teji. The leaves, stem and root barks are used for cough, fever, catarrh and diarrhoea in infants.Sweet basil, Hairy basil, Tea bush, or Scent leaf (Ocimum species) belong to the plant family Labiateae. The whole plants and leaves are used as an anticonvulsant, diaphoretic and carminative. It cures cough, catarrh, cold, fever, chest pains and diarrhoea. Others are earache, ringworm, nasal bleeding, anti-spasmolytic and relief of pains of the colon.

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is of plant family Labiateae. The leaves and fruits are used as antiseptic, antihelmintic (worm expeller), expectorant (cough medication), carminative (an herb or preparation that either prevents formation of gas in the stomach), diuretic (induces urination and for hypertension), emmenagogic (a medicine that promotes the menstrual discharge) and sedative. Thyme leaves and fruits are rich in thymol. The powdered form of the foliage is prepared and used in food for both seasoning and curative purposes.

Black pepper (Piper nigrum) is of plant family, Piperaceae. Local names are unknown. The fruits and seeds are used to cure dyspepsia (indigestion), diarrhoea, cholera, piles, urinary problems, boils, rheumatism, toothaches and headaches.

Cayenne, African pepper, Guinea pepper, Bir pepper and Chilies (Capsicum species) are of the plant family Solanaceae. According to the study, three main species occur and are used in the area. The fruits and seeds are used to cure cold, fever, dysentery, malaria and gonorrhoea.

Grains of paradise, Guinea grains or Alligator pepper (Aframomum melegueta) is of the plant family Zingiberaceae. The rhizome, leaves, fruits and seeds are used to cure worms, small pox, chicken pox, catarrh, congested chest, fractures, hypertension and cholera.

The decoction of the leaves is used for small pox and chicken pox. When the decoction of the leaves is mixed with leaves of lime, lemon grass and mango it is used as remedy for catarrh while the steam from the decoction is inhaled for congested chest.
Chicken soup fights cold

Chicken soup can have anti-inflammatory affects that can ease the symptoms of colds, according to researchers. Further studies found that the aroma, spices and heat from the soup can clear sinuses and decrease congestion brought on by the common cold. A researcher from University of Nebraska, United States (U.S.), put his ‘grandma’s soup’ recipe to the test the myth that has been told for centuries.

A study found that chicken soup could ease the symptoms of upper respiratory infections because it contains anti-inflammatory agents.The suspected benefits of chicken soup date back centuries ago when the Egyptian Jewish physician and philosopher, Moshe ben Maimon, recommended chicken soup for cold symptoms in his 12th century writings.

Since then, recipes for the warm broth have been passed down for generations surrounded by rumors of cold-fighting abilities.Dr. Stephen Rennard studied three batches of what he calls Grandma’s Soup, which includs chicken, onions, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, carrots, celery stems, parsley, salt and pepper.

He examined if the movement of neutrophils, the most common white cell in the blood that defends the body against infection, would be blocked or reduced by chicken soup.It is suspected that reducing the movement of neutrophils could decrease activity in the upper respiratory tract that causes cold-like symptoms.

And the results found just that, suggesting that chicken soup might have an anti-inflammatory components, which may ease symptoms and shorten upper respiratory tract infections.However, this study wasn’t done on humans, but instead their white blood cells. Rennard added that the psychological and physical comfort soup provides could also have a placebo effect.

Another study conducted nearly 40 years ago found that chicken soup’s aroma, heat and spices could help to clear sinuses and congestion by breaking up mucus and opening airways. Florida internist Dr. Gail van Diepen told Daily Mail UK Online: “Increasing fluid intake is important when you have a cold.”This is due to the release of fluids from a runny nose or feverish sweat that causes dehydration.

So when you are sick, your body needs to replace those lost fluids and a brothy soup can do just that, Dr. van Diepen suggests.And though researchers were not able to identify the exact ingredients in the soup that made it fight colds, they theorize it may be a combination of ingredients that work together to have beneficial effects.The soup may improve rehydration and nutrition in the body, according to Rennard.


Most soups include ingredients high in nutrients. Grandma’s Soup contains more than five vegetables high in fiber, vitamin C and antioxidants.Drinking an entire bowl can provide that daily dose of nutrients which can boost the immune system to battle cold symptoms.

Drink more water
The Harmattan beyond being very dusty also leaves people very dry, therefore people have to keep themselves hydrated all the time. Get plenty of fluids. It helps break up congestion, makes the throat moist, and keeps one from getting dehydrated. A bottle of water should be one’s companion always this season!

Regular washing of hands with soap and water
Handwashing is an easy way to prevent infections and diseases related to this season, as it would prevent people from getting sick and spreading illness. As people touche people, dusty surfaces and objects throughout the day, they will accumulate dirt and germs on their hands; they can infect self with these germs when they touch their eyes, nose or mouth. So, frequent hand washing is a lifesaver this harmattan period.

Health benefits of oily fish

Health benefits of oily fish

Oily fish is rich in omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation and potentially lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Both white and oily fish are good sources of lean protein. White fish contains fatty acids, but only in the liver, and in smaller quantities.

Cardiovascular disease

Consuming oily fish can help protect against cardiovascular disease, according to the AHA. A study published by the American Physiological Society suggests that fatty fish oils can also protect the heart during times of mental stress.


Rheumatoid arthritis

A study published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases journal linked an average daily intake of at least 0.21 grams (or 210 milligrams) a day of omega-3 with a 52 per cent lower risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Other research suggests that omega-3 fatty acids might protect against the future development of RA.


Dementia

Among people who abuse alcohol, fish oil may offer protection from dementia. Brain cells that were exposed to a mix of fish oil and alcohol had 95 percent less neuroinflammation and neuronal death compared with brain cells that were only exposed to alcohol.

Mouth and skin cancers

Oily fish consumption may protect against early- and late-stage oral and skin cancers. Omega-3 fatty acid has been found to target and selectively inhibit the growth of malignant and pre-malignant cells at doses that do not affect the normal cells.

Sensory, cognitive, and motor development

Consuming oily fish during the last months of pregnancy can have positive effects on a child’s sensory, cognitive, and motor development, research suggests. The same study did not find that breast-feeding offered the same benefits.

Asthma

The children of women who regularly consumed salmon during pregnancy may be less likely to show signs of asthma at the age of 2.5.

Protecting vision and memory

DHA can protect against vision loss. Scientists have identified a link between oily fish consumption and a lower risk of vision loss in older people. A study published in PLOS One indicates that eating oily fish may improve working memory.

Breast and prostate cancer

One meta-analysis of nearly 900,000 women has linked a higher consumption of oily fish with a lower risk of breast cancer. However, another team found that men with high quantities of omega-3 oil in their blood had a higher risk of prostate cancer.

Many people take fish oil supplements for health reasons. Learn more about fish oils and their benefits here.

Although eating oily fish promotes many aspects of good health, overconsumption may not be beneficial. A recent study found a risk of premature death in people with both high and low levels of HDL, raising the question of whether more HDL is always better.

Also, high levels of HDL can be harmful for people who are undergoing dialysis, because it can increase levels of inflammation.

MNT.com

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Incredible Results You’ll Get From Walking 30 Minutes A Day

7 Incredible Results You’ll Get From Walking 30 Minutes A Day

By MEGHAN RABBITT

Taking a walk a day is kind of like that proverbial apple: There’s a good chance it’ll keep the doctor away. From helping you lose weight and de-stress to lowering your blood pressure and reducing your risk of many chronic diseases—going for regular walks is one of the best and easiest things you can do for your health, says Melina B. Jampolis, MD, author of the new book The Doctor on Demand Diet. (Learn how to walk away from belly fat, heart disease, and diabetes with Prevention’s Walk Your Way To Better Health.) “Walking is the No. 1 exercise I recommend to most of my patients because it is very easy to do, requires nothing but a pair of tennis shoes, and has tremendous mental and physical benefits,” she says. Here’s what you can expect when you start walking for just 30 minutes every day, most days of the week.

1. Your mood will improve.

You know how sometimes it takes a glass of wine or a square (or three) of dark chocolate to blunt the edge of a rough day? Well, going for a walk is a zero-calorie strategy with the same benefits, says Jampolis. “Research shows that regular walking actually modifies your nervous system so much that you’ll experience a decrease in anger and hostility,” she says. What’s more, when you make your walks social—you stride with, say, your partner, a neighbour, or a good friend—that interaction helps you feel connected, says Jampolis, which boosts mood. Finally, walking outdoors exposes you to natural sunlight, which can help stave off Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)—making it a potential antidote for the winter blues, says Jampolis. (Burn calories and build muscle—all while boosting your mood—with Walk Your Way To Better Health!)

2. Your creative juices will start flowing.
Whether you’re feeling stuck at work or you’ve been searching for a solution to a tricky problem, research shows it’s a good idea to get moving: According to a 2014 study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology, Learning, Memory, and Cognition, going for a walk can spark creativity. “Researchers administered creative-thinking tests to subjects while seated and while walking and found that the walkers thought more creatively than the sitters,” says Jampolis.

3. Your jeans will get a little looser.

This one may seem obvious, but it’s certainly a happy benefit for those who start walking regularly, says Jampolis. “As you continue to walk, you may notice your pants begin to fit more loosely around your mid section, even if the number on the scale isn’t moving much,” she says. “That’s because regular walking can help improve your body’s response to insulin, which can help reduce belly fat.” Ariel Iasevoli, a personal trainer at Crunch gyms in New York City, adds that walking every day is one of the most effective low-impact ways to mobilise fat and positively alter body composition. “Daily walking increases metabolism by burning extra calories and by preventing muscle loss, which is particularly important as we get older,” says Iasevoli. The best part? You don’t have to slog it out on a treadmill at the gym to see these benefits. “One of my clients reduced her body fat by 2% in just one month by walking home from work each day, which was just under a mile,” she says.

Do this ultimate leg stretch after your walk—you legs will thank you:

4. You’ll slash your risk of chronic disease.
The statistics are impressive: The American Diabetes Association says walking lowers your blood sugar levels and your overall risk for diabetes. Researchers at the University of Boulder Colorado and the University of Tennessee found that regular walking lowered blood pressure by as much as 11 points and may reduce the risk of stroke by 20% to 40%. One of the most cited studies on walking and health, published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002, found that those who walked enough to meet physical activity guidelines (30 or more minutes of moderate activity on 5 or more days per week) had a 30% lower risk of cardiovascular disease, compared with those who did not walk regularly. “The physical benefits of walking are well documented,” says Scott Danberg, director of fitness at Pritikin Longevity Center + Spa in Miami. With impressive results like these, there’s a good chance you’ll get a pat on the back from your doc at your next check-up.

5. You’ll keep your legs looking great.

As we age, our risk of unsightly varicose veins increases—it’s just not fair. However, walking is a proven way to prevent those unsightly lines from developing, says Luis Navarro, MD, founder and director of The Vein Treatment Center in New York City. “The venous system includes a circulatory section known as ‘the second heart,’ which is formed by muscles, veins, and valves located in our calf and foot,” he explains. “This system works to push blood back up to the heart and lungs—and walking strengthens this secondary circulatory system by strengthening and preserving leg muscle, which boosts healthy blood flow.” If you already suffer from varicose veins, walking daily can help ease related swelling and restlessness in your legs, says Navarro. “Also, if you are genetically predisposed to have varicose and/or spider veins, walking daily can help delay the onset.”

6. You’ll start to get more “regular.”
If you currently praise coffee for keeping your digestive system going strong, get ready to start thanking your morning walk instead. That’s because a regular walking routine can greatly improve gastric mobility, says Tara Alaichamy, DPT, a physical therapist at Cancer Treatment Centres of America. “One of the very first things an abdominal surgery patient is required to do is to walk because it utilises core and abdominal muscles, encouraging movement in our GI system,” she says. (Check out these 7 things your poop says about your health.)

7. Your other goals will start to seem more reachable.
When you become a regular walker, you will have established a regular routine—and when you have a routine, you are more likely to continue with the activity and take on new healthy behaviours. “I firmly believe that walking regularly can help you to accomplish other goals you set your mind to,” says Kim Evans, a personal trainer and daily walker.

Culled from Prevention 

Symptoms, treatment of chronic kidney disease

Chronic kidney disease

Chronic kidney disease, also called chronic kidney failure, describes the gradual loss of kidney function. Your kidneys filter wastes and excess fluids from your blood, which are then excreted in your urine. When chronic kidney disease reaches an advanced stage, dangerous levels of fluid, electrolytes and wastes can build up in your body.

In the early stages of chronic kidney disease, you may have few signs or symptoms. Chronic kidney disease may not become apparent until your kidney function is significantly impaired.

Treatment for chronic kidney disease focuses on slowing the progression of the kidney damage, usually by controlling the underlying cause. Chronic kidney disease can progress to end-stage kidney failure, which is fatal without artificial filtering (dialysis) or a kidney transplant.

Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of chronic kidney disease develop over time if kidney damage progresses slowly. Signs and symptoms of kidney disease may include:

Nausea
Vomiting
Loss of appetite
Fatigue and weakness
Sleep problems
Changes in how much you urinate
Decreased mental sharpness
Muscle twitches and cramps
Swelling of feet and ankles
Persistent itching
Chest pain, if fluid builds up around the lining of the heart
Shortness of breath, if fluid builds up in the lungs
High blood pressure (hypertension) that’s difficult to control
Signs and symptoms of kidney disease are often non specific, meaning they can also be caused by other illnesses. Because your kidneys are highly adaptable and able to compensate for lost function, signs and symptoms may not appear until irreversible damage has occurred.

When to see a doctor

Make an appointment with your doctor if you have any signs or symptoms of kidney disease.

If you have a medical condition that increases your risk of kidney disease, your doctor is likely to monitor your blood pressure and kidney function with urine and blood tests during regular office visits. Ask your doctor whether these tests are necessary for you.

Normal kidney vs. diseased kidney

Polycystic kidney
Chronic kidney disease occurs when a disease or condition impairs kidney function, causing kidney damage to worsen over several months or years.

Diseases and conditions that cause chronic kidney disease include:

Type 1 or type 2 diabetes
High blood pressure
Glomerulonephritis (gloe-mer-u-low-nuh-FRY-tis), an inflammation of the kidney’s filtering units (glomeruli)
Interstitial nephritis (in-tur-STISH-ul nuh-FRY-tis), an inflammation of the kidney’s tubules and surrounding structures
Polycystic kidney disease
Prolonged obstruction of the urinary tract, from conditions such as enlarged prostate, kidney stones and some cancers
Vesicoureteral (ves-ih-koe-yoo-REE-tur-ul) reflux, a condition that causes urine to back up into your kidneys
Recurrent kidney infection, also called pyelonephritis (pie-uh-low-nuh-FRY-tis)
Risk factors
Factors that may increase your risk of chronic kidney disease include:

Diabetes
High blood pressure
Heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease
Smoking
Obesity
Being African-American, Native American or Asian-American
Family history of kidney disease
Abnormal kidney structure
Older age
Complications
Chronic kidney disease can affect almost every part of your body. Potential complications may include:

Fluid retention, which could lead to swelling in your arms and legs, high blood pressure, or fluid in your lungs (pulmonary oedema)
A sudden rise in potassium levels in your blood (hyperkalemia), which could impair your heart’s ability to function and may be life-threatening
Heart and blood vessel (cardiovascular) disease
Weak bones and an increased risk of bone fractures
Anaemia
Decreased sex drive, erectile dysfunction or reduced fertility
Damage to your central nervous system, which can cause difficulty concentrating, personality changes or seizures
Decreased immune response, which makes you more vulnerable to infection
Pericarditis, an inflammation of the saclike membrane that envelops your heart (pericardium)
Pregnancy complications that carry risks for the mother and the developing foetus
Irreversible damage to your kidneys (end-stage kidney disease), eventually requiring either dialysis or a kidney transplant for survival
Prevention
To reduce your risk of developing kidney disease:

Follow instructions on over-the-counter medications. When using non-prescription pain relievers, such as aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), follow the instructions on the package. Taking too many pain relievers could lead to kidney damage and generally should be avoided if you have kidney disease. Ask your doctor whether these drugs are safe for you.
Maintain a healthy weight. If you’re at a healthy weight, work to maintain it by being physically active most days of the week. If you need to lose weight, talk with your doctor about strategies for healthy weight loss. Often this involves increasing daily physical activity and reducing calories.
Don’t smoke. Cigarette smoking can damage your kidneys and make existing kidney damage worse. If you’re a smoker, talk to your doctor about strategies for quitting smoking. Support groups, counselling and medications can all help you to stop.
Manage your medical conditions with your doctor’s help. If you have diseases or conditions that increase your risk of kidney disease, work with your doctor to control them. Ask your doctor about tests to look for signs of kidney damage.
By Mayo Clinic Staff
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Five habits to stop for a healthier skin

Five habits to stop for a healthier skin

Five habits to stop for a healthier skin
By Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe

Many people strive to maintain youthful, vibrant, and healthy skin on a daily basis. While some are able to sustain flawless looking skin all of the time, for others it may come as a huge challenge. You may know someone whose skin always seems to look like perfection, and wonder what exactly their skin secrets and daily beauty regimen really entail. Though there may certainly be a genetic component partly responsible for their skin type, always keep in mind that there are also environmental factors and certain bad habits that people with healthier skin tend to avoid more than others, in order to keep the quality of their skin intact.

Nonetheless, in recognition of National Healthy Skin Month this November, remember to ditch the following bad habits immediately. They may indeed be what is holding you back from achieving the healthy and beautiful skin you desire all year round.

Not washing your sheets routinely
The frequency in which you wash and change your sheets actually matters. If your sheets are not washed on a regular basis, then they can become an ideal environment for bacteria, germs, and other pathogens to thrive. Past studies analyzing microbial communities in the home revealed that the kind of bacteria and germs found on a pillow case are quite similar to the type found on a toilet seat. If you rarely change your sheets, this is a call to action to break that habit immediately. When using the same sheets for long periods of time, you may expose your skin to a range of microbes that may lead to unwanted breakouts and varying levels of skin irritation. Be sure to always wash your sheets on a weekly basis to avoid unnecessary skin problems.

Smoking cigarettes
Not only can smoking cigarettes have harmful effects on major organ systems like the lungs, but it can also negatively impact the skin. The toxic chemicals in cigarettes can really compromise and damage the integrity of the skin’s collagen and elastin fibers. This subsequently promotes premature aging, fine lines, and wrinkles in smokers. Smoking can also affect one’s skin tone, texture, and elasticity. Remember that it is never too late to quit smoking. Doing so may help slow down skin wrinkling and improve the overall appearance of your skin.

Skin bleaching
The prevalence of skin bleaching in Nigeria is quite high. It is estimated by the World Health Organization that over 70% of Nigerian women bleach their skin. This translates into an alarming number of people exposing themselves to dangerous chemicals that may continue to damage the skin over time. There are many harmful health effects of skin bleaching, especially when products that are unregulated are constantly used. Hydroquinone is one chemical that may sometimes be found in certain skin bleaching products. Chronic exposure to hydroquinone at higher concentrations may potentially lead to exogenous ochronosis. This condition can destroy the skin and actually cause blackish/bluish discoloration and hyper-pigmentation. Skin bleaching can be extremely dangerous and should be avoided.

Constant stress
There are times that the amount of stress that you face may be suffocating and difficult to bare. But if stress is constantly a major theme in your life, then it is absolutely essential to work towards better stress management techniques. Chronic stress is another factor that is known to not only accelerate aging of the skin, but it is also linked to acne formation. Stress hormones like cortisol may stimulate the production of certain oils known as sebum that may promote acne. If you are able to keep your stress and anxiety levels at bay, you will start to notice some improvement in the quality of your skin.

Not drinking enough water
Living in a tropical climate in which one is usually faced with lots of heat and humidity, may render one more susceptible to dehydration. Our bodies have a continuous need for water and require adequate amounts of it in order to function optimally. Dehydration can have some damaging effects on the skin. It may not only lead to dry and dull skin, but it may also cause a loss of elasticity of the skin. Drinking water is an essential component of maintaining vibrant skin.

You don’t have to be rich or a celebrity to have beautiful and healthy skin. In order to protect and nurture your skin, continue to uphold good hygiene habits and take the necessary precautions to avoid those bad habits that can have a long-lasting damaging effect.