General Health 2022

14th May 2022.
An ominous finding in a recently published article in the Lancet (Respiratory Medicine), researchers found that 50% patients hospitalized with COVID 19 (irrespective of the severity), had atleast 1 symptom that was very suggestive of long COVID upto 2 years after the initial illness. COVID 19 needs to be taken seriously as more and more research points to the widespread prevalence of long COVID in the community.

7th May 2022.
Recent estimates from the World Health Organization (WHO) show that the mortality toll associated directly or indirectly with the COVID-19 pandemic between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2021 was a staggering approximately 14.9 million.  The mortality was calculated as the difference between the number of deaths that have occurred and the number that would be expected in the absence of the pandemic based on data from earlier years. Read the full report here.

28th April 2022.
The new ACC and AHA  guidelines for the management of heart failure have been recently published.

21st April 2022.
Obesity and late menopause (after 55 years) are a potent combination of risk factors for the future development of cardiac failure according to recent research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

14th April 2022.
The beneficial effects of a mediterranean diet on the heart are well known. A mediterranean diet also has significant beneficial effects during pregnancy and can reduce the incidence of pre-ecclampsia (dangerously high blood pressure during pregnancy) by about 20% according to results of recent research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association which looked at the incidence of high blood pressure during pregnancy in 8507 women in the Boston area of the US . The benefits were especially significant in African American women. A mediterranean diet has multi system health benefits.

7th April 2022.
Recent research conducted at the UCLA finds that 30% of people treated for COVID-19 developed Post Acute Sequelae of COVID-19. Thislong covid syndrome is also called “Long COVID.” Patients with a history of previous hospitalizations, diabetes, and higher body mass index were most likely to develop long COVID. The researchers studied 1,038 patients who were enrolled in the UCLA COVID Ambulatory Program between April 2020 and February 2021. Of those, 309 were diagnosed to have long COVID. A person was determined to have long COVID if they reported persistent symptoms  90 days after initial COVID 19 infection. In  the 309 people diagnosed to have long COVID, the most persistent symptoms were fatigue and shortness of breath. Mediterranean‐Style Diet and Risk of Preeclampsia by Race in the Boston Birth Cohort (ahajournals.org).

28th March 2022
Statins are a group of drugs that are used to lower blood cholesterol levels across the world. They also have multiple other beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system apart from lowering cholesterol levels. Surprisingly they have also been found to decrease the incidence of Parkinsons disease in the elderly according to recently published research in the Journal “Neurology”. Read more.

21st March 2022
Walking atleast 10,000 steps a day has been a popular mantra for increasing longevity. Recent research (a meta-analysis of over 15 studies involving over 50,000 subjects) published in the Lancet suggests that around 8000 steps a day may suffice especially for people over the age of 60 years. Read the details here.

14th March 2022
Exposure to ambient light during sleep has several deleterious effects apart from decreasing the quality of sleep. Recent research published in the journal – Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences reveals that exposure to ambient light (including moonlight!) increases insulin resistance, decreases the secretion of melatonin, and also elevates blood cortisol levels. Insulin resistance increases the probability of diabetes and obesity in the future. Low melatonin levels upset the innate circadian rhythm in the body. High cortisol levels inhibit deep sleep and promote a low level of chronic inflammation in the body. sleeping in a dark room with the curtains drawn is  part of good sleep hygiene.

7th March 2022.
Is it COVID 19 or the common flu. The CDC helps you to differentiate between the two.

28th February 2022.
CR-P (C Reactive Protein) is a sensitive marker of the presence of inflammation or infection in the body. High levels of CR-P always have an adverse  prognostic implications. In an interesting study recently published in the Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking researchers noted very high levels of CRP in subjects who used social media excessively.  The long term implications of this finding could be ominous.

21st February 2022
According to recent research published in the BMJ,  the presence of 2 or more co-morbidities in mid-life exponentially increases the risk of dementia in old age. The significant co-morbidities include coronary heart disease, stroke, heart failure, diabetes, hypertension ,cancer, chronic kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, liver disease, depression, mental disorders other than depression, personality and behavioural disorders due to known physiological conditions, Parkinson’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis

14th February 2022.
Omega 3 fatty acids are well known to have a protective effect on the heart. Vitamin D is also essential to maintain the integrity of the bony skeleton. They are also known to have an immuno-modulatory effect. In a recent study published in the BMJ, authors found that a combination of both had a surprising beneficial effect on the incidence of autoimmune diseases among the participants in the study. The study included 25,871 US adults (average age 67; 51% women; 71% non-Hispanic white). Participants were then randomly allocated to receive vitamin D (2,000 IU/day) or matched placebo, and omega-3 fatty acids (1,000 mg/day) or matched placebo, and were asked to report any diagnosed autoimmune disease over an average 5.3 year period. The study found a 39% reduction in autoimmune diseases among participants who had a combination of Omega 3 fatty acid and Vitamin D supplements.

7th February 2022
Poor sleep (inadequate duration, frequently irregular timings) could more than double the risk of heart disease according to recent research published in the journal “Nature”. Read more.

28th January 2022
According to recent research, it is now possible to predict accurately which patients who have been recently diagnosed to have the acute COVID 19 infection will go on to develop “long COVID”. The study recently published in the journal “Cell” revealed that patients with a high initial viral load, those with Ebstein Barr viremia and those with specific circulating auto-antibodies a most likely to develop long COVID.

21st January 2022.
Anitmicrobial resistance  due to abuse of antibiotics is now one of the most common causes of death across the world especially in the less developed part of the world according to recent research published in the Lancet  and funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

14th January 2022
The composition of bacteria in the gut could determine the risk of developing long COVID according to recent research published in the BMJ. Researchers found that Gut microbiome composition was significantly altered in patients with long COVID-19 compared with non-COVID-19 individuals irrespective of whether patients had received medication. Several normal gut commensal bacteria with known immunomodulatory potential including Faecalibacterium prausnitzii, Eubacterium rectale and bifidobacteria were underrepresented in long COIVD patients.

7th January 2022.
Vaccines for COVID 19 have been around for about a year. What’s been their effects? Have they done any good? Read more here.

1st January 2022
Diabetes mellitus and heart disease frequently occur together and can result in heart failure in a significant number of patients. Sodium glucose co-transporter inhibitors (SGGLT2i) such as  dapagliflozin, empagliflozin, ertugliflozin are often used to treat DM. A meta-analysis of over 15 randomised trials recently published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology involving over 10,500 patients revealed that SGLT2i had beneficial effects in patients with heart failure apart from blood glucose reduction. These cardiac beneficial effects are more in patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), also known as diastolic heart failure. SGLT2 inhibitors are known to cause natriuresis and preload reduction. They also have an antihypertensive effect and promotes of left ventricular hypertrophy. They also offer renal protection and weight loss.

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