Follow Joeve's Blog | Health Issues In Focus on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook


Scientists have created a mutant enzyme that breaks down plastic drinks bottles – by accident. The breakthrough could help solve the global plastic pollution crisis by enabling for the first time the full recycling of bottles.
The new research was spurred by the discovery in 2016 of the first bacterium that had naturally evolved to eat plastic, at a waste dump in Japan. Scientists have now revealed the detailed structure of the crucial enzyme produced by the bug.

The international team then tweaked the enzyme to see how it had evolved, but tests showed they had inadvertently made the molecule even better at breaking down the PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic used for soft drink bottles. “What actually turned out was we improved the enzyme, which was a bit of a shock,” said Prof John McGeehan, at the University of Portsmouth, UK, who led the research. “It’s great and a real finding.”
The mutant enzyme takes a few days to start breaking down the plastic – far faster than the centuries it takes in the oceans. But the researchers are optimistic this can be speeded up even further and become a viable large-scale process.

“What we are hoping to do is use this enzyme to turn this plastic back into its original components, so we can literally recycle it back to plastic,” said McGeehan. “It means we won’t need to dig up any more oil and, fundamentally, it should reduce the amount of plastic in the environment.”

About 1m plastic bottles are sold each minute around the globe and, with just 14% recycled, many end up in the oceans where they have polluted even the remotest parts, harming marine life and potentially people who eat seafood. “It is incredibly resistant to degradation. Some of those images are horrific,” said McGeehan. “It is one of these wonder materials that has been made a little bit too well.”

However, currently even those bottles that are recycled can only be turned into opaque fibres for clothing or carpets. The new enzyme indicates a way to recycle clear plastic bottles back into clear plastic bottles, which could slash the need to produce new plastic.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Babies get a lot of colds because their immune system is immature, making them more vulnerable to illness. Also, more than 200 different viruses can cause the common cold, and your child develops immunity to them one at a time. Think of all the colds you've had in your lifetime – your baby would have to get all those colds to build up the level of immunity you have by the time he's your age.
Growing babies explore a lot and grab everything, so it's easy for him to pick up a cold virus on his hands. Then he can get sick when he puts his fingers in his mouth or nose, or rubs his eyes.

But How Can I tell ?
It can be tricky to tell for sure. If your baby has a cold, she might have a cough or a runny nose with clear mucus that may thicken and turn gray, yellow, or green over the course of a week or so. Along with the cough or congestion, your child may also run a low-grade fever (but not always).

Parents often head straight to the drug store or pharmarcy when their child gets a cold. But experts warn that over-the-counter medications aren't effective for treating kids' coughs and colds and can be dangerous for children younger than 6.

But that doesn't mean your child has to suffer. Whether he has a cough, a cold, or the flu, you can try these gentle, safe home remedies. Although none of these will shorten your child's illness (which usually takes about 10 days to run its course), they may help him feel better.

Lots of rest (all ages)
How this helps:
It takes energy to fight an infection, and that can wear out a child (or an adult). When your child rests, he's healing, which is exactly what he needs to do. Studies show that stress plays a role in illness too. If your child is under pressure – because of school, or friends, or something happening at home – giving him a break may be just what he needs.

Steam (all ages)
How this helps:
Breathing moist air helps loosen the mucus in the nasal passages. A warm bath has the added benefit of relaxing your child.

Saline drops and bulb syringes (all ages)
How this helps:
When kids are too young to blow their nose well, saline drops or a bulb syringe can clear his nose. Using a bulb syringe works best for young babies, especially if a stuffy nose interferes with breastfeeding or bottle-feeding. (Try using it about 15 minutes beforehand.) But if your older child doesn't mind the procedure, there's no reason not to do it.

Extra fluids (all ages)
How this helps:
Drinking plenty of fluids prevents dehydration, thins your child's nasal secretions, and flushes them out.

Warm liquids and chicken soup (6 months and up)
How this helps:
Warm, clear liquids can be very soothing and help relieve congestion. Studies have shown that chicken soup, both canned and homemade, actually relieves cold symptoms like aches, fatigue, congestion, and fever. Broth is a good alternative for babies who are still getting accustomed to solid foods.

Elevating the head (12 months and up)
How this helps:
Elevating your child's head while she rests can help her breathe more comfortably.

Nose blowing (age 2 and up)
How this helps:
Clearing mucus from your child's nose helps her breathe and sleep more easily and generally makes her more comfortable.

Neti pot (4 years and up)
How this helps:
A neti pot flushes a mild saline solution through the nasal passages, moisturizing the area and thinning, loosening, and rinsing away mucus. Think of it as nasal irrigation.

According to one European report, researchers studied nearly 400 children ages 6 to 10 and found that a nasal spray made from seawater relieved cold symptoms faster than standard cold medications.

It's not certain whether the seawater simply helps clear the mucus or if trace elements in the water are beneficial. But other scientists who studied the effectiveness of saline nasal wash solutions also found benefits.

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Natural wetland systems have often been described as the “earth’s kidneys” because they filter pollutants from water that flows through on its way to receiving lakes, streams and oceans. Because these systems can improve water quality, engineers and scientists construct systems that replicate the functions of natural wetlands. Constructed wetlands are treatment systems that use natural processes involving wetland vegetation, soils, and their associated microbial assemblages to improve water quality.
A constructed wetland is an artificial wetland to treat municipal or industrial wastewater, greywater or storm water runoff. It may also be designed for land reclamation after mining, or as a mitigation step for natural areas lost to land development.
Constructed wetlands are engineered systems that use natural functions of vegetation, soil, and organisms to treat wastewater. They are one example of phytoremediation. Depending on the type of wastewater the design of the constructed wetland has to be adjusted accordingly. It may also be necessary to use pre-treatment or post-treatment steps.
Similarly to natural wetlands, constructed wetlands also act as a biofilter or and can remove pollutants such as heavy metals from the water. Some constructed wetlands may also serve as a habitat for native and migratory wildlife, although that is not their main purpose.
(Constructed wetlands) can be considered treatment systems that use natural processes to stabilize, sequester, accumulate, degrade, metabolize, and/or mineralize contaminants. Although constructed wetland applications were limited to treating primarily storm water and municipal wastewaters, they are now being used in new applications and on new contaminants.
Vegetation in a wetland provides a substrate (roots, stems, and leaves) upon which microorganisms can grow as they break down organic materials. This community of microorganisms is known as the periphyton. The periphyton and natural chemical processes are responsible for approximately 90 percent of pollutant removal and waste breakdown.
A constructed wetland is an engineered sequence of water bodies designed to filter and treat waterborne pollutants found in sewage, industrial effluent or storm water runoff. Constructed wetlands are used for wastewater treatment or for greywater treatment, and can be incorporated into an ecological sanitation approach. They can be used after a septic tank for primary treatment, in order to separate the solids from the liquid effluent.
The plants remove about seven to ten percent of pollutants, and act as a carbon source for the microbes when they decay. Different species of aquatic plants have different rates of heavy metal uptake, a consideration for plant selection in a constructed wetland used for water treatment. Constructed wetlands are of two basic types: subsurface flow and surface flow wetlands.
The main three constructed wetlands types are:
•             Subsurface flow constructed wetland - this wetland can be either with vertical flow (the effluent moves vertically, from the planted layer down through the substrate and out) or with horizontal flow (the effluent moves horizontally, parallel to the surface)
•             Surface flow constructed wetland
•             Floating treatment wetland
The planted vegetation plays an important role in contaminant removal. The filter bed, consisting usually of sand and gravel, has an equally important role to play.

Subsurface flow constructed wetlands
Subsurface flow wetlands can be further classified as horizontal flow and vertical flow constructed wetlands. In the vertical flow constructed wetland, the effluent moves vertically from the planted layer down through the substrate and out (requiring air pumps to aerate the bed). In the horizontal flow CW the effluent moves horizontally via gravity, parallel to the surface, with no surface water thus avoiding mosquito breeding. Vertical flow CWs are considered to be more efficient with less area required compared to horizontal flow CWs. However, they need to be interval-loaded and their design requires more know-how while horizontal flow CWs can receive wastewater continuously and are easier to build.
Subsurface flow wetlands can treat a variety of different wastewaters, such as household wastewater, agricultural, paper mill wastewater, mining runoff, tannery or meat processing wastes, storm water.
The quality of the effluent is determined by the design and should be customized for the intended reuse application (like irrigation or toilet flushing) or the disposal method.

Surface Flow Constructed wetlands
Surface Flow Constructed wetlands (SFCW) Also called Free Water Surface CWs (FWS) Biological activity takes mainly place in the superior layer of the soil, in the stems of the plants and in the water. Waterproofing is not always used. SFCW are birthing grounds to mosquitoes and require greater protection from public access than Subsurface Flow CWs.
In a free-surface constructed wetland (also known as surface flow CW or free water surface CW), water flows above ground and plants are rooted in the sediment layer at the base of the basin or floating in the water. As the water slowly flows through the wetland, simultaneous physical, chemical and biological processes filter solids, degrade organics and remove nutrients from the wastewater. The channel or basin is lined with an impermeable barrier (clay or geo-textile) covered with rocks, gravel and soil and planted with native vegetation (e.g., cattails, reeds and/or rushes). The wetland is flooded with wastewater to a depth of 10 to 45 cm above ground level. The wetland is compartmentalized into at least two independent flow paths. The number of compartments in series depends on the treatment target. The efficiency of the free-water surface constructed wetland also depends on how well the water is distributed at the inlet. Wastewater can be fed into the wetland, using weirs or by drilling holes in a distribution pipe, to allow it to enter at evenly spaced intervals.

Floating System Wetlands
Floating treatment wetlands (FTWs) are manmade ecosystems that mimic natural wetlands. FTWs are created using floating rafts that support plants grown hydroponically. The rafts float on a wet pond water surface and can be used to improve water quality by filtering, consuming, or breaking down pollutants (e.g., nutrients, sediment, and metals) from the water.
 If it can be demonstrated that FTWs effectively remove waterborne pollutants, FTWs could be placed on most existing lakes and ponds. Many of these ponds located in urban settings are used as storm water catchments.

Nitrogen removal by nitrification/denitrification is the process mediated by microorganisms. The physical process of volatilization also is important in nitrogen removal. Plants take up the dissolved nutrients and other pollutants from the water, using them to produce additional plant biomass. The nutrients and pollutants then move through the plant body to underground storage organs when the plants senesce, being deposited in the bottom sediments through litter and peat accretion when the plants die. Wetland microorganisms, including bacteria and fungi, remove soluble organic matter, coagulate colloidal material, stabilize organic matter, and convert organic matter into various gases and new cell tissue. Many of the microorganisms are the same as those occurring in conventional wastewater treatment systems. The effectiveness of all processes (biological, chemical, physical) varies with the water residence time (i.e., the length of time the water stays in the wetland). Longer retention times accelerate the remove of more contaminants, although too-long retention times can have detrimental effects.
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

On Sunday the 14th of January 2018, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) was notified of four cases of Lassa fever among health care workers in Ebonyi State, Nigeria. Three of the four cases have subsequently passed away.

The Honourable Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, immediately requested that NCDC provides support to the Government of Ebonyi State, to investigate and respond to this cluster of cases.

Following the report, the Federal Ministry of Health through the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation (WHO) immediately commenced the public health response, supporting the Ebonyi State Ministry of Health. A Rapid Response Team has been immediately deployed from NCDC to support the State in response coordination, contact tracing, case management and strengthening infection prevention and control (IPC) procedures. The NCDC has also provided urgently required medical supplies and drugs to support case management in the State.

Key Facts
  • Lassa fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic illness of 2-21 days duration that occurs in West Africa.
  • The Lassa virus is transmitted to humans via contact with food or household items contaminated with rodent urine or faeces.
  • Person-to-person infections and laboratory transmission can also occur, particularly in hospitals lacking adequate infection prevention and control measures.
  • Lassa fever is known to be endemic in Benin, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, and Nigeria, but probably exists in other West African countries as well.
  • The overall case-fatality rate is 1%. Observed case-fatality rate among patients hospitalized with severe cases of Lassa fever is 15%.
  • Early supportive care with rehydration and symptomatic treatment improves survival.

According to the Chief Executive Officer of the NCDC, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, ‘Health care workers in health facilities are particularly at risk of contracting the disease, especially where infection prevention and control (IPC) procedures are not strictly adhered to. We therefore strongly advise that health care workers practice universal care precautions while handling patients at all times, not just when Lassa fever is suspected. We commiserate with the Federal Teaching Hospital, Abakaliki (FETHA) and Ebonyi State Government, and will support them to avert a future occurrence’. Although there is no vaccine currently available for Lassa fever, the disease can be prevented. Members of the public are advised to keep their environments clean in order to discourage rats from entering homes. Food stuff should be stored in rodent-proof containers, garbage should be disposed properly and far from the home, and hand washing should be practiced frequently.

Health care workers are again reminded that Lassa fever presents initially like any other disease causing a febrile illness such as malaria; and are advised to practice universal care precautions at all times. Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) must be applied to all suspected cases of malaria. When the RDT is negative, other causes of febrile illness including Lassa fever should be considered.

Extra caution should be taken by family members who are providing care for patients with Lassa fever. In addition, States are encouraged to ensure safe burial practices for patients who die from Lassa fever.

The National guidelines for Infection Prevention and Control, as well as Lassa fever case management have been developed, disseminated to States and are available on the NCDC website for download (http://ncdc.gov.ng/diseases/guidelines).

The Nigeria Centre for Disease Control remains committed to supporting all States’ public health teams to prevent and respond to public health threats.
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

With all the information bombarding us daily about issues related to women's health, it's easy to feel overloaded and confused. Although each person has very individual needs, here are some top-rated health issues facing today's women and some positive steps that we can take to control them;

Disease Awareness, Diagnosis, and Treatment
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), in 2009, the five” leading causes of death in females” are: Heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases, and Alzheimer’s disease. It is important for each woman to know her risks for developing any of these or other conditions and take proactive steps to nurture better health for life.

Healthful Diet and Culinary Skills
Not everyone has to become a chef, but learning the basics of preparing well-balanced, healthful meals is an excellent way to provide the fuel necessary to be at your best. When you take your diet into your own hands, you also control a greater part of your weight management and any medical conditions you might have, such as diabetes.

A strong education, formal or informal, can be tremendously empowering and translate to a better job which, in turn, can help a woman secure a better financial future, including the ability to pay for healthcare when needed. Also, ongoing learning is one of the tools that may help minimize the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, which is the fifth leading cause of death in women.

Stress Management
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the sixth leading cause of death in women is “unintentional injuries.” When we are under extreme stress, we may be more likely to have accidents, miss crucial details, or feel like our lives are spiraling out of control. Acquiring and applying tools to manage stress can greatly reduce these burdens and enable us to be more positive, productive, and safe.

Financial Literacy
Beyond clipping coupons or knowing about every sale at the mall, financial literacy helps us prioritize our budgets, plan for the future, and make decisions that can support our dreams and our realities. Knowledge and action based on sound financial literacy can make a big difference in reducing stress and other health-related issues, not to mention provide us with the money to pay for healthcare when we need it.

Spiritual Strength
When we are hurting, when pain or illness hit us hard, and when we feel most alone, we need inner strength and wisdom to get through the darkness. A strong spirit helps us promote health and resist activities and thoughts that are unhealthful. A strong spirit gives us the discipline we need to make good progress in health and life. And a strong spirit gives us courage to truly become the wonderful, health-filled and good women God means for us to be.
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Today more than ever, office workers live sedentary lifestyles — and our lazy habits are aided by hundreds of websites and TV channels that stimulate the mind while our bodies stay at rest.
Office fitness is a new concept of physical fitness that recognizes the sedentary, repetitive nature of modern computerized desk work.

But exercise does much more than keep people slim — it also raises the metabolism, strengthens bones, builds muscle mass, and can even help prevent asthma and allergies.
Sitting at a desk all day, operating a computer for long stretches of time, is a relatively new behavior.
Knowing the health advantages of regular exercise can be a significant part of getting you motivated to begin incorporating it into your everyday life. By finding out on your own what benefits indeed Reverberate you, might be the start off in your quest to enhancing your health and wellness.
In our aging society physical exercise is playing a significant role in keeping folks healthy. There are many fitness programs available to individuals. The vital point to consider with any specific program is having a balance between exercise and nutrition.

We recognize the trouble of most working class people all over the world of being very busy to make it possible for them to workout and also prepare balanced meals for themselves. However, it is not a valid excuse to consume junk food and even just sit around pressurizing over work.
Apart from maintaining a healthy diet, lowering sugar intake, and also having a proper routine workouts schedule in your spare time, we have our buttocks glued to desk roughly 9 hours daily. To avoid any issue of overweight and stress, I am bringing to you a fresh approach to sneak in a workout (exercise) while at the workplace.

Corporate fitness fanatics are already spreading this trend across workplaces around the world. They refer to it as deskercise, a mix of the desk and also exercise. A lot of staff members have been trying it out in the workplace and have good results. I collected 5 of the easiest of practices about how to exercise at your desk.

5 ways to do a workout at work
1) Chair dips – 10 reps: With your legs out in front of you, grab the edge of a chair (or desk) and lift yourself down and back up. At the end, you’ll be conveniently back in your seat.

2) Walking – 10 minutes: Lap your block or a floor of your office. Try for a pace of 100 steps per minute, which is easy if you don’t stop to play with tchotchkes on other people’s desks.

3) Hamstring curl – 20 reps: Bend arms at the elbow. Bring one foot up toward your rear end while straightening your arms so that your hands are down when your foot is up.

4) Knee lifts – 20 reps: Just like hamstring curls, except you lift your knee up in front as your arms go down.

5) Desk pushup – 10 reps: Place hands on edge of desk, shoulder width apart, legs out behind you. Push off with as much force as you can.

“At your work desk, you can flex your muscles and do stretching on regular intervals as needed,” says Dr Jain. “The simple act of choosing the stairs over the elevator in your building can add up to positive momentum.”
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

I love feeling comfortable with what I wear and still look good. A good feel on the inside and same on the outside. So I thought I would put together a brief article about fashion and health as let’s face it, we all want to look fabulous, but not at the detriment to our health.

Many consumers use online shopping methods to select apparel, and it is anticipated that this method of shopping will increase with more people using online apparel ‘‘try-on’’ methods to assess and select apparel. As companies develop more sophisticated methods of portraying fit in the online shopping session, how will the standardized avatar or a shopper’s scanned body form displayed on the screen affect a shopper’s perception of self, possibly affecting body satisfaction and overall health? The ideal fashion body may continue to hold sway and influence people, especially women, in negative ways. As fashion companies and web developers focus on how to influence shoppers, we propose that apparel and textiles researchers should become more directly involved in collaborative efforts with companies to assure a healthy shopping experience.

Yes you knew it was coming! We all love our heels don’t we but unfortunately a lot of the time those little blighters don’t love us back! It’s not just the odd blister or “ball ache” as I call it that put a downer on our night; there are a lot more serious health issues that occur. A lot of ladies have been treated for foot and ankle injuries as a result of wearing heels including fractures and broken bones! Ouch! I learned that long term wearing of heels could induce bunions, shortening of the Achilles tendon (making it painful to wear flats), Metatarsalgia, Plantar Fasciitis, arched toes and even ankle, knee and back strain.

Put Your Feet Up
Easy ways you can look after your feet at home is to regularly treat yourself to a pedicure. Soak your feet (I’m relaxed just thinking about it!) and dry with a soft towel, then carefully pumice your feet to remove any dead skin and then moisturise. I like to moisturise my feet every night before I get into bed to keep them feeling soft. Carefully trim your nails – always go straight across the nails and then finish with nail file. For any ingrown nails, don’t leave them; take a trip to your local Podiatrist or Chiropodist.

Also when you hit the shops for some new steps try them on in the afternoon when your feet will be slightly more swollen to account for differing in size throughout the day. If you have wider feet, don’t squeeze them into narrow shoes, look for wider fittings for example from Duo Shoes.

Do You have Good Foundations?
Most ladies wear the incorrect size, style or shape of bra. A lot of young girls these days are also wearing cheaper fashion bras which provide very little support at all and are only meant to be worn as fashion – not support.

You see bras are there for a reason – to provide support, yet so many women I see have their boobs in the wrong place! The right bra will make your waist look slimmer, your boobs look more youthful and toned and improve your posture tenfold.

The wrong bra on the other hand will make you look bigger, older and will make all your clothes look saggy and shapeless and the effect is that you look saggy and shapeless! Horror! Not only that but the effect of the bad posture may cause you shoulder, neck and back pain later in life, so better to get regularly fitted and spend a little more on your underwear which will give you a whole body lift! A cheaper and less painful alternative to plastic surgery I say!

The Kardashian clan are “obsessed” with using corsets to “train” their waists. (Basically using a corset to squeeze your weight into submission). There’s essentially no evidence the process works, but efficacy aside, wearing corsets can be painful, make it hard to breathe, and could possibly result in rib damage according to some experts.

Neck ties
A small amount of evidence suggests wearing a neck tie that’s too tight could elevate intracranial pressure (though the study found that the raised levels were still within normal range), and possibly increase blood pressure in the eyes to unsafe levels. A couple studies by no means make neck ties a risk factor for serious health problems, but those who choose to don them may want to give themselves some breathing room.

Skinny Jeans
a case report published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry chronicles the woeful tale of a 35-year-old woman whose legs went numb while she was wearing skinny jeans. “Her legs and ankles had become so swollen that emergency room staff had to cut her jeans off. Her ankles and toes were weak, but the rest of her legs, including her knees and hips, were working normally,” Alice Park wrote. The perils of tight pants have been noted by health experts as far back as 1993, as the Wall Street Journal reports, internist Dr. Octavio Bessa coined the term “tight-pants syndrome” in a medical journal after reporting several men coming in with symptoms like abdominal discomfort. When Bessa compared the size of the pants to the abdominal girth, he found there was often a discrepancy. Men needed to loosen up. Tight pants are currently a trend among both men and women, and perhaps it’s not worth the fashion points.
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

It can be tempting to trade sleep for a few precious hours of wakefulness, but it is important to consider the hidden costs. Sleep is precious, too. Numerous studies have found that insufficient sleep increases a person's risk of developing serious medical conditions, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Lack of adequate sleep over time has been associated with a shortened lifespan. Insufficient sleep may increase your risk of developing high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
It may seem obvious that sleep is beneficial. Even without fully grasping what sleep does for us, we know that going without sleep for too long makes us feel terrible, and that getting a good night's sleep can make us feel ready to take on the world.

Scientists have gone to great lengths to fully understand sleep's benefits. In studies of humans and other animals, they have discovered that sleep plays a critical role in immune function, metabolism, memory, learning, and other vital functions. The features in this section explore these discoveries and describe specific ways in which we all benefit from sleep.

Why Do We Sleep, Anyway?
Although scientists aren't entirely sure why we sleep, they have many ideas about the functions of this mysterious part of our lives. While some of these functions may have deep evolutionary roots, others, such as sleep's potential role in memory and health, seem particularly relevant to life in the 21st century.

Sleep, Learning, and Memory
It may not be surprising that it is more difficult to take in new information following a night of inadequate or disturbed sleep. What’s more surprising is that it is just as important to get a good night’s sleep after learning something new in order to process and retain the information that has been learned.

How much sleep do I need?
The amount of sleep you need depends on several factors, including your age, lifestyle, health, and whether you have been getting enough sleep recently. The general recommendations for sleep are

  • Newborns: 16-18 hours a day
  • Preschool-aged children: 11-12 hours a day
  • School-aged children: At least 10 hours a day
  • Teens: 9-10 hours a day
  • Adults (including the elderly): 7-8 hours a day

During puberty, teenagers' biological clocks shift, and they are more likely to go to bed later than younger children and adults, and they tend to want to sleep later in the morning. This delayed sleep-wake rhythm conflicts with the early-morning start times of many high schools and helps explain why most teenagers do not get enough sleep.

Some people think that adults need less sleep as they age. But there is no evidence to show that seniors can get by with less sleep than people who are younger. As people age, however, they often get less sleep or they tend to spend less time in the deep, restful stage of sleep. Older people are also more easily awakened.

And it's not just the number of hours of sleep you get that matters. The quality of the sleep you get is also important. People whose sleep is frequently interrupted or cut short might not get enough of certain stages of sleep.

If you are wondering whether you are getting enough sleep, including quality sleep, ask yourself
  1. Do you have trouble getting up in the morning?
  2. Do you have trouble focusing during the day?
  3. Do you doze off during the day?
  4. If you answered yes to these three questions, you should work on improving your sleep.

What are the health effects of not getting enough sleep?
Sleep is important for overall health. When you don't get enough sleep (sleep deprivation), it does more than just make you feel tired. It can affect your performance, including your ability to think clearly, react quickly, and form memories. This may cause you to make bad decisions and take more risks. People with sleep deprivation are more likely to get into accidents.

Sleep deprivation can also affect your mood, leading to; 
  • Irritability
  • Problems with relationships, especially for children and teenagers
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • It can also affect your physical health. 

Research shows that not getting enough sleep, or getting poor-quality sleep, increases your risk of;
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Kidney disease
  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes

Not getting enough sleep can also mean that you don't get enough of the hormones that help children grow and help adults and children build muscle mass, fight infections, and repair cells. Sleep deprivation magnifies the effect of alcohol. A tired person who drinks too much alcohol will be more impaired than a well-rested person.

How can I get better sleep?
You can take steps to improve your sleep habits. First, make sure that you allow yourself enough time to sleep. With enough sleep each night, you may find that you're happier and more productive during the day.

To improve your sleep habits, it also may help to;

  • Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day
  • Avoid caffeine, especially in the afternoon and evening
  • Avoid nicotine
  • Exercise regularly, but don't exercise too late in the day
  • Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed
  • Avoid large meals and beverages late at night
  • Don't take a nap after 3 p.m.
  • Relax before bed, for example by taking a bath, reading or listening to relaxing music
  • Keep the temperature in your bedroom cool
  • Get rid of distractions such as noises, bright lights, and a TV or computer in the bedroom. Also, don't be tempted to go on your phone or tablet just before bed.
  • Get enough sunlight exposure during the day
  • Don't lie in bed awake; if you can't sleep for 20 minutes, get up and do something relaxing

See a doctor if you have continued trouble sleeping. You may have a sleep disorder, such as insomnia or sleep apnea. In some cases, your doctor may suggest trying over-the-counter or prescription sleep aid. In other cases, your doctor may want you to do a sleep study, to help diagnose the problem.
If you are a shift worker, it can be even harder to get a good sleep. 

You may also want to; 
  • Take naps and increase the amount of time available for sleep
  • Keep the lights bright at work
  • Limit shift changes so your body clock can adjust
  • Limit caffeine use to the first part of your shift
  • Remove sound and light distractions in your bedroom during daytime sleep (for example, use light-blocking curtains)

Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Water is life, currently, nobody can underestimate the efficacy and relevance of good and quality water system. It is needed by plant and animals for survival, healthy growth of hormone, most significantly during reproduction. Good and clean water is odorless, tasteless, sparkling and above all colorless. When water is contaminated, it may cause diseases that are referred to as water-borne diseases.

Water-borne diseases are diseases that are mainly caused by drinking or using contaminated water.  The causative organisms (organisms that cause it, known as pathogens), are present in such water.  Getting clean and safe water for use in many parts of our country is a major problem, especially in the rural areas during the dry season.  In rural areas the commonest water sources includes springs, wells, rivers, streams and rain water.  Most of these sources may contain microbes that are responsible for one disease or the other.   Examples of water-borne diseases are Cholera, diarrhea, typhoid fever, dysentery and guinea worm.

The causative organism of cholera is vibro cholera, a bacterium, which was discovered by the German bacteriologist; Robert Koch.  The only means by which a person can be infected by Cholera is from contaminated food or water
 The symptoms of Cholera can include the following ;
1.      Frequents stooling that is sometimes called ‘rice-water stool’. 
2.      Vomiting                             
3.      Loss of water and salts in the stool (dehydration)
4.      Fever
5.      Weakness and stomach upset
 If the victim is not treated promptly cholera could lead to death.   

Treatment of Cholera
 Cholera can be treated orally or by intravenous replacement of fluids and salt.  
Antibiotics, which are prescribed by a medical doctor, can also be used.
Prevention of Cholera
Cholera can be prevented by
1.     Boiling water before drinking and covering of food.
2.     Maintaining a high level of sanitation.
3.     Immunization of children and adults.

Diarrhoea is a disease that causes abdominal pains nausea, vomiting, watery stool, and low fever.  In severe cases, exhaustion and dehydration may occur.
In most cases, diarrhea may occur when the alimentary canal gets rid of anything irritating or dangerous to it, as a result of contamination with poisoning food or beverages.

Thyhoid fever
Typhoid fever is a disease that affects the intestinal tract, and occasionally, the bloodstream.  The disease strikes when the bacteria responsible are passed out in the stool of an infected person, and the germs contaminate food or drinking water.

The symptoms of typhoid fever include:
1.     Chills followed by a high fever.
2.     Headache
3.     Abdominal pain
4.     Vomiting and diarrhea
Note:   if the disease is not treated in time.  It may progress to sepsis that is an infection which produces pus, intestinal hemorrhage, and eventually death.

The disease can be treated when the physician places the victim on certain drugs.  

Typhoid fever may be prevented by
1.     Compulsory inspection of water supplies.
2.      Boiling of water before drinking
3.     Washing of hands after using the toilet
4.      Immunization against typhoid fever
5.      Improvement of Sewage facilities.  

Possible Sources of clean water
Water is a liquid substance at room temperature and atmospheric pressure.  Water is essential because we use it every day.  It is needed for life on earth by plants and animals.
There are many sources of water.   Examples are rain, wells, streams, rivers, seas and springs.  Not all these sources are clean.
Sources of clean water include the following:
1.     Pipe-borne water
2.     Spring water
3.     Rain water
4.     Certified, treated bottled water
5.     Certified, treated sachet water
Pipe-borne water could be referred to as a source of clean water, because it is a source of treated water from the water works.   Sometimes, pipe-borne water may be dirty, and that is when it is passed through rusty pipes.
 Certified bottled water and sachet water may also be taken as sources of clean water, because it is treated water authorized by a government by a government agency.
 Rain water, if collected directly from the sky, may also be considered as a source of clean water because it is formed by condensation of water vapor.
 Springs are a source of cleans water because they are formed when rain water seeps through the soil and reaches a layer of rock, which it cannot pass through.  It then accumulates and later reappears as spring when it finds an outlet.

Water treatment process
Water is essential for life, everybody knows,  Water has to be purified or treated to make it safe for drinking, domestic and industrial purposes.
Impurities in water collected from unclean sources such as rivers, streams, lakes and wells, can be grouped into two:

1.     Visible impurities, e.g. debris, leaves, stories and sand.
2.      Invisible impurities e.g. Microorganism.

Depending on the quality of water to be treated and the source, there are different ways by which water can be treated or purified.

In rural areas, water can be treated by filtering and boiling it before use, to remove visible and invisible impurities.

The steps to be taken are as follows:
1.      Collect water from a source
2.      Add little alum for dirt to flocculate (settle) and gently pour out the water.
3.      Boil the water for about thirty (30) minutes
4.      Allow the water to cool
5.     Tie a clean sheet of cloth around the mouth of a pot
6.      Pour the water gently into the cloth and allow to seep into the pot, so as to have filtered water.

In cities, water is usually treated and distributed to different homes and industries at water works (stations and where purification of water is carried out).  The following steps are taken in water treatment at water works.

1.    Collection of water from sources such as rain, rivers, and lakes, and storing in large settling tanks.
2.      Coagulation/flocculation:  Chemicals like potash are added to water to cause the clumping together of suspended particles like sand (coagulation). The dirt now settles down rapidly at the base of the tank.
3.    Filtering water through a filter bed:  The water is passed through a filter bed to remove the remaining fine particles of dirt and make it colourless and odourless.
4.     Distribution:  a calculated amount of Chlorine is added to the water to kill germs.   Addition of chlorine may make the water slightly acidic. To remove this effect, and improve its taste, time is added.
5.     Sedimentation: The water is now passed into a sedimentation tank where the lime is allowed to settle.
6.      Addition of food supplements:  Clean water is led into high tanks (reservation) where chemicals like sodium; fluoride and iodine are added in the right amounts to prevent tooth decay and goiter respectively.
The clean water is now stoned and ready to be distributed through   pipes to different homes and industries respectively.

Most pipe-borne water supplies are quite safe because   the water has been treated and tested.  However, sometimes before it gets to your home.  It may pick up particles, especially if the pipes are rusty. So it is advisable to check and boil water before drinking.

Water can be purified in the laboratory either by filtration or distillation.

Advantages of Using Pipe-borne water
Pipe-borne water has the following advantages:
1.     It is safe to domestic use, because it has been treated to remove disease causing microorganisms.
2.     It contains food supplements such as sodium fluoride and iodine, which prevent tooth decay and          goiter respectively.
3.     It is more convenient and readily available for use at home.

4.     It reduces the risk of water getting contaminated, because water is confined within the pipe.
Read Full Article
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

(CNN)Tens of millions more Americans now have high blood pressure. Almost half of all Americans -- 46% -- are now considered to be in the high blood pressure category based on new guidelines released Monday.
High blood pressure should be treated at 130/80 rather than 140/90, according to the new parameters set forth by the American Heart Association, the American College of Cardiology and nine other health professional organizations.

Practicing physicians and the public are "going to be a little bit shocked or taken aback by a diagnosis of Stage 1 hypertension with a blood pressure of 130/80, which historically has been considered a normal, well-controlled blood pressure," said Dr. William White, a professor in the cardiology center at the University of Connecticut School of Medicine.

"That will involve 50% of men and 38% of all adult women in the US," estimated White, who was not involved in writing the guidelines. "So it's a huge number of people."

One in three Americans had previously been diagnosed with the condition, but now 14% more Americans will be diagnosed with high blood pressure. The new guidelines will classify 103.3 million people as having high blood pressure, while the previous guidelines placed only 72.2 million Americans in this category, according to the authors of the report.

Hypertension or high blood pressure is second only to smoking for causing preventable heart disease and stroke deaths, the authors said.

What are the guidelines?
The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association certainly grabbed the attention of us busy primary care physicians with the recent release of their updated blood pressure guidelines.

The new guidelines – the first comprehensive set since 2003 – lower the definition of high blood pressure to account for complications that can occur at lower numbers and to allow for earlier intervention. The new definition will result in nearly half of the U.S. adult population (46 percent) having high blood pressure, with the greatest impact expected among younger people. Additionally, the prevalence of high blood pressure is expected to triple among men under age 45, and double among women under 45, the guideline authors note. However, only a small increase is expected in the number of adults requiring antihypertensive medication.
Blood pressure categories in the new guideline are:

  • Normal: Less than 120/80 mm Hg;
  • Elevated: Systolic between 120-129 and diastolic less than 80;
  • Stage 1: Systolic between 130-139 or diastolic between 80-89;
  • Stage 2: Systolic at least 140 or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg;
  • Hypertensive crisis: Systolic over 180 and/or diastolic over 120, with patients needing prompt changes in medication if there are no other indications of problems, or immediate hospitalization if there are signs of organ damage.

The guidelines eliminate the category of prehypertension, categorizing patients as having either Elevated (120-129 and less than 80) or Stage I hypertension (130-139 or 80-89).

While previous guidelines classified 140/90 mm Hg as Stage 1 hypertension, this level is classified as Stage 2 hypertension under the new guidelines. In addition, the guidelines stress the importance of using proper technique to measure blood pressure; recommend use of home blood pressure monitoring using validated devices; and highlight the value of appropriate training of health care providers to reveal "white-coat hypertension."

Other changes include:

  • Only prescribing medication for Stage I hypertension if a patient has already had a cardiovascular event such as a heart attack or stroke, or is at high risk of heart attack or stroke based on age, the presence of diabetes mellitus, chronic kidney disease or calculation of atherosclerotic risk (using the same risk calculator used in evaluating high cholesterol).
  • Recognizing that many people will need two or more types of medications to control their blood pressure, and that people may take their pills more consistently if multiple medications are combined into a single pill.
  • Identifying socioeconomic status and psychosocial stress as risk factors for high blood pressure that should be considered in a patient's plan of care.

The authors, who include a panel of 21 scientists who reviewed more than 900 studies, believe the impact of their new guidelines will be greatest among younger and middle-age adults, with prevalence of high blood pressure expected to triple among men under 45 and double among women under 45.
Drugs will now be recommended for patients with related health problems coupled with high blood pressure, as defined by the new guidelines. Worldwide, as well as in the US, high blood pressure is "sorely undertreated," Frieden said. "This is unacceptable, and we're committed to seeing this change."
Read Full Article

Read for later

Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Separate tags by commas
To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
Start your free month
Free Preview