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Sleep is an activity where you do nothing but rest. You relax your body and mind, you rest your bones and muscles and you rest your eyes after a long day of physical exertion. It is extremely necessary for you to get an ample amount of sleep to stay healthy.
Otherwise, there are various problems which you might have to face if you are lacking sleep:
- Elevates the risk of stroke: According to study, people who get less sleep are more prone to having strokes than those who get enough sleep. If you sleep for less than 6 hours every day, you multiply the risk of having a stroke four times than ordinary.
- Leads to obesity: Lack of sleep can cause obesity. It usually forces you to take erratic food decisions, leading you to eat a lot of junk food. Less sleep administers certain hormonal changes which make you feel hungrier and believe that you haven’t eaten enough food. The production of the hormone ghrelin, which controls your hunger, increases due to less sleep. Hence, it may lead to obesity if you keep eating without keeping a check on what you eat.
- Increases the risk of diabetes: Sleep and production of insulin are inversely related to each other. Among teenagers, the less you sleep; the more insulin resistant your body becomes. This means the body is not able to use the insulin effectively.
- Results in poor memory: Less sleep causes tiredness. When you are extremely tired, you are not able to focus on anything going on around you, you cannot concentrate on your work, and you get forgetful. In fact, consistent lack of sleep can even cause permanent loss of memory. This is because you are not being able to fully utilize the memory-boosting ability of sleep. This eventually causes brain deterioration which results in permanent memory loss.
- Affects your heart: Lack of sleep can have an extremely negative impact on your heart. Less sleep also causes stress and strain to your body and mind. It results in increased production of certain chemicals and hormones in the body which is harmful for your heart. As per various studies, people who sleep less than 6 hours every day increase the risk of having heart problems by almost 48%.
It is not very healthy to sleep less as it can complicate your daily life activities. Sleep enough and stay healthy.
Fatigue is a common complaint amongst middle aged people. It is mostly seen in people who have refrained from physical activity or working out for long. This being said, there are a host of other diseases where fatigue acts as the most prominent symptom. Some major diseases where fatigue is involved are anemia, heart diseases, thyroid and diabetes. If you are feeling exhausted or worn out even after a good night’s sleep, it is time to consult your doctor.
Here are a few tips that can help you in managing fatigue in the early stage :
- Review your existing medication - Get your doctor to check your medication to ensure that the fatigue is not a result of your existing medicine. Doctors often change the medication for any side effects such as this. It is also advised not to take additional medicine to counter fatigue.
- Start moving - Studies show that physical activity greatly boosts the level of energy in an individual. Daily exercise not only reduces fatigue but makes the heart and lung function more efficient. It increases vigor and the overall quality of life. According to a study conducted by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, it was seen that people who are more active have more self-confidence.
- Drink water - Dehydration often causes daytime fatigue. It not only impairs the physical performance of an individual but also contribute to lack of alertness and motivation. A good indicator of the body’s hydration is the color of the urine. Ideally, it should be yellow, pale or straw colored. Any coloration other than this signifies that the body needs more water.
- Hit the bed early - Lack of sleep is one of the biggest factors of fatigue. A study conducted by the Stanford University in 2004 showed that people with good sleeping habits suffer from less fatigue. An afternoon nap followed by a coffee further reduces fatigue and energizes a person. 8 hours of sleep is considered to be healthy and keeps fatigue at bay.
- Frequent eating - It is observed that people who eat small meals several times a day are less prone to this condition than others who eat twice or thrice a day but eat bigger meals. Frequent eating maintains a steady blood sugar level and helps a person concentrate harder. This being said, it has to be ensured that food is consumed in smaller quantities to refrain from putting on weight.
- Try Yoga - While any kind of exercise is helpful in countering fatigue, yoga is particularly helpful in boosting energy. A British study conducted among young adults showed that those who attended 6 weeks of yoga classes are found to be more energetic and mindful. Yoga should be practised under strict supervision of an instructor to avoid any possible complications of the body.
At present 3 out of the 5 people are suffering from diabetes and it is the 7th leading cause of death worldwide. Moreover, it is no more restricted just to adults and affects children as well. Diabetes is a metabolic disease resulting in increase in the level of glucose in the body. Glucose is a source of energy for the cells making up the muscles and other tissues in the body. But if the level of glucose goes up, it shows the sign of danger.
Diabetes is of 2 types :
Type 1 - Body fails to produce insulin.
Type 2 - Body fails to produce enough insulin which is required by the body.
There are no defined signs of diabetes. It simply varies from person to person. In many of the cases it goes unnoticed. Such signs are as follows:
- Sudden weight loss - You might experience a sudden weight loss of 5-10 kgs within a month. This happens when sugar metabolism ceases very quickly. Insufficient insulin prevents the body from taking in glucose in the body cells from the blood to use as energy. In such a scenario the body starts burning fat and muscle for energy. This results in weight loss.
- Intense hunger - The cells in your body might not get enough energy either due to absence or improper functioning of insulin in your blood. This makes you hungry quite often.
- Excessive urination and thirst - Due to diabetes, the glucose level in the body goes up. The kidneys are overloaded with the burden of working overtime for filtering and absorbing the excess glucose in your body. The excess sugar which the kidney cannot store is excreted out of your body. This makes you urinate frequently. Due to frequent urination the body gets dehydrated which makes you feel thirsty more often.
- Blurred vision - Due to the high level of glucose in your body tissues gets pulled away from the lens of the eyes. This results in vision issues. If not treated on time, it may even lead to blindness.
- Increased fatigue - The cells in your body might not get enough energy either due to absence or improper functioning of insulin in your blood. This makes you restless more often and you may even feel too weak to do your regular activities.
If you notice any of these signs, get the level of sugar in your checked and take the required remedies. It is good to get it treated as early as possible rather than facing immense trouble in future.
Diwali is the celebration of lights. However, it has also become associated with noise, smoke and pollution. This can be credited to a large number of firecrackers, which are burst as part of Diwali celebrations. Pollution affects not only your skin but also your internal health and can lead to a number of health problems such as:
1. Respiratory problems
Smoke is a common byproduct of every firecracker. These suspended particles in the air, when inhaled, can lead to a number of respiratory problems. In some cases, this floating particulate matter may also contain heavy metal oxides and salts that can get deposited in the lungs and cause irreversible damage. Asthmatic patients often see a sudden spike in respiratory attacks around Diwali.
To deal with respiratory issues during Diwali, wear face masks to limit the inhalation of noxious fumes. Those who are suffering already from respiratory concerns should get themselves examined after Diwali to be on the safe side.
2. Digestive problems
While bursting crackers, a small residue of particulate matter is often left behind on your fingers. Since bursting crackers and enjoying sweetmeats go hand in hand on Diwali, there is a high chance of ingesting these chemicals. Even washing your hands may not get rid of all the chemical traces. This can lead to indigestion and a number of other digestive problems.
Take care to wash your hands thoroughly with soap before you touch any food item. You can use a sanitizer as well for extra protection. If you experience any gastric discomfort, visit a physician without delay.
3. Hearing problems
Pollution is not measured only by the levels of particulate matter in the air. Excessive noise that goes over the permissible decibel level leads to noise pollution. This can be in the form of noise emitted by firecrackers, loudspeakers etc. Noise pollution can lead to temporary deafness and damage the ear as well. It can also lead to sleeping problems, high blood pressure and permanent hearing loss.
To avoid noise-related problems, use ear plugs and keep your doors and windows closed. Heart patients should, especially get themselves checked by a doctor after Diwali or if a problem suddenly arises during festivities.
4. Skin problems
Many children and adults suffer from skin irritations and eczema during Diwali. This is largely due to pollutants in the air and chemical residue left on the skin. To keep skin problems at bay, drinks lots of water, use moisturiser, avoid fried food, cover your face with a cloth while burning crackers and wash your face afterwards thoroughly. For those already suffering from skin worries, consult your doctor for guidance.
The best way to limit your exposure to harmful chemicals and pollutants during Diwali is by celebrating an eco-friendly Diwali and saying ‘no to crackers’.
Additionally, try to stay indoors in the evening when crackers are being burnt and close all the windows and doors. Wearing a mask can also help prevent the inhalation of poisonous gases. This is especially necessary for people suffering from asthma and other such respiratory illnesses. Air pollutants do not clear away immediately and are present in the air for many days after Diwali as well. Hence, try staying indoors and keep the windows of your car rolled up for the next few days after Diwali as well.
'Light exercise' is one of the first things every doctor prescribes for hypertension patients. Hypertension is a condition where blood exerts a very high force against the walls of the blood vessels. While a normal person's blood pressure is usually around 120 over 80, a hypertension patient's blood pressure is higher than 140 over 90. Regular exercise helps regulate this blood pressure and improves cardiovascular health. It also improves blood circulation, thus giving you more energy and easing stress.
So, what types of exercises are best for treating hypertension?
Aerobic activities are activities that increase your heart and breathing rate. Simple household chores like mowing the lawn or swabbing the floor can also count as aerobic activities. Other such exercises include brisk walking, jogging and swimming. Alternatively you could join a group sport such as basketball or football to increase your aerobic activity. This will make your heart stronger and reduce stress, both of which will in turn lower your blood pressure.
Lifting weights may cause a temporary spike in blood pressure at the time of exercising, but it has a number of long term benefits. It improves your overall cardiovascular health and helps build strong muscles. Instead of doing a few sets of lifting heavy weights, it is better for a hypertension patient to lift lighter weights more number of times. Light weights challenge the muscles by increasing the number of sets.
Practicing yoga asanas and pranayam can help lower blood pressure and reduce stress induced hypertension. While asanas are yogic positions, pranayam refers to breathing techniques. Some asanas that are beneficial for hypertension are shavasana, sukhasan and shishuasan. Yoga benefits hypertension patients by relaxing the body and calming the nervous system.
How much exercise do you need?
With hypertension, you should be very careful to not overdo any exercise. Brisk walking for 30 minutes or jogging for 20 minutes on a daily basis is ideal. A five minute warm up and cooling down period at the beginning and end of your exercise routine is essential. If you cannot put aside half an hour each day, you could even break it up into smaller periods of 10 or 15 minutes each. When exercising, it is important to listen to your body. The moment you feel out of breath or dizzy, you must stop your exercise.
If you are a regular gym enthusiast, lifting light weights won't be an issue. However, if you live a sedentary lifestyle and are only starting a fitness routine now, it is advisable to consult your doctor before adding weight training to your schedule. You should also consult your doctor if you are above the age of 45 or if you are overweight.