16 February 2011

A BRISK daily 30 minute walk can cut your risk of falling victim to up to two dozen illnesses, including dementia and cancer, say researchers.

Taking such walks can slow the rate at which our bodies deteriorate with age. Researchers made the claims after examining 40 previous studies over the last four years.

They found that being fit and active ranks alongside not smoking as the most powerful choice we can make to stay healthy. And its benefits are universal, helping men and women in all age groups. The study classed regular, moderate physical activity as 150 minutes a week, such as 30 minutes of brisk walking or cycling, five days a week. This, it said, is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease and stroke. Other benefits include a reduced risk of osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, depression, obesity and high blood pressure. — Daily Mail Blood test to detect heart failure US researchers recently say they have developed a new blood test that may help predict the risk of heart failure in older adults who appear to be in good health.

The test is a more advanced version of the one that’s now carried out in emergency rooms to determine if a patient having chest pain is suffering from a heart attack or something else. Researchers say the findings may help assess the risk of death for people over age 65 who show no symptoms of heart disease, a group that is particularly difficult to gauge and which sees 80 per cent of new congestive heart failure cases.

The test measures the level of troponin T, a marker for the biological process of cell death that leads to heart failure, says the study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The new test can detect troponin levels that are 10 times lower than previous tests but is not yet commercially available in the United States, where heart disease is the No.1 killer of men and women. — AFP Job stress raises women’s heart attack risk WOMEN with stressful jobs face a 40 per cent higher risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke or need surgery to open a blocked artery, a new study has found.

In addition, job insecurity or fear of losing a job was associated with risk factors for cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, increased cholesterol and excess body weight, says the study unveiled at an American Heart Association meeting.

However, these anxieties were not directly associated with heart attacks, stroke, invasive heart procedures or cardiovascular death, they say. “Our study indicates that there are both immediate and long-term clinically documented cardiovascular health effects of job strain in women,” said Michelle Albert, the study’s senior author and associate physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in Boston, Massachusetts.

The study analysed job strain in 17,415 healthy women who were primarily Caucasian health professionals aged 57. They were followed for more than 10 years to track the development of cardiovascular disease. — AFP Better sanitation can save lives NEARLY 20 per cent of the world’s population still defecates in the open, and action to improve hygiene, sanitation and water supply can prevent more than two million child deaths a year, health experts said. Unsafe sanitation and drinking water, together with poor hygiene, account for at least seven per cent of diseases across the world, they said, as well as nearly 20 per cent of all child deaths in the world.

Despite this, progress in improving safe water supplies and sanitation has been “painfully slow” in many developing countries, they said.

In the studies, published in the Public Library of Science (PLoS) Medicine journal, researchers said that of the 2.6 billion people who have no access to decent sanitation, two-thirds live in Asia and sub-Sahara Africa. — Reuters Workshop on stroke care The Sau Seng Lum (Puchong) Dialysis & Stroke Rehabilitation Centre is organising a workshop on ‘How to care for a stroke patient’ next weekend.

The half-day workshop will be held at Lot PT-39480, Jalan Industri PBP 3, Tmn Industri, Pusat Bandar Puchong, from 9am to 1pm on Dec 18.

Targeting the audience at large, the workshop is aimed to provide guidance and essential techniques to the caregivers. It is also in conjunction with the release of a handbook titled “Rehabilitation After Stroke — A Handy Guide for Caregivers” which provides guidance on essential techniques for caregivers of stroke patients at home.

A registration fee of RM10 is charged for each participant. For more information, call 03-58829181.

This article was published in www.nst.com.my on 6 November 2010.