HEALTH THUMB Your No.1 Health Gist Blog..Your Good Health Is Our Joy.

Latest Posts

Friday, 2 November 2018

7 serious stroke symptoms you should never ignore

7 serious stroke symptoms you should never ignore

Woman with headache


Each year more than 100 000 women under the age of 65 will have a stroke. But if you were one of those women, would you be able to recognise the symptoms?
“In the stroke field, they say time is brain’,” says Dr Andrew Stemer, director of the stroke program at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital.
 Meaning the longer you wait to seek treatment after experiencing stroke symptoms, the more time there is for permanent damage to occur. Your best defense is to catch the symptoms early and get to an ER stat.
“If there’s any sudden onset of a new neurological symptom that affects one side of the body, then I would go to the emergency room right away,” says Dr Stemer. “It may be a migraine or something else that’s benign, but the problem is, if you don’t go in, then you’ll have missed your opportunity to really treat the stroke.”
Here, seven stroke symptoms in women that deserve immediate medical attention:
1. You feel weak or numb on one side of your body
Suddenly losing strength or being unable to feel a limb on one side of your body is one of the most common signs of stroke, especially in the arm and leg, Dr Stemer says. Why just on one side of the body? Because, as the American Stroke Association explains, each side of your brain affects the opposite side of your body. So, if you have bleeding in the right side of your brain, the left side of your body will show symptoms.
Woman holding numb hand
2. One side of your face is drooping 
Again, the side of the brain affected will determine which side of your face shows this tell-tale stroke symptom, he says. If the corner of your mouth of eye are suddenly drooping or you’re unable to control facial expressions on both sides of your face, get to the emergency room immediately.
3. You are having difficulty reading or understanding speech 
The left side of your brain is in control of language, so if you experience a stroke there, you could experience aphasia (loss of ability to understand or express speech). This is the most common language stroke symptom, impairing your brain’s ability to processes words. It can affect how you speak, your ability to understand what someone is saying, or your reading or writing skills.
While we all have moments where we can’t think of a word, “most people know themselves or their own body well enough to recognise this is transient or applies only to a certain word,” says Dr Stemer. “I would say if someone is alarmed with being unable to speak – having words stuck on the tip of their tongue for example – or not understanding what others are saying, it is time to seek care immediately."
woman can't read her phone
4. Your speech is slurred 
Another, but less common speech-related stroke symptom, dyspraxia happens when you cannot control the muscles required to produce clear speech, he says. Your speech muscles may or may not be weak or paralysed, and you won’t be able to move them how you want, when you want.
5. You have a hellacious headache 
Severe headaches are most likely to occur in cases of haemorrhagic strokes, in which the brain bleeds into itself, which require immediate medical attention, he says. However, we aren’t talking your run-of-the-mill headache here. If you could describe yours as “the worst headache of your life” or it comes on in a blink of an eye, definitely get it checked out.
Woman with sore head

6. You can’t see to one side 
Much like the limb weakness or numbness, vision problems are usually one-sided. But instead of losing sight in one full eye, you’re more likely to lose the same field of vision in both eyes (for example, neither eye can see to the left.) This is because “the eyeball itself and the optic nerve are fine, but where that information goes to get processed in the brain is what can be damaged,” says Dr Stemer.
7. You’re having trouble walking 
Strokes can cause both dizziness and a loss of coordination, he says. Meanwhile, if you’re also dealing with numbness or weakness in one leg, you’re only going to have more trouble walking or simply staying upright. This can be an alarming neurological symptom and deserves an immediate trip to the hospital.

Can You Still Have Sex After Having A Heart Attack Or Stroke?

Can You Still Have Sex After Having A Heart Attack Or Stroke?





Sexual activity is safe for most patients with heart disease and stroke, according to a Scientific Statement from the American Heart Association.
“Sexual activity is a major quality of life issue for men and women with cardiovascular disease and their partners,” says Dr. Glenn N. Levine, professor of medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas and lead author of the Scientific Statement.
“Unfortunately, discussions about sexual activity rarely take place in the clinical context,” he says. To provide recommendations and help foster communication between healthcare providers and their patients, experts reviewed the literature on sexual activity and heart disease.
The article covers the cardiovascular effects of sexual activity in general, the effects of specific cardiovascular conditions, the effects of cardiovascular drugs on sexual function, cautions regarding the use of erectile dysfunction drugs, the use of local and topical estrogen among postmenopausal women, herbal medications, psychological issues, and the importance of counseling patients and their partners.
Recommendations are given with each section. The Statement concludes that it is “reasonable” for most patients with cardiovascular disease to engage in sexual activity after undergoing a comprehensive history and physical exam.
In general, people with stable symptoms and good functional capacity have a low risk of adverse cardiovascular events from sexual activity. On the other hand, people with unstable or severe symptoms should first be treated and stabilized before engaging in sexual activity.
More research is needed on the effects of sexual activity on specific cardiovascular conditions, especially among women and older adults.

3 Masturbation Horror Stories That Will Make You Cringe



Breaking news: Teenage boys masturbate more than teenage girls, according to news published in the Archives of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine! We weren’t surprised, either – but in our completely work-related hunt for other masturbation research (we swear), we stumbled upon the craziest solo-sex mishaps ever.

The Man Who Inserted A Tube You-Know-Where.

A 40 year old man inserted a 140-centimetre-long tube into his bladder for masturbation, according to a Japanese case study. The tube remained in his urethra for two years before it was surgically removed.
“This is more common than you may think,” says Judd Moul, chief of urologic surgery at the Duke University Medical Center, and Men’s Healthurology advisor.
“I’ve seen a patient insert part of an aloe vera plant into his urethra—he claimed that it gave him a pleasurable, soothing feeling.” Another man did the same with a copper speaker wire, which ultimately became tangled in his bladder. Dr. Moul estimates that urologists see two to three similar cases a year.
Needless to say: unless you want to make a very embarrassing, painful trip to the urologist, keep electronics and plants out of your urethra.

The Man Who Fractured His Own Penis

We’ve all heard horror stories about reverse cowgirl going terribly wrong, resulting in broken penises and shattered dreams. But one man did it to himself—which is even more depressing.
He held the root of his penis with the thumb and index finder of his left hand, then rotated his penis towards him with his right hand, as always, according to a Nigerian case report. He then heard a click sound, followed by pain. He was lucky, though—and was capable of erection 5 days after surgery. Phew.
Should you be worried about self-pleasure turning into a lifetime of pain? Nah. “It’s not likely that you’ll fracture your penis with standard masturbation techniques,” says Dr. Moul. “This patient could have been too embarrassed to explain what really happened.” (And we don’t want to know what that might have entailed.)

The Man Who Suffocated Himself.

There are plenty of crazy sex practices—some riskier than others—but few are as life-threatening as autoerotic asphyxiation, the act of restricting oxygen to the brain during sex (usually masturbation).
Depriving the brain of oxygen—say, via strangling or suffocation—is said to increase pleasure by creating a euphoric state. In reality, researchers have linked the fetish to an abusive past, guilt associated with masturbation, and general risk-taking/thrill-seeking. (Seeking a thrill? Just have sex in publiclike everyone else!)
As you can imagine, this can go terribly wrong. It’s believed that Kung Fu actor, David Carradine died during masturbation, after police found a rope around his neck and genitals.

4 Backyard Items You Can Use As Weights For Workouts



Head outside and take a look around your backyard. You might be surrounded by a few familiar objects that can help you get your workout in. Perhaps you haven’t used a few of them in quite some time. You know, like that old bag of charcoal hiding behind your braai?
The truth is, you don’t have to travel far or spend big bucks on fancy equipment to put your body to work. Sometimes, all the tools you need are right outside your door. Take a look at some of the everyday objects we’ve selected.

A Bag Of Charcoal (7,5 Kilograms)

Let’s be honest, that braai of yours probably hasn’t seen any braaing action since last summer. The next time you’re looking to get your fire started, reconsider what you can do with that bag of charcoal.
Think about it. You can flip boerie with one hand and do a couple lifts with the other. Caution advised.

A Spare Tyre (4 Kilograms)

If you’re lucky, your car hasn’t given you much trouble as of yet and your tyres are in working condition. While you may not have to whip out your tyre-changing abilities just yet, you can put a twist on a regular ball slam routine, with the spare sitting in your garage.

A Bag Of Sand (23 Kilograms)

Bags of sand are sometimes used as weight, which means they’re perfect for working out. Try putting your core strength to the test by doing some bear hug squats.

A 19 Litre Bucket Of Soil (20 Kilograms)

That old bucket of dirt in your backyard can do more than provide a home for some plants, it can also be great for taking arm exercises to the next level. Try doing some swings with it in the same way you would with a kettlebell.

Can you burn kilojoules while having an orgasm?

couple in bed

Having an orgasm is a powerful, full-body experience. Your muscles contract, your breath quickens and you might even break a sweat.
Which is why you may have wondered at one point or another: Do orgasms actually burn kilojoules? Your heart’s pumping like you’re running a marathon and you’re clenching your core like you’re busting out an ab workout, so it’s got to be something, right?
Determined to figure it out, I put on my Sherlock Holmes cap and reached out to Dr Uchenna Ossai, a pelvic health physical therapist and sex educator for LifeStyles Condoms. Here’s what she had to say.
How many kilojoules does an orgasm burn?
To answer my question, Dr Ossai pointed to a 2013 study on the number of kilojoules men and women burn during a full sex session. Published in the journal PLOS ONE, it found that the average male burns around 16 kilojoules a minute, and the average female burns around 12.
“With the average sexy-time session lasting about six minutes, that only allows for 75 to 100 kilojoules,” Dr Ossai reasoned. “So if we are looking at a measure of heart rate, and your orgasms are lasting anywhere from 10 to 60 seconds, you can expect a maximum kilojoule burn of 16 kilojoules [during an orgasm].”
Even if you’ve mastered the art of having multiple orgasms, you’re still not exactly on your way to working off that cheat meal. Sorry, pal.
But wait! There’s good news. Even if orgasms don’t burn many kilojoules, they still have plenty of health benefits. They can relieve pain, help you sleep, improve your cognitive function and boost your mood.
“Orgasms are stellar tools in the never-ending battle with stress and anxiety,” Dr Ossai said.
And here’s something you probably didn’t know: “Even though ejaculation is not necessary for orgasms, research does indicate that regular orgasms and ejaculation can be a protective factor against prostate cancer,” she added. (It’s true: Check out these studies from 2004 and 2006.)
The takeaway? Orgasms are great – just not in the kilojoule-burning department. That’s fine, because sex isn’t about working out, anyway. That’s what the glorious post-sex gym session is for

15 common mistakes you might be making when using condoms

woman holding pink condom

Putting on a condom may seem second nature to you by now, but are you actually doing it the right way? Sadly, research suggests you might not be.
Researchers from Indiana University analysed 50 studies on condom usage, and after crunching the numbers on 16 years of data, they found a laundry list of errors. Could you be making one of them? Check out the top 15 things that couples are doing wrong when gearing up for getting down.
1. Late application
Across the numerous studies, between 17 and 51.1% of people reported putting a condom on after intercourse has already begun. (Which doesn’t quite cut it when it comes to STD prevention.)
2. Early removal
Between 13.6 and 44.7% of the respondents reported removing the condom before intercourse was complete.
3. Completely unrolling the condom prior to application
Between 2.1 and 25.3% of people admitted to completely unrolling the condom before sliding it on. How does that even work?
4. No space at the tip
Failing to leave space for semen at the tip of the condom was reported by 24.3 to 45.7% of the respondents.
5. Failure to remove air
When looking back to their last sexual encounter, 48.1% of women and 41.6% of men reported that they didn’t squeeze the air from the tip before use.
6. Inside-out condoms
Between four and 30.4% of participants reported they began rolling the condom on inside out, but then flipped it over and continued its use. And that’s bad, since it can expose her to your pre-ejaculatory fluids, which can get her pregnant.
(Nope, that wasn’t just a lie your gym teacher told you.)
7. Failure to completely unroll the condom before use
When looking back to their last sexual encounter, 11.2% of women and 8.8% of men had began intercourse before the condom was unrolled all the way.
8. Exposure to a sharp object
Between 2.1 and 11.2% of people had opened condom packets with sharp objects. The problem: If it’s sharp enough to rip the wrapper, it’s sharp enough to rip the condom. Duh!
9. Failure to check for damage
When removing the condom from the package, 82.7% of women and 74.5% of men reported that they fail to check for damage before use. What to look for: Make sure the wrapper isn’t worn down or ripped open, keep your eyes peeled for expired dates, and check for visible imperfections while unrolling.
10. No lubrication
Between 16 and 25.8% of people reported using condoms without lubrication. The trouble? If you’re having sex for an extended period of time, the condom is more likely to tear without lubrication.
11. Lubrication complications
Roughly 3.2% of women and 4.7% of men reported using an oil-based lube with a latex condom. That weakens the latex, which can make it prone to breakage.
12. Incorrect withdrawal
Nearly 31% of men and 27% of women reported that (post-sex) they failed to promptly and properly withdraw after ejaculation. No matter what the Cranberries sang, guys, this ain’t a time to let it linger.
13. Reusing a condom
Between 1.4 and 3.3% of people reported reusing a condom at least twice during a sexual encounter. Gross.
14. Incorrect storage
Between 3.3 and 19.1% of people in the studies had stored their condoms in conditions that did not comply with the recommendations on the package. Avoid storing them in direct sunlight or your wallet – both can degrade the latex.
15. Not wearing one at all
This wasn’t actually part of the study, but we should add that #15 is this: Not using one at all. According to the (most recent) National Survey of Sexual Health and Behaviour, only 45% of men ages 18 to 24 used a condom with their last sexual partner. And as the age groups increased, the stats only got worse: Only 29.3% of men ages 25 to 34 used condoms and 21.3% of men between ages 35 and 44.

Everything you need to know about sex after a miscarriage

Unhappy couple

Everything changed when you saw the two pink lines show up on that pregnancy test – but here you are in the confusing space after a miscarriage with a thousand thoughts swirling around your brain: 
How soon can I try again?
What if this happens again? 
And, let’s be honest: What does this mean for my sex life?
First, know that whatever you’re feeling is completely okay. “Women can have such different reactions to a miscarriage,” says Dr Catherine Monk, professor of medical psychology at Columbia University Medical Center. “I hope that women and their partners understand that the range of feelings are normal.”
Sex after miscarriage is a complicated topic – and what’s “normal” when it comes to feeling physically and mentally ready for sex again can vary widely. Still, there are a few general guidelines that may help make this difficult time in your life a little less confusing.
Your body isn’t ready for sex immediately after miscarriage.
The big concern is that your cervix should be closed to prevent any potential infections, says Dr Zev Williams, chief of the division of reproductive endocrinology and infertility and associate professor of obstetrics and gynaecology. He notes that, after a miscarriage, your cervix opens up (a.k.a. dilates) to let the fetal tissue out. And depending on how many weeks along you were when you miscarried, the closing process can take anywhere from a couple weeks to a couple months.
Your gynae can check your cervix via a physical exam, so be sure to get the go-ahead from her before having sex again.
The one exception here: If you had what’s known as a “chemical pregnancy” – meaning you got a positive pregnancy test but an ultrasound didn’t confirm it, something that can account for as many as 75% of miscarriages – you don’t have to wait to have sex.
Many women find that their libido takes even longer to bounce back.
Just because you’re physically ready to have sex post-miscarriage doesn’t mean you’re ready emotionally. You may be struggling with a sense that your body has failed you somehow – or feel like you’re to blame for your miscarriage (likely not true, by the way, as most first trimester miscarriages are due to chromosomal abnormalities, according to the American Pregnancy Association).
“It can be tough to turn on your intimate side when you’re dealing with these feelings,” says Dr Monk.
You have to give yourself room and self-compassion to mourn in the way that’s right for you, she adds.
If your experience makes you want to avoid sex for right now, that’s okay. If you’re counting down the days until the doc gives you the go-ahead to get busy again, that’s fine, too. Or, you may feel both: Wanting to try sex again, but also being totally freaked out by it.
There’s no shame in seeking help from a qualified therapist, particularly one who has experience with women and this type of loss. They can help you work through your feelings on the topic and give you tips for communicating with your partner.
After all, they’re likely mourning in their own way, too (and may not feel ready to have sex again themselves). Openly talking about it may help you both set expectations for intimacy and what each of you are comfortable with.
What do I need to know about getting pregnant again?
You’ve probably heard the oft-given guideline to wait three or six months after a miscarriage, but there’s little data to back that up. “Research comparing waiting three months or trying sooner [shows that] women who waited longer ended up taking longer to get pregnant,” says Dr Williams.
That doesn’t mean you should necessarily try right away, though. “After a loss, you want to make sure your body returns back to its pre-pregnancy state,” he says.
In addition to verifying that your cervix has closed, you’ll want confirm (via a blood test) that your levels of hCG, or the “pregnancy hormone”, are back to baseline. This ensures you don’t confuse a potential new pregnancy with your old one.
One caveat: If you’ve had multiple losses, you’ll want to consider getting an evaluation from a reproductive endocrinologist to identify if there’s an underlying problem – many of which can be dealt with effectively via treatment.
Regardless of your exact circumstances – and how you’ve reacted so far – “miscarriage is a mourning process, and we all cope differently,” says Dr Monk. “There’s no right or wrong way to do it.”

The 4 gonorrhoea symptoms every man should know

Man with painful groin

Here’s some unsexy news about getting it on: STD rates are at an all-time high. For guys, gonorrhoea is becoming increasingly common. Data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that gonorrhoea rates have doubled in guys from 2016 to 2017.
Thankfully, gonorrhoea is treatable with antibiotics, and will clear up within several days of being treated, according to Dr Gabriel Rebick, clinical assistant professor of infectious diseases and immunology at NYU Langone Health. However, regular STD testing and speedy treatment can help stop the spread, which makes it vital to head to the doctor once you think something is wrong. Although some guys with gonorrhoea won’t exhibit any symptoms, there are certain tell-tale signs, particularly as the infection progresses, says Dr Rebick.
Left untreated, gonorrhoea infections could spread to the scrotum, prostate, testes, or more rarely, your blood, he explains. Once it spreads, the infection could cause scarring in the epididymis, a part of the testicle that stores and carries sperm, and possible result in infertility.
Here are four gonorrhoea symptoms you should watch out for.
1. Discharge from your penis
“Discharge is by far the most common sign of the infection,” says Dr Rebick. Discharge may be thin or thick, depending on the guy. According to the CDC, guys may experience discharge within two weeks of being infected. Although colour and consistency vary, no amount of discharge is normal, says Dr Rebick. You should head to the doctor if you experience discharge of any sort.
2. Your butt itches
Gonorrhoea can also affect the rectum, which may cause anal itching and discharge or blood, according to the Mayo Clinic. Dr Rebick says some people may experience diarrhoea and pain when going to the bathroom.
3. A sore throat
“It’s important to know that you can get gonorrhoea from oral sex too,” says Dr Rebick. He says many people who develop gonorrhoea in their throat don’t have symptoms. However, some may experience a sore throat and swollen lymph nodes, according to the Mayo Clinic.
4. Pain or swelling
Some guys may not have initial symptoms when they contract gonorrhoea, Dr Rebick says. But once the infection spreads to surrounding areas, like the scrotum and testicle, guys could develop an inflamed epididymis, which would be accompanied by groin pain, writes the Mayo Clinic.

Why do I get cramps after I orgasm?

woman with stomach cramps

Let’s talk orgasms: They’re supposed to feel good, right? (Or, you know, meh…but that’s another story altogether.) What I’m getting at: They’re most definitely not supposed to hurt. Like, at all.
And yet, because the human body is full of mysteries, sometimes orgasms actually do hurt – and that sucks. Yep, we’re talking about those annoying cramps that strike seemingly out of nowhere right after sex.
What causes painful orgasms, anyway?
Okay, so the official name for this pain is dysorgasmia, which again, means you’re having pain either during or after your orgasm, says Dr Christine Greves, a board-certified obstetrician and gynaecologist at the Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies.
For women who experience pain after they orgasm, the cramping (which can feel like period cramps) usually happens right away and can cause pain for a few hours after sex, Dr Greves says. You can feel the pain or the cramping anywhere in your vagina, and/or in your lower abdomen or back.
Here’s the thing: Your uterus is a muscle, and it contracts when you orgasm. “Just like any other muscle in your body, you may have some discomfort after it gets a workout,” Dr Greves explains.
But in some cases, an underlying gynaecological condition can also trigger that pain or cramping after sex, like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), endometriosis, an ovarian cyst or uterine fibroids, says Dr Greves.
To put it as delicately as possible, the pain here usually stems from the, uh, friction that happens during sex. In PID and endometriosis, the inflammation and pain already associated with those conditions can be worsened by, well, the penis; though this is less an issue directly related to orgasms, and more about pain during sex as a whole, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).

Pain during sex isn’t just something you should deal with.
For starters, this is a serious barrier to your pleasure (I’ll say it again for the people in the back: Sex isn’t supposed to hurt). And then there’s the fact that you could have an underlying condition that needs treatment.
“If this is new for you, see your gynae for an evaluation,” Dr Greves says.
If you don’t have any underlying conditions like PID or endometriosis, your doctor may recommend that you try using a hot pad on your pelvic region (to try to get your uterine muscles to chill out) and taking some OTC anti-inflammatory medication to help with the pain.
But again, don’t sit on this and assume that you’re doomed to suffer through crampy orgasms for the rest of your life. “If you notice a change in your body, you should always get it checked out,” Dr Greves says.

Are STDs a deal breaker? This expert weighs in on how to tell her

couple having awkward conversation

If you thought the “your friends are annoying and I never want to hang out with them again” conversation was awkward, try telling a potential partner you have an STD.
That confession is never easy, sure. But the shame associated with having an STD makes people less likely to talk about it with former, current, and future partners, finds a new review from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
With the number of sexually transmitted infections in young people increasing by half a million, in the last two years, in Gauteng alone, it’s something to think about… and most definitely talk about, too.
The key to dating again is telling her about it the right way. Here are a few expert tips to help you break the news to a potential partner.
Curable STD? Just delay the deed
“If you just started dating someone and you’re being treated for a curable STD, don’t have sex and don’t bring it up,” says Dr Patrick Wanis, communications expert and relationship therapist. “You’re not out to manipulate her – so if her health isn’t at risk, there’s no need mention it,” he says. “It could lead to unfair judgment for no reason.”
Your move: Say you want to hold off on sex until you know each other better. (Just don’t put yourself in compromising situations – like in her bed after a night of drinking!) And of course, make sure you have the doctor’s OK before doing to the deed.
But if you’re dealing with an incurable STD (herpes, AIDS or hepatitis B, for example), you’ll need to have a talk.
Here’s your plan:
1. Don’t bring it up too soon
Start dating as you normally would. “You wouldn’t reveal everything about yourself on the first date anyway,” says Dr Wanis. After all, there could be no chemistry and she might turn out to be just a friend.
“Once feelings are involved, you don’t want to wait too long,” says Wanis. “It will just make it more difficult if she says it’s a deal-breaker.” Think: Serious enough but not too serious. Just delay the talk (and sex!) until you’re sure it could develop into a relationship.
2. How to tell her
State the facts without victimising yourself or being defensive, Dr Wanis recommends. “You’re telling the truth and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.” Being too defensive might increase judgment on her part. It’s not a reflection of who you are so don’t present it as such.
What if she tells her friends? By breaking the news free of shame yourself, she’ll be less likely to tell people with the intention of hurting you if things go sour. That said, “Be prepared that she might go to her friends for advice,” says Dr Wanis.
Another good thing to mention: Explain how to reduce transmission. “You need to explain how it will affect your sex life together,” says Dr Wanis. If you have herpes, for instance, you can greatly lower her chances of getting the disease with antiviral medication and condoms. Mention anything specific to your disease that she should know.
3. Give her time
Don’t expect an answer in the moment. “Present the facts, express that you still want to see her, but tell her to think it over,” Dr Wanis says. Any initial reaction will be out of fear or obligation.
4. Be brief with the details
“People often want the back story,” says Dr Wanis. “But the more details she has, the more she’ll visualise the event.” Keep it brief. Sure, you can admit that it came from an ex, a friend or even that random shot-girl from Cancun – but keep it minimal. She doesn’t need to replay your past in her mind.

This easy fix could be the unexpected answer to low sex drive

This easy fix could be the unexpected answer to low sex drive
man with low sex drive

If your sex drive has been dipping, a new Italian study suggests there may be an easy fix: Light therapy.
Scientists recruited 38 men diagnosed with hypoactive sexual desire disorder or sexual arousal disorder – two conditions characterised by a lack of interest in sex – and provided bright light treatment to half of them.
For 30 minutes each morning, these men sat in front of a light box that exposed them to 10 000 lux of light. (For comparison, direct sunlight can reach up to 100 000 lux and a cloudy day is about 1 000 lux.)
After two weeks, the men receiving the bright light treatment reported sexual satisfaction scores that were three times higher than when they began the experiment. (The guys in the other group showed only modest increases.)
The bright light group also saw a boost in their testosterone levels – which is vital to increasing libido, says lead researcher Dr Andrea Fagiolini from the University of Siena.
When your body is exposed to bright light, it produces more of a chemical called the luteinising hormone (LH). And more LH may lead to greater production of testosterone, Dr Fagiolini says.
This doesn’t mean you can crank up your sex drive simply by rolling up the window shades: You should shoot for roughly the same intensity of light used by the study participants.
You can find that level in a personal light box, which you can purchase online and use at home.
Just make sure you talk to your doctor first. Before you get the go-ahead, he or she might test you for other problems like low testosterone, thyroid problems or kidney disease, all of which can cause a drop in libido, too.

[READ THIS] Marriage is good medicine for the heart

 Marriage is good medicine for the heart


protection from heart disease and stroke to the health benefits of marriage, a new study suggests.
Happily ever after
Researchers analysed data from 34 studies that were published between 1963 and 2015. They included more than 2 million people between the ages of 42 and 77, in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, North America and Scandinavia.
The investigators found that, compared to married people, those who were never married, divorced or widowed had a 42% higher risk of cardiovascular disease, a 16% higher risk of coronary artery disease, a 42% higher risk of death from coronary heart disease, and a 55% higher risk of death from stroke.
The British researchers also found that among both men and women, divorce was associated with a 35% higher risk of heart disease, and that widowers were 16% more likely to have a stroke.
There was no difference in the risk of death following a stroke between married and unmarried people. But those who had never married were 42% more likely to die after a heart attack than those who were married, the findings showed.
South African picture
According to Stats SA, four out of 10 South African marriages end in divorce. However, it seems that there are fewer divorces than a decade ago. 
The researchers said their findings suggest that marital status might be an independent risk factor for heart disease and stroke, and for the likelihood of dying from those conditions.
But the study did not prove that marriage caused heart risks to drop.
The findings were published online in the journal Heart.
"Future research should focus around whether marital status is a surrogate marker for other adverse health behaviour or cardiovascular risk profiles that underlies our reported findings or whether marital status should be considered as a risk factor by itself," the team led by Mamas Mamas, a professor at Keele University in Stoke on Trent, wrote in a journal news release.
There are a number of theories as to why marriage may benefit people's health. They include earlier detection and treatment of health problems; better adherence to medication regimens; greater financial security; enhanced well-being; and larger friendship networks.

More than 1.4 billion of world's adults face diseases because of inactivity

More than 1.4 billion of world's adults face diseases because of inactivity


New York - Couch potatoes, take note: Sedentary living has put more than one quarter of the world's adults at risk for serious disease, a new study says.
More than 1.4 billion adults face a higher risk for heart disease, diabetes, dementia and certain types of cancer because they get too little physical activity, World Health Organization (WHO) researchers concluded.
Low physical activity levels not falling
The researchers analysed findings from hundreds of surveys that included 1.9 million adults, 18 and older, in 168 countries.
In 2016, nearly one-third of women and one-quarter of men worldwide did not get the recommended levels of physical activity to stay healthy, the researchers found. Weekly guidelines call for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity.
The study was published in The Lancet Global Health.
"Unlike other major global health risks, levels of insufficient physical activity are not falling worldwide, on average, and over a quarter of all adults are not reaching the recommended levels of physical activity for good health," lead author Regina Guthold said in a journal news release.
Women were less active than men in all regions of the world except in East and Southeast Asia.
More sedentary occupations
Of particular concern were increases in already low levels of physical activity for men and women. Insufficient physical activity rose 5% in high-income countries, and increased just 0.2% in low-income countries.
The transition toward more sedentary occupations and motorised transportation in richer countries could help explain the higher levels of inactivity, researchers said.
It's important that governments provide infrastructure that promotes more walking and bicycling to work and active sports and recreation, they noted.
Eliminating inequalities in physical activity levels between men and women will be critical to achieving global activity targets, study co-author Fiona Bull said. And this will require efforts "to promote and improve women's access to opportunities that are safe, affordable and culturally acceptable," she noted.
Barriers to physical activity
Melody Ding, a researcher from the University of Sydney in Australia, authored an accompanying journal editorial. In it, she said in certain parts of the world women face more environmental, social and cultural barriers to participate in physical activity.
Those restrictions likely contribute to overall low activity levels. In restrictive Saudi Arabia and Iraq, for instance, more than half of all adults were insufficiently active, the study found.
Comparatively, around 40% of US adults and 36% of British adults got too little activity.
Also, "although high-income countries have a higher prevalence of insufficient physical activity, it is important to note that low- and middle-income countries still bear the larger share of the global disease burden of physical inactivity," Ding wrote.

Lose weight, lower cholesterol and avoid a heart attack with these tips

Lose weight, lower cholesterol and avoid a heart attack with these tips




There’s nothing more sobering than a doctor saying you’ll be going to heaven soon. But that’s exactly what Wattie van Rensburg was told, and it tallied with his own area of expertise: He was now the “worst-case scenario” he would warn his students about.
The most shocking part of this story is that – unlike many other high-cholesterol sufferers – Wattie’s salvation didn’t happen through medicine; rather, his research skills and scientific method are what saved him.
Wattie brought down his high cholesterol levels with a smart, evidence-based diet, which he researched (he even provided us with references). Here are his five tips:
1. Make smarter choices, and eat less junk food.
“It’s not always fun to skip the tasty, fatty comfort food, but it’s a whole lot more fun than a heart attack!”
2. Cut back on high-fat dairy and meat.
“I eat venison, ostrich, pork, fish or skinless chicken. I still occasionally eat steak and lamb, but I go for the lower-fat cuts, such as fillet, sirloin and leg of lamb.”
3. Eat healthy fats daily: Oats, avocado, olive oil and almonds.
“Healthy fat doesn’t have to be tasteless and bland. I added clinically proven cholesterol-lowering foods, such as 1/3 cup of raw oats, 30g of almonds, at least half an avo and extra-virgin olive oil. I also take a daily omega 3 supplement.”
4. Recruit some digital help to start counting your kilojoules.
“I always recommend that people start by downloading a kilojoule-counting app such as FatSecret. It shows you exactly where you must cut, and what your daily energy consumption is. Your body is a machine: If you put too much fuel in it, and then don’t burn that fuel, it will clog up the system and lead to a malfunction!”
5. Make smarter carb options.
“I eat carbs, but I try to replace highly refined carbs with more whole-wheat options.”

How the new Apple watch could save your life

How the new Apple watch could save your life

new apple watch

On Wednesday, Apple Inc. unveiled their new smart watch called the Apple Watch Series 4.
The device boasts the most significant upgrades since its first launch in 2015.
The new smartwatch has a 30% bigger display screen, a faster dual-core processor, 50% louder speakers and an improved interaction with the Siri digital assistant.
However, the main selling point of the watch is the FDA approved electrocardiogram (ECG) monitor.
High intensity sensors
The watch is equipped with high intensity sensors that are able to detect when a user falls. Should the person not move for more than a minute, an alert is sent and emergency services are contacted immediately.
Jeff Williams, chief operating officer of Apple Inc., at the unveiling, called the Apple watch an “intelligent guardian of your health".
The ECG function, with the assistance of the sensors, is able to detect atrial fibrillation (an irregular heart beat) as well as heart failure.
According to a statement by the FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, “The FDA worked closely with the company as they developed and tested these software products, which may help millions of users identify health concerns more quickly."
The price of the watch currently stands at R5 940, and the ECG function will only be available later this year.
Doctors unsure
Doctors are, however, wary about the watch’s capabilities. In an interview with CNBC, Patricia K. Nguyen, assistant professor of medicine in the cardiovascular division at Stanford University, states, "It can be game-changing for heart health – if it is accurate."
She believes that Apple would need to provide various studies to prove that the watch won’t provide high rates of false positives and false negatives before she would recommend it to her patients.

How to spot diabetic foot complications early

How to spot diabetic foot complications early

Woman examining her feet

Foot infections are among the most common health complications in people with diabetes. When a seemingly normal wound is left untreated, it can become severely infected.
We look at the reasons why diabetics should take special care of their feet.
Why diabetics are prone to foot conditions
Diabetics have abnormally high levels of glucose in their blood for long periods of time. This can lead to artery and nerve damage, which can compromise sensation in the feet.
When diabetics get a simple cut, scrape or foot ailment and they leave it untreated, it can lead to serious complications.  
The two major conditions that can ultimately cause foot problems in diabetes are:
  • Neuropathy – occurs because of nerve damage, causing diminished sensation in the feet. This can lead to injuries such as wounds or scrapes getting infected.
  • Peripheral vascular disease – a condition that affects blood flow, making it more difficult for a cut or wound to heal.
"It's not that these two conditions will cause ulcers as such, but they can result in extremely poor healing of any skin injuries. Often diabetics will have an injury, such as a blister or a cut, and because they have no feeling in that region, they do not realise that they have been hurt, and continue walking on an injured foot or leg," says podiatrist Chris Delpierre.
The risk of foot ulcers and amputation
As we now know, neuropathy and peripheral vascular disease associated with diabetes affect the feet. One of the biggest risks for diabetics is foot ulcers which can eventually lead to amputation of the foot or lower leg.
"The longer a person has had diabetes, the greater the chances of getting ulcers, making them more common in older people. But this does not mean that young people are exempt from getting these ulcers," according to Delpierre.
According to an article published in the journal American Family Physician, foot ulcers are the most common injuries related to diabetics, and most other foot problems such as bone deformity (Charcot’s foot) and amputation, can stem from foot ulcers.
This research also states that the risk of amputation is 15 to 46 times higher in diabetics than in people who do not have diabetes. 
Another study published in the South African Medical Journal states that up to 90% of all foot and lower-leg amputations are associated with diabetes. Even more devastating is that up to 70% of all patients who undergo an amputation related to diabetes will die within five years of the operation.
xray of foot
Take care of your feet
The prognosis may sound dire, but foot complications and amputation can be avoided, and the risk reduced if you have diabetes and pay proper attention to your feet. Delpierre suggests that you should do the following:
  • Try and avoid minor foot injuries by wearing sturdy shoes and socks.
  • Examine your feet regularly to detect minor foot ailments such as blisters, calluses and corns. These might not be serious, but can lead to infection if you don’t notice them and they are left untreated.
  • Regularly wash, clean and dry your feet properly to avoid contracting fungal skin infections.
  • Do not hesitate to see a podiatrist if you are worried.
  • Tell your doctor about any change of sensation such as sudden numbness or tingling in your feet.
Spot the problems early
Inspect your feet to look for any of these minor foot ailments and treat them urgently to avoid infection or broken skin that can increase your risk for ulcers. You should check your feet daily for any visible injuries if the feeling in your feet is compromised.
Photos of each condition are included as a visual guide:
1. Blisters are caused by friction. Avoid blisters by wearing shoes that fit properly.
blisters on feet
2. Corns and calluses are hardened skin, caused by pressure. Avoid corns and calluses by wearing the right size shoes to avoid pressure.
callus on toe

3. Plantar warts are caused by a strain of the human papillomavirus (HPV). Avoid picking up plantar warts by wearing flip-flops in shared shower areas.
plantar wart
4. Minor sprains can be caused by rolling your ankles. Wear supportive shoes to help avoid injury.
sprained ankle

5. Minor wounds such as cuts and punctures can be avoided by always wearing shoes when outside.
puncture wound in foot
6. Ingrown toenails are caused by cutting the nail in a rounded shape instead of straight across, or wearing shoes that are too tight.
ingrown toenail

7. Fungal infections such as athlete's foot (tinea pedis) or nail fungus can be avoided by properly drying your feet, wearing clean, breathable socks and wearing flip-flops in shared showers.
athlete's foot between toes

POPULAR POST

ADVERTISEMENT