red-heart-computer-mdnMost young and middle-aged people nowadays are working in offices equipped with computers and laptops. These people spend a tremendous amount of time on their computers. And many people have either a laptop or a PC, or even both, at home. So once they leave work, they come home and relax in front of the monitor – watching movies, listening to music or just socializing via Facebook or other social networks.

The average citizen of any developed country spends up to 10 hours per day on the computer. And it’s the body and internal organs that have to pay for such lifestyle. For example, sitting too long at a computer can provoke the development of various cardiac problems.  

Take a break and turn your attention to how you sit. Are your shoulders raised? Do you feel any tension in the neck and sub-occipital muscles? Is your head leaning forward or bent aside? Is your back bowed? If any of the above applies to you, then bear in mind that long-term sitting in such positions causes stagnation in the system of the vertebral arteries, disturbance of the blood supply to the brain and consequently leads to:

  • headaches;
  • increased fatigability;
  • decrease in memory;
  • increased blood pressure;
  • false angina – pains in the heart due to prolonged compression of the intercostal nerves;
  • arrhythmias (irregular heartbeats) due to the overstimulation of the nerve cell clusters located along the spinal cord.

Recently, a study was conducted in Canada involving about 17,000 people being followed for 12 years in order to examine the relationship between sedentary behaviors (including television viewing and using computers) and mortality. The results were grievous – increased sitting time is directly related to all-cause and cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality. Moreover, even those individuals who met physical activity recommendations, but spent more time sitting, had increased risk of mortality versus those sitting for less spaces of time.

Another population-based UK research was carried out involving about 4,500 people. The researchers examined the relationships of the recreational sitting with cardiovascular disease risk and mortality. The results showed that people who spent over 4 hours per day watching TV or using computers had 125% increase in cardiovascular disease events than those doing it for less than 2 hours per day. The study also revealed that even exercises during other hours of the day could not reverse the damage caused by prolonged sitting. So, to reduce the negative effects of prolonged sitting, it is essential to break up the time you spend sitting with periodic exercises.

How to avoid the negative effects of sitting at the computer?

laptopsThere are two main rules to follow when you sit at a computer:

  • change your body position as often as possible;
  • control your muscle tension.

For these purposes set up a reminder on your computer for it to send you a signal every 15 minutes to check your sitting posture – whether or not your back is strained, shoulders are raised and hands are tired. And do the following:

    • move in your chair, change your body position – it will remove the tension form the muscles that fixed your sitting posture, improve their blood supply and increase blood oxygenation;
    • shake your hands and rotate your wrists, clench-unclench your fingers – it will help you prevent the progression of repetitive strain injury;
    • shrug your shoulders – it will remove the tension from your shoulder girdle, activate the blood flow in the vertebral arteries and stimulate the nerve plexuses in the back of the head.

Also, it is important that when sitting you must try to keep your back straight, do not tilt your head forward or crane your neck when bending towards the computer.

Here are some tips that can help you reduce your sitting time at the computer:

    • Drink more water – going to the water cooler and to the toilet will help your break up the time your spend sitting;
    • Keep your waste bin away from your desk so you have to get up every time you want to use it;
    • If possible, use height-adjustable desk so you could work sitting and standing;
    • When it’s time for lunch, go out and have it outdoors or in a café; do not eat at your desk;
    • Stand during phone calls and use headsets during teleconferences so you could stand anytime you need.
    • Instead of writing an email or phoning your colleague walk to his or her desk;
    • At home, while watching a movie on your PC or laptop, do your household chores (like ironing or folding clothes).

Computer radiation

1d2003e4eaed9fece98bb8a2fb5494a3Another issue that still raises a lot of concerns when talking about the health effects of computers is computer radiation. There is a great deal of vagueness, inaccuracy and even myths on this subject. In general, the consensus among scientists is that modern computers and laptops are produced in compliance with the safety requirements of the control authorities; thus, they do not present any hazard to individuals.

But, like any electronic device, computers do emit electromagnetic fields. Monitors alone produce the following types of radiation:

  • non-ionizing radiation;
  • very low frequency radiation;
  • extremely low frequency radiation;
  • infrared radiation;
  • visible light.

Also, those devices that use CRT (cathode ray tube) monitors also emit small amounts of ionizing (X-ray) radiation. The available scientific information cannot prove any health risks from the exposure to the EMF associated with the use of computer monitors. But, to be on the safe side, it’s worth following these two main rules: 

  • try to decrease the amount of time spent in front of your computer – take breaks whenever possible, go for a stroll around the office or go outdoors instead of checking the latest updates on YouTube;
  • increase the distance between your computer and your body – the more distance between you and your computer, the weaker the EMF. Sit at least 30 cm away from your monitor. The same rule works for your laptop, in spite of the name this type of device bears, keep it off your lap!

 


 

 

 References: 

  1. Sitting time and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Katzmarzyk PT, Church TS, Craig CL, Bouchard C http://revdesportiva.pt/files/form_cont/Sitting_Time_and_Mortality_from_All_Causes.pdf
  2. Screen-Based Entertainment Time, All-Cause Mortality, and Cardiovascular Events. Emmanuel Stamatakis, Mark Hamer, David W. Dunstan https://www.academia.edu/6791208/
  3. Sitting less for adults. Heart Foundationhttp://www.heartfoundation..au/SiteCollectionDocuments/HW-PA-SittingLess-Adults.pdf
  4. Radiation From Computer Monitors. https://ehs.mit.edu/site/content/radiation-computer-monitors
  5. Computer/VDT Screens. http://hps.org/publicinformation/ate/faqs/computervdtscreen.html
  6. Exposure to Electromagnetic Fields From Laptop Use of “Laptop” Computers. C. V. Bellieni, I. Pinto, A. Bogi, N. Zoppetti, D. Andreuccetti, G. Buonocore. http://www.bcna.ca/files_3/documents/LaptopsandEMFs.pdf

 

Vveins

The term “varicose veins” most commonly refers to the veins in the lower extremities because such veins mostly develop in legs, but actually they can occur elsewhere. According to the statistics, varicose veins affect about 55% of women and 45% of men. About 50% of the patients suffering from this condition have inherited it. If both of your parents have varicose veins, then your chances of developing this condition are close to 90%. In the case of one parent affected, the chances of a daughter are about 60%, and those of a son – 25%.

  

  

 

Factors that influence the development of this predisposition:

    • Lifestyle. The risk group includes people with occupations that require them to stand or sit long hours, like hairdressers, drivers, software engineers, etc.
    • Clothing. Vascular spiders may appear at any age. Those people who prefer tight jeans are at a greater risk because tight clothes form a kind of a venous tourniquet – the arterial blood can pass easily, but is much harder for the venous blood to return.
    • Pregnancy. Varicose veins appear as a result of hormonal changes, decrease in collagen level and increase in intra-abdominal pressure.

How to recognize the disease?

benefits of coffeeAt times, we all feel sleepy, tired, and devoid of energy - right after getting up in the morning, in the midst of all-night studying for the exam, or during an especially stressful day at work.  A cup of coffee or an energy drink seems like a great way to boost that energy level. And that’s what most people do – they drink coffee and energy drinks to keep them awake and alert and then those drinks become a part of their lifestyle. In fact, coffee has become one of the most popular drinks in the world and an irreplaceable part of the day and daily routine. Some people drink a single cup to wake up in the morning, while others drink cup after cup all day and their daily consumption could be as much as five or six cups.  It is not surprising that people have started to worry that drinking coffee and energy drinks may be dangerous for the heart.  The debate over whether coffee and energy drinks are safe has been raging for years. Here are both sides of the story.

health-effects-of-poor-sleep-0807121-300x199

Life in a big city is hectic with everyone hurrying somewhere, always being late and getting stressed due to the lack of time. This causes people to sleep much less than the necessary 8 hours a day which leads to a number of health risks.

A lot of articles online claim that lack of sleep causes various cardiovascular diseases. But is this true? And if it is true, why does this happen?

menopause

It is a well-known fact that women tend to live longer than men1. We may ask what is the reason for this? Of course there are many factors at play. One of the main reasons for the longevity of women is something that makes women uniquely women. That 'something' is estrogen, the main female hormone. There is actually a whole group of estrogens, which include:  estrone, estradiol, and estriol. Estradiol is the predominant estrogen that circulates within the bloodstream during a woman's reproductive years;  estrone is the main estrogen in women experiencing menopause;  estriol is the estrogen present during pregnancy.

Man-tests-blood-sugar

Nevertheless, the percentage of people affected by diabetes in the United States in 2012 was 9.3%, while the percentage of people with pre-diabetes was 27.5%. This is a huge number, considering how this condition damages a person’s health, even with the necessary treatment. Naturally, the circulatory system is one of the first things that is greatly damaged by elevated levels of sugar in the blood stream.

headache

Some people who travel quite often have to go through time and climate zones and feel no ill effects. Others, to the contrary, even when they are lying on the sofa at home, can feel the slightest changes in the atmospheric temperature and pressure which results in feeling unwell and tired. Such sensibility to changes of weather conditions is called ‘weather sensitivity’ or ‘meteosensitivity’.

Popular issues are often surrounded by half-truths and completely false statements. Unfortunately, medicine is no exception. The information regarding health problems is overflowing with false and outdated information. As a result, even some doctors who are not up-to-date, may harbor some false opinions.

In this article, we will unveil some of the popular myths and half-truths regarding the circulatory system in order to ensure that our readers know what is good for the heart and what is not.

Salt

salt

There is a common misconception that salt can cause heart problems, namely hypertension. This myth is so wide-spread due to the fact that doctors themselves believed it to be true until recent research has revealed that there is no correlation between the salt intake and the development of hypertension.

According to detailed statistics, more than 3 million people travel by plane each day which means millions and millions of people fly every year.

How do flights affect the heart?

heart and planes

During a flight, aircraft cabins are pressurized. The air pressure in the cabin when flying at cruising altitudes (36,000 – 46,000 feet or 11,000 – 12,000 m) is lower than at sea level. It is equivalent to the outside pressure at 6,000 – 8,000 feet (1,800 – 2,400 m) above sea level. In other words, the atmosphere inside the plane during the flight is comparable to the atmosphere at the top of a 6,000 – 8,000-foot mountain. Since the air pressure is lower, the amount of oxygen in the blood decreases and the gases in the body expand. Usually such effects are well-tolerated by healthy passengers because the body enables certain physiological mechanisms to compensate the reduced oxygen in blood.

ginger root

Ginger root has been used for hundreds of years as a spice and a medicine in Asian countries like Japan, India, China, Thailand and others. Today it is becoming more and more popular in the West – not only can it make our food taste spicier, exquisite and delicious, but it can also be beneficial for our health.

Cardiovascular Benefits of Ginger

It is believed that ginger can reduce the risk of some cardiovascular diseases. A double- blind clinical trial was conducted in 2004 where the main aim was to investigate the effect of ginger on the levels of lipids in blood. The results were published in 2008.1

CPR1

What do you do when you see a person fall on the street clutching at their chest? Regretfully, statistics show that most people just walk on by. It is called the bystander effect. The more people there are on the street, the less likely that the person in peril will receive any help.

Please be aware of this phenomenon of the human psyche and when you see a person on a crowded street who doesn’t feel well, make sure that you at least have the decency to call an ambulance, since no one else will. If the person is having a heart attack at that moment, every minute is vital; since the faster the help arrives, the more likely the person will survive.

Moreover, a heart attack often leads to a ventricular fibrillation – a life-threatening condition which prevents the heart from pumping the blood properly.

Thus, if you’re a good person, here are the things you should do if you see a person falling unconscious on the street.

To learn more about Cardiology, we recommend the following websites:
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