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Even one alcoholic drink a day can increase risk of stroke, study says

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A new study has shown that even light-to-moderate consumption of alcoholic drink increases blood pressure and the chances of having a stroke.

Published in the Lancet medical journal, the study contradicts previous findings that suggest moderate drinking could prevent health diseases.

Researchers from Peking University, the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, and the University of Oxford followed the effects of alcohol on stroke in 500,000 Chinese people for 10 years.

The researchers said Chinese formed the study group because of their distinct gene combination which reduces their alcohol tolerance level. This genetic variant can make consuming alcoholic drink an unpleasant experience and lead to flushing.

The scientists were able to study the impact of alcohol on people drawn from health, lifestyle and genetic data.

The study found that some didn’t drink because of their genetic mutation, while female-participants drank little despite their genetic variance.

The men on average drank four drinks a day and were at a far higher risk of suffering high blood pressure and strokes.

At the end, the study revealed that one glass of alcoholic drink a day increased stroke risk by 10 per cent to 15 per cent and that four drinks a day increased the risk of having a stroke by 35 per cent.

It means no matter the type of alcoholic drink you reach for, don’t expect it to protect you from stroke or other disease.

For the purposes of the study, one drink was a small glass of wine, a bottle of beer, or a single measure of spirits.

Zhengming Chen, co-author of the study, said in a press release that “there are no protective effects of moderate alcohol intake against stroke. Even moderate alcohol consumption increases the chances of having a stroke.”

Although many leading scientists agreed with the study’s findings, Stephen Burgees, a researcher at the University of Cambridge noted the study was limited to Chinese and focused on spirits, beer and not wine.

Burgees further agreed with the study’s findings “that risk of stroke increases even with moderate light alcohol consumption.”

Health

Why the average man will die before his wife

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Have you noticed that in a marriage, the husband always dies before the wife?

While life expectancy is improving globally, there is a widening gap between men and women.

This disparity is not unique to Nigeria. The gap is even wider in developed countries like Germany and the US. In 2022, German men had an average life expectancy of just over 78 years, while women lived to an average of 82.8 years.

Similarly, in the US, the gap reached a worrying 5.8 years in 2021, with women living 79 years on average compared to 73 years for men. This is the largest gap since 1996.

Here are the factors leading to men’s early deaths:

1. Higher suicide rates

Researchers use the term “deaths of despair” to explain why men and husbands tend to die earlier than women. These deaths are often caused by suicide, drug addiction, or violent crime.

Men are also more likely to be impacted by mental health disorders due to the stigma surrounding seeking treatment for their mental health.

2. Heart Disease

The male sex hormone testosterone is associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease. Men are 50% more likely to die from it, and they tend to develop it earlier in life.

3. Dangerous occupations
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labour Statistics, the risk of a man dying at work is ten times higher than that of a woman.

Men are the majority in the most hazardous jobs worldwide. These jobs consist of maintenance and repair workers, machine operators, firefighters, and construction laborers.

4. Poor diet and lack of exercise

Men are half as likely as women to keep up a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. To live long, everyone has to eat well and exercise, but men do not.

A paper published in Research Gate showed that men eat more red meat, pork, sausages, eggs, alcohol, and foods high in sucrose than women do. Women eat more fruits, vegetables, cereals, milk, dairy products, and whole grains.

It has been shown that both reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes.

5. Lack of frequent health checkups

Different studies have shown that men are less likely to visit a hospital when feeling sick when compared to women. It could be that men are taught to ignore and bear suffering and not show any sign of weakness.

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Health

‘Avoid food from street vendors’ — six ways to reduce risk of cholera infection

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On Tuesday, the Lagos state government reported a suspected cholera outbreak with at least five dead and over 60 hospitalised.

Akin Abayomi, Lagos commissioner for health, said the discovery followed cases of severe gastroenteritis reported in communities around Eti Osa, Lagos Island, Ikorodu, and Kosofe LGAs.

Subsequently, the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), in a statement, alerted Nigerians to an “increasing trend of cholera cases across the country as the raining season intensifies”.

The agency said from January 1 to June 11, 2024, a total of 65 and 30 deaths have been confirmed from 30 states.

Since news of the outbreak broke out, many Nigerians on social media, especially Lagos residents, have raised concerns about the development.

Although there is a suspected outbreak of the disease, it is relieving to know that there are ways to prevent it and reduce risk of infection.

But first, what is cholera, what are the causes and symptoms?

Cholera is a disease affecting both adults and children, caused by eating food or drinking water that is contaminated with a bacterium called vibrio cholerae.

Some symptoms of the disease include painless watery diarrhoea (resembling rice water) of sudden onset.

An infected person may also experience profuse vomiting, fever, restlessness, and weakness.

Cholera is a preventable and curable disease, with most of those infected having no or mild symptoms and can be successfully treated with oral rehydration solution.

Severe cases can, however, lead to death due to dehydration (massive body fluid loss) within hours if left untreated.

If you or anyone you know experience sudden watery diarrhoea, avoid self-medication and visit a healthcare facility near you immediately.

HOW TO REDUCE RISK OF CHOLERA

The prevention of cholera is closely related to how it is spread.

People infected can spread the disease if their faeces get into the water system. If the water isn’t properly sanitised (cleaned), people using it for cooking, drinking, and washing risk infection.

People who are most at risk are those living in places with limited access to clean water and people living in areas with poor sanitation and poor hygiene.

Here are a few ways you can prevent cholera and its spread, especially during an outbreak:

Avoid all foods from street vendors and raw fruits and vegetables. Raw or undercooked seafood should also be avoided.

Ensure that your food is well cooked before consumption. Left over foods should be thoroughly reheated before eating.

Boil water before drinking. Ensure you use water from safe sources only and store water in properly covered containers. Also ensure that bottled water is properly sealed before buying.

Wash your hands with soap and clean water, especially before handling and eating food and after using the bathroom. If clean water and soap aren’t available, use hand sanitizer made of at least 60% alcohol.

Avoid open defecation, indiscriminate refuse dumping; ensure proper disposal of waste and frequent clearing of sewage.

If you have diarrhoea, do not prepare or serve food or water for others. Instead, seek medical attention immediately.

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Health

Here are four reasons men should not bath with hot water

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Hot baths might seem like a perfect way to relax after a long day, but scientists caution that men should think twice before indulging in this seemingly harmless pleasure.

Here’s a deeper look into why men should avoid hot baths, particularly due to their impact on sperm production and overall reproductive health.

The primary concern with hot baths is their effect on sperm production. The testes are located outside the body because they require a cooler temperature to produce healthy sperm.

The optimal temperature for sperm production is around 34-35°C (93-95°F), slightly lower than the average body temperature of 37°C (98.6°F).

When men take hot baths, the temperature of the scrotum can rise significantly, disrupting the delicate environment needed for spermatogenesis (the production of sperm).

Prolonged exposure to high temperatures can lead to a decrease in sperm count, motility (movement), and overall sperm quality.

Studies have shown that men who regularly use hot tubs or take hot baths may experience temporary reductions in fertility.

Extended exposure to high temperatures doesn’t just affect sperm production; it can also cause heat stress to the testes, potentially leading to long-term damage.

Heat stress can impair the function of the Sertoli cells, which play a crucial role in nurturing developing sperm cells. If these cells are damaged, it can lead to long-term issues with fertility.

Heat exposure can also affect the endocrine system, which regulates hormone production.

The hypothalamus, which controls the release of hormones related to reproductive function, can be disrupted by excessive heat. This disruption can lead to hormonal imbalances that affect overall reproductive health.

For men with varicocele, a condition characterized by enlarged veins within the scrotum, hot baths can exacerbate the problem.

Heat can cause these veins to dilate further, leading to increased pressure and discomfort. This can also worsen the impact on sperm production and overall testicular health.

To protect reproductive health, men should consider the following tips:

  • Limit exposure to heat: Avoid prolonged use of hot tubs, saunas, and hot baths. If you do indulge, keep the duration short.
  • Wear loose clothing: Tight clothing can increase the temperature of the scrotum. Opt for loose-fitting underwear and pants to promote better air circulation.
  • Stay hydrated: Proper hydration helps regulate body temperature and supports overall health.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle: A balanced diet, regular exercise, and avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol can improve overall reproductive health.
  • Regular check-ups: Regular medical check-ups can help identify and address any potential issues early.

While a hot bath might offer temporary relaxation, the potential long-term effects on sperm production and reproductive health are significant concerns.

Men should be mindful of their exposure to high temperatures and take steps to protect their reproductive health. By making small adjustments to daily habits, men can help ensure they maintain optimal fertility and overall well-being.

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Bodex F. Hungbo, SPMIIM is a multiple award-winning Nigerian Digital Media Practitioner, Digital Strategist, PR consultant, Brand and Event Expert, Tv Presenter, Tier-A Blogger/Influencer, and a top cobbler in Nigeria.

She has widespread experiences across different professions and skills, which includes experiences in; Marketing, Media, Broadcasting, Brand and Event Management, Administration and Management with prior stints at MTN, NAPIMS-NNPC, GLOBAL FLEET OIL AND GAS, LTV, Silverbird and a host of others

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