Health risks from regular napping; Mental activity vs cognitive decline; and update on the benefits of 10,000 daily steps

Napping regularly can increase the risk of hypertension and stroke, the researchers find

Adults who take frequent naps have a higher risk of developing high blood pressure and having a stroke, according to a major new study published in Hypertension, a journal of the American Heart Association.

Study participants who took regular naps throughout the day were 12 percent more likely to develop high blood pressure over time and 24 percent more likely to have a stroke than people who never napped. For study participants under the age of 60, the risk was greater. If they napped regularly, the risk of developing high blood pressure increased by 20 percent, compared with those who never or rarely rest.

The results confirm the importance of getting a full night’s sleep, benefiting overall health. Proper sleep duration of 7 to 9 hours per night for adults, and more for children, is now considered an essential component of a healthy life, according to the recently updated “Life’s Essential 8” factors for achieving optimal cardiovascular health. ‘American Heart Association (AHA). People who nap regularly do so because they don’t get enough sleep at night and are more likely to have other bad lifestyle habits, previous studies have shown.

In the new study, the researchers analyzed data from the UK Biobank, a previous study that recorded genetic and health data on more than 500,000 individuals, aged 40 to 69, who lived in the UK between 2006 and 2006. 2010. Those who already suffered from hypertension or a stroke at the start of the study were excluded, leaving 358,451 participants in the study. The researchers looked at three categories of naps: usually, sometimes and never / rarely.

Of the participants, 50,507 had hypertension and 4,333 had stroke with median follow-up periods of 11.2 years.

Researchers: Physical and mental activities with age help fend off cognitive decline

A new study indicates that previously established benefits of physical and mental activities as people get older can preserve the brain’s processing speed and can help delay or fight cognitive aging.

The study focused on the effects of exercise and mental activities – such as reading, going to class, or playing cards or other games – on “cognitive reserve” when referring to speed of thought and memory. Cognitive reserve refers to the buffer of the brain or protection against the development of cognitive impairment and dementia.

A slowdown in the brain’s processing speed is a key factor in cognitive aging. Being able to think faster helps with problem solving, daily activities, and the ability to focus and engage in conversations with others.

“We found that increased physical activity was associated with a greater reserve of thought speed in women, but not in men,” said study author Judy Pa, Ph.D., of the University of California, San Diego. . “Participation in more mental activities was associated with a greater reservoir of thought speed for both men and women.”

The speed of mental processing in men and women benefited from cognitive activities such as playing cards and reading, according to the study, which was published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The study involved 758 people with an average age of 76. Participants underwent brain scans and performed mental “speed and memory tests,” a news release said. “To calculate cognitive reserve, people’s thought test scores were compared with changes in the brain associated with dementia, such as the total volume of the hippocampus, a key brain region affected by Alzheimer’s,” says the new release. .

Study participants were also asked about their usual weekly physical activity. In the area of ​​mental activity they were asked if they participated in three types of activities: reading magazines, newspapers or books; go to class; and play cards, games or bingo. They were awarded one point for each type of activity, for a maximum of three points.

For mental activity, participants averaged 1.4 points. As for physical activity, participants averaged at least 15 minutes per week of exercise, such as brisk walking and cycling.

Each additional mental activity that people participated in corresponded to 13 fewer years of aging in their processing speed: 17 years among men and 10 years among women.

“Knowing that people could potentially improve their cognitive reserve by taking simple steps like going to class at the community center, playing bingo with their friends or spending more time walking or gardening is very exciting,” said Dr. Pa. author of the study.

Study: Taking 10,000 steps a day can reduce the risk of premature death for people with diabetes and prediabetes

Taking 10,000 steps a day can help keep you healthy overall, but for those with the benefits it can go further for those with prediabetes and diabetes, according to a new study.

Such a daily routine was best for reducing the risk of death from any cause for people who find it difficult to control their blood sugar levels, according to researchers from the University of Seville, Spain, who evaluated a group of US adults. with prediabetes and diabetes using data from the CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The findings were published in Diabetes Care, a publication of the American Diabetes Association.

Of the people who took part in the study, 1,194 adults had prediabetes and 493 had diabetes. Participants wore an accelerometer at their waist to count their steps. Researchers adjusted for age, gender, ethnicity, smoking, alcohol, and use of prescribed diabetes medications. The group was monitored for nine years.

In a separate study published last year, researchers found that middle-aged adults who walked at least 7,000 steps a day, on average, were 50% to 70% less likely to die from any cause over the next decade. , compared to adults who took fewer steps, according to results published this month on JAMA Network Open.

“Being physically active offers substantial health benefits for many conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes and several types of cancer, as well as improving the quality of life,” the researchers underline in the study. “The number of steps people take each day is a significant metric for quantifying total daily activity.”

US guidelines for physical activity recommend at least 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity, which includes brisk walking.

Tags: diabetes management, exercise and fitness, hypertension, sleep disorders

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