Research found that shift work dulls your brain

A study at the University of Swansea and Toulouse has found that working a decade on varying shifts can age the brain by more than six years. Because many of us work irregular hours it could be doing serious harm. A new study has suggested that working odd hours can have a seriously damaging effect on the human brain.

In a French study, researchers assessed 3,232 adults using a variety of cognitive tests and tests and compared the results between people who reported they had never performed shift work for more than 50 days per year with those that had. They analyzed the results, comparing the number of years of rotating shift work performed and how long ago the shift work had stopped.

According to the study, those who do shift work for more than 10 years seem to have the equivalent of an extra 6.5 years of age related decline in memory and thinking skills. The good news is that when people in the study quit shift work, their brains did recover, even if it took five years.

There are more chances of developing breast cancer for long term shift workers. According to research, shifts are linked to increased risk of heart attacks, obesity, strokes. There may be a possibility of major accidents during night shifts.

“It was quite a substantial decline in brain function, it is likely that when people trying to undertake complex cognitive tasks, then they might make more mistakes and slip-ups, maybe one in 100 makes a mistake with a very large consequence, but it’s hard to say how big a difference it would make in day-to-day life” said by Dr Philip Tucker, who is part of the research team in Swansea.

There was some good news because shift workers were able to reverse the damage by changing their working hours, although it could take as long as five years.

He also said “There are ways to mitigate the effects in the way you design work schedules and regular medical checkups … should include cognitive performance tests to look for danger signs”.

“The reversibility is a really exciting finding because no-one else has shown it and no matter how compromised a person may be, there’s always hope of recovery,” said by Dr Michael Hastings, from the UK Medical Research Council’s laboratory of molecular biology.

You can ameliorate one of the consequences that if you can keep the sleep-wake cycle as solid as possible you are unlikely to reverse the neuro-degeneration.

Prof Derk-Jan, from the Surrey Sleep Centre, cautioned that retired shift worker still had lower sleep quality than people who had never done night shift.

He said “So some of these effects may not be so readily or rapidly reversed”

And also he added a few words for this as “we now accept that shift work may not be good for your physical health, but this shows your brain function is affected, and I think that finding will surprise many people.”

How to control high blood pressure – Home made remedies

The force of blood against the walls of arteries is blood pressure. High Blood Pressure (HBP) causes due to overstretching of the arterial walls and tiny tears in the blood vessels. HPB, also known as hypertension induce kidney failure, heart attacks and even dementia.

“Small changes can yield big benefits. Be control and lower high blood pressure naturally”

Here are some lifestyle changes that lower your blood pressure

Exercise regularly

It’s a better idea to get advice from your doctor before going to start exercise regularly. 30 minutes walk or exercise a day can keep your heart healthy and lower your blood pressure. Check with your doctor is you are over are 40 (men) or 50 (women). Increasing your exercise level can lower your blood pressure within just a few weeks.

Lose extra pounds

Extra weight increases your blood pressure leads to heart attack. The more weight you lose, the lower your blood pressure will be. The best way to achieve your target weight from your doctor lowers your blood pressure. Losing weight will help you to reduce your health problems.

Choosing low fat, low calorie foods and physical activities are the best ways to lose your weight. Your doctor or nurses will be able to advice about your weight by a calculation called Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI tells you what weight you should be for your height. Number of BMI calculators is available on the Internet.

You can calculate your own body mass index, for this you need to know your height in meters and your weight in kilograms.

  • Divide your weight by your height
  • Divide the obtained number by your height

BMI Table for Adults: BMI values for adults age 18 or older.

Category BMI range – kg/m2
Severe Thinness < 16
Moderate Thinness 16 – 17
Mild Thinness 17 – 18.5
Normal 18.5 – 25
Overweight 25 – 30
Obese Class I 30 – 35
Obese Class II 35 – 40
Obese Class III > 40

BMI Table for Children and Teens: BMI categorization for children, teens between ages 2 and 20.

Category Percentile Range
Underweight <5%
Healthy weight 5% – 85%
At risk of overweight 85% – 95%
Overweight >95%

Limit the amount of alcohol you drink

The less you drink, the lower your blood pressure will drop. Consume moderate amounts of alcohol. Drinking alcohol can raise your blood pressure, so avoid too much alcohol. If you don’t drink alcohol, you shouldn’t start drinking because it may cause more potential harm than benefit.

  • Men should have not more than 2 drinks per day where as women only 1. The effect will be different for each person.
  • Alcohol in small amounts can potentially lower your blood pressure by 2 to 4mm Hg.

Healthy diet

Eating more vegetable, fruits, pulses will help to lower your blood pressure. Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, potassium and fiber to keep your body healthy.

Adults should eat at least 5 different portions of fruits and vegetables per day. Change your eating habits; you can adopt a healthy diet.

  • Dairy Products: Add low fatty dairy products into your diet
  • Potassium: Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. Take food that is low in salt and high in potassium
  • Fiber: Add leafy greens, fruits, whole grain products, nuts and legumes into your diet which are high fiber

Reduce sodium in your diet

People with high blood pressure cut back on salt prevent blood pressure from rising. Choose foods low in salt and sodium. 2.4 grams of sodium a day equals 6 grams i.e., about one teaspoon of table salt a day. To add more flavor to your foods use herbs or spices, garlic and onions rather than salt.

Stop smoking

Cigarette smoking like nicotine can affect not only blood pressure but also lung cancer. The nicotine in tobacco products can raise your blood pressure by 10 mm Hg or more up to an hour after you smoke.

Inhaling smoke from others, secondhand smoking puts you at risk of health problems like high blood pressure and heart disease.

Cutback on caffeine

Avoid caffeine, much chocolate, sugar, candy, drinks and excessive dietary fats. Drinking caffeinated beverages can affect temporary or long lasting.

  • Two cups of coffee can raise blood pressure
  • 4 caffeinated drinks per day prevent withdrawal symptoms such as headaches

Check your pressure within 30 minutes of drinking a cup of coffee or any other caffeinated beverage increases by five to 10 points; you may be sensitive to blood pressure raise with the effect of caffeine.

Reduce your stress

Stress can make blood pressure go up, and over time may contribute to the cause of high blood pressure. Temporary rise in blood pressure, overweight or family history of hypertension tend to stress. Stress rises because of your adrenal gland releases stress hormones which tend to cause your cardiovascular system to overwork.

Stress hormone increases your pulse, respiration and heart rate that you are in need of fighting or running. So try some relaxation techniques:

  1. Long walk to take the edge off a stressful day long before go to bed
  2. Set the time around 30 minutes before bed to finish the day must do tasks, personal hygiene things and try deep breathing or meditation

Monitor your blood pressure at home

Monitor you blood pressure by using a sphygmomanometer and a stethoscope. Note down the different ranges in reading your blood pressure.

  • Normal blood pressure – 120/80 and below
  • Pre-Hypertension blood pressure – 120-139/80-89
  • First stage hypertension – 140-159/90-99
  • Second stage hypertension – 160/100 and above

If your doctor asks you to take your blood pressure at home, keep in mind:

  • Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist to see which monitor you need and to show you how to use it
  • Avoid smoking, exercise, and caffeine 30 minutes before checking your blood pressure
  • Make sure you are sitting with your feet on the floor and your back is against something
  • Relax quietly for 5 minutes before checking your blood pressure
  • Keep a list of your blood pressure numbers to share with your doctor, physicians or nurse
  • Take your home monitor to the doctor’s office to make sure your monitor is working right

Get support from family and friends

It’s not always easy to lose weight, and you can quickly get bored or give up without encouragement. You need support from your family and friends. This puts you in touch with people who can give you an emotional or morale boost and offer practical tips to cope with your condition.