Ways to Live Longer With a Mental Disorder

Here's how people with mental disorder can live longer

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mental health
"Our study shows that by addressing health behaviours, healthcare engagement and social issues of people with severe mental illness, we could potentially increase their life expectancy by about four to seven years," said study lead author Dr Alex Dregan from King's College London in the UK. Pixabay

Tackling unhealthy lifestyle factors would provide the greatest benefit in increasing life expectancy among those with severe mental illness in these difficult times, report researchers.

“Our study shows that by addressing health behaviours, healthcare engagement and social issues of people with severe mental illness, we could potentially increase their life expectancy by about four to seven years,” said study lead author Dr Alex Dregan from King’s College London in the UK.

Healthy interventions that aim to stop smoking among people with schizophrenia and approaches to lessen sedentary behaviour among people with bipolar disorders appear to be the most promising ways to increase life expectancy — showing an increase of two years and five months and an increase of one year and three months, respectively.

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Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder in which people interpret reality abnormally. Currently, people with serious mental illness tend to live on average 12 to 15 years less than those in the general population.

Nearly 80 per cent of deaths of those with serious mental illness are caused by common diseases such as heart disease, respiratory illnesses, diabetes, cancer and digestive disorders. All these diseases can be partly attributed to unhealthy lifestyle factors, social isolation and deprivation, and inadequate use of healthcare services.

 

mental health
Tackling unhealthy lifestyle factors would provide the greatest benefit in increasing life expectancy among those with severe mental illness. Pixabay

The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, aimed to estimate how much tackling these changeable factors in the lives of people with SMI could translate into a gain in life expectancy. Using data from systemic reviews, the researchers estimated the level of association between a range of different risk factors and the total number of deaths amongst those with SMI.

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The factors were categorised into three groups: behavioural risk factors such as smoking and physical inactivity, healthcare risk factors such as uptake of treatment and access to healthcare resources and social risk factors such as stigma and exclusion. By considering the effectiveness of interventions aimed at changing these factors the researchers then calculated the gains in life expectancy that could occur.

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Examples of interventions to address the risk factors were smoking cessation initiatives, improving access to antipsychotic medication and educative approaches to reduce stigma.

“Gains in life expectancies were also estimated later in life and at 65 years the projected gain was three years for bipolar disorder and four years for schizophrenia,” the researchers said. (IANS)

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Oil Pulling: An Ayurvedic Treatment to Boost Immunity

Oil pulling is an ancient treatment dateing back to more than 3,000 years

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Oil pulling
Oil pulling can boost your Immunity. Pixabay

Oil pulling is regarded as an ancient Ayurveda treatment that dates back to more than 3,000 years.

Considered as a detoxification therapy, it is done by taking a spoonful of cold pressed virgin oil (preferably coconut oil) and swishing it in your mouth for about 5 minutes, similar to using a mouthwash. The purpose of oil pulling is to swish the oil around in your mouth, between the teeth to get rid of bacteria in the mouth, spit it out and immediately rinse with some warm water.

Nutritionist Sheryl Salis shares how oil pulling that can help improve your immunity, uses of virgin coconut oil and the method of oil pulling:

Oil pulling is an alternative health practice gaining traction in recent times not only for oral health but also as an immunity boosting measure. As the mouth is a home to millions of microbes including bacteria, the oil pulling process helps get rid of these bacteria through swishing oil in the mouth and in-between the teeth. Swishing the oil for a prolonged period cleanses the mouth and decreases the bacterial load. Not only does this promote oral hygiene, this technique aids in overall health and well-being.

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Other than basic precautions like sanitizing and washing hands, immunty is the key factor to protect yourself from COVID-19 pandemic. Pixabay

With the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the globe, it is recommended to build and maintain a strong immune system to help combat the risk of being infected. While external precautionary measures like sanitizing and washing hands are essential, maintaining basic hygiene measures and eating healthy to build one’s immunity is of utmost importance.

Using virgin coconut oil to build immunity

Cold pressed virgin coconut oil is a superfood recommended for its myriad health benefits; it is a rich source of naturally occurring Lauric acid and contains Vitamin E which helps to improve body’s immunity. The medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFAs) that contain lauric acid and caprylic acid strengthens the immune system and has anti-viral properties. Therefore, Adding 2 spoons of virgin coconut oil to the diet every day can help improve the immunity and maintain a healthy, holistic lifestyle.

In most Indian household’s, virgin coconut oil is a staple for consumption and beauty practices and is slowly making its way in the mainstream wellness community for oil pulling. Known for its immune boosting properties, virgin coconut oil can be introduced as an effective technique into your heath regime.

Oil Pulling
Virgin coconut oil is a staple for consumption and beauty practices. Pixabay

How to do it?

eStart by swishing it in your mouth on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning

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eTake about 1 tablespoon of virgin coconut oil in the mouth and swish it for about 3-5 minutes.

eDiscard the oil by spitting it out. Do not swallow the oil as you will ingest the toxins with it as well

eRinse the mouth with warm water and brush your teeth as usual

eRepeat the process 3-4 times a week. (IANS)

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Covid-19 to Cause Lasting Physical and Mental Health Consequences Worldwide

Researchers warn that the pandemic is likely to cause profound health issues globally

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covid-19 consequences
Covid-19 pandemic is likely to cause major physical and mental health consequences on people all over the world. WIkimedia Commons

The coronavirus pandemic’s life-altering effects are likely to result in lasting physical and mental health consequences for several people, warn researchers.

For the findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the research team studied low-income women from New Orleans in the US, who were surveyed the year prior to, and at intervals after Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005.

The women reported a range of traumatic experiences during Katrina, many of which are similar to those now occurring during the pandemic, including bereavement, lack of access to medical care and scarcity of medications.

Hurricane Katrina consequences
Hurricane Katrina which struck in 2005 had major consequences and a range of traumatic experiences as reported by the survivors, many of which are similar to those now occurring during the pandemic. Wikimedia Commons

The research showed that at one, four and 12 years after the hurricane, the exposures most strongly associated with post-traumatic stress, psychological distress, general health and physical health symptoms were those most common to the current pandemic.

The pandemic continues to cause widespread death and sickness, as well as job loss and severe economic hardship for many.

“This pandemic is likely to have profound short- and long-term consequences for physical and mental health,” said study researcher Sarah Lowe, Assistant Professor at Yale University in the US.

“These impacts are likely to be even larger than what we have seen in previous disasters like Hurricane Katrina, given the distinctive qualities of the pandemic as a disaster,” Lowe added.

The study did not include other exposures that are taking place during the pandemic, such as financial losses and unemployment, which are also likely to have additional and significant impacts on public health.

The results suggest that, in addition to promoting actions to reduce COVID-19 transmission and addressing longstanding health disparities contributing to COVID-19 morbidity and mortality, public health measures should also prevent and mitigate exposures that will have indirect effects on mental and physical health.

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Many other consequences like unemployment are also likely take place will have additional and significant impacts on public health. Pixabay

This includes preventing lapses in medical care and medication access. Additionally, another key exposure in the study was fear for one’s own safety and the safety of others.

As such, public health messaging should provide tips for managing anxiety and fear, in addition to promoting efforts to increase safety from COVID-19 transmission.

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“Supplemental health services should be provided to those who are bereaved or are experiencing clinically significant fear and anxiety-related the pandemic,” Lowe said.

“This study represents a step toward disentangling the health consequences of disasters, while also recognising more longstanding factors that contribute to health disparities,” she wrote.

Recently, another study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal, revealed that people taken ill by coronavirus infections may experience psychiatric problems while hospitalised and potentially after they recover. (IANS)

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Commute to Work by Walking, Cycling Instead of Car to Reduce Early Death Risk

Driving to work may increase risk of early death

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Cycling your way to work may reduce risk of early death. Pixabay

People who walk, cycle and travel by train to work are at reduced risk of early death or illness compared with those who commute by car, according to a new study.

For the findings, published in the journal The Lancet Planetary Health, the researchers conducted a study on more than 300,000 commuters in England and Wales. They used census data to track the same people for up to 25 years, between 1991-2016. The researchers from Imperial College London and the University of Cambridge in the UK, suggest increased walking and cycling post-lockdown may reduce deaths from heart disease and cancer.

“As large numbers of people begin to return to work as the COVID-19 lockdown eases, it is a good time for everyone to rethink their transport choices,” said study researcher Dr Richard Patterson from the University of Cambridge.

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People travel by train to work are at reduced risk of early death or illness. Pixabay

The research team found that compared with those who drove, those who cycled to work had a 20 per cent reduced rate of early death, 24 per cent reduced rate of death from cardiovascular disease during the study period, a 16 per cent reduced rate of death from cancer, and an 11 per cent reduced rate of a cancer diagnosis.

Walking to work was associated with a seven per cent reduced rate in cancer diagnosis, compared to driving. The team explain that associations between walking and other outcomes, such as rates of death from cancer and heart disease, were less certain.

One potential reason for this is people who walk to work are, on average, in less affluent occupations than people who drive to work, and more likely to have underlying health conditions which could not be fully accounted for.

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The study shows that those who drove had a 20 per cent increased rate of early death compared to those who cycled to work. Pixabay

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The research also revealed that compared with those who drove to work, rail commuters had a 10 per cent reduced rate of early death, a 20 per cent reduced rate of death from cardiovascular disease, and a 12 per cent reduced rate of cancer diagnosis.

This is likely due to them walking or cycling to transit points, although rail commuters also tend to be more affluent and less likely to have other underlying conditions.”With severe and prolonged limits in public transport capacity likely, switching to private car use would be disastrous for our health and the environment,” Patterson said.”Encouraging more people to walk and cycle will help limit the longer-term consequences of the pandemic,” Patterson wrote. (IANS)