Cancer

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What is Thrombosis and circumstances that can lead to it?
Thrombosis simply means formation of clots within the blood vessels. Blood within the blood vessel is supposed to be in a ‘fluid-state.’ So, when blood clots within a vessel, its bad news. Clots can form within veins or arteries. Thrombi or clots occur in veins, when there is interplay between three factors, which include, hypercoagulability, sluggish or slow blood flow through the blood vessel and damage to the blood vessel. This is referred to as the ‘Virchow’s triad.’ Depending on their location, clots can cause blockage of blood flow leading to tissue death or they could get dislodged and carried to other parts of the body, where they cause serious harm.Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT is a serious condition that occurs, when clots form within the deep vessels of the body, most commonly, the leg or thigh, arms, but can occur anywhere in the body.

What are the first signs of DVT?
The most common site for DVT is the leg and symptoms include, pain (especially in the calf), swelling in one leg with warmth of the skin around the area affected and reddish or bluish discoloration of the affected area. In about half of the cases of DVT, there may be no symptoms and the diagnosis is made after a patient presents with features of pulmonary embolism (PE), which is a dreaded complication of DVT that is potentially fatal.

PE usually occurs, when a clot is dislodged and is carried to the lungs, where it blocks the pulmonary artery, causing reduced blood flow to the lungs. Patients often present with shortness of breath, chest pain and coughing up blood. It is a very serious condition that may lead to death, if prompt intervention is not taken.

Is it hereditary? 
DVT is not hereditary, but there are some hereditary or genetic conditions that increase the risk of developing DVT.

What are the risk factors for DVT?
DVT may occur in any condition that is associated with the factors that increase the risk of developing DVT in that person (Virchow’s triad). These conditions include, but are not limited to, prolonged periods of immobility e.g. after major surgeries, long distance travels, obesity, trauma, smoking, pregnancy, positive family history of DVT, combined oral contraceptive pills, hormone replacement therapy, cancer, etc.

In addition to the above, there are some inherited disorders that predispose to the development of DVT, especially when they occur in the presence to some of the conditions mentioned above. Such inherited disorders include, Factor V Leiden mutation, proteins C and S deficiency (these are naturally occurring anticoagulants) and Antithrombin III deficiency, among others.

Does it limit one’s mobility?
Depending on the severity and location of the thrombus, DVT may limit mobility, especially in the presence of severe pain and swelling.

Can it be treated?
Yes, DVT can be treated. Treatment of DVT is aimed at preventing the clot from growing bigger, preventing other clots from forming and preventing PE (Pulmonary embolism). Drugs called anticoagulants, also known as ‘blood thinners’ are used for treatment of DVT. These may be intravenous (unfractionated heparin, low molecular weight heparin) or oral (warfarin, dabigatran, rivaroxaban, etc.).

These drugs don’t break up existing clots, but prevent other clots from forming, while the body takes care of the already formed clot. In severe cases, drugs that directly break the clots may be used. These are called thrombolytic agents and are usually given intravenously or directly on the clot through a catheter. Patients on these drugs have to be monitored, as they may cause bleeding.

Another way of treating DVT includes the use of filters in large veins that can prevent the clot from travelling to the lungs. Sometimes, compression stockings are used, especially for post-DVT complications.

Measures should be taken to prevent DVT, especially in settings known to increase the risk of its development. For example, for people that are going to have major surgeries, there should be a plan for administration of prophylactic anticoagulants after the surgery and to also encourage early mobilisation. People travelling long distances, for instance by air, should ensure they move around the plane, do leg exercises and drink lots of fluid.

What are lifestyle habits to adopt to reduce risk of developing DVT?
By engaging in regular exercise, not smoking, keeping a healthy weight and diet. Females should seek advice from a doctor on the type of contraception to use. All doctors should be aware of procedures or interventions that could predispose to DVT and take appropriate preventive measures. Anyone that has symptoms suggestive of a DVT should immediately see a doctor.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation defines breast cancer as a group of cancer cells (malignant tumour) that starts in the cells of the breast. According to World Health Organisation (WHO), breast cancer is the most frequent cancer among women, impacting 2.1 million women each year, and also causes the greatest number of cancer-related deaths among women. In 2018, it is estimated that 627,000 women died from breast cancer, which is approximately 15 percent of all cancer deaths among women. While breast cancer rates are higher among women in more developed regions, rates are increasing in nearly every region globally. Dr. M.Y.M Habeebu, Head of department of Radiotherapy, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), in this interview with GERALDINE AKUTU, shed more light on breast cancer, management and prevention.

What causes breast cancer? 
There are several risk factors for breast cancer. These can be subdivided into Inherent and Acquired. Under Inherent factors and genetic predisposition, you have for example, women with such familial factors as BRCA 1 and BRCA 2, early menarche and late menopause, while acquired risk includes excessive intake of alcohol, sedentary lifestyle and use of contraceptives, among others.

What are the warning signs? 
The list of warning signs for breast cancer are numerous, and it includes, breast lump, bloody discharge from the nipple, breast pain, discoloration of breast skin, lump in the armpit, swelling of the whole breast and dimpling of the breast skin, among others.

Who is likely to have breast cancer?
Breast cancer can affect both adult male and female. However, it is 99 times more likely to affect an adult female than male. Women with first-degree relatives with breast cancer have higher risk. Other factors are early onset of menstruation (menarche), late onset of menopause, nulliparity, multiple abortion, history of breast lumps, which may be benign and not breast feeding. The list of factors that predispose to breast cancer is exhaustive. Certain genetic predisposition like BRCA1 and 2 have also been linked to breast cancer.

What are the types and stages of breast cancer?
Breast cancer can be classified into two major categories. These are the ductal carcinoma and the lobular carcinoma. The ductal carcinoma is about four times more common, while the lobular carcinoma tends to affect the other breast more commonly after diagnosis.

What are the treatment options?
Treatment for breast cancer depends on the type and characteristics. Available treatment options include: surgery, radiotherapy, chemotherapy, hormonal therapy and targeted therapy. There are other minor treatment options like counseling.

Exactly what does radiation therapy do? How well does it work? 
Radiation therapy or radiotherapy is a form of therapy that involves the use of ionising radiation like X-rays and Gamma rays to burn off cancerous cells. Radiotherapy can be classified into teletherapy and brachytherapy. Radiotherapy is a very effective therapy, which is used either with curative intent, primarily to kill the microscopic malignant cells that cannot be removed by surgery, or reduce the size of inoperably large tumours, rendering the tumours smaller and operable.

Radiotherapy can also be with palliative intent, either to reduce pain, reduce symptoms of cancer or to stop bleeding. Radiotherapy is a very effective form of cancer treatment, and when properly used will spare the normal cells, while eliminating offending cancer cells.

How many radiation treatments are required for breast cancer?
A complete treatment for breast cancer will take about a month of daily treatment of Monday to Friday per week. The exact dose depends on the practice of the particular centre.

What can be done to reduce risks of breast cancer?
To reduce the risk of breast cancer, improved lifestyle to include regular exercises, abstaining from excessive alcohol intake, breastfeeding and genetic testing.

It is also very important to perform regular screening, which is in three categories. First is the Self-Breast Examination (BSE), Clinical breast examination and Breast Imaging (either Breast Ultrasound for women, who are less than 40 years old or Mammogram for women who are up to 40 years old and above).

Breast self-examination (BSE) is a very cheap but effective form of breast screening. With this screening done regularly, even the slightest change in the breast can be easily noted and reported to an expert. Early diagnosis gives the best chance for cure, if well managed.

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Women who eat diets high in fat and junk foods risk damaging the health of three future generations of their family, according to new research.

Their poor eating habits could cause obesity, diabetes and addiction to alcohol or drugs in their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren even if their offspring eat well, warn scientists.

Experiments found female mice who consumed a high-fat diet before, during and after pregnancy passed on metabolic problems and addictive tendencies through their bloodline.

Researchers at the University of Zurich said that the lasting effects of fatty diets of female mice suggest that women need to be warned that relying on fast food could not only endanger their lives but risks the health of generations to come.

The study was published in Translational Psychiatry.

Corresponding author, Dr. Daria Peleg-Raibstein, said: “Most studies so far have only looked at the second generation or followed the long-term effects of obesity and diabetes on the immediate offspring.

“This study is the first to look at the effects of maternal overeating up until the third generation in the context of addiction as well as obesity.”

It adds to a growing body of evidence that eating too many hamburgers, pizzas, chicken nuggets and chips alters genes – that are then inherited by offspring.

Experts say the phenomenon not only applies to mothers but fathers as well.

It didn’t matter that the original female mice that were fed high-fat diets never became obese themselves, nor that none of the following generations consumed a high-fat diet – the genetic damage was done.

Dr. Peleg-Raibstein said: “To combat the current obesity epidemic, it is important to identify the underlying mechanisms and to find ways for early prevention.

“The research could help improve health advice and education for pregnant and breastfeeding couples and give their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren a better chance of a healthy lifestyle.

“It may also provide a way of identifying risk factors for how people develop obesity and addiction and suggest early interventions for at-risk groups.”

In the study, published in Translational Psychiatry, female mice were fed either a high-fat or standard laboratory diet for nine weeks before mating and then during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

Dr. Peleg-Rabstein and her colleagues then measured body weight, insulin sensitivity, metabolic rates and blood plasma levels such as insulin and cholesterol in the second and third generations.

In behavioral experiments, they investigated whether the mice chose a high-fat diet over a standard laboratory diet or an alcohol solution over water, and assessed their activity levels after exposure to amphetamines.

The children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the mice with high-fat diets were all more prone to addictive behaviors, though by the third generation the females’ predisposition for obesity seemed to normalize.

“Obesity can be something that is already programmed in the fetus, in utero,” said Dr. Peleg-Raibstein.

“There’s something that happens very early in the development of offspring that led to a kind of addictive-like brain and this led to over-eating.”

She says that the ‘hedonic’ behavior was not limited to food, but was also seen in the tendency of these animals pursue and consume alcohol and drugs. While in the mother’s womb, a fetus’s brain is developing, including ‘the connectivity between different regions,’ explained Dr. Peleg-Raibstein.

“That could all change in this time period and then this child or offspring has a higher risk of this kind of psychopathology and metabolic disorder.”

Though Dr. Peleg-Raibstein says her team’s research is ‘highly translational,’ meaning it has close correlations to humans, it’s too soon to say that exactly the same phenomena happen in women and their bloodlines.

“But studying effects of maternal over-eating is almost impossible to do in people because there are so many confounding factors, such as socio-economic background, the parents’ food preferences or their existing health conditions,” Dr Peleg-Raibstein.

“The mouse model allowed us to study the effects of a high-fat diet on subsequent generations without these factors.”

The Western diet is characterized by a high intake of fat, salt and sugar that can damage the heart, kidneys and waistline.

And while giving in to the occasional craving won’t be disastrous for future generations, keeping junk food to a minimum would be wise, Dr. Peleg-Raibstein says.

“We are exposed to more and more processed and junk food because it’s easier and we’re living stressful lives and this is the easiest, fastest way to get food and consume it, and it has addictive qualities to it. It’s tastier than eating a salad or something healthy,” she explains.

“It’s not that women aren’t allowed to eat anything that is not healthy, they just cannot consume highly processed foods that contain a high percentage of processed sugar, salt and fat every day for every meal.”

Previous research showed it was possible to reduce the burden of damaged cells, termed senescent cells, and extend lifespan and improve health, even when treatment was initiated late in life. They now have shown that treatment of aged mice with the natural product Fisetin, found in many fruits and vegetables, also has significant positive effects on health and lifespan.

Previous research published earlier this year in Nature Medicine involving University of Minnesota Medical School faculty Paul D. Robbins and Laura J. Niedernhofer and Mayo Clinic investigators James L. Kirkland and Tamara Tchkonia, showed it was possible to reduce the burden of damaged cells, termed senescent cells, and extend lifespan and improve health, even when treatment was initiated late in life.

As people age, they accumulate damaged cells. When the cells get to a certain level of damage they go through an aging process of their own, called cellular senescence. The cells also release inflammatory factors that tell the immune system to clear those damaged cells. A younger person’s immune system is healthy and is able to clear the damaged cells. But as people age, they aren’t cleared as effectively. Thus they begin to accumulate, cause low level inflammation and release enzymes that can degrade the tissue.

Robbins and fellow researchers found a natural product, called Fisetin, reduces the level of these damaged cells in the body. They found this by treating mice towards the end of life with this compound and see improvement in health and lifespan.

The paper, “Fisetin is a senotherapeutic that extends health and lifespan,” was recently published in EBioMedicine.”These results suggest that we can extend the period of health, termed healthspan, even towards the end of life,” said Robbins. “But there are still many questions to address, including the right dosage, for example.”

One question they can now answer, however, is why haven’t they done this before? There were always key limitations when it came to figuring out how a drug will act on different tissues, different cells in an aging body. Researchers didn’t have a way to identify if a treatment was actually attacking the particular cells that are senescent, until now.

Under the guidance of Edgar Arriaga, a professor in the Department of Chemistry in the College of Science and Engineering at the University of Minnesota, the team used mass cytometry, or CyTOF, technology and applied it for the first time in aging research, which is unique to the University of Minnesota.”In addition to showing that the drug works, this is the first demonstration that shows the effects of the drug on specific subsets of these damaged cells within a given tissue.” Robbins said.

Meanwhile, new research suggests women tend to live longer than men, and the key may be in the protective effects estrogen has on chromosomes. One of our best gauges of longevity is the length of telomeres, the set of genetic information at the tips of chromosomes. Women’s telomeres tend to be longer than men’s and to stay that way for longer, though exactly why telomere-length is associated with longer lifespans. Now, new research from the University of California, San Francisco, suggests that estrogen actually stokes the activity of an enzyme that helps to lengthen telomeres and may extend lifespans.

On average, women life is about five percent longer than men throughout the world, though the gender gap varies significantly from country to country. Experts have blamed this on all manner of environmental differences through the years: men are more likely to drink and smoke more and are at greater risk of developing heart disease.

One recent analysis suggested that that gap would close by 2032, as rates of smoking and drinking fall and level out for the two genders. But scientists have also observed that differences in life expectancy may be coded into the genetics of men and women. Also, studies on red and processed meat consumption with breast cancer risk have generated inconsistent results. An International Journal of Cancer analysis has now examined all published studies on the topic.

Comparing the highest to the lowest category in the 15 studies included in the analysis, processed meat consumption was associated with a nine per cent higher breast cancer risk. Investigators did not observe a significant association between red (unprocessed) meat intake and risk of breast cancer.

Two studies evaluated the association between red meat and breast cancer stratified by patients’ genotypes regarding N-acetyltransferase 2 acetylator. (Differences in activity of this enzyme are thought to modify the carcinogenic effect of meat.) The researchers did not observe any association among patients with either fast or slow N-acetyltransferase 2 acetylators.

“Previous works linked increased risk of some types of cancer to higher processed meat intake, and this recent meta-analysis suggests that processed meat consumption may also increase breast cancer risk. Therefore, cutting down processed meat seems beneficial for the prevention of breast cancer,” said lead author Dr. Maryam Farvid, of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Meanwhile, a new study has warned crash-dieting leaves you with more belly fat and weaker muscles. A study performed on rats found limiting the number of calories per day not only increased the circumference of the rats’ waists but also thinned out their muscles. Even more troubling: a hormone known to increase blood pressure became hyperactive in the rats on the reduced-calorie diet.

The team, led by Georgetown University in Washington, DC, warn that the two combined – increased blood pressure and belly fat together – could pave they way to dangerous long-term health risks, such as diabetes and heart disease, for past crash dieters.For the study, the team split female rats into two groups – one where calories would be reduced and one where the diet would remain the same.

The reduced group had their calories slashed by 60 percent, the equivalent of reducing a diet in humans from 2,000 calories to 800 calories.After three days of being on the reduced-calorie diet, the rats’ weights were lowered, but the diet also caused cycling – similar to a human’s menstrual cycle – to stop.

In addition, a number of metabolic functions decreased including blood pressure, heart rate and kidney function. When the rats resumed a normal diet, cycling was restored and both heart rate and body weight increased.

But the researchers found that three months after the reduced-calorie diet, the rats had more belly fat than rats that ate a normal diet.“Even more troubling was the finding that angiotensin II, a hormone in the body, was more potent at increasing blood pressure in the rats that were on the reduced-calorie diet,” said Dr Aline de Souza of the Department of Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center.

Angiotensin II binds to receptors and constricts blood vessels, thereby increasing blood pressure. Additionally, it stimulates the production of other hormones in the body that cause the body to retain salt and water.Dr. de Souza said that this increased blood pressure, when coupled with increased belly fat, could pose long-term health risks for people who have crash-dieted in the past.

Several previous studies have found that crash dieting can wreak havoc on the body both immediately and in the long run. Because your body is unsure of when you will feed it again, it conserves as much energy as possible so you burn fewer calories throughout the day. Additionally, although your body burns through fat stores first, it will then turn to lean tissue in the form of your muscles. A 2014 study at Maastricht University in the Netherlands put one group of subjects on a 500-calories-per-day diet and the other on a 1,250-calories-per-day diet.

At the end of the study period, the 500-calorie group lost 3.5 pounds of muscle mass, but the 1,250-calorie group lost just 1.3 pounds of muscle. Following a crash diet, the body then works to first rebuild fast stores before muscles, meaning any fat lost while dieting will come back first. The findings of the new study were presented Tuesday at the American Physiological Society’s annual Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolic Diseases: Sex-Specific Implications conference in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Women tend to live longer than men, and the key may be in the protective effects estrogen has on chromosomes, new research suggests. One of our best gauges of longevity is the length of telomeres, the set of genetic information at the tips of chromosomes. Women’s telomeres tend to be longer than men’s and to stay that way for longer, though exactly why telomere-length is associated with longer lifespans. Now, new research from the University of California, San Francisco, suggests that estrogen actually stokes the activity of an enzyme that helps to lengthen telomeres and may extend lifespans.

On average, women life is about five percent longer than men throughout the world, though the gender gap varies significantly from country to country. Experts have blamed this on all manner of environmental differences through the years: men are more likely to drink and smoke more and are at greater risk of developing heart disease.

One recent analysis suggested that that gap would close by 2032, as rates of smoking and drinking fall and level out for the two genders. But scientists have also observed that differences in life expectancy may be coded into the genetics of men and women. They have found a close link between the length of a person’s telomeres and the length of their life. Our DNA is encoded in 23 pairs of chromosomes and telomeres are the end caps of those chromosomes.

Telomeres are made of the same nucleic acid bases as the rest of human genetic information but their job is a protective one. They keep the precious genetic material in the rest of the chromosome from getting damaged, especially as cells replicate. Replication after replication over time starts to wear down telomemeres. When eventually they become too short to be functional, cells start malfunctioning, in part because their DNA is exposed, so to speak. Without telomeres, cells start to age and die, so these simple end-caps are vital to our health, and also good measures of our overall health and potential longevity.

It is not just time, but trauma that ages telomeres. Stress, health problems and poor habits all also wear on telomeres, and, in turn, on our life spans. American life expectancy fell for the second year in a row in 2018, and the gap between men and women’s life expectancies has grown to five years. Women now live to an average age of 81.1, while men only live to be 76.1 years old.

Their telomeres reflect this. And the new research from the University of California, San Francisco, suggests that the estrogen might be the secret. The female hormone that gives women their feminine appearances, menstrual cycles, and fertility, may also help to give them longer lives. Estrogen fuels some cancers, but has long been known to have protective effects against other diseases. Higher levels of the hormone are thought to help keep the cardiovascular system in good working order and promote healthier bones.

The new research, presented Wednesday at the North American Menopause Society annual meeting in San Diego, adds to the list of good things estrogen does the possibility of protecting telomeres. Lead study author, Dr. Elissa Epel, said: “Some experimental studies suggest estrogen exposure increases the activity of telomerase, the enzyme that can protect and elongate telomeres.” If this is in fact the case, maintaining estrogen levels may become more important to women as they reach menopause and their hormone levels fall.

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Drinking a daily glass of wine for health reasons may not be so healthy after all, suggests a new study from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, United States (U.S.).

Analyzing data from more than 400,000 people ages 18 to 85, the researchers found that consuming one to two drinks four or more times per week — an amount deemed healthy by current guidelines — increases the risk of premature death by 20 percent, compared with drinking three times a week or less. The increased risk of death was consistent across age groups.

The study was published online October 3 in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.”It used to seem like having one or two drinks per day was no big deal, and there even have been some studies suggesting it can improve health,” said first author Sarah M. Hartz, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of psychiatry. “But now we know that even the lightest daily drinkers have an increased mortality risk.”

Although some earlier studies have linked light drinking to improvements in cardiovascular health, Hartz said the new study shows that those potential gains are outweighed by other risks. Her team evaluated heart disease risk and cancer risk and found that although in some cases, drinking alcohol may reduce risk of heart-related problems, daily drinking increased cancer risk and, as a result, mortality risk.

“Consuming one or two drinks about four days per week seemed to protect against cardiovascular disease, but drinking every day eliminated those benefits,” she said. “With regard to cancer risk, any drinking at all was detrimental.”

The new study comes on the heels of research published in The Lancet, which reviewed data from more than 700 studies around the world and concluded that the safest level of drinking is none. But that study looked at all types of drinking — from light alcohol consumption to binge drinking. The Washington University team analysis focused on light drinkers: those who consumed only one or two drinks a day.

The Washington University study focused on two large groups of people in the United States: 340,668 participants, ages 18-85, in the National Health Interview Survey, and another 93,653 individuals, ages 40-60 who were treated as outpatients at Veterans Administration clinics.

“A 20 percent increase in risk of death is a much bigger deal in older people who already are at higher risk,” Hartz explained. “Relatively few people die in their 20s, so a 20 percent increase in mortality is small but still significant. As people age, their risk of death from any cause also increases, so a 20 percent risk increase at age 75 translates into many more deaths than it does at age 25.”

She predicted that as medicine becomes more personalized, some doctors may recommend that people with family histories of heart problems have a drink from time to time, but in families with a history of cancer, physicians may recommend abstinence.”If you tailor medical recommendations to an individual person, there may be situations under which you would think that occasional drinking potentially could be helpful,” she said. “But overall, I do think people should no longer consider a glass of wine a day to somehow be healthy.”

There are many reasons why drinking papaya juice has become more popular in recent years, although it has been a cultural staple in many areas of the world for centuries.

What is Papaya Juice?

Papaya juice is made from the fruit of the papaya tree, which is native to the tropical areas of the Americas, particularly Mesoamerica and the Caribbean. The fruit is actually a large berry and is roughly the same size as a large potato. The outside of the ripe fruit is an amber or orange color and you can tell when the fruit is ripe when the outer skin is slightly soft to the touch. The inside of the fruit has a cavity filled with dozens of black seeds in a clear pulp, but the orange flesh is the part of the fruit that is eaten, and also turned into juice.

Papaya juice benefits from a rich supply of vitamin and nutrients including vitamin C and folate in large quantities, followed by vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin E, vitamin K, various B-family vitamins, magnesium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, iron, manganese, and a number of phytochemicals, carotenoids and other antioxidant compounds. While many people choose to eat papaya fruit raw, you can get an even more concentrated boost of these nutrients if you choose to drink papaya juice. It is not the most widely available juice on the market, but it is also quite easy to make at home so you can enjoy its many health benefits.

Benefits of Papaya Juice

Some of the best benefits papaya juice offers are its ability to clear up skin inflammation, lower blood pressure, strengthen the immune system, prevent chronic disease and cancer, improve nerve function, build strong bones, boost cardiovascular health, aid vision, and reduce inflammation.

Prevents Cancer

This exotic fruit has a wealth of beta-carotene, lycopene, beta-cryptoxanthin and isothiocyanates, all of which seek out and neutralize free radicals in the body that can cause mutation and cancer. Some of these active ingredients also promote the production of tumor-suppressing proteins, making this juice both a preventative measure and a supplementary treatment.

Strengthens Nervous System

High levels of copper are required for our nervous system to effectively communicate with other parts of the body. Although copper is often overlooked, it is found in significant levels in papaya juice.

Promotes Strong Bones

Papaya juice contains nearly a dozen different minerals, and while some of them are in trace amounts, many of them contribute to the strength and durability of your bones. By increasing bone mineral density with a glass of this juice each morning, you can prevent or delay osteoporosis as you age.

Soothes Inflammation

Papain is a critical digestive enzyme found in this tropical fruit but it also has anti-inflammatory properties that can affect the rest of the body. Combined with vitamin C and other antioxidants in this fruit, it can soothe symptoms of arthritis, headache, gout, irritable bowel syndrome and high blood pressure, among others.

Reduces Blood Pressure

A more specific blood pressure-lowering compound in papaya juice is potassium. This legendary vasodilator will relieve stress and strain on your cardiovascular system by easing the tension in blood vessels and promoting better circulation.

Improves Heart Health

Not only is papaya juice rich in antioxidants, which can lower the oxidative stress in blood vessels and arteries, but it is also a rich source of folate, which can suppress homocysteine levels and keep your cholesterol levels down. In addition to vitamin C and other key minerals, this can protect the integrity of your arteries and lower your risk of cardiovascular disease.

Boosts Immunity

A single papaya has more than 300% of the daily required vitamin C intake for an adult male, and while some of that vitamin C will be lost in the blending process, it still gives you an incredible immune system boost, particularly when supported by arange of antioxidants that prevent mutation and chronic disease. 

Improves Vision

Boasting high levels of beta-carotene, papaya is well known as a vision booster, capable of preventing the oxidative stress in the retina that causes macular degeneration, while also slowing down the development of cataracts.

How to Make Papaya Juice?

Papaya juice can be purchased at some grocery stores but papaya nectar is also a popular product, which offers more added sugar and less overall nutrients. So be careful about what variety you are purchasing. Making your own juice at home also guarantees that you know precisely what is being added to this healthy drink. Papaya has a very strong sweet flavor, so most recipes include other fruits or spices to make the drink more palatable.

Recipe

Ingredients:

  • 1 fresh papaya, chopped
  • 1/2 cup of fresh pineapple
  • 2 teaspoons of honey
  • 1 cup of water, filtered

Step 1 – Remove the skin from the papaya, cut it in half, and scoop out the seeds.

Step 2 – Chop the papaya into chunks that can fit in your blender.

Step 3 – Add the papaya, pineapple, honey and water to the blender.

Step 4 – Blend thoroughly for 2-3 minutes until the beverage has a smooth consistency.

Step 5 – You can add more water or pineapple juice if the mixture is still too thick.

Step 6 – Add more honey for sweetness, if desired and blend for another 5-10 seconds.

Step 7 – Serve chilled and enjoy!

Note: Unlike many other fruit juices, papaya is not high in fibrous material when blended, so there is no need to use a sieve or filter to remove the pulp.

How Long Can You Store Papaya Juice?

Preparing this juice should always be done with ripe fruit, and the juice should be consumed relatively soon after preparing. Most experts recommend drinking any prepared juice or smoothie within 24-36 hours. Once fruit becomes exposed to oxygen, many varieties will begin to oxidize, causing a change in the color and the quality of the nutrients. A great way to slow down the oxidation of the juice is to add a few drops of lemon juice.

Papaya juice has a number of powerful enzymes that will actually begin to break down the components of other juice, if you blend them, so it is best not to store this juice for very long. Refrigerating your papaya juice for 12-24 hours in an airtight container should help it retain most of its nutrients and flavor.

Side Effects of Papaya Juice

While many people praise the benefits of papaya juice, there are some potential side effects that should be taken into consideration, such as skin discoloration, stomach problems, an increased risk of kidney stones and possible allergic reactions. In most cases, these side effects can be avoided by consuming this juice in moderation but for those with sensitive stomachs or allergies, consume this juice with caution.

  • Stomach Upset – One of the active ingredients in papaya, called papain, is excellent for gastrointestinal issues when consumed in normal amounts. However, if too much of this enzyme enters the system, it can cause bloating, cramping, diarrhea and other stomach problems.
  • Skin Discoloration – Papayas are packed with beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant that helps the body in many different ways, but if you go overboard with drinking papaya juice, it can turn your skin into an orange hue. This is harmless, and will normally go away within a day or so.
  • Kidney Problems – This tropical fruit is overflowing with vitamin C, which is excellent news for your immune system, but having too much vitamin C in your system can cause a rise in oxalate levels in the body, which can contribute to the development of kidney stones. If you already suffer from kidney issues, speak with a doctor before adding this juice to your daily diet.
  • Allergic Reactions – The digestive enzyme in papayas can also act as an allergen for certain people, causing shortness of breath, runny nose or itchy eyes but generally, the symptoms are mild. 1-2 glasses of papaya juice per day is more than enough to enjoy the benefits without suffering from the side effects.

Cancer
Cancer

Nigeria has the worst cancer mortality rate in Africa as four out of every five patients die from the ailment, according to recent statistics.

A foremost consultant oncologist and radiotherapist at the University of Nigeria College of Medicine (UNCM) and Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Enugu, Prof. Ifeoma Okoye, who gave the statistics, blamed the high death rate on the low level of awareness, late presentation at hospitals as well as the high cost of screening and treatment.

Okoye, who is also a member of the team of medical experts that packaged the National Cancer Control Plan 2018-2022, said the global cancer community was rallying countries to produce plans that would address their cultural and country-specific challenges.

She said: “You need to address cultural challenges. For instance, we have to begin to investigate cases, prevent, where possible, ensure early detections, which is key, and provide optimal management, palliative care and screening to the entire country.

We can do a national screening for 180 million people.

“Then there is the need to vaccinate the people against cancers. There is Hepatitis B vaccine that protects against liver cancer. There is also the vaccine that has to do with Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) that prevents cervical cancer.”

To address the situation, the radiologist recommended awareness creation and incorporation of cancer screening and treatment in the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) so that people do not have to pay out of pocket.

She also called for uniform protocol across the country for caring, management, treatment, drug therapy and radiotherapy.

Dr. Omotayo Fatokun, in a study titled, “Cancer control reform in Nigeria” published in The Lancet Oncology noted: “In October 2016, the Nigerian government announced plans to establish a national agency for cancer control responsible for research, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and palliative care, as well as the provision of leadership and technical direction for the control of the disease in Nigeria.

The new agency will replace the national cancer control programme of the Federal Ministry of Health.

“The proposed reform is seen as a step in the right direction as the existing cancer control programme is ill equipped and under-resourced to cope with the challenges surrounding the cancer burden in the country.”

According to the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP- Nigeria), 30 Nigerian women die every day of breast cancer (a cancer that can be cured if detected early); one Nigerian woman dies every hour of cervical cancer (a cancer that is virtually 100 per cent preventable); 14 Nigerian men die daily of prostate cancer (another cancer that can be cured if detected early); one Nigerian dies every hour of liver cancer (a cancer that is preventable through vaccination); and one Nigerian dies every two hours of colon cancer (another cancer that is virtually 100 per cent preventable).

The National Coordinator of CECP, Dr. Abia Nzelu, also declared that out of every five Nigerians with cancer, only one survives.

“ln the specific case of blood cancer, out of every 30 Nigerians (often young adults and children), only one survives, whereas at the Tata Cancer Centre in India, the survival rate for blood cancer is 99 per cent.

The future generation of Nigeria is wasting away from conditions that can be controlled medically. Alas, Nigeria is a nation where wealth accumulates and men decay.”

She stated that 10 Nigerians died of cancer every hour, yet, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), one-third of cancers is preventable, another one-third is curable and the last third can have good quality of life with appropriate care.

On why the situation is different in Nigeria, and Nigerians who still seek treatment abroad end up dying from preventable cancers, Nzelu said: “The truth is that we do not have adequate infrastructure and system for early diagnosis, so cases end up being detected at a time when they are beyond help.

Many other countries have invested a lot of funds in cancer research, screening programmes and treatment. In such countries, every sector of the society is involved in the fight against cancer.”

Meanwhile, as part of efforts to reduce cancer death and burden, the Minister of Health, Isaac Adewole, has called on the private sectors, state governments and individuals to assist the Federal Government in mobilising over N93 billion to tackle the disease across the country.

The minister who made the appeal at the launch and dissemination of the National Cancer Control Plan 2018-2022 in Abuja, said the Federal Government alone could not raise the N93 billion.

Adewole said the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) was working assiduously to improve the capacity of health workers to manage cancer patients.

“The essence of this event today is to tell Nigerians that we are aware of the cancer burden in the country and we have planned ahead, but it remains the diligent implementation of the plan because it is quite elaborate.

“In 2017 budget, we have nine billion, we have six billion in 2018 budget which makes it N15 billion but we cannot do it alone. We are appealing to the private sectors, individual firms and state governments to partner us so that we can raise the money,” he said.

According to him, the government is working to provide 18 LINAC machines by 2019, and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) has promised to provide comprehensive cancer centres in Uyo, Akwa Ibom and Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Alcohol
Alcohol
This feature is part of CNN Parallels, an interactive series exploring ways you can improve your health by making small changes to your daily habits.
A lot of us drink. Too many of us drink a lot. Worldwide, each person 15 years and older consumes 13.5 grams of pure alcohol per day, according to the World Health Organization. Considering that nearly half of the world doesn’t drink at all, that leaves the other half drinking up their share.
While the majority of the world drinks liquor, Americans prefer beer. The Beverage Marketing Corp. tracks these things: In 2017, Americans guzzled about 27 gallons of beer (or 216 pints), 2.6 gallons of wine and 2.2 gallons of spirits per drinking-age adult. But Americans are lightweights in any worldwide drinking game, based on numbers from the World Health Organization. The Eastern European countries of Lithuania, Belarus, Czechia (the Czech Republic), Croatia and Bulgaria drink us under the table.
In fact, measuring liters drunk by anyone over 15, the US ranks 36th in the category of most sloshed nation; Austria comes in sixth; France is ninth (more wine) and Ireland 15th (yes, they drink more beer), while the UK ranks 18th.
Who drinks the least in the world? The Arab nations of the Middle East.
With all this boozing going on, just what damage does alcohol do to your health? Let’s explore what science says are the downsides of having a tipple or two.
Counting calories
Even if you aren’t watching your waistline, you might be shocked at the number of empty calories you can easily consume during happy hour.
Calories are typically defined by a “standard” drink. In the US, that’s about 0.6 fluid ounces or 14 grams of pure alcohol, which differs depending on the type of adult beverage you consume.
For example, a standard drink of beer is one 12-ounce can (355 milliliters). For malt liquor, it’s 8 to 9 fluid ounces (251 milliliters). A standard drink of red or white wine is about 5 fluid ounces (148 milliliters).
What’s considered a standard drink continues to go down as the alcohol content goes up. But what if that changes? Let’s use beer as an example.
It used to be that light beer came in around 100 calories while regular beer averaged 153 calories per 12-fluid ounce can or bottle — that’s the same as two or three Oreo cookies.
But beer calories depend on both alcohol content and carbohydrate level. So if you’re a fan of today’s popular craft beers, which often have extra carbs and higher alcohol content, you could easily face a calorie land mine in every can. Let’s say you chose a highly ranked IPA, such as Sierra Nevada Bigfoot (9.6% alcohol) or Narwhal (10.2% alcohol), and you’ve downed a whopping 318 to 344 calories, about as much as a McDonald’s cheeseburger. Did you drink just one?
If you pour correctly, white wine is about 120 calories per 5 fluid ounces, and red is 125. If you fill your glass to the brim, that might easily double.
Liquor? Gin, rum, vodka, tequila and whiskey cost you 97 calories per 1.5 fluid ounces, but that’s without mixers. An average margarita will cost you 168 calories while a pina colada weighs in at a whopping 490 calories, about the same as a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder.
A 2013 study in the US found that calorie intake went up on drinking days compared with non-drinking days, mostly due to alcohol: Men took in 433 extra calories, while women added 299 calories.
But alcohol can also affect our self-control, which can lead to overeating. A 1999 study found that people ate more when they had an aperitif before dinner than if they abstained.
Take heart. If you’re a light to moderate drinker, meaning you stick to US guidelines of one “standard” drink a day for women and two for men, studies have shown that you aren’t guaranteed to gain weight over time — especially if you live an overall healthy lifestyle.
For example, a 2002 study of almost 25,000 Finnish men and women over five-year intervals found that moderate alcohol consumption, combined with a physically active lifestyle, no smoking and healthy food choices, “maximizes the chances of having a normal weight.”
However, it appears that heavy drinking and binge drinking could be linked to obesity. And that’s a problem. The numbers of binge drinkers — defined as five or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women within a couple of hours at least once a month — has been rising in the United States.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says one in six adults binge about four times a month, downing about eight drinks in each binge.
In the UK, where binge drinking is defined as “drinking lots of alcohol in a short space of time or drinking to get drunk,” a 2016 national survey found 2.5 million people admitted to binge drinking in the last week.
Alcohol, of course, has no nutritional value and contains 7 calories per gram — more than protein and even carbs, which both have 4 calories. Fat has 9 calories per gram.
All those empty alcohol calories have to end up somewhere.
Heart disease and cancer
The prevailing wisdom for years has been that drinking in moderation — again, that’s one “standard” drink a day for women and two for men — is linked to a lower risk of cardiovascular disease. But recent studies are casting doubt on that long-held lore. Science now says it depends on your age and drinking habits.
A 2017 study of nearly 2 million Brits with no cardiovascular risk found that there was still a modest benefit in moderate drinking, especially for women over 55 who drank five drinks a week. Why that age? Alcohol can alter cholesterol and clotting in the blood in positive ways, experts say, and that’s about the age when heart problems begin to occur.
For everyone else, the small protective effect on the heart was evident only if the drinks were spaced out during the week. Consuming heavily in one session, or binge drinking, has been linked to heart attacks — or what the English call “holiday heart.”
Also, a 2018 study found that drinking more than 100 grams of alcohol per week — equal to roughly seven standard drinks in the United States or five to six glasses of wine in the UK — increases your risk of death from all causes and in turn lowers your life expectancy. Links were found with different forms of cardiovascular disease, with people who drank more than 100 grams per week having a higher risk of stroke, heart failure, fatal hypertensive disease and fatal aortic aneurysm, where an artery or vein swells up and could burst.
In contrast, the 2018 study found that higher levels of alcohol were also linked to a lower risk of heart attack, or myocardial infarction.
Overall, however, the latest thinking is that any heart benefit may be outweighed by other health risks, such as high blood pressure, pancreatitis, certain cancers and liver damage.
Women who drink are at a higher risk for breast cancer; alcohol contributes about 6% of the overall risk, possibly because it raises certain dangerous hormones in the blood. Drinking can also increase the chance you might develop bowel, liver, mouth and oral cancers.
One potential reason: Alcohol weakens our immune systems, making us more susceptible to inflammation, a driving force behind cancer, as well as infections and the integrity of the microbiome in our digestive tract. That’s true not only for chronic drinkers but for those who binge, as well.
Diabetes
The connection between alcohol and diabetes is complicated. Studies show that drinking moderately over three or four days a week may actually lower the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. However, drinking heavily increases the risk. Too much alcohol inflames the pancreas, which is responsible for secreting insulin to regulate your body’s blood sugars.
If you have diabetes, alcohol may interact with various medications. If you take insulin or any pills that stimulate the release of insulin, alcohol can lead to hypoglycemia, a dangerously low blood sugar level, because alcohol stimulates the release of insulin as well. That’s why experts recommend never drinking on an empty stomach. Instead, drink with a meal or at least some carbs.
And, of course, because alcohol is made by fermenting sugar and starch, it’s full of empty calories, which contributes to obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Mood and memory
Because alcohol is a depressant, drinking can drown your mood. It may not seem that way while you “party” your inhibitions away, but that’s just the drink depressing the part of the brain we use to control our actions. The more you drink, say experts, the more your negative emotions, such as anxiety, anger and depression, can take over.
That’s why binge drinking or drinking a lot in one sitting is associated with higher levels of depression, self-harm, suicide and violent offending.
Binge drinking is also associated with severe “blackouts”: the inability to remember what happened while drunk. Blackouts can range from small memory blips, such as forgetting a name, to more serious incidents, such as forgetting an entire evening.
Alcohol does this by decreasing the electrical activity of the neurons in your hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for the formation of short-term memories. Keep up that binge drinking, and you can permanently damage the hippocampus and develop sustained memory or cognitive problems.
Adolescents are most susceptible to alcohol’s memory disruption but less sensitive to the intoxicating effects. That means they can easily drink more to feel as “drunk” as an adult would, causing even more damage to their brains.
How you look
Last but certainly not least, alcohol can have a significant effect on your good looks. First, it dehydrates you. That can leave your skin looking parched and wrinkled. It’s also linked to rosacea, a skin condition causing redness, pimples and swelling on your face.
Do you know you can stink while you’re drinking? During the time your liver is processing a single drink, which is on average an hour but varies for everyone, some of it leaves your body via your breath, urine and sweat.
Another reason drinking can affect your looks has to do with sleep. Although even a little bit of alcohol can help you fall asleep quickly, as the alcohol is metabolized and leaves the body you may suffer the “rebound effect.” Instead of staying asleep, the body enters lighter sleep and wakefulness, which appears to get worse the more one drinks.
A lack of sleep leads to dark circles, puffy eyes and stress. Keep it up, studies say, and you’re likely to see more signs of aging and a much lower satisfaction with your appearance.
So the next time you head to the pub for tipple or two, remember: You could be paying a price for all that fun.
By Sandee LaMotte | CNN
CNN’s Mark Lieber contributed to this report.

Healthy food means to eat clean and organic while keeping you away from the chemical and sugar rich foods. However, without even realizing their presence, our diet includes a major portion of artificial food content and high calories that claims to be significantly low. Such foods forms acids in the body and they are required to be eliminated as soon as possible. The foods creating inflammation disturb the hormonal balance in the body, congest the liver, and higher the blood sugar levels, as result, it nullify the efforts of restoring the good health.

Foods You Should Avoid While Losing Weight:-

Low Fat Ice Creams

Even when your ice creams are low on calories and loaded with the fruits, there are still lots of sugar content and harmful trans fat hidden inside the cup that makes you gain weight. Moreover, the artificial colours and flavours are nothing to do with your than worsening the situations. Instead, make your own ice cream at home with the natural fruit flavours less of harsh chemicals.

Thin Crust Veggies Loaded Pizza

People used to think that not all pizzas are bad for your health, however, even the thin crust slices are loaded with cheese that contains saturated fats and processed so heavily to make you gain those extra pounds easily. Go for homemade whole wheat crust, healthy sauce, superfoods pizza along with the right cheeses.

Zero Calories Drinks

All that fizz drinks claiming zero calories in the cans are the way to distract you from eating healthy. It is extremely acidic, hence; it takes more than 30 cups of water to neutralize the acidity of a single can. Such residues are hard on the body and make an evil impact on your kidneys.

French Fries

The trans fat and acrylamide present in the food cause inflammation in your body. It is also a greater cause of many other serious problems in the body including heart diseases, weight gain, cancer, etc. Try out finding how to cook them to maximize the nutrients and eliminate the formation of acrylamide.

Potato Chips

When the white potatoes are deeply fried it produces the highest level of toxic acrylamide which is the main reason of accumulation of the fat. As they are loaded with the healthy herbs, it doesn’t mean it will save some calories for you. Instead, try indulging in the crispy sweet potato chips and you will not miss the original chips for sure.

To be healthy, one must eat a wide variety of vitamin-rich foods. But with the growing number of people consuming fast food today, most would probably prefer it over homemade food which is a much better healthier choice. This daily consumption of fast food and junk food is so bad that it is putting the health of many people at risk. In order to prevent serious health problems and maintain a healthy lifestyle, you should consume foods that are rich in antioxidant vitamins and minerals.

Eating a variety of antioxidant vitamins and mineral enriched foods can contribute to improving your quality of health for many years to come.

Now, here is a list of some superfoods that can help you achieve better health:

1. Berries
All kinds of berries are rich in fiber that can help promote weight loss. Raspberries contain ellagic acid which has a compound that prevents cancer.

2. Avocado
Avocados provide Vitamins A, B, C, E and K that are several important antioxidants along with glutathione.

3. Beans
It is a source of iron that transports oxygen from the lungs to all the cells in your body.

4. Bananas
It is a highly alkalining nutritious superfood that contains the best sources of potassium which help in maintaining heart function and normal blood pressure.

5. Salmon
Superfoods are not only categorized as fruits and vegetables. This kind of fish contains Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. It is anti-inflammatory and can alleviate joint pain and reduce the risk of heart disease.

6. Broccoli
Broccoli is one of the healthiest leafy green vegetables which is rich in vitamins A, C and folic acid. It also has sulforaphane that is considered a cancer-fighting agent.

7. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are high in alpha and beta carotenoids which are converted into an active usable form of Vitamin A by your body. These compounds can help keep your eyes, bones, and immune system healthy.

8. Cacao (Should be more than 60% Dark Chocolate) 
Cacao is high in essential minerals that most people do not get in their diet. It has magnesium which is used in more than 275 biochemical reactions in the body. Cacao also contains manganese, zinc and iron.

Try to consume at least three to four servings daily of a variety of superfoods (even more is better) for optimal health.

Achieving better health is not only about the foods you consume. You must also include proper exercise that can help you become physically fit.