World Heart Day 2022: Panic attack may seem like a heart attack at times as it shares some of its symptoms with heart attack be it chest pain, increase in heart rate or shortness of breath. However, one can differentiate between the two keeping in mind the location of pain and the duration of symptoms. Experts say patient must be given immediate medical attention as one can never be sure if it isn't a heart attack. (Also read: World Heart Day 2022: Foods to eat and avoid for better heart health)

The cases of both heart attack and panic attack are increasing in the wake of Covid pandemic as weakening of heart muscles and anxiety issues are becoming common post Covid. In such situations symptoms like shortness of breath, pain in chest, nausea, palpitations could make one confused if they are suffering from a heart attack or panic attack.

"We as doctors, all agree fervently that one should not take a chance of it not being a heart attack. And the reason is simple; sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference," says Dr Atul Mathur, Executive Director – Interventional Cardiology & Chief of Cath Lab, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute, Okhla road, New Delhi.

"Panic attacks occur when stress hormones trigger the body's "fight or flight" response, often resulting in fast heartbeats, tightness in chest, chest pain and breathlessness. In the case of a heart attack, a blockage in a coronary artery may show the same symptoms. Chest pain, rapid heartbeat and shortness of breath may be a result of insufficient amount of blood reaching the heart muscle, says Dr Dhaval Naik, Heart Transplant Surgeon, Marengo CIMS Hospital.

"A panic attack patient might have some factors like anxiety or stress related to family/job where is the heart attack patients usually tend not to have this kind of stress, they are more often seen in panic attacks," says Dr Sunil Kumar Wadhwa, Principal Consultant Cardiology, Max Hospital Gurugram.

WHAT IS A HEART ATTACK

Dr. Atul Mathur says heart attacks can be sudden and intense, but mostly start slowly, with mild chest pain or discomfort which progressively worsens over few minutes. Dr Mathur says these episodes might come and go several times before actual intensive heart attack occurs.

"When blood flow to the heart muscles is reduced severely or completely obstructed, it results in heart attack. The typical symptoms are chest discomfort beneath the breastbone, discomfort radiating to the neck, jaw, or upper arm, shortness of breath, light headedness, fatigue, feeling of doom or dying, nausea, palpitations and sweating. Risk factors of the heart attack are diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels and sedentary lifestyle," says Dr Mathur.

WHAT IS A PANIC ATTACK

Dr Mathur says that if the medical workup shows that you have a healthy heart, then you might be experiencing a panic attack – this is especially if the person is having intense fear, which is the hallmark symptom.

"Panic attack is the flight or fright response, an alarm system that has gone haywire. These attacks come fast and generally peak in intensity in about 10 minutes. Also the attacks are triggered by a traumatic events or major stress in life; in some conditions it may happen without any apparent reason," says Dr Mathur.

"The symptoms can be intense fear and racing thoughts, feeling of losing control, fear of dying, feeling of detachment from surroundings, racing heart or palpitations, chest discomfort, choking sensation, nausea, shortness of breath or rapid breathing, numbness or tingling, feeling hot or cold, dizziness or light headedness," adds the cardiologist.

DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HEART ATTACK AND PANIC ATTACK

In heart attack, the pain is classically felt below breastbone as a dull pressure. It may radiate up to neck and jaw or down the left arm.

"It is a vague pain and one cannot specifically locate with the tip of finger. If you are able to localise the pain with finger it is unlikely to be from the heart.

Panic attacks, on the other hand, may cause chest pain with a sharp or stabbing sensation, or a choking sensation in the throat. One should however 'never ignore chest pain'," says Dr Mathur.

Dr Wadhwa says both the patients of panic attacks as well as heart attacks can have difficulty in breathing but it is seen that patients with panic attacks over-breathe where is the patient of heart attack do not over-breathe.

"Patients with panic attacks can have cold sweats like sweating on the palm or sweating in sole of their feet Which is less common in case of heart attack patients. A patient with heart attacks may have some associated symptoms like vomiting, whereas the patients of panic attacks may have shaky hands because they are constantly under stress," adds Dr Wadhwa.

"One of the key differences between these two conditions is that a heart attack often develops during physical exertion, whereas a panic attack can occur at rest. A heart attack is more likely to develop when the workload of the heart increases, for example while a person is exercising or gymming or running up the stairs, more in people who do not engage in physical exertion on a daily basis. Panic attacks can start randomly or be triggered by psychological distress. For example, some people experience panic attacks suddenly, and others may have panic attack symptoms when faced with a phobia, like claustrophobia or a fear of heights or when a person is deeply shocked by something," says Dr Naik.

Here are other differences between heart attack and panic attack according to Dr Mathur:

ASSOCIATED SYMPTOMS

Heart attacks may also be accompanied by fatigue, fainting, or loss of consciousness. Panic attacks, on the other hand, are characterized by racing heart, racing thoughts, trembling, tingling or numbness, and a choking sensation.

DURATION OF SYMPTOMS

Heart pain lasts longer than few minutes and may come and go. It may be brought on or worsened by physical exertion. During a panic attack, on the other hand, symptoms typically peak in intensity after about 10 minutes, and subside after half an hour.

TRIGGERS

Any chest discomfort that is triggered by exertion should not be taken lightly and immediate physician consultation should be sorted out. Panic attacks can start randomly or be triggered by psychological distress. For example, some people experience panic attacks out of the blue and others may have panic attack symptoms when faced with a phobia, like claustrophobia or a fear of heights.

PREVENTION

Dr. Ashish Jai Kishan, Consultant, Interventional Cardiology, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute shares prevention tips for heart attack and panic attack.

Prevention of heart attack includes controlling risk factors like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, avoiding cigarette smoking and alcohol, eating a healthy diet, and living an active lifestyle.

Prevention of panic attack includes controlling of stress and anxiety, introducing exercise, and medications. Attention needs to be given to the mental health.

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Neil Lydon jokes with program co-ordinators Lisa Curtis and Robyn Palk. (Megan Macalpine/CBC - image credit)

Neil Lydon jokes with program co-ordinators Lisa Curtis and Robyn Palk. (Megan Macalpine/CBC - image credit)

As Neil Lydon adjusts the seat on a recumbent stepper machine, he chuckles, looking back on his first days in the Saint John-based pulmonary rehabilitation program.

"I was never brought up with sports, and I see a machine and I think, 'Oooh … effort,'" he says.

After living with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, for more than a decade, a respirologist referred Lydon to the promising pilot initiative. There is no cure for COPD, but the program aims to build a patient's stamina and, ultimately, keep them out of the hospital.

"Blood oxygen is low, so you use up whatever energy you've got pretty quickly," he said.

"My doctor said, 'Maybe we'll try you on some meds,' and in the end I wound up on two different medications, and he thought it would be a good idea to get some physicality into the program.

"It sort of got me out of my inertia."

Megan Macalpine/CBC

Megan Macalpine/CBC

Lydon said the gym wasn't an environment he was familiar with, but then he found he could use the machines that best suited his fitness level at that time.

"I tried the treadmill, but I got very winded, very quickly on that … I did push my limits on the step machine," he says. "I increased that from three or four hundred steps up to 1,700-and-something by the time I'd finished. It took about half an hour."

The rehab program is a research project and is infused with students from the New Brunswick Community College and the University of New Brunswick. Students from a number of disciplines, such as respiratory therapy, nursing and pharmacy technology, work almost one-on-one with the seniors who take part.

To be eligible, participants have to be at least 60 years old and living with moderate to severe COPD with nothing to disqualify them, like a recent heart attack, uncontrolled blood pressure or being at risk for falls.

One in five seniors

Tammie Fournier, a respiratory therapist and chair of Allied Health programs for NBCC, says one in five New Brunswick seniors have COPD.

"People living with COPD experience shortness of breath and they have a chronic cough. The combination of those two symptoms would lead to inactivity which inevitably worsens with their condition," Fournier said.

"So the worsening shortness of breath and cough and decrease in activity really become this vicious cycle that robs people with COPD of their quality of life over time."

This program is meant to break that cycle, and Fournier says it's shown some exciting results.

Submitted by Robyn Palk

Submitted by Robyn Palk

"One person decided not to sell their home after completing the clinic reduced their shortness of breath while climbing their stairs," she said. "Two other participants both gained enough strength to travel to Toronto and receive life-saving lung transplantation."

In a computer lab-turned-gym at NBCC's Allied Health Education Centre on the UNB campus, the seniors in the program build their endurance using gym equipment, free weights and drumming exercises.

Besides helping participants increase their stamina, the program also teaches them how to properly take their medications to get the most out of them and what to do if symptoms suddenly get worse.

Robyn Palk, the co-ordinator of the program, says a participant told her that information helped her avoid calling an ambulance after accidentally inhaling fumes while she was cleaning her oven. The woman thought back to classes on breath techniques and was able to take control of her breathing, Palk said.

"The hospitals are full," Palk said. "You don't want to be short of breath and having to wait in an emergency room for an extended period of time. If there are steps you can take at home to keep yourself out of hospital, that's really important right now."

Big savings

New Brunswick spends $23 million annually on COPD, Fournier said, which equates to about 3,100 hospital admissions at $7,400 per admission.

"The program is decreasing the risk of lung attack in 80 men and women, or about 0.14 per cent of our New Brunswick COPD population," she said. "So by extension, if each one of those participants reduces their admission to hospital by only one, this could save almost $600,000 of health-care spending on those 80 people alone."

Funding for the program comes from the Healthy Seniors pilot project, a $75-million provincial and federal initiative to research ways to better support the aging population.

However, the funding ends in 2023, Fournier said, and they're now looking for a source of sustainable funding to ensure it can continue.

Megan Macalpine

Megan Macalpine

"I've been a respiratory therapist,and Robyn has as well, for over 20 years now," said program co-ordinator Lisa Curtis. "This is the most rewarding work we've ever done because we get to spend so much more time with people than you do in acute care."

Curtis says over the course of the program, they get to watch participants go from barely making it into the building to coming in with a smile, and getting on a treadmill and walking for 30 minutes.

What happens to the research?

Curtis and Palk say they've been in contact with other institutions across Canada hoping to set up their own programs, and they've developed a how-to manual or toolkit for getting a program started.

They've also been selected to present at an international conference on COPD.

Neil Lydon hopes more people hear about the program that's helped him.

"I think people who are out there who have COPD, they might not realize … there is a program that will assist them in dealing with it, getting some relief," Lydon said.

"It's important to get the word out."

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  • A type of breath training can reduce blood pressure in just five minutes a day, new research suggests.
  • A device that trains respiratory muscles was found to be as effective as medication and weight loss.
  • Breath training can have quick results, but doesn't replace other healthy habits, researcher says. 

Just 30 deep breaths a day with a special device could treat or prevent high blood pressure as effectively as medication and weight loss, new research suggests.

A five minute breathing workout helps reduce blood pressure and improve heart health, potentially benefiting people of all ages and lifestyles, according to a study published September 15 in the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Researchers from the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of Arizona conducted tests with a total of 128 healthy adults, aged 18 to 82, who performed breathing exercises for six weeks.

Participants used a hand-held device, similar to an inhaler, for about five to 10 minutes per day, taking 30 deep breaths as the machine provided resistance, so respiratory muscles had to work harder to inhale. 

Within two weeks, researchers started to notice improvements in participants' blood pressure, with only mild, temporary muscle soreness or lightheadedness as side effects. By the end of the trial, they saw an average reduction of 9 mmHg in systolic blood pressure. 

The results are as effective as medication, possibly more effective than lifestyle changes like reducing sodium or losing weight, and could continue to improve over time, according to Daniel Craighead, lead author of the study and assistant research professor at the University of Colorado Boulder. 

"People can expect fairly rapid results," he told Insider. "We would expect that if you went longer, blood pressure would go down even more."

The researchers were also surprised to find that the training seemed to benefit not just people who needed to reduce their blood pressure, but also young, healthy participants. 

"What's really exciting about this is that it's helpful for a wide range of adults. People with blood pressure at an unhealthy level could stand to benefit from adding this to their routine now," Craighead said. "But someone could start in their thirties and stick to it for years to help delay or prevent hypertension."

Resisted breathing could be a short cut to health benefits, but doesn't replace exercise

Medical interest in breath exercise isn't new. Slow, deep breathing is associated with benefits like stress relief, better sleep, healthier blood pressure, and improved mental health. 

But resistance training for your breath could allow you to get more benefits in much less time, similar to how lifting heavy weights can boost strength gains, Craighead said.

And unlike other treatments for high blood pressure like medication or traditional exercise, the benefits of breath training could linger even after participants stop treatment, he added. 

The research found when participants tried the training for six weeks, stopped for six weeks, and then re-tested, their blood pressure remained almost as low as right after the training period. Craighead said the research team is now exploring whether a shorter "maintenance dose" of training could help extend the benefits even more, with minimal time and effort. 

They're also working on ways to help more people benefit from the technique. The lab trials used a $500 device, but Craighead said a cheaper, simpler version is commercially available now, and researchers are working on an app to train people to use it effectively.

Still, it's not a replacement for other healthy habits. Regular exercise and good nutrition are important for maintaining muscle mass and keeping cholesterol low to prevent chronic illness long-term, according to Craighead.

"It's not a magic bullet for overall cardiovascular health, so people shouldn't stop doing other forms of exercise," he said. 

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Have you ever taken the time to figure out what you do with all the minutes in your day? If you are like me, you wonder where they go and why they go by so fast. What if I told you that spending just six minutes each day could dramatically reduce pain in your life and help you to feel calm and relaxed?

Did you know that over 25 million adults suffer daily with pain? Are you one of them? It could be joint pain, muscle pain, headaches, pain from arthritis, fibromyalgia or nerve pain, to name a few. We are a nation full of pain sufferers, and relief for many is found in the form of over-the-counter and prescription pain medicine.

Dangers of Painkillers

Many types of chronic pain are inflammatory in nature. To combat this, some people use anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS), both prescription and over the counter, to relieve it. While these drugs do not possess the addictive nature of opioids, they do carry some potentially dangerous risks.

In the case of all NSAID drugs, the most common side effect is gastrointestinal tract damage. According to Dr. Byron Cryer of the American Gastroenterological Association, over half of all bleeding ulcer instances can be traced back to NSAID use. Other side effects of NSAIDs include severe allergic reactions, kidney damage, and high blood pressure.

Many people who experience chronic pain are prescribed opioid painkillers by doctors. These are a popular option because this class of drug is very potent, and may temporarily eradicate many types of pain. However, these drugs come with a substantial cost in the form of some extremely nasty concerns and side effects.

The primary reason one may want to avoid opioids is their high potential for addiction. Opioid addiction is an epidemic in our nation. The Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control reported that approximately 2.1 million people in the United States alone abused prescription opioid drugs in 2012.

Opioids also carry a high risk of overdose. The CDC reports that in 2010, just under 17,000 Americans died from opioid overdoses. That’s more deaths than from heroin and cocaine put together.

Aside from the frightening risks of addiction and overdose, opioid drugs are accompanied by a lot of potential side effects. One includes slow, shallow breathing, which can lead to death in the case of overdose. Other side effects include irregular heart rhythms, drowsiness, sleep disorders, digestive issues, lowered sex drive, osteoporosis (when taken long term) and tooth decay. It can even cause hyperalgesia, an instance where taking opioids leads to more pain, not less.

Do You Have Six Minutes a Day to Spare?

I hope that your answer to this question is an inequitable, yes! If you can manage to carve out just 2 minutes each morning, midday and evening, you may well be on your way to pain relief, and relaxation like you have never experienced before.

This is Something Most People Don’t Do Well

Breathing sustains life, breathing correctly revitalizes and can improve the quality of life while minimizing pain and maximizing relaxation. Most people don’t take the time to think about breathing; it is just one of those things that happen, all on its own. While this is true – taking the time to breathe correctly, even for six short minutes each day, can make a world of difference to your health.

Belly breathing or “diaphragmatic breathing,” is the ancient practice of breathing in which we can actually control our mind and body. According to the London Pain Clinic, diaphragmatic breathing is known as the act of breathing deeply into the lungs by flexing the diaphragm, not the rib cage which results in shallow breathing. As noted in the name belly breathing, when you breathe deeply there is an expansion of the stomach, not the chest.

Even taking the time to breathe deeply for six minutes each day can make a tremendous difference in your health.
Here are just five reasons why we should all belly breathe daily.

Belly Breathing Alleviates Pain

Do you notice that your pain increases when you are under stress? Belly breathing is the perfect answer to reducing the stress in your life that may be causing pain flare-ups. Deep breathing alters your psychological state and makes pain diminish in intensity.

Did you know that your brain is capable of making its own morphinelike pain relievers that are called endorphins and enkephalins? These hormones promote happy and positive feelings that can transmit messages to “stop the pain” through the body. Breathing deeply also oxygenates the blood, triggers the release of endorphins and decreases stress hormones which slow the heart rate.

Belly Breathing Improves Respiration

If you have ever watched an infant or a dog or cat breathe, you would notice something interesting. There is a tremendous amount of 3-dimensional expansive movements around the body – especially the abdomen. As we age, we become less likely to breathe expansively or efficiently. We grow stressed, wear tight-fitting clothing and live a lifestyle that pushes breathing to the bottom of the priority list because it “just happens.”

Our cells suffer when we breathe shallowly. They are not able to get the nutrients they need, and this can cause things like fatigue, brain fog, and even longterm illness and chronic pain.

On the other hand, deep breathing profits the entire body because of improved respiration and nutrient uptake.

Belly Breathing Promotes Relaxation

When we are living in a hurried state, like most of us are, we are often in what is known as a “fight or flight” mode. In this gear, we are engaging the sympathetic nervous system.

The only way we can access the autonomic nervous system is through deep breathing. This automatically increases the efficiency of our heart and digestion.

When we choose the relaxation response over the stress response, we can keep anxiety at bay which reduces our risk of stress-related illnesses such as heart disease, depression, digestive disorders and more.

Belly Breathing Improves Posture

Belly breathing encourages you to sit tall. This allows all of your organ systems to work efficiently. Food is easier to digest, your heart works more efficiently, your nerves and blood vessels are less likely to be pinched. This releases hormones that help you feel more confident, causing you to sit even taller.

Belly Breathing Stretches and Strengthens Core Muscles

Core muscles include the abdominals, erector back muscles, diaphragm, and the pelvic floor. When we breathe from our belly, the three-dimensional movement keeps these core muscles in good shape.

How to Belly Breathe

The best way to begin proper breathing is to lie on your back. Take slow, relaxed breaths that fill your entire lungs and expand your belly. Place your hands on your belly to feel the rise and fall. When you can do this easily lying down, try it standing up, it is a lot more difficult! As you progress, a great exercise to strengthen the diaphragm muscle is panting with your tongue stuck out like a dog. Seriously, the rapid motion engages the diaphragm for a quick 10-second breath workout!

To make proper breathing a daily habit, take slow, relaxed breaths for 2–5 minutes several times a day.
Breathing correctly benefits your health in surprising ways. You not only feel more relaxed, but you will have better nutrient absorption, lower blood pressure, and feel more energized. You may even drop a few excess pounds since your body requires a considerable amount of excess oxygen to dispose of fat. With all the benefits of breathing properly, it’s time to make the practice a priority and get started today.

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We are mechanised by our breath, breathing on average over 22,000 times a day. Despite breathing being an essential bodily function the power of breath work often gets overlooked. 

Yes, breathing in and out unconsciously will keep you alive, but breathing intentionally through diaphragmatic breathing, or box breathing, can help you thrive. 

Notice your breath at this moment. How deep is your breath and how much are your lungs expanding? Perhaps your breath goes in and out of your chest in short breaths—this is called shallow breathing. 

The goal with box breathing is to allow more air to fill up the lungs. 

This is called deep breathing. Take a long and slow breath down into your diaphragm and allow your lungs to expand full of air. 

Box Breathing

There are four steps to box breathing and each step is equally important and contains its own set of benefits. 

Graphic created by Misha Jan

Step 1: Breathe in

Slowly inhale through your nose for four seconds, breathing in deeply and allowing your lungs to fill up fully. This will slow your heart rate.

Step 2: Hold inhale

Now that your lungs are full, do not exhale right away. Pause and hold your breath for four seconds, allowing oxygen to enter the bloodstream and carbon dioxide to enter the lungs.

Step 3: Breathe out

Avoid releasing all your air at once. Instead, slowly and evenly breathe through your mouth out for four seconds. Doing so will activate the parasympathetic nervous system and the vagus nerve relaxing your body and mind.

Step 4: Hold exhale

Again, hold your breath and pause for four seconds. After four seconds, repeat step one. The goal is to go through this cycle at least four times. The longer you can practice, the better. 

The benefits

In addition to overall relaxation, diaphragmatic breathing exercises encompass a wide variety of overall health benefits. 

  1. Improved mood

Box breathing activates the vagus nerve, which is correlated with decreased feelings of depression and anxiety and is often referred to as the “key to health” in popular health culture

  1. Instant anxiety relief and stress resilience 

During panic attacks, the sympathetic nervous system (in charge of fight, flight or freeze) is activated and cortisol is dumped into our bloodstream. With consistent box breathing practice, the body decreases sympathetic nervous system activity. This teaches the body to stay calm in moments of difficulty.

Researchers have found that just one session of slow diaphragmatic breathing reduces anxiety levels and activates the parasympathetic nervous system which allows the mind and body to relax

  1. Increased cognitive performance

By remaining physiologically relaxed in adverse scenarios, you will be able to make better decisions. Studies show that taking deep diaphragmatic breaths allows for mental clarity and increases attentiveness, resulting in overall increased cognitive performance

If you are ever feeling stressed during an exam, notice your heart rate going up when meeting new people, or are in a situation that is bringing up anxiety, try box breathing and experience the mental clarity and relaxation that comes along with it. 

Practice this method daily to reap the benefits. You can practice box breathing anywhere, anytime, so give it a try!


Feature graphic by Angel Xing

 

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If you've felt a greater sense of unease lately, you're not alone. Americans are more stressed out today than at any time in recent years.  

We worry about our money, the war in Ukraine, the ongoing threat of disease, political turmoil — these and other societal triggers for anxiety lurk around every corner. 

An annual poll on stress conducted in the spring by the American Psychological Association revealed that an overwhelming number of Americans remain in "survival mode" because of stress related to the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing costs for food and other goods, and other societal factors. 

The poll found that more people are leaving their jobs, some are gaining weight because of prolonged inactivity, fewer people are optimistic about their future, and parents fear that their children suffered developmentally from the major disruption of the pandemic.

It's all just ... a lot. How can we cope?

The National Institutes for Mental Health (NIMH) recommends practicing self-care to help manage stress and anxiety. The NIMH explains that in addition to reducing stress, self-care can lower your risk of illness and increase your energy.

There is no right or wrong self-care technique. What's right for you is the habit or ritual that works. Finding out what works might take some time and research.

We reached out to 34 of our favorite healing, mental health and wellness experts and asked them to respond to the question, "What is the single most effective self-care or healing ritual that anyone can try?"



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Experts agree that stress affects all areas of life, including sex (getty).

To the fast-paced life, work commitments and tight daily routines, the COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly added anxiety, fear, uncertainty and a global traumatic atmosphere. Raised stress in societyIn some cases, its maximum point.

It is well known that when stress ceases to act on a timely basis and becomes a chronic condition, it has many consequences. Physical and mental health.

According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress, if left untreated, can lead to anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain and a weakened immune system, and can contribute to the development of certain diseases such as heart disease, depression and obesity. .

Although most people don’t know this, Stress can also affect the pelvic floor, that is, a group of muscles and other tissues form a kind of sling or hammock across the pelvis. In women, this “floor” holds the uterus, bladder, intestines and other pelvic organs in place so they can function properly.

Although most people don't know it, stress can also affect the pelvic floor (getty).
Although most people don’t know it, stress can also affect the pelvic floor (getty).

Now, various studies show that the pelvic floor muscles actively contract in response to physical or mental stress, producing effects on people’s daily lives and even their sexuality.

Rachel Gellman Physiotherapist specializing in the pelvic floor, “It is common for people to tighten the gluteal muscles when they feel tense or nervous, and although this is a normal reaction, when caused by chronic stress, it can occur in all kinds of pelvic floor disorders. In this way, according to the expert, “during intercourse A range of effects can occur, ranging from pain, pelvic organ prolapse or pelvic pain to bladder dysfunction and constipation.”

And stress may not be linked to those outcomes, according to Carolyn CorreaDirector of Physiofit Mujer, a Spanish physiotherapy clinic dedicated to women’s health, “Stress changes posture and respiratory systemThis leads to changes in the muscles of the diaphragm.

In particular, it is usually very tense, which favors an increase in intra-abdominal pressure and a downward thrust of the abdominal viscera. In this way, the pelvic floor muscles are forced to contract to resist the increased pressure and ensure urination. All of these processes of pelvic floor compression over time lead to the formation of trigger points, which are basically pain points.

A group of muscles that hold the uterus, bladder, bowels, and other pelvic organs in place contract (tighten) like any other.
A group of muscles that hold the uterus, bladder, bowels, and other pelvic organs in place contract (tighten) like any other.

“Most of the time they’re caused by pain during sex, back problems, leg pain, or menstrual discomfort,” Kelman points out. In addition to these problems, the constant contraction of the pelvic muscles can lead to muscle fatigue, which favors the appearance of the dreaded urinary incontinence.

Consulted by InfobayGynecologists Marissa Labowski (MN 84376) “The pelvic floor is composed of muscles and Muscles contract like anything else in the bodySo, when one is stressed, everything shrinks.

“On the other hand, when you’re stressed, you’re less likely to have sex, and sometimes you’re having sex, so when the muscles contract, the area isn’t lubricated as well, which causes discomfort and burning and a vicious cycle. When you know you’re going to have sex, it hurts. They think it’s going, so they contract, and when they contract it obviously hurts.

In the same way, according to a study by the University of Örebro in Sweden, only about 20% of women under the age of 30 report recurrent sexual pain. This pain, in addition, causes a fear of sexual relations and, therefore, avoiding them. In this way, according to this work, “women with pain reported higher levels of fear avoidance and pain catastrophizing, as well as depression and anxiety.” A situation that does nothing but cause stress and pain.

Chronic stress, if left untreated, can lead to anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, and a weakened immune system (Getty).
Chronic stress, if left untreated, can lead to anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, and a weakened immune system (Getty).

His method, gynecologist Gabriela Kosoi (MN 70409), said before this medium’s consultation that “obviously stress affects all areas of life, including sex.” “It changes the microbiota, so it can cause constipation,” explained the expert. The pelvic floor has a very accurate findingSo anything that changes the nervous system changes its structure.

Regarding the various symptoms involved, Labowski argued, “The pelvic floor is full of muscles, and if they contract, it makes intercourse difficult, going from body to body, etc., because the entire pelvic floor includes the anal, vaginal, and urethral openings. .”

“Doing relaxation exercises, yoga, breathing and pelvic floor exercises will definitely help" (hard)
“Relaxation exercises, yoga, breathing and pelvic floor exercises can definitely help” (Getty)

The first step, experts say, is to recognize that the symptoms may be caused by a situation mental stress Not for any other problem.

“The key is to accurately rule out other possible causes,” said Correra, who added, “One such case is chronic constipation. There are many women who suffer from constipation despite a proper diet, adequate water intake and regular exercise. The answer is stress levels.”

In the case of the pelvic floor, “we have to Rule out that the pain is due to a physical cause. For example, after giving birth or suffering from some type of injury or infection, Gelman said. If we don’t find another obvious cause, then if we know we are in a prolonged phase of stress, we should try to fix it first.

In that regard, the physical therapist suggested that “the obvious things like spending time outside, gentle exercises like yoga and dance, writing, spending time with friends, masturbation or, of course, going to therapy can be very helpful.”

Functional improvements in breathing patterns and pelvic stability may indirectly influence changes in the pelvic floor (Getty).
Functional improvements in breathing patterns and pelvic stability may indirectly influence changes in the pelvic floor (Getty).

Do relaxation exercises, yoga, breathing And pelvic floor exercises definitely help, as well as being able to see what’s causing the stress and address it,” added Labovsky, while Kosoy added: “There’s no such thing as breathing exercises, mindfulness, yoga. Improving stress can improve symptoms.”

On the other hand, there are also specific exercises to reduce stress at a higher physical level. Correa recommends holding your breath for at least a minute. “One very simple thing is to stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system, which lowers stress levels,” he said.

It should be remembered that There is a correlation between breathing and postural function with the pelvic floor. According to some studies, functional improvements in dyspnea and pelvic stability may indirectly affect changes in the pelvic floor, even in the case of symptoms such as urinary incontinence. Additionally, certain stretches favor the engagement of the diaphragm muscles. “Hip opener, psoas stretch, and quadratus lumborum-like stretch,” adds Correra.

"Breathing exercises, mindfulness, and yoga can all improve symptoms by improving stress" (hard)
“Anything like breathing exercises, mindfulness, yoga, it will definitely improve the symptom by improving stress” (Getty).

At this point, in conversation with InfobayNational Teacher of Physical Education Mariela Catania Contributed by a Exercise to strengthen pelvic floor muscles.

“Lying on your back, bend your legs, support the feet, we put our hands on our stomachs and compress the pelvic floor. We have to feel how the sphincters close, how we lift the pelvic organs and how the abdomen tenses,” he explained.

And he continued: “Now we’re going to contract the deep abdominal floor – the transversus abdominis – without losing the pelvic floor. Compression should be consistent. We inflate the belly and inhale for two beats and slowly exhale for four beats. We repeat six to ten times and rest. We contract the pelvic floor, contract the inner abdomen, hold and relax.”

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Imperial College London press release 

*Videos and images available for download in notes to eds* 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Wearable sensors styled into t-shirts and face masks  

Imperial researchers have embedded new low-cost sensors that monitor breathing, heart rate, and ammonia into t-shirts and face masks. 

Potential applications range from monitoring exercise, sleep, and stress to diagnosing and monitoring disease through breath and vital signs.  

Spun from a new Imperial-developed cotton-based conductive thread called PECOTEX, the sensors cost little to manufacture. Just $0.15 produces a metre of thread to seamlessly integrate more than ten sensors into clothing, and PECOTEX is compatible with industry-standard computerised embroidery machines. 

First author of the research Fahad Alshabouna, PhD candidate at Imperial’s Department of Bioengineering, said: “The flexible medium of clothing means our sensors have a wide range of applications. They’re also relatively easy to produce which means we could scale up manufacturing and usher in a new generation of wearables in clothing.” 

The research team embroidered the sensors into a face mask to monitor breathing, a t-shirt to monitor heart activity, and textiles to monitor gases like ammonia, a component of the breath that can be used to track liver and kidney function. The ammonia sensors were developed to test whether gas sensors could also be manufactured using embroidery.  

Fahad added: “We demonstrated applications in monitoring cardiac activity and breathing, and sensing gases. Future potential applications include diagnosing and monitoring disease and treatment, monitoring the body during exercise, sleep, and stress, and use in batteries, heaters, anti-static clothing." 

The research is published today in Materials Today. 

Seamless sensors 

Wearable sensors, like those on smartwatches, let us continuously monitor our health and wellbeing non-invasively. Until now, however, there has been a lack of suitable conductive threads, which explains why wearable sensors seamlessly integrated into in clothing aren’t yet widely available.  

Enter PECOTEX. Developed and spun into sensors by Imperial researchers, the material is machine washable, and is less breakable and more electrically conductive than commercially available silver-based conductive threads, meaning more layers can be added for to create complex types of sensor.[1] 

Lead author Dr Firat Guder, also of the Department of Bioengineering, said: “PECOTEX is high-performing, strong, and adaptable to different needs. It’s readily scalable, meaning we can produce large volumes inexpensively using both domestic and industrial computerised embroidery machines. 

“Our research opens up exciting possibilities for wearable sensors in everyday clothing. By monitoring breathing, heart rate, and gases, they can already be seamlessly integrated, and might even be able to help diagnose and monitor treatments of disease in the future.” 

Next, the researchers will explore new application areas like energy storage, energy harvesting and biochemical sensing, as well as finding partners for commercialisation. 

This study was funded by the Saudi Ministry of Education, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC, part of the UKRI), Cytiva, Imperial’s Department of Bioengineering, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the US Army. 

For more information contact: 

Caroline Brogan  

 

Senior Media Officer (Engineering)  

 

Email: [email protected]  

 

Tel: +44(0)20 7594 3415  

 

Out of hours duty media officer: +44 (0)7803 886 248  

NOTES TO EDITORS 

  1. The researchers tested the sensors against commercially available silver-based conductive threads during and after they were embroidered into clothing. During embroidery, PECOTEX was more reliable and less likely to break, allowing for more layers to be embroidered on top of each other. Following embroidery, PECOTEX demonstrated lower electrical resistance than the silver-based threads, meaning they were better at conducting electricity. 

  1. “PEDOT:PSS-Modified Cotton Conductive Thread for Mass Manufacturing of Textile-Based Electrical Wearable Sensors by Computerized Embroidery” by Fahad Alshabouna et al., published September 2022 in Materials Today. 

  1. For videos of the sensors in action see: imperialcollegelondon.box.com/s/9azcl2ow9frf4kfkz7x78rs7nu5ra9wt  

  1. About Imperial College London 

Imperial College London is one of the world's leading universities. The College's 22,000 students and 8,000 staff are working to solve the biggest challenges in science, medicine, engineering and business.  

Imperial is University of the Year 2022 in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide. It is the world’s sixth most international university, according to Times Higher Education, with academic ties to more than 150 countries. Reuters named the College as the UK's most innovative university because of its exceptional entrepreneurial culture and ties to industry.   

Imperial has a greater proportion of world-leading research than any other UK university, according to the Research Excellence Framework (REF). Imperial ranks first in the UK for research outputs, first in the UK for research environment, and first for research impact among Russell Group universities. 


Disclaimer: AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert system.

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Imperial researchers have embedded new low-cost sensors that monitor breathing, heart rate, and ammonia into t-shirts and face masks.

Potential applications range from monitoring exercise, sleep, and stress to diagnosing and monitoring disease through breath and vital signs.

Spun from a new Imperial-developed cotton-based conductive thread called PECOTEX, the sensors cost little to manufacture. Just $0.15 produces a meter of thread to seamlessly integrate more than ten sensors into clothing, and PECOTEX is compatible with industry-standard computerized embroidery machines.

The flexible medium of clothing means our sensors have a wide range of applications. They're also relatively easy to produce which means we could scale up manufacturing and usher in a new generation of wearables in clothing."


Fahad Alshabouna, First Author, Ph.D. Candidate, Imperial's Department of Bioengineering

The research team embroidered the sensors into a face mask to monitor breathing, a t-shirt to monitor heart activity, and textiles to monitor gases like ammonia, a component of the breath that can be used to track liver and kidney function. The ammonia sensors were developed to test whether gas sensors could also be manufactured using embroidery.

Fahad added: "We demonstrated applications in monitoring cardiac activity and breathing, and sensing gases. Future potential applications include diagnosing and monitoring disease and treatment, monitoring the body during exercise, sleep, and stress, and use in batteries, heaters, anti-static clothing."

The research is published today in Materials Today.

Seamless sensors

Wearable sensors, like those on smartwatches, let us continuously monitor our health and wellbeing non-invasively. Until now, however, there has been a lack of suitable conductive threads, which explains why wearable sensors seamlessly integrated into in clothing aren't yet widely available.

Enter PECOTEX. Developed and spun into sensors by Imperial researchers, the material is machine washable, and is less breakable and more electrically conductive than commercially available silver-based conductive threads, meaning more layers can be added for to create complex types of sensor.

Lead author Dr Firat Guder, also of the Department of Bioengineering, said: "PECOTEX is high-performing, strong, and adaptable to different needs. It's readily scalable, meaning we can produce large volumes inexpensively using both domestic and industrial computerized embroidery machines.

"Our research opens up exciting possibilities for wearable sensors in everyday clothing. By monitoring breathing, heart rate, and gases, they can already be seamlessly integrated, and might even be able to help diagnose and monitor treatments of disease in the future."

Next, the researchers will explore new application areas like energy storage, energy harvesting and biochemical sensing, as well as finding partners for commercialization.

This study was funded by the Saudi Ministry of Education, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC, part of the UKRI), Cytiva, Imperial's Department of Bioengineering, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the US Army.

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Anxiety is one of the most common mental health problems one faces when handling stressful situations. According to experts, an anxious state of mind is born out of stressful life events from work, school, financial problems, personal relationships and even unpredictable events like a pandemic.

Anxiety is a feeling of fear, dread, and uneasiness. Human beings have various systems in the body to control the activities of organs. Like the heart regulates the blood flow to various body regions. The brain regulates the entire body using the nervous system," according to Dr Rohit Verma, Additional Professor, Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi.

In the body, the sympathetic nervous system mediates most of the symptoms of anxiety. "This system gets activated when an individual undergoes stress. Apart from changes in the environment, factors such as genetics and altered brain chemistry can also activate this system, leading to anxiety,” shares Dr Verma.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF ANXIETY

Cognitive symptoms: In this, one has fear of losing control, fear of physical injury or death, fear of "going crazy," fear of negative evaluation by others, frightening thoughts, mental images, or memories, perception of unreality or detachment, poor concentration, confusion, distractible, narrowing of attention, hypervigilance for threat, feeling of impending doom and poor memory.

Physiological symptoms: In this, one faces increased heart rate, palpitations, shortness of breath, rapid breathing, chest pain or pressure, choking sensation, dizziness, light-headedness, sweaty, hot flashes, chills, nausea, upset stomach, diarrhoea, trembling, shaking, tingling or numbness in arms and legs, weakness, unsteadiness, faintness, tense muscles, cold extremities, and dry mouth.

Behavioural symptoms: Feelings of avoidance of threat cues or situations, escape, flight, pursuit of safety, reassurance, restlessness, agitation, pacing, freezing, motionless, and difficulty speaking come under this type of anxiety.

Affective symptoms: In this, one can be nervous, tense, wound up, frightened, fearful, terrified, edgy, jumpy, jittery, and impatient and frustrated too.

Listening to music can lower your stress levels. (Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

ANXIETY HACKS ONE SHOULD KNOW

Breathing exercise

Inhale for four seconds, then hold for 4 seconds, and exhale for four seconds. Hold again for four seconds and repeat the process to calm the mind down.

Body scan

According to Dr Verma and psychologists Ishita Dhyani and Stuti Karna, do a body scan whenever you're anxious. One should focus on various body parts and bodily sensations in a gradual sequence from feet to head.

Music

Listening to music that calms you can also help lower your stress levels.

Emotional freedom technique

Experts suggest tapping the side of your hand, forehead, and chin point (7 times each) while simultaneously reciting a positive phrase. For example: “Even though I have this [fear or problem], I deeply and completely accept myself.”

Journaling

Just write down your thoughts on paper. It helps you to feel at ease.

Environmental awareness

It is important to listen to sounds. You can identify a thing in the environment, identify a smell, identify the touch of various objects around you, taste something or listen to sounds around you.

Drink water

Drink lukewarm water in sips.

Physiological symptoms of anxiety include increased heart rate, palpitations and shortness of breath. (Photo courtesy: Getty Images)

Meditation

Dr Verma and psychologists Dhyani and Stuti Karna advise mindfulness training as it helps in anxiety.

Exercise

Regular physical exercise or yoga works wonders in keeping stress at bay.

Value your time

Spend enough time with your friends and family.

Say no to caffeine

Cut off food items like caffeine and soda, especially if you have anxiety on a daily basis. Avoid alcohol and smoking too.

Daily routine

Have a set daily routine so that your body functions well.

Therapy

Meet professionals (psychologists and psychiatrists) if nothing else helps.

--- ENDS ---

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Imperial researchers have embedded new low-cost sensors that monitor breathing, heart rate, and ammonia into t-shirts and face masks.

Potential applications range from monitoring exercise, sleep, and stress to diagnosing and monitoring disease through breath and vital signs.

Spun from a new Imperial-developed cotton-based conductive thread called PECOTEX, the sensors cost little to manufacture. Just $0.15 produces a metre of thread to seamlessly integrate more than ten sensors into clothing, and PECOTEX is compatible with industry-standard computerised embroidery machines.

First author of the research Fahad Alshabouna, PhD candidate at Imperial's Department of Bioengineering, said: "The flexible medium of clothing means our sensors have a wide range of applications. They're also relatively easy to produce which means we could scale up manufacturing and usher in a new generation of wearables in clothing."

The research team embroidered the sensors into a face mask to monitor breathing, a t-shirt to monitor heart activity, and textiles to monitor gases like ammonia, a component of the breath that can be used to track liver and kidney function. The ammonia sensors were developed to test whether gas sensors could also be manufactured using embroidery.

Fahad added: "We demonstrated applications in monitoring cardiac activity and breathing, and sensing gases. Future potential applications include diagnosing and monitoring disease and treatment, monitoring the body during exercise, sleep, and stress, and use in batteries, heaters, anti-static clothing."

The research is published today in Materials Today.

Seamless sensors

Wearable sensors, like those on smartwatches, let us continuously monitor our health and wellbeing non-invasively. Until now, however, there has been a lack of suitable conductive threads, which explains why wearable sensors seamlessly integrated into in clothing aren't yet widely available.

Enter PECOTEX. Developed and spun into sensors by Imperial researchers, the material is machine washable, and is less breakable and more electrically conductive than commercially available silver-based conductive threads, meaning more layers can be added for to create complex types of sensor.

Lead author Dr Firat Guder, also of the Department of Bioengineering, said: "PECOTEX is high-performing, strong, and adaptable to different needs. It's readily scalable, meaning we can produce large volumes inexpensively using both domestic and industrial computerised embroidery machines.

"Our research opens up exciting possibilities for wearable sensors in everyday clothing. By monitoring breathing, heart rate, and gases, they can already be seamlessly integrated, and might even be able to help diagnose and monitor treatments of disease in the future."

Next, the researchers will explore new application areas like energy storage, energy harvesting and biochemical sensing, as well as finding partners for commercialisation.

This study was funded by the Saudi Ministry of Education, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC, part of the UKRI), Cytiva, Imperial's Department of Bioengineering, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the US Army.

Story Source:

Materials provided by Imperial College London. Original written by Caroline Brogan. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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If you have been experiencing random nosebleed incidents since you were a kid or always feel like you are fighting for inhaling breath, there is a possibility that you are suffering from a deviated nasal septum. We are here with yoga techniques that can help you deal with a deviated nasal septum.

Yoga has a profound effect on the mind and body. Apart from being a holistic practice, it also helps alleviate the symptoms associated with many conditions such as deviated nasal septum.

What is a deviated nasal septum?

As shocking as may sound, deviated nasal septum is a fairly common problem with more than 10 million cases per year found in India. Deviated nasal septum causes the thin wall inside the nose separating the nostrils to get displaced to one side. This causes the nose to get blocked from one side and interferes with breathing properly.

“While the normal course of treatment for this condition is a surgery, there are other things one can do such as practicing yoga and breathing exercises. Yoga may not fix a deviated septum but can help in opening the blocked nasal passage. It can also provide relief from symptoms such as nasal congestion, sinusitis, runny nose, snoring, etc.,” says Arunima Singhdeo, who is a Master Yoga and Meditation teacher at Shvasa.

deviated nasal septum symptom
Frequent nosebleeds is a sign of deviated nasal septum. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock

Neti for treating deviated nasal septum

Hatha yoga has 6 cleansing techniques that help relieve toxins from the body and prepare for pranayama. One such Shatkarma is Neti. The yoga expert explains, “There are two types of Neti: Jala and Sutra. Neti has a profound impact on the body and mind. It removes mucus and pollution from the nasal passages and sinuses, allowing air to flow without obstruction. It also stimulates the various nerve endings in the nose, improving the sense of smell and the overall health of the individual.”

Yoga for deviated nasal septum
Pranayama will help unblock your nasal passage! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Singhdeo explains how to perform these Netis:

1. Jala Neti: A Neti Pot should be used for this practice. It is done by allowing warm, saline water to pass through the nose. The practitioner has to allow the water to seamlessly pass through. Jala Neti can be practiced for a week if you are suffering from sinusitis, colds, insensitivity to smell, nosebleed, headache, eye strain or eye infections. Practice this when you feel the condition is about to set in but it is best to practice only once in a fortnight.

jala neti for deviated nasal septum
Jala neti might be the solution to your deviated nasal septum problem. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Sutra Neti: Sutra means ‘thread’ and this practice requires the person to pass a length of thread through the nose and gently push it so that it passes down into the throat. When it reaches the back of the throat, it should be pulled out through the mouth. One must slowly and gently pull the thread backwards and forwards 30-50 times. This is a tricky thing to do and must be done with a yoga expert only.

Breathing exercises or Pranayama for treating deviated nasal septum

Since the Netis are not that easy to practice for a beginner, Singhdeo suggests that “as an adaptation one can also practice breath exercises and maintain a certain non-mucus diet. Making breathing practices a habit and sticking to it regularly can also help manage all kinds of concerns in a holistic and sustained manner.” So, practicing exercises like anulom vilom and kapalbhati everyday will turn out to be helpful.

 

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World Heart Day 2022: Being dumped by your partner or experiencing sudden demise of a loved one could trigger heart attack-like symptoms in people, say experts, but the condition isn't fatal and one recovers eventually. Known as broken heart syndrome, people experience chest pain or tightness, shortness of breath, sweating, dizziness, palpitations, nausea and weakness - all the symptoms that resemble a heart attack. When a person experiences acute stress, their stress hormones surge and the heart muscles are unable to cope with this excess and sudden amount of adrenaline. The stress hormone can also narrow your arteries and cause a decreased blood flow to heart. But this impact on heart gets better and the heart recovers fully in a couple of days. (Also read: World Heart Day 2022: Foods to eat and avoid for better heart health)

Dr Trideep Choudhury, Consultant Psychiatrist, Department of Mental health and behavioural sciences, Fortis Flt. Lt. Rajan Dhall Hospital, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi says that a person may show physical symptoms due to excessive stress during a life-changing event or breakup or rejection.

"Heart break or breakup can hurt quite a bit more so if it is initiated by the other side. It can give rise to feelings of abandonment and rejection. As a result the person experiences profound disappointment, stress and grief. Besides these negative feelings arising because of the primary issue of break up, one may be stressed because of the secondary consequences like disruption in routine and responsibilities along with scarred relationship with family or extended family. All these primary and secondary factors of stress can increase the stress hormones called catecholamines like adrenaline and noredrenaline which increase the heart rate and may be problematic in persons with pre existing heart diseases. The person may show physical symptoms due to increased stress," says Dr Choudhury.

During breakup, a person may show physical symptoms due to stress(Pixabay)
During breakup, a person may show physical symptoms due to stress(Pixabay)

"When people say that "love hurts", there is actually a heart condition known as broken heart syndrome and it can cause severe chest pain after breakup or loss of a loved one. Broken Heart Syndrome is caused due to extreme physical or emotional stress due to loss of a loved one, breakup, divorce, separation, betrayal or romantic rejection. The symptoms of this illness are common to heart attack like Chest pain/ tightness, shortness of breath, sweating, dizziness, palpitations, nausea, weakness," says Dr Sahir Jamati, consultant psychologist and psychotherapist, HOD-Department of Psychology, Masina Hospital.

"Although there is no evidence of direct affect of heart attack because of break up, but secondary effects can lead to heart related issues. Some literature also say that there is a broken heart syndrome or stress cardiomyopathy or Takotsubo cardiomyopathy which mimics a heart attack but is caused by sudden physical or emotional stress. Here symptoms are shortness of breath and chest pain. Death is rare in such a condition which is reversible and is due to stress hormones mentioned above," says Dr Choudhury.

WHAT HAPPENS TO OUR HEART AFTER A BREAKUP

Psychological distress caused by breakup triggers sudden weakness of heart muscle(Pixabay)
Psychological distress caused by breakup triggers sudden weakness of heart muscle(Pixabay)

Dr Jamati says losing a loved one can be emotionally devastating and problem happens when psychological distress triggers sudden weakness of heart muscle.

"It can be caused because of acute anxiety due to sudden shock. Reason behind heart growing weak due to physical or emotional stress could be due to flooding of stress hormone like adrenaline, noradrenalin which suddenly becomes too much to handle and interferes with heart functioning. It can happen in any situation that makes you feel extremely anxious or panicky. In most of the cases, broken heart syndrome is a short and temporary condition which can be recovered," says Dr Jamati.

OTHER REASONS WHY HEART SUFFERS AFTER A HEARTBREAK

Sometimes a person may be more inclined to stay on processed food for long time because of his or her less desire to prepare or cook(Unsplash)
Sometimes a person may be more inclined to stay on processed food for long time because of his or her less desire to prepare or cook(Unsplash)

Dr Choudhury lists other factors which may have an indirect effect on heart after experiencing a heartbreak or breakup:

- There is loss of appetite or in some cases there may be increased intake of carbohydrates or craving for carbohydrates (in event of a breakup). Sometimes a person may be more inclined to stay on processed food for long time because of his or her less desire to prepare or cook. This may indirectly increase the bad cholesterols in blood which may be harmful for the heart and make him or her prone to cardiac issues.

- The person may have decreased sleep leading to frequent headaches and may give rise to increased blood pressure which again is an independent risk factor for heart attacks.

- Moreover a person with recent heart break may take help of different substances like alcohol to cope in an unhealthy manner which can cause risks of heart attacks.

- Increased stress can lower our immunity which can make us vulnerable to different infections. Although incidences are quite rare, but such infections become generalised and neglected because of underlying apathy, can affect the major organs including the heart.

HOW TO DEAL WITH HEART PROBLEMS AFTER HEART BREAK

Even if it is not a heart attack, but since the symptoms feel like a heart attack and initial symptoms may be life threatening, so it is important to get medical attention immediately.

Here are tips by Dr Jamati:

- You may need medicines to manage your blood pressure and lessen some strains on heart.

- Counselling by trained professional can help you to overcome grief or anxiety.

- Learning stress management and developing problem solving skills can improve emotional stress.

- Engaging in relaxation techniques like yoga, meditation, deep breathing and slow exhaling techniques can help.

- In addition to all these, adapting good lifestyle habits too can be helpful like: getting regular exercises (minimum 5 times a week for minimum 30 minutes everyday), getting continuous 7-8 hours of sleep every night, eating a healthy diet and drinking enough fluids, keeping away from unhealthy choices like smoking, alcohol abuse, illicit drug use, etc.

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Definitions:

Healthcare Personnel (HCP): HCP refers to all paid and unpaid persons serving in healthcare settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials, including body substances (e.g., blood, tissue, and specific body fluids); contaminated medical supplies, devices, and equipment; contaminated environmental surfaces; or contaminated air. HCP include, but are not limited to, emergency medical service personnel, nurses, nursing assistants, home healthcare personnel, physicians, technicians, therapists, phlebotomists, pharmacists, dental healthcare personnel, students and trainees, contractual staff not employed by the healthcare facility, and persons not directly involved in patient care, but who could be exposed to infectious agents that can be transmitted in the healthcare setting (e.g., clerical, dietary, environmental services, laundry, security, engineering and facilities management, administrative, billing, and volunteer personnel).

Healthcare settings refers to places where healthcare is delivered and includes, but is not limited to, acute care facilities, long-term acute-care facilities, nursing homes, home healthcare, vehicles where healthcare is delivered (e.g., mobile clinics), and outpatient facilities, such as dialysis centers, physician offices, dental offices, and others.

Source control: Use of respirators, well-fitting facemasks, or well-fitting cloth masks to cover a person’s mouth and nose to prevent spread of respiratory secretions when they are breathing, talking, sneezing, or coughing. Source control devices should not be placed on children under age 2, anyone who cannot wear one safely, such as someone who has a disability or an underlying medical condition that precludes wearing one safely, or anyone who is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove their source control device without assistance. Face shields alone are not recommended for source control. At a minimum, source control devices should be changed if they become visibly soiled, damaged, or hard to breathe through.  Further information about source control options is available at:  Masks and Respirators (cdc.gov)

Cloth mask: Textile (cloth) covers that are intended primarily for source control in the community. They are not personal protective equipment (PPE) appropriate for use by healthcare personnel. Guidance on design, use, and maintenance of cloth masks is available.

Facemask: OSHA defines facemasks as “a surgical, medical procedure, dental, or isolation mask that is FDA-cleared, authorized by an FDA EUA, or offered or distributed as described in an FDA enforcement policy. Facemasks may also be referred to as ‘medical procedure masks’.”  Facemasks should be used according to product labeling and local, state, and federal requirements. FDA-cleared surgical masks are designed to protect against splashes and sprays and are prioritized for use when such exposures are anticipated, including surgical procedures. Other facemasks, such as some procedure masks, which are typically used for isolation purposes, may not provide protection against splashes and sprays.

Respirator: A respirator is a personal protective device that is worn on the face, covers at least the nose and mouth, and is used to reduce the wearer’s risk of inhaling hazardous airborne particles (including dust particles and infectious agents), gases, or vapors. Respirators are certified by CDC/NIOSH, including those intended for use in healthcare.

Airborne Infection Isolation Rooms (AIIRs):

  • AIIRs are single-patient rooms at negative pressure relative to the surrounding areas, and with a minimum of 12 ACH (6 ACH are allowed for AIIRs last renovated or constructed prior to 1997).
  • Air from these rooms should be exhausted directly to the outside or be filtered through a HEPA filter directly before recirculation.
  • Room doors should be kept closed except when entering or leaving the room, and entry and exit should be minimized.
  • Facilities should monitor and document the proper negative-pressure function of these rooms.

Immunocompromised:  For the purposes of this guidance, moderate to severely immunocompromising conditions include, but might not be limited to, those defined in the Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines

  • Other factors, such as end-stage renal disease, may pose a lower degree of immunocompromise. However, people in this category should still consider continuing to use of source control while in a healthcare facility.
  • Ultimately, the degree of immunocompromise for the patient is determined by the treating provider, and preventive actions are tailored to each individual and situation.

Close contact: Being within 6 feet for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period with someone with SARS-CoV-2 infection.

SARS-CoV-2 Illness Severity Criteria (adapted from the NIH COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines)

The studies used to inform this guidance did not clearly define “severe” or “critical” illness. This guidance has taken a conservative approach to define these categories. Although not developed to inform decisions about duration of Transmission-Based Precautions, the definitions in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines are one option for defining severity of illness categories. The highest level of illness severity experienced by the patient at any point in their clinical course should be used when determining the duration of Transmission-Based Precautions. Clinical judgement regarding the contribution of SARS-CoV-2 to clinical severity might also be necessary when applying these criteria to inform infection control decisions.

Mild Illness: Individuals who have any of the various signs and symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g., fever, cough, sore throat, malaise, headache, muscle pain) without shortness of breath, dyspnea, or abnormal chest imaging.

Moderate Illness: Individuals who have evidence of lower respiratory disease by clinical assessment or imaging, and a saturation of oxygen (SpO2) ≥94% on room air at sea level.

Severe Illness: Individuals who have respiratory frequency >30 breaths per minute, SpO2 <94% on room air at sea level (or, for patients with chronic hypoxemia, a decrease from baseline of >3%), ratio of arterial partial pressure of oxygen to fraction of inspired oxygen (PaO2/FiO2) <300 mmHg, or lung infiltrates >50%.

Critical Illness: Individuals who have respiratory failure, septic shock, and/or multiple organ dysfunction.

In pediatric patients, radiographic abnormalities are common and, for the most part, should not be used as the sole criteria to define COVID-19 illness category. Normal values for respiratory rate also vary with age in children, thus hypoxia should be the primary criterion to define severe illness, especially in younger children.

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What does "Pulmonary Fibrosis" mean?  
The word “pulmonary” means lung and the word “fibrosis” means scar tissue— similar to scars that form on the skin from an old injury or surgery. So, in its simplest sense, pulmonary fibrosis (PF) means scarring in the lungs.

Pulmonary fibrosis is a lung disease that occurs when lung tissue becomes damaged and scarred. This thickened, stiff tissue makes it more difficult for your lungs to work properly. As pulmonary fibrosis worsens, people can become progressively more short of breath.

The scarring associated with pulmonary fibrosis can be caused by a multitude of factors. But in most cases, doctors can't pinpoint what's causing the problem. When a cause can't be found, the condition is termed idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

The lung damage caused by pulmonary fibrosis can't be repaired, but medications and therapies can help ease symptoms and improve quality of life. For some patients, a lung transplant might be appropriate.

Symptoms of Pulmonary Fibrosis:  
The most common symptoms of pulmonary fibrosis are dry, persistent cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may be mild or even absent early in the disease process. As the lungs develop more scar tissue, symptoms worsen. Shortness of breath initially occurs with exercise, but as the disease progresses patients may become breathless while taking part in everyday activities, such as showering, getting dressed, speaking on the phone, or even eating.

Due to a lack of oxygen in the blood, some people with pulmonary fibrosis may also have “clubbing” of the fingertips. Clubbing is a thickening of the flesh under the fingernails, causing the nails to curve downward. It is not specific to pulmonary fibrosis or idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis and occurs in other diseases of the lungs, heart, and liver, and can also be present at birth.

How Do Doctors Recognize and Diagnose Pulmonary Fibrosis? 
There are three consequences of pulmonary fibrosis. Doctors use these consequences to recognize that someone has PF:

1. Stiff Lungs. Scar tissue and inflammation make your lungs stiff. Stiff lungs are hard to stretch, so your breathing muscles have to work extra hard just to pull air in with each breath. Your brain senses this extra work, and it lets you know there’s a problem by triggering a feeling of breathlessness (or “shortness” of breath) while exerting yourself.

Also, stiff lungs hold less air (they shrink a bit). Doctors take advantage of this “shrinking” to diagnose and track the disease using breathing tests (called Pulmonary Function Tests) that measure how much air your lungs can hold. The more scar tissue your lungs have, the less air they will hold.

2. Low blood oxygen. Scar tissue blocks the movement of oxygen from the inside of your air sacs into your bloodstream. For many people living with pulmonary fibrosis, oxygen levels are only reduced a little bit while resting, but their oxygen levels drop quite a bit during activity. The brain can sense these low oxygen levels, triggering breathlessness.

Doctors will check your oxygen levels to see if they drop after walking, which could be a clue that PF might be present. Doctors also often prescribe oxygen to be used through a nasal cannula or a facemask during activity and sleep for those with PF. As pulmonary fibrosis progresses, oxygen may be needed 24 hours a day and flow rates may increase.

3. “Crackles" lung sounds. Your doctor may have told you that “crackles” were heard in your lungs. Crackles (also called “rales”) sound like Velcro being pulled apart.

They are heard in many lung diseases because any type of problem affecting the air sacs (such as PF, pneumonia, or a buildup of fluid in the lungs from heart failure) can cause crackles. Some people with pulmonary fibrosis don’t have crackles, but most do.

Can pulmonary fibrosis be reversed? 
Unfortunately, lung damage due to pulmonary fibrosis is permanent (not reversible). Getting diagnosed and starting treatment as early as possible may help your lungs work better, longer.

How is pulmonary fibrosis treated? 
Most pulmonary fibrosis treatments focus on easing symptoms and improving your quality of life.

Your provider may recommend one or more treatments: 
• Medication: Two medications — pirfenidone (Esbriet®) and nintedanib (OFEV®) —may slow down lung scarring. These medications can help preserve lung function.

• Oxygen therapy: Giving your body extra oxygen helps you breathe more easily. It may also increase your energy and strength.

• Pulmonary rehabilitation: Staying active in this special exercise program may improve how much (or how easily) you can do everyday tasks or activities.

• Lung transplant: A lung transplant replaces one or both diseased lungs with a healthy lung (or lungs) from a donor. It offers the potential to improve your health and quality of life. A lung transplant is major surgery, and not everyone is a candidate. Ask your provider if you may be eligible for a lung transplant.

Can pulmonary fibrosis be cured? 
No cure for pulmonary fibrosis exists today. But researchers around the world are working to change that.



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Background

This interim guidance is intended to assist with the following:

  1. Determining the duration of restriction from the workplace for HCP with SARS-CoV-2 infection.
  2. Assessment of risk and application of workplace restrictions for asymptomatic HCP with exposure to SARS-CoV-2.

Guidance addressing recommended infection prevention and control practices including use of source control by HCP is available in Infection Control: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)

Employers should be aware that other local, territorial, tribal, state, and federal requirements may apply, including those promulgated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

Evaluating Healthcare Personnel with Symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 Infection

HCP with even mild symptoms of COVID-19 should be prioritized for viral testing with nucleic acid or antigen detection assays.

When testing a person with symptoms of COVID-19, negative results from at least one viral test  indicate that the person most likely does not have an active SARS-CoV-2 infection at the time the sample was collected.

  • If using NAAT (molecular), a single negative test is sufficient in most circumstances. If a higher level of clinical suspicion for SARS-CoV-2 infection exists, consider maintaining work restrictions and confirming with a second negative NAAT.
  • If using an antigen test, a negative result should be confirmed by either a negative NAAT (molecular) or second negative antigen test taken 48 hours after the first negative test.

For HCP who were initially suspected of having COVID-19 but, following evaluation, another diagnosis is suspected or confirmed, return-to-work decisions should be based on their other suspected or confirmed diagnoses.

Return to Work Criteria for HCP with SARS-CoV-2 Infection

The following are criteria to determine when HCP with SARS-CoV-2 infection could return to work and are influenced by severity of symptoms and presence of immunocompromising conditions. After returning to work, HCP should self-monitor for symptoms and seek re-evaluation from occupational health if symptoms recur or worsen.  If symptoms recur (e.g., rebound) these HCP should be restricted from work and follow recommended practices to prevent transmission to others (e.g., use of well-fitting source control) until they again meet the healthcare criteria below to return to work unless an alternative diagnosis is identified.

HCP with mild to moderate illness who are not  moderately to severely immunocompromised could return to work after the following criteria have been met:

  • At least 7 days have passed since symptoms first appeared if a negative viral test* is obtained within 48 hours prior to returning to work (or 10 days if testing is not performed or if a positive test at day 5-7)and
  • At least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications, and
  • Symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) have improved.

*Either a NAAT (molecular) or antigen test may be used.  If using an antigen test, HCP should have a negative test obtained on day 5 and again 48 hours later

HCP who were asymptomatic throughout their infection and are not moderately to severely immunocompromised could return to work after the following criteria have been met:

  • At least 7 days have passed since the date of their first positive viral test if a negative viral test* is obtained within 48 hours prior to returning to work (or 10 days if testing is not performed or if a positive test at day 5-7).

*Either a NAAT (molecular) or antigen test may be used.  If using an antigen test, HCP should have a negative test obtained on day 5 and again 48 hours later

HCP with severe to critical illness who are not moderately to severely immunocompromised could return to work after the following criteria have been met:

  • At least 10 days and up to 20 days have passed since symptoms first appeared, and
  • At least 24 hours have passed since last fever without the use of fever-reducing medications, and
  • Symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath) have improved.
  • The test-based strategy as described below for moderately to severely immunocompromised HCP can be used to inform the duration of work restriction.

The exact criteria that determine which HCP will shed replication-competent virus for longer periods are not known. Disease severity factors and the presence of immunocompromising conditions should be considered when determining the appropriate duration for specific HCP. For a summary of the literature,  refer to Ending Isolation and Precautions for People with COVID-19: Interim Guidance (cdc.gov)

HCP who are moderately to severely immunocompromised may produce replication-competent virus beyond 20 days after symptom onset or, for those who were asymptomatic throughout their infection, the date of their first positive viral test.

  • Use of a test-based strategy (as described below) and consultation with an infectious disease specialist or other expert and an occupational health specialist is recommended to determine when these HCP may return to work.

Test-based strategy

HCP who are symptomatic could return to work after the following criteria are met:

  • Resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications, and
  • Improvement in symptoms (e.g., cough, shortness of breath), and
  • Results are negative from at least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected 48 hours apart (total of two negative specimens) tested using an antigen test or NAAT.

HCP who are not symptomatic could return to work after the following criteria are met:

  • Results are negative from at least two consecutive respiratory specimens collected 48 hours apart (total of two negative specimens) tested using an antigen test or NAAT.

Return to Work Criteria for HCP Who Were Exposed to Individuals with Confirmed SARS-CoV-2 Infection

Exposures that might require testing and/or restriction from work can occur both while at work and in the community.  Higher-risk exposures generally involve exposure of HCP’s eyes, nose, or mouth to material potentially containing SARS-CoV-2, particularly if these HCP were present in the room for an aerosol-generating procedure.

Other exposures not classified as higher-risk, including having body contact with the patient (e.g., rolling the patient) without gown or gloves, may impart some risk for transmission, particularly if hand hygiene is not performed and HCP then touch their eyes, nose, or mouth. When classifying potential exposures, specific factors associated with these exposures (e.g., quality of ventilation, use of PPE and source control) should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.  These factors might raise or lower the level of risk; interventions, including restriction from work, can be adjusted based on the estimated risk for transmission.

For the purposes of this guidance, higher-risk exposures are classified as HCP who had prolonged1 close contact2 with a patient, visitor, or HCP with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection3 and:

  • HCP was not wearing a respirator (or if wearing a facemask, the person with SARS-CoV-2 infection was not wearing a cloth mask or facemask)4
  • HCP was not wearing eye protection if the person with SARS-CoV-2 infection was not wearing a cloth mask or facemask
  • HCP was not wearing all recommended PPE (i.e., gown, gloves, eye protection, respirator) while present in the room for an aerosol-generating procedure

Following a higher-risk exposure, HCP should:

  • Have a series of three viral tests for SARS-CoV-2 infection.
    • Testing is recommended immediately (but not earlier than 24 hours after the exposure) and, if negative, again 48 hours after the first negative test and, if negative, again 48 hours after the second negative test.  This will typically be at day 1 (where day of exposure is day 0), day 3, and day 5.
    • Due to challenges in interpreting the result, testing is generally not recommended for asymptomatic people who have recovered from SARS-CoV-2 infection in the prior 30 days.  Testing should be considered for those who have recovered in the prior 31-90 days; however, an antigen test instead of NAAT is recommended.  This is because some people may remain NAAT positive but not be infectious during this period.

Work restriction is not necessary for most asymptomatic HCP following a higher-risk exposure, regardless of vaccination status.  Examples of when work restriction may be considered include:

  • HCP is unable to be tested or wear source control as recommended for the 10 days following their exposure;
  • HCP is moderately to severely immunocompromised;
  • HCP cares for or works on a unit with patients who are moderately to severely immunocompromised;
  • HCP works on a unit experiencing ongoing SARS-CoV-2 transmission that is not controlled with initial interventions;

If work restriction is recommended, HCP could return to work after either of the following time periods:

  • HCP can return to work after day 7 following the exposure (day 0) if they do not develop symptoms and all viral testing as described for asymptomatic HCP following a higher-risk exposure is negative.
  • If viral testing is not performed, HCP can return to work after day 10 following the exposure (day 0) if they do not develop symptoms.

In addition to above:

HCP with travel or community exposures should consult their occupational health program for guidance on need for work restrictions. In general, HCP who have had prolonged close contact with someone with SARS-CoV-2 in the community (e.g., household contacts) should be managed as described for higher-risk occupational exposures above.

Footnotes:

  1. For this guidance an exposure of 15 minutes or more is considered prolonged. This could refer to a single 15-minute exposure to one infected individual or several briefer exposures to one or more infected individuals adding up to at least 15 minutes during a 24-hour period. However, the presence of extenuating factors (e.g., exposure in a confined space, performance of aerosol-generating procedure) could warrant more aggressive actions even if the cumulative duration is less than 15 minutes. For example, any duration should be considered prolonged if the exposure occurred during performance of an aerosol generating procedure.
  2. For this guidance it is defined as: a) being within 6 feet of a person with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection or b) having unprotected direct contact with infectious secretions or excretions of the person with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection. Distances of more than 6 feet might also be of concern, particularly when exposures occur over long periods of time in indoor areas with poor ventilation.
  3. Determining the time period when the patient, visitor, or HCP with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection could have been infectious:
    1. For individuals with confirmed COVID-19 who developed symptoms, consider the exposure window to be 2 days before symptom onset through the time period when the individual meets criteria for discontinuation of Transmission-Based Precautions
    2. For individuals with confirmed SARS-CoV-2 infection who never developed symptoms, determining the infectious period can be challenging. In these situations, collecting information about when the asymptomatic individual with SARS-CoV-2 infection may have been exposed could help inform the period when they were infectious.
      1. If the date of exposure cannot be determined, although the infectious period could be longer, it is reasonable to use a starting point of 2 days prior to the positive test through the time period when the individual meets criteria for discontinuation of Transmission-Based Precautions for contact tracing.
  4. While respirators confer a higher level of protection than facemasks and are recommended when caring for patients with SARS-CoV-2 infection, facemasks still confer some level of protection to HCP, which was factored into this risk assessment if the patient was also wearing a cloth mask or facemask

Definitions:

Healthcare Personnel (HCP): HCP refers to all paid and unpaid persons serving in healthcare settings who have the potential for direct or indirect exposure to patients or infectious materials, including body substances (e.g., blood, tissue, and specific body fluids); contaminated medical supplies, devices, and equipment; contaminated environmental surfaces; or contaminated air. HCP include, but are not limited to, emergency medical service personnel, nurses, nursing assistants, home healthcare personnel, physicians, technicians, therapists, phlebotomists, pharmacists, dental healthcare personnel, students and trainees, contractual staff not employed by the healthcare facility, and persons not directly involved in patient care, but who could be exposed to infectious agents that can be transmitted in the healthcare setting (e.g., clerical, dietary, environmental services, laundry, security, engineering and facilities management, administrative, billing, and volunteer personnel). For this guidance, HCP does not include clinical laboratory personnel.

Immunocompromised:  For the purposes of this guidance, moderate to severely immunocompromising conditions include, but might not be limited to, those defined in the Interim Clinical Considerations for Use of COVID-19 Vaccines.

SARS-CoV-2 Illness Severity Criteria (adapted from the NIH COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines)

The studies used to inform this guidance did not clearly define “severe” or “critical” illness. This guidance has taken a conservative approach to define these categories. Although not developed to inform decisions about duration of Transmission-Based Precautions, the definitions in the National Institutes of Health (NIH) COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines are one option for defining severity of illness categories. The highest level of illness severity experienced by the patient at any point in their clinical course should be used when determining the duration of Transmission-Based Precautions.

Mild Illness: Individuals who have any of the various signs and symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g., fever, cough, sore throat, malaise, headache, muscle pain) without shortness of breath, dyspnea, or abnormal chest imaging.

Moderate Illness: Individuals who have evidence of lower respiratory disease, by clinical assessment or imaging, and a saturation of oxygen (SpO2) ≥94% on room air at sea level.

Severe Illness: Individuals who have respiratory frequency >30 breaths per minute, SpO2 <94% on room air at sea level (or, for patients with chronic hypoxemia, a decrease from baseline of >3%), ratio of arterial partial pressure of oxygen to fraction of inspired oxygen (PaO2/FiO2) <300 mmHg, or lung infiltrates >50%.

Critical Illness: Individuals who have respiratory failure, septic shock, and/or multiple organ dysfunction.

In pediatric patients, radiographic abnormalities are common and, for the most part, should not be used as the sole criteria to define COVID-19 illness category. Normal values for respiratory rate also vary with age in children; thus, hypoxia should be the primary criterion to define severe illness, especially in younger children.

Fever: For the purpose of this guidance, fever is defined as subjective fever (feeling feverish) or a measured temperature of 100.0oF (37.8oC) or higher. Note that fever may be intermittent or may not be present in some people, such as those who are elderly, immunocompromised, or taking certain fever-reducing medications (e.g., nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs [NSAIDS]).

Facemask: OSHA defines facemasks as “a surgical, medical procedure, dental, or isolation mask that is FDA-cleared, authorized by an FDA EUA, or offered or distributed as described in an FDA enforcement policy. Facemasks may also be referred to as ‘medical procedure masks’.”  Facemasks should be used according to product labeling and local, state, and federal requirements. FDA-cleared surgical masks are designed to protect against splashes and sprays and are prioritized for use when such exposures are anticipated, including surgical procedures. Other facemasks, such as some procedure masks, which are typically used for isolation purposes, may not provide protection against splashes and sprays.

Respirator: A respirator is a personal protective device that is worn on the face, covers at least the nose and mouth, and is used to reduce the wearer’s risk of inhaling hazardous airborne particles (including dust particles and infectious agents), gases, or vapors. Respirators are certified by CDC/NIOSH, including those intended for use in healthcare.

Cloth mask: Textile (cloth) covers that are intended primarily for source control in the community. They are not personal protective equipment (PPE) appropriate for use by healthcare personnel. Guidance on design, use, and maintenance of cloth masks is available.

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NEW DELHI: The ancient practice of meditation can do more than just relax the mind. Recent studies have revealed that meditation can positively impact heart health by reducing stress and lowering blood pressure and heart rate.

Mindfulness and meditation can benefit overall health, including heart health. The age-old practice uses quiet contemplation, breathing and sustained focus to help let go of stress and feel more calm and peaceful. It can be thought of as a mini-vacation from stress in life.

Psychological stress increases the activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the sympathetic nervous system. This causes a release of harmful hormones cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline. These harmful hormones fasten the heart rate, increase cardiac output and narrow the arteries. As meditation induces deep relaxation in the mind and body, the stress subsides, and stability is restored.

How to Make Meditation a Habit?

Once people understand the basics of the practice, the next challenge is making it a habit. Like every other lifestyle change, it takes time to incorporate meditation into everyday life and build it into a routine. Here are some tips:

. Set a daily alarm on the phone or block out time on a digital calendar

. Try an app that reminds it's time to meditate and then record the length of the session

. Start by practising a few minutes every day and increase the time in small amounts until the goal is reached

. Meditation to Connect with the Heart's Energy

Here are some simple steps to connect with the heart's Energy:

. Sit in a comfortable position and close your eyes.

. Let go of any thoughts and the world outside.

. Focus the attention on the spiritual heart centre (the middle of the chest) and be aware of the heart as a space.

. Resting the attention on the heart centre, breathe gently and sense the breath flowing into the heart. One may also visualise a coolness permeating the chest.

. Breathe normally and steadily.

. For the next few minutes, sit and listen to the heart. The heart will gradually begin to release emotions, wishes, memories, dreams and fears long stored inside. If the mind wanders, gently return to the focus on the heart.

. Upon completing the meditation practice, take a few moments to reflect on the practice.

Why Meditation can be Useful for Heart Health?

Several studies have shown that meditation can lower stress levels, reduce cortisol levels and improve heart health. Meditation can activate the "rest-and-digest" functions of the body, which counteracts the "flight-or-fight" responses. With daily meditation practice, people can lower their heart rate and blood pressure, which may reduce the risk of heart diseases.

Here's a look into what different studies have to say about meditation and heart health.

Researchers in 2013 at the University of Sydney found that meditation can improve HRV. It is a significant marker of mental and physical health. After spending ten intensive days learning how to meditate, meditation drastically improved the heart's responsiveness.

In 2021, the American Journal of Biomedical Science and Research published a report on meditation's effect on heart rate. It revealed that with time, meditation helps the heart to beat slower and become more consistent. This indicates that meditation may be effective in preventing heart diseases.

The International Journal of Exercise Science published a study in 2017 on the effect of meditation on stressed college students. Throughout the 6-week-meditation programme, blood pressure and pulse decreased significantly.

It takes time to learn meditation and gain confidence, as with any new endeavour. The important thing is to practice every day, even if only for a few minutes. Meditation, no matter how brief, is always preferable to doing nothing. A schedule can also be used to establish a routine. In addition, every day, one should try to practice meditation. Daily practice can have enormous benefits not only for the heart, but also for the mind, body, and soul.

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Diagram of the sensors in a t-shirt and mask




Imperial researchers have embedded new low-cost sensors that monitor breathing, heart rate, and ammonia into t-shirts and face masks.

Potential applications range from monitoring exercise, sleep, and stress to diagnosing and monitoring disease through breath and vital signs.

The flexible medium of clothing means our sensors have a wide range of applications. Fahad Alshabouna Department of Bioengineering

Spun from a new Imperial-developed cotton-based conductive thread called PECOTEX, the sensors cost little to manufacture. Just $0.15 produces a metre of thread to seamlessly integrate more than ten sensors into clothing, and PECOTEX is compatible with industry-standard computerised embroidery machines.

First author of the research Fahad Alshabouna, PhD candidate at Imperial’s Department of Bioengineering, said: "The flexible medium of clothing means our sensors have a wide range of applications. They’re also relatively easy to produce which means we could scale up manufacturing and usher in a new generation of wearables in clothing."

The researchers embroidered the sensors into a face mask to monitor breathing, a t-shirt to monitor heart activity, and textiles to monitor gases like ammonia, a component of the breath that can be used to detect liver and kidney function. The ammonia sensors were developed to test whether gas sensors could also be manufactured using embroidery.

Diagram of the sensors in a t-shirt and mask, next to a drawing of an embroidery machine creating the sensors
L: An industry-standard embroidery machine. R: Sensors embedded into a face mask and t-shirt

Fahad added: "We demonstrated applications in monitoring cardiac activity and breathing, and sensing gases. Future potential applications include diagnosing and monitoring disease and treatment, monitoring the body during exercise, sleep, and stress, and use in batteries, heaters, and anti-static clothing."

The research is published in Materials Today.

Seamless sensors

Wearable sensors, like those on smartwatches, let us continuously monitor our health and wellbeing non-invasively. Until now, however, there has been a lack of suitable conductive threads, which explains why wearable sensors seamlessly integrated into clothing aren’t yet widely available.

Enter PECOTEX. Developed and spun into sensors by Imperial researchers, the material is machine washable, and is less breakable and more electrically conductive than commercially available silver-based conductive threads, meaning more layers can be added to create complex types of sensor.

"PECOTEX is high-performing, strong, and adaptable to different needs... Our research opens up exciting possibilities for wearable sensors in everyday clothing." Dr Firat Güder Department of Bioengineering

The researchers tested the sensors against commercially available silver-based conductive threads during and after they were embroidered into clothing.

During embroidery, PECOTEX was more reliable and less likely to break, allowing for more layers to be embroidered on top of each other.

After embroidery, PECOTEX demonstrated lower electrical resistance than the silver-based threads, meaning they performed better at conducting electricity. 

Lead author Dr Firat Güder, also of the Department of Bioengineering, said: "PECOTEX is high-performing, strong, and adaptable to different needs. It’s readily scalable, meaning we can produce large volumes inexpensively using both domestic and industrial computerised embroidery machines.

Scanning electron and optical micrographs of a cotton thread, PECOTEX, and PECOTEX after embroidery
Scanning electron and optical micrographs of a cotton thread, PECOTEX, and PECOTEX after embroidery

"Our research opens up exciting possibilities for wearable sensors in everyday clothing. By monitoring breathing, heart rate, and gases, they can already be seamlessly integrated, and might even be able to help diagnose and monitor treatments of disease in the future."

The embroidered sensors retained the intrinsic properties of the fabric such as wearability, breathability and feel-on-the-skin. They are also machine washable at up to 30°C.

Next, the researchers will explore new application areas like energy storage, energy harvesting and biochemical sensing for personalised medicine, as well as finding partners for commercialisation.

Diagram showing the synthesis of PECOTEX and a photograph of the produced thread on a bobbin. Inset shows the chemical structure of the product. Next photo shows process for computerised embroidery of patterns using PECOTEX and 1 mm thick silicone substrates.
(a) Synthesis of PECOTEX and a photograph of the produced thread on a bobbin. Inset shows the chemical structure of the product; (b) Process for computerised embroidery of patterns using PECOTEX and 1 mm thick silicone substrates.

This study was funded by the Saudi Ministry of Education, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC, part of the UKRI), Cytiva, Imperial’s Department of Bioengineering, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the US Army.

"PEDOT:PSS-modified cotton conductive thread for mass manufacturing of textile-based electrical wearable sensors by computerized embroidery" by Alshabouna et al., published 6 September 2022 in Materials Today.

Images and video credits: Güder Research Group.

See the press release of this article

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Imperial researchers have embedded new low-cost sensors that monitor breathing, heart rate, and ammonia into t-shirts and face masks.

Potential applications range from monitoring exercise, sleep, and stress to diagnosing and monitoring disease through breath and vital signs.

The flexible medium of clothing means our sensors have a wide range of applications. Fahad Alshabouna Department of Bioengineering

Spun from a new Imperial-developed cotton-based conductive thread called PECOTEX, the sensors cost little to manufacture. Just $0.15 produces a metre of thread to seamlessly integrate more than ten sensors into clothing, and PECOTEX is compatible with industry-standard computerised embroidery machines.

First author of the research Fahad Alshabouna, PhD candidate at Imperial’s Department of Bioengineering, said: “The flexible medium of clothing means our sensors have a wide range of applications. They’re also relatively easy to produce which means we could scale up manufacturing and usher in a new generation of wearables in clothing.”

The researchers embroidered the sensors into a face mask to monitor breathing, a t-shirt to monitor heart activity, and textiles to monitor gases like ammonia, a component of the breath that can be used to detect liver and kidney function. The ammonia sensors were developed to test whether gas sensors could also be manufactured using embroidery.

Fahad added: “We demonstrated applications in monitoring cardiac activity and breathing, and sensing gases. Future potential applications include diagnosing and monitoring disease and treatment, monitoring the body during exercise, sleep, and stress, and use in batteries, heaters, and anti-static clothing.”

The research is published in Materials Today.

Seamless sensors

Wearable sensors, like those on smartwatches, let us continuously monitor our health and wellbeing non-invasively. Until now, however, there has been a lack of suitable conductive threads, which explains why wearable sensors seamlessly integrated into clothing aren’t yet widely available.

Enter PECOTEX. Developed and spun into sensors by Imperial researchers, the material is machine washable, and is less breakable and more electrically conductive than commercially available silver-based conductive threads, meaning more layers can be added to create complex types of sensor.

“PECOTEX is high-performing, strong, and adaptable to different needs… Our research opens up exciting possibilities for wearable sensors in everyday clothing.” Dr Firat Güder Department of Bioengineering

The researchers tested the sensors against commercially available silver-based conductive threads during and after they were embroidered into clothing.

During embroidery, PECOTEX was more reliable and less likely to break, allowing for more layers to be embroidered on top of each other.

After embroidery, PECOTEX demonstrated lower electrical resistance than the silver-based threads, meaning they performed better at conducting electricity.

Lead author Dr Firat Güder, also of the Department of Bioengineering, said: “PECOTEX is high-performing, strong, and adaptable to different needs. It’s readily scalable, meaning we can produce large volumes inexpensively using both domestic and industrial computerised embroidery machines.

“Our research opens up exciting possibilities for wearable sensors in everyday clothing. By monitoring breathing, heart rate, and gases, they can already be seamlessly integrated, and might even be able to help diagnose and monitor treatments of disease in the future.”

The embroidered sensors retained the intrinsic properties of the fabric such as wearability, breathability and feel-on-the-skin. They are also machine washable at up to 30°C.

Next, the researchers will explore new application areas like energy storage, energy harvesting and biochemical sensing for personalised medicine, as well as finding partners for commercialisation.

This study was funded by the Saudi Ministry of Education, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC, part of the UKRI), Cytiva, Imperial’s Department of Bioengineering, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the US Army.

PEDOT:PSS-modified cotton conductive thread for mass manufacturing of textile-based electrical wearable sensors by computerized embroidery” by Alshabouna et al., published 6 September 2022 in Materials Today.

Images and video credits: Güder Research Group.

/Public Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).View in full here.

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Stress relief techniques are the need of the hour. It's no secret that emotional and psychological stress can wreak physical havoc on the body.

We’ve all heard about the mind-body connection and probably have our own stories of how things can go downhill physically and mentally during times of stress. Current scientific research has found evidence of stress having a link with physical and mental ailments.

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Top Stress Relief Techniques for Mental Health

Throughout our lives, we encounter stressful events, which can range from simple annoyances like traffic jams to more significant concerns, like a loved one's sickness.

Stress releases a barrage of hormones into the body, regardless of the reason of stress. That causes breathing to accelerate, muscles getting tensed up, and the heart pounding.

Fortunately, there are ways to reduce stress and enhance mental health. Here's a look at six such techniques:

1) Breathwork

Breathwork is a straightforward yet effective technique. The process is not complex and can be as easy as taking long, calm, deep breaths (also known as abdominal or belly breathing).

Breathing helps you gradually detach your mind from bothersome ideas and sensations. People with eating problems can benefit most from breath concentration, as it can help them focus on their body in a positive way.

This strategy, though, may not be ideal for people who have health issues that make breathing difficult, such as respiratory diseases or heart problems.


2) Yoga, Tai chi and Qigong

These three ancient arts combine rhythmic breathing with a series of postures and flowing movements.

The physical aspects of these practices offer a mental focus that can help distract you from racing thoughts. They can also enhance flexibility and balance.

However, if you're generally not active, have health problems, or have a painful or disabling condition, these relaxation techniques might be too challenging to begin with. Check your readiness with a doctor before starting them.


3) Engage in More Physical Activity

The trick to stress management is movement. Get moving! (Image via Pexels/ Andrea Piacquadio)
The trick to stress management is movement. Get moving! (Image via Pexels/ Andrea Piacquadio)

Consistently moving your body can help if you're feeling stressed. In a six-week study involving 185 university students, aerobic activity for two days a week was found to considerably lower the stress brought on by uncertainty.

Self-reported depression is dramatically reduced by the exercise program. Additionally, regular exercise has been shown to lessen the symptoms of common mental health issues, including depression and anxiety.


4) Spend Time with Nature

Spending time outside is a crucial stress relief technique. (Image via Pexels/Mikhail Nilov)
Spending time outside is a crucial stress relief technique. (Image via Pexels/Mikhail Nilov)

Spending more time outside can help alleviate stress. Studies have shown that being in nature and spending time in green areas, like parks and forests, are excellent ways to manage stress.

According to a meta-analysis of 14 studies, individuals in college can benefit psychologically and physically by spending as little as ten minutes in a natural environment.

These markers include perceived stress and happiness. Although hiking and camping are excellent possibilities, some people don't like them or don't have access to them. You can look for green areas, like neighborhood parks, arboretums, and botanical gardens even if you reside in a city.


5) Mindful Eating and Drinking

By being mindful of what you consume, you reduce mental health concerns significantly. (Image via Pexels/Askar Abayev)
By being mindful of what you consume, you reduce mental health concerns significantly. (Image via Pexels/Askar Abayev)

Some of us turn to alcohol or binge eating to combat stress. Although these actions may appear to reduce stress in the short term, they may fact increase it. Stress effects can be exacerbated by caffeine as well but having a balanced, healthy diet can assist in reducing stress. Every aspect of your health, including mental health, is impacted by your diet.

Research has shown that people who consume a lot of ultra-processed foods and added sugar have greater perceived stress level. Chronic stress can cause you to overeat and gravitate towards meals that are very tasty, which can be detrimental to your general health and mood.


6) Awareness of Triggers

You become what you surround yourself with. If you are like most people, your life may be filled with too many demands and too little time.

For the most part, these demands are the ones we have chosen. However, you can free up time by practicing time management skills, like asking for help when it’s appropriate, setting priorities, pacing yourself, and reserving time to take care of yourself.

If we set unrealistic expectations and try to meet these demands, they can become triggers for stress, anxiety, and other mental health concerns.


Takeaway

Although stress is an unavoidable part of life, chronic stress takes a toll on physical and mental health.

Fortunately, several evidence-based strategies can help reduce stress and improve psychological well-being. Exercise, mindfulness, spending time with a pet, minimizing screen time, and getting outside more often are effective ways to add to your stress management tool kit.


Janvi Kapur is a counselor with a Master's degree in applied psychology with a specialization in clinical psychology.


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