Longevity: moving our body to live longer

Why physical activity has such an impact on our health? What happens to our health when we do not add workout into daily routines? What does longevity mean and how is it linked with exercise?

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The concept of Longevity

Living longer and better is an aspiration pursued by most people. Longevity corresponds exactly to that ability to add more years into our lives, as well as more health into those extra years.

In 2015, the World Health Organization introduced the concept of Healthy Ageing, the process of developing and maintaining a functional ability that promotes wellbeing in older age.

Among many of our daily habits, physical activity is one of the most important determinants of longevity due to its role in the prevention of chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, dementia and premature death. Exercise improves our overall health, mood, and quality of life. It can also sharpen mental function, boost concentration, and help us to sleep.

Inactivity: putting our lives at risk

Nowadays, unconsciously, many of us spend most of the time seated while watching TV, checking our mobile phones and tablets, working on computers or reading. As opposed to a decades ago, people currently spend much more time inactive and motionless, especially due to the use of technology: washing machines allow us to relax and rest; cars are more affordable which means we walk less. All in all, contemporary life is much easier than in the past.

Despite such a very pleasant and comfortable scenario, the lack of exercise contributes to the emergence of many chronic conditions and increases the risk of premature death. In most developed countries, economic activity revolves around the services sector. Workplaces are mainly at offices, where we stay seated and seldom move away from the desk. Unfortunately, children are already experiencing the impact of inactivity as there are much more pretexts to play inside than outside.

Move your body: it’s never too late to start

The good news is that the benefits of physical activity accumulate across life, so we are never too old to start worrying about exercising. Harvard Health Publishing advises us to work toward reducing the amount of time we spend sitting every day. For instance, those with desk jobs are recommended to get up to walk around regularly, try chair yoga or a go for a few desk exercises. If we have been inactive for quite a while, we should walk 2 minutes every 10 to 15 minutes (during commercial breaks when watching TV or reading). And if we jog, we could add an extra level of effort to it by starting at our regular pace and then gradually increasing it.

Small adjustments in our daily routine can add up to big changes in our life. Adding physical activity into our everyday habits will allow us to increase longevity, living longer and better.

 

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Alzheimer’s Disease: hindering the onset of the condition

Many thoughts cross our mind when we think about ageing. When it comes to mental health, we are increasingly aware of the impact of Alzheimer’s disease for the patient and for his/her carers. Uncertainty makes us wonder what causes the disease and how can we prevent it.

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Understanding Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia among older adults, as explained by the National Institute of Aging from U.S.A. This is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks like driving a car, cooking a meal, or paying bills. Usually, people who suffer from the condition ask the same questions over and over, get lost easily, lose things or put them in odd places, and find simple things utterly confusing. In some cases, they become worried, angry, or violent, as the disease progresses.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association from U.S.A., individuals with Alzheimer’s dementia experience multiple symptoms that change over a period of years, and reflect the degree of damage to neurons in different parts of the brain. Early symptoms include difficulty remembering recent conversations, names or events, apathy and depression. Later symptoms vary between impaired communication; disorientation, confusion; poor judgment; behavioural changes; and difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking. Alzheimer’s disease is ultimately fatal.

Is prevention in our hands?

 Genetic is a crucial risk factor for late-onset of Alzheimer’s disease, and until now, no lifestyle factor has shown to reduce the risk of developing the condition; however, according to the Mayo Clinic website, some changes in our behaviour can help.

Evidence suggests that the same factors that place us at risk of heart disease may also increase our chances of developing Alzheimer’s.

Cigarette

Smoking and exposure to second-hand smoke.

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Uncontrolledvascular risk factors, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Having diabetes can be also considered a risk.

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Refraining from physical activity.

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Not pursuing a heart-healthy diet containing fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fish, chicken, nuts and vegetables, while limiting saturated fats, red meat and sugar.

 

Additional studies also pointed out that having a mentally stimulating job, engaging in mentally stimulating activities and exercising the brain throughout life may have a positive influence on the disease’s onset. Remaining socially active may too support your brain’s health and possibly reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

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Formal education and thinking (cognitive) skills, such as memory.

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Mentally stimulating job.

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Socially engagement.

Ask for professional help

If you wish to undergo diagnosis or treatment or if you are a carer of someone with Alzheimer’s disease, you may contact us and get more information about our services. Finding an expert in the field may not be an easy task, especially if we are in a foreign country and facing a new language. Medical Port provides the access to the most appropriate specialists, arranging English-speaking staff able to understand and answer your needs and concerns.

 

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Parents: help your kids reach full potential at school – part 2

Following the previous article we give you a few more tips to guarantee your children will have a prosperous school year. This time we talk about sports, grandparents and dyslexia. 

Sports

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Designed by Freepik

Sports are always a good choice as an extra curricular activity. According to a study from the University of Illinois, USA, the

better physical preparation, the better the intellectual development. Additionally, exercising has other benefits like fighting obesity, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, increasing memory and attention, strengthening the muscle, bones and articulations, increasing self-esteem, diminishing anxiety, improve sociability, tolerance and discipline, helping with sleep and promoting good eating habits.

Family relationships: grandparents

Did you know that according to a study from the Institute of Aging from Boston, USA, a close relationship between grandparents and grandchildren is associated with a lesser risk of depression for both?  Psychological health becomes better as there is a stronger mutual emotional support.

Another study suggests that children with a close relationship with their grandparents have less emotional and behavioral problems. Grandparents are also a source of learning for children. They pass on pass on historical, cultural and scientific knowledge and help in the language development

Dyslexia

It is estimated that 1 in 10 people in the world have dyslexia, a genetic language disturb that interferes with the way the brain processes the written language. It causes problems in reading, as the child will have troubles recognizing words previously read or known. Dyslexia is not a sign of lack of intellectual capacity or laziness. A child may simply need more time to process all the information. It can be overcome with specialized therapy and other resources like adequate learning materials.

If you think your child may be dealing with dyslexia, contact us and we will help you booking an appointment with an appropriate specialist.

Check the previous article to learn more on eating, sleeping and studying.  Read more on pediatrics.

Sources (in Portuguese):   Dyslexia      Grandparents       Sports

 

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Better safe than sorry: you may want to consider an STD screening

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs), usually known as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), are infections that spread mostly through sexual contact. The most common are chlamydia, gonorrhoea, syphilis and trichomoniasis, but there are many more, like HIV and Hepatitis B.

a doctor holds a notebook. the text says "stds: when was the last time you got tested?"

Holidays mean fun and a needed relaxing period from a long work year. However health does not take a time out. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that everyday over one million of STDs are acquired worldwide. A great part of STDs has mild or no symptoms. Thus, many people are not aware they are infected and contribute to the spreading unwittingly.

If left untreated, STDs can lead to other serious conditions, beyond the infections itself. For instance, gonorrhoea and chlamydia are the main causes of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility among women. In men, the most common consequence is an infection in the prostate, prostatitis, but can also lead to infertility.

Practicing safe sex, using male or female condoms is a great practice to reduce the risk of contracting an STD but does not eliminate it at 100%. If you are sexually active with multiple partners, you should check your status regularly. During your next check-up, ask to be also tested for STDs.

We will be talking more about STDs throughout the month of August. Stay tuned and remember that prevention is the key!

 

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