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Tips to stay hydrated and healthy during Ramadan

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(Last Updated On: April 18, 2021)

During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from food and drink from dawn to dusk but it is important to get proper nourishment between Iftar and Sahari in order to be prepared for the next day – especially for those who need to work and go to school or university.

Healthy habits during the holy month are also very important in order to avoid gaining weight.

Cleveland Medical Center in Abu Dhabi, in the UAE, reports that there are a few simple times to help you stay fit while fasting.

Stay hydrated

The amount of fluids a person needs depends on age, gender, climate and activity level.

According to Cleveland Clinic, adults, on average, need 2 to 3 liters of water each day. So make sure to drink plenty of fluids before the start of the fasting hours. Unsweetened juices or milk are tasty, low calorie alternatives.

Experts warn against too much coffee and tea and soda drinks outside of fasting hours as the caffeine in them causes increased urination. Cleveland Clinic recommends these drinks be limited during the non-fasting hours.

The clinic also suggests that meals are started with broths, soups or stews. Fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, squash or spinach are mostly water and can also help to replace fluids.

Why is this important?

As stated by the clinic, the human body is about 60 percent water and it is vital for bodily functions, including metabolizing and transporting nutrients throughout the body and removing waste.

The amount of water in the body fluctuates – it is lost through urine and sweat and regained from food and drinks.

However, Cleveland Clinic states it is not unusual to become periodically dehydrated while fasting. Dehydration can result in weight loss that is quickly regained when normal eating and drinking habits resume.

Choose healthy options

Hunger tempts us to indulge or eat fast, convenient foods. But according to the Cleveland Clinic, highly processed foods are high in salt, sugar and unhealthy fats, which won’t last long and can increase thirst.

Try a handful of roasted nuts instead of ready-to-eat foods and also try to eat fresh fruit and vegetables.

Eat, rest and exercise strategically

According to clinic experts, planning your activities and meals after breaking your fast will help to refuel you and prepare you for the next day of fasting.

Rest is important, but be sure to stay awake long enough to replenish the fluids and nutrients your body needs.

Eat balanced meals including: bread, cereals and other grains; fruits and vegetables; meat, fish and poultry; milk, yogurt or cheese; and healthy fats.

Focus on foods that are digested slowly and release energy over time. These include food that are high in fiber (e.g. whole grains, fruits and vegetables) and foods containing complex carbohydrates (wheat, beans, lentils, rice, etc.).

It is important to stay active too. Find time to take a walk or do some gentle stretching.

Why is this important?

Weight loss occurs when a person uses more energy than they consume. Some studies on weight loss/gain during Ramadan have shown that energy intake remains the same or increases, despite a decrease in meal frequency.

Health

WHO launches first polio vaccination campaign for 2022

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(Last Updated On: January 18, 2022)

The first national polio immunization campaign for 2022 is set to start this week and will target 9.9 million children aged 0–59 months across the country.

According to Relief Web, this month’s campaign will reach more children than the November 2021 program that delivered polio vaccinations to 8.5 million children under the age of five.

The December campaign in turn vaccinated more than 8 million children.

Last year was the year with the lowest ever polio transmission in Afghanistan, providing an unprecedented opportunity to interrupt transmission of wild poliovirus and achieve eradication. Four cases of wild poliovirus type 1 were reported: the first, in Ghazni province in January, and three in Kunduz province in October and November.

In response to the detection of three cases of WPV1 in Kunduz earlier this month, the polio program also conducted a third case response campaign in seven provinces in order to stop the outbreak and protect children from the crippling but preventable disease.

“As we begin 2022, we have our best opportunity yet to end polio in Afghanistan,” said Dr Dapeng Luo, WHO Representative in Afghanistan. “To reach that goal, we have five more campaigns planned for 2022 and it’s critical that we maintain this momentum to reach our final goal of zero cases.”

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COVID-19

Afghanistan unable to detect omicron variant: health ministry

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(Last Updated On: January 17, 2022)

Public Health Ministry officials said Monday that Afghanistan’s health sector does not have the medical equipment needed to detect the newly mutated version of the coronavirus and as such, they have no idea how many people are infected with the omicron variant.

While the case number in Afghanistan is lower compared to neighboring countries, the ministry of health says the latest data put the number of cases at 40. However, it’s not known how many have the omicron variant.

“We have problems to identify the new variant of COVID-19. We call on the international community to help us. They vowed that they will continues their help,” said Javid Hazher, spokesman for the ministry of public health.

Meanwhile, staff at the Afghan-Japan Hospital, the main COVID-19 treatment center in Kabul, said that between 15 and 20 patients seek treatment at the hospital daily, however they are not able to detect the variant.

“So far, the mutated type of COVID-19 has not been identified because we have not received the diagnostic device and we have asked the Ministry of Health to make the device available as soon as possible,” said Mohammad Anil, HR director of the hospital.

Members of the public meanwhile have called on the ministry to take special measures to help curb the spread of the virus – which is currently in its 4th wave in the country.

“It has been 15 days that my mother is sick and we are satisfied with the hospital but we ask people to not go outside without wearing masks and washing their hands,” said Mohammad Juma, one Kabul resident.

“People should wear masks, and this is Islamic law, when we pray and wash our hands, we do not get sick,” said Mohammad Arif, another resident.

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Health

U.S. man recovering after ‘breakthrough’ pig-heart transplant

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(Last Updated On: January 11, 2022)

A U.S. man with terminal heart disease was implanted with a genetically modified pig heart in a first-of-its-kind surgery, and three days later the patient is doing well, his doctors reported on Monday.

The surgery, performed by a team at the University of Maryland Medicine, is among the first to demonstrate the feasibility of a pig-to-human heart transplant, a field made possible by new gene editing tools, Reuters reported.

If proven successful, scientists hope pig organs could help alleviate shortages of donor organs.

“This was a breakthrough surgery and brings us one step closer to solving the organ shortage crisis. There are simply not enough donor human hearts available to meet the long list of potential recipients,” Dr. Bartley Griffith, who surgically transplanted the pig heart into the patient, said in a statement.

“We are proceeding cautiously, but we are also optimistic that this first-in-the-world surgery will provide an important new option for patients in the future,” Griffith added.

According to the report for 57-year-old David Bennett of Maryland, the heart transplant was his last option.

“It was either die or do this transplant. I want to live. I know it’s a shot in the dark, but it’s my last choice,” Bennett said a day before his surgery, according to a statement released by the university.

To move ahead with the experimental surgery, the university obtained an emergency authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on New Year’s Eve through its compassionate use program.

“The FDA used our data and data on the experimental pig to authorize the transplant in an end-stage heart disease patient who had no other treatment options,” said Dr. Muhammad Mohiuddin, who heads the University’s program on xenotransplantation – transplanting animal organs into humans.

About 110,000 Americans are currently waiting for an organ transplant, and more than 6,000 patients die each year before getting one, according to organdonor.gov.

Bennett’s genetically modified pig heart was provided by Revivicor, a regenerative medicine company based in Blacksburg, Virginia. On the morning of the surgery, the transplant team removed the pig’s heart and placed it into a special device to preserve its function until the surgery, read the report.

Pigs have long been a tantalizing source of potential transplants because their organs are so similar to humans. A hog heart at the time of slaughter, for example, is about the size of an adult human heart.

Other organs from pigs being researched for transplantation into humans include kidneys, liver and lungs.

According to Reuters prior efforts at pig-to-human transplants have failed because of genetic differences that caused organ rejection or viruses that posed an infection risk.

Scientists have tackled that problem by editing away potentially harmful genes.

In the heart implanted in Bennett, three genes previously linked with organ rejection were “knocked out” of the donor pig, and six human genes linked with immune acceptance were inserted into the pig genome.

Researchers also deleted a pig gene to prevent excessive growth of the pig heart tissue.

The work was funded in part with a $15.7 million research grant to evaluate Revivicor’s genetically-modified pig hearts in baboon studies.

In addition to the genetic changes to the pig heart, Bennett received an experimental anti-rejection drug made by Kiniksa Pharmaceuticals based in Lexington, Mass.

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