Bad mood, constant hunger and ultimately surrender to strict rules. Most diets fail and make you fat rather than slim in the long run. But there are some that are actually successful – and even suitable for everyday use. Slimming diets can be a real mood killer, as a study by the Helmholtz Center in Munich showed. That being said, most diets are far from successful. Many people who had lost a lot of weight at the beginning put as much weight back on the scales after one year as they did before the start of the slimming diet, if not even more (yo-yo effect). The cause is stress hormones, which the body can produce in excess due to the diet . Counting calories creates stress and is the beginning of the end of many diets However, there are also slimming programs that usually do not have any of these side effects, are practicable and enable a long-term normal weight, as an analysis of several studies at Harvard University showed. The following five slimming programs are particularly recommended, all of which get by without the greatest stress factors – namely calorie counting and food cravings. 1. Mediterranean Diet – Mediterranean diet for gourmets This is a change in diet that is best made for life. The simple rules: Lots of fresh fruit, salads and vegetables, fish, olive oil and nuts. A glass of red wine is also allowed. Sausage, red meat and high-fat dairy products, on the other hand, should rarely be on the menu. Sweets also play a subordinate role in Mediterranean cuisine. Tiramisu, the most typical Italian dessert for many Germans , is only served on holidays in their home country – so it is rather the exception. In everyday life, an apple or a pear with a few nuts round off the meal and also satisfy the hunger for sweets. With the Mediterranean diet , you won’t lose two kilograms in the first week. Four to eleven kilograms within the first year are quite possible, as the meta-analysis shows. This weight loss is permanent if this diet is followed. 2. Low carb has been shown to make you slim No bread, no pasta, but more meat, vegetables, cheese, eggs. Low-carb is quite simple and successful, as the Harvard study also underscores. Four to ten kilograms can be lost in a few weeks. And if you then make sure to save carbohydrates in the future, you can keep your new dream weight. The explanation: digestive enzymes break down carbohydrates into simple sugars (such as glucose, fructose and galactose). The blood sugar level rises and the body produces insulin in order to lower it again. However, this slows down fat burning. In addition, insulin triggers the “hunger” signal in the brain. Those who eat a diet rich in carbohydrates often eat more than they actually need. This is one of the reasons why carbohydrates promote obesity. However, if carbohydrates are largely avoided, the body automatically burns more fat and thus also attacks fat deposits. With low-carb the body converts its metabolism to fat loss . With carbohydrate blockers, low carb is easy However, this only works if carbohydrates are actually largely cut. However, this is not that easy in everyday life. Because our typical side dishes are bread, rice and pasta. They provide large amounts of carbohydrates, as do alcohol and some fruits, such as bananas. However, the metabolism of carbohydrates can be prevented with natural active ingredients such as beans or grape marc. So-called carbohydrate blockers, calorie blockers or carb blockers contain these active ingredients. They reduce or inhibit the activity of the enzymes that break down carbohydrates in the body. In this way, these nutrients leave the body unused, so they do not provide any energy, cannot be stored as fat pads and the body has to attack fat reserves. 3. Intermittent fasting – hardly eat anything for a day The principle of intermittent fasting is regular, short-term avoidance of food, then feasting again as you please . Depending on whether the version 5: 2 or 8:16 is selected, you can eat normally on five days, fast on two days with only 500 (women) to 600 calories (men) – or eat normally for eight hours and then for 16 hours without solid food. 8:16 in particular now has many fans, because this variant allows an almost normal eating rhythm: early risers can have a hearty breakfast at eight o’clock and have their last meal of the day in the late afternoon. And if you can’t get out of bed in the morning anyway, you can start the day at eleven with an opulent breakfast and then have dinner at 7 p.m. With this method too, excess weight can be quickly lost and the body quickly gets used to the fasting breaks in between. An additional advantage of this simple diet: the blood pressure has been shown to decrease and with it the risks for secondary diseases such as arteriosclerosis, heart attack and stroke. 4. Low Fat – it depends on the percentage of fat Not eating fat at all is not advisable. Because the body needs certain amounts for many functions, such as digestion, healthy cells, the formation of hormones, as a carrier of fat-soluble vitamins and much more. But too much fat makes you fat, that is undisputed. Because fat has the highest energy value of all nutrients: 9 kilocalories per gram, carbohydrates and protein on the other hand only 4 per gram. The low-fat diet therefore relies on sensible fat reduction in food. The Low Fat 30 method is particularly successful . It means that a maximum of 30 percent of the total calories of the day can come from fat. As a rule, this is around 60 grams of fat with a daily amount of around 2000 kilocalories. Of course, these should be healthy types of fat, i.e. unsaturated fatty acids, such as in olive oil, rapeseed oil, nuts, avocados and cold water fish. Saturated fatty acids such as in butter and cheese are unfavorable, especially trans fats. They arise when unsaturated fatty acids are strongly heated or hardened. Chips, fast food and sweets often contain trans fats and are therefore not useful for low fat. 5. DASH – a health program with a positive side effect This type of diet was actually developed to treat high blood pressure. The acronym DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension . The initiators were scientists from Harvard University, among others. In practice it turned out that this diet not only lowered blood pressure , but also reduced excess weight gently and permanently. At DASH, the composition of the nutrients is as follows: A good 50 percent can be carbohydrates, just under 30 percent fat and 20 percent protein. The carbohydrates should come primarily from foods rich in fiber, i.e. whole grain products, vegetables and fruits. In addition, salt consumption should be reduced. Diets must have a feel-good factor So there are good diets after all – and they don’t have to be difficult to carry out. But regardless of whether you decide to reduce fat or go for low carb, supported by carbohydrate blockers: It is important that you feel comfortable and do not put yourself under pressure. So just try out which diet is easiest for you.
Many people have saved pneumonia as an old-age disease. The lung tissue of those who were previously completely healthy can also become inflamed. Initially, the symptoms often resemble those of a cold. The consequences are far more serious. No infectious disease is more fatal in Western Europe than pneumonia. According to the Helmholtz Zentrum München, up to 500,000 people develop it every year in Germany alone . This does not even include patients who become infected with the corresponding germs in the hospital. Doctors estimate that around 35,000 die as a result of the infection. Worldwide there are probably around four million deaths every year, exact figures are not available for many countries. In this country the cases of illness increase especially in autumn and winter. It mostly affects the elderly, babies, toddlers and people with a weak immune system. Your body can fight pathogens less well, germs have it easier to establish themselves in the organism than in people whose immune defenses are intact. Smokers and asthma patients are also at increased risk of their lungs becoming inflamed. But pneumonia is by no means an old-age disease or something that only super germs from the clinic can trigger with correspondingly serious previous illnesses. The danger is then much greater, but even healthy people can develop pneumonia – for example if they drag off a cold or are stressed. The Helmholtz Center names the following possible symptoms: a severe feeling of illness sudden fever chills to cough purulent expectoration in infants and toddlers also poor drinking, paleness and an accelerated pulse Pain in the lungs, on the other hand, is not a common symptom. Particularly bad: Many associate pneumonia with a high fever and assume that this is what expresses the infection. Fever is not a compelling symptom of a lung infection. Cases without a fever are also known. Especially in older patients, there is often no increased body temperature. Therefore, to rule out pneumonia would be a fallacy – it can be dangerous. Because if the respiratory tract infection is not treated in time, it can lead to death. Even in Germany, a country with a high medical standard and comprehensive care, every tenth patient treated for pneumonia in hospital dies as a result of the infection. The triggers are usually pneumococci In most cases, bacteria, viruses or fungi are to blame. Legionella and chlamydia can also be triggers. Most infections outside of the hospital are responsible for so-called pneumococci ( Streptococcus pneumoniae ). As with a flu-like infection, the bacteria spread via droplet infection, i.e. through tiny droplets of saliva that pass through the air to others, explains the Helmholz Center – in other words, when speaking, laughing, kissing, sneezing or coughing. Once in the body, the bacteria then settle on the mucous membrane of the nasopharynx and disrupt the gas exchange in the alveoli. The body can no longer channel oxygen into the bloodstream and expel carbon dioxide unhindered. However, those who become infected with the bacteria do not necessarily get sick, according to the doctors. In fact, many people are carriers of the germ, but remain as healthy as possible because their immune system either kills the pathogen or successfully keeps it in check. Pneumococci were found in the mucous membrane of up to 40 percent of all healthy children. They usually only cause damage when the body’s immune system is no longer working properly. “Then the pathogen can spread to other organs and cause an infection there.” Pneumococcal infection is particularly treacherous Pneumococcal pneumonia is particularly tricky, warns the Helmholtz Center. Because severe symptoms such as acute shortness of breath and lack of oxygen occur particularly often without warning. If pneumonia is suspected, those affected should therefore not wait days to see the doctor or artificially postpone it. Doctors then usually make the inflamed tissue visible by means of an X-ray image. In the picture it stands out against the healthy tissue. To contain the inflammation, medical professionals almost always prescribe antibiotics, such as amoxicillin. “Ideally, the infectious agent is known at the beginning of the therapy in order to hit the germ as precisely as possible,” explain the lung specialists at the Helmholtz Center. “Pneumonia, however, is a very serious illness that requires rapid treatment for the patient. In most cases, an antibiotic is selected based on the clinical picture and therapy is started. What helps the sick lungs If the pathogen is only identified in the course of treatment, the treatment can also be changed or supplemented if necessary, they add. “The more precisely the pathogen is determined, the more targeted antibiotics can be used and the risk of resistance build-up in the bacteria is minimized.” In addition to antibiotic therapy, patients should drink enough and take it easy. Medicines that loosen the mucus in the airways also aid healing. To prevent the lungs from becoming dangerously inflamed, the Standing Vaccination Commission of the Robert Koch Institute (Stiko) recommends that people who are at increased risk of pneumococcal infection get vaccinated by a doctor. This applies in particular to: Babies from two months of age Older people over 60 years People with chronic heart, circulatory and lung diseases – including asthma and COPD patients People with diabetes in need of treatment or certain neurological diseases People with a weak immune system (immunodeficiency) or triggered by certain drugs (immunosuppressants) People with a cochlear implant or CSF fistula, as these people are also more prone to pneumococcal meningitis (meningitis) A booster vaccination is not necessary according to current knowledge.
Type 2 diabetes is widespread, has serious consequences and – mostly preventable. Those who turn the right screws in everyday life protect themselves against diabetes and become fitter and more attractive. + Good sleep reduces the risk of diabetes + Rüdiger Landgraf lists the most important risk factors for type 2 diabetes as being older than 45 years, familial predisposition, obesity, lipid metabolism disorders, coronary heart disease, gestational diabetes . The factors age and genetic predisposition cannot be shaken. “Metabolic disorders generally increase with age, and that also means that the sugar metabolism can derail more easily,” explains the chairman of the German Diabetes Foundation. “The inherited predisposition to diabetes makes a disease more likely, but does not mean that it will inevitably occur.” Change your lifestyle and have fun with it On the other hand, everyone can defuse the other sources of danger of diabetes individually. This rarely works without a change in lifestyle. But if diabetes prevention is associated with a better attitude towards life, the change can even be fun. 1. Protection factor “slim waist” Most people at high risk of diabetes have been carrying too many pounds for years. The path to diabetes often begins with obesity in childhood . The proverbial hip gold is less risky than the fat deposits in the stomach. A high waist is an indicator that fat has also accumulated around internal organs. This threatens not only the sugar metabolism, but also the cardiovascular system. Unfortunately, belly fat melts particularly stubbornly – but if you resolutely declare war on it, you gain a new body feeling and a slim silhouette in addition to more health. 2. Protection factor “keep moving” In addition to being overweight, lack of exercise is the most important self-inflicted diabetes risk. Both usually go hand in hand. “30 minutes a day is the minimum of physical activity, if necessary in ten-minute bites,” recommends diabetologist Rüdiger Landgraf. “You don’t necessarily have to work up a sweat. And you shouldn’t force yourself to do any sport because it is considered particularly effective. The movement has to be fun. “ Endurance sports such as walking, jogging, swimming or cycling are effective. But weight training is also recognized today as a healthy physical activity. The regular exercise has a positive effect on the effectiveness of insulin from. It contributes to the fact that the sugar is consumed directly from the blood in the muscle cells with a low need for insulin. 3. Protection factor “light cuisine” “There is no special diabetes diet,” says Rüdiger Landgraf. “Everything that is part of a sensible, healthy diet today is suitable both for diabetes patients and for prevention .” Anyone who has a problem with blood sugar should only pay particular attention to fruit consumption. “Ripe fruits contain a lot of fructose. For example, eating a pound of cherries at a time in summer is unfavorable. ” Various studies suggest that a diet with an emphasis on plant-based foods helps prevent diabetes. Dietary fiber in particular improves the insulin effect and thus helps the disturbed sugar metabolism on the jumps. In addition, a fiber-rich diet causes the blood sugar level to rise only slowly, so that blood sugar peaks are avoided. Plenty of vegetables and fruit contribute to the daily recommended dietary fiber ration of around 30 grams. Because of the sometimes very high fructose content in many types of fruit, the emphasis should be on vegetables. Pulses and preferably whole grain bread, rice and noodles several times a week also increase the fiber balance. 4. Protection factor “soft drink stop” Cola, lemonades or fruit juice drinks are mountains of liquid sugar and as such have become the focus of diabetes prevention in recent years. In many families, they are used as a thirst quencher and drink to accompany every meal, and they also provide the amount of calories in a meal – a liter of cola, for example, 450 calories. A French study has also only just unmasked the “light” versions with sweeteners as a diabetes risk . Because the artificial sweetness probably also drives up the blood sugar level and can initially lead to insulin resistance and ultimately to diabetes. Sugar-sweet drinks should be an occasional exception, just like enjoying a glass of wine . “The healthiest thirst quencher is still fresh water,” says the diabetes expert. 5. Protection factor “good sleep” Lack of sleep or disturbed sleep are considered independent risk factors for type 2 diabetes . Too little sleep not only increases body weight, but also upsets your metabolism. A lack of sleep has a negative effect on insulin release and blood sugar levels after a short time . The reason for this is that when you don’t sleep enough, the body releases stress hormones that intervene in the sugar metabolism. Short-term sleep deprivation has no lasting effects, but persistently poor sleep does: “People with nocturnal breathing pauses get diabetes more than average, on the other hand diabetes patients often suffer from the so-called sleep apnea syndrome,” says Rüdiger Landgraf. 6. Protection factor “relaxed vessels” There is a link between high blood pressure and diabetes. The causes for both ailments are comparable: overweight, poor diet, lack of exercise. Almost 90 percent of type 2 diabetics also suffer from high blood pressure. The risk of suffering cardiovascular disease is four times higher for them than for people without diabetes. If you lower your blood pressure to a normal level, you primarily reduce your risk of dangerous long-term effects of diabetes. Since diabetes attacks the blood vessels, high blood pressure accelerates the development of damage to the small blood vessels, for example in the retina or the kidneys. 7. Protection factor “nicotine renunciation” Smokers have a 30 to 50 percent higher risk of type 2 diabetes than non-smokers. The question of why has not been clearly clarified. Smokers may have an overall unhealthy lifestyle that encourages diabetes. However, nicotine, carbon monoxide or other substances from tobacco smoke may also have a direct harmful effect on the pancreas and fatty tissue. Subliminal inflammation occurs, combined with reduced insulin activity, which severely affects the metabolism.
If the child suffers from type 1 diabetes, everything changes for families. Now it’s time to measure sugar levels and attend training courses. Nevertheless, normality should return soon, experts advise. The first signs seem banal: the child drinks a lot and often has to go to the toilet at night. It looks increasingly exhausted and tired and loses weight. All of this could speak for type 1 diabetes. Martin Holder knows that drinking too much is not so noticeable, especially in summer. He heads the training and treatment facility for children and adolescents with type 1 diabetes at the Stuttgart Clinic. “Often the parents are still happy about it.” The symptoms are often recognized too late, as Prof. Andreas Neu explains. This leads to a metabolic derailment. The blood sugar rises considerably, acids are produced that over-acidify the body. “Cells and organs are paralyzed or incapable of functioning,” explains the Vice President of the German Diabetes Society. Children’s clinic as the first station The diagnosis is usually made very quickly, a blood or urine test brings clarity. Families, however, are hit hard by the chronic illness. “Life changes suddenly,” says Holder. As a rule, the children dealt with it better, explains Bernhard Kulzer, a specialist psychologist for diabetes. After the diagnosis, it is important to be admitted to a children’s clinic quickly to stop the insulin supply. The first days are to normalize the metabolism. Only then does the training of parents and child begin. How do I measure my blood sugar? What do I have to pay attention to when eating and how do I do sports in the future? All of these questions are answered in the process. This usually means a 14-day inpatient stay, says Holder. “The aim is that the children and their families can continue to live as normally as possible.” Don’t fall into the debt trap The initial phase is crucial for dealing with the disease, explains Kulzer. How do the parents overcome this shock together, and how do they integrate the disease into the family system? “Most of the time, research is carried out to see whether there are similar cases in the family and whether it is hereditary.” Despite intensive research, it is not yet certain how this type of diabetes develops. Certain structures of the immune system are definitely hereditary, reports Kulzer, but there are many people who do not develop diabetes. That is precisely why parents need to be informed and supported in order not to even ask the question of guilt. “At some point, however, everyone begins to struggle with the disease,” says Holder. For this reason, ongoing psychosocial support is often part of the program in the clinics. Type 1 diabetes is usually treated with insulin injections or an insulin pump. If the child is supplied with a pump, he or she has to change the catheter every two to three days, depending on age or with the help of the parents. “At the beginning the extra effort is of course still great and is often perceived as a burden,” explains Neu. However, measuring sugar, estimating carbohydrates and injections quickly become routine. Normality is crucial in everyday life Kulzer’s most important tip is therefore: normality. “The fact that the child becomes chronically ill means that more attention is paid to him.” His team therefore always advises taking it slow. “The technology is now very good, especially at the beginning, little can happen,” says Kulzer. He recommends parents to deal openly with the disease and to let the child deal with it openly. “This is the best chance that everything will normalize.” New pleads for a good balance between control, surveillance and restriction on the one hand and strengthening personal responsibility and freedom on the other. “Parents should trust that the child can achieve something themselves.” The experts know that siblings are often neglected. “The biggest mistake would be to wrap the sick child in cotton or to pay too much attention to the disease,” warns Kulzer. Holder recommends consciously involving siblings, maybe even handing over responsibility to them depending on their age or doing something exclusively with them. Support group for sharing According to the experts, it is important to extend the training to include the family. For example, the supervisors in the daycare center, kindergarten or teacher are informed in order to avoid misunderstandings. “Children think that it is contagious and then no longer want to sit next to the sick child or play with him,” says Neu. Teachers should be prepared especially for school trips. New at the University Clinic for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine in Tübingen offers to train good friends of the child beforehand. “We instruct them about the signs of a possible metabolic derailment so that they know when to get help,” explains the professor. The experts advise parents to find a self-help group to exchange ideas and give tips. This is also important for the children to meet like-minded people and to realize that they are not alone. In addition, role models such as competitive athletes with diabetes 1 can help to better accept the disease.
If you get type 2 diabetes, you often have to change your eating habits and take blood sugar-lowering medication or even inject insulin. A diabetologist now points out that the disease is not a one-way street: a sharp weight reduction increases the chance of getting well again. Once diabetes, always diabetes: this was exactly a principle within medicine for a long time, writes Professor Stephan Martin, chief physician for diabetology and director of the West German Diabetes and Health Center (WDGZ) in Düsseldorf , in an article he published in the medical newspaper . It is no secret that, in addition to other factors such as genetics and lack of exercise, obesity also plays a role in the development of type 2 diabetes. However, the fact that those affected can actually defeat the disease through targeted weight reduction was, according to Martin, up until a few years ago in medical circles at best dismissed as an isolated case. Strong weight reduction leads to a decrease in symptoms A rethink only arose as a result of the results of bariatric surgery – i.e. surgical interventions to reduce body weight, which resulted in high remission rates in type 2 diabetes. A study from England from 2019 then also showed that non-surgical interventions such as sustained weight loss led to remission of type 2 diabetes. A new study from Quatar , which was published in the journal “Lancet” in June, also showed how targeted weight reduction resulted in lasting remission in the sick. For this purpose, 147 people who suffered from type 2 diabetes under two years of age , had a body mass index of 35 kg / m² and some were already taking medication, were divided into two different test groups: One was treated according to the regular guidelines. The others on a strict diet consisting of liquid meals. While the group lost an average of four kilograms with the regular measures, the kilograms fell by an average of twelve kilograms in the second group. A remission with normal long-term blood sugar values for at least three months was achieved in the first test group by only twelve percent; in the second, with the high weight reduction, an impressive 61 percent. “Unfortunately, these interventions are not accepted in Germany” According to Martin, it can be concluded from this study that a weight loss of ten kilograms gives those affected a 50 percent chance that the symptoms of diabetes will subside. “Unfortunately, these interventions are not accepted in Germany,” criticizes the diabetologist. That is why they are not implemented systematically. The doctor points out, however, that doctors have a duty to inform patients about such measures. “At least every person with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes should be told that if you manage to lose more than ten kilograms, you have a 50 percent chance of defeating diabetes,” he urges.
The nose runny, the eyes itch: almost a third of all adults in Germany suffer from an allergy – hay fever is the most common. The allergic runny nose is triggered by the pollen from trees, bushes, grasses, cereals and herbs. Flying pollen makes life difficult for many people. What allergy sufferers can do now: Ten valuable tips for allergy sufferers 1. You don’t want to do without regular ventilation, but more pollen comes in every time? Close-meshed pollen protection grids on the windows hold back most of it, but the less exchange of air means that ventilation must be longer. 2. Your clothes collect the pollen from outside and this is how it gets inside. It is better not to undress in the bedroom, because this is where they stay for a long time at night. With the short wash program they are washed out quickly. Then let it dry inside, because if the laundry is outside, the pollen will also hang on it. 3. Vacuum carpets and upholstered furniture regularly, ideally with a vacuum cleaner with a Hepa filter ( ideally class 14). This way, the pollen doesn’t get back into the room. Wipe smooth floors regularly with a damp cloth, otherwise the pollen will be blown up again and again with the dust. 4. Avoid too much exercise outdoors. During exercise, the increased need for oxygen is met by breathing through the mouth, which irritates the airways and leads to stronger reactions. Things are often better after the rain, because the pollen was “washed” out of the air. But be careful: it is worse after thunderstorms, because the pollen is pressed close to the ground and allergenic particles are also knocked out of the pollen 5. Sunglasses that close tightly around the eyes protect the eyes from light and pollen. 6. Refrain from smoking or smoking . The constant irritation of the airways make the mucous membranes even more vulnerable. 7. Wash your hair before you go to bed to prevent pollen from getting on your pillow. 8. Breathe through your nose if possible. The fine cilia filter out some of the pollen. You can flush the pollen out of your nose with a nasal douche. If possible, do not use nasal ointments, gels or powders. They stick together the hairs of the nose and impair the filter function. 9. traveling you do not occur in your main pollen season in a region in which your pollen. 10. Do you spend a lot of time in the car? Then you should equip your car with a pollen filter . Since they gradually become clogged, these filters have to be replaced once a year, preferably after the pollen season in autumn or winter. Pollen allergy: treatment on four levels Allergen avoidance : Allergen avoidance, i.e. avoiding pollen, is the safest method for treating hay fever. However, it is difficult to achieve because the pollen can fly for miles through the air. Desensitization: Specific immunotherapy is the only treatment method that addresses the cause. In the classic variant, the allergy sufferer is given the respective pollen allergen in gradually increasing doses in order to make them insensitive to the allergy trigger. In the meantime, however, drop or tablet therapy preparations can also be used – for use at home. For therapy, preparations should be used for which efficacy has been proven in studies. A hyposensitization should always be carried out by a doctor experienced in allergology. Medicines: The medicinal treatment is used to relieve and avoid the symptoms of hay fever and to treat the inflammatory swelling of the mucous membranes. Mainly anti-allergic antihistamines are used and more severe allergic reactions also anti-inflammatory cortisone preparations or sometimes leukotriene receptor antagonists to supplement therapy. Complementary procedures: A useful measure accompanying therapy is rinsing the nose with isotonic salt solution. This natural method has been shown to reduce the need for antiallergic medication.
Hay fever is increasing, especially in the cities. Although the allergy can develop into asthma within a few years, those affected and even doctors do not take hay fever seriously and do not treat it adequately. There are effective therapies available to prevent the body’s allergic reaction. Hay fever seems to be one of the widespread diseases with the highest growth rates. In recent years there has been a twenty-fold increase. Around 15 percent of adults and almost ten of children now have a pollen allergy. “Several factors are responsible for this increase,” says Knut Brockow, senior physician in the allergy department at the Clinic for Dermatology and Allergology at Biederstein, Klinikum rechts der Isar, TU Munich. Why pollen allergies are increasing so significantly On the one hand, there is the modern lifestyle with excessive hygiene. “If we have less contact with bacteria and parasites, the immune system can turn against harmless substances, which we then call allergens, and which trigger symptoms,” says the allergist, naming an important risk factor. It is known that allergies are increasing particularly rapidly in cities because the bacterial diversity there is much lower than in rural areas. Children who grow up with many siblings, who have daily contact with animals and who stay in the cowshed have a much lower risk of allergies. Bacterial diversity protects against allergies, so to speak. Heavy traffic means a high risk of hay fever The other reasons for the increase in pollen allergies: Due to the climate catastrophe, the flowering times have been extended by many weeks. New allergens, such as ragweed, are an additional burden for allergy sufferers. The undemanding herb was brought in from the USA by airplanes, first reproduced at military bases and now along the highways. Its pollen is much more aggressive than that of our native plants and can trigger an allergy particularly quickly. “Air pollution also plays a role,” warns the expert. Although the air in Germany is less polluted with large particles than it used to be, fine dust and soot particles, for example from cars with internal combustion engines, have increased in some cases. They have been shown to increase the allergenic effect of pollen. It is therefore obvious that city dwellers are probably particularly at risk for pollen allergies. “Anyone who lives on a busy street has a higher risk than in a neighborhood with little traffic,” explains the professor. Hay fever – first sensitized, then allergic The mucous membranes of the eyes, nose, throat and bronchi play an important role in the development of a pollen allergy. If pollen gets on the mucous membranes, the immune system reacts more intensely in some people. Right from the first contact, white blood cells (lymphocytes) cause antibodies (E-immunoglobulins, IgE) to be formed against the pollen proteins – as if these actually harmless proteins were pathogens. After this sensitization, the immune system reacts with every further contact with the corresponding pollen: IgE antibodies are formed, settle on mast cells, these react and release the inflammatory messenger substance histamine, among other things. This triggers the cascade of allergic symptoms, in hay fever these are: Itchy eyes, tears in the eyes Runny nose Stuffy nose Sneeze Hay fever is usually not treated properly or not at all Most of those affected often suffer for decades and fail to get proper treatment, experiment with over-the-counter products that are often not taken properly, for example too short. For example, many stop self-treatment because the antihistamines hardly help. This is the case when the pollen allergy is quite severe. “Hay fever is simply not taken seriously enough,” remarks Knut Brockow. Many patients often see no need for action because the complaints “only” occur temporarily. When it rains or the flowering time of the allergenic plant is over, the hay fever symptoms will also disappear again. But this trivialization would not only apply to the patient, but also to the doctor, such as the family doctor, who is the first point of contact for most people with hay fever. They underestimate the problem of a pollen allergy and do not refer the patient to an allergist. The consequences of hay fever – allergic to more and more pollen and asthma Not treated or not treated adequately, hay fever can get worse and worse. The expert warns that this risk exists especially in the years after the first occurrence of the pollen allergy. This is how the allergy can spread. Initially, it is resistant to grass pollen, for example, then birch and alder are added, possibly also house dust mites. In addition, the allergic symptoms can become so severe that the person affected is really sick and cannot work. “It was not for nothing that people used to speak of ‘hay fever’ because it can paralyze you,” explains the scientist. The head is closed like a flu. However, there is a particularly high risk of bronchial asthma resulting from hay fever. Asthma is known to be chronic, incurable and can occur all year round. This level change from pollen allergy to asthma is possible because the mucous membrane of the nose and lungs form a unit and can react together. “Children up to six years of age diagnosed with hay fever have been shown to have three times the risk of asthma than others,” reports Knut Brockow. Therapy: Antihistamines are usually not a permanent solution Hay fever should therefore best be clarified by an allergist, who can use allergy tests to determine which pollen the body reacts to and to what extent. Then the appropriate treatment is initiated. Self-treatment with antihistamines is usually no solution to the hay fever problem. Because they do not target the cause of the hay fever, the misdirected immune reaction, but only slow down the symptoms. “These drugs only reduce the effects of histamine on the organs, but they cannot adequately influence the development of the allergy,” explains the expert. That is why antihistamines are only recommended for mild, sporadic allergic symptoms, but not for complaints that last for several days. Cortisone nasal spray for hay fever Then corticosteroid-containing nasal sprays should be used as a stronger therapy. “The prescription of corticosteroids as a nasal spray is far too seldom used for hay fever,” criticizes the allergist. Many doctors do not know how useful the active ingredient is for pollen allergies because it has a positive effect on inflammation. The cortisone nasal sprays are also available in combination with antihistamines. They treat the symptoms much better than oral antihistamines and are suitable for patients whose symptoms do not increase and who do not have any initial asthma symptoms (slight shortness of breath, slight cough) such as coughing. Specific immunotherapy addresses the cause of the allergy However, both drugs – corticosteroids and antihistamines – only treat symptoms. If the hay fever is severe or worsen, it is best to treat the cause of the disease and not just treat the symptoms. This is where specific immunotherapies (SIT) come in. The desensitization or colloquially also known as “vaccination” against hay fever means: The immune system is slowly, with initially minimal doses, used to the triggering allergen until the body reacts normally to the actually harmless substance. “These therapies are very effective, especially when the allergy has only one trigger, such as grass pollen, but are also used far too seldom – because the patient does not even know that this is possible, as does the first-aid doctor,” explains the expert, Desensitization means: the immune system learns tolerance to pollen How these therapies work: The prerequisite is the identification of the triggering pollen through the appropriate allergy tests. By far the most common triggers are grasses, birch, alder and hazel. Those affected can already be hyposensitized to them. Two forms of SIT are currently available: subcutaneous immunotherapy (SCIT, regular injections of the allergens under medical supervision for about three years) sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT, drops or tablets with the corresponding allergens, which the patient takes independently as instructed by the doctor, also over a period of three years) SCIT has established itself particularly well, “The advantage here is that the doctor carries out the treatment and thus the cooperation of the patient is guaranteed,” emphasizes Knud Brockow. In recent years, however, SLIT has also proven itself more and more and is almost as successful as subcutaneous immunotherapy. The sublingual variant is particularly suitable for patients who have less time and want to carry out the treatment at home. New therapies: more targeted and fewer side effects In the future, the desensitization should have an even more specific effect, but trigger fewer side effects. These include itching and swelling in the area of application, i.e. in the mouth or the injection site. Systemic allergic reactions are also rarely possible. “That is why one tries to change the allergens administered in such a way that they respond less to the mast cells and thus trigger fewer allergy symptoms, but to better address the T lymphocytes, which are supposed to generate allergen tolerance,” the allergist explains the new research approach. Researchers try, for example, to only use the individual molecular proteins in the pollen that trigger the allergy. In the case of birch pollen, for example, this is Bet v 1. However, further research has to be done on this. In addition, new forms of administration for desensitization are being tested, for example as plasters. This epicutaneous desensitization (pollen patch) could simplify SIT compared to sublingual and subcutaneous application. Another research approach could provide a particularly elegant solution, an antibody against the immunoglobulin IgE, the allergic reagin. This would block all IgE molecules in the body. They can no longer dock on the cell surfaces and thus trigger the allergy. The antiallergic effect would start earlier than that of the antihistamines at one point. Anti-IgE antibodies will not only work against pollen allergies, but also against other allergies that take place via this mechanism. “Corresponding drugs are currently not yet approved for this and are still too expensive, but if they are further developed they would be a sensible therapy option,” says the expert. These drugs (omalizumab) have already been approved for the treatment of severe, uncontrollable allergic asthma and urticaria. Conclusion : If the symptoms of hay fever persist for more than a week, are very pronounced and / or if there is a cough, an allergist should definitely clarify the symptoms. Because if left untreated or not adequately treated, the allergy can spread and the person affected reacts allergically to more and more stimuli. There is also a risk of changing floors and asthma in addition to hay fever. But almost everyone who suffers from a pollen allergy today can be helped. Modern therapies such as desensitization slowly and carefully get the immune system used again to react normally to the actually harmless pollen.
Fit, flexible and in good shape with Germany’s most popular yoga youtuber Mady Morrison. The 30-year-old Berliner explains why everyone should really hit the mat. Sympathetic, sporty, open. The Berlin yoga teacher Mady Morrsion has lived and loved her sport for 17 years. She shares this passion with her around 837,000 subscribers on YouTube and regularly posts yoga and workout videos. Mady spoke to FIT FOR FUN about the importance of yoga, her favorite asanas and the effects of Corona . In addition, she gives three tips for anyone standing on the mat for the first time. FIT FOR FUN : During the first Corona months, the number of your YouTube subscribers rose by around 200,000 to 837,000. Are you one of the few who benefit from Corona? Mady Morrison : I find it difficult to put corona and profit into context. In the end, we are all affected by this pandemic and we have to struggle with it. Each in his own way. The number of subscribers and views has grown, that’s correct. However, I did not make any profit from this situation! I’m just very happy that with the yoga videos I was able to help many people get through a difficult time. Yoga helps us focus on ourselves and supports us in cultivating gratitude and caring … FIT FOR FUN : Have you changed the frequency of your video uploads? Morrison : The quality of my videos is my top priority. Visually, sound-wise and didactically, I am absolutely in love with details and rarely make compromises. My goal is to create the best possible yoga experience for my students. That’s why I couldn’t produce more videos than usual even during Corona times. FIT FOR FUN : I have to admit that I’m one of the newer followers. So far I have trained in studios, but have been rolling out my yoga mat at home since Corona. Is my reaction typical? Morrison : Well, first of all, welcome – nice to have you with us! With all yoga and fitness studios closed, many simply had no choice but to look for online alternatives. So new viewers landed on my YouTube channel. Basically, the feedback from my community hasn’t changed, but I’ve received an even greater expression of gratitude and appreciation. FIT FOR FUN : What effects could the crisis have on gym concepts? Morrison : I think a lot of them will gradually be returning to the studios. A smaller portion will likely stick with online training, and many now appreciate the combination of the two. From the perspective of the studio owners, I could imagine that online courses will continue to be offered if they are well received by the members. As a user, I also think it’s nice that I can take part in classes in Hamburg or Bali thanks to the online offer . FIT FOR FUN : Does that mean that you train yourself as a student with others? Morrison : Of course, as a yoga teacher you always stay a student. And as is well known, you never stop learning. FIT FOR FUN : Yoga was originally more of a kind of “worldview”, almost religious. Today it is part of the sporty lifestyle and is offered in every hotel. What does yoga mean to you? Morrison : One could probably fill entire books on this question. But to keep it short: for me yoga means above all acceptance, self-care and freedom! Yoga practice has taught me to give space to my feelings and emotions and to accept them just as they are. To accept me as I am. For me, yoga also means empathy, understanding and openness towards others. That I do not judge others, that I show compassion, that I am helpful and that I always act with a peaceful intention. FIT FOR FUN : Why did you start yoga? Morrison : When I was 13, I was totally inspired and motivated by my PE teacher. My grandma also taught yoga for a while. Totally crazy. She also gave me books from the 1960s, which was really fun. FIT FOR FUN : At the time it was still more of a niche sport. Morrison : At least it wasn’t as common as it is today. During my studies I started with Bikram yoga, i.e. yoga at 40 degrees room temperature. Back then I was looking for something strenuous to burn off calories and sweat. But if you have been doing yoga for a few years, at some point the step to the “why” comes naturally. FIT FOR FUN : What are your favorite asanas? Morrison : When I want to relax, it’s the “Half Dove”, an incredibly liberating hip opener. When I want something powerful, I turn the world upside down and do the handstand. This releases endorphins and gives you a good boost of energy. FIT FOR FUN : What are your tips for people to whom these terms do not mean much, but who would like to start with yoga? Morrison : 1. Start small! Ten or 15 minutes on the yoga mat are enough to get started. It doesn’t always have to be a whole hour. 2. Keep it simple! It doesn’t always have to be the fancy headstand pose from the Instagram feed. The sun salutation in its numerous variations is particularly suitable for the beginning. You already learn a lot of the basics here. 3. Positive mindset! I find it very important to come with an open mind and free yourself from the expectations of others. It’s not about being incredibly flexible or getting a certain shape. No! It’s about doing something good for yourself, your body and your mind. FIT FOR FUN : Yoga is booming anyway – but why should everyone discover this sport for themselves? Morrison : I believe that people who practice yoga regularly are more relaxed in their everyday lives – they can deal with stress and difficult situations more calmly. Yoga doesn’t just take place on the mat. FIT FOR FUN : So it’s about the mental …? Morrison : Yoga brings both mental and physical benefits. For example, back pain is one of the many reasons people end up practicing yoga. Because it helps. Because yoga exercises strengthen, mobilize, stretch and relax at the same time. You just feel healthier and more agile. Yoga can also contribute to a more upright posture, for example. I always notice this as a reaction to my free “30-day yoga challenge” that I offer on YouTube . About halfway through I often get feedback from participants that they are being approached by colleagues about their demeanor and their radiance. That is probably the “yoga glow”. FIT FOR FUN : Yoga has improved my flexibility and strengthened my shoulder and arm muscles. Morrison : Yes, you keep yourself healthy and young. If you look at yogis who are 60 or 70 years old, they often have a very young charisma. That fascinated me from the start.
Joint pain, headache, fatigue or circulatory problems – some people seem to be particularly sensitive to changes in the weather. What is it about so-called weather sensitivity? People are exposed to many influences in their everyday lives – including the weather. In order to maintain the functions of the body, it reacts to external influences. If temperature and weather change, the body perceives this and begins to adjust the autonomic nervous system accordingly. For example, different hormonal interactions can also occur. The weather changes, the body reacts Many people rarely or never notice such adjustments to the weather. However, others feel more complaints or think that they see a connection to the weather. If there are disorders of well-being in the context of such weather adjustments, one speaks of weather sensitivity – also called biotropy or meteoropathy. Whether the cause of the complaints is really the weather is quite likely, but not proven with certainty. Because most studies on the topic consist primarily of surveys, i.e. are based primarily on self-assessment. What is certain, however, is that many people attribute some of their complaints to the weather. And if you compare the information with weather maps, a connection is obvious. Frequently described symptoms of weather sensitivity: a headache migraine fatigue Exhaustion Joint pain sleep disorders Some people seem to feel the weather changes even two to three days in advance. It is possible that special sensory cells are responsible for this, which are located in the vessel walls of the carotid artery in particular: so-called baroreceptors. They can sense pressure – and maybe changes in air pressure. However, this has not been proven. When does weather sensitivity occur? Whether a change in the weather noticeably affects how you feel depends on various factors: How well can your own body adapt to the weather? Possible influence by: individual physical requirements general health lack of sleep Stress level What type of weather is it (e.g. high pressure or low pressure area, heat or cold)? How strong is the weather change? Basic illnesses favor weather sensitivity Such weather changes do not actually make you sick. Nevertheless, in people who are sensitive to the weather, the symptoms can be quite severe and represent a health burden. This is especially the case when the body fails to regulate itself as required. For example because there are illnesses and / or some body systems are not regulated according to norms (such as with high blood pressure or low blood pressure ). In general, women seem to be more sensitive to the weather than men and older people more often than young people. Many people who consider themselves sensitive to the weather also have long-term previous illnesses (such as chronic pain or respiratory diseases). With whom, with which diseases, sensitivity to weather is particularly noticeable: When the temperature rises, people with hay fever or cardiovascular diseases in particular react sensitively to the weather. When the temperature drops, people with vascular diseases, rheumatism, chronic pain, respiratory diseases or asthma are particularly affected. For some weather-related complaints, it is easy to understand how they can arise. In the cold, for example, the airways and blood vessels contract. This can be a problem for people who have asthma, for example. People with high blood pressure may observe an additional rise in blood pressure when it is cold and feel corresponding symptoms. When it is warm, the blood vessels in the legs and arms widen. In particular, those who already have circulatory problems, for example low blood pressure, can now suffer from problems due to falling blood pressure. Weather conditions that lead to more dust in the air (such as thunderstorms or storms) can burden people with breathing problems. Above all, rapid, frequent or severe weather changes are stressful for the body. Because with the latter, several weather factors change at once, such as temperature, humidity, air movement, degree of cloudiness, light conditions and air pressure. Examples of severe weather changes: Change from withdrawing or weakening high pressure area to approaching low Passage of a warm and cold front Back of a peeling low People seem to feel least stressed by the weather when they are in the center of a high pressure area. What helps if you are sensitive to the weather? Some doctors and meteorologists believe that sensitivity to the weather is in part a problem of civilization: While people used to spend more time outdoors, most people nowadays mainly sit in rooms where temperature and light can be controlled. The body may have “forgotten” how to optimally adapt to changes in the weather. If you want to improve your sensitivity to the weather, it can therefore help you to spend more time outside – preferably every day and in any weather. Going to the sauna or alternating hot showers can also help to train the blood vessels and thus have a positive effect on the circulation. Since factors such as stress or lack of sleep can also increase sensitivity to the weather, some experts also recommend relaxation exercises and adequate sleep.
Cancer is one of the diseases that Germans fear most. Everyone knows those affected in their circle of friends or acquaintances. The good news: if you follow a few simple rules, you can significantly reduce your risk of cancer. Experts from the German Cancer Research Institute (DKFZ) estimate that up to 50 percent of all cancers are caused by an unhealthy lifestyle. That means: everyone can do something to prevent it. Cancer experts from all over Europe have created the so-called for this purpose . Of course, if you follow these ten anti-cancer rules , there is no guarantee you will not die of a tumor. But you reduce your risk of cancer many times over. 1. Don’t smoke The number one risk factor is and remains tobacco smoke. He is responsible for 19 percent of all people who were newly diagnosed with cancer in 2018. The innumerable carcinogenic substances not only increase the risk of lung cancer. With every cigarette, the risk of other tumors in the mouth and throat, stomach or esophagus, pancreas, urinary bladder, kidney increases. Passive smokers are similarly at risk, so a smoke-free environment should be important. By the way, it is definitely worth becoming a non-smoker: the body can repair damage. For example, the risk of lung cancer drops by half after five years of quitting smoking. 2. Avoid being overweight The risk factor overweight is almost as serious as smoking. The experts at the DKFZ see it as proven that an increased body fat percentage increases the risk of at least eleven types of cancer. According to their estimates, around seven percent of all new cancer cases in Germany in 2018 will be attributable to obesity. Obese people increase their risk of colon cancer, esophageal cancer and breast cancer in particular. The reason for this is the increased secretion of the hormones insulin and leptin, which promote tumor cell growth. 3. Exercise daily Often the extra pounds come from a lack of exercise. Overall, scientists estimate that this caused six percent of new cancer cases in Germany in 2018. Get up from the couch or office chair – preferably every 30 minutes: physical activity or exercise has been shown to lower the risk of colon cancer, and probably breast and uterine cancer. The Code recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity. What makes things easier: housework and gardening also count. 4. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables “Scientists estimate for Germany that around eight percent of all new cancer cases in 2018 can be traced back to unhealthy eating habits,” explain the experts at the DKFZ. Five a day – this recommendation from the German Nutrition Society, which advises us to eat five servings of fruit and vegetables, is also a simple anti-cancer rule. 5. Avoid heavily processed meat and sausage products Sausage as well as heavily processed and red meat have been on the list of carcinogenic substances since 2015. The scientists at the WHO’s IARC cancer research agency therefore advise eating less of it in order to reduce the risk of cancer. They derive the nutritional recommendations of 300 to 600 grams of meat and sausage per week from observational studies. For orientation: a medium-sized steak weighs 250 grams. In summary, this means for nutrition: Eat at least 400 grams of legumes, fruits and vegetables every day. Eat around 30 grams of fiber a day. For example, the German Nutrition Society (DGE) recommends three slices of wholemeal bread, a serving of fruit muesli, about three potatoes, two carrots, two kohlrabi, an apple and a serving of red grits. Limit your diet with high calorie foods (high in fat or sugar). Avoid sugary drinks and foods rich in salt. They shouldn’t contain more than 1.5 grams of salt per 100 grams. You shouldn’t eat more than five to six grams of salt a day. Eat less than 500 grams of red meat per week. Avoid processed meat such as sausages. 6. Drink little alcohol Two drinks a day for men, one drink for women: the European Cancer Code recommends 20 grams or 10 grams of pure alcohol as a guideline for alcohol. Those who drink alcohol regularly not only increase their risk of liver cancer, but also of all types of tumors in the digestive tract . Different breakdown products of alcohol are probably to blame for this. The German cancer research experts also recommend avoiding alcohol for at least two to three days. 7. Protect yourself from the sun UV rays, as well as tobacco smoke and heavily processed meat, fall into category 1 of carcinogenic substances. For skin cancer, the sun is the clear main risk factor that you can easily avoid. So always protect yourself with a sufficient sun protection factor. This is especially important for children. Since all UV rays are equally harmful, you should also avoid the solarium. 8. Avoid carcinogenic substances Much is in the air. Just like the environmental risk factors radon, fine dust or ionizing radiation such as those generated during medical examinations. Environmental pollutants can cause tumors in the lungs, bladder or skin. Some factors are not always influenced by the individual. Nevertheless, the following applies: Refrain from long walks if the fine dust values are high in your city and ask critically during X-ray examinations whether they are really necessary. When it comes to radon, ventilation helps a lot. You can look up the pollution in your region on the radon map . 9. Get yourself and your children vaccinated against hepatitis B and HPV Liver cell cancer often develops after infection with hepatitis B or C – especially in children. Not least because of this, the Standing Vaccination Commission (STIKO) has recommended vaccination against hepatitis B for all infants and young children since 1995. Human papillomavirus (HPV) attack cells of the skin or the mucous membrane. This rarely results in tissue changes and cancer. The HPV vaccinations protect against cancer precursors in the cervix, anus, in the genital area and in the oropharynx. Since June 2018, the vaccination recommendation applies not only to girls between the ages of nine and 14, but also to boys, as the viruses are mainly transmitted sexually. 10. Especially for women: breastfeed and be careful with hormonal supplements If you will become a mother, experts recommend breastfeeding the child – also to reduce your risk of breast cancer. For later, be cautious about hormone replacement therapy during menopause, as it increases the risk of breast cancer. This is especially true for estrogen-progestin combination products. It is similar with the pill. The hormones estrogen and progestin may increase the risk of developing breast, cervical and liver cancer. At the same time they lower it for cancer of the uterine body and ovarian cancer. The cancer research experts at the DKFZ therefore advise: Assess your personal risk carefully. In general, early detection increases the chances of recovery There is more that anyone can do beyond a sensible lifestyle: You should schedule regular checkups for some types of cancer : colon cancer, skin cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, cervical cancer. The following applies to all types of tumors: the earlier they are recognized and treated, the greater the chances of recovery.