Saturday, January 21, 2012

She survived after plunging six storeys from her apartment

Dunia Reda
  • Image Credit: Faisal Masudi/XPRESS
  • Egyptian miracle girl Dunia Reda, 6, says she did not see ‘who saved me’ but added 'it must have been an angel'.

A girl who survived after plunging six storeys from her apartment block in Sharjah last Thursday said an angel broke her fall.
Egyptian miracle girl Dunia Reda, 6, said: "I was falling fast at first, and very scared, but then I felt someone hold me like I was a baby. I didn't drop as hard as I thought I would."
I was falling fast at first, and very scared, but then I felt someone hold me like I was a baby. I didn't drop as hard as I thought I would
Dunia Reda
Dunia was still conscious after hitting the ground. She said she did not see "who saved me" but added "it must have been an angel".
Her father Reda added: "I believe her, it was divine mercy. She keeps telling me about it, she is very excited."
Dunia said she lost her balance after opening a window and leaning out of her building in Nabbah area to chat with children playing downstairs. The window was shut and locked as usual, Reda said, but Dunia "couldn't resist the sounds of children playing and wanted to say hi to them".
She had got up while her mum and baby brothers were still asleep. Reda was in Dubai at the time, at around 10pm last Thursday. She managed to unlock the window and slide it open.

Dunia Reda
  • Image Credit: Supplied
  • Watchman Nurul Anwar rushed to help Dunia after she fell from sixth floor apartment window.

‘I will be careful'
"I won't go near windows again, it's dangerous. I will listen to my parents," she said. Reda added: "We always keep the front door and windows locked. Dunia is a very social girl who loves to play outdoors with friends; she wanted to see the children playing that night."
She was rushed to Kuwaiti Hospital in Sharjah, he added. Dunia is now recovering from her injuries at Al Qasimi Hospital in Sharjah. When XPRESS visited her recently, she appeared to be doing well, playing games on her father's mobile phone and chatting with him.
He said: "Dunia was given a bracelet with ‘Allah' written on it by her mum hours before the fall. She refuses to take it off now, even when she is getting her dressing changed. She is a very spiritual girl, always smiling."
In the Nabbah neighbourhood people are still talking about the death-defying incident. "It's unbelievable indeed. Every day I am stopped by strangers asking me to describe how it happened," said Mohammad Nurul Anwar, the watchman of her building.
Dunia's fall comes on the heels of a string of fatal plunges seeing children toppling out of windows or balconies from high-rises in the UAE. At least 18 children fell last year, with about half a dozen deaths reported in separate incidents. Legal action was taken against parents accused of neglect in at least one case, with authorities warning against leaving children unattended or alone at home. Awareness campaigns highlighting the risks are planned as government officials try to introduce new safety rules and punishments to help prevent such accidents from happening.

First Lady of Shopping

Dedicated follower of fashion

ROSMAH MANSOR likes to be introduced as the First Lady of Malaysia, but for Sydney fashion designer Carl Kapp, she is his first lady of shopping.

The wife of the Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak, is known across Malaysia simply as FLOM (First Lady of Malaysia), and is Kapp's biggest customer, having dropped an estimated $100,000 in his boutique ordering garments during a private holiday in Sydney a little more than a fortnight ago.

''She was absolutely gracious and very easy to deal with,'' Kapp told PS this week, agreeing she was nothing like the woman often portrayed in Malaysian media for her allegedly extravagant lifestyle.

In recent months, Mansor, who stayed with her husband in the $20,000-a-night penthouse at The Darling hotel, has been forced to deny reports she had bought a $US24 million diamond and a $US200,000-plus crocodile skin, bejewelled Hermes handbag. Kapp, who has a keen eye for such bags, having worked for Hermes, said he did not see any such handbag when he met her.

What her critics in Malaysia will make of her Sydney shopping spree, first reported on local fashion blog Frockwriter, is yet to be determined.

Kapp, who became suspicious of the identity of his mystery VIP customer when his Oxford Street store received a flurry of calls requesting valet parking for her limo, said he was being flown to Malaysia next month with a collection of ''toiles'' for Mansor to try on before completing her massive order of 61 dresses, pants and tops.

All made from the finest silk and in a variety of exotic colours and prints, Kapp said his new muse had ''a very good eye for colour and she likes a lot of prints''.

Super Kerr now a model citizen

January 21, 2012

Should we all cut back on salt—regardless of our blood pressure level?

Most of the sodium in our diet comes from salt, or sodium chloride. Sodium has many important functions in the body, including:
  • transmitting nerve impulses
  • contracting and relaxing muscle fibers
  • maintaining proper fluid balance.
But Americans get much more than they need—3,400 mg of sodium per day, on average. (See the chart below for recommended intake.)The kidneys regulate the body's sodium level by getting rid of any excess. But if there's too much sodium in the bloodstream, the kidneys can't keep up. Excess sodium in the blood pulls out water from the cells. As this fluid increases, so does blood volume. That means more work for the heart, increased pressure in the blood vessels, and often, eventually, stiffened vessel walls, chronic high blood pressure, and an increased risk of heart attack or stroke.
Current recommended intakes of sodium for healthy adults by age group
Group Adequate intake (AI) of sodium* Salt equivalent Upper limit (UL) of sodium intake**
Ages 19-50 1.5 g/1,500 mg 3,800 mg, or 23 teaspoon (tsp.) 2.3 g/2,300 mg (equivalent to 5.8 g/5,800 mg, or 1 tsp., salt)
Ages 51-70 1.3 g/1,300 mg 3,200 mg, or ~½ tsp. Less than 2.3 g, but a precise amount has not been determined
Ages 71 and over 1.2 g/1,200 mg 2,900 mg, or ½ tsp.
*The average amount needed to replace sodium lost daily through sweat while providing enough other essential nutrients.
**UL may be higher for people who lose large amounts of sodium in sweat, such as athletes and workers exposed to extreme heat.
Source: Dietary Reference Intakes for Water, Potassium, Sodium, Chloride, and Sulfate, National Academies Press (2004).
Some people are especially sensitive to sodium—their blood pressure rises and falls directly with their sodium intake. That puts them at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, even if they don't have high blood pressure. It also means that they particularly benefit from restricting sodium intake.
Those most prone to salt sensitivity include:
  • the elderly
  • African Americans
  • people with hypertension
  • people with diabetes
  • people with chronic kidney disease.
What about the rest of us?
As many as one in three adults in the United States has high blood pressure, also called hypertension. Many more have "prehypertension," which means that while they don't have high blood pressure yet, they're likely to develop it. Many studies have shown that blood pressure is directly related to dietary sodium, so it makes sense for at-risk individuals to cut back. But what about the rest of us?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that limiting sodium intake should be just about everyone's concern. In a 2009 study, CDC researchers concluded that 70% of American adults should aim for a sodium intake of no more than 1,500 mg per day. People who fell into this group of about 145 million people included:
  • everyone over age 40
  • all African Americans
  • people with hypertension.
Some public health experts believe the 1,500-mg-per-day cap should be extended to everyone. Others say that proposal ignores other factors influencing blood pressure. Almost everyone agrees that we couldn't reach the 1,500-mg limit without reducing the amount of salt in processed and prepared foods—the main source of dietary sodium.
Sources of sodium
Most of the sodium we eat comes from restaurant meals and processed foods, including canned vegetables and soups, pasta sauces, frozen entrees, luncheon meats, and snack foods.
Sodium is also found in many condiments besides ordinary table salt—including soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salad dressings, ketchup, seasoned salts, pickles, and olives. Baking soda, baking powder, and monosodium glutamate (MSG) also contain sodium.
What do the studies show?
Many studies have investigated links between sodium intake, blood pressure, and cardiovascular disease. Some of the most compelling evidence has come from the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) trials.
The first DASH trial showed that a diet rich in the following could lower blood pressure:
  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • low-fat dairy products
  • whole grains
  • beans
  • nuts
  • fish
  • lean meats
  • poultry.
In a follow-up trial, this diet was compared with one closely resembling the average American diet, and both diets were further divided into three sodium levels: high (3,500 mg/day), moderate (2,400 mg/day), and low (1,500 mg/day). More than 400 volunteers followed their assigned diets for 12 weeks, changing their sodium intake every four weeks.
Across the board, less sodium intake led to lower blood pressure. The DASH diet with sodium restricted to just 1,500 mg per day worked best for all participants. And for people with hypertension, it was almost as effective as medication.
The researchers concluded that we could all benefit from reducing our sodium intake. But the study did little to quell controversy over the issue. Critics charged that it was too brief to justify a general recommendation, and they warned of health risks from insufficient sodium in the diet. Proponents say that's unlikely, because most human beings don't even need as much as 1,500 mg a day for good health. Of course, this 12-week study couldn't predict the impact of reduced sodium intake on the risk of cardiovascular disease down the road.
A 2007 follow-up study to the Trials of Hypertension Prevention (TOHP) provided a longer-term perspective. The original TOHP study involved two randomized trials of lifestyle interventions conducted in the late 1980s and early 1990s. A team led by Harvard researchers tracked down the original TOHP participants and found that those who had permanently lowered their sodium intake to between 2,000 and 2,600 mg per day and continued to watch their salt intake had almost 30% fewer cardiovascular events, including death, in the following 10 to 15 years.
The TOHP trials didn't require drastic dietary changes. Instead, the volunteers learned how to look out for hidden salt and avoid it. Those who were able to reduce their salt intake by one-third to one-half teaspoon per day reaped the cardiovascular benefits.
One size doesn't fit all
The controversy about universal salt restriction will probably continue. As in most health matters, one size doesn't fit all. How salt affects your blood pressure and health depends on many things, including your:
  • genes
  • age
  • race
  • medical conditions.
What to do
If you're under age 50, your blood pressure is in the healthy range (under 120/80 mm Hg), and your health is good, you have little reason to worry about your dietary sodium intake, at least for now. Still, try to limit it to no more than 2,300 mg per day.
The risk for high blood pressure rises with age, so you'll do yourself a favor if you wean your taste buds from a yen for salt. Research has shown that people who slowly reduce their intake find that they eventually prefer less salt.
If you're older, obese, African American, or have diabetes, you may be salt-sensitive. Most experts agree people in these categories should cut back. Keep your sodium intake to less than 1,500 mg a day.
If you have hypertension, prehypertension, kidney disease, or heart failure, keep your sodium intake to less than 1,500 mg a day.
If you're hypertensive or prehypertensive or just want a healthy eating plan, consider following one of the three diets that were tested in the OmniHeart trial. The first is the DASH-like diet explained in this PDF published by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The second was high in unsaturated fats, and the third was high in protein. (See for specifics.)
Results showed that all three diets lowered blood pressure, improved cholesterol levels, and reduced the risk of heart disease. (The high-unsaturated-fat and high-protein diets improved cholesterol levels and blood pressure even more than the DASH diet, which was higher in carbohydrates.)
The health benefits of these eating plans can't be attributed to any single ingredient—the magic is probably in the mix—but one reason they work is that they're rich in potassium. Potassium has been shown to be beneficial to blood pressure.
Whatever diet you follow, make sure it includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, which contain little or no sodium and are an important source of potassium. Potassium-rich choices include bananas, orange juice, cantaloupe, spinach, avocado, and sweet potato.