20% Humans have hole in their Heart - Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO)

Foramen Ovale is a medical condition found in most of the newly born babies. In this medical condition there is a hole between the upper chamber of heart (i.e. right and left auricle). It is a common phenomena in babies. But this hole is closed automatically within a few weeks after birth. But one in every five person is not so lucky and his/her Foramen Ovale remain open. This medical condition is called Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO), also known as Atrial septal defect.

What happens to our body due to Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) ?
Our right auricle contains the deoxygenated blood while left auricle contains the oxygenated blood. The hole between these two chambers of heart mixes the pure blood with impure blood. The same blood is then sent to different body parts and the same mixed blood is sent to lungs to get oxygenated. No major symptoms can be noticed of this medical condition in childhood. But as the person reaches 30's some symptoms become visible. These symptoms are:

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  • Shortness of breath
  • Getting tired soon
  • Swelling in legs anf feet
  • heart palpitations
  • heart murmurs

These symptoms vary from person to person. Symptoms are more clear in people with large PFO hole, while people with small hole might never feel any symptom.
 Note: In very rare cases if a baby have both PFO and some other heart condition then blue tint may appear on skin while crying or passing stool.

Health Risks related to Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO)

  • A person suffering from PFO may live a healthy life, but chances of getting a stroke attack is more compared to a person with no PFO. 
  • In our last article betterhealthfacts.com discussed the effect of Air bubble getting injected into veins, which can cause problem is a person suffering from PFO. 
  • In some researches migraine is found connected to PFO. Those who have got their PFO corrected through surgery reported reduction in migraine.

Why do newly born babies have Foramen Ovale ?
When the arteries and veins develop in a baby inside the womb of her mother it needs blood supply. The hole (Foramen Ovale) provides more blood instantly to the heart to pump into these newly developed arteries. This Foramen Ovale does not cause any harm to baby as at that time lungs of mother are oxygenating the blood for baby. Baby's own lungs don't oxygenate the blood as baby can't breathe in the womb. As the baby is born the Foramen Ovale closes itself within a few weeks.

Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) Diagnosis
It can be done using ECG (echocardiogram) through a bubble test performed with saline water. The doctor checks it through ECG machine if the bubble passes between two upper chambers of heart.

Patent Foramen Ovale (PFO) Treatment
PFO can be closed through surgery. There are more than 20% chances that you have got a PFO in your heart. But you don't need to go for surgery unless your doctor tell you that your PFO is causing some trouble in your body. What happens in the surgery is visible in the gif image provided here.

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Medical Conditions that affect Driving Skill

Driving is a necessary skill in modern life, as we can't even imagine living properly without it. Every day-to-day work includes driving skill. When we talk about those medical conditions that can affect driving skill then most common things that come in our mind are problems of eye sight or some problem in hands/legs or problems of spine. These are something common that anyone can think about, but there are some lesser known medical conditions that can make your driving experience worst. So it is better to be aware of those problems.

Here we will list some medical conditions that should be treated adequately, so that you can keep enjoying your driving experience.

Medical Conditions that affect Driving Skill


  • Dementia: This disease usually occurs as a side effect of  Alzheimer’s disease, stroke or brain injury. Dementia affect our judgment, memory, and decision-making skills. These effects of dementia can make driving not just unsafe for ourselves but risky for others as well.
  • Epilepsy: It is a neurological disorder that can cause recurring seizures. These seizures make temporary loss of awareness or consciousness and can easily lead to problems while driving.
  • Sleep disorders: Sleep disorders often disturb your sleep during night and might result in sleepiness while driving and it can be extremely dangerous. Sometimes even lack of sleep can create problems while driving for normal people, who don't suffer from any sleep disorder.
  • Diabetes: Uncontrolled diabetes can cause lack of consciousness while driving. Diabetes can also affect your eyes and nervous system, which are extremely important while driving.
  • Blackouts and fainting while driving can also be harmful, but these symptoms indicate some underlying medical conditions.
  • Mental illnesses such as depression, schizophrenia and panic attacks may affect your behavior. Sudden changes in behavior can cause improper driving like rash driving, lack of concentration and improper decision making.
  • Herniated disc: Also known as slip disk can cause difficulty while driving. Sometime the back pain can get worst while driving. So if you are a patient of slip disc then its better to periodically take advise from your doctor regarding driving. 
  • Cataract: It blurs you vision and affects your driving skill depending on the severity of cataract. A timely treatment of cataract can help you in driving properly.
  • Some Medications: Yes ! Some medicines can definitely impact your driving as the side effects of some medicines don't allow you to drive properly. Some of these medications are anxiety medicines, sleeping pills, epilepsy medicine, antidepressants, antihistamines and opioids. These medicines can cause drowsiness, dizziness, weakness of muscles, blurred vision, confusion, lack of alertness and slow reflex. These conditions can easily cause any mis-happening on road. Some medications are equivalent to drinking more than legal amount of alcohol while driving.


Apart from above listed conditions. there are some temporary medical condition that can affect your driving such as sports injuries like concussion, muscle tears and strains. Some anesthesia given by doctor might also make you unable to drive for some hours or a complete day, depending on the treatment you are getting. In such cases use your common sense to decide if its safe to drive or you may ask an expert.

Sumo Wrestlers : Fat or Fit ?

Sumo wrestlers are one of the most reputed athletes in Japan and people take blessing from them for a good health. But people from other parts of world often wonder if a Sumo Wrestler should be considered healthy of not. Their physique gives an impression of a diseased person, who has gained enormous amount of fat. But when we see them in wrestling rings, they give a tough fight to wrestlers of any other form of wrestling. Some of you must have seen sumo wrestlers in WWE.

On an average a sumo wrestlers is 185cm in height and 148kg in weight. It gives us a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 43. Anything above 30 on BMI scale means that the person is suffering from Obesity, which is a disease in modern terminology and can lead to lifestyle diseases like diabetes and hypertension.


Most of you must have already made their mind about health of sumo wrestler, but we will suggest you to read this article without any preconceived notion. Usually we see sumo as a wrestling sport but the truth is something beyond. We will tell you that after discussing about the health perspective.

Diet of a Sumo Wrestler

Diet of a sumo wrestler is not composed of fatty food, as usually believed, and they don't eat all over the day. They eat just two heavy diets in a day and eat Chanko Nabe (or Sumo Stew), which is a protein rich diet made with all kinds of vegetables (bok choy, mushroom, daikon, anything you can think of) in a rich dashi and chicken, fish, meatballs, tofu. Their diet is composed of 4000 to 5000 calories per day, while some wrong sources mention it as 10000 to 20000 calories (which is something inhuman). Actual sumo diet is more than twice of a normal man, but it does not increase the visceral fat. which is main cause of obesity related diseases in normal people.

Training Routine of a Sumo Wrestler

Unlike other seasonal sports that happen only at a part of year, Sumo Wrestling tournaments occur all over the year, so professional sumo wrestlers train themselves all over the year and eat accordingly. Some facts about training sessions of Sumo Wrestlers are listed below.
Sumo Wrestlers are not allowed to have breakfast, instead they have a large lunch after training session. If we talk about their training, then it is intense and one of the toughest. Some facts about Sumo training are listed below.

  • Leg stomps: moving forwards while barely lifting upward-turned feet
  • Slapping wooden pillars with open palms
  • Standing stationary absorbing charges from other wrestlers
  • They are trained to do all kinds of splits. Lifting their legs as high as possible or spreading their legs and touching the floor with chest or cheek are part of their tough training.
  • A single workout session can make them sweat in kilograms. Profession Sumo wrestlers can loose upto 5 kg of weight in a single session.
  • Some sumo wrestlers have even died while training.

Behavior of a Sumo Wrestler

Sumo Associations have made various rules to keep Sumo Wrestlers well disciplined. Some of these rules are:
  • They can't drive a car
  • They need to live in communal sumo training stables.
  • They need to grow their hair long to form a topknot (chonmage).
  • They should wear traditional Japanese dress when in public.
  • A Sumo wrestler must always speak softly.
  • Sumo Wrestler's rand decide the type and quality of their dress.
  • They need to wear wooden sandals known as geta that make a distinctive clip-clop sound.
  • When in stable (the training gym of sumo wrestlers), juniors wake up at the earliest and also help in daily chores like cooking, cleaning and preparing bathrooms for seniors.
  • Ranking hierarchy is maintained in bathing and eating lunch. Junior wrestlers even wipe the senior wrestler's sweat with a towel.
  • Only senior wrestlers get their personal room in stable, while junior wrestlers use dormitories to sleep.
  • They should not show joy at winning or disappointment at losing.
  • If a sumo wrestler breaks the rules then fine or suspension can be awarded to both the offending wrestler and his stablemaster.
Due to such strict rules the dropout rate of new recruits is quiet high. Life of juniors is considered harsh among sumo wrestlers.

Health of a Sumo Wrestlers

Most of the sumo wrestlers are not as huge as we have seen. Normally we only watch those sumo wrestlers on television who have got famous after winning championships. Sumo Wrestlers live a healthy adult life due to their tough workout routine. As they retire after growing old and get away from training, the fat in their body start to show the negative consequences and they suffer from type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis and liver problems. Due to these diseases in old age the average life expectancy of Sumo Wrestlers is 60 to 65 years, which is 10 year less than normal Japanese people. Know your Life Expectancy
But living a life of Sumo Wrestler is not about living a long life but about making it large and developing better soul inside. Due to this reason Japanese people respect Sumo Wrestlers just as if they are monks.

Sumo wrestling is a part of Japanese tradition and their religion. Most of the sumo wrestlers don't end up as professionals, but they spend years at stable to prepare themselves for some other professions. They learn discipline and self control while also increasing the physical capability in handling any kind of pressure. They are not just tough from body but also from their brain. A number of sumo wrestlers have become famous chefs as they learned the cooking skills in the stables.

In past few years the sumo associations have set a minimum height requirement of 173 cm (5 feet 8 inches) to be a sumo wrestlers. Now the weight gain requirement are also not as strict as past, to save the wrestlers from health consequences.

What do you think about sumo wrestlers after reading this article. Please mention you views in the comment section.