Statistics say that 1200 million people use tobacco globally and approx 5.5 million people die of tobacco use every year.

Do we really know what happens when we get addicted to smoking or chewing tobacco.

People consume tobacco in a variety of ways – eating, chewing and smoking. Smoking is the most prevalent form of tobacco use.

What really happens when we smoke?

The chemicals we inhale while smoking damage the supply of oxygen to our lungs as the tissues in the body are oxygen deprived , leading to inflamed pathways to the lungs and lung damage.

Nicotine introduces carbon monoxide molecule into the body which is absorbed into the bloodstream at the cost of an oxygen molecule. This carbon monoxide molecule then circulates in the body for the next few hours, which then leads to the wearing of the endothelium of the airways and eventually leads to a condition called obstructive pulmonary disease. Obstructive pulmonary disease is a term which is used to refer to a group on lung diseases such as emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory asthma, and some forms of bronchiectasis.

Early signs of heart disease and stroke are detected in teenagers who smoke.

The most common diseases due to tobacco consumption are oral cancer, mouth cancer, tounge cancer throat cancer, nasal cavity cancer and lung cancer.

1/3rd of the youth who smoke are at a risk of premature death.

Do we really need to die a premature death or worse still battle cancers, pulmonary disease, just because we find it difficult to control a tobacco addiction.

In order to prevent the further degression of our health – we must say #NoToTobacco this #WorldNoTobaccoDay.

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Holding up your Pee for long ?

What are the long-term implications of holding your pee?

Most of us often end up, holding going to the washroom off and on. But do we realize, the long-term damage that happens in the process?

Holding your pee can lead to enlarged prostate, problems with urinary bladder, even kidney disorder

When we feel the urge to urinate, the process involves coordination between muscles, organs, and the nerves.

When your bladder is half full, it activates the nerves in your bladder which then signal your brain to give you the urge to urinate. The brain then signals the bladder to hold on. Holding your pee for long involves consciously fighting the brain signal to urinate.

When we hold on to the pee for long, the urine can flow back into the ureter into the kidneys and lead to a urinary tract infection in the bladder or the urethra. The infection can then travel to the kidney and lead to kidney infection and even kidney disease.

When treated in time, simple antibiotics can cure UTI’s.

Untreated bladder infections may lead to more severe problems such as bacterial bloodstream infections which may cause sepsis, also kidney disorders and subsequent damage which over time may lead to dialysis followed by a kidney transplant.

Holding pee for long also weakens the bladder muscles and leads to urinary retention, where the bladder doesn’t get emptied and one has to urinate very often.

Other problems include enlarged prostate, weak pelvic muscles, inflammation of the bladder walls, pain in the lower abdomen which does not go away, incontinence and kidney failure.

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Does your X -ray look like this ?

Degenerative joint disease or degenerative arthritis, leads to breaking down of cartilage causing pain, swelling and problems with joint movement and bones  rubbing against each other.

The most common chronic conditions affecting  the joints is Osteoarthritis, ( OA) , Rheumatoid Arthritis ( RA) and Gout.

Osteoarthritis  commonly affects knees, hips, small joints off the fingers, big toe, thumb and also the lower back and sometimes even neck.

Cartilage a smooth, rubbery material covers the end of each bone and helps in smooth joint movement and acts as a cushion between bones  in normal joints.  If the cartilage breaks down, joint movement gets affected. As arthritis worsens over time,  small growths called spurs may develop on the bones.  Small bits and pieces of bones and cartilage often chip off and and float around in the joint.   Due to inflammation, cytokines (proteins) and enzymes develop in the body that further damage the cartilage.

As Osteoarthritis progresses, the cartilage wears away and bone knock and rub against each other  leading to more  joint damage, excrutiating pain.

There is no cure for Osteoarthritis but medical management along with moderate exercise ( atleast 30 minutes, with stretches to help joint mobility and flexibility)  and weight reduction, may help in managing pain, stiffness, swelling and in improving joint mobility..

Osteoarthritis largely affects people over 65 though even younger people, teenagers also get affected.

 OTC pain relievers, NSAID’s (non steroidal  anti -inflammatory drugs) , corticosteroids (oral or injections)  and Hyaluronic acid injections are the various treatment options which provide relief. Surgery or joint replacement such as total knee replacement, hip replacement can replace severely damaged knees and hip joints.

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Good Health – A few vital indicators!

 Good health
Vital parameters for good health

We all talk of good health. Are there some common parameters which indicate good health ?

Blood Pressure :The force of blood pressing against your artery walls is your blood pressure
Ideal BP is 120/80mm.  BP over 140/90mm increases risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Cholesterol : Cholesterol is a fat-like, waxy substance in the blood which gets deposited in your arteries and reduces blood supply.
Ideally total cholesterol, which should be less than 200mg/dL; tri-glycerides, which should be less than 150mg/dL; good’ HDL cholesterol, greater than 60mg/dL and ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol, less than 100mg/dL. Higher levels of cholesterol may block blood flow to the heart an increase risk of heart disease.
 BMI or Body Mass Index is a key indicator for fat in the body  measures body fat using your height and weight.
Ideally  BMI should be between 18.5 to 24.9. BMI less than 18, indicates under weight with possible nutritional deficiencies.
A BMI of 25 and above is considered to be overweight, while 30 and above is considered to be obese. 
Sugar: The amount of glucose in the blood is called sugar
Sugar is measured by Fasting Sugar, PP sugar or HbAIc tests (hemoglobin Alc ).
A high HbAIc indicates pre diabetes, insulin resistance which lead to diabetes. Ideally HbAlc should be less than 5.7% and fasting glucose should be less than 126mg/dL.
Diabetes is usually diagnosed when HbAlc is 6.5% or higher, while your fasting glucose is 126mg/dL or higher. High sugar levels can damage blood vessels, increasing risk of heart disease and kidney failure.

Happy Mother’s Day ! Every woman deserves to be one

Happy Mother's DayEveryone woman deserves to be a mother and enjoy the trials , tribulations and joy which only motherhood can beget.

This mother’s day, lets look at a few reasons why some of us find it difficult to be a mother.

What is Infertility ?

Inability to conceive a child naturally is usually termed as infertility.

The most common reasons for female infertility include problems with ovulation, damage to fallopian tubes or uterus, or problems with the cervix.

Fertility also decreases with age, hence the older you are the more difficult natural conception is.

Hormonal imbalance, PCOD or polycystic ovarian disease, obesity, bulimia, anorexia, drug abuse, alcoholism are often contribution factors which hamper ovulation.

Other factors such as endometriosis, fibroids, polyps in the uterus, tumors, previous history of STD or sexually transmitted diseases, previous illness such as cancer, previous ectopic pregnancy, changes in mucosa of the cervix which hampers transportation of sperms are contributing factors in damaging the fallopian tubes and the uterus resulting in infertility.

What are the options when one is finding it difficult to conceive naturally ?

Taking medication or hormones to address hormone imbalance, endometriosis, PCOD is an option.

Very often hormones to stimulate ovulation are also provided.
Regular checkups and medication to remove infection is also a must.

Surgeries such as DNC for endometriosis and myomectomy or fibroid removal also help resolve the problem

If all fails, IVF is the often the last option.

What is IVF ?

In vitro fertilization or IVf is an assisted reproductive technique.

During IVF, eggs and sperm are brought together in a laboratory glass dish to allow the sperm to fertilise an egg.

After IVF, one or more fertilized eggs are placed in the uterus for the mother to carry the pregnancy through.

How does In Vitro Fertilization work ?

IVF treatments start evaluation of the male sperm followed by hormone therapy to stimulate the development of several follicles in the ovary.

These are collected as eggs, which are then fertilised in a test-tube (‘in vitro’) .

This leads to several embryos which are kept in an incubator for two and five days.

After assessing the quality, one or two of these embryos are transferred through the vagina to the uterus at the right time, where implantation begins.

However, not every embryo implanted leads to a successful pregnancy, and hence surplus embryos are frozen , so that subsequent implantations can be attempted should the first ones fail.

This leads to the IVF success rates varying between 20-40%.

IVF cost in India, varies from US$ 4500 per cycle to US$ 6500 per cycle depending upon whether ICSI ( incase of male infertility) is required or not.

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Did you know 6 out of 10 men are diagnosed with Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer treatment cost, symptoms of prostate cancerStatistics show 1 in 7 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer within their lifetime. This number increases to about 6 in 10 that is 60% of men are diagnosed with prostate cancer after reaching the age of sixty-five.

Though the statistics may seem disheartening, only one in thirty-nine people die as a result of prostate cancer. That means that the average percentage of people who have died from prostate cancer is about 0.027%, probably the least possible for any form of cancer.

What this indicates is that the survival rate for prostate cancer is rather high, in fact after being diagnosed is almost

one-hundred percent. At ten years, survival rate is 98% and survival rate at 15 years is 95%.

There are many treatments for prostate cancer. The hardest part is simply informing yourself and your family on various

treatment options available , their estimated costs and the ability to choose the best treatment option available based on your specific medical condition.

Prostate Cancer Treatment Options:

The treatment options for prostate cancer include surgery and radiotherapy both.

The surgical options for prostate cancer treatment are Simple Prostatectomy, Radical Prostatectomy and TURP

Simple Prostatectomy: In simple prostatectomy or a subtotal prostatectomy, only part of the prostate is removed.

Radical Prostatectomy: In radical prostatectomy, the entire prostate gland is removed along with seminal vesicles and vas deferens. This can be done laparoscopically or even by using Robotic techniques in what is known as Robotic Prostatectomy.

Robotic Prostectomy: Robotic Prostectomy is essentially the same procedure, except it is done using a robotic console capable of making larger more precise incisions, while having a larger field of vision.

This reduces recovery time, the risk of complications, it minimalizes scarring, and it reduces the risk of leaving cancerous tissue.

Robotic Prostatectomy is more expensive and price ranges from US$ 7000 to US$8600 in best hospitals in India.

TURP: Transurethral Resection of the Prostate (TURP) is a procedure in which the prostate gland is reduced in size by removing prostate tissue.

This procedure helps in relieving prostate cancer symptoms and helps with passage of the urine through the urinary tract if the prostate gland restricts urine flow. This procedure does not involve any incisions in the skin, it is all done by resectoscope through the urethra. Afterwards, in order to drain urine a catheter is inserted. The procedure requires hospital admission for a day to two. TURP usually costs between US$ 3000-US$ 3900.

Radiotherapy: Radiotherapy is the use of high-energy rays that in order to terminate cancerous cells. There are several side effects that you may experience after the procedure. These include but are not limited to, fatigue, nausea, and problems eating or drinking. Radiotherapy typically cost $3500 – $4500 in India. Besides radiotherapy, hormone injections are also used for treatment.

These are just a few of the effective of treatments available to those who are affected by prostate cancer. Knowing the benefits and risks of each procedure is a large part of the battle.

To assist patients and their families looking for best doctors, hospitals and treatment options, ihealthkonnect has listed estimated cost for major procedures online. Users can search, connect with best hospitals, doctors, compare cost of treatment and also get a free second medical opinion online.

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Boosting Weight Loss

Boosting Weight LossThis post comes straight from my personal experience to lose weight.

I have gradually begin to realize that as one grows older, the body changes. You no longer lose weight in a jiffy and weight adds up slowly and steadily if you are not careful with what you eat.

So here is a list of foods from my personal repertoire which help with weight loss

1. Eggs and more Eggs– We have written about eggs earlier too. With 70-86 calories per eggs are a great way to start your day.

Research shows that weight loss is significantly higher for women who eat atleast 6 egg whites a week.

A protein rich breakfast helps boost metabolism and helps with weight loss.

2. Uncut raw oats- Oats have a low glycemic index which leads to slow release of energy through out the day. A breakfast of oat porridge with veggies is a great way to stay full and start the day.

3. Hot Peppers- Hot peppers have capsaicin which increases our metabolism , make us sweat and flush toxins out of our body. A bit of chilli and peri peri are actually good for us.

4. Apples, Oranges and pears- Apples, Oranges and pears are low in calories and eating small apples, pears and oranges helps with weight loss.

But remember, just one fruit at a time

5. Load up on the greens be it spinach, kale and broccoli- Not favourite foods with many, these foods are rich in folate, iron and some are good sources of calcium too.

They provide not just vitamins and minerals but also help with necessary fibre intake.

6. Load up on Vitamin D and Calcium rich foods- The sunshine vitamin is great for health which is why foods such as eggs are rich in Vitamin D and help with weight loss.

A Vitamin D and calcium deficiency prevents weight loss.

People who consume 1200 mg of calcium daily are often able to lose weight faster than the average Joe with calcium deficiency.

7. Dump white, opt for browns and red- Ditch the white rice and refined flours for healthier whole wheat, oat, millets such as Amaranth, Ragi, Brown rice which are a source of complex carbohydrates and help boost metabolism by stabilizing insulin levels in the body.

If one is not able to lose weight despite measures and the BMI is over 31, a Weight loss surgery may be the last option.

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Breast Cancer Awareness

Breast Cancer Awareness

Breast Cancer

Being Diagnosed with breast cancer, can be an overwhelming experience especially when one has been healthy throughout
without any symptoms at all.

What are the treatment options when the mamogram says “Cancer”.

Although cancer is not a disease which any one should have, it is possible to offer curative treatment at early stages and
palliative treatment for late stage cancers.

Breast Cancer Treatment Options:

The treatment options for breast cancer, totally depend upon the stage of cancer at the time of diagnosis.

For early stage cancers, when the cancer has not really spread to other parts of the body, surgery is a good option.

For early stage breast cancer, we have surgical options such as lumpectomy, mastectomy with and without reconstruction.

For late stage cancers, chemotherapy to reduce the size of the tumour and control the disease is the first line of
treatment, followed by radiation and hormone therapy.

The long term survival rate of someone diagnosed with breast cancer is based on the spread of the disease. Such
characteristics will include the size of the tumor, whether there are hormonal receptors found on the tumor itself and the
tumor grades.

Breast Cancer Treatment Cost:

Cost of breast cancer treatment in India varies depending on whether surgery is required or not.

Surgery costs vary between us 4500-6000. Chemotherapy costs usd 1000 onwards depending upon drugs administered. Radiotherapy costs us 3500 onwards for a 6 week duration.

Breast cancer treatment cost in India is a variable of whether just one or a combination of treatment options which may be
required based on stage, grade of cancer at the time of diagnosis.

Factors such as age may also play an important part on which treatment a patient should undergo.

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Your Face Says It All

Your face says it allOften skin palor and hair , teeth can give key indications of vitamin and mineral deficiencies

  • Dull, Pale Complexion

Pale skin colour indicates a probable vitamin B12 deficiency

Vitamin B 12 deficiency may also lead to  fatigue, difficulty in memorising.

  • Pale Lips

Could be due to a vitamin B7 deficiency

  • Puffy Eyes

Lack of iodine could lead to puffy eyes

  • Dry Skin

Lack of iodine could also lead to dry skin

  • Bleeding gums

Vitamin C deficiency could lead to tender, sore gums and also lead to a disease called scurvy where the teeth can fall out

  • Dandruff 

Dandruff is often indicator of Vitamin B7 deficiency.

Healthy eating habits and a diet rich in greens, poultry, fruits and vegetables can take care of many of these deficiencies.

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How Does High Blood Pressure Affect Your Heart

Blood Pressure,Open Heart SurgeryUncontrolled blood pressure can damage the heart , the main organ responsible for pumping blood in the body in a number of ways.

Cause narrowing of arteries- As the pressure of blood flowing from your arteries increases. it damages the inner lining of your arteries. Fat from food collects in the damaged part of your arteries causing further narrowing and damage. Eventually arteries become less elastic limiting proper blood supply to the body.

Coronary heart disease-  As the arteries get damaged due to narrowing, a high blood pressure can lead to sudden chest pains  and subsequent heart attack or even arrhythmias.

When the damage becomes extensive, angioplasty, stenting also may not help and an open heart surgery maybe required.

Enlarged Left Heart– As high blood pressure forces the heart to work harder to pump blood , the left ventricle or the left heart becomes thicker and tougher increasing risk of heart attack,  heart failure or a cardiac arrest.

Heart Failure–  Over a period of time, the heart becomes, weaker, less efficient and begins to fail.

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