World Stroke Day !

On World Stroke Day, let’s create awareness on how to recognise symptoms of a stroke, risk factors and treatment options.

Strokes are leading causes of death and permanent disability worldwide.

In a stroke, a part of the brain doesn’t receive  sufficient blood or oxygen and as result functioning  of the corresponding body part gets affected.

Strokes are of 3 types, Transient Ischemic attack, Hemorrhagic Stroke and  Ischemic Stroke.

In a Transient ischemic stroke, a blood clot temporarily stops the blood flow from reaching the brain, 

In an Ischemic stroke, a blood clot stops blood flow to the brain. This can be due to a clot travelling from another part of the body to the brain.

In a hemorrhagic stroke, a blood vessel spills or ruptures, causing a leak.

Symptoms of a stroke are usually all neurological, affecting speech, movement and balance.

Usual Stroke symptoms are :

World Stroke Day
Stroke symptoms ( headache , weakness and numbness on one side , face drooping , slurred speech , loss of conscious ( syncope ), blur vision , loss of balance )
  • Slurry Speech, inability to speak coherent words and sentences
  • Droopy face, with a droop towards one side
  • Inability to lift one arm or sudden weakness in one limb
  • Sudden, severe headache
  • Loss of balance
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Dizziness, Vertigo, with or without nausea
  • Confusion, inability in understanding speech are often symptoms too.

Are there any factors, which increase risk of stroke ?

  • Several life style factors contribute to increasing risk of stroke
  • Obesity or excess weight
  • Hypertension or High Blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • History of Heart Disease
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise and adequate physical activity
  • Alcoholism

What to do when you spot a stroke victim ?

A Stroke can be completely reversible if treated well in time.  The time window for treatment is usually not more than a couple of hours from onset of symptoms.

Time is of essence for a stroke victim as  many as 32000 cells die every minute of delay, leading to irrepairable damage with every minute of delay.

A CT scan or an MRI are first diagnostic tests and based on whether it is a clot that can be surgically removed or  needs to be dissolved, or a leak or rupture of blood vessels, a neurologist or a neurosurgeon take over.

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Diabetes- The soft and silent killer !

The minute most of us hear “Diabetes”, we think of Blood Sugar.

Blood sugar is elevated level of sugar or glucose in the blood which if unchecked overtime, leads to diabetes. Diabetes is a disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to insulin is impaired, resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates, inability of our body to convert sugar into glucose and subsequently elevated levels of glucose in the blood.

We all know about Type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes but whats important is what happens in the body, when we have elevated levels of sugar in the body for long.

Common Effects and Risks associated with high sugar levels and diabetes are:

Diabetes
Diabetes complications affected organs. diabetes affects nerves, kidneys, eyes, vessels, heart, brain and skin

Risk of stroke: Diabetes or elevated sugar levels, increase our risk of stroke, about 4 times more than non diabetics

Risk of Heart Disease:  Diabetes increases risk of heart attack , heart disease. As the blood vessels get damaged, it puts the heart under pressure and an increased risk of heart attacks.  High glucose levels also lead to fatty deposits. Coupled with obesity, high blood pressure, it puts you at a severe risk and an angioplasty  or an open heart bypass surgery may even be required.

Risk of Cataract: Diabetics are at an increased risk of developing cataracts

Risk of Glaucoma: Glaucoma risk is significantly more for diabetics. If left untreated, Glaucoma can lead to blindness.

Risk of Pancreas Malfunction: A malfunction in pancreas leads to diabetes and higher blood sugar levels in turn continue to damage the pancreas.
Risk of Gastroparesis:   Increase in blood sugar levels also makes it hard for the  stomach to empty completely. This also in turn leads to an increase in blood sugar levels. Nausea, vomiting, bloating, and heartburn are common symptoms.
Risk of Kidney Damage:  Unchecked High sugar levels and diabetes, damages the kidneys, leads to diabetic neuropathy and eventually one may need a dialysis or even a kidney transplant.
Risk of Nerve Damage: Diabetics often  have tingling sensation in the foot and suffer from nerve damage. Lack of sensation or peripheral neuropathy is dangerous as due to lack of sensation, one may fail to notice injuries

.
Foot Problems:  Unchecked diabetes can lead to diabetic foot where the entire foot may even need to be amputated.
Ketoacidosis:   In absence of insulin,  the body uses alternate hormones to turn fat into energy, which creates a high level of toxic chemicals such as acids and  ketones, which may lead to a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis.  Diabetic ketoacidosis  often leads to loss of consciousness and other life threatening complications. A Fruity Breath or a sweet smelling breath is often an indicator of diabetes and calls for a check on blood sugar levels.
Visual Problems:  Diabetics often face visual problems, as high glucose levels often lead to swollen, leaky blood vessels in the eye, leading to a condition called diabetic retinopathy.  These vision problems,  may even lead to partial or total loss of vision Vision problems can be gradual hence routine eye checkups if you are diabetic or have pre diabetes are a must.

Risk of damage to blood vessels:  High blood sugar levels or high glucose levels,
restrict blood flow, damaging the blood vessels.

As unchecked diabetes, leads to a host of problems, it is important to make life style changes. Pre diabetes conditions can be reversed by exercise and dietary changes.  Type 2 diabetes can be controlled and even reversed if significant life style changes are made.

One of the most important life style change is to Quit smoking as diabetes and smoking leads to an enhanced risk of heart disease.

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High Uric Acid levels ! Is there something to worry about ?

Uric acid is produced naturally by the body as a result of metabolism. Our kidneys filter and throw out uric acid normally.

In some cases, the body produces more uric acid than it can excrete or the kidneys are not able to excrete uric acid being produced, it leads to a rise of uric acid levels and leads to a condition called hyperuricemia.

Hyperuricemia is defined as an excess of uric acid in the bloodstream. If your uric acid is in excess of 7 mg/dL – you may have hyperuricemia.

Hyperuricemia has a few major health effects. They are as follows :

Gout
Gout

Gout : It is defined as a type of arthritis that causes inflammation in the smaller bones of the joints. Typically, chalky deposits of uric acid called “tophi” deposit as lumps under the skin causing severe pain and redness specially in the base of the big toe over a long period of time. This tophaceous gout compresses the nerves and is visible to the naked eye – making it disfiguring and making the pain worse. Gout, is characterised by episodes of intense pain. Sometimes uric acid crystals start to deposit in other joints such as elbow, knee, fingers, hand etc and may also damage surrounding cartilege.
Though extremely rare, sometimes, due to damage of the cartilage a joint replacement surgery such as total knee replacement may be required.

Doctors very rarely let patients come to this stage though and prescribe medication to take care of the pain and to shrink the uric acid crystals.

Incase Tophi or the uric acid crystals become too large or become infected, a surgery though rare, may be needed to remove crystals.

Large Tophi may also affect the range of movement of the joint such as hand or knee and a simple surgery may be required.

Kidney Stones : Kidney stones are defined as a hard mass formed in the kidneys due to insoluble calcium compounds. Initially, the kidney stones are small and pass out with the urine; however, over time the kidney stones become larger and block the urinary tract causing a difficulty in the passing of urine and urinary tract infections due to the buildup of bacteria in the tract. A high level of Uric acid is also a predictor and indicate’s renal dysfunction well in advance before the dialysis stage or the kidney transplant stage .
In patient’s with Rheumatoid arthritis or RA, high uric acid levels, call for a visit to the doctor.

Possible surgeries and procedure to take care of kidney stones are SWL(Shockwave lithotripsy), Ureteroscopy, PCNL(Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy ).

PCNL is best for treatment of medium to large stones , for complex stones or if there are too many stones in one kidney and needs a good, trained urologist.

Ureteroscopy is slightly more invasive than Shockwave lithotripsy but is good for stones which are very small and also way down in the urinary tract.

The best way to take care of gout related problems is to prevent hyperuricemia.

The following natural remedies are easy to implement and help prevent hyperuricemia :
Lemon Juice : Lemon is a natural antioxidant and contrary to popular belief, helps neutralise the uric acid in the body. A glass of lukewarm lemon juice water in the mornings before breakfast may go a long way in preventing uric acid buildup.
Apple Vinegar : Vinegar contains malic acid that helps to breakdown uric acid and make the solution alkaline. A glass of water with 2 tablespoons of apple vinegar has anti – inflammatory benefits.
Water : It is supposed to flush out toxins from the body and regulate kidney function. 8-10 glasses of water a day help dilute uric acid in the body and help excrete out the same from the body. Additionally, care should be taken to include water rich fruits such as watermelon and vegetables such as cucumber in ones diet.
Berries : Cherries and other purple or blue coloured berries contain anthocyanin that have anti- inflammatory and anti- oxidant properties and that help lower uric acid in the body. A bowl of cherries a day greatly reduces the risk of hyperuricemia.
These natural remedies are suggested to be followed post a doctor consultation and are by no means an alternative to prescription medication which is critical for treatment of gout.

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Is your tooth pain, an indicator of disease ?

 

Tooth ache,Ddental problems
Tooth Ache, Dental Problems, Health Problems

Teeth: As per Merriam Webster, teeth are defined as the hard bony appendages that are borne on the jaws in the mouth or pharynx and exist for eating food and as weapons of offense and defense.
Over the years, modern physicists have discovered that there is indeed a direct relationship between teeth and Qi ( Energy ). The Chinese found a way to measure Qi and map the pathways – this led them to the conclusion that if Qi was normal, there was good blood flow in the body ; however, if there was disturbed Qi – it symbolised disease and disturbed blood flow.

According to them, teeth are indicative of the state of internal organs in the body and hence pain often indicates trouble in the connected body organ. One’s lips are related to the spleen, teeth are related to various organs in the body, the gum is related to the stomach, and the tongue is related to the heart.

Below are a few health problems which our teeth, gums and tongue indicate :

  • The normal colour of lips is bright red and moist. Dry lips indicate pathogenic dryness, Pale lips indicate blood shortage or anemia, and purple lips indicate coldness or poor circulation.
  • Dry teeth indicate insufficient liquid in the kidneys.
  • Pale gums indicate blood deficiency, Red and swollen lips indicate stomach fire, and Bleeding from the swollen gums indicates the blood vessel damage. Furthermore, the various teeth in the mouth also indicate the state of various organs.

    Dental
    Teeth, how tooth pain is an indicator of poor health
  • Bladder, Kidney and Ears : Link to Upper and Lower Incisors
  • Liver and Gall Bladder: Canine Teeth
  • Lungs: Pre Molars
  • Stomach Heart, Pancreas and Spleen : Molars

But, does this mean that the damage of the teeth is responsible for all internal damages?
Thankfully, no. However pain in various teeth may indicate problems with specific body organs.

Given below are the connections between the teeth and the organs :

  • As the top and bottom 4 incisors are directly related to the kidney and bladder. Pain in upper and lower incisors could mean infection or inflammation in the kidney, inflammation of the prostate gland or even middle ear infection.
  • As top and bottom 2 canines are directly related to the liver and bladder. Thus pain in your canines could indicate a Hepatitis A,B. C infection or inflammation of the gall bladder.
  • Lungs and large intestines are related to the top and bottom 4 bicuspids or premolars, pain may indicate, inflammation of the colon, bronchitis, asthma, other lung problems such as COPD.
  • The first and second molars are directly related to the spleen and stomach and pain could indicate gastric problems, pancreatitis and even ulcers.
  • The third molars or the wisdom teeth are directly related to the small intestine and the heart and pain may indicate cardiac disease, coronary heart disease and even congenital heart defects such as PDA, TOF, Fontan, VSD, ASD , ASO,  AV Canal and may even pre empt a CABG or an Angioplasty
  • Build up of plaque in the arteries, problems with arteries, varicose veins may be the actual trouble spots if you have pain in the sixth lower teeth.
  • Thyroid problems such as hypothyroidism, sinus, spleen and even inflammation of ovaries may be the real reason behind pain in sixth upper teeth.
  • Arthritis, problems with colon, pain in joints such as knee, elbow and shoulder may be the reasons for pain in the upper and lower fourth teeth.

So next time you have tooth pain, look for the real reason before heading for a tooth extraction or  ( RCT) root canal treatmentA tooth pain, may be a warning in disguise for you to watch out and take care of the impending health problem?

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Stomach Cancer- Why does it catch us unawares ?

Stomach cancer is defined as the growth of cancerous cells in the stomach lining.
According to the National Cancer Institute (NCI), there will be approximately 24,590 new cases of stomach cancer every year.

Stomach cancer
Clinical stages of stomach cancer. How stomach cancer spreads?

Stomach cancer is often left undiagnosed because it doesn’t have many early symptoms – it is diagnosed when cancer spreads to other parts of the human body.

A few early signs are:
Nausea and Vomiting: Nausea is defined as a feeling of queasiness at the back of your throat or stomach. Vomiting, on the other hand, is defined as the contraction of your stomach muscles that push the digested food back through your oesophagus. Both nausea and vomiting may be early symptoms of stomach cancer especially if one’s blood shows in the vomit.
Bloating: If one faces bloating, which doesn’t ease up and persistent, it calls for a visit to the doctor and an ultrasound at least to start with.

H. Pylori Infection: If one suffers from frequent indigestion, bloating,one must get tested for bacterial Infection with H pylori, as it is the most prominent indication of people developing stomach cancer later.

Research has shown that people suffering from H.Pylori infections have a much incidence of stomach cancers.

Weight loss: Stomach tumours cause blockages, preventing food from passing into the stomach or into the intestines causing loss of appetite. Similarly, stomach cancer causes energy from food to be burned at a faster rate which combined with nutritional loss causes weight loss.

Stomach Pain: Unexplained stomach pain , the kind which persists is also a warning sign that something may be wrong.

Frequent HeartBurns:  Frequent heartburns could be because of ulcers and may also indicate that everything is not ok.

Inability to eat: As the tumour progresses, it blocks various parts of the digestive system. Coupled with body’s inability to digest food,  there is a reduced appetite, which at a later stage is often total inability to eat and digest food.

As the symptoms are so generic, they are often missed leading to diagnosis at a much later stage when the cancer has spread or metastatised to other parts of the body.

Is there a co-relation between our habits and stomach cancer?
Food: Food and stomach cancer have a direct relationship. The right dietary intake can lower the risk of stomach cancer. Storage of food through refrigeration instead of by smoking, salting and pickling also reduces the risk because the nitrates and nitrites in smoked food increase the risk of stomach cancer.
Smoking: The use of tobacco increases the risk of stomach cancer. It is said that the rate of risk of stomach cancer is doubled in smokers as compared to non-smokers. This is because smoking reduces the production of natural substances that protect the stomach and duodenum from tissue damage. Additionally, smoking promotes the duodenum reflux and increases the acidity of the duodenum making it vulnerable to H. Pylori bacteria. Smoking also constricts the blood vessels in the stomach reducing the blood flow in the stomach. All these mechanisms strengthen the link between stomach cancer and smoking.

Treatment of stomach cancer involves, surgery if detected at an early stage, followed by chemotherapy as the 1st line of treatment.

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Anaemic ! Could it be You ?

sickle cell anemia
anemia

Anaemia is very common medical condition, where the body does not produce enough healthy red blood cells or excessively destructs blood cells.
Most people have anaemia due to poor dietary habits and inadequate nutrition while certain forms of anaemia are hereditary.
Some of the early warning signs , which are common across all 400 types of anaemia are:

anemia symptoms
Early warning sign and symptoms that may appear in anemia

Fatigue : The most common warning sign of anaemia is fatigue. It occurs because the body doesn’t have enough Red Blood Cells to carry haemoglobin which contains oxygen to the cells leading to exhaustion.

Pale Skin : Paleness of the skin is usually dependent on the thickness and density of blood vessels below the skin. A lack of red blood cells due to anaemia

A very pale pallor can also be due to sickle cell anaemia ( a medical condition where abnormally shaped red blood cells block the flow of blood).

Swollen or Sore tongue : A big warning sign of anaemia is an anaemia tongue wherein ones tongue gets inflamed due to low iron levels in the body. The surface of the tongue can often smoothen out or your tongue can morph into different shades.

Swollen Hands and feet : Swollen hands and feet are a symptom of sickle cell anaemia. In sickle cell anaemia, the sickle shaped red blood cells clump together and block the flow of blood in the body – leading to the blood flow being cut off from the tissues and organs.

Shortness of breath : This occurs because the red blood cells carrying oxygen have less haemoglobin and less capacity to bind oxygen causing shortness of breath.

Brittle nails : Nails have a protective hard layer called keratin that protects the soft tissue in your nails. Lack of red blood cell production due to anaemia prohibits the growth of nails. Ridges and banding in the nails are often indicators of anaemia.

Appetite for inedible items : Pica is defined as a craving to chew or eat substances of no nutritional value such as ice, paper, chalk, pencils, wall putty etc. These unusual cravings in order to satiate the body’s appetite for iron must not be ignored as it is the first sign of anaemia.

Sickle cell anaemia is a very severe form of anaemia and is often inherited. Although those suffering from anaemia and sickle cell disease suffer from fatigue, pale pallor, shortness of breath, people suffering from just anemia rarely suffer from frequent chest infections or have painful crisis

Sicklers or people suffering from sickle cell anaemia, often have painful crisis situations, when the haemoglobin can even drop to between 1 and 3 leading to even death within few hours.

Sickles often suffer from organ damage and  may need a hip replacement . a shoulder replacement or rarely even a knee replacement.

Although Sickle cell anaemia can be managed with hydroxy urea, if the patients has reached a point where he or she suffers from chest infections, frequent painful crisis, or needs a hip replacement or shoulder replacement, a bone marrow transplant should be considered.

A bone marrow transplant, with matching donors has more than an 85% success rate and is the only possible cure and treatment for sickle cell anaemia.

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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.

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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Good Friday and A Happy Easter!

Good Friday and A Happy Easter!Easter Eggs Benefits:

Easter eggs are lovely but do we know that eggs are incredibly nutritious and a great addition to diet too.

Great for fertility, healthy heart, weight loss along with many other health benefits, here are a few reasons to crack one daily

An egg a day can fulfill the following daily vitamin and mineral requirements

Vitamin A: 6% of the RDA.

Folate: 5% of the RDA.

Vitamin B5: 7% of the RDA.

Vitamin B12: 9% of the RDA.

Vitamin B2: 15% of the RDA.

Phosphorus: 9% of the RDA.

Selenium: 22% of the RDA.

Eggs also contain vital vitamins such as  of Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Calcium and Zinc.

Protein Intake

One egg gives about 6.5 g of protein. The protein component is largely found in the egg white.

Daily protein reqt  is approximately 50 gms so 3 egg whites alone can make up for roughly half of daily protein recommended intake.

One egg has as much protein as 30g cooked meat, fish or poultry.

Breast Cancer

Research shows that Choline can reduce the risk of breast cancer by 24 percent. An egg yolk contains 125.5 milligrams of choline, about 1/4th of the recommended daily intake, so just two boiled eggs can work wonders.

Women who eat 6 eggs a week have a 44% reduced risk of developing  breast cancer.

Preggers – Eggs are the best for foetus development

Choline found in the eggs helps in foetal brain development and l memory enhancement.  Choline is of extreme importance during pregnancy and lactation when the reserves may get depleted.  Going in for an IVF(In Vitro Fertilization), don’t forget your daily intake of 2 eggs a day.

Weight Loss

One Egg contains roughly 70-86 calories. Eating eggs for breakfast keeps us full at a low calorie count and leads to less snacking and subsequent weight loss when on a diet.

Many dieticians recommend atleast 6 egg whites in a week during weight loss programs

Prevents Cataract

An egg  a day may reduce your cataract risk by 20%. It may also reduce age-related lens and retinal degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in the elderly (up to a 40% decrease).

Eggs are a good source of the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthine, which play an important role in keeping the eyes healthy.  Getting enough lutein and zeaxanthine is therefore very important from childhood onwards throughout life.

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Happy Valentine’s Day. Gift your girlfriend a jab of love

Cervical Cancer Treatment,Cost of Cancer Treatment
No one is too young for cervical cancer. Most cervical cancers are caused by HPV virus’s which are a group of over 100 viruses causing cervical cancers due to infections during to sexual intercourse or  due to transmission during oral sex.
HPV vaccine , a preventative vaccine helps protect against cervical cancers.  Ideally the vaccine needs to be taken as soon a girl attains puberty before onset of sexual activity.
Most  pre cancers and early stage cervical cancers have no symptoms at all.  However Cervical Cancer Symptoms are:
  • Bleeding between periods.
  • Bleeding after sexual intercourse.
  • Bleeding in post-menopausal women.
  • Discomfort during sexual intercourse.
  • Smelly vaginal discharge.
  • Vaginal discharge tinged with blood.
  • Pelvic pain

Cervical Cancer Treatment options depend upon stage of cancer and can be surgical or chemotherapy.

Cost of Cancer Treatment would vary from US$ 6000 for removal of cervix  to US$ 1200 per cycle of chemotherapy.
If you have a loved one who has been diagnosed with cancer of the cervix.

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