Thursday, 29 December 2016

Ear Infections


Ear infections occur when a bacterial or viral infection affects the middle ear. Ear infections can be diagnosed with the following symptoms:

  • Partial hearing loss
  • An itchy feeling in the ears. 
  • Pus or ear drainage
  • A persistent pressure in the ear
  • Mild or acute pain in the ear
These symptoms may appear from time to time or they may be chronic. 
If children have an ear infection, they show the following symptoms along with the regular symptoms as shown in adults:
  • They have trouble sleeping.
  • Clumsiness and problems with balance.
  • Fever 
  • Crying


Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Is your throat irritating you?


Image Courtesy - healthunify.com

A sore throat may cause you pain, itchiness and irritation that can make it hard for you to swallow. This is generally accompanied by other infections such as a rash, joint pain or a fever. 
  • You may also experience swelling in your neck glands, infection of the tonsils and a rough voice if you have a sore throat.
  • You have a higher chance of getting a sore throat if you smoke or if you have allergies or if you have a weak immune system.
  • Children are also susceptible to throat infection due to their rather weak immune system, hence care should be taken to avoid cold items and contact with germs.
WHAT CAUSES A THROAT INFECTION?
  • The major cause of a throat infection is a viral infection (cold or flu). The virus mainly infects your pharynx and produces all the above-mentioned symptoms.
  • A bacterial infection can also sometimes cause throat infection. It is often called as a ‘strep’ throat due to the name of the causative agent (a streptococcus bacterium). A ‘strep’ throat is very uncommon in children below 3 years and more pronounced in adults.
  • Some allergic reactions caused by allergens such a pollen grains, pet hair etc. can cause a throat infection. Environmental factors like smoke, dust, smog etc. also play a role in throat infection.
  • You may also get a sore throat if you shout and scream too much! So be mindful when you cheer for your favorite team of actor next time!
CLEARING YOUR THROAT:
  • You can always treat yourself at home before going to a doctor. Try to curtail your throat infection at home, if it begins to worsen, a doctor’s consultation would be a wise decision.
  • Salt water gargles are the first choice of treatment for a throat infection. Do a salt water gargle once in the morning and once in the evening, and this will clear your throat in no time.
  • Drinking tea, warm water, soup or other hot beverages will greatly aid the time taken to get rid of the infection.
  • Wear a face mask while going out if you’re generally allergic to dust or pollen. This will reduce the chance for contact and prevent any further infection.
  • Keep yourself hydrated at all times. This will prevent your throat from getting dry and you won’t feel any irritation.
  • Honey has always been put to use as an antibacterial. Mix two spoons of honey with water and drink it early in the morning.
  • If you throat doesn’t get any better with all the above-mentioned treatments, you may need to consult the doctor as the throat infection could be a symptom of an underlying infection. 
All said and done, prevention is better than cure. So, avoid drinking something too cold, protect your face while you go out, maintain proper sanitation and hygiene to avoid any kind of bacterial or viral infection and always remember to drink lots of fluids and stay hydrated! 

Monday, 26 December 2016

Tips for Clean and Healthy Teeth




Maintaining a clean and white set of teeth says a lot about a person’s personal hygiene. Here are a few ways to maintain your pearly whites. 

Healthy Gums and Teeth:
  • Rubbing apple cider vinegar, lemon on your teeth and rinse after 5 minutes.
  • Eating raw strawberries and other water rich fruits.
  • Brushing twice a day, flossing your teeth and using a mouthwash.
  • Changing your tooth brush every 3 months.
  • Cleaning your teeth in a circular motion to cover all areas.
Protect your teeth at all costs:
  • Use a mouth guard at all costs while playing sports.
  • Chewing a pen or a pencil is a bad habit and also causes your tooth to get chipped.
  • Hard food items like ice, nuts, corn can cause your tooth to get chipped if they are weak.
  • Opening bottle caps with your teeth is the biggest reason for chipping a tooth.
  • Excess sugary food and alcohol can erode the enamel.
Maintaining bad dental hygiene can lead to the following:
  • Unhealthy Gums: Heart Disease, stroke, clogged arteries, tooth loss and other respiratory diseases.
  • Tooth Abscesses: Endocarditis, infection of the jaw, bacterial skin infections, pneumonia etc.
Statistics suggest that people who have white and healthy teeth are more confident!  
Follow the above guidelines to have great confidence and an amazing smile.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Is Your Sinus Bothering You? Treatment of Sinusitis and Tips for Prevention.



The inflammation and swelling of the sinus is called as sinusitis. This is characterized by germ growth and obstruction of the nasal passage.

  • Sinusitis is generally caused by common cold, some forms of allergies or any nodules that grow in the nasal cavity.
  • In children, it could be caused by pacifiers, allergies to a feeding bottle, smoke in the environment etc.
  • Acute sinusitis can last for 2-4 weeks, subcutaneous sinusitis lasts for 4-12 weeks and chronic sinusitis can last for more than 12 weeks.
  • Sinusitis can affect several different sinuses at a time and cause pain below or above the eyes or behind the nose.
  • A yellowish-green discharge will come out of the infected sinuses and you need to blow your nose often.
  • You may also experience difficulty in breathing due to the nasal congestion and your smelling and tasting will be affected.
Here are a few ways to treat and prevent sinusitis:

  • Treatment may include usage of saline nasal drops that should be used for no more than three days.
  • Antibiotics may also be prescribed that should be taken for a few days even after the sinuses get cleared.
  • Stay away from chemicals and cigarette smoke if that irritates your nose.
  • Wash your hands regularly to avoid bacterial or fungal infection.
  • Do not give your children antihistamines or nasal sprays if they are under 2. 

Monday, 19 December 2016

Common Dental Problems


Dental problems are quite troublesome and create problems in the most unexpected ways. Although most of these problems can be rectified, a few after effects are always preset. It is always wise to see a dentist/ oral hygienist every 3 months. The most common dental problems are discussed below.


SENSITIVITY:


  • Tooth sensitivity is the most common problem seen in adults. Your teeth will become very sensitive to very hot and very cold food stuff. 
  • Tooth sensitivity is caused due to tooth decay, gum disease or an exposed Enamel.
  • Generally, tooth sensitivity can be rectified by using a desensitizing toothpaste and maintaining proper oral hygiene. 

GUM DISEASE:

  • Gum disease (Periodontitis) is caused by bacterial infection and it will end with tooth loss due to the destruction of the surrounding tissues.
  • Gingivitis or gum inflammation is the starting stage of Periodontitis. 
  • Gum diseases appear without any prior warning; hence it is always advisable to maintain good oral hygiene. 
  • The treatment depends on the type of disease and the extent of infection. A dentist’s touch is required for proper treatment.

TOOTH DECAY:

  • Tooth cavities occur when plaque combines with the sugars that we consume.
  • This will produce acidic substances that will erode the enamel which will cause tooth sensitivity and bad breath. 
  • Tooth decay is often very painful in the later stages and in the worst-case scenario, the tooth may be extracted.
  • Dentists will clear out the decay and fill the tooth with dental fillings and in advanced stages, root canal treatment is advised.
  • The only way tooth decay can be prevented is by maintaining proper oral hygiene. Brushing twice a day, flossing regularly and making occasional dental appointments.

MOUTH CANCER:

  • Mouth cancer can affect any part of the mouth like the tongue, lips, gums, the jaws or the palate. 
  • Mouth cancer originates as a small white or red spot in any part of the throat or mouth. 
  • The symptoms may include numbness, pain, sores that bleed easily, hard lumps in the mouth or throat etc. 
  • Get advice from your dentist and try to diagnose the problem as soon as possible because, mouth cancers are highly curable at an early stage. Make sure you tell your dentist all the problems you have while you chew food or swallow as they may be critical in diagnosis.

MOUTH ULCERS:

  • Mouth ulcers are quite common and can be treated at home. 
  • These sores that appear on the lips, mouth, tongue and are quite painful, and create difficulties in eating. 
  • The mouth ulcers are also a symptom of possible viral infections in kids. 
  • Mouth ulcers are treated by using a gel or paste that you can get from a pharmacy, you can also use a soft tooth brush to avoid aggravating the sores. Try to avoid hot and spicy food until the sores heal.

The biggest problem you face due to bad dental hygiene is a compromise in your smile! You will begin to lose self-esteem and confidence. So always maintain good dental hygiene and a beautiful smile. 

Friday, 16 December 2016

What is Gingivitis?


What is Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gingiva or the gums commonly caused by the bacterial accumulation on the teeth forming a plaque, typically called plaque- induced Gingivitis.





Why  should be concerned about Gingivitis?
Gingivitis is non destructive, but you should be concerned as it can lead to Periodontitis which is more serious and results in eventual loss of teeth if left untreated at the initial stages.

Causes of Gingivitis:
Accumulation of tartar or plaque
Hormonal Change
Certain diseases like Cancer, Diabetes, HIV
Some drugs like anti convulsants and Heart drugs
Family History
Smoking

Symptoms of Gingivitis
Tender, Red and puffy gums
Bleeding of gums while brushing the teeth
Bad breath or Halitosis
Receding Gums
Soft Gums

Alert: If you leave it untreated, it might spread affecting tissue, teeth and bones. 

Alleviate Chronic Ear Infections in Your Child


The general cause for an ear infection in toddlers and young children, is the common cold. When infected fluid or pus gets accumulated behind the eardrum, which is situated in the middle part of the ear, an ear infection happens. The Eustachian tube or middle ear is connected to the nose and throat and is in a horizontal position in young children.

Consequently, the fluid accumulation and infection, spreads to the ear. The bacteria and viruses that enter the Eustachian tube along with the fluid accumulation, breeds here causing the ear infection. 


The inflammation that occurs because of the infection is called Otitis Media. The symptoms are pain, redness of the eardrum and sometimes fever. In more chronic cases Acute Otitis Media can last anywhere from 6 weeks to even longer. 


Frequency of Ear Infection


A toddler or young child getting an ear infection, once or twice a year is normal. If the child has 3 episodes in a period of 6 months or 4 episodes in a year, then it is a chronic infection. The reason for such frequent reoccurrence could be that the ear infection did not completely clear away and is still lingering on, or it could be a series of separate infections, occurring. 


Possible Risks for Ear Infections Occurring


  • Day Care Centers – children who go to day care, are exposed to more germs, in comparison to the children who stay home.
  • Exposure to Smoke – Exposure to cigarette smoke makes the child more vulnerable to ear infections, as it affects the child’s immune system. It is also possible that the irritants in the smoke may prevent the infection from clearing out.
  • Genetics – If there is a family history of ear infections, then it follows the child will also be at high risk of getting one.
  • Gender Related Risk – As per statistics, boys tend to be at a higher risk for ear infections in comparison to the girls. The reason for this anomaly is not known as yet.
  • Infection through Siblings – Older siblings are also a source of germ bearers or carriers.
  • Allergies – Allergies cause the Eustachian tube or the upper airways to be infected or irritated.
  • Cold or Winter Season – Children living in regions where it is cold or wintery, often suffer from upper respiratory infections, which normally are a precursor to ear infections.
  • Age – matters as children below the age of 18 months are more likely to get ear infection, as their immune system is yet to develop and they have smaller Eustachian tubes.
  • Premature Babies – Premature babies are more disposed to get ear infections.
  • Other Health Problems – poor health undermines the immune system of the child and thus makes the child be more susceptible to ear infections.
Long Term Effects of Ear Infections
Buildup of chronic fluids or chronic ear infections could cause hearing issues, which may be a cause in speech delays. 

Treatment Options

  • A wait and see approach, where the doctor may not prescribe antibiotics immediately but may prescribe just pain relievers, anticipating that the infection will go away on its own in 2-3 days.
  • If the ear infection persists, then antibiotics will be prescribed.
  • In some cases the ENT (Ear, Nose and Throat Specialist) may surgically drain the fluid from the ear and insert an ear tube, which will fall out on its own, as the child grows. The tubes are a temporary solution.


Thursday, 8 December 2016

Living with and Managing Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis was first diagnosed in the year 1868 and even though a cure is yet to be found, there are treatment options to help slow down the progression of the disease. 2.1 million People, world-wide have been diagnosed, with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).
Image Courtesy - medicinenet.com

Multiple Sclerosis is a disease that attacks the central nervous system (CNS), in the human body. The CNS comprises, the brain and the spinal cord with the network of nerves that convey messages to and from the brain, to the rest of the body. These nerves are sheathed in a protective covering called the myelin. MS for some, yet to be known reason, damages the myelin and consequently slows down or blocks the communication between the brain and the rest of the body or parts thereof. 

Women are more affected by this disease and it commonly affects people in the age group between 20 and 40. Even, in its mild form it can affect the writing, speaking and walking ability of those afflicted with MS.

Early Symptoms of MS

Even though the cause of MS is a mystery, it is known that MS causes inflammation of the nerves. Some early symptoms to be aware of, are:

  • Optic Neuritis or Vision Disorder- the inflammation of the optic nerve, in the eye(s), can lead to disruption of central vision, in one or both eyes. MS also causes blurred or double vision or prevents recognition of contrast and vivid colors. Looking up or down can cause pain together with loss of vision
  • Tingling and Numbing Sensations – caused by inflamed nerves send conflicting messages between the brain and the spinal cord, and sometimes there is no communication. The lack of communication causes numbness. Sites where these sensations occur are in the legs, arms, fingers, toes and face
  • Weakness of Muscles – the uncontrollable and painful wrenching movement of the limbs and stiffness of the muscles or joints are also a common symptom. Generally the legs are the most affected, but back pain is also typical
  • Coordination and Balance – lack of stability and coordination, will cause gait problems. Vertigo with a feeling of light-headedness, will be experienced
  • Cognitive Issues – MS also causes memory issues, depression, organizational disorders, language difficulties, short spans of attention, emotional disturbances such as mood swings, irritability and bouts of uncontrolled laughing and crying (in medical parlance - pseudobulbar affect)

Treatment

Depending on the type of MS a patient is afflicted with, treatment options will vary. There are several treatment options, such as oral pills, injections and infusions, available.

7 Lifestyle Changes

For those who have been diagnosed in the early stages of MS, coping with everyday life may seem a gargantuan task, but not impossible, if certain lifestyle changes are made. Lifestyle changes or choices can help slow down the progressive deterioration of MS and provide a boost to a patient’s health.

Diet: 
Consume a diet rich in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids, such as:



Exercise: Moderately paced physical activity such as swimming or walking, two days in the week helps diminish depression and fatigue. Aerobics 5 days a week or resistance training with a physiotherapist also will help living with MS more bearable

Sun and Vitamin D: Soak in the sun for about 15 minutes a day and take a vitamin-D pill a day


Smoking: Stop smoking or else the prognosis of MS can be accelerated


Stress Management: Several stress management techniques exist today. Techniques like Yoga or meditation, taking simple measures as asking for help when needed, effectively managing time, learning how to prioritize, doing deep breathing exercises


Sleep: Getting adequate sleep at night, is important


Pay Attention to Health in General: With lifestyle changes, managing MS along with other illnesses such as high blood pressure, diabetes or other diseases, will be easier


Thursday, 1 December 2016

Liver Transplant at Kauvery Hospital

A boon for patients with end stage liver disease. Kauvery Liver Transplant Centre offers affordable liver transplant surgeries.

Check out this video by Dr. Ilango, Lead Surgeon Transplant and Liver Surgery talking about how liver transplants are a boon for patients with end stage liver disease.


Thursday, 17 November 2016

Liver Transplant


The liver is an important organ In the human body; it is wedge-shaped with 4 unequal lobes. It is the heaviest organ in our body and also is the largest gland. It is reddish in color and is situated on the right side of the abdomen. 


Functions of the Liver

1. Detoxifies chemicals and metabolizes medications.
2. Manufactures proteins which is important for clotting of blood, as well as for other functions.

3. Filters blood en route from the digestive tract, before it flows to the rest of the body.


4. The liver works in conjunction with parts of the pancreas, and the small intestines to digest, absorb and process food. 


Unique Quality of the Liver

The only organ in the body that can regenerate injured or lost tissue is the Liver. Therefore, when a piece of liver has been taken from a healthy, live donor, the liver in both the donor and the recipient will grow back to its normal size and both the live donor and the recipient will be able to lead a normal and healthy life. 

A donor can be healthy and living or the liver could come from a person who is brain dead because of a fatal accident or other reasons. 

With this foreknowledge in mind, let us examine why a liver transplant is necessary. 

No one can live without a liver that does not function properly. A transplantation would be recommended when a patient has liver failure or end-stage liver disease. 
When an organ in the body fails to function, it is always a life-threatening situation and liver failure can be caused by quite a few conditions:

  • Cirrhosis of the liver is a chronic, end-stage disease that occurs when healthy tissue is replace by scarred tissue
  • Acute Hepatic Necrosis occurs when the tissue in the liver, dies, possibly due to an acute infection, medications or due to toxins
  • Biliary Atresia is a rare disease that affects newborns, when the liver and bile ducts are affected
  • Viral Hepatitis is a very common cause in the form of Hepatitis B or C
  • Metabolic Diseases a disorder that changes the chemical activity of the cells that are affected by the liver
  • Primary Liver Cancers, where tumors originated in the liver
  • Autoimmune Hepatitis occurs when the body’s auto immune system attacks the liver, and a swelling or redness develops

Procedure

The transplant surgery to replace the non-functioning liver takes between 6 to 12 hours. During the surgery the patient will have several tubes in their body. These tubes help the body to continue certain functions during and after the surgery, which could be for a few days, post-surgery. 

Post-Surgery

After the surgery, the stay in the hospital will be (for most patients) around 2 to 3 weeks, but some could be discharged earlier or retained, depending on their progress. On discharge the patient will have follow up visits so that the doctor can check on the functioning of the liver and it may take up until 6 months for a patient to feel fully healed. Normal activities and work may be resumed after a few months. 

Monday, 14 November 2016

Heart Transplantation: Questions you always wanted to ask

Image Courtesy - static.dnaindia.com

Heart Transplant is replacing a damaged or diseased heart with a healthy donor heart. It is not easy to find a donor heart. The donor should be brain dead but still on life support and the donor’s heart must match closely with the recipient’s tissue type or the body will reject it.


Why Heart Transplantation?

The following conditions of the heart may call for transplantation.
• Massive heart attack causing severe damage to the heart.
• Heart failure where medicines, alternate treatments and surgery is of no help.
• Abnormal heartbeats or rhythms that could be life threatening.

The Procedure:

The recipient is put into a deep sleep with general anesthesia and the breast bone is cut open for the procedure to be carried out.

• While the surgeon works on the heart, the blood is directed through a heart-lung bypass machine, which carries out the work of the heart and the lungs supplying the body with blood and oxygen.

• The diseased heart is replaced with the donor heart. The heart-lung machine is removed and the transplanted heart takes over its normal functioning of pumping the blood.

• Air, fluids and blood are drained out of the chest for several days, through tubes which are inserted in the chest allowing the lungs to re-expand fully.  

Who cannot take a Heart Transplant Surgery?

People who are malnourished, older than 65-70 years of age, HIV infected, stroke or Dementia patients, people with active infections such as Hepatitis, Insulin dependent Diabetes, malfunctioning of kidneys, lung, liver, nerves, pulmonary hypertension, smoking, alcohol or drug abuse are not eligible to take up this procedure.

Evaluation before the procedure:

Once it is decided to go for heart transplantation, the evaluation team will assess the candidate many times over several weeks or month which may involve blood tests and x-rays, skin check for infections, tests for kidney and liver, evaluation of heart such as EKG, echocardiogram and cardiac catheterization, tests for cancer, tissue and blood typing, ultrasound of neck and legs.

Follow up after the procedure:

The candidate should stay in the hospital for about 7 to 21 days after the surgical procedures. The first 48 hours will be spent in the ICU to monitor stability of the newly functional heart. The recovery period may last up to more than 3 months during which regular check-ups will be done.

The immune system in the body may consider the transplanted organ as a foreign body and may fight against the organ trying to reject it. Drugs to suppress body’s immune response are administered during this period. One can resume normal activities after 3 months. However rigorous physical activities should be avoided. Cardiac catheterization is done every year to ensure that no coronary disease develops later.

Prognosis:

It has been found that heart transplant prolongs life of people who would otherwise suffer premature death. The main concern of transplant is rejection, which if controlled can increase survival to more than 10 years.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

Functions and Diseases of the liver and how to keep it healthy

Liver is one of the largest organ of our body. It's situated inside your abdomen on the right side under the ribcage. It has numerous functions and one of the main function is that whatever you eat and drink, it helps to process that into various nutrients and energy. Another important function of the liver is to remove toxic substances from your body. 

Check out this video by Dr. V.S. Hemamala, Gastroenterologist, Liver specialist and liver transplant physician talk about the functions and diseases that affect the liver and important tips on how to take care of your liver. 


Sunday, 30 October 2016

Blood thinners and their use today

Image Courtesy - edc2.healthtap.com
Blood thinners as their name suggests, are used as anticoagulants and increase the time duration taken for the formation of a blood clot, thereby reducing the risk of a stroke or a heart attack due to clots. Blood thinners are recommended by doctors for patients who have different kinds of heart or blood vessel diseases or if the blood flow to the brain is poor.

WHAT BLOOD THINNERS DO:

Basically, there are two types of blood thinners, the first type acts on chemical reactions and prevents the formation of blood clots and the other type acts on blood cells, called platelets and prevent them from clumping together, thus effectively preventing the formation of blood clots. Doctors often prescribe the anticoagulant drugs to delay the time of blood clot formation. Your doctor will carefully monitor the dosage of blood thinners and make sure that the amount of blood thinners administered are in accordance with the international normalized ratio (INR). This ratio is the rate at which your blood clots and the INR varies from person to person according to their medical history.

INTERACTION OF BLOOD THINNERS WITH DRUGS:

Certain foods, drugs, and medicinal plants can interfere with blood thinners. They can alter the concentration of the blood thinners and vary their effect on your body. So it is very important for you to seek advice from your doctor regarding your diet if you are on blood thinners. For example, Vitamin K can reduce the effectiveness of some anticoagulants  thus decreasing the time taken for the blood clot formation. So you need to stay away from foods like broccoli, cabbage, spinach etc.  that have a large amount of Vitamin K in them.

SOURCES OF THE ANTICOAGULANTS:

Certain antibiotics, anti-fungal drugs and painkillers can act as blood thinners. Foods like garlic, ginger, celery etc. are good blood thinners. Foods rich in Vitamin E are natural blood thinners. Almonds, tomatoes, mangoes etc. are rich in Vitamin E. Natural Blood thinners are beneficial to your heart health but they need to be consumed with caution.

SIDE EFFECTS OF BLOOD THINNERS:


Some people tend to experience side effects with the administration of blood thinners. These side effects may include bloody or discolored feces and urine along with nosebleeds and bleeding gums. Some people also experience hair loss or the feeling of dizziness.

The presence of blood thinners in your system can increase the chance of internal bleeding after trauma and you are required to seek medical attention immediately if you experience these side effects. Your doctor may advise you to stay away from contact sports for a while to decrease the chance of bleeding, but you can still exercise normally and go running or swimming.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

What is Kidney Failure? Is it treatable?




Kidney failure seems to be prevalent in all ages. There are various types of Kidney Failure, some are temporary and some permanent. All types of renal failure have treatment and can be cured completely. We had done kidney transplantation for a 5 year child some years ago. Recently the patient came to us as a mother of a baby. This was so heartening for us. It proves that kidney failure has a complete cure and a transplant patient can lead a normal life.

 

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Colon Cancer - The threat is real

Image Courtesy - i3.mirror.co.uk
Colon cancer is one deadly disease that is found on the rise in the recent years due to our unhealthy lifestyle and eating habits. This cancer attacks the digestive system including the small and large intestines. Colon Cancer affects more men than women and the risk increases with age. It is a growth in the colon usually arising from a polyp. The polyp generally looks like small florets of the cauliflower and sometimes looks flat. When it spreads it results in life- threatening issues.

What causes Colon Cancer?

There are no specific causes that could be pointed out as causes; however certain factors such as genetics, diet and health have been associated with high risks of colon cancer. 

Two genetic syndromes, Lynch syndrome and familial adenomatous polyposis have been associated with this disease.

Frequent consumption of red meat is found to increase the risk. Colon cancer is rare in Eastern countries where red meat is not consumed as the western counterparts.

Heavy consumption of alcohol and smoking is also found to trigger the cancer cells. Health factors such as diabetes, obesity, sedentary lifestyle without sufficient exercise, inflammatory diseases such as ulcerative colitis are found to increase the likelihood of developing colon cancer.

What are the symptoms to look for?

The presence of cancer cells in the colon or rectum can be indicated by the following symptoms:


• Blood in bowel movement.

• Loss of weight
• Stomach pain ranging from mild to intense.
• Constipation or Diarrhea. Disturbed bowel movements.

The worst thing about colon cancer is that the symptoms are not seen until the disease has gotten pretty advanced. Hence regular screening is advised for individuals aged 50-75. The African Americans who have an increased risk can begin screening as early as 45 years of age.

Screening for colon cancer:

The screening test includes a home stool test called FOBT- Fecal Occult Blood Testing; Flex Sig- a flexible sigmoidoscopy and a colonoscopy. These tests check stool samples for blood cells and must be done annually.


The Flex Sig and colonoscopy involves insertion of a thin tube into the colon through the rectum to check for polyps. The entire colon is examined. Enema is given to clear out the excreta before the procedure. Colonoscopy is generally done under anesthesia and the patient may feel groggy after the procedure and may need to stay off from work and will need a ride home.

More than 60% of colon cancer deaths have been prevented due to effective and timely screening exams.

Treatment:

An early stage of cancer is small and localized and requires less intervention. Surgery can be done to effectively remove small tumors and the residual cells can be killed through chemotherapy. Advance stages call for the removal of the infected colon and reattaching with the rectum. Alternative treatments and improved food habits can improve the condition of the patient. 

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Monday, 17 October 2016

Tips for older people to prevent falls and fractures

Yes, falls can be prevented. These are some simple ideas for you to guard yourself against falling.

  • Talk to Your Doctor freely expressing all your worries.
  • Ask your doctor to evaluate your risk for falling, and get to learn from them specific steps you can easily follow.
  • Ask your doctor to review your medicines to check if any of them might make you dizzy or sleepy. This should include prescription medicines and over-the counter medicines.
  • Ask your doctor’s advice on taking vitamin D supplements with calcium.
  • Do strength and balance exercises that can make your legs stronger and your balance better. Tai Chi is a good example of this kind of exercise.
  • Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year. Take care to change your eyeglasses for vision correction, if needed. You may want to get a pair of distance vision glasses just for your outdoor activities, such as walking, if you use at home bifocal or progressive lenses. Sometimes these types of lenses can make things seem closer or farther away than they really are.
Make your home safer:
  • Get rid of things you could trip over.
  • Add grab bars inside and outside your tub or shower and next to the toilet.
  • Put railings on both sides of stairs.
  • Add more powerful or greater number of electrical lights to make sure your home is brighter.
Picture Courtesy: dukeregionalblog.org

Tips to recover after a Spinal Surgery

A person undergoing a spinal surgery requires a considerable amount of time to heal. The initial stages of healing require extra precautions and the patient may be required to shift positions frequently and not stand or sit for too long. Taking small walks initially and increasing the distance slowly is a good idea. Here are a few other important factors that every patient needs to follow to recover quickly.


MANAGING THE PAIN:
After the surgery, the patient will most likely have a lot of pain. Appropriate pain management will go a long way in aiding the recovery time of the patient. Narcotic painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs are commonly used. For patients who undergo a fusion surgery, NSAIDs (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) should be avoided because they inhibit the formation of bones which is necessary for the fusion of two bones. Frequent application of ice packs in the initial stages can also effectively manage the pain. Early application of heat packs can increase the blood flow to the area and cause swelling and an increase in pain, so the application of heat packs should be saved for later. Pain and stiffness will reduce if the patient tends to take short walks frequently.

LIFTING HEAVY WEIGHTS:
The patients are advised to avoid lifting heavy objects. Most doctors advise the patients to barely lift 4 kilograms for the first two weeks after the surgery. Lifting and bending while cooking and cleaning could be painful and the patients are advised to take rest. After two weeks, the patients can slowly start increasing their movements and return back to normal.

SLEEPING POSITIONS:
Getting continuous uninterrupted sleep soon after the surgery will aid the recovery process and reduce the healing time. The most important factor is the position at which the patient sleeps. The correct posture to sleep is to lie face up on the bed with pillows to elevate the upper back, shoulder and head region and pillows kept under the knees so that the hip and the knees are slightly bent. This posture reduces the strain and pressure on the back and will help in the quicker recovery of the patient.

EXERCISE FOR THE BACK:
The patients need to exercise and stretch the back slowly and carefully. Care should be taken so that the exercise does not aggravate the pain and cause further damage to the back. Seeking help from a physiotherapist is highly recommended and a careful regime should be followed. Apart from this, the continuous movement would aid the blood flow to the back. The restricting movement would cause stiffness in the back which would cause further complications. Yoga is also advised for the patients after two or three weeks to improve their back strength.

The patient can also use the support of a walking stick or cane to improve the balance and keep the back from handling too much pressure. Apart from this, using extra cushions on the bed or the sofa will make the patient feel more comfortable. Keep these in mind and follow while your body heads for a fast recovery.

Picture courtesy: osteopathy.org

Friday, 14 October 2016

Symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder - ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a developmental and behavioral disorder seen among children between 5- 8 years of age. What are the symptoms that one needs to look for? The symptoms vary and may be difficult to recognize at times. Almost all children show one or more symptoms of ADHD and can be treated as normal during the growing years. But it is important to evaluate the child under various criteria to make a proper diagnosis for ADHD. There are seven common signs that are discussed below that could help you to analyze your child’s behavior before seeking the intervention of a medical practitioner.

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Lack of Attention:

As the name indicates the child will be found deficit in attention. He/she cannot take multiple instructions and need to be given directions one at a time. The child will be found easily distracted and the span of attention in a given task will be very low. This can be addressed by giving them simple instant gratification through motivational techniques for sustained attention.

Self-Centered
Behavior:

The child is mostly engrossed in his world and is not sensitive to the needs or desires of others. The child may interrupt when others are talking and may have trouble waiting for their turn in playing games or doing class room activities with other children.

Temper Tantrums:

The child may throw tantrums easily and may express outbursts of anger at inappropriate times. They may have trouble in keeping their emotions at check. They may be stubborn and may not listen to reasoning if found in an agitated state of mind. This emotional turmoil needs gradual taming with a lot of patience from the caregiver.

Hyperactivity:

These children cannot stay in a place for a long duration and tend to get very fidgety. Often parents and teachers may describe them as “Driven by Motor”. They are on the move always and are seen loitering around in a classroom or playground where restriction of movement is enforced.

Incomplete task:

The child will express desires to do many activities but may have trouble in completing the task. They may start a project and may lose interest during the process and leave it half done and would’ve already shifted to some other task that might have caught their attention.

Increase in number of errors
:

As mentioned earlier they cannot follow multiple orders and may have difficulty in following instructions that may call for planning or executing a plan. This could result in careless mistakes. However, it does not indicate laziness or lack of intelligence.

Day dreaming
:

A child with ADHD could be very quiet and withdrawn and less interactive with other kids, which again might be a symptom in some kids. The child may stare into space, and be ignorant of what is happening around them.

If the child is found to show the above symptoms, then it is advisable to review all the treatment options with the right doctor. ADHD is treatable. So an earlier diagnosis and treatment will be more effective.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Simple steps for healthy body and mind

The world we live in these days is extremely tiring. People do not have a minute to stop everything and think about their health and the state of their mind. This has led to the development of extreme pressure and tension in your mind which inadvertently affects your body. Here are a few things you can follow that will help you maintain a calm and composed mind and body.

TAKING WATER BREAKS:

Staying hydrated is extremely important to maintain a good body metabolism. Take a water break once every hour and cool off for a few minutes and then continue your work. Straining your mind continuously won’t help you think effectively and you’ll end up making a mess out of your work. So remember to take these small water breaks.

EATING AND SLEEPING PROPERLY:

Eating and sleeping are two basic necessities that we cannot compromise on. They both are equally important and a lack of either one would cause catastrophic damages to your body. Learn to love your body and pamper yourself. Everyone deserves the right to eat delicious healthy food and get a good night’s sleep. Get a minimum of 7 hours sleep and eat at least 3 whole meals every day. 

EXERCISING REGULARLY:
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Exercising regularly is something that everyone compromises on these days. Unless you can live a long healthy life to enjoy your success, there is no point in working strenuously every day. Workout every day for 30-45 minutes and sweat a lot and remove all toxins from your body. At least take a brisk walk in the park or the beach and take in gulps of fresh air. Once you sweat and burn those calories your body will feel good and your mind will automatically become active and your work will be more productive.

LEAVING YOUR WORK PROBLEMS AT WORK:

Once you come home, unwind fully and relax. Forget all your work worries and enjoy the time you have at home. Lie down on your couch and catch a movie on  TV or listen to your favorite songs.  Never bring in the work pressure into your house.  Spend time with your family and enjoy the little pleasures of life.

TAKING SUNDAYS OFF:

Sundays are the days of resting and relaxation. Make it mandatory that you take Sundays off from work. Sleep for a few extra hours or go to the mall with your family or take a long drive…Do anything that will keep the pressure off your mind. Working 24x7 would be disastrous to the body and cause many negative effects. Rest and Rejuvenate for a day and then go back to work on Monday (You will be better prepared to handle the week ahead) Once you follow these steps you will notice big changes in the condition of your body and mind. You will feel less anxious and more energetic. You will feel good about yourself and you will enjoy life. So keep calm and stay happy.

Friday, 23 September 2016

Treatment and Remedies for Back Pain

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Do you use your laptop/computer every day? Do you also forget to maintain a proper posture whilst using them? Then your lower back is at a risk of constant strain which will cause you great discomfort in the near future. 

WHY DO YOU NEED TO TAKE CARE OF YOUR BACK?

Your back is one of the most important parts of your body. All your daily activities can be accomplished effectively only if you have a strong and healthy back. If your spinal cord is damaged or sprained, the slightest movement will cause you a great amount of pain.

CAUSES OF BACK PAIN:
  • Incorrect posture.
  • Improper lifting of heavy weights.
  • Lack of Vitamin D.
  • Irregular Exercise.
  • Fractures in the hip or legs etc. can cause excruciating lower back pain.
As a side note, a recent survey in India showed that 69% of Indians are found to be Vitamin D deficient and a further 15% are found to be Vitamin D insufficient. This puts us under the radar for severe back pain in the long run.Vitamin D supplements are encouraged to be implemented in a diet by practiced professionals for maintaining a stronger back.

TREATMENT AND REMEDIES:

Lower back pain can be due to two reasons 1) Muscle pull or a sprain and 2) Weak and brittle spinal cord. For a muscle pull or a sprain, the following is recommended:

REST:

Taking a break from your strenuous daily activities can soothe your back pain and bring your spine back to normal functioning. This can also be accompanied by massaging your back with proper guidance from a certified physiotherapist. Doing this will help relieve lower back pain.

HEAT AND ICE PACKS:

Generally, heat is used for chronic pain and Ice pack is used for acute pain. Both provide considerable relief. 

EXERCISE:

Exercising your back every day is the best way to keep fit and avoid any complications. These exercises can vary from simple stretching to more hardcore weightlifting to strengthen your back. The exercises will vary based on your age and fitness. For people with a body mass index above 25, starting your exercise with stretching is recommended. Those of you who are already fit can use weights to strengthen your back. These kinds of exercises need supervision in the beginning. 

STRENGTHENING YOUR BRITTLE BACK:

If you suffer from osteoporosis, spondylitis or any forms of fracture in your back, you are strongly recommended to seek a Doctor’s help. After proper medical treatment and rest, increasing your Vitamin D intake will aid in strengthening your bones. Taking Calcium supplements will also aid in your recovery. During this recovery period, straining your back with weights is not advised. 
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