Did you know that the stomach can digest itself? All things weird and wonderful about your tummy.

The stomach is one of the most wondrous organs in the human body. It is not just multi-functional but multi-faceted as well. Apart from the fact that stomach fat is bad, many people don’t know much about their tummy, not even where it is situated exactly. Here are some facts about the stomach, that will make your jaw drop!

Like the title proclaims, the stomach could digest itself. The hydrochloric acid present in the stomach is strong enough to digest itself and other organs. To ensure this does not happen, the stomach produces a new layer of mucus every two weeks. This mucus is responsible for preventing the stomach from digesting itself. The hydrochloric acid can also break down any metal.

It also kills off all bacteria and viruses, hence it acts as the first line of defense against infections and diseases. But the abundance of acid in the stomach offers the perfect environment for an enzyme called Protease to flourish. Protease is responsible for breaking down proteins so that they can be digested with ease.

When blushing, it is not just the cheeks that turn pink. At the same time, the stomach blushes too. The lining of the stomach turns red.

Stomach only pre-digests the food. It is the small intestines that perform the major task of digestion.

No matter how obese or lanky a person is, the size of the stomach in everyone is almost the same.

The stomach is actually located a bit higher than what most people believe. It is situated just below the ribs. What we think the stomach is actually the abdomen, that contains the stomach, liver, spleen, pancreas, intestines, and kidneys, as well as blood vessels and nerves.

When the food leaves the stomach, it is in a semi-fluid form. This concoction is termed as chlyme.

The stomach can hold up to 1.5 litres or half a gallon of food and water. The process of burping rids the stomach of all the air that comes with food or intake of soda and aerated drinks.

The churning or rumbling of the stomach has an official term. It is called ‘Borborygmi’.

Yes, the stomach can store a lot of food and water and possesses amazing powers of digestion but you would still need to take care of it. Foods high in carbs are digested faster than protein rich or fast dense meals. Next time you get those hunger pangs, go back and review what just went inside your stomach!

Diabetic Retinopathy Diagnosis and Treatment

Diabetic retinopathy is a common microvascular complication of diabetes. It is caused by a high blood sugar level that, over time, irreversibly damages the delicate blood vessels surrounding the retinas. This can lead to loss of vision and eventually blindness.

 

Who can suffer from it?

 

Everyone who has diabetes is at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. However, the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy increases with the length of time you have had diabetes. The risk is also increased when blood glucose levels and blood pressure are not well controlled over time.

 

Symptoms and Diagnosis 

 

Diabetic retinopathy often develops initially with little or no symptoms. Symptoms may include:

  • Blurred or patchy vision that can’t be corrected with prescription glasses
  • Problems with balance, reading, watching television and recognising people
  • Floating shapes in your field of vision
  • Being overly sensitive to glare
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Experiencing eye pain and redness

 

Diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed with the help of a comprehensive dilated eye exam. During this exam, the eyes are dilated using special eye drops that allow the Optometrist to get a clear view of the back of your eye.

 

Precaution is always better than cure!

Diabetic retinopathy is a dreadful condition that can cause blindness if left undiagnosed and untreated. Therefore, the first and foremost thing that we need to do is to create awareness about the potential for vision loss and the need for lifestyle changes as a key to prevention. There are two things that people living with diabetes need to do:

 

Retinal eye screening – It is an integral part of diabetes care. Annual screening is recommended for all people with diabetes to ensure that their eyes remain in optimal health.

 

Effective diabetes management – Behavioural change through lifestyle choices – eating healthy food, weight control, regular exercise and quitting smoking – will help in controlling blood glucose levels and maintaining a healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

 

Treatment 

Good blood glucose levels and blood pressure, and regular comprehensive eye examinations can greatly reduce the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy but it does not eliminate it.  Laser is the most common treatment for diabetic retinopathy. The laser treatment seals leaking blood vessels and can be used to reduce the growth of new fragile vessels, helping prevent vision loss.  For more complicated cases where there is a massive bleed or the retina detaches, surgery may be required.  While surgery can correct structural damage, but once lost, the visual function can’t be restored.

 

Diabetic retinopathy is a severe condition, ensuring all the affected people have access to important health care services is of utmost importance. This blog aims to create awareness about the growing prevalence of diabetic eye disease and the importance of regular screening and monitoring.

How to avoid UTIs this vacation season

Urinary tract infections are one of those annoying and painful disorders that can easily be avoided by taking a few precautions. These account for the most visits to physicians’ offices per year. A UTI essentially occurs when infection enters the urethra and reaches up to the bladder. Not only are they more common in women, but the rate of these infections also peak during summertime.

 

Causes of UTI:

 

Summers are essentially vacation time with kids on their summer break and a greater need to beat the sweltering heat. It is during this time that they are at an increased risk of getting a UTI. This is because of the following reasons:

 

Dehydration: The body tends to be more dehydrated in summers than in winters. In such a case, the harmful bacteria that causes UTI might not be fully flushed out from the body.

 

Bathing in the pool: Moisture plays a big role in contracting UTI. This is why swimming pools are a breeding ground for this kind of infection especially when there is urine and low levels of chlorine in the water.

 

Symptoms of UTI:

 

It’s important to learn the early signs of this infection. If the following symptoms manifest, it is essential to contact a doctor immediately.

 

  • Pain/burning sensation while urinating
  • Frequent urination
  • Lower abdomen/pelvic pain or pain on the side near the ribs
  • Fever
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Urine that is cloudy, bloody or has a strong odor

 

Prevention of UTI during vacation season:

 

Taking these few simple steps can help avoid making painful memories of summer vacation.

 

Keeping hydrated: Drinking lots of fluid will help ensure more urination that will, in turn, flush out infection-causing bacteria from the system.

 

Avoiding tight undergarments/swimwear: Tight/moist undergarments would not just irritate the urinary tract but also increase the risk of bacterial growth. Germs tend to grow more in a wet and warm environment so changing out of wet bathing suits or sweaty clothes as soon as possible is crucial.

 

Avoiding holding back urine or rushing while urinating: Holding urine would give enough time for the infection to grow while it is in the urinary system, while rushing may not allow it to be fully released.

 

Keeping these few simple things in mind and practicing basic hygiene will ensure that summer vacations turn out to be fun without cause for worry over UTI.

Slip disc: How common is it?

The backbone or spine is made up of a series of individual bones that are stacked together to form the vertebrae. These bones are cushioned by discs in between which protect these bones by working as shock-absorbers. So when you lift, walk or engage in any other physical activity, your back remains unharmed thanks to these discs. It is when these disc become weak or injured that the problem starts.

 

How common are slip discs?

 

Slip discs are extremely common, and the most common cause of backache in people aged 35 – 55 years. It is also more common in men than in women.

 

What causes a herniated disc?

 

Each disc has two parts: a soft, gelatinous inner portion called the nucleus populus and a tough outer layer called the annulus. When the disc becomes weak or injured,  it causes the inner portion to protrude through the outer ring. This condition is called slipped, herniated, or prolapsed disc which can cause discomfort to the point of excruciating pain. The outer layer becomes weak or torn because of a variety of factors – age, being overweight, injury or heavy lifting are some of them. Sedentary lifestyle and a physically demanding job also act as catalysts.

 

The herniated nucleus pulposus can press on the nerves near the disc, resulting in pain and numbness.

 

What are the symptoms?

 

Although a slipped disc can happen anywhere along the spine, the lower back is more vulnerable to a herniated disc. That is because being overweight or doing improper lifting causes more stress on the lower back than any other part of the back. Common symptoms of a slipped disc include:

 

  • Pain and numbness
  • Pain that extends to arms and legs
  • Pain that worsens after sitting/standing or at night
  • Tingling or burning sensation along with pain
  • Unexplained weakness

 

The most common indicator of a slipped disc is the inability to control muscles and therefore, difficulty in ease of movement like before.

 

What is the course of treatment?

 

The course of treatment depends on the intensity of pain and how far the disc has slipped. Most cases of slipped discs are treated conservatively – with a combination of medication, exercises, and physical therapy. However, if the symptoms do not subside within 6 weeks of medication, surgical intervention may be required. Some of the most common surgeries involving slip discs are microdiskectomy in which only the damaged part of the disc is removed. After removal of the disc, the vertebrae are fused together or the disc is replaced with an artificial one.

 

Can slip discs be prevented?

 

Slip discs in all likelihood cannot be prevented. But certain measures can be taken to reduce the risk of developing one. These include:

 

  • Bending and lifting from the knees rather than the waist
  • Maintaining a steady weight
  • Exercising and weight training to strengthen muscles
  • Living an active lifestyle

Stents_ Different types of stents and their benefits

Stents are typically small mesh tubes that are used to treat a blocked passage. Blood flow or flow of other fluids along with other bodily functions is resumed post stent placement. When a stent is placed in the heart, it is used to treat narrow or weak arteries.

 

What purpose does a stent solve?

 

Limited blood flow or blocked arteries can create serious and deadly consequences. This is where coronary stenting comes in. A stent is placed in a narrowed artery not just to open the blocked passage but also to treat a heart attack or reduce symptoms of a heart disease like chest pain.

This is done through a procedure called percutaneous coronary intervention, commonly referred to as angioplasty. It is done under local anesthesia and you would need to spend a night at the hospital even though the procedure takes about an hour or more, depending on the number of stents placed.

 

What are the different types of coronary stents?

 

Bare metal coronary stents – These are tubular, mesh-like devices that do not have any medications embedded in them.

 

Drug-eluting stents – These stents are coated with medications that prevent inflammation and interrupt the renarrowing on a long term basis. These reduce the risk of renarrowing to upto 10 percent especially for diabetics who are under high risk for such renarrowing.

 

Bioabsorbable stents – This stent is made of a special polymer that eventually dissolves into the body. Once it is placed it releases a drug called everolimus that limits the growth of scar tissue hence preventing the artery from getting blocked again.

 

Dual therapy stent – This is a combination of both drug and bioengineered stent.

 

Several innovations are constantly being made to make sure the process of stenting is as successful as can be. A covered stent is also employed at times. It comes with a coating of anti-restenosis drugs that can be released for months before it becomes a bare metal stent.

 

What are the complications associated with stenting?  

 

While stenting comes with minimum complications, it is not risk free. Blot clots followed by re-narrowing of the artery and ultimately complete blockage can take place. Scar tissue is one of the complications. Plaque, that is made of cholesterol and other substances gets attached to the walls of a vessel so that artery becomes narrow again. While placing another stent is often resorted to, coronary artery bypass surgery which is much more invasive may be needed in some cases.

Stents are also placed in the bile ducts, bronchi or ureters. These tubes can also become blocked or damaged just like the arteries. The complications of not placing a stent outnumber that of placing one, which is why doctors generally opt for it as an emergency procedure.

The growing popularity of laser treatments

We all yearn for healthy beautiful skin at every stage of our life. Most of us have something on our skin we would rather be without – a big mole, unwanted scars, a crop of freckles, impulsively acquired tattoos, so on and so forth. The list is endless just like our desire for the perfect skin. Thanks to the most advanced cosmetic technologies and medical skin care, flawless skin has become a reality.

 

One of the most amazing innovations and technologies that are emerging and sweeping the field of dermatology is the laser treatment. Laser treatments have been proven significantly effective, giving some really amazing results. Laser treatment uses an intense beam of light that targets specific cells. Lasers come in numerous intensities and can treat just about any skin-related problem. They help in reducing the visibility of stretch marks, surgical and acne scars, age spots and sun damaged skin, unwanted hair, wrinkles, unwanted facial vessels etc. Lasers can seem like magic wands. Dermatologists love lasers, they were among the first to use the laser in medicine for the treatment of skin problems.

 

Most medical and surgical specialties have now harnessed the powerful laser for their use. The

lasers in use today are far more specialized and advanced than those of the past. You may be wondering, however, if laser therapy is actually safe to use and whether it is truly an effective solution for dealing with unwanted skin and cosmetic health issues. Thankfully, laser treatment today is extremely safe and highly effective for many people.

 

Owing to their immediate and amazing results, laser treatments have become a much sought-after method for skin correction and rejuvenation. One of the fastest growing medical procedures, laser treatments are now being offered by a large number of medical offices as well as in freestanding medi-spas and salons. But put one of these lasers in the hands of someone without the right training, and you can end up with permanent skin damage. If you choose to have a laser treatment, make sure you select just the right practitioner. When performed by an experienced and trained laser surgeon, laser surgery is primarily a safe procedure. You can rely on the experience and expertise of providers to appropriately evaluate your skin and provide the appropriate treatment option for your condition and aesthetic goals. Remember to always follow the advice of your practitioner both before and after treatment in order to get the best results.

 

How safe are they?

Laser and light-based treatments have been safely used for many years for a variety of medical and cosmetic procedures. Technological and medical advances in recent years have significantly lowered the chances of serious side effects. In rare cases, some patients may experience blisters, burns, and pigmentation changes that generally vanish over time.

 

 

In conclusion, laser treatments have become so common, you can rely on industry experts to help you solve the dermatological problem without any fear. Our Cosmetology and Plastic Surgery department boasts of some of the most experienced doctors in the field, for appointments click here.

Why reading time is important for your child’s development

The capability to read is crucial. This is because the process of reading is all about learning. This is done as young children grasp the images and writing done on the blackboard and books. Gradually, they start to solve other complicated subjects of maths, social studies and science. Reading time is extremely important for a child’s development as it sets the base and makes it easier for them to learn other essential things.

 

Here’s how reading lends a hand in your child’s growth and development and is beneficial for you as well:

 

Improves their cognitive abilities: As you recite stories and show your child the relevant images in the book, he/she starts to imagine. Not only are they starting to create but also dream.

 

Reading gives children a headstart in preparation for school: It helps kids to have a better understanding of everyday life and the world. Not only are they better equipped to handle other subjects at school, but are equipped to think and act logically.

 

Helps them to have better communication skills: Kids listen to how various characters in the story communicate with each other, and this, in turn, is shaping up their communication skills.

 

They are able to concentrate better: Reading supports memory retention and a longer attention span. It also inculcates the value of self-discipline.

 

You get some alone time your little one: Not only do you get to build some precious memories with your little one (which are educational as well) as you read to them, but also relax your mind in the process. This is a great way to bond with your kids and take a break from your work and other responsibilities that might be fogging your mind.

 

How can it be made more enjoyable?

 

It can be frustrating as a parent to read out to an uninterested child who is only interested in flipping through pages of the book. But according to studies reading regularly definitely shows results over time.

 

Make reading time exciting and fun: Do this by enacting the stories and using different voices. You would definitely need to be proactive for this, and not treat reading time as just another chore.

 

Make books accessible: Your kid should be able to reach out to his/her favorite books whenever they want, without your help. Reading material should be available throughout the house. Adopt the habit of reading yourself as kids generally see their parents as role models and mimic their habits especially at a tender age.

 

Reading also generates curiosity, helps them understand their emotions, differentiate between a pleasant or frightening event, and a real or make-believe world. Boost your child’s development and do your part as a parent to making them good and strong individuals by taking reading time seriously.

What you should know about fever fits!

Fever is very common in children. Nearly every parent has felt their child’s hot, feverish forehead and has been worried. Is it serious? How high is too high? Should they go to the doctor? In most cases, fever is not dangerous and can even be viewed as helpful as it fights infections naturally. But prompt medical treatment is sometimes very important and ignoring a fever can lead to some serious repercussions like fever fits.

Watching a child having a fit, particularly if they have no previous history of fits, can be very frightening and distressing for the parents. It is very important to know about this condition and create more awareness. Fever fits, also known as febrile seizures are a relatively common childhood condition that can occur in 3 or 4 out of every 100 children.

What is a febrile seizure?

A febrile seizure is a convulsion triggered by high fever (greater than 100.4ºF). Febrile convulsions occur in children when there is a rapid increase in their body temperature. This type of seizure occurs most often in children between the ages of 6 months and 3 years (most children outgrow them by 5 years), and can be very worrisome to parents.

What are the symptoms of febrile seizures?

The symptoms include:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Twitching or jerking of arms and legs
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Foaming at the mouth
  • Going pale or bluish in skin colour
  • Eye rolling, so only the whites of their eyes are visible

Most febrile seizures last for 30 seconds to a couple of minutes. Some can last up to 15 minutes. After a seizure, it is common for a child to feel confused or drowsy.

What to do during a convulsion?

There is nothing you can do to make the convulsion stop, however you can surely take some precautions to prevent injury. For starters, stay calm and don’t panic. Place your child in the recovery position. Lay them on their side, on a soft surface, with their face turned to one side. Do not restrain your child and do not put anything in their mouth. If possible, time how long the convulsion lasts and try to watch exactly what happens, so that you can describe it to the doctor later.

Febrile seizures may be very frightening, but most are harmless and do not pose a threat to a child’s health. Febrile convulsions do not have any long-term health effects on most children. They will normally grow out of them by the age of six. So, if your child has had a febrile seizure, do not fear the worst. If you have concerns about this issue talk with your child’s doctor. Most often, febrile seizures are diagnosed after a describing the events that led up to the seizure. The important point is to keep calm and remember that everything will be alright.

All you need to know about ‘Weighted blankets’

You know how a lot of us find a lot of comfort and peace when we snuggle with our mum or even our partner? That’s because it has a physiological effect in your body and there’s the release of oxytocin, endorphins and serotonin, chemicals in your body that are responsible for making you happy and reduce anxiety. ‘Weighted blankets’ help in recreating similar conditions and relieves stress and decrease other sleep related issues.

So, what is a ‘weighted blanket’?

It is literally what it sounds like. It is a blanket that has additional weight. Often the weights are created by adding plastic pellets or small glass globules. They also come with millet, rice and lead as well. They are gaining popularity due to the high advantages in providing people and children, deep and stress-free ways to sleep.

How do they work?

The fundamental technology or science that these weighted blankets use is called Deep Touch Pressure. The blankets work by applying gentle pressure on the body that helps in the release of serotonin in your body. It’s an enzyme that promotes relaxation. They are hugs in the form of a blanket or duvet!

Who does it help and how?

They are known to help calm down children as well as adults suffering from ADHD, Asperger’s syndrome, Down syndrome, aggression, insomnia, depression, bipolar disorder and PSTD. The release of serotonin, oxytocin and endorphin help in reducing restlessness and fidgety hands and legs. It allows children to sleep and also is known to be as effective on adults, suffering from different health issues as well. It helps slow down the nervous activity in the body and induces a sense of calm and relaxation. Women in menopause have also admitted to have been benefited by the use of these blankets.

Weighted blankets are a revolutionary product that is slowly but steadily paving its way to the Indian market and our households by providing numerable people a good night’s sleep. They are successfully able to help you to reduce the stress that weighs you down!

Talking about miscarriages

Talking about miscarriages

Miscarriages are one of the most common conditions suffered by pregnant women, as many as one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage. It is none as spontaneous abortion. A miscarriage tends to be a particularly difficult time for mothers. The reaction to a miscarriage differs from woman to woman. Some tend to see miscarriage as a phenomenon that has no emotional quality since the foetus is not defined enough to be thought of as a child, still others feel it is as traumatic as losing a newborn child. Though the emotional connect that women feel to their foetus may differ, the physical repercussions of a miscarriage remain the same. Although there are some common facts that have been woven around the concept, some of them are still unknown. Having complete knowledge can often help predict and prevent such a traumatic situation altogether. Here we are talking about miscarriages and everything you need to know about them.

What is a miscarriage?

Loss of pregnancy up to 23 weeks is termed as miscarriage. Any loss after 23 weeks is called stillbirth. The embryo or the foetus is disposed before it is viable, that leads to symptoms resembling a normal menstrual cycle. Sometimes a woman could go through a miscarriage before even knowing that she was pregnant. At times like these, a woman might experience heavier than normal periods with thick clots. The periods might be early or late or sometimes on time too, it is always best to consult with a gynaecologist at times like these.

What are the symptoms of miscarriage?

If you suffer any of the following symptoms during pregnancy, get in touch with your doctor immediately as you could probably have miscarried:

  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Vaginal discharge
  • Loss of pregnancy symptoms like morning sickness, sore breasts
  • Intense abdominal pain

Bleeding during pregnancy is one of the most common signs of miscarriage. However abnormal amount of bleeding accompanied by severe abdominal pain, pain in the tip of the shoulder, diarrhea and vomiting or feeling light-headed are signs of ectopic pregnancy. They start to surface between 5 to 14 weeks of pregnancy and are often confused with a miscarriage.

What leads to miscarriage?

There can be many causes of miscarriages and generally, the cause will not be identified. Certain factors, however, increase the risk of a miscarriage.

Age:The later the pregnancy, the more are the chances of a miscarriage. Women conceiving after the age of 40 are at a 40 percent risk of miscarrying.

Lifestyle and eating habits: Intake of too much caffeine or alcohol is harmful to the health of the foetus. Smoking and drug abuse are completely forbidden for the expecting woman.

The health of the mother: The health of the mother determines the health of her baby. If the mother is obese, diabetic, suffers from hypertension or kidney disease, she is at a much greater risk of having a miscarriage than a healthy mother. Any kind of infection could also lead to miscarriage.

Unforeseen complications: Certain other complications could arise in chromosomes of the foetus, placenta, weakness in the neck of the cervix and the result is often a miscarriage.

A majority of miscarriages are a one-off event and women go on to have successful pregnancies without any complications in the future. Miscarriage suffered at any point in pregnancy can be an excruciatingly painful and a lonely time for a woman. A regular exercise routine, consistent sleeping patterns, healthy diet and regular visits to your obgyn are strong tools to manage your pregnancy better!