Post-stroke care: A guide for the caretakers

Life post-stroke isn’t going to be a cake-walk. It can be tiring and depressing for the survivors and caretakers alike. Strokes can result in disabilities – some which may last for a while and some forever. Caretakers of stroke survivors should be prepared, mentally and physically,  to go that extra mile for their loved ones. Let this guide help you with the responsibilities of a caretaker for a stroke survivor.

#1 Study about the stroke and its medications

Caregivers should have a clear cut idea of what they are dealing with. You should have good knowledge of the patient’s medical history and allergies. Make sure you keep a record of medications prescribed and its side effects on the patient (if any). Seek immediate medical help in case the patient’s body or skin exhibits any kind of changes.

#2 Make sure your home is ready to welcome your dear one.

Mild changes in the arrangements of the house may be required to make it more easy and accessible.  Discuss and clear all doubts with a doctor or a nurse before bringing your loved one back home. Prepare your family to be considerate with the patient’s needs.

#3 Understand that the chances for the next stroke are high

Understand the risks so that you can reduce the risk. Once stroke-stricken, the patient might have high chances of having another stroke. Feed your loved one healthy food, give medicines on time, make them exercise regularly (if any recommended) and, more importantly, make sure they do not miss a single doctor’s appointment.

#4 Study your patient and his/her stroke for fast recovery

Each stroke is different and affects each person differently. You should keep a check on your loved one to see how they are coping; which part of their brain is affected, in what way and how well is rehabilitation working for them, and more. This might help in providing better care and thus in attaining fast recovery for the patient.

#5 Recovery may or may not be fast

You must teach yourself this first. Never lose hope and never let your loved one lose hope. The path to full recovery is not smooth and it can take up more time than expected. The first 2-3 months might show better results. However, medications work differently on each patient.

#6 Don’t hesitate to seek assistance

Not everything can be handled on your own. Seek the assistance that you may require, not just medical but from support groups as well. Talk to social workers or people who have experience in caring for stroke survivors for tips.

#7 Keep a record

Signs of progress must be recorded. You must keep a log of the recovery processes; which therapies are working best for the patient, their improvements in communication and physical activities, etc.

#8 Emotional support

You must understand how stressful the situation is for the patient. Make sure he/she knows that you are there for them. Post-stroke depression is a real thing and never let your loved one fall into it. This can have a massive impact on the recovery and rehabilitation process.

#9 You are important too

Caretaking is a big responsibility and is exhausting for the body and soul. Take a break, if you feel like you need one. As your work requires a lot of physical strength, eat healthily and exercise regularly. Stay positive and send out positive vibes. Try to be patient and understanding  - don’t stress yourself out.

Caretaking might not be an easy job, but it isn’t any easier for the stroke survivor either. Keep these points in mind to help make caretaking more effective. After all, anything can be accomplished when you have someone you trust by your side. No journey can be long and unfruitful without good care and support. Take your loved one home, guide them through recovery and help them rebuild their world.

What does your skin say about your health?

Our skin is like a mirror. Not just a reflection of your prettiness, but also to what is happening inside you. Odd changes inside your body are resonated through your skin. Similarly, if you are fine inside, you will glow outside. The skin has the superpower to discern many kinds of health issues. Rashes and breakouts never occur without a reason. Being the largest organ of our body, it has the potential to represent the wellbeing of our entire body. Let’s see what our skin has to say about our health.

1. Does your skin feel itchy and dry?

Generally, climatic changes such as temperature rise or fall can lead to dryness in the skin. In most cases, moisturizers are more than enough to handle the situation. But if it lasts longer or if you feel like your moisturizer isn’t working, it is advisable to get a medical check-up. Dry skin might be a result of Eczema, a chronic inflammatory skin condition. Eczema can be caused due to hormonal imbalance or nutritional deficiency.

Pruritic skin depicts the chances of Cirrhosis or Hepatitis. In some cases, itchy skin can be a warning sign for liver damage, asthma, allergy or thyroid. 

2. Do you have unnecessary hair growth in unusual areas?

Unusual hair growth happens usually due to an increasing number of male hormones in ovaries. This can lead to Polycystic ovarian syndrome(PCOS). An irregular menstrual cycle or difficulty in losing weight can increase the probability of PCOS and demands medical assistance. Such unwanted hair is usually found under the chin or belly button.

3. Do you experience breakouts all the time?

Skin breakouts can occur due to stress. Bring down your stress through meditation and monitor any changes you see. If you still get aberrant breakouts, it might be due to a hormonal imbalance or irregularity in menstrual cycles. If it keeps increasing, make sure it isn’t Rosacea, a common skin disease which spreads redness all-over the face.

4. Do you neglect the sunspots?

Sun is good for your skin. But haven’t you heard there are spots even in the sun? Sunspots or freckles can be signs of skin cancer too. If you are planning to be out in the sun for a long time, remember to wear sunscreen -(minimum requirement of SPF 30). If you manage to sweat it off, just reapply to keep your skin protected. Shielding your skin from the sun can also protect you from early ageing. Keep an eye on freckles or moles on your body. Make sure to seek medical attention in case they start changing shape, colour or size.

5. Does your skin exhibit a lot of veins?

Too many visible veins are not a good sign. It can come from excessive straining. It can also be due to spider veins or varicose veins which are rendered with problems in blood flow levels. Either way, you need to keep it under control. Varicose veins are often found in elders and overweight people. Rosacea can also be a reason behind varicose veins.

6. Does your skin appear yellow or orange all the time?

Overeating fruits or vegetables which has high beta-carotene content can result in a yellow or orange skin. This usually happens when you have a high thyroid level. When you have a yellowish shade in your skin as well as in your eyes, it can be due to jaundice too. Commonly known as Hepatitis, this one affects the liver functions. An obstruction in your bile duct or a breakdown of red blood cells can also result in skin discolouration.

Skin can exhibit visible changes during the period of menopause in women. In case you stay dehydrated for long, it can reveal certain variations in colour and texture. Our skin is like a true friend eager to help. But the most incredible thing about this friend of ours  is the way it glows when we are happy. Be happy and radiate happiness!

Sleep right, sleep tight and your health won’t bite

In a world where time is fleeting, most people merit those who function on less sleep. However, those who manage to survive aren’t actually fully functional and have chosen a path that can only deteriorate their health. When it comes to the right amount of sleep there are many factors to consider, but 7-9 hours per night is ideal for the average adult.

A well-rested adult should feel energized through the day. If you get tired too often, you might need to start following a routine sleep schedule. Even if sleep loss is minimal, you will find significant changes in your daily mood and energy. Prolonged sleep loss can even be detrimental to your physical and mental health.

While you are asleep, your brain is awake recharging your body preparing you for the activities of the next day. Post this restorative sleep, your body will be able to work, learn and create at a level of your true potential. Without enough of it, you will be vulnerable to the multiple effects of not giving your body the time and space to recuperate from the weight for the previous day.

Cognitive dysfunction:  

Depriving oneself of sleep leaves the brain exhausted, hampering it from fulfilling its duties well. Creativity and decision-making skills will be compromised resulting in less productivity and a lack of sound judgments. As you are unable to focus and pay attention to your surroundings, you are easily confused. It can affect the way you interpret daily events as you may not be able to evaluate situations and act on them in the best manner.

Loss of memory:

Sleeplessness can make you a forgetful person affecting your learning and memory. While you are asleep, the brain is awake forming connections that help you process and retain new information that can be recalled in the future. A lack of sleep can affect your long term and short-term memory.

Moodiness:

Those who are sleep deprived have an increased emotional response to negative feelings such as anger, frustration, irritability and sadness. These stress-inducing moods can further lead to depression and anxiety. Furthermore, the release of excess cortisol, a stress hormone, makes the skin susceptible to pimples and ageing. This is why you often find a sleep-deprived person with puffy eyes and sallow skin.

Weak immunity:

Your body requires sleep to fight against viruses and infections that can cause the common cold or flu. Without sufficient sleep, you are more prone to fall sick when you are exposed to these germs. Likewise, your body needs more sleep when recovering from an illness, or else it will slow down the healing process.

Risk of diabetes:

Insufficient sleep lowers the insulin levels released in the body after you eat. Insulin regulates the blood sugar levels and a lack of it results in higher blood sugar levels. More glucose remains in the bloodstream which increases the risk of getting type 2 diabetes. Those who have already been diagnosed with diabetes should maintain a healthy sleep routine to avoid any escalations.

Weight gain:

Grehlin is a chemical released by your body that makes you hungry and Leptin is the chemical that signals your brain that you are full. When you have not had adequate sleep, your body releases more ghrelin and less leptin making you overeat even when you have had enough. Due to lack of sleep, you will also be too tired to exercise to burn the extra calories you have been gaining.

Sleep isn’t a luxury; it is a necessity that serves so many purposes with so little effort. So make the most out of your bedtime and start following a regular sleep schedule to live up to your body’s potential. A good habit can take you so far and a bad habit can only make you fall short.

Flu Season and how to avoid the fall

Winter chills and medical bills – sounds just about right. From infants to adults, no one is spared when it comes to the flu season. Children fall ill and miss school, adults fall ill and miss work and yet again the cold takes all. But the right precautions will help break away from the trend. With some preventive and self-care measures, getting through the flu season will be a breeze.

  1. Watch what you touch – including yourself:

It is recommended to keep disinfectants and wet wipes handy. Everyday furniture like doorknobs and desktops should be wiped down before using. It is important to keep in mind that even after thoroughly cleaning your hands, they may not be 100% clean. It is best to avoid rubbing your eyes, nose and lips.

  1. Keep an eye on your diet:

Street food may not be the right food – their questionable quality can make you susceptible to the flu. Instead, incorporate more Vitamin C into your diet to include fruits and vegetables which will help build your immune system to fight the flu coming your way.

Don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of liquids which will help flush out any toxins your body may have.

  1. Exercise regularly:

To further improve your immune system, build a lifestyle that includes an exercise routine. After all, a physically fit body can better combat the flu and other diseases.

  1. Keep your distance:

Choosing to stay indoors, especially with someone already down with the flu may not be your ticket to saving yourself from the flu. Avoid contact or being around those who are ill and refrain from breathing in when people around you cough or sneeze. You would not want to be doing the same.

Likewise, avoid crowded areas during peak flu seasons.

  1. Get Vaccinated:

Getting a shot months prior to the flu season is considered the best prevention for the flu. A vaccine can be taken annually for the best effect and is available to anyone that is above 6 months of age

  1. Maintain a warm body temperature:

Don’t forget to cover up during the winters with adequate amount of clothing – sweaters, gloves scarves, and anything else you may require. A lower body temperature can attract viruses during the season.

What is Typhoid fever?

Fevers can be confusing. Most of the febrile illnesses exhibit uniform symptoms which makes self-diagnosis nearly impossible. Typhoid fever is a type of fever resulting from a bacterial infection. The bacteria causing this fever is called Salmonella typhi(S.typhi). Also, the same kind of fever with less intensity is caused by a bacteria named Salmonella Paratyphi. Typhoid is usually seen in developing countries or under-developed countries where sanitation is poor and clean water and food are scarce. It can be life-threatening if not diagnosed and treated at the right time.

How do you get Typhoid fever?

Typhoid fever can be caused in 2 ways.

  • Bacteria to Human: The bacteria can enter a person’s body directly through contaminated food or water
  • Human to human: By having close contact with a patient infected with Typhoid.

Once the bacteria get access into a body, it keeps multiplying in the gallbladder, bile ducts or liver and passes into the bowel. They live and are transmitted through human faeces and urine. The bacteria also spread into the bloodstream.

Are you exhibiting these symptoms?

The incubation period of typhoid fever is from 1 to 2 weeks and the infection disease can stay for 3-4 weeks in a body.

Symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Diarrhoea or constipation
  • Weakness
  • Stomach pain
  • High fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pain in several parts of the body
  • Fatigue

How can you get treated?

Typhoid fever is diagnosed by testing human faeces, urine or blood. It is usually remedied with antibiotics. If not treated, 1 in 5 cases could be fatal. Apart from antibiotics, it is very important to stay hydrated during the period of illness.

How to protect yourself from Typhoid fever?

  • For the starters, Typhoid vaccines are available. If travelling to areas prone to typhoid fever, vaccinate yourself.
  • Typhoid is spread through contaminated food and water. Only drink boiled or bottled water, especially while travelling.
  • Always wash your hands before and after food.
  • Avoid consuming raw food and go for cooked food. Avoid eating street food.

A small percentage of fully recovered patients can be carriers of this bacteria for a long time. The illness can be transmitted through these carriers. But usually, bacteria causing typhoid fever can be eradicated from your body within 2 to 4 weeks of proper medication.

Almost everyone who gets prompt treatment shows improvement in less than a week. Without the right treatment, typhoid can even cause life-threatening intestinal bleeding and perforation. Typhoid causes nearly 200,000 deaths every year all around the world. This is the reason why precautions are important. Once you encounter with any symptoms, get medical assistance as soon as possible and start medication.

Do fevers always mean increasing temperature? – Busting myths about common fevers

How many of you know that a fever is a war between the immune system and the germ? The germs won’t be able to tolerate high temperatures. Our body thus sends hormones to turn up the heat at the time of infection. Succinctly, a fever is a saviour rather than a destroyer.

What is a fever?

Fever is a condition where the body temperature temporarily shoots up. This usually happens due to some illness or some uncommon activity inside your body. Normal body temperature is liable to slight changes all the time. It is dependent on what we eat, how much we sleep, and even the time of the day. Fever, in most of the cases, helps to fight back infection. However, sometimes, at very high temperatures, fevers can be even life-threatening. Mild fevers are good for the body and don’t require any medications or treatments unless causing discomfort.

There are several myths about common fevers. 6 Common Myths about common fever are busted below.

Myth #1: All fever requires treatment.

Truth: Fevers are the body’s reflex action towards germs. Most of the time, we need to let our bodies do the work. Fevers need to be treated only if discomfort arises. Fever is usually a warning sign and if any more symptoms come up, that illness might require treatment. However, treating a fever won’t do any harm either.

Myth #2: High fever causes seizures and seizures with fever are dangerous.

Truth: It isn’t the fever but the sudden elevation of temperature which causes seizures. Only 4% of children might have seizures with fever. Also, most febrile seizures are never harmful. Although a bit disturbing to watch, it can go away within 5 minutes. No permanent injury will have resulted from this.

Myth #3: More the temperature, more severe the illness

Truth: Sometimes, high temperatures for days in teens and adults can turn to be serious, but in children, it is very rare. Body temperature isn’t always a reliant method to confirm an illness. Focus on other symptoms and get medical assistance in case the fever is never going down.

Myth #4: Fever can damage the brain

Truth: Like already said, fever is just a defence mechanism by the body. Fever nor febrile seizures can cause brain damage. Temperature above 108 F has chances of brain damage. The rise in body temperature to this extent is very rare though.

Myth #5: A cold water bath can bring the fever down.

Truth: A cold water bath is the least recommended activity during a fever. Coldwater increases the core body temperature which can result in shivering. Bath in lukewarm water can be refreshing.

Fever may not feel friendly, but it’s not necessarily your foe either. Fever can be treated by keeping yourself hydrated, changing clothes and the bed frequently, ventilating the room and keeping clothes and blankets to a minimum rather than going for antipyretics. Afterall we must let our bodies fight the war in peace.

Yoga During Pregnancy: How safe is it to exercise?

How do you feel about Mac and Cheese? Doesn’t the combo makes you feel good? That’s how yoga tags along with pregnancy. It is perfection. Exercises like yoga, walking, and swimming are extremely safe for your body and soothing to your mind. It helps you breathe and relax, not only during pregnant days but also during your labor and the postpartum period. But you might have to take some precautions during the gestation period. Why shouldn’t we play it safe for the baby?

Prenatal yoga, apart from helping you to stretch and loosen up your muscles, also becomes a good platform to meet other moms-to-be. You get to share your concerns and anxieties and thus face the changes more positively. Regular exercising at least 30 mins a day or 3-4 times a week can improve your heart health, reduce your lower back pain and even shorten your labor pain and time. It helps you to keep your Endorphin, the happy hormones in your body, high. Baby’s coming becomes less painful and more smooth.

The exercise plan varies for every woman depending upon her fitness level, the trimester she is in, and how she is feeling about it. Here are a few tips to start your yoga plan with.

  • If you have a regular instructor and a gym, don’t forget to inform him/her about your pregnancy and the trimester you are in.
  • Discuss your concerns and queries with your doctor or health care provider and take suggestions before you start your exercise plan
  • It is better to do your exercise against a wall or with the support of a chair. Let’s not accidentally harm the baby in any way.
  • Now is not the time for weight reduction. So make sure you never overdo it. A regular exercise routine during the pregnancy period can help you reduce weight after your delivery.
  • Always stay hydrated.

There are some exercises and yoga asanas perfect for the gestation period. On the other hand, there are certain exercises, poses or asanas in yoga that need to be dodged completely during your pregnancy period. Safe exercising can strengthen your body and tone your pelvic and abdominal tissues making your body labor-ready. Below are a few do’s in yoga which can be beneficial for you and the tiny tot growing inside you.

  • Standing poses: You can widen your legs to make space for your tummy while doing standing poses in yoga
  • Poses like Ardha Chandrasana, Pigeon, Konasana, Triangle, Knee to Ankle increases the flexibility of your body and thus makes the birth process less agonizing.
  • Listen to your body. If your body says “STOP”, stop immediately without a second thought.
  •  Side stretches: Side poses and variations of side planks can be comforting as your belly expands.
  • If you see any warning signs like vaginal bleeding, unusual pain, dizziness, uterine contraction or vaginal fluid leakage, you might have to halt your workout.

While you keep yourself and your baby strong and healthy, Also make sure to take note of the DON’TS in exercises too.

  • No poses which give pressure on to your stomach.
  • Strictly no poses which involve over-stretching, twists, inversions, back bending and jumps.
  • Avoid fast breathing and holding breath during your exercise time and try following the birthing breath technique.
  • Hot yoga can raise your body’s temperature and that is not an advisable act during pregnancy period and for your baby.

Yoga is a very safe option in exercises that could be adapted into your routine during your pregnant days. Over and above staying healthy, yoga keeps your mind calm and body prepared for the baby. Walking and swimming are also safe exercises to practice during pregnancy. Make sure the water is of the right temperature during your swimming sessions. Also, make yourself comfortable when you workout by wearing loose-fitting clothes and shoes with good grip and support which will never let you fall. Make the most cherished period of your life a little bit sweaty and a lot more healthy. This phase of your life isn’t the time to stop doing things. This phase is a new beginning to try new things.

Varicose veins; all you need to know

Varicose veins or Varicose occurs when your veins become overfilled with blood and enlarged as a result. These veins are often twisted and appear swollen. Any vein may become varicoses but the most commonly affected are those in the leg. This is because standing upright increases the pressure in the veins of your lower body. For many people, this is a common condition. But for others, it may cause aching pain, discomfort and sometimes lead to more serious problems.

How are they caused?

Varicose veins occur when the blood isn’t flowing properly through the veins. All our veins have one-way valves that keep blood from flowing backward in the other direction. When these valves fail, the blood begins to accumulate instead of flowing to your heart. This gets the veins enlarged. Even though there aren’t any specific causes for this to happen, there are some risk factors involved. These factors increase your risk of developing varicose.

Pregnancy

The volume of blood in your body increases during your pregnancy. This change occurs to support your fetus, but it can also produce this as a side effect. Hormonal changes during pregnancy are also said to play a role.

Family History

If other family members have had varicose or have varicose, there is a higher chance you will too.

Obesity

Being overweight adds more pressure to your veins. This makes it harder for them to maintain a good flow of blood and ultimately result in varicoses.

Age

Aging causes wear and tear on the valves in the veins. These valves are the ones that help regulate the blood flow. Eventually, the damage causes the valves to allow blood to flow backward in your veins where it ends up getting accumulated.

Sex

Women are more prone to varicose than men are. Hormonal changes during pregnancy, menopause or pre-menstruation maybe a factor cause the hormones released during these phases to tend to relax the vein walls.

Prolonged periods of standing or sitting

The blood doesn’t flow as well if you’re in the same position for long periods.

In rare cases, varicose are caused by diseases such as:

  • Phlebitis or inflammation of the veins
  • Blood clots or any obstruction to blood flow in the veins
  • Congenital abnormalities in the veins

Even though there are no ways to prevent varicose, improving your circulation and keeping your muscles toned reduces your risk of contracting it. Most of these measures are also used to treat the discomforts of varicose veins.

  • Exercise regularly.
  • Watch your weight.
  • Avoid wearing high heels and tight shoes
  • Elevate your legs regularly for a while every day
  • Maintain a high-fibre and low-salt diet
  • Try not to stay in the same postures for prolonged periods

Doctors are conservation while treating veins. They might probably ask you to make certain lifestyle changes instead of trying intense treatments. But in case of severe varicoses, there are some medical treatments that are proven to be effective.

Compression

You may be advised to wear compression stockings or socks which place enough pressure on your lower body to make the blood flow easier. If worn regularly, they are effective in controlling symptoms and preventing skin complications and one can avoid the need for surgery. These compressions wear also reduce swellings caused by varicose. The level of compression varies from product to product and most of those types are found in drugstores and medical shops.

Growth pain in children; what does it mean?

Despite the name ‘growing pains’ there is no evidence that bone and muscle growth causes pain. Growth pain is cramping, achy muscle pain that kids and preteens feel. The pains usually start in early childhood around 3 or 4 and they tend to strike again when the kids are 8-12. It isn’t a disease. In fact, most children go through growth pain. They probably don’t even need any medical help. But it hurts to have growth pain. They are often described as throbbing pain in the legs, in the front of the thighs, the calves or behind the knees. They tend to affect both legs and mostly occur in the evenings and nights. Growth pains may be linked to a low pain threshold or psychological issues. Or they may simply be muscle aches due to regular childhood activities like running, jumping and climbing.

What is causing this to my child?
Bone or muscle growth hasn’t been proved to cause pain and they don’t usually happen where growth is occurring or during times of fast growth. So ‘growing’ pains might just be aches and discomfort from being physically active. These pains can happen after your child had a particularly athletic day.

How do I know if it’s just growth pain or something else?

Growth pain always occurs in the muscles and not the joints. Most kids report pain in front of their thighs, their calves or behind their knees. Joints affected by serious diseases are swollen, red, tender or warm. But this is not the case in growing pains. Growth pain usually strikes in the evenings, but it can also wake a sleeping child sometimes. The intensity of the pain varies and most kids don’t face it every day.

One symptom that you might find really useful in knowing is how your child responds to touch while in pain. Children who have pain from something more serious don’t like to be handled as touch can worsen the pain. But when a child is having growth pain, he/she feels better when held, massaged or cuddled.

How do I help my child?

While growth pain isn’t related to any illness, it can upset your children. The aches are generally gone by the morning and it is usual for a parent to think that the child was faking the pain to get some attention. But this probably isn’t true. So offer reassuring support to your children when they are going through growth pain and tell them it will pass as they grow up. Here are some things you can do to comfort your child and relax the pain.

Rub your child’s legs: Children often respond positively to gentle massages.

Use a heating pad: It can help soothe sore muscles. Use a heating pad on a low setting before bedtime or when your child complains of leg pain.

Stretching exercises:  Stretching the muscles in the legs during the day may help prevent pain at night.

Try a pain reliever: Offer your child ibuprofen or acetaminophen. But avoid aspirin because it may cause Reye’s syndrome.

How do I know if I have to seek medical attention?

Growing pains themselves are harmless, but the pain may also be a sign of another condition. Call your doctor if any of these symptoms happen with your child’s pain.

  • long-lasting pain, pain in the morning, or swelling or redness in one particular area or joint
  • pain associated with an injury
  • fever
  • limping
  • unusual rashes
  • loss of appetite
  • weakness
  • tiredness
  • unusual behavior

These symptoms are not related to growth pain and should be checked out by a doctor.

If you have more queries about growth pain or want to get your child checked, do get in touch or book an appointment with our experts on www.vikramhospital.com

Bulimia and Anorexia; More than just food-related disorders

Do these terms sound foreign to you? The answer to that in it conveys how much we are aware of these two as a mental disorder than an eating disorder. Even though they are classified and defined as eating and food-related disorders, this takes away the focus from all the mental ailments that eventually might end up as Bulimia or Anorexia.

Eating disorders are not just food-related. They are psychological ailments that distort a person’s relationship with food and their body. This can influence many aspects of their lives and has an impact on mental, physical and social well-being. Anorexia and Bulimia are two of the most common of these disorders.

With anorexia, the patient’s relationship with food is based on complete control. They are methodical and meticulous while deciding what to eat when to eat or how much to eat. They might build routines and behavior patterns around eating a certain food at a certain time. Patient’s behavior is planned and carried out with caution.

Patients with bulimia have an intense focus on food as well but this is based on the lack of control over what they eat when they eat or how much they eat. They binge on food and feel powerless to stop eating even after a reasonable amount. But after this binging period, they feel guilty and shameful about what they did and this leads to purging. Purging is finding an extreme way to prevent weight gain from the food consumed. This cycle repeats itself over and over again.

Eating disorders often occur together with psychiatric disorders like anxiety, panic, obsessive-compulsive disorder and drug/alcohol abuse issues. People who are suffering from eating disorders tend to be perfectionists with low-esteem. They are extremely critical of themselves and their appearance. They ‘feel-fat’ and see themselves as overweighed people. But in early stages, patients often deny that they, in fact, do have a problem. They are in constant denial of their issues and don’t like seeing flaws in themselves.

Most of the causes and triggers of eating disorders are psychological as well,

  • Negative body image.
  • Poor self-esteem.
  • Dysfunctional family dynamic.
  • Professions and careers that require or propagate being thin and weight loss, such as modelling.
  • Aesthetically oriented sports where one has to maintain a lean body for enhanced performance and success; like rowing, diving or ballet.
  • Family-related traumas.
  • Childhood sexual abuse resulting in severe trauma.
  • Cultural and societal pressure.
  • Peer pressure from schoolmates, family members or colleagues.
  • Stressful transitions or life changes.

There are biological causes as well. But they are only a few and these aren’t the causes for most people suffering from eating disorders.

  • Irregular hormone functions.
  • Genetics.
  • Nutritional deficiencies.

Treating eating disorders is more emotional than it is physical. Restoring a person to normal weight or ending the binge-purge cycle does not address the underlying emotional problems that were the sole reason behind the disorder. Psychotherapy helps individuals with eating disorders to understand the thoughts, emotions and behaviours that trigger these disorders.

The treatment should concentrate on recognizing and changing unhealthy beliefs about weight, body shapes and dieting. If required, the family members of the teen or pre-teen should be involved in order to give them awareness about what the patient is actually going through. Treatments like Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) and Dialectic Behavior Therapy focus on interpersonal relationship issues that may have caused the disorder. It is important for the patient to heal from the entire trauma that may have caused the eating disorder. Without proper treatment on both mental and physical fronts, these disorders can cause fatal conditions in their extremities.

Here are some measures you would want to take if you think you are suffering from an eating disorder,

Speak to someone
Let a parent, teacher, counsellor, or an adult know what you’re going through.
Pick someone you trust and seek help from them.

Get early help
Chance of recovery is better if the disorder is caught early.

Be present in all your appointments
The treatment takes time and effort. Make sure you attend every one of them and be extremely honest to your therapist about your progress and setbacks. Make queries when you have them.

Be patient with yourself
All human go through stuff. Take it easy on yourself and work towards the progress slowly.
You have all the help you need.

If you or a loved one is in need of help or more information, don’t wait another day. Help is just a click away at www.vikramhospital.com