How to counter the effects of varicose vein

Varicose veins are gnarled, rough and twisted veins that can occur in any part of your body but the parts which are mostly affected are your legs and feet. They usually tend to appear dark blue or purple in colour and mostly grow when the small valves inside the veins stop working properly. This usually happens when the valves do not allow the blood to flow back to the heart, instead flow back down. Since the blood does not flow in the right direction, the veins become swollen and get twisted as a result. For many people, varicose veins could be a mild concern but for some it cause a lot of discomfort, aching and pain as it depends on the severity of it.

Facts related to Varicose veins :

  • Varicose veins can lead to aching and swelling of the nerves.
  • Varicose veins can be inherited.
  • They might become worse when you start to age.

Varicose veins are a point of interest for several researchers, however their occurrence has not proved to be of any severe threat or damage but are generally an aesthetic or cosmetic concern. They may also be associated to slight pain and discomfort but they are in fact known to cause little or no pain at all to people. However, these are the most common symptoms of a varicose vein:

  • Severe muscle cramps
  • Unexplained pain in particular areas around the veins
  • Throbbing or burning sensation in the legs
  • Extremely achy and heavy legs

Varicose veins and its symptoms are likely to become slightly more difficult to manage during warmer seasons as the blood vessels are likely to get dilated due to the high temperature that consequent to the improper flow of blood in the valves. Prolonged sitting or standing have high chances of aggravating the chances of blood pools forming around the ankles causing more pain.

How to get relief from varicose veins

Here are some of the tried and test methods of getting immediate relief from pain and discomfort caused due to varicose veins:

  • Elevate/raise your legs
    It is best recommended to raise your legs above your heart. Lay on the ground and elevate them or stretch it against a table, chair or washroom sink.
  • Timely stretches
    Make sure to pull your muscles gently or do a quick stretch every now and then to relieve yourself from pain, if any.
  • Cool Compress
    This is yet another way to reduce any inflammation, discomfort or pain caused by varicose veins. Dipping your feet in cold water or running it under a cold steam of water can help relax the blood veins and vessels. Lower temperatures help the pain reductions unlike higher temperatures that do the opposite to this condition.
  • Compression Stockings
    Most pharmacists and chemists have these stockings readily available and can be sued at night to help reduce pain and inflammation.

    So, here is all you need to know about varicose veins, their symptoms, causes and prevention methods.

 

Peptic Ulcers – What you need to know

Peptic ulcers are open sores that generally develop on the inside lining of the stomach and the upper portion of the small intestine. There are generally two types of peptic ulcers: duodenal ulcers and gastric ulcers. Peptic ulcers are caused by infections with the bacterium Helicobacter pylori or over usage of aspirin and other painkillers.

Spicy foods and stress cannot cause peptic ulcers; it’s a myth. However, they can aggravate the condition.

Peptic ulcers are caused when the acid in the digestive tracts start eating into the inner lining of the stomach or the small intestine. The digestive tract is usually coated with a layer of mucous that helps in protecting the digestive system from acids. But drop or rise in the levels of acid can be the cause of the peptic ulcers.

Peptic ulcers transpire after exhibiting the following symptoms:

  • Nausea
  • Heartburn
  • Severe stomach pain
  • Fatty substance resistance
  • Belching
  • Bloating
  • Feeling of fullness

A severe peptic ulcer may also involve symptoms such as:

  • Vomiting blood
  • Bloody stools
  • Indefinite weight gain
  • Rapid changes in appetite

It is highly recommended that you avoid the following items when suffering from any type of peptic ulcer:

  • Overthinking or excessive stress
  • Consumption of alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Eating excessive spicy food
  • Deep fried foods

 

It would be smart to visit the doctor in case of the symptoms being manifested in an aggravated level. A diagnosis could be made through undertaking the following tests and scans-

  • Test for H. Pyroli
  • Endoscopy
  • Upper Gastrointestinal Series

The treatment of peptic ulcers generally involve:

  • Antibiotic medication to destroy the bacterium H. Pylori
  • Medication that blocks acid and fastens the recovery process
  • Medication that protects your stomach lining and the small intestine from getting damaged further

Peptic ulcers can prove to be a very painful phenomenon and must be diagnosed and treated as soon as it is detected to avoid the symptoms from getting aggravating any further and becoming more complicated.

 

Tasting colours and seeing sounds: Just when we thought we knew the human brain.

Imagine seeing your favorite songs play out like colours on a bubble. Numbers that feel warm or cold or if certain words taste different. Weird? We’ll not really if you have ‘synesthesia’. A condition that has baffled medical science, however, the explanation lies in the perceptual phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. Simply put, when the ears listen to the sound, they are perceived by the eyes as a stimulus as well.

Often met with “it’s impossible” or “ how can this even happen?” is the reaction that synesthetes often get. Around 4% of the world’s population has involuntary synesthesia. The phenomenon is quite rare, the cross-wiring of the brain is certainly not common. However, it is not a matter of grave concern. Synesthetes lead normal lives, even more, colourful lives -quite literally.

There are almost 50 different kinds of synesthesia, but the 6 more popular categories.

  • Lexical-gustatory synesthesia: Perhaps the most intriguing type of synesthesia, people who experience this phenomenon report ‘tasting’ words. As weird as it sounds, people have reported that the word basketball tastes like waffles or the word jail tastes like cold bacon.
  • Mirror-touch synesthesia: Synesthetes report that they ‘feel’ the pain when they see the other person is in pain; this is not an empathetic response but the actual feeling of being in pain. However, in certain cases, people respond that feel the same sensation another person feel including a feeble touch.
  • Misophonia: The third kind and perhaps most rare hatred of certain sounds. Whether it is hearing people eat or even loud breathing.
  • Personification:  Synesthetes often report that they identify certain sequences like days or numbers or alphabets have certain personalities. Mondays are blue or they identify Monday as a grumpy day, even. (Well, that’s synesthesia that’s most of us relate to)
  • Number-form synesthesia: Number form Synesthetes often report seeing numbers as a map! Well, many mathematicians have reported that they see numbers in a unique sequence.
  • Chromesthesia: People have reported that listening to sounds make them see certain colours, Wassily Kandinsky and many budding artists have been creating pieces that feature famous songs. If you have synesthesia, you could perhaps replicate what the song ‘Imagine’ looks to you!
  • Grapheme-color synesthesia: The most common kind of synesthesia is one where people see colour in alphabet and numbers. While these could be unique, one of the examples is that the alphabet A is Red in colour!

The baffling and intriguing phenomenon has given scientists an insight into the complexity of the human brain. Perhaps a peek into our consciousness. While popular theories around the cause for synesthesia lie in childhood experiences, the jury is still out. But Synesthesia is neither a disease nor is it a handicap. People with the condition of think of it as a gift or a unique ability one could compare to being double jointed.

The human mind and its many complexities are simply beautiful to uncover.

 

Watch this video to know more about the condition: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEqmNX8uKlA

Classes For Expectant Mothers

Right from the time you get your pregnancy result positive, a journey towards understanding, learning, and becoming a mother begins. With all the well wishes, baby showers and lots of love pouring in, expectant mothers get a lot of guidance and counselling mainly coming from the elders of the family. While it is definitely a way to express their love and care towards an expecting woman, it is also important that you get little bit of extra help from professionals. As they would not only counsel you, but also try to figure out what would work best for your body and your little one.

Taking classes from professionals can definitely help expectant mothers in being prepared both mentally and physically. Some of the important classes include:

1. Prenatal Classes:

Prenatal classes will help you get familiar with what to expect during your pregnancy and are generally suggested during third trimester. These classes have two famous methods:

a. Bradley Method that focuses on nutrition and natural childbirth

b. Lamaze method that mainly focuses on breathing techniques and pain relieving strategies

These classes are designed to teach you what is normal and what requires special attention. Prenatal classes are given in the form of lectures, discussions and exercises that help you prepare for labor as well as early parenthood.

2. Breastfeeding / Lactation Classes:

Lactation classes are really important for every expecting mother, as they teach ideal lactation practices for you to adopt. These can include your baby’s first feed, various nursing positions and help you understand when your baby needs to be fed & basic hygiene practices which are important for your little one’s health.

3. Postnatal classes:

While you are busy understanding and learning new things to become a mother, it is important not to neglect your health post delivery. Postnatal classes generally talk about your nutrition that will not only help you but your baby to stay healthy. Based on various plans, these classes can include dietary recommendations that is important for a new mommy, nutrients you need for a healthy milk that will make your baby grow stronger and allow your body to heal in the right way.

At the end of this all, remember getting support in person, having solid knowledge about laboring and recovery process is always a better option. Being prepared for your wonderful journey of motherhood can help you and your baby to stay healthy.

 

Monsoon Fevers – Let us help you prevent them

Monsoon has arrived and with it a host of diseases that are spread through air and water. This season is fresh, green and moist and damp at the same time! That is why we want you to take special care and precautions so that you can stay healthy and keep your family free from any form of sickness as well. Here are a few of the most simple yet useful tips to make sure that nobody in your house falls sick or has monsoon fevers this season:

  • Avoid stagnant waters

Monsoon season means, there will be a lot of waterlogged spaces in and around your house. Make sure to not store any water in the kitchen/washroom in an uncovered container. This will reduce the chances of mosquitoes breeding in stagnant waters. Similarly, avoid going to waterlogged places such as parks, etc to make sure you are not exposed to mosquitoes.

  •  Repel those mosquitoes

Make sure to apply a good layer of natural/herbal insect repellent at all times. Especially on children, to protect them from getting bit by dengue-spreading mosquitoes.

  •  Eat fresh

Food habits need to be monitored closely during this time. Strictly avoid eating food from, no matter how much you crave it. Due to the weather conditions, these foods have a high chance of being infected with bacteria and viruses that can cause an upset stomach or worse, harm your immune system.

Eat only home-cooked food, fresh fruits and vegetables as much as possible. Also, e sure to eat freshly cut items immediately as it could be affected by the microbes present in the air.

  •  Monsoon apparel

Irrespective of your age, you must prepare well for the monsoon. Be it going to school or work, keep an umbrella handy at all times. Keeping a raincoat ready is another smart way to keep yourself from getting wet in untimely showers that are a sure fire way to fevers and respiratory infections.

  • Boil and packaged water

Make sure to consume water that is boiled, filtered and purified at all times. In case, you are outside your house, try to carry the boiled water with you and consume it within 24 hours of it being boiled and when outside, stick to packaged drinking water only.

  • Infuse your water

The damp weather is highly likely to make you feel fatigued and lethargic but do not give in! A simple way to keep yourself awake and agile is by drinking warm/hot water infused with herbs, cloves, lemon, turmeric, spearmint, etc in moderation. This not only cleanses your internal system but also boosts it and helps in curing common cold and other monsoon ailments.

Vitamin C and D

Ensure the intake of Vitamin C to boost your immune system. Having citrus fruits like lemon, mosambi, oranges can help you a lot to keep away the sniffles and cough. Also, try to soak in Vitamin D whenever some sun peaks out or diligently consume the vitamin through tablets or other methods

  • Ventilation

Even though the weather is likely to stay gloomy and musty, it is important that you let fresh air and sunlight enter your house as it can naturally control the damp smell in the house and keep it fresh and healthy.

These are ways to keep yourself and your family safe and protected from the common cold, flu and monsoon fevers that this season brings along with it! They are simple but foolproof when it comes to keeping sickness far away!

 

 

All About Sickle Cell Anaemia

Sickle Cell Anaemia is one of the most common and severe kinds of Sickle Cell Disease(SCD) which produces abnormal haemoglobin in our body, this haemoglobin causes red blood cells to become sticky and shaped like a crescent moon or sickles.

Red blood cells usually live for about 120 days before getting replaced by new cells whereas sickle cells break apart or die within 10 to 20 days thus leaving a shortage of red blood cells (anaemia), also known as sickle cell anaemia. People with sickle cell haemoglobin are at higher risk of clogged blood vessels that cuts off the oxygen supply to tissues and organs.

Sickle cell gene gets passed from both mother and father’s defective form of the gene to the newborn. If only one of them passes the sickle gene, the child will have the sickle gene trait and will be able to make both normal haemoglobin and sickle cell haemoglobin. Generally, people with sickle gene trait will not show any symptoms but they can pass the gene to their offspring.

With increasing numbers of SCD being reported around the world, it is important to raise awareness about the disease and help understand the possible treatments available today. SCD causes complications that are fatal. ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) surveys conducted in India found that about 20 percent of children with the sickle disease died by the age of two and 30 per cent children with SCD among tribal communities die before they reach adulthood.

Symptoms of sickle cell anaemia

It is always a better option to get a newborn tested for sickle cells disease which can help them stay safe from life-threatening infections. Apart from the screenings done during infancy, you should always look for symptoms such as:

⦁    Blood clots

⦁    Periodic episodes of pain called a crisis, that can last for up to a week

⦁    Swollen hands and feet along with pain

⦁    Frequent infections

⦁    Shortage of healthy RBC can cause delayed growth in infants and children

⦁    Vision problems due to retinal damage

In case your child starts showing symptoms such as pale skin, signs of stroke that include paralysis on one side of the face, arms or legs, trouble walking, sudden vision problems, swelling of hands and legs, fever, you should visit an expert paediatrician at the earliest or seek emergency care.

Sickle cell anaemia can cause various complications such as a stroke, acute chest syndrome which leads to severe chest pain, fever and difficulty in breathing, pulmonary hypertension which usually affects adults, organ damage, blindness, gallstones and other complications.

Prevention

If you or your partner have sickle cell trait or anaemia, you can visit a genetic counsellor to understand the risk to your baby, the type of screenings available for confirmation and diagnosis of sickle cell anaemia and preventive measures and reproductive options.

Treatment

For children aged 2 or younger, frequent visits to the doctor are required, those older than 2 and adults need to visit the doctor at least once a year. Medications to treat SCA include antibiotics & painkillers. It is recommended to assess the risk of stroke, childhood vaccinations to prevent infections and blood transfusions for patients with higher risk of strokes.

In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration approved a new treatment called Endari (L-glutamine oral powder) for patients aged five years and older with sickle cell disease to reduce severe complications associated with the blood disorder.

The only potential cure for sickle cell anaemia is bone marrow transplant but due to the risk factors involved with the procedure, it is recommended only for people with complications due to sickle cell anaemia.

Why regular cholesterol check-up is necessary

To understand why you need to get yourselves checked regularly for cholesterol, first you must understand what it is and the threats it may pose to your body.

So, let’s start with the most basic question: What is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a fatty substance that is carried all over the body by proteins. The amalgamation of proteins and cholesterol is called the lipoprotein. These amalgamated lipoproteins come in two variants – Low-Density Lipoproteins (LDL) commonly termed as the ‘bad’ cholesterol and the High-Density Lipoproteins (HDL) which is also called the ‘good’ cholesterol.

While healthy cholesterol levels are vital for proper functioning of the body, high levels of cholesterol in the blood can hinder the proper circulation of blood in the body. There are several reasons as to why a regular cholesterol check-up is extremely necessary for an individual, but we have listed the top 4 reasons for you. These are conditions or circumstances associated with cholesterol that can escalate quickly if neglected in the beginning:

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is closely associated with high cholesterol. The narrowing or hardening of arteries due to calcium and cholesterol plaque can cause a lot strain on the heart. Due to narrowed arteries, the heart  would pump harder which may cause abnormalities in the blood pressure levels.

Stroke:

Strokes generally occur due to a reduction in the blood supply to some part of the brain or when the oxygen-carrying blood vessels get damaged, blocked or they burst. The lack of necessary amount of oxygen to the brain can lead to a stroke and is extremely fatal.

Type II Diabetes

Type II Diabetes is yet another deadly condition that can be directly linked to cholesterol levels in the body. Despite regulating a normal blood sugar level, diabetic patients are likely to have higher levels of triglycerides and LDL and significantly low HDL levels. This increases the chances of blockage in the arteries which can consequently cause heart attacks and strokes.

Cardiovascular Diseases

Any kind of coronary heart diseases is linked with high cholesterol levels. The main characteristic of it is the blockage or bursting of blood carrying vessels. Cholesterol also contributes to the blockage of the blood vessels causing several kinds of heart-related problems.

After having understood the vast possibilities of diseases and conditions caused by a high levels of cholesterol, it is imperative that we start taking extra precautionary measures at an early stage and avoid getting stuck in an inactive, immobile lifestyle that aggravates the chances of our body falling into a loop of medical conditions. It’s imperative that we keep ourselves healthy by eating better, cleaner and fresher food and exercise from time to time.

 

 

Why cancer patients need specialist care for their dental needs

Many people tend to overlook dental health but it one of the most important components of the overall health. Many a time a person’s body can be at risk due to the improper dental hygiene. The immense amount of bacteria present in the mouth can create some major problems for the human body. Oral health is connected to a lot of health conditions.

People with cancer have to be even more cautious of dental problems. Prolonged cancer treatment tends to hinder and complicate oral management processes and their treatment-related consequences. Cancer has a high chance of destroying/damaging the immune system and this means it can weaken the oral health along with other parts of the body. This makes the mouth of a cancer patient even more susceptible to infections and injuries. Especially during radiation therapy,  the area of the head and neck where the salivary glands tend to get damaged. This can cause sticky saliva, thick and extremely dry mouth. A dry mouth is also likely to increase the chances of tooth decay and infections.

A lot of side effects can occur during cancer treatment. Though nausea and hair fall are the common ones, it is not the only complication. Small complications like dry mouth ( Xerostomia) which happens when there’s not enough saliva produced in the salivary glands or mouth sores (mucositis) which usually happens inside the mouth or at the base of the gums can act as a hindrance during the cancer treatment and have some major consequences..

These are the most common side effects related to oral health:

  • Mouth sores
  • Dry mouth
  • Infection
  • Jaw pain

During the course of cancer treatment, patients might experience mild to severe side effects. Due to the many complications associated with cancer treatment, oral checkups have to made with maxillofacial teams who understand the intricacies of treating dental problems in cancer patients. This is especially important if the patient happens to have a port under your skin for receiving medication or feeding. It is very important because patients with a port are highly likely of taking anti-blood clotting medications, which may result in the increased risk of bleeding during the dental and medical procedures and the risk of an infection.

 

How to make sure dry mouth doesn’t get the best of you

The first important thing to ask ourselves is – what is dry mouth? The technical name for dry mouth is xerostomia, it is caused due to the reduced quantity of saliva produced in the mouth. Though many believe dry mouth is only a discomfort, extreme cases can lead to speech difficulty, reduced eating and digestion function and even malnutrition. Dry mouth tends to cause anxiety among people who suffer from it and has also known to bring down the quality of life of said people.

Causes of dry mouth

 1.      Side effect of medications including high blood pressure medications, antihistamines, antidepressants, diuretics, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, steroid, amphetamines and many others.

2.      Dehydration

3.      Radiation treatment for cancer near the head and the neck

4.      Removal of salivary glands

5.      Diabetes

6.      Smoking and using chewing tobacco

7.      Hormonal imbalances

8.      Sinusitis

9.      Mouth breathing

10.  Sleep apnea

11.  Cystic fibrosis

12.  Mumps, hypothyroidism, and autoimmune disorders such as Sjögren’s syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, HIV/AIDS, and systemic lupus erythematosus

 There are more causes of dry mouth including nerve damage and trauma. People with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease are also at constant risk of dry mouth and in need of constant rehydration. A stroke can also result in dry mouth because of decreased ability to feel oral functions.

Symptoms of dry mouth

  • Dry feeling in mouth and throat
  • Feeling of thirstiness frequently
  • Chewing, swallowing and speaking difficulty
  • Chapped or cracked lips
  • Dry eyes
  • Pale looking gums
  • Headache
  • Bad smelling breath
  • Nausea
  • Mouth sores 

Treatment of dry mouth

At home you can try the following methods to help ease the condition. There are many over-the-counter drugs to treat dry mouth, but always consult with your doctor before taking these. Also patients undergoing cancer treatment should consult with their oncologist and dental team before taking any medication related to dry mouth.

  •  Saliva preservation: One method of treatment for dry mouth is to ensure the saliva being created does not evaporate. This includes limiting mouth breathing, avoiding caffeine, alcohol, tobacco and the use of humidifier during sleeping also helps.
  • Saliva substitution: with decreased saliva production, it is essential to give your mouth a replacement. Drinking lots of water and sucking on ice cubes will help. Mouthwashes without alcohol content can also be helpful. Artificial oral lubricants and also available that can help replace the saliva in the mouth.
  • Saliva stimulation: Chewing gum has been known to increase saliva production. But ensuring the chewing gum is free of sugar is important to ensure the creation of cavity is prevented.
  • Preventing caries and yeast infection: Yeast infection is also known to cause dry mouth, ensuring the mouth is free of yeast infection can prevent onset of dry mouth symptoms.

Dry mouth is usually a symptom some deeper underlying problem. Understanding the root cause can help you treat it better. If you believe your dry mouth is due to an underlying problem, reach out to your doctor immediately to see what can be done.

How to make sure dry mouth doesn’t get the best of you

 

What happens when you stay hungry for too long?

Did you ever stay hungry till dinner because you were too busy working or just wanted to balance out the previous day’s binge eating? Well, you are not alone, most of us believe that skipping a meal or two can help our body in a positive way. But the truth is, our body needs food for energy and nutrients to stay active when we don’t do that almost every part of our body reacts to it. Let’s have a look at what happens when you stay hungry for too long.

How long is too long?

Our bodies have a metabolic clock, it starts ascending in the morning, is at its peak during the afternoon and slows down during the evening. That is why a majority of nutritionists & dieticians recommend avoiding a heavy meal after 6 PM. When we keep a gap of 3 hours between each meal, it helps our metabolic cycle work better, a gap of 6 hours is also fine. But keeping more than 6 hours of difference can lead to various metabolic changes in our body.

Here are few changes that occur in our bodies:

1. Stomach:

Our stomachs get used to the routine of our meals and produce acids that help in digestion of the food further. Once we start skipping the meals the acid would still get produced but due to the absence of food it may irritate the stomach lines leading to ulcers.

2. Brain:

The brain runs primarily on glucose. When blood sugar levels go down, the brain is unable to pull sugar from the blood, thus, making a person lose their ability to focus. When we skip a meal the sugar levels in our bodies reduce drastically leading to lower ability to think straight.

3. Thyroid Gland:

The thyroid glands are known as the metabolic regulator. When there is a lack of food in the body, these glands would slow down the metabolic process which can cause slow digestion, constipation, dry skin, hair fall etc. Hence, eating food on time and giving fuel to the body is the only way to keep the body healthy in the long run.

4. Hormones:

When people skip meals and stay hungry for a longer period of time, their body experiences ups and downs in hormones levels. The hormones are responsible for telling the brain what to do. Some of the hormones that get affected due to hunger are:

Stress Hormones or Cortisol:

Cortisol, commonly known as the “stress hormone” is produced by adrenals when the body senses stress. When people skip meals their stress hormones may shoot up leaving them feeling irritated all the time.

Stimulate Hormones or Neuropeptide Y:

These hormones are produced in the brain & nervous system to help with the stimulation of appetite for carbohydrates. Due to fasting, food deprivation & the rise in stress hormones, NYP production gets induced leading to overeating and weight gain.

Eating a balanced diet can help avoid the impacts of hunger on the body. Proper meals, exercise and meditation are the best way towards a healthy diet. Ensuring you keep peptic ulcer at bay is as simple as following these steps.