Are you gaining weight despite eating smaller meals?- Thyroid awareness month

The battle of diet vs disease is one that has been prevalent for ages now! With over 5% of India’s population combating with morbid obesity, it is evident that growing fat or weight-gain related issues are highly common in our country. But what if you are eating healthy, smaller meals and are still gaining weight? There must be something more to your food habits that may be underlying which is causing this imbalance to occur. One of the most common reasons for such an incident to happen is associated with the thyroid.

If your food habits are relatively healthy and you are leading a less sedentary lifestyle but are still gaining weight or struggling with weight gain problems, then it is recommended that you get your thyroid tested at the earliest. Thyroidism is a very common disease that a lot of people are detected with and it has two main types:

Hyperthyroidism

Hypothyroidism

If you notice erratic weight gain or consistent weight gain despite your efforts of losing weight, there is a high likelihood that you are suffering from hypothyroidism.

Hypothyroidism is the disease caused by an abnormality in your thyroid gland. This gland is responsible for producing thyroid hormones which in turn are responsible for maintaining your metabolism. This affects the way your body utilizes the food you eat and produces energy. Although your body goes through dips in your hormone levels every once in a while, it is quite worrisome if there is a thyroid imbalance as it results in slowing down of the body’s metabolism. Slower metabolic rates cause the food you intake to break down on a much slower rate, leading to a visible increase in the waistline.

There are several situations in which hypothyroidism may be mild and don’t require treatment.

However, these are the symptoms to look out for:

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Thinning hair
  • Fatigue
  • Weight gain
  • Dry skin
  • Depression

 

With hyperthyroidism, the body tends to burn up extra food that you intake and burning it up to produce nothing but heat. People who might be observing a steady or erratic weight gain pattern before the onset of hyperthyroidism tend to witness symptoms or issues that are worse than weight loss.

The best way to stay on the safer side of things is that you run some tests and screenings such as an imaging scan, a physical exam, a blood test, etc. If these tests show an elevated thyroid-stimulating hormone (THS) and low levels of thyroid hormones such as total T3, free T4, free T3, then it’s an indication that you have hypothyroidism.

 

The only message that this article intends to convey is that you have to make sure to observe your body closely at all times and watch out for subtle signs that your body might be trying to convey to you. Detecting early symptoms is necessary to avoid future complications.

Screening for Cervical cancer is preventive!

Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that originates in the cervix of a woman. The cervix refers to the lower part of the uterus (womb) which opens at the end of the vaginal passage. Cervical cancer happens to be the third most prevalent cause of cancer in women all over the world. It used to affect women of age 30-69, though the statistics have shifted in the years. Now, it may be detected in a young girl as young as 15 years of age!
In the past year, tremendous efforts have been made in order to eradicate and reduce its incidence and mortality of cervical cancer. It has been assisted with the implementation of different prevention and screening strategies.

India alone accounts for one-fourth of the global burden of cervical cancer. Despite the rampant availability of information on topics regarding secondary healthcare and the stigma related to it being lifted off, a large section of urban women have little to no clue about cervical cancer. However, unlike other forms of cancer, this type might be a little less daunting, if tackled at the early stages. The brighter side of this type of cancer is that it is often detectable on screening and can be prevented.

This article particularly sheds light on why cervical cancer screening is of utmost importance and everything else you need to know regarding this cancerous disease.

The most common, perhaps all cervical cancers are caused by a virus named Human papillomavirus. It is referred to as HPV more commonly.
Some things that you must know about HPV are:

  • It is most commonly spread through sexual contact.
  • Not at all types of HPV pose a direct threat. The ones that do are called high-risk type of HPV.
  • Other types of HPV cause genital warts.
    HPV can also be passed from person to person even when there are no visible warts or other symptoms.

Now that the concept of HPV is discussed, it’s time we ventured into why screening for cervical cancer is extremely helpful and preventive.
Regular cervical cancer screening is said to protect 30% more women according to the National Cervical Cancer Program of Australia. Cervical screening is more effective compared to a pap smear because it does not detect changes in the cervix instead, detects the Human papillomavirus which causes cancer. The HPV is a type of virus that is very common and is responsible for causing cancer. Screening for cervical cancer turns out to be extremely safe and holds a higher value in terms of prevention of cervical cancer. It’s also highly recommended that women screen themselves as early as 14 or before they become sexually active.

As rampant as Cervical Cancer may be, it is ideal for responsible parents and women to ensure that routine screening is done. This not only helps in early detection of the disease but can aid in further prevention of any risks attached to cancer.

Blue Light and How Does It Affect Your Eyes?

Have you ever had dryness or irritation in your eyes while being out in the sun for too long? There is a high possibility that you might be suffering from Blue Light eye strain.

Visible light is a mixture of a spectrum of different lights which constitute to the white light that we see. This visible light is much more complex than you think and is made up of red, orange, violet, yellow, blue, indigo, and green light. Each of these lights in the spectrum has different energies and wavelength. Our smartphones, laptops, etc transmit this array of light but blue light is particularly more harmful to our eyes.

What is Blue Light?

The sunlight is the largest source of blue light. On a visible light spectrum, some lights have longer wavelengths and emit less energy and some lights have shorter wavelengths and emit more energy. Blue light is on the blue end of the spectrum which emits more energy and hence toxic to our eyes.

Sun is the biggest source of blue light. Other sources are Fluorescent lights, CFL bulbs, LED lights, LED television screen, computer screen, smartphones, etc. Although the blue light exposure from these devices is nothing compared to the sunlight, long-term effects of screen exposure from close proximity can raise concerns.

Benefits of Blue Light

Long exposure to blue light may raise concerns but it does have a lot of benefits-

- Blue light helps in enhance focus and alertness and helps in memory functions.

- Exposure to blue light during the day hours can help in maintaining the sleep cycle.

- Deficiency of blue light exposure can lead to nearsightedness especially in children.

Harmful effects of Blue Light

 Almost all visible blue light passes through the lens and cornea to the retina of the eye. Long exposure can affect the vision and can lead to premature ageing of the eyes. This can further lead to Digital eyestrain and Retinal Damage and in extremely rare cases, blindness. Symptoms of this may include fatigue, dry eyes, constant irritation, etc.

Blue light can lead to various chemical reactions and generate toxic substances in our eyes which can damage the retinal cells. When these photoreceptors cells die, there is no regeneration so that damage can be permanent.

How to protect your eyes from long exposure to blue light? 

- Reducing the screen time can help you in the long run as the blue light emitted from these devices can harm you only if exposed for a long period of time.

- Anti-reflective lens reduces the glare and can block the blue light from the sun and even these devices.

- There are a lot of filters available on smartphones, tablets, smart televisions, and computer screens which can decrease the amount of blue light given off from these devices.

- Various eye exercises can also help in reducing the stress on the eyes while using the device screen for a long period of time. Closing your eyes for a short period of time and then gazing into a distance can help relax your eye muscles.

If you do feel the need to get expert advice then talk to your optician to talk about ways to protect the eyes from blue light.

How to choose toys for an Autistic child?

Toys are a child’s best friend. For autistic children, too, toys are a playful way to reduce their impairment in communication skills, repetitive behaviours, or sensitivity to flashy lights and sounds. Toys can help these kids to improve their interactive skills and better their quality of life. Doctors often use this as an alternative therapy for easing the symptoms.

Improving sensory experience

A child with autism finds it difficult to focus on the sensory stimulation. Either they get hyper-reactive or don’t react at all. Toys like ‘Liquid Bubble Drop motion wheel’ helps to grab visual attention of the child. The bottle contains coloured liquid running up and down. Kids can see the coloured bubbles inside it and stay focused. It is a fun way to keep them glued to the object.

Touch can also be improved with many toys like kinetic sand, squeeze balls, textured fuzzy balls, multi-shaped stress balls or even water beads. These provide exposure to different textures and surfaces. It helps kids overcome the fear of getting their hands dirty in mud or touching irregular surfaces.

A slow introduction of toys that produce artificial soothing lights can help reduce their anxiety generated from exposure to bright lights, such as a ‘Cosmic UFO’.

Improving gross motor skills

Many children with autism have gross abnormalities during walking, such as difficulty to maintain balance or posture. Toys that really put them into action help them learn new movements which appear difficult otherwise. For instance Hula hoop, skipping rope, 2-wheeled cycle, Balancing beam etc.

Trampoline jumping provides great relief to the kids who display repetitive movements. Encourage your kid for dancing to music. This gives them good action and dance is the best exercise for increasing flexibility in their muscles. It also helps to calm down their nerves.

Improving fine motor skills

Tasks that require fine skills such as writing or drawing pose a challenge for such kids. This can hinder in their continuous learning. A vibrating pen helps them to draw circles or loops from a straight line. You can use Magna Doodle with a stylus to help them draw.

These toys give them the necessary tactile stimulation required for similar tasks. Similarly, squeeze balls also help to develop strength in their hands and increase their ability to grasp things.

Improving social skills

Role play is a wonderful technique to help the kids get rid of their shyness and open up to the people they come across. Police or doctor toy kits helps kids to emulate the characters in real life and develop their social language skills. It also relieves their stress and busts their anxiety bubble.

Spending quality time with your child enormously helps them to fight the challenges of this disorder and what can be better than playing along with them to make them feel good.

Warning Signs Of Hypertension

Hypertension commonly known as High Blood Pressure is a condition in which the blood pressure in your body gets high. Blood pressure is basically the force exerted by the blood on the walls of your arteries. If this pressure is too much, the heart starts working faster than normal which damages the arteries and also leads to a heart attack in extreme cases. As you get older, the likelihood of getting hypertension increases. Hypertension is also called a silent killer as the symptoms are not always outwardly visible. Most people don’t even realize that they are suffering from high blood pressure unless they incur an extreme symptom. That means you can have it for years and you wouldn’t even know. This condition leads to damage to your blood vessels, brain, kidneys, and most importantly your heart. A normal person’s blood pressure will fall under 120/80. The top number is known as Systolic which is the pressure of the blood when your heart beats or pushes the blood. The lower number is the pressure exerted when your heart refills the blood and is called Diastolic.

Danger Zone

There are several stages of Hypertension such as stage 1 in which the Systolic may read between 130-139 and Diastolic between 80-89. And then there’s stage 2 in which the Systolic may be more than 140 and Diastolic of 90 or more. In some cases, the Systolic may go up to 180 and Diastolic above 120. This extreme condition is known as Hypertensive crisis and can lead to kidney damage, a stroke, or a heart attack.

Symptoms:

Although the symptoms of having a high blood pressure are not often outwardly visible, in extreme cases it may include:

- Confusion

- Fatigue

- Nosebleeds

- Chest Pain

- Irregular Heartbeat

- Blurred Vision

The symptoms are not that obvious but unfortunately, it’s the leading contributor to death worldwide.

Causes:

The exact causes of high blood pressure are not known but there are a lot of factors that contribute to it:

- Smoking

- Obesity

- Too much alcohol

- Stress

- Old age

- Too much ammonium chloride in the diet

- Adrenal or Thyroid Disorders

- Genetics

- Old Age

- Lack of Physical Activity

If the underlying cause of high blood pressure cannot be found, it is called Essential Hypertension. Although the causes are a bit ambiguous, it has been linked to certain risk factors. Essential Hypertension tends to run in families. Men are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure than women.

If the underlying causes of high blood pressure are not ambiguous, it is called Secondary hypertension. Secondary Hypertension is most likely to be triggered by tumours or other irregularities that cause the adrenal glands to secrete excessive hormones into your bloodstream which increases the blood pressure.

Cures and Treatments:

There are a lot of risks that revolve around Hypertension and extreme cases involving stroke, kidney damage, and heart attacks lead to death. So if at any point in your life you observe symptoms of hypertension in yourself, go and consult a doctor about it. Doesn’t matter if you are a 15-year-old teenager, or a 30-year-old adult, Hypertension can happen to anyone.

To prevent high blood pressure, everyone should modify their lifestyle. Even a few small changes here and there in your lifestyle can work wonders for you. Healthier diet, quitting smoking, and getting more exercise can help you in a lot of ways. Stress relieving exercising and spending more time with family and friends can reduce the stress levels as stress is the main cause of high blood pressure.

If the conditions are extreme, consulting a doctor is a good choice. Specialists recommend taking anti-hypertensive medications that can reduce the blood pressure but it is essential to follow drug dose as per the doctor’s advice.

So change your lifestyle. Stay healthy, Stay fit.

What is Lipoma? – Causes, Symptoms and Cure

Have you ever felt a soft, doughy lump somewhere on your body under your skin? There is a possibility that you might have a lipoma. Lipoma is basically a growth of fatty tissues under the skin. It can develop on any part of your body but mostly appears on neck, shoulders, back, arms, and thighs. These lipomas are categorized as benign growth which means that they are non-cancerous growths. These are harmless and usually, don’t require treatment but you can always opt for removal if you feel uneasy. These are the most common tumours and according to the experts, 1% of the population is likely to get it some point in their life. Lipomas are usually 2-3cms but in some rare cases can grow up to 5cm and even 10cm.

Causes:

The doctors are unclear about the causes of a lipoma. Middle-aged men are more likely to get it than women. Lipomas don’t usually appear on children. They tend to run in families so family plays an important role in their development. Some people inherit the faulty gene from their parents, this is called familial multiple lipomatosis.

Certain conditions can increase the risk of lipoma development such as:

- Cowden Syndrome

- Madelung’s disease

- Gardner’s syndrome

- Adiposis dolorosa

Symptoms:

There are many types of skin tumours that may look like a lipoma, but lipoma has some distinct characteristics:

- Soft and doughy to Lipoma – Causes, Symptoms, Curestouch

- Move easily when touched or pressed

- The skin over it is usually pale

- Grows Slowly

Health Implications:

Although lipomas are benign in nature which means they are non-cancerous, many experts disagree on whether they actually are non-cancerous. A cancerous mass of fat cells is known as liposarcoma. After a lot of research, many doctors conclude that liposarcomas do not develop from lipomas but are a different type of tumours which are cancerous. These liposarcomas are sometimes mistaken for lipomas.

Other experts believe that lipomas contain both cancerous and non-cancerous cells but its very unlikely for a lipoma to become cancerous.

When to see a doctor?

Lipoma is usually painless but if you notice any kind of change, you must see a doctor. These changes may include:

- Increasing size

- Becoming painful

- Turns hard or immovable

- Changes in colour or becomes hot

How is a lipoma Treated?

Lipoma is just a cluster of mass or fat deposits so it’s really soft and movable. Doctors usually perform a biopsy and scrape a small portion of tissue and send it to the lab for testing. These treatments totally depend on the results of the testing.

There are a few a few treatments that people usually go for. Surgery is pretty common and easy in case of a lipoma. The patient is given local anaesthesia while being operated. The procedure generally takes an hour and the patient can go home the same day. As lipoma is just a fat deposit, some doctors also use the liposuction technique to take out the fat deposits with a needle and a syringe. Steroid injections are also used sometimes but they may not remove the lipoma completely.

Lipomas rarely come back after removed once. It remains a benign, harmless growth.

Even kids can get Arthritis – Know about Juvenile idiopathic arthritis, its causes, symptoms and treatments

What happens when the body’s immune system fights back at you? This initiates the destruction of body cells and tissues. uvenile Idiopathic Arthritis also marks the attack of a body’s own immune system that damages the synovial membrane inside the knees. It usually affects children in the age group of 16 years or below.

How does it happen?

The cause of Juvenile Arthritis is unknown. Many researchers believe that faulty genes inherited from the parents can result in the development of the disease in the future. In this scenario, the body’s immunity is unable to distinguish the normal cells from the micro-organisms such as viruses or bacteria.

Also, there is no known allergen or food item which has been confirmed to cause this disease.

The onset of the disease usually starts in the knee joint. Many times, parents neglect the child’s joint pain taking it for regular muscle aches as a child may not be able to communicate well. Thus, it is essential to seek the medical help to understand more about the disease, its signs & symptoms and treatment protocol to take care of your child in a better way.

Symptoms of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis:

The synovial membrane is meant to protect and hold the synovial fluid within the joints. Once this membrane starts getting damaged. The joints become painful.

Other symptoms include

- Swelling in the kid’s joint

-Difficulty in walking, child limps

-Can be accompanied with fever and lymph node swelling

-Reduced activity of the child

Diagnosis often relies on the physical examination by doctors and obtaining a medical history from the parents. Patients need to be alert to observe these symptoms in their kids and seek orthopaedics’ help.

Is this disease curable?

Unfortunately, JIA isn’t curable. Doctors advise medications for kids to alleviate the symptoms and improve their quality of life. Nutrition plays an important role to help their body cope up with the disease.

It is essential to keep in mind that the disease if left unattended can impede in the growth of your child and result in underdevelopment of their bones. Corticosteroids can help to counter-attack the body immune cells and slow down the damage of the membrane. These are the first line of drugs for the disease. DMARDs(Disease Modifying Anti-Rheumatic drugs) are frequently used as a second line of drugs when a child is unresponsive to Corticosteroids. These consist of anti-cancer drugs to fight back the immunity.

Parents need to listen calmly & address concerns of their kid suffering from this disease and provide them with strong emotional support. As medical technology has advanced, it is possible to live a normal life with this disease. All you need to do is reach out and ask for help before the problem aggravates. Early medical intervention can help the kids to enjoy their family vacation as every child deserves to live its best life.

Government medical central and state authorities can assist by spreading awareness among the masses.

Eye Twitch – Causes, Symptoms and Cures

Eyelid twitching is the involuntary spasms in your eyelids without any reason or warning. In India, which is the land of famous superstitions, eyelid twitch is considered good when it occurs in your right eye but when it occurs in your left eye, it is believed that something bad is going to happen to you.

But rather than the beliefs, let’s talk about eye twitching in medical terms. Doctors might call it Myokymia or Blepharospasm depending upon the intensity of the twitch.

Causes of Eye Twitch:

No one knows what causes this but the doctors might link it to:

  • Fatigue
  • Stress
  • Lack Of Sleep
  • Alcohol
  • Tobacco
  • Caffeine
  • Lack Of Nutrition
  • Dry Eyes Or Allergies

Eye twitching is basically harmless and painless. It usually stops after a few minutes or even seconds. But in some extremely rare cases, strong enough spasms can cause the eyelid to shut down completely. Some people even have spasms that last an entire day or sometimes even multiple days. It creates discomfort in their normal day-to-day life.

Although it is harmless, the longer and frequent spasms can be dangerous and may be the signs of something serious. There are different types of spasms but two of the most common are:

1.Blepharospasm

More frequent in women than men, it shows up in mid-to-late adulthood and gradually gets worse starts with non-stop  blinking but over time can lead to eye irritation, sensitivity to light, and blurry vision.

2.Hemifacial Spasm

Twitches in both mouth and eyes. Happens only on one side of the face. Caused due to an artery pressing on a facial nerve.

Cures

Normally the twitches go on their own but if the condition lasts longer than normal then you can opt for various treatments.

-Cutting back on alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco may help.

-Many people nowadays are using Botox to ease the spasms. The doctors inject some amount of Botulinum toxin which releases the spasms but only for a few months so you have to repeat the treatment every few months.

-Although it is not proved yet, a lot of people found relief with Chiropractic techniques and acupuncture.

-Nutritious Diet also helps when your spasms occur due to lack of nutrition.

As a last resort, many people opt for surgeries. These surgeries do have a permanent effect but getting surgery on the face, near the eye is always full of risks.

How to Choose a Heart Rate Monitor?

Heart rate monitors were not mainstream products and were only worn by athletes and fitness enthusiasts but now with the emergence of wearable technology from the likes of Adidas and Apple, HRMs have become a commodity. Heart Rate monitors check the frequency at which your heart pumps the blood. It also monitors the target zones, calories burnt etc and help you improve your endurance, efficiency, and intensity because fitness is not just about the hardcore exercises and numbers of sweaty hours, it’s also about the intensity of your exercises.

There are different types of wearable technology that helps you during the hard workout hours:

Chest Strap HRMs: These are the wireless straps that you can wear on your chest before a workout session and detects your BPM and other data electronically and sends it to the digital watch on your wrist that displays the data. Chest strap HRM is most accurate but can cause a bit discomfort with a machine attached to your chest while working out.

Wrist-Based HRMs: The wrist-based HRMs are basically more convenient to wear. It has an optical sensor built in the wristband of your watch and detects the pulse and gives you the real-time data based on the pulse rate. These Wrist-based monitors are slightly less accurate but without all the discomfort of putting on a chest strap.

What features to look for in a Heart Rate Monitor?

Heart rate monitors come with a number of features like target zones, calorie counters, tethering, recovery modes, speed and distance monitors, time-in target zones, stopwatch and lap times, etc. The number of features can go up or down based on the prices that you buy them for. But there are a few important features that you need to have in your Hear Rate Monitor:

Recovery Heart Rate Mode:

The time it takes for your heart to return to its normal BPMs is called heart rate recovery. A good HRM will always have a recovery mode which will track this time. So the next time you do a sprint or perform interval training while wearing your Heart Rate Monitor, you can analyze your cardiovascular fitness as well.

Calorie Counter:

Obesity in India is a major problem with 5% of the total population affected by morbid obesity. But due to recent awareness campaigns on physical fitness by the central govt, people are running to gyms or starting their own workout routines to lose the fat. The calorie counter in the HRMs helps you to keep count of the calories burnt every second of the work out program.

Distance and Speed Monitoring:

This is the most basic feature that any heart rate monitor would include irrelevant of the price range. It’s extremely important to have a D/S monitor in your wearable tech. This comes with a GPS tracker that tracks the area or distance covered by you at a particular speed during long-runs.