What causes Diabetes: Is it a lifestyle disease?

Diabetes is a condition where blood glucose in the body, also called blood sugar, is too high. Blood glucose in the food we intake is the main source of energy for the body. Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps this glucose from food to get into cells to be used as energy. There are two types of diabetes, one being type 1 diabetes and the other being type 2 diabetes. Mostly type 2 diabetes is known as a lifestyle disease as this is the most common type of diabetes and is caused by factors like no physical activity, obesity and junk food intake, etc. Whereas type 1 diabetes occurs due to a change in the immune system of the body where the body’s system for fighting infection also destroys the beta cells of the pancreas that produce insulin.

Bad lifestyle choices tend to affect the development of Type 2 diabetes. Lack of exercise makes the body lethargic and add on the additional weight on the body. Unhealthy meal planning again does no good for the health other than accumulating unwanted fats and bad cholesterol in the body. A healthy meal including high in fibre foods and green leafy vegetables is really good for the body and reduces the chances of type 2 diabetes. Obesity is another culprit that promotes type 2. The lack of exercise leads to the body getting overweight which can turn things worse. Due to the heavy body weight, the body becomes insulin resistant which in turn adds on the glucose build up in the body leading to type 2 diabetes.

The doctors consider borderline diabetes when the reading is in the range of 100-125 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) while the normal blood sugar falls in the range of 70 and 99 mg/dL. The stage where the blood glucose is higher than usual but not as high as to get diabetes is called prediabetes levels. Falling in the prediabetes level is considered to be an alarm where the doctors recommend such patients to make healthy lifestyle changes.

Losing weight and eating healthy can help prevent the development of diabetes. Physical exercises such as walking, running, jogging, aerobics or swimming are highly encouraged. These simple steps help in reducing the body mass index (BMI) which in turn helps in managing the type 2 diabetes without medication. Such small steps towards a healthy lifestyle can help reap long term benefits and keep diseases at bay.

How Essential Are Essential Oils: Busting Myths and Telling Truths

Essential oils are aromatic compounds extracted from plants. Carrying the plant’s scent and flavour, these oils are well known as the plant’s ‘essence’. Each oil has a different composition and thus each carries a characteristic essence. The process of obtaining essential oils is through distillation either by the steam of water or cold pressing of flowers and plants. The aromatic chemicals extracted are then combined with a carrier oil to form the final product which is ready to use.

There are diverse uses of essential oils. Some use essential oils mixed with vegetable oils, creams and with bath gels while some love to carry the essence on their palms by rubbing them on the skin or adding a few drops into their bath water.

Barring the fact that the essential oils are pure and natural, there are many myths that have emerged that it has begun to sound factual. Here is a list of myths and an attempt to burst them with facts all for good.

- The purity of essential oil is equal to the quality of the essential oil - the chemical profile of every essential oil is different and it varies according to the geographical region of its origin. Also, essential oils that are processed with different processes tend to be different. Thus purity and quality of oil only vary on the fact that what quality was better on your body.

- Essential oils get better with time - Every essential oil comes with a shelf life depending on its exposure with the air, warmth, and light. Mostly their life is between 6 months to one year.

- If you do not like the smell of a particular oil, it will not suit your body - This is a myth. Whether you like it or not, it is not related to the fact that the oil will work for you or not.

- Pure essential oils do not freeze. When not pure, the oil freezes - This myth falls flat on its face for the fact that all liquids including the essential oils freeze on reaching a particular temperature.

- Essential oils are natural and thus they are safe to be used - This is not true at all. Everything natural does not guarantee that it is safe. Each body type reacts differently to anything that is applied to it, thus a patch test is a must.

Keep in mind to not believe in everything that is being written online. Trust a few sources that write with deep research. Keep in a constant connection with your doctor to know how your body reacts to a particular fragrance or ingredient. Most of all, experiment with different oils and enjoy the benefits it offers!

Adults too can have Autism- Do you know how to find out?

Have you come across an adult who doesn’t make eye contact? Or someone who is brilliant in a field but is completely aloof when it comes to social interactions? Well, such adults may be autistic. However, we do know that autism is usually diagnosed in children but there are adults too who can be suffering from it. Autism or Autistic Spectrum Disorder(ASD) is characterized by a broad range of social and communication difficulties along with repetitive behavior. Decreased social skills, difficulty making and maintaining eye contact are some of the early symptoms of ASD. The condition is readily identified in children, however, screening for such behavioral issues have gained popularity only in recent times. Earlier such kids were just termed as ‘difficult’ and no medical intervention was sought. However such kids have now become adults and are identified as adults with undiagnosed ASD or as those with high-functioning autism.

It is possible for autism to be detected among adults of all ages, race, gender and socioeconomic groups. Symptoms of autism manifest in three broad ways- social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication as well as repetitive behavior.  Regardless of severity or manifestation, ASD has a significant impact on the day to day functioning of an individual.

It is not completely possible to cure autism, but with proper intervention and support, they can be trained to manage life and its various facets. Counselling as well as training them with definite skills and coping strategies can help them understand and manage behavioral responses.

 Screening and diagnosing autism in adults

Every person on the autistic spectrum exhibits different characteristics. Even the intensity of these symptoms may differ. The absence of an established procedure to diagnose ASD in adults adds to the issue. For screening and diagnosing here is a broad list of conditions:

  1. Difficulty understanding and managing high-level language skills. This can include verbal reasoning, problem-solving skills, making deductions and predictions.
  2. Difficulty in understanding social cues, body language and facial expressions.
  3. Difficulty initiating and maintaining a social conversation. A person with Autism may prefer monologues on a favourite topic.
  4. A tendency to prefer routine and repetitive actions. They may get agitated or anxious if there is any deviation.
  5. Difficulty understanding another person’s point of view and regulating own emotions
  6. Deep understanding and knowledge of a particular topic.

If you suspect yourself or an adult in your family to be on the Autistic spectrum, it is advisable to approach your primary care physician or a psychologist for diagnosis. There are some easily  available self-assessment tests that can help you determine the autistic spectrum you fall into. However, these are not absolute or correct indicators and should be used only as a referral point for your doctor.

Monsoon showers bring with them fevers: Why people fall sick when it rains

Monsoons come as a blessing to the cities that suffer from the extreme summer heat, by bringing rains and cold breeze. Despite being a blessing, monsoons tend to bring various maladies along with it too. With monsoon comes water-borne diseases that are communicable but are preventive too. After rains, some amount of water stays back in small areas creating a puddle or collect in tyres and empty planters, which become a breeding ground for the mosquitoes who then transmit diseases of different kinds. This is one of the reasons why people fall sick when it rains.

Influenza or the common cold is rampant during monsoons. Certain viruses infect the upper respiratory tract which affects the nose and throat resulting in cough and cold. Eating a regular healthy diet can prevent one from catching the virus and getting ill.

Cholera also is a monsoon disease that spreads during the monsoons. The bacterial disease is caused by the contamination in food and water which in turn causes diarrhoea and vomiting. Immediate access to clean drinking water and better-sanitized circumstances can help keep cholera away.

Typhoid is another waterborne disease that happens due to a bacteria called ‘Salmonella’ which again spread s through contaminated food with the faeces of an infected person. Patients tend to get a high fever, headache, vomiting, and abdominal pain.

People also tend to get Dengue Fever, a virus transmitted by mosquitoes typically the one with black and white strips. These mosquitoes generally bite in the morning and evening. The dengue mosquito bite leads to severe joint pain, headache and rashes well. It is advisable for the people to wear full sleeve clothing, apply high-quality mosquito repellent and seek to advise from the family doctors.

As understandable, it is not the monsoons that bring in the diseases but the living conditions around you. Simple steps like keeping the surroundings clean, emptying any vessel/place with stagnant water to avoid breeding of mosquitoes. Keep your hand sanitized properly and consume foods rich in Vitamin C and green leafy vegetables, also make sure to keep a distance from the people already infected with cold and cough. Avoid sharing food and drinks with them during this time. It is also advisable to keep dry or avoid staying in wet clothes for too long to dodge catching the viruses that might end up making you sick. Keep dry and keep clean!

Screen time for kids: Is there a reason to worry?

In today’s time and age, technology has advanced with the intention of making life easy for the masses like how a laptop is compact and highly accessible, like how mobile phones are little gadgets that encapsulate everything from calendars to calculators to calls. But since excessive use of anything is bad, mobile phones come with their own set of disadvantage.

Children and mobile phones have become like a flame to a moth. This is the reason why screen time for kids need to be limited, be it on the TV or computer or mobile phones. It is dangerous for the eyesight, their brain development and learning process. Our generation of kids is growing up with smartphones, tablets and other gadgets like PS4, Nintendo, etc that are a great distraction for the kids and the adults alike.

There is a reason to worry - the amount of time the kid spend watching the TV screen is unconsciously playing havoc in the child’s brain. According to many kinds of research, it has been found that kids spending more than 5-7 hours on watching TV suffer from premature thinning of the cortex which is the outermost layer of the brain that processes information. Excessive screen time also lowers children’s academic performance where it has been observed difficulty in conducting mental tasks efficiently by the kids. Kids who spend a lot of time on any type of screen do not tend to go out and play which adds to weight gain. This is because children are not conscious enough to know how much food they intake. Also, advertisements incite the kids to keep trying new things especially junk food available on offers.

At the time of sleep too the light emitted by the smartphones is not recommended for the children as it postpones the sleep cycle and reduces the amount of sleep the child gets. Less sleep increases the chance of mood swings and irritation in kids. Also, more screen time results in cutting the child’s communication with the family making the child feel isolated thus adding on to the feeling of introversion and hesitation in communication.

Screens especially phone screens emit harmful radiation that also adds on to the neck and back strain among the children. Hence, screen time should be limited to one hour for the children to protect them from long hours of exposure to the phone screens.

Spend quality time with your child and spare yourself the horrors discussed in the article!

Make your home safer for a family member with Alzheimer’s

Should a person with Alzheimer’s be kept in an old age home or specialized facility where they are looked after by medical experts? Or Is it possible for such a person to safely stay in their own home?
Well, it is possible to make your home safe for such an individual so that they can stay in a familiar space with their family. Alzheimer’s Disease is an irreversible and progressive brain disorder that affects the memory and thinking skills of a person. The depletion of brain cells causes various physical and mental changes in individuals. Changes such as forgetfulness, loss of cognitive skills and the inability to perform day to day activities are to be expected. They might also be fearful or distrustful of their surroundings and can also face balancing issues. However, these issues can be managed if the family and caregivers consider all possible changes and make an effort to keep them safe. Also, there needs to be close monitoring as Alzheimer’s is a progressive disorder.

Here is a checklist that you can use as a reference point:

The first and foremost step is evaluating your home. Declutter the house to make movement inside the house easier. Place sponge lining on furniture edges, bright neon or glow-in-the-dark marking on stairs and replace patterned curtains with a plain one. A person with Alzheimer’s is unable to perceive depth, make sound choices and has difficulty understanding instructions. Excessive wallpaper/curtain patterns and wall mirrors can cause confusion so these are better avoided.

The bedrooms: The person will undoubtedly be spending a considerable amount of time here. You can make sure that the place is not cluttered and the electric sockets are covered. Also, avoid doormats, throw rugs or slippery mats here as they can trip/slip and fall. You can also install a baby monitoring device in the room so that you can reach out whenever needed and avoid accidents. Also, take care to keep medicines under lock and key so they do not unintentionally overdose on any. Avoid keeping electrical devices in the room like heating pads or electrical blanket etc.

The Bathroom: With the presence of water and soap in the bathroom, there is a considerable risk of slipping and falling. Make sure to install anti-slip mats here to prevent any kind of slipping and falling. Installing handlebars near the shower area can help the elderly by providing support when they need it. Understand their need for raised toilet seats or shower chair and invest in one. Alzheimer’s require long time care and these can come in handy. It is possible for them to accidentally lock themselves in and so remove all locks on doors to the bathroom. Also, make sure to install childproof cabinets in the bathroom. A ground fault circuit interrupter that can switch off power supply when wet and avoid passing on the shock is also advisable. To prevent scalding from extremely hot water, make sure to set the thermostat of the geyser at a lower level.

The kitchen: Invest in sturdy child locks and lock away all dangerous items that include knives, forks, cleaning chemicals, matches, plastic bags, etc. Do not keep artificial fruits and vegetables here and make sure to install a hidden safety valve for gas pipelines.

Caring for an elderly person with Alzheimer’s is quite similar to the care you would give to an infant or a toddler. Loads of love and patience is the key to a successful and stress-free atmosphere at home. Do take time to assess each and every room in the home as well as the furniture and fixtures to ensure a safe haven for your loved one.

How can your food choices affect your Cholesterol numbers?

Eating habits and cholesterol levels are interrelated so much so that if one type of cholesterol is bothering you, you will need to regulate the whole food intake cycle that you follow. Cholesterol is the fatty substance found in your blood that is of two types - Good Cholesterol (HDL) and the Bad Cholesterol (LDL). Accumulation of bad cholesterol in the body is bad for health and to reduce it one needs to choose a variety of foods that are rich in fibre and put a limit on sugar, fatty, and salty takeaway meals. LDL known as the bad cholesterol leads to plaque build-up in the arteries whereas the good cholesterol helps excrete excess cholesterol from the body.

It is important to know that 25% of the cholesterol in your system comes from the dietary sources and the rest is produced by the liver. Thus food choices that you make affect your cholesterol levels. High cholesterol levels are linked with the increased risk of heart diseases. Your diet is the key factor in deciding the health risk factors and your cholesterol. Make friends with healthy food that helps in giving your body all the right nutrients and no heart diseases. Here’s a quick list to help you make your own food chart and follow it to your heart.

- Eat lots of fruits.

- Make friends with green vegetables, legumes, and beans.

- Eat lean meat, fish, eggs, tofu cheese, nuts, and seeds.

- Consume milk, yoghurt, and cheese

- Choose cereals and wholegrain and high fibre food over high-calorie ones

- Opt to use healthy oils that come packed with health benefits like the sunflower oil, mustard oil, canola oil and olive oil that help better the taste of the dish and keep your heart healthy.

- Throw in split beans (kidney beans, baked beans, and the likes) or lentils in your food to make the balance the composition of good and bad cholesterol.

- Add lots of fibre-rich food in your diet such as fruits, legumes. soybean, baked beans and cereals like oats and barley that not only aid in digestion but also help in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

Keep faith in yourself and stay motivated in the fight against cholesterol and make a shift in your diet for your food choices affect your cholesterol numbers directly. Eating junk food and aerated drinks will eventually do bad to your body and your health. It is never too late to begin. So, start now and lead towards a conscious and healthy life ahead!

Younger looking skin: what should you eat to have flawless skin

The age-old saying that you are what you eat stands true to its essence as the quality of food you consume reflects back on your skin too. Taking care of skin is of utmost importance in the scorching heat of summers that if neglected, can really make summers a nightmare - with makeup or sans makeup. The glowing complexion and flawless skin occur naturally to most. Although, for some people especially with certain skin types or depending on the season might need a little more care.  With some simple investment in lean protein, fatty acids and antioxidants, you can attain a much healthier and even skin.  Here is a quick list of what you must eat to have flawless skin. Feel free to make a note and thank us later!

- Blueberries
Blueberries are rich in antioxidants which work wonders for the skin. Also, these are packed with vitamin C which benefits the skin and keeps it protected from the UV damage during harsh summers.

- Tomatoes
Tomatoes are rich in antioxidants which fight cellular damage in the skin and help work as an astringent. It also helps in improving facial texture. Excessive oils in the skin remove easily and the face stays fresh for longer with tomatoes. They also help in brightening up the skin tone keeping the skin nice and fresh.

- Carrots
Carrots again are a rich source of beta carotene which our bodies easily convert to vitamin A by the metabolism in the liver. It is really beneficial for your skin as it helps reduce skin inflammation and speeds up the healing process of the irritated skin.

- Lots of Darker Green Vegetables
Greens such as spinach, coriander, fenugreek are rich in zinc, kale which are packed with retinol. Arugula or dandelion greens help in fighting with the free radicals that break down collagen over time which thickens the thin skin around your eyes.

- Other good things
Apart from the list above one can also consume nuts that come with built-in moisturizer that help the skin, broccoli that works as a skin pigment whitener, oranges that help prevent UV damage, red wine that comes with an antioxidant called resveratrol which is actually good for your skin. Different seeds of different kinds include chia seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds help keeping the skin fully moisturized and reduces fine line by strengthening your immune system.

All in all, it is better to invest in food that wholly nourishes your body and skin than investing in beauty products that are not only expensive but superficially work on your skin. However, the choices remain open-ended. Be wise and choose smartly!

What is sleep training? How can you ensure your baby gets a good night’s rest?

Sleep training is the process of taking extra care and putting in efforts to understand the baby sleep patterns and indulge in lifestyle changes to work out the baby sleep patterns. As is the belief goes a baby after a good night’s sleep tends to feel refreshed and high on energy that helps in child growth, only comes when he takes a peaceful good night’s sleep. In babies who do not adapt easily to the sleep routine often need sleep training where certain regular practices help the baby to understand his nap time which in turn helps keep mommy happy!

Here are certain ways with which you can ensure your baby sleeps well at night -

A Bedtime Routine Helps - Make sure you religiously follow a bedtime routine where you can fix a particular time to sleep, give a warm bath to the baby, read a book to him or sing a lullaby to make the baby understand that bedtime is approaching like every day.

Streamline your Daytime routine - Make it a practice to wake up your baby at the same time in the morning, feed him at fixed intervals at the same time every day. The time prediction helps babies feel relaxed and very secured thus helping them sleep more peacefully.

Make notes of your baby’s sleep patterns - If your child does not sleep at night make sure you make notes of what time he wakes up to understand if the baby has a medical condition that bothers him when he is at rest. Getting regular health check-ups are important for the little ones who just can’t speak for themselves.

A healthy sleeper child is less fussy and tends to be healthier too for one reason that throughout the day he keeps at peace and happy. Every parent should be observant enough to realize when this healthy sleeper turns into a fussy sleeper with the passing months. Figuring things out in time and mapping the child’s need will obviously help you, parents keep consistent in fulfilling the child’s demands. The sleep training strategies are good for the child but you need to figure out what works best for your child. Keep in mind it isn’t magic that will happen overnight that will turn things your way but consistency in efforts will bear fruits for you. May the force be with you!

Sleep tight to stay alert for the day and many more benefits

An Irish proverb says “ A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.”

The importance and healing power of sleep is unparalleled and well documented. The effect goes beyond the “Beauty Sleep” for radiant skin and robust mood. Proper sleep is integral to a healthy lifestyle and its benefits are evident in all aspects of one’s life.

Here is a compilation of the health benefits that a good night’s sleep offers:

  1. Sharper brains: Sleep plays an important role in consolidating thoughts as well as retaining information. If you are sleep deprived, you will find it difficult to grasp vital information, focus and understand new information. The brain processes information assimilated during the day and categorizes it into various sections such as events, feelings, and memories, etc while you sleep. Apart from enhancing your concentration, quality sleep is therefore essential for you to remember and process things better.

  1. Alert and energized individuals: A decent—- sleep improves the person’s alertness and energy levels. After a refreshing sleep, a person is more inclined to stay active and undertake new and varied activities. Sleep also works as a mood booster and prompts lesser negative reactions.

  1. Healthy Hearts: Studies have shown that heart attacks and strokes are more likely during the early morning hours. This can be because of inadequate sleep and resultant stress. Our blood pressure reduces while we sleep, thereby relieving our hearts and blood vessels. So a night of proper sleep keeps the heart healthy.

  1. Better immunity and strength: Our body repairs itself while we sleep. This means that all the harmful stress that our body encountered during the wakeful hours will be undone during sleep. A relaxed and repaired body possess increased immunity power. Inflammation in the body is relieved and the aid of the protein in building the body up making for a healthy body that is resistant to common pathogens.

  1. Better mental health: Improper sleep reduces your ability for social interactions and increases your susceptibility to depression. Sleep has a significant impact on the production of various chemicals and hormones in the body. Serotonin is one such chemical that the body produces during sleep. People with a deficiency of this particular chemical are prone to depression. So if you are depressed, make sure that you get 7-9 hours of quality sleep.

  1. Helps maintain ideal body weight: Studies have found that those who sleep less are more likely to be overweight and obese with an inclination to consume more calories. Our body hormones are deeply affected by the lack of sleep and this, in turn, affects the appetite. Hormone Leptin suppresses appetite while Hormone ghrelin stimulates it. Inadequate sleep suppresses the production of Leptin and increases ghrelin which leads to more food intake leading to obesity.

To conclude, adequate sleep is the key to a healthy and positive individual. A person with a healthy mind and a strong body that is not easily susceptible to infections or inflammations.