Take special care of your pets during monsoons to avoid getting infected yourself.

While monsoons are a big relief for us and a welcome break from the swelting heat, they can make our pet’s life more stressful. It undoubtedly sets the perfect mood for curling up in bed with a hot cup of tea. But for our pets, be it a bird, cat, dog or iguana- it can be a nightmare. Blame it on the season or the fact that your pets can’t exercise or play outdoors, and it tends to make them lethargic. They also tend to pick up fungal infections and other health ailments that have small yet sure chances of affecting you or your young ones.

Well, fear not, if you take the required safety, preventive and protective measures there is no reason to worry about this cool and wet weather. The following tips will help your pet and you to have an awesome monsoon together!

Vaccination

Make sure that the vaccination is up to date. Vaccination provides immunity against the disease. As pets/animals carry varieties of germs it may cause serious diseases to mankind as well as to other animals. So not just to increase immunity during those stressful months, in general, get the pet vaccinated to maintain its and your loved one’s health.

Keep the place dry and clean

Keep the pet’s space free of insects be it flies, mosquitoes, ticks or bugs. These can be quite a threat, especially during the monsoon. Mosquitos are known to be quite a menace and cause diseases like malaria or dengue.  The number of people infected during the monsoon is usually on the higher side. Keeping your homes and your pets space dry and clean can help curb their impact. Ensure that your pet is dry at all times. Damp and moist surroundings attract more germs and bacteria that can easily be transfered to humans.

Frequent Bathing

It’s not necessary to give your pets frequent baths during monsoon, because your pet may fall sick. But baths with antiseptic shampoo can take care of ticks and fleas during monsoon. Pets with ticks or other infections may sometimes require daily bath during monsoon, but before doing that it’s better to take doctor’s advice on proper bathing rules. When you bathe your pets, they tend to climb on beds or dry clothes and that can impose a higher threat of developing mildew on them.

Avoid outdoor activities and monsoon walk

It’s impossible to take your pet outside during the monsoon, so avoid outdoor activities as much as you can. Make your pet active by playing indoor games. Avoid waterlogged streets during monsoon as they could be at risk to mosquito bites, leeches, snakes, etc. Also, walking on damp and wet grass can make them susceptible to tick infection. Tick fever may not directly affect you but since they multiply at a higher rate, they can spread on the bed, furniture and also cling onto human flesh. Kids can also get ringworm infection from touching infected animals such as dogs and cats. Ringworm of the skin, or tinea corporis, usually is a dry, scaly round area with a raised red bumpy border and a clear centre.

Clean food, clean guts

Make sure that your pet doesn’t drink stagnant water as consuming this water may cause water-borne diseases. Feed your pet small amounts of food at regular intervals rather than giving them high quantity food all at once. It’s good to increase the fibre content in their diet as there is going to be less outdoor activities. Psittacosis is known as parrot fever, a bacterial illness that can happen from contact with infected bird faeces or with the dust that builds up in birdcages.

The rain or shine, nothing can stand in the way of you and your pet having a quality time together. Get a few things organized and make the best of these monsoons.

Pregnancy in your 40s: is the biological clock a myth?

With the rapid change in the lifestyle of millennials, women have empowered themselves with the changing times. They want to be independent and self-sufficient and ready before they become mothers. The concept of the biological clock is being discussed at length.

Depending on the different body types, women in their 40s have different body tendencies. Some women in their 40s may conceive naturally without the assistance of a gynaecologist. Women at this age after using a lot of contraception may assume that their biological clock has stopped resulting in not conceiving naturally. It might be difficult to get pregnant during the 40s as the chances of the same decline with each passing year. The female body goes through different changes, while people also believe that with each passing birthday after 35 years of age, the chances of having a baby with genetic disorder increases.

But that’s a myth. A biological clock in the context of pregnancy isn’t recognised. The actual ‘biological clock’ regulates the sleep cycle resulting in mood swings than calculating womb cycles. The clock in the body calculates the bodily behaviours which help the body do things that it is meant for it to do. The idea of a biological clock was conceived with the idea that women need to plan pregnancies earlier than later in life.

Culture has more to do with the biological clock than medical science. Telling women that there are certain “bodily goals” to be attained before it is too late. But medically, there isn’t much truth to this. An ovulating woman can get pregnant at any stage in her life. If someone is willing to have a child but is having trouble at any stage, they can reach out to a gynaecologist who can guide them.   After detailed tests of both individuals, doctors can prescribe medication to ensure pregnancy.

A lot of couples face problems conceiving, it could be due to stress, health-related the issues. One can opt for changing lifestyles, taking supplements, opting for IVF or any other treatment method that the doctor sees fit. The idea of the biological clock needs to be rethought or rather not thought about at all!

Parenthood is beautiful, relax and enjoy it when you feel ready!

 

Prediabetes? These steps can help you!

Prediabetes is a grave health condition where your blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be diagnosed as type 2 diabetes. It’s a pressing matter as the condition is becoming more and more rampant these days owing to our sedentary lifestyle and lack of physical activity. Amongst those with prediabetes, 90% don’t even know they have it, which makes it further more worrisome. Persons with prediabetes are at the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, and strokes later on in life.

What causes Prediabetes?
Insulin is a hormone secreted by the pancreas that enables the processing of sugar in our body. Inadequate sugar processing leads to accumulation in the blood instead of being used as energy source for the cells. When we consume food, pancreas secrete insulin that allows sugar to enter the cells and provide energy. Your body does not respond normally to insulin if you have prediabetes. Your pancreas makes more insulin to try to get the cells to respond. Ultimately, your pancreas fails to keep up, resulting in a rise in your blood sugar levels and paving the way for type 2 diabetes eventually.

Prediabetic condition comes disguised in various forms making a diagnosis difficult, so it often goes undetected until serious health problems such as type 2 diabetes show up. It’s important to talk to your doctor about getting your blood sugar tested if you have any of the risk factors for prediabetes. However, one good news about prediabetes is that it can be reversed.

Some symptoms or signs that you must keep an eye out for:

  • Being obese
  • Being 45 years or older
  • Having a parent, brother, or sister with type 2 diabetes
  • Being physically active, less than 3 times a week
  • Ever having gestational diabetes or while giving birth to a baby who weighed more than 9 pounds
  • Developing polycystic ovary syndrome

Ways you can steer away from developing prediabetes:

If you have family history of diabetese and at high risk of developing the same, losing some weight if you’re overweight and getting regular physical activity can lower the risk to a large extent. Regular physical activity implies getting at least 150 minutes a week of brisk walking or spot jogging. With just about 30 minutes workout a day, five days a week, you can manage the condition and control it.

Some easy techniques to deploy in your journey to good life include:

Get guidance from a trained coach and make practical, lasting lifestyle changes.
Start eating healthily and add more physical activity into your day.
Find out how to regulate stress, stay motivated, and solve problems that can slow your progress.
Try and get support from people with similar goals and challenges.

Everything you need to know about meningiomas

There are some diseases that can be cured by adopting healthy eating habits but there are some that doctors are still figuring out as to what causes them to help the patients know the disease in the initial stages through symptoms. Cancer is one form of the disease that needs the patience to be dealt with all motivation and self-determination to overcome all odds and come out healthy and happy! Here is a very detailed insight into Meningioma, the causes and the treatment to the disease.

Meningioma is one of the most common forms of brain tumors out of which 80% of the cases considered to be Grade 1 can be cured by surgery. It is a slow-growing tumour which forms on the tissues surrounding the brain and the spinal cord called the meninges. Even though Meningioma is a very common type of brain tumour but it is non-cancerous (WHO grade). About 10% of the patients are diagnosed with Grade II and less than 1% are diagnosed with an aggressive grade of Meningioma known as Grade III.

Meningioma is frequently found in adults and is common in women than in men. But when it comes to men, the disease acts aggressively as compared to the women. Since the doctors and researchers are yet to particularly specify the root cause of the disease, there are studies that have given mixed results for the same saying women who took birth control or opted for a hormonal replacement after experiencing menopause are prone to have Meningioma.

Common symptoms of the disease include headaches, blurred vision, weakness in arms and legs, problems in speaking, feeling numbness in the body and seizures. Till the time there are no symptoms to the disease it is really difficult to diagnose the disease. Once the possibility of the tumour shows up in test results, a brain scan, MRI or a CT scan is done to locate the meningioma, to help analyse the size of the tumour. A surgery or a biopsy is conducted to remove the tumour where a craniotomy will be performed where a piece of bone will be removed from the skulls to get direct access to the affected area in the brain. After the tumour is removed, the bond is replaced in the brain and the surgery will help in reducing the risk of growth of the tumour during the surgery itself. Radiations are also used to kill the cancer cells if the tumour is found to be malignant.

So, these are all the essential things you need to know about Meningioma and how you can go about treating it.

Prioritize your mental health. Here’s how!

When asked how we’re doing, we’ve all probably taken a moment to contemplate whether we should say that ‘I’m fine’ or ‘I’m not really doing great’, and eventually throwing a smile on the face and saying “I’m fine”. The fake smile makes it more convincing. This is our anxiety telling us to keep our problems to ourselves, and not seeking help. But, the truth is, there is nothing wrong in talking about mental health or seeking help if you are suffering.

Prioritizing your mental health can be hard sometimes, especially if you are busy with work, family, studies, and social commitments. But poor mental health doesn’t only lead to a bad mood and stress, it affects your physical health as well. Making it all the more important for you to take care of your brain as much as you take care of your body. Improving how we feel or think is as important as working on your body. If you want to start putting more energy into feeling happy and stress-free, here are a few tips for you to take care of your mental health.

Be thankful

Be thankful for anything that is good in your life. Keep a gratitude journal and list down everyday things that you are grateful for. You don’t need to wait for something big to happen, make notes of the small things that made you happy in your entire day. It may not come naturally to you at first and you’ll have to delve into the details of your life to discover things to appreciate.

Take a walk

Physical activity pushes the brain into a better and more feel-good state. And being outside is associated with a better mood and health. So get out and go for a 10min walk every day and connect with nature as there is no better healer.

Keep in touch

Keeping in touch with people is difficult when your life fills up with responsibilities. But try to keep in touch with the people who get you. It helps when you have friends available to chat or help when life feels too full. Connecting with people who understand you improves your mood and helps fight off depression.

Open up

Whether it’s a friend, therapist, or a family member, never be afraid to talk about it. Sitting down every once in a while and reflecting on your mental health can help you find patterns in your life that cause stress. So find someone you know you can go to when you are having a bad day and talk to them on a regular basis.

Meditate

It’s not just a hippy thing to do as meditation can have a profound effect on your mental health. When you sit down with your eyes closed, letting your own thoughts come freely and listening to them can help ease psychological stress such as anxiety and depression.

Taking time to focus on your mental health can do wonders and you will be surprised how powerful the results can be.

Alopecia: A deeper look at excessive hair loss

Alopecia is probably the third most common of hair loss with a lifetime risk of nearly 2%. That means that two in every hundred people will get Alopecia at some point in their lives and certainly not from each other as the condition is not contagious. There are basically three types of categories under the Alopecia condition. If the hair loss spreads to cover the entire scalp, it is called Alopecia Totalis. If the hair loss spreads over the whole body and affects the scalp, eyebrows, beard, and everything else, then the condition is called Alopecia Universalis. And if the alopecia is just limited to the beard area in men, it is called alopecia barbae.

Symptoms:

Alopecia can appear in many different ways, depending on what’s causing it. It can happen suddenly or gradually, can affect just your scalp or your entire body, can be temporary or even permanent. So let’s look at certain symptoms of Alopecia:

- Thinning of hair

Existing in both men and women as they age, this condition is the most common type of hair loss. Hair often begins to recede from the forehead in a line that resembles the letter M.

-Bald patches

It can occur anywhere from scalp to beard, eyebrows to pubic hair. So always be on a lookout for these bald spots. Often in this condition, the skin becomes itchy and painful before the hair falls out.

Causes:

Traditionally, Alopecia has been regarded as a stress-induced disease even though very little scientific evidence supports the view.

Alopecia is typically related to one or more of the following factors:

-Heredity

-Hormonal changes

-Supplements

-Medications

-Stress

-Medical conditions

There are a bunch of risk factors that surround Alopecia. These include family history of balding, age, significant weight loss, diabetes, etc.

Prevention:

Most hair loss conditions are triggered by genetics. And these types of hair loss conditions are not preventable. Here are a few tips that might help avoid certain triggers:

-Avoid compulsively twisting, rubbing or pulling your hair

-Avoid medications and supplements that could cause side-effects

-Stop smoking. Some studies show an association between smoking and baldness in men

-Avoid harsh treatments such as hot rollers, curling irons, hot oil treatments, and permanents

-Avoid tight hairstyles and let your head get some air

More specialized treatments involve applying contact sensitizing creams to the skin. These cause allergic reactions that lead to hair growth. So take care of your hair and always remember that your body is your temple.

Cyclothymia- what is it & who can have it?

Cyclothymia or cyclothymic disorder is a mild mood disorder. The disorder is quite a rare one with only 0.7% of the world’s population having it at some point in their life. This rare mood disorder causes emotional ups and downs but not as extreme as those in bipolar disorder. The low and high mood swings never reach the severity or the duration of big depressive episodes.

With this disorder, you can experience your mood shifting up or down within a matter of minutes. You may feel on top of the world for a while, followed by a low period. Between these cyclothymic highs and lows, you may feel stable or fine. Although the up and down moods are not as extreme as a full-blown bipolar disorder, it’s important to seek the help of a therapist as these ups and downs can hinder your ability to function and increase your chances of bipolar disorder with time.

Symptoms:

Cyclothymia symptoms are similar to that of bipolar I or II disorder, but less severe. During the highs of Cyclothymia, one may experience an elevated mood or also known as hypomania. The lows might consist of mild or moderate depressive symptoms. These highs & lows and the unpredictable nature of your mood can hinder your day to day life as you’ll never know how you’re going to feel the next minute.

Hypomania Symptoms

- Inflated self-esteem

- Extreme optimism

- Irritable or agitated behaviour

- Short attention span

- Racing thoughts

- Decreased need for sleep

Depressive Symptoms

- Feeling empty or hopeless

- Sleep problems

- Loss of interest

- Suicidal tendencies

- A feeling of guilt and worthlessness

- Loss of weight

Causes:

Experts and researchers say that Cyclothymia is a mild form of Bipolar Disorder but no one is sure about the cause of Cyclothymia in particular. Genetics are responsible for the development of these disorders. People with Cyclothymia are more likely to have a family history of bipolar disorder and vice versa. Like many other mental disorders, Cyclothymia might be a combination of:

- Heredity

- Brain’s neurobiology

- and Environment (Traumatic experiences)

Prevention:

There isn’t a definite way of treating Cyclothymia and it frequently goes untreated and undiagnosed. As a matter of fact, many times the symptoms are so mild that people do not seek mental health. The depressive symptoms of Cyclothymia are more frequent, unpleasant, and disabling at times.

Although mood stabilizers such as lithium and lamotrigine are recommended by many doctors as a possible way to reduce the mood fluctuations, there’s no medicine specifically approved to treat Cyclothymia. Unless one develops a full-blown depression, antidepressants like Zoloft or Prozac are not recommended. Cyclothymia doesn’t get better on its own so seeking medical help is the right way to go. If someone you know is suffering from Cyclothymia, talk openly and honestly to them about their problem, offer your support, and help them find a therapist who can help them.

The best and most advisable way to handle this condition or a loved one suffering from the disorder is by offering them physical and mental support during their episodes and communicating clearly about the way they feel and their experience.

Hyperkalemia and How You Can Manage It

Hyperkalemia is probably not a word you come across unless you or someone you know is diagnosed with it. It basically refers to a body having an above normal level of potassium in the blood. While usually treatable, extreme levels of potassium can result in a cardiac arrest or even death, and therefore should be detected and controlled.

Your body utilises the potassium it needs. The extra potassium is then released through your blood via your kidneys. When you have kidney disease, your kidneys cannot remove extra potassium in the right way implying the blood has larger amounts of potassium in it.
The human body requires only a small amount of potassium in order to keep the blood and muscles working smoothly. However, if the kidneys do not work properly, causing the potassium to build up, Hyperkalemia can occur. Certain medications, uncontrolled diabetes, and some diseases of the adrenal gland can also cause this condition.

Hyperkalemia does not generally exhibit specific symptoms, but usually include weakness, tiredness, or nausea. Troubled breathing, chest pain, cramping of muscles are also some of the symptoms of Hyperkalemia. It can be detected via blood tests or through an ECG/EKG (electrocardiogram), which is a test that records a heart’s electrical activity.

Some of the most common cause of high potassium is kidney disease are listed below:

  • Some specific medicines
  • Dehydration
  • Unregulated diabetes
  • Injuries that cause severe bleeding
  • Some rare diseases

High potassium levels can be controlled or reduced through diet and/or medicine. Kidney disease treatments such as dialysis can also help filter out excess potassium from the body. Certain food items such as salt substitutes, or even fruits such as melons, oranges, and bananas are rich in potassium. Avoid these if you are looking to lower potassium levels through a diet. Higher levels of potassium in your blood can be extremely dangerous. Potassium affects the way your heart’s muscles work and due to the excess potassium levels, your heart may beat irregularly, which in the worst cases, can cause a heart attack.

For more information regarding Hyperkalemia, or if you are experiencing any acute symptoms mentioned above, a consultation with a doctor would be advisable.

Is your child overly emotive most of the times? It could be bipolar disorder.

Being emotive is a good thing. Showing true emotions is a matter of equality in all genders. But what if a child is overly emotive most of the times and experiences sudden mood swings more frequently than average? This could be a reason to be concerned. It can even indicate bipolar disorder. Even though the issue is diagnosed in older children and teenagers but children of all ages are also prone to get affected by this disorder. Feeling irritated or agitated are common amongst kids and is quite natural but if the rate of occurence is too high, it is highly likely to result in hypertension. This could further lead to serious depression in children.

Bipolar disorder is not the general mood swings a child faces but are the extreme recurring ones that bother the child. The bipolar symptoms often exhibit themselves through disturbed sleeping patterns, erratic energy levels and fluctuations in the overall attitude of the child. Keeping a track of what emotion shoots up and when can help with the diagnosis of the disorder as well. The condition technically does not have a root cause. It can through heredity or due to an anomaly in the brain structure of the child that changes the way it reacts to certain stimuli in the child.

With an early diagnose, the disorder can be treated effectively. The right combination of drugs include antidepressants, mood uplifters, and anti-anxiety medicines. The only issue with the treatment is the fact that a limited dose can delay the treatment process a bit however, it is always better to ‘start low’.
Therapy is another way to treat depression in children suffering from bipolar disorder.  Play therapy can work wonders with kids where a space of mutual communication is initiated and the child can explore ways to cope with his/her problems in a better way. At the time of treatment, not only a lot of patience, love and care are needed but also a strong support from the school and family is essential. School counsellors must help the child feel accepted and appreciate him in every way.

Patience is key when dealing with a child with bipolar disorder. That alongside medical attention from mental health professionals can help reduce the symptoms of the disorder and regulate their mood swings. Understanding your child’s requirements can be pivotal in ensuring they have a regular upbringing.

How to maintain a healthy gut clean especially during monsoons?

Monsoon brings with it several emotions to different people. Some love the rains, some despise the damp weather and some enjoy bingeing on spicy, fried snacks! Whatever might bring you delight, there’s no doubt that monsoon is one interesting month, even for diseases. Plenty of air-borne and water-borne disease are rampant during this season. Although they may appear to be inevitable, there are some easy ways to steer clear of any kind of disease during this time.

Some small alterations and adjustments in your diet can keep you far away from falling sick in your gut, this season.

  • Stay away from sugar
    Sugar, especially refined sugar is something you must completely resist. It promotes the growth of bad bacteria and obstructs the gut flora balance.
  • Welcome the bitter truth
    Include some bitters into your daily food intake in the form of fenugreek seeds, bitter gourds, bottle gourds, neem leaves, etc as they can help clean out your guts and keep a check on your digestive system.
  • Keep it light
    Eat more foods that are easy to digest and easier to excrete! Eat in shorter intervals and eat lighter foods that go easy on your stomach and your guts.
  • Squeeze the juices, please
    Drink plenty of fresh juices, provided they are made at home. Water flushes out toxins and boosts the digestive system. They replenish the lost energy caused due to humidity and provides you with a lot of energy. Outside vendors, however, impose the threat of having cut them earlier and exposing them to contamination.
  • Stay clean, avoid greens
    This might sound counterintuitive but as much as vegetables are good for your health and immunity, avoiding leafy vegetables during monsoon expose you to several risks. The dampness and grime make the greens highly susceptible to germs and bacteria. So, no to green for a short span is a good idea!
  • Ditch the fizz
    As mentioned before, your digestive system is already weakened due to the humidity. Drinking fizzy drinks can further deprive your body of essential minerals. It’s highly recommended that you stick to regular water or ever boiled water during this season if you are especially particular about your health.
  • Boost your probiotics
    Try and enhance the intake of natural probiotics such as buttermilk, yoghurt, fermented soya bean water. They contain good bacteria that can improve nutrition absorption.
  • Keep a check
    Above all else, make sure to visit the gastrointestinal doctor if you have loose motions, nausea, chronic stomach aches and vomiting since it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

In the light of making monsoons gut-friendly, these tips and suggestions can prove to of great help! So, keep making wise choices for your body and have a happy monsoon!