Monday, 31 October 2011

Osteoporosis-Myths and Realities

Osteoporosis or commonly called as bone thief,is again a silent killer like many other NCDs'(non contagious disease).
Disease actually causes gradual thinning of bones i.e.,low bone mass and loss of bony tissue over the period of time may be years.It is perhaps one of the most common bone related disease. WHO data suggest significant prevalence of Osteoporosis,which is effecting millions worldwide,without people being aware of it.
Osteoporosis leads to fractures especially in areas like,spine,wrist,hip,skull,etc.if not taken seriously these fractures can make a person invalid or handicap for life.At times,few fractures may be non traumatic or not caused by any injury,these are tough to investigate as patients are not able elicit their condition and just complain of severe unbearable pain and complications depending upon the bone/joint involved.
Bones are formed by minerals-calcium and phosphorus –the most important ones.Calcium is required by the body to run its some very vital organs,eg,heart.Osteoporosis starts when due to some reasons body is unable to maintain daily requirement of calcium intake from unhealthy diet/any other pathological condition, thus it starts using  stored calcium deposits which is found in abundance in bony cage.Over the period of time gradually bones become weaker and thinner,there by a slight trauma may cause fracture..
1.Insignificant number of patients only suffer Osteoporosis.
  • It is again a silent disease effecting millions worldwide and is increasing by leaps and bounces due to lack of awareness and poor understanding of disease.
2.Disease effects only third world countries or poor economies.
  • A myth,every 2 out of 10 American suffer from some kind Osteoporosis,though it is primarily related to nutrition ,other factors also play  significant roles.
3.Osteoporosis effects only white females.
  • Yes,some data suggest a slight increase in white females and Asian racial groups non the less it effects both genders equally and can happen irrespective to age,race and place.
4.Osteoporosis begins after menopause.
  • Yes,condition deteriorates faster after menopause but to say that Osteoporosis begins after menopause is a myth,instead bone mass and density along with your lifestyle and diet at childhood and adolescence are the determinants of developing Osteoporosis in Adults.
  • Osteoporosis develops gradually over years but in certain few illness and side effects of medication like steroids,can develop in weeks or months,though lately such cases are rarely seen.
5.Osteoporosis has a genetic trail.
  • You are not doomed to develop Osteoporosis,just because some blood relation had suffered.With proper diet,alteration in life style and understanding of disease ,genetic risk can be overcome.
6.Osteoporosis has few risk factors.
  • A strong myth,there are many factors causing disease,which include
    • History of non traumatic/stress fractures.
    • Irregular menopause,late starter of menses,history of amenorrhea without pregnancy.
    • Small and thin built.
    • Certain medical conditions-Diabetes,Kidney and liver disease,certain hormonal imbalance,anorexia nervosa,etc.
    • Certain medications-Corticosteroids,steroids,heparin,certain anti-convulsants,furosemide,certain antacids,increased levels of thyroid hormone,etc.
    • Lack of sun exposure.(vitamin D deficiency).
    • Alcohol.
    • Smoking.
    • Inactivity or sedentary lifestyle.
    • list is not exhaustive.
7.Taking milk products daily covers risk of Osteoporosis.
  • A  strong myth,cow milk has certain high quantities of calcium but human body is unable to absorb it fully,secondly high content of phosphorus in milk excrete urinary calcium.
  • It is not that milk products have no use instead,diet rich in calcium supplements,essential amino acids and other nutrients/minerals hold the key of healthy and sturdy bones.
8.Only Calcium supplements are required.
  • Yes,calcium supplementation is required but along with other nutrients and minerals play a vital role in general upkeep of healthy bones.
  • Minerals and Vitamins-Vit.D,Vit-B complex,Vit-C,Vit-K,Magnesium,silica,essential fatty acids.
9.All Calcium supplements are same.
  • No,few forms of calcium are better absorbed and tolerated then others.
  • Watch the labels for calcium citrate and chelates.
  • Avoid calcium carbonate,as poorly absorbed.
10.Only Estrogen hormone therapy increases bone density.
  • A Myth again ,estrogen only decreases bone loss .it in no way increases bony mass or density.
  • Reports have suggested  excess synthetic estrogen has been linked to risk of Bbreast and ovarian cancer.
  • Hormonal therapy should be initiated after conducting related test and after consulting relevant health consultant.
11.Present investigative tools aren't accurate.
  • A Myth again,there are many reliable tools these days,
  • Bone density test-DEXA SCAN(dual energy X-Ray absorptiometery),is the Gold test-informs about density of bones,risk and seriousness of Osteoporosis.
  • Quantitative Computed Tomography is used in certain conditions.
  • Certain Lab.Test have direct and indirect reference to Osteoporosis-
    • Blood Calcium levels.
    • Blood Vit.-D levels.
    • Thyroid Function Test.
    • Parathyroid Function Test.
    • Estradiol levels.
    • Estrogen levels in females.
    • Follicle stimulating hormone in females to establish menopausal status.
    • Testosterone levels in Males.
    • Osteo calcium levels to guess about rate and quality of bone formation.
    • Urine Test-24 hours collection to check 24 hours calcium metabolism

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Thyroid-Myths and Realities.

Another disease under the banner of NCDs'.Thyroid disorders are extremely common worldwide effecting millions.Due to poor knowledge and sheer ignorance people are unable to judge about these disorders while confusing symptoms and signs with other better known diseases,till the time they realise,it is quite late,enormous harm has been done already. Thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland located just in front of the windpipe in the throat area. The function of this gland is to produce,store and release hormones-which have minor or major impact on each and every organ/part of the body. These hormones ignite the fire inside the cells for activation of metabolic process,i.e,regulate body metabolism.
    • Hyperthyroidism:-When hormones are secreted in excess.
    • Hypothyroidism:-When hormones are secreted less.
    • Euthyroidism:- Condition when Thyroid Gland functions normally  and its secretions are proper of constituents and amount.
Risk Factors.:-
        • Females more then 40 years.
        • females within 6 months of delivery.
        • History of Thyroid disorder.
        • Prolonged Depression.
        • Family history of Autoimmune Thyroid disorder.
        • Non Autoimmune disorders like Type1 diabetes,Addison's disease,Rheumatoid Arthritis,etc.
        • High levels of Cholesterols.
        • Medical investigations involving Radioactive contrast agents/contrast dye.
        • Radiotherapy for cancers and Hodgkins disorders.
Hypothyroidism:-Signs and Symptoms.
        • Fatigue.
        • Hoarse voice.
        • Weight gain.
        • Difficulty in swallowing.
        • Mood Swings.
        • Forgetfulness.
        • Intolerance to cold.
        • Dry skin and thin ill looking hair.
Hyperthyroidism:-Signs and Symptoms.
        • Heat intolerance.
        • Palpitations.
        • Nervousness.
        • Insomnia.
        • Respiratory distress.
        • Low and Absent Menstrual Cycle.
        • Fatigue.
        • High Heart Rate(Tachycardia).
        • Tremors.
        • Unusual weight loss.
        • Muscle Weakness.
        • Warm moist skin and hair.
        • Increased Urination.
Thyroid:-Myths and Realities.
  1. Thyroid Disorders are Contagious.
    • People often think on those lines as people in close net do suffer from thyroid disorders,it is actually due to prevailing conditions around,lets say in poor economies hypothyroidism is commonly noticed due to iodine deficiency so people linked it to affluence of neighbourhood as masses living in similar conditions might have common trend .But it is not a contagious disease,cannot spread by eating together,etc.
    • Iodine is necessary for normal function of the gland,it combines with Amino Acid of the gland to produceT3and T4 hormones.
    • It is actually a inherited disease,might run in a family tree.
  2. Patient suffering from Hypothyroidism cannot loose weight.
    • The main culprit is fatigue factor,a common cause in pals suffering from low function thyroid gland are forced to live some sort of sedentary lifestyle,once underline cause is treated and thyroid hormones levels are normal they can start a more active lifestyle and regular exercise will surely help them shed as that fatigue is not felt.
    • Second factor is fluid retention which also increases weight in hypothyroidism above explanation goes for this condition also.
  3. Patient suffering from Hyperthyroidism cannot gain weight.
    • Again one can gain weight back to normal or to desired levels as soon the thyroid hormones levels are normal.
  4. Blood Test are not reliable.
    • Levels of TSH(Thyroid stimulating hormone) is often sufficient to diagnose the condition but more conformation is done by measuring levels of T3(Triiodothyronin) and T4(Thyroxin) levels also and believe me these test done at some reliable lab  suffice.
    • These days some labs have started conducting test like freeT3 and freeT4 which in fact are more reliable.
  5. Post partum depression has no relation to Thyroid disorders.
    • Data suggest at least 10% of new mothers suffer from what is termed as post partum thyroid disorder,which includes females who have no history of thyroid disorders.
    • Most cases resolve by themselves few require medical intervention.
    • Thyroid test should be conducted in females suffering from depression.
  6. Thyroid disorders can/cannot be  cured.
    • Hypothyroidism is a condition which requires lifelong medication ,it can be controlled/managed but can't be cured completely.
    • Hyperthyroidism is at times cured completely when surgical intervention is done to remove portion of thyroid or when treated with radio active iodine.
  7. Alternative treatment therapies are more effective.
    • Some Yoga Gurus in India claim so,that with certain aasana (positions of Yoga) disease can be treated but lacks sufficient clinical evidence.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Bronchial Asthma-Myths and Realities.

Another deadly disease coming under the head of NCD,a very cruel and harsh disease,also called suffocating disease.During attack, if left untreated,it gives one of the worst and most painful death known to mankind. Patients and even medical professionals have poor understanding of this deadly disease as a result ,millions die,globally every year.
1.Asthma-It's all in one's mind.
  • Is Asthma emotional/stress induced/psychogenic in nature.Answer is No.
  • Asthmatic have some physiological condition involving their respiratory system,hence, in some sudden severe emotional outburst,at times,this could trigger a attack if one is already suffering from poorly controlled Asthma.
2.Asthma Is Curable.
  • As said earlier in my previous post ,any disease coming under the banner of NCD.cannot be cured ,only can be controlled/managed.This stands true for this disease also.
  • False propaganda managers quoting tall claims about permanent cure,exist in every society,even the most educated and civilised ones,ruining people of their precious time and money.
3.Pregnant Asthmatic have numerous complications.
    • Years back this was not a myth, asthmatic mothers with poorly controlled disease were unable to carry normal pregnancy,as during pregnancy disease not only effects mother,it cuts/reduces  vital oxygen supply to foetus.
    • Poorly controlled Asthma can trigger
      • Hypertension.Preeclampsia-a state causing increased blood pressure which has cascading effects on most vital organs and even on placenta.
      • Prenatal mortality-Death of new born at the time of delivery or just after.
      • Premature birth.
      • Intra uterine growth retardation-meaning foetus attains
  • less weight and may have features of mental retardation in later part of life.
    • Now with modern understanding and treatment of disease leading to tight control of asthma and its complications ,any asthmatic can give even normal delivery like any other  female.
4.Asthmatic Child will out grow disease.
  • In certain conditions where asthma is managed properly or situations /allergens causing asthma are notified asthmatic attacks are greatly reduced but asthma is a life long disease,so asthmatic child cannot out grow it..
5.Asthmatic cannot exercise/indulge in outdoor activity.
  • With due precautions one can exercise or play like any other healthy person,carry your medication,notify your team mates about do's and don'ts,restrict out door activity during winters or places could have some allergic trigger.
  • Consult your health professional before initiating any new physical activity.
  • Learn about exercises mainly related to breathing which will help in the better management of Asthma and it's complications.
6.Alternative mode of treatments provide better control.
  • A absolute myth,no such study has been published till date supporting this claim,worse even during the time of acute asthmatic attack only and only modern allopathic mediation works.
  • Yes certain Indian Yoga postures/aerobic exercises help in controlling asthma,to some extent but that does not mean that one should stop treatment at all,asthma can sometime bounce back with severe life threatening conditions.
7.Regular use of inhalers is addictive.
  • No,not at all ,many researches have shown that the first line of treatment to prevent asthmatic attacks are inhalers only.
  • Inhalers are better then oral medication-
        • Cost effective.
        • Drug delivery directly at the place it is needed.
        • Doses required are sometimes 40% less then oral .
        • Few/No side effects.
        • In fact ,over whelmed by the success of inhalers,researches are trying to develop inhalers for other diseases like Diabetes,Hypertension ,etc.
8.Steroids used are harmful.
  • These days steroids are used seldom,instead corticosteroids are used
  • Researches have shown that the corticosteroids used are lighter,practically with very mild side effects and of the same quality as used for facial products.
Any further explanations related to this topic or any other ,if sorted,are welcome.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Brain Stroke-Myths and Realities

 Another silent killer disease under the banner of NCDs',Brain stroke or Cerebral stroke or Brain attack- A disease spreading worldwide,costing millions of dollars to federal and other health systems across the  globe.Gone are the days when Brain Stroke was an earache of elderly or patients suffering from diabetes,hypertension and heart disease.These days people in their 30's, even in their early 30s, or 40s are being increasingly hospitalized with sign and symptoms of impending cerebral stroke or Brain stroke or have already suffered one.There is gross ignorance regarding brain stroke and people are unable to evaluate signs and symptoms leading to delayed medical intervention.Every 45 seconds someone suffers Stroke in USA. A Stroke is acute medical emergency as brain cells start dying fast and they do not regenerate easily.Speedy treatment is the key as 50-60% cases who suffer stroke for the first time have no symptoms,serious attention should be given to Brain Stroke as is given to heart attack.Initiating quick action can improve the odds of survival and better rehabilitation.
  Few signs and symptoms of Brain Stroke:-
  •  Stroke has a sudden onset and best outcome is achieved by immediate and careful response to warning signs-
    • Sudden onset of weakness/numbness of the face,upper or lower limb on one side of the body.
    • Sudden facial deviation towards any side.
    • Sudden difficulty in communicating skills i.e,unable to speak properly or unable to understand .
    • Sudden severe headache without any reason.
    • Sudden vision related problems.
    • Sudden loss of balance and coordination,dizziness and difficulty in walking or even standing.
    • Brief unconsciousness or sudden drowsiness.
    • Nausea/vomiting.
Learn The Formulae of F.A.S.T.
  • FACE:-Face drooped to one side?? Ask the person to smile.
  • ARMS:-Weakness in any of the arms??,ask the patient to raise both arms –does one of them drift downwards.
  • SPEECH:-Slurred or in coherent speech?? Ask the patient to repeat simple sentence.Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • TIME:-Any of these symptoms call for immediate medical intervention/rush to hospital.
  • FAST-Courtesy National Stroke Association.
  • Risk factors:-
    • Heart disease.
    • Uncontrolled Diabetes.
    • Uncontrolled blood pressure
    • Smoking.
    • Alcohol.
    • High cholesterol levels.
    • Obesity.
    • Transient Ischemic attacks(TIAs).
    • List is not exhaustive.
    Permanent/Temporary problems after attack.
    • Partial or complete impairment or weakness on one side of the body.
    • Balance and coordination.
    • Speech and Memory.
    • Body ache.
    • Numbness.
    • Swallowing.
    • Fatigue factor.
    • Emotional setback.
    • Vision.
    Types Of Stroke.
    • Brain Attack-One or more arteries supplying blood to different parts of brain are either partially or completely blocked. Also termed as Ischemic Stroke,approx.32000 brain cells die/second die in a acute ischemic stroke. 
    • Heamorrhagic Stroke-Due to rupture of Brain Artery.
    Myths and Realities.
    • Recovery limited to initial few months or so.
        • Duration depends upon severity of injury and area of Brain involved.
        • Neurological investigation abnormalities though settle down in about a year's time but that does not mean that recovery is all done.
        • It is actually a life long process involving Doctors,Physiotherapists and full family support which plays main and important role.
        • Almost never does a patient recovers fully, the residual deficits are usually significant and permanent.The continual expectation of recovery can lead clients and families into denial, frustration, disappointment. Moreover, the successful rehabilitation of the Brain stroke person cannot take place until they and their family are aware of the new limitations, accept them, and formulate new goals based on changed expectations.
        • Hope and patience are the key words.
    • Brain can not repair itself.
        • For years Neurologists,scientists used to think on these lines ,but latest researches have proved this theory a Myth.
        • Brain realign itself-grow axons to develop new pathways' so that the functional loss due to area involved could be minimised.
        • Brain has the unique ability to recover after brain stroke/head injury.
        • Brain weighs only 1% of body but consumes 10% of energy generated by our body.
    • We use only 10%of Brain,if Stroke is in unused area no need to worry.
        • Have you ever heard Doctor saying although he has Brain Stroke/Head Injury it wasn't in the area being used.??
        • Brain uses every bit and corner of its parts,Brain mapping ,EEG and other test have proved this.
        • 10% idea was coined by Einstein people took it in the wrong manner.He meant that human use only 10% of Brain's ability.
        • It's like remaining 90% brain's potential is unused, should not be taken literally .
    • Behavioural Changes are signs of madness.
        • Stroke mainly affects the emotions,it causes poor control of emotions and an improper or apposite reaction may be noticed at inappropriate times.
        • This is actually a neurological disorder that causes such behavioural disorders like sudden episodes of crying,laughing,etc.also known as Emotional liability.With proper therapy and care such disorders are minimized.
    • There are limited and unreliable test to deduct Stroke.
        • A complete myth,Computer Tomography (CT)Scan and Magnetic Resonance Imaging(MRI) have completely revolutionised the management,treatment and better understanding of Strokes.
        • EEG.
        • Doppler Ultrasound.
    • Treatment is often very limited.
        • Stroke treatment works on the theory 'the sooner the better'.
        • Neurologist have developed expertise to treat even the toughest cases through conservatives therapies but very often neuro surgeries play a vital and life saving role.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

A formula of perfect diet-myths and realities

Since ages dietitians,nutritionist and doctors , world over,are trying hard for that perfect diet formula,though they have got substantial gains in their efforts,people due to lack of proper knowledge and awareness regarding diet are neither able to remain perfect healthy nor able to manage weight control /obesity despite following the tediousness regime of dieting/fasting.Diet and health are not "ONE PLAN FIT FOR ALL THEORY".individual goals are needed.
We know countless health cautious pals ,who want to get rid of their extra pounds permanently,this is here ,where starts a vicious  cycle of dieting,where some land up adding few extra pounds or extra fat,as people who want to drop extra pounds turn to the easiest method of dieting/fasting,disturbing natural metabolism of body.A recent study conducted ,suggested 95% who reduced weight following some diet plan landed up with extra pounds,with this they feel left out ,depressed and stressed.
Here comes the role of a healthy diet plan but despite possibly knowing many tend to choose wrong food.A close watch on dietary habits and notorious lifestyle of obese should explain about the wrong doings.
Before energizing yourself to enter into a dietary plan which actually leads to some changed life style ,try to answer the following? 
1.Under what circumstances/motivation factors you are choosing this path.
2.Are you ready for the change?
3.Are you ready to control your taste buds and become a non glutton.
Cautious approach and correct knowledge regarding your diet and eating habits are few deciding factors which will give desired success,but here prime importance lies in placing more realistic and practical approach with small but determined steps then taking some drastic change
Researches have shown that surprisingly workaholic also become over eaters as they find solace in eating to combat stress.
I've tried to compile few tips and suggestions which might help to attain goal about right diet.
1.Not hungry-don't eat.
  • Follow the basic principle "Eat when hungry,sleep when exhausted".don't become a glutton ,train your body to eat  that you are just satisfied ,meaning there by that you are not over-eaten or under full.After few minutes that quest of extra craving will eventually go making you satisfied/comfortable with whatever you hv eaten. 
  • Future eating-I won't have time to eat ,I have meetings lined up,so it's better to eat now-must be sounding familiar.This adds up extra calories.
  • My favourite dish won't be available,so I may not be able to eat soon after this-makes you eat extra adding notorious calories unknowingly.
  • Unable to sleep-that extra portion of cake/cookies might help me to sleep.
   2.Emotional eater.
  • Ask yourself????
    • Am I a Gourmet.
    • Do at times I eat to please others.
    • Do I  eat for rewarding oneself ,for some good work/favour I did.
    • Holidays/weekends means celebrations,eat what ever .
    •  Moment of sadness-food is best friend. 
    • Do I eat for entertainment .
    • Temptation hard to resist.   
    3.Prepare plate yourself and rule of half.
  • Prepare half plate with fruits and veggies,half with products full of proteins and wheat.
  • According to a study,people who take less food in their plates ,eat around 14% less then their usual diet as in order to fill in 2-3 servings are needed.
    4.Chew food properly.

  • This makes people eat slowly and makes them eat less.
   5.Keep yourself busy.
  • That extra craving for food is the real culprit,try to divert your attention towards something else,sneak out,do some work.
  • If you really feel some craving ,take a glass of water,a fruit or a portion of some healthy snacks.
   6.Healthy food-better and improved health.
  • Tongue taste should be restricted,choose some healthy alternative eg.instead of some fatty cookie,one can take few oil free nuts dipped in honey.etc.
  • You yourself need to workout on new and improvised recipe so that healthy substitute taste good. 
   7. Beware of smart marketing and labels.
  • Many so called self claimed health products or preserved/packed food,may contain substantially high sugar or salt contents.
  • Even fat free /cholesterol free items are filled with trans fat and sugar.
  • Check sugar content with different labels like,Sucrose,Glucose,fructose,Corn Syp., Maple Syp.
  • Read thoroughly about the contents.
      8.Write what you eat.
  • One of the best way to manage diet.
  • Keep updating your diary -what ever you eat,even a small portion you eat,make a list,search for number of calories,make a chart.
  • Add all calories at the end of day.
  • Compile a list of your favorite food items.
  • You will be surprised to know about the actual intake.
     9. Quantity and Management.
  •  The best way to control quantity of food is to maximize the number of dishes in menu list,means instead of eating only one item you taste many,there by eating less.
  • If you have craving for some item,don't stop but control, take a part of portion or better share with someone.
  • If you are unable to stop yourself ,then follow the rule of management eg. take something light /less in your next dine in.
  • Feel free for any quarries related to this article or any other.