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10 Reasons for Hair Loss in Women

Posted by on Sep 6, 2014 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

10 Reasons for Hair Loss in Women

The range of hair salon services and beauty treatments for enhancing the appearance of the hair like highlighting, straightening, perming, colouring, ironing, extensions etc. is amazing and is in huge demand today, not to mention the wide array of Over The Counter hair care products. There is a lot of awareness and information available today about Trichology, the science of hair care, through the media and internet.

How Much of Daily Hair Loss is Normal

Scalp hair in women grows from the hair follicle at a more or less steady pace of half inch per month for two to six years. After this, there is a rest period during which it does not grow any more. Eventually it falls out. Usually within six months, a new hair grows in its place. On a woman’s head at any point of time, about 85 percent of the hair is growing while 15 percent would be resting. The average scalp contains about one lakh hair follicles. This differs in women with different hair colours. On an average, a woman can lose 50 to 60 hairs a day and this is considered normal. Breathe easy now!

10 Reasons for Hair Loss

The condition when hair falls out of the follicles, but is not replaced by new hair is known as baldness. Baldness can range from thinning of hair over the entire head to hair loss at the crown or hairline, which again can be mild to moderate. The typical hair loss pattern in women is different from that of men.

Hereditary thinning

Most men experience this. However, lately it is being experienced by women too.

Hormonal imbalance

Hair loss is usually associated with genetic predisposition, ageing and levels of endocrine hormones, called androgens. Changes in the androgen levels have a direct relation with the production of hair. This is one of the reasons why pregnant women and women entering menopause find themselves with thinning scalp hair. Thyroid hormone fluctuations and menstrual irregularities are also important causes of hormone-related hair loss.

Childbirth

Normally when women deliver, many hairs enter the resting phase of the hair cycle. Within two to three months post delivery, the hair enters the hair fall phase again. The change in hormonal conditions during pregnancy has grave effects on the woman’s hair and skin. The worse part is that even if your hair has not been affected during one pregnancy, it does not guarantee that you would not lose it during subsequent pregnancies. In fact, it is estimated that up to 50 percent of women are affected during later pregnancies and not the first one.

Improper hair care

Any chemical treatment to the hair, if done incorrectly without professional help, or treatments done repeatedly at frequent intervals can make the hair strands weak and cause breakage.

Infections

During infections like high fever, flu, typhoid, jaundice, malaria, kidney or urinary tract infections, the hair enters the resting phase. Excessive hair fall follows, but this shedding usually corrects itself. If there are scalp infections as well, hair fall will result.

Food habits

Many infections due to erratic food habits and eating out frequently result in hair fall, without any other symptoms.

Medicines

Some prescription drugs can cause hair loss as a side effect in some people. Cancer treatments are notorious for causing hair fall since they stop hair cells from dividing, resulting in thinning and breakage of hair. This is however reversible after stopping the drugs. A few women experience hair loss on usage of birth control pills, but this is again temporary.

Stress

Sudden or extreme stress can cause hair loss.

Hair pulling

Some people develop habits like pulling their hair out (!), when nervous.

Low blood iron levels

This also affects the hair loss rate. Higher rate of hair fall is seen with lower blood iron levels.

Tips to Reduce Hair Fall
  1. Regularise your food intake.
  2. Increase your intake of proteins eg. skimmed milk, egg white, lean meat, dals, yoghurt etc.
  3. If your hair fall increases to a range of 50 – 150 hair per day, then increase your skimmed milk intake to 3 cups a day; also start taking vitamin supplements and follow a regular exercise routine.
  4. Increase the intake of green leafy vegetables and fruits.
  5. Use the right shampoo and conditioner for your hair.
  6. Avoid overdoing chemical treatments for the hair.
  7. If the hair fall is not controlled by the above measures, please seek the advice of an expert dermatologist before the damage becomes irreversible.
Hair and Lovely

A good trichology centre, should solve your hair problems and give exclusively designed hair treatments, like:

  • Analysis of the type and cause of hair loss is done by ultramodern imaging technology.
  • Skin biopsy of the scalp is performed by the dermatologist, if required.
  • Appropriate diet modification advice is given.
  • Medical treatment maybe prescribed in the form of oral tablets, special hair growth supplements and topical medication to be applied in the hair. Speciality consultations with endocrine (hormone specialist), psychologist, etc. would be advised, if required
  • Advice is given on appropriate hair care products to match the individual’s hair requirements.
  • Advice on oil massage, deep conditioning treatments and anti dandruff treatments, is given if necessary.
  • Hair fall laser treatments: a series of medical salon hair treatments to stop active hair fall.
  • Hair regrowth treatments: a series of medical salon hair treatments to stimulate the weak hair roots to strengthen and regrow.
  • Anti dandruff treatments: for severe cases of dandruff.
  • Hair Mesotherapy: a series of injections of Hair Growth Factors in the scalp so that the medicine is directly delivered near the hair roots. The injections are very tiny and relatively painless. Dermatologists generally prescribe this therapy for severe hair loss cases and for faster recovery.
  • Hair transplant: non-surgical hair transplant is the latest state of the art method of natural hair transplant. It is much quicker, safer and much more effective than the older hair transplant techniques. Currently in India, this technique is available only at select clinics.

 

Dr.-Rinky-Kapoor

Dr. Rinky Kapoor is Consultant Dermatologist, Cosmetic Dermatologist and Dermato-surgeon,

Institute for Aesthetic Surgery,

Apollo Health City, Hyderabad

6 Skincare Myths Busted

Posted by on Sep 6, 2014 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

6 Skincare Myths Busted

Myth #1:
The higher the SPF (Sun Protection Factor), the better the protection
It is a myth that SPF is a measure of a sunscreen’s ability to protect against sun’s damaging effects. SPF only measures how well a sunscreen will block UVB rays (UVB causes skin tanning and burning). Like say, if you apply a sunscreen with SPF 30, it implies that you can stay in the sun 30 times longer without burning or tanning your skin than if your skin was bare. For Indian skin, SPF 15-30 is adequate. However, you should ensure that the sunscreen is a broad spectrum one which provides both UVA and UVB protection. So look for the label ‘broad spectrum’ while buying a product, or look for ingredients like avobenzone, zinc oxide, mexoryl etc which will offer UVA protection also (UVA rays cause skin ageing) .

Myth #2:
Facials and microdermabrasion are good for your skin care routine Studies comprehensively show that facials do nothing more than make you feel good. They can’t reduce wrinkles or improve complexion. Facials can actually damage your face if the aesthetician picks, squeezes or rubs too hard! It can break down elastin and collagen (the skin’s component that adds support and elasticity), so you have to be sure the massage is very gentle. Facials shouldn’t break the skin. The basis of a good facial is to re-establish balance in the skin usually by cleansing, exfoliation, skin analysis, massage and mask.

During microdermabrasion, fine grains of aluminum oxide are forced over the skin under high pressure. This exfoliates dead skin and stimulates collagen production. But people with sensitive skinned to be prepared to see some redness afterwards. A more effective alternative is to use an Alpha Hydroxy Acid (AHA) product. AHAs are great exfoliators and slow the aging process. Recent studies indicate that AHAs may act as free radical scavengers, helping to increase collagen production. In a nutshell, facials and microdermabrasion should be used as and when your skin demands. If you follow a good skin care at home, these might not be required on a regular basis.

Myth # 3: 
Expensive skin care products work best A product should not be judged by its cost, but by its ingredients and your requirements. If your skin is oily, no product meant for normal skin, however expensive, will work for you. Routine skin care products like a cleanser, moisturiser, toner and sunscreen should be selected carefully. They should enhance your skin health and should be well tolerated. You might need to change products according to the weather conditions. A summer product might not work as well in winter. You can also take the guidance of your dermatologist, who will assess your skin type, your working schedules, your requirements, budget etc. and prescribe a feasible skin care routine.

Myth #4:
You don’t need sunscreen on a cloudy day You need to protect your skin from UV exposure everyday, all the year round. UVB rays, which play a key role in the development of skin cancer, are their strongest in summer between 10 AM to 4 PM. UVA rays, which can cause melanoma, premature ageing, sagging, wrinkled skin, are present during all daylight hours throughout the year, on cloudy or even snowy days! And these rays can penetrate clouds, car windows and clothing.The message is loud enough – wear your sunscreen even on cloudy days.

Myth #5:
Cleansing with soap will keep your skin acne-free Acne is a disorder of the pilosebaceous (oil) glands of our skin. Adequate cleansing of oily, acneprone skin plays an important role in preventing breakouts. But scrubbing the face frequently with soap will only stimulate the oil glands to secrete more oil, and in turn cause more breakouts! Additionally, soaps are more harmful for sensitive, acne-prone skin because of their alkaline nature. Choose a gentle face wash or a medicated one instead.

Myth #6:
Anti-perspirants should be used liberally to prevent sweatassociated infections during summer. During summer, there is a rise in bacterial and fungal infections of the skin. Most of these infections are aggravated due to hot, humid weather, and in people with increased sweating, friction due to obesity, diabetes, etc. People, especially the youth, use a variety of deodorants, body sprays, etc. to counter the sweating and the associated smell. But overuse of such products is not good.

You have to be very selective in choosing a deodorant. Not all deodorants have anti-perspirant properties; most only have fragrance. So look for sprays containing aluminium hydroxide for its anti-perspirant effects. Such products would have standardised chemicals, so branded companies are a safer bet. In case you experience itching, irritation, redness or pigmentary changes, you should avoid their use and consult a dermatologist. It is also safer to spray it on your dress, or if it is a deo, from at least six inches away from the skin.

Hydrate Your Skin

Posted by on Sep 6, 2014 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

Hydrate Your Skin

Does hydration simply mean drinking lots of water or is there more to it? Our body loses two to three litres of water every day just from breathing, sweating and urinating! And if you tend to do other heavy activities you can lose up to two litres in an hour. Once the body has lost two percent of its normal water volume, it will show those mild dehydration symptoms. The most common symptom is thirst, which if you suppress long enough, will cause your skin to dry up. If you are adamant that you won’t quench your thirst, wrinkles can develop.

10 Ways to Stay Hydrated

Drink loads of water, at least eight glasses every day. The first step to hydrate your skin is to give it the things necessary to repair itself.Water helps the kidneys to filter toxins from your body. If you maintain a correct fluid level,your skin will look smoother and supple over a period of time.

But don’t keep on drinking water by the gallons. Excess water can wash off essential nutrients from your body.Carry a water bottle with you at all times so you can keep track of how much water you’ve consumed throughout the day.

Eat a healthy diet that includes plenty of antioxidants like fresh fruits and vegetables. These are known to prevent the oxidation that breaks down and ages the skin. Also, fruits and vegetables are high in fluid content and will provide your body with added moisture.

Take a few high quality vitamin supplements, specifically designed to give you healthy, hydrated skin. A good quality Omega 3 fish oil supplement and an all-in-one multivitamin would give your body the nutrients it needs to achieve optimum skin hydration. Check with your doctor before starting.

Get fresh air. Dry air pulls moisture from your skin. Mist your skin with hydrating mist sprays or pure, clean water to rehydrate throughout the day, especially if your day is spent in an air-conditioned office, which circulates dry air, or if you are a frequent flier, or live in a humid climate. A good quality humidifier could also help.

Wear sunscreen everyday. Exposure to the harmful effects of the sun can create wrinkles, as well as discoloration and age spots.Skin hydration cannot reverse the signs of aging skin but can assist you in hiding them. Soft and suppler skin is more effective in hiding the wrinkles, compared to dry skin.

Use a good quality skin moisturiser. Moisturisers help seal moisture into your skin so it doesn’t evaporate in the dry air. Use oil-free ones in summer.

Oily skin needs more hydration. Oil is used as a defensive shield to retain natural moisture. This means that oil glands will generate oil if they get a signal that the skin is getting dry. Those with oily skin should thus moisturise even more because their oil glands have a tendency to secrete more oil to make up for the lower levels of moisture.

Compromised skin needs much more hydration. The skin of newborns and young children, those in old age, and people with pre-existing skin diseases is compromised. To maintain their healthy functioning, due attention should be given to keeping it well hydrated, both internally and externally.

Limit the number of hot baths and showers you take. The harsh temperatures cause the skin to turn dry. The key is to apply a cream or ointment when your skin is still wet, to seal in the moisture.

Say no to smoking which ages skin prematurely. It causes your skin to lose its elasticity earlier, which makes it more difficult for it to hold onto moisture. Holding a cigarette in one hand and a moisturiser in another is a losing battle! Choose wisely.

Taking Care of Dry Skin

Posted by on Sep 5, 2014 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

Taking Care of Dry Skin
Why is Dry Skin Bad?
  • Doctors classify some types of skin as xerosis or asteatosis (the medical words for dry skin, of course), when the normally fine lines in the skin become more visible, and the skin feels rough and appears dull and flaky.
  • Dry skin very commonly produces itching, which can be severe and can interfere with sleep and other daily activities.
  • Dry,thickened skin can crack, especially in areas subject to chronic trauma (like hands and feet),causing painful cracks in the skin (fissures).
  • Severe dry skin is a feature of certain genetic diseases such as atopic dermatitis and ichthyosis (fish-scale like skin).
  • On some occasions even doctors might confuse red, dry skin rashes with other skin problems.
What Causes Dry Skin?

The outermost layer of the skin – stratum corneum – consists of dead skin cells embedded in a mixture of natural oils (lipids). They hold a certain amount of water, which helps keep the skin soft, pliable and smooth.

Dry skin results when there is not enough water in the stratum corneum. Too much soapy water, exposure to harsh chemicals, the normal ageing process and certain types of skin diseases are some of the causes of decreased amounts of protective skin oils.

9 Bath Tips

The mainstay of dry skin management is attention to proper bathing techniques and liberal use of effective moisturisers.

  • You should take a short bath or shower (no more than three minutes) only once in a 24 hour period. Yes, you read that right – three minutes a day.
  • The bath or shower should be in lukewarm, rather than, hot water.
  • Soap should be used minimally and only when and where needed. Don’t go by the commercials on TV, where the model is just lathering up all over.
  • Milder and less drying soaps include Dove and Neutrogena Dry Skin Formula(unscented).
  • Cetaphil is a liquid cleanser that works as a gentle and effective soap substitute for some people. It is especially helpful for cleaning the face and hands.
  • After bathing or showering, quickly and gently pat the skin partially dry with a towel (do not rub!).
  • Within three minutes of getting out of the water, apply a moisturiser to seal the water in the skin before it can evaporate.
  • Bath oil should not be added to bath water since this can make the floor dangerously slippery.
  • Moisturisers should be reapplied liberally when possible.
Special Attention
  • Treat any red dermatitis (eczematous) patches with a topical cortisone (steroid) cream or ointment for a 5 to 15 day course.
  • Make sure you understand where the cortisone cream or ointment is to be applied (only on the red patches unless instructed otherwise), and how often you should apply it (no more than twice daily).
  • When using both, a cortisone product and a moisturiser, always use the cortisone first and the moisturiser second.
  • Be careful about using other over-the-counter anti-inflammatory and itch-suppressing creams or lotions. Anti-itch products containing pramoxine or menthol and camphor are generally safe to use. However, these products do not treat the cause of skin dryness.

Eat Today, for Hair Everyday

Posted by on Sep 5, 2014 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

Eat Today, for Hair Everyday
All that Glitters is Not Gold

No shampoo will make your hair grow faster. No product will instantly thicken it, nor add volume overnight. Sure there are some products that will assist but none which will ensure miracle cure. We have to be a little realistic and be mature enough to understand the facts about the product we are buying into.

The Mythical Versus the Practical: Your Choice

There are so many myths in India about hair care! Coconut water and raw egg, olive oil and ginger juice, orange pulp rubbed into scalp, yoghurt left on scalp, egg yolk massaged into hair–all of which make me feel squeamish! Some of these techniques can breed bacteria on the scalp. Hair growth is dependent on the health of your body. To replenish the wealth of hair that you have, you need to eat well and pay a lot of attention to what you eat. Your genes are also key players in determining the kind of hair you will have.

So what does a healthy diet include?

For healthy hair, you need to have items from certain food groups that I shall talk about now and ensure that everything is taken in moderation.

  • Salmon, tuna and mackerel are all high in Omega-3 fatty acids and also vitamin B12—two extremely essential ingredients for beautiful and healthy hair.
  • Nuts are extremely important, too. Brazil nuts contain selenium, vital for scalp health. Walnuts condition hair with their alpha-linolenic acid. Zinc is found in cashews, peanuts, and almonds, a mineral that prevents hair loss, fall and shedding. Consume these regularly for good hair.
  • Chicken, red meat and beans/lentils are also beneficial for hair.
  • Chicken is an excellent source of protein, which helps hair grow quickly. It enables the body to absorb iron better, which in turn increases the chance of your hair colour remaining bright and the follicles strong.
  • Red meat can be consumed twice a week to give hair its fullest chance of potency to grow. However, red meat has other health hazards so restrict the intake as much as you can.
  • Vegetarians need not worry that hair growth will be compromised by their diet though. Beans and lentils provide a superb source of protein, as well as iron, zinc and biotin to prevent brittle locks.
Veggies For Mane

Those who desire a luscious mane can’t go wrong by eating lots of vegetables: both leafy green ones and the red ones, like carrots. Dark green vegetables provide iron and calcium, as well as Vitamins A and C. These vitamins assist in the production of sebum, which the body needs to condition the hair and keep it in tip-top shape.

Carrots also provide Vitamin A. Good for vision as well as hair, these vegetables will encourage follicles to increase their production. Hair, well-fed, has no choice but to grow.

A Wholesome Lifestyle For Hair

Maintain an excellent diet, low in fats, caffeine and alcohol, fortified with eight to ten glasses of water a day and a multivitamin diet to increase hair growth. Maintaining this will put you on the best footing for gorgeous hair.

Eight, the Magic Number

No matter how much attention you pay to a strict diet, you must make sure to sleep well and consume less alcohol. If you don’t follow these two rules, your body will surely age soon; and this is not a healthy start to a better and healthier body and hair. 8 hours of sleep every night and 8 glasses of water each day, a balanced diet low in fat and oily food—these are all you need and you are off to a flying start for attaining that perfect look!

Latest in Heart Care within Your Reach

Posted by on Sep 4, 2014 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

Latest in Heart Care within Your Reach

Cath Lab
A good Cardiac Catheterisation Lab is an absolute prerequisite as catheterisation procedures are technically challenging and need the highest level of skill. With a number of cardiac procedures like coronary and peripheral angiography, angioplasty, stent implantation, primary angioplasty (angioplasty performed during a heart attack), non-surgical closure of congenital defects and embolisations carried on every day, a cath lab has to be at its best to ensure the desired outcome. The Flat Panel Digital Cath Lab is the latest on the scene.

MRI-compatible Pacemaker
We already have had mobile-friendly pacemakers. But now the pacemaker becomes an ally to the Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) as well.

Pacemakers have been the standard treatment procedure for conditions like heart block, where the Sino- Atrial Node (SA Node) or our heart’s natural pacemaker is diseased and starts beating slow. With heart rate coming down to 50s or even lower, patients experience symptoms like vertigo, dizziness, sudden loss of sense for a brief period or even a blackout, shortness of breath and chest pain. After tests like ECG and Holter, the diagnosis is confirmed and a pacemaker is implanted, which acts as a battery supplying electrical impulse to the heart. Ever since its first implantation in 1958, pacemakers have undergone radical changes in terms of design and underlying technology. The initial single chamber pacemakers have been joined by the rate responsive and dual chamber ones, which offer a better support.

With advances in medicine, the average life-span has increased and a number of elderly people with cardiac diseases need advanced imaging tests for evaluation. As a diagnostic tool, MRI is of immense value for diagnosing stroke, blood clot in brain, acute injury of spine and many other structural anomalies. But pacemaker users were not able to undergo MRI tests. This is because the strong electro-magnetic field generated by the MRI machine interferes with the pacemaker’s magnetic field, resulting in severe malfunctioning like erratic rhythms, rotation or over-heating of the pacemaker leads. Thus patients with implanted standard pacemakers were not able to undergo MRI tests.

MRI compatible pacemakers are completely devoid of any ferro-magnet alloy and other iron-containing compounds that can interfere with the external magnetic field. It has also evolved in terms of design. Since pacemaker implantation is a one-time process, the patient’s needs and lifestyle are evaluated before deciding on the type of pacemaker.

Mapping the Errant with Confidence
A few errant heartbeats – during a job interview, first time date, or when watching a cricket match – are not a cause of concern. But when one experiences recurrent palpitations, blackouts or other serious symptoms, even without any apparent cause, it needs further examination.

Conditions like atrial fibrillation can increase the risk of stroke manifold. Recurrent ventricular irregularities can turn life-threatening at any moment. Although a number of medicines can keep arrhythmia (abnormal electrical activity in the heart) under control. None of them can cure them and in most cases, they come with side-effects apart from the financial burden. Here is where EP (Electro Physiology) and RFA (Radio Frequency Ablation) become helpful to cure the problem from the root. Electrophysiology is the stream of cardiology dealing with the conduction of electrical impulses inside the heart.

Ensuring Right Rhythm from a Distance
Though our heart is the best pump known to man, heart failure results in inefficient pumping and accumulation of fluid in the body. This leads to swelling or edema and breathing difficulty. Often simple day-to-day activities of the patient become a chore, leaving the person utterly debilitated.

Cardiac Resynchronisation Therapy (CRT) is available for patients of heart failure. It involves the implantation of an advanced pacemaker, which provides the stimulus to the weakened ventricles to beat in synchrony and maintain adequate blood flow. This device reduces breathing difficulty, improves heart pumping capacity, exercise capacity and the overall quality of life. The implantation of CRT involves complex programming and needs considerable expertise.

This CRT has now taken even a step further. The latest CRT implant can be accessed and programmed remotely. After the initial programming, the implanting doctor is provided with a code which enables him/her to help the patient even from a distance! This device is able to sense crises like accumulation of fluid in the lungs long before the patient experiences any symptoms, which gives time to take the necessary corrective action and even emergency admission to the hospital in acute crisis. This is an immense empowerment for the patients.

Despite these advances in technology that are within your reach, there are basic things you have to do to ensure a healthy heart: the basics of a healthy lifestyle, balanced diet, regular checkup etc. Even we doctors believe that prevention is better than cure.

Flat Panel Digital Cath Lab

  1. Flat Detector increases image sharpness and contrast.
  2. DoseWise guarantees excellent image quality at low dose X-ray.
  3. It reduces manual work and delivers efficient workflow.
  4. Xres reduces noise and enhances image quality.
  5. Stentboost technology gives better Stent image ensuring a better inflation of Stent that guarantees longer and better function.

Beyond the technical detail, what it means for the patient is a faster procedure with a better outcome.

Dil Se

Posted by on Sep 4, 2014 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

Dil Se

A Chronicle of Coronary Bypass Surgery in India

Surgeries in our government-run institutions and a few private hospitals emphasised on diseased heart valves and congenital heart conditions.

That was when the Apollo Hospitals, Chennai, chose the Vijayadasami day in 1983, to perform its first open heart operation. This soon set off a chain reaction in the country – resulting in 15-20 per cent more cardiac surgeries being done every year following that!

Power of a Dream

Ushering in a culture of new cardiac surgery was certainly not easy. Inspired by the Chairman Dr Prathap C Reddy’s vision and pioneering spirit, the Apollo Hospitals had its task cut out. The first challenge was to assemble competent professionals to provide results comparable with those being reported from western countries.

Hum kisise Kum nahin” (we are lesser to none) was the slogan then – and
patient-friendly services, caring attitude and affordable packages also were viewed as essentials. The response meanwhile, was overwhelming.

Patients started streaming into the Apollo Hospitals, Chennai, from all corners of India – and also from neighbouring countries. In less than two years of the hospital’s inauguration, more than 1000 bypass surgeries were done! The rest of the country could not help but sit up and notice. This encouraged hospitals all over India to invest in cardiology and cardiac surgery, despite the heavy expenditure involved – and led to a rapid increase of cardiac-related services in our nation.

Number Speak
  • In the two decades that followed, nearly 30,000 heart operations have been performed at the Chennai Apollo Hospitals.
  • Of these, nearly 22,000 have been coronary bypass operations.
  • Until about seven years ago, these operations were being done by conventional techniques involving the use of the heart-lung machine.
  • At present, nearly 90 per cent of coronary bypass operations are done using the beating heart technique.This brought about a very significant reduction in post-operative complications and a reduction in hospital mortality to around 0.6 per cent.
  • Due to Apollo Hospitals’ pioneering efforts, the national statistics for heart surgery has seen a quantum rise.Prior to 1980, coronary bypass surgery formed less than five per cent of the cardiac surgeon’s workload. At present,it is over 70 per cent.
More is Still Less
The cardiologists at Apollo also pioneered Balloon Angioplasty procedure, positioning themselves at the forefront of percutaneous interventions. The Apollo Hospitals also trained scores of surgeons and an equal number of cardiologists, many of who have now moved on to various places, spreading the expertise gained.

With a reported incidence of around 12 per cent in the urban adult population in India and an estimated 60 million individuals suffering from coronary artery disease, the 72000 procedures that we are currently doing are woefully inadequate.

What we need now is, to acknowledge the unfortunate truth that being an Indian also puts us at risk for developing coronary artery disease. The way ahead is, to realise that the only remedy is to greatly reduce that risk with a sensible lifestyle, modified dietary habits, regular exercise and periodic medical check-ups.

10 Tips for CaregiversAs a caregiver, you may think your first responsibility is to your loved one, but it is really to yourself. Did you know that caregivers may have increased blood pressure and insulin levels, impaired immune systems and an increased risk for cardiovascular disease among other adverse health outcomes? Research also shows that many caregivers are clinically depressed and often suffer from sleep deprivation and poor eating habits

  • Choose to take charge of your life and don’t let your loved one’s illness or disability always takes centre-stage.
  • Remember to be good to yourself. Love, honour and value yourself. You’re doing a very hard job and you deserve some quality time just for yourself.
  • Watch for signs of depression and don’t delay in getting professional help when you need it.
  • When people offer to help, accept their offer and suggest specific things to them to do.
  • Educate yourself about your loved one’s condition.Information is empowering.
  • There’s difference between caring and doing. Be open to new technologies and ideas that promote your loved one’s independence and help you make your job easier.
  • Trust your instincts. Most of the time they’ll lead you in the right direction.
  • Grieve for your losses, and then allow yourself to dream new dreams.
  • Stand up for your rights as a caregiver and as a citizen.
  • Seek support from other caregivers. There is great strength in knowing that you are not alone

Take Care of your Heart

Posted by on Sep 4, 2014 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

Take Care of your Heart

Risk Factors of Heart Disease
A clot forming inside the heart artery is the final event in a cascade of injuries to the artery’s delicate inner lining which has gone on for a prolonged period, often starting in early teens.

Behavioural factors: poor diet, physical inactivity, cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol

External factors:
 socio economic, cultural and environmental conditions, including modernisation, mechanisation, urbanisation and globalisation.

These, if not checked can lead to myocardial infarction (what we commonly call heart attack), stroke, coronary heart disease, peripheral arterial disease and congestive heart failure.

6 Modifiable Risk Factors
Age, sex and genetic predisposition are three things we cannot modify to protect against heart disease. But there are culprits which make it worse, like:

  1. Elevated LDL (or bad) cholesterol
  2. Reduced HDL (or good) cholesterol
  3. Obesity
  4. Hypertension
  5. Diabetes
  6. Smoking

Cholesterol
Bad cholesterol (LDL) deposits fat in the arteries and injures them, while good cholesterol (HDL) removes excess of fat from the circulation and prevents deposition in the arteries. So we have to reduce the LDL and raise the HDL.

  • Lifestyle measures can help reduce fats though diet, exercise and weight loss
  • When these measures fail, statin drugs can be used to lower the LDL.

Obesity
One third of the world population is overweight! This increases risk of elevated BP and diabetes. A waist heavy person is more prone to heart disease.

  • Aim to lose one kilo per week. Crash dieting rarely helps.
  • Eat smaller amounts; do not snack.
  • Cut down the fat in the diet.
  • Exercise regularly.

Risk of heart disease can be elevated by dehydration too. Certain studies have correlated high daily intake of water (five glasses) and other fluids to a lower risk of heart disease.

Remember that modest changes in diet, weight, and exercise can have a big impact on your cardiac risk. A hearthealthy lifestyle should be encouraged from youth, but even when changes are made later in life, they lead to important benefits. Work with your doctor to set realistic goals.

Hypertension
A silent threat, high blood pressure initially does not cause symptoms but damages you stealthily.

  • Lifestyle measures of losing weight and exercising regularly are a must.
  • Cut excess salt from your diet.
  • Take medicines regularly if prescribed, to maintain target BP (140/85). Target BP is the same for all age groups.
  • Target 130/80 if you are diabetic.

Diabetes
You increase your risk of heart disease three fold if you are a diabetic. Your risk multiplies if you are a smoker, have high BP and LDL levels: these often coexist.

  • If these dangers are coexisting, do ensure to maintain ideal body weight, exercise, lower cholesterol level and BP
  • Blood sugar levels can be managed with proper diet, lifestyle measures and medicines

Smoking & Tobacco Use
Even small amounts of tobacco are harmful – they increase the risk of heart attack four fold. You are at risk even if you don’t smoke – but your spouse or co-workers whom you share your time and space with, do. Quit the earliest you can – it takes a smoker five years to lower himself to the risk level of a non smoker – after he quits! Quit now, quit completely.

Mouth Cancer

Posted by on Sep 3, 2014 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

Mouth Cancer

The rate of secondary cancer in these patients is also higher than that of any other malignancy. Mouth cancer has a long waiting period and spreads very quickly.

The Tobacco Risk
  • The use of tobacco causes 85 percent of all head and neck cancers.
  • Although the use of tobacco and alcohol are risk factors for the development of oral cancer, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and other institutions have found that smoking was by far the biggest culprit, causing 21percent of overall deaths. The incidence of oral cancer in women has increased significantly, largely due to an increase in women smoking.
  • The chewing of gutka, paan, zarda etc. has increased the incidence of oral cancer within the Asian sub-continent. 11 and 12-year-old children are now being seen with pre-cancerous growths after just two years of chewing!
  • Over the past decade, an increasing number of young, non-smokers have developed mouth and throat cancer associated with the human-papillomavirus (HPV).
  • Chewing tobacco has always been seen as socially acceptable in India. Unaware of the danger of cancer, tobacco is offered at the end of a meal, regarding it as little more than mouth freshener.
Effects of Chewing Paan
  1. Bad breath
  2. Gum and Tooth Disease: Paan permanently discolours teeth. Its direct and repeated contact with the gums causes them to recede, which can cause your teeth to fall out.
  3. Cancer of the mouth and throat are very common among paan users.Surveys reveal that risk of cancers of the cheek and gum may reach nearly fifty – fold among long – term snuff(a form of tobacco) users. The surgery for this could lead to removal of parts of your face, tounge, cheek or lip.
Effects of Chewing Betel Nut
  • It can cause Oral Submucous Fibrosis (OSF), a pre – malignant condition associated with oral cancer.OSF refers to the permanent thickening and hardening of the inner lining of the mouth, stiffening of the oral mucosa and development of fibrous bands, resulting in the person being unable to open the mouth at all. The tounge loses its roughness and becomes smooth and white. The sensation of taste is gradually lost and the ability to tolerate spicy foods diminishes. The condition is not reversible, nor does it have an effective cure.
  • In the presence of salivary nitrates, areca nut alkaloids can form nitrosamines that can cause cancer.
  • Betel nut chewing is also a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and asthma.

 

8 Preventive Measures

The earlier, lesions caused by oral cancer are found, the greater the chance of recovery and a good quality of life and function. This is what makes the early detection of malignant or potentially malignant lesions through screening so important – only half of those diagnosed with the disease will survive more than five years.

  1. The best way to prevent oral cancer is to avoid tobacco and alcohol use.
  2. Cut down on chewing betel leaves (paan with areca nut) and avoid using tobacco. Discourage children and young adults from chewing betel leaves.
  3. If you are going to chew betel leaves, do not keep it in the mouth for long periods of time.
  4. Regular check-ups, including an examination of the entire mouth, are essential in the early detection of cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions.
  5. Many types of abnormalities can develop in the oral cavity in the form of red or white spots. Some are harmless and benign, some are cancerous, others are pre-cancerous, meaning they can develop into cancer if not detected early and removed.
  6. Finding and removing tissues before they become cancerous can be one of the most effective methods for reducing the incidence of the disease.
  7. Recently, the Academy of General Dentistry reported that simply swishing green tea around the mouth halts the growth of new oral cancer cells and kills existing oral cancer cells without harming normal ones.
14 Symptoms of Oral Cancer

An early indication of oral, head and neck cancer is one or more changes in the way the soft tissues of your mouth usually look or feel. These signs and symptoms may be indicative of cancer or other, less serious conditions.

  1. A sore in the mouth that doesn’t heal or increases in size
  2. Persistent pain in the mouth
  3. Lumps or white, red or dark patches inside the mouth
  4. Thickening of cheek
  5. Unusual bleeding, pain or numbness in the mouth
  6. Difficulty in chewing or swallowing or moving the tongue
  7. Difficulty in moving the jaw, or swelling or pain in the jaw
  8. Soreness in the throat or feeling that something is caught in the throat
  9. Pain around the teeth, or loosening of teeth
  10. Numbness of tongue or elsewhere in the mouth
  11. Changes in voice
  12. Pain in the ear without evidence of local ear problems
  13. A lump in the neck
  14. Bad breath

Posture Perfect

Posted by on Sep 2, 2014 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

Posture Perfect

proper posture is essential for many reasons, not least being the impression it conveys about you. And very truly, it is about having a strong spine and a straight back!

A good and correct posture keeps the bones and joints aligned and healthy, decreases pressure on the spine, prevents fatigue and strain or overuse of muscles, and holds off backache and muscular pain. Perfect posture can be achieved if you stand, sit, and walk with shoulders squared, chest upright, tummy tucked in and back straight.

Posture Killers
A hunched back, slouching shoulders, a slack spine and chest pulled inwards are culprits for a bad posture.

A good posture depends mainly on a strong lower back. To strengthen your lower back, you must work on the TA muscles (transversus abdominus muscles). They are a group of muscles located on either side of your lower back, starting at your navel, and ending on either side of your lower back.

Weak TA muscles lead to slouching, drooping of shoulders, and recurring pain in the lower back, which can pull your entire body down. The strain from sitting or standing for long hours without any breaks in between, and incorrect ways of sitting at the desk or behind the wheel while driving, can also lead to a weak lower back.

Solution: Basic exercises like surya namaskar, good mornings, opposite hand and leg raisers while lying on the floor, both hand-leg raisers and pelvic raisers, performed regularly will help strengthen your back leading to posture correction and good posture.

Since most major muscle groups in the body are interlinked, your next focus should be to strengthen your Glutes. Weak glutes means a weak back.

Solution: To work on your glutes, follow a basic regime of exercises like cat stretches and leg raisers.