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Child leukaemia ‘not linked to power lines’

Posted by on Feb 7, 2014 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

Child leukaemia ‘not linked to power lines’

As Reported On bbc.co.uk

Children who live near overhead power lines do not have an increased risk of developing leukaemia, a study has said.

Data on 16,500 children who developed leukaemia in Britain between 1962 and 2008 was analysed.

The paper found no increased leukaemia risk for those living near power lines from the 1980s onwards – but a higher risk did exist in the 1960s and 70s.

The researchers said the findings were “reassuring” but work was being done to understand the historical patterns.

Leukaemia accounts for around a third of all cancers diagnosed in children.

Around 460 new cases of leukaemia are diagnosed in children under the age of 15 each year in Britain.

Historic risk

This research, by the Childhood Cancer Research Group at the University of Oxford, used cancer information drawn from the National Registry of Childhood Tumours.

The study, funded by Children with Cancer UK, included nearly 16,500 children born in Britain who were diagnosed with leukaemia between 1962 and 2008.

They were compared with around 20,000 children who were born in the same area who did not develop cancer.

Continue reading the main story

“Start Quote

Until we can explain what caused the increased risk in the earlier decades, we can’t rule out the possibility that in some circumstances there could be a risk”

Kathryn BunchResearcher

When the data for the whole period was analysed it showed no increased risk from living near power lines. However, when the analysis was broken down into decades, an historic increased risk was seen for those born inthe 1960s and 70s, who lived within about one-third of a mile (600m) of a power line.

Those born from the 1980s onwards did not have an increased risk.

The researchers say this “strongly suggests” there is no direct biological effect of power lines on leukaemia risk.

Kathryn Bunch, who led the study, said: “It’s very encouraging to see that in recent decades there has been no increased risk of leukaemia among children born near overhead power lines.

“More research is needed to determine precisely why previous evidence suggested a risk prior to 1980, but parents can be reassured from the findings of this study that overhead power lines don’t increase their child’s risk of leukaemia.”

‘Could be risk’

She told the BBC: ” I would like to stress it’s very encouraging that this study gives such reassuring information to parents.

“But I have to be honest, until we can explain what caused the increased risk in the earlier decades, we can’t rule out the possibility that in some circumstances there could be a risk.”

Dr Julie Sharp, Cancer Research UK’s head of health information, said: “There has been a lot of concern that overhead power lines could increase the risk of cancer, particularly leukaemia, in children.

“This study is reassuring for anxious parents, as it indicates that overhead power lines don’t cause leukaemia or other cancers in children.”

The researchers say they do not know for certain why the historic increased risk existed.

They are carrying out further research looking at whether there has been a change in the pollutants emitted: if the spike was in some way connected to the construction of the power lines and has since diminished – or if there has been a shift in the characteristics of the people who live near power lines, as increased leukaemia risk has been linked to higher economic status.

Cervical Cancer

Posted by on Jan 21, 2014 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

Cervical Cancer

Cervical Cancer is a cancer arising from the cervix. It is due to the abnormal growth of cells that have the ability to invade or spread to other parts of the body. Early on there are typically no symptoms. Later symptoms may include: abnormal vaginal bleeding, pelvic pain or pain during sexual intercourse.

Symptoms -

* Abnormal vaginal bleeding that occurs between periods, or after menopause, or after sexual intercourse.

* Persistent pelvic pain or pain after intercourse.

* Abnormal mucus-like vaginal discharge.

* Cervical cancer is the most common cancer among women in India. While there are no specific things that you can look out for, there is a    program of Cervical Cancer Screening available which can detect the disease at an early stage.

*All otherwise healthy ladies should discuss the prospect of undergoing this screening with their doctors starting at age 21 years or within 3      years of starting vaginal intercourse (whichever is earlier).

Cervical-Cancer

 

Acupressure – 10 amazing facts!

Posted by on Jan 9, 2014 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

Acupressure – 10 amazing facts!

AS REPORTED ON http://health.india.com

 December 10, 2013 at 5:27 pm

 

Have a bad headache, or a backache that just won’t go away? Well, here is a therapy that can not only help relieve your symptoms, but can also calm your mind, align the working of your body and work as an efficient diagnostic tool – acupressure. Here are 10 facts about acupressure you should know.

Fact 1: Helps the mind and body.

Anjali Nevrekar, holistic healer, says, ‘Acupressure can give one a sound mind and healthy body, as it improves blood circulation, unblocks nerve impulses and relieves stress and tension.’  Practicing it on a daily basis is the best way to help one’s body recover, recoup and relax.

Fact 2: Is free!

Acupressure is cost free, since it can be practiced by oneself, in the comfort of your home. Moreover, for people practicing this art professionally, it does not require too much space. The best part about this therapy is that it can be practiced by people of all ages and does not take much time. So, for all the extremely busy professionals out there, this is your best way to stay in the pink of health.

Fact 3: Is an easy self-help tool.

Practitioners recommend that people should practice this art on a regular basis. They say that if it is responsibly followed; acupressure and its various manifestations can be an effective self-healing and self-regulating system.

Fact 4: The most painless diagnostic tool.

Acupressure is an excellent diagnostic tool. All you need to do is press the point on the hand, and if it is tender or painful, chances are that the organ or gland it represents is in need of repair. The system is so accurate that a trainer practitioner can diagnose a condition in the earliest stage of its onset.

Fact 5: One technique heals all.

Acupressure can heal everything from headaches, to anxiety to water retention and back pain. When the points corresponding to the area that needs healing, is gently stimulated it helps the organ heal. Slowly but surely you will be able to see the difference. Apart from the therapeutic value acupressure also soothes the mind making it refreshed and ready to absorb the stresses of the day ahead.

Fact 6: Two minutes a day is enough.Acupressure points on the hand

If you press the pressure points on either your hands or feet and find one that is particularly painful, it is a clear indication that the associated organ has a problem. Correlate the organ that the point represents, from the acupressure chart, and you have a diagnosis. Once diagnosed, keep the point pressed for about two minutes on a daily basis. But remember that while this might work for mild ailments, any serious disorders should be entrusted to a competent doctor.

Fact 7: Concentrate on both halves of the body

Acupressure practitioners say that one must stimulate bilaterally, i.e. on both sides of the body or both hands and feet. The symptoms may increase after the first stimulation, but this is an indication that the treatment is working and the body is throwing off the toxins. After applying the treatment for the required points, always press the kidney point as well, to stimulate it to throw out the toxins produced by the ailing organ.

Fact 8: Wearing jewellery is also acupressure.

The Indian habit of adorning oneself liberally with jewellery, such as rings, anklets, armlets, waistbands, toe rings, has a lot more benefits than just beautification. The places that people wear jewelry often closely relate to pressure points, that when stimulated, helps keep the body in sync. For instance in many Indian cultures women wear nose pins or toe rings. Both these points are associated with fertility and are supposed to ensure the proper functioning of the uterus.

Fact 9: Your hands and feet are the switchboards to your system.

According to the principles of acupressure, the human body has over 200 pressure points, but most practitioners believe that the hand and the feet are the parts that should be concentrated on. The principles of acupressure state that stimulating these points creates a reflex within its representative body part. All one has to do to ensure sound health within one’s system or to diagnose impending problems is to press the points on the hand or foot thoroughly once a day.

Fact 10: Despite all its benefits, there are some precautions that must be taken.

Here are some important things that one should not do while practicing acupressure.

  • Do not use it as a treatment for a chronic, long-standing illness or disorder.
  • Do not do it within four hours of taking any drugs, medications, intoxicating food or drinks or medicinal herbs.
  • Do not use it if you are taking regular medication.
  • If you have a known heart condition or suffer from a disorder involving tissue change or degeneration such as chronic arthritis, cancer, cataracts, tumours or varicose veins.
  • Do not use it immediately before or within half an hour after bathing in hot water, eating a heavy meal or doing strenuous physical activity.
  • Do not do it when emotionally agitated.
  • Pregnant women are advised not to do it, especially after the first trimester.
  • Women should not press any point on the breasts

Home remedies for every skincare problem you’ve ever had!

Posted by on Jan 9, 2014 in Apollo Health Blog | 9 comments

Home remedies for every skincare problem you’ve ever had!

AS REPORTED ON http://health.india.com

 January 8, 2014 at 6:02 pm

These days, more and more companies are coming out with products that claim to solve all your beauty woes. While some of these products may actually work, they can be harmful for your skin  in the long run. In this mega guide, we give you home remedies for common skin problems like pimples, acne scars, dark spots, tanning and more.

Home remedies to fight pimples

By using a few simple ingredients that are commonly found in most kitchens, it is possible to find a quick-fix for those unsightly pimples on your face.

Cinnamon and Honey

Cinnamon is a common spice and flavouring agent but the essential oil it contains also has strong anti-microbial properties. The water activity of honey is very low and this means that it does not contain a lot of moisture which can promote the growth of microorganisms. Considering that pimples often arise from an infection within the pores of the skin, combining cinnamon with honey is an effective remedy.

Mix a little cinnamon powder with a little honey to make a paste; avoid adding water because it will destroy the action of honey. Dab a little of the paste on each pimple and allow to remain overnight; wash off with lukewarm water the next morning. Repeat for a few days if necessary.

Lemon juice

Lemons contain vitamin C and phytonutrients called flavonoids that have a strong antioxidant as well as antibiotic action. Free radicals generated during the metabolic reactions within the body can damage the healthy cells of the body, causing inflammation and swelling. The antioxidants in lemonrestrict the action of these free radicals and this makes lemon juice an excellent remedy for pimples.

Squeeze out the juice from a freshly-cut lemon and dab a little directly on to the pimple. Leave on overnight and wash the next morning.

Mix a tablespoon of groundnut oil into an equal quantity of freshly squeezed lime juice and apply over the entire face; this provides long-term preventive action against blackheads that may later turn into pimples.

A word of caution regarding lime juice – it can make your skin more sensitive to sunlight and therefore, do not venture out in the sun when you have applied it to your face.

Tomato Pulp

Tomatoes are acidic in nature and applying their pulp to the pimple causes the skin to dry and the pores of the skin in the region get tightened. This means there is a lesser chance of oil leaking from the pores to cause pimples. Tomato is also rich in antioxidants and applying the pulp to the face reduces inflammation and damage of the skin.

Cut a tomato in half, squeeze out a little of the pulp or the juice and apply on the pimple. If this causes you pain or drying of the skin, dilute the tomato pulp with a little water and use. Do not do this more than once or twice a day because it may lead to excessive drying of the skin which can be quite painful.

Turmeric

Remember how your grandmother always insisted on sprinkling a little turmeric on your wounds saying it would help it heal? Well, medical researchers are now finding that turmeric contains ingredients that make it a powerful antimicrobial. No wonder then that women in India have always been using turmeric paste claiming it keeps their skin healthy and glowing. Although you can apply turmeric paste directly to skin, consuming it with a little warm milk is also said to be an effective remedy for flawless skin.

  • Mix a little turmeric powder with a little coconut oil and apply directly onto the pimples at night; next morning, wash your face with water to remove the paste.
  • Dry a few neem leaves in the sun and grind to a fine powder. Mix equal quantities of this powder, turmeric powder and a little rose water to form a paste. Apply this to the pimples, leave it on for around 20 minutes or so and then wash your face. You could also substitute sandalwood powder for neem powder – this remedy works equally well for acne.

Home remedies to beat acne scars

pimple arises due to some sort of skin damage; during the healing process, the body creates new skin cells and collagen fibers – this repair process leads to the formation of the acne scars. When it comes to reducing acne marks, it is important to remember this because whatever the form of treatment you use, the scars won’t really go away – its only their color, size and appearance that can be modified so as to render them undetectable. Here are a few home remedies you can try to lighten the acne scars.

Sandalwood water

According to Ayurveda, sandalwood or chandan is highly effective as a soothing and cooling agent, making it ideal to deal with skin problems. For use against acne scars, simply soak a piece of sandalwood in water for a few hours. Remove the wood, dry and store for reuse. Using a small ball of cotton, smear the sandalwood water slowly on the parts of the skin that has acne scars. Repeat every day for about a week and you are sure to notice a marked difference in your facial appearance.

Another way of using sandalwood is to rub a piece of sandalwood on a wooden base with a little rosewater to get a paste. Apply a small quantity of this paste on the acne scar and leave it on overnight. Wash the next morning with cold water.

Fenugreek extract

Add a few seeds of fenugreek (methi) into a little water; boil for about 10-15 minutes. Allow the liquid to cool, strain out the seeds and using a cotton ball, apply the water to the acne scars. Do this regularly for about a week and you will see a reduction in the intensity of the scars’ appearance.

Neem leaves

Neem contains alkaloids that give it distinct antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties. This makes it effective against a wide range of skin problems right from acne and eczema to ringworm because it also has the property of cleansing the body of toxins. For action against acne scars, place a neem leaf directly on the affected area for some time; do this regularly to see good results.

Apple cider vinegar

Vinegar has the property of scraping off the old cells on the surface of the skin and this peeling action along with its antiseptic property makes it useful against acne scars. However, a direct application of vinegar may damage sensitive skin; so make sure you dilute it with a little water and apply this apple cider vinegar solution to the scars using a cotton ball.

Along with the use of these home remedies, it is important to take steps to prevent new pimples from erupting. Stress tends to cause hormonal changes that can worsen acne; so use deep breathing exercises and meditation to keep stress away. Cut down on your use of oil-based cosmetics such as moisturizers and make-up and even hair products; this will reduce the blocking of the pores in the skin and reduce your chances of an acne outbreak. While there is nothing you can do about the appearance of acne prior to or during the menstruation period, you can certainly avoid it getting worse by keeping your face clean and free from oil and adopting a ‘no touching or breaking pimples’ policy.

Home remedies to get rid of unwanted facial hair

Ask women what they find embarrassing about their face and quite a few will reveal it is the facial hair that they need to constantly battle with. While we all have a little hair on the face, there may be times when there is a sudden spurt of growth due to various reasons and this excessive hair growth is called hirsutism. The most common reason is generally a hormonal imbalance because it is the levels of oestrogen that determine hair growth. Unfortunately, hirsutism is a long-term problem and while you may opt for bleaching, waxing or shaving, they cannot provide a permanent cure. Here are a few home remedies that can help you deal with this problem without resorting to the use of chemicals.

Gram flour

Traditionally, women in many Indian homes regularly used a face pack made by mixing gram flour orbesan with turmeric. This was said to have the ability to remove the excess hair on the face, particularly around the mouth and chin.

Mix equal amounts of besan and turmeric and add a little water to make a thick paste. Apply to the problematic part of the face, leave on until it dries totally and then dip a cloth in warm water and use to rub off this face mask – you will find that along with the besan mixture, the strands of hair are also removed.

Alternatively, mix in a little curd or cream (malaai) to the besan-turmeric paste and apply for an equally effective hair removal remedy.

Sugar mix

With a home-made wax-like substance, it is possible to remove facial hair quite effectively; however, you need to be prepared for the process to get a little messy and maybe even painful when compared to the turmeric or besan face pack. The molten sugar in this recipe provides the stickiness; honey and lemon act as bleach as well as help to soothe the skin.

Take about a tablespoon of sugar in a vessel, add in a teaspoon of honey and a few drops of lemon juice; heat this lightly or microwave for about 3 minutes and mix to get a smooth paste. When the paste is still slightly warm, apply it to the part of the face from where you need to pluck the hair. Cover the area with a strip of cloth and immediately pull the cloth in the direction opposite to that in which the hair is growing.

Egg mask

Yet another remedy that works to pull off the hair in an action similar to waxing is the egg mask. This is quite easy to try at home because all ingredients are easily available.

Take the white of one egg, add in 1 tablespoon of sugar and half a tablespoon of corn flour. Beat to make a smooth paste and apply this to the portion of your face that has unwanted hair. Once it dries, it will take on the appearance of a thin mask covering your face; all you have to do is pull it off firmly and the hair will get pulled out, too.

When it comes to these home remedies for getting rid of unwanted hair, it is not that it will give you magical results overnight. Often, you have to keep repeating the treatment at regular intervals to see a difference that is noticeable. If you do not find relief even after trying these remedies on a regular basis, it is best to consult a doctor to find out if there is some other underlying medical problem that is causing the excessive growth of hair.

Home remedies to lighten stretch marks

If you’ve noticed unusual whitish and unsightly marks on the abdomen, upper arms, breasts, buttocks or legs, you probably have developed what is commonly referred to as stretch marks. These marks are most often a result of a sudden change – either an increase or a decrease – in body weight.

Therefore, they are usually observed after pregnancy, or in teenagers who undergo the spurt in growth because of the hormonal changes associated with adolescence. These stretch marks are difficult to totally obliterate; however, there are some home remedies for lightening them so that they don’t appear as prominent.

Lemon juice

With its acidic nature and natural bleaching properties, lemon juice is one of the most effective remedies to lighten stretch marks. Simply cut a lemon, squeeze out the fresh juice and rub it gently onto the affected skin. Keep for about 10 minutes and then rinse off with a little warm water. Repeat a few times each day to see better results.

Vegetable oil massage

Traditionally, in many parts of India, during the first few months following childbirth, the mother is given an oil bath – that is, coconut oil or castor oil is massaged onto the entire body as well as the scalp and this is followed by a bath with hot water. Quite a few modern-day beauty treatment centers make use of the wisdom of this ancient custom. Vegetable oils such as coconut oil, castor oil and even olive oil have the property of moisturising skin and smoothing out the wrinkles. Both these actions ensure that these oils are equally good for getting rid of stretch marks.

Warm a little olive oil and massage it deep into the affected skin before going to bed. Rinse the next morning with a little warm water and a mild soap if necessary. Or, you could try a mix of olive oil and coconut oil, too. When it comes to castor oil, the best way is to rub slightly warmed castor oil directly onto the affected skin and then wrap a cloth dipped in hot (but not uncomfortably so) water around the area. Or,you could wrap a plastic sheet over the skin where you have rubbed in the oil and use a hot water bag over this area – the warmth allows the pores in the skin to open up and absorb the oil better.

Egg white

The white of the egg is rich in protein and this is useful in dealing with stretch marks. Collect the whites from two eggs, whip gently and apply as a thick layer onto the marks. Once the egg pack has totally dried, rinse it out with water and then moisturise the area by applying some olive oil.

Home remedies to remove tan and dark spots

We love naturally dark skin. However, at times, prolonged exposure to bright sunlight or polluted air, ageing or hormonal fluctuations may cause patchy skin darkening making your skin look unhealthy. While cosmetic treatment is a probable option, it is generally not recommended except in a few extreme cases; by the regular use of a few simple home remedies, you can deal with darkened skin in the comfort of your home.

Lemon Juice

One of the simplest and safest bleaching agents you will find, lemon juice can work wonders for darkened skin. The ascorbic acid or vitamin C present in lime juice acts as an antioxidant and this action helps to lighten the colour of the skin. All you need to do is squeeze the juice from half a lemon and apply this with a cotton ball onto the area where the skin has darkened. Or you could even directly rub a cut lemon over the affected area to allow the juice to stick to the skin.

Leave on for at least an hour and then wash with water. But make sure you avoid exposure to sunlight when you have applied the lemon juice onto your skin or your skin will only get darker than before.

Besides using lemon juice alone, you could also try combining it with turmeric powder or tomato juice. Mix about 3 teaspoons of lemon juice with 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder; apply this paste and leave it on for half an hour; then wash with water. Or make a puree from 2 medium-sized tomatoes and mix this with 4 tablespoons of lemon juice and apply this to darkened skin for about 20 minutes.

Milk

Milk contains a compound called lactic acid and this has been found to help with lightening the colour of skin. Use a cotton ball to apply a little raw milk to the darkened skin; allow to dry and leave it on overnight; wash the next morning with a little warm water.

Yoghurt

Since it is made of milk, yogurt also contains lactic acid and this gives it bleaching properties. You can also add in a little lemon juice and some oatmeal into the yogurt to make a thick paste and apply to the darkened skin. According to Ayurveda, the regular application of buttermilk (the thin liquid left behind after removing the cream from milk in the form of butter) on darkened skin can help keep the skin cool and refresh it.

Honey

When honey is applied to the face either alone or in combination with ingredients such as lemon juice and olive oil, it helps to remove the layer of dead cells on the outermost layer of skin. As a result, your skin appears brighter and fresh than before. Besides, honey also contains enzymes that help to make the skin soft and glowing. If you have sensitive skin and want to try honey on your face, make sure you try it out elsewhere – say on the arm – and check how your body reacts to it before applying it to your face.

Even better than using honey alone is to combine it with an equal quantity of lemon juice and milk powder and a little paste obtained from soaked almonds.

Home remedies to treat burn marks

When the skin gets burnt, it often leads to scarring of that area which can be very displeasing to look at. The burn itself is a painful memory to erase and the burn scar is a constant reminder of it. Here are some effective home remedies using traditional Indian herbs to get rid of burn scars by Dr Uma Singh, medical director of Nomarks (Ozone Ayurvedics).

Almond oil

A good way to remove scars at home is to gently massage the scar with almond oil. Massaging the scar twice a day will help to progressively reduce the scar.

Methi seeds

Fenugreek seeds also help in getting rid of scars. Soak the fenugreek seeds in water overnight and grind it into a fine paste. Now apply this mixture gently on to the burn marks and leave it on. Once the paste has dried completely, you can wash it off with water. Apply this paste regularly to remove the scars. Cold water with turmeric also has antiseptic properties which work well on burnt skin.

Cotton-ash paste

The India Yunani Cotton-Ash Paste burn remedy has been used for centuries to treat even severe burns. Take a large piece of cotton wool (or any kind of pure, white cotton fabric) and burn it (perhaps in a metal pot). Use the ash of the burned cotton and mix with olive oil to get a thick paste. Spread this black paste on the burnt skin and cover with a cling film. Reportedly, the pain disappears in seconds and even the accompanied shock reduces in severity. If the pain is back, refresh it and use fresh paste on the wound. Use the paste for a week or so, depending on the severity of the burns.

Potato peels

Another age-old remedy is potato peels. They provide moisture and they also have anti-bacterial properties that help in healing. Doctors have found that potato peel bandages work better for minor burns than conventional dressings.

Try cinnamon to give your heart the natural boost!

Posted by on Jan 9, 2014 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

Try cinnamon to give your heart the natural boost!

AS REPORTED ON http://health.india.com

 January 9, 2014 at 12:18 pm

 

Cinnamon or dalchini is one of the most common ingredient in Indian cooking. Known for its aromatic and pungent characteristics, cinnamon is often used as a falvouring agent. But there is more to this spice. Packed with innumerable compounds that make its essential oil a panacea for most ailments, cinnamon is a great natural way to keep your heart healthy and safe from atherosclerosis.

How it helps your heart:

Packed with fibre and calcium, cinnamon is great for the heart. Since the fibre and calcium and help transport bile salts outside the body, the body produces more bile salts for other bodily functions by breaking down cholesterol. This directly translates to lower cholesterol levels which protect the heart from blockages and the arteries from atherosclerosis.

How to use cinnamon for a healthy heart:

Tip #1: Have a teaspoon of cinnamon powder everyday on an empty stomach. You can add honey or drink it with warm water. Cinnamon powder can be made and stored for a few months, but make sure you store it in an airtight container, as the essential oils present in cinnamon are highly volatile.

Tip #2: Drink cinnamon tea with a teaspoon of honey every day, half an hour before breakfast. To make cinnamon tea, steep some unflavoured green tea and add a pinch of freshly ground cinnamon powder to it. Strain the tea and drink it while hot. You can add a spoon of honey for added flavour.

Alternatively you could add cinnamon powder to your meal by sprinkling it on your salad, coffee or other foods.

10 Promising Medical Research from 2013

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

10 Promising Medical Research from 2013

AS REPORTED ON http://health.india.com

 December 26, 2013 at 7:03 pm

 

2013 was a busy year from the perspective of healthcare and medical research. It involved great advances, improvements and developments in medical technology that focused on improved health and longevity. From FDA approval for newer medicines and innovative diagnostic solutions to promising results of clinical trials and major breakthroughs in HIV and cancer research, the year 2013 had a remarkable impact on healthcare that has mounted the expectations of millions worldwide to witness its consequences in 2014.

  • Insulin Pills: Just 3 to 5 years away

A revolutionary innovation in diabetes treatment was the recent introduction of insulin pills that promise to replace timely administration of painful insulin injections. Sanyog Jain, the creator of insulin pill, believes that the pill has the ability to overcome the limitations of current therapies as well as reduce the chances of diabetes complications.

  • The landmark case of Mississippi baby who was cured of HIV

The year 2013 saw the case of a child being ‘functionally cured of HIV.’ The infant (now, popularly known as Mississippi baby) was diagnosed with HIV at birth and was given rigorous antiretroviral treatment soon after. The reports confirmed that the virus levels rapidly declined after the treatment and were undetectable by the time the baby was a month old.

  •  Bee venom effective for HIV treatment

A study published in the journal Antiviral Therapy by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis demonstrated the potential of nanoparticles loaded with a toxin called melittin, found in bee venom, to destroy human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) by damaging its envelope. Researchers believe that the study is a crucial step towards the development of vaginal gel that can prevent the spread of HIV.

  •  Genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes to reduce the chances of dengue

Early this year, researchers suggested that genetically modified (GM) mosquitoes, developed by altering specific genes, can be used to reduce the number of mosquitoes transmitting dengue. Their study mentioned that although GM mosquitoes can mate with female mosquitoes, their offspring will not develop into adult mosquito.

  •  A new imaging technique that can make the brain transparent

CLARITY (Clear, Lipid-exchanged, Anatomically Rigid, Imaging ), a breakthrough imaging technique that was published in the journal Nature, opened up new possibilities for neuroscientists by eliminating the most challenging obstacle to traditional brain imaging procedures. This technique allows the brain tissue to be clearer by rendering it transparent. CLARITY is predicted to pace up studies on brain disorders and ageing.

  •  A single dose of HPV vaccination found equivalent to 3 doses

A Canadian research suggested that a single dose of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine is as good as three doses of the same vaccine to protect women against HPV infection. It was found that a single dose of vaccine could generate enough antibodies to provide protection, thereby eliminating the need for additional two doses. The study proved to be a promising approach for reducing the cost of HPV vaccination in countries having higher incidences of cervical cancer caused by HPV.

  •  A new type of antibacterial agent PPMO to combat antibiotic resistance

In the month of October, researchers at the Oregon State University revealed that a new type of antibacterial agent called PPMO (peptide-conjugated phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomer), is effective in blocking certain genes that are essential for bacterial reproduction. Researchers suggested that PPMOs could precisely target the group of antibiotic resistant organisms that have created havoc in spreading infections. 

  •  Stem cells from cloned human embryos to make therapeutic cloning possible

Just imagine the possibility of cloning yourself to replace any of your tissues in future. Yes! It’s now possible. After repeated attempts and years of failure, a milestone in stem cell research was achieved by researchers at Oregon Health & Science University, who successfully extracted stem cells from cloned human embryos. The researchers fused skin cells from an infant having genetic disease with donor egg cells to produce embryos genetically identical to the baby. Later stem cells were extracted from those embryos. This research might soon bring therapeutic cloning into reality, where replacement tissues can be developed from the embryos to treat genetic diseases.  

  •  FDA approval to drug Sofosbuvir for Hepatitis C infection

After analyzing the reports of 6 clinical trials, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) finally approved the drug Sofosbuvir (Sovaldi, Gilead Sciences, Inc) for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in adults. The most astounding aspect of Sofosbuvir is that it promises high cure rates with just 12-week regimens. 

  • Scientists will soon find a new vaccine to cure tuberculosis

A study published in the journal Nature Medicine highlighted the path towards the development of new vaccines to prevent the hard-to-treat infections. The study showed that every individual infected withMycobacterium tuberculosis has a collection of lesions containing live bacteria and sterile lesions. This indicated that the immune system has the ability to kill the bacteria which can be used for the development of new vaccine.

  •  Anastrozole drug to prevent breast cancer

A study by Australian researchers showed the drug anastrozole reduced the chances of development of breast cancer in post-menopausal women, having a family history of breast cancer, by 50 percent. The study proves to be beneficial for preventing breast cancer in future generations of women.

  •  Human MX2 gene effective in inhibiting HIV

A study published in the journal Nature identified the role of human MX2 gene in inhibiting HIV, thereby preventing the spread of the virus after entering the body. Researchers suggest that MX2 gene could be used as the new target for developing efficient, less toxic treatments involving the body’s own natural defense mechanism against the virus.

Have a doctor’s appointment? Make the most of it with these tips

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

Have a doctor’s appointment? Make the most of it with these tips

AS REPORTED ON http://health.india.com

By  December 9, 2013 at 10:06 am

All of us have to go to doctors at times. We would do ourselves and doctors a world of good if we could explain our condition properly. Dr Aniruddha Malpani, a pioneer in the field of information therapy – the right information at the right time for the right person – tells us exactly how you can prepare for a visit to the doctor so that he can diagnose and treat your condition properly. 

The simple fact that in over 80 per cent of cases the diagnosis of the illness can be made purely on the basis of what the patient tells the doctor (what is called a medical history) should emphasize the importance of one’s ability to talk intelligently to one’s doctor! While the capability of absorbing the relevant details of an individual’s medical history is one of the key skills of a competent physician, being able to provide a lucid history is a key skill on the part of a good patient. 

Even though most patients realize the need to ask their doctor certain important questions, many of them get tongue-tied when they actually come face to face with their doctor. Not only can they not think straight, but they also often forget what questions to ask! But remember that you will only get answers if you ask the right questions! Rudyard Kipling’s five best friends – What? When? Why? Where? How? – should help guide you as to what to ask! A simple example would be asking:

  • What is wrong with me?
  • When did the disorder originate?
  • Why do I have it?
  • What can I do about it?
  • How can I solve the situation?

 A clear understanding of what precisely your doctor has told you is crucial if you’re going to work together as a team.

Other things to keep in mind: 

Be very clear

You need to be able to describe your problem as accurately as possible. For example, if your problem is a headache, you should be able to provide all the details! For instance: Where does it hurt? Has the pain spread elsewhere ? How severe is the pain? What does the pain feel like? Is it a sharp, dull, or throbbing pain? When does it occur? What makes it better? What makes it worse? Have you noticed any other symptoms or signs recently, such as fever, shortness of breath or blood in the urine? When did the problem start? Has it changed since then? Have you felt like this before? If so, when? What made the pain better then? Is it affecting your daily activities such as sleeping or eating? (Read: Do you know your rights and responsibilities as a patient?)

In this context, a useful aide memoir includes the following details:

  • Site: Location (e.g., pain is in the chest and then spreads to the left arm).
  • Quantity: Bringing up a cupful of sputum when coughing.
  • Quality: It feels like an elephant is sitting on my chest!
  • Setting: I usually develop such aches after fighting with my wife.
  • Aggravating factors: Stomachache becomes worse after eating.
  • Alleviating factors: Breathlessness becomes better after resting.
  • Associated Symptoms: Other related complaints.

If you remember to categorize all your problems systematically, not only can you make better use of your time with your doctor but you can also help him arrive at a correct diagnosis more quickly! You could rehearse the details you are going to provide to your doctor with a friend or a relative. You could also summarize them on a single sheet of paper, just to make sure you don’t forget any vital aspect.

It is a medical truism that if the doctor listens to the patient intelligently, he will be able to make the diagnosis correctly. However, just like learning to take in a good history is a skill the doctor needs to master, providing an intelligent history is a skill the patient needs to learn. Patients are often slipshod while recounting their medical history so that the doctor needs to methodically extract the facts from them: and this exercise can be a painful for both!

The common gaffes patients make include:

  • Getting bogged down in irrelevant details.
  • Not providing all the facts.
  • Not furnishing the information in a chronological sequence.
  • Jumbling up the details, so that they jump from one problem to another completely unrelated one.

Remember to tell your doctor what you think the reason for your problem is! This ‘revelation’ can often provide the doctor with a useful clue. Ultimately, do not forget that you are the expert on yourself! You should also be able to provide relevant information about your health status, both past and present.

Don’t forget go tell him about your: 

  • Your medical history (including instances of surgery and hospitalization).
  • Your family’s medical history.
  • Allergies you are prone to.
  • Medications you have taken (and are still taking).
  • Your daily routine.
  • Your work schedule.
  • Pressures you have been subject to (and are still subject to).

To sum up, the following suggestions will help you communicate effectively with your doctor:

Plan ahead

Plan well ahead of time what you intend discussing with your doctor about your problem. Your own observations about your health problem can prove invaluable in helping the doctor make an accurate diagnosis. Carry written lists to make sure you don’t forget any crucial aspects!

Ask for simple definitions 

If you are confused by complex medical terms, ask for simple definitions. There is no need to be embarrassed; after all, your doctor does want you to understand what is happening to you! Remember that your doctor’s objectives and yours are the same to help you to get better as soon as possible!Repeat in your own words what you think the doctor meant and also ask: ‘Is my version correct?’ Such a clarification will ensure that you understand clearly what the doctor is saying and will also allow him to present the information to you again, if required, in a manner which you can comprehend. (Read: How to not got quacked by babas?)

Share your views

Share your point of view with your doctor since he needs to know what’s working and what’s not. He or she obviously can’t read your mind, so it is important for you to put across your thoughts and observations. If you feel rushed, worried, or uncomfortable, do convey your apprehensions to the doctor. Try to voice your feelings in a positive and courteous manner. For example: ‘I know you have many patients to see, but I’m really worried about my condition. I’d feel much better if we could talk about it a little more.’ If necessary, you can offer to return for a second visit to discuss your concerns.

Listen and take notes

Take notes on what the doctor’s analysis of your problem is and what you need to do to rectify the situation.
Discuss frankly with your doctor if any part of the visit has been annoying or dissatisfactory, such as a lengthy waiting time or discourteous staff. Your approach ought to be tactful, but honest.

Voice your apprehensions and don’t hide things

Don’t hesitate to voice your apprehensions about what you may have heard from well-meaning but ill-informed friends or relatives regarding your condition. The doctor may be able to dispel any misconceptions.Discuss any self-medication practices you’ve used which have relieved symptoms.

Don’t ask irrelevant questions

Don’t waste your doctor’s time by asking irrelevant questions (for example, about your brother-in-law’s medical problem ). Such a digression is likely to upset the doctor! Also, try to do as much homework as possible, so that you can ask your doctor questions specific to your particular problem. After all, if you can find the answers to your questions from another source, say, a book or by asking the nurse or receptionist, you can save your doctor’s precious time, something which he will deeply appreciate. You can, nevertheless, ask your doctor to confirm that the knowledge you have acquired is accurate!

At the end of your visit, you should be able to:

  1. Describe your condition fairly accurately.
  2. Know what additional tests are needed and why.
  3. Explain your treatment, including the use of medications.
  4. State if and when you need to return.

If you can’t fulfil the preceding objectives, you’re not communicating properly with your doctor! Remember that communication between a doctor and a patient is a two-way process. Both the doctor and the patient must work together on activities such as listening as well as speaking to one another. Honesty and openness with each other are also important factors. The more honest you are, the better your doctor can help you. Much of the communication between the doctor and the patient is personal, as well as confidential. In order to obtain optimum results, you may need to be open about sensitive subjects such as sex, sexually transmitted diseases and death even if you feel embarrassed or uncomfortable. Doctors are accustomed to talking about personal matters and will try to ease your discomfort to the maximum extent possible.

Take a friend

It would definitely be advantageous to take a family member or a friend with you while visiting the doctor’s clinic. You will feel more confident if someone accompanies you. Also, a friend or relative can help you remember what you planned to tell or ask the doctor. He or she can also help you remember the doctor’s advice. But don’t let your companion play too prominent a role; after all, the communication is between you and your doctor. Also, you may want to spend some time alone with the doctor to discuss personal matters. Therefore, let your companion know in advance the extent to which he or she can be helpful.

If a relative or a friend has been taking care of you at home, taking that person along when you visit the doctor could prove beneficial. In addition to the questions you have in mind, your caregiver may have certain concerns he or she could like to discuss with the doctor.

Even if a family member or a friend can’t accompany you to the clinic, he or she can still help. For example, such a person can serve as your sounding board, helping you to practice what you want to say to the doctor before the visit. And, after the visit, talking with that person about what the doctor said can remind you about certain important points and help you come up with fresh questions to ask the next time.

Most capable doctors will agree that they learn from their patients all the time, just as a good teacher learns from his students ! A skillful doctor treats the patient as the captain of the ship and himself as the navigator, and a balance of respect between the doctor and the patient can foster a partnership in which both learn all the time! However, remember that playing an active role in your own health care places the responsibility for reliable communication with your doctor squarely on you!

Did you find these tips helpful? Do you think they will help your doctor treat your better? Tell us at health@corp.india.com. 

Click here for a free copy of Patient Advocacy – Giving a Voice to Patients 

Dr Aniruddha Malpani is an IVF specialist who passed out from Bombay University, winning over 20 gold medals during his academic career. His clinic at www.drmalpani.com attracts patients from all over the world. He also runs the world’s largest free patient education library, HELP , at www.healthlibrary.com. He has authored 4 books – How to Get the Best Medical Care (www.thebestmedicalcare.com),Successful Medical Practise, How to Have a Baby and Using Information Therapy to Put Patients First. His passion is patient empowerment, and he believes that patients are the largest untapped healthcare resources, and we need to use patient power to heal our sick healthcare system. He has pioneered the use of innovative technology to educate infertile couples, using cartoon films, comic books and e-learning on his website- www.ivfindia.com. He is an angel investor in Plus91 ( www.plus91.in) , a company which provides websites for doctors, and PEAS ( www.peasonline.com) , India’s market leader for creating digital media for patient education, and is on the Board of Inventurus Knowledge Solutions, a healthcare BPO which provides RCM solutions for the US market. He can be contacted at http://www.ivfindia.com.

Patients rights in India — What you should know and ask for

Posted by on Jan 6, 2014 in Apollo Health Blog | 2 comments

Patients rights in India — What you should know and ask for

As Reported On http://health.india.com

By  December 20, 2013 at 11:53 am

Most of us visit a hospital or a doctor when we are in dire need of medical attention. Everything the doctor says or does is considered a part of the treatment or recovery process and looked at as the gospel truth. We would rather just keep quiet and bear the pain instead of raising our voices. A ‘grin and bear’ attitude does exists in all of us, and it is deeply rooted in fear – fear of losing a loved one or of getting inadequate care and attention. 

While the medical profession is definitely one that deserves accolades for its exceptional work, there are times when they tend to overlook common practices. The sheer workload (large number of patients), desensitising over time due to seeing so many grave cases or just fatigue can all lead to a medical practitioner overlooking certain critical rights of a patient. 

As a patient, you do have rights, and it’s time we asked for what is ours. In an excerpt from  Dr Aniruddha Malpani‘s soon-to-be-released book  Patient Advocacy – Giving Voice to Patients, we bring you information about your rights as a patient and why you should stand up for them. 

The Patient’s Bill of Rights, has been popularized in the USA by the American Hospital Association and all these rights should apply to all patients, all over the world! Patients in India are so used to being at the “receiving end” of medical care, that they sometimes forget that they do have rights! All patients have the right to:

Respectful Care

Medical staff should respect your dignity and be sensitive to your needs. Treatment must be provided regardless of your race, religion, national origin, or, in emergencies, your ability to pay. (Read: Patient advocacy – why patients need to be given a voice)

Complete Information

You must be given complete, up-to-date information about your condition, treatment and chances for recovery. You also have the right to review your medical records – after all, they are your property! (Read: Medical negligence case: Do we know our rights and responsibilities as a patient?)

Informed Consent

You must give written permission for any procedure, test or treatment. Before you can do this, your physician must explain to you, in language you understand the following:

  • The advantages and risks of the procedure.
  • Any possible side-effects.
  • The consequences of not receiving treatment.
  • How long recovery can be expected to take.

Privacy

Personal or medical details of your condition and treatment may not be needlessly disclosed to others at any time. In most cases, you must give permission before anyone not directly involved in your case is given information about you. (Read: Medical negligence: How to get justice?)

Confidentiality

All communications and medical records (messages between you and your physician, hospital charts, test results, X-rays, etc.) must be kept private. You must give permission for the release of your records for specific purposes in most cases. 

Acceptance for Treatment

If you request treatment at a hospital, you shouldn’t be refused or sent to another hospital without a good reason. The decision should be based on:

  • Whether the hospital is qualified to treat your condition.
  • Whether the necessary equipment is available.
  • Whether treating you could potentially endanger others.
  • Whether your condition requires immediate treatment.
  • Whether treatment will be of value to you.

(Read: Patient rights: How not to get quacked by babas and miracle cures!)

Information about Affiliation

You have the right to know about any financial links your hospital and physician may have with other institutions. For example, if your physician recommends treatment at a specific institution, you have a right to ask if he or she is affiliated with that institution.

Acceptance or Refusal of Treatment

As a legally competent adult, you have the right to accept or refuse any medical treatment.

Refusal of Experimental Treatment

In some cases, physicians may recommend experimental therapies, medication or other courses of treatment. You must be told if your proposed treatment is experimental and what the potential results and risks are. You may refuse to participate in any research if you do not wish to – it’s your choice!

Knowledge of Hospital Regulations

You should be told about the rules which govern conduct in the hospital – for example, regulations about visitors, smoking, meals, movement in the hospital, etc.

Information about Continuing Care

Before scheduling any treatment, you should be told when and where a physician will be available. This may save you the trouble and expense of long waits or long trips for treatment. You must also be told what treatment may be needed after discharge from the hospital.

Information about your medical fees

You have a right to receive a copy of your bill and to know the charges for each service you receive.

Remember, that you can demand your rights, only if you are aware of them!

What has been your experience with doctors and other medical practitioners in India? Do you think awareness can improve the situation? Write to us at health@corp.india.com. We want to hear from you! 

Dr Aniruddha Malpani is an IVF specialist who passed out from Bombay University, winning over 20 gold medals during his academic career. His clinic at www.drmalpani.com attracts patients from all over the world. He also runs the world’s largest free patient education library, HELP , at www.healthlibrary.com. He has authored 4 books – How to Get the Best Medical Care (www.thebestmedicalcare.com),Successful Medical Practise, How to Have a Baby and Using Information Therapy to Put Patients First. His passion is patient empowerment, and he believes that patients are the largest untapped healthcare resources, and we need to use patient power to heal our sick healthcare system. He has pioneered the use of innovative technology to educate infertile couples, using cartoon films, comic books and e-learning on his website- www.ivfindia.com. He is an angel investor in Plus91 ( www.plus91.in) , a company which provides websites for doctors, and PEAS ( www.peasonline.com) , India’s market leader for creating digital media for patient education, and is on the Board of Inventurus Knowledge Solutions, a healthcare BPO which provides RCM solutions for the US market. He can be contacted at http://www.ivfindia.com

Give your hair and skin a makeover with curd!

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

Give your hair and skin a makeover with curd!

As Reported On http://health.india.com

 January 3, 2014 at 9:33 pm

Curd or dahi is a great digestive aid and cooling drink to have but it can also be a great way to enhance the appearance of your hair and skin. Though eating it will benefit your body internally, applying it directly on your face and scalp will have added benefits. Chuck expensive salon treatments and give yourself a hair and skin makeover at home using curd.

Benefits of curd for your hair

Helps tame frizzy hair

People with curly locks often end up with a lot of frizz. In order make it more manageable, make a paste using 3 tablespoons of dahi, 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, and 4 tablespoons of aloe vera gel. Apply this paste on your hair and leave to dry for half-an-hour. Wash with a mild shampoo. This will help soften the hair and also add some shine to your locks.

Adds shine to dry hair

Hair usually becomes rough and dry in winters. This can pose a problem for many but you always need expensive haircare products. Whip out half cup of curd with 2 tablespoons of almond oil and 2 beaten eggs. This paste may be a bit messy but will give you good results. Apply it on your scalp as well as hair and wear a plastic cap to let it nourish your hair. Wash away with a shampoo after 30 minutes.

Gets rid of dandruff

Curd has anti-fungal properties which makes it apt for getting rid of dandruff. Besides this, it contains lactic acid since it is made from fermenting milk. Take a cup full of curd and stir it well to smooth out any lumps. Now slather it on your scalp and let it be for an hour before you wash your hair thoroughly. You can also add a few ground, roasted black pepper corns to curd for an added effect. 

Reduces hair fall

Don’t lose your mind over hair loss. Control it with curd. Make a paste of dahi and some ground fenugreek seeds (methi). Apply it on your scalp regularly before your hair wash to see results. Do keep it for 45 minutes at least.

Gives silky locks

To make your mane silky, you need to give it ample protein and nourishment. Make a rich paste of curd, eggs, lemon juice and honey and apply on hair. Tie your hair into a bun and wash it after a good 30 minutes. 

Benefits of curd for your skin

Removes tan

Undue sun exposure can give you a tanned appearance which also results in uneven skin tone. Though you cannot get rid of it in one go, using this paste regularly will help regain your original complexion. Mix gram flour or besan with curd and lime juice and apply on the tanned skin. Keep for 15 minutes and wash off with water.

Adds glow

Add a natural glow to your skin with this home-made pack of curd, masoor dal and dried orange peel. Grind them together with a few drops of honey as well and apply on the face for 15 minutes.

Reduces scars

If you have an acne scar or insect bite which has left a mark, apply curd diluted with water on it to not only cool it but also lighten it. It contains zinc which lightens blemishes and provides relief from the redness. 

Prevents acne

If you have oily skin, you are prone to breakouts or acne. To prevent this, make a past of curd mixed with some turmeric powder or haldi, some sugar and sandalwood powder or chandan. Now massage this on your face and rinse it with cold water after some time and pat dry.

10 healthy resolutions for diabetic

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

10 healthy resolutions for diabetic

As Reported On http://health.india.com

 December 26, 2013 at 5:40 pm

 

The new year when a number of people start thinking about their resolutions. If you are a diabetic, this is the time you should focus of getting yourself on track — health wise. Here are ten resolutions that every diabetic should take in order to stay healthy in 2014. 

Resolution #1:Check blood sugar levels regularly

For a diabetic his/her blood sugar level is an extremely important aspect of staying healthy. It indicates how well you are managing your diabetes and, if you have either high amounts of blood sugar (hyperglycaemia) or low blood sugar levels (hypoglycaemia) in your blood – both of which are extremely dangerous.

Hypoglycemia is a condition in which the blood glucose levels drop below the lower normal limit (80 mg), and it affects the working of the entire body. The common symptoms  of the condition are lethargy, decrease in mental function, irritability, shakiness, weakness in the arm and/or leg muscles, sweating and loss of consciousness. In severe cases, one may suffer from brain damage as well.

In the case of hyperglycaemia, one’s blood sugar levels are higher than the normal limit (120 mg). While suppressed appetite is a short-term symptom, long-term symptoms include eye, kidney and nerve damage plus increased risk of heart disease.

What you can do about it: The best way to check your blood sugar levels at regular intervals is to have a glucometer at hand. According to Dr Rajiv Kovil, ‘A type 2 diabetic should measure his/her glucose levels once before a meal and once two hours after a meal. This should be done on different days at different times, also known as scattered checks. In the case of people suffering from type 1 diabetes, they should get a 7 point check, before and after meals, along with a 3 am reading.’ This new year try to invest in a blood glucometer, it will not only cut down all the trouble of going to a hospital to get your blood tested, but will also make the process much more convenient.

 

Resolution #2: Get your HbA1 checked twice a year

HbA1c (Haemoglobin A1c) is a simple blood test that  tells you and your doctor how well your diabetes is managed over time. It is aimed at measuring your average blood sugar levels, and to see if it has stayed within the required range. The test works by measuring the amount of glucose that gets attached to your red blood cells – that are said to be ‘glycated’ when the glucose molecule gets attached to it. This means that the higher the amount of glucose that gets attached to the cells, the lesser the amount of oxygen the cells can transport to your body and tissues.  The average percentage of glycoslated cells directly translates to the HbA1c reading. According to Dr Rajiv Kovil, renowned diabetologist, ‘A diabetic should get his/her HbA1c levels tested every six  months, and the level should be below 7% to avoid any further complications.’ A normal person’s HbA1c level is usually below 5%, but in a diabetic this level is increased because of the amount of glucose in their blood. An average above 7% is an alarm that you are more susceptible to diabetes related complications.  Uncontrolled diabetes can raise the risk of you developing eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy by 76%, Kidney disease by 50% and nerve damage by 60%*.

What you can do: Get this test done either twice a year (every 6 months) or once in three months depending on how well your diabetes is controlled. If you tend to forget, you can ask our doctor to schedule the test for you whenever it has to be done. The test is simple and does not require you to fast totake it, so just take an appointment and get tested.

 Resolution #3: Have all you medications on time

Eating the right amount of medication at the right time is one of the most important aspects to controlling your diabetes. It is important for you to understand that you cannot eat two tablets instead of one if you miss your previous medication or if you eat more than you should have. These medicines work on a particular enzyme produced in the body at a particular time, and therefore more is not always better. Missing medication can increase your risk of suffering from the common complications associated with diabetes like kidney disease, diabetic retinopathy, diabetic dyslipidemia and diabetic foot. Constantly fluctuating blood sugar levels wreak havoc in your body, so keeping a close track of your medication is essential.

What you can do:  A good way to keep a track of your medication is to have a schedule written down, referring to your prescription might not always be feasible. You could also buy a daily drug dispenser that will help you have your medication on time, every day. Alternatively you could tell your friend or relative about your schedule and ask him/her to remind you.

Resolution #4: Take care of your kidneys

One of the most serious consequences of diabetes mellitus (DM) is renal or kidney disease, also known as diabetic nephropathy. This happens if your diabetes is not well controlled, leading to kidney damage and finally nephropathy. Another common complication is chronic kidney disease (CKD). This is a condition where the kidneys have been damaged to such an extent that they start to malfunction. The final stage of this disease is the complete failure of your kidneys, which inhibits it from performing any of its essential  functions like filtering out toxins or eliminating waste from the body. Depending on the amount of damage your kidneys sustain you may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.

What you can do about it: The best thing you can do for your kidneys is to eat right and drink lots of water. A diet rich in fiber, potassium and other minerals can do wonders for you kidney’s health. You can also talk to your doctor about your likely hood of suffering from kidney disease and ask for medication to slow its degradation. Getting specific tests like serum albumin and creatinine once a year is also a good idea.

Resolution #5: Keep your cholesterol levels in check

As a diabetic you are more prone to higher levels of LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol, increasing your risk of suffering from heart disease and stroke. High cholesterol also leads to a common complication of diabetes known as diabetic dyslipidemia (where your LDL cholesterol becomes dense and the amount of HDL cholesterol increases). Diabetic dyslipidemia is dangerous since it leads to clogged arteries that make you more susceptible to coronary heart disease due to artherosclerosis, stroke and other vascular problems.

What you can do about it: The best way to keep your cholesterol levels n check is by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regular. You should ideally stay away from high fat foods like sweets, deep fried foods, foods labeled cholesterol-free and junk food. Instead you could include cholesterol busting foods into your diet like oats, fish, methi, onions, brinjal, green tea and brown rice.

Resolution #6: Eat right

Monitoring your diet is highly vital as the food you eat directly affects your blood sugar levels and weight. In order to make sure you are eating healthy, follow these tips:

  • Eat every 2-3 hours in small quantities rather than eating 3 large meals.
  • Include complex carbs in every meal – whole wheat, ragi, jowar, brown rice, oats, etc.
  • Avoid refined cereal products like bread, noodles, polished rice, etc. as they can raise blood sugar levels.
  • Choose fibre-rich foods like vegetables, whole grains, etc. You should aim for 25-25g of fibre/day through diet to maintain blood glucose levels.
  • Low-fat milk products like curd, paneer and egg whites, lean chicken and fish are great protein sources which can prove helpful in diabetes management.
  • If you are a vegetarian, whole pulses and dals can provide little protein and good amounts of fibre.
  • You can enjoy all vegetables especially green, leafy ones. Limit your intake of potatoes.
  • Depending on your blood sugar, don’t have more than 2 fruits/day and if you are fond of mango/banana, opt for these early in the morning.
  • Reduce butter, ghee or oil intake. Also, avoid processed foods like cakes, biscuits, ready-to-eat foods as they are loaded with fats. Salt and sugar and can aggravate complications like blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Sugary foods are a complete no-no. You can use artificial sweeteners occasionally, but avoid over-dependence on them.
  • Always carry a snack with you when travelling to avoid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and dizziness.

What you can do about it: Eating healthy is as simple as making wise choices. Just because you have diabetes, it does not mean that you have to give up everything you love eating. It is as simple as making small changes in the foods you choose.

Resolution #7: Exercise regularly

Only monitoring your diet won’t work, physical exercise is also an important aspect to maintain normal blood sugar levels. It not only gets the ‘happy hormones’ flowing making you happier, it increases your lung capacity, helps in better blood circulation, reduces cholesterol levels and improves the overall working of your body. But before you hit the gym, here are a few guidelines you should follow:

  • Make sure you check your blood sugar levels at home before and after exercise and avoid exercising if your blood sugar levels are too high or too low. If you are on insulin, modify your carb intake depending on your sugar levels
  • Eat a complex carb snack like sandwich, wrap, oats an hour before you do any activity.
  • Eat immediately after exercise to avoid fall in blood sugar.
  • Carry sugar tablets or glucose water with you in case of an emergency hypoglycemia situation.
  • Avoid exercise in case of severe complications like kidney problems, nerve problems or wounds.

What you can do about it: Make sure you exercise at least 4-5 times/week to help you get your blood sugar in control. If you are just starting off, choose moderate exercises like aerobics, brisk walking, weight training, swimming, dancing, etc.

Resolution #8: Lose weight

If you are obese, it is best that you decide to lose weight – immediately. Obesity is one of the most crucial mitigating factors of diabetes.  It not only throws your hormones out of sync, it also causes a decrease in the amount of insulin sensitivity (the main reason why a person suffers from diabetes). The fat present around your stomach is also another reason for this. It exerts pressure on the stomach and the organs within, leading to the malfunctioning of the pancreas (the organ that is responsible for the production of insulin), increases blood pressure and reduces the amount of space you have to inhale (by compressing your lungs). Obesity also causes your cholesterol levels to skyrocket, increasing the chances of heart disease. All this put together can be a death knell for a diabetic.

What you can do about it: The best way to lose weight is to exercise and control your diet. Doctors say that a mere 10% of weight loss can show drastic improvements on one’s health. If you are morbidly obese, start with simply walking for about 30 minutes in a day. Once you feel up to it, you can increase the intensity of your workouts. Apart from that cut down of high fat foods and those that can add to your waistline like junk food, sweets and fried foods. If you find it difficult to give up everything at one time, try quitting one favorite fatty food at a time. Soon you will be eating healthy.

Resolution #9: Take care of your feet

Diabetics are highly prone to a condition called diabetic foot. When diabetes is not well controlled, damage to the organs and impairment of the immune system is likely. With damage to the nervous system, a person with diabetes may not be able to feel his or her feet properly and the normal sweat secretion and oil production ( that lubricates the skin of the foot) is impaired. These factors together can lead to abnormal pressure on the skin, bones, and joints of the foot and can lead to injuries of the foot. Once injured, the healing process is extremely slow due to the lack of proper blood supply and a strong enough immune system. Apart from this bacterial infection of the skin, connective tissues, muscles, and bones can also occur. These infections if left untreated can lead to gangrene, which can be life threatening and often doctors are left no other choice that to amputate the foot.  Several factors lead to diabetic foot like improper footwear, nerve damage, poor circulation, injuries to the feet and infections.

What you can do about it: Examine your feet every day, especially after an injury. Do visit your doctor if you see formation of pus, soreness around the wound, swelling or greenish/blackish layer forming in and around the wound. As a diabetic you should use a water-based moisturizer every day (but not between your toes) to prevent dry skin and cracking. Wear cotton or wool socks and avoid elastic socks and hosiery since they may impair circulation.

Resolution #10:Quit smoking

You must have heard about all the ill effects of smoking, and if you are a diabetic, this one habit can make more prone to the complications that arise of the diabetes. Smoking contributes to the clogging of the arteries, contributes to raising your blood pressure and increases your LDL and triglyceride levels and lowers your HDL levels.

What you can do about it: Take a step and quit today. There are various ways you can do it, either quit cold turkey, use nicotine patches to help wean you off your cravings or use electronic cigarettes to help speed up the process.

The new year is just around the corner, and this is when a number of people start thinking about their resolutions. If you are a diabetic, this is the time you should focus of getting yourself on track — health wise. Here are ten resolutions that every diabetic should take in order to stay healthy in 2014.

Resolution #1:Check blood sugar levels regularly

For a diabetic his/her blood sugar level is an extremely important aspect of staying healthy. It indicates how well you are managing your diabetes and, if you have either high amounts of blood sugar (hyperglycaemia) or low blood sugar levels (hypoglycaemia) in your blood – both of which are extremely dangerous.

Hypoglycemia is a condition in which the blood glucose levels drop below the lower normal limit (80 mg), and it affects the working of the entire body. The common symptoms  of the condition are lethargy, decrease in mental function, irritability, shakiness, weakness in the arm and/or leg muscles, sweating and loss of consciousness. In severe cases, one may suffer from brain damage as well.

In the case of hyperglycaemia, one’s blood sugar levels are higher than the normal limit (120 mg). While suppressed appetite is a short-term symptom, long-term symptoms include eye, kidney and nerve damage plus increased risk of heart disease.

What you can do about it: The best way to check your blood sugar levels at regular intervals is to have a glucometer at hand. According to Dr Rajiv Kovil, ‘A type 2 diabetic should measure his/her glucose levels once before a meal and once two hours after a meal. This should be done on different days at different times, also known as scattered checks. In the case of people suffering from type 1 diabetes, they should get a 7 point check, before and after meals, along with a 3 am reading.’ This new year try to invest in a blood glucometer, it will not only cut down all the trouble of going to a hospital to get your blood tested, but will also make the process much more convenient.

Resolution #2: Get your HbA1 checked twice a year

HbA1c (Haemoglobin A1c) is a simple blood test that  tells you and your doctor how well your diabetes is managed over time. It is aimed at measuring your average blood sugar levels, and to see if it has stayed within the required range. The test works by measuring the amount of glucose that gets attached to your red blood cells – that are said to be ‘glycated’ when the glucose molecule gets attached to it. This means that the higher the amount of glucose that gets attached to the cells, the lesser the amount of oxygen the cells can transport to your body and tissues.  The average percentage of glycoslated cells directly translates to the HbA1c reading. According to Dr Rajiv Kovil, renowned diabetologist, ‘A diabetic should get his/her HbA1c levels tested every six  months, and the level should be below 7% to avoid any further complications.’ A normal person’s HbA1c level is usually below 5%, but in a diabetic this level is increased because of the amount of glucose in their blood. An average above 7% is an alarm that you are more susceptible to diabetes related complications.  Uncontrolled diabetes can raise the risk of you developing eye diseases like diabetic retinopathy by 76%, Kidney disease by 50% and nerve damage by 60%*.

What you can do: Get this test done either twice a year (every 6 months) or once in three months depending on how well your diabetes is controlled. If you tend to forget, you can ask our doctor to schedule the test for you whenever it has to be done. The test is simple and does not require you to fast totake it, so just take an appointment and get tested.

 Resolution #3: Have all you medications on time

Eating the right amount of medication at the right time is one of the most important aspects to controlling your diabetes. It is important for you to understand that you cannot eat two tablets instead of one if you miss your previous medication or if you eat more than you should have. These medicines work on a particular enzyme produced in the body at a particular time, and therefore more is not always better. Missing medication can increase your risk of suffering from the common complications associated with diabetes like kidney disease, diabetic retinopathy, diabetic dyslipidemia and diabetic foot. Constantly fluctuating blood sugar levels wreak havoc in your body, so keeping a close track of your medication is essential.

What you can do:  A good way to keep a track of your medication is to have a schedule written down, referring to your prescription might not always be feasible. You could also buy a daily drug dispenser that will help you have your medication on time, every day. Alternatively you could tell your friend or relative about your schedule and ask him/her to remind you.

Resolution #4: Take care of your kidneys

One of the most serious consequences of diabetes mellitus (DM) is renal or kidney disease, also known as diabetic nephropathy. This happens if your diabetes is not well controlled, leading to kidney damage and finally nephropathy. Another common complication is chronic kidney disease (CKD). This is a condition where the kidneys have been damaged to such an extent that they start to malfunction. The final stage of this disease is the complete failure of your kidneys, which inhibits it from performing any of its essential  functions like filtering out toxins or eliminating waste from the body. Depending on the amount of damage your kidneys sustain you may require dialysis or a kidney transplant.

What you can do about it: The best thing you can do for your kidneys is to eat right and drink lots of water. A diet rich in fiber, potassium and other minerals can do wonders for you kidney’s health. You can also talk to your doctor about your likely hood of suffering from kidney disease and ask for medication to slow its degradation. Getting specific tests like serum albumin and creatinine once a year is also a good idea.

Resolution #5: Keep your cholesterol levels in check

As a diabetic you are more prone to higher levels of LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol, increasing your risk of suffering from heart disease and stroke. High cholesterol also leads to a common complication of diabetes known as diabetic dyslipidemia (where your LDL cholesterol becomes dense and the amount of HDL cholesterol increases). Diabetic dyslipidemia is dangerous since it leads to clogged arteries that make you more susceptible to coronary heart disease due to artherosclerosis, stroke and other vascular problems.

What you can do about it: The best way to keep your cholesterol levels n check is by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regular. You should ideally stay away from high fat foods like sweets, deep fried foods, foods labeled cholesterol-free and junk food. Instead you could include cholesterol busting foods into your diet like oats, fish, methi, onions, brinjal, green tea and brown rice.

Resolution #6: Eat right

Monitoring your diet is highly vital as the food you eat directly affects your blood sugar levels and weight. In order to make sure you are eating healthy, follow these tips:

  • Eat every 2-3 hours in small quantities rather than eating 3 large meals.
  • Include complex carbs in every meal – whole wheat, ragi, jowar, brown rice, oats, etc.
  • Avoid refined cereal products like bread, noodles, polished rice, etc. as they can raise blood sugar levels.
  • Choose fibre-rich foods like vegetables, whole grains, etc. You should aim for 25-25g of fibre/day through diet to maintain blood glucose levels.
  • Low-fat milk products like curd, paneer and egg whites, lean chicken and fish are great protein sources which can prove helpful in diabetes management.
  • If you are a vegetarian, whole pulses and dals can provide little protein and good amounts of fibre.
  • You can enjoy all vegetables especially green, leafy ones. Limit your intake of potatoes.
  • Depending on your blood sugar, don’t have more than 2 fruits/day and if you are fond of mango/banana, opt for these early in the morning.
  • Reduce butter, ghee or oil intake. Also, avoid processed foods like cakes, biscuits, ready-to-eat foods as they are loaded with fats. Salt and sugar and can aggravate complications like blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
  • Sugary foods are a complete no-no. You can use artificial sweeteners occasionally, but avoid over-dependence on them.
  • Always carry a snack with you when travelling to avoid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and dizziness.

What you can do about it: Eating healthy is as simple as making wise choices. Just because you have diabetes, it does not mean that you have to give up everything you love eating. It is as simple as making small changes in the foods you choose.

Resolution #7: Exercise regularly

Only monitoring your diet won’t work, physical exercise is also an important aspect to maintain normal blood sugar levels. It not only gets the ‘happy hormones’ flowing making you happier, it increases your lung capacity, helps in better blood circulation, reduces cholesterol levels and improves the overall working of your body. But before you hit the gym, here are a few guidelines you should follow:

  • Make sure you check your blood sugar levels at home before and after exercise and avoid exercising if your blood sugar levels are too high or too low. If you are on insulin, modify your carb intake depending on your sugar levels
  • Eat a complex carb snack like sandwich, wrap, oats an hour before you do any activity.
  • Eat immediately after exercise to avoid fall in blood sugar.
  • Carry sugar tablets or glucose water with you in case of an emergency hypoglycemia situation.
  • Avoid exercise in case of severe complications like kidney problems, nerve problems or wounds.

What you can do about it: Make sure you exercise at least 4-5 times/week to help you get your blood sugar in control. If you are just starting off, choose moderate exercises like aerobics, brisk walking, weight training, swimming, dancing, etc.

Resolution #8: Lose weight

If you are obese, it is best that you decide to lose weight – immediately. Obesity is one of the most crucial mitigating factors of diabetes.  It not only throws your hormones out of sync, it also causes a decrease in the amount of insulin sensitivity (the main reason why a person suffers from diabetes). The fat present around your stomach is also another reason for this. It exerts pressure on the stomach and the organs within, leading to the malfunctioning of the pancreas (the organ that is responsible for the production of insulin), increases blood pressure and reduces the amount of space you have to inhale (by compressing your lungs). Obesity also causes your cholesterol levels to skyrocket, increasing the chances of heart disease. All this put together can be a death knell for a diabetic.

What you can do about it: The best way to lose weight is to exercise and control your diet. Doctors say that a mere 10% of weight loss can show drastic improvements on one’s health. If you are morbidly obese, start with simply walking for about 30 minutes in a day. Once you feel up to it, you can increase the intensity of your workouts. Apart from that cut down of high fat foods and those that can add to your waistline like junk food, sweets and fried foods. If you find it difficult to give up everything at one time, try quitting one favorite fatty food at a time. Soon you will be eating healthy.

Resolution #9: Take care of your feet

Diabetics are highly prone to a condition called diabetic foot. When diabetes is not well controlled, damage to the organs and impairment of the immune system is likely. With damage to the nervous system, a person with diabetes may not be able to feel his or her feet properly and the normal sweat secretion and oil production ( that lubricates the skin of the foot) is impaired. These factors together can lead to abnormal pressure on the skin, bones, and joints of the foot and can lead to injuries of the foot. Once injured, the healing process is extremely slow due to the lack of proper blood supply and a strong enough immune system. Apart from this bacterial infection of the skin, connective tissues, muscles, and bones can also occur. These infections if left untreated can lead to gangrene, which can be life threatening and often doctors are left no other choice that to amputate the foot.  Several factors lead to diabetic foot like improper footwear, nerve damage, poor circulation, injuries to the feet and infections.

What you can do about it: Examine your feet every day, especially after an injury. Do visit your doctor if you see formation of pus, soreness around the wound, swelling or greenish/blackish layer forming in and around the wound. As a diabetic you should use a water-based moisturizer every day (but not between your toes) to prevent dry skin and cracking. Wear cotton or wool socks and avoid elastic socks and hosiery since they may impair circulation.

Resolution #10:Quit smoking

You must have heard about all the ill effects of smoking, and if you are a diabetic, this one habit can make more prone to the complications that arise of the diabetes. Smoking contributes to the clogging of the arteries, contributes to raising your blood pressure and increases your LDL and triglyceride levels and lowers your HDL levels.

What you can do about it: Take a step and quit today. There are various ways you can do it, either quit cold turkey, use nicotine patches to help wean you off your cravings or use electronic cigarettes to help speed up the process.