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How to remain comfortable while exercising in cold weather

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

How to remain comfortable while exercising in cold weather

As Reported On

 January 2, 2014 at 4:42 pm


An exercise science professor has compiled seasonal fitness tips to keep individuals fit, inspired, and warm during the winter months

Dr  Heidi Freeman, PhD, program director of exercise science and wellness management at University of the Sciences in Philadelphia, said that once chilly weather arrives, the temptation to skip outdoor exercise routine can often be very strong, however, the cold weather does not have to mean an end to outdoor exercise, and it certainly shouldn’t intimidate exercisers. (Read: Shape up this winter)

She has listed out some ways which can help people brave cold during their exercise routine:

  • People should dress in layers, which they can remove as soon as they start to sweat, then put back on as needed. First, put on a thin layer of synthetic material, such as polypropylene, which draws sweat away from your body; and avoid cotton, which stays wet next to your skin. Next, add a layer of fleece or wool for insulation. Top this with a waterproof, breathable outer layer.
  • Protect your extremities from frostbite by wearing a thin pair of gloves under a pair of heavier gloves or mittens lined with wool or fleece. Also, wear a thermal hat or headband to protect your ears.
  • Even if it’s not as obvious as in the summer, people will still sweat during cold-weather workouts and pushing yourself, so drink plenty of water.

Source: ANI

Potential new treatment for melanomas which are hard to treat

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

Potential new treatment for melanomas which are hard to treat

As Reported On

 January 2, 2014 at 10:20 am

Researchers have identified two novel BRAF fusions in melanomas previously considered to be negative for molecular targets, and that melanomas with these fusions were found to be potentially sensitive to anticancer drugs called MEK inhibitors.

According to Dr Jeffrey A. Sosman, professor of medicine at Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville, Tennessee, said that after performing a sophisticated analysis called targeted next-generation sequencing, it appears that about 8 percent of pan-negative melanomas have BRAF fusions.

In a pan-negative melanoma sample from one of their patients, Drs. Sosman and William Pao, M.D., Ph.D., a 2009 Stand Up To Cancer Innovative Research Grant recipient, and their colleagues identified a fusion between two genes, PAPSS1 and BRAF, which they called PAPSS1-BRAF.

They then evaluated melanomas from an additional 51 patients, 24 of which were pan-negative. In one of these 24 pan-negative samples, they identified a second novel BRAF fusion, called TRIM24-BRAF. (Read: Aspirin could lower skin cancer risk)

The investigators found that both BRAF fusions activated a pathway in the cancer cells called the MAPK signaling pathway. They then treated these fusion-bearing cells either with the BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib or with trametinib, a drug that inhibits a protein in the MAPK signaling pathway called MEK.

They found that signaling induced by the BRAF fusions was not responsive to vemurafenib but could be inhibited by trametinib, which led them to suggest that the novel fusions they identified could make melanoma cells harboring them sensitive to MEK inhibitors.

The study has been published in journal Clinical Cancer Research.

Source: IANS

5 Ds to start you on the path to quit smoking

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

5 Ds to start you on the path to quit smoking

As Posted On

 January 2, 2014 at 2:58 pm


‘I’m more proud of quitting smoking than of anything else I’ve done in my life, including winning an Oscar.’ said Christine Lahti, an actress. Indeed, quitting smoking is tough. But, once a person has successfully kicked the butt, he/she has reason enough to feel immense pride. Quitting smoking is probably on your list of New Year’s resolutions, and in order to help you with it – we give you the 5 Ds to quit smoking.

  • Delay

Once the cigarette craving hits, it’s very difficult to think about something else. However, remembering to delay your cigarette for as long as possible can help. Setting time-based goals to delay your smoking will reduce the number of cigarettes you have a day. Gradually, you can increase the length of these time-based goals until you are ready to quit.

  • Distract

Eat some fruits, play badminton or go for a jog – do whatever you must in order to get your mind off smoking. Distracting yourself can also help making the delay process less agonising and will stop negative thoughts which tend to rationalise your habit like – ‘Cigarette was my saviour during tough times, how can I leave it now?’ (Read: Natural remedies to quit smoking)

  • Drink water

Drinking water can momentarily bring down the cravings. Additionally, it’ll help flush out some of the toxins that accumulate in your body after smoking. What more? It’s also a brilliant for your overall health including your digestion and your beauty.

  • Deep breaths

Irritability is one of the definite withdrawal symptoms of quitting smoking. A lot of people feel cranky, and often snap at a loved one if they haven’t had their nicotine fix. This leads to more stress, and often people just escape reality and smoke. Taking deep breaths during such times can help reduce the irritability.

  • Discuss

You do not have to be alone in your battle. If you feel like going back to smoking, talk to a friend or someone who has successfully quit smoking to bring the inspiration back again. Even though, our mind knows all the reasons to quit smoking, hearing them from someone else can make a bigger impact. (Read: War on tobacco)

Besides these, you can also take the help of nicotine gums, lozenges and patches. There are many such products available in the market now and they are not even that expensive. Hopefully, you’ll remind yourself of these D’s whenever the battle to kick the butt gets tough. Good luck!

5 reasons to get rid of tartar on your teeth

Posted by on Jan 1, 2014 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

5 reasons to get rid of tartar on your teeth

As Reported On

Within a few hours after brushing, dental plaque (a pale yellow or white sticky substance) is formed by the accumulation of various species of bacteria along with sugar from the food we eat. If it remains on the teeth, it can attract minerals from the saliva and form a hard, flaky yellowish, greenish or greyish substance called calculus, commonly known as tartar. It can either form above or below the gum line and is detrimental for the health of your teeth and gums. Professional scaling or cleaning is the only way these deposits can be removed. If you aren’t convinced by the fact that they look unsightly on your teeth, here are more reasons to get an appointment with a dentist soon:

Could give you a nasty breath

Accumulation of tartar can interfere with effective brushing and flossing. This can cause food particles to remain in your mouth and promote build-up of bacteria. As you probably know, bacteria and decaying food particles are the major sources of bad breath. (Read: 9 ways to lose bad breath naturally)

Causes cavities in your teeth

Oral hygiene takes a beating when there is accumulation of tartar. This encourages the growth of cavity causing species of bacteria which convert the sugar from the food we eat into acids that demineralise and progressively break down the enamel of the tooth to create cavities in them.

It’s a threat to your gum health

The rough surface of tartar provides an ideal medium for further plaque accumulation, thereby threatening your gum health. The acids and toxins produced by the bacteria in the plaque along with the irritation caused by the hard calculus can irritate your gums and cause gingivitis. Your gums become red and swollen. They bleed easily and may also be painful to touch. If left untreated, it can lead toperiodontitis whereinthe supporting structures in the gums are destroyed.The gumsmay either recede or they may start detaching from the tooth to form pockets. There may be pus formation which could cause a foul-smelling breath. Ultimately, the bone supporting the tooth is destroyed causing the tooth to become loose and shift or be ultimately lost. (Read: How a dentist assesses your gum disease)

It affects your heart too

Tartar provides a reservoir of bacteria and causes gum disease. Studies have shown that people with gum disease have a higher risk for heart disease. Sometimes, bacteria from your infected gums can travel to your bloodstream, setting off an inflammatory reaction elsewhere in your body, including the arteries. The bacteria may also dislodge, enter the blood, attach to blood vessels and increase clot formation. This can cause hardening of the arteries and decrease the bloodflow to the heart thereby causing a heart attack.

Your baby’s health could be at risk!

By now you know that tartar can cause tooth decay and gum disease. But do you know that it does not place only your teeth and gums at stake?During pregnancy, the bacteria from the tartar and plaque can get into your bloodstream and may affect the foetus. According to some studies, severe gum disease has been linked to preterm birth and low birth weight. Severe gum disease may also rarely risk the life of your baby, says a study.

Eucalyptus oil: Instant home remedy for a blocked nose

Posted by on Jan 1, 2014 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

Eucalyptus oil: Instant home remedy for a blocked nose

As Reported On

 December 31, 2013 at 2:38 pm


Have a blocked nose, itchy throat and fever? Instead of reaching for that pill or cough syrup, you could try using natural remedies to help ease the situation. A good remedy for a cough and cold or flu is eucalyptus oil. Extracted from the eucalyptus tree, this oil has a number of health benefits including powerful anti bacterial, anti fungal, anti septic, astringent, antispasmodic , analgesic (pain killing) and expectorant properties.

Studies have found that eucalyptus oil helps increase circulation in the body, increases the number of phagocytes (cells that destroy bacterial cells), helps expel phlegm and decongests the airways. And if you want to keep common infections at bay, eucalyptus oil is your best friend. A study performed at the University of Rome, found that eucalyptus oil has immune boosting properties, that helps your body react to infections more efficiently .

How to use it to relieve the symptoms of a cold

Remedy #1: For a blocked nose

Take a few drops of eucalyptus oil and add it to a vessel of boiling hot water. Carefully place your face over the vessel and inhale the vapours. It is essential that you inhale the vapours through your nose and exhale through your mouth. This will help reduce the inflammation of your mucosal linings, expel the phlegm built up in your airways and help make you breathe easier. Do this at least three times a day in case of a severe cold and two times a day in case of a moderate one. (Read: Home remedy for cough and asthma — mint leaves or pudina)

Tip: Make sure you cover your head, and forehead well after you finish the inhalation process. This will avoid further congestion, due to the sudden change in temperature.

Remedy #2: For easy breathing while sleeping

When you sleep or lie down, you might have noticed that it gets more difficult to breathe. All the mucus tends to collect in the nose and throat sometimes causing breathlessness. A good remedy to beat that is to apply a few drops of eucalyptus oil on a soft cloth and placing it just below your pillow cover. The gradual release of the oil’s aroma will help unblock your nose and give you a good night’s sleep. Do this for at least three nights in succession. (Read: How to get instant relief from cough)

Remedy #3: To relieve a blocked nose during the day

Most people don’t have the time to practice inhalation three times a day. So if you are on the go, this remedy is for you. Take a few drops of eucalyptus oil on your handkerchief (do not put it on tissue it will not help as the oil will evaporate very quickly), and keep sniffing it throughout the day. To help the scent last longer you could seal the handkerchief in a zip lock bag and sniff it when you feel really uneasy. You could alternatively carry a small bottle of the oil with you and reapply it to the handkerchief throughout the day.

Tip: Do not use the same handkerchief to wipe your face and nose, eucalyptus oil tends to sting and can be quite uncomfortable if applied inside the nostrils.

The best part about eucalyptus oil is that it does not stain your clothes and evaporates really quickly, so you can use it safely without the fear of ruining your favorite clothes.

10 ways hypertension or High BP affects your body

Posted by on Jan 1, 2014 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

10 ways hypertension or High BP affects your body

As Reported On

 December 11, 2013 at 10:09 am


High blood pressure or hypertension is the leading cause of premature deaths worldwide. It is a major risk factor for heart attacks and heart failure. But elevated blood pressure is linked to a more than just heart disease! Long standing hypertension can cause problems with your vision (hypertensive retinopathy) and decrease blood supply to your legs. It can cause stroke, bleeding from large blood vessel (aortic aneurysm), chronic kidney disease (hypertensive nephropathy), etc. Here are ten ways high blood pressure affects your body.

Affects the blood vessels

In hypertension the wall of the blood vessels lose their elasticity and become firm or hard, a condition called arteriosclerosis. Because of the constant pressure the walls of the artery become weak and over time, may cause a part of it to bulge. This forms an aneurysm (distension or a pouch-like structure in the vessel wall) which can rupture and is invariably fatal.

Fails your heart

High blood pressure thickens and damages the lining of the blood vessels of the heart.The damaged blood vessels are prone to the formation of clots which can grow and block the blood supply to the heart. This can reduce the efficiency of the heart and also damage its tissues leading to angina (chest pain). Increased blood pressure also increases the workload of the heart.This causes thickening of its muscle wall especially the left ventricle (left ventricular hypertrophy)which in turn compromises the heart’s ability to pump enough blood to the different organs eventually leading to heart failure.

Affects the brain

Hypertension increases the risk of brain haemorrhage (stroke) by almost 10 times. According to a research, even if your blood pressure (BP) is slightly elevated, you may be prone to a stroke. In fact high BP is responsible for 80% of all heart attacks and stroke. Increased blood pressure weakens the small vessels in the brain causing them to rupture. Interruption of blood flow to the brain may also increase the risk of mild cognitive impairment and dementia. (Read: Beat hypertension (high BP) with radish or mooli)

Damages your kidney

Even your kidneys are not spared. Damage to the small vessels in the kidney due to elevated blood pressure reduces the blood supply to it. The kidney starts losing its normal functions like regulating the body fluid, hormones, salts, etc.and also regulating the blood pressure. This eventually leads to kidney failure.

Causes problems with your vision (hypertensive retinopathy)

Your eyes may pay the price too. If you are hypertensive, the possibility of suffering from dry eyes increases.Blood vessels in the eye (retinal vessels) are narrowed and the vision can get impaired leading to retinopathy and eventually blindness.

Causes sexual dysfunction

All the complications of hypertension mainly stem from thickening of the vessel walls, leading to reduced blood flow to different body parts. The arteries supplying the penis are not spared too. They can get narrowed leading to reduced blood supply to the penis, and hence can cause erectile dysfunction – an inability to maintain an erection while having sex. In women, high blood pressure can reduce blood flow to the vagina which may lead to dryness of vagina, decreased sexual desire, etc. The medication for hypertension may only add to your woes. Some anti-hypertensive medications may also cause erection problems in men and low sex drive in women. (Read: Herbal remedies for hypertension)

Affects pregnancy

High blood pressure during pregnancy can caused reduced blood flow to the placenta depriving the oxygen and nutrient supply to the growing baby. This can lead to decreased growth and low birth weight of the baby. Preeclampsia, a more severe form of high blood pressure during pregnancy,can cause passing of protein in the urine and affect other vital organs leading to serious complications for mother and baby. According to a research, high blood pressure during pregnancy could dramatically increase a woman’s stroke risk by as high as 40 per cent.

Causes painful cramps in the legs (Peripheral artery disease)

Untreated longstanding high blood pressure can affect the blood vessels in your extremities too. It can narrow down and harden the blood vessels of the legs leading to a condition called peripheral artery disease (PAD). PAD can affect the blood circulation in the leg and cause painful cramps.

Disturbs your sleep

High blood pressure and sleep are interrelated. According to research, people with high blood pressure are more likely to have obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), a condition that causes interrupted breathing during sleep leading to disrupted sleep and daytime tiredness. Studies have also shown that severe OSA contributes to resistant hypertension, i.e. poor blood pressure control in spite of aggressive use of anti-hypertensive drugs. (Read: Top 10 myths about hypertension busted)

May cause bone loss

High blood pressure can cause abnormalities of calcium metabolism. According to studies, it causes increased calcium elimination from the body, especially in older women. This sustained calcium loss may eventually be responsible for increased bone loss.

Hepatitis, Typhoid and other non-mandatory vaccines for your child – are they required?

Posted by on Dec 31, 2013 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

Hepatitis, Typhoid and other non-mandatory vaccines for your child – are they required?

As Reported On

 December 24, 2013 at 4:28 pm

Our doctor has recommended vaccines in addition to the mandatory ones for my baby. I want to know more about them and if they are necessary.

Most doctors recommend some additional vaccines for babies these days, considering the fact that there are many more diseases that are preventable. While some are as important as the government prescribed mandatory vaccines, there are some that you and your doctor can decide to administer or not. Here is a list of vaccines recommended by the Indian Academy of Pediatricians. It is prudent to first discuss the vaccines with your child’s doctor first and then decide to go ahead with the vaccine.

MMR vaccine – The vaccine confers protections against mumps, measles and rubella. There is some controversy surrounding this vaccine linking it to autism and inflammatory bowel disease. However, a study by the WHO has concluded that there is no evidence linking the vaccine to these conditions. The child may have slight fever and rash seven to ten days after the injection.

Hepatitis B vaccine – Added to the Universal Immunization programme in India more recently (2002), the vaccine confers immunity against Hepatitis B. Hepatitis is a viral infection affecting the liver leading to jaundice and other complications in the liver. At birth, if the mother is positive for hepatitis B, the baby needs to be vaccinated within 12 hours of birth. (Read: Hepatitis B: All you need to know)

HPV vaccine – for preventing cervical cancers; can be given to girls at 10 years of age. However, there has been a debate in recent times regarding usage of the same. Consult your paediatrician; find the pros and cons of the vaccine. (Read: The story behind the HPV Vaccine)

HiB vaccine – for preventing meningitis (infection in the brain) caused due to Hemophilus B influenza virus.

Typhoid vaccine – for preventing the bacterial infection called typhoid spread through food or drink contaminated by urine or faeces of an infected person. Starting with fever, headache, diarrhoea or constipation, rose spots on the chest, it can lead to an enlarged spleen and liver.

Other optional vaccines:

Pneumococcal conjugate vaccine – for preventing pneumococcal meningitis (affecting the brain of children) or pneumonia. Since the cost of the vaccine is quite high (single dose costs as much as Rs.4000), most parents do not opt for this vaccine.

IPV (Inactivated polio vaccine) – Given as an injection, this is the inactivated form of the virus (unlike the oral one which has live attenuated virus). It confers nasal and throat immunity to the virus.

Rotavirus vaccine – Recommended by the WHO, it prevents rotavirus infection which causes severe diarrhoea and dehydration in children.

Influenza vaccine – prevents flu or infection of the respiratory system. The vaccine holds good for a period of one year only as the constitution of the vaccine is changed every year as per the kind of flu virus prevalent at that time.


What are anxiety symptoms and how you can deal with them

Posted by on Dec 31, 2013 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

What are anxiety symptoms and how you can deal with them

As Reported On

 December 20, 2013 at 7:35 pm


Every day is a challenge and for some people it is more so. Anxiety is common in today’s day-and-age but when is it too much? While common things like an important meeting or being in a place with unknown people can be unnerving, there are some symptoms that could mean you need to take cognizance of the situation. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Feeling breathless
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Feeling dizzy
  • Racing heartbeat or pounding in the chest
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Obsessive compulsive or repetitive behaviour
  • Pain in the chest
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Constant thoughts of the thing that is causing the anxiety

If these symptoms persist for longer than six months, you are most likely suffering from an anxiety disorder. There are various types like

Generalised anxiety disorder – Where you are worried and anxious almost all the time.

Social phobia – Where crowds or meeting new people makes you anxious.

Specific phobias – Where you are afraid of a specific thing like water, fire, enclosed spaces, etc.

Obsessive compulsive disorder – Where you are anxious when you have not done a particular task the required number of times or exactly as you think is necessary.

PTSD – A type of anxiety that strikes people after they have experienced a traumatic experience.

Panic disorder – When you experience panic attacks frequently and repeatedly over a period of time.

Steps to help relieve anxiety:

Take a break

Often we are too close to the problem to solve it. Psychologists suggest you take some time off and move away from the problem to get your thoughts in order. Visit a new place; indulge in your favourite hobby or simply go out for a walk. You could choose to go at it alone or choose to be with someone you can confide in at this time.

Talk to someone

When anxious, try talking to someone about your anxiety. Confiding in a person is the best way to understand the situation and cope with it accordingly. If you do not have any friends or family, try talking to a counsellor or psychologist.

Face your fears

Most people fear the unknown. Therefore, it is essential you get to know what you fear and face it. Try finding ways to slowly inch towards beating the demon. For example, if you fear heights, try climbing up one floor at a time until you conquer your fear.


Meditation is a great relaxation technique; it helps calm the mind and body. It also helps you deal with stressors more efficiently. Indulge in meditation on a regular basis to manage your anxiety attacks. (Read: The 10-step meditation guide for beginners)

Deep breathing

When fear strikes remember to breathe in deep. The rush of oxygen helps your brain work more efficiently allowing your body to calm down and assess the situation. It also allows your body to make the shift from the sympathetic (the system that trigger the panic button – the fight or flight reflex) to the parasympathetic nervous system (one that calms the body and helps it relax). In order to help you manage your anxiety, you can also practise deep breathing techniques on a daily basis. Yoga exercises likepranayam and anulom vilom are great ways to calm the mind, helping you control it in the long run.

De-stress and detox

It is essential that you take a break from all the stressors in your life. Remember to take some time out to just de-stress. Go for a short trip or simply to the spa for a great massage. Whatever you choose, remember that it has to help you relax, so there is no point going on an expensive trip and worrying about the money spent, hotel booking or travelling arrangements.

Finally, if your symptoms continue to persist or become more severe, please do visit your doctor. He/she will perform certain simple psychological tests to determine the degree of your illness and accordingly prescribe treatment. Remember, there is no shame in visiting a psychologist, your life is more important than anything else out there.

10 healthy resolutions for diabetics

Posted by on Dec 29, 2013 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

10 healthy resolutions for diabetics

As Reported On


Diabetes resolution

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.

10 Promising Medical Research from 2013

Posted by on Dec 29, 2013 in Apollo Health Blog | Comments Off

10 Promising Medical Research from 2013

As Reported On

 December 26, 2013 at 7:03 pm

 Medical research2013 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 with Mycobacterium 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.