|HEALTH TRIBUNE||Wednesday, July 11, 2001, Chandigarh, India|
& get destressed
why worry too much?
cycling & get destressed
Stress means different things to different people, but essentially it is a feeling of being unable to cope with the demands made of us and the sense that we are being carried along on the ``machine of life’’ with no control over the speed or direction. And rather than making work easier, the trend for taking your office with you is creating additional pressure.
We are becoming slaves to the ``electronic handbag’’ and the mobile phone.
The causes of stress are varied. Long hours, unrealistic schedules, job insecurity and excessive workloads are high on the lists of people I have talked to. Consider the negative aspects: pressure piles up; you feel trapped; you get tired and irritable; your health suffers; you never have enough time; your diet suffers; your fitness drops; you do not sleep well.
You are on a downhill slide.
The effects of stress differ, but one common denominator is insomnia, which itself compounds the problem. We all have experienced going to bed physically exhausted while our mind races at 100 miles an hour thinking about work problems. Come morning, we struggle to get going on only two to three hours sleep. As a result, the pressure is greater, but we are less able to cope. The negative solution adopted by some is alcohol, or an excess of caffeine coupled with rushed meals, usually junk food . . .
As the problem grows, our health deteriorates, leading to an increased threat of heart disease, higher blood pressure and several other potentially fatal problems. Stress compounds the physical problem by suppressing our immune system. Sound familiar? Then it is time to take a positive approach.
If you think you are under stress and have an increasing problem, consider the following action plan:
1. Write down all those factors you identify as causes.
2. Look at the list seriously, then highlight all those things that you could exercise some control over.
3. Take positive action and control these items.
4. On a separate sheet, reproduce those not highlighted. You can now see an immediate reduction in the size of the problem.
There are many ways to beat stress, but the essential ingredient is to learn to say no.
Exercise is also one of the most effective ways to relieve stress — and I don’t mean a running machine in the local gym. One hour on a bike in a peaceful country lane is far more beneficial, and cheaper. OK, we don’t all have access to a country route, but even in city centres there are river and canal-side routes which often run for several miles.
Instead of punching your boss on the nose, or having a bust-up at home, have a go at cycling hard for 15 miles or so. If you have never done it before, it might sound like masochism, but I can assure you that the feeling at the end is great. Cycling is also possibly the only sporting activity where you can enjoy a good natter while active. Just make sure you don’t natter about work problems!
The benefits of exercise cannot be overemphasised. It helps to clear the mind of work pressures, stimulates blood circulation, tones up the system and reduces tension. It also helps to burn up the extra adrenal caused by stress. Endorphins — the body’s natural painkillers — are then produced in the brain and have a positive, calming effect on your mental and physical condition.
The result? You will lose weight, have more energy and feel in control.
Your general health will improve and, best of all, you will realise there’s more to life than work.
In the long-term, the solution for
stress is, as the song says, to ``accentuate the positive’’:
recognise that you are not a robot; organise your day; take time out
for yourself; go out at lunchtime and leave your mobile in the office;
stop worrying about things over which you have no control; take on
only what you can do — prioritise; consider your diet; take
exercise; get an active hobby or social life; slow down — before you
come to a full stop. Guardian News Service
Indigestion: why worry too much?
Doctor: I suffer from severe indigestion, especially after I’ve eaten something fatty. Is there anything you can suggest? Tom Blanchard, Lytham Saint Anne’s, UK
Patient: First, consult your doctor to see if you should be tested for gallstones because fatty foods often prompt your body to release a hormone called cholecystikinin, which causes your gall bladder to contract.
Your doctor may also check for Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that can cause indigestion.
If you receive the
all clear, try not to eat large quantities of such fatty foods as oil,
cream, fried foods, nuts or crisps. Teaming small amounts of fatty
foods with high-fibre foods like wholegrain bread, pulses and
vegetables should reduce the strength of the gall bladder’s
contractions. Rather than drinking strong coffee after a meal, try
mint tea. Finally, taking time to eat slowly also lessens the
likelihood of indigestion. —
Observer News Service
Popularly known as long pepper or magh it is one of the prestigious herbs of the Ayurvedic system of medicine whose use and acceptance has remained intact since the Vedic era. Called by many names in Sanskrit as kana, magadhi and krishna, pippali is a greyish black, one to three inches long cylindrical fruit that grows on a weak and slender plant.
Pippali has been described as katu (pungent) in taste and laghu(light), snigdha (unctuous), tikshana (sharp) and anushna (neither hot nor cold) in effect. It pacifies vata and kapha but promotes pitta. Its chemical composition consists of a volatile oil and resinous matter and two alkaloids known as piperine and piperlongumine.
Pippali is a powerful stimulant for the digestive and the respiratory systems. It is digestive and carminative. It also has beneficial effects on lung afflictions. Due to its multidimensional effect on the various systems of the body, it has been described as antipyretic, diuretic, aphrodisiac, immuno-stimulant.
Pippali, a tonic, is well known as a catalyst and yogvahi. Its benefits are increased bioavailability and enhanced the absorption of other active ingredients of the medicinal compound.
In Ayurveda, pippali has been in use for the prevention and cure of chest diseases like asthma and bronchitis down the ages. Its therapeutic use clears the sinuses and helps in relieving various respiratory problems like allergies, spasms and infections. In various other diseases like anorexia, constipation, piles and in conditions where liver and spleen functioning needs improvement, pippali is used independently or in various combinations. Some of its common household uses are indicated below.
Acharya Charak has eulogised pippali as one of the best rasayanas which promotes health and ensures overall well-being by improving the qualities of all the living tissues of the body. He has mentioned Pippali vardhman rasayana a specific regime for the kayakalpa therapy where its dose is given in ascending and descending orders. Pippali is used in many other famous classic medicines such as Chyavanprash, Sitopladi churna, Pipplyasava and Chousath prahari pippali. However, many acharyas have cautioned against its single, constant and unmonitored use. The root of pippali, known as pipplamoola, is considered a separate herb and will be discussed in these columns later.
Dr Vatsyayan is an Ayurvedic
consultant based at the Sanjivani Ayurvedic Centre, Ludhiana. Phones:
423500, and 431500;
There is increasing concern worldwide about the rising incidence of hospital-acquired infections and the rising prevalence of multiresistant, virulent bacteria. The focus of any effort has to be on the prevention of these infections.
Q What is hospital-acquired infection?
A The term is applied to infection developing in hospitalised patients not present at the time of their admission. The sources of these infections include people, objects, food, water and air in the hospital. They may be induced by diagnostic or treatment procedures.
Q What are the risk factors?
A The length of hospital stay is the most important risk factor for these infections. Hospital-acquired infections are more common in neonates, infants and the elderly. Immune deficiency is also a risk factor. Other factors are the use of antibiotics indwelling catheters, intravascular devices, and through the respiratory track. Intensive care unit stay increases the risk of such infections. The use of a nasogastric tube (tube inserted into the stomach) may increase the risk.
Q What are the patient-related factors?
A The patient-related factors appear to represent a greater risk for developing post-operative hospital-acquired infections than factors associated with the surgery. The identification of patients at high risk of developing hospital-acquired infections and the prevention and/or treatment of predisposing conditions may help in decreasing their incidence.
Advanced malignancy, kidney failure, diabetes mellitus, burns, trauma, old age, obesity prematurity and malnutrition are major predisposing factors. Malnutrition can cause significant impairment of the host defence mechanism. The administration of many drugs, including steroids and anticancer agents, has been found to be associated with an increased incidence of infectious complications. The increased use of antibiotics and progressive antibiotic resistance are other risk factors. The increasing complexity of operations and respiratory assistance in critically ill patients, and the use of intravenous nutrition, also contribute to the increased incidence.
Q What is the contribution of health workers?
A Health workers — doctors, nurses and other hospital staff — may be potential vectors of disease and may be spreading virulent microorganisms among their patients. The stethoscope, the symbol of the professional status of the health personnel, may be a vector of disease. It has been shown that cleaning the stethoscope diaphragm with alcohol swabs results in an immediate reduction in the bacterial count. The disinfection of the stethoscope should be carried out once daily. White coats harbour potential pathogens and are thus a source of cross infection, particularly, in surgical areas. The cuffs and pockets of the coats are the most highly contaminated portions. The recommendation that the coat should be removed before a wound-examination is done is rarely followed.
Q How can these be prevented?
A The hands are the commonest vehicles by which microorganisms are transmitted between patients. Hand-washing is accepted as the single most important measure in infection control. The increasing work load, the reduced availability of hand-decontaminating agents and the unavailability of paper hand towels are a regular annoying occurrence. Alcoholic hand disinfection, using a spray, allows easy and complete compliance without interfering with the quality of patient-care. It is rapid, has superior efficacy and minimal time-commitment.
The importance of constantly reminding the staff of the need for hand-washing, and the senior staff of setting a good example by their own hygienic practices cannot be overemphasised. Hands need to be thoroughly washed before the performance of any invasive procedure, putting in a urinary catheter, or an intravenous fluid line.
Single-use gloves should never be washed, resterilised or disinfected. Gloves must be changed after each patient encounter. Clean gloves should be worn during wound dressings. The thorough disinfection of the skin before the insertion of the intravenous fluid line, and carefully changing the fluid administration sets substantially reduce the incidence. Good hygienic practices adopted by patients themselves are of paramount importance.
What does "laser" stand for?
Laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation.
What is the wave mode of laser?
Lasers are either pulsed or continuous waves. Pulsed light is generated in a set of surges separated by some distinct amount of time. Other laser light is generated continuously and may cause scarring and damage to the tissue.
How are the dermatologic laser classified ?
"Dividing the lasers by their function" in the most effective method of separating the lasers in a useful and simple format.
Lasers for resurfacing the skin: Carbon dioxide laser; Erbium: Yag laser.
Lasers for removing vascular lesions: Argon laser; Krypton laser; Flashlamp pulsed dye laser; Nd: Yag laser; and KTP laser.
Lasers for removing pigmented lesions: Flashlamp- pulsed dye pigment lesion laser; green light copper vapor laser; green krypton laser; Frequency-doubled, Q-switched Nd: Yag laser.
Laser to remove hair :Nd: Yag laser; long-pulse ruby laser; long-pulse alexandrite laser; and diode \ laser.
Lasers to remove tattoos :Q-switched ruby laser; Q- switched alexandrite laser; and Q-switched Nd Yag laser.
How is the carbon dioxide laser used for resurfacing?
The ultra-pulsed carbon dioxide laser effectively removes the top layers of the epidermis and causes collagen contraction in the superficial dermis. This combination of effects facilitates the treatment of moderate facial wrinkles and sun damage.
Are there side-effects of carbon dioxide laser resurfacing ?
The initial risk are those of infection. Scarring is a risk if too much energy is used. Late-onset hypopigmentation is a fairly common and serious risk.
How is the Nd: Yag laser used to remove hair ?
The hair to be removed is waxed and then a carbon suspension is rubbed into the skin. The theory is that the carbon will penetrate into the hair follicles and the Nd. Yag light will be absorbed by the carbon particles. The heat will then be transferred to the hair follicle, causing destruction of the hair. There is little evidence to show that this theoretical process actually works as described and the hair loss is short-lived. This laser is losing acceptance as an effective method for permanent hair removal. (To be concluded)
The writer is the President of the Indian Association of Dermatologists, Venereologists and Leprologists (North Zone ).