|HEALTH TRIBUNE||Wednesday, August 28, 2002, Chandigarh, India|
Health-care for families of war heroes and
AYURVEDA & YOU
Common myths about eye problems
"I have been using spectacles constantly for the last one year and yet the number of my spectacles has gone up. What is the good of using them?" Rita confronted the eye specialist with anguish writ large on her face. "She has been fed on carrots regularly. Since we visited you last year the power of her glasses has increased instead of decreasing. What kind of treatment you are doing, doctor?" retorted Rita’s mother, almost blaming the doctor for his incompetence.
Such situations are common in any eye-clinic. The cause of such misbeliefs and myths lies in the psyche of our people which have been reinforced by Neem-Hakims over decades. It is a common experience that each one of our friends, relatives and visitors will offer advice on medical treatment or the choice of a doctor if we have a medical problem or defect in vision. While one will suggest a super food, another will speak about a wonder drug and a third one will emphasise on the magic touch of a doctor known to him for curing one’s problem or preventing any deterioration.
The failure to use glasses will progressively weaken your eyes and vice versa?
The fact is that corrective glasses are needed to see better if the vision is weak. The use of glasses will not reduce or check the number of your glasses nor will the failure to use them damage the eyes or increase the number. Generally, the power of glasses is related to your body growth and gets stabilised when the growth is complete.
Eye exercises, yoga and strong medicines from alternative systems can help remove glasses?
The use of any specific nutrients/ diet, exercises, medicines, etc has no role to play in reducing the number of spectacles. True that carrots have a high content of vitamin A and this vitamin is required for good vision, but it has no role in refractive errors like short-sightedness or long-sightedness.
I am washing my eyes by splashing cold water almost every hour and yet I get a feeling of foreign body in the eye and there is constant irritation. Why?
Washing the eyes once or twice daily may be acceptable, but overdoing it will lead to displacement of the normal tear secretions with ordinary water and lead to relative dryness in the eyes. Similarly, if cold fomentation is indicated, e.g. in the case of heat-related burning sensation, it may be done by ice cube held in a handkerchief.
I have constant watering in the eye. I am afraid it is serious. Can it lead to blindness?
Watering as a symptom is not serious and it may not cause loss of vision. It denotes either failure of drainage of normal tears, excessive production of tears due to irritation or weakness of the lids resulting in spillover of normal tears, as seen in the old age. It may require consultation with an eye specialist.
I have to work on computer for several hours a day. I am afraid that computer emits harmful rays. How to protect my eyes against damage?
Computer does not produce any harmful rays. The only protection required is against glare by putting an anti-glare screen on the monitor or wearing suitable glasses. The eyes may also be protected against being dry by frequent blinking and putting lubricating eye-drops as and when prescribed.
I watch TV lying comfortably in the bed. Why do my eyes get tired?
Watching TV while lying in the bed is a faulty posture and puts strain on the eye muscles. Sit at 10 feet, keep lights on and give break after half an hour.
My grandmother is suffering from progressive painless loss of vision for the last two years. Can her CHITA-MOTIA be operated even before the maturation of the cataract or we have to wait till she becomes blind completely?
The presumption that she is suffering from cataract can be wrong and dangerous. The loss of vision can be due to other causes, e.g. glaucoma (kala-motia) or retina disease. Only an examination by an eye specialist can reveal the cause. In any case, we do not wait for the maturation of the cataract for its operation.
If I suffer from soreness in the eye I start with sulphacetamide eye-drops to treat the trachoma. Why is this trachoma not responding this time?
Trachoma is not the only eye infection, one can suffer from. In fact, trachoma is now on the way out. There can be a large number of other causes of soreness in the eye. Go to your eye-doctor.
Why should I go to an eye specialist if I have no problem?
Regular eye check-ups are useful to detect eye problems early and prevent their deterioration. In the case of diabetic retinopathy, if early detection is done you can save the patient from blindness and vice-versa.
Health-care for families of war heroes and
THERE are around 10 million ex-servicemen and their families, including dependents of war heroes in India. To this substantial segment of our population, about one lakh more are being added every year. The maximum number of these veterans reside in the northern states of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal and Rajasthan.
Punjab has the pride to have the maximum number of these retired, war-scarred, brigades of highly trained, disciplined and patriotic people.
According to the norms of service, the nearest military medical establishment is required to provide free health-care to them. But, unfortunately, such establishments, in most cases, are located so far off that it is not possible for them to avail themselves of this facility.
We were approached by several individuals and ex-service organisations to establish a health-care centre for them. We carried out a survey of Mohali and about a dozen adjoining villages. There are more than 10,000 ex-servicemen, their families, war widows and orphans in this area. Ropar district is proud of having made the maximum contribution to defence efforts, including several gallantry award winners.
We resolved to establish a primary health centre for them in this region, which is far from the Command Military Hospital at Chandimandir.
We made a formal request to the Headquarters, Western Army Command, through the Director Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre (PRC) located in Phase VI at the periphery of Mohali, adjoining the rural belt, for a few rooms for the proposed primary health centre.
The proposal found favour not only with the Director and the Chairman of the PRC and the head of administration at Command Headquarters, but also the Chief of Staff and the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Army, personally visited the location for final approval.
The visionary Army Commander, besides granting approval, enlarged the entire scope and horizon of the project. He not only christened the project as Veterans’ Polyclinic but also agreed to allot sufficient land to even build a full-fledged Veterans’ polyclinic in due course.
Veterans’ Polyclinic, Mohali, will be the first ever venture of this type in India initiated by the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Western Army.
We hope that all retired defence service officers, philanthropists, industrialists, trusts and the public at large will contribute for the success of Veterans’ Polyclinic for defence veterans, by defence Veterans themselves.
We are receiving cheques favouring "Veterans’ Polyclinic, Mohali", c/o Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre, Phase-VI, Mohali, Punjab.
The writer is a retired Brigadier and Dr B.C. Roy National Award holder.
AYURVEDIC seers of ancient times understood three supports of life called upastambhas. They are ahara (diet), nidra (sleep), and brahmacharya (observance of sexual discipline). A suitable and skilful use of this triad makes the human body maintain itself property leading to physical and immunological strength and growth or nourishment till the full span of life. Of the three, the concept of proper food and diet has been given more emphasis and importance by the ancients, and even modern scientists consider it to be the best part of ayurveda.
Diet has been defined as a material, which is taken by mouth into the alimentary system, and that in the due process and after proper digestion gets transformed into the tissue elements and performs the functions such as promotion of growth, recovery of loss and protection from the disease.Right from the day of conception, in the intra-uterine life where the requirement of diet is met by the mother, its significance can be well appreciated.
Due to the increased awareness in the present times, the science of diet has advanced tremendously. Its scope has widened to include the quality of food, its action, interaction and balance in relation to health and disease. The process by which a person ingests, digest, absorbs, transports and utilises nutrients and other substances and disposes of the waste products, all have been incorporated in the subject of diet and nutrition. One can be just amazed to know that all these concepts and much more have been discussed in the ancient ayurvedic texts thousands of years ago.
Good health alone has been described in ayurveda as a key to fulfil the four basic pursuits of life: observance of duty, earning of livelihood, gratifying the worldly desires and attaining the final emancipation. Considering the utility and importance of diet to achieve perfect health, Charaka has stated that nourishment, strength, intellect and longevity are all conditioned by diet and all the living beings seek food and it is the life source of all. He has emphasised that by paying due consideration to the quantity and time, a self controlled man should regularly take such food as is conducive to his internal power of digestion (agni).
Ayurveda has dealt with the science of diet and nutrition so extensively that apart from telling the right diet for each doshic prakriti or individual, it gives very detailed information on various types of food items and explains their uses and actions in various diseases and also on different systems of the body. Its description of six tastes, incompatibility of food combinations, qualitative and quantitative dietary recommendations, time period and seasonal considerations and guidelines of adopt different types of food in different places and provinces seem to directing both the patient and the healthy to eat what is wholesome and suitable to them.
In fact, the Charak Samhita has also made it mandatory for the physician to study the specific inherent properties, virtues, potencies and transformations or vipaka known as chemical reactions of food substances.It also becomes the duty of the patient to understand and implement correct diet in relation to the disease and its suitability to his body. Ayurveda says that since food (diet) determines the origin and survival of all human beings, one must follow its proper regime, because a person is what he eats.
Caffeine can cure skin cancer
WASHINGTON: US researchers have revealed that caffeine combined with an extract from green tea could one day cure skin cancer, according to a report published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
The scientists have discovered that rubbing both substances onto the skin of mice stopped the cancer from spreading and killed all tumours.
Allan Conney and colleagues at Rutgers University in New Jersey studied a special strain of hairless mice over 20 weeks. The mice had been exposed to ultraviolet B light twice a week during this period, which put them at risk of skin cancer.
After stopping the exposures, the researchers applied two components of green tea-caffeine and an extract called epigallocatechin gallate (CGEG) to the mice’s skin. They found that both substances had successfully tackled cancer. ANI
Exercise reduces risk of cold
WASHINGTON: Researchers at the University of South Carolina have revealed that physical exercise may lower the risk of colds.
Health experts say that workouts spike the immune system for a few hours every day, which is why daily exercise is necessary to ward off colds, a report published in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise revealed. ANI
Curing inherited deafness
WASHINGTON: Researchers have found a gene and the mutations in it that caused deafness in the two strains of mice. They then explored how those mutations affect the structure and function of the inner ear, leading to deafness. The findings may eventually lead to a screening test and therapy for families affected by one type of inherited hearing loss.
The discoveries also bring scientists closer to understanding the intricate choreography of genes and proteins involved in the normal development of human hearing — and the tiny missteps that can destroy hearing even before a baby is born.
The discovery of the human deafness gene, called TMIE, is reported in the September issue of the American Journal of Human Genetics. ANI
WASHINGTON: Research conducted on rats has revealed that linoleic acid, a doubly unsaturated fatty acid found in vegetable seed oils, substantially helps in reducing hypertension and the associated loss of cognitive ability, and may also prevent debilitating strokes.
Linoleic acid cannot be produced in
animals; the sources of this needed nutrient are vegetable seed oils,
such as safflower, sunflower and hemp seed. ANI