|HEALTH TRIBUNE||Wednesday, September 11, 2002, Chandigarh, India|
Warm up before exercising to avoid pain or stiffness in muscle & joints
Do’s and dont’s for parents
AYURVEDA & YOU
Role of allergies in asthma cases
ALLERGIES are a common and significant cause of morbidity, lost productivity and increased health care. It is not uncommon to see children on antibiotics, antihistamine cough syrups, tonics and off and on bronchodilators for years together without any referral to a specialist. This irrational treatment not only results in a disease and economic burden on the family but also lost opportunities of growth and development for the child. There is a psychological and academic burden on the child because of missing school and also due to not being allowed to eat so many so-called "cough producing cold foods".
Why should we not treat patients scientifically when science of allergy has advanced so much and tests are not difficult? In fact, certain doctors have been misguiding patients that allergy is "Allah ki marzi". Others, even very senior doctors, say that what is the use of tests when 20 things will be found for which you can do nothing. In fact, doctors without any adequate training are conducting the tests and putting this science into disrepute.
Allergy tests do not consist of merely skin pricks as is being done by people with vested interests, misdiagnosing allergies and putting a patient into inconvenience. These tests are not the laboratory tests. They have to be conducted by an allergy specialist who knows how to go into the depth of a patient’s history, and has knowledge of allergens based upon season, symptoms, geographical regions, occupation, hobbies, food habits, personal habits, indoor and work place environment.
Allergen selection is important. Also equally important is the test material, preparation of the test material for the patient if it is not available commercially, the test technique and the confirmation of tests by challenges and specific IgE (allergy detection by blood or nasal secretions) and correlation by aero-biological surveys. When so much is done for the patient, only single major allergen will be identified which can be put to use for the treatment. The aim of the test is not to supply the patient with just a list of 20 allergens but to identify a major allergen and offer a treatment plan.
Allergy tests are relevant only if a patient is seen as an individual rather than performing a battery of tests. Food allergens need avoidance. Food allergy is an important cause of even asthma and rhinitis. In a study of asthma, it was found that 27 per cent had food induced asthma. There is some concern that symptomatic treatment for inhalant allergies is prescribed for many patients who, in fact, suffer from food allergy. Experts warn that patients should not keep focussing on possible suspects by hit and trial. Such misguided avoidances can be disastrous for growing children.
Dietary management of children must always be approached with a keen awareness of nutritional needs of growth and development. When allergen avoidance is not practical, specific immuno-therapy is the answer. Immuno-therapy is the only known mode of treatment that can increase immunity in the body and has the potential to modify the course of allergy disease and possibly even to prevent it. It is of confirmed use in asthma and rhinitis and in rhino-conjunctivitis and nasobronchial allergies.
Evidence for the efficacy of inhalant allergen immuno-therapy is overwhelming. This treatment decreases medication like the use of steroids, improves the quality of life and is useful if started early in asthma and other cases. Success depends upon the reliability of allergy tests and the compliance of patients.
Specific allergy tests by an expert are vital for better disease management.
Let us attack asthma with all scientific knowledge.
Warm up before exercising to avoid pain or stiffness in muscle & joints
ALMOST everyday I come across many friends/patients who have a common complaint: In spite of their daily exercises, they are not getting the desired results. At times after doing the exercises they feel either pain or stiffness in their muscle, joints and back. These problems can come only when the exercises are done without proper warm-up, stretching, etc. Warm-up activities such as walking, slow jogging, or bicycling increase circulation and prepare muscles for stretching.
A warm muscle exhibits a greater amount of flexibility and thereby protects against injury and increases performance. Stretching is important because it reduces muscle tension, maintains flexibility, and reduces or prevents muscle soreness. Moreover, a proper technique is essential for achieving the success. Incomplete or wrong exercises can cause bad posture, low back pain, over-stretching of the ligaments, instability of the joints, etc. Exercises like hanging inversion (SHIRSHASANA) — topsy-turvy position, with legs up and head down to improve the blood circulation of the brain — can cause an increase in the blood pressure, may rupture small blood vessels in the eyes and can also cause injuries to the spine. Similarly, forming bridge in Yoga Chakrasana (wheel posture) is a very tough exercise which can be performed by only a flexible person. Otherwise it can cause pressure on the spinal disc and nerve fibres.
The following bad exercises may be avoided. An alternative exercise is also mentioned to have the same results:
(1) Abdominal strengthening (Double straight leg raise).
Back arches-strain on lower lumber region leading to pain.
(Sit up with arms stretched).
(a) Bend knees to maintain pelvic tilt.
(b) Lift the head and shoulders (head curled) and touch knees with hands and hold.
(c) Touch outside of opposite knee with hand i.e. right hand to left knee and vice versa.
Position: Sit up with bent knees, arms stretched out in front. Slowly go down with curled body. From 35 degrees to lying, go even slowly. This is for eccentric abdominal muscle.
2) Sit up with legs straight
Increase stress on low back due to activity of muscles that flex the hip.
Sit-ups with knees in flexion. Arms across chest or hands on temples.
3) Hamstring stretching
Back strain — overstresses muscles and ligaments of the lumber region.
Keep neck and back straight — don’t strain to touch toes with hands lean forward from hips.
4) Rotation of neck
— Can pinch arteries and nerves of base of skull and result in dizziness.
— Severe compression of the discs of the neck or arthritis of the neck or cervical spine.
Better exercises are individual neck movements and isometric neck exercises for strengthening.
5) The plough to "warm up back" (HALASANA).
Promotes neck strain, kyphosis and stretches muscles and ligaments.
a) Maintain pelvic till — one leg bend.
b) Bend both knees, hold stretches lower back.
May harm the knees joints by stretching the ligaments irritating synovial membrane.
Stride standing — bend hips and knees as far as sitting position — no further than 90 degrees. Hold for 5-10 seconds — slowly up again. Weight to be taken on heels not on balls of feet (can lean on wall).
7) Sit-ups — holding head with hands.
Too much pull on neck — can put too much pressure on cervical spine.
Sit-ups — hand on temple or across chest: No strain on neck.
8) Passive hyperextension
To increase spinal mobility lie over bench
Problem 1) Over stretching of the abdominal muscle.
2) Overloads the lumber spine.
Passive moderate hyperextension. Keep hips on the ground.
9) Sit-ups/jumping in squat position
Stand, drop into crouch position: Drop on to stomach supported by arms; back to crouch position; to standing.
Delete this type of exercise generally use any other leg exercises that do not exceed the half squat position and which are done at a speed which allows controlled movement.
Ballistic loading of the knees in full flexion (squat damages the joint structures and loads the knee cap excessively.
Do’s and dont’s for parents
A survey of 1,011 adults conducted by the National Council on Patient Information and Education found many of them are unclear about the relationship between a child’s weight and age in determining the dosages of such medicines.
It also revealed that parents are having
problems understanding about different concentrations of medicines.
That can be significant because infant formulations are often more
concentrated than medicines for older children. The NCPIE advises that
if parents are in doubt about the dosages they should always talk to
their doctor or pharmacist. "Make sure your child’s doctor
knows about all the medicines your child is taking before the doctor
writes a prescription for your child." ANI
AYURVEDIC philosophy is based on the principle of five primordial elements. These elements are practically represented in the body by three biological humors known as vata, pitta and kapha. The Ayurvedic concept of diet depends upon six rasas (tastes) and these tastes form the basis of adoption of any food or herb. After ingestion and impressing upon the body they replenish and reduce all body tissues and affect their functions. Under normal circumstances, everyone needs certain amount of each of the six tastes, and too much intake of any of them can become harmful, as can too little. Let us briefly go into what are these tastes and what are their inherent properties.
Sweet: Called madhura in Sanskrit, sweet is the foremost of all the tastes. A combination of earth and water elements, the sweet taste aggravates kapha and decreases vata and pitta. It nourishes and exhilarates the body and mind, sooths the mucous membranes and is cooling, heavy and unctuous . Its overuse can result in obesity, diabetes, parasitic manifestation, lethargy, obstructed circulation, gas, respiratory congestion and other kapha type disturbances. Table sugar, milk, rice, wheat, maize, white guard melon (petha) and banana are a few among many edible things having sweet taste.
Sour: Commonly known as amla or khatta, sour taste comprises of earth and fire elements. It increases kapha and pitta and pacifies vata. Generally, sour is hot, heavy and unctuous and is endowed with carminative, stimulant, nourishing and thirst-relieving properties.
However, excessive use of the sour taste can create health problems leading to burning sensation, itching, de-pigmentation, suppuration, premature aging and looseness of the body. Tamarind (imli) is an classic example of the sour taste.
Salty: It is the namkeen or the lavana taste. Composed of water and fire elements, salty taste aggravates kapha and pitta and decreases vata. It is heavy, hot and digestive and helps the elimination of wastes and cleanses the body. In small amount it stimulates the digestion; in moderation it is laxative and in very large dose it causes vomiting. Over and excessive usage can result in problems like edema, inflammation, high blood pressure, easy bleeding, bone and joint diseases, early baldness and wrinkling of the skin. Sea salt and rock salt are of salty taste.
Pungent: Known as katu, pungent taste is comprised of fire and air elements. It increases pitta and vata and pacifies kapha. Food items of pungent taste like chili peppers are hot, light and dry in nature and they improve appetite, counter cold sensation and promote sweating and flush all type of secretions from the body. Overuse of pungent taste can result into debility, emaciation, fever, burning sensation, increased thirst and drying up of sexual and other body secretions.
Bitter: It is the tikta rasa which in Ayurveda is the most important taste after the sweet. Composed of air and ether elements, while aggravating vata it pacifies kapha and pitta. Bitter taste is cooling, light, dry and detoxifying in effect and is a promoter of appetite, reducer of body tissues and counters ill effects of all other tastes.
However, its overuse can result in numbness, emaciation, stiffness, tremors and spurt in other vata diseases. Bitter gourd (karela), turmeric and neem leaves are bitter in taste.
Astringent: Known as kashaya or kasaila , the astringent taste is the combination of air and earth elements. It is cooling, light and dry in effect, and while increasing vata, it reduces pitta and kapha. Astringent heals, purifies and constricts all parts of the body and also acts as anti-aphrodisiac. Its excessive use can cause constipation, dryness, emaciation, fits, distension and reduction of body secretions, including enzymes and hormones. Coriander, jamun and double bean (lobia) are mainly astringent in taste.
The description of six tastes and their effect on the body, though very simple, has a sound scientific base. Barring rare exceptions, where a food item doesn't work accordingly the ancients have mentioned the word prabhava which is specific to any edible substance to act in a particular situation.
In a plethora of unique phases — child-bearing, breast-feeding and menopause — that women pass through, the state of their health depends largely on what they eat with a slight variation in the nutrient content, the researchers at the Bankok-based Asian Food Information Centre have declared.
Four nutrients — folates or Vitamin B, calcium, phytoestrogens and iron — taken in various permutations and combinations through the growing and grown-up years can help women plan their nutritional lives better.
While folate or folic acid is a B vitamin, especially important for women throughout their lives for supporting growth and development, preventing birth defects and anaemia, recent research is highlighting its importance in lowering risks of heart diseases and certain types of cancer too. PTI
Chilli pepper & cancer
According to the researchers, lab experiments show how compounds in chillis can kill cancer cells. Previous research has shown that hot foods like turmeric and chilli contain compounds that can help beat cancer, reports Health and Age.
Many other research teams are working on
apoptosis----inducing cancer cells to commit suicide. So, it is
interesting to learn that this can be done by a natural dietary
component. In the current research, skin cancer cells were exposed to
two major components of chilli peppers known as capsaicin and
resiniferatoxin. The exposure caused them to self-destroy themselves
because of oxygen deprivation. ANI