|HEALTH TRIBUNE||Wednesday, July 30, 2003, Chandigarh, India|
jaundice in the rains
AYURVEDA & YOU
driving donít mix
and yet not losing weight?
Almost everyday I come across obese patients who have a common complaint: in spite of regular walks with diet control, there is no reduction in their weight. It is very clear that during routing walk only carbohydrates are utilised. We have to walk at a certain speed to burn fats.
Walking is especially good for the maintenance of health and protection of the joints because it places only minimal strain on the body in movement. It is, therefore, better to take up walking before starting jogging/running. Because of its moderate technique, walking is the perfect movement training for all people who show signs of wear and tear at the joints, lower limbs and the spine. Walking is not a performance sport, but a moderate form of sporting activity which can be practised by everyone all the year round.
1. A brisk walk increases the intake of oxygen, strengthens your heart to pump more blood, improves blood circulation and reduces blood pressure.
2. Walking also slows development of degenerative joint disease, stops the loss of bone mass in osteoporosis, and tones your muscles gently.
3. Walking reduces stress and helps in sound sleep.
4. Walking gives relief from arthritis and back pain.
5. Walking at a prescribed speed can reduce fat.
In the beginning, expensive gear is not required. What is important is that the clothing is comfortable.
In order to avoid pressure on the points, the walking shoes should normally be of a full size or half size larger than the normal ones. The toes must be given sufficient room and should not be cramped or pinched. At the heel, the shoe should offer a firm heel-piece which covers the entire heel and offers stability.
To avoid blisters on the feet, great care should also be taken with the choice of socks. The best socks are made of polyester with a low cotton content since they remove sweat from the skin. Thin cotton socks store sweat and can cause irritation leading to the formation of minor wounds.
When you push out your chest and keep your shoulders relaxed while doing so, the shoulder blades will automatically fall into the correct position. By maintaining an open chest posture, breathing can be considerably eased.
The arms should be kept close to the body. Swing them naturally parallel to the body in the normal walking rhythm. In the front-swing, the arms should not go above chest height. In the back-swing, the hand should swing as high as the hipbone. At low speeds, the arms are slightly less bent at the elbow. At high speeds, the arms should be at right angles at the elbow joint. The hands are closed into a loose fist.
Take quite normal steps. Stay relaxed in doing so. Try not to influence your stride length otherwise it can lead to premature fatigue. The heel hits the ground first, then the rest of the whole foot up to the toes roll off. Make deliberate use of your foot and lower leg muscles and push off from the ground in order to introduce the next step.
Correct breathing means you should breathe in deeply, but not at full capacity. Avoid shallow and rapid breaths. Try breathing in over the first three steps and then breathing out over the next three steps.
The writer is a former doctor/physiotherapist for the Indian cricket team
jaundice in the rains
Though jaundice is a liver infection which may afflict a person any time of the year, it is mostly during the monsoon that the number of people suffering from it suddenly shoots up.
Jaundice derives its name from the French word "jaune", which means yellow. The yellowish coloration, particularly of the skin and the eyes, is caused as a result of excess bilirubin in the blood, a sign of a serious liver disease.
There can be a number of causes for jaundice ó due to Hepatitis A, B, C or E viral infection. "Hepatitis A and E are the viruses which spread when mixing of sewage water takes place with drinking water or due to the consumption of unclean food like salads," explains Prof Yogesh Chawla, Head of the Hepatology Department, PGI.
Another cause could be an obstruction in the biliary tract, which arises from the liver and goes into the intestine. Bile is a brown liquid which contains bile salts and lecithin, cholesterol and bilirubin. Bile salts and lecithin act like detergents to break up fat so that it can be easily digested. Bilirubin is a dark brown waste product, which gives a brown colour to both bile and stool. "Another common cause of jaundice could be obstruction of the bile duct by infection, tumour or gallstones," explains Professor Chawla.
Jaundice in new-born babies is caused by the breakdown of a large amount of red blood cells. Mostly, jaundice in babies is a normal occurrence, disappearing in a few days, often without any special treatment. Premature infants are more likely to develop jaundice than normal babies. Jaundice in an infant appears first in the face and upper body and then progresses downward towards the toes. Children up to 15 years of age generally suffer from the hepatitis A infection, while hepatitis E mainly affects adults." Both these infections do not cause chronicity and end on their own, without requiring anti-viral treatment," says Dr Chawla. On the other hand, hepatitis B and C viruses are transmitted through blood products, ear-piercing, used syringes, tattooing, acupuncture and sexual contacts and are more difficult and expensive to treat.
While hepatitis A and E infections can be prevented by vaccinating young children against it, drinking clean water and avoiding foods like salads, which could be unclean. Though the hepatitis B vaccine is very effective, there is no vaccine for hepatitis C.
Hepatitis B and C produce chronicity and cause cirrhosis, ultimately developing into liver cancer. These need to be treated with anti-viral drugs, which are very expensive and is found to be effective only in 50 to 80 per cent cases.
Doctors point out that the biggest misconception among people is that a patient who is suffering from jaundice should not be given any yellow-coloured food, parantha and fatty eatables. All that is important is that the patient gets a lot of rest and a healthy balanced nutritive diet, as per his preference. Doctors say that those suffering from hepatitis B and C must give up alcohol completely, while those having A or E infection should abstain from its consumption at least for six months after they are normal.
"Patients with jaundice need to be
evaluated, as the cause for the infection must be determined before
initiating treatment," points out Prof J.D. Wig, Head of the
General Surgery Department at the PGI. He adds that in patients with
obstructive jaundice, surgery remains the only option. "In
patients where the obstruction cannot be removed, the blockage can be
relieved by a bypass procedure ó surgical or non-surgical," Dr
All of us have listened and talked about the female menopause. We know that women, early or late, but mostly around their mid-forties, pass through certain biological, physiological and psychological changes. The medical world has recognised this as a watershed phase in a womanís life. But men were not so lucky, as modern medicine took years to arrive at the conclusion that something of the like happens to them also. Before totally dismissing the whole idea of male "menopause", of late, it was recognised as andropause or viropause. In simple language, it could be described as male mid-life crisis.
Practically coming up with many changes at the physical and psychological levels, male "menopause" depicts a host of symptoms which closely resemble what ayurvedic seers have described as "dhatuksheenata". This is the time when men start feeling less endurance for physical activity. Problems like frequent digestive upsets, high cholesterol, raised blood pressure, diabetes, heart trouble and a decline in sexual drive may knock at them. With an altering body weight, a receding hairline and the use of eye glasses to read small print, middle age to an extent also changes the outward appearance of most of the men.
Starting with a changing interpersonal relationship, whether at home or at job or in society in general, middle age brings a lot of psychological pressures. At this age and according to materialistic standards, for a man, whether he is an achiever or not, competition in business and pressure to perform at job coupled with a feeling of insecurity related to money matters often lead to stressful situations. No wonder, psychological problems like irritability, indecisiveness, sleep disturbances, anxiety and depression become synonymous with the mid-life crisis only to bring more of physical ailments.
There are helpful life-style tips: Eat right and remember that we are what we eat. An easily digestible traditional diet with grains and vegetables, a very limited amount of non-vegetarian food and virtually very little of dairy products are ideal for this age. Always remember, if you are a heavy drinker and smoker, you are in the danger zone.
Exercise should be an important part of the daily routine. It is more necessary for persons who have a sitting job and also for those who spend most of their evenings in the bar. Though there can be different exercise plans for every person, it should always match your endurance. Try to keep yourself fit, active and healthy. Get your cardio-vascular system checked up once or twice a year. Certain other tests like blood sugar, lipid profile and routine urine check-up must be done once every six months. Take vitamins, herbs and other health supplements only if prescribed by your physician.
No other symptom of male "menopause" seems to scare men as much as a decrease in sex drive. With advancing age, both sexual urge and performance undergo a change. Self-medication with the purpose to enhance sexual vigour can be dangerous.
Find ways to relieve stress and time to enjoy and relax. Develop a positive and flexible attitude towards life and chase only realistic goals. Donít involve yourself into an unhealthy competition with colleagues. One proven anti-stress regimen is yoga and meditation.
Diabetes and driving donít mix
WASHINGTON: Researchers in the Department of Health at the University of Virginia have found that drivers with Type-1 diabetes are more prone to accidents than those suffering from Type-2 diabetes. The researchers reached their conclusions after investing whether or not treatment of diabetes, including control of blood sugar levels was in any way associated driving mishaps.
Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar occurs when blood glucose levels drop too low to properly fuel the body. A person can become hypoglycemic by taking too much insulin or diabetes medication or by even skipping meals.