HEALTH & FITNESS

Take care, your shoes may cause injury
by Dr Ravinder Chadha
F
OOT is the most complex part in the lower area of our body. Its main function is to absorb the shock generated by the body's weight. The foot supports up to four times our body weight when we are running fast.

Six tips to save you from ultraviolet rays!
Washington:
You don’t have to bask in the sun to get sunburnt. According to Healthscout, a report by the US-based Lifespan Hospitals has revealed that just going outside in the sun can expose you to harmful ultraviolet rays.

AYURVEDA & YOU
Herbs in kitchen: their usefulness
by Dr R. Vatsyayan
I
NIDAN cooking is based on the therapeutic principles of ayurveda. It is a rich tradition where balanced, wholesome and individually suitable diet is considered the first step towards a healthy life.

Cancer cure: guarding child’s heart
BOSTON:
A drug made by Pfizer Inc can protect young cancer patients’ hearts from the ravages of chemotherapy and keep them from developing serious cardiac problems later in life, according to researchers.

What ails health insurance
by Vishal Sharma
A
LL the brouhaha generated by the entry of global insurance players into the Indian market seems to be fizzling out in at least one important sector — health insurance. The insurance players are wary of going full steam into the sector citing "moral hazards" as one of the primary reasons, the other being unattractive terms set by the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority.

Aspirin: A victim of its own success
A
SPIRIN is unique. A little white pill so versatile that it can relieve your headache, ease your aching limbs, lower your temperature and treat some of the deadliest human diseases.


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Take care, your shoes may cause injury
by Dr Ravinder Chadha

FOOT is the most complex part in the lower area of our body. Its main function is to absorb the shock generated by the body's weight. The foot supports up to four times our body weight when we are running fast.

Ignorance about minor deformities like flat fleet, lock knees or bowleg compounds the problem, and comes in the way of its early detection and treatment. These deformities can come in the way of optimal performance, and be the cause of many injuries, the gait problem, etc, at a later stage.

The use of proper shoes and exercises can prevent knee and ankle pain, particularly when one is running.

The wear and tear pattern in individual shoes gives an indication about various deformities. The flat feet wear out and break over from the inside of the heel and the toe. If the shoe is placed flat on a table-top, it will lean to the inside, particularly the heel-counter. A high-arched foot wears out the outside of the shoe, from the heel, all the way down to the toes. This shoe will lean to the outside.

Millions of people exercise everyday (jogging, running, aerobics, etc) to remain or get in shape. If they do not take adequate precaution regarding the selection of shoes, problems are bound to arise, particularly involving the feet. A good running shoe lasts 400 to 500 miles.

Foot disorders may be life-threatening for those suffering from diabetes, severe arthritis and impaired blood circulation. Inappropriate foot care practices can be especially dangerous to such patients. Therefore, it is essential for everyone to know how to go about proper foot care.

Foot problems can occur primarily due to the wrong selection of shoes. A narrow-toe shoe can cause pain in toes and deformities called hallux valgus, metatarsalgia, etc. Tight, constricting shoes interfere with the normal growth process.

The following points must be kept in view while buying a pair of shoes.

  • Length of the shoe should be firm. Its heel shouldn't twist from side to side.

  • Your shoe should only bend in the toe box; it shouldn't collapse in the arch.

  • Heel-counter should be firm and shouldn't collapse under mild thumb pressure. Ill-fitting shoes can cause corns, calluses, etc.

  • High-healed shoes can cause pain in the back of the heel, etc.

  • Check your shoes on a level surface to make sure that they do not roll excessively inward or outward. If they are new and roll, they will not stop the foot from rolling excessively, and this may lead to injuries.

  • To check that your shoes are securely glued, hold them and try to pull the upper from the mid-sole and mid-sole from the out-sole. If it separates at all, this shows that the shoe support is weak.

  • The upper part of the shoe should be glued straight into the sole.

  • Air pockets and gell pockets must be inflated evenly.

The following simple exercises improve flexibility and strengthen your ankle and feet:

Foot roll: Roll a golf ball/Coke can/closet rod under the ball of your foot for two minutes. This is a great massage for the bottom of the foot and is recommended for people with heel pain, arch strain or foot cramps.

Towel curls: Place a wet towel on the floor and curl it towards you, using only your toe. Repeat five times. This is useful for toe cramps, hammer toes, etc.

Marbel pick-up: Place 20 marbles/dice/wads of paper on the floor. Pick up one marble at a time and put it in a small bowl.

Toe pulls: Put a rubber band around toes and spread the toes for five seconds. Repeat 10 times.

It is useful for people with hammer toes and toe cramps.

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Six tips to save you from ultraviolet rays!

Washington: You don’t have to bask in the sun to get sunburnt.

According to Healthscout, a report by the US-based Lifespan Hospitals has revealed that just going outside in the sun can expose you to harmful ultraviolet rays.

The hospital group has, therefore, come out with some tips to keep sunburn and other harmful effects of ultraviolet rays at bay. They are as follows:

  • Stay out of the sun between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., when the sun is strongest.

  • Keep your kids out of the sun. Two-thirds of their lifetime sun damage may be accomplished by the time they turn 20.

  • Wear tightly woven fabrics, and a large-brimmed hat.

  • Buy a broad-spectrum protective sunscreen.

  • If you’ve had your sunscreen longer than a year, replace it with a new bottle.

  • Wear sunglasses. — ANI

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AYURVEDA & YOU
Herbs in kitchen: their usefulness
by Dr R. Vatsyayan

INIDAN cooking is based on the therapeutic principles of ayurveda. It is a rich tradition where balanced, wholesome and individually suitable diet is considered the first step towards a healthy life.

Since time immemorial many ayurvedic herbs have been used as condiments in our kitchens. As most foods are neutral in energy and have mild properties, it is the right blend and proportion of these herbs which increase or decrease their effect on our body. Here is a brief description of the medicinal properties of some of them.

Ginger: When fresh it is called "ardraka", and in the dried form it is referred to as "shunthi". Ginger aids in digestion from the beginning to the end. It is a hot, pungent and stimulating herb which has carminative, digestive and sialogoge ( that produces saliva) properties. Ayurveda considers it to be one of the best herbs which nullify the toxins produced in the body due to improper digestion. Fresh ginger is useful in alleviating cold and cough whereas the dried one has more anti-"vata" effect. Due to its "pitta" aggravating properties, excessive use of ginger is contra-indicated in conditions involving hyperacidity, ulcers and gall stones.

Coriander: Popularly known as dhania, coriander is used in our kitchens in two forms --- as fresh tiny leafy plant and also as dry seeds. Pungent yet cooling, it is one of the best spices available for calming "pitta". Besides being anti-pyretic, diuretic and the killer of intestinal worms , coriander is also a carminative, digestive and anti-diarrhoeal and anti-aphrodisiac herb. As a home remedy also coriander is famous for its use in a number of ailments, including morning sickness, migraine and non-specific excessive menstrual bleeding.

Cumin : Popularly called zeera, it has a number of medicinal properties but its main area of action seems to be the gastro-intestinal tract. Apart from having a pronounced carminative and digestive effect, cumin is wind-repellent, anti-colic, anti-obesity and intestinal absorbent herb. It is light, dry, sharp and hot in effect and its use with oil or ghee forms the basic way to prepare most of the Indian curries.

Black pepper : Popularly known as "kali mirch" and a native of the western ghats in India , it is endowed with anti-coagulant properties. It is one of the few herbs which ayurveda describes as helping to open obstructions in different channels of the body. Starting from common cold, cough, sinusitis and bronchitis, black pepper is useful in a number of ailments like abdominal colic and sluggishness of the liver. Its overuse can result in intense burning sensation in the mouth. Desi ghee is considered its anti-dote.

Garlic: No other herb has as rich history of its use in the Indian kitchen as garlic. Bound by an air of magical and medicinal mysteries, garlic has been described as hot in potency and unctuous, sharp and heavy in effect. It is a carminative, digestive and metabolic corrective herb, which in recent times has earned the reputation of being an effective immuno-stimulant, anti-viral, anti-cholesterol and a tumour-inhibiting agent. However, persons suffering from hypertension, hemorrhagic tendencies and chronic "pitta" disorders are advised to be cautious while using raw garlic in high dosage or for a long time.

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Cancer cure: guarding child’s heart

BOSTON: A drug made by Pfizer Inc can protect young cancer patients’ hearts from the ravages of chemotherapy and keep them from developing serious cardiac problems later in life, according to researchers.

A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine suggests the drug dexrazoxane may become a valuable tool in reducing the harmful side effects of treating children with leukemia.

There are about 250,000 survivors of childhood cancer in the United States alone and more than half were treated with drugs now known to damage the heart. Doctors give those drugs anyway because they are so effective at killing the cancer. But the children who receive chemotherapy are eight times more likely to die from a heart-related problem than children who have not had cancer. — Reuters

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What ails health insurance
by Vishal Sharma

ALL the brouhaha generated by the entry of global insurance players into the Indian market seems to be fizzling out in at least one important sector — health insurance. The insurance players are wary of going full steam into the sector citing "moral hazards" as one of the primary reasons, the other being unattractive terms set by the Insurance Regulatory Development Authority.

"Though we have no hassles entering the health sector, the moral hazards involved naturally slow down the pace as we tend to be doubly cautious unlike the public sector insurance companies which are somewhat less stringent in their approach," says Mr Vipin Kapoor, Area Manager, Bajaj Allianz.

He adds, "the IRDA directive banning the repatriation of profits for a period of seven years also affects the growth as it acts as a deterrent for many players and if this condition is relaxed a bit, the health insurance industry will receive a major boost."

The IRDA has stipulated that insurance players should invest a minimum of Rs 100 crore as a paid-up capital in which the share of a foreign partner cannot exceed 26 per cent. If the government really wants to take health insurance to every nook and corner of India, the ceiling of 26 per cent should be enhanced up to 40 or 50 per cent, says Mr Kapoor.

Moral hazards, in the lexicon of the insurance industry, stands for the hazards posed by low levels of morality of people. "The unscrupulousness prevalent in Indian society tends to reflect poorly on the health insurance sector as the international players insist on framing too stringent terms and conditions to avoid being fleeced," says Mr Manjinder Singh, a marketing executive with a private insurance giant.

Anything, from fake medical prescriptions to hospital bills, can be fixed here for a consideration. So, it is natural for us to be on alert while selling a health policy, he says. This alertness extends to refusing a policy to anyone looking unscrupulous which reduces our targets, he adds.

Echoing the views, Mr R.P. Chadha of GIC says, "systematising the health care system and ensuring efficient care at optimum costs will be our primary responsibility."

Interestingly, most of the nursing homes in India are not registered, thus forcing the insurance giants to set up a parallel infrastructure of their own nursing homes and hire medical professionals, leading to an escalation in costs for entering the health arena.

Despite life expectancy in the country being still lower than the global average and immense growth potential in the health sector, many global giants have not accepted the bait owing to the earlier mentioned reasons, thus defeating the social objectives behind the privatisation of insurance.

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Aspirin: A victim of its own success

ASPIRIN is unique. A little white pill so versatile that it can relieve your headache, ease your aching limbs, lower your temperature and treat some of the deadliest human diseases. A roundup of evidence suggests that it helps prevent heart attacks, stroke, deep vein thrombosis, cataracts, migraine, infertility, herpes, Alzheimer's disease and even some of the most devastating cancers, such as bowel, lung and breast. It's a list that continues to grow, which may help to explain why more than 25,000 scientific papers have been written on aspirin and why an estimated one trillion tablets have been consumed since the drug was first produced.

These remarkable achievements are the result of decades of clinical studies and scientific hard graft, frequently celebrated in headlines around the world. Indeed, there's been so much good news in recent years it is tempting to believe that the future will be just as bright. But that is unlikely. Just as aspirin really begins to earn its spurs, the researchers investigating the unknown benefits it might provide are facing a mountain of problems that threaten to halt much of the groundbreaking work.

"Unless we think of new ways to work, the discoveries, or at least those that can be proven through clinical trials, are going to dry up," says one researcher. To truly appreciate aspirin, it helps to know a little of its history. This marvel didn't appear from nowhere. It's the product of thousands of years of ingenuity and endeavour. Its origins lie in prehistory, when humans first began experimenting with plant and mineral remedies to alleviate pain and discomfort. Aspirin's key ingredient is drawn from the salicylates, chemicals found in a range of plants, the most famous being the willow tree. — The Guardian

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