|HEALTH & FITNESS|
cancer less likely to be detected in thin women
attack linked to nine factors
veins: a result of sedentary life-style
Comfortable and sedentary life-style, modern fashion, special postures adopted while performing professional duties have contributed to increased incidence of a set of diseases unheard of in the past. Varicose vein disease is one of them and is a direct result of sedentary life-style. The problem has become very common during these days. According to one estimate, 15 to 20 per cent of the population in India is suffering from varicose vein disease these days. Women suffer from this disease four times more than men. There is an increased risk of the development of varicose vein among young females who wear tight jeans and high-heeled sandals.
What is varicose vein?
Varicose veins are actually abnormal veins lying just beneath the skin of your leg and thigh. These veins are prominently visible, corkscrew like, entangled in one another. It looks as if a number of earthworms or blue-coloured spiders are lying under your leg skin. In these veins, the mechanism of carrying impure blood from the lower limb back to the heart gets deranged either due to effective valves of the vein or the absence of valves by birth. The function of these valves is to control the blood flow in the veins.
Varicose veins cause permanent swelling and heaviness in the feet. Skin of the legs develops black or blue-coloured patches. Thighs and legs, under the skin, develop snake or earthworm-like blue-coloured veins, resulting in the distortion of the shape of the leg and foot. Ultimately, the person is forced to lead a disabled life.
In 40 per cent of the patients, varicose veins are due to hereditary factors and run into families and generations. The other important causative factors are obesity, lack of exercise, abnormal pressure on veins during pregnancy, abnormal life-style, prolonged standing and prolonged sitting with legs down. Due to advanced age, overweight and lack of exercise veins of legs become very weak and, therefore, develop into varicose veins. Due to obesity a lot of fat gets deposited in the leg. This weakens the support system of the veins, resulting into the veins becoming dilated and tortuous.
Today a lot of occupations and professions have sprung up where a person is required to either constantly stand up for a long time or made to sit with legs hanging down for a considerable time. Computer professionals, receptionists, security guards, traffic policemen, salesmen working at counters in shops and departmental stores and persons doing desk jobs day in and day out are the worst sufferers of varicose veins.
Why women are more susceptible to varicose veins?
Among females, due to some hormones, the walls of veins become enlarged and dilated. Besides, during pregnancy because of a lot of pressure on leg veins, these become weak and varicosed.
Fashion is playing havoc among women. High-heeled sandals and tight belts and panties are significant contributors to the development of varicose veins, as these items obstruct the normal flow of blood in the veins.
What to do if you have varicose veins?
In our country people are quite ignorant of this disease. Patients of varicose veins due to ignorance either go to a general surgeon, a general physician or a bone specialist for consultation. When varicose veins get complicated and turn into a varicose ulcer, these patients then go to either a skin specialist or a homoeopath for the treatment of so-called eczema and skin problem. Sometimes a varicose vein condition is misdiagnosed as arthritis or sciatica. If there is the suspicion of a varicose vein problem arises, never make delay in seeking consultation and treatment by a cardiovascular surgeon/vascular surgeon. Timely intervention may prevent further complications.
The writer is Senior Cardiovascular and Thoracic Surgeon, Indraprastha Apollo Hospital, New Delhi.
cancer less likely to be detected in thin women
Breast cancer screening is less effective in thinner women, researchers have found. Cancers were harder to detect in the breasts of lower-weight women who were also more likely to develop cancers between screenings according to a study.
The reason is thought to be that thin women have denser breasts, making if harder to distinguish cancerous lumps.
For this reason mass breast screening of women under 50 is not recommended in the UK. But it has not previously been suggested that thin women had denser breasts, making screening more difficult in this group.
The density of the breast is determined by the amount of connective tissue, which shows up black on a mammogram. Heavier women have more fat in their breasts, which is translucent, making it easier to spot cancerous lungs.
The authors of the study, from the Cancer Research UK Epidemiology Unit at the Radclife Infirmary, Oxford, stressed that breast screening was still worthwhile for thin women. "It is not ineffective in this group, It is just less effective," said Emily Banks, the Deputy Director of the unit and the leader of the research team.
Thin women were at lower risk of breast cancer than fatter women, Dr Banks added. "Even if screening detects fewer cancers in thinner women, the overall protective effect in the two groups of women may not be that different," she said.
The study also found that screening was less effective in women on hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and in those who had had previous breast surgery to remove benign (non-cancerous) lumps or cysts.
The finding on HRT will add to concern about the risks of the therapy.
The new research suggests that HRT makes the cancer harder to detect.
The study published in the British Medical Journal, questioned 122,000 women aged 50 to 64 about personal factors before routine breast screening.
The women, who were part of the Million Women study into the effects of HRT, which reported a year ago, were then monitored for 12 months to examine how the factors influenced the accuracy of screening.
Three factors — use of HRT, previous breast surgery and a body mass index below 25 — that is, normal weight — were found to increase the chances of breast cancer being diagnosed between the three-yearly NHS screenings (suggesting that it had been missed at screening).
Women with these factors were also more likely to be recalled for further tests following screening without having breast cancer.
The seven other factors examined, including age, family history of breast cancer, physical activity, smoking and alcohol consumption, had no significant effect.
Gillian Reeves, an epidemiologist and the co-author of the study, said: "These results highlight how important it is that women remain breast aware between the three-yearly NHS screening intervals." — The Independent
WASHINGTON: A large international study led by a Canadian has linked more than 90 per cent of heart attack cases to nine easy-to-measure risk factors common to essentially every region and every ethnic group in the world, a media report has said.
The study conducted under Salim Yusuf, Director of the Population Health Research Institute at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario (Canada), found that leading risk factors for heart attack were abnormal cholesterol, current smoking, abdominal obesity, depression and stress, high blood pressure and diabetes.
According to the study, preventive factors were eating fruits and vegetables daily, regular exercise and moderate alcohol consumption.
"The risk factors are the same all over the planet," said Jean-Pierre Bassand, President of the European Society of Cardiology. "Political action is desperately needed" in all countries to devise plans geared towards prevention, he said.
The findings, said The Wall Street Journal, add to the evidence of the rising global burden of cardiovascular disease, particularly in developing countries, where it is supplanting infectious diseases as the most important cause of death.
Depression and stress, which were determined from several different questionnaires used in the study of 15,152 patients from 52 countries, accounted for a 2.5-fold risk in a person’s risk of a heart attack. — PTI
The quantity of food eaten during any meal is crucial for proper digestion and balanced nutrition. Acharya Charaka has stated that by paying due attention to the time and quantity, a self-controlled man should take such food as is conducive to his internal power of digestion. Most of us stop eating once we feel satisfied. Yet there are those to whom satisfaction comes much after they feel stuffed.
Usually, we find two types of overeating: one is occasional and the other related to compulsive eaters.
Overeating is the root cause of many health problems. While occasional overeating can result in indigestion, distension, acidity and disturbance in the bowel pattern, it is the compulsive or regular overeating which is the cause for far more serious problems like obesity, diabetes, hypertension and strain on all body systems. Ayurveda says that eating less than one’s capacity is always preferable to eating more, because consistently under-eating can only produce a gradual disturbance concerning the "vata", but overeating certainly plays havoc with the total body physiology by immediately vitiating all the three humors or the "doshas".
Many times habitual or compulsive overeating is attributed to problems having psychological origin like anxiety, depression, isolation and mentally traumatic conditions. Overeating provides temporary relief, but it is more often followed by a feeling of guilt, shame and disgust, thus resulting in rebound depression. With the excessive consumption of food and associated low physical activity, the compulsive overeater always carries an increased health risk.
Citing the importance of self-discipline to overcome the appalling habit of overeating, ayurvedic texts say that one should take food only when the previous meal is digested. Though deciding the appropriate quantity of food is not easy, adopting moderation in eating is considered the best policy, and it is better to stop when you still have some capacity to eat. The quality of food, whether it is light, heavy or fried, coupled with seasonal considerations, also decides the ultimate course of digestion.
For compulsive overeaters, it is better to first redress their basic ailment whether it is psychological or otherwise. One should slow down while eating and should chew each morsel many times. It is seen that people consume more food while chatting or when they are in hurry. Eating snacks between the meals is an impulsive act, and one should keep the right stuff up-front. While partying one should always remember that the total amount of snacks and the main meal should not exceed the whole of what you normally eat a single time.
If we take food in proper quantity there is no pressure on the stomach and in the sides of the chest, and no excessive heaviness in the abdomen. Besides getting relief from hunger and thirst, one feels comfortable while in breathing, standing, sitting or walking. Ayurvedic masters have given a very simple rule: divide the stomach capacity into three parts. One part of it should be filled with solid food, the second part with liquids and the third part should be left empty for body humours to function normally.
The writer is a Ludhiana- based