|HEALTH & FITNESS|
Understanding dry eye
exercises do help, but how and when
dry eye syndrome
The dry eye syndrome is a chronic insufficiency of moisture in the eye. Its consequences range from subtle but constant irritation to severe disturbance in day-to-day activity.
Its symptoms may include the following:
*A stinging, burning or scratchy sensation in your eyes.
*A sense of a sand grain in your eyes.
*Strings of mucus in or around your eyes.
*Eye fatigue after short periods of reading.
*Feel better with eyes closed.
The dry eye syndrome has several causes. For some people the cause is an imbalance in the composition of their tears. In others its insufficient tears to keep the eyes comfortably lubricated. Medications and environmental factors can also lead to dry eyes.
The common causes include:
1. Living in a dry, dusty or windy climate.
2. As a part of the natural aging process, especially during menopause.
3. As a side-effect of many medications such as antihistamines, antidepressants, certain blood pressure medicines and birth control pills.
4. Insufficient blinking such as when you’re staring at a computer screen all day.
5. Dry eyes are also a symptom of systemic diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, rosacea or Sjogren’s syndrome.
6. Long-term contact lens wear is another cause.
7. Certain conditions may cause eyes to feel dry and scratchy, like in blepharitis, an inflammation along the edge of the eyelids.
For most people who have dry eyes, it’s a chronic condition. The goal of treatment is to make the symptoms as less as possible.
Effective treatment begins with a careful examination to determine which factors may be causing your symptoms. The goal of treatment is to keep your eyes moist. This can be done in a couple of ways:
Artificial tears: These are lubricating eye drops that may reduce the dry, scratching feeling.
Preserving tears: This can be done by partially or completely closing the tear ducts, which normally serve to drain tears away. The closure conserves both your own tears and artificial tears you may have added.
Medications: Dry eyes caused by problems with the meibomian glands and blepharitis generally respond to specific treatment for the same.
Simple care at home can make these patients feel better. So,
*Avoid direct air currents. Don’t direct hair dryers, car heaters, airconditioners or fans toward your eyes.
*Wear protective glasses while going out.
*Use home humidifiers. In winter, a humidifier can add moisture to dry indoor air. Some people use specially designed glasses that form a moisture chamber around the eye, creating additional humidity.
*Remember to blink. While working on computers, consciously blink. It helps spread your own tears more evenly.
*Avoid rubbing your eyes.
*Cold compresses give soothing feeling to the patient with dry eyes.
exercises do help, but how and when
It has been rightly perceived that the present century is the century of mental stress. Stress has always been an integral part of human being. Now it has changed its form and expression. Factors like competitive lifestyle, growing mass consumerism, relationship problems, rapidly changing moral values, time pressure, role conflicts, break-up of families, violent crimes, mixing of cultures, feelings of insecurity, uncertainty and inadequacy are interplaying to induce a feeling of tension and distress in every section of society. Mental stress is also responsible for innumerable mental and physical problems. When we are under stress our body’s autonomic system gets affected which manifests in the form increase in the heart rate, muscle tone, the respiratory rate and sweating and a decrease in the blood flow to peripheral organs. Certain scientific techniques of mental relaxation can reverse these effects.
Under stress our mental activity affects the body muscles, making them tense. By releasing this tension in muscles the state of mind can be changed to compose one. Under this technique one has to be tense and loose the muscles in a sequential fashion. Usually it takes four-five sessions to learn from a trained person and approximate time taken is 40 -50 minutes.
In this technique an individual is made aware of the body’s autonomic processes like the heart rate, skin temperature, sweating, gut motility, etc, with the help of electronic machines. These activities otherwise do not reach our consciousness.
A few of the breathing exercises have been found effective scientifically. Under stressful situations our breathing becomes fast and more of chest muscles are used. In these exercises, the emphasis is on learning "slow abdominal breathing" which is a normal pattern of respiration in a mentally relaxed person.
The definitive physiological responses noted during the meditative state of mind are decreased oxygen consumption, decreases heart rate and respiration rate and the slowing of brain waves. Practiced on a regular basis, it can help in enhancing mental discipline, the feeling of well-being, better attention and concentration. The technique has four main components:
*Sitting in a quite and comfortable environment.
*Muscle relaxation with closed eyes and maintaining natural breathing rhythm
*Passive attitude to mental distraction and worries
*Using neutral focal means to engage the attention; usually the silent repetition of the words like Om-Om or one-one.
Meditation is not advisable for severely anxious and too much distressed persons. They can choose some other techniques for relaxation. One should avoid doing an excess of meditation. A session of 15-20 minutes once or twice a day is sufficient.
This is a method of self-suggestion in which the person focuses on a specific body area and thinks of certain phrases like "my forehead is getting cool", "my heart is beating in a rhythm", etc. The technique is useful in those who have good ability to imagine.
Other methods like visualisation and hypnosis have also been found effective in certain people. There are a number of techniques to relax the mind, but the important point is when, how and where to use them? The best is to consult a psychiatrist or a clinical psychologist, who after assessment can select the most suitable method of relaxation for you. After proper training one must practice them on regular basis to reap the maximum benefits.
Relaxation methods should be avoided by those who are suffering from agitated depression, severe anxiety, seizure disorders, schizophrenia and other forms of psychosis. In these conditions, proper consultation must be sought from experts, before taking up any of the relaxation exercises.
NOTE: For busting mental stress, the relaxation techniques constitute only one of the methods. There are a number of other means like counselling, time management, lifestyle modification, emotional ventilation and physical exercises for this purpose, which can also be very helpful.
Meditation for arthritis patients
Washington: Meditation which has proved to be a great stress buster can also reduce some symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, according to researchers at the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore.
The study of the therapeutic properties of meditation has revealed its association with reduced cardiovascular risk factors, decreased psychological distress and improved sleep patterns.
Support for this approach has grown, thanks to research suggesting that programmes like the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), which incorporates meditation, yoga and relaxation exercises, may lead to these beneficial results.
To more definitively assess the effect of MBSR in reducing psychological distress and rheumatoid arthritis disease activity, researchers conducted a study among 63 predominantly female rheumatoid arthritis patients. — ANI
Standard BP test may be misleading
Washington: In a major research, scientists have revealed that the drugs administered to help reduce blood pressure measured in the arm have different effects on the circulation near the heart.
"This study demonstrates for the first time in a large clinical outcomes trial that blood pressure-lowering drugs have profoundly different effects on central aortic pressures and hemodynamics, despite a similar impact on brachial (arm) blood pressure," Bryan Williams, professor of medicine in the department of cardiovascular sciences at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom, was quoted as saying.
"The results of this study are
clear-cut, dramatic and potentially very important. It also may
explain why certain types of hypertension treatment might be more
effective than others," he added. — ANI
Amla belongs to the category of the herbs which, apart from being used as a valuable medicine, are more famous for their rejuvenating and revitalising effect on the human body.
Ayurveda describes amla as a cooling, astringent, carminative, digestive, laxative, stomachic and aphrodisiac medicine. It also has anti-pyretic, anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties. Due to its wide range of effect on human body, the use of amla has been indicated in a number of conditions which include chest diseases such as cough, asthma and bronchitis, digestive ailments like dyspepsia, hyperacidity and ulcers and other disorders similar to anaemia, jaundice, diabetes, hemorrhagic conditions, gynaecological afflictions, eye diseases and allergic and skin problems.
From the nutritional point of view, amla is known to have the highest natural concentration of Vitamin C. Modern health scientists attribute many of its health benefits to this factor and every 100 gm edible amla fruit contains nearly 500 mg of Vitamin C. Its mineral and other contents include calcium, phosphorous, iron, carotene, carbohydrate and B. Vitamins. When these compounds are ingested, Vitamin C is released into the body due to an inherent mechanism. The role of this vitamin as a potent anti oxidant has been well documented.
Amla is primarily used as a "rasayan" to promote positive health. Ayurveda defines rasayan as a medicine or a therapy, which not only assuages disease but also helps keep away the manifestations of premature aging. Studies conducted by reputed scientific institutions showed that besides offering protection against physical, chemical and biological stressers, amla strengthens the defence mechanism against free radical induced damage during stress. Dietary supplementation with amla was also found conferring significant protection against various digestive impurities.
Apart from being used as an important ingredient of the classic formulations like triphala churna, Brahma rasayana and the legendary Chyavanprash, ayurvedic texts are replete with references where the learned masters have immensely valued the restorative properties of amla. In fact, this simple looking fruit has been perceived as a foremost herb among all the anti-aging agents.
Since the usage of many of the classic ayurvedic formulations needs to be monitored by a physician, normal use of amla in our day-to-day life safely lends all its therapeutic benefits. Dry amla is readily available with the grossary shop. Mixed with a little sugar or honey, one to two gm of its crushed powder can be taken twice a day for months together. Diabetics should take it without any additive.
— The writer is a Ludhiana-based senior ayurvedic physician.