HEALTH & FITNESS

Beware of BP during pregnancy
Dr Meenal Kumar
H
igh blood pressure is a common condition at every stage of adult life and found in all races. An estimated 5-10 per cent of young women have high blood pressure before pregnancy. It's no different from the high blood pressure that eventually affects most people if they are overweight and inactive.

Chest pain: it may have nothing to do with heart
Dr Ravinder Chadha
C
hest pain is a commonly experienced symptom, and many physicians come across patients with this symptom on a day-to-day basis. Generally, chest pain makes most people apprehensive as it denotes heart involvement for most. On the contrary, chest pain is not always due to heart involvement. Most chest pain cases in the age group 20-40 are due to musculo-skeletal causes.

Ayurveda & you
Some New Year health resolutions 
Dr R. Vatsyayan
M
any people believe that what a person does on the first day of New Year will affect him throughout the year. As most of us plan to take some pledges for the coming year, here are a few resolutions for healthy living:

Health Notes
Childhood skirmishes not just "kid's stuff"

Washington:
The next time your kids get into a fight, don't dismiss it as "kid's stuff", for a new study has found that it can also cause injury or long-term
distress.

 

 

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Beware of BP during pregnancy
Dr Meenal Kumar

High blood pressure is a common condition at every stage of adult life and found in all races. An estimated 5-10 per cent of young women have high blood pressure before pregnancy. It's no different from the high blood pressure that eventually affects most people if they are overweight and inactive.

However, many women are diagnosed with high blood pressure for the first time when they begin care of pregnancy. Another 5 per cent to 8 per cent of women develop high blood pressure during pregnancy. This is known as pregnancy-induced or gestational hypertension. Although it usually goes away after delivery, gestational hypertension may increase the risk of developing chronic high blood pressure in the future.

Sometimes chronic hypertension or gestational hypertension leads to pre-eclampsia, a serious condition characterised by increased blood pressure and protein in the urine - a sign of kidney problems. High blood pressure can decrease blood flow to the placenta, which affects your baby's supply of oxygen and nutrients. This may slow your baby's growth and increase the risk of preterm delivery.

High blood pressure also increases the risk of placental abruption, in which the placenta prematurely separates from the uterus. Rarely, high blood pressure poses life-threatening complications. The condition can affect the life and health of both the baby and the mother.

If your doctor is concerned about your health or your baby's health, early delivery may be needed - either through induction or a Caesarean section.

Any medication you take during pregnancy can affect your baby’s health. Although some medications used to lower blood pressure are considered safe during pregnancy, others are not. Treatment is important, however. The risk of heart attack, stroke and other problems associated with high blood pressure doesn't go away during pregnancy. And high blood pressure can be dangerous for your baby, too.

If you need medication to control your blood pressure, your physician will prescribe the safest medication at the lowest effective dose. Take the medication exactly as prescribed. Don't stop taking the medication or adjust the dose on your own.

What can I do to prevent complications?

Taking good care of yourself is the best way to take care of your baby. Start with a preconception appointment. Your health care provider will evaluate how well you're managing your blood pressure and consider any treatment changes you may need to make before you get pregnant. If you're overweight, your gynaecologist may recommend losing the excess pounds before you try to conceive. During pregnancy, you will see your doctor often.

You may need regular blood and urine tests, as well as routine monitoring of your weight and blood pressure. Your doctor will closely monitor your baby's health as well. Frequent ultrasounds may be used to track your baby's growth and development - particularly during the last trimester. Non-stress tests may be used to evaluate your baby's heart rate. As your pregnancy progresses, you may be asked to keep a daily record of your baby's movements.

  • Keep your prenatal appointments. Get regular check-ups of blood pressure, urine, fundus examination of the eyes, etc.
  • Take your blood pressure medication as prescribed.
  • Eat a healthy diet based on fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Limit the amount of salt in your diet.
  • Take prenatal iron and vitamins.
  • Follow your doctor’s recommendations for exercise and activity.
  • Get plenty of rest.
  • Avoid smoking, alcohol and recreational drugs.
  • Induce labour if you develop pre-eclampsia or other complications.
  • Breast-feed your baby even with high blood pressure
  • Take care of your blood pressure even after delivery

If you develop high blood pressure during pregnancy - even if it goes away after your baby is born - you may have a higher risk of stroke, heart disease and kidney disease later in life.

The writer is a sr gynaecologist and author of several books on health

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Chest pain: it may have nothing to do with heart
Dr Ravinder Chadha

Chest pain is a commonly experienced symptom, and many physicians come across patients with this symptom on a day-to-day basis. Generally, chest pain makes most people apprehensive as it denotes heart involvement for most. On the contrary, chest pain is not always due to heart involvement. Most chest pain cases in the age group 20-40 are due to musculo-skeletal causes.

Cardiac pains are associated with palpitation, shortness of breath, sweating with or without family history of heart disease. Other causes could be acid peptic disease, chest infection, cancer, faulty paradoxical breathing, following coronary artery bypass surgery, etc. History of productive cough suggests pain of respiratory origin while pain relief after antacid medication indicates acid peptic disease.

Chest pain could be from the upper back and is felt around the spine, front or lateral part of the chest while heart ailments cause restrosternal pain, epigastric pain or pain on the inner side of the arm, the neck, etc.

Heart pain is constricting (clenched-fist type) while other pains are dull, aching related to activity and are aggravated on movement.

The pain due to heart involvement increases with exercise, activity, heavy meals, stress, etc, whereas pain due to muscle involvement is aggravated by deep inspiration, coughing or rotation of the trunk.

Musculo-skeletal pain is due to injury or poor posture (e.g. sitting in front of the computer for long periods of time). The associated reason in heart patients is family history, obesity, smoking, dyspnea, sweating, etc.

Anterior chest and breast pain could occur due to the involvement of muscles like pectoralis major/minor. Wrong posture — as in individuals keeping head forward, rounded shoulders pulling the shoulders in forward direction leading to shortening of these muscles. Correction of the posture goes a long way in helping these individuals.

Sometimes intercostal muscle spasm can also cause chest pain. This is due to faulty paradoxical breathing wherein an individual inhales with abdomen in and chest out. In such cases it is advisable to learn diaphragmatic breathing (wherein during inspiration both chest and abdomen should move out and move in with expiration).

Coronary artery bypass surgery has become very common wherein the ribs are separated to undertake the surgery. After surgery most of the patients feel discomfort with respiration or activity. In such cases an appropriate rehabilitation programme, which includes diaphragmatic breathing, stretching and strengthening of the chest muscles should be undertaken.

The following exercises are very important for stretching and strengthening the chest muscles:

Indoor stretch — Standing in the doorway with forearms flat against the door. One foot is placed in front of the other and the forward knee is bent. Shift the body forward in a slow motion, stretching the chest muscles to the point of comfortable tension that is devoid of pain.

Corner stretch — Stand facing a corner with the arms bent, elbows against the wall leaning the entire body forward. A stretch can be felt on the anterior side of the chest.

Wand exercise — While sitting or standing, grasp a wand/rod with elbow bent at 90 degrees. Elevating the shoulders, bring the wand/rod behind the head and shoulders.

Any form of chest pain should be evaluated to rule out the possibility of any form of cardiac pain and then managed accordingly.

The writer is a former doctor/physiotherapist, Indian Cricket Team.

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Ayurveda & you
Some New Year health resolutions 
Dr R. Vatsyayan

Many people believe that what a person does on the first day of New Year will affect him throughout the year. As most of us plan to take some pledges for the coming year, here are a few resolutions for healthy living:

1. According to Ayurveda, diet plays a very important role in the maintenance of health. We should always be careful that our diet must furnish the sufficient level of all nutrients to meet the physiological needs of life. There should be no excess of any nutrient as it may increase the risk of health problems.

2. Our daily meals should contain appropriate wholegrain cereals, fresh vegetables and seasonal fruits. Dietary fibre helps to allay many diseases and is also instrumental in curbing the overall intake of calories. Other principles of healthy diet are avoiding processed and junk foods, limiting the consumption of high fat eatables and increasing the intake of water. Habitual overeating and frequent snacking between the meals are bad for health. Non-vegetarians, too, should reduce the use of red meat.

3. Exercise is another important health recipe and obesity arising out of lack of body work and sedentary lifestyle poses many types of health risk. Depending upon individual cardiovascular status, all of us should choose a reasonable exercise plan, which not only helps in controlling body weight but also increases the energy level.

4. All our physiological functions follow a set pattern and seem to be controlled by a biological clock. Proper daily routine with maximum time utilisation helps achieve high productivity in life. It is better to sensibly divide our time between job and the family, and one must also learn the art of relaxation. Ayurveda views that getting up around dawn and avoiding frequent late night engagements is the basis of a healthy dincharya.

5. Stress has been recognised as a silent killer and its chronic form is counted as the foremost reason for many diseases. Don’t forget that there is no substitute for hard work and badly earned gains may put your mental peace at bay. Identify your potentials and also keep your limitations in mind.

6. Anger, jealousy, frustration and a chronic habit of complaining and criticism are negative emotions and they set a chain reaction of events which ultimately spoil your well-being.

7. Always remember that health is wealth. No material gain and wordly achievement or comfort can compensate the enjoyment of your physical and mental well-being.

The writer is a Ludhiana-based senior ayurvedic consultant.

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Health Notes
Childhood skirmishes not just "kid's stuff"

Washington: The next time your kids get into a fight, don't dismiss it as "kid's stuff", for a new study has found that it can also cause injury or long-term
distress.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of New Hampshire led by David Finkelhor, Director of UNH's Crimes against Children Research Center, who said that though most adults tend to dismiss childhood skirmishes, they should actually be intervening. "Most of us have just assumed when a six-year-old child gets punched by a friend or hit with an object by a sibling, it is far from the same as an adult punching another adult or a teenager another teen. We resist calling it an ‘assault’, and we assume it is less likely to cause injury or long-term distress," he said. — ANI

Gene that doubles breast cancer risk

London: Women with a damaged copy of the gene PALB2, have twice the risk of breast cancer, the Institute of Cancer Research scientists has found. They estimate that faulty PALB2 causes about 100 cases of breast cancer in the UK each year. Two damaged copies of the gene also appear to cause a serious blood disorder in children, they report in Nature Genetics.

It is PALB2's job to repair mutant DNA, so people who have a faulty copy of the gene are more likely to accumulate other genetic damage too, leading to problems like cancer. — ANI

Protein behind fatal brittle bone disease identified

London: US National Institutes of Health researchers claim to having discovered the cause of a fatal form of brittle bone disease, Osteogenesis Imperfecta.

They say that a genetic defect in a protein which helps produce collagen causes a fatal form of the disease.

The most severe forms of the disease may claim children's lives, at or shortly after their birth. People with other forms of the disease can lead a relatively normal life, but have bones that fracture more easily. — ANI

Working mothers harming their kids

London: Former children's laureate Michael Morpurgo has warned that working mothers are harming their kids' long-term development by sending them to a nursery from an early age.

Expressing concern over the fact that half of the mothers with kids under five had jobs outside the home, he said that lack of contact between children and parents was a direct cause of rising levels of mental health problems, sleep disorders and anorexia in youngsters. — ANI

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