HEALTH & FITNESS

Heart disease: advantages of advanced technology
Dr R. P. Sapru

Conventional angiography requires hospitalisation, at least for a day. This is because the material has to be injected directly into the coronary arteries. For this reason a tube (catheter) is passed into one of the arteries in a leg or an arm. Hospital stay is essential to ensure proper healing of this puncture.

Ayurveda & You
Take care of your prostate while ageing
Dr R. Vatsyayan

The prostate is a walnut-size gland found below the urinary bladder of men and the tube through which urine passes out (urethra), travelling right through the middle of it. Fluid in the semen that nourishes the sperm is produced by this gland. As men age, the prostate slowly enlarges, and by growing bigger in size it starts exerting pressure on the urethra, leading to the obstruction in urine flow. This condition, called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is described as ‘ashtheela’ in ayurveda.

EYESIGHT
Life after cataract surgery
Dr Mahipal Sachdev

When the surface of a normal eye’s cornea has a spherical curve, like the shape of a basket ball, light rays passing through it bend towards its centre and focus on one spot. Sometimes, the surface of the cornea is curved unevenly, with both flatter and steeper curves. When the surface of the cornea has an uneven curvature, vision becomes distorted. This common irregularity, called corneal astigmatism, causes blurred or distorted vision because light rays are not focused on one spot to provide clear vision.

Health Notes

  • Vitamin C ‘does not protect against the common cold’

  • Link between spondylitis, inflammatory bowel disease

  • Stem cells may harbour cure for heart attack

  • Ancient fears make people dislike the obese

 

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Heart disease: advantages of advanced technology
Dr R. P. Sapru

Conventional angiography requires hospitalisation, at least for a day. This is because the material has to be injected directly into the coronary arteries. For this reason a tube (catheter) is passed into one of the arteries in a leg or an arm. Hospital stay is essential to ensure proper healing of this puncture.

Recent advances in technology, however, permit reliable visualisation of the coronary arteries without the need for hospitalisation. Although the technology is complex, the procedure itself is completed in just 15 minutes or less with the actual recording time of as little as 5 seconds! This is called coronary CT angiography.

Earlier versions of the technology had raised some reliability controversies, but the latest version of the dual-source with dual-energy CT systems promises enhanced reliability.

No matter what the advances in technology, it is necessary to optimise the use of each of the multiple procedures available for assessment in a given patient. Given the nature of the disease and the need for the life-long surveillance, a focused strategy for each individual has to be planned and optimum results determined for the use of each technology. After all, it makes no sense to do a coronary angiography --- conventional or the CT variety —each time the patient has a symptom, or to undertake any of the procedures casually.

It is necessary to have in place a long-term plan (a life-cycle determination) designed by a suitable physician and to remain under professional supervision for need-based course corrections along the way. Nor should the test be performed on demand, for it often leads to an inefficient use of resources (personal and national) and may expose a person to unwarranted risks. Unfortunately in our country people have a very casual attitude towards their health seeking attention only when significant symptoms appear.

Worse still, with an improvement in symptoms, the whole episode is forgotten. Surprisingly, many patients who may have received expensive treatments like angioplasty or surgery often ignore the need for a careful follow-up as if the disease has been cured. The need for a customised structured surveillance plan for individuals under expert supervision cannot be overemphasised.

The writer is retired Head, Department of Cardiology, PGI, Chandigarh.


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Ayurveda & You
Take care of your prostate while ageing
Dr R. Vatsyayan

The prostate is a walnut-size gland found below the urinary bladder of men and the tube through which urine passes out (urethra), travelling right through the middle of it. Fluid in the semen that nourishes the sperm is produced by this gland. As men age, the prostate slowly enlarges, and by growing bigger in size it starts exerting pressure on the urethra, leading to the obstruction in urine flow. This condition, called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), is described as ‘ashtheela’ in ayurveda.

Debates concerning the risk factors for prostate enlargement continue, but only ageing has been identified with certainty to be its cause. A mild degree of BPH occurs in about 50 per cent of men in their fifties and in about 90 per cent of them when they over 80 years of age. Unlike the prostate cancer , BPH is not a life-threatening disease. However, it affects the quality of life of the patient. Untreated BPH may lead to urine retention and in some cases can cause chronic urinary tract infections and even impotency.

Starting with the need to get up more often at night to urinate, the onset of BPH is gradual. As the gland grows bigger, it starts putting pressure on the urethra and the bladder, and the patient experiences increased urgency to urinate during daytime also. With difficulty in starting the urine flow, the size and strength of its stream decreases. The patient may dribble after finishing, and he is often left with a feeling that the bladder is not completely emptied. In severe cases, a patient has to wait more than the normal time to rearrange himself after he goes to the toilet. More often urinary infections become common in many cases.

Several tests need to be conducted to identify the problem and decide on the best line of treatment. The digital rectal examination gives a general idea of the size and condition of the prostate. An ultrasound examination determines the exact size of the prostate and the amount of post-void urine in the bladder. A blood test for the prostate-specific-antigen (PSA) and in some cases many other advance tests to rule out prostatic malignancy may be required.

Experts believe that unless there are troubling symptoms, an enlarged prostate requires no treatment at all.Though severe cases definitely need surgical intervention, self-care steps like taking a light diet, avoiding constipation and doing light exercise are helpful in most of the cases.

The writer is a Ludhiana-based senior ayurvedic physician.


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EYESIGHT
Life after cataract surgery
Dr Mahipal Sachdev

When the surface of a normal eye’s cornea has a spherical curve, like the shape of a basket ball, light rays passing through it bend towards its centre and focus on one spot. Sometimes, the surface of the cornea is curved unevenly, with both flatter and steeper curves. When the surface of the cornea has an uneven curvature, vision becomes distorted. This common irregularity, called corneal astigmatism, causes blurred or distorted vision because light rays are not focused on one spot to provide clear vision.

Cataract is clouding of the natural lens of the eye — a result of aging. Once formed, the only solution is to go for a cataract surgery. Great advances have been made in cataract surgery. So, millions of people undergo this vision-improving procedure every year and they experience excellent results.

A person who has both cataract and corneal astigmatism will not regain high quality distance vision after surgery to remove the cataract unless astigmatism is also corrected. If you have astigmatism, you will still experience blurred and distorted vision because a traditional monofocal lens cannot correct corneal astigmatism. To achieve quality distance vision with a standard IOL, you may require eye-glasses, contact lenses or further surgery.

Once known as the curse of old age, cataracts can now provide an opportunity for miracle cure for astigmatism. If quality vision is important you now have a better option. The unique design of Toric IOL’s provides significantly improved distance vision and may reduce the need for corrective lenses. Over the years cataract surgery has evolved greatly. The new buzz word is Toric IOL — a new generation of artificial lenses that give you quality distance vision in just one step.

The new lens called “AcrySof Toric” offer cataract sufferers not only improvement in their vision but also an opportunity to throw away their glasses. This means that most of the patients can acquire an ability to see at a distance, free from glasses or bifocals. It is a significant advancement over traditional monofocal lenses.

If you depend on eyeglasses, you may have experienced the inconvenience of not being able to find your glasses when you really need them. Eyeglasses are easily lost or damaged, expensive to replace and inconvenient to clean and maintain. The more active you are, the more eyeglasses interfere with your lifestyle by complicating your participation in daily and recreational activities.

There are several surgical options your surgeon may choose to treat astigmatism such as Lasik, Astigmatic Keratotomy (AK) and Limbal Relaxing Incisions (LRI’s). However, if you are planning to have surgery to remove a cataract, you have an additional option — an implantable lens that makes it possible to treat the cataract and correct the corneal astigmatism at the same time. Your eye doctor will recommend the option that is best for you.

Toric IOLs have been widely used all over the world for cataract cases leading to happy patients. It is now available in India. What seemed impossible few a years back is a possibility today with the recent advances in technology.

The writer is Chairman and Medical Director, Centre for Sight, New Delhi.
Email: msachdev@bol.net.in


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Health Notes
Vitamin C ‘does not protect against the common cold’

London: It is essential for protecting cells and absorbing iron from food but it cannot cure a cold, even when taken in mega-doses. Vitamin C is the most widely promoted supplement against colds and flu, but its protective effect is a myth, according to new research.

A review of 30 studies involving a total of 11,000 people has found no evidence that, for the average person, taking extra Vitamin C can stop sneezes, sniffles and coughs.

The only people who may benefit from swallowing supplements of the vitamin are those who endure extreme physical stress, including soldiers, skiers and marathon runners. — The Independent

Link between spondylitis, inflammatory bowel disease

Washington: A new study has linked inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and ankylosing spondylitis (AS) a form of arthritis on the basis of a common genetic background.

The study has found an increased risk of developing both conditions among relatives through three generations. The study was conducted by a team of researchers led Dr. Bjarni Thjodleifsson at Landspitali University Hospital, Reykjavik. — ANI

Stem cells may harbour cure for heart attack

Washington: A new study is employing stem cells to repair heart attack damages. The study is being conducted by a team of researchers, including Dr Chris Denning and Professor Stephen Hill, at the University of Nottingham.

As part of the study, researchers are developing a new system to monitor cardiomyocytes (cells of heart muscle tissue) in real time as they differentiate from stem cells into beating heart cells. — ANI

Ancient fears make people dislike the obese

London: Overweight people are often bullied and discriminated against because ancient fears that fat humans may be diseased causes their thinner counterparts to dislike them, say scientists.

In a study, reported in the journal Evolution and Human Behaviour, the researchers have found that the mere sight of someone who is overweight can trigger feelings of disgust and nausea similar to encountering rotten food.

Since bacteria and viruses are invisible, human brains have evolved to react to outward signs of disease like rashes and wounds, and these signs also include excessive body fat, suggests the study. — ANI


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