HEALTH & FITNESS

Gallstones may also mean cancer
Dr G. R. Verma
T
HE gall bladder is a small elastic pouch attached to the under-surface of the liver. It stores and concentrates the bile secreted from the liver and later discharges it into the small intestine via the bile duct. The gall bladder, the liver and bile ducts constitute the biliary system.

Homoeopathy & you
Beware of frequent sneezing
Dr Vikas Sharma

A
RE you sneezing dozens of times in a day? Is your nose dripping like a water-tap? Are you getting itchy and watery eyes, and all of this has been there for the last few days or weeks? If yes, then it is probably due to the fact that you are suffering from seasonal allergic rhinitis or autumn allergy. This kind of upper respiratory allergy develops due to the increased presence of allergens (allergy-causing substances like pollens) in the environment during the period from September to early November. An extension of this kind of allergy occurs in April and May.

How to relax your back
Dr Ravinder Chadha

L
ow-back
pain could be caused due to various factors. The most common causes for back stiffness may be prolonged periods of sitting, a wrong posture, sudden forward bending, etc. Posture-related back problems have become exceedingly common in this computer-TV era. With the click of a button, one keeps doing a number of jobs leading to a sedentary lifestyle.

Health Notes

  • Eating tomatoes, fish may help prevent prostate cancer

  • Take siesta to reduce your blood pressure

  • Why some people are allergic to fish, milk

 

Top











Gallstones may also mean cancer
Dr G. R. Verma

THE gall bladder is a small elastic pouch attached to the under-surface of the liver. It stores and concentrates the bile secreted from the liver and later discharges it into the small intestine via the bile duct. The gall bladder, the liver and bile ducts constitute the biliary system.

Up to 6 per cent of our population develops gallstones and one-fifth of these produce symptoms. Gallstones are five times more common in women than men, and are much more prevalent in multiparous than nulliparous women. In our country, most of the patients tend to ignore the symptoms, and even after the diagnosis of gallstones is confirmed on ultrasonography, they tend to avoid surgery and report late to doctors. As a result, they develop complications like jaundice, infection, swelling of pancreas and even gallbladder cancer (GBC).

The gallstones that do not produce symptoms are generally considered innocent. The traditional recommendation for them is expectant observation. However, there is evidence that the risk of GBC increases with prolong exposure of gallstones into the gall bladder. Considering the increasing life expectancy in India and gallstones frequently occurring in younger patients, it is expected that the stones shall remain in the gall bladder for a longer period.

India has the highest incidence of gall bladder cancer in the world. The incidence is very high in the North (Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, UP, Bihar, J & K and Himachal Pradesh). Although the precise cause of GBC is unknown, the presence of gallstones is considered an important risk factor for gallbladder cancer and the epidemiological characteristics of these two diseases is closely linked. Evidence in favour of a link between these diseases is quite substantial. Gallstones are found in 65-90 per cent of the patients with gallbladder cancer. The frequencies of gallstones and gall bladder cancer run in parallel in a defined population and the risk of developing gall bladder cancer increases in direct proportion to the gallstone size. The risk is two and half times if the stones size is 2·0-2·9 cm in diameter, but increases to 10 times if the stones are larger than 3 cm in diameter.

Abdominal pain, jaundice (the skin turning yellow), itching , weight loss, decreasing appetite, fever, nausea or an enlarging abdominal mass are all signs of gall bladder cancer. However, since these signs are also associated with non-cancerous diseases, the diagnosis of GBC is often delayed.

Treatment options for GBC after the onset of symptoms are unsatisfactory and the cure rate is dismal worldwide. Pain relief and the restoration of normal bile flow from the liver into the intestines are the principal goals of therapy.

Patients should not ignore early warning signs of gallstone disease --- sour eructations, fullness after meal, pain in the upper abdomen and jaundice. They should get the ultrasound done to confirm the diagnosis and undergo early laparoscopic cholecystectomy. An asymptomatic stone can prove to be a silent killer.

Considering a high incidence of GBC in North India, and the increasing life expectancy among women, the risk of keeping young healthy women with asymptomatic stones under observation for the development of symptoms outweighs the risk of laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The author on some occasions has seen patients who were advised observation for asymptomatic gallstones and they were later diagnosed with advanced GBC.

Considering the magnitude, it may be impossible to treat all patients with asymptomatic gallstones in India. However, this should not prevent us from offering “Pre-emptive laparoscopic cholecystectomy” in those patients where gall stones are incidentally detected during investigation for some other disease.

With the advent of laparoscopic surgery, treatment of gallstones has been simplified to an extent that the admission in the hospital is not mandatory and surgery can be safely performed on an outpatient basis. In the last 17 years surgeons have become quite proficient in performing laparoscopic cholecystectomy so much so that major complications related to this surgery should be a rare occurrence in expert hands at a high-volume centre.

The writer is a professor of surgery at the PGI, Chandigarh.

Top

Homoeopathy & you
Beware of frequent sneezing
Dr Vikas Sharma

ARE you sneezing dozens of times in a day? Is your nose dripping like a water-tap? Are you getting itchy and watery eyes, and all of this has been there for the last few days or weeks? If yes, then it is probably due to the fact that you are suffering from seasonal allergic rhinitis or autumn allergy. This kind of upper respiratory allergy develops due to the increased presence of allergens (allergy-causing substances like pollens) in the environment during the period from September to early November. An extension of this kind of allergy occurs in April and May. Although the tendency to develop allergy lies in the body itself (all allergies have a strong genetic angle linked to them), seasonal allergies develop either due to pollens or as a reaction to mold spores .

A very promising way of treating this allergy is the use of homeopathic medicines. Homoeopathic drugs not only give relief, they also help in eliminating the disease from the body. Although homoeopathic treatment at times can be slightly lengthy, it gives a very lasting cure and does not produce any side-effect like drowsiness and sleepiness.

The main symptoms produced by seasonal allergy are having a constant runny nose which at times drips with a continuous water like discharge, watery and itchy eyes, frequent sneezing, itching in the nose roof of the mouth, etc. Some patients complain of a crawling sensation in the nose. At times cough, pain and pressure in the face may also be present.

The unpredictable timing of the symptoms is a very troublesome part of this disease. Sneezing can start anytime. The patient may have to wake up in the middle of the night due to sudden sneezing and dripping. Early morning attacks of sneezing are a common feature of this allergy. Fatigue may also be present in some patients A great way to get rid of this kind of allergy is to use homoeopathic medicines. Self-medication can never be recommend, but brief knowledge about how homoeopathy and its medicines work will help you in getting yourself treated quickly.

In allergies, it is our body’s own defense system that starts to overreact to substances like pollens, dust particles, fumes, etc, which are otherwise harmless to the body. The reaction between the defense cells and the substances like pollens leads to the production of a chemical called histamine which is responsible for the emergence of the symptoms that are produced in allergy.

Homoeopathic medicines work by inducing a similar reaction in the body at a very low grade; this leads to a gradual desensitisation of the defense system. Many homoeopathic medicines used in this process are made from substances or plants that are known to produce such allergies. The most common example is of a plant called ragweed, which is a common culprit in allergic rhinitis. Homoeopathic medicine Ambrosia is made from this plant.

The writer is a Chandigarh-based homoeopath.

Top

How to relax your back
Dr Ravinder Chadha

Low-back pain could be caused due to various factors. The most common causes for back stiffness may be prolonged periods of sitting, a wrong posture, sudden forward bending, etc. Posture-related back problems have become exceedingly common in this computer-TV era. With the click of a button, one keeps doing a number of jobs leading to a sedentary lifestyle.

This gives rise to a lot of problems. Pain and stiffness could lead to disability and limitation of day-to-day activities. Pain is usually more intense when sitting/ standing as compared to when lying down (due to a decrease in the pressure). The range of motion is diminished and difficulty experienced during walking and bending.

Treatment in an acute stage is aimed at pain relief. Whenever one suffers from sudden low-back pain the treatment given includes medicines and bed rest. There is however, a strong evidence to prove that spinal manipulation and exercises are more effective as compared to analgesics, bed rest, etc. The following exercises, if performed quickly, could bring relief with immediate effect.

* Standing: Hold some bar or an object with both hands with the feet near the wall. Lean back to relax the back.

* In the standing position, hold some bar or an object with both hands. Place the ankle of one leg on the knee of the other leg. With a straight back, bend downwards and feel the stretch at the lower back.

* Sitting: Move both arms towards one side to hold the chair, stay for a count of five. Then move towards the other side.

*Both knees to chest--- lying on the back with bent knees and keeping the feet flat on the floor. Pull both knees towards the chest. Hold for 5-10 seconds. Slowly return to the starting position.

* Side-stretch--Lying on the back, place the right knee on the left knee bent at the 90 degree. With the left hand pull the right knee downwards with the face moving towards the other side. A stretch shall be felt at the lower back. Repeat at the other side.

* Dog stretch- Start on your hands and knees like a four-legged animal position. Move back on the heels and stretch your arms in front as far as possible. Stay for five seconds and return.

Apart from the above exercises, pain can be decreased by the following methods:

* Manipulation if undertaken correctly can bring about instant relief.

* In order to provide rest to the back, Lumbar support is recommended.

* Ice could be applied for the first 24 hours followed by hot fomentation.

* In cases of severe agonising pain, bed rest is recommended. Activities aggravating pain like manual labour, prolonged sitting and driving should be avoided.

The above mentioned exercises/treatment if undertaken effectively can markedly minimise the low-back pain and stiffness. Consult a doctor if pain or stiffness persists.

The writer is a former doctor/physiotherapist, Indian cricket team.

Top

Health Notes
Eating tomatoes, fish may help prevent prostate cancer

Washington: Eating common foods like tomatoes and fish, maintaining healthy weight, and avoiding meats cooked at high temperatures may help prevent prostate cancer, and help men already diagnosed with the disease live healthier and longer, say experts.

Dr Meir Stampfer, Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health, insists that various studies and newer technologies being used in gene research have supported the suggestion that nutrition choices may be liked to prostate cancer.

“There are strong indicators in our research that diet and lifestyle are very important with this particular form of cancer,” he said “When we look at men from other cultures like in Asia, the rates of prostate cancer are significantly lower than in the US. Yet when these same men move here, within one generation, the rates increase very rapidly. We believe there is a clear correlation to how we live and eat,” he added. — ANI

Take siesta to reduce your blood pressure

Washington: A new study has found that expecting an afternoon nap could reduce blood pressure, consequently cutting down the risk of heart attacks.

Researchers at the Liverpool John Moores University in Liverpool, UK, have discovered that the time just before one falls asleep in the afternoon is the most beneficial in reducing blood pressure and lessening the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Afternoon naps or siestas are typically short naps or rest periods of no more than an hour that are taken in the afternoon. While earlier studies on siestas have found that this practice may slightly increase the risk of heart attack, the new study has shown an inverse relationship between siesta taking and fatal heart attacks.

According to the researchers, change in blood pressure is the key factor linking afternoon naps to cardiovascular function. Some researchers hypothesize that the lower blood pressure reduces strain on the heart and decreases the risk of a fatal heart attack. — ANI

Why some people are allergic to fish, milk

Washington: The equivalence of an animal food protein to a human protein decides whether it can cause allergy, according to new research by scientists from the Institute of Food Research in Norwich and the Medical University of Vienna.

So far, all proteins have been believed to have the potential to become allergens, but the study found that the ability of animal food proteins to act as allergens depends on their evolutionary distance from a human equivalent.

“This explains why people who are allergic to cow’s milk can often tolerate mare’s milk but not goat’s milk”, Dr Clare Mills of the Institute of Food Research said. — ANI


HOME PAGE

Top