HEALTH & FITNESS

Tooth-care tips for expectant mothers
It is a common belief that women lose at least a tooth during pregnancy as calcium is withdrawn from the teeth for the child’s bones. However, this is a myth. Once calcium is deposited in the teeth, it is never withdrawn under any circumstances.

Managing nasal allergy with homoeopathy
Nasal allergy, hay fever, allergic rhinitis and pollinosis are among the common complaints during this period of the year. The problem at times gets complicated with breathing difficulty and is called hay asthma. The treatment with homoeopathic medicines provides both short-term and long-term cure for nasal allergy.

eYESIGHT
Neither spectacles, nor lenses
When contact lenses made their advent, there was a flurry of doubts and questions in comparison to spectacles which had been around for much longer. Contact lenses, nevertheless, have made their mark successfully and have been the preferred choice of many.

Vitamin D: Best protection against cancer
Boosting levels of vitamin D could cut the incidence of breast cancer by a quarter, bowel cancer by a third and it should be offered to the population as part of a public health drive, scientists say.

Health Notes

n Caffeine may reduce exercise-induced asthma symptoms
n Hearing, voice problems pack double punch on seniors
n Goggle-like device can improve sleep quality in elderly

 

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Tooth-care tips for expectant mothers
Dr H.S. Chawla

It is a common belief that women lose at least a tooth during pregnancy as calcium is withdrawn from the teeth for the child’s bones. However, this is a myth. Once calcium is deposited in the teeth, it is never withdrawn under any circumstances.

What is the basis of this myth?

Once you conceive, morning sickness begins and you feel nauseous. The nausea may not be just in the morning as the name suggests, but can occur at any time of the day in some cases. You feel exhausted after throwing up, and are in no mood to brush your teeth at that time.

This is the first reason for the tooth problem during pregnancy. The vomit is acidic, in keeping with the milieu of the stomach. The acidic vomit erodes the enamel of the tooth. The damage to the tooth each time you throw up is the same that happens to the marble exposed to acid.

Another factor during this period that affects your teeth is that you end up eating more frequently for the sake of the developing embryo which, in fact, is not good for the health of teeth.

The facts about dental diseases

Dental caries: The chances of occurrence of dental cavities increase if you indulge in eating more frequently. It has been seen that people eating more than five times a day get more dental cavities.

The danger is also there when you eat sweet things — food containing sugar, in any form, more than three times a day. This also includes the consumption of fruits and sugar in tea (howsoever little), cough syrup, nimboo pani , etc.

In other words, you should restrict your intake of sweetened drinks and sweet foodstuff to three or fewer times a day.

An important thing to recognise is that if you maintain good oral hygiene and have good teeth, your child will develop fewer dental cavities. This is because with cleaner teeth, you will have lesser disease-producing bacteria in your mouth. Consequently, you are less likely to transmit disease-producing bacteria to your child when you share spoons and other utensils.

You need to take more care of your teeth during pregnancy, as hormonal balance gets disturbed during this period. Because of this, you are more at risk for gum disease. This is called “Pregnancy gingivitis”. It has been seen that if you are meticulous about your brushing and oral hygiene, you are less likely to develop dental disease.

If you have bad gums (periodontal disease), there are more chances of your giving birth to an underweight child.

Pregnancy tumour

Some women develop a growth/lump on the gums. This is known as ‘Pregnancy Tumour’. It is not totally as a result of neglect of oral hygiene. But again it is seen more in women neglecting their oral hygiene.

The removal should be undertaken only if it is terribly bothersome, as this tumour is known to regress on its own after delivery. If excised during pregnancy, the tumour has a tendency to reoccur after excision.

Essential care of teeth

Regular optimum brushing, flossing and inter-dental brushing of your teeth are the key to keep teeth healthy. During pregnancy, you have to make an extra effort and spend more time in the upkeep of your teeth.

You should start with dry-brushing-meaning that you brush your teeth without toothpaste — for about 5 to 7 minutes. This dislodges the bacteria from your teeth. These fall into your mouth and are removed when you spit out. After dry-brushing, you should apply tooth paste, and brush for about a minute.

Next, clean the sides of teeth with floss and interdental brush. Apply tooth paste once again and brush for another half a minute or so.

Remember to restrict the intake of sugary items to only three times a day, and clean your teeth after each vomit. Visit your dentist regularly.

The writer, Head of the Dental Department, The Apollo Clinic, Chandigarh,
is a former Head, Oral Health Sciences Centre, PGI, Chandigarh.
Email: chawlahs @gmail.com.

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Managing nasal allergy with homoeopathy
Dr Vikas Sharma

Nasal allergy, hay fever, allergic rhinitis and pollinosis are among the common complaints during this period of the year. The problem at times gets complicated with breathing difficulty and is called hay asthma. The treatment with homoeopathic medicines provides both short-term and long-term cure for nasal allergy.

The main symptoms of allergic rhinitis are profuse watery discharge from the nose and at times from the eyes; sneezing can range from a few to hundreds per day. Itching in the nose, eyes, roof of the mouth and the throat may also be present.

Difficulty in breathing may be present in some patients. At times mild fever may also be noticed. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis are not life threatening but can seriously affect the quality of one’s life.

Nasal allergy or allergic rhinitis is a consequence of a misdirected defence response from the body. This occurs when the body’s own defence cells, called antibodies, start attacking substances like pollen, wheat thrashing dust, etc.

In other words, the body’s defence cells which are meant to fight micro-organisms like bacterias and viruses start attacking substances like pollens which are otherwise harmless for our body.

This interaction between the defence cells (antibodies) and pollens, etc, results in the production of a substance called histamine, responsible for all the local symptoms produced during allergies.

Homoeopathic medicines work by optimising the overactive immune system. These provide a stimulus (in a highly diluted form) to the body like that of the trigger or allergen leading to the gradual desensitisation of the immune system.

The writer is a Chandigarh-based homoeopath.
Email: vikas@drhomeo.com.

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eYESIGHT
Neither spectacles, nor lenses
Dr Mahipal Sachdev

When contact lenses made their advent, there was a flurry of doubts and questions in comparison to spectacles which had been around for much longer. Contact lenses, nevertheless, have made their mark successfully and have been the preferred choice of many.

With new age technologies becoming the norm of the day, it is becoming easier to accept change. Laser eye treatment or LASIK goes a step further than contact lenses - offering far superior value, comfort, ease and safety.

Take the case of Jas Arora, successful model and actor. He had been advised contact lenses but he never felt comfortable with them. He kept getting recurrent episodes of allergies, redness and watering.

This interfered with his daily hectic schedule and photo-shoots. Added to this was the problem of carrying lens solutions and lens cases every time he went for his outdoor shoots.

The extra care and caution required with wearing and removing lenses was enough to make him irritable and cranky at work. He opted for LASIK, the laser vision correction treatment, and was thrilled to gain complete freedom from glasses and contact lenses.

He was so happy with not only the clarity of vision but also relief from the cumbersome lens solutions and cleaning regimens that he immediately made his wife and sister undergo the LASIK procedure as well. Now the entire family enjoys fresh, clear vision with no redness, no allergies and no contact lens-related problems.

Many studies have found LASIK to be safer than contact lens. A study recently published in the Archives of Ophthalmology, October 2006 edition, by Dr. Dello Russo and Dr. William Mathers, states that, although safe, there are 1 in 2000 chances of visual loss because of infection in contact lens users. Without proper care, contact lenses may cause various eye problems.

A Lancet study showed that people who wear contact lenses daily run the risk of 1 in 100 of developing bacterial keratitis. Bacterial keratitis is an eye infection caused by bacterial invasion and can lead to the loss of vision.

People who abuse contact lenses by wearing them overnight or donot follow standard cleaning regimens are more prone to developing these infections.

Lasik surgery has emerged as the safest and most economical alternative to contact lenses and spectacles. It has consistently provided superior and safer results when used for vision correction.

In a study on 32,000 U.S armed forces members receiving laser surgery, only 1 in 10,000 were at the risk of developing visual deterioration from complications due to LASIK. On the other hand, 1 in 2000 people can develop infections from improper contact lens use that can lead to visual deterioration.

So, think for yourself. Think of freedom from glasses and contact lenses. Freedom from lens solutions and lens cases. Freedom from allergies and irritation. Freedom from redness and watering. Think of fresh clear vision with your naked eyes.

When you opt for Laser surgery, make sure that your surgeon uses the safest and most advanced lasers and utilises sophisticated screening technologies to give you the required level of safety.

The writer is Chairman and Medical Director, Centre for Sight, New Delhi.
Email: drmahipal@gmail.com.


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Vitamin D: Best protection against cancer
Jeremy Laurance

Boosting levels of vitamin D could cut the incidence of breast cancer by a quarter, bowel cancer by a third and it should be offered to the population as part of a public health drive, scientists say.

The finding is based on a review of 2,750 research studies involving vitamin D, sometimes called “bottled sunshine”, which show that taking daily supplements of the vitamin could do more for cancer prevention than a library full of lifestyle advice.

Vitamin D is made by the action of sunlight on the skin but the gloomy weather and long winter in countries north of 30 degrees latitude, such as the UK, means that a large part of the earth’s population is deficient between October and March.

Vitamin D has attracted increasing attention in recent years as its role in preventing cancer and other conditions, including heart disease, diabetes and multiple sclerosis, has been revealed.

The weight of evidence has grown so dramatically that governments around the world are reviewing their recommendations.

The US and Canadian governments have set up a taskforce on vitamin D, and the Scottish government is taking expert advice. The pressure is now on the Department of Health in England to respond.

Scotland’s chief medical officer, Harry Burns, attended a conference last November convened by the Scottish government at which international experts recommended randomised trials be established in the wake of strong evidence that increased intake could improve health.

High rates of heart disease, cancer and multiple sclerosis in Scotland have been blamed on weak sunlight and short summers. Some experts believe the benefits of the Mediterranean diet have as much to do with the sun as with the regional food.

However, too much sun exposure leading to sunburn is damaging to the skin and a cause of malignant melanoma, one of the most rapidly growing – and deadly – cancers. Figures published this month show cases of melanoma have topped 10,000 annually for the first time.

Scientists at the University of Edinburgh have been awarded a £225,000 grant to investigate the link between low levels of vitamin D in Scotland and bowel cancer.

The US and Canadian government taskforce is examining whether the current recommendation for people to achieve a blood level of vitamin D equivalent to taking 200-600 international units (IU) a day, depending on their age, should be increased. The recommended level was set in 1997 and is based on what was necessary for bone health, not cancer prevention.

The same level is recommended in the UK, where official policy is that sun exposure and diet (oily fish and eggs contain vitamin D) are sufficient to achieve it, without supplements, for most adults. But an increasing body of cancer and other medical experts say a healthy intake of vitamin D should be five to 10 times higher.

Writing in the Annals of Epidemiology, Professor Cedric Garland and colleagues from the University of California, San Diego, say if everyone took 2,000 IUs of vitamin D a day, the current maximum recommended in Canada, it would save an estimated 200,000 cases of breast cancer and 250,000 cases of bowel cancer worldwide.
— The Independent


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Health Notes
Caffeine may reduce exercise-induced asthma symptoms

Washington: Intake of caffeine within an hour of exercise can reduce the symptoms of exercise-induced asthma (EIA), according to a study.

In the study, researchers at the Indiana University found that a large dose — 9 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight — was as effective as the use of an albuterol inhaler, which is commonly used to treat or prevent exercise-induced asthma.

Smaller amounts of caffeine — for example, 3 and 6 milligrams of caffeine per kilogram of body weight — also reduced the wheezing, coughing and other symptoms of EIA.

Timothy Mickleborough, an associate professor in the Department of Kinesiology and co-author of the study, said no additional benefit was found when caffeine was combined with an albuterol inhaler. — ANI

Hearing, voice problems pack double punch on seniors

Washington: Hearing and vocal problems together pack a devastating punch on older adults’ communication skills and overall well-being, says a new study.

The study, by researchers at Duke University Medical Center, has been presented at the American Laryngological, Rhinological and Otological Society, (aka the Triological Society) in Phoenix, Cohen.

“It’s important to realise these disabilities often occur concurrently,” said Seth Cohen, MD, an otolaryngologist at the Duke Voice Care Center.

“And when they do, they can increase the likelihood of depression and social isolation,” he added. — ANI

Goggle-like device can improve sleep quality in elderly

Washington: Scientists from the Lighting Research Centre (LRC) have developed a goggle-like device designed to deliver blue light directly to the eyes to improve sleep quality in older adults suffering from chronic sleep disturbances.

Sleep disturbances increase with age. Researchers have long believed that the sleep disturbances common among the elderly often result from a disruption of the body’s circadian rhythms — biological cycles that repeat approximately every 24 hours.

It has been shown that blue light is most effective at stimulating the circadian system when combined with the appropriate light intensity, spatial distribution, timing and duration. — ANI

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