HEALTH & FITNESS

BP: myth and reality
Hypertension, popularly known as blood pressure, is going to have the highest incidence in India among all countries in the world by 2020. Here are some of the myths and facts about the disease.

Teeth affect a child’s personality
The overall appearance and alignment of teeth affect the looks of your child. Many children do not voice their feeling about their misaligned and ugly-looking teeth, but it certainly affects their psyche and personality.

Never ignore your feet
Feet, although the most important part of the body, are often the most neglected too. While working out also, the upper body is usually in the focus in order to look muscular. As feet are designed to provide body balance and strength while walking/ running even over uneven surfaces, they should be well looked after and cared for. Neglecting the feet could often land an individual in a doctor’s clinic with foot pain.

Health Notes
Green tea can help fight prostate cancer

WASHINGTON: Active compounds in green tea can affect the progression of prostate cancer, a new study has found.

  • Clean mouth can help preserve memory

  • Avoid pressure to shed baby flab

 

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BP: myth and reality
Dr Atul Mahajan

Hypertension, popularly known as blood pressure, is going to have the highest incidence in India among all countries in the world by 2020. Here are some of the myths and facts about the disease.

Myth: If there is high BP there should be some symptoms like headache and giddiness. If there is no obesity and one is a non-smoker and vegetarian, high BP cannot occur.

Fact: Not correct. At least 90 per cent of high BP patients do not have any symptoms. It is usually discovered accidentally in a routine check-up or before any operation. There is no single cause for high BP as it is the result of many factors, including heredity, age, obesity, stressful life, disease of the kidney or endocrine organs, etc.

Myth: If there are no symptoms one should not take medicines.

Fact: Not correct. Even if there are no symptoms one has to take treatment as the complications over a period of time are very serious, e.g. stroke (paralysis), heart attack, retinopathy (leading to blindness), nephropathy (leading to kidney failure).

Myth: When the blood pressure becomes normal with medication one can stop the medicine.

Fact: Not true. Stopping the medications may lead to rise in the blood pressure again. This will lead to fluctuations in the blood pressure, which is far more injurious to health than sustained high BP. It is important to maintain normal blood pressure with the use of medications on a regular basis as the disease is usually life long.

Myth: Once medicines are started for high BP one becomes addicted and has to take it for one’s lifetime.

Fact: Only 20-30 per cent of high BP patients (especially mild ones) can be controlled or even “cured” with life style modification only (especially quitting smoking, reducing salt in the diet, reducing body weight, regular exercise, and also by relaxation methods like yoga, meditation, pranayama etc.) The rest of high BP patients required medicines for the whole life, not because the medicines are addictive but they are required for keeping the BP under optimal control.

Myth: In the long run BP medicines are expensive and, therefore, it is not possible to take such expensive treatment lifelong.

Fact: Not all BP medicines are expensive. There are a variety of BP medicines, some of which are relatively inexpensive.

Myth: A “normal” systolic blood pressure equals 100 plus your age. At old age high BP is usually normal and should not be treated.

Fact: Not correct at all! Hypertension is not a natural part of growing older. If it were, every old person would have hypertension. It has been found out by studies that even in old age high BP, especially the upper reading (systolic), is as harmful or even more so than high BP in the young. For many, blood pressure below 140/90 mm Hg represents an appropriate treatment goal today.

Myth: If blood pressure is high, the cholesterol level will also be high.

Fact: Such a conception is baseless. Sometimes, it is true with some individuals, but this is not always the case.

The writer is a consultant physician at Indus Hospital, Mohali.

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Teeth affect a child’s personality
Dr H.S. Chawla

The overall appearance and alignment of teeth affect the looks of your child. Many children do not voice their feeling about their misaligned and ugly-looking teeth, but it certainly affects their psyche and personality.

It is worthwhile to be aware of various dental problems that can psychologically hit children, and also know remedial options so that the confidence and personality of your child are not affected.

Broken down, discoloured or eaten-up front teeth

Broken down front teeth are usually a result of trauma. A majority of these breakages can be repaired with a composite, filling material that can be made to match the colour of any tooth with long-lasting cosmetic results.

Discoloration of teeth may be due to the deadening of nerves of the tooth following trauma. In that case, root canal treatment is required, and later on the discoloration can be treated by bleaching.

Discoloration of teeth can also result from excessive fluoride in the drinking water or intake of tetracycline during the formative stages of the teeth, or excessive exposure to tea. All these stains can be bleached and the teeth restored to normal colour. Carious (or eaten up) front teeth appear brown or black. They can be easily treated, and then filled with tooth-coloured material.

Big-sized front teeth cutting into the mouth

When the upper permanent incisors cut into the mouth of a child, these have already attained their full size and shape. However, the face is still to grow to its adult dimensions. The adult-sized teeth look disproportionally big on the small face of a growing child. The over-sized looking teeth, at the age of eight to nine years, are perturbing and this is a universal complaint of children and their parents alike.

This discrepancy in the tooth/face size does not need treatment because the face will grow with the passage of time. The oversized teeth of the child would look proportionate in the adult.

Smaller front teeth compared to the size of the face

A child at times may have small front teeth, which are equally worrisome to the child as well as to the parents. Treatment options are available to enlarge the individual size of the teeth to normal size by the addition of tooth-coloured materials affixed to the small teeth. The presence of conical incisors can pose similar problems, which can again be made to look like normal teeth. Here the dentist contours it with the addition of a composite material and changes the shape.

Pronounced chin or depressed upper jaw

Some children may have overly pronounced chin or a depressed upper jaw. If treatment is sought at an early age, the problem can be sorted out with orthodontic means. Some of these developing anomalies can even be prevented with help of different interceptive appliances at early stages of development.

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

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Never ignore your feet
Dr Ravinder Chadha

Feet, although the most important part of the body, are often the most neglected too. While working out also, the upper body is usually in the focus in order to look muscular. As feet are designed to provide body balance and strength while walking/ running even over uneven surfaces, they should be well looked after and cared for. Neglecting the feet could often land an individual in a doctor’s clinic with foot pain.

The shape of the foot should be closely watched/ observed in early life in order to prevent various deformities/disabilities. The feet could be normal, flat or high arched. Flat or high-arched feet are biomechanically problematic. Flat feet have a higher surface area, being in contact with the ground while walking.

Normal walking entails the feet moving outwards and inwards. Inward movement (pronation) facilitates shock absorption. When one of the foot-arches flattens, the inner side of the ankle tends to move closer to the ground. The end result is the hip rotating downward and backward, causing shortening of the leg during walking and running. Individuals suffering from flat feet tend to walk by rotating the lower limb outwards leading to pain at the ankles, the knee and the back.

The outer portion of the heel of the shoes in such individuals becomes worn out. A minor problem like flat feet gets magnified over time, resulting in major disabilities, if ignored.

The feet problem could be corrected effectively till the age of 12 years after which the bones start ossifying. After the age of 12 years shoe modification and exercises are the only options available.

Older people, particularly females, suffering from osteoporosis are vulnerable to foot deformities if not regular with physical exercises for the muscles supporting the joints.

Common foot problems caused due to foot misalignment are:

l Pain under heel experienced early morning while getting out of the bed or after prolonged of rest is due to plantar fascitis.

l Achilles tendonitis is an extremely painful and debilitating condition. Individuals suffer agonising pain in the back of the heel in the morning or after an exercise session.

l Bunions (hallux-valgus): There is displacement of great toe towards the other toes. This is more prevalent in females afflicted by osteoporosis, those wearing high-heeled and narrow-toed shoes. It is advisable to wear appropriate shoes that conform to the shape of foot and do not cause pressure points.

l Flat feet, knock knees/bow leg can cause injuries, gait abnormalities, etc.

Treatment

The mainstay is the correction of the defect of the feet with orthotics and strengthening the muscles controlling the foot functioning.

Ensuring that appropriate shoes with good support and cushion are worn at all times. Shoes should be discarded when worn out. It is advisable for people above 60 years to wear sports shoes throughout the day which not only absorb the shock but also help avoid many foot problems.

Orthotics (devices used to control abnormal foot function) can alleviate pain by supporting ligaments and the bones of the feet. Medial arch and heel wedges can rectify the biomechanical defect of the foot, thereby relieving pain. Putting in an arch support alone does not suffice if the underlying cause of poor biomechanics is not treated. Otherwise, one may suffer from arthritic changes in the feet, heel, shin, calf, knee, hip or back causing pain.

EXERCISES

l Towel curls — Placing a small towel on the floor and curling it by using the toes.

l Big toe pulls — placing a thick rubber band around both big toes and pull the big toes away from each other repeating 10 times.

l Picking up marbles.

l Massage — Golf ball / rolling pin on tender points.

Parent’s negligence and illiteracy regarding foot deformities can make children suffer from many problems of foot, knee, hip and low back pain. Therefore, every individual should check his/her feet and shoes regularly.

The writer runs a pain management clinic in Chandigarh. E-mail-chadha_r2003@yahoo.co.in

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Health Notes
Green tea can help fight prostate cancer

WASHINGTON: Active compounds in green tea can affect the progression of prostate cancer, a new study has found.

As per the results of a study published in Cancer Prevention Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research, men with prostate cancer who consumed the active compounds in green tea demonstrated a significant reduction in serum markers predictive of prostate cancer progression.

“The investigational agent used in the trial, Polyphenon E (provided by Polyphenon Pharma), may have the potential to lower the incidence and slow the progression of prostate cancer,” said James A. Cardelli, professor and director of basic and translational research in the Feist-Weiller Cancer Center, LSU Health Sciences Center-Shreveport. — ANI

Clean mouth can help preserve memory

WASHINGTON: Keeping your teeth brushed and flossed can help preserve memory, say researchers. The study at West Virginia University has found a link between gum disease and memory loss.

“Older people might want to know there’s more reason to keep their mouths clean — to brush and floss — than ever,” said Richard Crout, an expert on gum disease and associate dean for research in the WVU School of Dentistry.

“You’ll not only be more likely to keep your teeth, but you’ll also reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke and memory loss,” he added. — ANI

Avoid pressure to shed baby flab

WASHINGTON: Celebrities have started a new craze among new mums — shedding baby weight immediately after giving birth. But, according to a new study, women should not put themselves under too much pressure straight away. Experts from German Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG) have revealed that overdoing early weight loss attempts could have a negative impact on breastfeeding.

They said that weight gain during pregnancy is not only normal, it is necessary.

The mother’s body has to nourish the growing baby. Her body needs to take on more fluid to support the extra circulation the placenta and baby need. Some of this added weight will usually be lost as soon as the baby is born. — ANI

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