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If you are diabetic then it is important that you visit your ophthalmologist for regular check-ups. Diabetes is known to be one of main causes for blindness across all age groups. If you suffer from bouts of blurred vision then it is not likely due to a long term vision problem. It is temporary and usually occurs due to fluctuating blood sugar levels in the body.
How diabetes affects your eyes?
The lens of your eyes can swell if you are a diabetic, and this can impair your ability to see causing blurry vision. In order to rectify this problem, it is important for you to get your blood sugar levels under optimal levels. This entire procedure of reducing blood sugar levels may take three months or more.
- Cataract: Cataract occurs when the lens of your eyes become foggy or cloudy. Although cataract mostly occurs to people who are middle aged or above sixty, you can get affected by this disorder at an earlier age if you are diabetic. Also, the deterioration or clouding of the lens progresses at a much faster rate than usual. Cataracts lead to an inability to focus as the retina is covered by cloudy layer.
- Glaucoma: This is another disorder that can occur due to diabetes. This is characterized by the buildup of pressure in the eye due to the fluids within it not draining properly. This intense pressure damages the nerves and blood vessels in the eyes, thus impairing your ability to see.
- Diabetic Retinopathy: Diabetic retinopathy is a disorder characterized by damage to the vessels in the retina that carry blood. It can occur if you have either of the type 2 or type 1 diabetes. If not treated in time it can lead to blindness.
If you have a history of diabetes or even borderline diabetic tendencies, it is highly advisable to constantly check your blood sugar levels and also get your eye checked at regular intervals, especially if you feel even the minutest vision problems.
'Congratulations! You're pregnant!' Almost all women long to hear these words and nothing should come in the way, even diabetes. So, if you are a Type 1 or Type 2 diabetic, here are a few things you should keep in mind to have a healthy baby.
Your blood sugar must be monitored regularly
The most important thing you can do to have a healthy baby is to keep your blood sugar as close to normal before and during your pregnancy. Testing is recommended a minimum of four times a day. Glucose passes through the mother's blood to the fetus and hence if your blood sugar fluctuates, so will your baby's. High blood sugar levels are especially harmful during the first 8 weeks of pregnancy when the baby's brain, heart, kidneys and lungs are formed.
Your pregnancy is considered high risk
High blood sugar levels can increase the risk of a miscarriage as well as the risks of your baby being born with birth defects. Diabetes can also increase the risk of developing preeclampsia during the second half of your pregnancy. This could result in a C section or premature birth. Thus, maintain regular checkups and keep your doctor in the loop of all your activities.
You should watch out for signs of ketosis
When you have low blood sugar, the body produces ketones that can be passed on from you to your baby. This production of ketones is a result of the body's burning of fat instead of glucose to provide energy and can develop a condition called ketosis. Symptoms you should watch out for are stomach aches, nausea, fatigue, muscle stiffness, frequent urination and fruity breath.
You need Vitamins and Supplements
Most women require vitamin and mineral supplements at the time of pregnancy. Of these, folic acid, iron, calcium and vitamin D are the most important. These supplements help in the healthy growth of the baby.
You should exercise regularly
Maintaining a regular physical activity routine is very important for diabetics who are expecting a baby. This will help you regularize your blood sugar, relieve stress and strengthen your heart. Avoid activities that increase your risk of falling and aim for at least thirty minutes of daily exercise such as walking, swimming or yoga.
Check your medication
Some medication can be detrimental during pregnancy such as cholesterol and blood pressure medication. Consult your doctor to find a suitable alternative, if needed. You may also need to change the kind of insulin you take and its frequency and amount. As you get closer to the delivery date, your insulin requirement may even double or triple.
The key to preventing complications during pregnancy is controlling your diabetes. So take your insulin regularly, maintain regular checkups and eat healthy. You need to be seen by your obstetrician more frequently. Your pregnancy will be monitored closely by more frequent ultrasounds and NST. If your sugar level remains under control and pregnancy is advancing well, a natural onset of pains is aimed for and a normal delivery is expected.
Insomnia is a disorder where a person has difficulty sleeping. One can have problem falling asleep or staying asleep for long. Some people also have disturbed sleep. This can be a major problem as due to lack of sleep one feels tired and fatigued all day.
Recurring cases of insomnia hamper your daily activities and interfere with the smooth functioning of your life. Therefore, this condition should not be ignored and treated immediately.
Here are the various ways to treat insomnia:
Non-Medical (Cognitive and Behavioral treatment)
Several psychological and behavioral techniques can be used for the treatment of insomnia. Many of these methods can be easily self-taught and others require a therapist to be carried out properly.
- Relaxation training, which is also called progressive muscle relaxation involves the patient to tense and relax his muscles systematically in various parts or regions of the body. Relaxation techniques, such as breathing exercises, various forms of meditation, mindfulness and guided imagery are used for treating insomnia people. The use of audio recordings for guidance in these techniques is quite popular.
- Stimulus control enables building an association between the bedroom and sleep. This is done by limiting several kinds of activities done in a bedroom. This may include going to bed only when very sleepy and leaving bed if you cannot sleep within twenty minutes. A strict bedtime and wake up time schedule has to be maintained.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT involves changes in behavior like maintaining a strict sleep time schedule, elimination of afternoon naps and other habits related to sleep. A cognitive component is also added to this method. Unhealthy beliefs and fear regarding sleep are challenged and positive, rational thinking is encouraged. CBT is a very effective procedure for treating insomnia and the track record regarding success is high.
- Changes in lifestyle are required to treat insomnia and prevent recurrence of insomnia, you should change certain habits and start some new practices. You should limit your intake of caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. Do not consume coffee or tea before going to sleep and avoid smoking. The habits may be stimulating and will keep you awake. Your diet should be balanced. You should avoid having rich and spicy food before going to bed. Avoid late meals and maintain a proper schedule for meals. Regular exercise can improve the symptoms of insomnia and you should try to work out every day.
Medical Treatment: There are many forms of medicines, which can treat insomnia. This includes over-the-counter medicines, as well as prescribed medicines. The type of medicine required completely depends on the severity and symptoms of your insomnia and other factors related to health. Therefore, you must consult a doctor before having any kind of medicine for treating insomnia.
The most common medicines for insomnia, which are usually prescribed by doctors are benzodiazepine hypnotics, non-benzodiazepine hypnotics and melatonin receptor agonists. However, medicines should only be taken after consulting with a specialist. Insomnia not only affects your health but also interferes with all your daily activities. Proper treatment should be taken to treat the same.
A head louse is an insect that lives on the human scalp and feeds on human blood. The female louse lays eggs in the head and makes sure the eggs are attached to the hair shaft. It takes around eight days for the egg to hatch. The louse takes another 11 days to mature into an adult louse.
The primary cause of head louse is poor personal hygiene. Other causes due to which a person can be infected by lice are:
- Using combs and towels that are infested.
- Coming in contact with another person who has this condition.
- Sharing the bed with a person who is affected by lice.
When a person is affected by this condition then the following symptoms are observed:
- The saliva of the lice causes an allergic reaction in the scalp which leads to constant itching. It can occur in various places such as ears, scalp and the neck. It may not occur initially, but it tends to occur after a few weeks.
- Constant scratching can lead to formation of small red bumps on the skin. A bacterial infection usually occurs from constant itching.
- It may lead to symptoms of dandruff in the scalp.
- Presence of various insects in the scalp.
Prevention of Lice:
Lice can be prevented by using medicated shampoos and conditioners to wash the hair. The shampoos are usually based on a chemical called pyrethrin. This compound is toxic for lice and helps in getting rid of it.
You can also opt for the following lifestyle changes to prevent lice:
- You should avoid sharing your hairbrush with others.
- In case you have long hair, tie it in buns or ponytails.
- Add tea tree oil to your shampoo before using it.
- Keep the scalp clean to prevent infestations.
- Avoid sharing pillows and clothes.
If you’re a new mother, chances of you going through postpartum depression are one in four and statistics report that more than 50% of Indian mothers experience it. When your life gets a whole new meaning with parenthood, feelings of sadness, anxiety, and low energy can be somewhat perplexing. That's when you know you are experiencing postpartum depression, and you're not the only one.
What is postpartum depression?
Often termed as ‘Baby Blues,’ which is a milder version of depression, postpartum depression (PPD) affects new mothers, weeks after childbirth. It is a long-lasting bout of severe depression which directly affects the mother’s health and mental condition. It can manifest in the form of sadness, severe mood swings, bipolar disorder, change in appetite, little energy, nonexistent libido among other symptoms.
It’s often overlooked as a sign of weakness and fear to embrace parenthood, but it’s a bit more severe than that, though curable with proper psychotic treatment. Doctors believe that the depression is caused mostly due to massive hormonal imbalance during pregnancy, and also due to a considerable change in the lifestyle before and after childbirth. The latter sometimes affects fathers as well, as a result of which about 10% fathers experience PPD in their lifetime.
Risk factors involved
Postpartum depression can accentuate suicidal thoughts, mostly in the mother. As stated earlier, it affects the mother’s mental state and in many cases, leads her to commit suicide, unless treated with utmost love and care. Furthermore, statistics show that PPD affects many mothers from a low socioeconomic background and they may be 11 times more likely to experience PPD than mothers having a better background.
Since it is a type of depression, most cures can be obtained by therapy rather than a mainstream process using medication. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal therapy (IPT), are two of the most popular types of treatment that have found the most success among patients. Some doctors opine that PPD and major depressive disorder (MDD) are different variants of the same depression, and hence, medicate patients accordingly.
One way of handling postpartum depression is by psychotherapy (which is not as menacing as it sounds!), where the mother, overwhelmed by the new tasks of motherhood, can share her thoughts with a professional psychiatrist and get the pressure off her chest.
Postpartum depression is an underrated issue, which has the potential to ruin a new mother’s life and can affect the baby’s growth as well. Thus, to live the subsequent years depression-free, it is essential for the mother to go through therapy if the symptoms are observed.
Acoustic neuroma is the development of noncancerous and slow-growing tumors on the main, vestibular nerve that travels from the inner ear to the brain, connecting the two organs. They are also known as vestibular schwannoma, as it arises from Schwann cells covering the vestibular nerve. It rarely grows rapidly or attains a large enough size that can press against the brain and interfere with the vital functions of the brain. Since the tumor is benign, the patient can be assured that it won’t spread to the other parts of the body; however, they can grow large enough to disrupt the normal function of the body.
The pressure from the acoustic neuroma on the main nerve can cause loss of hearing, a constant ringing in the ear and unsteadiness. As per a report published by the Acoustic Neuroma Association, 1 out of every 50,000 people suffers from this condition.
Risk factors for acoustic neuroma
Acoustic neuroma does not have quite as many risk factors. The only established risk factor for acoustic neuroma is having a parent who suffers from the rare genetic disorder neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2). However, having said that, neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2) accounts for only 5 percent of the reported cases. In most of the cases, it has been found that the tumors appear spontaneously without any indication of a family member having this disease or any medical history of the same.
The development of noncancerous tumors on the ear nerves as well as other nerves in the body is scientifically supported as a characteristic indication of neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2). Neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2) is also termed as an autosomal dominant disorder, which indicates that the mutated gene can pass from just one parent. Each of the children has a fifty-fifty chance of inheriting the disease.
However, scientists and doctors have failed to identify why specific people get these tumors. They have reached a generic conclusion about the risk factors, which may include:
- Loud noises near the ear.
- A parathyroid neuroma, which is a similar benign tumor of the thyroid.
- A chance of exposure to low levels of radiation in the childhood.
How to diagnose the risk factors for acoustic neuroma?
If you are experiencing loss of hearing or other neurological symptoms, try to keep track of them. Later on, mention them to your doctor for a proper diagnosis. A detailed history of the symptoms will help your doctor. Your doctor will perform a hearing test to check whether you have an acoustic neuroma. Then the doctor may perform a brainstem auditory evoked response tests along with an electronystagmography to detect any changes in eye movement, caused due to the inner ear. MRI and CT scans are also quite common diagnoses methods for acoustic neuroma.
Sleeping disorders have become a prominent problem these days. A combination of diet and lifestyle practices is responsible for it. A good night's sleep is necessary for the body in order to nourish the mind and the overall health. Ayurveda identifies sleep problems as a resultant cause of pitta and vata. Loss of sound sleep can cause lethargy, tiredness, and depression. Here is a list of Ayurvedic tips that can effectively tackle the sleep problem and help a person sleep like a baby at night:
- Meditation: Meditation is a very effective way of dealing with anxiety and stress. It relaxes the body and calms the mind. In order to do this, a person is required to sit firmly rooted in a quite ambiance and focus on the crown of the head. The focus should be on the rhythm of exhalation and inhalation. While maintaining the breath, the inhalation and exhalation should be continued till 15 minutes. If the mind wanders, slowly counting 1 to 100 and counting back to 0 can help to focus. It should be ensured that a person is concentrating on the breath and refraining from sleeping. Meditating regularly can dramatically help to get proper sleep during the night.
- Yoga: Yoga is an age old practice that effectively helps a person in relaxing his/her mind and does away with all the stress. Some of the effective yoga poses that assist in sleeping better include savasana and corpse. They help to relax the nervous system, cut down emotional stress and help to reduce fatigue. Each pose should be practiced for 5-10 seconds in a set of 4. Yoga has notably helped millions of people in sleeping well at night.
- Pranayama: Pranayama is part of yoga which focuses on breathing techniques. As per yoga techniques, there are three stages of breathing. The first part involves the diaphragm moving backward into the abdomen that helps the lungs to draw oxygen for its lower portion. The next is the turn of the intercostal muscle to expand in order to get oxygen for the middle portion of the lungs. The upper portion of the lungs gets oxygen, at last, causing the clavicles to rise a little. A slow inhale and exhale for a stretch of 15 minutes is what pranayama is all about. It is known to be mighty effective for relaxing the nervous system and getting a good sleep at night.
- Herbs: Certain herbs such as passionflower, skullcap and chamomile are known to be extremely effective to soothe the nerves and assist in sound sleep. They can be consumed by making a paste on a daily basis. Even oil massage with Brahmi oil is very helpful for a sound sleep at night.
The spine plays a very crucial role, both from a person’s movement and sensation point of view. It carries the nervous supply for a lot of internal organs and the lower body. By virtue of its structure, it also helps in movement through the disks. Due to various reasons, spinal injury is common, causing pain along the back, lower extremities, neck etc.
Medicines and exercise are the first line of treatment for most spinal injuries. The issue, however, is that these only provide relief from the pain and the medicines, but do not actually ‘rectify’ the underlying problem. Whether it is a herniated disk or a pinched nerve, the medicines and exercise can relieve the symptoms, but the disk continues to be herniated and the nerve continues to be pinched. Definite treatment is in the form of surgery, and with recent advancements in the field of spinal surgery, there are minimally invasive surgical options, which provide complete cure with minimal recovery time. Some of the benefits of this are listed below-
Smaller incision compared to traditional surgical procedures, where only the injured area is accessed
The surrounding tissues are untouched, unless they are injured and require repair
Lesser bleeding compared to earlier techniques
Lesser painful procedure
Reduced hospitalization period
Quicker recovery and return to normal activities
The question, however, is whether this is indicated in everybody. A detailed discussion with your surgeon keeping the below points in mind will help identify the answer for this. The main driver should be the answer to the question – will the surgery be able to effectively relieve you of the pain and symptoms? Additionally, the following factors help in getting better results out of a minimally invasive spinal surgery.
Presence of symptoms relating to nerve compression, including pain from the spine down the leg.
Recent onset of symptoms, with pain starting days to months before seeing the doctor. This indicates the condition is relatively new and so damage is minimal, indicating favorable outcome. Chronic pain conditions take slightly longer time compared to recent injuries.
People with active lifestyle who engage in regular physical exercise are likely to have better benefits from the minimally invasive procedure.
Smoking reduces blood flow to the spine, leading to disk degeneration and weakening of bones. Healing is highly slowed down and recovery is overall delayed.
Excessive weight puts strain on the back, and so healing can be delayed or badly affected with more complications. It is not a contraindication, but be prepared for a longer recovery period.
Talk to your doctor keeping these points in mind, and you can bid farewell to your back pain forever.
Piles, fistula and fissures are the most common problems affecting the rectum and the anus. Both the rectum as well as the anus has a very rich vascular supply. There could be swelling of these blood vessels or tearing which can lead to the above conditions. Read on to know additional details about each of these conditions.
Piles: In simple words, swollen blood vessels of the anal region are called piles. It can be internal or external, depending on how far it is from the anal canal. If it is located farther inside the anal canal, it is called internal piles.
- Chronic constipation, where the person has to strain to pass stools
- Smoking and genetics can also lead to piles.
- In the early stages, once identified, simple topical medications for symptom relief are sufficient.
- Diet should be rich in fiber, with fruits and vegetables
- Increased water consumption
- Surgery if the disease has reached the stage of blood clots
- Prevention is advised if there is a family history by consuming a fiber-rich diet and maintaining hydration
Fistula: When an infected anal gland bursts into the anal canal, it constantly discharges pus into the anal canal and becomes a fistula. Hygienic toilet habits can help in preventing fistulas.
- A constant wet feeling in the anal area, due to pus discharge.
- This would be intermittent, and there would be periods with no discharge.
- There could be a foul smell due to pus discharge.
Diagnosis and Treatment:
- Identifying the exact location is important as surgery may be required.
- An ultrasound scan or an MRI is usually done.
- Newer techniques like Video Assisted Anal Fistula Treatment (VAAFT) are used. This locates the piles accurately and uses electric current to seal it with staples and surgical glue.
- Conventional surgery is also used for economic or accessibility reasons.
- Fissures: These cracks anywhere in the length of the anal canal are extremely common.
- Ksharasutra therapy is an Ayurvedic Parasurgical technique to treat problms like fistula in aano and other anorectal diseases. In this technique, a specially formed thread (Kshar Sutra) is used to cure the problem.
- Very painful and the person may not want to go to the toilet
- Rarely bleeding is also seen, maybe in very small amounts
- Over 90% of the fissures do not require surgery
- Switching to a high-fiber diet and improving hydration will help in managing these symptoms.
- Topical relief can be provided by medications.
- When they are recurrent, a procedure known as lateral sphincterotomy is done. This is an outpatient procedure and provides immediate relief.
- Ksharasutra therapy is a highly recommended Ayurvedic Parasurgical technique to treat problms like fistula in ano and other anorectal diseases. In this technique, a specially formed thread (Kshar Sutra) is used to cure the problem.
Though one condition can lead to another, in most people, there is a strong genetic component, and working towards prevention is highly recommended.
Some do's and don'ts to boost immunity
In layman language immunity means body's resistance to fight diseases or its ability to defend itself from foreign bodies. We can boost our immunity by following some simple do's and don'ts.
1) drink enough water - to get rid of the toxins and boost the metabolism.
2) get enough sleep- at least 7-8 hours but avoid oversleeping.
3) get ample sunlight-to boost vitamin d which is crucial for fending off diseases.
4) eat lots of vegetables- as well as fruits 6-7 servings in a day to boost antioxidants which fight free radicals.
5) eat some herbs and spice - like turmeric, garlic, ginger, indian gooseberry, ginseng.
6) stretch daily-at least 30 minutes daily for building strength and enhancing blood circulation.
1) avoid processed foods- as it cannot be digested and may create some gastrointestinal problem.
2) limit refined sugar - specially in beverages as they are immune depressant.
3) avoid cold foods- as cold foods and cold drinks reduce the digestive fire.
4) do not smoke and drink - as it can wane off all the energy you have.
5) limit allopathic medicines - especially life time medicines, rather try to modify your lifestyle to get rid of the problem.
6) do not overthink - as it can effect power of mind and surround you with negativity which can further effect your immunity and leave you lethargic!