Archive for March, 2015

Busting the most common Myths related to Tuberculosis

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

With 3 years of no new Polio cases reported, India was officially declared as a Polio-free nation by the World Health Organization (WHO) which was most certainly a major achievement but can we expect the same breakthrough to be achieved in cases of Tuberculosis too.

Can India be free from this epidemic in the next 10, 20 or 30 years?

That’s the big question!

India bears the maximum burden of Tuberculosis in the World with approximately 800 lives being lost yearly due to this lethal disease. It is roughly estimated that 80% of our country’s population is exposed to the Tuberculosis virus by the time they turn 20.

Delay in diagnosis and lack of awareness are 2 of the most important factors to have initiated the growing numbers of Tuberculosis cases in our country. To add to it, there are many myths and false notions about this disease which has worsened the scenario further. This year, On World Tuberculosis Day, we are exposing some of the most common myths related to this infectious disease:

Myth – I do not Smoke and since Tuberculosis virus affects only the lungs, I can never have TB

Fact – There are multiple factors that can cause Tuberculosis. In addition to the lungs, TB can impact many different organs of the human body including the brain, spinal cord, intestines, eyes, covering of the heart, bones & joints, stomach etc.

Myth – Tuberculosis is incurable

Fact – Early diagnosis plays an important role in the treatment of TB. If a patient thoroughly follows the treatment module and goes for regular follow-ups with the doctor, this disease is completely curable.

Myth – Only those who are poor & underprivileged can contract this disease

Fact – Anyone, regardless of his/her socio-economic background and living condition is susceptible to the TB virus.

Myth – Tuberculosis is extremely contagious and anyone who comes in contact with the infected person can contract it

Fact – Pulmonary or lung tuberculosis alone is marked as extremely infectious. Although TB is spread through the air when people who have the disease cough or sneeze, it takes close and lengthy contact with an infectious person to catch the disease

Myth – Tuberculosis is hereditary

Fact – TB is not caused by genetic factors but is contracted only after coming in close contact with an infected person.

Myth – TB infection & TB disease are the same

Fact – TB infection is a state whereby the TB germs are asleep in your body. This germ enters your body after coming in close contact with a TB infected person. TB infection progresses into TB disease when the germs become active and start affecting your organs. You can prevent this outcome by taking proper medications to get rid of the TB germs in your body

Myth – BCG vaccination offers guaranteed protection from TB

Fact – The only assurance that a BCG vaccination can give is that it safeguards children from contracting an extremely severe kind of Tuberculosis. Whether or not it protects adults from TB, is very uncertain because there have been cases in the past whereby people who were vaccinated earlier in life went on to contract the infected at a later stage.

Remember, if Tuberculosis is left untreated, it can also lead to death. Early diagnosis and timely medication is the only way to treat this illness.

The Pulmonary Medicine Department of Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital provides a world class service in the diagnosis and management of various Respiratory Diseases and Sleep Disorders like Asthma, COPD, Pneumonia, Interstitial Lung Disease, Lung Cancer, and Tuberculosis. To know more, visit.

Kidney Health – Facing the Facts

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Observed on the 12th of March, World Kidney Day Celebration is an attempt to educate people about the severity of kidney diseases and encourage them to get periodic kidney tests which is a vital pre-requisite to early diagnosis

Did you know…?

In India, 1 out of 10 people is diagnosed with some form of Kidney Disease. Although most kidney diseases are preventable & curable, they are still highly prevalent not just in India but across the globe as well. The bad news here is that in more than half of the cases, patients don’t even realize that they have a kidney disease until almost 60% of their kidney is affected or damaged. Here are a few very important facts that every individual should know about this bean-shaped organ within the body:

Fact 1 – Situated on both sides of the spine, Kidneys not only purify the blood, but also:

  • Regulate the proportion of water within the body
  • Discard toxins & drugs introduces into the body
  • Release hormones into the blood
  • Keep blood pressure in control
  • Help in the production of red blood cells
  • Remove wastes & fluid from the body
  • Promote healthy bone development

Fact 2 – Diabetes, High blood pressure and Hardening of the arteries are 3 of the most common causes of Kidney diseases. People suffering from any of these illnesses, are more susceptible than others to develop Kidney diseases at any point of time. Avoid these Kidney damaging habits:

  • Delaying urination
  • Excessive Salt intake
  • Eating too much meat
  • Caffeine Dependency
  • Reduced intake of water
  • Delaying periodic medical check-ups/ Delayed Treatment

Fact 2 – Kidney disease can be a silent killer mainly due to the fact that it rarely shows obvious symptoms. Watch out for these signs:

  • Alteration in the amount/frequency of passing urine and changes in color of the urine
  • Abdominal pain especially in areas where the kidneys are located
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Headache
  • Swollen legs & ankles
  • Fatigue
  • High blood pressure
  • Low appetite
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea with or without vomiting
  • Bad breath

Fact 3 – With every decade after the age of 30, your kidney function will decline by 10%. This means that you have to take extra care of your kidneys in order to prevent any kind of damage.

Why not take precautions early in life and minimize the load on kidneys? These simple tips will reduce the risk of developing kidney problems:

  • Stay hydrated – Drink plenty of water
  • Do not resist the urge to urinate
  • Exercise regularly – Keep your blood pressure in control
  • Adopt a healthy lifestyle in order to manage Diabetes, blood pressure & heart disease which can lead to kidney damage
  • Follow a healthy diet & reduce your salt intake
  • Avoid smoking & consumption of alcoholic beverages
  • Keep away from pain killers
  • Include more of healthy beverages in your diet and avoid caffeinated drinks
  • Do not skip your periodic medical check-ups. Get your kidney functions checked within timely intervals

Fact 4 – Diet plays an important role in keeping the kidneys healthy and functioning properly. These antioxidant and vitamin-rich foods will not only protect your kidneys but also benefit damaged kidneys:

  • Red Bell peppers
  • Onion
  • Cabbage
  • Garlic
  • Apples
  • Cauliflower
  • Egg whites

In spite of the fact that most people are born with two kidneys, it is still the most transplanted organ in the world. Reversing the global incidence of kidney disease begins with proper awareness. This World Kidney Day, pledge to adopt a healthy lifestyle and share maximum information about the health risks associated with this vital organ.

Safety Tips for a Happy Holi

Monday, March 2nd, 2015

It’s that time of the year when watery splashes and powdered colors seem to be a common sighting across the country. Holi is a fun filled festival but can sometimes be accompanied with grief and anxiety especially if you ignore safety measures. Chemically treated colors that have flooded the market these days pose the biggest threat to human health.

Did you know…?

Traditionally Holi was played with vegetable colors but these days most kinds of water colors & pastes contain toxic compounds (used in the base of engine oils) that can easily trigger acute skin allergies as well as temporary blindness. Such colors are not just dangerous to our health but also harmful to the environment. Water runoff containing toxic chemicals enters the soil and rivers, thereby leaving a detrimental impact on our ecosystem.

Lack of knowledge and information about synthetic colors is one of the prime reasons that initiate health related issues post Holi. This year, make sure you celebrate Holi, the safe way. Here are a few precautionary measures that can prevent you from putting your health at risk:

  • Buy good quality organic/natural colors that are made from herbal & vegetable extracts. With artificial colors available in abundance during this time of the year, it can sometimes be very difficult to differentiate between natural & synthetic colors. Safe colors are duly certified by relevant authorities and carry all product information clearly on the product packaging. The best option would be to purchase Holi colors from trusted sources and reliable vendors. Red & Pink come off easily as compared to Green, Orange or Purple which are gaudy colors and contain harsh chemicals.
  • Be careful from water balloons. They can cause serious injuries to the eyes and ears, especially when struck without warning. Several incidents are reported every year during Holi, whereby people travelling in buses and trains lose their vision or hearing ability due to an injury caused by water balloons.
  • Apply a generous proportion of Skin cream, Vaseline or Mustard/Olive/Coconut oil to the exposed areas of your skin before and after playing Holi. It acts as a protective shield and guards the skin to some extent from the damaging effects of synthetic colors. Do not forget to apply a good quality moisturizer to your face before stepping out
  • Get a relaxing head massage with a good quality hair oil. Oiling your hair prevents the colors from sticking on to the strands which reduces hair damage. Apart from this precautionary measure, it would also be a good idea to cover up your hair with a scarf, cap, hat or bandana just to offer extra protection from colors that contain hard-to-rinse dyes. Avoid keeping your hair open while playing with colors.
  • Facial skin and eyes are extremely sensitive to powdered colors and chemical based Holi colors. Try to save your face as much as you can from synthetic colors and if possible keep washing your face with water multiple times. Sunglasses not only add to your style quotient but more importantly offer optimum protection to your eyes.
  • Single or double coating of transparent nail polish can save your nails from being damaged
  • Go slow on the consumption of Bhang and avoid overindulgence of food
  • Drink plenty of water to replenish the skin which tends to dehydrate and become dry after coming in contact with the toxins used in artificial colors
  • For removing these colors it is best to use a mild cleanser as compared to soaps which can trigger dryness or skin irritation

And last but not the least – Save water. Wasteful use of water is a common sighting during Holi. Very rarely do we think about the fact that even today multiple cities in India face acute water scarcity. Although water could provide some relief from the scorching heat, try your best to minimize its usage, out of sheer consideration for people residing in areas that constantly face water shortage.