Archive for August, 2016

How to keep your Bones Healthy?

Wednesday, August 31st, 2016

Bones play crucial roles in our body – they provide structure, protect organs, secure muscles and are a storehouse for calcium. It’s important that during childhood and adolescence we build strong and healthy bones through a good diet and an active lifestyle. As time passes and we age, we are at risk of developing osteoporosis. It is a condition that causes the bones to weaken and become brittle. This can result in painful fractures of the hip, wrist or spine. Early prevention can reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis and other degenerative bone diseases.

Why is bone health important?

Your bones are continuously changing — a new bone is made and an old bone is broken down. When you are young, your body makes new bones faster than it breaks down old bones and your bone mass increases. You reach the peak of bone mass around the age of 30. After that the remodeling of bones continues but you lose slightly more bone mass than you gain. Your likelihood to develop osteoporosis depends on how much bone mass you attain by the time you reach 30 years of age and how rapidly you lose it after that.

Our skeletal system is composed of 206 bones and plays one of the most important functions in the body: to provide overall structure and to protect all the organs. However, the care and maintenance of this powerhouse is often neglected or completely forgotten.

How to take care of your bones:

  • Understand osteoporosis risk factors
    This disease of the bones causes weakening of the bones. Various factors like age, gender, family history, race, body type, menstrual history, and personal lifestyle and history can make certain patients more susceptible to osteoporosis. Get yourself checked.
  • Test bone mineral density
    A quick and painless test, called a DEXA scan, measures bone strength.
  • You need calcium
    A diet low in calcium contributes to diminished bone density, early bone loss and an increased risk of fractures. A calcium enriched diet ensures bone strength and minimizes osteoporosis.
  • Vitamin-D requirements
    Vitamin D too plays a major role in preventing and minimizing osteoporosis, but most patients are deficient in the same. Vitamin D helps absorb calcium in the gastrointestinal tract and transfers it to the bones (reabsorption).
  • Follow a Healthy Diet
    Consult a nutritionist and follow a diet that helps protect bone density. A diet rich in vegetables, fruit, legumes and moderate consumption of dairy works well.
  • Exercise always works
    Choose an activity you enjoy and build a regular fitness regime. Jogging, walking, dancing, hiking, playing volleyball or tennis is good for your bones and also promotes overall physical and mental health.
  • Say no to Tobacco and excessive alcohol use
    Smoking increases the risk of osteoporosis by reducing blood flow to the bones, slowing the production of bone-forming cells and impairing calcium absorption. Excessive alcohol consumption makes you more prone to bone loss than those people with minimal alcohol intake.

What affects the bone health?

As you age, your bones become thinner and lose their density. Over time, you become more prone to injuries. The thinning of bones is called osteopenia and it can be halted with some precautions.

Some dietary changes for Healthy Bones:
  • Follow a calcium rich diet consisting of dark leafy green vegetables, broccoli, parsley, sweet potatoes, almonds, dried figs, fortified tofu and soy milk.
  • Check with your doctor and start calcium supplements if needed. Most individuals need it as the need for calcium increases as you age.
  • A Vitamin D deficiency is connected to an increased risk of fractures. Sun exposure without sunburn is the main and most natural way to get Vitamin D. Expose the face and arms to sunlight without sunscreen for about twenty minutes two to three times per week.
  • Refined sugar, alcohol and caffeine are acid-forming foods that weaken the bones by depleting them of calcium and other minerals. Reduce intake as much as possible.

We at KDAH have a specialised centre of excellence dedicated to bone and joint heath. Our team of specialists assists patients with timely diagnosis and immediate action. Do visit the below link for further details:

https://www.kokilabenhospital.com/departments/centresofexcellence/centrefor_boneandjoint.html

Why Say No to Sugar?

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Till some years ago, the mantra of many nutritionists was to say no to carbohydrates. However, these days the emphasis on no-carbs has reduced. And sugar has become the new forbidden food. Supermarkets offer sugar-free products and sweet shops and patisseries offer sugar-free dessert options. So is sugar really this bad for our health? But our ancestors always had sugar, didn’t they? So what went wrong…..or may we say what changed over the years?

Sugar is not poison but too much of anything is never good for you. We must treat sugar like a treat rather than an everyday necessity.

We can control the sugar we consume on a daily basis consciously. But many times we tend to eat sugar without even realising it. Packaged food is one such culprit which makes us do this. All processed food and food at fast food chains contains high amounts of sugar. Surprisingly, the things you assume will be loaded with sugar do not cause much harm. An original glazed doughnut from a popular donut chain contains only 10gms of sugar as compared to a chocolate chip cookie which is 19 gms. And both of these are much less than a glass of packaged orange juice, which has 25 gms of sugar.

Even when you think you are going to indulge in a sugary treat, you may end up consuming less sugar than you realise. A serving of high quality ice-cream has only 16 gms of sugar. But if you decide to order a fancy coffee you might end up having 58 gms of sugar. We are highly mistaken that savoury foods are free of sugar. Canned baked beans usually contain vast amounts of sugar. So do the so called healthy salads at restaurants – some are loaded with 45 gms of sugar.

The best way to watch sugar intake is to eat fresh and local. Say no to indulgent coffees and avoid eating at fast food outlets. Cooking simple meals at home is much healthier than depending on store bought canned, processed or packaged foods. And if cooking at home is an issue, there are many options available now a days to order healthy homemade tiffin meals.

How foods with added sugar are harmful:

  1.   Added sugar contains no essential nutrients. It is also very bad for the teeth, because it provides easily digestible energy for the bad bacteria in the mouth.
  2. For people who are inactive and eat a western diet, large amounts of fructose from added sugars get turned into fat in the liver and may cause non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
  3. When people eat a lot of sugar, it can cause resistance to the hormone insulin, which may contribute to many diseases.
  4. Cancer is one of the leading causes of death worldwide and is characterized by uncontrolled growth and multiplication of cells. There is considerable evidence that sugar, due to its harmful effects on metabolism, can contribute to cancer.
  5. As sugar causes a large release of dopamine in the brain, it can cause addiction in a lot of people.
  6. The way sugar affects hormones and the brain is a recipe for fat gain disaster. because of the effects of sugar on hormones and the brain, sugar dramatically increases the risk of becoming overweight or obese.

It is always good to keep a check on your sugar intake for a healthy self. Do avail of KDAH’s Executive Health checkups to keep a track on your health.

Hypertension…what is it all about?

Wednesday, August 17th, 2016

What is Hypertension?

Blood pressure is the force of your blood against the blood vessel walls. Having high blood pressure also called as Hypertension means that this force is higher than it should be. Hypertension is a serious disease that can, over time, damage the blood vessel walls and increase a person’s risk of heart attack, stroke and other conditions.

In Hypertension the arterial blood pressure raises to high level from the normal level (120/80 mmHg). In the medical world it is called as a silent killer as it does not show any clear symptoms. It is divided in two types (primary or essential hypertension and secondary hypertension) on the basis of its causing factors.

The primary hypertension is more common type however its causes are unknown. Whereas, causes of secondary hypertension are kidney damage, adrenal gland over-activity, sleep apnea syndrome, tumours, recreational drugs, thyroid gland dysfunctioning, pregnancy-related conditions, over or wrong medications, alcoholic drinks, bad food and etc.

Causes

Most of the time, doctors cannot find a specific cause of hypertension. Certain factors increase the risk of developing hypertension, including obesity, excess alcohol consumption, excess salt intake, smoking and having diabetes. Aging also increases the risk of hypertension because blood vessels become stiffer with age.

Being under stress can also increase your blood pressure temporarily. Certain medical conditions and medications can also raise blood pressure, and this is known as secondary hypertension.

Symptoms

People with high blood pressure usually have no symptoms, and so patients can have the condition for years without knowing it. However, severe hypertension show some symptoms of headaches, sleepiness, palpitation, blurred vision, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, ringing sensation in the ears, breathing difficulty, irregular heartbeat which may lead to even coma.

Although many patients may not have symptoms at first, over time, high blood pressure can lead to “wear and tear” on the body. For example, high blood pressure can stretch and damage blood vessels, which in turn, can increase the risk of health problems.

Diagnosis

High blood pressure is diagnosed from a blood pressure test. Typically, doctors place a blood pressure cuff on the arm, which has a gauge that measures pressure in the blood vessels. As a person’s blood pressure can vary depending on a number of factors, including the time of day, a doctor will usually check blood pressure several times and different appointments before diagnosing someone with high blood pressure.

Treatment & medication

The goal of the treatment is for patients to keep their blood pressure in the normal range — below 140/90 mmHg. For patients who have diabetes or chronic kidney disease, doctors recommend that they keep their blood pressure under 130/80 mmHg.

Lifestyle changes that can help lower blood pressure include eating a healthy diet — such as a diet that cuts down on salt, and boosts fruit and vegetable intake — increasing physical activity, reducing weight, and quitting smoking. In addition, stress relief practices, such as meditation or other relaxation techniques, can also be helpful in lowering blood pressure.

The number of people living with hypertension is predicted to be 1.56 billion worldwide by the year 2025. The increasing prevalence of the condition is blamed on lifestyle and dietary factors, such as physical inactivity, alcohol and tobacco use, and a diet high in sodium usually from processed foods. World Hypertension Day is celebrated every year on 17th of May to raise the public awareness about the hypertension, its preventive measures and complications.

Get yourself checked today for any Blood pressure related concerns at https://www.kokilabenhospital.com