Archive for May, 2017

Choose Life. Quit Tobacco Use

Wednesday, May 31st, 2017

Tobacco use harms nearly every organ of the body, causes many diseases and reduces the health of tobacco users in general. Quitting tobacco lowers your risk for a variety of diseases and can add years to your life. Have a look at the grave threat that tobacco poses on your body.

Tobacco and your heart

The chemicals in tobacco harm your blood cells and damage the function of your heart. This damage increases your risk for:

  • Atherosclerosis, a disease in which a waxy substance called plaque builds up in your arteries
  • Aneurysms, which are bulging blood vessels that can burst and cause death
  • Cardiovascular disease (CVD), which includes coronary heart disease (CHD), heart attack and damage to your arteries, chest pain and high blood pressure
  • Stroke, which is sudden death of brain cells caused by blood clots or bleeding

Breathing tobacco smoke can even change your blood chemistry and damage your blood vessels. As you inhale smoke, cells that line your body’s blood vessels react to its chemicals. Your heart rate and blood pressure go up and your blood vessels thicken and narrow.

Tobacco and your lungs

Tobacco smoking can cause lung disease by damaging your airways and the small air sacs found in your lungs.

  • Lung diseases caused by smoking include COPD, which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
  • Cigarette smoking causes most cases of lung cancer.
  • If you have asthma, tobacco smoke can trigger an attack or make an attack worse.
  • Smokers are 12 to 13 times more likely to die from COPD than non-smokers.
Tobacco and your brain

Tobacco can seriously affect the normal functioning of your brain.

  • Nicotine, the drug that makes tobacco addictive, goes to your brain very quickly.
  • Nicotine makes you feel good when you are smoking, but it can make you anxious, nervous, moody, and depressed after you smoke.
  • Using tobacco can cause headaches and dizziness.
Tobacco and Cancer

Tobacco use can cause cancer almost anywhere in your body:

  • Bladder
  • Blood (acute myeloid leukaemia)
  • Cervix
  • Colon and rectum (colorectal)
  • Esophagus
  • Kidney and ureter
  • Larynx
  • Liver
  • Oropharynx (includes parts of the throat, tongue, soft palate, and the tonsils)
  • Pancreas
  • Stomach
  • Trachea, bronchus, and lung

Tobacco smoking also increases the risk of dying from cancer and other diseases in cancer patients and survivors.

Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital’s Centre for Cancer brings together the expertise within the hospital to provide comprehensive and coordinated care for patients with all types of cancers. We offer a broad scope of cancer services, ranging from public education, screening and diagnosis, to treatment, pain management and palliative care.

Tobacco and pregnancy

Using tobacco during pregnancy increases the risk for pregnancy complications. Tobacco harms babies before and after they are born.

  • Bleeding during pregnancy
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Miscarriage
  • Premature delivery of baby
  • Stillbirth
  • Abnormalities of the placenta
Tobacco and newborns/childhood

Maternal tobacco use during pregnancy and exposure of a child to second-hand smoke in childhood is known to be a risk factor for following conditions:

  • Maternal smoking is associated with congenital malformations
  • Increased risk of allergies
  • Higher blood pressure in childhood
  • Increased likelihood of obesity
  • Stunted growth
  • Poorer lung function
  • Increased likelihood of developing asthma
Tobacco and autoimmune diseases

The immune system is the body’s way of protecting itself from infection and disease. Tobacco use compromises the immune system, making smokers more likely to have respiratory infections.

Tobacco use also causes several autoimmune diseases, including Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis. It may also play a role in periodic flare-ups of signs and symptoms of autoimmune diseases. Tobacco doubles your risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

Tobacco smoke has been linked to type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes. Smokers are 30% to 40% more likely to develop type 2 diabetes than nonsmokers. Additionally, the more cigarettes an individual smokes, the higher the risk for diabetes.

Quit Tobacco Use and Cut Future Health Risks

  • Quitting tobacco use cuts cardiovascular risks. Just 1 year after quitting tobacco, your risk of a heart attack drops sharply.
  • Within 2 to 5 years after quitting tobacco, your risk for stroke may reduce to about that of a nonuser’s.
  • If you quit tobacco, your risks for cancers of the mouth, throat, oesophagus, and bladder drop by half within 5 years.
  • Ten years after you quit smoking, your risk for lung cancer drops by half.

India is currently facing a ‘Tobacco Epidemic’. As per the Global Adult Tobacco Survey 2010 more that 1/3rd of Indian Adults use Tobacco either as smokeless tobacco (26%) or as smokers (14%). Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital’s De-Addiction Clinic offers the ‘New Leaf Program’ which involves individualised treatment plans for patients taking into consideration medical issues, motivational interviewing to encourage patients to quit addiction and multi-disciplinary team approach.

Eye Health Essentials

Friday, May 26th, 2017

Your eyes are an important part of your health. There are many things you can do to keep them healthy and make sure you are seeing your best. Follow these simple steps for maintaining healthy eyes well into your golden years.

Feed Your Eyes

Good eye health starts with the food on your plate. Nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E might help ward off age-related vision problems like macular degeneration and cataracts. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, particularly dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, or collard greens is important for keeping your eyes healthy.

Know your family’s eye health history

Talk to your family members about their eye health history. It’s important to know if anyone has been diagnosed with a disease or condition since many are hereditary. This will help to determine if you are at higher risk for developing an eye disease or condition.

Never sleep in contact lenses

The risk of developing a corneal ulcer is 10 to 15 times greater in extended-wear contact lens users than those who only wear their contacts during the day. Sleeping in contact lenses deprives your corneas of oxygen, that can cause infection and encourage bacteria to grow.

It’s fine to take a 20-minute nap in your contacts but it’s safer to take them out beforehand—just in case you oversleep! If you do wake up to realise you’re still sporting your lenses, don’t try to take them out right away; if your eyes are dried out, you could actually pull the top layer of your cornea away with them. Instead, wait 20 to 30 minutes and lubricate with artificial tears before you remove the contacts. Then stick to glasses for the rest of the day.

Use Safety Eyewear

If you use hazardous or airborne materials on the job or at home, wear safety glasses or protective goggles. Sports like ice hockey, racquetball, and lacrosse can also lead to eye injury. Wear eye protection. Helmets with protective face masks or sports goggles with polycarbonate lenses will shield your eyes.

Don’t touch and rub your eyes

Whether you wear contacts or not, you’re asking for trouble by unnecessary poking and rubbing your eyes. Sometimes your eyes itch and you have to rub, but it’s best to keep the lid closed and only touch the outside of the eye. Rubbing too hard can also lead to broken blood vessels and inflammation. Your eyes are protected by mucous membranes—moist tissue that can easily collect dirt and germs—so they’re a great place for bacteria to grow.

Give your eyes a rest

If you spend a lot of time at the computer or focusing on any one thing, you sometimes forget to blink and your eyes can get fatigued. Try the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, look away about 20 feet in front of you for 20 seconds. This can help reduce eyestrain.

Get annual eye exams

Getting your overall eye health checked out is extremely important. There are no pain receptors in the eye, so if you have a broken blood vessel or a tumour, you would otherwise not know it until it starts to interfere with your vision, or worse.

Never use expired solution, lenses, or drops

Solutions have cleansers that kill bacteria on your lenses, so once expired, their ingredients cease doing their job.

The same thing goes for the lenses themselves, which sit in a sterile solution that can break down over time. Artificial tears and prescription eye drops also have expiration dates that you should pay close attention to, as well. And never rinse your contact case or store contacts in any liquid that’s not sterile, like tap or distilled water; both have been associated with Acanthamoeba keratitis, a drug-resistant corneal infection.

Wear sunglasses all year round

Failing to wear proper UV protection can result in corneal burns, skin cancer on the eyelids, and visible spots on the whites of the eyes. Make sure your glasses provide protection against UVA and UVB rays and wear them whenever you’re out in the sun.

Quit smoking or never start

Smoking is as bad for your eyes as it is for the rest of your body. Research has linked smoking to an increased risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, cataract, and optic nerve damage, all of which can lead to blindness.

At Kokilaben Hospital, we are committed to providing the highest quality of eye care as per international standards. From general services to the treatment of a variety of eye problems, our Ophthalmology Clinic combines cutting edge technology with professional expertise, compassion and dignity to deliver the best results.

All About Acid Reflux

Friday, May 12th, 2017

Higher consumption of citrus fruits, sodas and juices, coupled with changes in dining hours during the summer months can induce acid reflux.

Acid reflux occurs when some of the acid content of the stomach flows up into the oesophagus, which moves food down from the mouth. The stomach contains a strong acid that helps break down food and protect against pathogens. The lining of the stomach is specially adapted to protect it from the powerful acid, but the oesophagus is not protected. A ring of muscle normally acts as a valve that lets food into the stomach but not back up into the oesophagus. When this valve fails, and stomach contents are regurgitated into the oesophagus, the symptoms of acid reflux are felt, such as heartburn.

Causes of Acid Reflux

One common cause of acid reflux disease is a stomach abnormality called a hiatal hernia. These are other common risk factors for acid reflux disease:

  • Eating large meals or lying down right after a meal
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Eating a heavy meal and lying on your back or bending over at the waist
  • Snacking close to bedtime
  • Eating certain foods, such as citrus, tomato, chocolate, mint, garlic, onions, or spicy or fatty foods
  • Drinking certain beverages, such as alcohol, carbonated drinks, coffee, or tea
  • Smoking
  • Being pregnant
Symptoms of Acid Reflux

The main symptom of acid reflux is heartburn. Heartburn is a discomfort – happening in the oesophagus and felt behind the breastbone area – that takes the form of a burning sensation; it generally gets worse when the person lies down or bends over. It can last for several hours and also tends to worsen after eating food.

If heartburn occurs regularly – two or more times a week – it is termed gastroesophageal reflux disease. It can also have other symptoms, including:

  • Dry, persistent cough
  • Wheezing
  • Asthma
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Throat problems
  • Difficulty or pain when swallowing
  • Chest or upper abdominal pain
  • Dental erosion
  • Bad breath
Foods that may help reduce your symptoms

There are specific foods you can incorporate into your diet to manage symptoms of acid reflux.

  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Ginger
  • Oatmeal
  • Non-citrus fruits
  • Egg whites
  • Healthy fats (walnuts, olive oil, sesame oil etc)
Lifestyle changes to treat acid reflux

One of the most effective ways to treat acid reflux disease is to avoid the foods and beverages that trigger symptoms. Here are other steps you can take:

  • Eat smaller meals more frequently throughout the day
  • Quit smoking
  • Put blocks under the head of your bed to raise it at least 4 inches to 6 inches
  • Don’t eat at least 2 to 3 hours before lying down
  • Don’t wear tight clothes or tight belts
  • If you’re overweight or obese, take steps to lose weight with exercise and diet changes
Common trigger foods for people with reflux

Certain foods tend to cause problems for many people with the disease. To control your symptoms, you could start by eliminating the following foods from your diet.

  • High-fat foods like:
    • french fries and onion rings
    • full-fat dairy products such as butter, whole milk, regular cheese, and sour cream
    • high-fat desserts or snacks such as ice cream and potato chips
    • cream sauces, gravies, and creamy salad dressings
  • Citrus fruits like:
    • oranges
    • grapefruit
    • lemons
    • limes
    • pineapple
    • tomatoes
  • Chocolate
  • Garlic, onions, and spicy foods
  • Caffeine
  • Mint
Treatment of Acid Reflux

It’s time to see your doctor if you have acid reflux symptoms two or more times a week or if medications don’t bring lasting relief. Working with your doctor can also help you develop a diet to control or lessen your symptoms.

Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital’s Centre for Diabetes & Obesity has a host of facilities to deal with acid reflux and its associated problems.