Archive for November, 2017

1st Dec, World AIDS Day

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

AIDS is not a virus but a set of symptoms caused by the HIV virus. HIV is a virus that attacks the immune system, which is our body’s natural defence against illness. White blood cells are an important part of the immune system. HIV infects and destroys certain white blood cells called CD4+ cells. If too many CD4+ cells are destroyed, the body can no longer defend itself against infection.

The last stage of HIV infection is AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). People with AIDS have a low number of CD4+ cells and get infections or cancers that rarely occur in healthy people. These can be deadly.

If HIV is left untreated, it may take up to 10 or 15 years for the immune system to be so severely damaged it can no longer defend itself at all. However, the speed HIV progresses will vary depending on age, health and background.

Basic facts about AIDS

  1. AIDS stands for acquired immune deficiency syndrome.
  2. AIDS is also referred to as advanced HIV infection or late-stage HIV.
  3. Treatment for HIV means that more people are staying well, with fewer people developing AIDS.
  4. There is effective antiretroviral treatment available so people with HIV can live a normal, healthy life.
  5. The earlier HIV is diagnosed, the sooner treatment can start – leading to better long term health. Hence, regular testing for HIV is important.

What causes HIV?

HIV infection is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus. You can get HIV from contact with infected blood, semen, or vaginal fluids. Some common reasons are listed below:

  1. Unprotected sex with someone who has HIV.
  2. Sharing drug needles with someone who is infected with HIV.
  3. The virus can also be passed from a mother to her baby during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding.

What are the symptoms?

HIV may not cause symptoms early on. People who do have symptoms may mistake them for the flu or mono. Common early symptoms include:

  1. Fever.
  2. Sore throat.
  3. Headache.
  4. Muscle aches and joint pain.
  5. Swollen glands (swollen lymph nodes).
  6. Skin rash.

Some common myths and facts related to AIDs:

1.Myth: You can get HIV just by being around HIV-positive individuals in your daily life.

Fact: HIV is transmitted when infected material (blood, semen, vaginal fluid, breast milk) comes in direct contact with a mucous membrane (mouth, vagina, anus), damaged tissue, or is injected directly into the bloodstream. HIV is not spread by kissing, hugging, sharing food/drink, toilet seats, sneezes/coughs, sweat, touching, or through insect bites.

2. Myth: HIV can be cured.

Fact: There is no cure for HIV. With treatment, HIV-positive individuals can control the virus and live long, healthy lives.

3. Myth: Being diagnosed with HIV is a death sentence.

Fact: The HIV virus was earlier less understood, how it was transmitted, or how to treat it. As a result of this lack of knowledge, combined with the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS, many of those who were diagnosed died. With better awareness and advanced medication people can live long healthy lives.

4. Myth: If both partners are HIV positive, use of condoms is not required.

Fact: Do not forget that antiretroviral therapy (ART) will not protect you from unwanted pregnancy or other STDs. Additionally, it is possible for an HIV-positive individual to become infected with a second strain of HIV, which is called HIV re-infection. This could potentially hamper the current treatment.

5. Myth: The elderly do not have to worry about HIV

Fact: HIV does not discriminate against age, gender, race, sexual orientation, class, or any other identifier. Age doesn’t stop people from having sex and if you are having sex, then you are at some risk of contracting HIV or other STDs.

Let us all get together and bring an end to the AIDs epidemic. Over the years public efforts have spread the anti-AIDs message strongly leading to reduction in deaths due to AIDs. Let us be responsible citizens.

To get yourself tested for HIV, please see our below website to avail of the most suitable health check-up package for you:

The Real Reason behind Your “Fatigue”

Thursday, November 23rd, 2017

Do you often ask yourself, “Why am I so tired?” Do you feel like no matter how much sleep you get, you’re still tired all the time? It does not mean you are lazy.

Getting a good night’s sleep is important, but how many of us make it a priority. Stimulants like coffee and energy drinks, alarm clocks, and external lights — including those from electronic devices — interfere with our circadian rhythm, or natural sleep/wake cycle. A good night’s sleep is needed to replenish your energy levels. But if you are getting enough rest and still feel exhausted, then your low energy level may be an indicator of an underlying problem.

Here are some possible reasons for your fatigue:

  1. Sedentary Lifestyle –With the technology boom it is common for many people to develop a sedentary lifestyle, be it office goers or home makers. Everything is available at your doorstep and easily accessible with apps. However this has a downside. Your body was made to move, in absence of regular activities, you can experience mood issues, sluggishness, fatigue, and weight gain. Regular exercise does wonders for the body by releasing endorphins, boosting your stamina and lifting your mood.
  2. Junk food diet – Diets high in saturated fats, trans fats , processed foods and added sugars can deplete your energy levels.  Choose a healthy diet filled with many fresh fruits and vegetables.
  3. Stress – Stress can be a major reason for feeling tired and fatigued. Work life, personal life, prolonged illness, career pressure all may be reasons of stress. Make the right choices to avoid being in stressful situations. Try to manage your stress by yoga, meditation and taking up any hobby you enjoy.
  4. Vitamin D deficiency – Research suggests a link between low levels of this vitamin, low energy and depression. Consult your doctor and take vitamin D supplements if needed. Regular morning walks in sunlight also help get natural sunlight.
  5. Thyroid Disease – Fatigue, moodiness and muscle and joint pain are some of its symptoms. Get yourself tested today. It may be the hidden cause of your fatigue as the thyroid gland helps control your metabolic rate and energy levels.
  6. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome – It affects up to 80 percent of adults worldwide and is caused by a hormonal imbalance. Your adrenal glands release more than 50 different hormones, including the energy-regulating hormones cortisol and adrenaline. These key hormones increase and decrease according to the amount of stress being put on your body.
  7. Anaemia – Anaemia is a condition where a person has a lower than normal level of red blood cells. Anaemia is related to a low supply of oxygen reaching cells and tissues throughout the body. Felling tired and fatigued is one of its main symptoms.
  8. Not enough omega-3 – Try to incorporate foods in your diet that provide beneficial omega-3 fatty acids. It helps to reduce depression, which can make you feel fatigued. Foods rich in omega-3 include seafood, leafy greens, chia seeds and ground flax seed. Try to include more of these foods into your diet.
  9. Dehydration – Dehydration occurs when there is an excessive loss of body fluids, especially of water and electrolytes. When you’re dehydrated, your heart sends oxygen and nutrients to your brain, muscles and organs at a slower pace; as a consequence, you begin to feel fatigued, lethargic, moody.

Take a note of the above factors while finding the underlying reason of your fatigue. If it does not help, get a complete body health check up done with us to rule out any underlying diseases. After all preventative care is always recommended. Please see below link for further details:


Thursday, November 16th, 2017
What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is a central nervous system (neurological) disorder in which brain activity becomes abnormal, causing seizures or periods of unusual behaviour, sensations, and sometimes loss of awareness.

The seizure symptoms can vary widely. Some people with epilepsy simply stare blankly for a few seconds during a seizure, while others repeatedly twitch their arms or legs. Having a single seizure doesn’t mean you have epilepsy. At least two unprovoked seizures are generally required for an epilepsy diagnosis.

Anyone can develop epilepsy, at any time of life. It happens in people of all ages, races and social classes. However it is most commonly diagnosed in children and in people over 65. Epilepsy affects both males and females of all races, ethnic backgrounds and ages.

Treatment with medications or sometimes surgery can control seizures for the majority of people with epilepsy. Some people require lifelong treatment to control seizures, but for others, the seizures eventually go away. Some children with epilepsy may outgrow the condition with age.

Some symptoms may include:
  • Temporary confusion
  • A staring spell
  • Uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs
  • Loss of consciousness or awareness
  • Psychic symptoms such as fear, anxiety or deja vu
Symptoms vary depending on the type of seizure.

See a doctor immediately if:

  • The seizure lasts more than five minutes.
  • Breathing or consciousness doesn’t return after the seizure stops.
  • A second seizure follows immediately.
  • You have a high fever.
  • You’re experiencing heat exhaustion.
  • You’re pregnant.
  • You have diabetes.
  • You’ve injured yourself during the seizure.

Epilepsy has no identifiable cause in about half the people with the condition. In the other half, the condition may be traced to some of the below factors:

  • Genetic influence. Some types of epilepsy, which are categorized by the type of seizure you experience or the part of the brain that is affected, run in families.
  • Head trauma. Head trauma as a result of a car accident or other traumatic injury can cause epilepsy.
  • Brain conditions. Brain conditions that cause damage to the brain, such as brain tumors or strokes, can cause epilepsy. Stroke is a leading cause of epilepsy in adults older than age 35.
  • Infectious diseases. Infectious diseases, such as meningitis, AIDS and viral encephalitis, can cause epilepsy.
  • Prenatal injury. Before birth, babies are sensitive to brain damage. It may be due to an infection in the mother, poor nutrition or oxygen deficiencies.
  • Developmental disorders. Epilepsy can sometimes be associated with developmental disorders, such as autism and neurofibromatosis.

Having a seizure at certain times can lead to circumstances that are dangerous to yourself or others.

  • Falling. If you fall during a seizure, you can injure your head or break a bone.
  • Drowning. If you have epilepsy, you’re 15 to 19 times more likely to drown while swimming or bathing than the rest of the population because of the possibility of having a seizure while in the water.
  • Car accidents. A seizure that causes either loss of awareness or control can be dangerous if you’re driving a car or operating other equipment.
  • Pregnancy complications. Seizures during pregnancy pose dangers to both mother and baby, and certain anti-epileptic medications increase the risk of birth defects. Consult your doctor before planning your pregnancy.
  • Emotional health issues. People with epilepsy are more likely to have psychological problems, especially depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts and behaviours.
  • Status epilepticus. This condition occurs if you’re in a state of continuous seizure activity lasting more than five minutes or if you have frequent recurrent seizures without regaining full consciousness in between them. People with status epilepticus have an increased risk of permanent brain damage and death.
  • Sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). People with epilepsy also have a small risk of sudden unexpected death. The cause is unknown, however people with frequent tonic-clonic seizures or people whose seizures aren’t controlled by medications may be at higher risk of SUDEP. Overall, about 1 percent of people with epilepsy die of SUDEP.

Fortunately, epilepsy is a treatable condition. Many people with epilepsy (two out of three) will achieve good seizure control with medication. When medication is not effective in preventing seizures there are other treatment options available.

Are you Epileptic? Here is a guide on healthy living with Epilepsy:

  • Follow a healthy diet and take care of your overall health.
  • Know and understand your epilepsy diagnosis.
  • Be in compliance of the best treatment for you.
  • Know your seizure triggers and make lifestyle changes to prevent or avoid them.
  • Speak to others suffering from Epilepsy. It help gain insights to manage the disease and improve your quality of life.

If you or a loved one is suffering from Epilepsy, meet our experts at our Centre for Neurosciences. Please find below link for further details on Epilepsy treatment:

Diabetes, the New Epidemic

Friday, November 10th, 2017
What is Diabetes?

Diabetes or diabetes mellitus is a condition where the body is unable to break down sugar (glucose) in the blood. It occurs when the body does not produce enough insulin or when we cannot use the insulin made by the pancreas properly.  This leads to an increase in blood glucose levels and causes diabetes.

There are Three Different Types of Diabetes:

Type 1 Diabetes:

This type occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin, typically due to death of the beta cells in the pancreas from an autoimmune reaction. Type 1 Diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and adolescents. This can cause people to have too much glucose in the blood or hyperglycaemia. This affects 10% of the people.

Type 2 Diabetes:

This type occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body does not effectively use the insulin produced. It develops in adulthood, although levels are increasing in children due to obesity, which is a risk factor for diabetes. Approximately 90% of people with diabetes have Type 2 diabetes.

Gestational Diabetes:

Gestational Diabetes is a temporary condition that occurs during pregnancy. This type may increase future risk of developing diabetes for both the mother and child.

Some common diabetes symptoms:

Frequent urination, frequent thirst, unexplained weight loss, fatigue, blurred vision, weakness, increased hunger, headaches, skin infections, slow healing, and numbness in feet.

Some Diabetes Risk factors:
  • Family history of diabetes
  • Ethnicity
  • Have been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
  • Had gestational diabetes
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Having an unbalanced diet high in fat, refined and processed foods.
  • Living a sedentary lifestyle
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking

Pre-diabetes is a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be classified as full-blown diabetes. If you have pre-diabetes, you are at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes and also are at increased risk of developing heart disease. Those with pre-diabetes are at increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes within a decade unless they adopt a healthier lifestyle that includes weight loss and more physical activity.

Some Diabetes facts:
  1. About one third of all people with diabetes do not know they have the disease.
  2. A meal plan for a person with diabetes isn’t very different than that which is recommended for people without diabetes.
  3. Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in working-age adults.
  4. People with diabetes are twice as likely to develop heart disease than someone without diabetes.
  5. Good control of diabetes significantly reduces the risk of developing complications and prevents complications from getting worse.
  6. There is an emerging global epidemic of diabetes that can be traced back to rapid increases in overweight, obesity and physical inactivity.
  7. Total deaths from diabetes are projected to rise by more than 50% in the next 10 years. Most notably, they are projected to increase by over 80% in upper-middle income countries.
  8. Type 1 diabetes is characterized by a lack of insulin production and type 2 diabetes results from the body’s ineffective use of insulin.
  9. Lack of awareness about diabetes, combined with insufficient access to health services, can lead to complications such as blindness, amputation and kidney failure.
  10. Reports of type 2 diabetes in children – previously rare – have increased globally.

Some tips for living healthy with diabetes:

  • When you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you need to be very aware of not only what you eat, but also when and how much you eat. Following a healthy meal plan is essential.
  • Controlling intake of saturated and trans fat is also important. Obesity is a major risk factor for diabetes, so controlling and maintaining a healthy weight is vital for diabetes control.
  • Keep your blood sugar meter handy and accessible. It is important to keep it with you at all times to measure blood sugar levels periodically.
  • It’s essential to keep fast acting carbs close and nearby like honey, parle G biscuit or a candy. It will be helpful when your sugar levels go low.
  • Physical activity is an important part of controlling diabetes and preventing complications such as heart disease and high blood pressure. Try for 30 minutes of moderate exercise, like brisk walking, on most days.
  • Your doctor may give you oral medication to help control your blood glucose levels. For people with type 1 diabetes (and some people with type 2 diabetes) this means taking insulin.

Diabetes is a challenging disease. No matter if you have the same exact blood sugar, eat the same exact number of carbs and participate in the same amount of activity, you will still have a different blood sugar number when it’s all said and done. Try your best to lead a healthy lifestyle. Do consult our health experts for all your diabetes queries, please find link below:

Your Spine Health is Crucial

Saturday, November 4th, 2017

Have you ever wondered why is the spinal cord given so much importance? It is one of the most parts of the human body. The nervous system runs electrical impulses up and down the spine to areas that feel sensation. A damaged spinal cord can disrupt neural responses, disabling sensations in parts of your body.

Let us look at some other vital functions below:
  • Your spinal cord gives you the ability to bend and twist. When your spine is injured, your mobility is limited.
  • An injury to the spinal cord can make walking, bending, sitting straight, twisting your spine, or moving your neck difficult.
  • Your oesophagus is parallel with your spine. If you accidentally injure your spine, it can press against your oesophagus, obstruct it, or puncture it and hamper food intake.
  • Incorrect movement, intense exercises and bad posture can add unnecessary pressure to the spine, which over time can lead to degenerative diseases.
  • Without your spine working properly, your quality of life can greatly deteriorate. You won’t be able to enjoy many of the activities you love.

Spinal problems can begin as early as the late twenties. To prevent injury to your spine or further deterioration, it is important to strengthen your spine with exercise. Millions of people are affected by back pain every day. It affects their quality of personal and professional life. In fact, lower back pain is the leading cause of job-related disability.

Here are simple yet important tips to maintain your spine health:
  1. Lift correctly – Improperly lifting heavy items can put your lower back muscles in abnormal positions and cause muscle strains. Additionally, improper lifting may cause your spinal joints to lock or your spinal discs to rupture.
  2. Walking – The benefits of walking are plentiful, including strengthening the core muscles that keep your body upright, improving flexibility, and strengthening your bone structure.
  3. Match your pillow to your sleeping position – When you lie down to sleep, you want a pillow that supports the natural curve of your neck. This means that people who prefer different sleeping positions will need different kinds of pillows.
  4. Choose your food wisely – Your daily diet plays an important role in maintaining the health of your spine. Choose vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes. over processed foods and unhealthy sweets.
  5. Exercise in the water – Exercising in a pool reduces the downward stress of gravity as the buoyancy of water helps to support your spine, thus reducing the risk of injury.
  6. Quit smoking – Smoking increases your likelihood of developing degenerative spinal disorders and back pain.
  7. Sleep well – Sleeping well is important to your overall health. Your body needs a good night’s sleep to repair itself. Sleep on your side, not your stomach as it puts too much pressure on your spine.
  8. Stretch out – Regular stretching and being flexible helps maintain normal joint functions and also reduces the risk of injury.
  9. Maintain a healthy weight –  Being overweight or obese a risk factor for low back pain.
  10. Work smart – Proper ergonomics can help reduce a lot of stress on both the lower and upper back.  Ensure your desk is set up for your height and functionality. Take regular breaks to periodically get up and walk around the office or home.
Some risk factors that contribute to back aches:
  • Back pain is more common as you age, you may first have back pain when you are 30 to 40 years old.
  • Poor physical fitness leads to spine ailments.
  • A diet high in calories and fat can make you obese, excess weight can stress the back and cause pain.
  • Some causes of back pain, such as ankylosing spondylitis can have a genetic component.
  • If you have to lift, push, or pull while twisting your spine at work, you may get back pain.  A sedentary job with a bad posture may also lead to back pain.
What Are the Causes of Back Pain?

Some of the common mechanical problems which cause back pain are:

  • Disk breakdown
  • Spasms
  • Tense muscles
  • Ruptured disks
  • Injuries from sprains, fractures or accidents.

Back pain can also occur with some below conditions:

  • Scoliosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Arthritis
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Pregnancy
  • Kidney stones
  • Infections
  • Endometriosis

Do not ignore spinal problems or pain. Pay attention to any warning signs. If left untreated, problems with your spine can worsen and become serious. The Centre for Bone and Joint at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital offers comprehensive solutions for various spine disorders. Please refer below link for more details: