Immunity Matters

Nov 22nd, 2019

Archive for November, 2019

Immunity Matters

Friday, November 22nd, 2019

Do you often fall sick?

What about your neighbour?

And your best friend?

Have you ever wondered why some people get sick more often?

This is because everyone has a different immunity. Elders and infants have a low immunity and hence are more susceptible to diseases.

Immunity is a condition of being able to resist a particular disease especially through preventing development of a pathogenic microorganism. Everyone has a different immunity and thus reacts to viruses in a different way.

Sudden climate changes like unseasonal rain showers or heat waves weakens your immunity and makes you more prone to infectious diseases. In a few days winter will start. The cold climate will increase incidents of flu, cold and other respiratory illnesses. Also, viruses tend to be more stable in colder and drier conditions and stay for longer periods.

How the immune system fights viruses

Your skin and saliva are key barriers to infection and form part of your immune system, along with cells in every tissue of your body, including your blood and your brain. Some of these cells migrate around to fight infection at specific sites, such as a wound graze. Other cells reside in one tissue and regulate your body’s natural state of health by monitoring and helping with the healing process.

Your immune system requires a lot of energy to defend your body. Feeling tired and achy, overheating, and glands swelling are all signs that your immune system is busy fighting something.

Boost your immune system

Do you spend more days on sick leave than at work?

Here are a few simple lifestyle and diet changes to give your immune system an immediate boost and to protect your health:

1. Eat Breakfast

A lack of healthy breakfast makes your blood sugar levels fall and raises your stress levels. This puts your body in a state of fight or flight that lowers your immunity.

2. Add zinc to your diet

This wonder-mineral is found in all your cells and it’s critical for healthy cell development and function. Zinc interacts with thousands of proteins in your body and is involved in around 300 different enzyme processes. It improves wound-healing and improved thyroid function, gut health, blood clotting, vision, and smell.

3. Heal your gut

Research shows that when your levels of bad bacteria outweigh the good bacteria, your immune system is weakened. Digestive issues like dyspepsia, acid reflux and leaky gut affects your immunity.

4. Savour a Cup of Tea

Green tea or oolong tea increases the health-giving antioxidants, called flavonoids in your body. The polyphenols in tea help protect your body against free radical damage.

5. Sleep well.

Your body repairs and renews cells during sleep. Poor sleep patterns affects this process and reduces your immunity levels.

6. Get sunlight

Vitamin D, which is mostly synthesized from sunlight in your skin, is pivotal to important bodily processes such as shutting down cancer cells and assisting proper heart function.

7. Exercise

Exercise causes change in antibodies and white blood cells (WBC). WBCs are the body’s immune system cells that fight disease. These antibodies or WBCs circulate more rapidly during exercise, this helps detect illnesses earlier.

8. Quit smoking

Quitting smoking improves blood circulation, increases oxygen levels, and lowers inflammation – all of which give your immune system a boost.

Winter is almost here. Cold weather is sign for common cold and viruses to enter your body and therefore, it’s essential for you to take care of yourself by consuming healthy food. A healthy diet is essential for preventing yourself from contracting flu. This is because your immunity takes a hit during the winters. Apart from covering yourself up in warm clothes, there are certain foods you can add to your diet, to enhance your immunity and protect you from the diseases that are common during the cold winter months.

Here are six immunity boosting foods you should stock up on during winters:
  • Ginger: One of the foremost winter spices that you must add to your foods is ginger, which can be added to teas, gravies and warm soups. Ginger is a quick fix for a sore throat and it also fights inflammation in the body, as well as boosts immunity.
  • Garlic: This flavour-enhancer has sulphur-containing compounds like allicin, which acts as an immunity booster. It has potent antibiotic actions and supports your liver to effectively carry out detoxification.
  • Citrus Fruits: Most citrus fruits like lemon, lime, orange, etc., contain Vitamin C, which is known as nature’s immunity booster.
  • Dark Leafy Veggies: Spinach, kale, methi, mustard greens and other dark leafy vegetables aren’t just extremely nutritious and low in calories, but are also packed with antioxidants, beta carotene and immunity-boosting vitamin C.
  • Mushrooms: The deliciously flavourful mushrooms are like an immunity boosting shot for your body as they are rich in selenium, niacin, riboflavin and Vitamin D.
  • Turmeric: This essential kitchen spice is also an important immunity booster. This warming, bitter spice triggers an increase in an important protein that helps your immune system fight off fungus, viruses and bacteria.

Do you want to change your existing diet? Do you want a personalised diet plan to enhance your immunity? Consult experts at our Department of Nutrition Therapy for further assistance.

Facts About Epilepsy

Sunday, November 17th, 2019
What is Epilepsy?

Epilepsy is the name of the medical condition where a patient gets recurrent seizures. Seizures are also more commonly referred to as “fits” or “convulsions”

Is epilepsy common?

Epilepsy is a common neurological condition that affects 1 in every 200 people in the community. People with epilepsy have seizures or “fits”.

Are there different types of fits?

The normal brain continuously has electrical currents in a controlled manner. Fits or seizures occur because of brief excessive currents in the brain. The symptoms of a seizure vary depending on the part of the brain that has abnormal current.. Accordingly there are different types of fits or seizures.

Grand mal seizure:

The classical “grand mal” seizure is a result of the current invading the entire brain.. in this type of seizure the person falls to the ground and becomes stiff and then shakes all over. There may be frothing at the mouth… the person may lose urine and also bite his tongue. These are commonly called “convulsions”

Partial seizures

These are seizures due to abnormal current in only some portion of the brain, the symptoms may vary with the location of the current.

Simple partial seizure:

The person is fully aware and has an unusual sensation or jerking of his limbs, and recollects this event later.

Complex partial seizure:

The person is not fully in his/her senses and has some irrelevant automatic behavior. The person cannot recollect this event later. This is called a complex partial seizure.

Can epilepsy be treated?

There have been major breakthroughs in epilepsy treatment in the last few years. Over 70% of the people with epilepsy have a good control of their seizures with medications. Several new medications available over the last decade have very few side effects. At present there are over 15 different types of medications available for the treatment of fits.

Is epilepsy one disease?

Epilepsy can be of different types, due to different causes, and can greatly vary in severity as well. Therefore the treatment choice and duration has to be tailored to the patient.. The correct choice of medication has to be made, with careful consideration by the doctor. With the right medication and right advice, most people with epilepsy can lead normal lives.

Whom should I approach for treatment of epilepsy?

For the immediate care you may contact the family physician or pediatrician.
To plan the long term care it is advisable to seek opinion of a specialist doctor who treats epilepsy viz a neurologist or an epilepsy expert.

Can medications cure epilepsy?

Medications suppress seizures and keep the patient seizure free, but they do not remove the tendency to seizures. A large percentage of patients outgrow the tendency to more seizures with age, and can eventually discontinue medications.

Is it true that epilepsy can be cured with brain surgery?

About 20-30% of people with epilepsy continue to have seizures despite medications.

Some of these patients may be helped with brain surgery.

Patients have to be carefully selected for epilepsy surgery with some detailed testing. In correctly chosen patients, surgery is safe and can cure epilepsy. The person can become free of seizures and may even be able to gradually stop all medications.

What precautions should a person with epilepsy take?
  • Seek out the correct medical help from the expert doctor.
  • Regularity with medications is of utmost priority, even when there are no fits.
  • Sleep and meal times have to be regular. Lack of sleep is known to precipitate seizures.
  • Avoid driving motorized vehicles, swimming, cooking on open fires or working with heavy machinery if the epilepsy is active.

A person with epilepsy can study, work, have hobbies, marry and have normal children. Epilepsy need not be a barrier to achieving the highest goal.

Epilepsy At KDAH

Sunday, November 17th, 2019

Centre for Epilepsy at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Mumbai has a rare combination of the best Epilepsy Doctors EEG experts and most experienced Epilepsy Surgeon under one roof to care for both, children and adults with fits or seizures. We offer both, basic care for easy to treat epilepsy patients and advanced care for the more difficult patients with uncontrolled epilepsy.

A correct diagnosis of epilepsy and accurate identification of the epileptic firing focus in the brain is important for proper treatment. This is possible possible by a test called continuous Video EEG monitoring. In this test, and the EEG are studied by continuous recording of both EEG and the video of the patient.

Most patients with epilepsy can be treated with medicines. Many new medicines are available with very little side effects.

In some patients seizures may continue despite two or three medicines. In such patients, surgery may be done to control or cure the seizures. Kokilaben Hospital has facilities for high quality brain scanning (3 Tesla MRI with functional imaging, PET and ictal SPECT) facilities. We also have an MRI machine in the operation theatre, and intraoperative brain monitoring so that the surgeon can check soon after the surgery whether he has completely removed the abnormal area that is causing the fits. This makes complete epilepsy cure a reality for many patients.

Kokilaben Hospital is planning an awareness programme on Sunday Dec 1 2019, to inform general public about epilepsy. It will be held between 9 am to 1 pm at the Convention center of the hospital on the 6th floor. All are welcome, no registration fee. Contact Sleta at 8108630154

World Immunization Day

Sunday, November 10th, 2019

Immunizations are a part of preventive medical care and are helpful at all stages of life – right from infancy to childhood to adult life and old age living. Let us spread the awareness about important vaccinations to protect everyone against deadly diseases.

Childhood Vaccination

Childhood vaccines are recommended by your paediatrician. It is essential to follow the immunization chart prescribed by your doctor. Vaccinations not only protect your child from deadly diseases, such as polio, tetanus, and diphtheria, but they also keep other children safe by eliminating or greatly decreasing dangerous diseases that used to spread from child to child.

A vaccine is a dead, or weakened version, or part of the germ that causes the disease in question. When children are exposed to a disease in vaccine form, is able to build up antibodies that protect them from contracting the disease if and when they are exposed to the actual disease.

Most of your child’s vaccinations are completed between birth and 6 years. Many vaccines are given more than once, at different ages, and in combinations. Parents must take special care to maintain a track of their child’s immunizations.

Why you must Vaccinate Your Child
  • Immunizations can save your child’s life. Because of advanced medical science, your child can be protected against more diseases than ever before.
  • Vaccination is very safe and effective. Vaccines are only given to children after a long and careful review by scientists, doctors, and healthcare professionals. Vaccines will involve some discomfort and may cause pain, redness, or tenderness at the site of injection but this is minimal compared to the pain, discomfort, and trauma of the diseases these vaccines prevent.
  • Immunizations can save your family time and money. Some vaccine-preventable diseases can result in prolonged disabilities and can take a financial toll because of lost time at work, medical bills or long-term disability care.
  • Immunization protects future generations. Vaccines have reduced and, in some cases, eliminated many diseases that killed or severely disabled people just a few generations ago.

Myths and facts

Below are some common myths and facts about vaccines.

1. Myth: I’m breastfeeding, so my baby is protected from infections.

Fact: Breastfeeding is not a substitute for vaccination. Breastfeeding provides some protection against certain infections, especially viral respiratory infections, ear infections and diarrhoea. But this protection is incomplete, temporary, and can be overcome if your baby is exposed to large amounts of a specific germ.

2. Myth: My child doesn’t need vaccines because these diseases don’t exist anymore.

Fact: These diseases still exist, even if they are rare. Thanks to vaccine programs, all vaccine-preventable diseases have declined. But when immunization rates drop, these diseases can come back.

3. Myth: It’s better to get one vaccine at a time.

Fact: Thanks to combination vaccines, your child can get protection from many different diseases with one injection (shot). Studies show that combination vaccines are safe and effective.

4. Myth: There will be fewer side effects if I delay my baby’s vaccinations.

Fact: Vaccines begin at 2 months of age to protect babies as early in life as possible against diseases that can make them very sick. Babies respond well to vaccines at a very young age.

5. Myth: Vaccines are not safe.

Fact: Vaccines are safe and effective. They are formulated after a lot of research and testing and are completely safe for your child. Serious side effects to vaccines are very rare.

6. Myth: The MMR vaccine causes autism.

Fact: No, the MMR vaccine does not cause autism. There is no scientific evidence to support this claim. Because signs of autism may appear around the same age that children receive the MMR vaccine, some people believe the vaccine causes the condition.

Adult vaccines

Vaccines are not just for children, adults need them too for various health reasons.

Adults require vaccinations only under special conditions. Vaccines such as hepatitis A and B, pneumococcal and meningococcal meningitis, rabies, human papillomavirus vaccine and tetanus are the most common vaccinations given in India to adults.

The pneumococcal vaccine is give to people over 65 years of age as they are very susceptible to pneumonia. Rubella vaccination is given to females who are of reproductive age group. The human papillomavirus vaccine is given to prevent cervical cancer in women.

Travel immunizations

It is important to take vaccines as precautions while travelling to certain countries. For example, yellow fever vaccination is needed by Indians travelling to African countries. We don’t have yellow fever in India yet – but as a tropical and country the disease can thrive here well. So if someone from India travels to Africa, contracts the disease and returns to India, they can spread the disease. Similarly, vaccinations against tuberculosis, typhoid and meningococcal meningitis are required if you travel to the US or European countries.

Do you have a new born at home? Do you have any questions about adult vaccinations? Are you travelling abroad? Please find below links to our various Departments for vaccination details:

Post Festive Season Detox

Saturday, November 2nd, 2019

Diwali is over and so is the festive food. From namkeen snacks to plate full of mithais, to appetizers to alcohol people have indulged in them all. Are you missing the Diwali delicacies? Or are you happy that the bingeing season over?

As the Diwali celebrations come to an end it is time to get back to your usual diet and also look at starting a detox diet. It is recommended to check your weight as well as your cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels. This helps you know how your health is post-Diwali.

Detoxifying helps you cleanse your system of toxins absorbed from all the calorie-laden foods had in Diwali. Detoxify to help speed up your metabolism and enhance your overall health.

Detox with these foods:

1. Water

Staying hydrated is the key to good health. Drink enough water, this will help you flush out excess fat and sugar. Drink two to four litres of water every day to ensure a good detox.

2. Lemon

Lemons are a natural cure for everything from bloating to indigestion and help regulate your digestion. Start an early morning ritual, have lemon juice mixed with lukewarm water right after you wake up daily.

3. Honey

Has Diwali caused constipation due to the excess consumption of refined foods? Honey can help relieve constipation. Regular consumption of honey with lemon and water can help keep the gastrointestinal tract clear.

4. Cucumber

Toxins leave your body through urination and nothing helps that more than cucumbers. This diuretic ingredient helps lose excess water from the body, which also helps cure bloating.

5. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are full of antioxidants. Its high water-content can keep you hydrated, and its beta-carotenes can keep major diseases out of the way.

6. Spinach

This green leafy vegetable is rich in dietary fibre and vital nutrients, which can ensure a clean gastrointestinal tract as well as fit and healthy blood cells to boost your immunity.

Why you must start a post-Diwali Detox:

  • To regulate your body weight
    Most people put on weight after festival times. Starting a detox diet and eating light helps you reduce your weight.
  • Remove excess sugar from your system
    When you eat more sugar, your body demands more insulin, which in turn puts a strain on your pancreas. In the long term, this can cause chronic fatigue, diabetes, and weight gain.
  • Remove toxins from the body
    Pollution levels are alarmingly high at this time of the year, and they can affect your metabolism, immune system and may cause heart disease, strokes, and more. Detox helps improve your body’s natural function.
  • Restore your body’s balance
    A bad diet and lack of exercise can cause a toxic build-up, which can lead to fatigue, sinus, muscle ache, headaches, bloating and gas, sleep problems, water retention, and weight gain. Detox by making the right food choices and exercise to reboot your body.

Here are a few Detox tips:

1. Hydrate Well: Increase your water intake to flush out all the toxins from your body. Dehydration exhausts you and affects your skin too.

2. Eat Fresh Fruits And Veggies: Fresh fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins and minerals which are essential for your body to function efficiently. Fibre in fruits and veggies will help bring your digestive system back on track.

3. Nuts and Seeds: Dry fruits and nuts are full of protein, minerals, healthy fats and antioxidants. Snacking on this helps prevent junk food snacking.

4. Exercise: Start slow and steady with your exercise routine. Choose an exercise that best suits you. Choose a jog, cycling, gym workout, running or pilates to get back in shape.

5. Eat probiotics: Probiotics are bacteria that are essential to maintain good gut health, and consuming them is one of the best ways to naturally restore gut health. Include foods like curd and kefir in your diet.

6. Avoid artificial sugars Sugars contain an abundance of empty calories. This is detrimental to the body, as you end up consuming a whole lot of fat boosting calories, which can cause weight gain and other problems.

7. Eat light It is beneficial to the body to counter the five days of heavy eating by a period of going easy on food. Choose foods like khichdi, porridge, soups and salads which are light on your digestive system.

8. Avoid processed foods Processed foods are loaded with fat, sugar, hydrogenated oils, salt, and a large number of calories. Stay away from them to cleanse your system.

Confused about where to start? Do you need a personalised diet plan?

Consult our expert nutritionists for a one-to-one interaction at our Department of Nutrition Therapy. Please find below link for more details: