Archive for May, 2020

Stay Healthy this Summer

Monday, May 25th, 2020

This summer we have been hit by the highly infectious COVID-19. This pandemic has affected people all over the world and India has seen above 1 .38lakh cases to date. Hospitals are already overstretched attending to patients suffering from the coronavirus. This makes it even more important to take extra care of your health this summer. High temperatures can cause dehydration, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, or intestinal infections too.

This summer is different from every year. The lockdown has forced people to stay indoors, eat home-cooked food, and maintain high hygiene due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This has helped reduce the incidents of summer illness. Cases of stomach infections and food poisoning have all come down as people are aware of hand hygiene.

Even when you stay at home it is important to eat the right foods and follow healthy practices to stay healthy and fit. Here are a few healthy tips to follow this summer:

  • Have seasonal fruits and vegetables
    It is best to consume only seasonal summer fruits and vegetables this season as they are filled with properties to fight the summer heat. Watermelon, muskmelon, oranges,  mangoes are some of the seasonal summer fruits. Pumpkin, bitter gourd, bottle gourd, cucumber, etc are some of the seasonal summer vegetables.
  • Stay hydrated
    Drinking water is extremely important as it helps rehydrate your body and regulates the various functions of the body. Avoid drinking extremely cold water.
  • Eat regularly but light
    Summer time tends to reduce one’s appetite because of excessive heat. But you need eat regularly because your body requires the nutrients to fight the heat and keep you healthy. It is good to have lighter meals rather than having heavy ones, especially at night.
  • Skin care in summer
    Are you sweating profusely this summer? Summer makes your skin more prone to rashes, prickly heat, and fungal infections. Have a bath twice daily and use a medicated powder if needed.
  • Choose healthy juices
    Summers make you thirsty more often. However avoid sipping on fizzy drinks, alcohol, caffeinated drinks or packaged juices. Choose healthy alternatives like nimbu pani, homemade juice, or aam panna a seasonal favourite.
  • Snack healthy
    The harsh climate can drain you off your energy, making you prone to infections, vomiting, nausea, prickly heat, and low blood pressure. Avoid fried foods and foods that are highly processed and heavy to digest.
  • Don’t Exert Yourself
    Physical activity is essential for good health, but during summers, make sure that you don’t overexert yourself. If household chores are exhausting you, take some rest or split the activities during the day. Follow a light exercise routine and remain indoors.
  • Wear Loose Clothes
    Wear loose and comfortable cotton clothes even if you are staying at home. Avoid wearing any synthetic fabrics. 

Summer Special Foods

What are you eating every day? Is your diet a summer-friendly?

Here are some of the summer special foods that are extremely high on vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. Have them daily:

  • Melons – Watermelons and muskmelons good for the digestive system, propel weight loss, and are very high in water content.
  • Lauki or Bottle Gourd – It’s rich in calcium, magnesium, Vitamin A, C, and, folate. The summer vegetable works well on high blood pressure, keeps the heart healthy, and is considered an excellent blood purifier.
  • Aam panna – Aam panna made from raw mangoes helps fight constipation and chronic stomach problems like Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Make it at home to ensure the use of recommended quantities of sugar and salt.
  • Cucumber – Loaded with fibre, eating cucumber in summer helps in keeping constipation at bay. Cucumber also contains a high amount of water content that helps keep you cool.
  • Curd – Curd is not only delicious but also gives a coolant effect to your body. You can make buttermilk or have a plain bowl of curd with your meals. It can also be mixed with fruits and made into a seasonal smoothie.
  • Mint – Mint leaves or pudina not only keeps your body temperature cool but also gives you a refreshing effect.
  • Green leafy vegetables – Having green leafy vegetables around the year gives you numerous benefits. And adding them to your daily diet is also beneficial as green leafy vegetables contain a high amount of water content.
  • Onions – You may get surprised to know that onions too provide cooling properties. The red onions are loaded with quercetin, which is considered as a natural anti-allergen. Adding onion to your daily diet also helps in protecting you against the sun-stroke.
  • Nimbu pani water – Lemonade or nimbu pani is another refreshing drink for summer. Sip on some nimbu pani everyday to stay hydrated.

An extreme heatwave is set to hit many parts of India during the end of May. Stay at home and stay safe as you are already fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are stepping out to buy essentials do not step out between 11 am to 4 pm as the heat is at its peak at this time. Wear protective clothing like a cap or scarf if required. Take preventive steps and protect your and your family’s health in summer. Please consult doctors at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital for any summer ailments.

All about Hypertension

Saturday, May 16th, 2020

Hypertension is high blood pressure, a very common condition in older adults. Blood pressure is the physical force exerted by the blood as it pushes against the walls of the arteries. Blood pressure readings are written in two numbers separated by a line. The top number represents the systolic blood pressure and the bottom number represents the diastolic pressure. The systolic blood pressure is the pressure in the arteries as the heart contracts pushing the blood forward. The diastolic pressure is the pressure in the arteries as the heart relaxes. 1 in 5 adults have Hypertension in India. 33% of urban Indians are Hypertensive whereas 25% of rural Indians are Hypertensive.

Normal blood pressure is below 120/80. High blood pressure can also damage the walls of the arteries. Over time, hypertension increases the risk of heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke. Here are the revised 4 blood pressure categories:

  • Normal.
  • Elevated.
  • High blood pressure, Stage 1.
  • High blood pressure, Stage 2.
Blood Pressure Categories

Symptoms of Hypertension
Most commonly high blood pressure causes no symptoms at all. This means that people with high blood pressure can be having damage that occur to their heart, kidneys, eyes, and circulation without any symptoms. This makes regular check-up of blood pressure very important.

High blood pressure can impair the function of the kidneys, leading to fluid retention and swelling of the legs, and even kidney failure. High blood pressure can affect the eyes, causing vision loss. High blood pressure can seriously affect the circulation causing pain in the legs with walking, cold feet, and stroke. Fortunately, when high blood pressure is detected early, treated, and monitored, the consequences of high blood pressure can be avoided.

Symptoms of high blood pressure may be present in those who have extremely high blood pressure. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Severe headaches.
  • Fatigue.
  • Vision problems.
  • Chest pain.
  • Difficulty breathing.
  • Irregular heartbeat.
  • Pounding in the chest, neck, or ears.

Causes of Hypertension
There are several factors that may cause high blood pressure, but the exact cause is unknown. The following factors may increase one’s risk for high blood pressure:

  • Smoking.
  • Overweight or obesity.
  • Lack of physical activity.
  • Too much salt consumption.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption.
  • Stress.
  • Older age.
  • Family history of high blood pressure.
  • Chronic kidney disease.
  • Adrenal and thyroid disorders.
  • Sleep apnoea.

Elevated Blood Pressure
An elevated blood pressure reading means that your blood pressure falls just above the normal level, corresponding to a systolic pressure between 120 and 129 or a diastolic pressure of 80 or less.

If elevated blood pressure levels are accompanied by diabetes, kidney disease, or cardiovascular disease, your doctor may suggest blood pressure medication as well as  lifestyle changes. If elevated levels are your only condition, lifestyle changes can help prevent blood pressure from rising. Here are a few health tips to help lower your blood pressure:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eating a healthy, low-salt diet.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Limit alcohol consumption.
  • Quit smoking.
  • Stay hydrated.

Some facts about High Blood Pressure:

  • High blood pressure may be linked to dementia.
  • Young people can also have high blood pressure.
  • Anxiety causes some of the same symptoms as hypertension.
  • High blood pressure usually has no symptoms.
  • Many people who have high blood pressure don’t know it.
  • High Blood pressure can be life-threatening.

COVID-19 and Hypertension
Having hypertension does not make you more susceptible to COVID-19. However, a person with high blood pressure who gets the virus is more likely to require hospitalisation or even ventilation, as opposed to infected patients without blood pressure. Any co-morbidity or existing medical conditions like diabetes, hypertension or heart disease may result in a more severe impact of the virus on the body due to a weaker immune system. Those who have high blood pressure and are already on medication may have compromised immunity.

Are you or a family member suffering from Hypertension? Get expert advice and treatment at our Department of Internal Medicine. Please find below website link for more details:

All about Thalassemia

Friday, May 8th, 2020

What is thalassemia?
Red blood cells transport oxygen throughout the body; haemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells that carries the oxygen. Thalassemia is an inherited blood disorder that affects the body’s ability to produce normal haemoglobin. People who have thalassemia produce fewer healthy haemoglobin proteins, and their bone marrow produces fewer healthy red blood cells. Haemoglobin is important because it lets your red blood cells carry oxygen to all parts of your body.

In India, every year 10,000 children are being born with thalassemia which approximately accounts for 10% of the total world incidence of thalassemia-affected children. 1 in 8 thalassemia carriers live in India.  In India, there are nearly 42 million carriers of the β-thalassemia trait.

Thalassemia is caused by mutations in the DNA of cells that make hemoglobin — the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout your body. The mutations associated with thalassemia are passed from parents to children.

Types of thalassemia
Types of thalassemia are defined by two things: the specific part of hemoglobin that is affected (usually either “alpha” or “beta”), or the severity of thalassemia, which is noted by words like trait, carrier, intermedia, or major.

Hemoglobin, which carries oxygen to all cells in the body, is made of two different parts, called alpha and beta. When thalassemia is called “alpha” or “beta,” this refers to the part of hemoglobin that isn’t being made. If either the alpha or beta part is not made, there aren’t enough building blocks to make normal amounts of hemoglobin. Low alpha is called alpha thalassemia. Low beta is called beta thalassemia.

When the words “trait,” “minor,” “intermedia,” or “major” are used, these words describe how severe the thalassemia is. A person who has thalassemia trait may not have any symptoms at all or may have only mild anaemia, while a person with thalassemia major may have severe symptoms and may need regular blood transfusions to survive.

The symptoms of Thalassemia include:

  • Slow growth in children.
  • Wide or brittle bones.
  • Weakness.
  • Pale or yellow skin.
  • Enlarged spleen.
  • Fatigue.
  • Dark urine.
  • Poor appetite.
  • Heart problems.

In some people, symptoms show up at birth. In others, it can take a couple of years to see anything. Some people who have thalassemia will show no signs at all.

With a mild case, you may feel tired and not need treatment. But for serious cases you need regular blood transfusions. A transfusion is a way to get donated blood or parts of blood that your body needs, like haemoglobin. How often you need transfusions can vary from person to person. Sometimes, transfusions of blood cause reactions like high fever, nausea, diarrhoea, chills, and low blood pressure.

People with moderate thalassemia have an increased risk of infection and also suffer from iron overload. Some people with severe thalassemia have other health problems, like bone deformities, heart or liver disease.

Living with Thalassemia
It is possible to live a healthy life with Thalassemia. Follow these health tips to stay healthy:

  • Don’t take iron pills.
  • Ask your doctor about supplements like calcium and vitamin D.
  • Stay away from sick people and wash your hands often.
  • Eat a healthy diet to keep your bones strong and give you energy.

Myths and Facts
Myth: Thalassemia carrier couples will always have Thalassemia Major children.
Fact: That is not true. When both the partners are Thalassemia carriers there is 25 percent chance of having a Thalassemia Major child, 50 percent Thalassemia Minor and 25 percent normal i.e. not even a carrier. And if only one or none of the couple is a carrier, none of the child will be a Thalassemia Major.

Myth: Thalassemia is not preventable.
Fact: Thalassemia is 100 percent preventable. Thalassemia can be easily prevented by pre-marital screening or early pregnancy screening followed by marriage counselling and antenatal diagnosis if required.

Myth: There is no treatment for Thalassemia Major.
Fact: Thalassemia Majors can live normal life if they are given adequate blood transfusion and iron chelation therapy.

Myth: Thalassemia cannot be cured.
Fact: Thalassemia can be cured by bone marrow transplantation but it requires HLA matched siblings. However, HLA matched donor is not always available.

Thalassemia and COVID-19

There is no evidence that thalassemia trait makes carriers more susceptible to the virus. Patients with beta thalassemia trait (or minor) have no increased risk of infection from the coronavirus, compared to other healthy individuals. Therefore it is best to follow the advice of regular hand wash and social distancing to prevent COVID-19.

Patients suffering from thalassemia major must continue with their blood transfusion schedule. Follow high levels of personal hygiene, wear a mask and practice social distancing at the hospital too. Check with your healthcare provider for the safest possible environment for receiving transfusions.

Get expert advice and treatment for Thalassemia at our specialised Thalassemia Clinic. Please find below link for more details:

World Asthma Day

Tuesday, May 5th, 2020

5th May 2020 is observed as World Asthma Day. Asthma is a condition in which your airways narrow and swell and produce extra mucus. This can make breathing difficult and trigger coughing, wheezing and shortness of breath. Asthma is a long-term disease of the lungs, it is called chronic respiratory disease. For some people, asthma is a minor ailment. For others, it can be a major problem that interferes with daily activities and may lead to a life-threatening asthma attack. Asthma can’t be cured, however, its symptoms can be controlled. Asthma tends to change over time, hence it is essential to work with your doctor to track your signs and symptoms and adjust treatment as needed.

How is Asthma classified?

Depending on the severity of the disease and how it affects your daily life asthma is classified into:

  • Mild intermittent asthma – Mild symptoms less than twice a week. Night-time symptoms less than twice a month. Few asthma attacks.
  • Mild persistent asthma – Symptoms three to six times a week. Night-time symptoms three to four times a month. Asthma attacks might affect activities.
  • Moderate persistent asthma – Symptoms three to six times a week. Night-time symptoms three to four times a month. Asthma attacks might affect activities.
  • Severe persistent asthma – You have ongoing symptoms both day and night. They’re so frequent that you have to limit your activities.

Symptoms of Asthma

Not all people with asthma have the same symptoms, however, the most common symptoms are:

  • Shortness of breath, chest tightness.
  • Wheezing.
  • Coughing during the night.
  • Chronic cough.
  • A cold that lasts for more than 10 days.

Anyone can get asthma at any age. Sometimes it starts in infancy, other times it starts later in childhood. Although some children seem to “outgrow” asthma, the disease never really goes away, there is just a time when you are not having any breathing problems. Asthma can also start at any time during adulthood, including the senior years. Some people develop asthma after a work-related exposure.

Asthma Causes and Triggers

When you have asthma, your airways react to many different things in the environment called asthma triggers. Contact with these triggers cause asthma symptoms to start or worsen and may lead to an asthma attack. Common asthma triggers include:

  • Infections like sinusitis, colds, and flu.
  • Tobacco smoke.
  • Cold air or changes to the weather.
  • Allergens such as pollens, mould, pet dander, and dust mites.
  • Irritants like strong odours from perfumes or cleaning solutions.
  • Air pollution.
  • Strong emotions such as anxiety, or stress.
  • Certain medications.

What is an Asthma Attack?

An  asthma attack is a sudden worsening of symptoms. With an asthma attack, your airways tighten, swell up, or fill with mucus. Common symptoms include:

  • Coughing, especially at night.
  • Wheezing.
  • Shortness of breath or trouble breathing.
  • Chest tightness, pain, or pressure.

Asthma patients are advised to work closely with their doctor to manage asthma and keep it under control. You must carry the prescribed emergency medicine, the quick-relief inhaler at all times with you. Here are a few tips to manage an asthma attack:

  • Stay calm, and try to relax.
  • Tell someone that you are having asthma symptoms.
  • Take the quick-relief medication or your inhaler as prescribed by your doctor.
  • If the quick-relief medicine hasn’t helped in 5-10 minutes, seek emergency help.

Asthma and COVID-19

People with moderate to severe asthma may be at higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19.  COVID-19 can affect your respiratory tract (nose, throat, lungs), cause an asthma attack, and possibly lead to pneumonia and acute respiratory disease. Looking at these risk factors it is important for asthmatics to manage their asthma triggers and take their long-term medicine as prescribed to prevent asthma attacks during these times.

Here are a few Do’s for Asthmatics:

  • Stay at home as much as possible.
  • Wash your hands at regular intervals with soap and water.
  • Continue with your asthma medicines.
  • Manage your asthma triggers and avoid them.
  • Keep your inhalers handy at all times.
  • Wash your inhalation devices regularly to keep them hygienic and clean.

 Here are a few Don’ts for Asthmatics:

  • Do not share your inhaler with anyone else.
  • Do not go for non-urgent, and unnecessary doctor visits.
  • Do not resort to advance exercise regime. Try and do light exercises at home if required.

Are you or a family member suffering from asthma? Do you need expert advice to manage this disease better? Consult experts at our Department of Pulmonary Medicine. Please find below link for more details: