Archive for the ‘ Health Tips ’ Category

Your Mental Health Matters

Saturday, July 18th, 2020

Mental health refers to cognitive, behavioural, and emotional well-being. It is all about how people think, feel, and behave. A good mental health also means the absence of a mental disorder. Your mental health affects your ability to cope with stress, overcome challenges, build relationships, and recover from life’s setbacks and hardships. According the World Health Organization (WHO), mental illness makes about 15% of the total disease conditions around the world.

Common mental health disorders

One in four people in the world will be affected by mental disorders at some point in their lives. Treatments are available, but nearly two-thirds of people with a known mental disorder never seek help from a health professional. Stigma, discrimination, and neglect prevent care and treatment from reaching people with mental disorders.

The most common types of mental illness are:

Anxiety disorders
People with these conditions have severe fear or anxiety, which relates to certain objects or situations. Restlessness, fatigue, tense muscles, disturbed sleep are some physical symptoms.

Mood disorders
People with these conditions have significant changes in mood, generally involving either mania, which is a period of high energy and elation, or depression. Examples of mood disorders include:

  • Major depression: An individual with major depression experiences a constant low mood and loses interest in activities and events that they previously enjoyed. They can feel prolonged periods of sadness or extreme sadness.
  • Bipolar disorder: A person with bipolar disorder experiences unusual changes in their mood, energy levels, levels of activity, and ability to continue with daily life.
  • Postpartum Depression: Postpartum depression (PPD) is a type of depression that affects some women after giving birth to an infant. Symptoms include sadness, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, anxiety, and irritability.

Panic disorders
People with a panic disorder experience regular panic attacks, which involve sudden, overwhelming terror or a sense of imminent disaster and death.

There are different types of phobia:

  • Simple phobias: These might involve a disproportionate fear of specific objects, scenarios, or animals. Fear of closed spaces called claustrophobia is a common example.
  • Social phobia: Sometimes known as social anxiety, this is a fear of being subject to the judgment of others. People with social phobia often restrict their exposure to social environments. 

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
PTSD can occur after a person experiences or witnesses a deeply stressful or traumatic event. During this type of event, the person thinks that their life or other people’s lives are in danger.

Schizophrenia disorders
Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder in which people interpret reality abnormally. Schizophrenia may result in some combination of hallucinations, delusions, and extremely disordered thinking and behaviour that impairs daily functioning.

Top tips for good mental health
Taking care of your mental and emotional health is as important as your physical health. Here are a few health tips to keep yourself mentally healthy:

Get plenty of sleep
Sleep helps to regulate the chemicals in your brain that transmit information. These chemicals are important in managing your moods and emotions. Lack of sleep can make you feel depressed or anxious.

Eat a healthy diet
Certain mineral deficiencies, such as iron and vitamin B12 deficiencies, can make you feel low. Have a healthy and balanced diet.

Avoid alcohol, smoking, and drugs
Drinking and smoking negatively impact your mental health. It can make you feel more depressed and anxious.

Get plenty of sunlight
Sunlight is a great source of vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your brains to release chemicals that improve your mood, like endorphins and serotonin.

Manage stress
Stress is often unavoidable, but knowing what triggers your stress and knowing how to cope is key in maintaining good mental health. Meditation helps reduce your stress level.

Activity and exercise
Activity and exercise are essential in maintaining good mental health. Regular exercise promotes the release of feel-good brain chemicals.

Do something you enjoy
Take out some “me time” to do fun things you enjoy. Listen to music, take up a hobby or watch a TV show you enjoy to relax and unwind.

Stay connected
Staying in touch with friends and family is important not just for your self-esteem, but also for providing support when you’re not feeling too great.

Mental health in India

India shares a huge global burden of mental health diseases. Be it childhood mental disorders like autism or adult conditions such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, and psychosis or dementia in old age, the world is facing a challenge in the form of mental illness. The deep stigma around mental health in India contributes to denial and shame among the patients. They fear seeking medical help for their problems. People experiencing mental health problems must seek timely medical help just like they would for other physical health problems.

Seek professional help

One of the most important ways to keep yourself mentally healthy is to recognise when you’re not feeling good and to know when to ask for help. Remove the stigma around mental health. If you’ve made consistent efforts to improve your mental and emotional health and still aren’t functioning optimally at home, work, or in your relationships, it may be time to seek professional help.

Consult highly trained psychiatrists and psychologists at our Department of Psychiatry to help address your mental health problems. At Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital we also provide online consultations through video calls from the safety of your home. Please find below link for more details:

Monsoon Diseases

Saturday, July 4th, 2020

The last few months have been difficult for everyone. The world has been struggling to fight a pandemic and learning the rules of the new normal.  The norms of personal hygiene, sanitization, and physical distancing has gained importance than ever before. The much-awaited monsoon season has certainly brought joy to many people. Are you looking forward to enjoying a hot cup of tea as you see the raindrops from your window? However this joy is short-lived. This cool season arrives with a swarm of unwanted and harmful viruses and diseases. Cold and cough, malaria, dengue, diarrhoea, fever, typhoid are some of the diseases which are commonly seen in monsoon.

Common Monsoon Diseases
Some of the common monsoon illnesses that are highly infectious and which may also prove life-threatening if not attended to on time.

  • Malaria
    Malaria, caused by a single-celled parasite called Plasmodium, is one of the major health concerns in India during monsoons. It is the breeding season for mosquitoes (type: Anopheles minimus) that is a host to this malaria-causing parasite. Symptoms include high fever, chills, headache, nausea and vomiting.
  • Typhoid
    Typhoid fever is a result of contaminated food and water. This is a bacterial infection caused by Salmonella typhi. Maintaining proper hygiene and sanitation and at the same time using clean water is recommended to avoid this infection.
  • Chikungunya
    Chikungunya, caused by the Aedes albopictus mosquito, is a non-fatal viral disease. These mosquitoes breed in stagnant water and can bite you not only during the night but also during the day. The symptoms include headache, muscle pain, joint swelling, or rashes.
  • Dengue
    It is caused by a virus that is transmitted by mosquitoes known as the tiger mosquito, which has black and white stripes on their body. Symptoms of dengue include severe joint and muscle pain, swollen lymph nodes, headache, fever, rashes, and exhaustion.
  • Cholera
    This is a water-borne infection, caused by many strains of bacteria called Vibrio cholera. Cholera affects the gastrointestinal tract causing severe dehydration and diarrhoea. Hence, it is advisable to drink boiled or purified water to keep the germs at bay.
  • Viral Fever
    Sudden weather change can cause viral fevers. This is highly contagious and it can spread through air and physical contact. The symptoms of this fever are fatigue, chills, body aches, and fever.
  • Leptospirosis
    The bacteria that cause leptospirosis are spread through the urine of infected animals, which can get into water or soil and can survive there for weeks to months. Avoid walking through flooded waters as this infection enters your body through minor cuts on your skin.
  • Cold and cough
    The drastic fluctuation of temperature which happens during this rainy season makes the body susceptible to bacterial and viral attacks, resulting in cold and flu. This is the most common form of viral infection. One must consume highly nutritious foods and strengthen your immunity.
  • Diarrhoea
    Usually, towards the end of summer and early rainy season, seasonal diarrhea is common. This is spread through contaminated food and water. Maintain utmost hygiene while cooking and avoid eating outside food during monsoon.
  • Jaundice
    Jaundice is a condition wherein the colour of the skin and the eyes turn yellow. It is the cause of increased levels of bilirubin in the bloodstream. Jaundice harms your liver if left untreated.

Preventive Measures

Prevention is better than cure, take these health precautions during monsoon to help prevent the spread of monsoon illnesses. Here are a few health tips:

  • Drink safe and clean water.
  • Wash vegetables, fruits thoroughly.
  • Avoid eating outside food.
  • Use mosquito repellents.
  • Wear clean and dry garments.
  • Use hand sanitizers.
  • Use mosquito nets in your house
  • Clear stagnant water around your house.
  • Maintain high personal hygiene.

Make sure you protect yourself and your family from these dangerous diseases this monsoon season. However, despite your best efforts if you are infected with any monsoon illness please seek medical care. You can visit us or consult our experts online too. For more information please visit

International Yoga Day 2020

Saturday, June 20th, 2020

The theme for this year’s International Yoga Day on June 21, is “Yoga at Home and Yoga with Family.” This year International Yoga Day will be observed differently. Everyone is advised to stay at home and celebrate this day due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We encourage each one of you to make yoga a part of your life and spread awareness among your family and friends. If you are new to yoga you can refer to various online tutorials by experts to learn the correct form of yoga from the safety of your home.

How should Yoga be practiced?
Yoga should be practiced in a clean and calm environment, with a relaxed body and mind. It should be practiced on an empty or light stomach. A yoga mat or a folded blanket is ideal to perform yoga asanas. Choose to wear comfortable cotton clothes to ensure easy movement. If a person is unwell than yoga must be skipped that day. Also if you are suffering from chronic disease, pain or cardiac problems you must consult a yoga expert before practicing yoga. Pregnant women must speak with their doctor before starting any yoga routine. It is important to perform each asana slowly with awareness of the body as well as breath. Regular practice of yoga helps provide physical, emotional, and mental health balance.

Health benefits of yoga
Yoga is attributed to its many health benefits over hundreds of years. Here are some of the key ones:

  • Better Flexibility and Posture
    Yoga must become a part of your daily routine to get a body that is strong, supple, and flexible. Regular yoga practice stretches and tones the body muscles and also makes them strong. It also helps improve your body posture.
  • Builds Strength and balance
    Many yoga poses require you to bear your body weight in new ways, including balancing on one leg (as in tree pose) or supporting yourself with your arms (as in downward facing dog). Holding these poses helps build muscular strength.
  • Improves Immunity
    Yoga poses help massage various organs and strengthens muscles while breathing techniques and meditation release stress and improve immunity.
  • Supports Joint Health
    The movements necessary for yoga are low impact, allowing you to use your joints without injuring them. Yoga also helps strengthen the muscles around the joints, lessening their load. 
  • Prevents Back Pain
    Increased flexibility and strength can help prevent the causes of some types of back pain. Many people who have back pain have a sedentary lifestyle. Spending long hours in front of your computer also causes tightness throughout the body and spinal compression. Yoga counteracts these conditions.
  • Helps you Breathe better
    Yoga breathing exercises, called pranayama, focus your attention on breathing and teach you how to take deeper breaths, which benefits the entire body. Certain types of breath can also help clear the nasal passages and even calm the nervous system, which has physical and mental benefits.
  • Helps calm your mind
    Yoga asana practice is intensely physical. Concentrating so intently on what your body is doing has the effect of bringing calmness to your mind. Yoga also introduces you to various meditation techniques. These skills help support you overcome an anxiety attack, fight insomnia, and even deal better with childbirth.
  • Reduces Stress
    Regular practice of yoga helps relax your body and eases the stress. Yoga can decrease the secretion of cortisol, the primary stress hormone.
  • Increases Self Confidence
    Doing yoga improves your mind-body connection, giving you a better awareness of your own body. The small subtle movements to improve your alignment helps you feel more confident over time.

Yoga and COVID-19
As the world faces one of its worst pandemics, there’s been a renewed focus on building one’s immunity. While eating right is one way to do it, another time-tested way is to practice yoga. Yoga also helps keep stress at bay in these uncertain times. This is the time to strengthen your defence system and stay positive.

Beginners guide to Yoga
If you are not practicing yoga now is the time to induct this ancient philosophy in your life. Starting your day with morning yoga will keep you energized and active full day. Here are some expert-recommended asanas:

  • Naukasana (boat pose)
    It increases the efficiency of abdominal muscles, is good for digestion, and reduces belly fat.
  • Paschimottanasana (head to toe)
    It stretches the calf and hamstring muscles, elongates the spine, and ensures good blood circulation to all the organs.
  • Ardha matsyendrasan (half spinal pose)
    It makes your spine more flexible and strengthens your side muscles.
  • Dwi Pada Uttanasana (both leg raise pose)
    It strengthens your core muscles and is an efficient practice to release the extra fat around the abdomen.
  • Dandasana (plank pose)
    This asana is an excellent way to strengthen the core, burn fat, and increase your overall productivity.
  • Viparita Karni (Inclined pose)
    This asana helps regulate your digestive process and stimulates the hormone system.
  • Kapalabhati (skull cleansing kriya)
    Kapalabhati balances and strengthens the nervous system and tones the digestive organs.
  • Dhanurasana (bow pose)
    It is effective in weight loss, improves digestion, and appetite and boosts blood circulation. It also makes your back flexible.
  • Bhujangasana (cobra pose)
    This pose improves the flexibility of your back, and tones the abdomen, neck and shoulders. It improves blood circulation and rids you of fatigue and stress.
  • Bitilasana (cat-cow pose)
    Bitilasana stretches the back torso and neck and strengthens the abdominal organs.

Start a new chapter in your life this International Yoga Day, make yoga a part of your life. Gift yourself physical, mental, and spiritual wellness.

Work at Home Tips for those Working from Home!

Monday, June 15th, 2020

The COVID 19 pandemic has led to a situation where a majority of people have begun to work from home. In most cases, with domestic help not being available, they have to ‘work at home’ as well as ‘work from home’ and cope with both domestic chores and office work. For homemakers, the lack of domestic help has added to their workload. Among other issues, one complaint that is emerging is an increase in their symptoms and pain for many patients who are restricted to their homes, the most common being back pain and knee pain.

An increase in workload is contributing to this increase in pain. It is important for all members of the family to participate and share the domestic chores. If family members are not supportive, then the onus falls on the homemaker who now has to care for a larger number of people at home and spend more standing cooking in the kitchen with along with the burden of other household work. If there are only senior citizens living alone, then many elderly patients cannot manage heavy physical work at home, and their pain worsens.

For professionals, working from home, they end up sitting for longer periods of time, which can worsen their pain. The lack of exercise arising from closure of gyms, parks, walking areas during lockdown has caused muscle weakness and led to many individuals putting on weight.

Here are some work at home tips for those working from home:

  • Avoid sitting for more than 30-60 minutes continuously. Take breaks, walk around and stretch a little
  • Make a regular schedule for basic stretching exercises at home. Some like to do this early in the morning, some prefer it to be in the evening. Find out what works for you best and fit it in your daily schedule
  • In the kitchen, avoid bending down while cooking or over the sink while washing dishes as this posture can aggravate back pain. Keep a footstool to rest one leg, and keep alternating your weight between each leg, so that when you bend, the stretch is taken off the back
  • Use floor mops, long handle brooms and stand, instead of bending/ squatting while mopping the floor or sweeping
  • Get regular sleep. Good sleep ensures good health and reduces pain levels
  • Meditate for some time every day. This helps in two ways – It helps to reduce pain levels, and also helps in coping with stress during these times from the negative messages floating around
  • Listen to your body. Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. Do not push yourself when you have chronic pain, because this may worsen your pain levels
  • Use cold packs or warm packs for local application. Avoid using very hot bags for a long period, as this can be harmful. Apply these for a few minutes only, and repeat frequently
  • Use lumbar belts or walking sticks even while inside the house. This will support the back and take load off the knee
  • Most important, do not hesitate to connect with your doctors! Physical distancing is needed, but today technology allows us to connect with doctors virtually on telemedicine. This will help in getting the right advice to help you manage the pain in its early stages and prevent it from worsening

This blog post is written by: Dr. Mahesh Menon, Consultant – Pain and Palliative Medicine, Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital. Find out more about Dr. Menon by clicking here

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.