Archive for the ‘ Healthcare ’ Category

World Suicide Prevention Day

Thursday, September 10th, 2020

Every 40 seconds, someone loses their life to suicide.

It is not a mental illness in itself, but a serious potential consequence of treatable mental disorders that includes major depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, substance use disorders, anxiety disorders, and eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia nervosa.

The World Suicide Prevention Day is observed every year to raise awareness regarding the precautions that can be taken to prevent these tragedies. “Working Together To Prevent Suicide”, the theme of  World Suicide Prevention Day 2020 educates everyone that each one of us has an important role to play to help prevent suicides across the world and save more lives.

Suicide warning signs
If you know someone showing any suicidal signs, reach out to them. Suicidal warning signs should be taken very seriously. Early detection of warning signs can lead to professional help and mental health treatment and can even save a life. Here are the most common potential warning signs for suicide:

  • Feeling a deep sense of hopelessness about the future
  • Changes in personality and/or appearance
  • Withdrawing from social contact and wanting to be left alone
  • Having extreme mood swings
  • Changing the normal routine, including eating or sleeping patterns
  • Doing risky or self-destructive things, such as using drugs or driving recklessly.
  • Saying goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities the person previously enjoyed

Who is at risk?
Suicide rates are highest in teens, young adults, and the elderly. There are certain situations, conditions, and other factors that put some people at a greater risk of becoming suicidal. Here are a few of them:

  • Having a untreated mental illness, particularly depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder
  • Having a substance use disorder
  • Sudden stressful or traumatic situations, like the loss of a loved one
  • Loss of job or financial crisis
  • Being seriously ill, living with a chronic or terminal illness
  • Relationship problems
  • Having experienced childhood trauma and abuse

Timely counselling can prevent suicides
In many cases, suicide can be prevented. Research suggests that the best way to prevent suicide is to know the risk factors, be alert to the signs of depression and other mental disorders, notice any signs of suicidal behaviour and take action before the person can attempt suicide.

If someone you know is exhibiting warning signs for suicide, don’t be afraid to ask if he or she is depressed or thinking about suicide. In some cases, the person just needs to know that someone cares and is looking for the chance to talk about his or her feelings. You can then encourage the person to seek professional help.

Suicide statistics
As per World Health Organisation (WHO) 8 lakh people across the globe end their life by committing suicide every year. One of three among them is an Indian. As per reports, India reported about 381 suicides daily for the year of 2019, marking an increase of nearly 3.4% suicide deaths as compared to 2018. In the year 2019, 139,123 suicides were reported, as compared to 2018, which saw 134,516 suicides and 2017 which recorded 1,29,887 fatalities.

Suicide does not discriminate. Anyone of any race, gender, age, or socioeconomic status may feel suicidal at any point in their lives. Even someone who seems to be happy or to “have it all” can be vulnerable to suicide. If you or a loved one needs help, feel free to consult our highly trained counsellors for professional help at our Department of Psychiatry.

World Breastfeeding Week

Wednesday, August 5th, 2020

1st to 7th August 2020 is celebrated as World Breastfeeding Week. The theme for 2020 is “Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet”. Breastfeeding provides every child with the best possible start in life. It delivers health, nutritional, and emotional benefits to both children and mothers. And it forms part of a sustainable food system. But while breastfeeding is a natural process, it is not always easy. Mothers need support – both to get started and to sustain breastfeeding.

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months for your newborn and continued breastfeeding for two years as a supplement along with other foods. Breast milk has the perfect combination of proteins, fats, vitamins, and carbohydrates. There is nothing better for the health of your baby.

Nutrients in Breast Milk
The following is a brief overview of the components of breast milk and the nutrients they provide for your baby:

  • Proteins
    Human milk contains two types of proteins: whey and casein.  Approximately 60% is whey, while 40% is casein. This balance of the proteins allows for quick and easy digestion. 
  • Fats
    Human milk also contains fats that are essential for the health of your baby.  It is necessary for the brain, retina, and nervous system development.
  • Vitamins
    Thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin D, and pantothenic acid can be found in breast milk at levels that depend on the mother’s diet.
  • Carbohydrates
    Lactose is the primary carbohydrate found in human milk.  It accounts for approximately 40% of the total calories provided by breast milk. Lactose helps to decrease a large number of unhealthy bacteria in the stomach.

Breastfeeding – Benefits for your baby

Know why breast is best for your baby:

Breastfeeding protects your baby
Breast milk is full of live ingredients, including stem cells, white blood cells, and beneficial bacteria, antibodies, enzymes, and hormones, which all help fight infection and prevent disease. Breastfed babies are less likely to suffer from diarrhoea, gastroenteritis, colds, and flu as well as ear and chest infections.

Premature babies
Feeding your baby your milk offers the best protection against potentially fatal conditions including sepsis, chronic lung disease and necrotising enterocolitis (NEC). 

Colostrum: the superfood for your baby
Colostrum the initial thick breast milk is rich in minerals like magnesium; which supports your baby’s heart and bones; and copper and zinc, which help develop their immune system.  

Helps your Baby sleep
Research shows that breastfed and formula-fed babies are just as likely to wake for milk during the night. However, breastfed babies get back to sleep sooner due to oxytocin hormone present in breast milk.

Brain development
Research suggests that children who’d been exclusively breastfed show a much higher cognitive development than children who have not been breastfed.

Benefits for the mother

Helps contract your uterus
When you breastfeed, it causes your body to release oxytocin, a calming chemical sometimes referred to as the “love hormone,” and it helps your uterus to contract back to its regular size.

It can help reduce the risk for PPD
Postpartum depression (PPD) affects 10 to 15 percent of new moms and brings feelings of sadness, fatigue, loss of appetite, and trouble bonding with their babies. Breastfeeding helps reduce the risk of Postpartum depression.

It could reduce your cancer risk
When you’re breastfeeding, your hormones are altered and your periods are delayed. This reduces your exposure to oestrogen hormone and lowers your risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

Breastfeeding can protect your heart
Women who breastfed for at least four months had 20 to 30 percent lower risks for hypertension and heart disease.

Breastfeeding Myths and Facts

There are many myths and facts associated with breastfeeding especially passed on from elders. Let us bust these myths and facts:

Myth: Many mothers can’t produce enough milk
Fact: Almost all mothers produce the right amount of milk for their babies. Breast milk production is determined by how well the baby latches and the frequency of breastfeeding.

Myth: You shouldn’t breastfeed if you’re sick
Fact: In most illnesses, the mother can continue breastfeeding. Your milk will produce antibodies to pass on to your child to build his or her defenses. 

Myth: You should eat bland food while breastfeeding
Fact: Breastfeeding has no food restrictions. Mothers must follow a healthy well-balanced diet and stay hydrated.

Myth: It’s hard to wean a baby if you breastfeed for more than a year
Fact: There’s no evidence that it is more difficult to stop breastfeeding after one year, but there is evidence that breastfeeding up to two years is beneficial for both mothers and children.

Breastfeeding in India

Only 54.9 % of children under the age of six months have been exclusively breastfed, according to the latest National Health and Family Survey (NHFS-4). For the healthy growth of a child, the child must be breastfed and consume no other solid or liquid food until the infant completes six months. The latest survey also shows that 56% of the rural children below six months were exclusively breastfed, while it was only 52.1% amongst urban children.

Are you a new mom? Are you struggling with your breastfeeding journey with little help in these difficult times? Breastfeeding needs support, care and timely guidance by an expert. Seek help from lactation consultants virtually at our Centre for Mother and Child from the safety of your home. Please find below the link to book your online appointment: https://www.kokilabenhospital.com/manage/shop/online-consultation-new-patient.html

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.

Causes
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.

Treatment
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.

Complications
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:

https://www.kokilabenhospital.com/departments/clinicsatkh/thalassaemia.html

Stress And The Lockdown – The Warning Signs

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2020

There is the ACTUAL CONTAGION, the actual disease of the pandemic itself. And then there is the SYMBOLIC CONTAGION characterized by a blitz of misinformation, uncertainty, doubts, fear and panic, where coping mechanisms become overwhelmed. Where thoughts/emotions/behaviors become uncontrolled and the mindset switches from “Living”to “Survival”.

Faced with sudden social isolation or quarantine, individuals may react with fear and anxiety, which can then give way to depression and despair, or anger and acting out. A person may be faced with the realization that their plans for their immediate future have suddenly to be changed. They may have to be taken to an unfamiliar setting and separated from their families. They could be anxious about their own health, concerned that they could fall ill at any given time. Their anxiety may likely be worsened if they feel they are unable to conduct their routine affairs or to provide for their dependents. Similarly, from the other side of the social isolation barrier, families and loved ones of those who are in quarantine and isolation may also be very concerned both in terms of their health and capability to provide for dependents in the absence of the isolated person(s). This coupled with loneliness,boredom,anger and frustration can be an explosive combination! This may give rise to symptoms of traumatic stress resulting in Adjustment Disorders, Depression, Phobic Disorders, Panic or Generalized Anxiety Disorders, Acute or Posttraumatic stress disorders.

How to recognize early warning signs of an emotional disorder –

  • unusual decrease in energy and activity level or listlessness
  • unusual restlessness and excessive worrying;
  • having trouble relaxing or sleeping;
  • severe anxiety or panic attacks
  • change in eating patterns;
  • easily startled and feeling as-if “on the edge” daily for most of the day;
  • constant complaining or blaming others without any reason with increased irritability and anger outbursts;
  • crying frequently;
  • recurrent unexplained headaches and other bodily pains,
  • increased use of alcohol, nicotine or other drugs;
  • excessive introversion or rebellious behaviors in children
  • some signs of anxiety in children may include bedwetting, thumb sucking, worsening of tics and hyperactivity

Tips to handle stress during period of social distancing:

1. BE REGULAR – Develop a daily routine

2. EAT small, regular, well-balanced meals. Avoid over-eating or fasting for long periods.

3. SLEEP – Get plenty of sleep, at least 8 hours per day

4. AVOID excessive use of nervous system stimulants like caffeine. Strictly avoid nicotine, alcohol and other addictive drugs which can lead to symptoms of withdrawal or unpleasant cravings.

5. WORK – Schedule a regular work pattern for office (if working from home)

6. SCHEDULE HOUSEHOLD TASKS – This can be shared with other family members too, if possible. This can lead to increased family bonding. But then the work needs to be done as fun activity or shared activity, rather than a burdensome task!

7. EXERCISE – Have a daily indoor exercise schedule, e.g. like skipping and on-the-spot jogging, sit-ups and push-ups. Even dance is good form of exercise. Yogic exercises are one of the best forms of indoor exercises. You may involve other family members too in your exercise routines. This too can lead to increased family bonding.

8. UNWIND – Do something fun after your daily tasksare over. Read your favorite book, listen to music or play your favorite indoor game. Practice deep breathing, stretching and relaxation exercises. For those having a tub at home, have a warm relaxing bath with aromatic essential oils.

9. DEVELOP A HOBBY – Learn something new – a language or a musical instrument or even how to type fast and accurately on a computer keyboard using both hands!

10. CONNECT WITH OTHERS – Share something positive or humor (jokes, poetry, funny stories, etc.) with your friends and family. Try to avoid sharing negative views and news. Social and news media are already filled that! If necessary, only occasionally you may share only the confirmed news and facts. Show empathy towards those who may be affected.

11. BE POSITIVE – Repeatedly remind yourself of the important and positive things in your life. Keep a diary of your thoughts. Write three good things that have happened to you during the day before you go to bed. Take this as an opportunity to try and help others. Do as much charity as possible in this hour of need.

12. POSITIVE SELF TALK– Tell yourself, “It is normal for people to experience stress and feel a bit anxious or low in this period of lockdown and social distancing. All have to go through with it. I am not alone. This too shall pass.”

13. SHUN NEGATIVITY – Don’t play the blame game. Don’t entertain the victim’s role in your mind. Take charge of your thoughts and emotions. If unable to do so, seek help from your nearest mental health professional.

14. OBEY THE LAW – Last but not the least, Social distancing means social physical distancing, not emotional distancing. People can remain in touch emotionally by means of telecommunication methods in the form of video calling, conference calling and online social media.

-This blog is written by Dr. Shaunak Ajinkya, Consultant, Psychiatrist at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital. Read his entire profile at: https://www.kokilabenhospital.com/professionals/shaunakajinkya.html

World Parkinson’s Day

Friday, April 10th, 2020

World Parkinson’s Day 2020 is on Saturday, 11 April 2020. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurogenerative disease that causes nerve cells (or neurons) in the area of the brain that controls movement to weaken and/or die. While healthy neurons produce a chemical called dopamine, which the brain needs a certain amount to regulate movement, weakened neurons produce lower levels of dopamine. What causes these neurons to weaken is currently unknown.

Although Parkinson’s disease can’t be cured, medications and therapy helps control the symptoms. Occasionally, the doctor may suggest surgery to regulate certain regions of your brain and improve your symptoms.

Symptoms

Parkinson’s disease signs and symptoms can be different for everyone. Early signs may be mild and go unnoticed. Here are the few signs and symptoms of Parkinson’s:

  • Tremor – A tremor, or shaking, usually begins in a limb, often your hand or fingers. Your hand may tremor when it’s at rest.
  • Slowed movement (bradykinesia) – Over time, Parkinson’s disease may slow your movement, making simple tasks difficult and time-consuming.
  • Rigid muscles – Muscle stiffness may occur in any part of your body. The stiff muscles can be painful and limit your range of motion.
  • Impaired posture and balance – Your posture may become stooped, or you may have balance problems as a result of Parkinson’s disease.
  • Loss of automatic movements – You may have a decreased ability to perform unconscious movements, including blinking, smiling or swinging your arms when you walk.
  • Speech changes – You may speak softly, quickly, slur or hesitate before talking.
  • Writing changes – It may become hard to write, and your writing may appear small.
Risk factors

One’s risk of developing Parkinson’s Disease can depend on the following factors:

  • Gender – Men are 1.5 times more likely to have PD than women.
  • Age – The risk of PD increases with age, although some people are diagnosed with early-onset PD before the age of 50.
  • Genetics – Most cases occur in patients with no familial link to PD, but some have an inheritance pattern involving certain altered genes that could increase the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease.
  • Environmental causes – Studies have shown a link between exposure to chemicals used in pesticides and herbicides – as well as metals and organic pollutants – and Parkinson’s disease.
  • Head injury – A history of head injuries can increase one’s risk of developing PD.
Complications

Parkinson’s disease is often accompanied by these additional problems, which may be treatable:

  • Thinking difficulties. You may experience cognitive problems (dementia) and thinking difficulties in the later stages of Parkinson’s disease.
  • Depression and emotional changes. You may experience feelings of depression, emotional changes, such as fear, anxiety or loss of motivation.
  • Swallowing problems. You may develop difficulties with swallowing as your condition progresses. Saliva may accumulate in your mouth due to slowed swallowing, leading to drooling.
  • Chewing and eating problems. Late-stage Parkinson’s disease affects the muscles in your mouth, making chewing difficult. This can lead to choking and poor nutrition.
  • Sleep problems and sleep disorders. People with Parkinson’s disease often have sleep problems, disturbed night sleep, waking up early or falling asleep during the day.
  • Bladder problems. Parkinson’s disease may cause bladder problems, including being unable to control urine or having difficulty urinating.
  • Constipation. Many people with Parkinson’s disease develop constipation, mainly due to a slower digestive tract.
Diagnosis

There are currently no blood or lab tests that can be used to diagnose Parkinson’s disease. Neurologists make a diagnosis based on their patient’s medical history and an examination. At least two of the four following symptoms must be present over some time for a neurologist to consider Parkinson’s disease as a diagnosis:

  • Shaking or tremor.
  • Bradykinesia.
  • Stiffness in arms or legs.
  • Balance issues.
Facts About Parkinson’s

1. The cause is unknown and there is no cure.

What causes Parkinson’s remains largely unknown. Directly inheriting the disease is fairly rare. Only about 10 to 15 percent of all cases are thought to be genetic forms of the disease. The other 85 to 90 percent of cases are classified as sporadic (or occasional).

2. People with Parkinson’s can have a good quality life.

Regular medicines, therapy, surgical therapy and lifestyle modifications, like rest and exercise, help manage the disease.

3. No two people have the same symptoms.

The progression of symptoms is often a bit different from one person to another due to the diversity of the disease.

4. Exercise helps manage Parkinson’s symptoms.

For people with Parkinson’s, exercise is a vital component to maintaining balance, mobility and activities of daily living. Exercise and physical activity can improve many Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

5. People with Parkinson’s are not always angry or sad.

Many people with Parkinson’s disease experience facial masking – reduced facial expression. They look serious or depressed but many times it’s just the disease that’s causing muscles in the face to be stiff.

COVID-19 and Parkinson’s Disease

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. Since most people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) are in their senior years, take the below precautions to prevent COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • In absence of water use a an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol.
  • Disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
  • If you notice any symptoms like cough, shortness of breath or fever seek medical help.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay at home.

Keep a stock of your essential medicines and keep your medical history file with your doctor’s details handy in case it is needed in event of a hospitalization.

At Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital we provide comprehensive care from diagnosis to treatment to surgery to rehabilitation for patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease. If you or a loved one are suffering from Parkinson’s disease, seek expert help at our Parkinson’s Clinic. Please find below link for more details:

https://www.kokilabenhospital.com/departments/clinicsatkh/parkinsonsclinic.html