Health Care

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Feeling down lately? Like the burden of everything is upon you and you see no escape route out? Gloomy, dejected, bleak are the words that come to your mind when you think of your life at the moment.


Then you need to make some changes and too as soon as possible! Stress is a major silent contributor to our decreasing health and chaotic state of mind. The damages done by stress cannot be easily connected to the aliment we are suffering from but what is sure is that it is an aiding factor to it and many a times causes irreversible damage. Eliminating this little bugger from our lives is very important or at least bringing it levels low.  As being realistic one cannot expect to have a stress free life and to be honest a little stress keeps the wheels going and gives momentum but most of us have surpassed the little stress point and now have reached where stress has taken up our lives.

Here are some pointers that will help you systematically regain control of your life and also improve it to a better standard:

  • Realize that you have too much stress in your life and make notice of this fact as this is the starting point until this recognition is made by you! Sit down take a moment to understand what is happening in your life and then take any corrective measures that you may need to take.
  • Travel! Take a flight to Bangkok using Airbridge Travel or to any destination of your whim. Even with financial problems a short weekend trip to town is possible most likely so avail the opportunity. Nothing stress’s more than some change in scenery and people.
  • Hit the bull in the eye! Find the biggest aspect of your life that is the greatest contributor of stress in your life. Is it your finances, or home life, or maybe work? Finding a root cause and then solving whatever is the stress giving factor would cut your stress levels by half.
  • Also find your tendencies. Many people have different tendencies that they indulge in which are often the source of their stress such as guilt, procrastination, anxiety and more. Find the one tendency that you indulge in the most as we all experience each tendency at different intensities. I tend to feel guilty about things that really are out of my control and always feel that I am the guilty person in the situation – the I-could-have-done-better-syndrome.
  • Expand your locus of control. There is nothing worst then thinking that you have control to everything in your life. You simply do not as during the course of your life you shall have to dependent on people, some luck factors are includes while some tasks and their completion is not in your hands.
  • Get active. Having an outlet for your daily stress and worries is very important as if this isn’t done then it all boils and simmers until you reach your melting point and positively burst. Physical exertion has proven to be a great mental outlet but there are also other methods such as reading or listening to music. Find an outlet that works best for you and then stick to it.
  • Say NO. This is a very handy trick and that is to simply say no. most often we take on work which we could have refused and clutter our already barely stable work or home life. Saying no at certain times doesn’t mean that you are selfish or rude it just means you don’t have the time to do that certain task. Also, why do a task that you can’t complete properly and leave it half finished? You should certainly help your friends and family but also find time for yourself as a happy and stress free you mean a better relation to them. 


Author Bio-
A dedicated travel writer Anas Ahmad who loves to transfer his wanderlust onto a page and also read other’s experiences about travel. A spicy food aficionado along with things sweet.  Lives on the personal motto of “bring it on!” and a particular lover of simplicity.
Motherhood begins the moment you hold that tiny tot in your arms, feel his tiny limbs and hold him close to your breasts and feed him. It is the most liberating experience for a new mother and a very powerful psychological experience which sets the foundations of a strong bond between the mother and child & in a way serves as a 'health insurance' for the infant in the years to come.


Every year 1-7th August is celebrated as World Breastfeeding Week by the WHO and UNICEF as an effort to promote breast feeding. As interns during our MBBS days, we were made to go into the community and explain the new mothers and the would be mothers the importance of breast feeding their infants post pregnancy, the correct technique of breast feeding, clear their myths and misconceptions and educate them so that they are able to achieve a successful lactation. What makes breastfeeding such an important agenda for WHO is the simple calculated fact that breastfeeding can prevent deaths of at least one million children every year which is also the top most priority in developing countries like India.

Infants grow the fastest during the first 6 months. This is the time to make sure they get sufficient fluid and adequate food which is a balanced composition of proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals and
vitamins. Nature offers this perfect diet in the form of breast milk. In fact breast milk is such a complete and ideal food that no other food is required by the baby until 6 months after birth. It is for
this very reason that WHO advocates the norm of "Exclusive Breast Feeding” for 6 months, which means giving nothing orally other than Colostrum and breast milk. Not even water in the summer season.

An important practice, more of a malpractice actually, observed in the Indian societies is to dismiss the first milk which is produced just after the baby is born as 'dirty and useless' owing to its colour and
consistency. This is actually the colostrum which forms the basis of the immune system for the baby. It carries the ready-made antibodies(like Ig A) and cells like leucocytes which help fight and ward off any
foreign body which enters the baby's system. It acts as a natural Laxative for the baby and helps the new born's digestive system to grow and function. By the end of 3-5 days after birth Colostrum
changes to mature milk.

Mature milk also contains antimicrobial factors (such as macro-phages, lymphocytes, secretory IgA, anti-streptococcal factor, lysozyme and lactoferrin). This forms the Passive immunity for the Baby protecting it against diarrhoreal diseases, respiratory infections and gastro intestinal infections. The Breast milk has a very specific long chain omega 3 fatty acid DHA(DocosaHexanoic Acid) and it is important as it leads to better visual acquity & overall neurological development including an IQ which is 8 points higher than a non-breast fed baby. The action of sucking helps in the development of Jaws and teeth of the baby. The incidence of scurvy and rickets; and also the tendency to obesity is highly reduced in babies on breast milk.                                                                                                                                                            

There is a reason why we are attached more to our mothers. And it stems from the emotional connection we developed, when our mothers nursed us, for it alone is the most powerful human contact. Breastfeeding has advantages for the mother as well. As she feeds her infant, she  boosts her own immune system, lowers her chances of postpartum haemorrages, anaemia and gains protection from ovarian cancers, breast cancers and osteoporosis.

Women has the strength to bear a life within her and then provide that life with a wholesome meal right out of her own body. What else can be more fulfilling than this! The benefits of breast feeding last a life time. So all the-new-moms-to-be make sure you choose breast milk for your baby over formula feeds because its the best gift you will be giving him and offering him the best health insurance cover even before he turns one.
You eat healthy during the week, you didn't skip the aerobics classes and you already feel better, but the weekend is coming and you are afraid that your diet will collapse. The weekend is the enemy of diets, primary because people go out in bars and restaurants and allow themselves a little more pleasure that the food and beverages bring.

How to Stay on Diet When Eating Out at Restaurants
Tips to Stay on Diet when Eating Out

If you want to have a healthy life and keep your line, you have to reconcile with the fact that you can't avoid the occasional eating in restaurants but you need to learn how to make the right choices from the menu to save the effects of your diet.

DIET

Don't starve when you are in a restaurant, but make smart food choices.

Experts offer a variety of tips, tricks and strategies to help people stay on track when greasy delicious food tempts you. Here are some of the most popular:

-Plan in advance what you'll order. Today many restaurants and bars have their own websites or facebook pages where they post their menu. So, before going out, see what's offered in the menu. That way you can make a choice before you get there.

-Do not go out of home hungry. About 30-60 minutes before you leave the house, eat small snack (e.g. half of a handful roasted almonds, banana, apple, bowl of soup or low calorie fruit yogurt). If you arrive at the restaurant hungry, there is a risk that you'll overeat.

-Order first. Do not wait for others to make their orders because you'll feel more tempted to join them and you'll purchase something more caloric. Order early to avoid influence from others.

-Start with water. While waiting for the meal to be delivered, drink at least one glass of water. Water will help you to fill your stomach and also reduces the number of calories intake.

-If you drink alcohol, choose wine. Cocktails and stinging alcohol contain many calories that will break your diet without even noticing. If you have already decided to drink alcohol, choose wine. The best choice is a white wine, because you can mix it with sparkling water. So you enter at least liquid calories.

-Don't starve. Many think that when they are on diet, they should only drink and skip the meal when they go out. It's a mistake. The hunger will make you feel depressed and will create frustration that can contribute for quickly quitting the diet. Moreover, the body needs food in order to burn calories.

-Pay attention to the way the food is prepared. Target the dishes that contain words such as roasted, grilled, boiled, cooked in steam, and skip the meals  with description like fried or breaded. There's a big difference between grilled chicken steak and breaded steak.

-Choose foods that are best fit for your diet plan. It is likely that the restaurant where you went to have a meal, don't serve food that matches with what is included in your diet. But you need to adjust to the conditions immediately. You'll never make a mistake if you order green salad , grilled chicken steak or mix of grilled vegetables. Also, a good choice is fish and rice with vegetables.

-Eat half from what you order. The other half, share it with your friends or ask to pack it for home. Ask for an extra plate and separate the meal immediately. So you won't be tempted to eat the whole.

-Eat slowly and enjoy the discussions. Chew slowly and enjoy every bite. Don't hold the fork in your hands all the time. That way you'll give enough time for the brain to realize how much food you ate.

-Skip the dessert. After the meal, put gum in your mouth or mint candy to satisfy the desire for something sweet. But if you can't resist and you still choose to purchase dessert, the best choice is fruit salad, without icing or chocolate icing.

-And remember, you don't have to adhere perfectly to your diet. One weekend enjoyment shouldn't make you give up the healthy eating. If you enjoyed a little more food, go to the extra class of aerobics or run in the park for an extra hour. It's important to have the desire to get back on track.
One of the most important organs of the human body is the Liver. A healthy liver performs a number crucial functions that help keep you feeling energetic and alert. It cleans and purifies the blood, helps the body break down certain substances and create others. Most drugs are metabolized in the liver. It detoxifies the blood and stores sugars, fats and vitamins until they are needed. If the liver is damaged as a result of Hepatitis or any other reason, the energy production of the body is affected and the person feels very tired and run down.  Hence, the Liver is rightly called so, as it helps a person “live” his life to the fullest.

All About Hepatitis
One of the most common infections that affects the liver is Hepatitis. Hepatitis means inflammation (tenderness and swelling) of the liver. It may be brought about by viruses, alcohol or medicines (drugs). Hepatitis caused by viruses is called Viral Hepatitis. There are 6 distinct which can cause Viral Hepatitis –A,B,C,D,E and G.

HEPATITIS A AND HEPATITIS E:

HOW DOES THE INFECTION SPREAD?
Hepatitis A can affect all age groups.
The Hepatitis A and E viruses are contracted by consumption of food or water that has been contaminated with these viruses. They can also spread by indirect contact with an infected person’s hands or contaminated utensils. Its spread is related to over-crowding, poor hygiene and poor sanitation.
Hepatitis A can also spread by sexual route and washing of genitals and use of condoms can help prevent the risk.

WHAT IS THE COURSE OF THE DISEASE?
Once a person is exposed to the virus, it takes between 2 to 6 weeks to produce symptoms.
Within six months of infection, usually the body successfully gets rid of the virus on its own. This six months duration is referred to as the “Acute stage.” If the infection continues beyond six months, it develops into a ”Chronic stage.”

WHAT ARE ITS SYMPTOMS?
A mild attack is usually without any symptoms. Sometimes, symptoms may be:
1) like flu-mild fever and weakness or
2) like digestive problems-particularly loss of appetite and nausea or
3) like jaundice- dark urine, light-coloured stools, yellowing of the skin and the eyes or
4) hepatomegaly (enlarged and tender liver)

WHAT IS THE TREATMENT?
Since the disease resolves on its own, there is no treatment required except rest and a suitable diet.
Personal hygiene, such as careful hand washing, can minimize the risk of the virus being passed on.
Immunization vaccinations are also available as a course of 2 injections 6 months apart.

HEPATITIS B AND HEPATITIS C:

Hepatitis B and Hepatitis c viruses are most deadly and potentially dangerous.

HOW DOES THE INFECTION SPREAD?
Both HBV and HCV spread in a manner similar to HIV i.e. by exchange of blood and body fluids.
HBV spreads more through sexual route and HCV spreads more through transfusion of infected blood.

WHICH ARE THE HIGH-RISK GROUPS?
The high-risk groups are individuals with multiple sex partners, infants born to infected mothers, family and household contacts to Hepatitis B carriers, blood transfusion recipients, intravenous drug abusers, Health Care Professionals including medical and paramedical staff, technicians working in nclinical laboratories etc.  There is also a risk of infection through tattooing, body piercing, or sharing razors, toothbrushes or nail files.
However, approximately one-third or more of Hepatitis  B and C cases result from unknown sources. This means that you do not necessarily have to be among the “high-risk “ groups to get infected.

WHAT IS THE COURSE OF THE DISEASE?
If the body’s immune system is able to get rid of the virus in six months (Acute stage), the liver recovers. In some patients however, their immune system does not defeat the virus and the infection continues beyond 6 months (Chronic stage), even though the symptoms may have stopped.
In chronic hepatitis B or C, the virus may continue to cause injury to the liver over a period of time, possibly resulting in severe liver damage, liver failure or even liver cancer.

WHAT ARE ITS SYMPTOMS?
In some people, chronic hepatitis B or c can cause weakness, tiredness, body aches, fever, nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, mild abdominal pain, loss of appetite, dark urine or jaundice (yellowing of the skin and the eyes). In others, there are no recognizable signs and symptoms and the symptoms become very obvious once the disease has progressed to advanced stages like cirrhosis or liver cancer.
However, because the symptoms are flu-like or mild or absent, many cases go undiagnosed. The only way they can be positively identified is through blood tests (Liver Function Tests).

WHAT IS THE TREATMENT?

In the majority of patients with active HBV, symptoms will not be severe and treatment will not be required. The patient will be monitored and after a few months the patient’s immune system should fight off the virus, giving the patient natural immunity.
There is treatment available in India for both Hepatitis B and C.
Antiviral medication is given as treatment to those with chronic symptoms to help prevent further liver damage. These medications may be injected or given in pill form. Treatment usually lasts 6 months, during which time the patient will be carefully monitored. Regardless of whether the infection is producing symptoms or not, the patient will be advised to avoid alcohol, get plenty of rest and maintain a healthy diet.
Immunization is also available for Hepatitis B. A course of three injections is administered over a period of 3-6 months. Immunity should last for at least 5 years.
Although treatment has improved in recent years, the success rates vary depending  on which genotype the patient has and how long they have had hepatitis C. it I important to remember that even if HCV treatment is effective and the infection is cleared, it does not mean the patient has future immunity to hepatitis C.

WHAT IF TREATMENT IS NOT GIVEN?
Without treatment, some patients with chronic hepatitis B or C can have their disease lead to serious liver damage, cirrhosis, liver failure or probably liver cancer and death.

HEPATITIS D:

Hepatitis D virus (HDV), also known as Delta Hepatitis, is spread in the same way as HBV. However, HDV infects only those individuals who are already infected with HBV.

HEPATITIS G:

GB virus C (GBV-C), formerly known as hepatitis G virus (HGV) and also known as HPgV is a virus known to infect humans, but is not known to cause human disease. There is current active research into the virus' effects on the immune system in patients co-infected with GBV-C and HIV.
WHD Globe.jpg
"WHD Globe" by FF2011 - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

REMEMBER:
  • An important part of health care is detecting diseases before symptoms occur.
  • Some diseases like viral hepatitis may not show any symptoms until the disease has progressed.
  • Almost everyone is at some risk of getting viral hepatitis. Hence, good sanitation and personal hygiene and regular blood tests go a long way in preventing the disease.
Post pregnancy especially the first child, the parent is on tenterhooks with regard to the infant's overall health. The slightest sneeze or the baby not burping after feeding makes you run to your pediatrician to find out if there is something seriously wrong with your baby. With the publication of various books and google throwing up answers to every possible question your mind can frame, not ignoring of course the wisdom of our elders as well, parent's in today'sInformation Age think they have an idea of what to expect  when it comes to parenthood. However it has been noticed that this information overload usually aggravates the problem rather than diminishing it.


The aim of this article is to therefore to dispel some myths and shed some light over common problems faced by newborns and toddlers, the normal developmental stages of teeth and how to maintain your baby’s oral hygiene right from an early age.

The first thing that you need to be aware of  is the sequence in which your baby will start getting his milk teeth followed by the permanent ones. The first teeth to make their presence felt in the baby' s mouth are usually  the lower front teeth also known as the  lower incisors, seen around 6-7 months of age.
Sometimes a tooth is visible in the infant’s mouth at the time of birth known as the natal teeth or in the first 30 days of life called the neonatal teeth, the causes being attributed to malnutrition, environmental factors and genetics.

The normal  age criteria:

6mnths to 3yrs : Eruption of milk tooth.
3yrs to 6 yrs :    Presence of complete primary dentition ( the milk teeth).
6yrs - 14 yrs:    That's when the permanent (adult) teeth erupt and the child gradually loses all his milk teeth. 
Wisdom tooth i.e the 3rd molar has it's own time between  17-  24 yrs .


In a nutshell, milk teeth usually start erupting by 6 months and finish erupting by 3 yrs at the end of which a total of 20 teeth are seen in number.
By the age of 6 years, the first permanent teeth that appears is usually the lower permanent 1st molar. Eventually the milk teeth become loose and are shed to be replaced by their permanent counterparts and this process of getting permanent teeth completes by 14 years amounting to a total of 28 permanent teeth, all the milk teeth having fallen.

Why should you be vigilant :


During these growing up years you as a mother play a very important role as to what diet you provide your child with and how good you are at taking care of your kids oral hygiene. Breastfeeding habits during the infancy stage and the food your kid eats during his formative years not only greatly affects his physical status  but also has a profound effect on his oral cavity because that is where the food goes..so be sure to include a lot of fibrous foods, vegetables, fruits and healthy snacks..avoid the one that are sticky in texture and high in sugar content. The sticky ones stay stuck on your teeth for a long time resulting in tooth decay. 
Fibrous foods are natural cleansers right from your teeth to your bowels. As it has been rightly said it is not restriction but moderation that is the key to a healthy being and happy teeth. 


Problems:

You will be surprised to know that kid's can also develop a myriad of tooth and gum related problems that you  would usually associate with adults. It would be  unwise therefore to ignore their dental regime just because the milk teeth get replaced at a certain age .
This ignorance on your part can give them their  share of pain associated with  decayed teeth and swollen gums. 

Cavities : The last milk tooth falls off when the kid is around 12 yrs old. From 6 mnths to 12 yrs is a long enough time for the teeth to get decayed and develop cavities. So yes, they need their fillings too and if left untreated these cavities can involve the nerve of the tooth often necessitating the need for root canals.
Gums : Plaque and tartar  deposits are very commonly seen in kids especially in the lower front teeth since they are constantly binging on chips and cookies and often are either not brushing or  brushing improperly. Their brushing technique differs from yours. Get that tartar removed from a dentist  and learn the correct way of brushing if you don't want your kid to suffer from bleeding gums and bone loss at this age.
Crooked teeth :The ages mentioned above are the average age brackets during which the milk or the primary teeth fall. Any deviation 6 months above and below this age bracket is considered normal. But beyond this it is crucial to know the reason behind the delayed exfoliation and consider tooth removal. The reason being, if it does fall off, it will not allow the eruption of the permanent tooth in it's place or  the permanent teeth will erupt in an abnormal position resulting in maligned or crooked teeth. 

Maintenance:

Maintenance involves two aspects, diet regulation and proper oral hygiene procedures. 

Diet regulation 
1.The foetus gets it's nutrients from the mother’s bloodstream. Hence it is important that the mother takes a nutritious balanced diet with adequate supplement of minerals and vitamins. Calcium , phosphorus and other minerals in prescribed quantities are extremely vital during the first trimester for proper teeth development.

2. Sugary snacks and sticky foods should be avoided between meals. They are kids at the end of the day so they will yearn for sweets. They are best offered at meal times.

Oral hygiene maintenance:
0-1 yrs: Wrap a clean cloth around the index finger of your hand and gently massage the teeth and the gums.
1-3 yrs: Start using a toothbrush for cleaning. Use a pea sized amount  of toothpaste specially formulated for kids from 2yrs of age. Refer to a dentist for the correct technique.
3-6 yrs: Teach them how to brush and let them do it on their own under your supervision. Flossing can be introduced to your kids.
6 yrs onwards: With the eruption of the first permanent molar, the mixed dentition period i.e, when both the sets of teeth are present in the mouth begins. The brushing technique is same as adults.

Certain pointers :

  • It is advisable to discontinue breastfeeding at night after the eruption of the first tooth and to clean the gumpads and teeth after each feed as described above. The reason being that prolonged breastfeeding habits provides an environment for proliferation of bacteria and increased caries activities. The same is applicable with bottle feeding as well. Otherwise your child will suffer from early childhood caries or nursing bottle caries. 
  • Teething: It is a process by which the teeth erupt after penetration of the overlying gums. It is a normal physiological process but can be accompanied  by fever, itching of the gums, diarrhea and convulsion. When infant's start teething they have the urge to pick up anything they can find and put it in their mouth just to chew on it. Gently massage the area with a gauze piece or a clean cloth slightly soaked in saline. Teething rings are available in the market that will give them something to get a bite on. Analgesic gels prescribed by your dentist may also provide relief. Avoid adding sugary liquids to these teething rings or nipples such as honey or it may promote decay in the existing teeth.
  • If you think that your kid has malaligned teeth, the period between 12- 14 yrs is a good time to get a check up done with the orthodontist i.e ur braces specialist. The jaw bone exhibits growth till the child is 18yrs of age. Hence along with teeth straightening if correction of the  jaw bone is also required it can be attempted during this period with better results.
  • Topical fluoride treatment :It's good to get a topical fluoride treatment done under dental supervision twice  a yr beginning from 3rd yr upto 13 yrs  as fluoride reduces the incidence of cavities. Fluoride has the ability to strengthen the tooth enamel and make it more resistant to decay.
  • Incase your kids suffers a trauma on his face while playing or due to a fall and you notice that his tooth has fallen off intact, place the tooth in milk or saline or saliva and take the kid to the dentist immediately. The earlier you go better are the chances that the same tooth can be implanted in the child's mouth.
  • If you are advised dental procedures under general anaesthesia for your child due to various reasons, it would be advisable to get the treatment done in a hospital setup, by a pedodontist and under a trained anesthetist, where the necessary backup is available in case an emergency arises .
  • I have come across parent's who use desentising toothpastes that have been prescribed for them for their kids as well. Remember desentising toothpastes carry large amounts of flouride that are beyond the recommended levels for kids and can adversely affect your childs health. The child’s needs are slightly different from  ours and they should not be considered to be mini adults.
Till the kids grow up you as parents are the primary caregivers and  are solely responsible for their overall health and their healthy lifestyle and eating habits. So lets not have a lax attitude and play  trial and error with them. A little knowledge about the essential things  of do's and don'ts from qualified sources will go a long way in ensuring your child's positive outlook towards their own health.

Even if your child is free from any dental problems, a yearly visit to the dental office can go a long way in teaching him the lesson that prevention is indeed better than cure especially with the high cost of dental treatment today. Do not wait for a painful cavity to warrant a visit to the dentist which would invariably be an unpleasant one and may introduce a fear of  treatment in their minds. Instead the visit should be a non threatening pleasant one so that right from a young age the child is a fan and not a foe of dentistry.


I hope this article has quelled some myths and answered some queries that expectant and new parents had in their mind.. here’s to a healthy and happy smile for every child in India.

ALSO READ : Your Oral Guide to Pregnancy
Pregnancy is the most exciting phase for a woman, as it embarks her journey towards woman-hood. The ultimate goal for every pregnancy, would be ensuring a healthy mother and a healthy baby, which requires intensive care and efforts by the mother, the family members & health care providers. While the health care providers do their job, the expectant mother should make sure that she eats healthy so that the baby develops and grows well during the pregnancy.

Diet for a Healthy Pregnancy
Diet for a Healthy Pregnancy
Nutrition and weight gained during pregnancy is directly related to the baby's weight. The ideal weight gain for a mother during pregnancy depends on the pre-pregnancy body mass index or BMI. A woman with normal BMI (20 - 26) can gain up-to 11-16 kgs, while for an obese woman i.e BMI > 29, a weight gain of 7 kgs in sufficient. On the other hand, an underweight woman i.e. BMI < 19, may be allowed to gain up-to 18 kgs.

The diet during pregnancy should be such that it adequately maintains the maternal health, the needs of the growing fetus, the strength & vitality required during labor and a successful lactation. While an average Indian pregnant woman with a sedentary lifestyle requires 2200 kcal, the pregnant woman's calorie requirement is an additional 300 kcal and during lactation it is up-to 400 k cal more. This increase in the calorie requirement is because of the increased growth of maternal tissues, fetus, placenta and increase in Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).

The source of the additional 300 kcal should come from food sources rich in protein, fats and carbohydrates. Meat, fish, poultry eggs and dairy products like milk, serve as major source of proteins, Iron, calcium, Vitamin D. Folic acid is majorly found in green leafy vegetables and animal liver. Folic acid prevents Neural tube defects in the new born and is important supplement to be added to the diet.

There is no specified quantity or a special diet recommended in pregnancy. In fact the pregnancy diet should be the woman's choice as regards the quantity and type. It should be nutritious, easily digestible and rich in protein, minerals and vitamins.
As there is a tendency of constipation during pregnancy which is associated with abdominal discomfort, it can be easily avoided by including fluids, vegetables and milk in the diet.

An important fact to note is that along with the increased calorie requirement, the requirement of minerals like Iron, Calcium and vitamins like Vitamin D and Folic acid is almost double during pregnancy and lactation.
It is advisable that supplementary Iron, Folic acid tablets and supplementary vitamins should be started by the second trimester as the dietary sources may often not be enough to meet the daily requirement especially during later part of pregnancy.

A healthy diet will lead to a healthy pregnancy which in turn will lead to a healthy mother all ready to embrace her health baby into this world.

ALSO READ : Your Oral Guide to Pregnancy
Along with relief from the scorching heat, the rains bring along with them a spate of diseases. Ask a doctor and they would testify that monsoon is the time when maximum number of people fall sick. A number of water borne diseases, arthropod borne diseases and respiratory tract ailments are transmitted during this season.
Monsoon and Mosquito Borne Diseases
Monsoon and Mosquito Borne Diseases
Mosquitoes love to sting the monsoon joy. The commonest being the female anopheline mosquito transmitting the malarial parasite. This mosquito breeds in clean water and places like burrow pits, garden pools and irrigation channels. Another mosquito notorious for its abundance during the rainy season is the Aedes aegypti causing dengue fever, dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue hemorrhagic shock. It breeds in artificial accumulations of water like discarded tins, broken bottles, flower pots and coconut shells. A dengue like disease caused by the chikungunya virus and transmitted by the Ades, culex and mansonia mosquitoes is chikungunya fever which also shows a peak in its transmission during the monsoon.

Fever with chills being the common presentation for all the three diseases, dengue in addition presents with rash, severe headache and retro-orbital pain on eye movements. Severe articular pain of the limbs and spinal column, swelling and stiffness of the joints is specific of chikungunya fever.

An integrated approach towards controlling arthropod borne diseases starts with prevention and elimination of the breeding places of mosquitoes in and around the houses and dwellings. Accumulated Dirty water if emptied from time to time reduces the transmission of Ades mosquito and proper covering of stored water reduces transmission of anopheles mosquito to a great extent. Insecticides like DDT and Paris
green are very effective in controlling their breeding. At an individual level, using repellents, protective clothing, bed nets and mosquito coils helps protect from the bite of these arthropods.

Κeeping the аbovе gіvеn steps in mind will allow you to plan well for the rainy season ahead. Go aheаd, experience the rain - just be certain you have got 'protected' yourself and your family well!

ALSO READ : Stay Safe this Monsoon
“Rain rain go away, come again another day, little johnny wants to play”. But the rains don't stop and johnny falls ill. And the same happens with us when the little johnnies in us surfaces and we step out in the rains without our umbrellas or when the torrential showers spare no one in-spite of how well equipped we are with our rainy day gear. And not forgetting that irresistible urge to eat out. These enlivening experiences however, come with a price. The price of good health. Which is definitely not what we want. So its best for us to know the common diseases which we can fall prey to and stay away from them.

Gastrointestinal Diseases

Gastrointestinal diseases are very rampant during the monsoon season. Hepatitis A, Typhoid and Diarrhoeal diseases particularly show an increased prevalence. The major mode of spread of these diseases is fecal–oral route i.e. consuming fecally contaminated water and food, poor sanitation and direct person to person contact in the form of contaminated hand or objects (like utensils).
  • Amongst the Diarrhoeal diseases, it is mainly the acute diarrhoeal diseases of bacterial etiology that peak in the rainy season. The bacterias involved are Salmonella, Shigella, Vibrio Cholerae, E. Coli, Campylobacterium jejuni etc, with Vibrio Cholerae being the deadliest of them all.
  • Typhoid coincides with the rainy season when the fly population increases. This disease has a tendency to develop a carrier state i.e. even after being cured the infection may remain in the gall bladder of the patient and he can still continue to transmit the disease to other healthy contacts.
  • Hepatitis A, associated with periods of heavy rainfall, shows non specific features like nausea, vomiting, fever and mild anorexia. Infections often occur in conditions of poor sanitation and overcrowding.
  • Amoebiasis, caused by Entamoeba histolytica spreads when we consume viable cysts found on the hands and under the finger nails of food handlers. Symptoms can range from mild diarrhoea to dysentery with blood and mucus in the stool.
The transmission of these diseases is very simple to control by making sure we follow simple measures of personal hygiene like hand-washing after defecation and before we eat. Boiling water destroys the bacteria and cysts and makes it safe to consume. Food sanitation is an often neglected area because we so love eating out. If we cannot overcome the urge to eat out, the least we can do is ensure we eat cooked hot food and make sure wherever we eat the food handlers maintain an acceptable level of hygiene. Another aspect of prevention of these diseases is vaccination. Vaccines are available against typhoid, cholera and hepatitis A.

Respiratory Tract Diseases

The viral upper respiratory tract diseases mainly common cold is a result of getting wet in the rains or coming in contact with surfaces that are contaminated by the virus.Constant sneezing, sore throat, runny nose and fever are the symptoms of this disease. The easiest way of prevention is to avoid getting wet and making sure you dry yourself completely if you happen to get wet. A good immune system keeps the virus at bay. Foods such as ginger, turmeric, garlic, honey, barley and flax-seeds are good immunity boosting foods.

Zoonotic Diseases

Leptospira is found in the urine of infected animals like rats. It enters the human body when there is a direct contact with this urine in the form of infected soil or water, contaminated food or water, or through broken skin and intact mucous membrane (eyes, nose, sinuses, and mouth).
It manifests with severe headaches and muscle aches. Avoiding walking along puddles filled with mud and amidst flood waters; Wearing closed shoes while stepping out to allow minimum contact with contaminated soil or water and treating any kinds of bruises or cuts so that broken skin does not become the cause for infection, prevents the transmission of this disease.

So as you get ready to brace the monsoon, make sure you do so with a little bit of care and precaution!

ALSO READ : Monsoon and Mosquito Borne Diseases
From the ancient physicians Charaka And Sushruta first describing the implications of Diabetes Mellitus to India being tagged as the "Diabetic Capital of the world" , India Seems to be well known for Its association with diabetes. Every fifth Diabetic in the world is an Indian. Yes. You read it right. As per a Study by WILD AND ASSOCIATES on the 'Global prevalence of Diabetes' the estimated number of people with diabetes by the year 2030 is expected to go as high as 151% as compared to what was in the year 2000. These alarming figures highlight the need towards understanding the basis of the disease and the intervention for its prevention.

Preventing and Managing Diabetes
Preventing and Managing Diabetes

So what really is diabetes?

Diabetes Mellitus is described as a clinical syndrome characterized by hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) and glycosuria (blood sugar in urine) due to defects in secretion and/or action of insulin or insulin resistance. (Insulin is a hormone which maintains the sugar level in the body by taking the sugar out of the bloodstream and into the organs like liver and muscle where it can be used for energy.)

Clinical classification of diabetes mellitus :

1. Type 1 : ( Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus)
Seen in patients less than 20-30 years with insulin deficiency. These patients are non obese with a strong genetic basis and a poor family history.
2. Type 2 : ( Non Insulin dependent diabetes mellitus)
Seen in the 35-65 age group with insulin resistance. These patients are obese with a strong family history.

When do you say a person has diabetes?

When a person who's blood sugar levels are as follows:
1. Random blood sugar more than or equal to 200 mg /dl.
2. Fasting blood sugar more than or equal to 126 mg /dl.
3. HbA1C more than 6.5%

How does a patient with diabetes Mellitus present?

Patient can present with either the classical 3Ps - polyphagia, polydipsia and polyuria or a variety of symptoms including recurrent boils,abscess,UTI,stye, delayed wound healing or undue tiredness. Many times patients present to various specialists for eg to an ophthalmologist with complains of frequent change in glasses or with
cataract presenting early.

What are the consequences of diabetes mellitus?

Over a period of time diabetes can affect any organ starting from the vessels of the brain to the toes. It has now become the leading cause of end stage renal disease and a major cause of non traumatic limb amputations. Diabetic retinopathy is responsible for 30% of the preventable causes of blindness. CHD and stroke are more common in diabetics making it a leading cause of cardiovascular mortality. Metabolic disorders in pregnant Diabetic women or those caused by gestational diabetes pose a risk to both mother and foetus.

Understanding the disease would be incomplete without understanding the basis and the ease with which the disease and its complications may be prevented.

What is screening of diabetes mellitus?

It is the early detection and effective control of hyperglycaemia in the asymptomatic diabetics in order to reduce morbidity associated with it.

Who should be screened?

Screening with urine test for glucose or blood sugar testing is applied to high risk groups which include -
1. A person aged 40years or more.
2. Family history of diabetes Mellitus.
3. Obese
4. Woman with baby more than 4.5 kg
5. Woman with excess weight gain during pregnancy.
6. Patient developing premature atherosclerosis.

Can diabetes be prevented?


Diabetes Mellitus is easily prevented and so is its onset delayed by ensuring simple lifestyle modifications in the form of -
1. 30 mins of regular, moderate intensity activity like brisk walking on 6 days of the week and preferably all 7 days.
2. Increasing the consumption of fruits, vegetables, legumes.
3. Decreasing the intake of saturated fats And sugar.
4. Improving fiber uptake.
5. Achieving and maintaining the ideal body weight.
6. Avoiding tobacco use And smoking.

Can diabetes be treated?

Once a person is diagnosed with diabetes the treatment is based on diet, insulin, oral anti-hypoglycaemic drugs, exercise and patient education.

What care should a diabetic take?

Once diagnosed, the Diabetic should ensure routine checking of blood sugar, urine for proteins and ketones, blood pressure, visual acuity and weight. The feet should be checked for any defective circulation,
loss of sensation and health of the skin. Glycosylated haemoglobin provides a long term index of glucose control and should be estimated periodically.

Prevention is always better than cure. And diabetes is no exception to this old adage. The greatest challenge that lies in preventing diabetes, and the related morbidity and mortality, is the immense need of dedicated self-care behaviors in multiple dimensions including food choices, physical activity, proper medications and regular blood glucose monitoring from the patients.
With pregnancy comes the anticipation of a new life and the upsurge of female  hormones required for the development of foetus .While this development prepares the mother's body for hosting and nurturing a new life it also has a paramount effect on the  metabolism and the physiology of  the mother.

During pregnancy there is an increase in both the female hormones progesterone and oestrogen which by the end of third trimester reach levels 10 and 30 times their respective levels during the menstrual cycle

These hormones affect the immunity of the body and the permeability of the blood vessels..ie, the ability to exchange fluids with the surrounding tissue, the manifestations of which may also be seen in the oral cavity.
Good Oral Health
It has been found that around 60- 70  % of pregnant women complain of about some sort of gum problems that manifest usually around the 2nd month  and reduce in severity by the 9th month. But it has to be noted that these gum problems arise only if some amount of local irritants like bacterial plaque or tartar or remnants of food particles are already present in your mouth. Due to the elevated level of hormones the response to these irritants simply gets aggravated when compared to non pregnant women.

If  you notice that a part of your gums or your entire gumline appears red, swollen, fragile and tends to bleed easily, do visit your dentist. A simple treatment involving professional cleaning i.e scaling procedure can relieve you of your symptoms of pregnancy gingivitis. But  remember that the  oral hygiene measures  advised to you like brushing properly and regularly, flossing and thorough rinsing after meals have to be strictly  followed as well.


A few pregnant women also complain of a small tumor like growth on the gums which is dusky red or magenta in color, semifirm, but friable with pinpoint red markings on it. Though it is often painless, if  the growth is big enough to interfere with your bite then it might cause painful ulcers. It is often referred to as a pregnancy tumor simply on account of its size. It is only a localized gum enlargement due to inflammation and not cancerous.
All these gum enlargements are seen to spontaneously regress post pregnancy but complete healing of  the gums requires the total removal of the plaque and the deposits on your teeth that caused the gums to react in such a manner.


Along with everything else, pay a little attention to what's happening inside your mouth as a timely visit to the dentist can prevent you from your dental misery. The second trimester is a good time to get your dental treatments done.

Maintain a healthy diet, stock up on your daily quota of minerals and  multivitamins especially vitamin C for your gums , lead a stress free life and keep your gynecologist updated about  your  dental treatments and medications if advised any and you will be just fine.

ALSO READ : Diet for a Healthy Pregnancy