Health Care

Find information on wellness, diet, fitness, weight loss, mental health, anti-aging, conditions & diseases, drugs & medications, and more on Health Care.

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, 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