Some Health Questions And Answers

Q: I am a 21-year-old girl and am very skinny even though I eat healthy and nutritious food. I do not eat junk food nor do I go in for aerated drinks. I do feel healthy, but how do I shed this scrawny look? What kind of exercises should I do?

A BMI of around 25 is optimum, irrespective of thinness or fatness

A: Size is no longer measured in terms of being skinny or fat. You need to accurately measure your Body Mass Index (BMI). This is calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in metre squared. It should be around 25. If you simply try to gain weight, the fat may deposit itself in unsightly areas like the abdomen, leaving you with scrawny arms and a paunch! To look good, aerobic exercise needs to be balanced with anaerobic ones. Try jogging, walking, swimming or cycling for 30 minutes a day. Then do biceps and triceps curls to build up muscles on your arms using a baby dumbbell (1-2 kg). Around 20 repetitions need to be done, with each arm.

Always balance weight-bearing exercises with stretches. To increase your weight, you need to track your calories for a few weeks. Write down everything you eat. Then add 300-500 calories to your daily caloric intake. Continue this until you start to gain. An extra 3,500 calories will increase your weight by half a kilo. The number of calories you need to actually gain weight also depends on your activity level.

Basically though, if you aren’t gaining weight, you aren’t eating enough. Keep increasing your calorie intake until you see results. Also, try eating five or six meals a day instead of the traditional three.

No sweat to cool:-

Q: My brother, 23, suffers from a peculiar problem. He does not sweat at all. He goes for a brisk morning walk but still there is no sweating. During April, May and June, his body temperature rises to 101°F to 102°F, even if he stays indoors. This has been so for the last four years. Initially he was under medication but it proved ineffective. The body temperature returns to normal only when the weather cools down. He underwent medical tests but everything was normal. He has been advised to remain indoors and to keep the body cool by taking frequent cold water baths (twice or thrice daily). But it’s is not possible to stay indoors for a prolonged period. Please advise.

A: Sweat is produced by sweat glands that are situated all over the body. As the sweat evaporates, it cools the body, reducing its temperature. The inability to sweat in response to heat is called anhidrosis. It is dangerous and can be life threatening, especially in situations where the weather is dry and hot. Anhidrosis causes the body temperature to rise precipitously. It is often congenital (present from birth) or may be due to ectodermal (skin) dysplasia (malformation).

Some secondary causes are:-

* Certain drugs and medications

* Neurologic disorders such as Guillain-Barre syndrome

Investigations need to be done to establish a diagnosis. Until the cause is known, it is important to take steps to prevent heat exhaustion, heat stroke and dehydration with frequent baths, air conditioning and light, cotton clothes. If it is a congenital condition, this is the only treatment available.

Am I a dwarf? :-

Q: I am 22 years old and my problem is that I am very short. My height is only 4’2” and weight 50 kg. I heard about the YOKO Height Increaser. Would using it make me taller? Or are there are any exercises that may help?

A: Sometimes dangerous medications and hormones are dispensed unregulated via advertisements and the internet. These are accompanied by exaggerated claims about successful outcomes. They target anxious, unhappy people with genuine problems. Before you try the medication, consult an endocrinologist to find out why you are short. It is always better to spend some time and effort to arrive at a diagnosis instead of opting for random, unscientific, untested, treatments that may have dangerous side effects.

Busty isn’t beautiful :-

Q: My breasts are too large for my age. Could you suggest a way to reduce them?

A: You cannot really decrease the size of your breasts without plastic surgery. You can, however, tone your pectoral (chest) muscles by doing push ups (20 a day) so that the breasts do not appear too big and remain firm. Also, wear well-fitting undergarments. Sports bras will make your breasts look smaller and they will not wobble when you walk or run. Remember, flat-chested women envy those with big breasts!

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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