Monthly Archives: August 2009

Throw Away Your Shoes

Wearing shoes alters the shape and normal functioning of the feet, researchers have found.
Barefoot walkers in south India, who have never worn a pair of shoes or sandals in their entire lives, are teaching a lesson or two about footwear — that constantly using shoes alters the normal form and function of the foot, and that this may even lead to the development of an undesirable peak pressure under the sole, which in some cases could become life threatening.

Nearly 100 barefoot walkers from the interiors of Mandya, Kolar and Bangalore districts in Karnataka, India, left a footprint in the world of academics when a multinational team of researchers from Belgium, India and the UK descended on them to record their footfall.

Team leader Kristiaan D’Aout, a biologist at the University of Antwerp in Belgium, had always wanted to study the changes that footwear brings to the human feet. The idea was to gain an insight into normal foot functioning, which has evolved over millions of years.

However, with no barefoot walkers in Europe, D’Aout was forced to keep the idea in cold storage until he met Vinaya Anand Suratkal, a doctor from the Bangalore-based Jain Institute of Vascular Sciences (JIVAS), at a conference in Vienna about two years ago. JIVAS, which is part of the Bhagawan Mahaveer Jain Hospital in Bangalore, runs a mobile clinic that travels to rural areas in and around Bangalore to screen and treat those suffering from foot ulcers associated with diabetes.

The study, which won this year’s Nike Research Award — instituted by the sports goods giant Nike — studied the morphology and biomechanical functions of the feet in three distinct healthy populations: barefoot walkers, habitually shod Indians, and Europeans who have always worn footwear. It found that barefoot walkers have a relatively wider forefoot and the pressure is distributed more evenly over the entire surface of the sole than in the other two groups.

Habitually shod Indians wear shoes less often than Westerners do. Also, their shoes are less constraining. Yet, the scientists found significant differences when compared to their habitually barefoot peers, both in the foot shape and pressure distribution.

“The evolutionary history of humans shows that barefoot walking is the natural situation,” D’Aout told KnowHow. While the use of shoes remains a necessity when one walks on unsafe surfaces and in athletics, footwear fails to respect the natural shape and function of the feet.

The researchers hope that the findings will not only help clinicians who treat foot ulcers, but will also lead to the designing of better footwear that will not hamper the feet’s biologically normal functions.

D’Aout’s chance meeting with Vinaya, who was in Vienna to present a paper on the work being done at JIVAS, seemed like a golden opportunity to the Belgium biologist. Realising that many in India still do not wear shoes for religious or financial reasons, he decided to collaborate with the researchers at JIVAS. “Kristiaan approached us with his idea and we thought it was fascinating,” says Kalkunte R. Suresh, director of JIVAS. “When our mobile van goes into the villages, the patients generally do not come alone; they are accompanied by a few other healthy relatives. We requested these healthy individuals, who have never worn shoes or sandals in their life, to participate in the study and walk on a foot scanner,” says Suresh.

D’Aout is not saying that people shouldn’t wear footwear. “Footwear is a wonderful invention. But the human foot is adapted to barefoot walking,” he says.

The study has shown that wearing shoes lifelong leads to an increase in peak pressure under the sole. “This is certainly bad in some people (it causes ulceration in diabetes patients), and it remains to be seen whether it is a real problem in healthy people. It does make sense to have low pressures though, but nobody knows exactly if there is, for example, a threshold value of pressure that should not be exceeded,” he explains.

“We have shown that footwear does change the foot, and so it makes sense to walk barefoot every now and then (at least for healthy people and, of course, ensuring that the walking surface is safe),” adds D’Aout. This, he says, will keep the feet in shape and the muscles trained.

According to D’Aout, people in India have better footwear habits than those in the West. They often wear open shoes and wear them less often (for example, many prefer to walk barefoot in the house). Besides, children too mostly walk barefoot.

The study also found that wearing shoes throughout makes one’s feet narrower and leads to poor load distribution. Besides, it is better not to wear shoes that constrain the toes (like do some fashionable women’s footwear) or are overly protective (like mountaineering boots) for everyday use.

So be careful about what footwear you use, and when to fling them off. Go ahead, just do it.

The Telkegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Myths About Asthma

For any type of asthma patient,  country living can be as bad for sufferers as the city.But the belief that they are cure-alls is just one of the myths surrounding the condition, which affects 5.4million people in the UK…… & see
According to Joy Smith of Asthma UK, expensive measures may not be effective if you have not discovered exactly what has triggered the asthma. And this can be easily established by a simple skin prick test from your GP…………

Country air: But for some asthma sufferers it may be as bad as the city

If plant pollen is the culprit rather than house-dust mites, for example, it would be better simply to close windows to keep out the pollen.
But if mites are the cause, the widely advertised, expensive measures may be useless anyway, according to the Nordic Cochrane Centre in Copenhagen, which reviewed 54 studies involving more than 3,000 asthma patients.
It concluded that none of the interventions believed to eradicate dust mites was effective, including the use of specialist cleaning products or washing bedding at temperatures higher than 60C.
A University of Michigan study found that only half of the 1,788 asthma-proofing steps taken by parents of 896 asthmatic children were likely to work.
The others were unproven, unlikely to help or even potentially harmful in a few cases, such as the use of a humidifier. Mites thrive in humid conditions.
Many asthmatics living in cities think their symptoms would be alleviated if they moved to green and traffic-free countryside. But Joy Smith says: ‘There is no best place to live for anyone with asthma, as it depends what your triggers are. There are studies comparing the Scottish Highlands to the city and finding the incidence of asthma the same.’
Asthma myths abound: there’s the belief that steroid treatments stunt growth in children (Asthma UK says that normal doses are fine and while strong doses can delay growth, patients catch up); and that asthmatics cannot exercise or play sports.
Yet exertion is fine as long as the asthma is well managed and a reliever inhaler always at hand. Olympians Lord Coe, Paula Radcliffe and Rebecca Adlington have asthma.
Nor is asthma contagious. ‘Asthma cannot be passed on from one person to another,’ says specialist Vikki Knowles from Asthma UK.
‘It is a condition that develops as a result of complex genetic and environmental factors, although as yet the exact causes remain unknown.’
She also debunks the myth that you can grow out of asthma.
‘A child diagnosed with asthma may no longer experience symptoms when they reach adulthood but the underlying tendency still remains and so symptoms can return in later life,’ she says.
Another widely held belief is that only children get asthma. Says Joy Smith: ‘Asthma can occur at any age – so you could get it for the first time in your 70s. It is often overlooked then.
‘Many people are under the impression that asthma is not a serious condition.
‘And while many people are fortunate enough not to experience severe symptoms, more than half-a-million people in the UK have difficulty controlling it, meaning some cannot do even simple things like running for a bus or dressing themselves.
‘The condition is responsible for 1,200 deaths a year in Great Britain.’

Source: Mail Online.29th.Aug.2009

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Botanical Name:Petunia (Ruellia carolinensis)
Family: Solanaceae
Other Name:Named from petun, Brazilian name for tobacco, to which Petunia is allied
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Solanales
Family: Solanaceae
Genus: Petunia

Habitat: Petunia is a trumpet shaped, widely-cultivated genus of flowering plants of South American origin,
native to Argentina

The origin of P. x hybrida is thought to be by hybridisation between P. axillaris (the large white or night-scented petunia) and P. integrifolia (the violet-flowered petunia). P. axillaris bears night-fragrant, buff-white blossoms with long, thin tubes and somewhat flattened openings. The species was first sent from South America to Paris in 1823. P. integrifolia has a somewhat weedy habit, spreading stems with upright tips, and small lavender to purple flowers. It was discovered in South America by the explorer James Tweedie, after whom the genus Tweedia is named, who sent specimens to the Glasgow Botanical Garden in 1831. Many open-pollinated species are also gaining popularity in the home garden. A wide range of flower colours, sizes, and plant architectures are available in both the hybrid and open-pollinated species.

Description: Petunias are one of the most popular bedding flowers. Although some species of petunia are tropical perennials, today’s hybrids are usually grown as annuals.The leaf arrangement is opposite . Each leaf is entire.  They have wide trumpet shaped flowers and branching foliage that is hairy and somewhat sticky. They are prolific bloomers, although some forms require deadheading to keep them going. Most varieties will bloom throughout the summer, except in extreme heat. You can now find petunias in just about every color but black and blue and with growing habits that mound in borders or trail down containers.



This type of petunias has the largest flowers, up to 4 inches in diameter. Of all the petunias these have the widest variety of forms and colours but are the most likely to be damaged by heavy rain. There are four types of grandiflora and they are classified by their colours, namely, ‘Daddy Series’ (shades of pink and purple), ‘Merlin Blue Morn’ (blue and white), ‘Supercascade Series’ (many colours) and ‘Ultra Series’ (many colours including bi-colour).

Spreading petunias (sometimes called ground-cover are characterised by their low height (usually about six inches), but a large spread (about three to four feet). They will cover a large area provided they have adequate water and fertilisation. ‘Purple Wave’ was the first introduced cultivar of spreading petunias and grows to a height of 4 inches. ‘Tidal Wave’ is another spreading type of petunia, but is much taller (between sixteen and twenty two inches). ‘Opera Supreme’ is a cultivar with large flowers.

Milliflora are the smallest of the petunias and about 1 inch across. These are prettiest when mixed with other plants in containers, along garden beds, and edges. Milliflora are available in ‘Fantasy Series’ (red, purple, pink) and are the easiest to find. ‘Supertunia Mini Series’ (blue, pink, lilac, purple and white) are also available in the milliflora category. They tolerate harsh weather better when compared with grandifloras and multifloras

Cultivation or Growing Petunias:

Seeds of Petunias may be sown in the sunny window or hotbed in March, or in the open soil in May. The plants should always stand 9 inches apart. As the seeds are very fine, great care is necessary in sowing and in resisting the temptation to allow more plants to grow than will develop properly. Someone has said that the way to get the best single Petunias is to sow the best doubles, because the seeds of the latter do not produce all double flowers. The slowest and smallest seedlings are more apt to be doubles than those are that germinate rapidly and grow quickly. The better sorts of Petunia seed will frequently cost more than the ordinary and inferior strains, but they are worth the difference.

Petunias prefer full sunlight, but will bloom in partial shade. They will thrive in rather dry soil if this is well enriched, and also upon soil either too rich or too poor for most annuals, if the moisture conditions are right. Thus one may see that the Petunia is most adaptable.


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Whey Protein Improves Heart Health

A wheyprotein-rich ingredient may improve blood vessel function in healthy individuals, reports a new randomized, double-blind study.
Two weeks of supplementation resulted in a 1.5 percent improvement in blood flow. According to the researchers, the whey protein-derived ingredient may work via an angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE)-inhibitory activity.

ACE inhibitors work by inhibiting the conversion of angiotensin I to the potent vasoconstrictor, angiotensin II, thereby improving blood flow and blood pressure.

NutraIngredients August 5, 2009
Nutrition Journal July 22, 2009; 8:34

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Everyday Beverages May Cause Dental Erosion

Researchers have warned people to beware of the damage that acidic beverages have on teeth. Yet, for some, the damage and problems associated with drinking sodas, citric juices, or certain teas may have already begun to take effect.
In a recent study, Dr. Mohamed A. Bassiouny revealed three steps to rehabilitate teeth that suffer from dental erosion as a result of the excessive consumption of these products.

Dr. Bassiouny instructs those who are experiencing tooth erosion to first, identify the source of erosion. Then, you should determine and understand how this source affects the teeth in order to implement measures to control and prevent further damage. Lastly, you should stop or reduce consumption of the suspected food or beverage to the absolute minimum.

Information about the acid content of commonly consumed foods or beverages is usually available online or on the product’s label.


Science Daily August 8, 2009
General Dentistry May/June 2009

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Feeling Hopeless Ups Stroke Risk in Women

Scientists at the University of Minnesota Medical School say that the feeling of hopelessness may make increase the risk of stroke in women.
Writing in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association, the researchers have revealed that even healthy middle-aged women, when feeling hopeless, seem to experience the thickening of arteries in the neck, a precursor to stroke

Linking hopelessness with negative thinking and the feeling of uselessness, they say that it affects arteries independent of clinical depression, and before women develop clinically relevant cardiovascular disease.

For their study, the researchers looked at 559 healthy women—average age 50, 62 percent white, 38 percent African American—who did not show any signs of clinical cardiovascular disease.

They measured hopelessness with a two-item questionnaire assessing expectancies regarding future and personal goals. Depressive symptoms were measured with a 20-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale. Thickness of neck arteries was assessed using ultrasound.

The researchers found consistent, progressive, and linear association between increasing neck artery thickness and rising levels of hopelessness.

They say that the overall difference in arterial thickening between women with higher versus lower hopelessness scores, about .02 millimetres (mm), was equal to about one year of thickening.

Those with the highest hopelessness scores had an average .06 mm greater thickening than those in the lowest group — a clinically significant difference. This correlation remained after adjusting for any influence of age, race, income, cardiovascular risk factors, and depression.

“Previous studies have shown that hopelessness is associated with cardiovascular disease outcomes in men and also in women with documented heart disease. However, this is the first study to suggest that hopelessness may be related to subclinical cardiovascular disease in women without clinical symptoms of heart disease and who are generally healthy,” said Dr. Susan A. Everson-Rose, principal investigator of the study, associate director of the Program in Health Disparities Research, and associate professor of medicine.

“These findings suggest that women who experience feelings of hopelessness may have greater risk for future heart disease and stroke. In fact, our data indicate that hopelessness may be uniquely related to cardiovascular disease risk. We did not see similar relations when looking at global depressive symptoms,” Everson-Rose said
The researchers used data from Chicago and Pittsburgh sites of the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN) to examine associations of hopelessness, and depressive symptoms with carotid IMT, an early marker of atherosclerosis.

“The findings we observed are based on cross-sectional data — a snapshot in time — so we look forward to examining the longitudinal relations between hopelessness and heart disease risk in women,” Everson-Rose said.

You may also click to see:-
>Thick blood causes & protects from stroke
>Diet rich in soy cuts down stroke-risk
>Stroke survivors at increased risk of fracture
>High BP ‘raises silent stroke risk’
>Exercise helps stroke patients recover

Source: The Times Of India

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Roughage not so Good for Bowels

Grandma was wrong: wheat bran and other fibrous foods that do not dissolve easily in water not only fail to soothe irritable bowels, but may  actually make things worse, a study reported Friday.

While soluble types of bran, such as psyllium, appear to ease inflamed bowels, the insoluble varieties that have long been a staple for people in search of regularity don’t work as advertised, the study found.

Bran is the hard outer layer of grains. Psyllium, also referred to as isphagula, is derived from the seed husks of the Plantago ovata plant, and is the chief ingredient in many over-the-counter laxatives.

The signature symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which affects about 10 percent of the population, are abdominal pain and an irregular bowel habit.

In many countries, doctors recommend daily doses of fibre in the form of insoluble bran, but there have been very few rigorous studies to see whether boosting intake of this type of fibre actually works.

A team of researchers from the Netherlands led by Rene Bijkerk of the University Medical Centre set up clinical trials to find out.

They divided 275 patients into three groups, and gave each a different 12-week treatment regimen.

One group ate 10-grams of bran twice a day, and a second ate the same quantities of psyllium, which forms a gel-like substance when mixed with water.

A third group ate a neutral placebo made out of rice flour, which contains no fibre at all.

All but six percent of the participants were Caucasian, and more than three-quarters were women, who suffer from IBS more than men.

The patients had either been diagnosed as having the syndrome within the last two years, or fulfilled other criteria for chronic bowel-related problems.

A standardised scale measuring the severity of symptoms showed that psyllium was the most effective treatment, even after only one month.

After three months, the severity was reduced by 90 points in the psyllium group, 49 points in the placebo group, and 58 points in the bran group.

The slight difference between the bran and the rice gruel placebo was judged statistically insignificant.

“Bran showed no clinically relevant benefits, and many patients seemed not to tolerate bran,” the researchers reported in the British Medical Journal.

“Indeed, bran may worsen symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and should be advised only with caution.”

Previous studies have linked soluble fibres to healthy blood cholesterol levels and a better regulation of blood sugar levels.

Food sources that contain soluble fibre include psyllium, barley, oatmeal, lentils, fruit and vegetables.

You may also click to see:-
>Soluble fibre helpful in bowel movement
>Gut bacteria may help treat bowel disease
>’Healthy’ fat could lead to bowel disease
>Bowel cancer risk factor found
>Alcohol, cigarettes cause bowel cancer

Hypnosis ‘can ease bowel illness’
‘Perfectionism’ bowel pain link
Food allergy ‘link’ to bowel pain

‘Imagine your gut as a river…’
People ‘ignoring’ gut illnesses
IBS linked to low birth weights

Source: TheTimes Of India

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Knee Problems and Injuries

Most people have had a minor knee problem at one time or another. Most of the time our body movements do not cause problems, but it’s not surprising that symptoms develop from everyday wear and tear, overuse, or injury. Knee problems and injuries most often occur during sports or recreational activities, work-related tasks, or home projects.
The knee is the largest joint in the body. The upper and lower bones of the knee are separated by two discs (menisci). The upper leg bone (femur) and the lower leg bones (tibia and fibula) are connected by ligaments, tendons, and muscles. The surface of the bones inside the knee joint is covered by articular cartilage, which absorbs shock and provides a smooth, gliding surface for joint movement. See an illustration of the structures of the knee .

Although a knee problem is often caused by an injury to one or more of these structures, it may have another cause. Some people are more likely to develop knee problems than others. Many jobs, sports and recreation activities, getting older, or having a disease such as osteoporosis or arthritis increase your chances of having problems with your knees.

Sudden (acute) injuries

Sudden (acute) injuries
Injuries are the most common cause of knee problems. Sudden (acute) injuries may be caused by a direct blow to the knee or from abnormal twisting, bending the knee, or falling on the knee. Pain, bruising, or swelling may be severe and develop within minutes of the injury. Nerves or blood vessels may be pinched or damaged during the injury. The knee or lower leg may feel numb, weak, or cold; tingle; or look pale or blue. Acute injuries include:

•Sprains, strains, or other injuries to the ligaments and tendons that connect and support the kneecap.
•A tear in the rubbery cushions of the knee joint (meniscus).
•Ligament tears. The medial collateral ligament (MCL) is the most commonly injured ligament of the knee.
•Breaks (fracture) of the kneecap, lower portion of the femur, or upper part of the tibia or fibula. Knee fractures are most commonly caused by abnormal force, such as a falling on the knee, a severe twisting motion, severe force that bends the knee, or when the knee forcefully hits an object.
•Kneecap dislocation. This type of dislocation occurs more frequently in 13- to 18-year-old girls. Pieces of bone or tissue (loose bodies) from a fracture or dislocation may get caught in the joint and interfere with movement.
•Knee joint dislocation. This is a rare injury that requires great force. It is a serious injury and requires immediate medical care.

Overuse injuries

Overuse injuries..Overuse injuries
Overuse injuries occur with repetitive activities or repeated or prolonged pressure on the knee. Activities such as stair climbing, bicycle riding, jogging, or jumping stress joints and other tissues and can lead to irritation and inflammation. Overuse injuries include:

•Inflammation of the small sacs of fluid that cushion and lubricate the knee (bursitis).
•Inflammation of the tendons (tendinitis) or small tears in the tendons (tendinosis).
•Thickening or folding of the knee ligaments (Plica syndrome).
•Pain in the front of the knee from overuse, injury, excess weight, or problems in the kneecap (patellofemoral pain syndrome).
•Irritation and inflammation of the band of fibrous tissue that runs down the outside of the thigh (iliotibial band syndrome).
Conditions that may cause knee problems
Problems not directly related to an injury or overuse may occur in or around the knee.

•Osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease) may cause knee pain that is worse in the morning and improves during the day. It often develops at the site of a previous injury. Other types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and lupus, also can cause knee pain, swelling, and stiffness.
•Osgood-Schlatter disease causes pain, swelling, and tenderness in the front of the knee below the kneecap. It is especially common in boys ages 11 to 15.
•A popliteal (or Baker’s) cyst causes swelling in the back of the knee.
•Infection in the skin (cellulitis), joint (infectious arthritis), bone (osteomyelitis), or bursa (septic bursitis) can cause pain and decreased knee movement.
•A problem elsewhere in the body, such as a pinched nerve or a problem in the hip, can sometimes cause knee pain.
•Osteochondritis dissecans causes pain and decreased movement when a piece of bone or cartilage or both inside the knee joint loses blood supply and dies.


Treatment for a knee problem or injury may include first aid measures, rest, bracing, physical therapy, medicine, and in some cases surgery. Treatment depends on the location, type, and severity of the injury as well as your age, health condition, and activity level (such as work, sports, or hobbies).


Home Treatment
Home treatment may help relieve pain, swelling, and stiffness.
home treatment
•Rest and protect an injured or sore area. Stop, change, or take a break from any activity that may be causing your pain or soreness. When resting, place a small pillow under your knee.
•Ice will reduce pain and swelling. Apply ice or cold packs immediately to prevent or minimize swelling. Apply the ice or cold pack for 10 to 20 minutes, 3 or more times a day.
*For the first 48 hours after an injury, avoid things that might increase swelling, such as hot showers, hot tubs, hot packs, or alcoholic beverages.
*After 48 to 72 hours, if swelling is gone, apply heat and begin gentle exercise with the aid of moist heat to help restore and maintain flexibility. Some experts recommend alternating between heat and cold treatments.
•Compression, or wrapping the injured or sore area with an elastic bandage (such as an Ace wrap), will help decrease swelling.
*Don’t wrap it too tightly, since this can cause more swelling below the affected area. Loosen the bandage if it gets too tight. Signs that the bandage is too tight include numbness, tingling, increased pain, coolness, or swelling in the area below the bandage.
*Don’t expect the bandage to protect or stabilize a knee injury.
*Talk to your doctor if you think you need to use a wrap for longer than 48 to 72 hours; a more serious problem may be present.
•Elevate the injured or sore area on pillows while applying ice and anytime you are sitting or lying down. Try to keep the area at or above the level of your heart to help minimize swelling.

•Reduce stress on your sore knee (until you can get advice from your doctor):
*Use a cane or crutch in the hand opposite your painful knee.
*Use two crutches, keeping weight off the leg with the sore knee. You can get canes or crutches from most pharmacies. Crutches are recommended if a cane causes you to walk with a limp.
•Gently massage or rub the area to relieve pain and encourage blood flow. Do not massage the injured area if it causes pain.

•Try the following exercises to maintain flexibility:
*Hamstring stretch *Knee-to-chest exercise •Avoid high-impact exercise, such as running, skiing, snowboarding, or playing tennis, until your knee is no longer painful or swollen.
Do not smoke.
Smoking slows healing because it decreases blood supply and delays tissue repair. For more information, see the topic Quitting Tobacco Use.

Medicine you can buy without a prescription Try a nonprescription medicine to help treat your fever or pain: –

.•Acetaminophen, such as Tylenol or Panadol
Note: Do not use a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine, such as ibuprofen or aspirin, for the first 24 hours after an injury. Using these medicines may increase the time it takes your blood to clot and cause more severe bruising from bleeding under the skin.

•Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs):
*Ibuprofen, such as Advil or Motrin
*Naproxen, such as Aleve or Naprosyn
•Aspirin (also a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug), such as Bayer or Bufferin
Talk to your child’s doctor before switching back and forth between doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. When you switch between two medicines, there is a chance your child will get too much medicine.

Safety tips Be sure to follow these safety tips when you use a nonprescription medicine:
•Carefully read and follow all directions on the medicine bottle and box.
•Do not take more than the recommended dose.
•Do not take a medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to it in the past.
•If you have been told to avoid a medicine, call your doctor before you take it.
•If you are or could be pregnant, do not take any medicine other than acetaminophen unless your doctor has told you to.
•Do not give aspirin to anyone younger than age 20 unless your doctor tells you to.


Symptoms to Watch For During Home Treatment
Use the Check Your Symptoms section to evaluate your symptoms if any of the following occur during home treatment:

•Signs of infection develop.
•Numbness, tingling, or weakness develops.
•Your knee, lower leg, or foot becomes pale or cool or looks blue.
•Symptoms do not improve with home treatment.
•Symptoms become more severe or frequent.

The following tips may prevent knee problems.

General prevention tips

•Wear your seat belt in a motor vehicle.
•Don’t carry objects that are too heavy. Use a step stool. Do not stand on chairs or other unsteady objects.
•Wear knee guards during sports or recreational activities, such as roller-skating or soccer.
•Stretch before and after physical exercise, sports, or recreational activities to warm up your muscles.
•Use the correct techniques or positions during activities so that you do not strain your muscles.
•Use equipment appropriate to your size, strength, and ability. Avoid repeated movements that can cause injury. In daily routines or hobbies, look at activities in which you make repeated knee movements.
•Consider taking lessons to learn the proper technique for sports. Have a trainer or person who is familiar with sports equipment check your equipment to see if it is well suited for your level of ability, body size, and body strength.
•If you feel that certain activities at your workplace are causing pain or soreness from overuse, call your human resources department for information on other ways of doing your job or to talk about using different equipment.

Tips specific to the knee
•Keep your knees and the muscles that support them strong and flexible. Warm up before activities. Try the following stretches:
?Hamstring stretch ?Knee-to-chest exercise ?Calf stretch ?Straight-leg raises •Avoid activities that stress your knees, such as deep knee bends or downhill running.
•Wear shoes with good arch supports.
•Do not wear high-heeled shoes.
•When playing contact sports, wear the right shoes that are made for the surface you are playing or running on, such as a track or tennis court.
•Replace running shoes every 300 to 500 miles (480 to 800 kilometers).

Tips specific to female athletes

Sports trainers recommend training programs that help women learn to run, jump, and pivot with knees bent to avoid knee injuries. In sports such as soccer, basketball, and volleyball, women who bend their knees and play low to the ground have fewer knee injuries than women who run and pivot with stiff legs.

Knee brace use
Some people use knee braces to prevent knee injuries or after a knee injury. There are many types of knee braces, from soft fabric sleeves to rigid, metal hinged braces, that support and protect the knee. If your doctor has recommended the use of a knee brace, follow his or her instructions. If you are using a knee brace to help prevent problems, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use.

Keep bones strong
•Eat a nutritious diet with enough calcium and vitamin D, which helps your body absorb calcium. Calcium is found in dairy products, such as milk, cheese, and yogurt; dark green, leafy vegetables, such as broccoli; and other foods. For more information, see the topic Healthy Eating.
•Exercise and stay active. It is best to do weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, jogging, stair climbing, dancing, or lifting weights, for 45 to 60 minutes at least 4 days a week. Weight-bearing exercises stimulate new bone growth by working the muscles and bones against gravity. Exercises that are not weight-bearing, such as swimming, are good for your general health but do not stimulate new bone growth. Talk to your doctor about an exercise program that is right for you. Begin slowly, especially if you have been inactive. For more information, see the topic Fitness.
•Avoid drinking more than one alcoholic drink per day. People who drink more than this may be at higher risk for weakening bones (osteoporosis). Alcohol use also increases your risk of falling and breaking a bone.
•Stop or do not begin smoking. Smoking puts you at a much higher risk for developing osteoporosis. It also interferes with blood supply and healing. For more information, see the topic Quitting Tobacco Use.
Possible abuse
Bruises are often the first sign of abuse. Seek help if:

•You suspect abuse. Call your local child or adult protective agency, police, or a doctor, nurse, or counselor.
•You or someone you know is a victim of violence.
•You have trouble controlling your anger with a child or other person in your care. Resources are available for help.


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Some Health Tips Woman to Know


The irritable moods and water retention that affect many women the week before their period can be helped by taking more magnesium, says Dr Ann Walker.
While it’s not known exactly how the nutrient helps, it’s thought to boost the production of dopamine, a brain chemical which may be linked to mood.

Magnesium may also help prevent the inflammation which causes water retention. Dr Walker, who runs a herbal medicine clinic in Berkshire, says: ‘Many people don’t eat the foods which contain magnesium, such as wholegrains, beans and green leafy vegetables, so supplements may help. You need about 270mg a day, and look for magnesium citrate, which is easier to absorb than magnesium oxide.’


Millions of people in the UK suffer from back pain, but women are more prone to lower back trouble – as a result of a combination of factors including the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and large breasts.
But this pain is often easily curable by performing stomach exercises, says GP Dr Claire Rushton, vice chairman of the Family Doctor Association.
She says: ‘People don’t realise that when the stomach muscles are weak, it can lead to back pain. The stomach muscles actually support the back; if their tone is poor, you tend to sag and your back then takes the strain.’
A simple exercise performed ten times each morning and evening will strengthen your tummy muscles.
Go down on all fours, keeping your back straight, then pull in your belly button as far as you can and hold for a count of ten. ‘After a week you should start to feel better,’ she says.
Dr Rushton also recommends pulling your tummy in if you’re bending forward to pick up something, as this also protects your back.

If you’ve had any part of your body waxed, wait a couple of days before going swimming or using a Jacuzzi, advises Alison Cope, consultant virologist at Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
‘The open hair follicles make women prone to skin infection with bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which thrives in warm, wet areas and which causes “hot tub folliculitis”,’ she says.
This is an itchy, red rash which can lead to infected bumps. In serious cases, antibiotics are needed to clear up the problem.
And while hot tubs are the worst offenders because the temperature of the water makes it an ideal breeding ground, swimming pools also pose a risk.

Cope advises showering before and after using a pool or spa to minimise the chance of spreading bacteria or becoming infected yourself. Showering afterwards helps ensure you get rid of other people’s bacteria; showering before stops you spreading yours.
‘Also, don’t go to a place for waxing where they dip the spatula in a large tub of wax,’ she warns. ‘Chances are lots of other spatulas have been dipped in the same tub and the wax has become contaminated with other peoples’ skin flora (micro organisms that live on the skin).
‘This means organisms such as streptococci and staphylococci (even MRSA) can be transferred and cause infections like cellulitis ( infection of the tissues below the skin).’


The moment thrush strikes, many women reach for a tub of yoghurt to treat the fierce, burning pain. But this won’t cure the Candida infection that’s causing the flare-up, says Dr Meera Kishen, consultant in sexual and reproductive health and member of the Medical Women’s Federation. ‘Although it feels like it is helping, this is because it’s cooling and soothing – cold water will have the same effect.’
Instead, sufferers should take a vaginal or oral preparation such as Canestan, available over the counter from chemists, and wear loose-fitting clothes and cotton underwear.
Despite common wisdom, thrush isn’t the most common vaginal infection – twice as many women get bacterial vaginosis, an infection caused by overgrowth of bacteria.
‘This can be caused by bath additives, sex or the coil,’ says Gloucestershire GP Dawn Harper. ‘One in three women gets it. The discharge is thinner than thrush and has a characteristic odour.’
Treat vaginosis with gels such as Balance-activ (from chemists).


News stories about the huge rise in skin cancer have made many women afraid to go out in the sun or, if they do, they smother themselves head-to-toe in sun block.
But they could be doing themselves more harm than good, warns dermatologist Dr Cecelia Tregear, of the Wimpole Skin Care Centre in London.
The body needs the sun to manufacture vitamin D and a deficiency can lead to serious problems such as rickets and osteoporosis. ‘A deficiency is also linked to cancers, bone disease and heart disease.’
Dr Tregear says women should try to strike a balance between avoiding skin cancer and protecting their bones, by going outside when it’s sunny for 20 minutes without wearing sun cream.


The onset of menopause often brings with it a loss of libido, but tibolone, a drug commonly prescribed to treat associated symptoms such as hot flushes and osteoporosis, can help.
Because the drug contains testosterone, one of its added benefits is that it helps perk up many women’s love lives as well as combating the symptoms of menopause.
‘Studies show that taking it for four to six months can improve your sex life,’ says GP Dr Zara Aziz, a GP in Bristol. ‘It’s thought to work by increasing blood flow to the genitals as well as replacing female hormones.’
We all think of milk as soothing for our stomachs, but it’s the worst thing you can drink if you’ve just had a bout of diarrhoea, warns Winchester GP Anna Wilson.
Diarrhoea is a common symptom of irritable bowel syndrome, which affects an estimated four million women in Britain.
Dr Wilson recommends avoiding milk for at least 48 hours after a tummy upset.
‘Diarrhoea tends to knock out the lining cells of the gut which produce a lot of milk-digesting enzymes. It takes time for them to recover and, while they do, you have transient milk intolerance,’ she says.

‘But people very often make the mistake of drinking milk when they are getting better. Instead you should drink water or soya milk for a day or two to let the gut lining recover.

Being tired all the time is often put down to anaemia and women think they should take more iron, but that could do more harm than good.
You may actually have haemochromatosis – a condition where the body absorbs too much iron and which can be toxic, leading to a build up of iron in organs, liver or heart failure and even death.
‘If you see your GP because you’re tired all the time and have aches and pains, you’ll usually be tested for anaemia,’ says Dr Pixie McKenna, a presenter on Channel 4’s Embarrassing Illnesses.
‘Your doctor may then tell you all is well – in fact you have a really good supply of iron – that’s why haemochromatosis is often missed. It’s an inherited condition and is very common in people of Celtic origin – one in 83 are carriers. Yet it’s easily detected by having a blood test, and is treatable.’


Eating the wrong foods can make you age ahead of your time, says London cosmetic surgeon Dr Lucy Glancey. ‘One of the theories of ageing is that we have too many free radicals in our skin which accelerates the ageing process,’ she explains.
Free radicals are molecules that destroy body cells. A major source is thought to be sugar.
As Dr Glancey says, food such as doughnuts give you a sudden ‘massive rush of sugar’ – the body can’t eliminate this sugar effectively, and in the long run that sugar creates free radicals.
She recommends sticking to foods with a low glycemic index, such as most fruits and vegetables, fish, eggs and meat, which don’t raise the body’s blood sugar levels so high.

During her 40s, a woman’s menstrual cycle can shorten to every three weeks, premenstrual syndrome symptoms become more severe and periods longer and heavier. To improve their quality of life, many women opt for a hysterectomy.
But according to sexual health consultant Dr Tina Peers, who is based in East Surrey, many women could be spared this operation if they simply changed their contraception.
‘Mirena, the progestogen coil, is the Rolls-Royce of contraception for women this age. It stops periods in 85 per cent of women.
‘Another choice that’s possible for those concerned about taking the combined pill until they’re 50 is NuvaRing, a disposable vaginal ring that’s as effective as the Pill but delivers a lower rate of hormones.’

Ovarian cancer is known as the ‘silent killer’ and claims more than 4,300 lives a year in the UK because it has few symptoms, so is hard to detect.
One of the signs that’s most commonly missed or misdiagnosed is a bloated tummy, which women often put down to irritable bowel syndrome, says Dr Rupal Shah, a GP in Battersea, London.
‘If you feel constantly bloated for more than a couple of weeks and that feeling doesn’t disappear after you’ve been to the loo, then book an appointment to see your GP.
‘If it was IBS, you would expect to get some relief when you go to the loo and your bowel settles down. It’s not right to feel bloated day after day.’


Depression isn’t always in the mind – it can often be the warning sign of another illness or condition, warns London GP Ellie Cannon.
‘Depression and anxiety can be early symptoms of physical conditions such as anaemia, thyroid problems or the menopause,’ she says.

‘Before taking antidepressants, talk to your doctor about whether you need a blood test to rule out the possibility of these conditions.’

Source: Mail Online

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Strength Training

Elite runners consider regular strength and conditioning work a crucial part of their training. Three-time Olympian and physiotherapist Jo Pavey shares eight exercises for improving muscle strength and preventing injury

Side-lying leg lifts :-

To improve core stability and encourage the correct position of the pelvis when running. Lie on your side with your feet raised on a step. Keeping your elbow under your shoulder, push yourself up until your body is in a straight line. While maintaining this position, lift the top leg up and down with control. Then lower, and repeat on the other side.

Routine: Six reps on each side. Rest for a minute and repeat.

Single leg squat

To build strength, encourage good hip/knee alignment, and improve proprioception. Stand on a step on one foot. Hold the other foot out in front of you, leg straight at about 45 degrees. Fold your arms and hold them out in front of you. Squat down, making sure that your supporting knee does not go in front of your foot, and that it stays aligned.Return to the start position. Repeat

Routine: Eight reps on each leg. Rest for one minute and repeat.

Step-up with dumbbells.
To increase strength and promote good hip/knee alignment. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, place one foot on a bench, so that your knee is bent to about 90 degrees. Now straighten the leg, driving up with the opposite knee to hip height, so that you are balancing on one foot on the step. Don’t “push off” the foot on the floor – use the foot on the step to power the movement.

Routine: Eight reps on each leg. Rest for one minute and repeat.

Calf raises
To develop strength in the calf muscles and achilles tendon. Stand with your toes on the edge of a step, facing towards the step, so that your heels are hanging off the back. Use a wall for support. Keep your ankles, knees and hips in alignment. Push up through your toes on to the balls of your feet, hold for a moment, then lower in a slow, controlled movement.

Routine: Two sets of 10 reps with two minutes’ rest between sets.

Swiss ball sit-up

This is more challenging than a normal sit-up because the instability of the ball forces the core muscles to work harder. Lie on a Swiss ball with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Place your hands behind your head. Engage your core muscles, then curl your upper body towards a sitting position. Return slowly to the start position and repeat. Be careful not to overarch the spine.

Routine: Two sets of 10. Rest for one minute then repeat


To improve core stability and encourage use of the gluteal muscles to avoid the quadriceps dominating. Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Engage your core. Keep your shoulders down, and contract your gluteal muscles to push your hips up in the air. Do not go beyond a straight line. Hold for a couple of seconds, then lower down slowly.

Routine: Two sets of eight with two minutes’ recovery between sets.

Single-arm row
To strengthen the upper body and encourage good shoulder alignment. Stand side-on to a bench with your closest hand and knee on the bench, back parallel to the floor (neck in line) and a dumbbell in your other hand, arm hanging straight down. Bend the arm to bring the weight up to the front of the shoulder. Keep the core engaged and don’t twist the body around.

Routine: Eight reps on each side. Rest for one minute and repeat

Alternating leg extension
To encourage good use of of the core stability muscles. Lie on your back, arms by your sides. Bend your knees with feet flat on the floor. Engage your core muscles. Lift one foot off the floor keeping your core engaged and spine in neutral. Extend the leg out slowly, then return to the start position. Repeat on the other leg.

Routine: Two sets of 10, alternating legs

Source: Life & Style Training programme- Fitness

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