Some Health Quaries & Answers

I want to shed weight fast

Q: I am getting married in a month’s time and want to lose weight fast. I have to shed six kilos. How do I do that?

A: Crash diets work for short lengths of time, but they aren’t healthy and shouldn’t be continued indefinitely. If you follow a balanced diet of 1,200 calories (60 per cent from carbohydrates, 30 per cent from proteins and 10 per cent from fat), you will have a daily deficit of 800 calories. Once you lose 3,500 calories, you would have lost around half a kilogram of body weight. This means you will lose 3.5kg in a month. Try to combine this with 40 minutes of aerobic activity. That’s a deficit of another 200 calories. The exercise will help develop muscle tone so you don’t have a sagging, aged and unhealthy appearance after the hard gained weight loss.

Hip surgery

Q: I have severe pain in my right hip, so much so that I can’t bend. This makes it difficult for me to sit, squat or even walk. I went to an orthopaedic surgeon who advised hip replacement surgery. At 78, I am nervous.

A: Generally, non-surgical treatment with pain relieving medication and physiotherapy is first recommended to reduce hip joint pain, improve joint function and increase the range of movement. Replacement is performed when these have failed. Senior citizens with osteoarthritis who undergo total hip replacement are able to care for themselves, thereby improving the quality of life. Studies have shown that though it is an expensive and invasive process, it is safe. There’s no age limit for hip replacement surgery.

No rice

Q: I don’t like rice, but am told it’s necessary and without it my health will suffer. Please advise.

A: Basically, 60 per cent of your calorific requirement needs to come from carbohydrates. Rice and other grains aren’t the only source of carbohydrates — they are also found in nuts, dairy products, fruits and vegetables. If you dislike rice, you can switch to wheat or oats. In Western countries, people hardly eat rice yet are healthy.

Self medication

Q: I had high fever. I went to a pharmacy and purchased some tablets recommended by the man behind the counter. I now have redness in the groin and armpit, itching and redness in the corners of my mouth. Could this be an allergy?

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A: It could be an allergy. Maybe some of the tablets you took were antibiotics. They may have changed your normal bacterial flora so that there is now an overgrowth of a fungus called Candida. You may also have precipitated a vitamin B deficiency. See a doctor to find out what exactly it is. You can then receive appropriate treatment.

Stretch marks

Q: I was suffering from polycystic ovarian syndrome for the last two years. I consulted an endocrinologist who suggested regular exercise with medication. Now I have recovered. But I still have reddish marks on my lower abdomen. The doctor had said they would disappear with recovery.

A: The reddish marks on your abdomen are called stretch marks. They develop because of damage to the underlying layers of skin with rapid weight gain. They can be prevented to some extent with regular oiling. Coconut oil, olive oil, baby oils, vitamin E and aloe vera have all been used with some degree of success. Once the marks have developed, oils and creams work slowly over a prolonged period of time.

Surgical removal can be done with laser treatment, dermal ablation or tummy tucks. This is faster and more successful.

Immunity against tetanus

Q: I want to know about the tetanus vaccine and treatment for the disease. If I take a tetanus toxoid vaccine, how many weeks of immunity would it give? I’ve heard there’s a schedule of three doses (for adults) that gives immunity for three years. Please give me the timetable. If one is afflicted with tetanus, is there any life saving treatment?

A: Tetanus immunisation is provided free by the government to all children. It is given as a combined vaccine with those for diphtheria, pertussis and polio. Three doses are given in the first year and boosters at one, one and a half, five, 10 and 16 years. Pregnant women who have been immunised in childhood are given two doses in their first pregnancy. After the immunisation is complete — that is, up to 16 years — a booster needs to be taken once in 10 years.

Tetanus is caused by a bacterium called Clostridium tetani, which is found in the human intestine and soil. Once it causes an infection, it releases a poison that binds to the nervous tissue. Spasms of the muscles occur, making it difficult for the patient to swallow or breathe. This can eventually result in death. Individuals have survived with aggressive treatment with artificial muscle paralysis and ventilators for breathing.

Source: The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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