Some Health Quaries & Answers

Stop the bottle, spare the teeth  :

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Q: My three and a half-year-old daughter has a poor appetite. She is only 10 kg while the expected weight is 15 kg (as per the pediatrician’s calculation). The doctor prescribed de-worming medication several times as well as tonics. I give her milk with Pediasure in a bottle at night. She has several decayed teeth and frequently complains of toothache.

A: Your daughter probably has caries. The bottle will worsen her cavities because the milk will stick to the teeth which will allow bacteria to thrive in her mouth. These milk teeth will eventually fall off and you may feel they do not require any treatment. But food will get stuck there and cause discomfort. This will make her reluctant to eat, resulting in inadequate weight gain. Also, she is old enough to discard the bottle. You are probably giving it to her in the hope that she receives some calories. Stop the bottle and take her to a dentist. He might be able to fill the cavities.

Hiatus hernia
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Q: I have heart burn all the time. After some tests the doctor found that I have hiatus hernia. What should I do?

A: The esophagus runs through the diaphragm to the stomach. It functions to carry food from the mouth to the stomach.The esophagus passes through the diaphragm just before it meets the stomach, through an opening called the esophageal hiatus.

A hiatal hernia occurs when part of the stomach protrudes up into the chest through the sheet of muscle called the diaphragm. This may result from a weakening of the surrounding tissues and may be aggravated by obesity and/or smoking.

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Hiatus hernia is a condition where part of the stomach slides into the chest cavity. Many hiatus hernias are asymptomatic. Pain occurs because of acid reflux from the stomach into the esophagus.

You can get relief by losing weight, not lying down for an hour after food, and using medications like omeprazole and pantoprazole. If the hiatus hernia is long-standing with severe symptoms, surgery may be required.

Sugar free
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Q: I am diabetic and have been taking Sugar Free in my coffee, tea and curd. Is it safe?

A:
There are many natural and synthetic sugar substitutes available. In India, the ones commonly used are saccharin and aspartame. Both have been certified as safe although initially saccharin was found to cause bladder cancer in mice. Aspartame consumption should not be more than 40 mg a day. In these circumstances, perhaps it is better for you to get used to tea and coffee without sugar.

Vital fluid
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Q: I am a 37-year-old woman. I am pale and the doctor said I am anaemic. My haemoglobin is 7gm. He gave me a capsule containing iron and zinc to be taken twice a day. After three months there has been no improvement. What should I do?

A: Your anaemia needs to be investigated. You may be losing blood because of heavy periods, piles or a stomach ulcer. Or you may have intestinal parasites that are depleting you of blood. Rarely, cancer may present itself as anaemia. If there is no cause for the anaemia other than iron and zinc deficiency, it should respond to supplements. The binding sites on the intestines for iron and zinc absorption are identical. If you consume a tablet containing both these elements they compete for the binding site and block it. To be effective, iron and zinc have to be taken as separate tablets or capsules 12 hours apart (one in the morning and the other in the evening). Or, you take iron one day and zinc the next.

Health hour
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Q: My son is unable to run or jog owing to a tight work schedule. Can he follow some other form of exercise?

A:
The requirements of exercise for the maintenance of health have increased from 30 minutes three times a week to an hour a day. If you son is unable to spare that kind of time, he can get more or less the same benefits by skipping or continuous stair climbing (up and down) for 20 minutes. Cross training and doing different activities probably deliver the best benefits as compared to repeating the same one. Different sets of muscles are used, producing all-round toning.

Source: The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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