Q: I have a drippy nose, tearing eyes and constant sneezing. I am unable to concentrate on my work.
A: You seem to have allergies. Try to figure out if any specific allergen causes the symptoms. If you are indoors most of the day, you need to invest in a vacuum cleaner to rid the house of dust. Avoid cotton mattresses and enclose foam mattresses in plastic covers. Room fresheners and vapourizing mosquito repellents are also notorious for causing sneezing and coughing. Consult your physician and see if you will do well with regular usage of non absorbable steroid nasal sprays and non-sedating antihistamines. Take steam inhalations twice a day. Do aerobic exercise like walking or jogging for 40 minutes twice a week. Join a yoga class. The breathing exercises are really beneficial.
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Q: My fingers are stiff, swollen and painful when I get up in the morning. I am unable to open and close my hands.
A:See a doctor to check whether you are retaining fluid in your body. This may be due to anaemia, kidney and liver problems or endocrine diseases such as hypothyroidism. Even early rheumatoid arthritis can cause “morning stiffness.” Until the diagnosis is established, soak your hands in salted hot water for 10 minutes morning and evening. Hold a firm rubber ball under water and squeeze it rhythmically 20-30 times. See if you require painkillers or diuretics.
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Q: I don’t drink at all. Now the doctor says I have mild liver damage. How is that possible?
A: Many things (not just alcohol) can damage the liver. Obesity can cause “fatty liver,” as can overmedicating with pain killers (even paracetemol), taking herbal supplements or overdosing with vitamin A. Snacks with transfats, and the fructose and other sweetening agents in cola drinks can all damage the liver, especially if you are in the habit of overindulging.
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Q: As I get older I find that I have memory lapses. I am worried that I may develop Alzheimer’s.
A: Memory does get affected with age.
To slow down the deterioration,
• Get 40 minutes of exercise in fresh air daily
• Do cross word puzzles and play memory games regularly
• Learn poetry or pieces from your religious books by heart
• Keep diabetes, hypertension and lipids under control
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BOWEL BLOCK (CONSTIPATION)
Q: I am constipated all the time. It makes life very difficult.
A: Constipation means that you pass three or less stools per week and they are of a hard consistency. You need to consult a physician to see if you have any medical issues or medications causing the problem. You also need to consult a doctor if if there is abdominal pain or blood in the motion. Otherwise, the symptoms will improve if you increase the quantity of fluid you drink to three litres a day. Add four to six helpings of fruits and vegetables to your diet. Fix a time to go to the toilet every day. Laxatives and other medications are not really the answer. They make the intestines non responsive to natural stimuli. It also makes intestines habituated, so higher doses are needed over time for the same response.
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Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata,India)