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Hair Colouring

Grey Hair & Wrinkles

Grey Hair & Wrinkles (Photo credit: Bunches and Bits {Karina})

As we grow older several changes take place in our body, some visible, others not so visible. The most obvious one is the hair — and moustache in the case of men — turning grey from jet black. Unfortunately, nowadays it is not just senior citizens who are greying but also those in their twenties or early thirties. Twenty years ago, 18 per cent of adults under the age of 30 had started to grey. According to a recent report, that figure is now close to 32 per cent. Hair care brands have come up with a new mnemonic for grey haired over stressed twenty something — GHOSTS. The first grey hair stresses out GHOSTS even more as the current job market prizes youth — or at least looking youthful — over experience.

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The age at which one starts to grey is determined genetically. At that age the hair cells stop producing the colouring pigment melanin. This makes the shaft of the hair transparent. Light reflects off it, giving it its white appearance. Not all hairs stop producing melanin simultaneously. The mixed white and normal black makes the hair appear grey.

People who are exposed constantly to pollution and UV rays can get grey hair even before their genetically determined age to grey. The poisonous chemicals in tobacco kill the melanocytes, making smokers go grey before their non-smoking peers. Deficiency of vitamin B12 can also cause premature greying, as can a a peculiar type of anaemia called pernicious anaemia. Thyroid malfunction can also turn hair grey.

Grey hair has been cosmetically unacceptable for centuries. People used all kinds of natural dyes such as henna, indigo, walnut, curry leaves, gooseberries, tea, coffee, hibiscus flowers and arecanut either alone or in combination to colour grey hair. These natural products are used even today. Most, if used consistently, produce a dark brown colour. They are popular as they are inexpensive, can be applied at home, and are considered safe. But some people are allergic to even herbal products.

Hair can also be dyed with commercially available colouring agents. Temporary colours last a single wash. They can be funky colours like pink, blue or green but dark hair will not take these unless it is bleached first. Repeated use of these dyes without proper conditioning can, however, make hair brittle and lustreless.

Permanent hair colouring is the one usually used to disguise grey hair. It is a two-step process. First the hair is lightened using an agent like hydrogen peroxide or ammonia. Then the dye is applied and fixed. The colouring lasts until the hair grows out. This can be anything between 4 to 6 weeks.

Some people are allergic to hair dyes. Redness, itching, burning or skin rashes can occur either immediately or within 48 hours. To prevent this, before applying a dye for the first time, or switching brands, do a patch test. Take a small quantity of dye and apply it to the skin [usually on the inside of the elbow] for a day to see if there is any reaction. Sometimes a person can turn allergic to a product that they have been using safely for many years.

If hair is being coloured at home, it is important to follow the instructions on the package implicitly. Before using the dye, apply Vaseline to the hairline and ears. This will prevent the skin from staining. Always use gloves to apply the colour. Leave it on the hair for the time specified. Then wash it off with water. Apply a conditioner and leave it on for 7-9 minutes. Shampoo the next day.

Most shampoos (particularly the anti-dandruff ones) are harsh and unsuitable for regular use on coloured hair. Special colour safe shampoos and conditioners should be used to preserve the health of hair and minimise fading.

Hair that has been damaged by excessive and improper exposure to chemicals becomes dry, rough and fragile. The only solution is to stop using chemicals and cut off the damaged bit.

Hair colour should also not be used to darken facial hair because its texture is different and also because using traditional hair dyes so close to the nose can be distressing because of the odour of ammonia and other chemicals. The best thing to use is a range of colouring products labelled “just for men”.

How to delay greying:
*Avoid stress
*Don’t smoke
*Avoid too much exposure to ultraviolet rays
*Exercise regularly
*Eat at least 4-5 helpings of fruit and vegetables a day.
*Take care of your stomach &  liver function
*Try to avoid pollution

You may click to see :

*Grey Hair – Why & How to Treat it

*Experts Uncover Cause of Greyness

*Going gray? Hair ‘Bleaches Itself as People Age’

*Why does hair turn grey?

*What Causes Grey Hair
Source :The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Women are Sometimes Unreasonable

Women are often maligned and labelled as “unreasonable, unrealistic, illogical and hysterical”, even when their statements are reasonable and logical. “Blame it on the hormones” is the usual explanation from a male-dominated society. Physicians (mostly male) in the 19th century, unaware of hormone levels, concluded that somehow all this behaviour was connected to the presence of a uterus (from the Greek word hystera which means womb). They sometimes recommended hysterectomy to remove the root cause of these problems and render these women “normal”.

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Unfortunately, some surgeons today, too, subscribe to this view. Women in the reproductive age are advised a hysterectomy to remove the uterus, once it has finished its reproductive function, to relieve them of all their physical and psychological symptoms.

Yet 15 per cent of women suffer from unreasonable anger, excessive sensitivity, paranoid thoughts, anxiety, depression, uncontrollable crying spells, and bizarre food cravings during the pre-menstrual period. In 0.4 per cent, the symptoms may be severe enough to be labelled psychotic. These symptoms are called pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS). They are not because of the presence of the uterus, but are attributed to the body’s response to normal changes in the hormonal (oestrogen and progesterone) ratios during the course of a menstrual cycle.

In PMS sufferers, there’s a lack of perfect synchronisation in the hormone levels, both at the pituitary-hypothalamic level in the brain and at the level of the ovaries (not uterus). Surges and dips cause changes in the biochemical neurotransmitters (serotonin) and precipitate the depressed “low feeling”. Attempts to alleviate the depression and push up neurotransmitter levels lead to food cravings and binge eating.

The mental changes can be disruptive to the family and in the workplace. By the time the distraught family persuades the woman to seek medical help, the onset of menstruation has restored the woman’s Jekyll-and-Hyde personality to normal. Unfortunately, the menstrual cycle and mood swings repeat themselves month after month.

PMS is commoner between the ages of 30 and 45. This led to the erroneous belief that it was in some way connected with approaching menopause. This isn’t true. However, this is the time when women experience the maximum stress in both their family life and career. They often fail to cope with the combination of stress and hormonal imbalances.

Some physical changes can be produced as a result of the hormones. Fluid retention can result in a measurable weight gain (1-2kg). This can make clothes tighter. There may be backache, joint pain, breast tenderness and palpitations.

Treatment becomes imperative when the mood swings make women depressed and suicidal, or psychotic and murderous. (Most murderesses committed their crime during their pre-menstrual phase). Also, job efficiency and interpersonal relationships may be affected because of tiredness, fatigue, sensitivity and ill temper...click & see.

It is difficult to convince women with PMS that they need help, especially since they are normal for around 20 days in a month. Also, the sensitivity varies from woman to woman. Some with mild forms may be acutely conscious of their problem, while others with severe degrees of PMS may rationalise their behaviour. To avoid PMS,

Try to maintain a body mass index (weight divided by height in metre squared) as close to 23 as possible

Instead of three large meals, eat six small meals at regular three-hour intervals. Add at least six helpings of fresh fruits and vegetables, one with each meal. These are high in fibre and beneficial antioxidants. Fibres delay digestion and absorption, helping to maintain a steady blood glucose level with no depression-inducing dips

Reduce the salt intake in cooked food to one teaspoon a day

Avoid fried, salted snacks and chocolate

Reduce the use of caffeine by cutting down on carbonated colas, tea and coffee

Do regular aerobic exercise such as an hour of walking, jogging, cycling, climbing stairs or swimming to reduce stress. Exercise improves blood circulation and reduces bloating and fatigue. It produces a sense of well being. It boosts the body’s natural production of endorphins, which acts as a mood elevator

Daily supplements of vitamins and minerals may be administered to relieve some PMS symptoms. A multivitamin capsule with B6 (100 mcg), B complex, vitamin E (400 IU) and vitamin C (100mg) and calcium (1,000mg) supplementation is beneficial

Capsules of evening primrose oil, oral contraceptive pills, low dose diuretic therapy, mild antidepressants and tranquilisers have been tried and have anecdotally helped some sufferers.

PMS tends to run in families. This may be because the hormone ratios are inherited, leading to similar behaviour. This becomes more likely because of a comparable lifestyle, with improper diet and inadequate physical activity.

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Source : The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

Knees Pain

We often take our knees for granted. They may be hidden under clothing and seem inconspicuous but are, in fact, most important as they balance the entire weight of the body. This makes them prone to injury and malfunction at all ages.

One of the commonest symptoms of any knee problem is pain. This may be acute following a fall. It may occur as a result of an unexpected unbalanced twisting movement in a game of basketball or football. Or the knee may be affected as a result of degenerative osteoarthritis. In autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, generally small joints of the hands and feet are affected. At times, one or both knees may also be swollen. Conditions like gout and pseudogout — which occur when crystals are deposited in the joint space — usually affect the big toe, but again the knee may be affected.

The bones of the knee joint are cushioned by cartilage. Bits of the latter can suddenly break away and form loose bodies inside the joint space. These can get wedged during movement of the knee. There is excruciating pain, and the joint gets “stuck”. It cannot be bent or straightened.

The cartilage may also become worn down and degenerate with constant wear and tear. This exposes the bones. They then tend to grind against each other and produce pain.

Problems in areas like the spine, hip and ankle can produce a change in gait. The person may not balance properly on both feet and may limp. This puts more pressure on one knee. This too can result in pain.

The patella is a triangular bone that sits on top of the knee. Degeneration of the patella or strain of the ligaments that attach it to the bone may cause pain. This is common in children, older people and particularly women athletes.

Bacterial infections which start in other parts of the body can spread via the bloodstream and localise in the knee. This causes an acute infection with redness, pain and fever.

Knee pain can usually be tackled at home. It often disappears with 48 hours of rest. Pain and swelling can be reduced with the application of an ice pack. The pack, however, should not be applied for more than 20 minutes. Ointments containing Capsicain are often effective. They should be applied on the affected joint, followed by an ice pack. Lidnocaine (a local anaesthetic) ointment may also provide relief. Ointments are particularly effective if combined with tablets of paracetamol, ibubrufen or nalidixic acid. Compression of the joint with an “elastocrepe” bandage or a “knee cap” prevents swelling. Elevation of the foot also helps.

Accupressure and acupuncture have been shown to be effective. The first involves application of pressure to specific points around the knee while in the second, needles are inserted into them.

A doctor needs to be consulted if the joint pain is accompanied by fever, there is obvious swelling, it is impossible to bear weight on that knee, or if it cannot be flexed or extended fully.

By examining the knee thoroughly and performing some diagnostic manoeuvres, it is usually possible for the doctor to arrive at a tentative diagnosis. Blood tests may be done to rule out gout or rheumatoid arthritis. X-rays, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT) scans and ultrasound may be needed to clinch the diagnosis.

A combination of physical therapy and medication usually provides great relief. Injections of steroids and other chemicals into the joint space may reduce inflammation and pain. If the problem persists, surgery may be required. Arthroscopy may be done to remove loose bodies and repair tears to the ligaments inside the joint. Surgery for knee replacement — complete or partial — is now common and done in many centres. There are very few contraindications. More and more older people are opting for it and enjoying productive and pain-free lives.

Some knee problems — particularly those resulting from an injury or a systemic disease — may be inevitable and require long-term treatment. The painful arthritis of old age can, however, be prevented with a few lifestyle modifications.

Obesity increases the pressure on the knees. Many years of being overweight take their toll, resulting in degenerative changes. Try to remain as close to your ideal body weight as possible.

Physical activity maintains muscle tone and helps keep the knee joint aligned. Repetitive high impact activity can cause tears in ligaments and cause pain. Runners in particular can develop pain in the ligaments around the joint. This is particularly true if physical activity is not preceded and followed by stretching and strengthening exercises. Cross training helps balance joints and reduce strain and injury. A combination of cycling, swimming, jogging or walking, and yoga is ideal.

Source : The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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Five for Fitness

Most of us are born healthy and usually remain so with minimal effort till around 20. After that, our body starts to fall apart — like an old, unserviced machine — unless some effort is made to maintain the inherent fitness levels.

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The recommendations vary from walking an hour daily (ideal) to 30 minutes three days a week (just about enough to scrape along). Despite doing this, people develop stress, bad posture, arthritis, diabetes, abnormal lipid profiles, hypertension and heart attacks. That’s because they are unaware of the other components of an ideal fitness regimen, the need to simultaneously develop “core strength”, flexibility, strength training and balance.

People are bombarded by adverts of gyms and expensive exercise equipment. The latter may target specific muscle groups to produce a six-pack abdomen and bulging biceps. Most people do not, however, have the time to go to a gym regularly. As for fancy equipment, it usually starts to gather dust after a short period of activity.

Corporate gurus talk about maintaining core strength, and employees take to meditation, religion and prayer as they try to maintain their inner fortitude. Actually, in fitness terms, strengthening the “core” means exercising the muscles deep within the torso, the abdominal muscles, those of the back and pelvic floor. The core is a group of muscles, so a balanced approach is needed to work them all. All body movement is powered by these muscles. A strong back and fit abdominal muscles are needed, or else it results in poor posture and back problems. These muscles work together to support the spine when we sit, stand, bend over, pick up things and exercise. In sum, they are the body’s epicentre of power and balance.

Dancers and yoga practitioners do exercises that give them strong core muscles. They are thus fitter, have better postures and more energy than their peers in old age.

Core training can be done at home. It requires just 20 minutes thrice a week. The exercises are regularly taught as part of yoga and Pilates. CDs and books are also available. Proper demonstration will enable you to do them correctly.

A simple, effective core workout routine which covers all the basic muscles includes the plank exercise (balancing on the toes and forearms), the side plank (where you balance on one arm and leg), push-ups, squats, cycling in the air and lunges. All movements need to be held for 20 seconds at a time. Repeat five or six times.

Strength training does not involve heavy weight lifting. The muscles of the arms legs and lower back can be effectively trained using 1kg weights. This can be done with an iron or aluminum baby dumbbell (available at sports shops). You could even fabricate one by filling a 1-litre plastic bottle with water. The movements are similar to those in a school PT drill. Doing this regularly will slowly and surely build up muscle power.

People often do not give enough importance to flexion training of the muscles. If you don’t do anything more stressful than slow walking, your calf muscles may contract and eventually become tight. They can then restrict the range of motion at the knee and ankle resulting in eventual injury. All the groups of muscles in the body need to be stretched to their limit but there should not be any pain. Stretching is taught in yoga. The exercises are also demonstrated on the Doordarshan sports channel. If you discontinue the activity, benefits are lost in three or four days.

Balance becomes more and more important with age. Training for balance involves standing on one leg at a time with the arms stretched out. Once you are able to do this with ease, try doing it with your eyes closed.

A common misconception is that exercise tires you out. On the contrary, it improves stamina and the ability to perform day-to-day activities. Several studies have shown that it reduces cortisol levels and therefore improves mental strength and reduces stress.

To be effective, exercise training needs to balance the five elements of good health. The routine should include aerobic activity, muscular fitness, stretching, core exercise and balance training.

Sometimes fitting in an exercise schedule with all these components becomes difficult. Try getting up half an hour earlier in the morning to complete the routine. Regular exercise will improve balance and posture and reduce the risk of injury, lifestyle diseases and arthritis, leading to a long, healthy and happy life.

Source : The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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Eyes are Unique Window to Predict Diseases

Looking people straight in the eye may or may not reveal their honesty — but the eyes *can* tell you about cholesterol, liver disease, or diabetes, if you know what to look for.

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Your eyes are a unique window into health. Yahoo Health has assembled a list of 14 things your eyes can tell you about your entire body.
Some of them are mentioned below:-

*Disappearing eyebrows : When the outer third of your eyebrow starts to disappear on its own, this is a common sign of thyroid disease.

*A stye that won’t go away : If it doesn’t clear up in three months, or keeps recurring in the same location, it could be a rare cancer called sebaceous gland carcinoma.

*Burning eyes, blurry vision while using a computer : This is the result of “computer vision syndrome” (CVS). The eyestrain is partly caused by the lack of contrast on a computer screen, and the extra work involved in focusing on pixels.

*A small blind spot in your vision, with shimmering lights or a wavy line : A migraine aura produces this disturbed vision. It may or may not be accompanied by a headache.

*Whites of the eye turned yellowish : This is known as jaundice. It appears in either newborns with immature liver function, or adults with problems of the liver, gallbladder, or bile ducts.

*Eyes that seem to bulge : The most common cause of protruding eyes is hyperthyroidism, which is overactivity of the thyroid gland.

*Sudden double vision, dim vision, or loss of vision : These are the visual warning signs of stroke.

*Blurred vision in a diabetic : Diabetics are at increased risk for several eye problems, but the most common is diabetic retinopathy, in which diabetes affects the circulatory system of the eye. It’s the leading cause of blindness in American adults.

For the rest of the list, click on the link below.

Sources: Yahoo Health February 3, 2011

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