Category Archives: Health Problems & Solutions

Few Health Quarries & Answers

Be on your feet, to keep fit:
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Question: I have been reading a great many articles that are advising standing up frequently if you have a sedentary lifestyle.

Ans: A sedentary lifestyle shortens your lifespan, increases the risk of diabetes, dementia, deep vein thrombosis, anxiety, cancer, osteoporosis and worsens health and backache. It also offsets the effect of your 40-minutes-a- day aerobic workout. To counteract this, you should stand up every hour, stretch, touch your toes and take a short walk.

Mouth bleeding:
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Question: My gums suddenly started bleeding.

Ans: Gums may bleed because your toothbrush is hard and causes injury, or you have bad dental hygiene causing gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and plaque build up. Any blood leaking out may not clot because of medications like aspirin, clopidogrel or heparin, or due to deficiency of vitamins C and K. Diseases like dengue, cirrhosis of the liver and blood cancers (leukemia) also reduce the platelet count in the blood so that blood oozes.

The first step is to consult a dentist. If the problem is not a localised one, he will refer you to a physician for tests.

Armpit boils:
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Question: I have painful boils in my armpit. They appear in crops and leave scars when they heal.

Ans: These boils do not occur because of bad hygiene. Naturally occurring skin oils and sebum block the pores of the skin. The secretions build up under the skin causing pain. There can be secondary infection, usually from bacteria which normally reside harmlessly on the skin.

You need to bathe twice a day with antibacterial soap. Instead of directly applying the soap, use a scrubber. After that apply antibiotic ointment (mupirocin) without steroid. It may take around two weeks to clear up.

You can try massaging with pure edible coconut oil.

Cracked tongue:
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Question: My tongue has developed multiple fissures in which food sometimes gets stuck.

Ans: Deep fissures can develop with hypothyroidism, or be part of Down’s syndrome. Often there is no cause. The condition is harmless.

You could gently brush out your tongue after eating, with a soft toothbrush.

Flu break:
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Qustion:  I have fever, cold and cough. How long should I stay away from work?

Ans: Colds and the flu are very contagious. If you work in an air-conditioned office, the droplets you expel will soon spread through the system and infect everyone else. It is best to stay at home at least 24 hours after the fever and cough have subsided. The same goes for school-going children. Remember flu can be prevented with annual flu vaccines.

Diabetes fit:
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Question: I am a diabetic. My doctor keeps telling me to exercise. I don’t see the point as I am already on insulin.

Ans: Aerobic exercise like walking, swimming and cycling consumes around 300-400 calories per hour. Weight training increases muscle mass so that calories are burnt more efficiently all day. If you walk 30-40 minutes a day and do weight training with light dumbbells for 20 minutes three times a week, you will keep your metabolism humming efficiently all day. This will increase calorie expenditure and can reduce insulin requirement.

Weight Gain:
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Qustion:  I have gained weight after menopause and so have all my friends. Is this normal?

Ans: People do gain weight after menopause because their BMR (basal metabolic rate) slows down. Activity may also be less as children have left home. You just need to consciously exercise more and eat less.

Resource: The Telegraph, (Kolkata, India)

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Few Health Quaries & Answers

Excessive Sweating:

Q:I suffer from hyperhidrosis; my underarms as well as palms and soles sweat excessively.

Ans: :Hyperhidrosis or excessive sweating affects 3 per cent of the population. It usually starts in the teenage years and can affect the underarms, whole body, palms or soles. Investigations are needed to rule out diseases and endocrine problems. Treatment of the specific disorder cures the condition. If no reason is found, then bathing twice a day and applying anti-perspirants may help. Other alternative treatments are anticholinergic medication, iontophoresis (an electrical procedure), injections of botox, lasers or surgery.

Stroke recovery:-

Q:My mother had a stroke, following which she has weakness of the left side of her body. Will she recover?

Ans: :Recovery from a stroke can start quickly during the first few months and then continue for two to three years. It is best to have proper physiotherapy in the initial days as qualified therapists can electrically stimulate muscles and nerves. This helps prevent stiffness and contractures. In addition, exercises for strength, mobility training, range of motion and balance are important. Any factors responsible for the stroke should also be aggressively treated.

It is important to maintain a positive attitude and encourage your mother.

Patella move:-

Q: I was dancing when I developed a sudden pain in the right knee. I could not walk. The doctor took an X-ray and said my patella is dislocated. Is it serious?

Ans: The patella is a small bone in front of the knee, which lies in a groove on the thigh bone (femur). Dislocation can be complete or partial. It occurs when the patella shifts from this position.

As soon as the injury occurs, rest the knee, and apply ice every 10-15 minutes till the pain reduces. After that you may need a knee brace to hold the patella in position. The quadriceps muscles in the front of the thigh are probably weak. Physical therapy is needed to strengthen these and hold the patella in position, otherwise the chance of recurrence is high.

Phone pain:-

Q: I have neck pain a lot of the time but never on Sundays, my weekly off. I spend a lot of time on the cellphone at work.

Ans: :Sometimes, when you need to multitask, you may bend your neck and balance the cellphone at a very awkward angle. Also, people often look downwards at the cell phone. Take a two-minute break every half hour to stretch the neck and shoulder. Jog for 30 minutes in the fresh air every morning. Apply a capsaicin containing ointment to the neck when it hurts and then apply ice. Take a mild painkiller such as metacin to relieve the pain.

Craving sweets:-

Q:I crave chocolate, ladoos and sometimes chips. Once I start eating them, I cannot stop till I feel sick.

Ans:Don’t buy those snacks. If they are not there in your fridge, you are unlikely to actually go out and purchase them. Drink a glass of water when you feel the craving. Check if the cravings occur when you are anxious or depressed. That is the body’s way of building up mood elevating chemicals. Talk to a friend or relative instead.

Resources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

Few Health Problems & Solutions

 

Hair Loosing Problem:-
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Q: I am a 23-year-old man and I am losing hair from the top of my head. I can already glimpse my scalp between the hairs. I need help!

A: Most men lose their hair because of male pattern baldness. It is inherited and can set in at any age. A plethora of medical conditions such as thyroid disease, mineral and vitamin deficiency as well as heart disease can also cause this. It is important to consult a dermatologist to rule out these conditions. If no treatable cause is found, you are left with the option of regular use of minoxidil solution (if stopped the hair may fall out again), hair transplant surgery or wearing a wig.

Pain During Period:-
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Q: I have terrible pain during my periods and am unable to go to work for two days. Taking that much leave is really bad for my career.

A: Anecdotally, avoiding caffeine (coffee, tea and cola drinks), alcohol (for those crucial days) drinking at least three litres of water daily, avoiding both refined carbohydrates and calorie dense comfort food (chocolates) and increasing consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables reduces pain in the long run. Certain yoga poses done regularly as well as aerobic exercise for 30-40 minutes a day also helps. For immediate relief of the painful cramp, try a hot water bottle placed on the abdomen and analgesics like ibuprofen or paracetamol.

Urinary   Tract Infection:-
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Q: I had a hysterectomy several months ago. Following that, I develop urinary tract infection frequently. I have chills, high fever and burning while passing urine. I take antibiotics for a day or two. The fever usually subsides only to recur a week or ten days later.

A: Urinary tract infection is difficult to eradicate, especially if it hospital acquired, follows catheterisation and is recurrent. A culture and sensitivity test of the urine will help to determine the organism and help choose the appropriate antibiotic. It usually needs to be taken for 7-10 days.

Exercise  Wise:-
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Q: Following all your advice in the newspaper I started yoga and running. Every part of my body of my body hurts and I waddle when I walk because of pain.

A: Exercise has to be increased gradually. Start with just 10 minutes a day six days a week. Then increase by 5 minutes a day every week until you reach 40 minutes a day. You need to do stretching and flexion daily as well. It is better to learn yoga with an instructor so that you do the asanas properly and avoid the ones unsuitable for you. Try applying ice to the painful areas. It will provide some temporary relief.

Psoriasis  Gene:-  
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Q: My marriage is being arranged with a man who has a skin condition. I found that it is psoriasis. Is it contagious?

A: Psoriasis is a common skin condition where a faulty immune system makes the skin cells grow so fast that they cannot be shed in a timely manner. They pile up making the skin flaky and itchy. It is not contagious, but certain inherited genes make you more likely to develop it. Your children have a 10 per cent chance of eventually developing psoriasis if you marry this man.

Resources: The Telegrapg (Kolkata, India)

Few Health Problems & solutions

DON’T IGNORE  SNORING:

Q: My husband snores loudly. Is this a sign of heart disease?

A:There are several subtle signs that can signal heart disease. Snoring and repeated episodes of sleep apnoea is one of them. The others are acanthosis nigricans (dark patches of velvety skin in the neck, armpit and groin), swelling of feet and giddiness or breathlessness on exertion such as walking. It is better to evaluate your BMI (weight divided by height in metre squared), check your blood pressure, blood sugars and lipid profile, and start a regular exercise regimen.

SWEET SLEEP:

Q: I feel tired and sleepy after meals, particularly after breakfast.

A:You may be suffering from post-prandial hypogylcaemia, a condition where the sugar levels in the body drop after eating. You may not be a diabetic and when tested, your blood sugars may be in the normal range. This condition is precipitated by eating foods high in carbohydrates. It also occurs after stomach surgery and in kidney disease. Symptoms will improve if you limit your intake of starchy foods, eat small frequent meals and add plenty of fruits and vegetables.

MUSCLE POWER:

Q: My mother broke her femur. It has been surgically fixed with screws, but she walks with the help of a walker. How long does this have to continue?

A:Take her for regular physiotherapy so that her leg muscles get strengthened with scientific exercise. Then, once the muscles are strong enough, (usually the physiotherapist works towards grade 4-5 power) she can dispense with the walker. If she tries to walk with weak muscles and no support, her leg can buckle, she can fall and injure herself again.

BLACK LIPS:

Q:My lips are black in colour. I wear lipstick to hide this, but they are getting darker.

A: Lips can darken because of photosensitivity, as a reaction to the chemicals in the lipstick used, or if you are inadvertently consuming heavy metals (which are ingredients in certain ayurvedic preparations. To lighten the lips naturally, add a few drops of lemon juice to plain paraffin wax and apply every night before sleeping.

DRY PALMS :

Q: My palms are dry and chapped. The corners of a few of my nails are red and painful.

A: This can happen if you wash dishes and clothes with detergent powder. Invest in a pair of rubber gloves and use them whenever you have to immerse your hands in water. Moisturise your hands for 15 minutes before a bath with coconut oil. Apply paraffin oil to your hands at night.

CANCER PUZZLE

Q: My mother developed lung cancer and died. I cannot understand why as she never smoked.

A: Lung cancer can also affect people who have never smoked. That is because they may have been exposed to second hand cigarette smoke from other members of the family, live in areas with high levels of pollution, are exposed to asbestos dust or do not exercise regularly. Avoid these risk factors, and hope for the best.

Resources:  The Telegraph (India, Kolkata)

Some Health Problems & Solutions

ACNE:
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Q: I have very bad acne and I have tried, unsuccessfully, all kinds of treatment for it. I was told to try zinc supplements.

A: Zinc does improve acne in some people. You are likely to be deficient if you are a vegetarian. The phytates in vegetables interfere with the absorption of zinc. You could start with 10-15 mg supplements and see if you improve in a month or so. Higher doses are likely to cause nausea.

HAIRY GIRL :
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Q: My one-year-old daughter is very hairy. She was born like that.

A: It may be a genetically inherited condition called “congenital hypertrichosis” which basically means being born with too much hair. For the first two years the hair increases and may become darker. It then spontaneously decreases and can disappear during adolescence. It can also be due to hormonal imbalances, steroids, or thyroid malfunction. You can rule these out with blood tests.

SKIN TAGS:
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Q: I have a few skin tags in my armpit. Are they cancerous?

A: Skin tags are harmless. They are likely to appear if you are an older person, diabetic or pregnant. They can be left alone. They are not cancerous. They need to be removed if they get snagged on clothing. It is better to get them removed by a doctor rather than trying to remove them yourself.

FIT ATTEND COLLEGE:
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Q: I have seizures. Now that I am going to college I have to stay away from home. I am a bit anxious.

A: Epilepsy is not a constraint against higher education. To stay safe, inform your room mates and hostel warden about your condition. Make sure you take your medications on time. Carry them in your bag if necessary. Do not miss or delay doses. Do not drive bikes or cars. Do not drink alcohol. If you follow all this you should be safe.

EATING EGGS:
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Q: Will eating eggs raise my cholesterol levels?

A: Eggs contain cholesterol but eating an egg a day is unlikely to cause much harm. Your cholesterol is more likely to rise from transfats found in snacks and fast food and lack of exercise.

DIET DEETS:
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Q: I want to start a 800 calorie diet to loose weight. I have been working with a dietician. Are there any side effects?

A:You should first have a medical check up to make sure you do not have any other diseases. Very low calorie diets can help with weight loss initially, but they usually cannot be sustained in the long term. Once you return to a normal diet, the weight may creep up again. Side effects are fatigue, nausea, constipation diarrhoea and sometimes gall stones.
Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)