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Vegetarians Prone to Strokes

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Strokes are the second most common cause of deaths and the commonest cause of severe disability.
Now a study has shown that deficiency of Vitamin B12, usually seen in vegetarians, can predispose a person to strokes much more than the usual risk factors — diabetes and hypertension.

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“While 20% of Indians suffer from diabetes and high BP,” says Dr Arun Garg, consultant neurologist, Max Hospitals, “incidence of homocysteinemia (increased levels of homocysteine, an amino acid) caused by vitamin B12 deficiency, is 70%. This is seen more among vegetarians as this vitamin is mainly found in meat and milk, if it’s neither boiled nor pasteurised.” In fact, deficiency of vitamins B12, B6 and folate causes two-thirds of strokes.

This risk is four times higher in vegetarians. As folate is found in vegetables and fruits, its deficiency is rare among Indians, but that of vitamin B12 is common.

Normal levels of homocysteine are 5-15 micromol per litre. Increased levels heighten the chances of blood clotting, which can lead to decrease in blood supply to the brain, causing a stroke. Studies have found high levels of homocysteine in over 80% of stroke patients. Even a rise of five micromol increases the risk of stroke by two times.

The link between strokes and vegetarianism was confirmed in a five-year study by Garg and Dr A K Jain, neurologist, Jain Neuro Centre, in two Max hospitals and this Centre. From 2003, 4,680 OPD patients were screened for vitamin B12 and homocysteine levels. Those with a history of stroke, heart disease, diabetes, chronic renal, liver problems, alcoholics and those on vitamin supplements were excluded. Most had vague complaints — tingling, numbness, chronic headaches and depressive symptoms like sleeplessness and fatigue.

It was found that 60% patients had vitamin B12 levels below 400 pg/ml and 38.9% had less than 200 pg/ml. Homocysteine levels were high (over 15 micromol/l) in 36%. And out of these, over 80% were either strict vegetarians or took non-vegetarian food less than once a week. This showed the co-relation between vegetarians and strokes.

To confirm the study, 418 ischemic stroke patients between 30-85 years admitted during the same period were analysed. It was found that homocysteine levels were high (over 15 micromol/l) in 77.5% of the patients showing vitamin deficiency can result in strokes. The effects of a stroke are serious and sometimes fatal — paralysis, loss of speech and vision, unsteadiness, double vision or even unconsciousness.

Dr Vinay Goyal, associate professor, neurology, AIIMS, says, “It’s true that vegetarians have less vitamin B12 as compared to non-vegetarians. This has been proven in Indian Americans, Germans, and Chinese/Singaporeans.”

Prevention would cost less than Rs 10 per day, says Garg. All one has to do is take prescribed doses of vitamin B12 and B6 and folic acid. These are shown to reduce homocysteine level by 38% and the risk of stroke by 20-30%. Goyal says, “Vitamin B12 is also there in soyabean, legumes, dairy products, cottage cheese, etc.” Garg and Jain gave vegetarian patients in their study daily vitamin supplements.

Their symptoms disappeared completely after 3-6 months of therapy. Vegetarians with vitamin B12 deficiency need life-long treatment. A dose of 1-1.5 mg/day is required, says Garg. The government too should fortify food with it, much like iodized salt. Also, as India has a high proportion of vegetarians, screening should be done. So get going to quell that stroke of bad luck.

Sources: The Times Of India

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Ailmemts & Remedies

Colitis: Inflammation of the Colon.

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Colitis refers to inflammation of the colon .The diseases results from prolonged irritation and inflammation of the delicate membrane, which lines the walls of the colon. Chronic ulcerative colitis is a severe prolonged inflammation of the colon or large bowel, in which ulcers form on the walls of the colon…..click & see

Symptoms:
Colitis usually begins in the lower part of the colon and spreads upwards. The first symptom of the trouble is an increased urgency to move the bowel, followed by cramping pains in the abdomen and sometimes, bloody mucous in the stool. As the disease spreads upward the stool become watery and more frequent and are followed by rectal straining. The patient is usually malnourished and may be severely underweight.

People exhibit a broad range of symptoms depending on the cause of their colitis. Following are some of the more common complaints:

Frequent loose bowel movements with or without blood
Urgency and bowel incontinence
Lower abdominal discomfort or cramps

Fever, lethargy, and loss of appetite

Weight loss in chronic diarrhea and inflammatory bowel disease
People with inflammatory bowel disease also may exhibit the following symptoms:

Eye problems or pain
Joint problems
Neck or lower back pain
Skin changes

Root cause:

One of the causes of the colitis is chronic constipation and the use of purgative. Constipation causes an accumulation of the hard faecal matter, which is never properly evacuated. Purgatives used as a cure only increase irritation. Often colitis results from poorly digested roughage, especially of cereals and carbohydrates, which causes bowel irritation. Other causes of the disease are an allergic sensitivity to certain foods, intake of antibiotic and severe stress.

Causes of colitis may be placed in the following categories:

Infectious colitis: A variety of “bugs” may cause colitis, including these:
Bacteria: Commonly found in food or contaminated water, bacteria may produce toxins that trigger intestinal cells to secrete salt and water and interfere with their normal functions. Salmonella, Shigella species, Campylobacter jejuni, and Clostridium are examples of bacteria associated with infectious colitis.
Viruses: Those such as rotavirus or Norwalk can damage the mucous membrane lining your intestine and disturb fluid absorption.
Protozoa: People infected with protozoa such as Entamoeba histolytica may show no symptoms (carrier state), or they may have chronic, mild, loose, bowel movements or acute severe dysentery. Colitis due to E histolytica, also known as amebiasis, has become an important sexually transmitted disease in homosexual men.
These “bugs” have developed a variety of ways to overcome our natural defenses and ultimately cause colitis.
Radiation-associated colitis: Localized areas of colitis may occur at variable periods after treatment of the pelvic region with radiotherapy.

Ischemic colitis: This disease often affects the elderly. The mechanism of ischemia  massive decrease in the blood supply to the bowel’is not known, but shunting of blood away from the mucosa may be an important contributing factor.

Irritable bowel syndrome: This is a common disorder of the intestine that leads to cramps, excessive production of gas, bloating, and changes in bowel habits. No one knows the cause of irritable bowel syndrome.

Antibiotic-associated colitis: Usually this condition occurs in people receiving antibiotics, but gastrointestinal surgery remains an important risk factor. A bacterial toxin has been isolated from the large bowel of these people, evidence that the disease is related to changes noted in the large bowel and symptoms.

Chronic inflammation of unknown causes, for instance, inflammatory bowel diseases: Two major forms are recognized—Crohn disease and ulcerative colitis. The causes are unknown. But certain features of these diseases have suggested several contributing factors:
Familial: Both conditions are more common in first-degree relatives than in the general population.

Genetic: There is a high similarity of symptoms among identical twins, particularly with Crohn disease.

Infectious agents or environmental toxins: No single agent has been associated consistently with either form of inflammatory bowel disease. Viruses have been reported in tissue from people with inflammatory bowel disease, but there is no compelling evidence.

Immune defense mechanisms: Several alterations in the immune regulation have been identified in inflammatory bowel disease. But none of the altered immunologic findings has been specific for either ulcerative colitis or Crohn disease.

Smoking: Smokers increase their risk of developing Crohn disease twofold. In contrast, smokers have only half the risk of developing ulcerative colitis.

Oral contraceptive pill: Birth control pills have been implicated as a possible cause of Crohn disease.

Psychological factors: There is little evidence relating possible emotional factors as a cause of inflammatory bowel disease. Psychological factors may modify the course of the disease, however, and your response to therapy.

Healing option :(As per Ayurveda)

Diet: Diet plays an important part in the treatment of colitis. It is advisable to observe a juice fast for five days or so, in most cases of ulcerative colitis. Papaya juice, raw cabbage juice, and carrot juice are especially beneficial. Citrus juice should be avoided.

After a juice fast a patient should gradually adopt a diet of small, frequent meals of soft cooked or streamed vegetables, rice, porridge, dalia, and well ripped fruits like banana and papaya. Yogurt and home made cottage cheese. All food must be eaten slowly and chewed thoroughly.

Lifestyle: During the first five days of the juice fast the bowels should be cleaned daily with a warm water enema .A buttermilk enema taken twice a week is also soothing and helps in re-installing useful bacterial flora in the colon. Complete bedrest is very important. The patient should eliminate all causes of tension and face his discomfort with patience.

Ayurvedic
Supplements: 1. Bhuwaneshar Ras 2. Isabbael(H)or Metamucil 3.Kutjarishta

YOGA: 1.Vajrasana 2.The Knee to Chest (Pawanmuktasan) 3.The Shoulder Stand (Sarvang Asana)

HOME CARE:For a mild case of diarrhea, you can manage your discomfort by doing the following:

1. Drink clear fluids such as water, lemonade, light lemon tea, and light soup.

2.Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water and other liquids daily to prevent complications such as dehydration.

3.As your symptoms improve or your stools become formed, start to eat low-fiber foods. Do not eat greasy or fatty foods for few days; for example, avoid milk, cream, or soft cheese.

WHEN TO GO TO DOCTOR:

You should report to your doctor any persistent changes in your bowel habits. If you are already under treatment for inflammatory bowel disease or irritable bowel syndrome, contact your doctor if you experience any prolonged changes or pass blood in your stools. Also see your doctor if you have any of these conditions:

1.Diarrhea lasting more than 3 days

2.Severe abdominal or rectal pain

3.Signs of dehydration such as dry mouth, anxiety or restlessness, excessive thirst, little or no urination
Frequent loose bowel movements during pregnancy

4.More than 1 other person who shared food with you who has symptoms like yours, for example abdominal pain, fever, and diarrhea

5.Blood or mucus in your stool
Progressively looser bowel movements and appearance of other symptoms fever and diarrhea.

6.Fever with diarrhea

7.Pain moving from the area around your belly to your right lower abdomen.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.

Source:www.emedicine.com and www.allayurveda.com

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Ailmemts & Remedies

Diarrhea

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Everyone has diarrhea at one time or another and everyone has their own idea of exactly what diarrhea is. Is it one liquid stool each day? Is it several soft, semiformed stools each day? Or is it frequent, watery stools throughout the day and even the night? Stool is made up mostly of water....click & see

Causes of Diarrhea
There are many causes of diarrhea. Fortunately, in most instances, this change in bowel habits is short lived and clears up on its own. In these cases, it is assumed that it is a virus infection or even “something I ate.” Whenever diarrhea lasts more than two or three weeks, medical advice is generally recommended. Among the many known causes are:

Food — Most people have certain foods that may cause diarrhea. For hot pepper lovers (the chemical in it is called capaiscin), diarrhea often occurs the morning after. Many people are intolerant of milk and milk products so that even small amounts of the milk sugar lactose can cause diarrhea. Large amounts of fatty foods cause the same problem in other people. The obvious solution in all these instances is to avoid the offending agent.

Chemical Laxatives — Many people become dependent on laxatives early in life and use them on a daily basis. The names for the usual chemical stimulants are magnesium (Epsom salt), cascara (Nature’s Remedy), and phenolphthalein (Exlax, Correctol, Feen-A-Mint). Magnesium can be inadvertently ingested in various over-the-counter preparations such as Maalox or Mylanta. Check labels! Sorbitol is an artificial sweetener that is used in sugar free gum and prepared foods such as jams and jellies. Sorbitol, too, is a laxative.

Prescription Drugs — If a change in bowel habit occurs after taking a new drug, the physician should be contacted. In particular, antibiotics are known to cause diarrhea, at times quite severe. Diarrhea can develop up to one month after taking antibiotics.

Infection — There are over 400 different bacteria that normally live quietly and beneficially in the large intestine. There are also many viruses and other infectious agents that find their way into our bodies. Some of these can infect the intestinal tract and cause diarrhea. Fortunately, most of the time these infections come and go on their own. Some bacterial infections, such as salmonella, are serious and require medical evaluation. Salmonella commonly comes from contaminated poultry. There are parasites, such as amoeba and giardia, that attack the intestines. Giardia may be found in wild animals and in contaminated streams and well water. For people infected with the AIDS virus, there are a number of infections that can occur in the intestinal tract. Close medical follow up is always required in these instances. Virus infection is probably the most common cause of short term diarrhea and, fortunately, it usually clears up on its own.

Traveler’s Diarrhea — The cause of traveler’s diarrhea is a toxic bacteria called E. Coli. It most often occurs in developing countries where sanitation is not good. This infection can often be prevented by avoiding fresh, uncooked produce and fruits. Fruits, such as oranges, that have protective skins are safe. In particular, tap water in any form and especially ice should be avoided. Bottled beverages are recommended. The physician should be contacted prior to travel to these countries to obtain more information on prevention and treatment.

Diseases — There are certain intestinal disorders that can cause chronic diarrhea. These include ulcerative and microscopic colitis, Crohn’s disease, diverticulosis, and even colon cancer. These are all serious diseases that require careful medical attention and treatment. It is a major reason why the cause of chronic diarrhea should always be known.

Stress and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) — IBS is a problem that occurs when the intestines, especially the colon do not contract in a smooth, rhythmic manner. The contractions can be exaggerated in which case diarrhea occurs or they may be sluggish and result in constipation. Sometimes there is alternating constipation and diarrhea. Emotional stress often aggravates these symptoms

Diagnosis
The cause and treatment of diarrhea may be very simple, such as discontinuing magnesium- containing antacids. Or it may be more difficult. Testing of blood and stool may be needed. X-rays and ultrasound may also be necessary. In some cases, sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy are required to visually inspect the colon with a lighted, flexible tube. Testing depends on how severe and prolonged the condition is, and how the physician evaluates a specific case.

Treatment
There are simple things that can be done at the beginning of a diarrheal episode which may help reduce symptoms. Taking only liquids by mouth and avoiding solid food and milk may be helpful. Over-the-counter constipating agents, such as Pepto-Bismol, Kaopectate, or Imodium can also be tried. For explosive or persistent diarrhea, treatment will obviously depend on the cause. Fortunately, the cause of diarrhea can almost always be found and effective treatment is then usually available.It can be treated well with Homeopathic drug and Simple Ayurvedic/herbal home treatment also helps a lot (without any side effect)

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Summary
Diarrhea is a common problem which is usually not serious. If it is severe or persistent, a specific diagnosis should be sought. By working closely with the physician, effective treatment is almost always available.

CLICK & SEE  : Diarrhoea dos and don’ts

Extracted from:http://www.gicare.com/pated/ecdgs28.htm