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Health Quaries

Some Health Quaries & Answers


Q: My baby is six months old and sleeps for eight hours in the night. I do not know if I am supposed to wake her up and feed her. She is breast fed

A: Consider yourself lucky if your baby has adjusted so quickly to night and day. Breast-feeding should be on demand (by the baby). If she sleeps all night, let her do so. However, if she stops feeding even during the day, and is inactive or lethargic, you need to show her to a paediatrician.

Hygiene products
Q: Are sanitary pads dangerous? Do tampons cause cance

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A: Sanitary pads are actually more hygienic than cloth as they are disposed of after use. They are not dangerous and do not impact body functions in any way. Tampons, which are inserted into the vagina, are preferred by many women as they are not bulky or messy. They should, however, be changed every four hours. If left for a longer period, bacteria belonging to the streptococci and staphylococci families can cause infection and release toxins. This can cause a fatal illness called toxic shock syndrome. Neither product has been associated with an increased incidence of cancer.

Unruly teen
Q: I have a teenage son who is very disobedient. Recently, he stopped attending classes. Subsequently, he was asked to leave school. He is also very suspicious and abusive towards his mother. I scolded him several times and even beat him on a couple of occasions. He reacted by attacking me with a stick. Is black magic the reason for such behaviour?


A:
It is better to look for a rational explanation than blame witchcraft or black magic. Your son is either a recalcitrant teenager or may be suffering from a psychiatric ailment. He needs professional evaluation, medication and counselling. With consolidated multi-faceted modern-day therapy, both problems can be tackled. He will probably do very well and be able to re-integrate into society.

Irregular periods
Q: I am 21 years old and have irregular periods, which occur once in 40-50 days. Is that dangerous? Can I make my periods regular?

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A: Cycles are very individual, and can occur once in 24-60 days and you can still be normal. Keep a diary and track your periods. Check if they occur “regularly” at some odd interval like 33 or 52 days. They may seem irregular when in fact they are not. In that case, you need not worry. Ovulation occurs 14 days before the next period, so it is the first part of your cycle that is prolonged. You may be functioning normally but with a longer cycle. After maintaining records for six months, if you find that you still have irregular periods, consult a gynecologist. An ultrasound scan and a few blood tests to evaluate hormone levels are usually all that is necessary. If any abnormality is found, it can be usually be corrected with medication while you are still young.

Broken bones
Q: My son has osteogenesis imperfecta and his bones break frequently. He has had several surgeries, and his legs are now deformed. He has also not gained enough height. I have decided that natural therapy is best as it does not involve intervention, and have put him on calcium supplements alone. Will this work?


A:
Osteogenesis imperfecta is due to a genetic defect as a result of which bone collagen — or the building blocks of which bones are made — are ill formed and inadequate. The condition is not due to a deficiency of calcium. To manage it well, the individual deformities should be minimised and functional ability maximised at home and in the community.

Physiotherapy and functional aids like braces are useful to maintain mobility. Fractures and deformities, unfortunately, will occur and require surgical correction. Medications called biphosphates and calcitonin can be used to strengthen the bones. You need to follow the advice of your orthopaedic surgeon.

Adolescent exercise
Q: I am 15 and my height is 5 feet 4 inches. I exercise regularly in the gym and have developed arm muscles and a six-pack abdomen. But I am afraid I will remain short.


A
: Your lifestyle is commendable, considering the epidemic of adolescent obesity. Even 10 years ago, children and teenagers were not encouraged to do weight training. That’s because the ends of their growing bones are not yet fused, and any injury might prove costly. And gyms were not geared for teenagers. Supervision or training by qualified personnel was rare and there were no light weights. Now, however, the scenario is changing. Teenagers are advised to combine running, jogging, swimming and other forms of aerobic exercise with mild, supervised strength training. They should, however, avoid competitive weight lifting, power lifting, body building and maximal lifts until they reach physical and skeletal maturity (that is, at around 21 years). They can follow a general strengthening programme which should address all major muscle groups and exercise through the complete range of motion.

Source: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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How to Prevent Back Pain at Work

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Simple, basic movements at your desk can lead to major back problems—unless you change a few habits.

You bend over to grab a folder from your filing cabinet and you feel it—a sudden flash of fiery pain that shoots through your spine. But while that motion may have set off the painful sensation, bending down was probably just the straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak.

Day in and day out we treat our backs poorly, mostly with improper and repetitive movements. It only makes sense that a big part of the problem is how we move—and, more often, don’t move—at work, where most of us spend a major portion of our lives. Other factors play a role as well, such as the number and variety of manual tasks performed on the job, along with age, genetics, your schedule, desk setup and stress load. Experts say all these things combine to create unnecessary discomfort.

In Pictures: Preventing Back Pain at Work also Tips for Preventing Back Pain at Work:

“It’s important to know that aspects of the work environment can make things better or worse,” says Dr. Jeffrey Katz, associate professor of medicine and orthopedic surgery at Harvard Medical School, and author of the book Heal Your Aching Back.

A common problem

Back pain is a much more common problem than most people realize. Lower-back pain is cited as the number-two reason why Americans see their doctors, second only to colds and the flu. And patients suffering from backaches consume more than $90 billion annually in health care expenses, according to 2004 research from Duke University.

On the whole, up to 80 percent of people will deal with this health problem at some point in their life, Katz says. In an office setting of 100 people, he estimates that on a given day, 10 to 12 people probably have some kind of back pain.

Despite the prevalence of the problem, most people don’t put in the effort to examine and tweak their regular work habits to prevent it.

“People don’t take care of themselves until they’re in pain,” says Todd Langer, a Boulder, Colo.-based corrective exercise expert and creator of the P.A.S.T. Functional Fitness Method, which aims to relieve pain through unique balance-board-driven exercises.

Langer, who works with back pain sufferers at One Boulder Fitness Health Club, says the biggest mistake office workers make is continuing to sit in their desk chairs for hours on end. Sitting for sustained periods of time puts too much pressure on the discs and joints in your back.

To give your body a break, Langer suggests regularly moving your rear around in your chair and shifting your weight. If you spend a lot of time on the phone, stand up occasionally during conversations and try to take a short walk at least every half-hour, even if it’s just to the water cooler or printer. Use your e-mail to send yourself reminders until it becomes a habit.

It’s also a smart idea to examine your work station for potential causes of imbalances, says Stefan Aschan, owner and founder of Strength123, a provider of nutrition and fitness programs in New York City and online. Are the floors in your office uneven? Does your chair rest half on and half off a thick, plastic rug pad? Do you, as many men do, keep your wallet in your back pocket and sit on it all day long? Do you cradle the phone between your head and shoulder instead of wearing a headset?

If so, you may be changing the way your body weight is distributed on your discs, Aschan says. Over time, that pressure may cause a disc to bulge, which can be painful.

While you’re looking at your desk, check on the positioning of your chair, computer and phone. You may have heard this advice before, but following through is another story. Todd Sinett, owner of the New York-based Midtown Chiropractic Health and Wellness practice and author of The Truth About Back Pain, recommends asking your company for an adjustable chair that will help maintain the natural curves of your spine, supporting your lower back. (Placing a pillow behind you will also do the trick if your boss won’t spring for an ergonomic chair.)

Your feet should lightly rest on the floor or, if you’re short, on a footrest. You shouldn’t have to crane your neck forward, up or down to see your monitor, and you shouldn’t have to strain to reach your phone. The goal is to square yourself.

Emotional element:

Work-related stress can take its toll on your back too, Sinett says. While people manifest stress in different ways, it usually creates muscle tension. That constant contracting, over time, can cause muscle spasms and headaches—and possibly make you more vulnerable to injury.

If you’re too tired and stressed out after a long day of work to do anything but pass out on the couch, you could be compounding the problem, says Dr. Stephen Courtney, an orthopedic surgeon at Texas’ Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano. Just as you should be stretching your muscles throughout the day, you should also be giving them a regular workout, either at the gym, on the court or in the yoga studio.

As with any change you make to your daily habits, there’s no guarantee an exercise regime will protect you from back problems. But it might decrease the frequency of recurrent episodes, according to Katz. For people in pain, it’s a move in the right direction.

Sources:msn health & fitness

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Ailmemts & Remedies

Knee Cartilage

Diagram of a synovial (diarthrosis) joint.

Image via Wikipedia

What is cartilage?

Cartilage is a tough, fibrous material found in joints throughout the body. Its primary purpose is to act as a buffer to stop bones rubbing together.

In the knee it takes the form of a C-shaped piece of material called the meniscus.

.CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES

1. Muscles
2. Tendon
3. Patella
4. Cartilage
5. Cruciate ligament
6. Medial ligament
7. Medial meniscus
8. Tibia
9. Fibula
10. Lateral ligament
11. Lateral meniscus
12. Femur
What can go wrong?

The majority of the meniscus has no blood supply.

For that reason, when damaged, the meniscus is unable to undergo the normal healing process that occurs in most of the rest of the body.

In addition, with age, the meniscus begins to deteriorate, often developing degenerative tears.

A partial or total tear of a meniscus may occur when a person quickly twists or rotates the upper leg while the foot stays still.

Typically, when the meniscus is damaged, the torn piece begins to move in an abnormal fashion inside the joint.

Because the space between the bones of the joint is very small, the torn fragment may become caught between the bones of the joint.

When this happens, the knee becomes painful, swollen, and difficult to move.

How is it treated?

If the tear is minor and the pain and other symptoms go away, the doctor may recommend a muscle-strengthening programme.

If the tear to a meniscus is more extensive, the doctor may perform keyhole surgery to see the extent of injury and to repair the tear.

The doctor can sew the meniscus back in place if the patient is relatively young, the injury is in an area with a good blood supply, and the ligaments are intact.

If the patient is elderly or the tear is in an area with a poor blood supply, the doctor may cut off a small portion of the meniscus to even the surface.

In some cases the doctor removes the entire meniscus.

Is removal a good idea?

Removal can increase the risk of degenerative problems in the knee such as the development of osteoarthritis.

However, if a torn meniscus goes untreated, flapping around within the joint, this too may result in osteoarthritis.

Is recovery quick?

On average, most patients are able to walk without crutches within 48 hours.

Sources: BBC NEWS12 Dec.2003

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News on Health & Science

Long bed rest bad during pregnancy

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Long periods of bed rest could be harmful for pregnant women and may cause degeneration of their musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems, says a new study.

The musculoskeletal system gives human beings and animals the ability to physically move by using the muscles and skeletal system. The cardiovascular system is composed of the heart, blood vessels, or vasculature, and the cells and plasma that make up the blood.

Doctors often advice women to go on bed rest if they suffer (blood) spotting, contractions before 37 weeks’ gestation, high blood pressure or have a history of pre-term labour, as well as if the foetus appears to be growing abnormally. A majority of the women rest at home, while others are hospitalised, the report added.

Studies by Nasa scientists, who used bed rest to simulate weightlessness in space, found that as a result of long periods of bed rest, a person’s entire musculoskeletal and cardiovascular system become de-conditioned. This degeneration begins in less than 48 hours.

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists no longer advises bed rest to prevent pre-term births because no large-scale studies have proven the method effective. Researchers recommend that women on bed rest see a physical therapist and begin a light exercise programme, if appropriate.

Source:The Times Of India