Health Problems & Solutions

Some Health Quaries & Answers

Touch the Grass

Q: I am 23 years old and have been reading a lot about exercising bare foot. I want to give it a try.

A: Barefoot running has really caught on. In fact, there is even a special barefoot shoe, which is similar to a glove. If you plan to run or walk long distances barefoot, make sure you do it on grass or soft soil. Tarred and cement roads or tracks with stones will hurt your feet. Also, make sure you acclimatise and harden your soles by doing short runs or walks at first. Running barefoot on the treadmill or skipping rope without shoes is, however, not a good idea.

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Pee pain

Q: My 9-month-old son strains to pass urine. His face turns red and he cries every time.

A: Check to see if his foreskin balloons out when he urinates. If that happens it means that the skin around the meatus (hole through which the urine comes out) is tight. You need to consult a paediatric surgeon. They can dilate it. Otherwise they might suggest a small operation called a circumcision.

Sometimes children may strain to urinate owing to posterior valves in the urinary bladder, which obstruct the free flow of urine. Both the conditions need evaluation, diagnosis and surgical correction. So consult your doctor immediately.

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Acne farewell

Q: I am being treated for acne and want to know if I can continue with the treatment after marriage.

A: Stop the treatment if you think that you might become pregnant soon after the marriage. Small quantities of products you apply on the skin can get absorbed and affect the foetus. Many common over-the-counter acne treatments contain benzoyl peroxide retinoids, minocycline and tetracyclines, all of which can potentially cause birth defects and need to be avoided during pregnancy.

Here are some safe, non medical ways to control acne:-

Wash your face using a wash cloth 3-4 times a day.

Do not apply talcum powder or greasy make up.

Shampoo your hair regularly.

Keep hair off the face.

Avoid picking and scratching acne

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Bow legs

Q: My daughter is three years old and bow-legged. It looks awkward and we are worried that the deformity will persist and cause problems when she is an adult.

A: Children are normally born bow-legged. It may be more obvious in some than in others. It usually gets corrected by the age of 5-6. If the legs are curved more than normal, it may be due to rickets (a consequence of vitamin D deficiency), or Blount’s disease. It is better to have your paediatrician evaluate the child.

Prostrate trouble

Q: My father gets up several times in the night to go to the loo, where he spends a lot of time as he says the urine does not flow freely.

A: Your father needs to be evaluated for an enlarged prostrate. It seems the likely diagnosis as he is complaining of “an obstructed feeling”. Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH) or prostatic growth begins at approximately 30. Around 50 per cent of men have evidence of BPH by age 50 and 75 per cent by 80. It can usually be tackled with medication. However, you need to do scans and a blood test called PSA (prostate specific antigen) to rule out cancer. Appropriate treatment can be provided by a urologist.

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Leg ache

Q: I develop a shooting pain down the back of my leg when I move suddenly. The doctor said it is sciatica and that I need surgery.

A: Sciatica is a generic term that describes a set of symptoms like tingling, pain or numbness in one leg. It is due to compression of one or more of the nerves coming out of the spinal cord. This may be due to the collapse of the lumbar vertebrae or herniation of the discs in between the bones. It needs to be evaluated with a CT scan or an MRI. If the symptoms are mild and there is no actual muscle wasting, traction and exercise can be tried. If the herniation is severe, surgery may be required.

Milk allergy

Q: My 6-month-old son had such a bad bout of diarrhoea that he lost a kilo. The paediatrician said he is allergic to cow’s milk and asked me to give him soya milk. I tried but my son does not like the taste. Can I use Nan or Lactogen instead? I have no milk so he has been on cow’s milk since birth.

A: Nan, Lactogen and other baby formulae are made by processing cow’s milk. So if your son is allergic to cow’s milk, he will be allergic to these tinned products also. Since your son is six months old, in addition to soya milk, you can start giving him solid food. You can give khichdi, potatoes, carrots, idlies and bananas. The ready-to-serve weaning foods available in packets and tins often contain milk powder so they are better avoided. If you want to use them, check the packaging label.

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Source : The Telegraph ( Kolkata, India)

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Early Prostate Test Little Relief

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A blood test used to screen men for prostate cancer helps in early diagnosis, but doesn’t appear to tellingly lower deaths from the disease, two foreign medical studies have found.
CLICK TO SEE THE PICTURES..(1)………...(2)…….(3).…….(4)
The new studies come at a time the Urological Society of India is preparing to launch a nationwide prostate disease awareness campaign to encourage men to have themselves screened for prostate disease. The week-long drive is to begin on April 1.

A large US study examining the benefits of the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test found no detectable mortality benefits among men who opted for an annual test in comparison to men who did not undergo PSA screening.

The PSA, a protein made by prostate gland cells, is elevated in prostate cancer.

Another, even larger, seven-country European study has revealed only a 20 per cent reduction in deaths from prostate cancer after screening, but with a high risk of over-diagnosis and potentially risky over-treatment.

The studies, published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday, have raised a question mark over the belief that early diagnosis of prostate cancer through routine PSA screening will help reduce deaths through early start of treatment.

The US study monitored the health of more than 76,000 men — roughly half of whom received annual PSA tests, while the other half had no recommendation for or against annual prostate cancer screening. At the end of 10 years, there were 92 prostate cancer deaths in the annual PSA test group, and 82 in the usual-care group. The difference between the numbers is not statistically significant.

“(We) want to understand why some prostate cancers are lethal even when found early by annual screening,” said Christine Berg, the senior author of the study at the National Cancer Institutes (NCI) in the US.

“There may be some men who are diagnosed with prostate cancer and have the side effects of treatment, such as impotence or incontinence, with little chance of benefit,” said John Niederhuber, the NCI director.

Earlier studies have suggested that routine PSA screening may lead to diagnosis of prostate cancer in men who would not have otherwise experienced its symptoms — and thus have never known about the disease — throughout their lives.

“Over-diagnosis and over-treatment are probably the most important adverse effects of prostate cancer screening, and are vastly more common than in screening for breast, colorectal or cervical cancer,” Fritz Schroder from the Erasmus Medical Centre in the Netherlands and his colleagues wrote in their report based on tracking the health of more than 162,000 men between the ages of 55 and 69 years.

“Here in India, we’re not advocating the PSA test as a routine screening test to all above 40,” said Rajeev Sood, the head of urology at Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital, New Delhi, and national convener of the prostate disease awareness campaign.

“A digital rectal exam is routinely offered to all men above 40 — we recommend the PSA only when we find evidence for hardness or nodules on the prostate or when a patient has lower urinary tract symptoms,” Sood told The Telegraph.

In a digital rectal exam, a doctor inserts a lubricated and gloved finger into the rectum to feel for any abnormalities.

Under the prostate disease awareness campaign in India, urologists across the country plan to organise special camps, deliver public outreach talks and offer advisory and diagnostic services.

You may click to see:->Benign prostatic hyperplasia

Sources: The Telegraph (Kolkata, India)

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Prostrate Cancer – Myths And Facts

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Your prostate is “the size and shape of a walnut”
Misleading, though constantly trotted out by charities. Actually, an apricot is a far better analogy for this organ that sits in the pelvis below the bladder. Like fruits, the prostate has an indentation at the top, through which passes the tube carrying urine from the bladder. That’s why an enlarged prostate means problems peeing.

Hardly. All that most people know about the prostate is that it gets cancer. We chaps should rejoice in it a little more. Not only does it produce the fluids that carry and nourish our sperm; not only is it a complex chemical factory; it’s also the male G-spot and produces many of our sexual kicks.

Men who get prostate cancer are the unlucky minority:
Fiction. It’s not often said because it sounds frightening, but getting prostate cancer could be said to be the norm rather than the exception as men get older. Over the past 30 years prostate cancer rates in Britain have tripled, but this is because of increased detection through PSA tests and the fact that we are living longer. Knowing that you have prostate cancer in your fifties is certainly bad, but for a man aged 85 it’s largely a reflection of the fact that he has been lucky enough not to die of something else earlier. Of the millions of middle-aged men who are never tested, research suggests that a third may have sluggish, relatively harmless prostate cancer and most will never know it.

You cannot reduce your risk of prostate cancer:

Hogwash. Though it’s your genes, your ethnic background and age that are the main risk factors, eating healthily seems to have a preventive role. The Prostate Cancer Charity says that cutting down on animal fat and eating more fruit and veg may lower your chances of prostate cancer. Recent research has indicated that broccoli, in particular, protects because it changes the way our genes express themselves. The jury remains out on supplements based on extracts of tomato, pomegranate and red clover.

Masturbation prevents prostate cancer:
Probably true, according to credible recent research, which found that men who ejaculated more than five times a week (solo, or with a partner) between the ages of 20 and 50 were a third less likely to develop prostate cancer later in life – probably because their orgasms were flushing out cancer-causing chemicals in their prostate. Sex with a partner, however, may pose a small risk of infection transmission, which could cancel the benefits

Sources:Times On Line

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