Transmission of Hepatitis A, B, C, D & E

India is emerging as the Hepatitis capital of the world. All kinds of hepatitis damage the liver and may lead to liver cirrhosis or even liver cancer. Blood tests help reveal the kind of Hepatitis one is suffering from and also the genotypes are tested for customised treatment.
Hepatitis A & Hepatitis E is spread through contaminated water & food. Hepatitis B, C & D is spread through contact with infected blood & bodily fluids. Hepatitis B, C & D could either be transferred through a blood transfusion or sexually from an infected person. Mandatory screening of blood before transfusion has reduced the incidence of Hepatitis B transmission through blood transfusion.
What are the common symptoms of Hepatitis?
There are five types of Hepatitis and all types cause liver damage. While Hepatitis A & E are spread through contaminated water and food, Hepatitis B, C and D spread via transfer of bodily fluids and blood.
The most common symptoms Of all types of Hepatitis is as follows:

  • Dark Urine
  • Pale colored stool
  • Fatigue
  • Flu Like Symptoms
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Lack of Appetite
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Yellow skin and eyes

Hepatitis B, C & D are also called as silent killers since symptoms do not manifest at the early stages. Untreated Hepatitis leads to Liver Cirrhosis, Liver Failure or Liver Cancer in rare cases.

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How lack of sleep affects your heart

1. Increased heart rate
People who are sleep-deprived show less variability in their heart rate, meaning that instead of fluctuating normally, the heart rate usually stays elevated. Lack of sleep can increase insulin resistance, a risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Shortened sleep can increase CRP, or C-reactive protein, which is released with stress and inflammation. “If your CRP is high, it’s a risk factor for cardiovascular and heart disease,” says Zee. Shortened sleep also interferes with appetite regulation. “So you may end up eating more or eating foods that are less healthy for your heart,” Zee says.

2. Salt retention
Lack of sleep makes your heart work harder. When you sleep, your body goes into a lower blood pressure mode. But too little time in this low-key state can eventually lead to high blood pressure. And salt retention, a well-known contributor to high blood pressure, may increase with sleep deprivation.

3. Salt retention
Having too much stress, for too long, is bad for your heart. If you’re often stressed, and you don’t have good ways to manage it, you are more likely to have heart disease, high blood pressure, chest pain, or irregular heartbeats. The stress itself can be a problem. It raises your blood pressure, and it’s not good for your body to constantly be exposed to stress hormones. Studies also link stress to changes in the way blood clots, which makes a heart attack more likely.

The way you handle stress also matters. If you respond to it in unhealthy ways — such as smoking, overeating, or not exercising — that makes matters worse. On the other hand, if you exercise, connect with people, and find meaning despite the stress, that makes a difference in your emotions and in your body.

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New age risk factors for heart disease

Did you know that more and more Indians are succumbing to heart disease every year? While Diabetes, elevated cholesterol and blood pressure have been the traditional and well known risk factors, newer risk factors are being added now which have been significantly seen to contribute to heart disease.

Five such risk factors include:
1. Stress
Having too much stress, for too long, is bad for your heart. If you’re often stressed, and you don’t have good ways to manage it, you are more likely to have heart disease, high blood pressure, chest pain, or irregular heartbeats.The stress itself can be a problem. It raises your blood pressure, and it’s not good for your body to constantly be exposed to stress hormones. Studies also link stress to changes in the way blood clots, which makes a heart attack more likely.

The way you handle stress also matters. If you respond to it in unhealthy ways — such as smoking, overeating, or not exercising — that makes matters worse. On the other hand, if you exercise, connect with people, and find meaning despite the stress, that makes a difference in your emotions and in your body.

2. Lack of Sleep
People who are sleep-deprived show less variability in their heart rate, meaning that instead of fluctuating normally, the heart rate usually stays elevated. Lack of sleep can increase insulin resistance, a risk factor for the development of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

Shortened sleep can increase CRP, or C-reactive protein, which is released with stress and inflammation. “If your CRP is high, it’s a risk factor for cardiovascular and heart disease,” says Zee. Shortened sleep also interferes with appetite regulation. “So you may end up eating more or eating foods that are less healthy for your heart,” Zee says.

3. PCOS
More than 50% of women with PCOS will have diabetes or pre-diabetes (impaired glucose tolerance) before the age of 40.The risk of heart attack is 4 to 7 times higher in women with PCOS than women of the same age without PCOS.

4. Vitamin D Deficiency
A growing number of studies point to vitamin D deficiency as a risk factor for heart attacks, congestive heart failure, strokes, and the conditions associated with cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

5. Over exercise
Exercise is good for you, but some extreme athletes can push past healthy limits.
Extreme, long-term endurance exercise puts equally extreme demands on the cardiovascular system. Experts found that after finishing extreme running events, athletes’ blood samples contain biomarkers associated with heart damage.

These ‘damage indicators’ usually go away by themselves, but when the heart endures extreme physical stress over and over, the “temporary” damage may lead to so called “remodeling” of the heart or physical changes such as thicker heart walls and scarring of the heart. This can also increase the risk of heart rhythm disorders, particularly for the minority who have underlying cardiac problems such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or coronary heart disease.

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Who is at the risk of Vitamin Deficiency?

Vitamin deficiencies usually develop slowly over several months to years. Vitamin deficiency symptoms may be subtle at first, but they increase as the deficiency worsens.
Vitamins may be fat soluble (vitamins A, D, E, and K) or water soluble (B vitamins and vitamin C). The B vitamins include biotin, folate, niacin , pantothenic acid, riboflavin (B2), thiamin (B1), B6 (eg, pyridoxine), and B12 (cobalamins).
Who is at risk of Vitamin Deficiency?

  • Pregnant women
  • Children
  • Diabetics
  • Elderly
  • Thyroid patients
  • Patients recovering from an infection like Dengue or Malaria
  • Patients with tuberculosis
  • Patients who have had a recent surgery
  • Chronic illness leads to vitamin deficiency
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15 Everyday health tips for Diabetics

1. Keep a lid on your stress levels
Stress whether physical or mental can trigger a raise in the blood sugar level. Stress hormones like cortisol play an important role in triggering this reaction as it provides sugar when the body needs the most. People who are stressed for a prolonged period of time thus have a greater risk of sugar spikes. Diabetics who are often stressed out know when their sugar levels spike up. It is important to keep a tab on stress levels and practice de-stress techniques like yoga, exercise, meditation and deep breathing.
2. Do not skip breakfast
Diabetics, especially those suffering from type 2 could wreck their sugar levels by skipping breakfast. Often people with diabetics assume that it is good to skip breakfast since you are not adding more calories. However research suggests that type 2 diabetics who skip breakfast have raised blood sugar level throughout the day. It is important to have a protein rich breakfast which gives a feeling of fullness and is also healthy.
3. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
The amount of carbohydrates you eat has the biggest effect on your blood glucose levels after eating. Therefore, reducing portions can help manage your glucose levels. It is also important to choose better sources of carbohydrates including wholegrains, pulses, fruits and vegetables and some dairy foods.
4. Replace pack of chips with some nuts
Go for the healthier option, always!
5. Limit aerated and sweetened drinks. Choose Green Tea instead
Aerated and sweetened drinks are loaded with empty calories and is an absolute NO for diabetics.
6. Reduce portion size
If you are overweight, reducing your overall portion sizes will also help you to lose weight. Losing excess weight has been shown to be beneficial in managing blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
7. Add fibre like whole grain and beans to your plate
The role of a fibre rich food in diabetics is critical. It provides a feeling of fullness in every meal, thereby reducing the calories that you intake. In addition, fibre rich foods also aids digestion.
8. Eat small but frequent meals
Eating small and frequent meals boost your metabolism levels. Diabetics need to avoid over eating for the simple reason that it leads to a spike in sugar levels.
9. No excuses… Be sure to exercise daily
Physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight cannot be stressed enough. With regular exercise and active lifestyle, your cells become more sensitive to insulin thereby increasing its efficiency. So, exercising consistently can lower blood glucose and eventually this will mean less medicines and insulin intake. In addition, regular physical activity helps in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol thereby reducing your risk for heart disease and stroke. Exercise helps you lose weight by burning calories and relives you of stress.
10. Opt for home cooked food instead of instant meals or takeaways
It is important to know what you are eating. When you pick takeaways, you have no idea whether it is fresh and if it is prepared under hygienic conditions. The choice of oil and fats is unknown. It is best to consume freshly prepared food at home.
11. Avoid processed and refined foods
Processed and refined foods are an additional burden to your cells and are detrimental for the health of diabetics.
12. Limit cakes and other bakery items
It is best to limit the intake of cakes and confectionaries. Opt for natural sweeteners like honey and jaggery and use recipes that allow you to make bakery items with natural sources.
13. Be sure to get 6-7 hours of sleep
A good night’s sleep allows your body to rest and helps keep your blood sugar in control. Lack of sleep often leads to stressful situations which in turn raises your blood sugar levels.
14. Reduce salt intake
Diabetics are at a risk of developing hypertension and heart disease. Therefore it is important that Diabetics limit their salt intake.
15. Regularly evaluate your blood sugar levels
Monitoring your diabetes is crucial to preventing some of the possible complications associated with diabetes. This involves knowing your blood glucose, blood pressure and blood fat levels, as well as the condition of your feet and getting your eyes and kidneys screened for early signs of damage.
Blood glucose targets
Blood fats (lipids)
Lipids are the cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. Cholesterol is a type of fat found in all of us. You may be familiar with the term blood cholesterol, but what you may not know is that not all cholesterol is bad. Some of it, HDL (high density lipoprotein), can actually protect against heart disease. Low levels of this protective HDL cholesterol increase your risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). However, LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol is the bad form of cholesterol in the blood. Triglycerides are another type of fat in the blood. If you have raised cholesterol and raised triglycerides you have an increased risk of CVD.

  • Your total cholesterol level should be below 4.0mmol/l.
  • LDL levels should be less than 2.0mmol/l.
  • HDL levels should be 1.0mmol/l or above in men and 1.2mmol/l or above in women.
  • Triglyceride levels should be 1.7mmol/l or less.

Get yourself tested regularly and take control of your health today

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Why Folic Acid is important for pregnant women?

Folic acid is a B Vitamin and is an especially important vitamin for pregnant women. It is absolutely important that women who are planning for a pregnancy consume recommended amount of Folic Acid before and during early pregnancy. Folic Acid is extremely critical in the development of a baby’s brain and spine. The baby’s brain and spine is formed at a very early stage in the pregnancy, when the woman does not even realise she is pregnant yet.

Consuming recommended amounts of folic acid everyday can help prevent some major birth defects of the baby’s brain (known as anencephaly) and spine (known as spina bifida). Anencephaly is a serious birth defect in which parts of a baby’s brain and skull do not form correctly. Babies born with anencephaly cannot survive. Spina bifida is a serious birth defect in which a baby’s spine does not develop correctly, and can result in some severe physical disabilities.

All women, but especially those who want to become pregnant, need 400 micrograms (mcg) of folic acid every day.Yes! Every woman needs to get enough folic acid each day, even if she does not plan to become pregnant. This is because our bodies make new cells every day—blood, skin, hair, nails and others. Folic acid is needed to make these new cells. Start a healthy habit today and get 400 mcg of folic acid every day.

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Why vegetarians are prone to Vitamin B12 deficiency?

Research and studies suggest that a strict vegetarian diet — one that excludes all animal products — can lead to vitamin B-12 deficiency, and possibly heart disease. Now, new research suggests that even those who follow a more lenient vegetarian diet (those who consume milk and dairy products) are also at risk.

Vitamin B12 is prominently found in animal based foods: meat, fish, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. Most of the Indians who are vegetarians are deficient in Vitamin B12. While it is fairly easy to correct a Vitamin B12 deficiency through supplements, most of us are ignorant of our condition and do not go for a diagnosis. People who consume antacids are also at a risk of vitamin B12 deficiency since it interferes with the absorption.

Vitamin B12 helps maintain healthy nerve and red blood cells and is also needed to make DNA, which is why it’s especially important that pregnant and nursing women consume enough.

Vitamin B12 deficiency leads to anemia. Symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency, which usually come on gradually, include fatigue, weakness, nausea, and constipation. Long-term and severe vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to nerve changes such as numbness, tingling in the hands and feet, balance and memory problems, and depression.

A blood test is the best way to test for vitamin B12 deficiency, and Metropolis recommends that all vegetarians get tested every year.

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What are Trans Fats and How Should I avoid them?

Trans fats are linked to raise the LDL cholesterol levels in your blood and lower your good (HDL) cholesterol levels. Regular consumption of foods rich intrans fats increases your risk of developing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
What foods should I avoid?
Trans fats can exist in any and all foods that you may consume. If the packet of muffin or chips that you are having does not list Trans Fat as an ingredient, check for partially hydrogenated oil. It is the one and the same and detrimental for your health.
Did you know that the very commonly used Vanaspati or Dalda is a Trans fat?
Next time you grab fried foods like Samosas, Bhaturas and vadas from the street, remember that it is fried in repeatedly used oils and may contain fats that are detrimental to your health.
Doughnuts, cookies, crackers, muffins, pies and cakes are examples of foods that may contain trans fat.
How do you control Trans Fat?

  • Limit how frequently you eat them.
  • Limit commercially fried foods and baked goods made with shortening or partially hydrogenated vegetable oils.
  • Use oils like Olive, Canola and Liquid vegetable oils
  • Add fresh vegetables and fruits to every meal
  • Say NO to products that list Trans Fat on their label
  • Reduce the intake of instant meals and frozen food

Be sure to check your lipid profile. Regularly monitoring your total fats will give you an assessment of your cardiac health.

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Simple tips for a Diabetes-Friendly Diwali

Diwali is the most auspicious festival celebrated in India. However, come Diwali and people lose a track of their calorie intake. It is considered OK to have a little more sweet on this day! Here is how you can still have a fun and healthy Diwali!

  • Limit consumption of foods and sweets. Over intake of sweets at a short period leads to sugar spike and creates complications
  • Choose roasted and baked alternatives in place of fried savouries and sweets
  • Gift dry fruits loaded with good fat instead of sweets
  • Use natural sweeteners like honey and jiggery. There are many new age recipes that are just as sweet and healthy too!
  • Final word of caution, Do not skip your exercise routine
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Know the Ten Symptoms of Swine Flu

Swine flu, H1N1 is a respiratory disease caused by influenza viruses that infect the respiratory tract of pigs and result in a barking cough, decreased appetite, nasal secretions, and listless behaviour; the virus can be transmitted to humans.

Swine flu spreads from people to people just how common cold spreads. When people infected with swine flu cough or sneeze, they spray tiny drops of the virus into the air. If a person come in contact with these drops, touch a surface (like a doorknob or sink) where the drops landed, or touch something an infected person has recently touched, the person is at an increased risk of catching the H1N1 Swine Flu.

Symptoms of Swine Flu include fever, lethargy, muscle and joint pain, runny nose, sore throat, lack of appetite, coughing, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Children, elderly, pregnant women and diabetics are at a greater risk of contracting swine flu and develop complications. For this reason, health care practitioners advise vaccination for high risk category patients.

Very few laboratories in India are authorised to conduct Swine Flu testing. Metropolis Healthcare is the only laboratory which is authorised to conduct Swine Flu tests in Mumbai, Pune and Chennai. Testing for swine flu is based on the guidelines laid down by the public health department and is done only against a doctor’s prescription. Metropolis assures you of 100% accurate results.

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