Periods (also called menses or menstruation), a totally natural process, are associated with multiple cultural beliefs and taboos. These myths and misbeliefs have been holding women back. To end the social stigma linked with menstruation or periods, it is important to set your facts straight.

Here is a small attempt to normalize the menstrual cycle by debusting some of the common myths about periods in India:  

Myth: Women shed impure blood during periods.

Fact: This is an extremely common misconception that period blood is dirty or impure. However, what most people fail to understand is that the menstrual cycle is part of a woman’s reproductive system that prepares her body for a (possible) pregnancy. The menstrual blood is also the same blood that circulates throughout the body.
The clumping and color of period blood have their scientific causes too. Women shed partly blood and partly tissue from the inside of the uterus. In addition, the color may range from light red to dark brown. The change in color from standard red occurs due to the reaction of blood with oxygen (it gets time to oxidize). Dark brown or blackish color is usually associated with the beginning or end of your periods.

Myth: If you miss your period, you are pregnant.

Fact: A late or missed period does not necessarily point out that you are pregnant. Hormonal imbalances like polycystic ovary syndrome, excessive weight, unhealthy diet, illness, stress can be the causes of your missed or irregular periods too.

A lab test is a sure-shot way to know about your pregnancy. Confirm the good news here

Myth: You cannot exercise while you are on your period.

Fact: There is no scientific evidence that exercising while you are on your period can harm your physical health. In fact, exercise is good for a sound body and mind and can even help to reduce the pain due to menstrual cramps. There are no risks to regular physical activity, like walking. Certain yoga asanas may help you feel better during your period cramps. You can discuss with a wellness expert to know what exercises can safely be done during periods. The best bet can be to avoid a high-intensity workout.

Take extra care of your health with regular testing. Book our TruHealth women package now.

Myth: You can’t get pregnant while on your period.

Fact: While it is uncommon to get pregnant while you are on your periods, it is not completely impossible. One may get pregnant if she is having a short menstrual cycle. The average length of a cycle is 28-30 days. If a woman having a shorter menstrual cycle have sex towards the end of the six-day-long period, followed by ovulation shortly after, the chances are that some of the sperm may survive and lead to pregnancy.

Another reason can be a false alarm. Some women may see some spotting or bleeding during ovulation. Ovulation occurs when the woman’s ovary releases an egg and it is the most fertile window of the reproductive cycle. If it is confused as a period, the chances of getting pregnant shall be high.

Myth: You shouldn’t wash your hair during your period.

Fact: You don’t need to compromise with your personal hygiene habits due to your periods. There is no study that states one cannot wash your hair or take a shower on your period. In fact, a warm bath can help you with the painful cramps.

Myth: If you use a tampon, you lose your virginity.

Fact: While it is true that tampons may cause the hymen to stretch which a few times may cause breaking of the hymen, it does not cause someone to lose their virginity. Virginity is much beyond just the hymen. The hymen can be naturally broken due to strenuous activities like cycling too. However, usually, when a tampon is inserted, the hymen will stretch to accommodate it, so the odds of affecting a woman’s virginity can be less.

Myth: Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is all in the mind. It’s unreal.

Fact: PMS symptoms are real and occur a week or two before the periods. They are related to the way hormones change during a woman’s monthly cycle. Over 90% of women have noticed they get some premenstrual symptoms, such as bloating, headaches, and mood changes like irritation, depression, etc. Fatigue, cramps, and headache are some of the commonest symptoms of PMS. Usually, the symptoms are worst 4 days before a period and start relieving 2 to 3 days after the period begins.

Steer clear of misbeliefs

Your menstrual cycle can tell you a lot about your health. The last thing it should predict is the way you take bath or indulge in social activities. Regular periods mean your body is working normally. So, stop believing in what you have heard until you get any scientific reasons to support it.

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Your kidneys are two bean-shaped organs, located just below the rib cage, near the middle of your back. Each of them is about the size of your fist. The kidneys help your body remove waste and extra water from the blood in the form of urine, reabsorb nutrients and maintain the balance of ions and electrolytes (such as sodium, potassium, and calcium). Moreover, they are also involved in producing hormones that help in controlling blood pressure and stimulating bone marrow to produce red blood cells.

Help your kidneys stay healthy with regular monitoring. Book a kidney function test here.

Kidney disease is more common than you think!

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is being identified as a leading public health problem globally. The worldwide prevalence of CKD is estimated to be around 13.4%. Between 4.902 and 7.083 million people affected with end-stage kidney disease (ESKD) are in need of kidney replacement therapy.
Earlier older people were more commonly diagnosed with kidney conditions. But nowadays, it is not uncommon for young adults to develop them, say health experts.

How can you assess your risk of getting a kidney disease?

Certain risk factors can increase your chances of developing a kidney disease. People who have an increased risk of kidney-related problems should get their kidneys tested more often so as to spot any condition early on and start with the treatment.


Here are top 6 questions to ask yourself to know if you need a kidney function test:

Do you have a family history of kidney disease?

Family history is a strong predictor of having kidney disease. People whose family members have been diagnosed with end stage kidney disease were found to report an increased prevalence of chronic kidney disease. If you are unsure about your family history of kidney disease, ask and get to know.

Are you over 30 years of age?

Just like other organs, your kidneys also age as you age. Even in people without kidney disease, glomerular filtration rate (GFR) declines with advancing age. What does GFR mean? It is a very important test that checks how well your kidneys are working. To be more specific, GFR values estimate how much blood passes through the tiny filters in the kidneys (glomeruli) every minute. A normal GFR value is 60 or above. If your GFR is below 60 for three months or more, your kidneys may not be functioning well and you may need to consult an expert and get tested more often as advised. A GFR less than 15 may indicate the need to get started on dialysis or have a kidney transplant.

Is your blood sugar levels high?

Diabetes that causes high blood sugar levels is the leading cause of kidney failure. It accounts for 44% percent of new cases. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to damage to blood vessels in your kidneys. Over time, this causes kidney failure. People with diabetes should be vigilant of their blood sugar status.

Do you have high blood pressure?

High blood pressure causes your heart to work harder. In fact, it leads to damage to blood vessels over time. Arteries around the kidneys get narrowed, weakened or hardened due to high blood pressure. This results in inability of these arteries to deliver sufficient amounts of blood to the kidney and causes damage to the kidneys. In general, it is important to keep blood pressure below 130/80 to prevent kidney damage. Apart from high blood pressure, other conditions including stroke, heart attack, or heart failure can also increase your risk of getting your kidneys damaged. 

Are you overweight or obese?

Obesity is a potent risk factor for kidney disease. It increases the risk of developing major risk factors for chronic kidney disease (CKD), like diabetes and hypertension. Moreover, it has been seen to have a direct impact on the development of end-stage renal disease.

Do you smoke? (and not even trying to quit)

As per some reports, people who smoke are three times more likely to have reduced kidney function than people who don’t smoke. Smoking causes hardening of arteries and impedes the blood flow to the kidneys. Also, it can make an existing kidney disease worse.

Early kidney disease is a silent problem

So, pay attention! You may have kidney disease and do not have any symptoms, especially in the early stages. It might happen that your condition is progressing but you do not feel ill. Some other people can only experience mild symptoms like nausea, fatigue, etc. Hence, it is important to beware of your risk of kidney problems and get yourself tested from time to time. Check with your doctor as to what the kidney test results mean and if you need any medical intervention.

Looking to book a comprehensive health package? Get 32 parameters checked TruHealth Master Test here.   

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Do you often find yourself taking leave from work over your back pain? Well, it is one of the most common reasons people consult a doctor and miss work. Back pain can tamper with one’s daily routine and can be highly uncomfortable. Muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones together constitute the human back, they work in tandem to support the body and help us move around. Problems with either of these can affect your back adversely.

According to WHO, approximately 80% of the population suffers from back pain at least once during their lifetime. Back pain is one of the common problems seen in people across all age groups.

Back pain in women

But unlike men, there are a lot of changes that happen in a woman with age right from hormonal changes to menstruation and pregnancy that take a toll on the back. Whether you’re a working woman or a housewife, it goes without saying that every woman has a massive workload and long working hours both at the office and home which affects her overall health. However, the back and the spinal cord which are the pillars of the body are the ones that are most affected.
Take extra care of your health with Metropolis TruHealth Smart Women Health Package.

What are the possible causes of back pain ?

The most common cause of back pain is muscle strain and incorrect posture. Other causes include:

  • Long working hours while sitting in chairs and lack of exercise
  • Obesity · 
  • Poor posture: Often we don’t realize, but while sitting or working on computer screens, we tend to adopt a hunched back position, this results in back as well as shoulder pain later on.  
  • Muscle spasm, fractures, damaged disks (cushions between our bones in the spine)
  • Bulging or ruptured discs: Rupturing of a disc can cause extra pressure on a nerve, and press the nerve causing your back pain. Similarly, bulging discs can also put pressure on your nerves and lead to debilitating backaches.
  • Osteoporosis: When your bones become brittle, your spine’s vertebrae can develop small painful fractures.
  • Arthritis: Another major cause of back pain is spinal osteoarthritis, which is due to damage in the cartilage of joints in the lower back. Eventually, the space around the spinal cord starts to get narrower, leading to what is known as spinal stenosis.
    This could be another type of arthritis too. Book a test here and know if it can be rheumatoid arthritis.

Watch out for these symptoms !

A shooting pain anywhere on the back or a burning or stabbing sensation that sometimes runs down till your leg or the foot. If it is due to muscle strain, or posture, that pain is usually short-lived, maybe a few days or weeks. But if you suffer from back pain for more than 3 months, you should consult a doctor. Mostly the pain goes away with minor treatment, exercise, or self-care, but if the back pain is accompanied by fever, numbness in the legs, constant weakness, weight loss, or difficulty while urinating, you should seek immediate medical assistance.

Diagnosis for back pain

You have acute pain if the pain lasts for a few weeks, but if the pain is persistent, and lasts for more than 3 months, it is a chronic or long-term pain that needs medical supervision. Your doctor will examine and assess your back and if they suspect something, they might order one of the following tests-

  • X-ray: An X-ray is done to check the alignment of the bones, and help detect signs of broken bones or arthritis.
  • MRI or CT scans: Since X-rays don’t show any damages to the soft tissues, it is important to have an MRI done, to detect problems with blood vessels, muscles, nerves, and ligaments.
  • Blood tests: Though it is a rarity to order for blood tests, it can be helpful when you want to determine whether some infection is the cause of your back pain.
  • Bone scans: These scans are done to check if there is a bone tumor or compression fractures due to osteoporosis, basically performed to detect any sort of abnormalities in your bone tissue.
  • EMG (electromyography): It is a nerve study that measures the electrical impulses produced by nerves and how your muscles react to them.

Treatment of back pain

While for acute pain, pain relief medicines, and warm water heating can be sufficient, for chronic pain conditions, the doctor suggests medications like-

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  •  Topical pain relievers such as creams, ointments, sprays, or patches.
  • Muscle relaxants

Back pain can be a debilitating and life-changing condition. Hence, if you have a backache that is recurrent in nature or if your back pain fails to show any improvement even after taking sufficient rest, it is wise to consult a spine specialist.

Prevention is better than cure

Being a little careful and agile can go a long way in curtailing the risk of back pain. Here are a few tips you can follow, in order to ease that back pain.

Calcium and vitamin D for better muscle and bone health: Include calcium and vitamin D in your diet. Let your bones, muscles, and joints heal from severe back pain.
Check your calcium and vitamin D levels here.

Posture: Your posture while sitting as well as while standing can immensely impact your back. While sitting, always try to have your knees and hips leveled and keep your feet flat on the floor, if you use a keyboard, have your elbows at right angles and support your back, at the same time, when sitting for long hours. While standing, your back should always be straight, and you should balance your body weight evenly on both your feet.

Regular exercise: Flexibility training can help with back pain, a professional would be better able to guide you through exercises that will help build strength and keep your body weight in control as well.

Other precautions include wearing comfortable shoes, using a comfortable mattress, not smoking, and keeping your body weight in check.

With daily stretches, a proper diet, and maintaining correct postures, you can avoid and prevent back pain easily.

Your back endures a lot of wear & tear over the course of a lifetime- Take care of it!

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Every third person in the world is struggling with obesity as per some reports. Weight gain has emerged as a major lifestyle disease in the current times. Thanks to the unhealthily delicious junk food items available just a tap over the phone, almost nil physical activity levels and sleepless nights! Excessive weight isn’t about just weighing a few more kilos, it is in fact a risk factor for a plethora of health problems including hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, etc. Being overweight can lead to musculoskeletal disorders also. Not just this, obesity has been identified as a factor that can increase your risk of developing severe COVID-19.

Quick fact

From 1975 to 2016, the prevalence of overweight or obese children and adolescents aged 5–19 years increased more than fourfold from 4% to 18% globally.

Losing weight: The real struggle

While most people understand the health risks associated with obesity, losing weight remains a big challenge. Do you know losing weight is one of the top new year resolutions every year?

When it comes to weight loss, your diet plays a quintessential role. Many experts say weight loss is 30% exercise and 70% diet. Here we have enlisted top 6 food choices that can boost metabolism and help you lose inches: 

Top 6 foods that helps in weight loss

  1. High-protein foods: Foods that are high in protein  such as lean meat, eggs, dairy, nuts, etc., can increase your metabolic rate for a few hours. This is because your body needs more energy to digest such food. This is called the Thermic effect of food. TEF refers to the use of calories during the digestion process. Research shows that protein-rich foods increase TEF the most. For example, they increase your metabolic rate by 15–30%, compared with 5–10% for carbs and 0–3% for fat (trusted source). The more protein you have in your body, the less you will feel hungry. Due to which you will be able to save yourself from overeating.

  2. Foods rich in iron and vitamin C: Iron-rich food is essential for the proper functioning of the thyroid gland, which helps regulate your metabolism. Research shows that eating foods that are lacking in iron can reduce the thyroid ability to produce enough hormones, which could slow down your metabolism. If you want your thyroid to function at its best, you should include foods that are rich in iron. Also, couple your iron intake with vitamin C. This helps enhance absorption of iron. 

  3. Chili peppers: Chili pepper contains an element called capsaicin. These chemical increases metabolism in your body. This may help your body burn extra calories. A review of 20 research studies suggests that capsaicin supplements themselves can help your body burn about 50 extra calories per day. A research done on 200 people found that people who were consuming 2 mg of capsaicin before every meal burnt extra calories.

  4. Black coffee: The caffeine found in coffee can help in increasing our metabolic rate. Several studies have shown that people who consume at least 270 milligrams of caffeine daily, or the equivalent of about 3 cups of coffee, can burn up to an additional 100 calories per day. However, remember to consult your dietitian and do not overdo the caffeine intake as it can interfere with sleep and digestion.

  5. Quinoa: This can be rightly called as super grain when it comes to weight loss. It is packed with protein and fiber and contains approximately 220 calories per cup. Moreover, it provides various amino acids, which means it can be converted directly into muscle by the body.

6. Fruits and Nuts: Do you know anapple contains upward of 5 grams of fiber? Most fruits and nuts are rich in fibers and good fat. Hence, they are more filling compared to snacks of similar calorie amounts. You feel fuller, eat less junk throughout the day, and lose weight. What’s more? The fiber also helps keep the gut microbiome healthy and balanced. Having a healthy gut microbiome is an essential component of a good metabolism and maintaining a healthy weight.

The Final and (most important) advice

Besides taking care of your diet, make sure to drink enough water and keep yourself hydrated. Water helps you keep off extra calories by replacing the diet soda or fruit juice, both of which are full of sugar that can invite on the belly fat super fast.  Maintain a good sleep schedule and ensure to get 7-8 hours of sound nap. Insomnia is notorious for causing weight gain issues in young adults. Make sure to get your health parameters checked from time to time as certain diseases like low thyroid levels can also cause you to gain weight. Book your health package here.

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As India braces for the third wave of COVID-19 in October 2021, experts have raised concerns over its impact on children. Owing to the fact that vaccines for children are still unavailable in the country and a higher number of children got affected in the second wave, parents are stressed about their kid’s safety. They are looking for information on how to protect their children and the measures they can take if their child, or a family member, has symptoms of COVID-19, or tests positive.

Is the third wave going to infect more children ?

In view of rising panic, an ongoing AIIMS-WHO study disapproved the above findings and suggested that it is unlikely that the third wave will hit more children in comparison to adults. Additionally, more than half of children have already been infected in the second wave, so there is a lesser chance for the SARS-CoV-2 virus to spread among this population, in a way different than the other population groups.

Is there a need to worry ?

The National Institute of Disaster Management has also issued a warning that there is still “cause for worry, if not panic”, as children are unvaccinated and existing medical facilities are scarce. The Indian Academy of Pediatrics (IAP) has revealed that the likelihood of children infected with COVID-19 is similar to adults and older individuals; however, there are no reports of higher severity of this disease in children.

Keep an eye: Common symptoms of COVID-19 in children

The second wave has shown that majority of children infected with COVID-19 were asymptomatic to mildly symptomatic. Very few cases required hospitalizations. Various studies also showed that the proportion of children who were admitted to intensive care unit were lesser than the adults requiring intensive care.

The most common symptoms of infection in children are:

  • Cold
  • Mild cough
  • Fever
  • Body pain

Besides these, the majority of children infected with COVID-19 also reported pain in the abdomen, loose motions, and vomiting in the second wave.

What precautions can I take to protect my child from getting a COVID-19 infection ?

Currently, no medicines have been recommended for the prevention of coronavirus infection in children.

Moreover, vaccines are only approved for use in adults and only those above the age of 18 are eligible to receive a shot. This criteria for vaccine holds the reason, that why more children may get infected in the third wave as the immunized adults who are safe from infection may transmit the virus to the children who are unprotected/unvaccinated.

Therefore, the best way to prevent COVID-19 infection in children is by following COVID-19 appropriate behavior and keeping yourself infection-free.

Masks are not recommended for children aged 5 years and under, as per the Guidelines issued by the MoHFW. For smaller children, adult supervision is necessary. Always instruct children, not to wear a mask while playing sports or doing physical activities, like running, jumping, etc, so that they do not have trouble breathing.

Other precautions you must take are as follows:

  • Disinfect all the commonly touched surfaces in the house.
  • Follow social distancing and stay home as much as possible. Avoid taking your child to crowded places or social gatherings.
  • Practice frequent hand washing with soap, or use a 70 percent sanitizer.
  • Adults should get vaccinated in order to reduce the risk of transmitting it to children.
  • Ensure that your child should be kept away from sick people. Always teach your child to cover his mouth while coughing or sneezing.
  • Try to minimize spicy, oily, and junk food for your children.
  • Encourage your child to eat a well-balanced diet including fruits, vegetables, legumes, pulses, and wholegrain, which will help him/her boost immunity.

How can I protect my child, if a family member has COVID-19 infection ?

  • Do not panic and isolate your family member with COVID-19 immediately, and seek a doctor’s advice.
  • Do not let the child get in contact with the COVID-positive family member. If in case, the mother is infected and the baby needs to be with her, consult your doctor.
  • Follow precautions, interact with them from a distance, and always wear a mask

What are the measures needed to manage different COVID-19 situations in the family at home?

If a mother is COVID-19 positive, but her children are negative

  • In absence of other childcare options, mother can take care of her children, unless she is very sick or needs hospitalization.
  • However, mother should strictly follow the best possible sanitization measures including a double mask and physical distancing.

If a mother along with her children are COVID-19 positive

  • Keep the children with their mother, unless the mother is very sick and need hospitalization.
  • In infants, breastfeeding should be continued as much as possible.

If a child is positive for COVID-19 whereas his parents are tested negative

  • Parents should continue taking care of their children.
  • However, they should adhere to COVID-19 protocols such as wearing proper masks, gloves, etc.
  • COVID-19 positive children should be kept away from older individuals like grandparents.

Is there a category of children who are at risk of getting a severe illness from COVID-19 ?

Children with a pre-existing disease such as a heart, kidney or liver disease, or malignancies can be at a greater risk of getting a severe illness from COVID-19.

Parents need to be more vigilant if the child has obesity, diabetes, asthma or chronic lung disease, sickle cell disease, or immunosuppression.

If my child has a fever, is there a method to know whether it is COVID-19 or flu ?

It is difficult to know whether your child is infected with COVID-19 or having a common cold/fever. You need a laboratory test to confirm the diagnosis.

When should I get my child to undertake a test for COVID-19 ?

Get your child tested for COVID-19, if:

  • If your child has been in close contact with a COVID-19 positive person.
  • If your child was in contact with a positive person, however, does not show any symptom. Watch for symptoms until 14 days after the initial contact, if your child develops symptoms within this duration, get him tested for COVID-19.
  • Get your child tested if he is showing any of the COVID-19 symptoms, but you are unsure about the contact history.

Book an RT-PCR test from home.

Always seek your doctor’s advice for children who show any of the COVID-19 symptoms.

What are the measures needed to be taken, if my child tests positive for COVID-19 ?

  • Isolate your child at home.
  • Record temperature and oxygen saturation with a pulse oximeter at home, every six hours.
  • If the temperature is more than 1000 F, you can do tepid sponging with tap water. Administer syrup or tablet paracetamol, as advised by your doctor.
  • Follow good hand hygiene practices like regular handwashing with soap.
  • Strictly adhere to personal protective measures for yourself and your child. You and your child should wear a surgical mask and change it after eight hours of continuous wear.
  • Give your child a light home-cooked diet and keep them well hydrated.
  • You may give vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc to boost overall health and immunity. However, always take medical advice before giving any medicine.
  • Always check for danger signs, if present, seek urgent medical advice.

What are the danger signs and symptoms to watch in children with COVID-19 at home?

Be watchful for the following five symptoms:

1. High fever that lasts more than three days

2. Reduced oral intake by the child

3. Child becoming lethargic

4. Increasing respiratory rate

5. Drop of oxygen saturation below 93 percent at home. Consult your doctor immediately or take him to the emergency department, if your child is showing any of the above symptoms.

Do not panic and take the best care of your kids.

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Internet addiction disorder

Find yourself distracted and restless to check your smartphone while being in an office meeting? Cannot sleep without moving to the next level of your current favorite online game? Well, it might be Internet Addiction Disorder. It refers to an excessive, problematic, compulsive use of the internet. It is a growing problem in today’s time, affecting adolescents and adults likewise. 

How does Internet addiction affect you?

It might not appear as a grave concern at first but eventually the ill effects become quite prominent as they begin impacting your day-to-day life:

Reduces your ability to concentrate and think deeply or creatively:

The persistent pings or notifications of your smartphone can distract while you are trying to focus on important tasks, impede your work, and interfere with those quiet moments that are quintessential to creative thinking.

Precipitates loneliness and depression:

You may feel quite engaged and lost in yourself while being online, but the overuse ultimately results in negative feelings such as loneliness and depression. You may be trying to kill the boredom with the internet, but it can actually make you feel even worse due to feeling guilty of wasting your time on useless stuff.
Also, social media predisposes users, especially teens, to compare their life and experiences unfavorably with their peers, that promotes feelings of failure, loneliness and depression.

Fuels anxiety and reduces me- time:

One study has found that compulsive use of smartphones tends to make people more anxious and perform poorly on assigned tasks. The heavier a person’s phone use, the less time one gets for self-care.

Linger on the Internet for hours and end up having guilt? Make a healthy use of this “online” time and book yourself a comprehensive health checkup. Book here.  

Increases stress:

You may have FOMO (fear of missing out) if you miss out on that one buzz!  You may feel pressured to always be online and continually checking and responding to pings. This habit can lead to higher stress levels and even burnout in the long run.

Interrupts your sleep:

Overuse of smartphones is a well-known culprit to disrupt your sleep. It can impact your memory, metabolism, energy levels, and reduce your cognitive and learning skills.

Can give withdrawal symptoms just like any other addiction:

When you try to cut back on your smartphone use, it is not unlikely to get restless, angry or irritable, sleep deprived and anxious

Change your internet use, one step at a time

Unlike other substance addiction, it is impossible and impractical to completely refrain from your smartphones and internet. It has become a part and parcel of life, so the trick is to modify your internet usage step by step and cut back to more healthy levels of use.

  1. Fix times when you cannot use your smartphone: Keep your phone out of your easy reach while you need to attend an important meeting or assignment. This applies to household work as well. Schedule internet use for certain free times of day, once you’ve completed an assignment or finished a chore.

  2. Do not sleep with your smartphones or tablets: Screens of digital devices emit blue light, which can disrupt your sleep. Do not use any screen 1-2 hours before you sleep. Turn your devices off or at least leave them in another room overnight. Forego eBooks on your phone or tablet at night and read directly from a book.

  3. Have alternative ways to fill the free time: Feeling bored? Use this time to nurture a hobby or cultivate a new hobby, meditate, read a book, or chat with friends in person. Use the free time to get indulged in healthier activities. This helps resist the urge to use the internet.

  4. Remove unnecessary, social media / shopping / gaming apps from your phone: It is okay to keep some apps to serve your needs. But it is not important to have numerous apps that are just there to eat your time away. If you find yourself compulsively checking social media apps, challenge yourself and stray away from opening them for some specified time period or a day. Remember what you see of others on social media is hardly a reflection of their lives- it is merely exaggerating the happy aspects of their lives, and brushing over the disappointments. Instead, speak to an elderly or a friend about any issues you might be facing. Have a sense of self-worth.

  5. Make use of technology to beat technology: there are various apps that can automatically limit when you’re able to access your phone. Even smartphones are coming with features to avoid internet addiction. Make use of such useful features.

  6. Cull your fear of missing out: It is okay to miss out on certain breaking news, or that new gossip. Accept that you were doing more meaningful stuff at those times.

  7. Seek help from mental health experts: If you think self-help is not enough to overcome the internet addiction disorder, consult an expert. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is an important modality for treatment of smartphone and Internet addiction. Nowadays, specialists offer digital detox programs to help you disconnect from digital media and stay connected with your inner self. Group therapy can also give you a moral boost in curbing your internet and phone use.

    An expert can also help you learn healthier ways of coping with negative feelings including depression, stress, or anxiety, or depression.

    Make sure to keep a check on your Internet use habits. Have a healthy mind and body- both online and offline!
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People who smoke tend to lose lives more than 10 years earlier than people who don’t.

Isn’t it alarming? Smokers are more susceptible to many life-threatening conditions, from cancer and lung disease to heart disease and diabetes.

Your best bet? Quit smoking and improve your health. For over 5 decades, health experts have linked smoking to lung cancer. Research continues to pinpoint more ways tobacco harms your health, from cancers to chronic diseases. How well do you take care of your health? Find out with our TruHealth package.

This is how smoking affects your body

Tobacco use affects almost every organ in your body. Smoking tobacco introduces not only nicotine but also more than 5,000 chemicals, including several carcinogenic (cancer-causing) chemicals, into your body. The damage caused by smoking can shorten your lifespan significantly. In fact, smoking is one of the leading causes of preventable death in India today.

In addition to its known cancer risks, smoking also causes many other chronic health problems that need ongoing care. Specific smoking-related problems that need treatment include:

  • Decreased HDL (good) cholesterol and increased blood pressure (increasing risk of heart attack and stroke)
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Lower oxygen to the heart and other tissues in the body (increasing risks for coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease, and diabetes)
  • Frequent occurrence of routine illnesses like colds, especially in children living with smokers
  • Poor lung function (ability to get enough oxygen) leading to asthma, bronchitis, or emphysema

How are health problems from smoking diagnosed?

Diagnosis depends on your specific symptoms. For people who smoke, their healthcare provider will ask for details about their tobacco use, physically examine them and can ask for various lab tests and scans to assess their health.

Certain tests can detect and/or measure nicotine and its primary breakdown product (metabolite) cotinine in the blood, urine, saliva, or hair.

7 Medical tests that every smoker must get done:

1.Chest X ray: This test is a must for every smoker. A chest X ray can help the pathologists measure the damage that has happened to your lungs so far. Besides, it also helps to gain information about the health of the heart. The X-ray provides a photo-like image of your lungs and heart and helps in detecting any blood vessel problems caused due to smoking such as blocked arteries and other lung cancer related diseases which are more susceptible in smoker’s lungs.

2. Spirometry: This is one of the most important tests for smokers. Spirometry is a specific kind of breathing test which should be done along with a chest X-ray. This primary test is generally done to measure how effectively your lungs function, and therefore to rule out any possibility of lung cancer, lung fibrosis, esophaegal cancer and other interstitial lung diseases. Also known as the PFT test (pulmonary function test), this simple breathing test involves the patient blowing or inhaling into a machine to determine how much air is moving in and out of your lungs. It is best to avoid taking this test if you have recently had any heart or chest surgery.

3. CT Scan: Low-dose computed tomography, or CT scan helps to detect major issues like lung cancer. Chain smokers should never miss getting a CT scan done, as it provides better diagnostic images, allowing doctors to detect problems, such as lung cancer, in earlier stages than with plain X-rays. Diagnosing lung cancer early can save lives, because surgery is often still possible in the early stages. People with stage 1 lung cancers have a 60%-70% survival rate five years after the surgery compared to survival rate of only 5%-30% in later stages.

4. High-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) test: This is a blood test that finds lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP and measures general levels of inflammation in your body. The hs-CRP test can be particularly used to find the risk for heart disease and stroke in people who don’t already have a heart disease. Studies have reported a direct association between elevated levels of CRP and cigarette smoking. In fact, as per a research paper, smokers developed heart disease at a lower hs-CRP level compared with the nonsmokers.

5. Electrocardiogram: Substances such as carbon monoxide in tobacco bind with the haemoglobin in the RBC (Red blood cells) thereby preventing blood from entering your heart. This disrupts the regular functioning of your heart and may also result in clogging blood vessels and blocking arteries. Electrocardiogram or ECG may help health professionals detect any complications in a smoker’s heart. The ECG tests the regularity and speed of your heart beat and helps in detecting any possible problems at an earlier stage.

6. Diabetes screening: Smoking makes your body more resistant to insulin leading to higher levels of blood sugar. Smokers generally have a high risk of getting type 2 diabetes which may be the underlying cause for several other problems such as heart and kidney diseases. This is the reason why a diabetes screening test is also a must.

7. Vitamin D Blood test: If you are over 40 years of age and are a smoker, then you must go for this test. As a matter of fact, most smokers generally have a low amount of Vitamin D in blood.

When you quit, benefits happen almost immediately

Smoking cessation is bound to improve your health at any age. Years of smoking damage can reverse with time. This is how the timeline of quitting smoking looks like: 

  • After 20 minutes, your blood pressure and heart rate drop, and the temperature of your hands and feet increases
  • After eight hours, your blood will contain lower levels of carbon monoxide and higher levels of oxygen
  • After 24 hours, your risk of heart attack decreases
  • After 48 hours, your nerve endings adjust to the absence of nicotine, and you begin to regain your ability to taste and smell
  • After one to three months, your circulation improves, and you can tolerate more exercise
  • After about nine months, your overall energy level increases, and you cough less. Plus, sinus congestion, fatigue and shortness of breath also decrease
  • After one year, your risk of heart disease curtails to half compared to a current smoker
  • After 10 years, your risk of dying from lung cancer drops to almost the same rate as a lifelong nonsmoker. Plus, you decrease the risk of other forms of cancer

The best way to avoid getting sick from smoking is to never start. If you do smoke, quitting as soon as possible can prevent or reverse health problems. Also, keep track of your health numbers to detect a health issue well within time.

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In 2020, there were 2.3 million women diagnosed with breast cancer and 685,000 deaths worldwide. What is more worrisome is that the incidence is alarmingly increasing globally.

After skin cancer, breast cancer has been cited as the most common cancer diagnosed in women across the world. Breast cancer can occur in both men and women, but it’s far more common in women.

Women are better multitaskers than men, say studies. However, “the multitasker” needs to take care of her health too. Book a TruHealth Package today- specially designed for women.

Breast cancer awareness: The need of the hour

Breast cancer can begin in different parts of the breast. A breast is made up of three main parts: lobules, ducts, and connective tissue. The lobules are the glands that produce milk. The ducts are tubes that carry milk to the nipple. The connective tissue (which consists of fibrous and fatty tissue) surrounds and holds everything together. Most breast cancers begin in the ducts or lobules. Breast cancer can spread outside the breast through blood vessels and lymph vessels. When breast cancer spreads to other parts of the body, it is said to have metastasized.

Breast cancer symptoms

Though the symptoms can vary to some extent from person to person, and not all women experience all the symptoms, the most common symptoms of breast cancer include:  

  • Skin changes, such as swelling, redness, or other visible differences in one or both breasts
  • A lump or an increase in size or change in shape of the breast(s)
  • Discharge other than breast milk from nipples
  • Pain or ulceration in/on any part of the breast along with lumps or nodes felt on or
    inside of the breast

A study has reported that women aging above 40 with high cholesterol were 45% less likely to develop breast cancer than those without high cholesterol. Track your cholesterol levels from time to time.

What can you do to keep yourself safe from breast cancer?

A breast self-exam is a simple check-up which women can do at home to look for changes or problems in their breast. This method requires a woman to look at herself and feel each breast for possible lumps, distortions or swelling. With medical awareness being what it is today, many women around the world feel that doing this is important for their health.

When to do a breast self-exam?

The best time to do a breast self-exam is about 3 to 5 days after your period starts as breasts are not as tender or lumpy at this time of your monthly cycle. If you are pregnant, never had a period, no longer have periods or your period cycle is irregular, choose a specific day each month to perform your self-check. After menopause, try to do this on the same day every month. To prepare for your breast self-test, you can ask your doctor for a demonstration or seek support following the below given steps.

Steps to be followed while doing a breast self-examination

Step 1

Undress from the waist up and stand straight with your hands on your waist in front of a large mirror in a well lighted room. Observe your breasts; they might not be equal in size or shape and that’s perfectly okay. For most women that’s the case. Take your time and look for any changes in shape, size or position, or any change in skin around it. Check if there is any puckering, dimpling, sores or discoloration. The first time you do this, you might not notice anything but with regular examination you will soon know if there are any changes. If you notice any change, bulging of the skin, visible distortion or swelling, you should bring it to the notice of your doctor.

Check your nipples, examine them carefully for any sores, peeling or change in their direction- a nipple that has changed position or has redness, rash or swelling.

Strep 2

Raise your arms high and look for the same changes in the mirror. See if there is any sign of fluid coming out of any nipple, it can be watery, milky or yellowish fluid or even blood.

Step 3

Lie down on a bed and then touch your left breast with your right hand and vice versa. With the fingertip pads of your hand check your breast using a firm smooth circular motion. Examine the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side- from your collar bone to the top of your abdomen, from your armpit to your cleavage. Follow a pattern so as to cover the whole breast area. Start from the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast.

Or as more women prefer, you can also move your finger pads up and down vertically, in rows like while you are mowing a lawn. Be sure to check all the tissues from the front to the back of your breast.

Step 4

Now feel your breasts while standing or sitting. You can even do this while your skin is wet and slippery in the shower. It’s a fact that many women prefer doing it in the shower. Cover your entire breast, using the same movements described in the previous step.

When you are self-examining yourself, do not panic if you feel a lump in your breast or other breast changes. There can be a number of causes behind this. It might be due to hormonal changes, a benign breast condition or an injury. On first self-examination many women might find lumps or lumpy areas in their breast but these are common amongst most women and they are not all cancerous. Moreover, many times, changes and lumps disappear automatically over a period of time. But if it persists for a long duration it’s better to consult a doctor and clear any doubts.

The more you examine your breasts the more you learn about them

And the easier it becomes for you to find any changes in them. Breast awareness is sometimes considered as an informal alternative to breast self-examination. Form a habit of doing a self-examination once a month so that you become familiar with how your breasts normally feel and look. Your goal is to get used to the feel of your breasts which will help you to detect any changes in them over a period of time. There are many conditions that can cause changes in your breast, cancer alone might not be the reason. But if you become familiar with your breast type, then it significantly increases the chances of discovering any lump formation or changes which might be the first sign of breast cancer.

Breast Cancer screening

It is believed that regularly examining your breasts on your own can be an important way to detect cancer early and get proper treatment. But at the same time one should not depend only on self-exam to rule out cancer. No single test can detect all breast cancer early but breast cancer organisations believe that performing a breast self-exam along with other screening methods can increase the odds of early detection. Regular physical examination by a doctor, mammography and if necessary ultrasound or MRI; all or any might be needed.

Apart from breast self-examination, your doctor might do a breast exam and refer to certain imaging tests to learn more about your breast.

  • Mammogram. This detailed X-ray gives doctors a better view of lumps and other problems.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This body scan helps create detailed images of the insides of your breasts.
  • Biopsy. For this test, the doctor removes tissue or fluid from your breast and looks at it under a microscope to check for cancer cells and, if they’re there, learn which type they are. Common procedures include:
    • Fine-needle aspiration
    • Core-needle biopsy
    • Surgical (open) biopsy
    • Lymph node biopsy
    • Image-guided biopsy

Breast self-exam is the most convenient no-cost tool that one can use regularly anytime and at any age. It is recommended that all women who are at an average risk or have a family history of cancer, perform breast self-exam as part of their overall breast cancer screening strategy.

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What is Prothrombin Test?

The prothrombin time (PT) along with its derived measures of prothrombin ratio and international normalized ratio (INR) is used to measure the time taken by your blood plasma to clot. This blood test is also called protime INR and PT/INR. The normal range of this test is 12-13 sec, which indicates a normal amount of clotting proteins in the blood.

Besides its ability to detect the clotting tendency of blood, PT test can also be used to monitor patients who are being treated with the blood-thinners or anticoagulants.

Book a home sample collection for your PT test here.

Its importance has been further highlighted in the era of the COVID-19 pandemic. Various studies have established that PT is a strong indicator in predicting death rate in patients infected with COVID-19. Monitoring of PT in these patients can prevent thrombotic complications such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT), cardiovascular diseases (CVD) resulting from coagulation disorders.

What does a Prothrombin test detect?

In case of an injury or cut, or injury to blood vessels, the body starts to immediately act and cells and platelets collect at the site of the wound. These cells try to slow down the bleeding by creating a temporary plug. Further, in order to produce a strong blood clot, a series of plasma proteins called clotting or coagulation factors act together to produce fibrin, which seals the wound and healing starts. Among these coagulation factors, prothrombin, also known as factor II, is vital to the clotting process.

Prothrombin time is an important test to detect whether five different blood clotting factors including factors I, II, V, VII, and X are present and working well together.

When do you need a Prothrombin time test?

Your doctor can ask you to undergo PT, if you have following symptoms:

  • If you bleed or bruise easily
  • If you have blood in your urine
  • If you develop unexplained blood clots
  • If your gums bleed easily
  • If you have unexplained heavy menstrual bleeding
  • If you have unexplained nosebleeds
  • If you develop frequent swelling or pain in your joints.

Your healthcare provider can also tell you to take this test regularly, if you are taking the blood-thinning medication or warfarin, so as to confirm that you’re not taking too much medication which can cause excessive bleeding.

What is the purpose of the Prothrombin Test?

The test can be used to diagnose inherited disorders and other conditions influencing blood clotting, including:

  • Vitamin K deficiency
  • Deficiency in clotting factor I, II, V, VII, or X
  • Diseases of the liver
  • Hemophilia
  • Diseases involving bone marrow
  • Von Willebrand disease
  • Diseases with immune system
  • Cancer, including leukemia.

How is the Prothrombin Test performed?

Prothrombin test usually takes less than five minutes and is done by taking a blood sample from your vein. A needle is inserted into the vein of your arm, and a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may experience a little sting when the needle goes in or out.

What are the precautions taken before taking Prothrombin Test?

You do not need any preparation before preparing for this test, as you are not needed to fast before a PT.

However, certain food items such as liver, broccoli, chickpeas, green tea, kale, turnip greens, and foods made from soy might affect your results. Consult your doctor for more clarity.

Moreover, few medicines that help prevent blood clots can also affect your test results, which include:

  • Warfarin
  • Aspirin
  • Heparin
  • Other blood thinners like direct thrombin inhibitors and factor Xa inhibitors.

Other medicines such as steroids, antibiotics, estrogen medicines, antacids, nutritional supplements can also affect your lab results.

Do not reduce the dose or stop any medication without consulting your healthcare provider.

Are there any risks associated with the test?

There is very little risk associated with PT. Some people may experience mild symptoms, most of which disappear quickly. Some of them are:

  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Bleeding or bruising at the site of puncture
  • Infection.

However, if you have a bleeding disorder, you might be at increased risk for excessive bleeding and hematoma.

What do the results of the Prothrombin Test mean?

Prothrombin test results can alter according to your age, gender, medical history, and the method used for the test.

If you are not taking any blood-thinning medicines

Blood plasma typically takes between 11 and 13.5 seconds to clot. The results of PT are generally reported as an INR and normal range for a person is 0.9 to about 1.1.

If your INR or PT results were not normal, it signifies following conditions:

  • A bleeding disorder
  • A clotting disorder
  • Liver disease
  • Vitamin K deficiency.

If you are taking blood-thinning medication or warfarin

INR is usually between 2 and 3.5 as blood thinner increases the clotting time.

  • If INR levels are high, it indicates risk for dangerous bleeding.
  • If INR levels are low, it indicates the risk for dangerous blood clots.

To summarize

Prothrombin test is a crucial test to diagnose clotting time of blood plasma. It has gained a lot of importance in the current COVID-19 scenario as the majority of these patients are at risk of abnormal coagulation/clotting.  Several studies have validated that abnormal levels of PT is associated with worsening of illness and ultimately death. Therefore, performing PT in these patients can diagnose the problems associated with clotting and prevent further complications like DVT and CVD.

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A heart attack also called myocardial infarction is a serious medical emergency in which the blood supply that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off and the heart muscle begins to suffer damage or start to die. It often results from a blockage in the coronary arteries that feed the heart. The lack of blood supply can cause lasting damage to the heart muscle and can be life threatening.

Heart attack vs cardiac arrest

A heart attack is different from cardiac arrest. In the latter, the heart stops working completely and suddenly stops pumping blood around your body. Both are medical emergencies.

What causes a heart attack?

Coronary heart disease, the leading cause of heart attacks, is a condition in which one or more coronary arteries become narrowed or blocked. The blockage is most often a buildup of fat, cholesterol, calcium, proteins, and inflammatory cells, which form a plaque in the walls of arteries. One of the plaques can rupture, forming a blood clot at the site of the rupture. This blood clot can starve the heart muscle of oxygen by blocking the blood flow through arteries, resulting in a heart attack.

Risk factors like smoking, a high-fat diet, diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension and obesity can increase your risk of developing coronary heart disease.

People aged 65 or older usually have a higher risk than young adults to get a heart attack.
Make sure to check your health parameters regularly. Book TruHealth Senior Package here.

A spasm in your coronary artery is another rare cause of heart attacks. During coronary spasm, your arteries restrict or shut down blood flow to part of the heart muscle. Use of tobacco and stimulants such as cocaine can cause a life-threatening spasm.

Symptoms of heart attack

Some people who are having a heart attack have warning signs or symptoms while others show no signs at all. Symptoms of a heart attack that many people report include:

  • Chest pain
  • Pain in upper body
  • Feeling lightheaded
  • Sweating
  • Trouble breathing
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • An overwhelming sense of anxiety

Sleep disturbances, weakness, extreme shortness of breath, indigestion, body aches or discomfort in the back or upper body, a general feeling of being unwell are some atypical heart attack symptoms in females that can occur with or without chest discomfort. Recognizing these early symptoms and seeking immediate medical attention is crucial to save a person’s life.

How can one reduce risk of heart attack?

Adopting a healthier lifestyle is the most effective way to prevent having a heart attack. Lifestyle changes you can make to help prevent a heart attack are:

  • Eat a healthy diet
  • Quit smoking
  • Limit alcohol
  • Control your blood pressure
  • Control your cholesterol and triglyceride levels
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Manage diabetes
  • Manage stress
  • Get regular exercise
  • Get enough sleep

Treatment of heart attack

Diagnosis and treatment of heart attack might be complex and different depending on which type of heart blockage you’ve had. A complete blockage means you’ve had an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) and a partial blockage means you’ve had a non-ST elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI).Treatments differ for STEMI versus NSTEMI, although there can be some overlap.

If you have a STEMI, the most serious form of heart attack, get immediate medical assessment and treatment. It is important to get prompt treatment, to unblock your coronary arteries restoring blood flow to part of the heart muscle and minimizing the heart muscle damage. Treatment may involve different techniques like use of clot-dissolving drugs (thrombolysis), coronary angioplasty (percutaneous coronary intervention) or a bypass surgery depending on when your symptoms started and how soon you can access the treatment. Coronary angiography is done first to assess your suitability for coronary angioplasty.

Coronary angioplasty and stenting: In this procedure, also known as percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI), doctors guide a long, thin tube with a sausage-shape balloon at the end (catheter) through an artery in your groin or arm to a blocked artery in your heart. Once the catheter is in position, the balloon is inflated to open a blocked coronary artery and restore blood flow. A flexible metal mesh stent almost always is inserted into the artery to help keep it open afterwards.

You may also be given blood-thinning medicines, such as low-dose aspirin, to prevent further clots from forming. You may need to continue taking these medicines for some time after angioplasty. In some cases, coronary angioplasty may not be technically possible. In such circumstances, coronary artery bypass surgery may be considered as an alternative operation.

Coronary artery bypass surgery:  It involves taking a healthy blood vessel from another part of your body, usually your chest, arm or leg and sewing it to the coronary artery above and below the narrowed or blocked area, allowing blood flow to the heart to bypass the narrowed section.

You’ll likely remain hospitalized for several days after blood flow to your heart is restored and your condition is stable.

If you have the less serious types of heart attack (NSTEMI), blood-thinning drugs (antiplatelet agents and anticoagulants) are usually recommended to inhibit blood clot formation.

The drugs used to break down blood clots, known as thrombolytics or fibrinolytics, are usually given by injection.

In some cases, further treatment with angioplasty or bypass surgery may also be recommended in cases of NSTEMI or unstable angina, after initial treatment with various drugs.

Be aware but don’t panic

Having a heart attack is a frightening experience. A heart attack can be life threatening and requires immediate medical treatment. If anyone has symptoms of a heart attack, access medical care at once. With immediate medical attention, there is often a good chance of a positive outcome.

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