We are what we eat

In wake of this, it is important that we choose wisely and eat food that helps boost our immunity, fight infection and keeps us healthy and fit. With the ongoing pandemic and rise in the number of cases yet again, we need to make sure our immune system is strong and ready to fight off pathogens such as virus, bacteria, or any other foreign particle that can have an adverse reaction on our health. As a response to these pathogens, the immune system releases antibodies that attack and kill these particles, but for the system to be strong, one has to incorporate the right food and diet that will help it strengthen. One way in which we can ensure to maintain good health and well being is to make sure we are taking enough immune boosting nutrients through our daily diet.

Along with diet, make sure to keep a check on your vital health numbers. Book a preventive health check up here.

Here are a few immunity boosting food, straight from the kitchen that will keep the immune system strong and help prevent frequent illnesses-

1. Yogurt: This can be a good source of vitamin D, and also contains probiotics that helps regulate the immune system and prepares our body to fight against diseases. In general, avoid flavoured ones, and instead go for homemade yogurts, adding seasonal fruits or even honey to make it sweet and at the same time, nutritious and healthy.

2. Turmeric (Haldi): Turmeric, found in every household’s kitchen, contains curcumin that is found to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. The bright yellow coloured powdered spice has since ages been used to treat wounds, acnes etc. It promises itself as an immune booster that can help keep diseases at bay. We often find ourselves consuming haldi in curries, and other day-to-day food, keeping in check, this goes inside our bodies and improves immune response needed.

3. Garlic: A staple found in almost every household, garlic not only adds flavour to the food, but is also an excellent source to boost immunity. Eating it in its raw form can work wonders for the body. It contains sulphur compounds such as allicin, and is a must have food for healthy keeping. It produces T-cells that can reduce the amount of stress hormones, thus proving a boon for the immune system either way.

4. Ginger: People often turn to hot ginger tea when they feel under the weather; it helps decrease inflammation, nausea, sore throat etc. One might love it when it’s added in food or dessert or drinks, for the flavour, but unknowingly, it also works as a good source of antioxidants.

5. Spinach: A leafy vegetable, rich in vitamin C, spinach is at its best when cooked little, so that the nutrients remain intact. This is a powerhouse in itself, with not just vitamin C present, but also several antioxidants and flavonoids, vitamin E and beta carotene, that are both capable of enhancing the infection fighting ability of the immune system.

6. Papaya: With the richness of vitamin C, this is a fruit enough to get the daily recommended amount of vitamins. Along with vitamins, it has potassium, magnesium, folate etc. which are all essential and beneficial for keeping the immune system in check. The fruit has a digestive enzyme, papain, which contains anti-inflammatory properties too. All in all, a bowl of papaya in your breakfast can do wonders to keep immunity strong.

As per a few studies, vitamin D has got some role in regulating the immune system. Check out if you have enough vitamin D levels in your body with a simple blood test.

7. Tea: Another most common thing found in every household, with consumption levels approx 2-3 times a day in any house. This has disease fighting polyphenols and flavonoids, antioxidants responsible for destroying cell damaging free radicals. Whether it is black tea or green, in fact green tea has high levels of epigallocatechin gallate aka EGCG, that is a powerful antioxidant to boost the immune system working. Make sure to avoid high sugar content in your tea.

8. Citrus food: Highly rich in vitamin C, responsible for increasing the production of white blood cells, citrus foods like oranges help keep the immune system strong, by fighting infections. One should include fruits like grapefruits, oranges, lemons etc. in their diet, to maintain the daily requirement of vitamin C. During Covid outbreak, people have been subscribed to tablets for keeping vitamin C in check as well.

9. Nuts: Nuts like almonds and walnuts are a powerful source of vitamin and healthy fats. They are another key to building a healthy immune system. They also contain manganese, magnesium and fibre, making for a healthy munching on the go snack. Soak them overnight, to have them the next morning, or have them in their raw form, however you like it.

Apart from these easily available kitchen foods, there are a lot of other food items such as dark chocolate, berries, mushrooms, oysters etc. that help strengthen the immune system and improve its ability to fight infections. Our immune system is complex, it needs the right amount of care and handling to make sure it functions well and prevents colds, coughs, and other illnesses. Exercising, drinking plenty of liquids, getting adequate sleep, meditation etc. are some lifestyle changes which when accompanied with the right choice of food, can make the immune system stronger.

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We often tend to undermine how important an organ our liver is. It is responsible for filtering the blood of the body and removing toxins, fats, carbs, sugar etc. from whatever food goes inside our bodies. In fact, it is the largest internal organ of the body. Performing important functions like digestion, metabolism, acting as a storehouse for nutrients, basically working round the clock, your liver needs an adequate amount of care, to function optimally, digest food and get rid of harmful toxins.

Want a healthy liver? Follow these tips:

The good habits:

1. Live an active lifestyle:

Brisk walking, swimming, jogging, taking up any sport etc. helps keep the liver young and healthy. It decreases the stress on the liver, and also prevents obesity, which can affect the liver adversely. When you get in the habit of exercising, it burns triglycerides for fuel, thereby reducing liver fat and letting it perform at its best.

2. Watch you sugar intake:

Eating too much sugary food, can lead to the body developing insulin resistance, and causing abnormally high blood sugar levels for diabetes. Sugar has a direct impact on the liver. Avoid sugar in the form of fructose, artificial sweeteners etc. to satisfy the sugar craving, instead choose natural sweeteners in the form of fruits, coconut, or go for sugarcane juice that is both healthy and provides energy too.

3. Get vaccinated:

Hepatitis A and B, are both viral liver infections that can be prevented with proper vaccinations. While hepatitis A can be caused due to contaminated seafood, polluted water, stale food etc. Hepatitis B can be due to unsafe sex, contaminated blood or needles etc. One must get themselves vaccinated against these, to avoid adverse effects on the functioning of the liver.

4. Get rid of that extra fat:

Non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a consequence of not keeping the body weight in control and being obese. It is also referred to as the silent epidemic, caused by extra fat building up in the liver, this can be the cause of non alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which if not taken seriously can lead to liver damage or in some extreme cases liver cancer as well.

The Bad ones:

1. Not regularly checking on liver health:

While exercising and a balanced diet can go a long way in keeping the liver healthy, it is important to know how well your liver is functioning. Schedule regular tests as advised by a doctor to check liver function.

2. Indulge in excessive drinking:

Occasional drinking or drinking in moderation is fine, for example, men should limit themselves to 2 drinks while women to 1 glass of drink per day only. It’s best if consumed alongside food as compared to drinking alone or on an empty stomach. Because when we consume alcoholic beverages, it gets converted to acetaldehyde, a chemical that is structurally similar to formaldehyde. This can lead to liver inflammation or even permanent damage to liver cells.

3. Ignoring hydration:

Drinking enough water cannot be stressed enough. It is good not only for the liver but also for the well functioning of the whole body. Taking sufficient fluids helps flush the toxins and waste out of the body. In a well hydrated system, blood is thin comparatively, which makes it easy for the liver to filter the blood for removing waste. It is recommended to drink lots of water especially during the day, so that the liver does not have to overdo itself at night, and can also relax while you sleep!

4. Putting extra salt in food:

Too much consumption of salt can lead to an increase in blood pressure in the main artery of the liver. In today’s lifestyle, we just want to go for fast foods, processed foods or packed/ readymade food items which contain a lot of salt; their intake should be limited. For better food taste, one can go for different herbs and spices, and reduce salt intake, as it also affects weight loss.

Want to get your liver health checked? Book your test here.

One should visit a doctor, to find out the right cause and severity of liver damage or for regular health checkups for the liver as well. Your doctor would suggest going for blood tests for knowing any genetic relation or liver problems or the liver function tests to check for any particular liver related disease; a liver biopsy if needed, to look out for signs of liver damage or even imaging tests like a CT scan or MRI.

There are a lot of other factors that can affect the liver, such as getting a good night’s sleep, avoiding smoking, consuming less fast food, being careful if taking painkillers or other drugs, as they can also significantly cause damage to the liver etc. Implementing the good habits and gradually getting rid of the bad ones, can prove beneficial for the liver, considering the vital functions it performs, it is essential we take proper care of it, especially considering our stressful and busy lives.

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All of us wish to go back to our youthful, young selves again. With every passing day, we keep losing some of that youthfulness. Like other organs, our skin is a living organ that gradually changes over time. Unknowingly, everyday, we indulge in habits that make our skin suffer, thereafter aging it in the process. Our eating habits, our lifestyle or even the way we clean and wash our face, it all reflects in making us seem older than we actually are. Moreover, the changes in humidity and temperature in the winter can impact your skin and add to skin woes or cause skin aging-related changes to become more prominent.

Doctors prescribe certain small skin care changes that can help the skin look healthy and young. While there is not much we do for intrinsic aging that primarily occurs due to genetic changes, we can reduce premature skin aging as a result of environmental changes or our everyday lifestyle choices, also known as extrinsic aging.

Here are some expert approved dos and don’ts, which no matter your physical age, will always make your skin feel energetic and young:

Wear sun protection:

Be it a high SPF sunscreen or Sun protective clothing etc. one should always protect the skin from the harmful UV rays. If you are stepping out in the Sun, make it a routine to wear at least 30 SPF waterproof sun lotion, in areas not covered by the clothes. If you are running errands on a sunny day, carry an umbrella, wear a hat, or opt for some lightweight cotton and breathable fabric to cover yourself.

Make Vitamin A a part of your skin care routine:

As we age, our skin loses collagen, which is a protein behind keeping the skin smooth and lifted. When that happens, it leads to making our skin look creased and dull. Doctors recommend using retinoid, one of the easier ways to have a wrinkle free skin, though people with sensitive skin might find it irritable, but for others it can work wonders and defend against wrinkles. Retinol is a form of Vitamin A that not only helps with wrinkles, but also keeps dark spots, uneven skin tone and fine lines at bay. Have plenty of vitamin A rich foods like carrots, tomatoes, other orange and yellow vegetables.

Do you have enough vitamin A in your body to support a healthy skin? Find out with a simple test.

Keep yourself well hydrated:

Water is our skin’s best friend in every way possible. Drinking water regularly throughout the day can help keep the skin youthful looking and fresh with a healthy glow. The amount of water intake depends on the age and other activities, but not keeping oneself well hydrated can lead to wrinkles, dullness, dark spots and dryness on the skin. Always carry a water bottle with you whenever you step out of the house, and keep one on your work desk to keep reminding you to drink water regularly.

Quit smoking:

It speeds up the process of aging, leaving the skin dull, shallow and lifeless. It is anyway bad for health, because it also causes cancer and other health complications. When you smoke, it has an adverse effect on your skin, as with every puff, you are blocking the essential oxygen and nutrition that goes into your cells. Even for a person who smokes occasionally, the impact on the skin cannot be ignored.

Eat healthy:

Following a healthy and well balanced diet, with a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, helps with premature aging. Add food rich in Omega 3, such as fish, cod liver oil, chia seeds, walnuts etc. Include more antioxidants in your diet, like seasonal fruits, berries, red cabbage, beans or leafy vegetables. Eating healthy will make you look younger, illuminate your skin, help reduce fine lines and provide the skin hydration needed for better looks and functioning.

Watch your skin care routine:

Starting from face wash; use a gentle touch and formula; choose a wash that is not only gentle on your skin, but also helps fight free radicals and compounds that attack the skin cells, causing breakouts and acne. Avoid excessive and aggressive scrubbing, as it could accelerate aging. Just go for gentle washing, with hands moving in circular motion, to remove dirt, makeup etc. You must wash your face twice daily, if it sweats a lot, or if you are wearing a hat or helmet, make sure to cleanse it thoroughly. Make your skin look younger by ditching hot water and going for cold water for washing the face. It not only helps with hydration, but plumps up the skin as cold water closes the pores, thereby preventing dirt and other foreign substances from entering.

Exfoliate and moisturize:

Our skin removes dead cells every once in a while, to prevent dull looking skin with rough patches and to help remove the build-up of these cells, it is recommended to exfoliate the skin weekly at the most. After washing, apply moisturizer to minimize fine lines, prevent wrinkles and keep the skin lively and youthful, as it helps trap the water in the skin. For better results, one can also switch to richer face creams instead of the normal ones.

Opt for some exercise:

Exercising helps keep the body and skin young and energetic. It aids in the process of blood circulation and boosts the immune system. Sitting for hours, hogging on packaged and processed foods etc, can lead to weight gain, which also is a sign of aging. The belly fat, the fat underneath the chin, all portrays a false impression of your actual age, making you look older than you actually are.

Think work from home has reduced your physical activity significantly and may be affecting your health? Get a preventive test booked here.

While there can be many such reasons behind aging, it is never too late to start following these simple changes suggested by expert dermatologists; you can achieve a skin that glows, is healthy and beautiful looking, and one that defies age. If you find yourself with any aging symptoms, such as sunspots, hair loss, wrinkles before time, dull and sagging skin etc, talk to your dermatologist. They will help rule out the causes, check your family history and suggest better skin care routines, certain lifestyle changes etc. If you think these signs bother you, consult an expert and look out for solutions. But make sure to feel comfortable in your skin and accept the age changes positively as they come. 

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Luscious, silky and voluminous hair is every person’s desire. As with all other parts of the body that require nutrients to be healthy, the same goes for our hair as well. While there are certain other factors such as age, genes, hormonal effects etc. that can affect hair growth, taking the right vitamins and minerals goes a long way in keeping them healthy, shiny and growing.

Here, we take a quick look at the vitamins and minerals your body needs for those strong, shiny and voluminous hair:

Vitamins for hair volume

Vitamin A:

Your hair needs adequate vitamin A aka retinol for growth. It helps the skin glands produce an oily substance called the sebum that moisturizes the scalp, and keeps hair health in check, by also fighting off radicals that make your hair look flat and weighed down. You can include animal products like milk, eggs, cheese, yogurt, oily fish, or vegetables like carrots, spinach etc. in your diet as they are good sources of vitamin A.

Vitamin B:

Biotin is one of the best known vitamins that contribute to hair growth, deficiency of which can lead to hair loss. This can be found in a lot of foods, such as whole grains, leafy vegetables, fish, eggs, nuts etc. These help regulate the metabolism and are also useful in maintaining a healthy nervous system. There are other vitamins B which help create red blood cells that are responsible for carrying oxygen and nutrients to the scalp, thereby promoting healthy hair growth.

Vitamin E:

Vitamin E is an antioxidant. According to a small study, people with hair loss experienced about 34.5% increase in hair growth when their intake of vitamin E was regulated for 8 months. Foods such as spinach, almonds, plant oils such as rapeseed (vegetable oil), sunflower, soya, corn and olive oil and avocados are good sources of vitamin E, and should be eaten regularly to maintain the right amount of nutrients in the body. Tablets and other supplements are also available in the market for vitamin E, but opting for natural ways is a better remedy to prevent hair loss, as these can have adverse effects or can also lead to hair loss.

Vitamin C:

Collagen protein forms an important part of your hair and this vitamin helps form it. Free radicals can sometimes damage and block hair growth or make your hair look dull and aged, vitamin C comes as a powerful antioxidant that helps prevent the oxidative stress that these free radicals cause, and ensure the hair is growing, strong and healthy. Fruits like guavas, oranges, lemons, strawberries as well as peppers, broccoli, brussels sprouts and potatoes etc. are all great sources of vitamin C.

Minerals for hair volume:

Iron:

A condition called telogen effluvium where there is an excessive amount of hair loss experienced may be related to deficiency in iron. It is essential to make sure they take a diet rich in iron, and have adequate amounts of ferritin i.e. iron storage in the body maintained. Have leafy vegetables, beans such as red kidney beans and chickpeas, seafood etc., to make sure iron levels are sufficient to prevent hair fall and support luscious locks.

Zinc:

The dryness in the hair can also be attributed to lack of zinc in your diet. Without zinc, a hormonal imbalance can happen and result in the hair follicles to shrink. It is not only involved in testosterone metabolism but also helps in regulating oil production in the sebaceous glands in the scalp. Food like meat, legumes, nuts, baked beans, chickpeas, dark chocolate etc. can help with fulfilling zinc requirements.

Iodine:

We are always cautioned about taking the right amount of salt in our food; iodine is an important mineral that is required to make thyroid hormones. Any changes in the hormone can lead to the hair getting thin, losing their shine and ultimately having hair loss due to change in hair quality.

Selenium:

It is another antioxidant that clears toxins that can have an adverse effect on the hair growth and inhibit hair growth. The mineral is involved in hair formation and is needed by the body for regulating and activating thyroid hormones, imbalances in which can lead to hair fall. All these hormones and nutrients are in one way or the other related to each other and are responsible for giving our hair a healthy shine. Liver, fish, eggs, whole grains, meat, fish and nuts etc. can be consumed for selenium.

The blood and other body fluids have minerals that carry an electric charge. These are called electrolytes and perform many important functions in the body. Book electrolytes tests here.

If one is suffering from constant hair fall or hair loss, seeking a dermatological treatment is your best bet; it could be due to some disease, vitamin deficiency, any hormone imbalance, severe infection etc.

Your doctor would suggest going for a blood test or scalp biopsy. Depending on the cause, the doctor can recommend either at-home treatments, such as using minoxidil, laser caps or combs, or can recommend injections, hair transplant, PRP (platelet rich plasma) or laser therapy that truly depends on the degree of hair fall intensity.  Many people do not have enough of these vital nutrients in their daily diets, leading to deficiencies or having to take supplements for what can be available naturally.

Ultimately, healthy eating, exercising, living a stress free life can go a long way in helping curtail deficiencies of essential nutrients in the body that in turn reflect on your hair, resulting in their shine, volume and making them strong, promoting growth and reducing hair fall.

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Prolactin (or PRL) isn’t a term you’d necessarily come across in casual conversations, but it’s actually super important when you’re talking and thinking about fertility. If you’ve never heard of prolactin, don’t fret! Read on to know more.

What is prolactin?

Prolactin also known as PRL or Lactogenic hormone is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland, located just below the brain. It basically tells the body to produce breast milk when a woman is pregnant or breastfeeding. Prolactin is important for male reproductive health as well, it has got a role in testosterone secretion, which leads to sperm formation.

For females who have just delivered a baby, a rise in prolactin naturally results in milk production. Breastfeeding or pumping breast milk sends a signal to the brain to stimulate prolactin. The prolactin hormone helps milk glands in the breasts know when to produce milk.

Prolactin levels may need to be tested too

Certain conditions can warrant the need to measure how much of the Prolactin hormone is there in the blood. Changes in prolactin levels can happen in physiological conditions too. For example, when women are pregnant or have just given birth, they will have higher levels of prolactin making it easier for them to make breast milk. A Prolactin test can also sometimes reveal other issues caused by this hormone.

Book your Prolactin test with Metropolis and get world-class lab services.

Symptoms that can give clues about sufficient Prolactin levels may include:

In Women

– Pain and uneasiness during sex

– Unusual body and facial hair growth

– Lactation outside pregnancy or childbirth, what is known as galactorrhea

– Irregular or no periods

– Suffering from prolactinoma, i.e. having symptoms of a growth on the pituitary gland

In Men

– Reduced sex drive or other fertility problems

– Difficulty in getting an erection

– Suffering from prolactinoma

Sometimes there are common symptoms such as constant and unexplained headaches, or vision problems etc. in both men and women, which can also be taken as signs when a doctor might have a person tested for Prolactin levels. The test is a blood test done, since the level of the hormone keeps changing throughout the day, with it being the highest in the morning, doctors suggest, to go for a test approximately 3-4 hours after a person has woken up.

How to interpret the test results?

Normally, the range of Prolactin in the blood should be around 2-18 ng/mL in males, 2-29 ng/mL in females who are not pregnant or have given birth and around 10-209 ng/mL for pregnant females. 

Low to normal levels need not be tested and are not usually a cause of worry for both men and women. Low levels would mean that the pituitary gland is not functioning at its best, a condition known as hypopituitarism. Even if the level is somewhat outside or below the range, is not a cause of concern, as that could be due to certain medications, stress or having eaten something before the blood test is carried out. The Prolactin levels can also be high, which usually is the cause after pregnancy or during breast feeding mothers, to very high, of what is also known as hyperprolactinemia. High levels of Prolactin can also be due to pituitary tumor, for which a person might have to undergo MRI, surgery or can also be treated on certain medications. Medications such as some psychiatric drugs, drugs used to treat acid reflux or nausea for cancer or common stressors like low blood sugar, rigorous exercising, or physical activities, can also be the reason for high Prolactin levels.

Prolactin levels and their effects on fertility

If the prolactinoma tumors put pressure on the pituitary gland, this might lead to stoppage of estrogens or progesterone hormone production, leading to infertility, which is rare and farfetched. Low prolactin levels can tamper with periods, stop periods completely, reduce sex drive or cause vaginal dryness. If men on the other hand, have high levels of Prolactin, this might lead to erectile dysfunction and also low sex drive, sometimes loss of body hair is also a symptom.

Do not ignore any symptoms. Keep checking your health with our preventive packages. Book TruHealth Full Body Smart Women health checkup package here.

Get the right treatment for high levels of Prolactin

Seizures, lung cancer, stress due to prolonged illness, or trauma, can also be the reason behind high prolactin levels. Doctors would probably put the person on medication to treat high levels of Prolactin. If a person has prolactinoma, medication can help reduce the size of the tumor, if not; surgery is the solution to remove these tumors.

A few simpler ways as advised by your doctor to reduce high levels of Prolactin may include:

  • Dietary changes
  • Stopping rigorous workouts that burn you
  • Avoiding wearing clothes that over stimulate your nipples
  • Taking vitamin supplements (such as Vitamin B-6 or Vitamin E)         

To sum up, an endocrinologist can help with the right treatment needed based on the past history, ongoing medications etc, and will also guide on the dietary and lifestyle changes to be followed post treatment or surgery. There is also a condition known as idiopathic hyperprolactinemia, where there might be no specific or underlying cause for the high levels, and this goes away without much medical help or interference. It is to be noted that both Prolactinoma and Hyperprolactinemia are not life threatening, they might cause after or side effects post medication or surgery, but they gradually go away.

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As the temperature drops and winter starts settling in, it is common to experience seasonal flu and fever, however, this year winter seems to have knocked our doors quite early in most parts of the country. This changing weather brings along a wave of various infections ranging from uncomplicated ones to others posing serious threat to you and your family.

Many of the illnesses share fever as the common symptom. A right diagnosis forms the cornerstone of getting the right course of treatment and helps you recover early. Ensure to book a health test and get to know what is causing the high temperature.

This winter, get ready to access quality health testing with metropolis.

Seasonal change provides a fertile breeding season for certain harmful germs and vectors that spread diseases. Malaria and dengue are two such mosquito-borne diseases that keep us worried almost every year. As per the data available, India faces a huge burden of mosquito-borne diseases, contributing 34% of global dengue and 3% of global malaria cases.

While malaria and dengue share some common symptoms, there are certain fundamental differences too. Here, we are sharing some details around these conditions and how to know if your fever is due to malaria or dengue.

Malaria at glance

  • It is a life-threatening disease caused by plasmodium parasites, which are transmitted through the bite of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes
  • Although, it is preventable and curable, it accounted for approximately four lakh deaths in 2019, globally
  • Children aged under 5 years are the most susceptible group affected by malaria
  • Its transmission depends on climatic conditions with peaks during and just after the rainy season

Dengue at glance

  • It is a mosquito-borne viral disease transmitted by female mosquitoes mainly of the species Aedes aegypti
  • Dengue virus usually produces only mild flu-like illness. However, occasionally this develops a potentially lethal complication called dengue haemorrhagic fever
  • Dengue fever causes a drop of your white blood cells and platelet count, from 1.5-4 lakhs to as low as 20,000-40,000.
  • The Dengue virus can damage your bone marrow, which is the primary platelet-producing centre of the body and can also generate antibodies that cause destruction of the platelets. This results in a low platelet count.

Malaria and dengue: How are the symptoms different?

Malaria:

Symptoms usually appear 10–15 days after the infective mosquito bite, which can include:

  • High fever
  • Body ache
  • Moderate to severe chills
  • Fall in body temperature resulting in excessive sweating
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea.

Dengue:

Symptoms usually persist for 2–7 days, after an incubation period of 4–10 days after the bite from an infected mosquito. Dengue should be suspected when a high fever (40°C/104°F) is accompanied with two of the following symptoms:

  • Severe headache
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen glands
  • Rash.

What you must note
The similar symptoms of dengue and malaria include high fever, fatigue, and nausea, but some of the dengue symptoms stand out, such as:

  • Pain behind the eyes.
  • Swollen glands.
  • Rashes.

Any warning signs of severe dengue including vomiting, blood in vomitus or stool, belly pain, etc.

Diagnosis of malaria and dengue

Malaria tests look for parasites in the blood. They can be identified by examining a patient’s blood under the microscope, spread out as a “blood smear” on a microscopic slide. Book Malaria Smear Examination here.

Dengue profile is a lab test panel used to diagnose dengue fever. You must get a dengue profile done if you are experiencing symptoms of dengue. It is very common to confuse the mild dengue symptoms with a seasonal viral fever or other illnesses causing fever.

Suspecting dengue? Get Dengue NS1 antigen test done

Early detection of dengue is important for better clinical management to prevent advanced prescriptions and unnecessary hospitalization. Hence, a timely and accurate laboratory diagnosis is significant for prompt identification of dengue infection.

Book Dengue IgG and IgM antibody test here.

Practice a little extra care

Implementing a healthy lifestyle by improving hygienic living conditions can be a right precautionary step during this time of the year.

Follow these precautionary measures to prevent mosquito borne infections:

Prevention of mosquito breeding:

  • Don’t allow water to stagnate or collect anywhere in and around the house;
  • Domestic water storage containers such as coolers, buckets, etc. should be covered, emptied and cleaned on a weekly basis;
  • Dispose solid waste properly;
  • Maintain hygiene and wash your bathrooms regularly;
  • Properly use insecticides to treat water storage/outdoor containers.

Personal protection from mosquito bites:

  • Use personal household protection measures, like repellents, insecticide treated nets etc. These precautions must be implemented during the day both inside and outside of the home, as mostly mosquito bites throughout the day;
  • Wear clothes that reduce skin exposure to mosquitoes;
  • Sleep under an insecticide-treated net, which can reduce contact between mosquitoes and humans.
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symptoms of Omicron virus

Life in India has returned to near normalcy in the wake of low case counts and a steady vaccine drive. The country has been recording fewer than 10,000 new cases daily and has vaccinated nearly 80% of the 940 million eligible adults with at least one dose so far.

But yet another variant of the deadly coronavirus, found recently in parts of South Africa, has got the World into a frenzy again. With cities and states again posing stricter guidelines, halting the daily routine of the citizens, masks and sanitization are back in action. This new variant is termed as the Omicron, also tagged as B.1.1.529 and the World Health Organization has termed this as “variant of concern”. With the first case coming on 24th November, much research is still going on, with this virus, in order to understand it, and towards finding out its remedial measures, because the virus is said to have a large number of mutations, and thus the whole country is in fear of this new variant. With increasing cases in South Africa, the transmissibility is still yet to be confirmed, whether it is easily spread or whether the cases are due to the already prevalent virus categories. Studies are being conducted to get better data on the transmissible details from different sources.

Here’s some important information you need to know about the new Covid variant called Omicron

Omicron is the 13th variant and the latest of five ‘variants of concern’. The five current variants of concern include:

Alpha – B.1.1.7 – first detected in the UK

Beta – B.1.351 – first detected in South Africa

Gamma – P.1 – first detected in Brazil

Delta – B.1.617.2 – first detected in India

Omicron – B.1.1.529 – first detected in South Africa

Is the new variant a cause of grave concern?

The new variant is said to be heavily mutated; more than 30 mutations on the spike protein. According to researchers, this level of mutation has most likely come from immunocompromised individuals. The biggest concern that researchers have is that this virus is now radically different from the original one that emerged in Wuhan, China. We are yet to gather data on whether this variant could evade vaccine or natural immunity or have higher transmissibility. Having several mutations does not mean that the virus will be deadlier or more dangerous. Nevertheless, every variant would have the potential to impact the pandemic.

Omicron symptoms: What to look out for?

Though there are still studies and extensive research underway to find out if the symptoms associated with Omicron are any different from the earlier variants, and if so what are these new symptoms. Understanding these and the level of severity these have, might take some time, till then prevention is our only key solution. While the most common indicators remain fever, cough, excessive exhaustion and body aches, some also include breathlessness, chest pain, appetite loss, headaches, itchy throat etc. Some experts have suggested that Omicron may not cause much cold-like symptoms as in the Delta variant. Though cases have been mild and not reported any deaths, it still is not clear if Omicron will be as severe in comparison.

Do not delay COVID testing if you get to notice any symptoms. The virus is still there and we need to be cautious. Book your RT-PCR here.

Does the Omicron variant spread faster than the Delta variant? Can it cause a third wave too?

It has been seen that the Omicron can spread faster than the previous Delta variants but enough data is not available to confirm this. The emergence of a new possibly more infectious variant has also raised the spectre of a third wave – a frightening prospect given how the second wave devastated India in the months of April and May as hospitals ran out of beds, oxygen and medicines. We need to be vigilant about the situation and watch out for our actions.

Is the current RT-PCR test effective?

As for the PCR tests that are being done, these continue to be able to detect this new infection just like the previous ones. In fact, unlike other variants, the RT-PCR test shall be able to give clues about Omicron infection even before genome sequencing.  

Do not ignore testing if you see any unusual symptoms and have an international travel history. Get tested with Metropolis.

Are the existing vaccines effective?

Initial evidence suggests Omicron has a higher re-infection risk and can infect fully vaccinated people too. Though all the current vaccines remain effective against the severe disease, WHO is still finding whether the already existing measures are enough to tackle this new virus in reducing its severity and preventing death. Scientists say it will take another three weeks to know how the heavily mutated variant impacts the effectiveness of various vaccinations. Meanwhile, do complete your vaccination doses to stay safe.

Prevention and treatment

As more and more information is emerging from various researches that are going on, individuals are again reminded of the same old measures like wearing masks in public or crowded places, regularly washing hands, maintaining a safe distance and practising social distancing wherever possible, having proper ventilation in the houses or any other indoor space and most importantly getting vaccinated.

Countries and states have been on their toes again with the invent of this concerning virus, they fear the same situation might arise, where there might be a shortage of beds in the hospitals, oxygen plants have to be arranged in emergency and vaccine supply will be hit hard at the peak. In order to avoid that, the government has already started preparing themselves for what is yet to come. Enhancing surveillance, tracking cases and contacts, sharing data with the concerned authority to help them with their research for better medicinal treatments etc. are some of the recommended actions that responsible countries should take.  As a precautionary move, the UN body has told the Asia Pacific Nations to brace for virus surge and focus on boosting vaccination numbers. Preliminary study from South Africa, the country where it merged, suggests that Omicron might have 3 times reinfection risks as compared to the Delta or Beta variants and also losing a layer of defence, the researchers said, a past Covid infection might give little immunity to the new Omicron variant.

As we continue to fight this new variant, the first thing is to stay calm, getting yourself vaccinated, cooperating with the officials to get both doses of the vaccine, as the mutations may decrease efficacy but these jabs are sure to protect us against the severity of the virus. The WHO says Omicron could displace the Delta variant, and as studies keep evolving, prevention and precaution are better than cure at the moment. Stay safe and stay protected.

References-
https://www.who.int/news/item/26-11-2021-classification-of-omicron-(b.1.1.529)-sars-cov-2-variant-of-concern
https://www.who.int/news/item/28-11-2021-update-on-omicron
FAQs on Omicron. MoHFW

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Gallstones are stone-like hard materials that develop in the gallbladder, a small pear-shaped organ tucked up under the liver and on the right side of your abdomen. The gallbladder stores a digestive fluid called bile that’s dispensed into your small intestine. Bile is a green-yellow colored mixture of cholesterol, bilirubin, bile salts and lecithin that helps digest fats in the food you eat.

Gallstones are often made of cholesterol or bilirubin, a waste product which your body makes during normal breakdown of red blood cells.

There are two types of gallstones:

  • Cholesterol gallstones are made up of excess cholesterol and are yellow-green in color. These are most common, making up 80% of gallstones.
  • Pigment gallstones are made up of excess bilirubin and are smaller and darker in color.

The size of gallstones can vary from a tiny grain of sand to a large golf ball. Interestingly, larger stones tend to remain quietly in the gallbladder whereas small stones can cause the most trouble as these can get stuck in the bile ducts after leaving the gallbladder. Many people who have gallstones are never bothered by them and might not know that you have them until they block a bile duct, causing pain and complications that need immediate medical attention. Treatment options often involve minimally invasive surgery to remove the gallstones, and sometimes cholecystectomy surgery to remove the gallbladder. Silent gallstones which are routinely asymptomatic, don’t need treatment.

Possible causes of gallstones

The actual cause of gallstones isn’t clear. Gallstones are thought to develop when the chemicals inside the gallbladder are out of balance.

Here are a few possible reasons that can cause chemical imbalance:

Excessive cholesterol in the bile

Generally, the bile contains an adequate amount of chemicals to dissolve the cholesterol made by your liver. When the liver excretes extra cholesterol, your bile can’t dissolve it all. Then the excess cholesterol might form crystals and eventually into yellow cholesterol stones.

Check out your cholesterol levels with the comfort of your home.

Excessive bilirubin in the bile

Certain conditions such liver cirrhosis, biliary tract infections and certain blood disorders can cause your liver to make too much bilirubin. This excess bilirubin then leads to formation of pigment gallstones.

Bile is secreted by your liver cells. Pay good attention to your liver health. Book test now.  

Overly concentrated bile

If your gallbladder doesn’t empty wholly or often enough, the bile may become overly concentrated, contributing to the formation of gallstones.

Healthy Dietary changes to prevent gallstones

There is no foolproof way that can prevent gallstones. However, you can lower the risk factors by following some healthy lifestyle and dietary changes. Most of the gallstones are formed from cholesterol; limiting cholesterol in your diet can help prevent the condition.

Keeping your weight within a moderate range through exercise and a nutritionally balanced diet is another way to limit the possibility of gallstones formation. Take advice from your doctor about weight loss and cholesterol management if you have a family history of gallstones.

Follow these tips to improve your condition and reduce your risk of gallstones:

Never skip your meals

Stick to your regular mealtimes every day. Skipping meals is not a good idea as it can cause bile juices build up. This in turn increases the cholesterol levels in your gallbladder. Over time, this can harden into gallstones.

Avoid rapid weight loss

If you are overweight and planning to lose weight, go slow. Risk of developing gallstones is much higher in a rapid weight loss program since losing your weight too quickly will cause a chemical imbalance. It is important to discuss your risks with a doctor, if you are planning a weight loss surgery especially important if you have had stones in the past. It is common for gallstones to occur more than once.

Include high-fiber foods in your diet

Eat more fiber-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains to get proper amount of fiber per day. Women should aim for at least 21- 25 grams of fiber a day and men should eat 30-38 grams a day.

Eat more healthy fats

Include more healthy fats like nuts, fish oil and olive oil in your diet. This may help empty your gallbladder on a regular basis.

Exercise regularly

Get some sort of physical activity every day. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week (such as walking, cycling).

Finding and treating gallstones

The most common technique to spot gallstones is an ultrasound examination. Post diagnosis, your doctor will devise a treatment plan.

No treatment is required if your gallstones aren’t causing any symptoms. You’ll only need a surgery if a stone blocks one of your bile ducts and is causing severe lower abdomen pain or complications, such as jaundice, acute pancreatitis, cholecystitis (inflammation of gallbladder) or cholangitis (inflammation of bile ducts). If you have any blood disorder, your doctor may consider cholecystectomy as a precaution, even if there are no symptoms. In rare cases, if a person is at high risk for surgery complications, other non surgical methods like medications may be used.

Surgical treatments

The most common surgical treatment for gallstones is removal of the gallbladder, called cholecystectomy. There are two types of cholecystectomy:

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy, also known as minimally invasive procedure, is the most common surgery for gallstones. This procedure uses several small incisions instead of one large one. A narrow, flexible tube with a camera and a light called laparoscope is passed into your belly through one small incision. Your gallbladder is taken out through another small incision. You’ll usually go home the same day if you have no complications.

Open cholecystectomy

In this procedure, your surgeon will make a large incision on your belly to take out your gallbladder. People who undergo open surgery need to stay in the hospital for a few days afterward. This surgery is typically performed in patients having a bleeding disorder or severe gallbladder disease or late term pregnancy. This surgery may also happen if experiencing difficulties during a laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

For both types of surgery, patients will be given general anesthesia. So that they won’t feel any pain while it’s being done. If the gallstones are present in your bile ducts, your doctor may use endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) to find and remove them before or during surgery.

Nonsurgical treatments

There are a few nonsurgical ways of removing gallstones that doctors can try on patients that can’t undergo surgery.

Ursodeoxycholic acid therapy 

It typically includes use of ursodeoxycholic to break up gallstones. This treatment is best suited for breaking up gallstone made of cholesterol and may take many months or years to effectively dissolve the stone. This treatment is also known as oral dissolution therapy.

Shock wave lithotripsy 

Lithotripsy is another nonsurgical option. A lithotripter is a machine that generates ultrasonic shock waves. These shock waves can break gallstones into smaller pieces that can pass safely through a person’s stools.

The takeaway

Gallstones are not fatal; but they can cause many complications that could be life threatening, particularly in people who are already in poor health. Fortunately, deaths from gallstones are very rare.

Gallstones can be easily treated with a gallstone or gallbladder removal surgery and it’s possible to lead a normal life without a gallbladder. You can still digest your food without a gallbladder. Your liver will still produce bile, but bile will no longer go through the gallbladder, it will drip into the small intestine. You might experience symptoms of diarrhea after gallbladder removal, but the laxative effect should resolve on its own for most people. So, If you have been diagnosed with gallstones and advised to undergo surgery to remove them or your gallbladder, the prospective is often positive.

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What is burnout?

Burnout is a state of emotional, physical and mental exhaustion that results due to excessive and prolonged stress. You may feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, too tired, and unable to meet your professional and personal asks.

Effects of burnout spread to every area of ​​life

As the stress continues, a person affected with burnout may begin to lose interest and motivation that prompt most of us to play a certain role in the first place. It reduces productivity, leaving you feeling procrastinated, helpless, hopeless, cynical and resentful. After all, it may feel like you have nothing more to offer. This impacts your home, work and social life. Burnout can also cause long-term changes in your body that make you vulnerable to illnesses like colds and flu. Because of its many consequences, it is important to deal with burnout immediately.

Chronic stress and burnout can disrupt your vital health numbers. Book a comprehensive health check now.  


You may be on the way to burnout if

  • Every day is a bad day
  • Work or household life seems like a total waste of energy
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Most of your time is spent on tasks that seem either mind-numbing or overwhelming
  • Feeling like everything you do doesn’t matter or is even appreciated

Physical symptoms of burnout

  • Feeling drained and tired
  • Frequently catching illnesses
  • Chronic headache or muscle pain
  • Changes in sleep habits, sleeplessness or excessive sleep

Emotional signs of burnout

  • Self-doubt
  • Loss of motivation
  • Feeling disconnected with others
  • Feeling of defeat
  • Developing a negative outlook
  • Decreased sense of accomplishment
  • Detachment
  • Feeling helpless

Behavioural signs of burnout

  • Avoiding priority tasks and responsibilities
  • Start using alcohol or drug
  • Taking frustration on others
  • Start making distance from others
  • Less of accountability
  • Procrastinating

Causes of burnout

Someone who is overworked- a hard worker who hasn’t taken a break in years, a stay-at-home mom who does extensive household chores, and takes care of an aging parent, is more likely to get burnout. Burnout doesn’t just occur due to stressful work, lifestyle and personality characteristics also contribute. In fact, what you do in your downtime and how you perceive the world can play just as big a role in causing extreme stress as the demands of work or home.

1. Work related causes

  • Lack of self-control
  • Lacking appreciations
  • Unclear job expectations
  • Doing unchallenging work
  • High pressure environment of working
  • Long working hours over time

2. Lifestyle causes

  • Working too much without relaxing
  • Lack of emotional support
  • Taking so many responsibilities, without any help from others
  • Lack of sleep

Finding you way to deal with burnout

Be mindful of your mental health. Your mental health is the key driver of your performance and may cause you to get slow and less productive at work. Learn how you can help yourself recover from burnout and feel healthier and more positive by changing your directions.

Researchers have found that if you follow the 3R approach, you can easily deal with burnout.

  • Recognise: Make efforts to identify the warning sign of burnout
  • Reverse: Undo the damage by seeking support from your loved ones and find ways to cope up with stress levels
  • Resilience: Take care of your emotional and physical health.

Tips for dealing from burnout

  • Seek support from the right people: Burnout may cause problems to seem insurmountable and everything looks bleak. Social contact is the fastest way to calm your nervous system and relieve your stress.

  • Try to reach out to your closest ones
  • Be more sociable
  • Make distance from negative people
  • Nurture your genuine contacts

  • Reframe your mindset: If you feel that the work you are doing is no longer giving you the same happiness as before, take some time out for yourself.

  • Try to find aspects in the job that can make you happy.
  • Look for balance in your professional and personal life
  • Make some friends at job place
  • Take a break from work for some time

  • Understand your priorities: Take time to rethink about your hopes, goals, and dreams. Have you been neglecting something that is really important to you?This phase of burnout could be an opportunity to slow down, rediscover what really makes you happy, and give yourself time to rest, reflect, and heal.
  • Learn how to say no
  • Creative thinking
  • Set time for relaxation
  • Get enough sleep

  • Support your energy levels with a balanced diet: What we eat has a huge impact on our lives. Unhealthy diet can result in lowering your energy levels:
  • Minimise sugar consumption
  • Avoid too much alcohol
  • Avoid smoking
  • Eat more good fats (nuts, seeds, etc.) and reduce bad fats (refined oil, packaged food items, etc.)


Some of the studies have found vitamin D deficiency was more commonly found in people   experiencing anxiety and low energy levels. Book a health test to check vitamin D levels here.

  • Make yoga and exercise a priority: Meditation and exercise help in reducing your stress level in the best possible way. Aim to exercise for 30 minutes or more per day. A 10 minutes’ walk can charge your mood. You feel the sensation through your body. For example, when air touches your skin. Feel the moment and try to separate yourself from any negative, overwhelming thoughts.

Burnout is a gradual process. It doesn’t happen overnight, it can creep up gradually on you. Signs and symptoms may be subtle at first, but tend to get worse over time. If you pay attention and actively reduce your stress, you can prevent a major breakdown. Ignoring the symptoms will eventually cause you to enter the vicious cycle of helplessness.

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What is hepatitis C?

Generally, hepatitis means inflammation of the liver. Hepatitis C is a contagious, blood-borne viral infection that causes inflammation of the liver.

When the liver is inflamed or damaged by invasion of hepatitis C virus, its function can be affected. If left untreated, inflammation in the liver tissue can lead to serious damage. Hepatitis C infections can range from acute (a mild illness lasting a few weeks) to chronic (a serious, long-term illness).

Looking to book health tests online? Book an HCV total antibody test here.

What is acute and chronic hepatitis C?

Acute hepatitis C is a mild, short-term illness, usually occurs within the first 6 months after acquisition of hepatitis C. In more than half of the cases, acute infection becomes a long-term, chronic infection.

Whereas, chronic hepatitis Ccan be a lifelong infection if left untreated. Chronic hepatitis C can cause serious life threatening health problems, such as liver damage, cirrhosis and liver cancer.

How serious is hepatitis C?

Since many people with hepatitis C infection will never develop any signs or symptoms and hence remain undiagnosed. About 10-20% of persons infected with hepatitis C will go on to develop cirrhosis and less than 5% will actually die of this infection. The good thing is that new medications and treatments to cure hepatitis C are becoming available.

What are the symptoms of acute HCV infection?

Many people newly infected with the hepatitis C virus are asymptomatic. Some people may develop mild symptoms that may include:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Dark urine
  • Clay-colored stool
  • Stomach pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Joint pain
  • Jaundice

What are the symptoms of chronic HCV infection?

Chronic hepatitis C infection is often referred to as a silent infection as there are no symptoms. If symptoms occur, they are non-specific. Hepatitis C usually goes undiagnosed until the virus damages the liver enough to cause the symptoms of liver disease.  Symptoms of chronic infection may include:

  • Bleeding easily
  • Bruising easily
  • Fatigue
  • Poor appetite
  • Jaundice
  • Dark-colored urine
  • Itchy skin
  • Fluid buildup in your abdomen
  • Swelling in your legs
  • Weight loss
  • Confusion, drowsiness and slurred speech
  • Spider Like blood vessels on your skin  

Liver disease symptoms may be too mild to be noticed. Book a liver function test and rule out the possibility of having an unhealthy liver now.

How is hepatitis C transmitted?

The hepatitis C virus is usually transmitted through contact with the infected person’s blood. This can happen through:

  • Sharing drug injection equipments like needles and syringes
  • Birth to an infected mother
  • Having sex with an infected person (more often among men who have sex with men)
  • Sharing personal hygiene products contaminated with infectious blood, such as glucose monitors, razors, nail clippers, toothbrushes
  • Health-care procedures that involve invasive procedures
  • Unregulated tattooing
  • Body piercings
  • Blood transfusions and organ transplants

Hepatitis C is not spread by casual contacts such as sharing eating utensils, hugging, holding hands and kissing.  Breastfeeding, sneezing, coughing, food or water also won’t spread it.

Who should be tested for hepatitis C?

Hepatitis screening is recommended for all adults aged 18 years or older and all pregnant women during each pregnancy, people with HIV, people with persistently abnormal alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels, people with ongoing risk factors including those who have ever injected drugs or received donated blood or organs,  people with medical conditions such as those currently getting maintenance hemodialysis, children born to mothers with hepatitis C infection or any person who requests hepatitis C testing.

What tests are used to diagnose hepatitis C?

The anti-HCV blood test is used to rule out if someone has ever been infected with the hepatitis C virus. This test looks for antibodies released into the bloodstream in response to the hepatitis C infection. A negative anti-HCV result suggests that a person has never been exposed to the virus. If a person tests positive for anti-HCV, hepatitis C testing is not considered complete unless a follow-up HCV RNA test is done.

Hepatitis C RNA detects the presence and amount of virus in the blood. Qualitative hepatitis C RNA test detects the presence of hepatitis C RNA, while quantitative hepatitis C RNA test measures the amount of hepatitis C RNA.

Another follow up test performed in patients diagnosed with hepatitis C to find the strain of virus is genotype testing. Knowing the amount and strain of hepatitis C in the blood is important to guide treatment.

How to prevent hepatitis C?

At present, there is no vaccine against the hepatitis C virus.  So prevention depends mainly on reducing the risk of exposure to the hepatitis C virus in health care settings and in people at higher risks. To protect yourself from hepatitis C infection you should take the following precautions:

  • Disinfect blood and blood-contaminated surfaces right away and hygienically dispose of blood-stained items such as sanitary napkins and bandages.
  • Practice safe sex. Don’t engage in unprotected sex to prevent exposure to blood during sex.
  • Avoid sharing drug-injecting equipment such as needles and syringes and other personal items that may be contaminated with blood.
  • Be cautious about tattooing, acupuncture, or body piercing.  If you choose to undergo piercing or tattooing, make sure the equipment being used is clean and sterile.
  • Cover any wounds on the skin to keep from spreading infectious blood.

How is hepatitis C managed and treated?

Acute hepatitis C infection does not always need treatment, as the immune response in some people will clear the infection from the body. However, when acute infection becomes chronic, treatment is necessary. The goal of hepatitis C treatment is to clear the hepatitis C virus from the body and prevent further damage to the liver. Use of new antiviral drugs for 8–12 weeks can result in high cure rates of better than 90%, but access to diagnosis and treatment is low.

Along with treatment with antiviral medication, it is important for hepatitis C patients to make healthy lifestyle choices, such as eating a healthy diet, avoiding alcohol and regular physical activity, to aid recovery and prevent further liver damage. Don’t take any prescription pills, supplements, herbs or over-the-counter medications without checking with your doctor, as these can potentially damage the liver. Be tested for HIV, because people who are coinfected with both HIV and the hepatitis C virus are very likely to get cirrhosis.

Immunization against hepatitis A and hepatitis B is also recommended as these infections can accelerate chronic liver disease. In some cases, surgery is necessary to treat complications of liver disease. In some patients with advanced liver disease, liver transplantation may be a treatment option.

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