Vitamin-D

Vitamin D: The Sunshine Vitamin

Vitamin D helps our body absorb calcium and phosphorus from the diet. That is why it is essential for the development and functioning of bones and teeth. It is available in two forms: vitamin D2 and vitamin D3. Vitamin D2 is mainly found in plant-based food and whereas vitamin D3 is made by your own body when it is exposed to sunlight. It is also found in animal-based foods. 

Both forms of vitamin D are changed to an active form which is 25 hydroxyvitamin D, also known as 25(OH)D.

What is the importance of Vitamin D test in India?

According to a study published in the Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, approximately 70-90% of the healthy Indian population is vitamin D deficient. Low level of vitamin D occurs commonly in India across the different age, sex, gender, urban or rural settings. 

How do you know if your vitamin D levels are sufficient?

If you have low levels of vitamin D, your body might give some signs such as pain in joints and limbs, fatigue, etc. However, it is not uncommon to have vitamin D deficiency and have no signs altogether.
A Vitamin D test is the best way to know if you have sufficient levels of vitamin D in your body. This test is done to measure the level of 25 hydroxyvitamin D in your blood to check whether it is low or higher than normal.

When should you get a Vitamin D test?

You need to undergo vitamin D test if you fall into any one of the following categories:

1. You suffer from bone problems: Studies state that vitamin D is essential for the absorption of calcium, which plays an important role in the maintenance of bone health. Hence if you are suffering from pain in the bones or weak and fragile bones; you should get a vitamin test done. 

2. You have a disease that reduces the body’s ability to use vitamin D: These are diseases of the liver, kidney, pancreas, thyroid, digestive system, and others.

3. You are a senior citizen: Elderly people need to get their vitamin D level tested. This is because due to age and staying indoors, their skin fails to make vitamin D when exposed to sunlight as efficiently when young.  Aging causes a range of health problems. Want to make aging easier for you? Make sure to get your full body health tested regularly.

4. You are obese: In case of obesity, body fat binds to available vitamin D and prevents it from getting into the blood. Thus obesity might make you vitamin D deficient.

Obesity can cause derangement of cholesterol levels. Get tested for high levels of bad cholesterol here. 

5. Your exposure to sunlight is limited: Since your body makes vitamin D when exposed to sunlight, you may be at risk of deficiency if you are housebound or have an occupation with limited sun exposure (if working in corporates, hospitals, etc.)

6. You underwent weight-loss surgeries: Weight loss surgeries reduce the size of the stomach. This makes it difficult for the body to absorb a sufficient amount of vitamin D.

7. If you are taking certain medicines: Medicines such as anticholesterol, antifungal, antifungal, and antiviral drugs also affect vitamin D metabolism. 

8. Breastfeed babies: Breastmilk is not rich in vitamin D. That is why breastfed babies are advised to take vitamin D supplements. If not, their vitamin D level should be tested to probe vitamin D deficiency.

9. You have dark skin: This is because a large amount of pigment melanin in the skin reduces the skin’s ability to make vitamin D when exposed to sunlight.

10. Your diet lacks a source of vitamin D:  Vitamin D is mainly found in animal sources including fish and fish oils, egg yolks, milk, and liver. If you follow a strict vegan diet, you might end up having a low level of vitamin D. 

11. You are suffering regularly from one of these: Frequent nausea, vomiting, poor appetite, constipation, weakness can be a sign of excess vitamin D in the body.  

What happens in a Vitamin D test?

This test is performed using a blood sample. Following steps are taken:

  • A fresh syringe with a fine needle is used to withdraw blood from a vein in your arm. 
  • A healthcare provider will first tie an elastic band around your arm. You may be asked to open and close your hand to make a fist. This makes the veins swell with blood and visible. 
  • The area from where the sample will be taken will then be cleaned with an antiseptic solution and a cotton ball. 
  • The needle is then inserted into the vein to collect your blood sample.
  • You will feel a tiny prick like an ant bite during the procedure. 
  • Blood samples once collected will then be sent to the laboratory.

What do vitamin D test results mean?

This test measures the level of the active form of vitamin D which is 25(OH)D: 

  • Lower levels of 25(OH)D can indicate various health problems like bone disorders, insufficient nutrition, or other medical problems. It can be due to less exposure to sunlight, deficiency of vitamin D in the diet, or decreased absorption from the intestine. 
  • Higher levels of 25(OH)D than the normal range indicates vitamin D excess which might occur due to overdose of vitamin D.

Range:

The normal range of vitamin D is measured in nanograms per milliliter (ng/mL) or nmol/L and can vary from lab to lab.

  • Deficiency- <20
  • Insufficiency- 20-29
  • Sufficiency- 30-100
  • Toxicity- >100

How frequently do you need to take the vitamin D test?

Normally doctors do not recommend a vitamin D test but if they do, ask about your risks. If you are at a higher risk, it is advisable to get the test. If it is low, you can take advice to boost your vitamin D level with supplements and sun exposure.

Bottom line

Maintain an adequate level of vitamin D with a proper diet and spend time in the sun. If you choose to take supplements, it is advisable to take it only under medical prescription.

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3

In today’s time, almost everyone is turning towards a plant-based diet. Although it is healthy, it has a few downfalls if you do not take supplements for certain nutrients missing in a plant-based diet. One of these important nutrients is vitamin B12. Falling short of vitamin B12 can have a serious impact on your health

What is vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin for the human body. It is a micronutrient which means your body requires it in small amounts. It is naturally found in animal foods. Vitamin B12 is required for red blood cell formation, optimal functioning of brain and nerve cells, and maintenance of a healthy immune system.

It is also known as cobalamin and is a water-soluble vitamin. This means it can dissolve in water and travel into the bloodstream. Any excess vitamin B12 is excreted in the urine.

Your body can store vitamin B12 for several years in the liver, so a deficiency of this vitamin is usually rare. However, if you are a vegetarian, you might become deficient because plant foods do not contain vitamin B12. To prevent that, you need to take vitamin B12 from supplements.

Where can you get vitamin B12 from?

Vitamin B12 is naturally found in animal foods. Good dietary sources of vitamin B12 include:

  • Poultry
  • Red meat
  • Eggs
  • Dairy products like milk, cheese, yogurt
  • Fish
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Fortified nutritional yeast
  • Enriched soy milk

How much vitamin B12 do you need?

According to the National Institute of Health, the Recommended Dietary Allowance for men and women aged 14 years and above is 2.4 micrograms (mcg) daily.

For pregnant and lactating women, it is 2.6 mcg and 2.8 mcg daily, respectively.

Want to get your vitamin B12 level checked? Check here

What happens when you do not take an adequate amount of vitamin B12?

This leads to various deficiencies such as:

1. Anemia

When you do not take an adequate amount of vitamin B12, it leads to a type of anemia known as megaloblastic anemia. In this condition, the size of the red blood cells increases. As a result of this, the red blood cells are unable to move from bone marrow to the bloodstream. Consequently, you might face fatigue, weakness, pale skin, and shortness of breath.

2. Tingling sensation in hands and legs

Vitamin B12 plays a vital role in maintaining the covering of nerve cells, called the myelin sheath. It is the fatty material that surrounds and protects your nerves. When you are vitamin B12 deficient, your nerve cells cannot function properly. This eventually might alter the way you move. It can affect your body balance and make you more likely to fall.

3. Brain fog

Your memory can become hazy. You can find it difficult to concentrate.

4. Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a bone disease in which the bones become weak and may break from a fall. Vitamin B12 plays an important role in maintaining good bone health. Low levels might lead to low bone mineral density. This makes the bones delicate and fragile over time, leading to osteoporosis.

Some of the other symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency are confusion, depressive symptoms, and vision loss. Some of the studies had stated that vitamin B12 deficiency could pose a risk of COVID-19 in older patients. However, these studies still remain to be peer-reviewed. Further validation research is required to claim the association of vitamin B12 deficiency and COVID-19.

Who can be at a risk of vitamin B12 deficiency?

  • People avoiding animal products

People who follow a strict plant-based diet are at risk of becoming deficient in vitamin B12 since it is found naturally in animal products.

  • Elderly people

Gastritis is a condition that affects elderly people the most. In this condition, the body becomes unable to absorb vitamin B12 that is naturally present in food.

  • People with certain digestive disorders

Certain digestive disorders like inflammatory bowel disease, Celiac, and Crohn’s disease reduces the body’s potential to absorb vitamin B12. Thus causing deficiency of vitamin B12.

  • People who had undergone gastrointestinal surgery

Weight loss surgeries or surgery to remove part of the stomach often interferes in the proper absorption of vitamin B 12 from the diet.

  • Pregnant and lactating women

Vitamin B12 can pass from mother to baby via breast milk. Mothers who exclusively breastfeed their baby and follow a plant-based diet might make their baby deficient of vitamin B12. Without enough vitamin B12, the baby might have growth and developmental delays.

  • People with chronic alcoholism

In this condition, the body becomes unable to absorb vitamin B12 efficiently from the diet.

How to overcome vitamin B12 deficiency?

You can take animal-based food and if you are a vegetarian you can take vitamin B12 fortified cereals. You can also take vitamin B12 supplements with doctor’s advice.

Are there any side-effects of vitamin B12?

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin. After the body utilises the required amount of vitamin B12, leftover amount will pass through urine. Generally, there are no side-effects seen with excess vitamin B12 intake from food. However, it is always advisable to consult your doctor before starting a high dose of vitamin B12 supplements.

When do you need a vitamin B12 test?

If you think you might be vitamin B12 deficient, it is advisable to consult your doctor and get a blood test done. Vitamin B12 is like a regular blood test and you can get it done from any trustworthy laboratory.

The normal range is 211 – 911 pg/mL irrespective of sex and age.

Bottom line

Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble and essential vitamin. It is responsible for various health benefits like preventing anemia, supporting the nervous system, improving and maintaining healthy bones. You can get the required amount of vitamin B12 from your diet (animal food). However, if you follow a plant-based diet or have a condition that affects absorption, supplements are a simple way to increase your B12 intake.

Take care, stay healthy!

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6
ayurvedic-remidies-cold-cough

Who does not love to enjoy a cup of piping hot coffee on a beautiful rainy day? Everyone does! But this season also brings a tale of woes: Cold & Cough. 

Although mild common cold is relatively harmless, it can still be taxing for you to do your daily chores. Apart from the change in season, there are other factors that can cause coughing and cold. Well, cough is a common reflex action and can also occur when a foreign particle enters inside your airways. 
Seasonal and environmental allergies are among one of the most common causes of cold and cough. Think you could be allergic to some substances? Take an allergy test and know at the comfort of your home.

Manage cold and cough at home with these ayurvedic remedies

In addition to medicines and cough syrups, you can use some simple ayurvedic remedies to help you feel better. 

According to Ayurveda, imbalance in any of the three doshas i.e., vata, pitta, kapha can cause an ailment. In this case, an excess of Pitta and Kapha in the body causes nasal congestion and cough. 

To tackle this, here are some ayurvedic remedies to manage your cold and cough:

1. Tulsi

In Ayurveda, Tulsi is known as “Mother Medicine of Nature” and “The Queen of Herbs”. Tulsi leaves help improve the individual’s ability to fight against common cold as well as cough. 

How it works

Tulsi boosts the production of antibodies thereby preventing the onset of any infections. Tulsi has cough relieving properties. It helps soothe the airways by helping you cough out the sticky mucus. 

How to take

Tulsi leaves

  • Chew 4-5 tulsi leaves the first thing in the morning. You can continue taking Tulsi leaves to boost your immunity.

Tulsi kadha

  • Take a few tulsi leaves. Wash it well.
  • Boil water in a pan, add the tulsi leaves.
  • To it, add 1 teaspoon of grated ginger and 5-6 peppercorns.
  • Boil the mixture for at least 10 minutes.
  • Finally, add a pinch of black salt and squeeze ½ lemon to it.
  • Let it stand for 1 minute.
  • Strain and drink it warm.

Tulsi Tea

  • Add fresh tulsi leaves to 1½ cups of water.
  • Boil on a medium flame for 10 minutes.
  • Strain the water using a strainer.
  • Add lemon juice and mix well.
  • Drink warm to get relief from cough and cold.

2. Honey

With loads of antimicrobial properties, honey is not only heavenly for your taste buds but also helps ease sore throat. It is an effective cough suppressant. 

How it works

Honey provides relief from chest congestion by loosening thick mucus and helping you to cough it out. This helps reduce wet cough. 

How to take

  • Take a teaspoonful of honey before going to bed at night to reduce the severity of cough. Continue till you do not get relief from cough.

Honey in Ginger Juice

  • Take 1 teaspoon honey.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of ginger juice and 1 pinch of black pepper.
  • Take once in the morning and once before going to bed at night to get relief from a sore throat and cough.

Honey is a miracle of nature which not only aids in improving digestion but boosting your metabolism also. Keep a check on your overall health with a comprehensive full body check-up.

3. Mulethi

Mulethi or Licorice, also known as “Sweet wood”, is an effective Ayurvedic herb for cough. Mulethi powder is useful in managing sore throat, cough and excessive production of mucus in the airway.

How it works

Mulethi has expectorant property. It thins and loosens the mucus inside the airways. This eases coughing and reduces congestion.

How to take

Mulethi water

  • Take 1 teaspoon Mulethi powder and add to 1 glass of warm water. Drink this twice a day.

Mulethi tea

  • Take 1 small piece of Mulethi root and add it to boiling water.
  • Add grated ginger and let it simmer for around 5 minutes. 
  • Add a tea bag and drink this tea twice a day.

Mulethi kadha

  • Take 1/4 teaspoon mulethi powder, a pinch of cinnamon powder, black pepper powder and few tulsi leaves.
  • Add to 1 cup of boiling water. Simmer for 5 minutes.
  • Transfer to a cup and add 1 teaspoon honey to it. 

Drink this kadha twice a day.

4. Pippali

Pippali is an effective herb in managing cough and cold. Studies state that it gives relief from headache and congestion associated with common cold. 

How it works

Pippali loosens mucus and helps to cough it out, thus allowing the patient to breathe freely. This is due to its expectorant property.

How to take

Pippali Churna

  • Take a pinch of pippali churna.
  • Swallow it with 1 teaspoon honey. 
  • Repeat 1-2 times a day and continue till cold and cough subsides.

5. Sonth

Dry ginger popularly known as sonth or sukku or soonth is one of the main ingredients of herbal cough syrups. Sonth, when taken with honey, acts as a soothing remedy for cough and cold.

How it works

Sonth contains certain molecules that have anti-inflammatory properties. This helps reduce sore throat. 

How to take

Sonth with honey

  • Take 1/4 teaspoon sonth and add to 1 teaspoon honey. 
  • Mix well and take it twice a day for at least 3 days.

Sonth goli

  • Take 2-3 tbsp of desi ghee in a pan. Keep the flame low.
  • Add 2-3 teaspoon jaggery powder and let it melt. To this add 2-3 tbsp sonth powder. Mix well.
  • Allow it to cool. 
  • Shape into bite-sized balls.
  • You can take 1 goli twice a day.

6. Cinnamon

This woody aromatic spice is loaded with many health benefits and one of them is relief from cold and cough. It not only gives relief from common cold but is also great for a sore throat. 

How it works

Cinnamon is known to have antiviral property. This helps fight against the virus causing common cold. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that help give relief from a sore throat. 

How to take

Cinnamon tea

  • Make your regular cup of black tea.
  • Add a pinch of cinnamon powder to it.
  • Drink it 2-3 times a day.

Cinnamon with honey

  • Take 1 teaspoon honey and add 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder.
  • Mix and take it twice a day for at least 3 days.

7. Giloy

Giloy, also known as Amrita or Guduchi in Hindi, has heart-shaped leaves that resemble betel leaves.

It helps manage cold and cough caused due to allergic reactions to pollution, smoke or pollen. It also helps to manage cold and tonsillitis. It is also the most effective herb to boost immunity. 

How it works

Giloy has good anti-inflammatory property. This helps reduce frequent cough as well as a sore throat.

How to take

Giloy juice

  • Take two teaspoons of Giloy juice with warm water on an empty stomach in the morning.

Giloy tablet

  • Alternatively you can also take 1 Giloy tablet with warm water in the morning.
  • You can buy Giloy juice or tablet from any Ayurvedic store or buy online.

Quick tips to keep distance from cold and cough:

  • Wash your hands properly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds to prevent the spread of cold viruses.
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose. 
  • Sanitize your hands with alcohol-based hand gels after touching contaminated surfaces at work-place like door-knobs, mouse, chair handles, etc.
  • Keep a distance of 6 feet from people who are suffering from cold and cough.
  • Wear a mask whenever you step outside the house or whenever you come in contact with people you don’t live with.
  • Increase your water intake and have hot tea and liquids.
  • Do steam inhalation by adding 1-2 drops of eucalyptus oil in a bowl of hot water. Repeat 2-3 times a day to get relief from a stuffy nose. 
  • Strengthen your immune system by taking a balanced diet rich in vitamin C food.
  • Lastly, indulge in some form of exercise or yoga to keep yourself active.

So which Ayurvedic remedy have you tried to get relief from cold and cough?

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Monsoon-health-tips

The occasional showers and chilly winds! And relief from the hot scorching heat. Monsoon has got all of it to make you crave for some delicious food items. Are you also yearning for a plate full of hot pakodas with your evening cup of tea on most of the days? Not minding to binge on fried foods? Well, rains are a good time to relish savoury meals, but they also necessitate eating healthy and clean food. Water stagnation and high moisture content in the environment can cause it to act as a season filled with infections and diseases. So, if you want to enjoy the monsoon, it is important to eat healthy and nutritious meals.

Here are a few healthy tips for monsoon on how to keep your gut healthy and happy

Do’s of Monsoon Diet

  • Opt for seasonal fruits, such as litchi, Indian blackberry (Jamun), pomegranates, peach, and plum. While the seasonal fruits will impart the goodness of nature, non-seasonal fruits might be ripened through artificial techniques.    

  • Eat steamed salads instead of raw vegetables. Wash vegetables properly before steaming. Improper washing can lead to various bacterial and viral infections.
    Certain digestive conditions can also cause rise in levels of liver enzymes. Any such rise may indicate inflammation or damage to cells in the liver. Track your liver health  with the help of a liver function test.

  • Add desi Indian drinks such as Aam Panna, Sattu, Chach, in your daily diet. Refrain from sodas and cold drinks. They add calories with zero amount of other nutritional elements.    

  • Include herbal teas in your daily diet. Green teas and herbal teas are a rich source of antioxidants that helps prevent cell damage. Antioxidants are required for repair of skin, hair and other body cells.

  • Go for fermented dairy products like yogurt and curd in place of ice creams. They aid in digestion and reduce bloating. As per Ayurvedic experts, the best time to have fermented dairy products like these can be after lunch. Some people might catch a cold and cough due to consuming curd at night.  

Don’ts of Monsoon Diet

  • Say strict no to roadside food or meals prepared with low hygiene. These can harbor infection-causing germs and hamper your gut health.

  • Save that spread of samosa, kachori, and pakodas for only some special times. Fried foods may appear very tempting but the high oil content can interfere with the normal functioning of your digestive system, might slow the movements of digestive organs, and delay gastric emptying. These can further cause bloating and heartburn.   

    Eating food that has high content of fats, specifically saturated and trans fats, can cause a rise in cholesterol levels  and raise your risk of several heart conditions. The first step to a healthier heart is to get your cholesterol and triglycerides levels checked periodically. A lipid profile test  is a panel of blood tests that screens your body for lipids, such as cholesterol and triglycerides.

  • Avoid salty foods items or eat in moderation. Too much salt can cause fluid retention and uneasiness in the stomach. You need to take special care if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.

  • Eating meals that are uncovered or prepared with dirty unwashed hands may spread many germs. Always cover your food to save it being infected by flies. Wash hands with soap before preparing and eating every meal.

  • Limit your intake of caffeinated drinks like tea and coffee. Too much of such beverages causes dehydration in the body. They can also interfere with the normal sleep pattern in some people, when consumed in late evening or nighttime. 
     
  • Dehydration can cause your body to lose important electrolytes. Electrolytes include salts and minerals, such as sodium, potassium, chloride and bicarbonate. An electrolyte imbalance can interfere with normal functioning of your body. Get Electrolytes Test Done here.
  • Avoid eating seafood during the rainy season. It is very common for water bodies to be polluted with sewage, thus there are more chances of sea creatures being exposed to these pollutants. Also, monsoon is the breeding season for the fishes. You are not letting nature restock what you have been taking out. Most importantly, most fish sold in monsoon are pre-packaged or stored. Storing fish for longer periods can reduce its nutritional value.

  • The last and yet the most important in the list is to not use contaminated water. Always ensure that your water should either be purified or boiled. Avoid Ice from non-distilled water, kulfis and golas to keep stomach upset and food poisoning at bay.

Contaminated water can spread a plethora of infections, including hepatitis A and E viruses. These viruses cause swelling (inflammation) in your liver. The signs and symptoms of these liver conditions do not appear until the virus has passed 2-3 weeks inside the body. Doubt water quality in your area and have symptoms like fever, fatigue, or pain in the abdomen? Get tested for hepatitis now and seek medical assistance if required.   

Following these simple healthy tips will help you limit your exposure to many germs that may give stomach infections. Keep nutrition always above taste.

Hoping you and your loved ones have a happy and healthy monsoon with these monsoon diet tips.

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Heart-Diseases

Heart diseases rank among one of the top most causes of death globally according to WHO (World Health Organization). Deaths due to heart diseases have doubled in India, its 28% now as compared to 15% in 1990s, as per a report published in Lancet Journal.

In the light of growing modern technology, not only the new and young “smartphone generation” but also everyone else is facing more devastating consequences due to their comfortable yet fast paced and stressful lifestyle. This is leading to spike in heart diseases and lifestyle disorders. And to further the situation is the fact that cardiovascular disorders are very unpredictable, they begin slowly but lead to sudden serious disturbances of heart and ill health.

We cannot change the causative factors of cardiovascular diseases like family history of heart diseases, gender or age but that does not mean we should not do our best to bring about changes in our lifestyle that can help in lowering the risk of cardiovascular diseases. Proper lifestyle, diet, exercise with appropriate medical interventions can help delay the problem or even put a stop.

Here are the pointers of the governance for a better Heart and actions to be taken:

  • Stress

One word, one cause that can be the root for different health disorders is stress.

In times when technology and support was not abundant activities such as house cleaning, gardening, taking children and pets to play and walk, climbing stairs, doing household work manually were daily physical activities. These activities even though sedentary, were helping people to keep their body fit and also assist to reduce the occurrence of high blood pressure, high sugar levels, high cholesterol and thus, check the overall strain on the heart, to a certain level.

Today’s fast moving lifestyle has literally reduced all these small yet essential de-stressing physical activities. Thus resulting in increase of oxidative stress and free radicals in the body that are detrimental for the heart.

Coping with stress in unhealthy way like binge eating, eating at irregular intervals or anorexia nervosa causes further negative impact on heart health.

The key is to find alternative ways of managing and reducing stress using various relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga, pranayama, 30 minutes of physical activity preferably cardio exercise done 5 days a week, aerobics or brisk walking and more. These activities offer great benefits like increasing the oxygen levels in the body, enhancing blood circulation to all parts of the body, toning of muscles and nerves and much more resulting in better inner health of the body and the heart.

  • Sleep

Getting quality sleep for appropriate amount of time is missing in this generation where most of the population is addicted to mobile phones and laptops, working in night shifts, late night binge watching, hectic work schedules. Sleep apnoea, breathing troubles are conditions which if persist for a considerable amount of time lead to disturbance in sleep-wake cycle that can further lead to increase in the risk of heart diseases.

Sleep is one of the major function during which the body goes into repair, maintenance and rest mode.

Making sleep a priority in life and sticking to a schedule is the solution. Most adults need 6 to 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep daily to feel fresh, stay health and to wake up energised.

  • Diet

A diet lacking in fruits and vegetables devoid the person of the micronutrients and trace elements essential for body. Consuming too much sugar, salt, high-fat food, processed foods are a threat to heart health.

Fast foods and ready-made foods are rich in trans-fats, hydrogenated and saturated fats. Food products like red meat, palm oil, crackers, chips, cookies, deep fried food, baked foods and all food types categorized as ‘junk food’ are detrimental in long run especially when consumed in excess or regularly. These can lead to accumulation of fat or sugar in the body and can lead to heart trouble. The increased exposure of chemicals and pesticides to the cultivated crops is also a major culprit for toxin build up.

  • Substance misuse – Alcohol, smoking, consumption of drugs

When it comes to these habits, occasional and moderate usage of Alcohol is fine, but smoking, substance misuse and excessive alcoholism are immensely detrimental to the cardiovascular (heart) health of your body and are direct causes of heart disease.

Chemicals in tobacco damage blood vessels, causing plaques (fat deposition inside blood vessels). It also narrows the arteries leading to atherosclerosis and myocardial infarction (cardiac cell death). These symptoms have increased over the years and so has the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD), even in non-smokers in last few years.

Smokeless tobacco, low nicotine cigars, low tar cigar, second-hand smoke (passive smoking) can also be dangerous and increase the risk of heart disease even if it is social smoking only with friends. Especially Women are at a greater risk if smoking while consuming contraceptive pills.

Getting regular health check-ups and medical consultation is advisable. As regular and early screening can help in detecting the diseases in time and hence can be better monitored and managed to reduce the risk to life.

Wishing you a very Happy and Healthy Life. Take care.

Check tests & Profiles for Heart here

Contributed by Dr. Chaitra Avinash, an expert on lifestyle disorders, dietary intervention and hair-skin care.

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womens-healthDear Women, this is why it is extremely important to take care of YOU and your health

A woman juggles multiple roles and relationships in her life – a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, homemaker, professional – these are the traditionally accepted roles of women all over the world.

Over the years, women are more determined to pursue education and follow their interests in the field of their choice. This new dimension adds to a woman’s responsibilities and tasks.

Women are now into demanding jobs like managerial positions, head of institutions, administration, media, science, academics, research etc., but she also expected to be a good homemaker. Women drain themselves in maintaining a balance.

In 2018 GCI Health launched the HealthiHer movement, conducting a survey which concluded that almost 97% of women experienced a moderate to high level of stress, citing family responsibilities and stress on the job as the two were the top contributing factors. Workload on Indian women is much more than their male counterparts.

So, what do we do ladies?

Give yourself up to the ‘Stress’ and expose ourselves to associated diseases??

Well…NO!!

Put your Health on Priority. Neglecting your health exposes you to various diseases and risks and that is the last you want, right?

  1. Manage stress better – Plan in advance and learn to prioritize
  2. Meditate or practise yoga setting aside even 10 minutes leaves you calmer to start the next day
  3. Quit fad diets and sugars
  4. Eat fresh – Eat home cooked meals, avoid eating processed foods and junk meals
  5. Find at least 30 minutes per day to exercise or a cardio activity
  6. Attend menstrual discomfort/ irregularities. Consult a gynaecologist.
  7. Get enough sleep – to heal and repair your body
  8. Stay hydrated
  9. Do not skip meals

Our special women’s health check-up includes a list of comprehensive tests like Thyroid, Vitamin D, FSH and more for women of all ages to detect any onset of diseases. Avail the blood collection at home service to get a health check-up as per your convenience.

Women must get medical tests /regular screening done on time. It is highly recommended that women must take the following medical screening tests once they have crossed 35 years of age:

1. Pelvic Examination

2. Breast Examination

3. Bone Density Test

4. Thyroid Test

5. Diabetes Screening

6. Lipid Profile Tests

7. Vitamin D Test

8. Heart-Health Test

It is not a myth – women really are better than men at multitasking!! According to a research paper in the journal BMC Psychology, women were faster and better organised than men when switching rapidly between tasks in tests by UK psychologists.

Let’s keep this trend going the way it is, don’t let stress and neglect bring us down!!          

For ore on Women’s Health checkup, click here

Contributed by Dr. Bhavana Sontakke, Gynecologist

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Senior-Health-Checkup

Hello friends, today we are going to discuss importance of health check-up in old age. Firstly, it is important to understand that regular health check-ups help you to identify and prevent health issues on early basis. There are numerous common health issues that can affect one’s health which may go unnoticed due to negligence towards unusual changes in body.

Advanced lifestyle has made our life so sedentary that we have become technological slaves. By adopting sedentary life, one has introduced all kind of medical problems which reflects in later age. Health problems due to poor nutrition, lack of physical activity, myths and doctor google in adulthood; consequences of which are most commonly faced in older age which you are unaware of till something wrong happens to your health.

Most common and vulnerable health problems occurring because of lifestyle, genetics and food habits resulting in poor health and shortened life span are –

  • High or low blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Arthritis
  • Back pain and neck pain
  • Heart diseases
  • Dyslipidaemia
  • Vision loss, cataract
  • Hearing loss
  • Pulmonary disease
  • Depression
  • Loss of memory

Many of these conditions are silent killers which reside quietly within your body, but their ill impacts are witnessed after few years or decades.

Ageing gracefully needs regular monitoring of health, show your elders some LOVE and CARE. Preventive tests’ package from Metropolis Diagnostics

With ageing, there is a decline in immunity and the speed and efficiency of body repair, maintenance also slows down.

Health check-ups are equally important for healthy people as well as for those suffering from any medical condition – to keep tabs on their current condition and beware of any future health risk. For healthy people it helps to identify problems before they start and maintain sound health while in preventive case help to recover and manage disease from further progress on time.

Many a time regular check-up protects you from upcoming life-threatening illness through early screening and examination. You don’t need to rely on others because of any physical challenges or medical illness.

Seniors who maintain a good health and fitness even at older age can actively follow their passion, hangout with their buddies and spend quality time with their family and grandchildren. With help of regular annual health examination, taking proper treatment and balanced diet you can stay fit live longer and healthier and active life even in old age.

Checkout Health checkup for seniors here

Here’s to ageing gracefully! 😊

Wishing you a happy and healthy life. Take care.

Contributed by Janki Chauhan – Dietitian

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Unhealthy lifestyle in men

Knowing what is right and what is wrong for your body isn’t always easy. Knowing where you stand today in terms of health, nutrition, lifestyle, stress management, mental health, etc. becomes important due to the kind of lifestyle we have created for ourselves.

Many health problems arise when you follow an unhealthy lifestyle, suffering from malnourishment and if/are addicted to smoking and drinking.

Factors that usually attract health problems are –

  • Stress
  • Unhealthy food
  • Lack of physical activity, sedentary lifestyle
  • Depression, anxiety – negligence towards mental health
  • Irregular sleep schedule, lack of adequate sleep
  • Incessant alcohol consumption
  • Smoking
  • Consumption of drugs

Obesity

Males have apple shaped body, so they are more prone for fat deposition in their abdomen region. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of disease condition which arises due to central obesity. Obesity kills more people in this world than any other disease. Unhealthy food eating habits leads to obesity. Stress is also one major cause of getting obese.

How to prevent this:

  • Follow a healthy diet with lot of nutritious foods
  • Avoid starchy, canned, processed foods
  • Know what triggers you to eat more and control that impulse
  • Stick to eating healthy and not go off-wagon during vacations, festivals
  • Indulge in your favorite food, but in moderation

Diabetes

India ranks as number 1 country with maximum number of people suffering from diabetes. Unhealthy lifestyle, stress, obesity and genetics are the causes that trigger Diabetes condition. If diabetes is not managed properly then many other health issues await you in the future.

How to prevent this:

  • Include foods rich in fiber and protein
  • Control consumption of sugar-rich, carbohydrate-rich food
  • Pay attention to your mental health
  • 30 minutes of physical activity or any sort of cardio workout should be included in your lifestyle, at least 5 times a week
  • Change your lifestyle to live happily and disease free

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Heart diseases (Cardiovascular health)

Incidences of heart diseases are increasing in India again owing to lifestyle related concerns. Heart diseases include cholesterol, stroke, heart blockage, etc. This becomes a club of different disease condition which is again due to unhealthy lifestyle and food habits.

How to prevent this:

  • Learn to eat everything in proportion wise
  • Control and limit your intake of unhealthy fats
  • Get engaged in a relaxing or recreational activity like sport, yoga, dance, music
  • Include more of healthy fats in your diet
  • No amount of tobacco is safe, so avoid completely
  • Avoid too much of salt and sugar in your diet

Liver Cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is a liver disease caused due to heavy consumption of alcohol over a prolonged period. This fails liver and is irreversible condition and it leads to death ultimately. Men generally drink alcohol to socialize, for recreation or to cope with their stress.

How to prevent this:

  • Moderate or no consumption of alcohol, based on Doctor’s advice
  • Medications can reduce the symptoms
  • A healthy diet and exercise must be a part of your life

Wishing you a happy and healthy life. Take care.

Contributed by Kejal Shah – Founder of Nutrivity, Clinical Nutritionist and Diabetes Educator

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PCOD

I was once called a sexy-sleek woman with that Indian touch of sensuousness…..But now, not age, but a disease has mellowed me down in every such aspect of taking pride in being a women. My ovaries have many watery cysts, I have PCOD and I am living with it since 2003. Resultant effects are alarming. Enlarged ovaries, pressure on pancreas, zero control on menstrual cycle, fear of getting type-2 diabetes, dirty acne on face, mood swings like a pendulum…..so much for my grey cells to absorb!!

Now, I can only call myself lucky, as I have been able to conceive with the help of acupressure & the third attempt of IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) treatment led to fertilization of a healthy 23 mm sized egg. I delivered a baby boy with a NORMAL delivery. Had undergone Garbh Sanskar Vidhi, an Ayurvedic treatment for first 3 months post which I underwent a tough diet & walking regime, as I was determined not to undergo a C-section.

Determination has paid off in my journey so far, as I was gifted a handsome, healthy baby boy who is 6 years old now, with well-developed features & brain too!!But my happiness was short lived when in spite of breastfeeding for 1.5 years, my hope to restore my hormonal balance failed. I have PCOD even in 2014 now & nothing is fine anymore. Neither my periods NOR my looks.

Moral of the lesson: Preventing PCOD is better than cure. Ever since I knew from the internet that there is no cure to PCOD, I have had no options but to protect my body from its long-term consequences. Preventing PCOD is not easy task. Now I take Vit-B12, Vit-D3 tablets & calcium from natural food sources. I have stopped taking sugar. Initially, I started with sugar free natura but now I consume sugar from plant product like Stevia leaves. I have recently decided to detoxify my body with Virochan Ayurveda procedure & then attack inch loss, if not weight loss.

After spending 40,000 rupees on herbal treatment, I am still striving hard to slim down. I have some more money going into Ayurvedic treatment these days. But to prevent permanent health issues, I am ready to do EVERYTHING. After my Ayurveda Panchkarma, Yoga & Treatment for hormones, face, hair, inch loss, I will meet you again with proof of any answers to what works & what doesn’t. Watch out!!!

Contributed by Phani Trivedi – Founder at WasteEngage, Chairperson at Businesswomen Wing at Gujarat Chamber of Commerce

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Cervical-cancer

Forms of cancer that are specific to women are breast cancer (though few cases of male patients are also there), ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, cervical cancer. It is estimated that in India, about 160 million women aged 30-59 years are at risk of developing cervical cancer, and 77,300 new cases are diagnosed annually with 37,800 deaths, representing a whopping case fatality rate of 49 per cent.

What is a cervix?

Cervix is a fibromuscular tissue that is connects the genitals with the Uterus and is also called as the mouth/opening of the Uterus

What is cervical cancer?                                 

Cervical cancer is the cancer of the cervix, the opening of uterus. The cells on cervix begin to grow abnormally and sometimes if they are not treated, they can become cancerous.

What are causes of Cervical Cancer?

The main cause for Cervical cancer is getting infected with virus called Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). HPV is sexually transmitted and could have been acquired years ago, from the time when it is finally detected. There are various types (strains) of HPV that can lead to cervical cancer.

Who are susceptible to HPV infections?

  • Women who are sexually active with multiple partners
  • Women whose partner(s) have / had more than one sexual partner
  • Women with any sexually transmitted diseases
  • Women with immune system related problems

Women have undergone any of the following are also likely to be susceptible –

  •  Steroid medications
  •  Chemotherapy
  •  Transplanted organs

Symptoms of Cervical Cancer to watch out for –

  • Unusual discharge from vagina
  • Blood spots or light bleeding even without periods
  • Bleeding after menopause
  • Bleeding during or after sex
  • Anemia as a result of abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Ongoing pelvic, leg or back pain
  • Urinary problems because of blockage of kidney or ureter
  • Bleeding from rectum or bladder
  • Unusual Weight loss

If you witness any of these symptoms, a visit to the doctor for a check-up is must.

How to detect cervical cancer?

PAP smear test is commonly used for testing cervical cancer. This test assures strong sensitivity and specificity for detection of cervical cancer or pre-cancerous stages.

If the results of the PAP test points towards cervical cancer, the doctor may advice for colposcopy/biopsy procedure for further confirmation before the right treatment is implemented for the patient.

One of the most preferred method of cervical cancer screening for women between 30 to 65 years is PAP+HPV together (also known as Co-testing) to be done every 5 years. This method of testing is certified by ACOG (American College of Obstetrician and Gynaecologists) and American Cancer Society.

Early detection and regular screening can save lives when it comes to cervical cancer.

When to take PAP test and a Co-testing?

  • The right age to do the first PAP test for screening is within first 3 years of becoming sexually active. 
  • After age 30, you must repeat the test every 2-3 years after discussion with your physician/gynecologist
  • Schedule your PAP when you’re not having your menstrual period
  • Co- testing needs to be done every 3 years for the age group of 30-65

Talk to your doctor more about it, ASK QUESTIONS!

But the GOOD NEWS is Cervical cancer is the only cancer preventable by Vaccination. Talk to a gynecologist for more information on cervical cancer vaccination for you and your female peers.

Wishing you a very Happy and Healthy Life. Take care.

Contributed by Dr. Anita Shukla, Leading Gynecologist and Obstetrician.

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