important test preganancy metropolis healthcare

Lab tests are part of routine health care during pregnancy. Few of these tests are performed with a blood sample while others use a urine sample or a sample of tissue taken from your vagina, cervix, or rectum.

These tests called prenatal tests are designed with the primary goal to help your health care provider find out how you and your baby are doing during pregnancy. The different kinds of tests available for pregnant women include:

  • Tests to confirm pregnancy
  • Routine screening tests, which can assess mother’s health along with  baby’s health status
  • Maternal health screening used to identify specific disease and infection increasing the risk of complications for you and your baby
  • Diagnostic tests done for high-risk pregnancies.

The different phases of pregnancy will need different types of tests to track mother’s and baby’s health. Various lab tests required for various phases of pregnancy are discussed below.

Screening in First Trimester of Pregnancy

Although the following tests are conducted in early pregnancy, your doctor can request you these lab tests at any time of the pregnancy.

Complete blood count

  • Complete blood picture can determine the counts of different types of cells including red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs), and platelets
  • The number of RBCs can detect whether you have a certain type of anemia and determine the status of iron, vitamin B12, and folate deficiency
  • The number of WBCs can determine how many disease-fighting cells you have in your blood, indicative of an infection in the body
  • The number of platelets can show whether you have a problem with blood clotting.

Blood group and Rhesus compatibility screening

The results of blood group ABO and Rh typing will figure out if the woman is type A, B, AB, or O and if they are Rh negative or positive

  • Identifying the ABO blood group is highly important in pregnant women so as to ascertain your blood group for emergencies like heavy bleeding at the time of birth
  • Besides, knowledge of the Rhesus (Rh) factor of the mother is crucial so as to determine Rh compatibility with the growing baby. The Rh factor is an inherited protein found on the surface of red blood cells (RBCs). If your RBCs have the protein, you are Rh positive. If you RBCs lacks the protein, you are Rh negative.
    • Rh incompatibility occurs if a woman is Rh-negative and her fetus is Rh positive, the woman’s body can make antibodies against the Rh factor
    • These antibodies can damage the fetus’s RBCs
    • This usually does not cause problems in a first pregnancy, when the body makes only a small number of antibodies
    • However, it can cause issues in a subsequent pregnancy
    • In cases of Rh incompatibility, most women will be given a shot of Rh-immune globulin at 28 weeks and again a few days after delivery.

Rubella antibody status

  • All pregnant women should be monitored for rubella antibodies
  • If rubella virus infects a developing fetus in thefirst 16 weeks of pregnancy, affected babies will have severe birth defects including deafness, eye defects, heart defects, mental retardation
  • The risk of complications decreases if the infection occurs after 20 weeks gestation
  • The goal of the test is to recognize women who have not been immunized or have reduced immunity and have higher chances of contracting rubella
  • However, non-immune mothers should not be vaccinated during their pregnancy and should receive the vaccination after giving birth in order to protect future pregnancies.

Screening for sexually transmitted infections

  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can cause complications for you and your baby
  • All pregnant women should be tested for syphilis and chlamydia early in pregnancy. The screening is important, as a baby born to mothers infected with syphilis can be stillborn
  • You can also be evaluated for gonorrhea, if you are 25 or younger.
  • Infants born to mothers infected with hepatitis B will become carriers and have a higher likelihood of developing chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis, liver cancer, etc.
  • Prevention of transmission of hepatitis B virus from mother to infant is achieved by administration of hepatitis B vaccine and immunoglobulin to the infant at birth.

  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) screening is crucial and all pregnant women should be screened for HIV
  • Women who are HIV positive will be given treatment in order to decrease the risk of HIV being transmitted to their infant
  • Measures to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV infection include antiretroviral therapy, elective cesarean section delivery, and the avoidance of breastfeeding.
  • Additionally, if a pregnant woman is believed to be at risk for HIV, hepatitis C screening should also be considered.

Maternal serum screening/ Dual marker test

  • Pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A screening (PAPP-A) is done in early pregnancy, and its abnormal levels are linked to a higher risk for chromosomal defects
  • Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a hormone made by the placenta in early pregnancy. Its abnormal levels are associated with chromosomal issues
  • Both these tests in combination have a greater potential to diagnose genetic birth defects such as Down syndrome (trisomy 21) and trisomy 18 in the developing baby.

Book your first trimester maternal serum screening dual marker test here. Apart from these screenings in the first trimester, testing for varicella antibody status in pregnant women even with no history of illness or vaccination should be considered. Vitamin D screening of mothers is also important, as vitamin D is required for normal bone growth development in the fetus.

Screening in Second Trimester of Pregnancy

Screening at 26–28 weeks’ gestation mainly includes another round of complete blood count, blood group of antibodies, and glucose tolerance test.

Glucose tolerance test

  • A glucose screening test is used to determine gestational diabetes, a temporary condition that develops during pregnancy
  • Although this disease usually disappears after the baby is born, women who develop gestational diabetes have a higher possibility of developing type 2 diabetes later in life
  • Gestational diabetes can increase your chances of needing a cesarean delivery as babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes are usually born larger.

Test for Urine infection

All pregnant women should have a midstream urine culture at first and again at the second trimester and then at 36 weeks gestation, to exclude a sub-clinical urine infection.

Alpha-fetoprotein screening (AFP)

This blood test, also known as MSAFP (maternal serum AFP) measures the level of alpha-fetoprotein in your blood during pregnancy.

Abnormal levels of AFP may indicate:

  • Open neural tube defects like spina bifida
  • Down syndrome
  • Complications in the abdominal wall of the fetus
  • Twins
  • An incorrect due date.

Most of the times, the doctor can advise a triple marker test because it looks at the levels of AFP, and two pregnancy hormones, estriol and hCG to determine the presence of any chromosomal abnormalities in the baby.

Screening in Third Trimester of Pregnancy

Group B streptococcus test

  • Group B streptococcus (GBS) is most commonly found in the vagina and rectum of women and can pass from a pregnant woman to her baby during labor
  • Although this occurs rarely to 1 or 2 babies out of 100, GBS can lead to severe neonatal infection or sepsis
  • Hence, taking a vaginorectal culture at 35 to 37 weeks gestation can rule out GBS infection.

Prenatal screening tests act as a vital source of information for pregnant women. These tests are periodically done to evaluate women’s and baby’s health, and the presence of any pathological condition. 

Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns if you are not sure if you should be screened or if you are feeling anxious. Have a happy pregnancy!

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Your body is like a super machine, that performs amazing functions very similar to manufacturing, processing, sorting, etc. And similar to machinery, certain waste products are generated during the various biochemical reactions of the body. So how is this waste expelled? Your kidneys, two bean-shaped organs, located on either side of your spine, filter the body’s waste materials from the blood and remove them as urine.

Apart from filtering waste to maintain your health, your kidneys play several other vital roles as well. They help control the levels of water and several essential minerals in the body. Moreover, they play a critical role in the production of vitamin D, red blood cells, and hormones that regulate blood pressure (called renin). 

By now, it must be crystal clear that taking care of your kidneys is of utmost importance. Getting a kidney function test (KFT) can be the first step towards better kidney health.

What exactly is a kidney function test?

These are simple blood and urine tests that can identify problems with your kidneys.

Who should get a kidney function test done?

Everyone. It helps to screen for kidney-related conditions and aid in early diagnosis. KFT is especially important for people with

  • Identified kidney disease
  • Symptoms related to kidney conditions
  • Conditions that can harm the kidneys, such as diabetes or high blood pressure
  • High risk of getting kidney disease including those above 60 years of age, who smoke, or have a family history of kidney conditions, etc.

 Think your kidneys may not be working properly? Book a kidney function test and get tested at your doorstep.

What symptoms can be caused by kidney problems?

Symptoms that may indicate a problem with your kidneys include:

  • Frequent urges to urinate
  • Difficulty beginning urination
  • Pain during urination
  • High blood pressure
  • Blood in the urine
  • Swelling of the hands and feet

Your doctor will evaluate your symptoms, correlates it with the test findings, and arrive at a diagnosis. Also, a single symptom may not always mean something serious.

What are the different types of kidney function tests?

The KFT includes the following set of blood tests that evaluates how efficiently your kidneys are working.

Glomerular filtration rate (GFR)

GFR is a measure of how much blood passes through the tiny filters of the kidneys (glomeruli) each minute. If the kidneys are damaged, they shall pass less blood to get filtered.

In general,

  • A GFR of 60 or higher is in the normal range.
  • A GFR below 60 may indicate kidney disease.
  • A GFR of 15 or lower may indicate kidney failure.

Albumin

Albumin is a protein found in the blood. While a healthy kidney does not let albumin pass into the urine, some albumin might pass through damaged kidneys. Remember, the less albumin in your urine, the healthier your kidneys are.

  • A urine albumin result below 30 is normal.
  • A urine albumin result above 30 may mean kidney disease.

Creatinine

Your muscles have a high-energy molecule, called creatine phosphate. Creatinine is the by-product of creatine phosphate, which is produced at a constant rate and cleared from the blood by the kidneys. If the creatinine clearance is decreased, it results in increased blood (or serum) creatinine.

A rise in serum creatinine is an indicator of kidney impairment. However, creatinine is considered a late marker of acute kidney injury because kidney function is decreased by almost 50% before a rise in serum creatinine is observed.*

  • The normal range of creatinine for adult men, 0.74 to 1.35 mg/dL
  • The normal range of creatinine for adult women, 0.59 to 1.04 mg/dL

Urea or blood urea nitrogen

Urea or blood urea nitrogen (BUN) is a substance formed in the liver as the end product of protein metabolism and the urea cycle. Around 85% of urea is excreted via kidneys and the remaining is eliminated via the gastric tract.* In case of kidney impairment, blood urea levels get increased. However, urea may also increase in other conditions unrelated to kidney diseases like dehydration, and high protein diets.

Please note urea is increased earlier in kidney disease, however, serum creatinine provides a more accurate assessment of kidney function than urea.


Broadly seen, The normal range of BUN: 10-10 mg/dL.

Electrolytes

Electrolytes are minerals present in the blood and body fluids that facilitate several body functions. They can be positively or negatively charged. An electrolyte test helps monitor the body’s electrolyte levels and is a strong indicator of how well your kidneys are functioning. Sodium, potassium, and chloride are some of the main electrolytes. The normal range for each electrolyte can vary to some extent in men and women, and different age groups. 

Can your kidney function get better?

Kidney disease can be treated if diagnosed well within time. Advanced treatment options are also available to help delay or prevent kidney failure in severe kidney damage.

No matter what your results are:

  • Maintain your blood pressure, blood glucose, and blood cholesterol in your target range.
  • Cut back on salt and choose a balanced diet.
  • Keep yourself physically active.
  • Take medicines the way your provider tells you to.
  • Get tested from time to time to keep an eye on kidney health.
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dark chocolate benefits Metropolis Healthcare

Love the intense taste of dark chocolate but worried about the overconsumption? Or, think you can eat as much as you want but not gain a single inch? While dark chocolate has a huge fan following, many people have a lot of questions about them. Today we are answering some of the most frequent questions about dark chocolate. Here you go:

Question: Is dark chocolate good for weight loss?

Dark chocolate can play some role in weight loss, though it is not considered to be an effective weight-loss measure when used alone.

Improves insulin sensitivity: Some research suggests that dark chocolate could help improve your body’s sensitivity to insulin, the hormone responsible for transferring sugar from your blood into your cells where it can be used for energy. Dark chocolate has polyphenols which help insulin being better available to the body cells. This may be associated with less glucose storage and weight loss.

Decreases hunger: Some studies show that dark chocolate may reduce cravings and promote feelings of fullness, which may help in weight loss. A study has also found that the effects of milk chocolate and dark chocolate and found that participants felt less hungry and fuller and more satisfied after eating dark chocolate.

Question: Can dark chocolate boost mood?

Several studies have found that dark chocolate may positively affect our mental health and mood, which can ensure that we feel our very best. A happy mood is associated with measures to promote self-care. According to one study, those who consumed higher amounts of dark chocolate had 57% lower odds of experiencing depressive symptoms than those who did not regularly consume dark chocolate. Your physical health is a pivotal factor to control your mental health. Think you are feeling burnout or fatigue more often than before? Get a health checkup done and look for yourself if there is anything that you can fix physically to stay calm mentally.

Question: Is dark chocolate actually healthy?

Let’s try to understand that how dark chocolate is healthy.

Loaded with a lot of nutrients– if we buy quality dark chocolate with a high cocoa content, then it is actually quite nutritious. It contains a decent amount of soluble fiber and is loaded with minerals. Dark chocolate can contain the following nutrients 

  • 11 grams of fiber
  • 67% of the RDI for iron
  • 58% of the RDI for magnesium
  • 89% of the RDI for copper.
  • 98% of the RDI for manganese

In addition, it also has potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.

(The constituents and amounts might vary among different products available in the market.)

A powerful source of antioxidants: Dark chocolate is loaded with biologically active organic compounds that function as antioxidants. These include polyphenols, flavonoids, and catechins, among others.

May reduce heart disease risk: The ingredients in dark chocolate appear to be highly protective against heart health. It should cause much less cholesterol to lodge in the arteries, resulting in a lower risk of heart disease. In a study of 470 elderly men, cocoa was found to reduce the risk of death from heart disease by a whopping 50% over a 15-year period. Yet another study showed that eating dark chocolate more than 5 times per week lowered the risk of heart disease by 57%. 

Improve the functioning of the nervous system: Cocoa contains stimulant substances like caffeine and theobromine, which may be a key reason why dark chocolate can improve brain function in the short term.  

Question: Can we eat dark chocolate every day?

You can eat some amounts of dark chocolate daily, however, a better thing is to restrict daily consumption if you have diabetes or obesity.

The daily recommended dosecan bearound 30-60 g, as per some sources. Indulging in anything more than that means you may be consuming too many calories. There isn’t a standard dose for dark chocolate that can be followed by everyone. A 40-45 g dark chocolate bar has approximately 190 calories plus some plant nutrients. In comparison, you take only around 95 calories and lots of nutrients if you eat a medium-sized apple. So, it is very clear that you should never replace healthy foods with dark chocolate.

Question: Can dark chocolate reduce period pain?

Many women like to eat chocolate during the periods. Now the question is whether dark chocolate reduces the period pain or just creates an overall sense of well-being? Dark chocolate has been seen to provide help to some women dealing with menstrual cramps. A study conducted by the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology in 2013 found that consuming chocolate can help in improving our mood, making us feel calmer and more satisfied. Experts say its magnesium content can have a role in relaxing the muscles and easing period pain. In addition to that, it causes the brain to release endorphins, hormones that help you feel happier. Dark chocolate can be helpful during PMS too, owing to the same reasons of relieving stress and facilitating the release of happy hormones.

Question: Can diabetics eat dark chocolate?

You may eat some dark chocolate but moderation is the key. Overdoing has to be avoided.

Dark chocolate contains polyphenols, which are naturally occurring compounds that have antioxidant properties. Polyphenols in dark chocolate improve insulin sensitivity, which may help in controlling blood sugar, according to research published in Endocrine Abstracts. However, you need to watch your calories to keep track of your blood sugar levels. Though dark chocolate is considered healthy, it still is calorie-dense as compared to other natural foods like fruits and green vegetables. This is why you should not assume that you can eat as much as dark chocolate you want if you are diabetic.

Question: Can you eat dark chocolate when pregnant?

Pregnancy demands extra care at each and every step. Having certain cravings during pregnancy is a normal thing, chocolate craving is experienced quite commonly. The good thing is you can enjoy dark chocolate in moderation throughout your pregnancy. The benefits are largely well-proven, including better blood pressure and improved blood flow to the baby. In fact, an older study had revealed that eating dark chocolate may cause sweeter temperaments in babies. Though it is generally safe to eat dark chocolate in pregnancy, make sure that you are not allergic to any of the constituents in the pack or dark chocolate. Also, discuss with your gynecologist what type of diet is best for you and the baby.

Question: Is dark chocolate good for the skin?

Consuming dark chocolate can impart beauty benefits to the skin. It has bioactive compounds and is rich in minerals which helps dark chocolate nourish our skin inside out.  Thanks to its antioxidants and flavonoids that prevent aging and might improve blood flow in the skin tissues.

Now, when you get your dark chocolate bar the next time, do keep these facts in mind. If you got more question about dark chocolate, let us know in the comments section.

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Our liver plays a vital role in our body’s digestive system. Whatever we eat or drink, including medicines, almost all of it passes through the liver. Therefore, we need to treat our Liver right, so that it can stay healthy and do its job effectively. Amid the hectic schedule, it is quite easy for most of us to forget to pay our liver the attention that it rightly deserves.

The liver, situated under the lower ribcage on our right side, is responsible for getting rid of harmful chemicals to cleanse the body, producing liquid called bile which is required for breaking down all the fat from our food. Most importantly it stores glucose which gives us energy to carry out our daily activities. The liver is the only organ in our body that can regenerate itself; a person can donate a part of their liver to another person.  This article will provide you with insights that can help lower the risk of liver problems and eventually other vital organs as well.

Major Liver problems include infectious conditions like Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, and liver damage caused due to excessive alcohol consumption, like fatty liver disease and cirrhosis. Liver failure and liver cancer are fatal diseases that can be caused due to multiple causes, with most cases associated with liver damage and scarring of the liver. All such problems can adversely affect the normal and healthy functioning of the liver, thus proper care and caution is essential when it comes to keeping the liver in good health

6 ways to keep the liver problems at bay:

  • Limit your alcohol intake

Our liver and body can usually cope up with consuming only a certain amount of alcohol.As per the guidelines, men should not go for drinking more than 2 drinks a day and women should limit themselves to just one drink a day. One “standard” drink contains roughly 14 grams of pure alcohol. For example, around 12 ounces of regular beer. But if you continue to drink more than what your liver can take, it will affect the liver cells; they will not be able to process it and this can lead to liver damage, leading to permanent scarring of the liver. If you continue with excessive drinking, it might cause liver failure too.

  • Get a Liver Function Test regularly

Liver function tests aka Liver Panel, is a simple blood test that can be taken to measure different enzymes, proteins and all other substances that our Liver produces. This simple blood test can reveal much information about your liver health and may be an early indication of liver disease. This allows you to take action in time.

  • Exercise regularly

Though this is something which is important for preventing most lifestyle diseases, we never tend to take this seriously. This helps keep our weight under control, and prevent excess fats from getting stored in our body. Regular exercise can help keep non alcoholic fatty liver disease at bay, a severe condition that can lead to cirrhosis if not taken care of. If currently you are not doing any physical workout, start by doing some daily exercises and slowly and gradually move up towards increasing it to half an hour or an hour daily.

  • Don’t go for fad diets

Following trends, a lot of people go for random diet plans, weight loss pills or protein pills, without understanding the after-effects it can have. Fad diets and pills available without prescription that promise quick weight loss or weight gain might end up harming the Liver in the long run. If in any doubt what can be the perfect diet or tablets to keep the health in check, always ask a doctor or a dietician.

One simply cannot stress over the fact enough that having a balanced diet is important for anyone. Try and avoid saturated fats, trans fats and hydrogenated fats as much as possible. Our culture these days is to simply have leftovers or packaged / processed foods, keep a check on that. High levels of cholesterol are identified as common causes leading to fatty liver disease. Therefore it is suggested to eat more fibrous food, like fruits and vegetables and dairy produce for a healthy liver functioning.

Want to check how your diet might have harmed your cholesterol levels. Book a lab test right away.

  • Be careful with medication

We often tend to self diagnose ourselves when it comes to common cold or cough, doing so we take medicines that can affect the liver badly. By not consulting a doctor or a physician, we tend to put our health at risk. Of all the organs present in our body, the liver is most vulnerable to the harmful effects of self-medication. It acts as the main organ that detoxifies whatever medicines go inside our body. Over dose of any medicine, not consulting a doctor, taking herbal supplements can all have irreversible side effects on the liver. Thereby always check with a specialist and avoid compromising your liver health.

  • Get vaccinated

Vaccinations protect yourselves against Hepatitis A, B & C. Always consult your family doctor or physician before getting these shots. Hepatitis A can be caused due to contaminated food or water and Hepatitis B can be because of sexual contact or contaminated blood and needles. Remember prevention is better than cure

The liver is wonderfully created to perform countless functions for our body. It protects and nurtures our body every day, from getting rid of toxins, giving the body the desired energy, fighting viruses and other infections to maintaining mineral and vitamin supply in our body. All of these are not possible without a healthy liver. It is a complex yet resilient organ of our body that needs to be taken care of day in and day out.

Schedule that long-pending liver health test now. Book here.





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Scientific Tips for Aging Gracefully

The population of the world, as a whole, is living longer. It is thus essential to implement proactive steps to create changes at both individual and environmental levels, which can promote aging in a better way.

The concept of aging well is a fundamental requirement to improve health and well-being in order to enhance length and quality of life. Aging well highlights the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and keeping wellness on priority while growing older.

Here are 7 scientific tips that can help you age gracefully:

  1. Keeping physically active

It has been observed that poor health in old age is mainly caused due to the effects of multiple lifestyle choices, such as physical inactivity, poor diet, and smoking.

Regular exercising lowers the risk of several diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, etc. Several studies also suggest that aerobic exercises may improve the symptoms of Alzheimer disease. Moreover, certain evidence have demonstrated the beneficial effect of physical activity on aging at cellular levels, causing an increase in energy, flexibility and overall sense of well-being.

Various types of physical activity that can be done are:

  • Simple exercises such as walking, jogging, yoga, weight lifting or a dance class possess multiple benefits as they can control weight, uplift mood, and makes you sleep better
  • A 30 minute-walk every day, it can also be broken into shorter strolls


It has been recommended that an adult should do 2½ - 5 hours per week of moderate-intensity exercise, 1 ¼ - 2 ½ hours per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercises, or a combination of these two.


If you haven’t been exercising, discuss with your doctor about how you can get started gradually.

  1. Eating a balanced diet

Diet is shown to play an active part in how well you age. Nutritious diet helps in keeping an individual mentally sharp and gives energy to enjoy day-to-day activities. Eating a balanced diet not only helps you age well, but also prevent oneself against various diseases such as heart diseases, diabetes, etc.

Numerous studies have shown that chronic illnesses, particularly auto-immune diseases such as fibromyalgia and arthritis, can be associated with our diet, hence, a diet rich in anti-inflammatory components such as fresh fruits and vegetables is recommended.

In addition, avoiding processed food with a higher glycemic index can raise your BMI, increase your waistline, and raise your blood sugar. Enough vitamin D level is essential as it helps contribute to bone health as you age. Salt should be kept to minimum to prevent high blood pressure.

The recommended diet for aging well should include the following:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole-grain cereals, breads, rice, or pasta
  • Lean protein, such as fish and beans
  • Low-fat or fat-free dairy, such as milk, yogurt or cheese that contain vitamin D
  1. Focusing on mental health

Mental health is very crucial as happiness with less stress levels can help a person age gracefully and liver longer and healthier.

Various tips for improving your mental health includes:

  • One should practice the habit of staying optimistic. Keeping a positive outlook can cure stress associated with life problems.
  • One should stay connected as loneliness is harmful for your mental health. A lonelier individual has higher levels of stress hormones that cause inflammation, linked to disorders like arthritis. Meaningful relationships and a strong social network enhance both mental and physical well-being and longevity.
  • Learn to embrace different aspects of life with a positive attitude.
  • Find new hobbies as exploring new and meaningful things can provide a sense of purpose and keep your anxiety levels to minimum. Keep yourself busy to lessen stress about things you can’t control.
  1. Getting enough sleep

The sleeping habit of an adult in this era has been greatly affected by changed lifestyle and work pressure. This sleep-deprived state in turn, leads to fatigue and premature aging of body cells.

It has been observed that insomnia is more common in older adults. Thus, sticking to a sleeping schedule is important as it can keep a body in sync for appropriate sleep. For an uninterrupted sleep:

  • Keep the room a little cooler and dark
  • Avoid caffeine or alcohol in the evening
  • Avoid electronics before bedtime which emit blue light.

Usually sleeping hours are majorly dependent on your age, an 8-hours sleep is recommended for an adult for better mental and physical health. It has been reported that our skin cells build and repair themselves during sleep, and that’s why we feel renewed and rejuvenated.

Beneficial effects of appropriate sleep include:

  • Reducing stress and anxiety
  • Lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke
  • Reducing the risk of obesity
  • Improving focus and concentration.
  1. Restricting smoking and alcohol consumption

Smoking and alcohol, both have shown many negative effects on the process of aging. Cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and other products with nicotine can cause ailments like heart disease, cancer, lung and gum disease, etc. Similarly, limit your alcohol consumption to avoid risk of health diseases including liver ailments.

Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but there are resources that can help you quit. Seek the help of a healthcare professional.


It has been reported that your body begins to heal within 20 minutes of your last cigarette.

  1. Scheduling health tests on time

    As you age, your body organs also age. The aging body organs are more prone to get diseased and less likely to repair themselves. By getting your health tests done regularly, you are keeping an eye on the aging body. This helps to identify any health condition at an early stage, and take action. Ensure to get a full body check up done twice a year.
  1. Maintain hydration

    Hydration is vital to our bodies as drinking water regularly helps in releasing out toxins and aids in digestion. Additionally, it aids in sleeping better, and improves focus and weight loss. Adequate water intake can also help you avoid dry, flaky skin and fine lines, which in turn, can help your skin look younger.
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Vitamin D in winter Metropolis Healthcare

The sunshine vitamin, vitamin D, requires exposure to ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays from the sun for its synthesis. During the sunny summer days, making enough vitamin D can be very efficient. However, as soon as the winter arrives, less sunlight is available and the risk of vitamin D deficiency increases. As per many researchers, your body needs vitamin D not only to maintain bone health but also to keep healthy and to fight infections. The irony is that in winter, when you need vitamin D the most, you end up getting deficient for this essential vitamin.

You can fix a problem only when you know it exists. Especially during the winter months, experts recommend a blood test that assesses the amount of vitamin D in the body. It is particularly important for you to get tested for vitamin D if you are over age 70, have darker skin, have malabsorption problems or take medicines that interfere with vitamin D absorption (for example, glucocorticoids). If you have liver and kidney disease, you can be often deficient in vitamin D. These organs are required to make the active form of the vitamin, whether it comes from the sun or from food.

For a good gut health during winter

Enough has been known and written about vitamin D deficiency leading to bone diseases like rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults. However, research has shown that vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining a healthy digestive tract. One of the ways vitamin D functions is by keeping the gut microbes healthy. If you have sufficient vitamin D levels, you are more likely to have those healthy gut bacteria just right in number and diversity. This helps reduce inflammation throughout the body. On the other side, low vitamin D levels can be associated with inflammatory bowel disease in some people.

Strong immunity needs vitamin D

There has been a lot of buzz around the role of vitamin D in boosting immunity. This holds great significance in the times of COVID-19 pandemic. Some scientists have claimed that the immune system has vitamin D receptors that determine which cells can use vitamin D. Having enough of this sunshine vitamin might help improve your ability to fight infections and reduce inflammation.

Less time spent outside

In the winter, you are more likely to catch infections. Also, you are more likely to lie comfortably in your cozy blanket and spend less time outside. This leads to more and more of us getting vitamin deficiency in the winter.

Vitamin D and Calcium, the best friends

Vitamin D helps you absorb calcium from your diet. Along with vitamin D, calcium plays a significant role in keeping your bone and muscles health intact.  

Eat healthy to get enough vitamin D

Apart from exposure to the sun, you can get enough vitamin D for your body through certain food items as well, including tuna, sardines, mushrooms and fortified dairy and orange juice. Adding vitamin D supplements can be a good way to reach the recommended vitamin D intake.

Lack of sun exposure during the winter months would be less of a problem if diet provided adequate vitamin D. But there aren’t many vitamin D–rich foods , and you need to eat a lot of them to cover up the recommended vitamin D intake of 10 μg/day (400 IU/day) for adults.

The COVID-19 angle

Some of the recent researchers have claimed that people who are deficient in vitamin D are more likely to get severe COVID-19 illness. Vitamin D deficient people might have a higher chance of getting hospitalized too. Whether vitamin D has any role in preventing coronavirus infection or not, it isn’t clear yet and needs more data and robust evidence.
Think you have symptoms suggestive of COVID-19? Book a COVID-19 test and get tested at home. 

Overdoing is prohibited, too

While you aim to get enough vitamin D, keep in mind that too much vitamin D can be harmful. Want to know exactly how much vitamin D healthy adults should have? Or confused about when to get tested for vitamin D? Check out this article to stay in the know.

Remember that the same UVB rays that help in vitamin D synthesis, can damage your skin as well. Under the right circumstances, 10 to 15 minutes of sun on the arms and legs a few times a week can generate nearly all the vitamin D we need. However, various factors affect this synthesis: the season, the time of day, where you live, cloud cover, and even pollution levels. In addition, your skin’s production of vitamin D is influenced by age, skin color, and sunscreen use.


Book a vitamin D test to be sure if your levels are enough to support a healthy you. This winter, get tested on time and don’t let your body suffer from lack of vitamin D by taking early steps.  

Also read “Why and when you should get tested for Vitamin D?

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