Top Ten Tips for A Good Sleep

Are you familiar with the term sleep hygiene? It is a term used to collectively describe your bedtime and night time rituals and habits. The behaviours and habits can promote a good sleep routine and help in maintaining health.

Good Sleep

Having a good night’s sleep is an essential part of your routine in this world that is working 24/7. But bad sleep hygiene may prevent you from getting required amount of sleep and can often lead to decreased energy levels, low performance, can disrupt mood, and several other issues that may decrease your overall health. Getting enough sleep improves overall health quality, mood, energy levels, and performance.

The sleep-wake cycle of our body is controlled and regulated by an internal clock in the brain. Almost all our physical activities and processes are synchronized with this 24-hour physiological clock. Good sleep hygiene ensures good quality sleep, and is critical in maintaining balanced mental, emotional and physical health.

The most important elements to a good sleep are quiet room, dark room, cool temperature, and a comfortable bed or mattress. If you have these 4 essentials covered, you are most definitely on your way to a better sleep routine.

However, incorporating or improving one thing in your sleep hygiene can assist you in getting that fruitful good night’s sleep you are striving for. Here are some tips to follow that will definitely assist you in regulating your bed time habits.

  • Maintain a schedule and be in tune with your sleep-wake cycle:

The most important and easiest thing you can do, is sleep and wake up on the same time everyday. Even on weekends. Yes, that’s right! Sleeping in to catch up on sleep can disrupt your body’s habit of falling asleep at a particular time and will make it harder for you to fall asleep the next time. Stay in tune with your body’s sleep and wake cycle.

Sleep-Wake Cycle

Hitting snooze is another toxic habit and should be avoided at all costs. Set up an alarm for the exact time you want to get up. Hitting snooze every now and then will disrupt your sleep pattern. This will leave you feeling groggy and will result in you waking up with a headache.

  • Control Light Exposure:

It has been observed that light plays a major role in helping your body stay awake and fall asleep. Light has a profound effect on our biological clock and can affect the sleep-wake cycle to a great extent. Light exposure incorporates feelings of wakefulness, alertness, and makes you feel energetic.

This exposure to light at night can have unpredictable effects on sleep. Excess light exposure will trick your brain and body to believe it is day time and make it harder to fall asleep.Control Light Exposure

So stop using your phones, tablets, e-book readers, when you are in bed. Don’t watch television in bed as it uses blue light, that brain perceives as sunlight, and will interfere with your body’s ability to sleep. Dim the light an hour before you sleep to allow your body to start its progression towards sleep. Hang up dark curtains. Make your room as dark as possible.

  • Exercise During the Day:

Exercising helps you stay healthy, fit, and energized, and improves overall health. It can also tire your body by the time its time for bed. However, exercise should be done 3 hours before bed time. This is because exercising before bed can stress the body, making it difficult to fall asleep. The more energized and awake the body is, the harder it is to fall asleep.

  • Cognitive Behavioural Therapy:

Negative thoughts and actions hinder your ability to sleep. Cognitive behavioural therapy helps in sorting and relaxing these thoughts of yours and helps you develop a habit that promotes good sleep hygiene. This therapy may help people recognize and realise how their thoughts and thought processes affect their sleep schedule.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

Cognitive therapy helps people suffering from insomnia get rid of constant inappropriate and absurd thoughts that largely keep them awake at night. It also gives ideas and solutions about other conditions and situations that may be affecting the sleep cycle and patterns.

  • Eliminate Caffeine Intake Before Bed:

Caffeine promotes alertness and acts as a stimulant. It interferes with adenosine receptors and prevent you from feeling sleepy. This could disrupt your sleep cycle and can cause frequent awakenings. Hence, avoiding coffee, soda, or tea, a couple of hours before bed is suggested.

Caffeine Intake Before Bed

Similarly, alcohol may induce immediate sleepiness, but it can result in frequent waking up during odd hours at night and ultimately result in a non-restful sleep. Try having a glass of warm milk or herbal tea to sleep better.

  • Don’t Lie Awake in Bed:

Go to bed only if you are sleepy. If you are not sleepy and force yourself to sleep, it might cause frustration and anger, and may keep you up longer than necessary. When this happens, do something other than trying to force yourself to sleep. Read a book, go to another room, take a walk, or do something that will make you tired and sleepy. Also, avoid falling asleep at places other than your bed. This can also disturb your sleep schedule.

  • Avoid Bedtime Use of Electronic Devices:

Studies have reported that increased screen time after bed has been associated with sleep anxiety, increased frequency of waking up at night, and over all total sleep disturbance. This is because, these devices use blue light that, as written above, tricks the brain into recognizing it as sunlight and decreased the production of melatonin, which in turn results in your body being awake.

  • Limit Activities in Bed:

If you suffer from insomnia, do not work, watch TV, make phone calls, or use mobile when in bed. This can increase alertness and can increase the difficulty of falling asleep. Use your bed only for sleeping and relaxing.

An ideal environment is a dark, cool, quiet room with a comfortable bed and minimal background noise.

  • Say No to Large Meals and Drinks Before Bed:

Late dinner and a large meal activates your digestive system and having them right before bed will keep you up. If you suffer from heartburn, eating and drinking too close to the bedtime, can aggravate your symptoms. Instead, a small snack or a small meal for dinner, several hours before bedtime, is advised.

Drinks Before Bed

Similarly, fluid intake close to the bedtime should be reduced. This is because excessive fluid intake can keep the bladder full and guarantee a lot of trips to the bathroom that is going to disturb your sleep.

  • Unwind and Clear Your Head before Sleeping:

Laying in bed thinking about what tomorrow would bring is a habit everyone is a victim of. This has a severe negative impact on your sleep schedule. However, this can be solved.

Consider allotting a period of time before bed, possibly after dinner, to worry about tomorrow. You can make a list of all the goals you have to finish tomorrow, review them, make plans accordingly and get organized. That effectively reduces a lot of stress, anxiety and concerns of the next day.

This could help you sort out all your thoughts and work related concerns, and help you get that much needed sleep.

If you suffer from insomnia or thrive on low levels of sleep, there are a lot more options and steps you can take to bring about a much needed change in your behaviour and lifestyle. These ten tips can help you beat sleeplessness and overcome common difficulties you might face in falling asleep.

Clear Your Head before Sleeping

Every time you face difficulty in falling asleep; take a warm bath, listen to relaxing music, do some yoga that will relax your mind and body, and stay calm. Always make sure your bed is comfortable and control the environment in which you are likely to fall asleep. Anxiety related to sleep can cause trouble in falling asleep, which is why avoiding it all costs is an essential step.

Afterall, getting a good night’s sleep is the key to a healthy, happy, and long life.

Stress Affects Women More

Should this be treated like a question, a statement or a general opinion? Stress has become synonymous with the fast paced lifestyle that is so commonly prevalent today. Regardless of age, social stature, economic status, and gender, every person combats stress on a daily basis.

Stress and Women

A lot of scientific research is constantly underway to study more about the cause, symptoms and long term effects of stress on the human mind and body. While it is difficult to encompass every detail about this evil that is taking roots into people’s life, this article tries to scratch the surface about the hazard that stress is.

What is Stress?

Stress is a normal physiological response to the various situations and conditions encountered on a day to day basis. People tend to experience stress at physical as well as mental level.

Physiologically, stress is associated with release of certain hormones in the bloodstream. Facing difficult situations, or those that cannot be dealt with, is the commonest trigger factor for release of the above mentioned hormones.

what is stress

Whether women are affected more by stress has been a topic of debate since some time. In stark contrast to ancient times, women have stepped out of the confines of their houses and have started taking up tasks dominated only by the male gender earlier. Women have successfully managed to balance various roles assigned to them professionally, socially and personally.

Traditionally, women have been playing the role of homemaker while tending to every need of their family members. The same has continued till now, with women successfully balancing their domestic duties in a bid to achieve professional success.

While some may argue that societal expectations and multitasking makes women more prone to getting stressed out, not everyone agrees with this. This article attempts to shed some light on the various stress factors in the life of women.

What Causes Stress In Women?

As mentioned earlier, involvement of the modern woman has extended beyond her kitchen and household activities. Women stand shoulder to shoulder with men, often tasting more professional success than their male counterparts.
Even women who choose to become homemakers and stay as home moms, take up a lot of challenging responsibilities on the domestic front that extend beyond cooking food and caring for their children. These factors have caused stress to increase multifold in the lives of women. While there are no specific causes of stress applicable to all women, some common factors have been discussed below:

Societal Pressure

Human beings have been subject to societal pressure since time immemorial. Women often fall victims to this pressure in a bid to fulfill expectations which others have from them.

Professional Expectations

Despite modernization of public views, certain patriarchal norms continue to persist in the society even today. More often than not, women are blamed, judged, discouraged and even ridiculed for the decisions they make. Being under the watchful gaze of society constantly takes a toll on women’s health, affecting their morale and causing them to stress out.

Motherhood

Motherhood is nature’s gift to mankind and women are the fortunate ones to enjoy this gift. However, it comes with its fair share of challenges. From conceiving a child, to delivering your bundle of joy, and caring for him/her, is as stressful as it is joyous.

Motherhood

Not only does motherhood take a toll on the woman’s body, but it also stresses her out mentally. Lack of sleep coupled with constantly running behind your toddler is not an easy task. Fathers too step in and take up a lot of their child’s responsibility. However, a mother’s care and duties are irreplaceable and have to be performed by her alone. Post-partum depression, leaving a promising career for children’s sake, making little time for oneself, are some of the most stressful aspects associated with motherhood, which tend to take a toll on women.

Professional Expectations

Gone are the days when women meekly surrendered to the head of their family. Women have become bold, courageous and take on challenging roles in the big, bad professional world. The female gender is actively present at the helm of every profession, be it doctors, engineers, architects, pilots, even army officers.

Societal Pressure

However, due to centuries of being considered the weaker gender, women tend to face considerable backlash in their professional lives. Their capabilities are often questioned. Working mothers have to face more difficulties as they attempt to balance work life with their domestic duties. Most working mothers bear the brunt as they get taunted for being ‘bad moms’ who do not make children their priority. These are some of the many setbacks working women have to face, which contribute to considerable stress.

Homemaker Duties

While some women choose to be homemakers, some must take on the role due to life circumstances. In either case, being a homemaker is as difficult as, or even more difficult than being a working woman. There are no fixed working hours, no lunch breaks, no salary, and definitely no appreciation for the duties a homemaker performs.

Homemaker Duties

Homemakers are often taken for granted and their work is not noticed. The same people who will taunt a working mom for neglecting her house, leave no stone unturned in telling a homemaker how she is wasting her education by not taking up a job.

Crimes Against Women

There has been a steady and unhealthy rise in the crimes targeted against women. Women often fall victims to some hideous crimes like sexual offenses, homicides, acid attacks etc.

Common occurrence of such crimes ensures that women stay under constant mental stress and pressure. Even those who do not fall victims to these crimes live under fear; a major cause of mental stress.

Though the above mentioned causes of stress may not apply to all women, they are the most common ones. Other causes than those mentioned above may also trigger stress in women.

Symptoms of Stress in Women

As mentioned earlier, stress tends to take its toll on a person’s mind as well as physique. Physiologically, women tend to affected in a slightly different manner by stress in comparison to men. This is due to the hormones estrogen and progesterone which dominate the female physiology. Symptoms of stress noticed commonly in women are mentioned below:

Symptoms of Stress in WomenMental Symptoms

  • Acute or chronic depressive phases
  • Anxiety to perform tasks that were previously found to be easy
  • Panic attacks
  • Lack of self confidence
  • Doubting one’s own capabilities
  • Sleeplessness
  • Unexpected bouts of rage or anger in previously calm and composed persons

Physical Symptoms

  • Changes in hunger pattern
  • Digestive disorders like hyperacidity, indigestion, constipation, I.B.S
  • Rapid weight changes
  • Disturbed menstrual cycle
  • Symptoms of hormonal disturbances like skin pigmentation, thyroid dysfunction etc.
  • Generalized pains and aches experienced all over the body
  • Unexplained fatigue

People suffering from acute or chronic stress may also experience symptoms other than those mentioned above.

Symptoms of stress often lead to physiological disturbances as well. Blood tests for thyroid function, blood cell count, sugar levels may yield abnormal results in this case. Patients may suffer from deeper pathological disturbances as well in which case, scans like USG, MRI or CT may show significant findings.

How Do Women Deal With Stress?

It is the coping mechanism of a person which determines the course that stress will take in his/her life. Every person tends to deal with difficult situations depending on their nature, mental strength and will power. While the methods may differ on an individual level, most members of the female gender follow a certain pattern while coping with stress.

  • Women tend to reach out to others for help. This may include talking to friends, family, colleagues, or seeking professional help.
  • Many women search for a hobby to distract their mind. Indulging in creative things like painting, dancing, or swimming, not only is a good distraction but also provides positive mental stimulation.
  • Socializing is an important stress buster for women. It helps them forget their worries even if it is momentary, and this helps them to cope with stress.
  • Joining a physical activity class is often resorted to and is quite an effective way to deal with stress. Physical exercise boosts enzymes that reduce negative emotions.

Women may resort to other measures of dealing with stress than the ones mentioned above. Unfortunately, some women also tend to handle stress negatively by indulging into unnecessary vices like alcohol, recreational drugs and smoking. This is an absolutely unhealthy way of living and is strongly discouraged by doctors and mental health experts. The above mentioned ways of dealing with stress are not exclusive to women.

Do Women Get More Affected With Stress Than Men?

To sum it up, men and women both face equal amount of stress in day-today life. Women are more likely to be exposed to certain trigger factors for stress. These factors are never encountered by men. Women tend to be more expressive of their feelings and needs and hence are more likely to report that they are stressed.

stress

The roles that were traditionally being performed by men are being actively taken up by women. However, vice versa doesn’t happen in the exact same proportion. Therefore, it is safe to assume that women are likely to face higher levels of stress in certain aspects of life than men. This does not negate the fact that there are many situations and factors causing stress to men, which women have to face very rarely.

This article tries to shed light on some of the commonest stress factors in the lives of women. It attempts to express a general view and not a fixated opinion.

A Comprehensive Guide to Treating Gallbladder Stone

Gallbladder is a small pear shaped organ which is located beneath the liver and is part of the digestive system. Along with the pancreas, liver, bile duct and hepatic duct, the gallbladder is a part of the hepato-biliary system. Gallstone is a health disorder occurring due to the formation of solid stones inside the gallbladder. Significant metabolic disturbances lead to gallstone formation.Gallbladder

Gallbladder plays a vital role in the metabolism and assimilation of fats. Therefore, any disturbances in the physical or physiological functioning of gallbladder, leads to faulty fat metabolism. Stone formation is one of the commonest disorders of the gallbladder. This article explains in the detail about the cause, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of gallstone.

Causes of Gallbladder Stone

Gallbladder produces and secretes a digestive juice known as bile. It helps in metabolizing fats. Sluggish flow of bile often causes its components to deposit and harden within the gallbladder. These hardened deposits are termed as gallstones. Contributing factors to gallstone formation are mentioned below.

Causes of Gallbladder Stone

1. Components of Bile

Oxalate, calcium, cholesterol, bilirubin, are some of the key components of bile. Elevated levels of either of these components is a major causative factor for the formation of gallstones.

2. Other Health Disorders

Any disorder which increases the levels of bilirubin circulating in the system, indirectly leads to formation of gallstones. Polycythemia Vera, sickle cell anemia, jaundice, hepatocellular inflammation, are commonly responsible for gallstones.

3. Lack of Exercise

Exercise is the best way to keep diseases at bay and maintain good health. It helps in maintaining good muscular tone, blood circulation and a healthy metabolism. Lack of exercise leads to loss of healthy muscle tone which is an important contributing factor to the formation of gallstone.

When the gallbladder muscles are well toned, it helps in maintaining an adequate flow of bile. This prevents stasis of bile and subsequent gallstone formation. People who tend to have sedentary lifestyle and indulge in little physical activity are more likely to develop gallstone than people who are physically active.

4. Unhealthy Diet

Cholesterol levels are important in determining how healthy a person’s fat metabolism is. Consumption of empty calories and junk food leads to accumulation of ‘bad cholesterol’ in the body tissues. This affects the person’s fat metabolism in a harmful way.

Excess accumulation of cholesterol enhances the possibility of gallstone formation. In order to keep cholesterol levels in check, junk food, fried food, food packed with excess calories, should be avoided. It is important to include salads, fruits, fiber rich food etc. in the daily diet.

5. Gender

Statistically, women are more likely to develop gallstone than men. While there is no medical evidence to pinpoint towards a specific cause, this is believed to be due to women’s menstrual cycle.

Estrogen is the dominant hormone in the female body. It increases the levels of blood cholesterol, thus contributing to gallstone formation. Proportion of estrogen is negligible in men as compared to women. Therefore, men are at a much lower risk of developing gallstone.

6. High B.M.I

Medical studies have revealed that people who have B.M.I above 30 are more likely to develop gallstones. B.M.I is directly related to a person’s body weight and height. Greater the person’s weight, higher is the B.M.I.

Overweight and obese people have higher B.M.I due to their weight. They also tend to have unhealthy cholesterol deposits in their bloodstream. This leads to formation of gallstones.

Other contributing factors for developing gallstone include immunity, daily diet, lifestyle, stress levels, social environment etc. It is important to remember that people who do not fit into either of the above mentioned criteria may also develop gallstones.

Symptoms of Gallstone

The importance of good health is not realized till the onset of any disease. Patients themselves observe the earliest sign of ill health, even before a doctor can notice anything wrong. These signs can be in the form of externally visible changes or subtle changes experienced by the patients only. The commonest signs of ill health experienced by patients suffering from gallstones are mentioned below:

Symptoms of Gallstone

1. Indigestion

Sluggish flow of bile takes its toll on the digestive system. Indigestion in the form of nausea, vomiting, altered appetite, altered bowel habits, may be experienced by patients suffering from gallstones. Patients often complain of lack of desire to consume any food. Spicy food, oily food, food rich in carbohydrates, tends to be troublesome for patients.

2. Bloating

Bloating is another complication caused due to sluggish flow of bile. Since food cannot be digested at its usual pace, there is increased gas formation in the intestines, leading to bloating. Patients will often complain of heaviness in the abdomen after a meal. Taking a walk or performing light physical activity often provides comfort from these symptoms.

3. Abdominal Pain

Abdominal pain could be dull and constant in nature, or sharp and spasmodic. Pain occurs primarily due to inflammation in and around the gallbladder. Pain is felt more often in the right upper part of the abdomen. Patients are also known to complain of abdominal pain radiating up towards to right shoulder. Sudden increase in the intensity of pain can be attributed to torsion of the gallbladder in an effort to expel the stones.

4. Jaundice

Jaundice is a set of symptoms commonly occurring in patients with hepatobiliary dysfunction. Patients with gallstones often complain of yellowness of skin and mucus membranes accompanied by dark yellow pigmentation of urine.

Presence of all or any few of the above mentioned signs and symptoms prompt a visit to the doctor. Patients may also present with signs and symptoms other than those mentioned above. Along with diagnostic tests and the doctor’s examination findings, patients’ own symptoms help in confirming the presence of gallstones.

5. Silent Gallstones

Silent gallstones is a condition wherein, patients do not experience any symptoms or discomfort despite presence of gallstones. Gallstones may be detected during a routine health check up or while undergoing diagnostic scan for any other health condition. However, despite absence of symptoms, patients need to be watchful of their health.

Diagnosis of Gallstones

1. Physical Examination

When patients present with symptoms of gallstones, doctors confirm the diagnosis using their own medical skills. A detailed physical examination of the patient reveals certain findings that are characteristic of gallstones. Some of these findings are mentioned below:

  • Tenderness and pain experienced by patient on palpation of the abdomen
  • Yellowness of skin and mucus membrane
  • Discoloration of tongue
  • Elevated body temperature may be observed in some patients

The final step to confirming diagnosis of gallstones includes certain diagnostic tests.

2. Diagnostic Tests

Blood tests and scans are often advised to patients who are suspected to be suffering from gallstones. Blood tests reveal elevated levels of white blood cell count and CRP (C-reactive protein).

Scans like USG are useful in confirming presence of gallstones. USG helps in determining the number as well as dimensions of the gallstones. MRI scan and CT scan may be ordered if patients present with any health complications or do not respond well to treatment.
These tests and scans are utilized not only for primary diagnosis of gallstones but also during follow ups, to determine how well patients respond to treatment.

Treatment of Gallstone

The mode of treatment for gallstones depends on the number and dimension of gallstones and intensity of symptoms. Following treatment options are offered by doctors:

1. Medicinal Treatment

Medicines are prescribed to offer relief from symptoms of gallstones and not to get rid of the stones. Pain killers, anti-inflammatory medicines, antacids, anti-flatulent medicines, anti fever medicines, are commonly prescribed to patients.Medicinal Treatment

Patients who have been diagnosed with gallstones but do not require immediate surgical treatment, are often treated using oral medicines only.

2. Surgical Treatment

Cholecystectomy or gallbladder removal surgery is advised to patients as a mode of treatment for gallstones. Patients experiencing recurrent gallstones or health complications due to gallstones are often advised to undergo surgery.

Gallbladder removal surgery tends to affect the patient’s digestive functions in long run. However, those effects can be taken care of with regular medication and diet.

3. Lifestyle Modification

Patients with silent gallstones do not require immediate medicinal or surgical treatment. However, they need to be careful about their health and may be asked to make minor changes in their day to day habits.
It is important to take care of diet and exercise in order to maintain good health. Avoiding junk food, consumption of empty calories, food that is heavy to digest is advised to patients. It is important to indulge in regular physical exercise to maintain good health.

Gallstones if left untreated may cause complications which could require further treatment. Patients are advised to seek medical help promptly, should they experience any of the symptoms of gallstones. Further diagnosis and treatment should be initiated only after consulting with a physician or gastroenterologist.

Oral Hygiene – Take Care of Your Teeth and Gums

Are you aware of the fact that there are millions of bacteria residing in your mouth? It is true. There are about 300 different species of bacteria, totaling up to a billion, at any given time, in your mouth. While some of the flora is extremely beneficial, certain are harmless.Oral Hygiene

However, there is a third category of these bacteria which are responsible for dental diseases like tooth decay, gingivitis, etc. Though these organisms are microscopic in size, they are leading causes of certain severe oral diseases due to their alarmingly high numbers. This particular group of bacteria grows by feeding on the sugar that is present in the foods we eat. They eat, grow, and dispose waste materials in the form of plaques. These plaques damage the teeth inside out and give rise to severe conditions like periodontal disease.

Whether you are 7 or 70, dental health is an integral part of overall well being. Oral health forms an integral part of overall well-being and healthy body. Oral health covers all aspects of health of the teeth, gums, and the complete oral-facial system that allows and helps us to smile, speak, and chew.

Many people avoid visiting the dentist every year, even though regular check ups play a vital role in preventing the onset of many oral diseases. It is a false notion that you only have to visit a dentist when there is something wrong with your teeth or when you experience pain in your gums. In reality, regular check ups contribute largely to a healthy mouth devoid of diseases.

Many people are unaware that bad oral health is directly linked to several severe disorders like cardiac problems, diabetes, complications in pregnancy, etc. This is why, maintaining good oral health is recommended by every doctor. To prevent tooth decay and damage, having a good oral hygiene is very important. Dentists recommend a rigorous oral care routine for healthy teeth, gums, and mouth. This benefits a person in multiple ways and ultimately keeps one healthy.

Tips for Perfect Oral Health

There are certain rules and guidelines given by several healthcare companies and dentists that can help you figure out the best routine for you. Remember to follow these tips to ensure you have a perfect oral health care routine:

1. Don’t Go to Bed Without Brushing Your Teeth

Don’t rush when you brush. Take your time. Clean your teeth thoroughly but brushing should not be vigorous. Make sure the toothbrush is soft enough to clean everything and not harm the gums in the process. Use slow and short strokes. Some people have the notion that the firmer the toothbrush, the better it is. But it is simply not the truth. As you age, your gums grow weaker. Using a hard bristled toothbrush can injure the gums and cause them to bleed.

Brushing teeth

Brushing twice a day is an important step to add to your oral care routine. This is because, the foods that we eat are digested by bacteria and they leave acid residue in the mouth. This acid residue damages the soft tissues of teeth, enamel and gums. Hence, brushing is an important step as it reduces the inflammation and the build up of plaque. Consequently, it prevents bad breath, improves gum health, and prevents discoloration of the teeth.

2. Use Proper and Clean Tools

Use fluoride toothpaste recommended by dentists and a soft bristle brush that can reach groves and crevices of teeth perfectly. You could use a battery operated toothbrush to ensure extra reduction in plaques or residues than manual brushing. Remember to clean your toothbrush with water and keep it upright to air dry it.

Clean Tools

Avoid putting it in the same containers as other brushes and cleaners, to prevent cross contamination. Do not enclose toothbrush in any covers, caps or cases. This could facilitate the growth of bacteria or other disease causing organisms. Using mouthwash containing fluoride is also a good idea.

3. Flossing is a Necessity

Plaques develop when the food remains stuck in the teeth with no scope of removing it through brushing or when saliva and fluoride have no access to it. This more often than not results in tooth decay and gum disease. So, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), it is very important to incorporate inter-dental cleaning in routine oral care. Inter-dental cleaners like floss are available to clean the buildup or residue left in between the teeth. This is important because cleaning between the teeth ensures removal of plaques and prevents development of cavities, gum disease, etc.

Flossing

ADA recommends flossing at least once a day. Dentists believe you are doing only half a job if you brush and don’t floss. However, it is important to use proper technique for flossing. Flossing roughly, can damage teeth and gums, and can make them bleed. Different variations of floss are available in the market for you to chose the one best suited for you.

4. Cleaning Your Tongue is Equally Important

The food we consume leaves debris not only in the teeth and gums, but also on the tongue’s surface, in the cavities. The tongue has several small taste buds and often times the debris left behind get stuck in the crevices of the tongue as well as teeth and gums. The eventual build up leads to the growth of microorganisms and bacteria, and results in bad taste and bad breath. If left untreated for a period of time, it can lead to periodontal diseases.

tongue cleaning

To prevent this, you need to finish your oral routine with cleaning your tongue. You can use your toothbrush, but it will not be as effective as a tongue scraper/cleaner. Dedicated tongue cleaner is more hygienic and efficacious as it will prevent the bacteria from getting trapped like in the bristles of toothbrush. Give your tongue gentle strokes and this will make sure the bacteria and debris are removed. The end result is fresh breath and a clean mouth.

Ridding the tongue of dead cells and bacteria improves your ability to taste.

5. Choose Correct Dental Care Products

With new dental care products coming every now and then, this makes it difficult to choose a perfect product. From toothbrush to mouthwash, inter-dental brushes, to tongue cleaners, you have options for every product. You can consult your dentist to figure out the best suited products for you.

6. Rinsing – The Final Step

Toothbrush and floss are the important tools against the prevention of plaques, gum diseases, tooth decay, etc. However, rinsing offers a more in-depth prevention against these problems. Mouthwashes and mouth-rinses should be an integral part of your oral care set. Mouthwashes, especially the ones containing fluoride, are efficient in removing the debris and food particles that are stuck in the teeth in places the brush cannot reach.

rinsing

Antiseptic and antibacterial properties of these mouthwashes ensure the elimination of harmful oral bacteria and removal of food particles. This subsequently controls the plaques and tartar build up. Rinsing not only brings about fresh breath but it also cleans the whole mouth.

Following the dos can be a little easy sometimes. However, the real challenge is following the don’ts. Getting rid of habits doesn’t seem easy and achievable at first, but it is possible. And it is important to get rid of those habits if they interfere with your life when the ultimate goal is being healthy and devoid of diseases.

Here are a few don’ts you need to pay attention to, to improve your oral hygiene.

1. Smoking- A Big No!

Smoking causes several dental problems including but not limited to yellow teeth, bad breath, increased deposition of plaques, inflammation of salivary glands, etc. It is also one of the leading causes of oral and throat cancer. It delays the healing process and creates complications after procedures like tooth extraction, periodontal surgery, or oral surgery.

Smoking- A Big No

Smoking also affects the sense of taste and smell. Moreover, the tar from the cigarette stains the teeth, discolors the tongue and is also responsible for bad breath. Excess smoking results in tooth decay and gum disease, ultimately. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that smokers have twice the chance of developing gum disease when compared to non-smokers.

Whenever you smoke, the harmful substances from tobacco smoke pass through your mouth, oral cavity and eventually reach your lungs. The constant exposure to this smoke damages the inner linings of mouth, throat, and lungs, thereby causing oral cancer. It also leads to necrosis of the gum tissue which smells and tastes bad. However, people who stop smoking eventually are at a decreased risk of developing gum disease.

2. Avoid Eating Ice Cubes

Drinking ice tea or iced soda often ends in us crunching the left over ice cubicles. Fun, right? No. You may not know this but it is the most common way to damage teeth. These ice cubes form microscopic cracks in the teeth leading to tooth fracture later in life. Crushed ice may be better than ice cubes but dentists still vote against it.

It should be avoided because chewing on ice can chip tooth enamel and expose teeth. This results in increased sensitivity and since it lowers the mouth temperature, it makes teeth more susceptible to damage and cracks. Ice not only affects the teeth but it also harms the gums. The sharp edges may somehow injure gums and cause them to bleed. This bleeding could damage gums, leading to gum recession and can be a start point to development of a gamut of gum diseases.

3. Be a Responsible Foodie

Diet influences the health of your teeth and gums. The foods chosen and how often they are consumed, affects general health as well as dental health immensely. Eating too many sugary sweets or sugary drinks puts you at a risk of tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs when the plaques come in contact with sugars in the mouth. This results in acid attacking the teeth. Tooth decay is the most common dental disorder in childhood but, good news is, it is completely curable. Avoiding excess sugar intake is the best solution.

Acidic foods can weaken teeth. Excess intake of oranges, lemons, limes, etc. can wear your teeth down. Prolonged intake has an adverse effect on the enamel as it weakens the enamel. Eating foods that have low nutritional value can lead to gum disorders. This is due to weakness of the tissues that is caused by nutritional deficiency and hence, they are not strong enough to fight off infections of the mouth, thereby affecting gums. It is usually more severe in people with poor nutrition and bad eating habits.

In order to keep the mouth clean and healthy, good oral hygiene should be practiced daily. Brushing, flossing and rinsing are the real ABC’s of dental hygiene. However, they are alone not enough for a healthy mouth and a great smile. Brushing after meals, using mouthwash, flossing at least once a day, using inter-dental brushes, etc. are the best ways to inhibit the growth of disease causing bacteria and preventing tooth decay.

Brushing your teeth twice is advised but brushing them for a short amount of time may not be helpful. Dentists recommend brushing the teeth for 2 minutes straight. You could make it a routine by putting on a song, setting up a timer, or watching a video to ensure you are taking 2 minutes for it. Using appropriate toothbrush and floss also makes sure that proper attention is being given to your mouth. Incorporating proper techniques helps make sure there is no food or any other substance stuck in the teeth that could facilitate the growth of bacteria.

Using mouthwash and rinsing are important but they should not replace the equally essential steps of brushing, flossing, and visiting a dentist biannually. Maintaining a daily routine can help you keep your mouth healthy, your breath fresh, your teeth white, and your smile wide.

Everything About a Migraine

Migraine, often considered a neurological disorder or condition, is a recurring, throbbing pain on one side of the head. Usually associated or preceded with signs and symptoms, these headaches last from a few hours to a few days. Migraine mainly affects people in the age group 15-55 years.

Migraine

The exact cause of migraine is unclear but it is thought to be an unusual activity and imbalance of certain chemicals in the brain. Usually triggered by a variety of factors, it is experienced differently by everyone. These factors are often a combination of environmental and genetic conditions and three of these main factors are gender, family history, and other medical conditions.

The onset of migraine is usually associated with an aura that causes a flash of light and blurred vision. Migraine headache, often worsened by physical movements, and lights and sound, is often debilitating.

Causes of Migraine

Migraine is a neurovascular condition in which certain specific nerves are activated during a headache that send pain signals to the brain. What causes this activation of the nerves is yet unknown but it is thought to be caused due to unusual brain activity and some chemical imbalance.

Causes of Migraine

The migraine pain-centre or generator area in the mid-brain is activated when overactive nerve cells send impulses to blood vessels in the brain which releases prostaglandins, serotonin, and other chemicals. This causes inflammation of blood vessels in the area surrounding the nerves, which subsequently causes extreme pain.

Genes also make you more susceptible to migraine and many reports have suggested a positive family history. Women experience migraine during menstrual period and are three times more prone than men.

Symptoms of Migraine

The onset of a migraine is characterized by a number of symptoms from mild to severe. The principle symptom of migraine is a throbbing, sharp pain on one side of the head. The pain is moderate to severe and worsens when there is rapid movement. The most common symptoms associated are:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Extreme sensitivity to light and sound
  • Severe pain on movement

Symptoms of Migraine

Few other symptoms that manifest during the attack include:

  • Sweating
  • Feeling very hot or cold
  • Diarrhea
  • Lack of concentration
  • Vertigo
  • Stomach ache
  • Fatigue

These symptoms usually last from 3 hours to 3 days and this often tires and weakens the individual. These additional symptoms are not experienced by everyone and sometimes people may experience migraines without being sick.

Phases of a Migraine Attack:

Migraine manifests in well defined phases divided into prodrome, aura, attack, and postdrome. Each of these phases have numerous potential symptoms and their severity varies immensely.

  • Prodrome Phase:

Also called the early warning phase, it usually occurs several hours or upto two days before the headache begins. It is generally experienced by 60% of the people suffering from migraine.

The symptoms of this phase include anxiety, unusual excitement and energy or irritability, fatigue, constant yawning, poor concentration, sensitivity to odour or noises, and food cravings. Aphasia, difficulty in speaking, also manifests during this. Constipation, diarrhea, constant urge of urination, mood changes, neck pain, and hyperactivity, often accompany.

  • Aura Phase:

This phase occurs an hour before the headache strikes. About 20% people experience this phase but not during every attack. There are several symptoms, visual or otherwise, associated with this phase and can typically last from 5 to 60 minutes.

Aura is usually a visual disturbance but can also be sensory or motor disturbance. The major symptoms associated are blind or coloured spots, flashes of lights, tunnel vision, and zig zag lines. Sometimes there can be temporary blindness. Other symptoms include pins and needles sensations in arms and legs, numbness, and weakness in one side of the body.

Aura often serves as a warning sign and can help manage migraine at the early stage by using painkillers or abortive medications.

  • Headache Phase:

This phase is characterized by the unilateral or bilateral pain in the head. This phase can last from a few hours upto 3 days. The pain during this phase varies from person to person and from incident to incident. Some attacks may be mildly painful while some may be excruciatingly painful.

Headache Phase

Symptoms associated with this phase are nausea, anxiety, heightened sensitivity to lights, sounds, smells and movements, severe neck pain, dizziness, confusion, dehydration, aphasia, and vertigo. The inflammation of trigeminal nerve in this phase causes pain around the eyes, nose, teeth and jaw. Since there is increased sensitivity, even a simple touch causes tremendous pain.

  • Postdrome Phase:

The final phase of the migraine attack, the postdrome phase, often leaves people feeling a little hungover after the attack is over. A majority of people suffering from migraine experience it. The shift from the headache to postdrome phase is often difficult to distinguish since some people often experience the same pain as an attack. Symptoms include dizziness, sluggishness, fatigue, sharp pain when bending, anxiety, and poor concentration.

  • Triggers of Migraine

Plenty of factors contribute in triggering the onset of migraine. Lifestyle, environment, and habits, have a great impact on the frequency of migraine attacks. Common triggers include:

Stress:

Stress and migraine are closely linked. Depression, pain, anxiety, and excitement can lead to a migraine attack.

Hormonal changes:

Due to changes in the hormone levels during menstruation, a lot of women experience migraine attacks during periods.

Physical Causes:

Insufficient sleep, fatigue, physical overexertion, poor posture, and shoulder and neck pain, all contribute to migraine. Hypoglycemia and jet lag are also contributing factors.

Dietary Content:

Additives like tyramine, monosodium glutamate (MSG), and aspartame, trigger migraine. Other food products like cheese, yogurt, broad or fava beans, and citrus fruits, are also triggers.

Skipping Meals:

Lack of food or irregular meals are a potent trigger of migraine. Balanced meal and small snacks at regular intervals reduce the frequency of migraine.

Environmental Conditions:

Environmental factors such as extreme cold, high humidity, altitudes, loud noises, and exposure to flickering lights can induce migraine.

Caffeine and Alcohol:

Tremendous caffeine consumption can trigger the onset of migraine. However, cutting down caffeine suddenly can also be a trigger. So, gradually decreasing the intake may be beneficial. Alcohol, especially red wine because it contains tyramine, is a potent trigger.

Sedentary Lifestyle:

Limited movement may cause stiffness and muscle tension in neck and shoulders and this muscle tension is a trigger.

  • Dealing With Migraines

Taking prescribed painkillers or over-the-counter medications in the early phases, can help prevent a full blown migraine attack. Frequent painkillers or over-the-counter medications can cause a medicine induced headache, so limiting the intake is often advisable.

Dealing With Migraines

Dietary changes are a very essential preventive measure. Avoiding consumption of foods containing tyramine, aspartame, and MSGs, can help reduce the frequency of headaches. 5-6 small meals instead of one large meal a day are beneficial. Regular and complete meals are the most important aspect of preventive cure. Limited intake of alcohol and caffeine will prevent headaches. Dehydration is one of the major triggers of migraine and staying hydrated will avoid it.

Maintaining a diary to note down the signs and symptoms experienced, can be helpful in future. You can track the foods you eat to know if they are a trigger. This can help in cutting down one triggering food at a time. Managing stress by exercise and getting enough sleep can reduce migraines.

There is no exact cure for migraine but taking precautions and prescribed medicines may make dealing with the severity of migraine a little easier.

The unpredictability of migraine attacks can often make it difficult to participate in any kind of activities. It impacts social life, relationships, careers, and often affects the quality of life, making one feel isolated. So, it is important to see a specialist or join a support group to get better by their support and tips.

10 Things You Need to Know Before a Blood Test

Your blood is responsible to carry nutrients, minerals, body fluids and most importantly, oxygen to different parts of your body. Whenever your body is attacked or affected with infection, inflammation or any other disease state, it produces chemicals that notify your system that something is wrong. This is why, for most types of disorders, a blood test is carried out to diagnose a health condition.

Types of blood test

Blood tests can say a lot about your system functionality. Therefore, they are divided into varied types that serve a specific medical purpose. As a patient who is undergoing such a test, there are some things that must be known before you take a blood test.

Here are 10 things that you need to know before a blood test

1. Type of Test you are taking

You must know which type of blood test you will undergo as there are minute changes in two similar types too. A basic understanding is therefore necessary.

As mentioned before, there are “n” number of health problems that can be studied with the help of a blood test. As a result, blood tests have different types, and aim towards learning each problem individually.

Blood test can be in a form of a singular test or group tests (also known as a profile). A profile contains more than one type of blood test or more than one type of diagnosis in a single test. For example, in a thyroid profile, blood is sampled to learn about levels of T3, T4, T3RU and TSH.

Blood test

Other types of blood tests include blood culture test, smear test and other types. Blood culture test is performed to study specific types of infections. Blood in such test is cultured and kept under observation to learn about the nature of infectious microorganisms in your blood. A smear blood test is a microscopic examination of your blood for variety of medical reasons. Other types of blood tests usually include learning about the measurement of a specific component that is present in your bloodstream.

2. Normal and abnormal measurements

Blood analysis for counting the amount of a particular substance should be within its normal range. If the count exceeds or becomes less than its normal range, body tasks begin to alter. This causes minor to major problems with respect to the substance we are addressing.

Blood analysis

Note that the normal range of measurements for blood tests differs in men and women.

3. Diet

Few types of tests need a proper follow-up of diet, 1-2 days prior to the day of test. Some are asked to avoid specific food items or beverages (alcoholic/non-alcoholic) 2-3 days prior to the test, whereas others are asked to fast, hours before the test. The change in diet depends on the type of test you are taking.

4. Medication

MedicationIf you are taking a routine check-up that doesn’t usually need a prescription, you must note down this point. Before going for few tests, you may require to discontinue medicines that can alter your test reports. If you do not have any idea about the same, talk to the lab technician in advance.

5. Pregnancy

While taking a blood test it is important to inform your doctor if you are in your gestational period. During pregnancy, a lot of hormonal changes occur that will be reflected in the blood reports of that woman. As a result of which, sugar levels may increase. Test reports will be considered according to a pregnant state of that patient.

6. Previously diagnosed disorder

Nothing is ever completely cured. If you are previously diagnosed with a disorder, there can be a possibility that the micro-organisms associated with it still remain inside your body. Even though the disorder is treated, patients experience risks and complications after the cure. You should inform the lab assistant about your previously diagnosed disorder which may be one of the problems that reflects on your test results. risks and complications, even after a cure.

7. Health history (hereditary)

The study on your blood samples will be done with respect to certain points. One of them is your family’s health history. A hereditary health issue can be seen in your blood reports. This is why you should keep your physician informed in advance about the same.

8. Disorder that may spread through body fluids

HIVIf you are suffering from a serious disorder like HIV, you should let your lab technician know. This is because such diseases can spread through body fluids. Lab analysts must be extra careful with the blood samples of such individuals.

9. Number of samples required for your blood test

For some tests, it is important that blood samples are collected by lab assistants on more than one occasions. This step depends on the type of examination you will undergo. So be well prepared. Carry a packet of biscuits containing glucose or juice to keep you energetic after you have provided your blood.

10. Immediate precaution

Some patients show sudden reaction on their skin or body area from where blood is collected. On the other hand, few cases may require an immediate precautionary measure, right after the test is conducted. For example, the point of injection can lead to swelling or any other issue after the test is done. Using an ice pack can help reduce it.

Remember all the above points. They can be useful for you in some way. Apart from the mentioned ones, there are general points that every patient must consider. If you have symptoms like weakness, fatigue, or any thing associated with a low energy, carry an energy drink or ORS supplement. Take at-least one glass of it after you have given blood.

Apart from all this, rest is the most important thing that patients with ill health must take. Drink plenty of water and keep your body hydrated enough. Eat healthy to stay healthy.

Precautions After Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is an important treatment against cancer. It involves the use of medications that help rid the body of cancerous cells. Although the treatment is very effective, the disadvantage of it is that it also damages the healthy tissues. Most chemotherapy drugs fail to distinguish between cancer and normal cells. Chemotherapy kills the cancer cells all over the body, along with killing the normal healthy cells, thereby suppressing the immune system. This suppression in the immune system makes the person undergoing chemotherapy susceptible to other infections, side effects and certain other complications.

Chemotherapy

Chemotherapy is associated with a variety of side effects and complications. Side effects present themselves differently in different people. Some may have mild side effects of the treatment, while some may have severe. The most common side effects associated with chemotherapy are nausea and vomiting, anemia, fatigue, depression, hair loss, infections, and mouth sores. It increases the risk of infections, bleeding etc. and it is very important for you to take care of yourself. This includes mouth care routine, appetite changes, managing nausea and vomiting etc.

These few precautionary measures will help you deal with the post-chemotherapy issues, boost your immunity, and make your life better and simpler at the same time.

Managing nausea and vomiting

Managing nausea and vomiting

Nausea and vomiting is the most common side effect associated with chemotherapy. Antiemetics, which are anti-nausea drugs, can be taken to prevent nausea. They block the path of the nerve impulse from the blood and stomach, to the vomiting centre located in the brain. Avoiding foods with strong odour may help prevent nausea and vomiting. Consumption of hot, spicy, fatty and greasy foods etc. if avoided, will be beneficial for health.

Washing your hands

Hand Wash

As most infections are spread by unclean hands, it is important to wash them to prevent the spreading of infection. Since the body is weak from a recent chemotherapy, washing hands frequently may help reduce risk of infections. It is equally essential to keep the surrounding around you clean.

Maintaining a well balanced and healthy diet

Chemotherapeutic drugs often lead to loss of appetite in patients, leading to subsequent weight loss. Maintaining a healthy diet can help you get back on track to a good appetite. Planning a daily menu in advance can guarantee that.

Make sure the diet is rich in calories and protein. Since proteins are essentially the building blocks of the tissues, it helps in faster recovery of immune function. Increase sodium and potassium in the diet if you are suffering from diarrhea. Plenty of fluids should be consumed.

Healthy Diet

Since chemotherapy also causes the mouth to go dry and result in difficulty in swallowing, intake of soft and small food items can be help reduce swallowing issues. 5-6 small meals per day is helpful, since it increases the intake of protein and calories. Follow good mouth practice after every meal to avoid infections.

Mouth care

Brush your teeth and take care of your gums after every small or large meal you eat. Chemotherapy results in dry mouth and can cause sores. This can lead to accumulation of bacteria in the gums, which in turn leads to infections. Taking good care of your mouth is important. Brush your teeth and gums using soft brushes. Avoid using mouth wash that contains alcohol. Using lip care products can avoid dry and cracked lips. Avoid eating foods having too much sugar.

Mouth Care

If dentures or braces are being used, you should make sure they are thoroughly cleaned twice a day by brushing or by soaking dentures in antibacterial solutions. Avoid citrus and tomato products if you have mouth sores. Drink plenty of fluids and juices and eat moist foods and soups in case of a dry mouth. Smoking and alcohol aggravates mouth sores, so it is better to avoid indulging in these habits.

Maintain healthy skin

Dry and cracked skin, another side effect of chemotherapy, is susceptible to breaking and provides abundant sites for an infection to cultivate. Staying hydrated and frequently applying moisturizer or lotion on the skin restores moisture to the skin cells and prevents it from drying and cracking. Scratching, biting or tearing of cuticles, all lead to same result and hence, precautions should be taken to avoid them and decrease the risk of infections.

Gently patting the skin instead of rubbing it vigorously is a better way to ensure the skin is not dry. Wear loose, cotton clothing to avoid skin irritation. Chlorine makes skin matters worse, so swimming should be avoided.

Chemotherapy also brings about changes in the nails, the most common of which is hyperpigmentation. These changes can be managed by taking certain precautions like properly trimming and keeping nails clean. Gloves should be worn when gardening or working to prevent damage and minimize the risk of infections.

No contact with people who are ill

No contact

Chemotherapy suppresses the immune system by causing damage to the normal, fighting tissues and cells. This suppression of immune system makes the person highly susceptible to the onset of several infections. So, it is important for you to avoid contact with people suffering from cold, flu, or any contagious diseases. It is also advisable to steer clear of people recently administered with live vaccines.

Coping with changes in memory and thinking

Cancer related cognitive impairment or commonly called cancer fog, is difficulty in concentrating, thinking and remembering things, yet another side effect of chemotherapy. Fatigue, sleep problems, emotional issues like depression or stress, can also be caused by chemotherapy. Though these issues resolve over time, many people experience them for a long period of time.

In such cases, it is important to discuss these issues with your partner, family or even a counsellor. Get plenty of sleep as it helps in strengthening memory and concentration. Keep a track of appointments, birthdays etc. by writing them down in a diary. Writing down anything you need to remember can be helpful. Light exercise and indulging in tasks like crosswords or puzzles may keep the mind active and help cope with the struggle.

Avoid accidents and injuries

Injuries like cuts, bleeding, open wounds etc. increase the risk of infection exponentially. If there is any injury like a cut or a scrape, make sure to wash the injury thoroughly with warm water and an antiseptic. The cleaner the area, the less risk of an infection. To prevent them, you can always wear gloves while handling sharp equipment and while gardening. Be extremely careful while using razor or sharp objects. Be careful with pets. Playing rough with them might result in scratches and bites which can get infected.

Maintain a healthy weight

Losing or gaining weight during chemotherapy treatment is a natural occurrence. However, it is always important to maintain a healthy weight. If you need to increase your weight, you can. With the help of your doctor, devise a diet plan that increases the total intake of carbohydrates and proteins that can help the body get stronger. This can help in coming up with ideas and ways to make the food more appealing. This can also help reduce the nausea at the sight of food and increase appetite.

Healthy Weight

If you want to lose weight, you can follow a light exercise regime that will also help your body recuperate by being active. Limit the calorie intake and balance it with exercise. Take it slowly so that you don’t stress yourself.

Cancer and chemotherapy have known to take a toll on a person. Chemotherapy is experienced differently by different individuals. Side effects of different chemotherapeutic drugs are experienced differently too. However, with the advancements in treatment, taking precautionary measures against these side effects post-chemotherapy has become easier.

Talking to a partner, family members or a support group, makes it easier to cope with the gruelling chemotherapy. Taking these precautions post-chemotherapy, may help you in adjusting to the changes and can assist you to lead a considerably easy life. Be sure to talk to your doctor; it might help come up with necessary plans and routine changes to help you cope better.

10 Kidney Damaging Habits You Should Know

Kidneys are a pair of small, fist-sized organs resembling beans in shape. They are present one on each side of the spinal cord. The main function of kidneys is to filter waste and excess fluids and maintain the levels of electrolytes and fluid balance in the body. Healthy kidneys are vital in normal functioning of the body. Kidneys filter blood and excrete toxins from the body via urine.

kidney

Damage to kidneys can interrupt their ability to filter blood and fluids and excrete the toxins. Accumulation of these fluids and toxins can lead to kidney failure. Certain habits and lifestyle changes cause damage to the kidneys. Don’t you want to know what these habits are?

These are ten kidney damaging habits you should know:

1. Smoking

smoking

One of the main causes of kidney disease is high blood pressure. Smoking interferes with the medicines taken for regulating blood pressure. It also leads to higher excretion of albumin in urine and lower levels of creatinin, suggesting early stages of abnormal functioning of kidneys. Smoking also interferes with the blood flow to kidneys as it narrows the blood vessels in kidneys and damages them.

2. Excessive sugar intake

Excessive sugar intake

Sugar levels above 180 mg/dl results in kidneys expelling sugar in the urine. In diabetic conditions, excess sugar can cause kidney damage. High sugar levels damage the blood vessels in kidneys resulting in their inefficiency to work properly. This can lead to high sugar levels in urine and retention of water and salt, and accumulation of waste materials. Indulging in sweets too often should be avoided.

3. High sodium foods

Consumption of food containing high salt, elevates sodium levels in the bloodstream leading to imbalance. Too much salt affects the ability of the kidneys to remove water. High water retention and consequent strain on kidneys, result in high blood pressure which can lead to chronic kidney disease.

High sodium foods

The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for sodium is 2-2.3 g/day. Consuming more than the recommended value can cause elevated blood pressure. Avoid eating salty foods and meat products such as ham, sausages, bacon, anchovies etc. Cutting down on cottage cheese, buttermilk, canned beans and pizza will also be beneficial. Alternative to these food products are milk, egg, fresh or frozen fish, beef, lamb etc.

4. Sedentary lifestyle

Little to no physical activity can cause damage to kidneys. Physical activity improves blood pressure and maintains glucose metabolism. Both of these factors are essential for good health of kidneys. Sitting still for a long period of time with no physical activity can affect the blood pressure and can put stress on the kidneys and eventually lead to damaging them. Sitting for more than 7-10 hours a day is bad for health. Routine exercise, for about 2-4 hours a day, can benefit in reducing the risk of any damage to kidneys.

5. Excess use of painkillers

Excess use of painkillers

Pain medications such as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) reduce blood flow to the kidneys. Pain medications may provide relief from the pain but they also possess health risk such as damage to kidneys, fluid retention and increase in blood pressure. Long term intake of painkillers can cause irreversible kidney damage and chronic kidney failure. These medications should only be taken as per prescribed dosage.

6. Inadequate water intake

Low water intake is also one of the main reasons for the development of kidney stones. Dehydration is also one of major causes for kidney diseases. Adequate amount of water consumed, helps kidneys excrete sodium and toxins from the body, thereby rendering it healthy. A total of 2-3 liters of water or fluids should be consumed per day to prevent kidney stones and other damages to kidneys.

7. High protein diet

Reports have shown that a high protein diet can increase the progression of kidney damage in patients already suffering from kidney disease. High protein consumption can also lead to acidosis and harm the kidneys. A well balanced diet with vegetables can be consumed to avoid the damage. Recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for protein in adults is 0.8 g/kg/day. Limiting protein in the diet can help in decreasing the loss of kidney function. Meat, dairy products and nuts should be avoided to decrease the protein intake.

8. High alcohol consumption

High alcohol consumption

Alcohol, even in small amounts, can have a negative impact on kidneys’ functioning. Alcohol causes dehydration, putting a strain on the kidneys to maintain the water level during this time. Excessive alcohol intake can also lead to vomiting and impaired pH levels, resulting in strain on the kidneys. Intoxication also interferes with kidneys’ function to filter blood and fluids, thus impairing their normal function. Excess alcohol can cause a strain on kidneys for prolonged period of time, resulting in kidney damage. People who drink and smoke have a higher chance of kidney diseases.

9. Full bladder for a long time

Full bladder for an extended period of time can result in too much pressure on the kidneys and may increase the risk of infection or kidney damage. Holding it in for too long results in the kidneys retaining toxins and fluids that harm them.

10. Sleep deprivation

Sleep deprivation

A study reports that, kidney function is regulated by the sleep-wake cycle. Less amount of sleep is directly proportional to a faster decline in kidney function. Missing out on sleep can disturb the functioning of kidneys. Less than 6.5 hours of sleep daily can lead to chronic kidney disease (CKD). Getting enough sleep for about 7-8 hours a night can help in maintaining normal kidney function and decreasing the risk and prevention of CKD.

Kidney damage occurs gradually over a period of time. The main causes are these habits and improper lifestyle choices. Little changes in these lifestyle choices can help slow the progression of kidney damage and help prevent severe kidney disorders. Drinking sufficient water, following a healthy well balanced diet, getting proper sleep, routine exercise etc. are certain factors that can be regulated and managed properly to avoid health complications. Remember, healthy kidneys help in maintaining a healthy body. So we need to take care of kidneys to stay healthy.

Why is Visceral Fat Harmful for Your Health?

What do you see when you look into a full-length mirror? A chiseled and well-maintained body without a single love handle or a body with too many curves? Good for you if you answered with the first point. But really bad news, if it is the second point that was your answer! Yes, you guessed it right. We will be talking about FAT here, especially visceral fat.

why-is-visceral-fat-harmfulIt is everyone’s pipe dream these days to have a flat stomach and enviable washboard abs just like those models gracing glossy magazine covers. However, sadly, this pipe-dream does not reach fruition beyond a couple of weeks after the dust has settled on the new year. Most people then resign to the fact that they would never be able to vanish the ugly fat deposits they have in different regions on their body. As a result they choose to not leave the comforts of their bed every morning. Also eating anything and everything without thinking of its consequences!  Continue reading “Why is Visceral Fat Harmful for Your Health?”

Open MRI in Delhi

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is a scanning modality that makes use of radio-waves for generating images of a person’s internal organs. This helps in investigating causes of any disease or injury. MRIs are done for different organs like stomach, gallbladder, brain, spine etc. An open MRI is a machine that allows more space to the patient; thus removing claustrophobic feeling from the patients who need to undergo MRI.

Open MRI Centers in Delhi

Mentioned below are names of some of the radiology centers in New Delhi where the facility of Open MRI is available.

Diagnostic centerAreaCity
Shivam Diagnostics [Azadpur] Ashok ViharNew Delhi
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