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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How to Get Vitamin-D and Its Importance in Thyroid Health

Vitamin D belongs to the group of fat soluble vitamins. It is a form of essential nutrient; which means that it is not synthesized in the body and needs to be consumed through diet or other external sources. Vitamin D plays a very important role in maintaining good health. Hence, it is essential to consume vitamin D in optimum quantities to fulfill the body’s daily requirement.

Imporatance of Vitamin-D In Thyroid Health (1) (1)

Sources of Vitamin D:

Vitamin D is an essential nutrient which is found in very less quantities in any kind of food or drinks. Sunlight is the only known natural source of Vitamin D. To maintain optimum levels of vitamin D, it is essential to get exposed to adequate amount of sunlight for adequate time at regular intervals.

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Get Ready For June: Antimalaria Month

Malaria

Malaria is an infectious disease caused because of bite of an infected female anopheles mosquito. The infected mosquito carries malaria causing pathogens called as plasmodium parasites. These parasites comprise of plasmodium vivax, plasmodium falciparum, plasmodium ovale, plasmodium malariae and plasmodium knowlesi. The bite of an infected female anopheles mosquito creates a path for these parasites to enter into the blood stream of the victim (person). Once, they enter into the blood, within few days they mature in liver and then start affecting red blood corpuscles of the body. They rapidly divide and cause harm to the whole body.

Continue reading “Get Ready For June: Antimalaria Month”

5 Reasons Why Bone Scan is Important in Cancer Case

Cancer is one of the most dangerous diseases that can affect mankind. Thanks to innovative techniques and advancements in medical technologies, better diagnostic tests for cancer and treatment options are now available. Bone scan is one such diagnostic test that helps in evaluating structural integrity of bones. In cases of cancer, the investigative test has great utility. It can help to assess spread of cancer from elsewhere to bones. Also in case of cancer, which originates primarily in the bones, this investigative test helps in diagnosing the location and spread of cancer.

Bone Scan
Bone cancer occurs when healthy bone cells divide in uncontrolled manner and give rise to tumor which can be malignant or benign. Benign tumors are non-cancerous in nature whereas malignant tumors are cancerous. These malignant tumors spread to different parts of the body if they are not eradicated. Continue reading “5 Reasons Why Bone Scan is Important in Cancer Case”

Are You Afraid of Cancer? Confirm It With These Tests!

Everyone would like to be in the ‘Top 5’ or ‘Top 10’ of things. Sadly, when it comes to diseases, nobody would like to rank them, even in the ‘Most deadly’ or ‘Highly morbid’ categories.

Being responsible for 13 percent or 8.2 million deaths worldwide, cancer bags the fifth position in the league of ‘Top 10 causes of death globally.’

Dismal figures color the sad picture of mortality due to cancer in India. With a total of 2.5 million Indians suffering from cancer, every 8 minutes a woman dies because of cervical cancer. Tobacco related diseases are alone responsible for 2,500 deaths daily. If 2 women are diagnosed of breast cancer, another woman would be dying because of it somewhere else.

CANCER


For reference sake, let us see the ‘Top 10 causes of death globally’:

Ischemic heart disease
Stroke
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Lower respiratory infections
Cancer
HIV & AIDS
Diarrhea
Diabetes
Road-traffic accidents
Hypertensive heart disease

Now if we observe carefully, these diseases have one thing in common – THESE CAUSES ARE LIFESTYLE RELATED. As much as there is to feel bad about these health problems, the good news is that most of these are PREVENTABLE; be it with a healthy diet, regular exercise, maintaining safety, or with periodic health check-ups.

Continue reading “Are You Afraid of Cancer? Confirm It With These Tests!”

Increase Your Pleasure in Bed Not STDs: Stay Protected

Physical intimacy with your partner not only makes the relationship long lasting but also increases the sense of belonging towards each other. Touching, feeling and getting engulfed in your partner’s body paves way to access each other’s souls. Connection between the sheets becomes more enjoyable and passionate if connection between heart exits.

Physical intimacy is natural and is nature’s way to get two people close and call for reproduction. Physical intimacy while enjoyable, could also prove dangerous if precautions and care are not taken care of. Here it is when the topic of STDs i.e. sexually transmitted diseases comes into picture. These diseases do not reveal symptoms in germinating stages but slowly attack each and every part of your body. In this blog, let us have a look at what precisely are STDS, their causes, symptoms and how to stay protected. Let’s not allow STDs to play spoilsport in the game of pleasure.

Continue reading “Increase Your Pleasure in Bed Not STDs: Stay Protected”