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.

All You Need To Know About Aquatic Therapy

Exercises and treatments performed in water for relaxation, therapeutic benefits, fitness and physical rehabilitation is termed as aquatic therapy. Usually done in a pool or any aquatic environment, it is done under the guidance of a trained healthcare professional like an aquatic therapist. These treatments and exercises are performed while floating or while being partially or fully submerged into the water.

Aquatic Therapy
Many aquatic therapies are also performed in temperature-controlled pools. Rehabilitation mainly focuses on the issues associated with injuries, illness or disabilities. Physical therapy involving water is extremely beneficial to people suffering from neuromuscular or musculoskeletal disorders.

For centuries, water has been used as a therapeutic alternative in healing people suffering from various health issues, because of the healing capabilities that water possesses. This therapeutic use of water is termed as aquatic therapy. Although hydrotherapy uses water for therapeutic benefits, there is a vast difference between hydrotherapy and aquatic therapy.

Aquatic therapy includes a wide range of techniques and methods consisting of aquatic exercises, physical therapy, aquatic bodywork, and hydrokinesiotherapy, the movement based therapy in water.

Aquatic therapy programs have certain goals to achieve and these include:

  1. Balance and co-ordination improvement
  2. Increase in flexibility
  3. Strengthening
  4. Increase in muscle strength and endurance
  5. Reduced spasticity
  6. Assistance with locomotion and stride
  7. More relaxation and less stress
  8. Reduction in joint swelling and pain
  9. Increase in range of motion
  10. Increased tolerance to sitting and standing

Aquatic therapy is usually performed under the guidance of the therapist who helps in assisting in the exercises and is termed as passive treatment. However, it can also be performed on your own with self-generated and controlled movements, and exercises, termed as active treatment. Such techniques include Ai Chi, Aqua Running, Bad Ragaz Ring Method, Burdenko method, Halliwick concept and Watsu.

For a long time, it has been believed that water promotes healing and has been used in a variety of treatments for managing the ailments along with other treatments. The therapeutic application of water includes neurological disorders, cardiopulmonary problems, spine pain, musculoskeletal disorders, orthopedic disorders, pediatric disabilities etc. It is also beneficial for obese people as it helps them perform exercises that are difficult to perform on land.

Aquatic therapy has different variations which helps the therapists create treatment plans and exercise schedules according to individual needs and conditions. Such specific treatment plans help the patients mentally, emotionally and makes them stronger, thereby improving their overall quality of life.

History of Aquatic Therapy

Water has been used as a healing element for a very long period of time. Over the time, several other terms have been coined for this therapy such as hydrotherapy, aquatic exercise, water therapy, water gymnastics, aquatic rehabilitation, aqua therapy, pool therapy etc. Water has been used for a numerous remedial purposes.

The use of water as a therapy, aquatic therapy, dates back to the early 2400 BC, when the people in Asia and Greece immersed themselves in water for religious and therapeutic purposes. The ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates, wrote about the healing properties of water and bathing in spring water to alleviate illnesses. He used water both externally and internally to treat a variety of illnesses. By 1500 BC, fevers were treated with water therapy. Ancient Greeks knew all the benefits of water, especially for healing muscle and joint pains.

Ancient Egyptians enjoyed bathing in their sacred river, Nile. Romans, following Greeks, considered bathing as a regime for good health. They built recuperation centers for wounded soldiers. Fatigued and injured from the war, the Roman soldiers used natural spring water to relax their muscles and treat sore wounds.

As time progressed, the use of water in therapy increased. In 800 BC Bath, England, known for its natural hot water springs, became famous as a center for healing through bathing. In the 1700s however, hydrotherapy developed by a German doctor Sigmund Hahn, came into existence. During this time, cold water was used to treat small pox victims. Vincent Priessnitz, in 1830, combined cold water and a rigorous exercise regimen to help sick people gain strength. This lead to the start of research on water, it’s temperature, and its reaction to certain diseases in Europe.

Over the course of several centuries, use of water therapy spread all over the world. New names were given, new methods and combinations were developed and new equipment were developed. Today, aquatic therapy is found in every sports center and facility. It helps in improving balance, co-ordination, muscle strength, cardiopulmonary endurance, pain management, motor skills and control, range of motion, and circulation.

Principles of Aquatic Therapy

The physical properties of water contribute to therapeutic effects.

Buoyancy permits floatation and reduces the effect of gravity. This allows people who cannot weight-bear on the land to put weight on their limbs in the water. Buoyancy has numerous benefits. It decreases joint compression forces, stress on connective tissues etc. It supports weak muscles, enhances flexibility and range of motion, and strengthens the muscles.Principles of Aquatic Therapy

Hydrostatic pressure is a force exerted on the body immersed in fluid. Hydrostatic pressure is beneficial in treating cardiovascular issues. The hydrostatic pressure pushes blood from the limbs towards the chest causing the heart to pump more blood and stretching of cardiac muscles. The stretching results in requiring a few heartbeats less than normal to pump the same amount of blood, thereby decreasing the patient’s heart rate while in water.

Routine aqua exercises can increase breathing capacity outside of water and increases efficiency of the heart. Similarly, hydrostatic pressure helps alleviate issues of renal system, respiratory system, and nervous system. Benefits of hydrostatic pressure are, reduction in pain and edema which in turn increase range of motion and increases blood circulation.

Viscosity provides resistance to water which increases as much as force is exerted against it. This helps in muscle strengthening. However, the resistance halts when the movements stop. It increases muscle balance and tone, and improves cardiopulmonary output. This resistance is especially helpful in people with Parkinson’s and cerebral palsy.

Aquatic Therapy Techniques

Ai Chi: Developed in 1993 by Jun Konno, Ai Chi is a total body relaxation and strengthening technique used in aquatic therapy. It uses deep breathing techniques inspired by Tai Chi and Qigong. This technique focuses on deep breathing and gradual movements of the upper and lower extremities, trunk and then the entire torso. The movements are slow, accompanied by deep diaphragmatic breathing and a calm state of mind.

Bad Ragaz Ring method: Developed in Bad Ragaz springs in eastern Switzerland by physiotherapists, it is a technique primarily focusing on improving neuromuscular functioning. Ring refers to the floats or rings that this method uses to support patients to be on surface of water. It involves a therapist acting as a fixed point, assisting the patient in their movements while the patient floats horizontally. The patient is guided through specific movements for muscular elongation and relaxation, and pain modulation with the ultimate goal of improving neuromuscular function, and active and passive range of motion.

Burdenko method: Developed by a Soviet professor, Igor Burdenko, this method focuses on six main aspects of movement. It is an integrated land-water sports therapy, mainly focusing on balance, co-ordination, strength, flexibility, endurance, and speed.

Halliwick concept: Developed in the late 1940s by fluid mechanics engineer, James McMillan, this technique focuses on the biophysical principle of motor control in water. This develops sense of balance and core stability. It mainly focuses on teaching swimming and independence in water to disabled patients. It has been used in neuro rehabilitation and pediatrics.

Watsu: Developed in the early 1980s by Harold Dull in California, this technique is used for deep relaxation and is a passive therapy. It is performed one-on-one in warm chest-deep water. The therapist gently cradles, moves, stretches, and massages a patient. The session consists of breathing co-ordination, movement patterns including stillness, gentle cradling, and stretching and mobilization, and massage depending upon the needs of the patient.

Aqua running: It is a form of water sport done in deep water using a support to float in the water. It involves running and jogging in the water. Helpful for injured athletes and people aiming for low impact aerobic workout. Aqua running or aqua jogging, conditions the cardiovascular system.

Benefits of Aquatic Therapy

Aquatic therapy is a unique form of physical therapy that assists the patient to slowly recover at a progressive pace that reduces the normal recovery time. Though aquatic therapy has been around for centuries, it is still progressing and developing new techniques to help patients recover. This form of physical therapy has variety of benefits. Some of which include improved balance and coordination, increased muscle strength, tone and endurance, cardiopulmonary endurance, improved motor skills and control, improvement in range of motion and circulatory function.Benefits of Aquatic Therapy

Benefits of this therapy are greatly experienced by people suffering from sensory disorders, muscle weakness, spasticity, incoordination, balance issues, orthopedic injuries, trauma, neurological problems, arthritis, respiratory problems, depression, cardiac issues and motor skill defects.

Aquatic therapy is specifically designed for therapeutic purposes and is typically used by people suffering from disorders, disabilities, or injuries. You don’t need to know how to swim if you want to undergo aquatic therapy. Indulging in this form of therapy helps you develop an ability to perform exercises and a sense of confidence that you have great endurance and flexibility.
This therapy provides a relaxing way to reconnect with your body after suffering from an illness and helps you recover faster. It helps reduce stress and pain and pushes you towards a healthier and improved way of living.

If you or a person you know wants to get involved in this therapy, talk to your healthcare provider and understand if this is a better option for you to recover.

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.

Hole in the Heart – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

There are a wide variety of diseases and disorders concerning the heart which is part of cardiovascular system in human body. Some of them are in the body since birth and some are contracted later on in life. The former category is termed as congenital heart defects and the latter is called acquired heart diseases.

Hole in the heart

Atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, heart rhythm disorders, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, are some of the cardiac diseases people suffer. Again, there are a number of diseases that come under the collective umbrella of congenital defects or congenital heart diseases. Anomalous pulmonary venous return, Atrial septal defect (ASD), Atrioventricular septal defect (AVSD), Ventricular septal defect (VSD), Tetralogy of Fallot are few congenital heart defects. In this article, ASD and VSD are discussed ahead.

What is hole in heart?

Hole in the heart is a layman term for denoting ventricular septal defect (VSD) and atrial septal defect (ASD). VSD is less common in adults, because some VSDs close on their own.

The heart is made of different components like left and right atria which are known as the chambers of the heart, blood vessels comprising of capillaries, veins and arteries and lastly tricuspid and mitral valves. In a healthy person, blood travels from heart to lungs for oxygen, and in turn oxygenated blood is provided to the body. Congenital heart defects are a result of structural abnormalities of formation of components of the heart. And thus, when there are defects or malformations since birth, the pumping function does not take place as it should.

What is hole in the heart

The heart starts developing at 22 days in a baby, when it is still inside the womb. The inside structures and chambers start forming by the 28th day. Structural defects form when the inner parts do not form correctly. When there is a heart defect in the child, the blood flow to the heart becomes abnormal and is reflected in his or her heartbeats. However, a normal life is possible for the child that is born with an Atrial or Ventricular Septal Defect after the conditions are treated. Adults with complex heart defects are also able to lead productive lives with the help of medications, treatments and lifestyle changes. Congenital heart defects are referred to as or congenital cardiovascular malformations, congenital heart disease or heart defects.

What are the causes of hole in the heart?

There is no set data that supports occurrence or origin of congenital heart disease. However, the development of congenital heart defects can be attributed to following factors:

  • Gestational Diabetes: When blood sugar levels in pregnant women having gestational diabetes is uncontrolled, this leads to anatomical defects in the growing fetus.
  • Rubella: Women who contract rubella during their pregnancies are likely to cause the baby to get congenital heart defects. If a pregnant woman has not undergone vaccination against this virus, she is likely to pass on the virus to the unborn baby, who in turn develops heart problems, liver disorders, mental disabilities etc.
  • Genetic History: There may be a family history of this particular heart defect that may cause the unborn child to develop congenital heart defect. Congenital heart defect may be passed on to the first child, if anyone of the parent has it. Likewise, heart defects are likely to occur in children, if any of the parents have had it from their childhood.
  • Smoking: Cigarette smoke has a number of toxins like nicotine, carbon monoxide, arsenic etc. These poisonous substances do not allow nutrients and oxygen to reach the baby or get absorbed well. Any type of smoke is harmful for the baby and can cause health problems like lung disorders, pre-term birth, congenital heart defects, to name a few.
  • Drinking: Alcohol consumption during pregnancy is also not advisable, as it has the capacity to interfere with development of the child’s heart. Consumption of alcohol can also be attributed to the unborn baby developing congenital heart defects. Drugs like cocaine are also a contributing factor in structural problems and cardiac malformations in the child.

What are the symptoms of hole in the heart?

Provided herewith are signs and symptoms that are seen in anyone suffering from Atrial or Ventricular Septal Defect.

Symptoms like fatigue, difficulty in breathing after exercise or littlest of exertion, swelling in legs and abdomen, and weakness suggest possible presence of congenital heart defects in adults.

symptoms of hole in the heartLikewise, signs like a bluish tint in the fingernails, skin, and lips, fast breathing and shortness of breath while breast-feeding, are the signs that suggest congenital heart defects in babies. Also, if the hole in the heart is small, it may not show any symptoms.

The doctor may order chest X-ray, electrocardiogram, echocardiography, pulse oximetry, color Doppler for diagnosing a congenital heart defect. A chest X-ray can spot abnormalities in the blood vessels and chambers in heart. Whereas, the electrical signals in the heart are measured with the help of an electrocardiogram to diagnose cardiac problems. Functions of heart valves and heart chambers are mapped with the help of an echocardiography. Thickness of ventricles can be useful in detecting congenital heart defects. Pulse oxymetry will reveal oxygen quantity in the blood and that will help in determining presence of defect in the heart. Color Doppler studies blood flow through the blood vessels. This helps in determining abnormalities in the heart chambers.

What are the treatments required for hole in the heart?

There are various treatment methods available for treatment of congenital heart diseases. However, many deciding factors influence the method of treating this disease.
Sometimes, medications like beta blockers and diuretics can be sufficient to rein on the condition and sometimes, a combination of treatments has to be implemented for treating the congenital heart defect.

Surgery is only recommended, if the congenital defect causes serious symptoms and discomfort to the child. Sometimes, if the defect is small, it closes on its own.

Heart Transplant – This heart transplant procedure employs implant of a new heart from a donor’s body to treat the cardiac or congenital heart defect in the patient. It is only done, when other treatments for treating the cardiac illness haven’t worked out. This surgery takes a minimum of 4-6 hours.
The patient is connected to a heart-lung by-pass machine that carries out functions of both of these organs during procedure. A cut is made near the breastbone for accessing the heart. After which, the existing heart is taken out, and the new transplanted one is connected to the veins and arteries. The body’s response to the new transplant is monitored through follow-up treatments. A lot of lifestyle changes need to be incorporated after the transplant in order to prevent the body rejecting the new heart.

Catheterization – Cardiac Catheterization involves treatment of the cardiac defect without opening the heart chamber for accessing the heart. It is used both as a diagnostic as well as surgical procedure.
Cardiac catheterization helps the doctor in diagnosing blockages, heart valve disorders, and also combining it with surgical procedures like angioplasty and valvuloplasty to name a few. Likewise, cardiac catheterization is a technique used for diagnosing congenital heart defects as well. The hole in the heart is closed with the help of a catheter. The catheter is threaded through a vein in the leg and up to the heart. The catheter, thus repairs holes in the heart’s walls.

Open Heart Surgery – It can also be termed as corrective surgery for congenital heart defects. Open heart surgery is the technique used for treatment of the particular heart defect.

Atrial Septal Defect and Ventricular Septal Defect can be treated using an open heart surgery. If left untreated, the hole in the heart can lead to medical problems, such as arrhythmia, heart failure and the like.
This surgery starts with an 8-10 inch long incision done on the patient’s chest. Another incision across the breastbone makes the surgeon get a clearer view of the heart. Next, a heart-lung machine is connected for performing function of the heart and for oxygenating and circulating blood. Patches are placed for repairing ventricular or arterial defects. The incisions are then sealed. The patch that was placed, then naturally gets covered by heart tissue lining and it becomes a part of the heart for rest of the life.

Fairly, all congenital heart defects can be treated with the help of medication or surgery. The defect also does not have a long-term effect on the child’s day-to-day activities or health. The child will do just fine once he/she is operated on.

Best Health Checkup Packages in India

Medical industry all over the world has undergone a major paradigm shift. Thanks to its continuous evolution, the life span of humans has increased drastically as compared to what it was a 100 years ago. The medical industry comprises of the pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, clinics, health insurance companies and of course the human resources behind it. All these entities and the scientific organizations have worked relentlessly all these years for bringing this face-lift we are seeing in terms of health. No longer there are deaths happening because of polio, cholera or AIDS or for that matter diseases which ended thousands of lives in the past. best-health-checkups-in-india Continue reading “Best Health Checkup Packages in India”

Spa Therapies – Types, Health Benefits and Cost in india

Spa. What does this three letter word bring to your mind?? A luxury or just a cosmetic route for relaxing your mind and body? Majority of you readers would have answered with the first one had we been living in the 19th century. Spas and the various services they provide in terms of their packages are becoming more and more accessible to people of different social status. Cosmetic therapies and alternative medicine practices for mind and body relaxation are gaining traction with people these days. Naturopathy, aromatherapy, acupuncture, reflexology are just few forms of alternate medicine.

A spa is a place for illegal activities is a popular misnomer among sections of society. However, it is a total misgiving and false assumption. A spa to put in simple terms is a therapy center that offers facials, massages and other cosmetic services. Spas are registered with appropriate governing bodies. spa-services-in-india

Continue reading “Spa Therapies – Types, Health Benefits and Cost in india”

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?”

MR Spectroscopy (MRS) Scan in India

MRI Spectroscopy also known as Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS) is a type of investigation which involves studying a particular body tissue for any metabolic changes that may have taken place. It is similar to MRI but with slightly advanced techniques. MRS is used for the study of nervous system most of the times.

Metabolism is a normal physiological phenomenon taking place in all body tissues. It leads to the formation of certain byproducts which could remain deposited in the tissue. MRS analyses the presence and quantity of these metabolites in order to come to a conclusion.

It cannot be a primary investigation in any patient. Diagnosis is usually done with the help of MRI scan, CT scan, USG etc. MRS helps in studying the abnormal tissue even more clearly to determine the intensity of damage. Continue reading “MR Spectroscopy (MRS) Scan in India”