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

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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”

Is it Myopia? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

What is Myopia?

Myopia is among the many errors of refraction that affect the eyes. Also known as ‘near sightedness’ or ‘short sightedness,’ it hinders the ability of the eyes to see things which are placed far off.

Myopia today has acquired an ‘epidemic-like’ status, with an estimate of 2.5 billion people expected to be plagued by it till the year 2020. With people involved in more or less sedentary lifestyles and near-work most of the time, myopia has started increasing in terms of its incidence and prevalence over the years.

Most of us today are guilty of spending more and more time on our ‘screens’ such as smartphones, laptops and computers for abnormally large periods of time. Add to that our genetic tendencies and other environmental factors, we are in for a troubled vision which includes a spectrum of ocular diseases apart from myopia.

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