Saturday, October 31, 2009

Health Benefits of Water

How much water to drink every day? A simple question with a very difficult answer.It is not easy to assess what is the standard requirement of water for an individual. It is subjective of many factors like weight, climate and activity levels.

Our body is made up of 60 per cent of water. Every day a normal person loses water through breath, sweat, urine and bowel movement. This water needs to be replenished or replaced.
To generalize '8 x 8 rule' - drink eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day (about 2 liters). It can also be modified as 'drink eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day' as all fluids count toward the daily total requirement. Though this is not supported by any scientific evidence, many people use this basic rule as a guideline for how much water and other fluids to drink. Another easy way to calculate is -
Divide your weight (in kilograms) by 30 (ex. somebody weighing 70 kg is going to need 2.3 liters/day)

Healthy reasons to drink adequte water:
Weight loss. Water is one of the best ways to lose weight. It replaces high-calorie drinks like soda and juice and alcohol with a drink that doesn't have any calories. But it's also a great appetite suppressant and often when we think we're hungry, we're actually just thirsty.

Water has no fat, no calories, no carbs, no sugar.
Healthy Heart: Drinking a good amount of water could lower your risk of a heart attack.
Energy. If you're thirsty, you're already dehydrated which can lead to fatigue, muscle weakness, dizziness and other symptoms. So it's a source of instant energy. Hot or humid weather can make a person sweat and require additional intake of fluid. Heated indoor air also can cause your skin to lose moisture during winters. Further, altitudes greater than 2,500 metres (8,200 feet) may trigger increased urination and more rapid breathing, which use up more of your fluid reserves

Dehydration commonly causes Headache: Often when we have a headache it's simply a matter of not drinking enough water.

Pregnancy or breast-feeding: Women who are expecting or breast-feeding need additional fluids to stay hydrated. Large amounts of fluid are lost especially when nursing.

Healthy skin: Drinking water can clear up your skin and people often report a healthy glow after drinking water. It doesn't happen overnight, but consistent consumption of water has good effects on the skin.

Digestive problems: The digestive system needs a good amount of water to digest food properly.Often water can help cure acidity problems, and water along with fibre can cure constipation.

Cleansing: Water is used by the body to help flush out toxins and waste products from the body.

Healing: It has been shown that proper water intake promotes healing processes.Drinking water helps to exercise harder. Dehydration severely hampers physical activities and slows you down. Exercise requires additional water, so be sure to hydrate before, during and after exercise.

Cancer risk: Drinking healthy amount of water has also been found to reduce the risk of colon cancer by 45 per cent. Drinking lots of water can also reduce the risk of bladder cancer by 50 per cent and also reduce the risk of breast cancer.

Beyond the tap: Other sources of water
On average, food provides about 20 per cent of total water intake, while the remaining 80 per cent comes from water and beverages of all kinds. For example, many fruits and vegetables such as watermelon and cucumbers are nearly 100 per cent water by weight. Beverages such as milk, buttermilk and juice are also comprised mostly of water. Even beer, wine and caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea or soda can contribute, but these should not be a major portion of your daily total fluid intake. Water is one of your best bets because it's calorie-free, inexpensive and readily available.

-To carry a bottle of water everywhere
-keep a glass/bottle of water handy on your desk while working
-Drink enough water while exercising

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

benefit and risk of drugs

Since a physician is trained to recognize and understand the clinical data regarding a drug's benefits and risks, it is the physician who is better qualified to decide whether the benefits outweigh the risks.

I totally agree with Sonit. If patients were allowed to make this assessment for themselves what would be the point in the prescription system?

Associate Professor at McGill University Health Centre
It is a little bit more difficult than that. Who does decide? I would say that each step that a drug has to go through to reach the patient has its own decider. During the drug development it is the company that decides that pursuing the development might be worth it, and ultimately the regulatory institution (i.e., FDA) that will say yes or no. Finally the physician will decide whether or not the risk is worth the prescription considering the potential benefit but at the end of the day, the patient, with his/her own perception of what benefit and risk are, will decide to comply to the prescription or not. And for the same physician and the same patients, the preception will also vary depending on the disease that is being addressed. Now, who is right and who is wrong, I leave it to the philosophers...

Thank you Laurent, for bringing all this info with which I agree
I would like to add that in practice, patients as less standardized that in clinical trials where they are selected based on specific criterias.Justify Full

Facing somehow different profiles in real practice, Company medical department is involved, then the physician, than the patient who may have the choices between different treatment options based on a clear information, eventually helped by a person in case of need (translator, parents, wife/husband, etc..)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Finger ulcers

You would have observed majority of the people in the age group of 25 to 50 years do suffer from one or the other problem of fingers. It could be either a complaint of persistent mild pain in fingers or appearance of ulcers on fingers tips, or blackening of nails and finger tips. If you are a habitual tobacco chewer or a smoker, you then in all probability are nearing a stage of ulcer development. If you are a regular user of tobacco-mixed paan masaala, or khaini, or jaffrani patti, believe me you yourself are making a road map for finger amputation.

If your fingers have ulcers or black discoloration, it simply means your hand and fingers are getting less supply of pure blood. If timely management is not instituted, there will definitely be no other outcome except of loss of fingers. If your fingers have constant pain and tingling sensation, this too is an indicator of inadequate blood supply. In such a situation, always seek consultation with a vascular or cardiovascular surgeon instead of a general surgeon.

What causes ulcers on fingers?
The commonest contributing factors to a finger ulcers are Raynauld's disease, Buerger's disease caused by smoking and tobacco chewing, and vasculitis caused due to significant inflammatory swelling of arterial wall. Because of vasculitis, the small arteries get deposition of blood clots inside, that results into complete stoppage of blood flow to the hand. This leads to ulcer and black discoloration of fingers. This stage heralds the beginning of gangrene.

There are two reasons for development of vasculitis. One is hyper sensitivity angiitis disease caused by the abnormal hypersensitivity of the arteries. Another one is immune vasculitis disease caused due to disturbances in the defence mechanism or immune system of the body. The Scleroderma disease tops the list of causative factors of immune vasculitis.

There are other causes too, of finger ulcers. One of the important causes is the unwarranted excessive pressure from outside on the artery which supplies blood to the hand. The external pressure on the artery occurs either in the neck area or at the shoulder. There are many reasons for this external pressure on the artery carrying blood to hand. If in the past you have sustained chest injury in an accident and suffered from fracture of clavicle or first rib, the fractured bones though get united in due course of time but leave a protuberant bony scar at the fracture site. This bony scar compresses the artery situated in the upper part of the chest resulting into inadequate supply of blood to hand. In some individuals, an additional rib emerges abnormally from the spine since birth. This abnormal rib in medical terms is called 'cervical rib' which too grows in size as the age advances, and starts pressing the artery which supplies pure blood to hand and fingers. This pressure on the artery causes pain followed by developmental of finger ulcers.

Sometimes, especially in ladies due to advancing age and lack of exercise, shoulders start dropping down. This puts artery of hand under abnormally excessive and harmful pressure, leading to disturbance in blood flow. Sometimes, due to old injury of neck, the mucles of the neck themselves get constricted permanently and in turn accelerates the process of construction of adjacent artery too.

Justify FullTreatment in case of a finger ulcer
For treatment of finger ulcers in majority of the cases, medications and observance of certain precautions are required. Strict surveillance to monitor the progress of the disease and effect of treatment is very much essential. In a few cases only surgical intervention is needed. Sometimes, surgical removal of clots from the affected artery is required. In a few selected cases, sometimes special operations like thoracic outlet decompression are performed to take the undue pressure off the artery. In such operations, abnormally - grown cervical rib or the first rib is resected and taken out. Sometimes previously injured and abnormally united clavicle too has to be taken out to relieve pressure on the artery.
If diseased artery is damaged beyond correction, modern surgical techniques like 'arterial reconstruction' or 'arterial bypass' are employed. For bypass, artificial tubes imported from US and Germany are used. These special operations help in restoration of blood supply to hand and fingers.

What to do if you have ulcers on your fingers?
1 Protect your hand and fingers from cold. In winter seasons especially, wear woolen gloves on your hand.
2 Do not stand in front of refrigerator when it is open. Never put your hand directly into the deep freezer compartment.
3 Avoid using cold or icy water for bath. Use rubber gloves while washing dishes.
4 Change your profession or job, if you are working in a food processing industry, or ice cream manufacturing units or in cold storage, where you get a regular exposure to cold water every day.
5 Do not smoke. Never use tobacco-mixed paan masaala or tooth paste. Avoid using countrymade tobacco preparations like "Khaini", 'Chaini", "Hukka'.
6 Avoid using tight wrist band or wrist watches having tight straps. Wearing tight rings on your fingers is harmful.
7 Avoid direct injury to your hand and fingers. Use of sewing machine is harmful. Avoid regular practice on harmonium and piano.
8 Avoid using any detergent or soap especially meant for washing clothes.
9 Female patients should avoid using contraceptives.
10 Use salads and tomatoes in large quantities. Freshly-cut pineapple if eaten immediately is very beneficial.
11 Avoid some specific medicines like ergot preparation (used in headache and migraine), betablockers (used in blood pressure), Sudafed and Actifed used in cold.
12 Avoid holding mixi, hair drier, and drilling machines with your hand.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Positive Effects Of Deep Sleep

Scientists are confirming what yogis and ayurvedic physicians have reported for centuries: deep sleep rests the body and the mind. Our daily dose of sleep regulates our weight, strengthens our immunity, protects our cardiovascular health, repairs our tissues and cells, and restores our energy. Sleep also allows us to process, consolidate and retain new memories; it balances our emotions, makes us better problem solvers, and feeds our creativity.

When we depend on pills to put us to sleep, we're only masking our problems. Yoga challenges us to become the master of our mind, not a slave to it. When our thoughts begin to keep us awake at night, our mental gymnastics need to be addressed, not suppressed.

Side effects and cost aside, if we need drugs to put us to sleep, we're in trouble. Ceding control to the pharmaceutical industry makes it impossible for us to explore, and eventually master, our own body and mind. There are better ways to get a good night's sleep — through massage, yoga and ayurveda can show you how.

Give yourself a five-minute massage
A scalp and foot massage is a shortcut to full-body relaxation. Why? Because all meridians or nadis begin in the scalp and end in the soles of the feet. Plus, many neural endings, receptors and marmas (pressure points) are clustered in the head and feet. By giving yourself the following mini-massage you will get the benefits of an entire body massage. When you've massaged both feet, soak them for five minutes in a bucket of warm saltwater.

Make time for yoga
A regular, balanced hatha yoga practice circulates the lymph and blood, tones the channels of elimination, and balances both the endocrine and nervous systems, calming vata and helping the body and mind digest the events of the day. Whether you practise in the morning, afternoon, or at bedtime, yoga paves the way to a good night's sleep.

Sit on your heels with knees apart and tuck few pillows between your thighs and chest. Turn your head to one side. Let the rib cage melt in to the pillows. Relax and breathe deeply. Stay in this position for five minutes. Then turn heads the other side.

Sit with your hips to the right of your feet and cradle your left ankle in the arch of the right foot. Turn the sternum and place your right cheek on the top pillow, snuggling your belly into the support of the pillow. Repeat on the other side. Stay for one minute on each side.

Lie on the bed, draw the soles of your feet together with your knees apart. Allow shoulders and chest to broaden and release to gravity. Be in this position for five minutes.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Heart Habits At Workplace

On the occasion of World Heart Day 2009 Senior Heart Specialist gave message to 'Work with a healthy heart' and take care of the heart to live a healthy life. Over 17.2 million people die every year due to heart diseases and stroke. At least 80% of these deaths from heart diseases and stroke can be prevented if the main risk factors, tobacco, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity are controlled.

"Since most of us spend over half our waking hours working, a work place that encourages healthy habits can reduce risk of many diseases including heart attack and stroke. This is why World Heart Day 2009 is calling on every one to 'Work with Heart' encouraging you to make small changes that together could make a big difference in favour of great health and productivity," says Doctor.

Tips for devising work place programme:
1. Say no to Tobacco - Insist on smoke-free environment. Your risk to heart attack will be halved with in a year.
2. Get Active - Be physically active during the day. Walk around your building or exercise during office breaks. Include physical activity in your working schedule and encourage others to do so. Even 30 minutes of physical activity daily can help to prevent heart attacks and strokes. Take the stairs, go for a walk.
3. Eat Smart - Ask for healthy food at your work canteen or find near by cafes that serve healthy food. Eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Make smart choices, choosing fruits and green vegetables from the healthy menu or bring your own food from the home. Avoid salt and processed food.
4.Maintain Healthy Weight - Maintain ideal weight as per your height and age.
5. Know your Numbers -- Know numbers like your blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, weight, waist to hip ratio, body mass index. Take the help of doctor and develop a specific plan of action to improve these numbers.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Foods to Prevent Fatigue

In today's fast paced life fatigue is a common problem. A better diet can keep us energised throughout the day. Learn about the foods that help keep you feeling at your peak. Fatigue is simply mental or physical exhaustion. A process that slows the body down at the end of the day and prepares us for sleep, or protects overworked muscles from possible injury. Some simple dietary changes can help us keep fatigue from getting us down.

Drink plenty of water
Mild dehydration is a common and often overlooked cause of fatigue. Dehydration can reduce blood flow to organs, slowing down your brain. Drink about eight glasses of water a day, and don't wait until youfeel thirsty.

Eat breakfast
The brain is fuel-hungry, using up to 30 per cent of calories. A good breakfast refills our energy stores, keeping lethargy at bay during the morning hours. This is especially true for children, who have a higher metabolism and smaller energy reserves. Include carbohydrates at breakfast, a whole grain muffin with peanut butter, a piece of fruit and a glass of skim milk.

Eat protein and carbs in combination especially at lunch. It's not your imagination: that drowsy, dopey feeling you get around 4 pm is part of your brain's natural daily rhythms. Protein contains the amino acid tryptophan, precursor of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that promotes a calm, relaxed feeling, which helps to fight emotional fatigue. Eaten with protein, carbohydrates may boost the brain's intake of tryptophan. Protein-rich foods also contain tyrosine, a precursor to neurotransmitters dopamine and norepinephrine, promoters of alertness, attention, and motivation.

Use caffeine judiciously
Caffeinated beverages fight fatigue. Caffeine not only makes you feel more energised, it also increases alertness, reaction speed and ability to think clearly for up to three hours. But five or six cups of coffee a day can make you irritable and jittery, actually decreasing performance on some tasks; caffeine late in the day can cause insomnia. If caffeine's your thing, try one cup in the morning and a Diet Coke with lunch.

Get enough calories, but avoid big meals. While overeating is a serious problem for many folks (and can itself lead to fatigue), if you're an intensely active person or you're on a stringent diet, you may not be getting enough calories. Needs vary: take care to consume enough calories for your gender, body type and activity level. High-intensity exercisers need to get enough protein.

Don't, however, take all your calories in one or two daily feasts. Instead, eat five or six smaller meals. A full stomach draws blood to the belly and away from the brain, leaving you listless and dull. Smaller meals also help keep insulin levels constant, avoiding fluctuations of energy and mood.

Eat Iron Rich Food
Iron enables blood to carry oxygen to the organs of the body. Deprived of adequate oxygen, the brain cannot function optimally, leading to lack of mental acuity and feelings of fatigue. Iron intake is not in general a problem for men, but many women have mild iron deficiency. If you suspect you're not getting enough iron, boost your intake with foods like lean red meat, liver, spinach, and apricots.