• Lung Diseases

    Lung Diseases

    Dealing with Panic during an attack of breathlessness in a person suffering from COPD

    Tips for the attendants:

    • Stay calm do not panic along with the patient; it is an emergency which can be dealt with
    • Call your family physician
    • Give the person oxygen through a mask if he is habituated to it
    • Open the windows and make the room airy
    • Do not crowd around the patient
    • Do not force the patient to lie down as he will be more comfortable in sitting position
    • Do not force the patient to eat or drink anything
    • Give any medication that is to be taken SOS or if it has been prescribed over the phone by the doctor
    • Shift the patient to the hospital if the breathlessness persists after medication
    • Carry the patients file with you when you go to the hospital
    • The person travelling with the patient should be someone who is well aware of his medical history
    • Sooth the patient and give him positive reaffirmation

    Tips for the patient:

    • Stay calm do not panic; this emergency can be dealt with much better if you co-operate
    • Do not exert yourself just relax and breath as easily as possible
    • Try to divert your attention from your attack
    • Do assertive visualization, imagine yourself in a garden on a pleasant morning in a relaxed atmosphere
    • Do not lie down if you don’t feel like
    • Close your eyes and meditate
    • Trust your family to take care of you
    • Think positive and nothing can stop you from recovering.
    • You need to be aware that you are capable of suffering from sudden attacks of breathlessness
    • Be prepared for such emergencies as the right person might not be around to attend to you.
    • Prepare an emergency kit which has the following:
      • The medicine to be taken in emergency
      • A card on which all the phone numbers and address of your doctor and hospital are written
      • A card with the phone number of an ambulance service in your area
      • Your medical history written in short summary stating all your major conditions
      • Instructions for the attendant regarding what is to be done in case of emergency
      • A copy of your insurance card
      • A copy of your latest prescription.

    Liver Diseases

    Yoga to me is one of the most scientific methods of treating any disease or disorder. I agree that to cure a disease you will need to take medication but that alone will not help.

    What one needs is a combination of the following:

    • Medicines
    • Supportive treatment like physiotherapy
    • Nutritious diet
    • Dietary supplements
    • Life style changes
    • Relaxation
    • Positive thinking
    • Breathing exercises and
    • Exercise and Yoga which is vital

    Listed below are some asana which are beneficial in liver diseases:

    Vajrasana; Bhujangasana, mayurasana, shalabhasana, paschimottanasana, matsyendrasana, sarvangasana; dhanurasana, pavanmuktasana and shavasana

    There are certain things to keep in mind while doing these assanas:

    Vajrasana is to be done after meals. This one of the few asanas which can be done after meals. As a fact it is a sitting posture to be maintained for 10 to 15 minutes after meals. This posture aids in digestion immensely.

    Shavasan is to be done at the end of the yoga session and you can do meditation or positive affirmation while doing shavasana.

    Yoga is always augmented by breathing exercises. It is also important to maintain a steady, uninterrupted and undisturbed flow of breathing while doing yoga.

    Liver Diseases

    Pranayamas or breathing exercises are most useful in restoring depleted digestive capacity, particularly the following:

    • Bhastrika – the bellows breath.
    • Full abdominal breathing in shavasana.
    • Nadi shodhana with uddiyana, moola and jalandhara bandhas.
    • Nauli kriya.

    The ideal time to do breathing exercises is early morning and the ideal place is a natural surrounding like a garden or on the terrace of your house where there is fresh air and less pollution.

    It is good to do meditation while you do breathing exercises; basically concentrate on your breath and it becomes a sort of meditation.

    Combine breathing techniques with Visualization. While doing breathing exercises visualize toxins leaving your body in the form of grey light and fresh air and positive healing energy entering your body in the form of white light. When you do this you will actually start seeing the wonderful healing capacity of your body!

    Liver Diseases

    Nutritional guidelines if you have been diagnosed with Liver Diseases are:

    All the normal guidelines for healthy eating apply to people with this disease too and additionally you need to take care of certain things which are listed below

    Healthy Body Weight

    Please make sure that you maintain the optimum weight for your height as being overweight makes your heart and lungs work harder to breathe. As opposed to that, if you are underweight, you may feel weak and tired and be more susceptible to infection. Chest infections can make it more difficult to breathe and lead to COPD exacerbation.

    Monitor Your Weight

    Weighing yourself at least once a week will help you keep your weight under control. If you are taking diuretics or steroids, however, your doctor may recommend daily weigh-ins.

    Drink Plenty of Fluids

    Unless your doctor tells you otherwise, you should drink 6 to 8 glasses of water in addition to the water in the form of food or beverages daily. This helps to keep your mucus thin, making it easier for your body to cough it up. As we live in a tropical country it is advisable to increase your fluid intake as the temperature rises. It will help if you reduce the fluid intake after sunset.

    Reduce Sodium Intake

    Eating too much salt causes your body to retain fluid. Too much fluid can make breathing more difficult. To reduce sodium intake, don’t use table salt at all. Make sure you read all food labels as a lot of readymade food articles are loaded with salt. Also avoid chutney, achaar and papad as far as possible.

    Avoid Overeating and Foods that Cause Gas

    When you overeat, your stomach can feel bloated making breathing more difficult. Carbonated beverages or gas-producing foods such as sprouts, beans, cauliflower or cabbage can also cause bloating. Avoid these foods after evening.

    Eat Smaller Meals More Frequently

    Eat smaller meals more frequently rather than large meals at long intervals. This can also help you feel less full making it easier to breathe.

    Include Plenty of Fiber in Your Diet

    High fiber foods such as vegetables, dried legumes, bran, whole grains, rice, cereals, pasta and fresh fruit aid in digestion by helping your food move more easily through your digestive tract. Your daily fiber requirement should be between 20 to 35 grams of fiber each day.

    A Last Word About Nutrition

    Food gives your body the fuel that it needs for energy. Your body requires energy for everything that you do, including breathing and eating so eat healthy!

  • Anorexia

    ANOREXIA

    Anorexia nervosa, commonly referred to simply as anorexia, is one type of eating disorder. More importantly, it is also a psychological disorder. Anorexia is a condition that goes beyond out-of-control dieting. A person with anorexia often initially begins dieting to lose weight.

    Over time, the weight loss becomes a sign of mastery and control. The drive to become thinner is actually secondary to concerns about control and/or fears relating to one’s body. The individual continues the endless cycle of restrictive eating, often accompanied by other behaviors such as excessive exercising or the overuse of diet pills, diuretics, laxatives, and/or enemas in order to reduce body weight, often to a point close to starvation in order to feel a sense of control over his or her body. This cycle becomes an obsession and, in this way, is similar to any type of addiction.

    Obviously this is more of a problem of the mind which is having it’s effect on the body! This is a very rampant problem amongst youngsters especially girls! This is a very serious problem and parents need to treat it as such.

    It is warning for the parents to be very vigilant if the teenager is overdoing the dieting bit. You will have to counsel the kid first and if you do not succeed please do not hesitate in getting professional help at the earliest.

    The first step towards treating anorexia nervosa is to make the person feel secure and comfortable. They generally have a low self-esteem so you need to build on their self esteem and make them feel loved and wanted. If you succeed in doing this the chances are that the person will not need professional counseling.

    Be careful because this is a continuous and ongoing process and the feeling needs to be reinforced constantly. The person might slip any time and go back to earlier behavior. They will need a lot of love and support from the family members during the recovery phase but it will be worth the effort in the end.

    ANOREXIA

    Some simple steps towards treating anorexia nervosa are listed below:

    Make the person feel loved and wanted all the time. This might amount to pampering but do it for the time being till the person recovers. Build on their sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Take the support of the friends and peers in doing this.
    Keep the person occupied all the time. Make sure that they have something creative to do all the time. Give them some important responsibility that you know they can handle
    Keep fashion magazines away from the teen if she is doing it for looking good. Let the person read health magazines instead.
    Create awareness in this person regarding the bad effects of under eating and malnutrition through books and interaction with doctors and nutritionist.
    A meeting with a reformed anorexic can do wonders in the person suffering from anorexia
    Keep healthy food around the house and make sure that the whole family eats the meals together in a healthy and jovial atmosphere. Discuss the merits of eating nutritious food at meal times
    The person suffering from anorexia should be encouraged to develop a hobby to distract them from their obsession with weight loss.
    Strictly discourage smoking and keeping company of persons who smoke for the patient
    Encourage them to join a gym where they will meet other persons who are into health and fitness. As a fact if a friend or a cousin can accompany the patient in this program the chances of success are even more.
    Guided meditation is very beneficial for this problem. One should do meditation 3 times a day for 20 minutes starting early in the morning.
    Assertive visualization should be done at least 3 times a day for 15 minutes each to combat the lack of self esteem.
    Yoga is extremely helpful in this condition and I will discuss about it in the next blog

  • Obesity

    Obesity

    This is a series of Blogs on Obesity. The first of the series is some information on Obesity; some facts and figures. In the later blogs we shall see the methods of taking care of Obesity with the help of complementary forms of treatments.

    What is Obesity?

    Obesity is a state in which there is generalized accumulation of excess fat in the body leading to a body weight of more than 20% of the required weight. Obesity invites disability, disease and premature death. Usually obesity is due to positive energy balance. That is the intake of calories is more than the expenditure of calories. It is one of the most common disorders in medical practice and among the most frustrating.

    Obesity in India

    With rising number of morbidly obese persons, India has been requested to join the International Congress on Obesity (ICO) for further study on the risk and management of the overweight in a developing economy. With this, India would be one of the first nations from the developing countries in Asia to be put on the obesity map.

    Causes of Obesity

    • Genetic factors
    • Eating Habits
    • Physical activity
    • Endocrine factor
    • Trauma
    • Prosperity and civilization

    Obese people are more likely to have high blood cholesterol levels, this increases the risk of arthrosclerosis, a condition in which fatty deposits build up on the inner linings of the arteries. This may contribute to high blood pressure and coronary artery disease. Arterial thrombosis and embolism, which is blockage of a blood vessel by a blood clot, occurs more often in obese people. Obese people are more likely to develop diabetes mellitus.

    Certain cancers such as prostrate cancer, breast cancer and cervical cancer are more common. Women who are obese have a greater risk than women who are not obese for cervical cancer, breast cancer or gallbladder cancer. Men and women who are obese have an increased risk for colon cancer or rectal cancer. Men who are obese have an increased risk for prostate cancer. Excess weight can put strain on the joints, leading to osteoarthritis, especially in the hips and knees. Sleep apnea, a respiratory disease is also associated with obesity.

    OBESITY

    How are Lifestyle changes and Middle Age Obesity connected?

    Well this seems a bit too obvious a question to answer and more over it I tell you to make changes in your diet I am sure you will turn around and say “Easier said than done!”
    Yes I can empathize with you.

    Most people in middle age feel that they have slogged to get good grades to get into a professional college. Studied hard in college so as to get a good job or get into the right profession. Worked hard for 10-15 years to set up a stable lifestyle. So now at the age of 40 up you want to live life your own way! Not surprising at all!

    What is a good life anyway? Does it mean ruining your health for 4-5 years and spend the rest of your life recovering from the damage that you have caused your body?
    Middle age is that time of your life when you are not as young as you used to be but are not willing to accept it. It is that time of your life when all the lifestyle diseases set in if you are not very careful. It is that time of your life when the stamina is not the same as before but you put in as much or more activity! Well all these will take you down the rollercoaster ride towards bad health!

    What if I said that it is not necessary to make drastic changes in your lifestyle; just a few minor adjustments in your daily routine is all that you need to do? I am sure you will be more than glad to make the changes. Who wouldn’t want to look and feel young in exchange for a few small changes; is it not?

    OBESITY

    So the question is what are these magical changes?

    Simple Recipe:

    Regular time for –
    Waking up
    Exercising
    Meals
    Sleeping
    Abstain from –
    Alcohol
    Smoking
    Non-Vegetarian food
    Processed food
    Get Regular –
    Exercise, yoga & breathing exercises
    Vacations
    Relaxation
    Meditation
    Take lots of –
    Water
    Fruits
    Salads & Vegetables
    Long walks in natural surrounding
    You might not be able to make all the changes at once. So begin with ones that sound easy to you and then move on to the rest. Remember consistency is the most important factor. Once you incorporate a change don’t go back. Also one more important point is that if at all you happen to lapse; please don’t give up; restart as soon as possible.

    All these changed become much easier to bring about if you are doing it in a group with your spouse, friends & peers! All the best!

    OBESITY

    YOGA AND OBESITY

    The slow stretches and meditations of yoga don’t burn calories like a run on the treadmill. But a new study suggests it might help people keep weight off in middle age.

    Researchers found that overweight people in their 50s who regularly practiced yoga lost about five pounds over 10 years, while a group in the same age range gained about 13 1/2 pounds over the same period.

    Middle-aged people of normal weight generally put on pounds over 10 years, but those who did yoga gained less weight than those who didn’t practice yoga.

    Given below are the best yoga poses for weight loss:

    1) Pranayama Yoga for weight loss

    Pranayama is a set of breathing exercises that have been shown to have a positive impact on reducing weight. The following Pranayama techniques are extremely useful in stimulating the abdominal muscles thereby helping in the fat burning process:

    Bhastrika Pranayama
    Kapalabhati Pranayama
    Agnisar Kriya
    Ujjayi Pranayama
    The best pranayama for reducing weight is the ‘Kapalabhati Pranayama’ which involves exhaling air forcefully so your belly is drawn in and then inhaling passively. Performing kapalabhati pranayama for 5 minutes (at the rate of around 55 to 60 inhales/exhales per minute) every morning in empty stomach can be extremely beneficial in reducing obesity.

    2) Yoga Asanas for weight loss

    The following Yoga Asanas are extremely useful in burning body fat. You need not do all of them. Just select the ones that you enjoy doing and stick with them. You can slowly include more asanas as you advance and your body becomes more flexible. Performing 3 to 4 Asanas from the list below (everyday) after doing the Pranayama exercises should be hugely benefitial. To know further about each pose, please click the instructions link:

    Chakra padasana – Leg Rotation
    Paschimottanasana – Seated forward bend
    Trikonasana or Tringle Pose
    Uddiyana – Abdominal Lock
    Dhunurasana or Bow pose
    Sarpasana or Snake pose
    Ardha Halasana – Half Plough Pose
    Dwichakrikasan – Leg Rolling
    chakki chalan or Grinding
    Sarvangasana (for people with thyroid)
    Halasana (for people with thyroid)
    Grivasana (Neck pose for people with thyroid)[av_hr class=’full’ height=’50’ shadow=’shadow’ position=’center’]
    OBESITY

    As we have observed in our earlier articles obesity is most common after middle age, when the functional activity of the body is diminished and when habits of systematic exercise are replaced by a sedentary life of luxury and ease, combined with overeating.

    Aside from heredity, an important cause of obesity is excessive eating, which is a fault among the majority of persons who have passed middle life. When the growth of the body has been completed there is a stage of equilibrium in weight which lasts for several years, and the waste matter of any excessive food taken is eliminated through the emunctories, which are kept active by exercise and work.

    After middle age, activity is considerably diminished, while the habit of fully satisfying a vigorous appetite may be continued, resulting in the consumption of a larger amount of food than is required for maintaining the vital functions. It is extremely difficult for people who feel in robust health and whose mental activity is proportionately greater than their physical activity, to realize that they not only require less food than they did ten, fifteen, or twenty years earlier in life, but that eating as they do they may be producing positive harm by overloading the excretory organs. It is for this reason that many persons accumulate weight after reaching a certain advanced period of life.

    So what needs to be done? First and foremost one needs to reduce the quantity of each meal that is taken. It is necessary to monitor the portions of food that we put in our plate.

    Ideally it would do you a world of good to load your meals with fruits, salads, vegetables and food with fiber.

    The next thing to do is have frequent meals. This habit will reinforce the desire to have smaller meals. If you have frequent meals you will not feel as hungry as you would otherwise and a small portion will satisfy you.

    Now we come to the crux of it; what needs to be avoided? This is important because these things are the ones causing maximum damage to your body. It is desirable to switch to vegetarian diet; if not completely then as far as possible. Vegetarian food is healthy and easy to digest.

    Abstain from alcohol. If you must; then I suggest you have a small glass of red wine and nothing more.

    Even these few small changes if made will show magical results in your health; so go on and give it a try!

  • Alzheimer’s Disease

    Alzheimer’s Disease

    Today I begin a series of Blogs on Alzheimer’s disease. The first one is pure medical information; followed by articles on the relation of Yoga, meditation and nutrition to Alzheimer’s disease.

    Alzheimer’s is a brain disease that causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks.

    Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, a general term for memory loss and other intellectual abilities serious enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 50 to 70 percent of dementia cases.

    Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of aging, although the greatest known risk factor is increasing age, and the majority of people with Alzheimer’s are 65 and older. But Alzheimer’s is not just a disease of old age. Up to 5 percent of people with the disease have early-onset Alzheimer’s (also known as younger-onset), which often appears when someone is in their 40s or 50s.

    Alzheimer’s worsens over time. Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, where symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer’s, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment. Those with Alzheimer’s live an average of eight years after their symptoms become noticeable to others, but survival can range from three to 20 years, depending on age and other health conditions.

    Alzheimer’s has no current cure, but treatments for symptoms are available and research continues. Although current Alzheimer treatments cannot stop Alzheimer’s from progressing, they can temporarily slow the worsening of symptoms and improve quality of life for those with Alzheimer’s and their caregivers. Today, there is a worldwide effort under way to find better ways to treat the disease, delay its onset, and prevent it from developing.

    The most common early symptom of Alzheimer’s is difficulty remembering newly learned information because Alzheimer changes typically begin in the part of the brain that affects learning. As Alzheimer’s advances through the brain it leads to increasingly severe symptoms, including disorientation, mood and behavior changes; deepening confusion about events, time and place; unfounded suspicions about family, friends and professional caregivers; more serious memory loss and behavior changes; and difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking.

    There are many conditions which can disrupt memory and mental function. Anyone experiencing significant memory problems should see a doctor as soon as possible.

    ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE

    While research is not yet conclusive, certain lifestyle choices, such as physical activity and diet, may help support brain health and prevent Alzheimer’s. Many of these lifestyle changes have been shown to lower the risk of other diseases, like heart disease and diabetes, which have been linked to Alzheimer’s. With few drawbacks and plenty of known benefits, healthy lifestyle choices can improve your health and possibly protect your brain.

    Regular physical exercise may be a beneficial strategy to lower the risk of Alzheimer’s and vascular dementia. Some evidence suggests exercise may directly benefit brain cells by increasing blood and oxygen flow. Even stronger evidence suggests exercise may protect brain health through its proven benefits to the cardiovascular system. Because of the known cardiovascular benefits, a medically approved exercise program is a valuable part of any overall wellness plan.

    I have also quoted in detail the research study showing the good effects of walking, on Alzheimer’s disease in the recent development article.

    Yoga has emerged as one of the most preferred alternative treatments by those who suffer from Alzheimer’s. Yoga is an ancient art that helps bring a balance between the body and the mind. It has been seen that elderly people who practice yoga can keep their minds sharper. People who practice yoga are able to bring balance to their lives. They are also able to keep their minds employed. Practicing disciplines of yoga such as Hatha yoga can help you improve mental acuity and memory. The mind, therefore, remains sharp and is able to perform complex functions perfectly.

    Meditative techniques of yoga can help improve concentration as well as the ability to use the mind in the optimum manner. These key features of yoga therefore make it a very viable strategy for coping with and fighting Alzheimer’s.

    The postures which may benefit an Alzheimer’s patient are as follows:

    • Sarvangasana
    • Shirsasana
    • Bhujangasana
    • Balasana
    • Chakrasana
    • Bhastrika Pranayam
    • Bhramari Pranayam

    Please make sure that all the Yoga postures are learnt from and done in the presence of a certified Yoga teacher. The treating doctor should be consulted before you embark on any exercise program.

    ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE

    Like exercise, diet may have its greatest impact on brain health through its effect on heart health. The best current evidence suggests that heart-healthy eating patterns, such as the Mediterranean diet, also may help protect the brain. A Mediterranean diet includes none or relatively little red meat and emphasizes whole grains, fruits and vegetables and nuts, olive oil and other healthy fats.

    A diet rich in fruits and vegetables as well as omega-3 fatty acids may not only be good for your heart — it may also reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

    The dietary pattern for Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by eating more salad dressing, nuts, tomatoes, cruciferous vegetables, fruits, and dark and green leafy vegetables and no red meat, organ meat, butter, and high-fat dairy products.

    Reduce your intake of foods high in fat and cholesterol.

    Studies have shown that high intake of saturated fat and cholesterol clogs the arteries and is associated with higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease. However, HDL (or “good”) cholesterol may help protect brain cells. Use mono- and polyunsaturated fats, such as olive oil, for example. Try baking or grilling food instead of frying.

    Increase your intake of protective foods.

    Current research suggests that certain foods may reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke, and appear to protect brain cells.

    In general, dark-skinned fruits and vegetables have the highest levels of naturally occurring antioxidant levels. Such vegetables include: kale, spinach, brussels sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, broccoli, beets, red bell pepper, onion, corn and brinjal. Fruits with high antioxidant levels include prunes, raisins, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, plums, oranges, red grapes and cherries.
    Cold water fish contain beneficial omega-3 fatty acids: halibut, mackerel, salmon, trout and tuna.
    Some nuts can be a useful part of your diet; almonds, pecans and walnuts are a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant.
    And always remember the few common rules for healthy, nutritious diet:

    • Include all the food groups
    • Always follow moderation in diet
    • Have frequent small meals
    • Avoid non-vegetarian food, alcohol and smoking
    • Avoid oil and fats in food as far as possible
    • Include plenty of fiber in your diet
    • Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water every day.
  • Depression

    Depression

    Major depressive disorder (depression) is not just a temporary mood, and it’s not a sign of personal weakness. Depression is a serious medical condition with a variety of symptoms. Emotional symptoms can include sadness, loss of interest in things you once enjoyed, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, restlessness, and trouble concentrating or making decisions. Physical symptoms can include fatigue, lack of energy, and changes in weight or sleep patterns. Additional symptoms of depression may include vague aches and pains, irritability, anxiety, and thoughts of death or suicide.

    There are many theories about the cause of depression. One common theory is that depression is caused by an imbalance of naturally occurring substances in the brain and spinal cord.

    Where Does Depression Hurt?

    Someone with depression might think or say any of the following:

    • “I feel sad all the time and just don’t feel like myself.”
    • “I don’t enjoy being with my friends or doing any of the things I usually love to do.”
    • “I’ve been having a lot of trouble sleeping lately.”
    • “Sometimes I feel like my life is not worth living anymore.”
    • “I feel like I don’t have any energy.”
    • “I’m not really interested in eating.”
    • “Even after a long day, I still feel restless.”
    • “I feel so indecisive and that I can’t make any decisions.”
    • “I just feel so worthless.”

    Research suggests that about two-thirds of people diagnosed with depression talk to their family doctors first about physical symptoms.

    DEPRESSION

    Seek Help

    Many people suffer in silence with depression. Some are ashamed or afraid to seek help; others try to downplay the severity of their symptoms. It’s important to remember that depression isn’t something that’s “all in your head.”

    Family History May Be Important

    People with a family history of depression may be more likely to get the disease, but anyone can become depressed. Sometimes the triggers are external — for example, relationship troubles or financial problems. At other times the disease may begin with physical illness or hormonal shifts. Depression also may occur without any identifiable trigger at all.

    Who Does Depression Hurt?

    Depression is common, affecting about 121 million people worldwide. It is a condition that impacts individuals of all races, ethnicities and income levels.
    Unfortunately, many people with depression avoid seeking treatment because they worry about what others will think of them. They don’t realize how widespread this medical condition is:

    Depression is among the leading causes of disability worldwide
    Women are nearly twice as likely as men to experience depression
    People with a family history of depression may be more likely to develop the disease
    People with chronic or debilitating medical conditions may also be susceptible to the disease
    A major life change, even a happy one like becoming a new parent, increases the risk of developing depression
    The fact is depression affects plenty of people who don’t have any obvious risk factors.

    DEPRESSION

    Today we are more prone to depression than ever before.

    Well, all of us are very intelligent and this is the age of information technology…self-explanatory? Loads of information which is easily available causes overload on our brain!!
    The next is competition! There is competition everywhere; even in playschool and kindergarten!!! Please for heavens sake! These children are not able to pronounce their own names or surnames at times and we make them learn so many things to be able to compete!!!

    Next is fast paced lifestyle, based on consumption. People have somehow come to think; that if they gather material goods, they will feel better…in the process of gathering these goods they’ve stressed themselves to the point where they’re extraordinarily anxious, depressed.

    Another reason for depression is comparison. Everyone is in a rat race to outdo others! People are forgoing meals, entertainment, health and family time to boost their careers. They forget that they are like jugglers and all the other balls i.e relationships, health, mental peace are made of glass and career is the only one made of rubber! It will bounce back any time but the others once broken will be too difficult to mend if not impossible.

    Lack of the security in relationships is one more cause of depression. We have what we call disposable relationships these days. I do not say that one must be dependent on anyone but as social animals it is imperative for our psychological health to have fruitful relationships with our family and friends. If you are going to be hard-nosed and only a for profit person, who weighs everything in the scale of gains achieved sadly at the tail end of your life you will have everything and no one to share it with!

    Teenagers have more stressors than most of us. They are torn apart between peer pressure to ‘be cool’ and parent pressure to confirm and perform economically!

    Young women want to be career women but the social systems in most families is the same as it used to be last century! So now they look after home, kids, in-laws as well as their careers! Phew! That looks like a mountain of stress to me!

    The men are undecided whether they want to be macho or metro sexual and are oscillating like yoyos between the two and not getting anywhere in the process!
    I could go on and on about the depressive situations and circumstances but I would rather talk about how to deal with them! So the next blog is about Yoga and depression.

    DEPRESSION AND YOGA

    Yoga has been used from time immemorial to gain peace of mind and synergy between mind, body and soul! It is that form of body awareness where one is completely alert and sharp. Just as the smallest of pebble will cast large ripples in a calm lake so also the calm mind will not miss the smallest of stimulus!

    If you have to be sharp and alert then you have to sharpen yourself and the best way to do it is practice yoga regularly. The physical health benefits that you will reap are incidental and of course I am sure welcome!

    Yoga is a good method for battling depression. The poses described here are a constructive way to help release tension, improve mood and find balance. I will list below some yoga posture which are helpful for combating depression.

    • The Lion Pose (Simhasana)
      This is a wonderful pose for gaining courage and lightening your emotional load; the facial expressions involved are guaranteed to boost your mood, especially if you perform this pose in front of a mirror.
    • The Fish Pose (Matsyasana)
      Releases tension and is also good for deep breathing and relaxation.
    • The Child’s Pose (Balasana)
      A good, relaxing counter-pose if performed after the Fish pose.
    • Warrior I (Virabhadrasana I)
      Warrior I is a great confidence booster; anytime you feel unsure of yourself or uneasy, try this posture.
    • Corpse Pose (Savasana)
      There’s just no better way to end a yoga session than with the ultimate relaxation pose.

    Finally I would like to add that taking a proactive approach to depression is half the battle. Simply putting forth the effort to heal the mind and body through exercise is a positive step on the path to good health and well being.

    TO BE CONTINUED…

    DEPRESSION AND MEDITATION

    “Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts in Eternal awareness or pure consciousness without objectification, knowing without thinking, merging finitude in infinity.” – Voltaire
    When we examine the power that meditation has over the spirit, the spirit’s influence over the mind, and then the mind’s influence over mental and physical health, it is made plain to us the interconnectedness of all aspects of the complete person.
    The ABC of Meditation is:

    Awareness
    Breathing
    Concentration
    The Mindfulness of Breathing and Metta Bhavana practices however, are certainly useful for anyone to practice.

    In fact the ‘Metta Bhavana’ (development of lovingkindness) practice is highly recommended for those who experience depression.

    To be on the safer side it is best for those who are depressed not to meditate during the acute stage – for example when experiencing an extreme bout of depression it is probably not a good idea to try to meditate. The reason for this is that learning to meditate is a challenging experience, and because when one is very depressed one has few inner resources to fall back on, any difficulties experienced while learning meditation are likely to be taken too seriously and interpreted as a sign of personal failure. Though if the person is a regular with meditation then it will help.

    Another reason is that when we’re depressed we tend to over-indulge in what’s called “ponderings,” or the endless turning over in the mind of thoughts about what’s wrong with our lives. Because meditation is an inward-turned activity it may actually give people who are experiencing depression yet another opportunity to ponder.

    In cases of milder depression it’s quite possible to meditate effectively, building on whatever inner resources one has in order to lift oneself into a more positive frame of mind.
    And finally a reason quite contrary to the above, I would like to quote: “A lot of what passes for depression these days is nothing more than a body saying that it needs work!” ~ Geoffrey Norman.

    For them I will say – get up and do something creative!

  • Water As Remedy

    Water As Remedy

    Drink 8 – 10 glasses of water.

    A lot of people repeat this mantra of drinking 8-10 glasses of water a day and swear by the good effects of the same on digestion, skin, hair etc. Let us see today what is true and what is a myth.

    First let’s find of different kinds of water; yes you read that right!

    The different types of water include rainwater, melted snow, river water, spring water, well water, lake water, and forest water. Rainwater is of supreme quality and the rest are successively inferior. Rain water is of indeterminate but pleasant taste, is invigorating and satisfying, has cool, light power, and is like nectar. Melted snow water comes in rushing torrents. It is very fine, cool water which is hard for the digestive power to withstand.

    Still calm areas of water [such as the lake and forest water] produce germs, elephantiasis, and heart diseases. Good water is that which comes from a clean area and which has felt the touch of the sun and wind….Cool water cures fainting, fatigue, hangovers, vertigo, vomiting, thirst, obesity, blood and bile disorders, and poisoning.

    Freshly boiled water increases digestive heat, facilitates digestion, cures hiccoughs, promptly cures distention of the abdomen, caused by phlegm, and cures asthmatic conditions, fresh colds, and infectious fevers.

    Cool boiled water does not increase phlegm and cures bile conditions, but if it is left standing for one day or more it acquires toxic properties and increases all three humors i.e. Vata, Pitta and kapha!

    Drinking hot water regularly is a classical Ayurvedic recommendation for balancing vata and kapha dosha, strengthening digestive power, and reducing metabolic waste that may have accumulated. Boil a sufficient amount of un-chlorinated tap water or (better still) mineral water in an open saucepan, for at least ten minutes. Keep this water in a thermos flask and take a few sips (or more, if you are thirsty) every half-hour throughout the day. It is the frequency rather than the quantity that is important here. To increase the positive effect you can add 1-2 slices of fresh ginger (or a pinch of ginger powder) to the water when boiling it.

    WATER AS REMEDY

    A few years ago, Heinz Valtin looked into the origin of the 8 x 8 rule (drink at least eight ounces of water, 8 times a day: that is two quarts) and searched for evidence for it. He noted that:

    No scientific studies were found in support of 8 × 8. Rather, surveys of food and fluid intake on thousands of adults of both genders, analyses of which have been published in peer-reviewed journals, strongly suggest that such large amounts are not needed because the surveyed persons were presumably healthy and certainly not overtly ill.

    This conclusion is supported by published studies showing that caffeinated drinks may indeed be counted toward the daily total, as well as by the large body of published experiments that attest to the precision and effectiveness of the osmo-regulatory system for maintaining water balance.

    Please note that the conclusion is limited to healthy adults in a temperate climate leading a largely sedentary existence, precisely the population and conditions that the “at least” in 8 × 8 refers to.

    Equally to be emphasized, lest the message of this review be misconstrued, is the fact (based on published evidence) that large intakes of fluid, equal to and greater than 8 × 8, are advisable for the treatment or prevention of some diseases and certainly are called for under special circumstances, such as vigorous work and exercise, especially in hot climates.

    A suitable allowance of water for adults is 2.5 liters daily in most instances. An ordinary standard for diverse persons is 1 milliliter for each calorie of food. Most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods.

    There are some obvious cases where higher fluid consumption would be important, such as for people who are perspiring profusely (due to exercise or hot weather or both, or even as the result of a feverish disease), those who are losing fluids due to diarrhea, and those who tend to form kidney stones.

    Thus far, no health problems have been blamed on drinking too much water, at least, within the range recommended in the 8 x 8 rule. Some people may be draining their pocketbook by following this rule using fancy bottled waters, perhaps preventing investment in other, more beneficial, health practices. Other people may worry that they are not getting enough fluids when they curtail their water consumption in order to deal with “overactive bladder,” a condition that is rapidly increasing in frequency of occurrence.

    WATER AS REMEDY

    In the following blog I am giving some empirical tips. Many have no experimental or research backing but have been known to work most of the time. Almost all of them are harmless so you might want to give them a try.

    Make it a habit to drink a glass of water as soon as you get up. This helps in bowel movement for many people based on the Gastro-colic reflex. It also restores moisture that you might have lost during the night.

    Drink a glass of hot water with lemon and honey within half an hour of waking up. This is a mild diuretic and helps in detoxification of the systems. This is also known to boost immunity.

    It has been seen in many persons that drinking too much cold water may damage the kidneys.

    Green tea in hot water has been known to have very desirable effects on the body! It makes you energetic and helps in detoxification.

    Replace the cold beverages that you take with water or fresh lime water and hot beverages with green tea and see the difference in the body’s energy level and improvement in digestion!

    Some people have successfully lost weight by replacing normal or cold water with hot water all through the day.

    Make sure that you drink plenty of water in the following conditions:

    • Illness, especially fevers,
    • During rigorous physical activity
    • If you have any kidney related condition, especially kidney stone
    • If you are traveling in hot and dry climate.
    • If your body demands it; i.e. if you feel thirsty

    And finally I will repeat what I always say anything that goes beyond moderation is harmful. Also check with your doctor before you make any changes in your routine.

  • Ulcerative Colitis

    Ulcerative Colitis

    This is a series of blogs on Ulcerative Colitis. Ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) that causes chronic inflammation of the digestive tract, is characterized by abdominal pain and diarrhea. Ulcers form where inflammation has killed the cells that usually line the colon.

    Ulcerative colitis can happen at any age, but it usually starts between the ages of 15 and 30. It tends to run in families. The most common symptoms are pain in the abdomen and bloody diarrhea. Other symptoms may include anemia, severe tiredness, weight loss, loss of appetite, bleeding from the rectum, sores on the skin and joint pain. Children with the disease may have growth problems.

    About half of people with ulcerative colitis have mild symptoms. Several types of drugs can help control ulcerative colitis. Some people have long periods of remission, when they are free of symptoms. In severe cases, doctors must remove the colon.

    Ulcerative colitis symptoms can vary, depending on the severity of inflammation and where it occurs.

    The symptoms are as follows:

    • Abdominal pain
    • Blood in your stool
    • Ongoing bouts of diarrhea that don’t respond to over-the-counter (OTC) medications
    • An unexplained fever lasting more than a day or two
    • Although ulcerative colitis usually isn’t fatal, it’s a serious disease that, in some cases, may cause life-threatening complications.

    The cause of this disease may be Stress, compromised immune system or hereditary. Though what triggers this disease is not quite clear.

    Complications of ulcerative colitis may be any of the following:

    • Severe bleeding
    • Perforated colon
    • Severe dehydration
    • Liver disease
    • Osteoporosis
    • Inflammation of your skin, joints and eyes
    • An increased risk of colon cancer
    • Toxic mega colon

    ULCERATIVE COLITIS & YOGA

    Today we will discuss the benefits of Yoga in Ulcerative colitis; how it helps in the remission and healing of this chronic disease. It is noteworthy that Yoga may be safely done during an acute flare up of the disease. Since yoga stress on awareness it will help the patient to become more aware of the trigger factors like foods and situations. This in turn will help them to avoid the exacerbating factors!

    Yoga emphasizes stretching, full body and mind communication and core muscle strengthening. These are all reasons why yoga helps with ulcerative colitis. The stomach and back are both core muscles. Yoga helps to tone, stretch, and strengthen both of these.

    Yoga employs many positions that help firm and tone muscles. This is very important to people with an ulcerative colitis condition because muscle tone is support for organs and bone structure; this helps the release of stress.

    Stomach stretching exercises of yoga which are known to help in ulcerative colitis are:

    • Namaskar parsvakonasana or Twisting Prayer Lunge
    • Marjanrasana or Cat-Cow Stretch
    • Bhujangasana or Cobra Pose,
    • Navasana or Boat Pose,
    • Plank Pose
    • Vashishthasana or Side Plank Pose,
    • Utakasnana or Chair Pose and
    • Garudasana or Eagle Pose

    These are all poses that help you stretch and tone the muscles of the stomach. These muscles help strengthen the lining of the digestive organs, helping to prevent the stomach cramps.

    It can sometimes be difficult to exercise or practice yoga when you have a flare-up. However, flare-ups too can be managed by taking your medications on time. When medications and yoga complement each other, the symptoms of ulcerative colitis can certainly be kept in check. Both of these together can greatly increase the quality of life of a person suffering from this disease.

    It is strictly advised to check with your treating physician before you embark on any yoga program. Also make sure that you learn the poses from a certified Yoga trainer.

    ULCERATIVE COLITIS & DIET

    Let us see what is the connection between ulcerative colitis and diet. Even though there is no firm evidence that what you eat causes Ulcerative colitis certain foods and beverages can aggravate your symptoms, especially during a flare-up in your condition. It’s a good idea to try eliminating from your diet anything that seems to make your signs and symptoms worse. Here are some suggestions that may help:

    Dairy products. If you suspect that you may be lactose intolerant, you may find that diarrhea, abdominal pain and gas improve when you limit or eliminate dairy products. You may be lactose intolerant – that is, your body can’t digest the milk sugar (lactose) in dairy foods. If so, try using an enzyme product, such as Lactaid, to help break down lactose.
    Fiber. For most people, high-fiber foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains, are a part of a healthy diet. But if you have inflammatory bowel disease, fiber may make diarrhea, pain and gas worse. If raw fruits and vegetables disagree with you, try steaming, baking or stewing them.
    Trigger foods. Eliminate any other foods that seem to make your symptoms worse. These may include “gassy” foods, such as beans, cabbage and broccoli, raw fruit juices and fruits, popcorn, alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated beverages.
    Small meals. You may find that you feel better eating five or six small meals rather than two or three larger ones.
    Drink plenty of liquids. Try to drink plenty of fluids daily. Water is best. Avoid alcohol and beverages that contain caffeine stimulate your intestines and can make diarrhea worse, while carbonated drinks frequently produce gas. Thus it is advisable to totally do away with them.
    Take Multivitamins. Ulcerative colitis can interfere with your ability to absorb nutrients and because your diet may be limited, vitamin and mineral supplements can play a key role in supplying missing nutrients. They don’t provide essential protein and calories, however, and shouldn’t be a substitute for meals.
    Here are a few suggested home remedies for Ulcerative colitis:

    Things that you must include in your diet:

    Rice Kanji or rice water which is obtained by draining cooked rice and retaining the water
    Thin Butter milk
    Banana milkshake
    Sabudana kanji – sabudana boiled in water to make a thick gruel
    Milkshake made from dried figs which have been soaked overnight
    Dahi-rice with jeera and curry leaves
    Things that you need to avoid are as follows:

    Alcohol
    Coffee and Tea
    Spicy food
    Citrus food
    Aerated drinks
    Raw sprouts

    ULCERATIVE COLITIS & LIFESTYLE

    It is very important to make definite positive changes in your lifestyle in any chronic disease and more so if you have Ulcerative colitis. This is because it has been noticed that unhealthy lifestyle exacerbates the symptoms of this disease.

    First and foremost is to have a regular schedule. Avoid late nights and irregular work hours. Meal times also should be adhered to. Have a regular exercise schedule.

    Stress:Although stress doesn’t cause inflammatory bowel disease, it can make your signs and symptoms much worse and may trigger flare-ups. Stressful events can range from minor annoyances to a move, job loss or the death of a loved one. When you’re stressed, your normal digestive process can change, causing your stomach to empty more slowly and secrete more acids. Stress can also speed or slow the passage of intestinal contents. It may also cause changes in intestinal tissue itself.
    Although it’s not always possible to avoid stress, you can learn ways to help manage it. Some of these include:

    Exercise. Even mild exercise can help reduce stress, relieve depression and normalize bowel function. Talk to your doctor about an exercise plan that’s right for you.
    Meditation is a major stress reliever as I have been saying time and again.
    Assertive visualization helps in the healing process of ulcerative colitis.
    Regular relaxation and breathing exercises. An effective way to cope with stress is to perform relaxation and breathing exercises.
    Hypnosis may reduce abdominal pain and bloating. A trained professional can teach you how to enter a relaxed state.
    Other techniques: Set aside time every day for any activity or hobby that you find relaxing – listening to music, reading, playing computer games or just soaking in a warm bath.

  • Osteoporosis

    Osteoporosis

    Today we begin a series of blogs on Osteoporosis. It is a condition characterized by a decrease in the density of bone, which in turn decreases its strength and results in fragile bones. Osteoporosis literally leads to abnormally porous bones that are compressible, like a sponge. This disorder of the skeleton weakens the bone and results in frequent fractures (breaks) in the bones. Osteopenia is a condition of bone that is slightly less dense than normal bone but not to the degree of bone in osteoporosis.

    Normal bone is composed of protein, collagen, and calcium, all of which give bone its strength. Bones that are affected by osteoporosis can break (fracture) with relatively minor injury that normally would not cause a bone to fracture. The fracture can be either in the form of cracking (as in a hip fracture) or collapsing (as in a compression fracture of the vertebrae of the spine). The spine, hips, ribs, and wrists are common areas of bone fractures from osteoporosis although osteoporosis-related fractures can occur in almost any skeletal bone.

    Signs & Symptoms:

    Osteoporosis can be present without any symptoms for decades because osteoporosis doesn’t cause symptoms until bone fractures. Moreover, some osteoporotic fractures may escape detection for years when they do not cause symptoms. Therefore, patients may not be aware of their osteoporosis until they suffer a painful fracture. The symptom associated with osteoporotic fractures usually is pain; the location of the pain depends on the location of the fracture. The symptoms of osteoporosis in men are similar to the symptoms of osteoporosis in women.

    Fractures of the spine (vertebra) can cause severe “band-like” pain that radiates from the back to the sides of the body. Over the years, repeated spinal fractures can lead to chronic lower back pain as well as loss of height and/or curving of the spine due to collapse of the vertebrae. The collapse gives individuals a hunched-back appearance of the upper back, often called a “dowager hump” because it commonly is seen in elderly women.

    A fracture that occurs during the course of normal activity is called a minimal trauma, or stress fracture. For example, some patients with osteoporosis develop stress fractures of the feet while walking or stepping off a curb.

    Hip fractures typically occur as a result of a fall. With osteoporosis, hip fractures can occur as a result of trivial accidents. Hip fractures also may heal slowly or poorly after surgical repair because of poor healing of the bone.

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    YOGA & OSTEOPOROSIS

    It is known that yoga can build bone density, but even then I recommend great caution once osteoporosis is suspected or diagnosed. Osteoporosis dramatically increases the risk of bone fracture, even from seemingly simple movements. For this reason, women with osteoporosis should approach the practice of yoga slowly and mindfully. Ask your physician whether a yoga practice is safe for your specific pattern of bone density and learn and do the Yoga exercises under the guidance of a certified trainer at all times!

    Avoid flexing the spine (rounding the spine forward) to stretch the back, stretch the legs, or strengthen the abdominal muscles. All of these intentions can be achieved in a lying-down position that involve lifting/moving the legs rather than lifting/moving the head and shoulders.
    Avoid twisting the spine in any way that uses gravity or leverage to rotate (for example, reclining twists or pulling yourself into a twist using your arms). Rotation should be gradually introduced using simple and slow movement, without force.
    Backbends and spinal extension (arching the back to open the front of the chest and belly) should also be approached very gently. For example, back muscles can strengthened using arm movements that gently open the chest without overarching the back. Gentle supported backbends (such as placing a rolled towel under the upper back in a reclining position), if comfortable, may also be helpful for restoring posture.
    Avoid supporting body weight with the hands. Wrist fractures are common in osteoporosis. Wrist/arm muscles can be strengthened through mudras, arm movements, or sustained arm positions (such as keeping the arms raised in tadasana), rather than through positions like plank pose
    Standing poses and balances are excellent for building leg strength and hip bone density, but the risk of bone fracture from a fall is extremely high. For this reason, challenging standing poses and standing balances should only be practiced with the support of a wall (or chair) and a teacher.
    Inversions (such as headstand or shoulder stand) are not recommended. However, you can receive many of the benefits of inversions by practicing restorative poses, like legs-up-the-wall pose.
    Some recommended Yoga postures for Osteoporosis are:

    Virasana (Hero Pose)
    Siddhasana (Adept’s Pose)
    Baddha Konasana (Bound Angle Pose)
    Janu Sirsasana (Head-to-Knee Forward Bend)
    Marichyasana III (Pose Dedicated to the Sage Marichi, III)
    Upavistha Konasana (Wide Angle Pose)
    Dhanurasan
    Bhujangasana
    Tadasana
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    DIET & OSTEOPOROSIS

    A balanced, nutritious and healthy diet low in fats and animal products and containing whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and calcium-rich foods (such as dairy products, dark-green leafy vegetables, sardines, salmon, and almonds), along with nutritional supplements (such as calcium, magnesium, and vitamin D) are important components of both conventional prevention and treatment strategies and alternative approaches to the osteoporosis. A diet that includes an adequate amount of calcium, Vitamin D, and protein should be maintained. This may not completely stop bone loss, but it will guarantee that a supply of the materials the body uses for bone formation and maintenance is available.

    Supplemental calcium should be taken as needed to achieve recommended daily calcium dietary intake.

    High-calcium foods include low-fat milk, yogurt, ice cream and cheese, tofu and leafy green vegetables, such as spinach and methi. Vitamin D aids in calcium absorption and 400-800 IU per day should be taken by all individuals with increased risk of calcium deficiency and osteoporosis.

    The best source of calcium in the diet is from milk fortified with vitamin D. Four glasses of milk provide about 1,200 mg of calcium. Skim milk and non-fat dairy products are the best choices and provide the same calcium as dairy products with fat. Other calcium-rich foods include Guavas, Eggs, calcium-fortified tofu, and almonds. Dark green vegetables (broccoli, kale, turnip greens) are rich in calcium but little of it is absorbed (kale is best).

    Diets rich in fresh fruits and vegetables reduce elimination of calcium from the body and help preserve bones. At least part of their benefits are derived from the minerals they contain, particularly magnesium and potassium. Potassium may be very important for strong bones and may help counteract negative effects of high-protein diets. Potassium-rich fruits include bananas, oranges, prunes, and cantaloupes, and vegetables that contain potassium include carrots, spinach, celery, alfalfa, mushrooms, lima beans, potatoes, avocados, and broccoli. Foods rich in magnesium include dairy products, spinach, potatoes, beets, nuts, sole, and halibut.

    Soy is high in estrogen-like plant chemicals called isoflavones, which may actually improve bone health in older women. Soy food products, such as tofu, that also contain calcium may be particularly beneficial. Women who ate more fat in their diet were, on average, better able to absorb calcium than were women who had been put on a low-fat, high-fiber diet. Fats are best obtained from fish or monounsaturated oils, such as olive or canola oils. Saturated fats (found in animal products) should be avoided.

    High sodium intake interferes with calcium retention; the higher the level of sodium the more calcium the body needs to meet its daily requirements. Fast foods and commercial snacks, which are high in sodium, have been linked with weak bones

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    OSTEOPOROSIS AND LIFESTYLE CHANGES

    Lifestyle changes that can help prevent osteoporosis include:

    Stop alcohol consumption. Excessive drinking is associated with brittle bones and anyway alcohol is not good for general health too!
    Limit caffeine consumption. Caffeine may interfere with the body’s ability to absorb calcium. You might consider giving it up altogether and replace it with healthy green tea.
    Quit smoking. The risk for osteoporosis from cigarette smoking appears to diminish after quitting.
    PREVENTING FALLS AND FRACTURES

    An important component in reducing the risk for fractures is preventing falls. Risk factors for falling include:

    Slow walking
    Inability to walk in a straight line
    Certain medications (such as tranquilizers and sleeping pills)
    Low blood pressure when rising in the morning
    Poor vision
    Recommendations for preventing falls or fractures from falls in elderly people include:

    Exercise to maintain strength and balance if there are no conflicting medical conditions.
    Do not use loose rugs on the floors.
    Move any obstructions to walking, such as loose cords or very low pieces of furniture, away from traveled areas.
    Rooms should be well lit.
    Have regular eye checkups.
    Consider installing grab bars in bathrooms especially near shower, tub, or toilet.
    Meditation

    The human mind has immense power to bring about changes in the body and healing itself! Doing meditation regularly can be a great help in healing of Osteoporosis. The ideal way would be to do Assertive Visualization, Positive Affirmation and Meditation all three to heal the condition!

    Meditation should be done at least twice a day for 20 minutes each. Followed by Assertive visualization. The idea of doing it immediately after meditation is that it is more effective when the mind is alert and sharp.

    Positive affirmation is a sentence which states the end result that you desire. It should be committed to memory and repeated 10 to 15 times a day! Close your eyes and see yourself as healthy and happy!

  • Hypertension – High Blood Pressure

    Hypertension – High Blood Pressure

    Softness triumphs over hardness, feebleness over strength. What is more malleable is always superior over that which is immovable. This is the principle of controlling things by going along with them, of mastery through adaptation. – Lao Tzu.

    Like I have mentioned before, according to me the most effective model for treatment is a quick, smooth, and sustainable restoration of health at all levels of being in the least harmful way possible. I believe in addressing every aspect of people’s needs – physical, psychological, attitudinal, social, and spiritual. My team of experts and myself continue to consult hundreds of people on every aspect of holistic health and wellbeing.

    Blood pressure can be thought of as a load that the heart muscle must lift with every beat. Blood pressure is said to be high when the systolic blood pressure is equal to or greater than 140mm of Hg. and or, diastolic blood pressure is equal to or greater than 90mm of Hg. and, this condition is called Hypertension.

    Levels of blood pressure and their inferences:

    Systolic blood pressure: (When diastolic blood pressure is less than 90)
    Less than 140 mm of mercury – Normal blood pressure
    140 – 159 mm of mercury – Borderline isolated systolic hypertension
    160 mm of mercury, or greater – Isolated systolic hypertension
    Diastolic blood pressure:
    Less than 85 mm of mercury – Normal blood pressure
    85 – 89 mm of mercury – High but normal
    90 – 104 mm of mercury – Mild hypertension
    105 – 114 mm of mercury – Moderate hypertension
    115 mm of mercury or greater – Severe hypertension

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    Hypertension – High Blood Pressure

    Before having your blood pressure taken, you should rest quietly for five minutes in a seated position. The cuff should be put on a bare and extended arm. The reading may be inaccurate if you have smoked or had any beverage with caffeine within the last half-hour.

    To confirm you blood pressure, request your doctor to take the readings at least, two or three times, on more than one occasion, and then take their average.

    Hypertension is usually called the silent killer in Coronary Artery Disease patients, as it is usually not noticed till it produces severe damage to the arteries, heart, brain, kidneys etc.
    Hypertension injures the coronary artery lining and leads to the formation of coronary blockages. When blood pressure is elevated, the blood hits the side of the arterial wall with increased force, thereby causing some injury, or damage to the lining of the artery. In response to this injury, blockages begin to form. This creates a vicious cycle, as the artery becomes increasingly blocked, the blood pressure increases, and as the pressure increases, more injury to the lining occurs, causing more blockages, increasing the pressure and so on. Besides, hypertension causes long term weakening of the heart muscles, and because of this, often a person develops a life threatening condition, known as congestive heart failure.

    Causes of Hypertension:

    In about 10% of cases hypertension is caused by hormonal or kidney disorder. In the remaining majority 90%, no physical cause is detected, and this type is called essential hypertension.

    Factors predisposing a person to high blood pressure are obesity, stress, Type-A personality, excess intake of alcohol, excess intake of salt, smoking, lack of exercise and increasing age. Few patients have a genetic problem, of having small arteries in the body, which in turn causes hypertension.

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    Mind-Body Treatment For Hypertension – High Blood Pressure

    The good news about hypertension is that it can often be reduced to normal levels without drugs; all you need are positive lifestyle changes.

    For Hypertension, the lifestyle changes you need to bring about are:

    Loose Weight: Where hypertension is concerned excess body weight can prove to be fatal. Take weight-loss to heart, for otherwise the heart won’t be able to bear the weight.

    Exercise: Regular exercise not only offers immediate benefits for high blood pressure, but it also helps guard against it in the future

    Stop smoking: Smoking causes the blood vessels throughout our body to constrict and must be avoided at all cost.

    Stop alcohol drinking: Alcohol makes you obese, which causes high blood pressure, as alcohol suppresses your body’s ability to burn fat. When you drink alcohol, your body burns up fat much more slowly than usual. The unburned fat may go to your waist, creating a beer belly. Besides, alcohol has a direct, toxic effect on the muscle of the heart. Over time, this can cause the heart to beat less effectively.

    Learn to relax: Stress and Type-A personality, cause wear and tear of the body, besides causing hypertension. Relaxation methods like deep breathing, meditation, visualisation and modifying Type – A personality, lowers systolic pressure by around 11mm of Hg. and diastolic pressure by 7.1mm of Hg. in most people. World Health Organisation has advised meditation as the first choice for treating blood pressure.

  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

    Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

    This time I begin a series of blogs on lifestyle diseases, in these you will find information useful to you; like how to recognize the disease from basic signs and symptoms; dietary guidelines, exercise guidelines and dos & don’ts etc.

    Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary disease may be defined as – a progressive disease that makes it hard to breathe. “Progressive” means the disease gets worse over time. Normally it is called COPD by medical professionals and now onwards we shall also refer to it as such.

    To understand COPD, let us first understand how the lungs work. The air that you breathe goes down your windpipe into tubes in your lungs called bronchial tubes or airways.
    Within the lungs, your bronchial tubes branch into thousands of smaller, thinner tubes called bronchioles. These tubes end in bunches of tiny round air sacs called alveoli.

    Small blood vessels called capillaries run through the walls of the air sacs. When air reaches the air sacs, the oxygen in the air passes through the air sac walls into the blood in the capillaries. At the same time, carbon dioxide (a waste gas) moves from the capillaries into the air sacs. This process is called gas exchange.

    The airways and air sacs are elastic. When you breathe in, each air sac fills up with air like a small balloon. When you breathe out, the air sacs deflate and the air goes out.
    In COPD, less air flows in and out of the airways because of one or more of the following:

    The airways and air sacs lose their elastic quality.
    The walls between many of the air sacs are destroyed.
    The walls of the airways become thick and inflamed.
    The airways make more mucus than usual, which tends to clog them.
    COPD includes 2 main diseases and they are emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

    In emphysema, the walls between many of the air sacs are damaged, causing them to lose their shape and become floppy. This damage also can destroy the walls of the air sacs, leading to fewer and larger air sacs instead of many tiny ones. If this happens, the amount of gas exchange in the lungs is reduced.

    In chronic bronchitis, the lining of the airways is constantly irritated and inflamed. This causes the lining to thicken. Lots of thick mucus forms in the airways, making it hard to breathe.

    Most people who have COPD have both emphysema and chronic obstructive bronchitis as well.

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    Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease Yoga For Copd

    Yoga has been contributing to the science of breathing from time immemorial. Correct breathing patterns, diaphragm breathing and various asanas and correct ergonomics can make a great difference to persons suffering from COPD.

    A customized yoga program under the guidance of your treating doctor and Yoga trainer can have a healing effect on general health as well as your COPD and make your daily living as close to normal as possible in your condition. COPD limits your activity and so it increases the level of stress, emotional fluctuations from irritability to self pity, inactivity and muscle wasting. I suggest Yoga particularly for promoting relaxation, psycho-emotional stability and exercise tolerance not to mention the healing effect it will have on your condition!

    People with COPD should begin a yoga program with breathing retraining–exercises that can help strengthen their respiratory muscles, giving them some control over the breathlessness. Even if you are not able to master the breathing techniques and yoga in the beginning the least you can do is begin deep breathing when you are in fresh air. Make sure the out breath last 2 times longer than the in breath.

    Following are some of the Breathing technique methods:

    Abdominal breathing

    The most beneficial breathing technique for people with COPD is belly breathing. When breathing in, one allows the abdomen to expand. When breathing out, one presses the belly in. While breathing in, the focus should be on the descending diaphragm and expanding lower ribs and abdomen. During exhalation, attention should be on the diaphragm ascending, the lower ribs squeezing and the belly contracting.

    Pursed-lip breathing

    The single most important tool for controlling breathlessness is pursed-lip breathing. One leans slightly forward and s-l-o-w-l-y blows out through pursed lips as if gently blowing a kiss at someone or cooling hot soup in a bowl. One may breathe in through the nose, if possible, and breathe out through the pursed lips. The action of leaning slightly forward and blowing out against pursed lips encourages the contraction of abdominal muscles, thereby forcing the diaphragm upward to empty the lungs more completely.

    People with COPD tend to cut short exhalation and rush to swallow more air, making breathlessness even worse. Pursed-lip breathing slows down exhalation and assists with the action of emptying the lungs and may also help strengthen the breathing muscles.

    People with COPD can make life much easier for themselves if they learn to lengthen their exhales. Silently counting while exhaling and inhaling can help. An ideal ratio for the length of inhalation to exhalation is 1:2.

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    Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

    Those who have COPD most of the time experience a difficulty in breathing especially while lying down. I’ll give you some tips to combat this problem.

    Finish your meal at least 2 hours before bedtime and do not take anything after that
    Dinner should be a light affair; like a khichadi or salad
    Take steam before bed time
    Bedtime should be adhered to regularly; avoid late nights
    Have someone tap your back with the hollow of the hand to clear the phlegm
    Drink a few sips (not too much) of hot water just before sleeping.
    Sleep on a bed which has an incline
    Try and keep the windows open if not living in a polluted area
    Do Some breathing exercises and Meditation just before bed time
    Do not wear any tight clothes at bedtime
    Never do any exercises from 3 hours before bedtime
    Try to distract your mind from your breathing problem
    Some other practical tips for persons with COPD

    Adhere to a regular exercise program which should be built progressively to maintain a good stamina
    Make it a habit to go for a morning walk in natural surrounding like a park or garden
    During the morning walk practice deep breathing
    Try to take breaks through the day where in you spend time in fresh air rather than canned air
    Avoid allergens like strong smelling perfumes, smoke filled rooms, soft toys or fury things, pets etc
    Do not eat large meals; instead take frequent small meals
    Avoid food which is difficult to digest as far as possible
    Avoid fried and processed food
    Avoid cold drinks and foods as far as possible
    Wear a mask while travelling in pollution; do not hesitate
    Stay away from persons who have a cold or any other infection
    Never visit hospitals unless it is for yourself
    These are some simple lifestyle changes which will change your life a lot and help you live as normally as the next person! Most important of all think positive; that will make all the difference!

  • Diet For Cirrhosis

    Diet For Cirrhosis

    The best diet for someone with cirrhosis is the same as a healthy diet for any normal person! So it is not as if a special effort needs to be made for the person with Cirrhosis, all he needs to do is abstain from alcohol and go easy on the fried food.

    A good rule of thumb is that a healthy and nutritious diet is helpful for just about anyone and this is especially true if you have cirrhosis. Foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and proteins of proper types and in proper amounts are very appropriate.

    You must also take a daily multivitamin. Depending on the degree of cirrhosis, some people might not have enough of the key minerals and fat-soluble vitamins (which are vitamins K, A, D, and E) that the body requires. However, a balanced diet should easily provide these and in the rare case when it doesn’t, your doctor can prescribe a supplement.

    A lot of Ayurvedic and Homeopathic tonics are available for the live but please make sure that you get a prescription from a certified medical practitioner for them.

    Avoid…

    There are two things you should avoid: alcohol and high-fat foods.

    For people with cirrhosis, regardless of the cause, alcohol should be completely avoided. And, diets high in fat for people with cirrhosis can be very harmful. The body digests (breaks down) fats using bile, which is a yellow-green fluid made in the liver. When the liver is damaged, the production and supply of bile may be affected.

    However, it is important not to avoid fat entirely because the body requires a daily supply to remain healthy. Here, as is with much of proper nutrition, moderation and good selection is the key. For your dietary fat, choose foods like nuts, avocados, fish and plant oils.

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    Diet For Cirrhosis

    The most effective diet for fatty liver should be:

    High in fiber
    Low in calories
    Low in saturated fat
    Total fat of no more than 30 percent of total calories.
    If you’ve learned you have fatty liver and your body mass index is above 25, a healthy diet and daily exercise may potentially:

    Reduce inflammation
    Lower elevated levels of liver enzymes
    Decrease insulin resistance
    Reduce the amount of accumulated fat in your liver
    To begin you must discuss with your doctor and meet up a dietitian. Just in case you have any other condition along with Cirrhosis then they will have to give you a customized diet. Do not make changes in the diet prescribed without consulting your doctor or dietitian.

    Home Remedies for Liver Care

    Here are some guidelines regarding how to Take Care of your Liver

    1. One very good natural remedy for Liver in case of liver cirrhosis is papaya. A mixture of lemon juice and papaya fruit is effective in the case of liver cirrhosis. Add (half tablespoon) lemon juice in the (two teaspoon) papaya juice, mix it well and eat this mixture every day. Continue taking this mixture for three-four weeks. This is one of the best home remedies for liver care.

    2. A mixture of vegetable juice (spinach vegetable and carrot) in the ratio of 1:1 is effective in the treatment of liver cirrhosis. Take a glass of this natural juice everyday for at least three-four weeks.

    3. A mixture of honey and bhringaraj is effective in treating liver cirrhosis and provides good liver care. Make a natural solution using juice of medicinal herb bhringaraj (2 tablespoon) and honey (2 tablespoon). This should be taken two times in a day (half in the morning and half in the evening).

    4. Milk thistles (it is called Gokhru in Hindi, it keeps the toxic material away and helps in new cells formation in the liver in place of damaged liver cells), turmeric, and guduchi are some of the other herbs which are effective and provide safe liver care.

    Dos and don’ts:

    A big no no to Alcohol and any beverage that contains even a small quantity of alcohol

    Avoid tea, coffee and other beverages to maintain healthy liver.

    Avoid fried foods and foods with lot of oil and ghee!

    Do not take processed foods with preservative

    The more complicated the food; the more effort the liver has to put in to digest it! So eat simple food, which is easy to digest!

    Avoid food which causes gases.

    Do not eat stale food or food which is left over.

    Make sure that your food contains lots of fiber.

    Avoid eating heavy and large meals at one go. Take frequent small meals.

    Drink lots of fresh and clean water. Water keeps the body system clean and healthy,

    Avoid excess sugar and salt in your diet as they are harmful for the body. This is necessary for liver care.

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    Exercise And Live Cirrhosis

    As far as I am concerned exercise is almost a religion to me! Everything in my life revolves around it including my profession, so should not surprise you if I say that in any condition, disease or discomfort some form of exercise or the other will be beneficial.

    Regular exercise is an important component necessary to combat liver disease. This isn’t something that can be read in any medical book. This may explain why many liver doctors don’t realize how important exercise can be to maintaining their patients’ health. But I’ve seen the benefits over and over again; people who are in good shape and who exercise on a regular basis not only feel better, but often respond more positively to medical treatment, not only in liver problems but as I said earlier in any disease or disorder.

    You do not have to do a lot of exercise in order to reap the benefits. Nor does it pay to overdo it. The main thing is simply to get going. Regular exercise will increase energy levels, decrease stress on the liver and, in many cases, even delay the onset of certain complications associated with liver disease. Of course, it is crucial to consult with a doctor before beginning any type of exercise program.

    Following are the benefits of exercising:

    First, exercise gives people a general sense of well- being and improved self- image. It is a known fact that if a person feels well mentally, his or her immune system will be stronger, thereby giving him or her that extra edge to fight against disease.

    Second, exercising gives a person a boost of energy. Fatigue is probably the most common and one of the most bothersome symptoms that plagues people with liver disease. Many individuals with liver disease frequently feel like they don’t have enough energy to make it across the room, let alone around the block. However, the best way to fight this seemingly relentless exhaustion is to exercise.

    Third, exercise improves cardiovascular function.As the body gets stronger and more aerobically fit, the cardiovascular system will be able to work more efficiently. Less effort will be required of the heart to pump blood to the liver and other organs of the body. This is why aerobically fit people have slower pulse rates.

    Fourth, exercise results in a reduction of total body fat. While everyone knows that being overweight places a great deal of stress on the heart, most people don’t realize that it also makes it harder for the liver to do its job. When total body fat is reduced, fat content in the liver is simultaneously reduced. This often results in a significant reduction of elevated liver enzymes (SGOT also known as AST, and SGPT also known as ALT). Eating right and getting plenty of exercise is probably the slowest way to lose weight known to humanity, but it’s also the safest.

  • Stroke

    Stroke

    A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or severely reduced, depriving brain tissue of oxygen and food. Within minutes, brain cells begin to die. A stroke is a medical emergency. Prompt treatment is crucial. Early action can minimize brain damage and potential complications.

    Signs and symptoms of a stroke

    Difficulty while walking: You may stumble or experience sudden dizziness, loss of balance or loss of coordination.
    Difficulty while speaking and understanding: You may experience confusion. You may slur your words or be unable to find the right words
    Paralysis or numbness of one side of your body or face: You may develop sudden numbness, weakness or paralysis on one side of your body.
    Trouble seeing in one or both eyes: You may suddenly have blurred or blackened vision, or you may see double.
    Headache: A sudden, severe “bolt out of the blue” headache, which may be accompanied by vomiting, dizziness or altered consciousness, may indicate you’re having a stroke.
    Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any signs or symptoms of a stroke, even if they seem to fluctuate or disappear.

    Many factors can increase your risk of a stroke. A number of these factors can also increase your chances of having a heart attack.

    Stroke Risk-Factors Are

    Personal or family history of stroke, heart attack or TIA
    Being age 55 or older
    High blood pressure
    High cholesterol
    Cigarette smoking
    Diabetes
    Being overweight or obese
    Sedentary Lifestyle
    Cardiovascular disease, including heart failure, a heart defect, heart infection, or abnormal heart rhythm
    Use of birth control pills or hormone therapies that include estrogen
    Heavy or binge drinking.
    Use of drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamines
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    Stroke – Addressing The Caregivers

    First of all I will address the care givers and the family members of the person who has suffered from a stroke. You will need a lot of resilience and motivation yourself to keep the patient motivated. You will need to learn to remain calm and not give in to the bouts of frustration which the patient might transfer to you. You will need to learn to manage stress and remain calm. This is going to be as much a test of your ability to remain unruffled as the patients to fight with the disease!

    Having said that it might be very helpful for the caregiver to take the stroke patient through guided meditation every day; this will have a soothing effect on both and create a bonding which will empower the patient to undergo therapy willingly.

    Let the guided meditation include assertive visualization where the patient sees himself/herself cured and able to undertake all the normal functions as before the stroke. This will help in the healing and reaffirm the patient’s faith in himself on a regular basis.

    The assertive visualization should be accompanied by positive affirmation wherein the patient affirms positive thoughts and goals at least 3-4 times a day for 5 minutes each.

    Let the patient do a relaxation meditation just before sleeping to be able to get a good night’s sleep which is vital to the body’s healing process.

    Good classical music if played in the background has been known to have a positive effect on a person’s healing capacity and to calm down stress. So I would advise a daily dose of soft soothing music especially when the person is feeling stressed out. It may be played during meditation too.

    It might seem a futile war at times but if you check out you will find that persons who have suffered from a stroke can go back to being 100% normal if and only if they believe they can do it! So don’t give up; it’s okay feel tired but not okay to give up.

    When a child learns to walk for the first time, he falls a countless number of times and if he gave up none of us would be walking today! So start thinking of yourself as a new born baby who has got the opportunity to learn everything all over again. Do not give up due to the fear of embarrassment; you will be more proud of yourself; then you ever were; when you succeed.

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    Stroke – Yoga Exercises

    Yoga is a scientific form of exercise. Millions of years of study by the ancient yogis in India have given to us the form of Yoga that we have today! Yoga has a positive effect not only on the body but on the mind as well! Yoga is good not only for the diseased but for the healthy as well! So let us see how yoga helps in stroke.

    Studies have shown that a regular and consistent practice of yoga can hasten the recovery and get you back on track as you would want. Yoga strengthens the body, builds stamina as well as encourages healing capacity of the body while relieving stress all the time!

    Please begin the yoga program under the guidance of a certified yoga instructor and make sure that he is aware of all your problems illness and complete medical history. Once the instructor has designed a program for you please get an approval from your physician. I know this sounds tedious but one must always err on the side of caution.

    Start the program with simple asanas and never ever push yourself. You might be enthusiastic and want to get back to normal as soon as possible but overdoing it will set you back rather than push you forward. Start with a small durations of exercise with enough interval in between to rest. Steadily increase the time as your body gets used to the exercise.

    Remember one thing doing yoga is never painful or tiring so if it hurts; stop immediately. Only do those postures which you can do without over exerting.
    Since you are recovering from a stroke initially make sure that the instructor is present whenever you do yoga. Afterwards a family member or care giver can be around to keep a watch on you. Never attempt to do yoga on your own when you are alone at home.

    Then comes Pranayam or breathing exercise. This helps in rejuvenating your body and bringing about a healing as well as calming effect on your body. Breathing exercise help in building up your immunity against infection and raising the level of your stamina.

    It is advisable to do breathing exercise early in the morning at sunrise and in natural surroundings like a garden or park. Do breathing exercises 2-3 times a day at least for optimum benefits.

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    Stroke – Diet & Foods

    Diet plays a very important part in the treatment and recovery of any disease. Make sure that you eat a well-balanced diet with an emphasis on fresh vegetables and fruits; lean, clean protein foods; and whole grains. This diet is important for the health of the blood vessels. It also ensures that you receive an abundant supply of important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant that fight free-radical damage and help increase the oxygenation of tissues, including those of the brain.

    Make sure that your diet includes the blue and purple fruits and vegetables, such as jamun, black grapes, eggplant, and red cabbage. These foods contain pigments called anthocyanidins. The anthocyanidins in dark grapes are believed to help lower the risk of stroke (and heart attack).

    Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that counteract/prevent the damage from free radicals. A diet high in antioxidants helps prevent hemorrhagic as well as ischemic stroke. This reduces the likelihood of bleeding in the brain.

    Avoid saturated and hydrogenated fats. Eliminate dairy products (except for small amounts of the low-fat varieties), red meat, eggs, margarine, shortening, tropical oils such as coconut and palm oil, and all fried foods. Saturated and hydrogenated fats raise cholesterol levels, especially that of LDL (“bad cholesterol”) and promote the buildup of fatty plaques in the arteries.

    If you eat meat every day, you may double your stroke risk. Those who ate meat only one to three times a month, only 5.4 percent experienced strokes. So the bottom line is avoid meat!

    Eat Foods Rich in Vitamin B: Fruits and vegetables, in addition to being rich in antioxidants, also contain generous supplies of vitamin B6 and folic acid. These B vitamins reduce levels of homocysteine. Homocysteine has been shown to increase the risk for stroke (and heart disease).

    Spinach, carrots, peas, walnuts, sunflower seeds, wheat germ, fish (especially salmon and herring), chicken, and eggs are good source for vitamin B6. Foods rich in folic acid include spinach and other dark green leafy vegetables, broccoli, asparagus, and whole wheat.

    Add foods containing Alpha-Linolenic Acid to your diet. Alpha-linolenic acid is an essential fatty acid that is similar to the health-enhancing omega-3 fatty acids found in fish. Alpha-linolenic and omega-3 fatty acids help prevent the internal blood clots that trigger stroke. You can obtain alpha- linolenic acid from canola and soybean oils as well as from walnuts.
    Incorporate foods Containing Potassium. Dietary potassium is known to help prevent high blood pressure. Researchers have found that it might help prevent stroke. The higher your blood potassium level, the lower your risk of stroke. Good food sources of potassium include fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, poultry, and fish.

  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (Pcos)

    Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (Pcos)

    Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which can also be known as the Stein-Leventhal syndrome, is a condition that affects the ovaries.
    The ovaries also produce a variety of hormones including the main female hormone, known as oestrogen. The ovaries also produce small amounts of androgens, such as testosterone, which are sometimes called male hormones.

    The Symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome are:

    There are a number of symptoms associated with the syndrome:

    Absent or irregular periods
    Weight gain
    Acne (spotty skin)
    Hirsutism (excessive hair growth on the face and body)
    Difficulties getting pregnant
    Thinning of scalp hair
    Not all people who suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome will have all of these symptoms. Different women have different symptoms, and in differing levels of severity. Also, individuals may find that they have different symptoms at different times in their life. Symptoms usually develop around the late teens and early twenties. For some women, however, the only sign that they have the condition is when they have difficulties when they come to have children.

    Causes of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

    The actual cause of polycystic ovary syndrome is unknown; however current knowledge about the disease suggests that there are many factors that are important.
    There is a tendency for polycystic ovary syndrome to be more common in people who have a close relative with the condition. The fact that the condition can run in families suggests that there is a genetic component to the disease.

    There seems to be evidence linking polycystic ovary syndrome with higher than normal levels of a hormone known as insulin.

    If you are overweight, this can worsen the problem. This is because having excess body fat also makes insulin resistance worse, and so the levels of insulin in the body are increased even more.

    Diagnosis of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

    Polycystic ovary syndrome cannot be diagnosed by a single test. Your doctor will consider your symptoms and carry out a range of tests to try and establish if your symptoms are being caused by polycystic ovary syndrome. Some of these tests may be carried out by a specialist such as an endocrinologist, who is a specialist in hormonal problems, or a gynaecologist, who is a specialist in women’s reproductive health.

    Common tests for polycystic ovary syndrome include:

    Blood tests. These are used to measure levels of hormones, including testosterone and luteinising hormone. This can also help to rule out alternative hormone problems that might cause periods to stop.
    Ultrasound scan. This scan is done to look at the surface of the ovaries. This will show whether the ovaries are enlarged and polycystic.
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    Pcod And Yoga

    Down the years, it has been found that Yoga is the only recourse left to PCOD sufferers. Yoga is a holistic science and art of living. This is because routines Yoga consisting of asanas (poses), pranayamas (breathing techniques) and kriyas (cleansing exercises) prescribed in Yoga help tone up the whole system. There are certain fixed Yoga asanas (poses) like the sitting, standing and supine poses that haven proven to greatly help PCOD / PCOS patients. In general, the Yoga program for PCOD / PCOS is as follows:

    A series of Yoga asanas (poses). While there is no exact pose or exercise that is known to help heal PCOD, experience tells us that some of the poses – if done regularly – sitting, standing and lying on the back, over time yield the desired results. But, you should make sure to avoid all the inverted poses.

    Practice lots of Pranayamas (Breathing Exercises) in a slow, unhurried, relaxed rhythm. You may breathe at your own slow pace, or inhale and exhale to the count of 3 or 4. But do this very slowly and avoid straining or putting pressure on your lungs. The recommended pranayamas (breathing exercises) for PCOD women are Mild Kapalabhatti (Skull Cleansing), Anuloma-Viloma (Alternate Nostril Breathing) and Ujjayi (Ocean Breath).

    You should also practise Nispanda Bhava (Unmoving Observation) and Shavasana (Corpse pose) 2 – 3 times every day. These will definitely help since PCOD / PCOS victims are, by and large, tense and stressed out. Subsequently, they need plenty of relaxation.

    Following is the list of assanas known to help in PCOD:

    Sarvangasan
    Matsyasana
    Ardhmatsyendasana
    Paschimottanasanasalbhasana
    Trikonasana
    Suryanamaskar
    Marjariasana
    Shashankbhujang Asana
    Katichakrasana
    Tolangulasana
    Ushtrasana
    Tadasana
    Chakrasana
    Finally, let your diet be Yogic and Sattvic. This essentially means pure and predominantly vegetarian, with lots of seasonal fruits, sprouts, fresh salads and dried fruits. Steer clear of milk and milk products, particularly cheeses and butter, all confectionery products, fatty, fried and spicy foods, cigarettes and alcohol

    Likewise, avoid stress and tension, so try and avoid all stressful situations. Even if difficult, you will find that taking the trouble and making a few short term sacrifices will benefit you enormously in the long run.

    Most of all consult your family physician and find a good, trained, qualified and experienced Yoga instructor, and a Yoga institute of repute.

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    Pcod And Lifestyle Changes

    It can be very painful physically as well as psychologically to suffer from PCOD for a lady. It will require a lot of resilience on her part to deal with this problem. It will have to be dealt on a three dimensional front i.e. physical; psychological and spiritual.

    It is very helpful to do meditation as well as assertive visualization along with yoga and breathing exercises. The most important part is consistency and equally important is not to give up.

    Besides taking any medications for regularizing your menstrual periods, reducing acne, excessive hair growth or for achieving pregnancy you can follow the listed PCOS home remedies which will help to deal with the situation.

    Shedding weight – If you are above your ideal body weight then losing some weight will be very beneficial. Weight loss can not only restore ovulation but also help to reduce both androgen and insulin levels. Your risk for getting long term complications like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and heart disease many also reduce considerably. Make realistic goals to reduce weight at a gradual pace with the help of both diet and exercise.

    Chose your carbohydrates wisely – A high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet may increase your blood insulin levels. So many experts suggest a low-carbohydrate diet for women with polycystic ovarian syndrome; however carbohydrates provide many vital nutrients so they can’t be avoided completely. So make wise choice when it comes to carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates which are high in fiber gets slowly digested in the body which increases your blood sugar levels gradually. Fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, cereals and its products, beans, pulses and sprouts are some examples of complex carbohydrates. Avoid simple carbohydrates like sugar, fruit juice, ice cream, cakes, candies, colas, sodas, cookies and pies as far as possible.

    Don’t be embarrassed – So you have lot of facial hair and other unwanted hair on your body. Don’t feel ashamed or embarrassed; there are many treatments available to remove the unwanted hair like waxing, threading, shaving, plucking, epilating, or using creams or lotions. See which is best and convenient you for. Other long lasting hair removal options include laser therapy and electrolysis which can be chosen.

    Exercise – Being physically active will not only help lose weight but also lower your blood sugar levels. One of the best PCOS natural cures is to control weight by controlling calories and taking active participation is regular physical activity.

    Any condition that we suffer from is definitely and immensely affected by the diet we take. Currently there is no scientific evidence to support one particular diet for PCOS. All said and done evidence-based recommendations suggest that women with PCOS should focus on balance and moderation.

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    Pcod And Lifestyle Changes

    Recommended dietary and lifestyle changes include:

    Weight loss of 5-10% if overweight or obese in 3 months.
    Decreased caloric intake if weight loss is desired.
    Decreased intake of enriched carbohydrates.
    Increased fiber intake including fruits, vegetables, and beans.
    Decreased fat intake, particularly saturated fat.
    Smaller, more frequent meals (every 3-4 hours) to help control blood glucose levels.
    Balanced meals including carbohydrates, protein, and fat.
    At least 150 minutes of moderate or vigorous activity per week for diabetes prevention.
    Consume a wide variety of whole foods
    Foods in their most natural form rather than preserved or dried
    Fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds should be eaten daily.
    Aim to eat 25-30 grams of fiber per day
    Introduce fiber gradually to your diet to minimize gastrointestinal upset.
    Choose vegetables such as broccoli, lettuce, celery, cabbage, cucumber, parsley, radishes, spinach, turnips, and watercress.
    Choose legumes such as fresh cooked kidney beans, soy beans, lentils, black eyed peas, chickpeas, and lima beans.
    Choose fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, grapefruit, apples, cherries, peaches, pears, and plums.
    Eat them as snacks, salads, sandwich fillings, in smoothies, soups, and casseroles.
    Limit sugars and enriched carbohydrates
    Complex carbohydrates take longer than enriched carbohydrates to digest and absorb.
    Choose whole grains instead of enriched grains (brown rice, whole wheat breads and pasta, oats, barley, etc.). Look for the word “whole” as the first ingredient on the Nutrition Facts Label.
    Talk to a Registered Dietitian about the appropriate number of carbohydrate servings you need per day.
    Limit salt intake (aim for less than 2400 milligrams of salt per day)
    Use lemon juice, mustard, vinegar, pepper, herbs and spices instead of table salt to season foods.
    Limit foods such as cured and smoked meats, salted nuts, canned and processed vegetables, meats, marinades and sauces.
    Minimize intake of processed foods.
    Choose unsaturated fats
    Avoid saturated fats by choosing low fat or fat free dairy products and spreads, white meat and fish, and lean cuts of red meat.
    Look for unsaturated oils such as olive, corn, or canola oils.
    Use nuts rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as almonds, walnuts, pecans, flax seeds, sunflower and pumpkin seeds.
    Eat fish two to three times a week. Fish such as tuna, salmon, herring, sardines, and trout can improve heart health.
    Bake, grill, broil, boil, steam and microwave foods instead of frying them.
    Eat protein and and/or fat with every meal or snack
    Protein has a stabilizing effect on the sugar released from carbohydrates into the blood.
    Protein can be found in lean meats, fish, poultry, dairy products, beans, nuts and seeds
    Avoid alcohol and smoking.

  • Sports Injuries

    Sports Injuries

    Sports injuries are injuries that occur to athletes participating in sporting events.In many cases, these types of injuries are due to overuse of a part of the body when participating in a certain activity. For example, runner’s knee is a painful condition generally associated with running,while tennis elbow is a form of repetitive stress injury at the elbow,although it does not often occur with tennis players.Other types of injuries can be caused by a hard contact with something. This can often cause a broken bone or torn ligament or tendon.

    Injuries are a common occurrence in professional sports and most teams have a staff of Athletic Trainers and close connections to the medical community. Controversy has arisen at times when teams have made decisions that could threaten a player’s long-term health for short term gain.

    Sports injuries can be broadly classified as either traumatic or overuse injuries. Traumatic injuries account for most injuries in contact sports such as football, rugby, boxing, kick boxing, wrestling etc. These injuries range from bruises and muscle strains, to fractures and head injuries.

    A bruise or contusion is damage to small blood vessels which causes bleeding within the tissues. A muscle strain is a small tear of muscle fibers and a ligament sprain is a small tear of ligament tissue. The body’s response to these sports injuries is the same in the initial five day period immediately following the traumatic incident – inflammation.
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    Sports Injuries

    Signs and symptoms

    Inflammation is characterized by pain, localized swelling, heat, redness and a loss of function.

    All of these traumatic injuries cause damage to the cells that make up the soft tissues. The dead and damaged cells release chemicals, which initiate an inflammatory response. Small blood vessels are damaged and opened up, producing bleeding within the tissue. In the body’s normal reaction, a small blood clot is formed in order to stop this bleeding and from this clot special cells (called fibroblasts) begin the healing process by laying down scar tissue.

    The inflammatory stage is therefore the first phase of healing. However, too much of an inflammatory response in the early stage can mean that the healing process takes longer and a return to activity is delayed. The sports injury treatments are intended to minimize the inflammatory phase of an injury, so that the overall healing process is accelerated.

    Prevention

    A warm-up program has been founded to decrease injuries in association football. Injury can be mineralized by doing an effective warm up; this consists of a heart raiser to get your pulse up, followed by sport specific dynamic stretches (stretches whilst moving).

    Using proper equipment is key in preventing injury.

    Doctors believe fatigue can be a contributing factor in sports injuries because it is more difficult for the body to protect itself when fatigued. Stopping an activity at the first sign of fatigue can prevent sports related injuries.

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    How to prevent sports injuries?

    Following are some general guidelines for preventing sports injuries irrespective of which sport you play. While it is impossible to prevent every injury, research suggests that injury rates could be reduced by 25% if athletes took appropriate preventative action, including:

    Good and healthy physical condition to play a sport.Remember that a person who plays sports on irregular basis has a high rate of injury. If you play any sports, you should adequately train for that sport. It is a mistake to expect the sport itself to get you into shape. Many injuries can be prevented by following a regular conditioning program of exercises designed specifically for your sport. For this please take the help of a certified trainer for you chosen sport.
    Always be aware of and follow the rules of the sport.The rules are designed, in part, to keep things safe. This is extremely important for anyone who participates in a contact sport. Rules of conduct, including illegal blocks and tackles are enforced to keep athletes healthy. Know them. Follow them.
    Wear designated and appropriate protective gear and equipment.Protective pads, mouth guards, helmets, gloves and other equipment are not for sissies. Protective equipment that fits you well protects your knees, hands, teeth, eyes, and head. Never play without your safety gear.
    Rest and space out training.Athletes with high consecutive days of training, have more injuries. While many athletes think the more they train, the better they’ll play, this is a misconception. Rest is a critical component of proper training. Rest can make you stronger and prevent injuries of overuse, fatigue and poor judgment.
    Always warm up before playing.Warm muscles are less susceptible to injuries. The proper warm up is essential for injury prevention. Make sure your warm up suits your sport. You may simply start your sport slowly, or practice specific stretching or mental rehearsal depending upon your activity.
    Strictly avoid playing when very tired or in pain.This is a set-up for a careless injury. Pain indicates a problem. You need to pay attention to warning signs your body provides.
    There are two factors that outweigh the rest when it comes to predicting a sports injury. They are:

    Having a history of injury. Previous injuries to a muscle or joint tend to develop into chronic problem areas for many athletes. It is extremely important to warm up, and stretch previously injured parts.
    A high number of consecutive days of training. Recovery days reduce injury rates by giving muscles and connective tissues an opportunity to repair between training sessions
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    Sports Injury – The mind body connection

    Sports injury recovery generally focuses on physical rehab, but using a bit of psychology can help an athlete recovery faster and learn to use setbacks become a more confident and resilient athlete. I for one believe that one’s mind plays a very important role in healing in any kind of injury.

    Often athletes react to injuries with a wide range of emotions including denial, anger, and even depression. An injury often seems unfair to anyone who has been physically active and otherwise healthy. Although your feelings are real, it’s important to move beyond the negative and find more positive strategies to cope with this setback.

    For you to be able to deal with your injury, recover from it and get back to your normal activity you will have to understand a few things which are listed below:

    Learn About Your Injury
    What is the diagnosis (what type of injury do I have)?
    What is the prognosis (how bad is the injury)?
    How long will recovery take?
    What should I expect during rehab?
    What are the warning signs that I am getting worse?
    By understanding the injury and knowing what to expect during the rehabilitation process, you will feel less anxiety and a greater sense of control.

    Accept Responsibility for Your Injury

    As is my rule in life; we must take responsibility of everything that happens in life. Please understand this well; I do not mean blame or guilt nor do I mean credit. Just, plain and simple responsibility. This is not to say that the injury is your fault. What this means is that you accept that now you have an injury and you are the only one that can fully determine your outcome. By taking responsibility for your recovery process, you will find a greater sense of control and will quickly progress in recovery, rather than dwelling on the past or blaming the injury on an outside factor

    Maintain a Positive Attitude

    Nothing in life works better than a positive attitude. To heal quickly you need to be committed to overcoming your injury by showing up for your treatments, working hard, and listening and doing what your doctor and/or athletic trainer recommend.

    You also need to monitor what you are thinking and saying to yourself regarding the injury and the rehab process. Your self-talk is important. Are your thoughts negative and self-defeating? Because what you talk about your condition will transform into reality! If you don’t believe me you will learn it the hard way! To get the most out of your daily rehab, you need to work hard and maintain a positive attitude. Remain focused on what you need to do.

    Use the Assertive visualization and Positive Affirmation to Heal the Body

    Growing research shows and I have consistently been saying this that it is possible to speed up the healing process by using Assertive Visualization and Positive Affirmation. These are techniques which use all of the senses to create mental images, feelings and sensations related to a desired outcome as though it is happening now or has already happened.

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    Yoga and Sports injuries

    Yoga is one great way to help the body recover from sports injuries, which occur on a more common and everyday level while playing a sport or physical training. Yoga not only has a positive effect on your body but it will help you remain calm and positive mentally too! Yoga has a holistic effect on the practitioner.

    Following are some of the Yoga assanas for recovering from sports injuries:

    Malasana (Garland Pose) for the shins
    Utakasana again for the shins
    Eka Pada Rajakapotasana
    Baddha konasana
    Virabhadrasana
    Vajrasanna
    Viparita karani
    Adhomukha svanasana
    Suptamatsyasana
    Padmasana
    Shavassana
    Again let me emphasize the need to take the permission of your treating physician before starting a yoga program. Male sure you learn from a certified yoga teacher. It is very important that you do the Yoga exercises in the presence of the trainer until your doctor has pronounced you completely healed.

    Begin the Yoga program with the simple poses first and gradually move on to the more difficult ones. Always keep your doctor informed of your progress or change in the program. Over doing it might cause you to damage yourself even more!

    Besides these yoga poses what will help you in healing are the breathing exercises. These help nourish your body with fresh oxygen and facilitate the rebuilding of the cells faster. Try to do breathing exercises at least twice a day and preferably in a garden or a park or natural surroundings.

    If you are a sports person the value of nutritious diet is not lost on you. Do adhere to your balanced diet regimen but keep in mind the fact that the injury is going to hamper your regular training and you might not be as active as before so please adjust your intake accordingly. The last thing you want is to put on weight while you are nursing an injury!

  • Psoriasis

    Psoriasis

    The first one deals with some basic information regarding the disease and the following ones are about the mind/body connection and healing of the condition

    Psoriasis is a common skin disease that affects the life cycle of skin cells. Psoriasis causes cells to build up rapidly on the surface of the skin, forming thick silvery scales and itchy, dry, red patches that are sometimes painful.

    Psoriasis is a persistent, long-lasting (chronic) disease. You may have periods when your psoriasis symptoms improve or go into remission alternating with times your psoriasis worsens.

    For some people, psoriasis is just a nuisance. For others, it’s disabling, especially when associated with arthritis. No cure exists, but psoriasis treatments may offer significant relief. Lifestyle measures, such as using a nonprescription cortisone cream and exposing your skin to small amounts of natural sunlight, can improve your psoriasis symptoms.

    Psoriasis signs and symptoms can vary from person to person but may include one or more of the following:

    Red patches of skin covered with silvery scales
    Small scaling spots (commonly seen in children)
    Dry, cracked skin that may bleed
    Itching, burning or soreness
    Thickened, pitted or ridged nails
    Swollen and stiff joints
    Psoriasis patches can range from a few spots of dandruff-like scaling to major eruptions that cover large areas. Mild cases of psoriasis may be a nuisance. But more severe cases can be painful, disfiguring and disabling.

    Most types of psoriasis go through cycles, flaring for a few weeks or months, then subsiding for a time or even going into complete remission. In most cases, however, the disease eventually returns.

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    Psoriasis Triggers

    Psoriasis typically starts or worsens because of a trigger that you may be able to identify and avoid. Factors that may trigger psoriasis include:

    Infections, such as strep throat or thrush
    Injury to the skin, such as a cut or scrape, bug bite, or a severe sunburn
    Stress
    Cold weather
    Smoking
    Heavy alcohol consumption
    Certain medications — including lithium, which is prescribed for bipolar disorder; high blood pressure medications such as beta blockers; antimalarial drugs; and iodides
    Certain studies reveal that there is a psychosomatic factor or stress involved in 69% of the persons suffering form Psoriasis.

    In the following blogs we shall deal with the mind/body connection and healing of Psoriasis.

    Psoriasis & Nutrition

    Allopathic form of medical treatment uses a combination of lotions containing tar derivatives, controlled ultraviolet light exposure (sometimes after ingestion of sensitising chemicals called psoralens), and steroid creams. Oral steroids and even cytotoxic drugs similar to those used in cancer therapy may be needed for severe cases. These treatments bring with them a host of potentially dangerous side-effects ranging from advanced osteoporosis, high blood pressure ( from corticosteroids) to liver and kidney abnormalities (methotrexate) and hair loss, swollen gums; necessitating tooth extraction and fetal malformation (retinoids). For years, conventional medicine did not accept that diet and nutrition affect psoriasis, but researchers are now proving that this skin condition is most definitely affected by the food we eat.

    A sugar -free diet

    Psoriasis is particularly responsive to a low sugar diet or ‘anti-fungal diet’. An Austrian report (1) revealed that psoriasis often improves after few days or weeks on a completely sugar-free diet.

    Omega-3 fatty acids.

    The Omega-3 fatty acids (found in flaxseed or linseed, corn, olive and soya oils) have been shown to reduce itching and scaling of psoriasis in many people.

    A poorly functioning digestive system causes the proliferation of toxins in the intestines, some of which have been shown to contribute to the development of psoriasis. Lactobacillus Acidophilus, a friendly bacterium which colonises the intestines, can help correct this situation.

    Psoriasis sufferers have been shown to have low levels of folic acid (found in green leafy vegetables and brewers yeast).

    Many people experience an improvement in their symptoms after adopting a vegetarian or vegan diet.

    Alcohol

    A study in Finland revealed that men who consumed five or more units of alcohol per day suffered a worsening of their symptoms.

    Gluten Free Diet

    Controlled studies have shown that a gluten free diet can have a ‘remarkable effect on the skin lesions’ of psoriasis sufferers.

    Fats in Foods

    Meat and dairy products contain arachidonic acid, a fatty acid which contributes to the inflammation experienced in psoriasis, rheumatism and arthritis because it is converted into inflammatory prostaglandin and leukotrienes. However, a low fat diet supplemented with Omega-3 essential fatty acids has produced excellent improvement in over 58% of psoriasis patients.

    Some studies have reported that fish oil is beneficial because it is high in essential fatty acids but the results are contradictory and based upon small numbers of patients. A review of the best sources of essential fatty acids for psoriasis sufferers found that cold pressed vegetable oils are far superior to fish oils.

    Psoriasis – Effects of Exercise and Yoga

    Factors that may aggravate psoriasis include stress, excessive alcohol consumption, and smoking. Yoga goes a long way in relieving stress that is induced in the body due to Psoriasis. For psoriasis, yoga exercises should always be done in the morning sun, since the sunrays offer Vitamin D that is essential for a healthy skin.

    Some of the yoga poses that are recommended for Psoriasis are as follows

    Padmasana
    Balasana
    Vajrasana
    Suryanamaskar
    Shavana
    Seven types of pranayama (breathing exercises)for psoriasis:

    Bhastrika:close the eyes and inhale deeply through both the nostrils. This should be followed up with exhalation.

    Kapalbhati:series of quick exhalations accompanied by an inward drawing motion of the stomach.

    Bahya:: inhaling to allow air to fill up lungs fully, holding for a few moments, and then exhaling forcefully.

    Anuloma and Viloma: single-nostril breathing exercise that cures psoriasis to an extent. Pressing right nostril with thumb, one should inhale deeply, through the left nostril, followed by inhalation through the right nostril.

    Agnisara Asana: inhaling deeply but slowly, pushing stomach muscles outward, filling up stomach with air. Then exhaling deeply, holding breath and moving stomach in and out vigorously as many times as possible, before releasing it and allowing air to fill up lungs.

    Bhramariis the Yogic exercise where one has plug ears tightly with the thumbs of both hands. Put the forefingers on forehead, over eyebrows, and the middle fingers of the two hands right on the closed eyes. Then inhale deeply and saying “OM”, without opening mouth, so as to make a humming sound that travels from mouth to ears, concludes the exercise.

    Udgeet is the exercise for psoriasis, where one has to place the hands on knees after closing the eyes. Then take a deep breath in and then exhale, saying OM. One should stress on the syllable “O” as long as the breath lasts and utter the syllable “M” right at the end.

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    Psoriasis – Effects of Exercise and Yoga

    Studies have shown that persons suffering from Psoriasis tend to develop psychiatric problems even to the extent of committing suicide! This disease though not fatal can be very debilitating, lifestyle limiting and at times embarrassing!

    All these factors affect the mind of the sufferer and they tend to isolate themselves as the look of the skin is very bad. The isolation in turn leads to psychological problems.

    Mind-body medicine typically focuses on intervention strategies that are thought to promote health, such as relaxation, hypnosis, visual imagery, meditation, yoga, biofeedback, tai chi, qi gong, cognitive-behavioral therapies, group support, autogenic training and spirituality.

    The best way to deal with the psychological effects of psoriasis is of course meditation. Nothing beats meditation to get one out of the rut. Also as stress and tension are major trigger factors of Psoriasis; meditation helps in the healing too!.

    Meditation

    In meditation, a person learns to focus their attention and suspend the stream of thoughts that normally occupy the mind. This practice is believed to result in a state of greater physical relaxation, mental calmness, and psychological balance. Practicing meditation can change how a person relates to the flow of emotions and thoughts in their mind.

    Mindfulness meditation to reduce stress can be beneficial in psoriasis. In one study, published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, people with psoriasis were treated with ultraviolet light therapy. Some received their treatments while listening to meditation tapes, others received just the light. Patients receiving both cleared their psoriasis up to 4 times faster.

    It advisable to do guided mediation at three times a day for 20 minutes each. Along with meditation it is advisable to do breathing exercises and Yoga as well.

    The person should also make some lifestyle changes which include the following:

    Identify the trigger factor for yourself
    Avoid the trigger factor
    Avoid alcohol
    Avoid smoking
    Keep regular hours
    Get a good nights sleep
    Maintain a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet
    Do Yoga, mediation and breathing exercises regularly

  • Antenatal Care

    Antenatal Care

    Antenatal care is the systemic medical supervision of women during pregnancy. Its aim is to preserve the physiological aspect of pregnancy and labor and to prevent or detect, as early as possible, all that is pathological. Early diagnosis during pregnancy can prevent maternal ill-health, injury, maternal mortality, fetal death, infant mortality and morbidity. Hence, the earlier in pregnancy a woman comes under the supervision of an obstetrician, the better.

    Antenatal care begins with ‘history-taking’ and is followed by a complete examination of the patient. Thereafter, the mother-to-be receives advice and instructions about her mode of life, diet and regular antenatal check-ups till labor sets in. The obstetric history begins with the age of the mother and includes information about the number of years since marriage, number of pregnancies, previous deliveries, abortions, pre-term labor, complications during previous pregnancies or labor, etc. Difficulties in previous deliveries, application of forceps, caesarean births and the birth weight of former children is also important.

    The date of the last menstrual period and the duration and frequency of normal menstrual cycles as also the calculation of the expected date of delivery is done at this stage. The due date is calculated by adding nine months and nine days to the first day of the last menstrual period.

    A general history is necessary and asked for regarding the occurrence of any illness in the past – German measles, rheumatic fever, tuberculosis, and psychological disorders. A family history of diabetes mellitus or hypertension is also enquired into.

    This also includes counseling of the expectant couple regarding certain things such as dos and don’ts. Occurrences during pregnancy like pica, morning sickness, bouts of sudden hunger, restlessness etc.

    Guidelines are given regarding nutrition, exercise and lifestyle changes about which we will discuss in the next few blogs…

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    Antenatal Care & Yoga

    Yoga is beneficial both before and during pregnancy, however these practices call for modifications in order to accommodate the growing baby and protect the placenta. If you experience cramping, spotting or prolonged cessation of fetal movement, stop practicing immediately and call your doctor.

    Benefits of practicing yoga during pregnancy

    Yoga relies heavily on breathing techniques to make the exercise fruitful. Exhale and inhaling deeply provides oxygen to the whole body, something we desperately need during pregnancy. The fetus stands to gain the benefit of this charged blood pumping in. While doing the exercise, breathing and moving the body sets the pace, and each is incomplete without the other. The results of this coordinated activity are phenomenal.

    Yoga exercises also help in pre and postnatal depression, basically by relaxing the mind and putting a lot of fears at rest. The primary advantage of practicing Yoga is that the essential breathing exercises provide a mental calmness to the would-be Mom. This peace descends to her baby, and also helps her to take the crucial time of childbirth in her stride.

    Physically speaking, the mild yogic exercises help maintain muscle tone, especially for the back and pelvic muscles that take such a tremendous beating during the nine months of pregnancy and about a year thereafter, till the baby is a toddler.
    Yoga Nidra (Yogic Sleep) also relaxes the mind and body to such an extent that in many cases it even helps during the trauma of childbirth. The gentle toning and stretching exercises do wonders for preparing the body for caring the baby as well as delivering it.
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    Antenatal Care & Yoga

    Here are certain general precautions to be taken while practicing yoga:

    Always practice as if the belly (baby) were larger than it actually is. Adjust your pregnancy yoga practice to a lower level and intensity than that of your pre-pregnancy practice.
    Avoid poses that stretch the muscles too much, particularly the abdominal muscles. Remember, you are more apt to tear and strain muscles now because the pregnancy hormone relaxin, which allows the uterus to expand, also acts on all connective tissue.
    Avoid performing any poses on your back after the first trimester as that can cut blood flow to the uterus.
    When bending forward, bend from the hips, not the back. Maintain as much distance as possible between the breast bone and the pubic bone to make breathing easier.
    Keep the pelvis upright when stretching the chest and the front of the thighs
    When practicing twisting poses, twist more from the shoulders and back to avoid putting any pressure on your abdomen.
    Perform standing poses with your heel to the wall or use a chair for support to avoid losing your balance and risking injury to you or your baby.
    Avoid jumping, jump-throughs, jump-backs, or rolling. Step or crawl instead.
    Following are a few assanas which may be safely practiced during pregnancy:

    Padmasana
    Vajrassana
    Marjarassana
    Uttanassana
    Baddhakonassana
    Ardhachandrassana
    Shavassana
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    Antenatal Care & Lifestyle Changes

    Pregnancy should not be thought as a period of change in the life just of the mother but so in the life of both parents. Truly the anticipation of the arrival of a new member in the family is magical.

    Both parents need to gear up for the nine months of pregnancy and the following birth of the new baby. It is a beautiful journey which might sometimes get tiring and stressful! Both the parents will have to be each others support system.

    First and foremost remember we are making choices at all times during our life and now is the time to begin making the healthy choices.

    Following are a few tips to be followed for lifestyle changes:

    Maintain regular times for meals
    Eat small frequent meals
    Include plenty of fresh fruits and salads
    Include coconut water and fresh fruit juices
    If you feel like snacking eat dried fruits and salads
    Take your last meal at least 3 hours before bedtime
    Take your fortifications regularly
    Sleep at regular hours
    Get at least 8 hours sleep at night
    Every 2 hours put your feet up and rest for 15 minutes to avoid swelling of feet
    Sleep on your left side to begin with
    Take the help of your partner to turn from one side to the other in the last trimester
    Take walks for 20 minutes at least 2-3 times a day
    Walk in natural surroundings away from polluted area
    Keep a regular routine of exercises meant for antenatal period
    Do breathing exercises at least 3 times a day for 15 minutes each
    Do meditation at least 2 times a day
    Do assertive visualization and positive affirmation as often as possible
    Wear comfortable and natural fiber clothes
    Wear foot wear which is comfortable and recommended
    Maintain moderation in absolutely everything; be it food, exercise or fun!
    Absolute NO – NO during Pregnancy:

    Smoking – even secondhand
    Alcohol
    Drugs
    Coffee
    Late nights
    Un-prescribed or over the counter medicines
    Self-medication
    Over exertion
    Adventure sports
    Stress
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    Antenatal Care & Nutrition

    These are some general guidelines that may be followed throughout pregnancy. Always eat balanced meals, do not skip meals, eliminate caffeine and drink lots of water, six to eight glasses a day.

    Calcium is one of the most important minerals you will need during pregnancy. The current recommended amount of calcium intake during pregnancy is 1,200 mg, an increase of 400 mg a day over your usual needs. An increase in dairy products such as skim milk, cheese, yogurt, pudding and ice milk, is an easy way to consume lots of calcium.

    Folic acid is essential for a healthy baby and helps in the development of the fetal brain and spine. It is especially important during early pregnancy when many women don’t even know that they are expecting. Women should take 400 micrograms of folic acid every day throughout their pregnancy and may need to take a multi-vitamin or prenatal vitamin to meet this requirement. Some excellent sources of folic acid include dried beans, tofu, peanuts and peanut butter, as well as fortified cereals. Folic acid can also be found in many dark green vegetables, corn and beets.

    Vitamin B12, found in animal products, is essential for proper nerve and brain functioning for both mother and baby. This is of special concern for women who are vegetarians. Vitamin B12 can be found in fortified soy milk and/or soy meat replacements, as well as vitamin supplements.

    Protein intake should be increased by 10 grams a day and can easily be found in animal products including meats, milk and eggs. Some plant foods, such as legumes, seeds and cereal grains, can also provide high quality protein. It is more beneficial if you combine one food from two of these categories in the form of such dishes as hummus, split pea soup, bean tacos or even a peanut butter sandwich.

    What you need to eat and what you will want to eat will change during each trimester of pregnancy. During the first trimester one of your main nutritional concerns may be battling morning sickness, which doesn’t necessarily occur in the morning. Some things that might help include eating small meals frequently, whether you are hungry or not, eating foods high in carbohydrates and potassium and low in fats, eating dry food a half hour before getting out of bed, eating liquid and solid foods a half hour apart, and munching on dry snacks.

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    Antenatal Care & Nutrition

    SECOND TRIMESTER

    During the second three months of pregnancy, continue to eat a well-balanced diet and increase it by about 300 calories a day. These extra calories should primarily come from protein derived from grains, non-meat alternatives, and/or milk and should be added to your diet as snacks throughout the day. Iron supplements will continue to be important, but avoid taking them with products that contain calcium, magnesium, zinc or tannic acid (found in tea). It is best to take iron pills with fruit juice or water at bedtime or in-between meals.

    You may experience more problems with your digestive system and be more intolerant of certain foods such as milk products, during this time. As your pregnancy progresses and the baby grows, your stomach slows down, which can cause gas and indigestion. Eat more slowly, eat smaller main meals and more snacks, walk after eating, and drink a lot of liquids between meals.

    If dairy products become difficult to tolerate, try some that are easier to digest such as yogurt & cottage cheese.

    THIRD TRIMESTER

    In the final three months before delivery, the weight of your baby will be more than triple. For you, that means feeling fuller faster. However, it is still necessary for you to eat a well-balanced diet with sufficient calories. The best way to do this is to eat smaller amounts of food more often. Snacks will become increasingly important. Pick a variety of snacks that will supply the nutrients you need.

    Eat plenty of fruits & dried fruits all through your pregnancy but remember each one in moderation. Avoid papaya.

    Remember, while you are pregnant, you are responsible for the health of two persons – your baby and you. You will feel better if you pay close attention to your diet.