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Charley Horse

Woman muscle pain during running training

Charley Horse is another name for  muscle spasm – when a muscle suddenly tightens up on its own resulting severe pain.They’re common in your legs, often occurs during exercise and at night. It commonly affects the calf muscle at the back of the lower leg, but it can also occur in the foot and, occasionally, in the thigh.The sudden and uncontrollable spasm can often be brief, but it can last for several minutes or up to 10 minutes.

Causes:

Doctors do not know exactly why muscle cramps happen when a person is exercising or when they have no other medical conditions.

Things that can trigger a charley horse include:

  • Poor blood flow
  • Working your muscles too much
  • Not stretching enough
  • Being active in high temperatures
  • Dehydration
  • A lack of magnesium and/or potassium in your diet
  • A problem such as a spinal cord injury or a pinched nerve in your neck or back
  • Kidney disease
  • Muscle cramps are also a side effect of some drugs – diuretics, raloxifene (Evista), or statin drugs

Risk factors for charley horses

Muscle spasms can happen to anyone, at any age. And a charley horse can occur at any time of the day or night.

Charley horses do tend to occur more often among people in the following groups:

  • athletes
  • infants
  • older adults
  • people who are obese
  • people taking certain medications like diuretics, raloxifene (Evista), or statin drugs
  • people who smoke

People who are obese are more likely to experience charley horses because of poor circulation in their legs. Athletes often experience charley horses because of muscle fatigue or overuse.

Charley Horse Diagnosis

The occasional charley horse doesn’t require an official medical diagnosis. However, your doctor should investigate frequent, recurrent muscle spasms. This would apply if a charley horse occurs more than once a week without an adequate explanation.

Your doctor can usually make a diagnosis based on your medical history and a physical examination.

The doctor will more than likely ask about their symptoms, including:

  • what the cramping is like and where it occurs
  • when the cramps happen and for how long
  • how severe or regularly the cramps occur
  • whether they have started recently

A doctor is likely to ask about the person’s exercise habits, diet, and any other symptoms, medical problems, or current medications, as well.

Treatment

There is little evidence that medical intervention can help cure or reduce muscle cramping.

However, when a muscle is cramping, and a person experiences a charley horse, the following action may help them find some relief:

  • If you get a charley horse in your calf or in the back of your thigh (hamstring), put your weight on the affected leg and bend your knee slightly. Or sit or lie down with your leg out straight and pull the top of your foot toward your head.
  • For a cramp in the front of your thigh (quadriceps), hold on to a chair and bend the knee of the affected leg. Pull your foot up toward your buttock.

    Massage, a bath with Epsom salts, or a heating pad can relax the muscle. To fight pain, use an ice pack or take an over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen or naproxen.

    In most cases, the charley horse will stop within a few minutes. But if you get them often and for no clear reason, consult your doctor

  • In severe cases, your doctor may prescribe antispasmodic medication. Also, physical therapy can help you cope with muscle spasms and prevent further complications.
  • In extreme cases, you doctor may recommend surgery. If other treatments fail, surgery can enlarge the space around a nerve to relieve pressure. This may help if nerve compression causes your spasms.

Preventing charley horses

Once you identify the cause of the occasional charley horse, symptoms are generally easy to prevent. Take these steps to help avoid future muscle spasms:

  • Stretch before and after exercise.
  • Avoid exercising the same muscles on consecutive days.
  • Weight loss for people with excess weight
  • Changing to different more comfortable footwear
  • Do not exercise in severe weather.
  • Drink water throughout the day.
  • Drink beverages that contain electrolytes, such as Gatorade.
  • Stretch before going to bed
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Limit Alcohol intake

Takeaway

Charley horses are common and can occur in any muscle at any time. They’re usually treatable and can sometimes be prevented.

Any pain caused by a spasm won’t typically last more than a day. However, if you experience charley horses frequently, talk with your doctor about treatments.

Stress Management

 

Stress, health, illness and problems concept. Studio image of de

In today’s fast-paced world, chronic stress is common, but your mind and body can pay a high price. Learn to recognize overwhelming stress—and what you can do about it.

What is stress?

Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. When you sense danger—whether it’s real or imagined—the body’s defenses kick into high gear in a rapid, automatic process known as the “fight-or-flight” reaction or the “stress response.”

When you feel threatened, your nervous system responds by releasing a flood of stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, which rouse the body for emergency action. Your heart pounds faster, muscles tighten, blood pressure rises, breath quickens, and your senses become sharper. These physical changes increase your strength and stamina, speed up your reaction time, and enhance your focus—preparing you to either fight or flee from the danger at hand.

The stress response is the body’s way of protecting you. When working properly, it helps you stay focused, energetic, and alert. In emergency situations, stress can save your life—giving you extra strength to defend yourself, for example, or spurring you to slam on the brakes to avoid a car accident.

The effects of chronic stress

Your nervous system isn’t very good at distinguishing between emotional and physical threats. If you’re super stressed over an argument with a friend, a work deadline, or a mountain of bills, your body can react just as strongly as if you’re facing a true life-or-death situation. And the more your emergency stress system is activated, the easier it becomes to trigger, making it harder to shut off.

 

If you tend to get stressed out frequently, like many of us in today’s demanding world, your body may exist in a heightened state of stress most of the time. And that can lead to serious health problems. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in your body. It can suppress your immune system, upset your digestive and reproductive systems, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, and speed up the aging process. It can even rewire the brain, leaving you more vulnerable to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.

 

Health problems caused or exacerbated by stress include:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Pain of any kind
  • Sleep problems
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Digestive problems
  • Skin conditions, such as eczema
  • Heart disease
  • Weight problems
  • Reproductive issues
  • Thinking and memory problems

Causes of stress

The situations and pressures that cause stress are known as stressors. We usually think of stressors as being negative, such as an exhausting work schedule or a rocky relationship. However, anything that puts high demands on you can be stressful. This includes positive events such as getting married, buying a house, going to college, or receiving a promotion.

Of course, not all stress is caused by external factors. Stress can also be internal or self-generated, when you worry excessively about something that may or may not happen, or have irrational, pessimistic thoughts about life.

Signs and symptoms of stress overload

The most dangerous thing about stress is how easily it can creep up on you. You get used to it. It starts to feel familiar, even normal. You don’t notice how much it’s affecting you, even as it takes a heavy toll. That’s why it’s important to be aware of the common warning signs and symptoms of stress overload.

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Memory problems
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Poor judgment
  • Seeing only the negative
  • Anxious or racing thoughts
  • Constant worrying

 

Emotional symptoms:

  • Depression or general unhappiness
  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Moodiness, irritability, or anger
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Loneliness and isolation

Other mental or emotional health problems

Physical symptoms:

  • Aches and pains
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Nausea, dizziness
  • Chest pain, rapid heart rate
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Frequent colds or flu

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Eating more or less
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Withdrawing from others
  • Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities
  • Using alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs to relax
  • Nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing)

Common external causes of stress include:

  • Major life changes
  • Work or school
  • Relationship difficulties
  • Financial problems
  • Being too busy
  • Children and family

Common internal causes of stress include:

  • Pessimism
  • Inability to accept uncertainty
  • Rigid thinking, lack of flexibility
  • Negative self-talk
  • Unrealistic expectations / perfectionism
  • All-or-nothing attitude

What’s stressful for you?

Whatever event or situation is stressing you out, there are ways of coping with the problem and regaining your balance. Some of life’s most common sources of stress include:

  • Stress at work
  • Job loss and unemployment stress
  • Caregiver stress
  • Grief and loss etc..

How much stress is too much?

Because of the widespread damage stress can cause, it’s important to know your own limit. But just how much stress is “too much” differs from person to person. Some people seem to be able to roll with life’s punches, while others tend to crumble in the face of small obstacles or frustrations. Some people even thrive on the excitement of a high-stress lifestyle.

Factors that influence your stress tolerance level include:

Your support network. A strong network of supportive friends and family members is an enormous buffer against stress. When you have people you can count on, life’s pressures don’t seem as overwhelming. On the flip side, the lonelier and more isolated you are, the greater your risk of succumbing to stress.

Your sense of control. If you have confidence in yourself and your ability to influence events and persevere through challenges, it’s easier to take stress in stride. On the other hand, if you believe that you have little control over your life—that you’re at the mercy of your environment and circumstances—stress is more likely to knock you off course.

Your attitude and outlook. The way you look at life and its inevitable challenges makes a huge difference in your ability to handle stress. If you’re generally hopeful and optimistic, you’ll be less vulnerable. Stress-hardy people tend to embrace challenges, have a stronger sense of humor, believe in a higher purpose, and accept change as an inevitable part of life.

Your ability to deal with your emotions. If you don’t know how to calm and soothe yourself when you’re feeling sad, angry, or troubled, you’re more likely to become stressed and agitated. Having the ability to identify and deal appropriately with your emotions can increase your tolerance to stress and help you bounce back from adversity.

Your knowledge and preparation. The more you know about a stressful situation, including how long it will last and what to expect, the easier it is to cope. For example, if you go into surgery with a realistic picture of what to expect post-op, a painful recovery will be less stressful than if you were expecting to bounce back immediately.

Improving your ability to handle stress

Get moving. Upping your activity level is one tactic you can employ right now to help relieve stress and start to feel better. Regular exercise can lift your mood and serve as a distraction from worries, allowing you to break out of the cycle of negative thoughts that feed stress. Rhythmic exercises such as walking, running, swimming, and dancing are particularly effective, especially if you exercise mindfully (focusing your attention on the physical sensations you experience as you move).

Connect to others. The simple act of talking face-to-face with another human can trigger hormones that relieve stress when you’re feeling agitated or insecure. Even just a brief exchange of kind words or a friendly look from another human being can help calm and soothe your nervous system. So, spend time with people who improve your mood and don’t let your responsibilities keep you from having a social life. If you don’t have any close relationships, or your relationships are the source of your stress, make it a priority to build stronger and more satisfying connections.

Engage your senses. Another fast way to relieve stress is by engaging one or more of your senses—sight, sound, taste, smell, touch, or movement. The key is to find the sensory input that works for you. Does listening to an uplifting song make you feel calm? Or smelling ground coffee? Or maybe petting an animal works quickly to make you feel centered? Everyone responds to sensory input a little differently, so experiment to find what works best for you.

Learn to relax. You can’t completely eliminate stress from your life, but you can control how much it affects you. Relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, and deep breathing activate the body’s relaxation response, a state of restfulness that is the polar opposite of the stress response. When practiced regularly, these activities can reduce your everyday stress levels and boost feelings of joy and serenity. They also increase your ability to stay calm and collected under pressure.

Eat a healthy diet. The food you eat can improve or worsen your mood and affect your ability to cope with life’s stressors. Eating a diet full of processed and convenience food, refined carbohydrates, and sugary snacks can worsen symptoms of stress, while a diet rich in fresh fruit and vegetables, high-quality protein, and omega-3 fatty acids, can help you better cope with life’s ups and downs.

Get your rest. Feeling tired can increase stress by causing you to think irrationally. At the same time, chronic stress can disrupt your sleep. Whether you’re having trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night, there are plenty of ways to improve your sleep so you feel less stressed and more productive and emotionally balanced.

Why is it so important to manage stress?

If you’re living with high levels of stress, you’re putting your entire well-being at risk. Stress wreaks havoc on your emotional equilibrium, as well as your physical health. It narrows your ability to think clearly, function effectively, and enjoy life. It may seem like there’s nothing you can do about stress. The bills won’t stop coming, there will never be more hours in the day, and your work and family responsibilities will always be demanding. But you have a lot more control than you might think.

Effective stress management helps you break the hold stress has on your life, so you can be happier, healthier, and more productive. The ultimate goal is a balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation, and fun—and the resilience to hold up under pressure and meet challenges head on. But stress management is not one-size-fits-all. That’s why it’s important to experiment and find out what works best for you. The following stress management tips can help you do that.

Tip 1: Identify the sources of stress in your life

To identify your true sources of stress, look closely at your habits, attitude, and excuses:

Do you explain away stress as temporary (“I just have a million things going on right now”) even though you can’t remember the last time you took a breather?

Do you define stress as an integral part of your work or home life (“Things are always crazy around here”) or as a part of your personality (“I have a lot of nervous energy, that’s all”)?

Do you blame your stress on other people or outside events, or view it as entirely normal and unexceptional?

Until you accept responsibility for the role you play in creating or maintaining it, your stress level will remain outside your control.

Tip 2: Practice the 4 A’s of stress management

While stress is an automatic response from your nervous system, some stressors arise at predictable times: your commute to work, a meeting with your boss, or family gatherings, for example. When handling such predictable stressors, you can either change the situation or change your reaction. When deciding which option to choose in any given scenario, it’s helpful to think of the four A’s: avoid, alter, adapt, or accept.

Tip 3: Get moving

When you’re stressed, the last thing you probably feel like doing is getting up and exercising. But physical activity is a huge stress reliever—and you don’t have to be an athlete or spend hours in a gym to experience the benefits. Exercise releases endorphins that make you feel good, and it can also serve as a valuable distraction from your daily worries.

While you’ll get the most benefit from regularly exercising for 30 minutes or more, it’s okay to build up your fitness level gradually. Even very small activities can add up over the course of a day. The first step is to get yourself up and moving. Here are some easy ways to incorporate exercise into your daily schedule:

Put on some music and dance around

Take your dog for a walk

Walk or cycle to the grocery store

Use the stairs at home or work rather than an elevator

Park your car in the farthest spot in the lot and walk the rest of the way

Pair up with an exercise partner and encourage each other as you work out

Play ping-pong or an activity-based video game with your kids

Tip 4: Connect to others

here is nothing more calming than spending quality time with another human being who makes you feel safe and understood. In fact, face-to-face interaction triggers a cascade of hormones that counteracts the body’s defensive “fight-or-flight” response. It’s nature’s natural stress reliever (as an added bonus, it also helps stave off depression and anxiety). So make it a point to connect regularly—and in person—with family and friends.

Keep in mind that the people you talk to don’t have to be able to fix your stress. They simply need to be good listeners. And try not to let worries about looking weak or being a burden keep you from opening up. The people who care about you will be flattered by your trust. It will only strengthen your bond.

Of course, it’s not always realistic to have a pal close by to lean on when you feel overwhelmed by stress, but by building and maintaining a network of close friends you can improve your resiliency to life’s stressors.

Tip 5: Make time for fun and relaxation

Beyond a take-charge approach and a positive attitude, you can reduce stress in your life by carving out “me” time. Don’t get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life that you forget to take care of your own needs. Nurturing yourself is a necessity, not a luxury. If you regularly make time for fun and relaxation, you’ll be in a better place to handle life’s stressors.

Tip 6: Manage your time better

Poor time management can cause a lot of stress. When you’re stretched too thin and running behind, it’s hard to stay calm and focused. Plus, you’ll be tempted to avoid or cut back on all the healthy things you should be doing to keep stress in check, like socializing and getting enough sleep. The good news: there are things you can do to achieve a healthier work-life balance.

Don’t over-commit yourself. Avoid scheduling things back-to-back or trying to fit too much into one day. All too often, we underestimate how long things will take.

Prioritize tasks. Make a list of tasks you have to do, and tackle them in order of importance. Do the high-priority items first. If you have something particularly unpleasant or stressful to do, get it over with early. The rest of your day will be more pleasant as a result

Tip 7: Maintain balance with a healthy lifestyle

In addition to regular exercise, there are other healthy lifestyle choices that can increase your resistance to stress.

Eat a healthy diet.

Reduce caffeine and sugar

Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and drugs.

Get enough sleep

Tip 8: Learn to relieve stress in the moment

When you’re frazzled by your morning commute, stuck in a stressful meeting at work, or fried from another argument with your spouse, you need a way to manage your stress levels right now. That’s where quick stress relief comes in.

Quick Stress Relief

Learn how to use sensory stimulation to relieve stress on the spot and stay calm, productive, and focused—no matter what life throws at you.

What is the fastest way to relieve stress?

There are countless techniques for managing stress. Yoga, mindfulness meditation, and exercise are just a few examples of stress-relieving activities that work wonders. But in the heat of the moment, during a high-pressured job interview, for example, or a disagreement with your spouse, you can’t just excuse yourself to meditate or take a long walk. In these situations, you need something more immediate and accessible.

One of the speediest and most reliable ways to stamp out stress is to engage one or more of your senses—sight, sound, taste, smell, touch—or through movement. Since everyone is different, you’ll need to do some experimenting to discover which technique works best for you—but the payoff is huge. You can stay calm, productive, and focused when you know how to quickly relieve stress.

 

Amla or Indian Gooseberry – A Natural Superfood

 

Green gooseberries in a wooden bowl

Well, have you heard of another such superfood, Amla also known as Indian gooseberry has been one of the most popular superfoods among health enthusiasts.Amla has been one of the most widely consumed Indian berry, but did you know Amla is not just an immunity booster and there’s a lot more to this little fruit, which can work wonders for your body, skin and hair in so many ways.

What is amla?

Amla is a green colored translucent fruit which derives its name from the Sanskrit word ‘Amlaki’ which means “nectar of life”. Biologically known as Phyllanthus emblica, Indian gooseberry has been used for its medicinal properties in making Ancient medicines like Unnani, Ayurveda and Siddha. Right from being a natural blood purifier to boosting immunity due to the presence of vitamin C to being a good source of fiber, Amla has been used for preventing as well as curing several ailments.Amla is famous in India for its many health benefits and its quality to treat countless ailments be it the common cold, cancer, or infertility. Ayurveda doctors claim that amla can help balance the three doshas (Kapha/vista/pitta) in the body and eliminate the underlying cause of many diseases.

Types of Gooseberries:

There are different varieties of Amla grown in different parts of the world and it also varies in its levels of nutrition. Understanding the health benefits of gooseberries is equally important as looking at the different types of gooseberries grown worldwide. Here is a list of different types of gooseberries.

1. Fredonia Gooseberry:

This is a larger variety of gooseberries that appear to be dark red and is cultivated and grown in the United States though it is a native fruit from England. This fruit is available from July to August.

2. Achilles Gooseberry:

This type of gooseberry appears to be small and hairy which is red in colour and is usually consumed in the United Kingdom. This is usually sold in the markets after the second week of July.

3. Whinham’s Gooseberry:

This type of gooseberry is a native of England and appears to be lengthy and when it ripens, this fruit it turns to be purple-red in colour and the taste and smell of the fruit is said to be fabulous.

4. Poorman Gooseberry:

This variety of gooseberry is said to be the best in the United States. It appears to be extremely large because of its red colour and also has an excellent taste and texture. It is usually sold in the month of July in America.

5. Whitesmith Gooseberry:

This type of gooseberry is also called as English Whiter. When this fruit ripens, the fruit turns green or yellow. This is one of the best varieties for consumption purposes and does not have to be processed in order to be consumed. This variety is usually found in The United Kingdom from the beginning of July.

Benefits of Amla

There are many benefits of eating amla daily and one of them is that it is excellent for your hair and skin.So, here are a few interesting uses of Amla that will make you fall for this miraculous fruit.

1. Improves Immunity:

Amla contains eight times more Vitamin C than an orange, it has twice the antioxidant power as of acai berry and 17 times that of a pomegranate. No wonder Amla is called a superfood!

The Vitamin C content of Amla makes it an excellent source of building your immunity and metabolism. It is known to fight both viral and bacterial ailments efficiently and reducing the impact of various health problems such and cancer and heart-related ailments.

Fights Infections and Prevents Cold, Chest Congestion:

Since Amla is a wonderful source for improving your immunity, amla powder benefits the body during viral and bacterial infections as well as while fighting from the common cold.

 

Amla Powder mixed with two teaspoons of honey provides relief from cough and cold when consumed around three to four times a day. Amla also aids in the removal of sputum from the respiratory tract and can soothe the inflamed airways. Therefore, Amla is used to provide relief from bronchitis, cough, and other respiratory illnesses.

Improves eyesight

Studies have shown that the carotene in amla improves vision. Daily consumption has also been linked to improvement in overall eye health as amla can reduce cataract problem, intraocular tension (the pressure you feel) as well as prevent reddening, itching, and watering of eyes.

Beautifies hair

 It beautifies hair

Gooseberries can do good for your hair by making it seem smooth and silky. This has been used as a herbal treatment for preventing dandruff and dry hair for over centuries in India. Here are some hair benefits that gooseberry can offer.

Natural Hair Straightener:

Does your heart crave for straight hair? Well, you must be trying some hair straightening machines or creams in the past that have more chances of damaging your hair. Did you know that gooseberry paste was a natural hair straightener? Yes, gooseberry paste or juice have the tendency to repair your hair follicles and boosts hair growth. All you need to do is to add some amla juice over your scalp and leave it to dry for 30 minutes. Once it dries you can rinse it off with some lukewarm water. This will leave you stronger and will give it an extra layer of shine.

 Prevents Premature Greying:

One of the first signs of ageing fast is premature greying of hair. This can become a nightmare for those who are young, but you need to understand that this is something very serious. So, how do you prevent your hair from greying? It’s simple, all you need to do is to add some gooseberries juice to your hair and leave it dry for 30 minutes. Amla juice is filled with vitamin C and antioxidants that can prevent hair fall and premature greying.

Prevents Dandruff:

Dandruff can be a very serious situation to handle, especially, this is said to pull down your confidence in public. There are many anti-dandruff shampoos and creams out there in the market, but why not try something natural and put a complete stop to dandruff. Try amla juice and this will repair broken strands of hair and give it an extra layer of shine.

Natural Hair Conditioner:

Amla juice acts as a great conditioner for your hair and gives a smooth and shiny finish. All you need to do is to mix some amla juice with some henna and gently apply it on your scalp. This will make your hair look healthy and once this is dried, you can wash it away with some lukewarm water to give you that extra smoothness and shine.

Prevents Hair Problems

You may encounter loads of hair related problems during your teenage and as you enter in adulthood, the worst hair problem you would begin to face is greying. However, if you are facing any hair problems such as dandruff, premature greying, dryness of hair etc, then you definitely need to try amla juice. Applying it is the best way that you can fight any of the above-listed hair problems.

Acts as a Natural Blood Purifier:

One of the many benefits of Indian gooseberry is that its Vitamin C content makes the blood vessels stronger and thicker. Amla acts as an antioxidant agent and efficiently detoxifies the body.

It improves skin health

Amla not only gives glowing skin but it also keeps the skin hydrated and healthy. Amla is also used as a superfood for its anti-aging properties.Drinking amla juice with honey every morning can give you blemish-free, healthy and glowing skin.

some health benefits of gooseberry for  skin.

1. Anti-Ageing Properties:

Consuming gooseberry juice can help your skin age slowly. As you begin to age, you would always want to look younger and that is one particular phase of growing older. However, who does not want to look young? So, simply just make some amla juice and add some honey to it and drink it. This drink has loads of antioxidants in it that can make your skin look better and beat ageing cells. Vitamin C is found in amla and this aids in glowing skin. Regularly drinking amla juice will prevent premature ageing, fine lines, dark spots and wrinkles.

2. Treats Acne:

You can also make amla paste and apply it over the affected area of your face and leave it to dry for not more than 15 minutes. This will fight pimples, fine lines and reduce scarring done by acne. It is a natural blood purifier that keeps pimples and the after-effects of acne away. Thus, amla juice gives you flawless skin.

3. Good Skin Tone:

High amounts of collagen contents in your skin help in skin firmness and make your skin appear soft. Regular consumption of amla juice boosts vitamin C levels and helps increase the production of collagen level in your skin. This will make your skin look soft and youthful.

4. Treats Skin Pigmentation:

Applying or drinking amla juice is said to cleanse your skin and reduced skin pigmentation. All you need to do is to apply some amla juice onto your face and once this dries, make sure that you use a small piece of cotton and wipe it away. Also, keep your eye closed when you are doing this. Doing this on a regular basis will lighten skin marks and reduce skin pigmentation.

5. Removes Dead Skin Cells:

Amla juice is said to rejuvenate your skin and add an extra layer of skin brightness that will make your skin outshine itself. How more confident can you get with your skin appearing all bright and vibrant. This adds to some extra boost of your self-confidence. Also, amla juice is an excellent cleanser whether it is applied directly or consumed. This will help remove dead cells and make promote anti-ageing.

Helps Manage Chronic Conditions:

Diabetes, high cholesterol, heart diseases, asthma, and cancer have become common conditions that impact a large number of people in today’s times. The good thing is there are many medicinal uses of Amla and all these chronic health conditions can be managed by consuming this superfood.

The amino acids and antioxidants aid in the overall functioning of the heart. Chromium in Amla helps the body to be more responsive to insulin and also regulates the blood sugar level, making it excellent for diabetics.

It relieves pain

Be it arthritis-related joint aches or painful mouth ulcers, amla can provide relief owing to its anti-inflammatory properties. For ulcers, you simply need to dilute amla juice in half a cup of water and gargle with it.

Aids in weight loss management

Yes, gooseberry is said to aid in weight loss and this fruit must be added to your everyday diet. Gooseberry also speeds up your metabolism and flushes out the bad toxins from your body. It also aids in goods digestion which means that the faster your food gets digested, the more hungry you may feel. Thus, this also curbs your appetite by making you feel full.

Thus, gooseberry is a wonderful sour fruit that needs to be added to your everyday diet as this can help you lose weight and offers loads of health benefits for your hair and skin. So, all you need to do is to prepare some amla juice and apply it directly over your hair and skin and this will do good for you and your health. Stay Fit, Live Healthy.

 

How to use Amla in our daily diet?

Amla Juice

Drinking the juice of fresh amla is the best way to reap the benefits of this fruit. Amla is easily available from December through April. However, if you can’t handle the sour shot, try these tasty options:

Dried:

Deseed and chop amla into small pieces. Mix with a little salt and leave to dry in sunlight for a few days. Once it is completely dehydrated, store in a dry jar for an ideal on-the-go snack.

Pickled:

Make a spicy amla achaar or a sweet murabba by soaking amla in sugary water.

AMLA OIL AS A HAIR TONIC

Amla can be used in combination with coconut oil or almond oil as a hair tonic. To use it with coconut oil, simply boil some dried pieces of amla in coconut oil till the liquid turns brown. Use this tonic on your scalp and hair.

Potential downsides

Amla can make constipation worse - Yes, it is supposed to heal constipation but if not consumed in controlled quantity, it can make matters worse. And it gets even worse, if your water intake goes down.

Induce hyperacidity - We all know Amla is a rich source of Vitamin C, which makes the fruit acidic in nature. Amla is often prescribed to be consumed on empty stomach to detoxify but this can trigger acidity. So if you are sensitive to such foods, avoid eating this.

Diabetics should use with caution - Amla is considered to be a good antidote for diabetes. But it could intervene with your diabetes medication, so it’s always better to consult your doctor. It can bring down the sugar level in the blood leading to hypoglycemia when combined with anti-diabetes medicines.

Consult your doctor if you have heart ailments - Amla is considered to be a strong cardiovascular stimulant. While it may not have any serious implications, it is always advisable to consult your doctor before consuming this fruit for good health.

Can aggravate cold – Amla is known as a natural coolant and so it can make your symptoms of cold worse. It is believed to lower body temperature to a great extent. It can be used in the form of Triphala by diluting it in warm water with honey. It will help keep respiratory side effects of Amla powder at bay.

Take Away

In the current times or this pandemic time when almost everyone require a boosting immunity power & has hair problems because of poor lifestyle, diet, and environmental pollution, Amla is a wonder Ayurvedic fruit that helps in restoring hair health. Including it in the diet as well in our regular hair care routine is the best way to get those healthy, lustrous hair we all desire.

Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep Vein Thrombosis: DVT Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment – Medlife Blog:  Health and Wellness Tips

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)  can happen to anybody and can cause serious illness, disability, and in some cases, death. The good news is that DVT is preventable and treatable if discovered early.

What is Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a medical condition that occurs when a blood clot forms in a deep vein. These clots usually develop in the lower leg, thigh, or pelvis, but they can also occur in the arm.If blood moves too slowly through your veins, it can cause a clump of blood cells called a clot. When a blood clot forms in a vein deep inside your body, it causes what doctors call deep vein thrombosis (DVT). Deep vein thrombosis can cause leg pain or swelling, but also can occur with no symptoms.

Deep vein thrombosis can develop if you have certain medical conditions that affect how your blood clots. It can also happen if you don’t move for a long time, such as after surgery or an accident, or when you’re confined to bed.

Symptoms of DVT :

About half of people with DVT have no symptoms at all. The following are the most common symptoms of DVT that occur in the affected part of the body:

  • throbbing or cramping pain in 1 leg (rarely both legs), usually in the calf or thigh
  • swelling in 1 leg (rarely both legs)
  • warm skin around the painful area
  • red or darkened skin around the painful area
  • swollen veins that are hard or sore when you touch them

These symptoms also happen in your arm or tummy if that’s where the blood clot is.

Pulmonary embolism

A serious complication associated with deep vein thrombosis is pulmonary embolism.

A pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood vessel in your lung becomes blocked by a blood clot (thrombus) that travels to your lung from another part of your body, usually your leg.

A pulmonary embolism can be life-threatening. It’s important to watch for signs and symptoms of a pulmonary embolism and seek medical attention if they occur. Signs and symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include:

  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or discomfort that worsens when you take a deep breath or when you cough
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy, or fainting
  • Rapid pulse
  • Coughing up blood

Postphlebitic syndrome

A common complication that can occur after deep vein thrombosis is known as postphlebitic syndrome, also called postthrombotic syndrome. Damage to your veins from the blood clot reduces blood flow in the affected areas, which can cause:

  • Persistent swelling of your legs (edema)
  • Leg pain
  • Skin discoloration
  • Skin sores

Causes/Risk Factors for DVT?

Many things can raise your chances of getting DVT. Here are some of the most common:

  • Age. DVT can happen at any age, but your risk is greater after age 40.
  • Sitting for long periods. When you sit for long stretches of time, the muscles in your lower legs stay lax. This makes it hard for blood to circulate, or move around, the way it should. Long flights or car rides can put you at risk.
  • Bed rest, like when you’re in the hospital for a long time, can also keep your muscles still and raise your odds of DVT.
  • Pregnancy . Carrying a baby puts more pressure on the veins in your legs and pelvis. What’s more, a clot can happen up to 6 weeks after you give birth.
  • Obesity . People with a body mass index (BMI) over 30 have a higher chance of DVT. This measures how much body fat you have, compared with your height and weight.
  • Serious health issues. Conditions like Irritable bowel disease, cancer, and heart disease can all raise your risk.
  • Certain inherited blood disorders. Some diseases that run in families can make your blood thicker than normal or cause it to clot more than it should.
  • Injury to a vein. This could result from a broken bone, surgery, or other trauma.
  • Smoking makes blood cells stickier than they should be. It also harms the lining of your blood vessels. This makes it easier for clots to form.
  • Birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy. The estrogen in these raises your blood’s ability to clot. (Progesterone-only pills don’t have the same risk.)

Diagnosis:

The diagnosis of superficial thrombophlebitis usually is made by the doctor based upon history, potential risk factors present, and findings from the physical examination.

If the probability of a leg thrombosis is low, a D-Dimer blood test may be ordered.

  • If the D-Dimer is negative, then it is unlikely that a DVT is the diagnosis.
  • If the D-dimer is elevated, then the possibility of a DVT exists and an imaging study, usually ultrasound, is required to look for the DVT

Ultrasound

  • Ultrasound is the standard method of diagnosing the presence of a deep vein thrombosis.
  • Other tests

    • Venography, injecting dye into the veins to look for a thrombus, is not usually performed anymore and has become more of a historical footnote.
    • Other blood testing may be considered based on the potential cause for the deep vein thrombosis.

 

Treatments for DVT and PE

DVT

Medication is used to prevent and treat DVT. Compression stockings (also called graduated compression stockings) are sometimes recommended to prevent DVT and relieve pain and swelling. These might need to be worn for 2 years or more after having DVT. In severe cases, the clot might need to be removed surgically.

PE

Immediate medical attention is necessary to treat PE. In cases of severe, life-threatening PE, there are medicines called thrombolytics that can dissolve the clot.  Other medicines, called anticoagulants, may be prescribed to prevent more clots from forming. Some people may need to be on medication long-term to prevent future blood clots.

Treating DVT at Home

When you return home after DVT treatment, your goals are to get better and prevent another blood clot. You’ll need to:

  • Take medications as directed. After a DVT, you’ll take blood thinners for at least 3 to 6 months.
  • See your doctor often. They’ll let you know if your medications are helping and make adjustments if you need them. If you’re taking warfarin, you’ll get a blood test to see how well your blood is clotting.
  • Make sure you aren’t bleeding too much. This is a side effect of blood thinner medications. Even a small cut can get serious when you’re taking blood thinners.
  • Be safe. Talk to your doctor about things that can lead to bruises or cuts. Try not to bump or injure your legs. Don’t cross your legs.
  • Stay active. Even if you’ve been on bed rest after surgery or for other reasons, get moving. That’s a sure way to prevent more blood clots. Don’t sit or stand still for more than an hour at a time. Change positions often, especially if you’re on a long trip.
  • Wear compression stockings. The most common kinds of these special socks go from the arch of your foot to just below or above your knee. They can relieve the pain and swelling in your legs, and they help prevent more clots. Compression stockings come in different levels of pressure. You can get mild ones over the co

     Preventing DVT.

  • Some simple actions include:
    • Lose weight.
    • Exercise.
    • Don’t stay still for long periods — move every 2 hours or so when you’re on a plane or long car trip.
    • Wear loose clothes and drink lots of water when you travel.

    unter, but you’ll need to get fitted and a prescription for stronger ones. Your doctor will help you figure out what kind you need.

  • You may have to wear them for 2 years or longer after you have DVT.
  • Eat a healthy, low-salt diet. Extra pounds put more pressure on the veins in your pelvis and legs. Salt boosts your blood pressure. Keeping your sodium and cholesterol levels low can help you avoid another blood clot.
  • Work on losing weight if you’re carrying extra pounds.
  • Quit smoking. It affects blood flow and circulation, which can raise your odds of getting another clot.
  • Lift up. Raise the bottom of your bed 6 inches off the ground. You can use blocks, books, or special risers you can find online or at home stores

When Traveling

On flights longer than 4 hours, get up and move around. Take the opportunity to walk and stretch between connecting flights, too.

When you’re traveling by car, stop when you can to walk around.

If you’re stuck in your seat, work the muscles in your legs often throughout your trip:

  • Stretch your legs.
  • Flex your feet.
  • Curl or press your toes down.

Drink plenty of fluids, but avoid coffee and alcohol. They’ll dehydrate you, which makes your veins narrower and blood thicker, so you’re more likely to get a clot.

Don’t wear short, tight socks, and try not to cross your legs a lot. You might want to wear compression stockings. They’ll help your blood flow and keep swelling down.

Take Away

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)  can happen to anybody and can cause serious illness, disability, and in some cases, death. The good news is that DVT is preventable and treatable if discovered early.

A healthylifestyle is important for preventing DVT and helping to avoid life-threatening complications. Plus, a healthy lifestyle incorporates many of the changes that are necessary to prevent blood clots. This includes moving more, quitting smoking, and losing weight.

You can lower your risk for DVT and blood clots with a healthy diet. Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains deliver essential vitamins and minerals.

Review any vitamins or supplements you take with your doctor and ask about possible interactions with medications. It’s also important you talk with your doctor about any foods or nutrients you should avoid.

 

 

 

Soy Protein: Good or Bad?

The Festival of lights (6)

 

Soy protein is a protein that is isolated from soybeans, offers multiple health benefits(Glycine max) are a type of legume native to eastern Asia. Soy protein has received increased attention in recent years among consumers, researchers, and themedia.Individuals with a habitually health-conscious lifestyle (e.g., individuals who did not eat meat, but did eat fish, or were vegetarians or vegans) were more likely to consume soy foods than the average personSoybeans are healthful and rich in protein, giving them numerous nutritional uses. People can eat them, drink them in milk alternatives, and take them in the form of supplements.They are an important component of Asian diets and have been consumed for thousands of years. Today, they are mainly grown in Asia and South and North America.

Nutrition Facts:

Soybeans are among the best sources of plant-based protein.

Soy protein isolate powder is made from defatted soybean flakes that have been washed in either alcohol or water to remove the sugars and dietary fiber. They’re then dehydrated and turned into a powder.

This product contains very little fat and no cholesterol.

Soy protein powder is used to make infant soy formula, as well as a variety of meat and dairy alternatives.

Soybeans are low in saturated fat and high in protein, vitamin C, and folate. They are also a good source of:

  • calcium
  • iron
  • magnesium
  • phosphorus
  • potassium
  • thiamin

The nutritional content of other soy products may vary based on how manufacturers have processed them and which ingredients they have added.

Benefits

Pregnancy

Use of soy products during pregnancy can be encouraged because expectant women are likely to receive the same health benefits as other women. Fortified milk and fortified soymilk are the only reliable dietary sources of vitamin D  All other dairy products contain little or no vitamin D. While many women will obtain enough vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, soymilk may be an alternative for those who are overly sensitive to the sun or for those who simply are not able to be or do not enjoy being outdoors. Soymilk may also be an alternative for women who do not like regular milk.

Cardiac

Consumption of soy protein in place of animal protein has been found to reduce serum concentrations of total cholesterol, low-density lipoproteins (LDLs), and trigylcerides. Individuals with elevated cholesterol seem to receive the greatest benefit.

Obesity and Diabetes

In recent studies, soy protein contributed to the control of hyperglycemia and reduced body weight, hyperlipidemia, and hyperinsulinemia. These characteristics may be useful to both nondiabetic and diabetic persons in the control of obesity and blood sugar.

Cancer Prevention

Genistein, one of the phytochemicals found in soy, can reduce the risk of cancer.  prevention of breast cancer has received the most attention, and more recent attention has focused on prostate cancer. Genistein blocks cancer development by preventing tumors from creating blood vessels that would provide nourishment for growth .

Vegetarians and Vegans

Vegetarians are individuals who, for various reasons, do not eat meat. Vegans, in comparison, are individuals who do not eat any products from animals, including eggs, milk, and cheese. Vitamin B12 is only found in animal products and, therefore, may be lacking in the diet of vegans. Use of soymilk is one way to obtain this essential vitamin. Cereals and meat substitutes are other options.

Infants

Infants who are not able to tolerate lactose formulas (those based on cow’s milk, casein/whey-based formulas; e.g., Similac, Enfamil, Carnation) may be prescribed soy-based formulas if they are not breastfed

Types and uses

Soybeans are a high protein plant food that people can prepare and eat in a variety of ways.

depositphotos_4454739-stock-photo-mixture-of-dried-lentils-peas

Soybeans come in many colors, including:

  • Green soybeans: Young green soybeans are also called edamame. People can steam them and eat them out of the pod as an appetizer. Shelled edamame is also available in salads, stir-fries, and soups.
  • Yellow soybeans: Producers typically use yellow soybeans to make soy milk, tofu, tempeh, and tamari. They also play a role in the production of soy flour for baking.
  • Black soybeans: Several Asian food cultures use simmered or fermented black soybeans in traditional dishes.

Soy milk and cheese are also options for those looking to replace dairy in the diet.

Soybeans also provide soy oil, which people can use for cooking or as an ingredient. After removing the oil from soybeans, people can use the remaining material to make food for farm animals and pets.

Some manufacturers make protein powder and isoflavone supplements from soy. Isoflavones are plant compounds that have a similar structure to estrogen.

Less processed organic soy is the most healthful option. Some examples include:

  • cooked soybeans
  • edamame
  • soy milk
  • tofu
  • tempeh
  • soy nuts

Risk

Some people have concerns about the consumption of soy. We cover these concerns in more detail in the sections below.

  • Thyroid function

There is some concern that soy intake may interfere with thyroid function.

Researchers found that women with higher soy intake had a higher chance of having elevated levels of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH).

A high TSH level may signify an underactive thyroid. Researchers did not find the same results in men.

The authors explain that soy is likely to be safe. However, consuming excessive amounts may create health risks in some people, such as those with undiagnosed hypothyroidism.

  • Flatulence and diarrhea

Like most other beans, soybeans contain insoluble fibers, which may cause flatulence and diarrhea in sensitive individuals.If you have IBS, avoiding or limiting the consumption of soybeans may be a good idea.

  • Soy allergy

Food allergy is a common condition caused by a harmful immune reaction to certain components in foods.Soy allergy is triggered by soy proteins — glycinin and conglycinin — found in most soy products. Even though soybeans are one of the most common allergenic foods, soy allergy is relatively uncommon in both children and adults

Take Away

Soy protein is a complete source of protein,offer benefits to women in various life stages. It may aid muscle building, improved diet and cardiovascular status, prevention of certain types of cancer, improved health following menopause, obesity prevention/control, and more options for food variety. Overall, soy is safe for most people and may offer health benefits, including weight loss.If you like the taste or eat plant-based, go ahead and give soy protein a try.

 

Lung Cancer

robina-weermeijer-Pw9aFhc92P8-unsplashThe month of November brings lung cancer into focus and brings awareness to the ways we can all strive to improve our lung health and empower those impacted by the disease.Lung cancer is the most common cause of death due to cancer in both men and women throughout the world. Nearly 9 out of 10 lung cancers are caused by smoking cigarettes.

What Is Lung Cancer?

Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. When cancer starts in the lungs, it is called lung cancer.One of the most common cancers, lung cancer usually occurs when a cancer-causing agent, or carcinogen, triggers the growth of abnormal cells in the lung. These cells multiply out of control and eventually form a tumor. As the tumor grows, it destroys nearby areas of the lung. Eventually, tumor cells can spread (metastasize) to nearby lymph nodes and other parts of the body. These include the

  • liver
  • bones
  • adrenal glands
  • brain.

In most cases, the carcinogens that trigger lung cancer are chemicals found in cigarette smoke. However, more and more lung cancers are being diagnosed in people who have never smoked.

Lung Cancer

Types of Lung Cancer:

Lung cancers are divided into two groups, based on how their cells look under the microscope:

  • Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
  • Small cell lung cancer.(SCLC)

Non-small cell lung cancer may be localized. This means that it is limited to the lung or that it hasn’t spread beyond the chest. As a result, it can usually be treated with surgery. Small cell lung cancer is rarely localized, even when it is detected early. It is rarely treated with surgery. Knowing whether the cancer has spread is critical, because it affects treatment decisions.

However, even when doctors think that the cancer is localized, it often comes back shortly after surgery. This means cancer cells had started to spread before surgery, but they couldn’t yet be detected.

Non-small cell lung cancer

Non-small cell lung cancer is more likely than small cell cancer to be localized at the time of diagnosis. It also is more likely than small cell cancer to be treatable with surgery. It often responds poorly to chemotherapy (anticancer drugs). However, sophisticated genetic tests can help predict which patients may show favorable responses to particular treatments, including chemotherapy.

Non-small cell lung cancer accounts for about 85% of all lung cancers. These cancers are divided into subgroups, based on how their cells look under a microscope:

  • Adenocarcinoma. This is the most common type of lung cancer. Although it is related to smoking, it is the most common type of lung cancer in nonsmokers. It is also the most common form of lung cancer in women and in people younger than 45. It usually develops near the edge of the lung. It can also involve the pleura, the membrane covering the lung.
  • Squamous cell carcinoma. This type of lung cancer tends to form a mass near the center of the lungs. As the mass gets larger, it can bulge into one of the larger air passages, or bronchi. In some cases, the tumor forms a cavity in the lungs.
  • Large cell carcinoma. Like adenocarcinoma, large cell carcinoma tends to develop at the edge of the lungs and spread to the pleura. Like squamous cell carcinoma, it can form a cavity in the lungs.
  • Adenosquamous carcinoma, undifferentiated carcinoma, and bronchioloalveolar carcinoma.These are relatively rare non-small cell lung cancers. Adenosquamous carcinoma has a worse prognosis compared to either adenocarcinoma or squamous cancer.

Small cell lung cancer 

At the time of diagnosis, small cell lung cancer is more likely than non-small cell cancer to have spread beyond the lung. This makes it almost impossible to cure with surgery. However, it can be managed with chemotherapy or radiation therapy. Small cell cancers account for about 15% of all lung cancers.

Causes and Risk factors:

Risk of all types of lung cancer increase if you:

  • smoke. Smoking cigarettes is by far the leading risk factor for lung cancer. In fact, cigarette smokers are 13 times more likely to develop lung cancer than nonsmokers. Cigar and pipe smoking are almost as likely to cause lung cancer as cigarette smoking.
  •  Exposed to radon gas. Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas formed in the ground. It seeps into the lower floors of homes and other buildings and can contaminate drinking water. Radon exposure is the second leading cause of lung cancer. It’s not clear whether elevated radon levels contribute to lung cancer in nonsmokers. But radon exposure does contribute to lung cancer in smokers and in people who regularly breathe high amounts of the gas at work (miners, for example). You can test radon levels in your home with a radon testing kit.
  • Exposed to asbestos. Asbestos is a mineral used in insulation, fireproofing materials, floor and ceiling tiles, automobile brake linings, and other products. People exposed to asbestos on the job (miners, construction workers, shipyard workers, and some auto mechanics) have a higher-than-normal risk of lung cancer. People who live or work in buildings with asbestos-containing materials that are deteriorating also have an increased risk of lung cancer. The risk is even higher in people who also smoke. Asbestos exposure also increases the risk of developing mesothelioma. It’s a relatively rare and usually fatal cancer that starts in the lining of the lungs.
  • Exposed to other cancer-causing agents at work. These include uranium, arsenic, vinyl chloride, nickel chromates, coal products, mustard gas, chloromethyl ethers, gasoline, and diesel exhaust.
  • Passive smoking: Passive smoking or the inhalation of tobacco smoke by non-smokers who share living or working quarters with smokers, also is an established risk factor for the development of lung cancer.
  • Air pollution : Air pollution from vehicles, industry, and power plants can raise the likelihood of developing lung cancer in exposed individuals. Up to 1%-2% of lung cancer deaths are attributable to breathing polluted air, and experts believe that prolonged exposure to highly polluted air can carry a risk for the development of lung cancer similar to that of passive smoking.

  • Exposure to diesel exhaust: Exhaust from diesel engines contains gases and soot (particulate matter). Many occupations, such as truck drivers, tollbooth workers, forklift and other heavy machinery operators, railroad and dock workers, miners, garage workers and mechanics, and some farm workers are frequently exposed to diesel exhaust. Studies of workers exposed to diesel exhaust have shown a small but significant increase in the risk of developing lung cancer.
  • Prior history of lung cancer:  Survivors of lung cancer have a greater risk of developing a second lung cancer than the general population has of developing a first lung cancer. Survivors of non-small-cell lung cancers (NSCLCs) have an additive risk of 1%-2% per year for developing a second lung cancer. In survivors of small-cell lung cancers (SCLCs), the risk for development of second lung cancers approaches 6% per year.

Symptoms:

In some cases, lung cancer is detected when a person with no symptoms has a chest x-ray or computed tomography (CT) scan for another reason. But most people with lung cancer have one or more of these symptoms:

  • a cough that doesn’t go away
  • coughing up blood or mucus
  • wheezing
  • shortness of breath
  • trouble breathing
  • chest pain
  • fever
  • discomfort when swallowing
  • hoarseness
  • weight loss
  • poor appetite.
  • an irregular heart beat if the cancer is located close to the heart

If the cancer has spread beyond the lungs, it can cause other symptoms. For example, you may have bone pain if it has spread to your bones.

Certain small cell lung cancers may secrete chemicals that can alter the body’s chemical composition. For example, levels of sodium and calcium may be abnormal. This can lead to the diagnosis of small cell lung cancer.

Many of these symptoms can be caused by other conditions. See your doctor if you have symptoms so that the problem can be diagnosed and properly treated.

Diagnosis

Your doctor may suspect lung cancer based on

  • your symptoms
  • your smoking history
  • whether you live with a smoker
  • your exposure to asbestos and other cancer-causing agents.

To look for evidence of cancer, your doctor will examine you, paying special attention to your lungs and chest. He or she will order imaging tests to check your lungs for masses. In most cases, a chest x-ray will be done first. If the x-ray shows anything suspicious, a CT scan will be done. As the scanner moves around you, it takes many pictures. A computer then combines the images. This creates a more detailed image of the lungs, allowing doctors to confirm the size and location of a mass or tumor.

You may also have a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan or a positron emission tomography (PET) scanMRI scans provide detailed pictures of the body’s organs, but they use radio waves and magnets to create the images, not x-rays. PET scans look at the function of tissue rather than anatomy. Lung cancer tends to show intense metabolic activity on a PET scan. Some medical centers offer combined PET-CT scanning.

If cancer is suspected based on these images, more tests will be done to make the diagnosis, determine the type of cancer, and see if it has spread. These tests may include the following:

  • Sputum sample. Coughed up mucus is checked for cancer cells.
  • Biopsy. A sample of abnormal lung tissue is removed and examined under a microscope in a laboratory. If the tissue contains cancer cells, the type of cancer can be determined by the way the cells look under the microscope. The tissue is often obtained during a bronchoscopy. However, surgery may be necessary to expose the suspicious area.
  • Bronchoscopy. During this procedure, a tube-like instrument is passed down the throat and into the lungs. A camera on the end of the tube allows doctors to look for cancer. Doctors can remove a small piece of tissue for a biopsy.
  • Mediastinoscopy. In this procedure, a tube-like instrument is used to biopsy lymph nodes or masses between the lungs. (This area is called the mediastinum.) A biopsy obtained this way can diagnose the type of lung cancer and determine whether the cancer has spread to lymph nodes.
  • Fine-needle aspiration. With a CT scan, a suspicious area can be identified. A tiny needle is then inserted into that part of the lung or pleura. The needle removes a bit of tissue for examination in a laboratory. The type of cancer can then be diagnosed.
  • Thoracentesis. If there is fluid build-up in the chest, it can be drained with a sterile needle. The fluid is then checked for cancer cells.
  • Video-assisted thoracoscopic surgery (VATS). In this procedure, a surgeon inserts a flexible tube with a video camera on the end into the chest through an incision. He or she can then look for cancer in the space between the lungs and the chest wall and on the edge of the lung. Abnormal lung tissue can also be removed for a biopsy.
  • Bone scans, MRI scans and CT scans. These imaging tests can detect lung cancer that has spread to the bones, brain, or other parts of the body.

Stages:

After the cancer has been diagnosed, it is assigned a “stage.” The stages differ for non-small cell lung cancer and small cell lung cancer.

Non-small cell lung cancer

Stages of non-small cell lung cancer reflect the tumor’s size and how far the cancer has spread. Stages I through III are further divided into A and B categories.

  • Stage I tumors are small and have not invaded the surrounding tissue or organs.
  • Stage II and III tumors have invaded surrounding tissue and/or organs and have spread to lymph nodes.
  • Stage IV tumors have spread beyond the chest.

Small Cell Lung Cancer

Many experts divide small cell lung cancers into two groups:

  • Limited stage. These cancers involve only one lung and the nearby lymph nodes.
  • Extensive stage. These cancers have spread beyond the lung to other areas of the chest or to distant organs.

Knowing the type of cancer and its stage helps doctors determine the best treatment. Limited stage cancer, for example, may be treated with surgery and/or chemotherapy. Extensive stage cancer is much less likely to be cured.

However, many doctors now stage small cell lung cancers like non-small cell lung cancers. This more formal method may make the terms limited stage and extensive stage obsolete.

Treatment

After lung cancer has been diagnosed, the type of treatment depends on the type of cancer and how much the tumor has spread i.e, its stage.

Non-small cell lung cancer

Surgery is the main treatment for non-small cell lung cancers that have not spread beyond the chest. The type of surgery will depend on the extent of the cancer. It will also depend on whether other lung conditions, such as emphysema, are present.

There are three types of surgery:

  • Wedge resection removes only a small part of the lung.
  • Lobectomy removes one lobe of the lung.
  • Pneumonectomy removes an entire lung.

Lymph nodes are also removed and examined to see if the cancer has spread.

Some surgeons use video-assisted thoracoscopy (VATS) to remove small, early-stage tumors, especially if the tumors are near the outer edge of the lung. (VATS can also be used to diagnose lung cancer.) Because the incisions for VATS are small, this technique is less invasive than a traditional “open” procedure.

Because surgery will remove part or all of a lung, breathing may be more difficult afterwards, especially in patients with other lung conditions (emphysema, for example). Doctors can test lung function prior to surgery and predict how it might be affected by surgery.

Depending on how far the cancer has spread, treatment may include chemotherapy (the use of anticancer drugs) and radiation therapy. These may be given before and/or after surgery.

When the tumor has spread significantly, chemotherapy may be recommended to slow its growth, even if it cannot cure the disease. Chemotherapy has been shown to ease symptoms and prolong life in cases of advanced lung cancer.

Radiation therapy can relieve symptoms, too. It is often used to treat lung cancer that has spread to the brain or bones and is causing pain. It can also be used alone or with chemotherapy to treat the lung cancer that is confined to the chest.

People who may not withstand surgery due to other serious medical problems may receive radiation therapy, with or without chemotherapy, as an alternative to surgery. Advances in radiation have made it possible for prolonged survival in some people, with results similar to surgery.

In specialized cancer centers, cancerous tissue may be tested for specific genetic abnormalities (mutations). Doctors may then be able to treat the cancer with a “targeted therapy.” These therapies can derail the cancer’s growth by preventing or changing chemical reactions linked to particular mutations. For example, some target therapies prevent cancer cells from receiving chemical “messages” telling them to grow.

Knowing about specific genetic mutations can help predict which therapy will be best. This strategy can be especially helpful in certain patients, such as women with adenocarcinoma of the lung who have never smoked.

Small cell lung cancer

The treatment of small cell lung cancer depends on its stage:

  • Limited stage. Treatments include various combinations of chemotherapy, radiation and, rarely, surgery, with or without radiation to the brain to prevent cancer spread. While small cell lung cancer often responds well to chemotherapy, it very often returns months or even years later.
  • Extensive stage. Treatments include chemotherapy, with or without brain radiation, or radiation treatments to areas of existing metastases in the brain, spine or other bones. Even if the imaging tests show that the cancer has not spread to the brain, many experts suggest treating the brain anyway. That’s because cancer cells may be there even if they haven’t yet shown up on the imaging tests. The question of whether or not to use brain radiation must be considered carefully; many patients experience memory loss afterwards. The decision to use brain radiation is a very crucial one, since many patients may experience a decrease in memory function after radiation therapy, with or without chemotherapy.

Prevention of lung cancer

KEY POINTS

  • Avoiding risk factors and increasing protective factors may help prevent lung cancer.
  • The following are risk factors for lung cancer:
    • Cigarette, cigar, and pipe smoking
    • Secondhand smoke
    • Family history
    • Environmental risk factors
    • Beta carotene supplements in heavy smokers
  • The following are protective factors for lung cancer:
    • Not smoking
    • Quitting smoking
    • Lower exposure to workplace risk factors
    • Lower exposure to radon.

Home remedies for lung cancer symptoms

Home remedies and homeopathic remedies won’t cure cancer. But certain home remedies may help relieve some of the symptoms associated with lung cancer and side effects of treatment.

Ask your doctor if you should take dietary supplements and if so, which ones. Some herbs, plant extracts, and other home remedies can interfere with treatment and endanger your health. Be sure to discuss all complementary therapies with your doctor to make sure they’re safe for you.

Options may include:

  • Massage: With a qualified therapist, massage can help relieve pain and anxiety. Some massage therapists are trained to work with people with cancer.
  • Acupuncture: When performed by a trained practitioner, acupuncture may help ease pain, nausea, and vomiting. But it’s not safe if you have low blood counts or take blood thinners.
  • Meditation: Relaxation and reflection can reduce stress and improve overall quality of life in cancer patients.
  • Hypnosis: Helps you relax and may help with nausea, pain, and anxiety.
  • Yoga: Combining breathing techniques, meditation, and stretching, yoga can help you feel better overall and improve sleep.

Diet

There’s no diet specifically for lung cancer. It is important to get all the nutrients your body needs.

If you’re deficient in certain vitamins or minerals, your doctor can advise you which foods can provide them. Otherwise, you’ll need a dietary supplement. Don’t take supplements without talking to your doctor because some can interfere with treatment.

Here are a few dietary tips:

  • Eat whenever you have an appetite.
  • If you don’t have a major appetite, try eating smaller meals throughout the day.
  • If you need to gain weight, supplement with low sugar, high-calorie foods and drinks.
  • Use mint and ginger teas to soothe your digestive system.
  • If your stomach is easily upset or you have mouth sores, avoid spices and stick to bland food.
  • If constipation is a problem, add more high-fiber foods.

As you progress through treatment, your tolerance to certain foods may change. So can your side effects and nutritional needs. It’s worth discussing nutrition with your doctor often. You can also ask for a referral to a nutritionist or dietician.

There’s no diet known to cure cancer, but a well-balanced diet can help you fight side effects and feel better.

Lung Cancer and Survival rate:

Once cancer enters the lymph nodes and bloodstream, it can spread anywhere in the body. The outlook is better when treatment begins before cancer spreads outside the lungs.

Other factors include age, overall health, and how well you respond to treatment. Because early symptoms can be easily overlooked, lung cancer is usually diagnosed in later stages.

Survival rates and other statistics provide a broad picture of what to expect. There are significant individual differences, though. Your doctor is in the best position to discuss your outlook.

Current survival statistics don’t tell the whole story. In recent years, new treatments have been approved for stage 4 non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Some people are surviving much longer than previously seen with traditional treatments.

The following are the estimated five-year survival rates for NSCLC by SEER stage:

  • Localized: 60 percent
  • Regional: 33 percent
  • Distant: 6 percent
  • All SEER stages: 23 percent

Small-cell lung cancer (SCLC) is very aggressive. For limited stage SCLC, the five-year survival rate is 14 percentTrusted Source. Median survival is 16 to 24 months. Median survival for extensive stage SCLC is six to 12 months.

Long-term disease-free survival is rare. Without treatment, median survival from diagnosis of SCLC is only two to four months.

The relative five-year survival rate for mesothelioma, a type of cancer caused by asbestos exposure, is 5 to 10 percent.

Outlook

Lung cancer is the most common cancer in the world. This disease carries a higher risk of death than breast, colon, and prostate cancer combined if not detected and treated early. It is also largely preventable through not smoking. Lung cancer is more treatable if diagnosed in its early stages.

The prognosis and outlook for lung cancer depend upon the cancer type and the spread. People should talk to their doctor who can provide a more accurate prognosis, taking into account the individual’s overall health and the extent of their cancer.

Takeaway

Lung cancer is  the most common, serious and potentially deadly disease that affects a person’s ability to breath.

However, early diagnostic screening of individuals who are at high risk for lung cancer can help them receive treatment in earlier and more treatable stages. Treatment options include surgery to remove sections or all of the lung, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy, as well as targeted drug therapy.

If a person has concerns that they could be at risk for lung cancer, they should consult a doctor immediately.

Stroke

A stroke is a medical emergency, and prompt treatment is very important. Early detection & action can reduce brain damage and other complications leading to permanent disability or uncommon death.

What is Stroke?www.gtsmeditour.com (2)

Stroke is a cerebrovascular disease. This means that it affects the blood vessels that feed the brain oxygen. If the brain does not receive enough oxygen, damage may start to occur.

A stroke occurs when the blood supply to part of your brain is interrupted or reduced, preventing brain tissue from getting oxygen and nutrients. Brain cells begin to die in minutes.

Although many strokes are treatable, some can lead to disability or death.

Remember “Be Fast”  when you spot a stroke:www.gtsmeditour.com

  • Sudden Loss of Balance
  • Loss of vision in one or both Eyes
  • Face drooping
  • Arm weakness
  • Speech difficulty
  • Time to call  medical emergency

Risk factors:

Risk factors for narrowed blood vessels in the brain are the same as those that cause narrowing blood vessels in the heart and heart attack  these includes:

  • High blood pressure/Hypertension
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes & Smoking

Symptoms:

The sooner a person having a stroke gets care, the better their outcome is likely to be. For this reason, it’s helpful to know the signs of a stroke so you can act quickly. Stroke symptoms can include:

  • Confusion, including difficulty speaking and understanding speech
  • A Head ache, possibly with altered consciousness or vomiting
  • Numbness or an inability to move parts of the face, arm, or leg, particularly on one side of the body
  • Vision problems in one or both eyes
  • Difficulty walking, including dizziness and a lack of coordination.

What are the different types of strokes?

There are three main types of stroke:

  • transient ischemic attack
  • ischemic stroke
  • hemorrhagic stroke.

Transient ischemic attack (TIA):

Doctors also call a transient ischemic attack (TIA) a warning or ministroke. Anything that temporarily blocks blood flow to your brain causes a TIA. The blood clot and TIA symptoms last for a short period of time.

Ischemic stroke

An ischemic stroke occurs when a blood clot keeps blood from flowing to your brain. The blood clot is often due to atherosclerosis, which is a buildup of fatty deposits on the inner lining of a blood vessel. A portion of these fatty deposits can break off and block blood flow in your brain. The concept is similar to that of a heart attack, where a blood clot blocks blood flow to a portion of your heart.

An ischemic stroke can be embolic, meaning the blood clot travels from another part of your body to your brain. An estimated 15 percent of embolic strokes are due to a condition called atrial fibrillation, where your heart beats irregularly.

A thrombotic stroke is an ischemic stroke caused by a clot forming in a blood vessel in your brain.

Unlike a TIA, the blood clot that causes an ischemic stroke won’t go away without treatment.

Hemorrhagic stroke

A hemorrhagic stroke results when a blood vessel in your brain ruptures or breaks, spilling blood into the surrounding tissues.

There are three main types of hemorrhagic strokes: The first is an aneurysm, which causes a portion of the weakened blood vessel to balloon outward and sometimes rupture. The other is an arteriovenous malformation, which involves abnormally formed blood vessels. If such a blood vessel ruptures, it can cause a hemorrhagic stroke. Lastly, very high blood pressure can cause weakening of the small blood vessels in the brain and result in bleeding into the brain as well.

Diagnosis of stroke

Your doctor will ask you or a family member about your symptoms and what you were doing when they arose. They’ll take your medical history to find out your stroke risk factors. They’ll also:

  • ask what medications you take
  • check your blood pressure
  • listen to your heart

You’ll also have a physical exam, during which the doctor will evaluate you for:

  • balance
  • coordination
  • weakness
  • numbness in your arms, face, or legs
  • signs of confusion
  • vision issues.

Treatment:

Proper medical evaluation and prompt treatment are vital to recovering from a stroke.

You may go through various tests to further help your doctor determine if you’ve had a stroke, or to rule out another condition. These tests include:

Blood tests

Your doctor might draw blood for several blood tests. Blood tests can determine:

  • your blood sugar levels
  • if you have an infection
  • your platelet levels
  • how fast your blood clots

MRI and CT scan

You may undergo either or both a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan and a computerized tomography (CT) scan.

The MRI will help see if any brain tissue or brain cells have been damaged. A CT scan will provide a detailed and clear picture of your brain that shows any bleeding or damage in the brain. It may also show other brain conditions that could be causing your symptoms.

EKG

Your doctor may order an electrocardiogram (EKG), too. This simple test records the electrical activity in the heart, measuring its rhythm and recording how fast it beats. It can determine if you have any heart conditions that may have led to stroke, such as a prior heart attack or atrial fibrillation.

Cerebral angiogram

Another test your doctor may order to determine if you’ve had a stroke is a cerebral angiogram. This offers a detailed look at the arteries in your neck and brain. The test can show blockages or clots that may have caused symptoms.

Carotid ultrasound

A carotid ultrasound, also called a carotid duplex scan, can show fatty deposits (plaque) in your carotid arteries, which supply the blood to your face, neck, and brain. It can also show whether your carotid arteries have been narrowed or blocked.

Echocardiogram

An echocardiogram can find sources of clots in your heart. These clots may have traveled to your brain and caused a stroke.

These stroke types are caused by a blood clot or other blockage in the brain. For that reason, they’re largely treated with similar techniques, which include:

Antiplatelet and anticoagulants

Over-the-counter aspirin is often a first line of defense against stroke damage. Anticoagulant and antiplatelet drugs should be taken within 24 to 48 hours after stroke symptoms begin.

Clot-breaking drugs

Thrombolytic drugs can break up blood clots in your brain’s arteries, which still stop the stroke and reduce damage to the brain.

One such drug, tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), or Alteplase IV r-tPA, is considered the gold standard in ischemic stroke treatment. It works by dissolving blood clots quickly, if delivered within the first 3 to 4.5 hours after symptoms of your stroke began. People who receive a tPA injection are more likely to recover from a stroke, and less likely to have any lasting disability as a result of the stroke.

Mechanical thrombectomy

During this procedure, the doctor inserts a catheter into a large blood vessel inside your head. They then use a device to pull the clot out of the vessel. This surgery is most successful if it’s performed 6 to 24 hours after the stroke begins.

Stents

If your doctor finds where artery walls have weakened, they may perform a procedure to inflate the narrowed artery and support the walls of the artery with a stent.

Surgery

In the rare instances that other treatments don’t work, your doctor may perform surgery to remove a blood clot and plaques from your arteries. This may be done with a catheter, or if the clot is especially large, your doctor may open an artery to remove the blockage.

Hemorrhagic stroke

Strokes caused by bleeds or leaks in the brain require different treatment strategies. Treatments for hemorrhagic stroke include:

Medications

Unlike with an ischemic stroke, if you’re having a hemorrhagic stroke, the treatment goal is to make your blood clot. Therefore, you may be given medication to counteract any blood thinners you take.

You may also be prescribed drugs that can reduce blood pressure, lower the pressure in your brain, prevent seizures, and prevent blood vessel constriction.

Coiling

During this procedure, your doctor guides a long tube to the area of hemorrhage or weakened blood vessel. They then install a coil-like device in the area where the artery wall is weak. This blocks blood flow to the area, reducing bleeding.

Clamping

During imaging tests, your doctor may discover an aneurysm that hasn’t started bleeding yet or has stopped. To prevent additional bleeding, a surgeon may place a tiny clamp at the base of the aneurysm. This cuts off blood supply and prevents a possible broken blood vessel or new bleeding.

Surgery

If your doctor sees that an aneurysm has burst, they may do surgery to clip the aneurysm and prevent additional bleeding. Likewise, a craniotomy may be needed to relieve the pressure on the brain after a large stroke.

Recovery And  Rehabilitation:

It’s important that recovery and rehabilitation from a stroke start as soon as possible. In fact, stroke recovery should begin in the hospital. There, a care team can stabilize your condition, assess the effects of the stroke, identify underlying factors, and begin therapy to help you regain some of your affected skills.

Stroke recovery focuses on four main areas:

Speech therapy

A stroke can cause speech and language impairment. A speech and language therapist will work with you to relearn how to speak. Or, if you find verbal communication difficult after a stroke, they’ll help you find new ways of communication.

Cognitive therapy

After a stroke, many survivors have changes to their thinking and reasoning skills. This can cause behavioral and mood changes. An occupational therapist can help you work to regain your former patterns of thinking and behavior and to control your emotional responses.

Relearning sensory skills

If the part of your brain that relays sensory signals is affected during the stroke, you may find that your senses are “dulled” or no longer working. That may mean that you don’t feel things well, such as temperature, pressure, or pain. A therapist can help you learn to adjust to this lack of sensation.

Physical therapy

Muscle tone and strength may be weakened by a stroke, and you may find you’re unable to move your body as well as you could before. A physical therapist will work with you to regain your strength and balance, and find ways to adjust to any limitations.

Rehabilitation may take place in a rehabilitation clinic, a skilled nursing home, or your own home.

Preventive Measures:

In addition to emergency treatment,Recovery and Rehab  healthcare providers will also advise you on ways to prevent future strokes.

  • Quit smoking.
  • Consume alcohol in moderation.
  • Keep weight in check
  • Regular Checkups

Taking all these measures will help put you in better shape to prevent stroke.

Conclusion/ Take away

If you suspect or experiencing symptoms of a stroke, it’s crucial  you seek emergency medical treatment. Clot-busting medication can only be provided in the first hours after the signs of a stroke begin, (i.e, first 3hrs- 4.5hrs are said to be golden period) and early treatment is one of the most effective ways to reduce your risk for long-term complications and disability.

Prevention is possible, whether you’re preventing a first stroke or trying to prevent a second. Medications can help reduce the risk of blood clots, which lead to strokes. Speakup with your doctor to find a prevention strategy that works for you, including medical intervention and lifestyle changes.

 

Breast Cancer Awareness

Global Hand Wash Day (13)October is termed as Breast cancer Awareness month across the globe.After skin & lung cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in women and rarely in men. Breast cancer is cancer that forms in the cells of the breasts.Its treatment depends on the stage of cancer. It may consist of chemotherapy, radiation, hormone therapy and surgery.

On average, 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetimes. About two-thirds of women with breast cancer are 55 or older. Most of the rest are between 35 and 54.

Fortunately, breast cancer is very treatable if you spot it early. Localized cancer (meaning it hasn’t spread outside your breast) can usually be treated before it spreads.

Once the cancer begins to spread, treatment becomes more complicated. It can often control the disease for years.

What is Breast Cancer?

The term “breast cancer” refers to a malignant tumor that has developed from cells in the breast. Usually breast cancer either begins in the cells of the lobules, which are the milk-producing glands, or the ducts, the passages that drain milk from the lobules to the nipple. Less commonly, breast cancer can begin in the stromal tissues, which include the fatty and fibrous connective tissues of the breast.

A tumor can be benign (not dangerous to health) or malignant (has the potential to be dangerous). Benign tumors are not considered cancerous: their cells are close to normal in appearance, they grow slowly, and they do not invade nearby tissues or spread to other parts of the body. Malignant tumors are cancerous. Left unchecked, malignant cells eventually can spread beyond the original tumor to other parts of the body.

Breast cancer is always caused by a genetic abnormality (a “mistake” in the genetic material). However, only 5-10% of cancers are due to an abnormality inherited from your mother or father. Instead, 85-90% of breast cancers are due to genetic abnormalities that happen as a result of the aging process and the “wear and tear” of life in general.

Causes Of Breast Cancer: How Did This Happen?

When you’re told that you have breast cancer, it’s natural to wonder what may have caused the disease. But no one knows the exact causes of breast cancer. Doctors seldom know why one woman develops breast cancer and another doesn’t, and most women who have breast cancer will never be able to pinpoint an exact cause. What we do know is that breast cancer is always caused by damage to a cell’s DNA.

Symptoms:

Different people have different symptoms of breast cancer. Some people do not have any signs or symptoms at all.

Few warning signs of breast cancer are—

  • New lump in the breast or underarm (armpit).
  • Thickening or swelling of part of the breast.
  • Irritation or dimpling of breast skin.
  • Redness or flaky skin in the nipple area or the breast.
  • Pulling in of the nipple or pain in the nipple area.
  • Nipple discharge other than breast milk, including blood.
  • Any change in the size or the shape of the breast.
  • Pain in any area of the breast.

Keep in mind that these symptoms can happen with other conditions that are not cancer.

Stages:

A doctor stage cancer according to the size of the tumor and whether it has spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body.

There are different ways of staging breast cancer. One way is from stage 0–4, with subdivided categories at each numbered stage. Descriptions of the four main stages are listed below, though the specific substage of a cancer may also depend on other specific characteristics of the tumor, such as HER2 receptor status.

  • Stage 0: Known as ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), the cells are limited to within the ducts and have not invaded surrounding tissues.
  • Stage 1: At this stage, the tumor measures up to 2 centimeters (cm) across. It has not affected any lymph nodes, or there are small groups of cancer cells in the lymph nodes.
  • Stage 2: The tumor is 2 cm across, and it has started to spread to nearby nodes, or is 2–5 cm across and has not spread to the lymph nodes.
  • Stage 3: The tumor is up to 5 cm across, and it has spread to several lymph nodes or the tumor is larger than 5 cm and has spread to a few lymph nodes.
  • Stage 4: The cancer has spread to distant organs, most often the bones, liver, brain, or lungs.

    Risk Factors:

    UnControlable:

  • Age. Women over 50 are more likely to get breast cancer than younger women.
  • Race: African American women are more likely than white women to get breast cancer before  menopause.
  • Dense breasts. If your breasts have more connective tissue than fatty tissue, it can be hard to see tumors on a mammogram.
  • Personal history of cancer. Your odds go up slightly if you have certain benign breast conditions. They go up more sharply if you’ve had breast cancer before.
  • Family history. If a first-degree female relative (mother, sister, or daughter) had breast cancer, you’re two times more likely to get the disease. Having two or more first-degree relatives with a history of breast cancer increases your risk at least three times. This is especially true if they got cancer before menopause or if it affected both breasts. The risk can also rise if your father or brother was diagnosed with breast cancer.
  • Genes. Changes to two genes, BRCA1 and BRCA2, are responsible for some cases of breast cancer in families. About 1 woman in 200 has one of these genes. While they make you more likely to get cancer, they don’t mean you definitely will. If you have a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation, you have a 7 in 10 chance of being diagnosed with breast cancer by age 80. These genes also raise your odds of ovarian cancer, and they’re linked to pancreatic cancer and male breast cancer. Other gene mutations linked to breast cancer risk include mutations of the PTEN gene, the ATM gen, the TP53 gene, the CHEK2 gene, the CDH1 gene, the STK11 gene, and the PALB2 gene. These carry a lower risk for breast cancer development than the BRCA genes.
  • Menstrual history. Your breast cancer odds go up if:
    • Your periods start before age 12.
    • Your periods don’t stop until after you’re 55.
  • Radiation. If you had treatment for cancers like Hodgkin’s lymphoma before age 40, you have an increased risk of breast cancer.
  • Diethylstilbestrol (DES). Doctors used this drug between 1940 and 1971 to prevent miscarriage. If you or your mother took it, your breast cancer odds go up.

    Controlable:

  • Physical activity The less you move, the higher your chances.
  • Weight and diet. Being overweight after menopause raises your odds.
  • Alcohol. Regular drinking — especially more than one drink a day — increases the risk of breast cancer.
  • Reproductive history.

You have your first child after age 30.

You don’t breastfeed.

You don’t have a full-term pregnancy.

  • Taking hormones. Your chances can go up if you:

Use hormone replacement therapy that includes both estrogen and progesterone during menopause for more than 5 years. This increase in breast cancer risk returns to normal 5 years after you stop treatment.

Use certain birth control methods including birth control pills, shots, implants, IUDS, skin patches, or vaginal rings that contain hormones.

  • Still, most women who are at high risk for breast cancer don’t get it. On the other hand, 75% of women who develop breast cancer have no known risk factors.

Types:

There are several different types of breast cancer, including:

  • Ductal carcinoma: This begins in the milk duct and is the most common type.
  • Lobular carcinoma: This starts in the lobules.

Invasive breast cancer occurs when the cancer cells break out from inside the lobules or ducts and invade nearby tissue. This increases the chance of cancer spreading to other parts of the body.

Noninvasive breast cancer develops when the cancer remains inside its place of origin and has not yet spread. However, these cells can sometimes progress to invasive breast cancer.

Diagnosis:

If you feel a lump or if something shows up on a mammogram, your doctor will begin the breast cancer diagnosis process.

They’ll ask about your personal and family healthy history. Then, they’ll do a breast exam and order tests that include:

Imaging tests. Your doctor will use these to learn more about your breast.

  • Ultrasound. This test uses sound waves to make a picture of your breast.
  • Mammogram. This detailed X-ray gives doctors a better view of lumps and other problems.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This body scan uses a magnet linked to a computer to create detailed images of the insides of your breasts.
  • Biopsy. For this test, the doctor removes tissue or fluid from your breast. They look at it under a microscope to check for if cancer cells and, if they’re there, learn which type they are. Common procedures include:
    • Fine-needle aspiration. This is for easy-to-reach lumps or those that might be filled with fluid.
    • Core-needle biopsy. This type uses a bigger needle to remove a piece of tissue.
    • Surgical (open) biopsy. A surgeon removes the entire lump along with nearby breast tissue.
    • Lymph node biopsy. The doctor removes a part of the lymph nodes under your arm to see if the cancer has spread.
    • Image-guided biopsy. The doctor uses imaging to guide the needle.The doctor can test your biopsy sample for:
      • Tumor features. Is it invasive or in situ, ductal, or lobular? Has it spread to your lymph nodes? The doctor also measures the margins or edges of the tumor and their distance from the edge of the biopsy tissue, which is which is called margin width.
      • Estrogen receptors (ER) and progesterone receptors (PR). This tells the doctor if the hormones estrogen or progesterone make your cancer grow. This affects how likely it is that your cancer will come back and what type of treatment is most likely to prevent that.
      • HER2. This test looks for the gene human epidermal growth factor receptor 2. It can help cancer grow more quickly. If your cancer is HER2-positive, targeted therapy could be a treatment option for you.
      • Grade. This tells the doctor how different the cancer cells look from healthy cells and whether they seem to be slower-growing or faster-growing.
      • Oncotype Dx. This test evaluates 16 cancer-related genes and five reference genes to estimate the risk of the cancer coming back within 10 years of diagnosis.
      • Breast Cancer Index. This test can help your doctor decide how you need endocrine therapy.
      • MammaPrint. This test uses information from 70 genes to predict the risk of the cancer coming back.
      • PAM50 (Prosigna). This test uses information from 50 genes to predict if the cancer will spread.

      You might get blood tests including:

      • Complete blood count (CBC). This measures the number of different types of cells, like red and white blood cells, in your blood. It lets your doctor know if your bone marrow is working like it should.
      • Blood chemistry. This shows how well your liver and kidneys are working.
      • Hepatitis tests. These are sometimes done to check for hepatitis B and hepatitis C. If you have an active hepatitis B infection, you may need medication to fight the virus before you get chemotherapy. Without it, chemo can cause the virus to grow and damage your liver.

Treatment:

Treatment will depend on several factors, including:

  • the type and stage of the cancer
  • the person’s sensitivity to hormones
  • the age, overall health, and preferences of the individual

The main treatment options include:

radiation therapy

  • surgery
  • biological therapy, or targeted drug therapy
  • hormone therapy
  • chemotherapy

Factors affecting the type of treatment a person has will include the stage of the cancer, other medical conditions, and their individual preference.

Surgery

If surgery is necessary, the type will depend on both the diagnosis and individual preference. Types of surgery include:

Lumpectomy: This involves removing the tumor and a small amount of healthy tissue around it.

A lumpectomy can help prevent the spread of the cancer. This may be an option if the tumor is small and easy to separate from its surrounding tissue.

Mastectomy: A simple mastectomy involves removing the lobules, ducts, fatty tissue, nipple, areola, and some skin. In some types, a surgeon will also remove the lymph nodes and muscle in the chest wall.

Sentinel node biopsy: If breast cancer reaches the sentinel lymph nodes, which are the first nodes to which a cancer can spread, it can spread into other parts of the body through the lymphatic system. If the doctor does not find cancer in the sentinel nodes, then it is usually not necessary to remove the remaining nodes.

Axillary lymph node dissection: If a doctor finds cancer cells in the sentinel nodes, they may recommend removing several lymph nodes in the armpit. This can prevent the cancer from spreading.

Reconstruction: Following mastectomy, a surgeon can reconstruct the breast to look more natural. This can help a person cope with the psychological effects of breast removal.

The surgeon can reconstruct the breast at the same time as performing a mastectomy or at a later date. They may use a breast implant or tissue from another part of the body.

Radiation therapy

A person may undergo radiation therapy around a month after surgery. Radiation involves targeting the tumor with controlled doses of radiation that kill any remaining cancer cells.

Chemotherapy

A doctor may prescribe cytotoxic chemotherapy drugs to kill cancer cells if there is a high risk of recurrence or spread. When a person has chemotherapy after surgery, doctors call it adjuvant chemotherapy.

Sometimes, a doctor may choose to administer chemotherapy before surgery to shrink the tumor and make its removal easier. Doctors call this neoadjuvant chemothera

Hormone blocking therapy

Doctors use hormone blocking therapy to prevent hormone sensitive breast cancers from returning after treatment. Hormone therapy may be used to treat estrogen receptor (ER)-positive and progesterone receptor (PR)-positive cancers.

They usually administer hormone blocking therapy after surgery but might sometimes use it beforehand to shrink the tumor.

Hormone blocking therapy may be the only option for people who are not suitable candidates for surgery, chemotherapy, or radiotherapy.

Doctors may recommend a person has hormone therapy for 5–10 years after surgery. However, the treatment will not affect cancers that are not sensitive to hormones.

Examples of hormone blocking therapy medications may include:

  • tamoxifen
  • aromatase inhibitors
  • ovarian ablation or suppression
  • Goserelin, which is a luteinizing hormone-releasing agonist drug that suppresses the ovaries

Hormone treatment may affect fertility.

Biological treatment

Targeted drugs can destroy specific types of breast cancer. Examples include:

  • trastuzumab (Herceptin)
  • lapatinib (Tykerb)
  • bevacizumab (Avastin)

Treatments for breast and other cancers can have severe adverse effects. When deciding on a treatment, people should discuss the potential risks with a doctor and look at ways to minimize the side effects.

Facts to know about Breasts

  1. Breasts contain fat cells, not muscles
  2. Breast size cannot be altered by any excercise. it can only  be altered by painful surgery.
  3. Breast size depends upon a lot of factors such as harmonalchanges, bodyfat, genetics etc.
  4. Most of the time when body gains or losses fat, breast size changes.

Conclusion

There are steps every person can take to help the body stay as healthy as possible, such as eating a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking, limiting alcohol, and exercising regularly . While these may have some impact on your risk of getting breast cancer, they cannot eliminate the risk.

Developing breast cancer is not your or anyone’s fault. Feeling guilty, or telling yourself that breast cancer happened because of something you or anyone else did, is not productive.

Regular checks and screening can help detect symptoms early. Women should discuss their options with a doctor.There is no way to prevent breast cancer. However, certain lifestyle decisions can significantly reduce the risk of breast cancer as well as other types.

 

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

Image result for mers virus

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is viral respiratory illness that is new to humans. It was first reported in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and has since spread to several other countries, including the United States.Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) is an illness caused by a virus (more specifically, a coronavirus) called Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV). Most MERS patients developed severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath. About 3 or 4 out of every 10 patients reported with MERS have died.

Symptoms:

Most people confirmed to have MERS-CoV infection have had severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • Some people also had diarrhea and nausea/vomiting.
  • For many people with MERS, more severe complications followed, such as pneumonia and kidney failure.

Most of the people who died had a pre-existing medical condition that weakened their immune system, or an underlying medical condition that hadn’t yet been discovered. Medical conditions sometimes weaken people’s immune systems and make them more likely to get sick or have severe illness.

Pre-existing conditions among people who got MERS have included

diabetes
cancer
chronic lung disease
chronic heart disease
chronic kidney disease
Some infected people had mild symptoms (such as cold-like symptoms) or no symptoms at all.

The symptoms of MERS start to appear about 5 or 6 days after a person is exposed, but can range from 2 to 14 days.

Transmission

MERS-CoV, like other coronaviruses, likely spreads from an infected person’s respiratory secretions, such as through coughing. However, we don’t fully understand the precise ways that it spreads.

MERS-CoV has spread from ill people to others through close contact, such as caring for or living with an infected person. Infected people have spread MERS-CoV to others in healthcare settings, such as hospitals. Researchers studying MERS have not seen any ongoing spreading of MERS-CoV in the community.

All reported cases have been linked to countries in and near the Arabian Peninsula. Most infected people either lived in the Arabian Peninsula or recently traveled from the Arabian Peninsula before they became ill. A few people have gotten MERS after having close contact with an infected person who had recently traveled from the Arabian Peninsula. The largest known outbreak of MERS outside the Arabian Peninsula occurred in the Republic of Korea in 2015 and was associated with a traveler returning from the Arabian Peninsula.

Diagnosis:
Real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) testing of upper and lower respiratory secretions and serum
MERS should be suspected in patients who have an unexplained acute febrile lower respiratory infection and who have had either of the following within 14 days of symptom onset:

Travel to or residence in an area where MERS has recently been reported or where transmission could have occurred
Contact with a health care facility where MERS has been transmitted
Close contact with a patient who was ill with suspected MERS
MERS should also be suspected in patients who have had close contact with a patient with suspected MERS and who have a fever whether they have respiratory symptoms or not.

Testing should include real-time RT-PCR testing of upper and lower respiratory secretions, ideally taken from different sites and at different times. Serum should be obtained from patients and from all, even asymptomatic close contacts, including health care workers (to help identify mild or asymptomatic MERS). Serum is obtained immediately after MERS is suspected or after contacts are exposed (acute serum) and 3 to 4 weeks later (convalescent serum). Testing is done at state health departments.

Treatment:
Treatment of MERS is supportive. To help prevent spread from suspected cases, health care practitioners should use standard, contact, and airborne precautions.

There is no vaccine.

Prevention:
There is currently no vaccine to protect people against MERS. But scientists are working to develop one.

We can help reduce the risk of getting respiratory illnesses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, and help young children do the same. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid personal contact, such as kissing, or sharing cups or eating utensils, with sick people.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and objects, such as doorknobs.

People Who May Be at Increased Risk for MERS:

  • Recent Travelers from the Arabian Peninsula

If you develop a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, within 14 days after traveling from countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula, you should call ahead to a healthcare provider and mention your recent travel.

  • Close Contacts of an Ill Traveler from the Arabian Peninsula

If you have had close contact with someone within 14 days after they traveled from a country in or near the Arabian Peninsula, and the traveler has/had fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath, you should monitor your health for 14 days, starting from the day you were last exposed to the ill person.

  • Healthcare Personnel Not Using Recommended Infection-Control Precautions

Healthcare personnel who had close contact*** with a confirmed case of MERS while the case was ill, if not using recommended infection control precautions (e.g., appropriate use of personal protective equipment), are at increased risk of developing MERS-CoV infection. These individuals should be evaluated and monitored by a healthcare professional with a higher index of suspicion.

  • Close Contacts of a Confirmed Case of MERS

f you have had close contact with someone who has a confirmed MERS-CoV infection, you should contact a healthcare provider for an evaluation. Your healthcare provider may request laboratory testing and outline additional recommendations, depending on the findings of your evaluation and whether you have symptoms.

  • People with Exposure to Camels

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Direct contact with camels is a risk factor for human infection with MERS-CoV.

The World Health Organization considers certain groups to be at high risk for severe MERS. These groups include people with diabetes, kidney failure, or chronic lung disease, and people who have weakened immune systems. The World Health Organization recommends that these groups take additional precautions:

  1. Avoid contact with camels
  2. Do not drink raw camel milk or raw camel urine
  3. Do not eat undercooked meat, particularly camel meat

We’re sure, you now have a fair idea of what MERS-CoV is all about and the way it could impact your life. Please seek immediate medical attention at the nearest healthcare centre if you find the MERS-CoV. symptoms, don’t ignore the symptoms as there is no medicine available at present.

suggested reading COVID -19

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak

 

Image result for coronavirus prevention chart

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) that was first reported from Wuhan, China, on 31 December 2019Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people. Detailed investigations found that SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans.

Common Symptoms:

Common signs of infection include

  •  fever
  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • breathing difficulties.
  •  infection causing pneumonia,
  • severe acute respiratory syndrome
  • kidney failure.

Prevention of COVID – 19

Till date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV), those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care.

However Following  simple hygiene steps will keep us safe  & healthy against the virus:

  • Wash your hands often
  • Covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.
  • Thoroughly cooking meat and eggs.
  • Avoid close contact sick people
  • Wear a mask  when you are coughing & sneezing
  • Avoid crowded places like  bus stations, railway stati

Few Myths Busters

Can pets at home spread the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV)?
According to WHO research at present, there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus. However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets. This protects you against various common bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella that can pass between pets and humans.

Do vaccines against pneumonia protect you against the new coronavirus?
No. Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus.

The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine against 2019-nCoV, and WHO is supporting their efforts.

Although these vaccines are not effective against 2019-nCoV, vaccination against respiratory illnesses is highly recommended to protect your health.

Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirus?
No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria.

The new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.

However, if you are hospitalized for the 2019-nCoV, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.

COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in areas with hot and humid climates
From the evidence so far, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in ALL AREAS, including areas with hot and humid weather. Regardless of climate, adopt protective measures if you live in, or travel to an area reporting COVID-19. The best way to protect yourself against COVID-19 is by frequently cleaning your hands. By doing this you eliminate viruses that may be on your hands and avoid infection that could occur by then touching your eyes, mouth, and nose.

We’re sure, you now have a fair idea of what CORONA VIRUS  disease  is all about and the way it could impact your life. Please seek  immediate medical attention at the nearest healthcare centre if you find the COVID -19 symptoms, don’t ignore the symptoms as there is no medicine available at present.

 

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