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With more than 5 lacs infected cases and nearly 20 thousand deaths till now, COVID-19 famously known as Novel Coronavirus has put the entire world to a standstill. Though there are conspiracies and theories around the origin of the coronavirus, we will help you debunk some rumors and give you real insights on the origin, symptoms, and causes of Novel Coronavirus.

A coronavirus is a virus group, belonging to betacoronavirus family responsible for causing a range of respiratory diseases, from common cold, influenza to more severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). Recently, a new addition to this family has been found out which is responsible for the global outbreak of a potentially fatal disease, COVID 19. The virus is named as SARS-CoV-2 or the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, while the resulting disease is referred to as COVID 19 or coronavirus disease 2019. The COVID 19 was declared a global pandemic in March 2019 owing to its rapid spread in over 250 countries, globally.

Symptoms of COVID 19

Signs and symptoms of COVID 19 may emerge in 2 to 14 days in the patient after getting exposed to the virus. They can range from very mild to fatal and may include:

  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Difficulty in breathing, called dyspnoea
  • Fatigue or Tiredness
  • Body or Joint Pain
  • Constantly running nose
  • Sore Throat
  • Diarrhea and vomiting have also been reported in a minor group of patients
  • Some patients even remain asymptomatic

Elderly patients, patients with impaired immunity such as HIV/AIDS or those suffering from co-morbid conditions such as diabetes, heart or lung diseases are at elevated risk of fatal outcomes from COVID 19.

Causes of COVID 19

COVID 19 is caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus as it spreads to persons in close contact with an already infected patient through the respiratory droplets, by coughing or sneezing. It can also spread by touching the surface containing the virus and then touching your mouth, nose or eyes with the same part.

The fast spread of the coronavirus has surely prompted the global alarm. From closing borders, global airlines suspending flights to some governments even barring entry to foreign nationals, the outbreak has created serious fear in the minds of the common man. Everyone irrespective of height, weight, body shape has fallen prey to the deadly disease across the globe.  Doctors are constantly asking individuals with low immunity to be safe and take necessary precautions. When it comes to patients with heart history, they have been asked to take extra care during this time. We all know that patients suffering from heart diseases are especially vulnerable to respiratory tract infections, including COVID 19.

However, the extent of damage in heart patients is currently uncertain. As per evidence, patients with known cardiovascular disease (CVD) have a CFR of 10.5% in case of a COVID 19 infection. Also, evidence suggests that 16.7% of COVID 19 patients, having CVD, develop abnormal heartbeat while 7.2% of patients get acute cardiac damage. Cases of acute-onset heart failure, heart attack, and other fatal cardiac symptoms have also been reported in COVID 19 patients with CVD. Heart complications in COVID 19 patients are comparable with SARS and MERS patients.

Following precautions are advised for CVD patients to prevent COVID 19:

  1. Maintain your recommended blood sugar and blood pressure levels.
  2. Frequently monitor your blood sugar and BP levels to rapidly identify any irregularities and get appropriate treatment adjustments
  3. Get enough supplies related to your co-morbid testing and medications, in case of an outbreak, for at least 15 days.
  4. Practice frequent handwashing with soap and water
  5. Practice good respiratory hygiene by covering your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow, in case of coughing or sneezing
  6. Avoid touching your face, nose, and eyes
  7. Avoid unwanted travel and socializing
  8. Stay vaccinated for each available infectious disease
  9. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
  10. Consume yoghurt and probiotics for a healthy digestive system
  11. Sleep for at least 8-9 hours to reduce stress and maintenance of immunity levels
  12. Avoid crowd exposure and handshaking
  13. Immediately contact your doctor if you develop any respiratory symptoms such as cold, cough, difficulty in breathing or fever.
  14. Last but not the least, stay hydrated

Hernia’s are a common ailment with over 10% of the world, men, women and children, developing one at some point in their life. It occurs when an organ pushes through the muscle or tissue opening holding it in place. A hernia is referred to the sac that consists of the lining of the peritoneum/abdominal cavity after it enters through the hole in the stronger muscle region of the abdominal wall surrounding the muscle or fascia. A hernia may be visible as a bulge in the abdomen, upper thigh, belly button and groin areas, depending on the location of its occurrence. Groin hernias are the most common, making up to 9/10 of hernia cases.

Types of hernia: 1. Inguinal Hernia: Occurring mostly in men due to the improper closure of the inguinal canal after postpartum testicle descent. This is a groin hernia.

2. Incisional hernia: When the organ pushes through the surgical incision after surgery, mostly abdominal. It can occur many years later through the scar of the initial surgery too.

3. Femoral Hernia: Another groin hernia, but one which is more common in women. Usually observed as a bulge on the upper thigh, exactly below the groin.

4. Umbilical Hernia: Almost exclusively seen in children and babies under 6 months old. This bulge around the navel is usually seen due to the improper closing of the muscles around the navel.

5. Hiatal Hernia: This is an abdominal hernia that occurs in the stomach’s upper region. This is observed when a part of the stomach’s upper part enters the hiatus, an opening in the diaphragm.

What can cause a hernia? A hernia is usually the result of a combination of weak muscles and straining due to lifting heavy objects. It is more likely to affect those born with weak abdominal muscles.

How do I know if I have a hernia? In a majority of cases, hernia patients do not exhibit many symptoms. What they might complain of though , is discomfort or pain which is exacerbated during standing, straining or while lifting heavy materials. Another common symptom is a sore and growing bump in the abdominal area. Major symptoms like nausea, vomiting, not being able to expel gas or have bowel movements occur when the hernia is strangulated, i.e., when it gets stuck due to increasing size and restricted blood supply. This is a medical emergency and should be operated on immediately.

Is surgery the only option? Not in all cases. Hernia treatment depends on the size of the hernia and the severity of the symptoms. In mild cases, lifestyle changes and medication may be enough to manage the situation. This is mostly true for hiatal hernias where dietary changes like avoiding heavy meals, lying down or bending over after meals can alleviate the symptoms. Keeping one’s body weight in check can also help. Hiatal hernia patients can also benefit from medications like antacids, H-2 receptor blockers, and proton pump inhibitors that reduce stomach acid.

If the hernia patient requires surgery, there are two options available depending on their case history. ● Open hernia repair or herniorrhaphy: The patient is provided either spinal, general or a combination of both anesthesias. An incision is then made in the groin and the hernia is moved back into the abdomen and the wall is reinforced with stitches. The weak muscles are reinforced through hernioplasty wherein they are provided additional support through the use of a synthetic mesh or screen. ● Laparoscopic surgery: A minimally invasive option that takes place under general anesthesia. Three incisions are made in the abdomen, one of them being through the umbilicus. The laparoscope, which is a thin tube with a camera at its end is then inserted through the umbilical port or opening. The camera then sends a magnified image from inside the body to a monitor, which gives the surgeon a close-up view of the hernia and allows them to repair the hernia with the help of a mesh. Patients undergoing laparoscopy experience a much shorter recovery period overall.

The type of surgery one undergoes totally depends on the surgeon, the type of hernia, its size and the patient’s history.

Is the recovery very painful? As with any surgery, there is a certain level of discomfort that is to be expected. However, this can be managed with pain medication. Resumption of normal activities depends on the patient’s progress and doctor’s evaluation, though vigorous activity and heavy lifting are restricted for several weeks. This holds true for both adults as well as children.

Living with hernia is no joke and left untreated, can cause fatal complications. If you or your loved ones are exhibiting symptoms of hernia, then going to a doctor for a full evaluation of the condition is a must. Early treatment is the best way to ensure a positive outcome.

1. Quit Smoking
while a lot of people don’t know this, smoking is directly related to a series of heart problems. Avoiding tobacco might be one of the best steps one can take to protect health and blood vessels. Smoking might be one of the most controllable factors when it comes to the risk of heart diseases. Quitting smoking is the smartest decision for one’s overall health and not just for the heart

2. Pay Attention To the Inches!
Studies all around the world have linked excess belly fat to higher blood pressure and unhealthy blood lipid levels. That puts your heart directly at risk. Hence, if you see yourself carrying extra weight than necessary, now would be an excellent time to apply yourself to a routine to shed it.

3. Don’t shy away from the bedroom
Having sex can be extremely good for the heart. While catering to your conjugal needs and adding pleasure to your life, sex also helps lower stress levels and hence your blood pressure. The oxytocin released as a result of sexual activity keeps you in a better mood too! Lower frequency of sexual activity has been associated with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

4. Top Up On those Antioxidants
Be on the lookout for antioxidant and fiber rich foods. Beans, Salsa etc are an unexpectedly yummy source of antioxidants. A diet rich in soluble fiber can help lower your level of low-density lipoprotein, or “bad cholesterol.” Oats, barley, apples, pears, and avocados are other rich sources of soluble fiber.

5. Use your hands more
usually putting your hands to work helps your mind unwind. Activities like cooking, puzzles, board games, help stimulate the mind enough engaging other senses while relaxing you. This practice goes a long way in maintaining one’s heart health.

6. Some inexpensive wildly beneficial therapy!
Who would’ve thought, our pets offer more than good company and unconditional love. Owning a pet may help improve your heart and lung function. They also provide other numerous health benefits. Having a pet may also help lower your chances of dying from heart disease.

7. Put on your Dancing Shoes!
No matter the type, dancing makes for a great heart-healthy workout. Like other forms of aerobic exercises, it raises your heart rate and gets your lungs pumping. In addition to dancing, yoga, aerobics or even routine stretching have an immense potential to keep your heart healthy.

8. More Salt? Think Again
Coronary Heart Disease can easily be sidestepped if each individual cuts down on his or her daily salt intake to half a teaspoon. There is a multitude of salt substitutes that are available in the market for anyone with a heart condition.

9. Know Your Cholesterols
Keep in mind the cholesterol that you need to avoid and the good cholesterol that needs to be accommodated in your diet. Consume Wine, in moderation, Fish and Nuts for good cholesterol. Avoid heavy intake of saturated fats.

10. Be Positive
A sunny outlook may be good for your heart, as well as your mood. According to studies, chronic stress, anxiety, and anger can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. Maintaining a positive outlook on life may help you stay healthier for longer.

The keto diet is a low-carbohydrate, fat-rich diet that has been gaining popularity not just in the fitness community, but all around the world. This weight loss plan is derived from the Atkins Diet (a commercially successful low carb, high protein diet which started the buzz around Low Carb diets). Currently, other low-carb diets such as the Paleo, South Beach, and Dukan diets are high-protein diets but are moderate in fat. In contrast, the ketogenic diet follows a distinct strategy towards consumable protein and fat content for achieving weight loss. In this approach, the content of fat is exceedingly high, generally 70% to 80%, with minimized protein consumption.

The basis of a Ketogenic diet is to deprive the body of its main source of energy- glucose. In place of it, an alternative fuel is created from the fat stored in the body. This fuel is called Ketones, which is where ‘Keto’ Diet is conferred from. The body requires glucose – derived from starchy/ carb rich foods, in a steady supply. Since it cannot store glucose, this glucose needs to be supplied daily. When that doesn’t happen, the body uses the stored glucose present in the liver. If the condition continues, the insulin levels in the blood declines and fat is automatically substituted as primary fuel.

The liver produces ketone bodies from fat, which can be used in the absence of glucose. In the state of ketosis- a state even healthy people experience during fasting or strenuous exercise, ketone bodies accumulate in the blood. The duration it takes for a person to reach the state or the number of ketones accumulated, all differ individually. however if not done right, one can reach a harmful state called ketoacidosis, which is caused by the formation of dangerously toxic levels of acid produced in the blood by excessive ketone bodies.

While there are different versions of the diet that can be followed, all of them ban carb rich foods. These range from the obvious bread, cereal, pasta, rice to some non-obvious foods like beans, legumes and most fruits. Instead this diet promotes food high in saturated fat like lard, butter, fatty cuts of meat, processed meats as well as unsaturated fats such as nuts, seeds, avocados, plant oils, and oily fish.

Strategies propose following a ketogenic diet till you bring your weight to an appropriate level. After achieving the targeted weight loss, you may follow this diet for few days in a week or few weeks in a month, to prevent regaining weight. You can interchange the above phenomena by allowing higher carbohydrate consumption during the rest of the days. The amount of protein in a ketogenic diet is kept moderate in comparison with other low-carb high-protein diets, because eating too much protein can come in the way of ketosis as the amino acids present can also be substituted for glucose. A ketogenic diet specifies enough protein to preserve lean body mass, including muscle, but that will still cause ketosis.

It is important to keep in mind that while there is research present in favor of the effectiveness of this diet, it is only for the short term. It is also known to bring about other positive changes that come with being overweight such as insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol and triglycerides.

However the diet comes not without its drawbacks. One may experience hunger, fatigue, low mood, irritability, constipation, headaches, and brain “fog.”- A cognitive dysfunction involving memory problems. While these conditions may subside, restricting oneself from eating all these readily accessible items on a daily basis may be challenging. Other not-so-good effects of a long-term ketogenic diet have arisen, which include an increased risk of kidney stones and osteoporosis, increased blood levels of uric acid (a risk factor for gout). Other Possible nutrient deficiencies may appear if a variety of recommended foods on the ketogenic diet are excluded. Therefore it is integral to not only concentrate on eating high-fat foods, but also to combine in one’s diet, a variety of the allowed meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds regularly to ensure adequate intakes of fiber, B vitamins, and minerals (iron, magnesium, zinc)—nutrients typically found in foods like whole grains that are restricted from the diet.

Since whole food groups are not included, guidance from a registered dietitian may be helpful in maintaining a ketogenic diet that minimizes nutrient deficiencies.