Saturday, November 29, 2014

Raising my Voice for a Cleaner India

It's a writer's common thing when his imaginations go wrong, when the scent of Suzan lingers yet writer's block is strong... Into the perimeter of each blogger's pan, sweet vouchers come calling and the writer's greed lands...! With due apology to the legend Elton John (of course for tweaking with his lyrics) I would like to begin today's chitchat. Topic is the power of voice to clean India. Wait folks, if I'm sounding uncomplicated curse my health and lifestyle preaching spree of late, which has made me realize that a pretentious serious tone earns readers' confidence much more easily. You may wonder, am I faking this whole blogging thing? No, I'm quite serious when I write an article, more so when it's health related. So, the better idea would be to overlook the hole in my doughnut and relish its nutritive value.

Why is it important to raise our voices in general?
* To prove we're not physically dumb (at least...).
* To overrule the preexisting sound pollution.
* To show that we're naive enough to believe raising voice is the only way to be heard.
* To get a grip of the slipping away argument (99% failure rate).
* To be in the delusion that we're in control.

Why is it important to raise our voices to clean India?
* India is our motherland and she desperately needs thorough cleaning.
* We are addicted to play deaf-deaf-blind-blind game, so, raising voice is a bare necessity.
* All these years we've pooped almost everywhere... who else would take the liability?
* Even if it doesn't help in cleaning India, our concealed motif of building social contacts and beautifying our public images would be fulfilled (I can bet on the later!).

Thursday, November 27, 2014

All You need to Know about Premenstrual Syndrome

Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) is a horrifying word for women who suffer from it. There's no particular age at which premenstrual syndrome usually bothers a lady, affecting adolescent girls to her menstruating mother, with more than hundred possible symptoms of sufficient severity to interfere with her relationships, working capacity and social activities. Coming from a man, although it may not sound compassionate but if you're suffering from various problems regularly prior to your menses, you should know that you're not alone and not the only 'chosen' one. Around 80% of menstruating women have premenstrual problems and roughly 15% of them are distressed enough with the uninvited company of this premenstrual syndrome. Theoretically, premenstrual syndrome is a wide spectrum of physical, psychological and emotional symptoms related to a woman's menstrual cycle, and practically, it is a real pain in the ass (Women who suffer from PMS won't take my words as offensive, rather they would second me)!

How would you know it is Premenstrual Syndrome?
Confusion and false apprehension is far more agonizing than the problem itself. Obviously, it is for your doctor to diagnose your premenstrual syndrome but, a bit of knowledge on what is going on inside your body is always gratifying. Remember that symptoms of premenstrual syndrome would follow a cyclical pattern occurring regularly during the two weeks prior to menses, with a distinct symptom-free period in between. Hold on, I'm coming to the list of commonly encountered symptoms in my subsequent paragraph. Dysmenorrhea, or painful menstruation, is often misunderstood by the patient as PMS as both of these conditions relate to menstruation and pain. If you know the basic pattern of these disorders you can easily differentiate them. As you already know the pattern of PMS it is time for you to get acquainted with dysmenorrhea. In general, symptoms (cramping tummy pain which can be sometimes felt even over the thighs and lower back region) of dysmenorrhea tend to peak by 24 hours of the beginning of menses and subside after the second day.

What are the common symptoms of Premenstrual Syndrome?
Like I said before, premenstrual syndrome exhibits myriad symptoms ranging from mild unhappiness to fainting spells! You can either have one particular symptom or a bunch of them. Severity of PMS symptoms varies between two extremes making you slightly uncomfortable to significantly incapacitated. If you're suffering from PMS, most probably you'll encounter one or some of these symptoms:
* Bloating sensation and discomfort in abdomen
* Unhappiness/ Irritability/ Mood swings/ Depression/ Forgetfulness
* Tension/ Anxiety/ Aggression/ Loss of concentration
* Confusion/ Tiredness/ Insomnia
* Decreased Sex drive
* Cravings for foods and sugar
* Headache/ Body Ache/ Abdominal Pain
* Weight gain
* Swelling of Face, Hands, Ankles
* Breast tenderness
* Episodes of Crying

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Morning Dew

As she came down for breakfast the hall was already full. The lanky man with brown eyes and unshaven cheeks as she had anticipated was sitting alone in a corner, facing the entrance obliquely shoveling a chunk of boiled carrot into his mouth. Not every morning one gets those jumping butterflies in the tummy, she thought. Deepa picked her serving and headed for the only empty chair in the dining hall. Metaphorically, she owned that seat.

Deepa: (Looking at that man) Hi... I thought you would knock me once before...

The Man: Excuse me... Why would I?

Deepa: I get it... Your sense of humor is really scary! That's what I thought last night...

The Man: Thanks, I thought people do the eating with breakfast stuffs.

Deepa: Hey, you were damn good... we had one of our best nights yesterday (keeping her palm on his resting left hand).

The Man: (Quickly withdrawing his hand) Ouch... you caught me baby, I forgot to wash my afterglow!

Deepa: Was it just like that... you don't want to talk about it? I'm ok with that... you got to let me know... clearly... no playing around.

The Man: (Wrinkling face pretending to sob) I'm so sorry honey... I was cheating on you... I never meant to do with her but she drugged me you see...

Deepa: Ah stop screwing with me... I don't give a damn how you feel... now it seems that I was being friendly to someone who doesn't deserve it!

The Man: Thank God, to be honest we started it wrongly and now I take half of the blame. Sorry again.

Deepa: You don't have to pretend to be nice just because you want to leave the table.

The Man: Sincere apologies Diana... I was such a fool to assume that you have followed me for the bank cheque (he winks).

Deepa: Are you always this ass?

The Man: Not really... may be once in a month when I get to do with a needy woman. All subtle sentiments you know...

Deepa: Son of a bitch... did you just call me needy?

The Man: Shall I get the privilege to whine for a while, cut-throat bitch?

Deepa: (Throwing her cranberry juice in his face she left the chair) Go to hell...

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Open Defecation is too Unhealthy to Practice

A blogging contest reminded me that my country is sipping chilled 'whatever' of 21st century and yet, 597 million of my Indian brothers and sisters (this address helps in establishing a quick and warm rapport with the mob, never mind!) are pooing in open... Ah what a national shame! The data was interesting enough to engage me in a brief investigation on this subject. A recent report prepared jointly by WHO and UNICEF states that out of 1 billion people worldwide defecating in open, India successfully tops the leaderboard. Saddest part is not the problem itself, but, despite this huge population of open defecators, along with Indonesia and Nigeria, India seems least bothered by this public health issue! Since the starting of this month I've been devoting time on health related topics, so, half of my countrymen choosing to “go to the fields” bothered me, i.e.- this time I opted to write for “Indiblogger Happy Hours” topic not for the innocent greed of shopping voucher... Seriously guys, open defecation is a potent source as well as mode of infection and at the same time it pollutes the environment. Thus it is a genuine public health menace which needs to be addressed right now.

Open defecation is apparently more natural, cheap, headache-free and kind of cool too (please don't ask me how is it cool)... Then what is the Health Problem with Open Defecation?
Problems are plenty:
* It pollutes soil.
* It pollutes water too.
* It contaminates foods through dust and insects.
* Facilitates breeding and propagation of disease-gifting “Santa with wings” called flies.

Generally you end up with tummy ailments (intestinal infections) with some sophisticated but familiar names:
* Typhoid
* Cholera
* Diarrhoea
* Dysentery
* Hookworm/ Roundworm disease
* Hepatitis
* and many more...
Studies indicate that every year about 5 million people in India die in one of these diseases and another 50 million take their blow totally unguarded!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Relive Pain in 10 seconds Without Medicine

Pain can not be quantified. Pain is a complete personalized unpleasant feeling. Practically it is as bad as the sufferer perceives it. Everyday we're subjected to some pain or the other. Sometimes we can win over our pain and move on. But sometimes pain traps us in worse mess, from where we slowly resort to depression, addiction and sinful acts. Today I won't touch those grey domains, rather I'll talk about simplest reliefs of 5 pains or painful conditions which we face now and then. If you have stiffness of neck, fingers, shoulder pain, wrist pain, cramping legs etc, you won't have to take painkillers with potential side-effects. Simple exercise of 10 seconds, suitable for all age groups, can give you relief from each of these pains! Most of the painkillers you take upsets your stomach, causing acidity and on long term usage they harm your kidneys. So, next time when you get tormented by pain why don't you try these easy harmless 10 second exercises, before indulging for medicines?

Are you having a painful or stiff neck?

Fine, try this simple exercise to relieve your neck pain/stiffness:
- Sit on a stable position and try to relax.
- Slide your head back keeping your chin parallel to the ground.
- Push the index finger of your one hand against your chin. Do not let your wrist or arms apply the pressure, it should be only from your single index finger. Maintain that position for 10 seconds and then release.
- You may repeat it after an hour if pain creeps in again. But don't repeat as soon as you finish the first one.

Are you suffering from shoulder pain?

Fine, try this simple exercise to relieve your shoulder pain:
- Support your bent body with your hand from the unaffected side holding onto a stable support like the edge of a office table, as if you are leaning to read a newspaper kept on the tabletop.
- Let your free arm (the affected side) hang freely like a pendulum, with the palm facing forward.
- Swing the hanging arm in small circles of radius around 6 inches, five to ten times. This rotation should be on shoulder joint solely and other joints like elbow and wrist should be kept fixed as directed previously.
- You can routinely do it twice a day.

Are you troubled by wrist pain?

Fine, try this simple exercise to relieve your wrist pain:
- Extend your arms forward. Make them straight and keep them parallel to one another. Position them slightly below the shoulder level.
- While maintaining your arms straight, relax on your wrist joints so that hands droop down.
- Move your hands in 'figure of eight' paths at least 10 times.
- You may repeat it after an hour if pain creeps in again. But don't repeat as soon as you finish the first one.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

How to Know if You have a Thyroid Problem?

Ma'am, is your thyroid doing fine? Pardon me gentlemen, I'm asking this only to my female readers, because, due to some unidentified reason thyroid disorders are three to four times commoner in women than in men. Although thyroid problems are most common in women of reproductive age group, it may begin right from the womb, infancy, childhood, adolescence and in any period of adult life, affecting a girl's growth, puberty, later menstrual cycles and tweaking with her reproductive functions. Lady, this is for your knowledge- thyroid disease is the second most common cause of hormonal problems in women of childbearing age, especially so in developing countries like ours (India) where there is upright lack of knowledge and neglecting tendency towards health issues. Over last two decades, incidence of thyroid disease has gained its momentum considerably, more shockingly, embracing more and more minors! Although you might be hearing of much hyped diabetes everyday, it is actually the thyroid disease which is most common and most prevalent among all hormonal diseases in India, troubling almost twice as many victims as of diabetes. So, how about knowing little more about your thyroid? Back to square one, how to know if your thyroid is doing fine? I think this is the right time to get acquainted with your thyroid, its functions, possible problems and preventable measures. Mademoiselle would you please pause your housekeeping, mothering or office works for fifteen minutes to improve your knowledge on thyroid health?

What is thyroid? It's a butterfly shaped gland, weighing around 20 grams, situated at the front and side of your neck. This structure produces a hormone called Thyroxine that regulates metabolism in your body by processing carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins (to keep our talk simple). So, it is obvious that a malfunctioning thyroid would produce either less or more thyroxine, letting you gain or lose “excess weight”. When this hormone called thyroxine is high in your body the condition is called Hyperthyroidism and its low level in your body leads to the condition called Hypothyroidism. Hypothyroidism is more common in women than hyperthyroidism. Even during pregnancy chances of getting hypothyroidism is much more than its hyper-counterpart. Bright side is, with a brief knowledge on your thyroid health you can assess whether your thyroid is functioning properly. If you experience warning signs of thyroid disorder do not worry... your doctor can easily diagnose and treat your naughty thyroid.

Most common Warning Signs from your improperly functioning thyroid are:
* Constipation
* Intolerance to cold
* Fatigue and lethargy
* Hoarseness of voice
* Excess weight gain
* Puffiness around your face/ Swelling of limbs
* Muscle stiffness, pain and night time cramps
* Dry coarse skin
* Chest pain
* Deceased ability of hearing

Sunday, November 9, 2014

4 Easy Exercises for a healthier Pregnancy

Pregnancy, especially for first timers can be really a confusing state and if you're a sane woman most probably you'll be freaked out by pregnancy related changes in your body and habits. In my last article I've explained how to combat the back pain during pregnancy. Today our talk will be focused on more generalized subject. What I'll be telling you to do is nothing new to you, but may be you don't know that these can be useful for your body while you're pregnant too. If you've heard from someone that simple exercises can minimize your pregnancy related weight gain (Ah I know you never wanted to be a watermelon, relax!) and dwindle down your physical woes then you heard it right. Simple physical exercises 20-30 minutes a day for at least 3-4 days a week can work wonder for you, provided you don't stress yourself with the crazy idea of beating your own record everyday. Take it easy, be positive and persistent are keys to healthy exercises during pregnancy. A good question from your end at this juncture should be- When to start exercising in pregnancy? Talking of normal/uncomplicated pregnancies here, second trimester (from 13th week onwards) is a good starting point for pregnant women with sedentary habits. Women who exercise regularly can continue doing so (of course, modifications as per period of gestation and body's demands are must) throughout all three trimesters. Got any more query? Then raise your hand...
* Walking is one of the most effective yet underrated exercises. Walking is actually the simplest as well as safest one you can start with if you're still wondering from where to start. Get a pair of good quality walking shoes. Even if you're not brand-maniac consider a pair from some reputed brand as their shoe ergonomics would be more specific for the purpose. Keeping yourself hydrated is an important requirement for any exercise regimen, more so when you're pregnant. Drink up to half liter of water before going for your walk... no beer please. Alternatively you can carry a water sipper with you to hydrate yourself every 5-10 minutes. Walk at a steady pace and take a break whenever your body asks for one.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Prevent Childhood Obesity - Tips for Parents

Childhood obesity is spreading like a bonfire and if you are one of 'those' Indian parents then I can easily put greater half of the blame on you. Here 'those' is a sensitive word referring to all those, which of course constitute the majority of Indian parents, who'll give me dirtiest stares if by chance after surveying their kids I compliment, “Hey, your child is slightly obese. Why don't you consider minor dietary and lifestyle modifications?” I understand the opacity of your parental vision; the extra weight your child puts on is totally invisible to your motherly/fatherly eyes. Fatter your child grows more healthy you'll take him to be, unless one ominous day he presents with an ailment. But, what if that presentation is too late to revert back? What if your apparently 'healthy' (we call it 'chubby') child develops sinister diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, increased blood cholesterol, cardiac multifunction just to name a few, even before he reaches ten? Wake up parents, this is exactly what is happening nowadays! Studies suggest that three-fourth of obese children develop as obese adults carrying high possibilities of all those health problems I mentioned. Is your blind love worthy of sacrificing your child's good health?

Now comes the psychological aspect; most of the obese children suffer from inferiority complex among their peer groups. If your plump cherub is open with you, he'll surely complain you of multiple occasions when he was humiliated by his friends or addressed by repulsive nicknames like- motu, golu, fatso, fatass and what not! Usually a normal kid sees another obese kid as sloppy, untrustworthy, dumb, fugly and shabby. Imagine the mountain of anguish that would bury you if your colleagues treated you that way. I'm not even highlighting the worst scenario when your obese kid is an introvert... yes, I'm leaving that to your fair imagination. Several researches over the decade have concluded that uncorrected childhood obesity has direct positive influence on weak academics, lower socioeconomic development, increased psychological problems and chances of depressive disorders! Now it is entirely up to you. The ball is still in your court. Being parents would you take necessary measures to manage your child's obesity or, will you prefer squeezing his chubby cheeks till he grows up to an ill adult? If you choose the former, here are my humble suggestions on dietary and lifestyle modification which would help to prevent as well as manage obesity in your child.

Practical suggestions for Dietary modification:

* Give your child his meals at regular times.

* Do not give bulky meals, break it into smaller portions.

* Provide him foods that take time to consume, like- corn, fruits, roti etc.

* Discourage fried stuffs and encourage boiled, baked or grilled foods, of course without added fat.

* Try to distract him with fruits or lighter snacks when he demands for chocolates, chips, dry fruits, sweets etc.

* Get him into habit of taking fresh fruits and cooked vegetables.
* Do not give some particular food item as a reward for accomplishing a task when you know he's greedy for that.

* Do not allow casual munching of foods while playing or watching TV.

* Strongly discourage carbonated and all synthetic drinks. Avoid it yourself so that he can idolize.

* Implement the concept of 'Balanced Diet' for your whole family. If you need, take help of a nutritionist.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Missed your Pills? No Problem Lady!

Missed your Pills? No Problem Lady!

Missing your pills can be scary, especially so if you've missed your oral contraceptive pills. In all probability you'll lose your cool and bug your adjacent person and more interestingly his/her reassurance won't calm you down. You should be really serious while you're under contraceptive pills, because facts state that the improper usage of those pills is one of the main causes for unplanned pregnancies worldwide! Be worried if you've missed your pills but don't panic. I'll be giving you a comprehensive guideline on what to do in otherwise normal circumstances, if you by chance have missed your pills. Don't be scared, I'm not making you a guineapig for my evil experimentation; I'm merely simplifying and summarizing recommendations laid down by World Health Organization's Department of Reproductive Health and Reasearch. As there are different varieties of oral contraceptive pills in the market, we'll talk about missing the most commonly used one, i.e.- combined oral contraceptive pill (COCP), one that contains combination of two hormones- an estrogen and a progestogen. Sounds familiar?
Missed your Pills? No Problem Lady!
Most of you COCP users are using pill packs marked with the days of the week as shown in the photo above. I know you're wise enough to know what you're taking but still for my self satisfaction I'd repeat one-two sentences on your COCP pack/strip. Pills marked with Day 1 to 21 are hormonal pills, also called Active Pills. Remaining 7 pills, i.e. those marked with Day 22 to 28 are non-hormonal pills, also refered to as Inactive Pills. We'll be using these two terms- Active and Inactive pills in the rest of this discussion. No Problem lady, this comprehensive guide on missed contraceptive pills will make you a smarter and much more confident woman to confront this missing-pills situation. But do not get confused, OK?

* Have you missed any One of those Active Pills?

No Problem lady: Relax, the world is not going upside down! Take that missed pill whenever you remember of missing it. Most probably you can't get late more than a day as the next day pill will surely remind you of your last day's carelessness, right? So, you can take both of them together, no worries at all. Continue the rest of the COCP course in the normal pattern, i.e. one pill each day.

* Have you missed 2-4 Active Pills between Day 1 and Day 7?

No Problem lady: Quoting from the previous solution, relax, the world is not going upside down! Take the first missed pill whenever you remember of missing it and discard rest of those missed pills to avoid further confusion. This may put you in a situation that you have to take 2 pills in the same day or even same time, but that is fine. Continue the rest of the COCP course in the normal pattern, i.e. one pill each day. BUT, abstain from SEX or use additional CONTRACEPTIVE protection for the next 7 days. You may ring your doctor to ask whether emergency contraception will be proper for you. Don't try it without a doctor's permission.

* Have you missed 2-4 Active Pills between Day 8 and Day 14?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Relieve Your Back Pain during Pregnancy

Recently I had a brief chitchat with a pregnant lady who was agonized by her low back pain. Interestingly, but of course I'm not considering it to be a good statistical data, two thirds of pregnant women experience low back and pelvic pain by the end weeks of pregnancy. There's a 30% chance that you're one of the victims of this normal yet unpleasant phenomenon. Don't mind the percentage (I just manipulated it to make you believe you're not wasting your hours by reading some amateur's guide), look at the brighter side. The low back pain you or your spouse is experiencing is completely physiological, i.e. this is the way human body works. I know, if I assure you with proven medical fact that your low back pain shall most probably vanish after 2-4 months of delivery, you won't bother reading rest of my article, so, how about me teaching you few easy lifestyle modifications and simple exercises to prevent or at least minimize your pregnancy related back pain? Sounds productive? Then keep reading till you reach the bottom of it.

It is never foolish to know why you're having back pain during pregnancy. Once you know the background mechanism it won't be that much intimidating right? Visualize, the angel inside you is growing in size, stretching your abdominal muscles. Muscles are never like your best rubber bands. So, after a certain degree of stretch by the growing fetus, your abdominal muscles lose their ability to contract and help you with their routine function. Previously these muscles used to contribute towards maintaining your body posture. Now, it's your poor back, precisely lower back which has to take the extra workload to maintain your posture. Isn't it obvious that anything that is overburdened would cry or complain. Your back can neither shed tears or yell at you... only thing it does is giving you discomfort as his only mode to avenge. There are hormonal and other reasons too which we can skip for now to keep the matter simple.