Winter health woes and how to deal with them

The winter almost set in and with the various joys and good moments, it also brings with it certain health issues that we need to be vigilant about. Read on to know the health problems that are commonly seen in winter and what we can do about them.

Bone, Joint and Body pains – dropping temperatures are known to cause an increase in joint and bone pains. This season is especially very troublesome for people who suffer from arthritis.

Useful tips to prevent/deal with joint pains-

  • Keep your joints warm.
  • Make sure to do light warm up exercises.
  • Massaging the joints that hurt, with warm oil can help.
  • Adding supplements such as vitamin D, omega-3- fatty acids after consulting your doctor can help.
  • Keep your pain relievers handy.

Respiratory system challenges – Cold weather is known to cause increase in cases of respiratory system issues like Asthma, flu, common colds, sinusitis, bronchitis, sore throat and pneumonia.

Useful tips to prevent/ deal with them-

  • Keep safe from very cold air/wind when going out by covering your mouth and nose lightly.
  • If you are an asthmatic, meet with your doctor and update yourself on medication that you may be needing and stock them so that they are handy when you need them.
  • Influenza, flu, sore throat and pneumonia are contagious diseases and can be prevented by following simple measures like wash your hands regularly and covering your mouth when sneezing/coughing.
  • Taking enough rest, exercising on regular basis, eating healthy diet and keeping yourself hydrated can help.
  • For sore throat, gargling with warm water and salt can help.
  • If you regularly face problems with respiratory system, arranging for a steam machine or a nebulizer is to be considered.

Winter skin problems – dry itchy skin, chapped lips, flaky skin, cracked feet and pre-existing skin disorders like eczema and psoriasis can flare up in winters due to the dryness in air.

Useful tips to prevent/deal with winter skin problems-

  • Stays hydrated and moisturize your skin with natural moisturizers.
  • For flaky skin, exfoliate and then moisturize.
  • For chapped lips, lips balms or creams that contain vitamin A and Vitamin E can help and work best if applied on moist lips.
  • For itchy skin, it is best to avoid long times in warm showers
  • It is best if woollen clothes are not in direct touch with skin.
  • If you have a pre-existing skin condition, keep away from harsh soaps or chemicals and keep your medicated creams ready!

Heart problem in the elderly – if you have an elderly at home, now is the season to get them evaluated especially if they already have pre-existing issues of heart or blood vessels since due to drop in body temperature (hypothermia) in the colder months the heart is affected by increased heart rate and blood pressure, where the heart needs to function harder to keep the body warm.

Useful tips to prevent/deal with heart problems/ hypothermia in elderly-

  • Install thermostats in homes to keep the temperature at a constant, safe temperature.
  • Hot water bags or electric blankets can be used.
  • Encourage them to do some mild exercise.
  • Special steps must be taken in cold seasons for their health evaluation and they must be encouraged to take their medicine on time.

By,

Dr.Afroze Fatima

References-

https://www.india.com/lifestyle/winter-health-problems-5-common-health-problems-in-winter-and-how-to-prevent-them-2752331/

https://www.mapsofindia.com/my-india/india/5-most-common-winter-illness-you-must-be-aware-of

https://www.skymetweather.com/content/health-and-food/5-ways-to-enjoy-disease-free-winter/

https://www.onlymyhealth.com/winter-health-problems-1292484682

https://www.quora.com/What-diseases-are-generally-common-in-India-during-the-winter-the-rainy-and-the-summer-seasons-and-how-can-you-prevent-them

https://www.indushealthplus.com/common-winter-health-problems.html

https://www.hdfcergo.com/blogs/health-insurance/precautions-to-be-taken-in-winter.html

 

NOCTURIA

NOCTURIA- If you are having to get up at night to pee more than you usually do, here is an article for you!

A frequent need to get up to urinate at night is called nocturia. To get up once to urinate is said to be normal. However, if a person has to 2 or more than 2 times in one night (6-8 hours of sleep), nocturia is suspected.

Nocturia is seldom a disease in itself, it is often a symptom of other underlying causes which include certain lifestyle habits or medical conditions.

Causes of Nocturia-

  1. Drinking too much or too close to bedtime is one of the most common causes of nocturia.
  2. Having alcohol or caffeine late in the day.
  3. A urinary tract infection (UTI) triggers a need to pee more during the day and at night but is seldom the only symptom and may be accompanied with pain, burning during the passage of urine or lower abdominal pain, fever.
  4. Older age too is related to nocturia. As we age, our body produces less of a hormone that helps concentrate urine which helps us hold urine till morning and thus there is a need to get up to pee at night.
  5. Pregnancy and childbirth weaken the bladder and pelvic floor muscles and cause frequent night time and day time urination in women.
  6. Certain medications which are given for other health problems, such as hypertension may cause one to pee more especially if taken close to bedtime. 
  7. Other medical conditions such as diabetes, prostate issues, neurological issues, and ongoing pregnancy.

Diagnosis of Nocturia-

Diagnosing the cause of nocturia can be tricky and needs a variety of investigations and a detailed questionnaire from your doctor is to be expected. It is therefore very important to maintain a diary if you have been having the problem of excessive nighttime urination for quite some time. The important point to keep noting in the diary is what you drink and how much, how often you need to urinate.

Few of the questions to be expected by your doctor are-

  1. When did the nocturia start?
  2. How many times do you have to urinate every night?
  3. Are you producing less urine than you did before?
  4. Do you have accidents or have you wet the bed?
  5. Does anything make the problem worse?
  6. Do you have any other symptoms?
  7. What medications are you taking?
  8. Do you have a family history of bladder problems or diabetes?

It is, therefore, an important thing to be prepared with information to the above questions beforehand. A few of the common tests done to rule out the causes of nocturia are- urinalysis and urine culture, blood sugar test to check for diabetes, other blood tests for blood counts and blood chemistry, imaging tests, such as ultrasounds or CT scans.

Tips to deal with nocturia-

Treatment for night time urination majorly depends on its cause and it usually resolves once its underlying cause is found out and treated.

Here are a few tips to deal with night time urination-

  1. Drink your normal amount of liquid but do so earlier in the day. Reducing the amount you drink 2 to 4 hours before bedtime can help prevent you from needing to urinate at night.
  2. Cut down on any drinks in the last two hours before you go to bed – especially alcohol, coffee or tea as these stimulate urine production. 
  3. Keep a diary of how much you drink, what you drink, and when. This may be helpful in identifying the factors or situations which cause or worsen the nocturia.
  4. Some food items can be bladder irritants, such as chocolate, spicy foods, acidic foods, and artificial sweeteners. Avoid them.
  5. Kegel exercises and pelvic floor physical therapy can help strengthen your pelvic muscles and improve bladder control.
  6. Paying attention to what worsens the symptoms is important so that you can try to modify your habits accordingly. 
  7. Take an afternoon nap- if you have been getting up frequently due to nocturia, a nap can help you feel better during the day.
  8. Avoid setting excessively low temperatures on the Air conditioner at night to avoid cold-induced diuresis.

By

Dr. Afroze Fatima

References

https://www.healthline.com/symptom/night-time-urination

https://www.webmd.com/urinary-incontinence-oab/nocturia-pee-night

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/nocturia-or-frequent-urination-night

https://www.healthline.com/health/urination-excessive-at-night

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14510-nocturia

 

Deciding where to deliver your baby

There are few important points you are not supposed to miss when you are near to your delivery. One among them is deciding where to deliver your baby. Usually all women go to the same treating obstetrician to deliver their babies where their antenatal checkups have been done. 

But if you are planning to deliver in different place from where you had a routine check up, you need to be a little careful in choosing the place of delivery. 

You need to see the following in a hospital when considering it as a place of delivering your baby before you join for delivery:

1.Availability of the obstetrician. Check if that hospital is your doctors home hospital or not. Check with her first to see if she does rounds at more than one location and, if so, tour both to see in which hospital she stays for a long time.

2.Availability of neonatal care unit and pediatrician is also important. Incase your baby needs some care after delivery, no need to rush to other hospital for neonatal care. 

3.Availability of good investigations department which include all  blood tests, urine tests, radiology department in the hospital.

  1. Availability of 24*7 pharmacy is a must.
  2. Check if that hospital is covered by your insurance provider and talk to them about the availability of rooms under insurance before you join.

Some more things you need to keep in mind if you are near to your delivery are:

1.Map out which hospitals are close to your home. You may need to go to the hospital quickly while you are in labor. 

2.Enquire about your doctors availability at the time of your delivery.

3.Check with your insurance company about what all you need to submit during admission

4.Don’t be alone during your delivery period. Ask anyone to stay along with you at home or when you go out.

References:

https://www.wikihow.com/Decide-Where-to-Deliver-Your-Baby

https://www.babycenter.com/0_choosing-a-hospital_1148.bc

By,

DR.Y.ALEKHYA

 

                                                                          

 

Planning your support systems especially if you are having an older child.

Even though you’ve been through pregnancy and childbirth before. Being aware of the changes to come and helping your older child understand what to expect is the best way to prepare for this joyous event.

Understand the needs of your first child before your delivery so that you can arrange all things in a systematic way.

  1. Encourage your toddler to socialize and play with other children, perhaps in a playgroup. This helps your child to develop the social skills they will need to have a good relationship with their new sibling.
  2. Take help from your elders as you cannot give attention to both of them at the same time. Explain to them about food and sleep timings, likes and dislikes of your older child to your elders so that they can take care accordingly.
  3. Remind visitors to pay attention to your older child, and not just the baby.
  4. Point out the benefits of being an older child, like choosing what to eat, being able to go to the park and play, and having friends.
  5. If you don’t have the help of elders from family, hire a nanny few months before the time of delivery so that your child and nanny get acquainted with each other

References:

https://www.babycenter.com/0_getting-care-for-your-child-during-the-birth-of-a-sibling-ov_3636618.bc

https://www.ahaparenting.com/ages-stages/pregnancy/preparing-child-separation-while-birth-new-baby

By,

Dr. Y. Alekhya

Bed wetting (Nocturnal Enuresis) – A problem for children and parents.

Even though it is very common during childhood, it should be evaluated further in case of prolonged bed wetting even after 5 years. Bed wetting occurs more commonly in boys aged 4-11 years than girls. Most of the parents think that bedwetting is due to laziness which is not the actual cause.

Causes:

Cause can be due to physical or psychosocial factors. If the child spends all day under strong pressures whether from parents or from school. Major reasons include:

  1. Stressful homelife and conflict between parents
  2. Poor daytime toilet habits
  3. Urinary tract infection
  4. Diabetes
  5. Down’s syndrome
  6. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder
  7. Deep sleep and arousal disorder
  8. Congenital malformations of genitourinary tract
  9. Chronic constipation in which full bowel will put pressure on bladder
  10. Slow development of bladder control

Laboratory tests:

  • Urine analysis is the first step in which we check the pus cells, protein, casts and glucose to rule out urinary tract infections and renal disease.
  • Random blood sugars are checked to rule out diabetes.
  • Urine culture is based on the urine analysis report.
  • Children with complicated enuresis may need further evaluation with renal ultrasound and voiding cystourethrogram.

Treatment:

  • Reassurance is the best approach for both the child and parents.
  • Avoid punitive measures that can affect child’s psychological development adversely.
  • Fluid intake should be restricted to 60ml after 6-7pm.
  • Parents should be certain that the child voids at bedtime.
  • Avoiding sugars and caffeine after 4pm can also be helpful.
  • Waking children few hours after they go to sleep can help them to wake up dry.
  • The child should not be blamed for bed wetting.
  • Praise the child and give them a star if they wake up dry.
  • Some pharmacological measures are there to give short term relief but  can be only advised by doctors, if the above measures do not work.
  • If there is any underlying cause like diabetes or structural abnormalities, treatment is given to treat that first.

References:

https://www.webmd.com/urinary-incontinence-oab/bed-wetting-in-adults

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/bed-wetting/symptoms-causes/syc-20366685
By,

Dr.Y. Alekhya.

 

Tips to deal with breast pain

Breast pain is experienced by women at some point in their lives. Sometimes, it may interfere with daily activities and cause a lot of fear and anxiety in the person suffering from it. It is therefore important to know some home remedies that can be used as basic management. If the given tips do not provide relief then it must be discussed with the doctor.

Some of the well-known and tested home remedies and tips to deal with breast pain shall be discussed.

Tips to deal with breast pain-

  1. Wear a supportive bra – it is important to find out the correct size and fitting and also use sports bra when exercising.
  2. Use less salt – especially just before your periods.
  3. Apply local heat to the painful area. During pain peaks, alternating hot and cold packs can help.
  4. Avoiding caffeine has shown a significant reduction in breast pain in women who have it often.
  5. Intake of fish oil /omega-3 supplements is found to be useful- Natural dietary sources include- dark green leafy vegetables, ocean-raised (“wild”) cold-water fish, flax, walnuts, and sesame. Omega-3 supplements are also available by prescription and over-the-counter.
  6. Vitamin E has also been helpful in reducing breast pain and therefore a short term course after consultation with your doctor can be helpful.
  7. Evening primrose oil is now widely advised for helping with breast pain.
  8. Dietary modifications such as eating a low-fat diet – is really beneficial.
  9. If you take birth control pills and seem to find aggravation in breast pain or tenderness, it is advisable to talk about it with your doctor and find out suitable alternatives.
  10. If you are overweight, then losing that excess weight with the help of regular exercise and a healthy diet can really help in the reduction of episodes of breast pain.
  11. Lower your stress levels through stress management techniques such as yoga, deep breathing exercises, etc has been shown to reduce breast pain.
  12.  Smoking can worsen breast pain, it is high time to quit smoking if you have breast pain.
  13. Stock in some pain relieving medicines after consulting your doctor if you have very serious breast pain episodes.
  14. Mild massage can help improve blood circulation and reduce inflammation and pain.
  15. Estrogen dominance in some women causes breast tenderness and pain. Eat plenty of fiber to help your body flush out extra estrogen. You can get fiber from cabbage, broccoli, sprouts, legumes, and whole grains.
  16. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to get rid of toxins from the body.
  17. Reduce your intake of hydrogenated oils, found in margarine, packaged baked goods, and snack products.

 

Other than the above-mentioned tips, it is vital for all women to examine their breasts at least once in 2-3 months and any difference in the size or shape of your breasts is felt then it is important to consult a doctor.

Written by Dr.Afroze Fatima

References-

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/breast-pain/symptoms-causes/syc-20350423

https://www.cbhs.com.au/health-well-being-blog/blog-article/2017/08/31/breast-pain-explained

https://www.webmd.com/baby/breast-tenderness

https://www.webmd.com/women/normal-vs-abnormal-breasts#1

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/mastalgia-breast-pain

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/15469-breast-pain-mastalgia/management-and-treatment

Tips for avoiding constipation

Constipation refers to bowel movements that are infrequent or hard to pass and often hard and dry. The most common symptoms associated with constipation are generalised abdominal pain, bloating, and feeling as if one has not completely passed the bowel movement.

Everyone experiences occasional episodes of constipation. Constipation can be bothersome if one doesn’t know how to relieve the condition.

 Here are a few suggestions to prevent, relieve constipation and to promote regular bowel movements.

  • Drink more liquids: Drinking enough water and other liquids helps to keep stools soft so they can move more easily through the intestines. When you don’t drink enough, the stool can get hard and dry, and you might get stopped up.
  • Eat more fiber: Eating high-fiber foods, like fruits, vegetables can help to prevent constipation. Avoid diet which contains more fat, sugary, or starchy foods. To get more fiber in your diet, try fresh fruits like pears, apples (with the skin), oranges, and ripe bananas, or dried fruits like prunes. Other high-fiber foods include beans, oatmeal, whole-grain slices of bread, and popcorn.
  • Make sure you get enough exercise: Physical activity helps move food through the digestive system and nudges the bowels into action, so be sure to get plenty of exercises. It can be as simple as playing catch, cycling, or shooting a few hoops.
  • Set a regular meal schedule: Regular meals may help you develop routine bowel habits.
  • Disturbed sleep: Could have an adverse effect on bowel functions, hence try to have ample amount of the sleep (about 6 to 8 hours)
  • Get into the habit of going: Like if you don’t want to use the bathroom at school, or college ignoring your body’s signals that it’s time to go, can make it harder to go later on.

Written by-

Dr. Krishna Priya

References:
https://www.medicinenet.com/constipation/article.htm