TIPS TO PREVENT MIGRAINE ATTACKS

Migraine is a recurrent type of headache that has a throbbing or pulsating nature. It most often affects one side of the head but may also be seen on both sides. It is known to affect three times as many women as men.

Here are some tips to prevent migraine attacks-

  1. Learn about your triggers and find out ways to manage them. 
  2. Loud noises, flashing lights (for example, strobe lights), and sensory stimulation are common triggers for migraine headaches
  3. Take breaks from the TV or computer screen to rest your eyes, and adjust the brightness levels on digital screens.
  4. Learn to make note of foods that trigger an attack and avoid consuming them.
  5. Identify the activities that trigger migraine attack- for some people, too much exercise or a lack of exercise can be a cause. Moderation is the key.
  6. Lack of sleep or irregular sleeping habits may also lead to an attack in susceptible people. Make sure to have a regular sleep time table- sleep early and for at least a good 7 hours.
  7. Stress is a known trigger for migraine headache-learning to manage them is important. Meditation, praying, spending time with people you love, and doing things you enjoy can really be wonderful stress busters. Counselling and stress management classes can also be tried.
  8. Hunger lowers the blood sugar levels and may act as a trigger for headaches. It is therefore very important to manage your eating schedules if you are prone to headaches.
  9. It is important to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and fluids to keep migraines at bay.
  10. If you have more than 4 attacks in a month, then it would be advisable to talk to your doctor and keep ‘preventive medicine for migraine’ stocked at home.

Speak to a doctor on ekincare to know better about your health.

Written by Dr. Afroze Fatima

Breast pain – Mastalgia

With the increased cases of breast cancer and the awareness that is spread about it, even a simple breast pain may cause a lot of fear and panic in the person suffering from it. It is agreed that breast pain is not something to be ignored, however in the majority of the cases; it is nothing to be panicked for too!

Breast pain is experienced by every woman at some point in their lifetime. It’s effects vary, and in some cases, make every day functions like getting dressed, walking and simple acts of intimacy very uncomfortable. If you suffer from breast pain on a frequent basis then it is important to understand why you are experiencing it and what you can do about it.

There are 3 types of breast pain that we must be aware of to understand the causes and to learn to deal with the pain.

  1. Cyclical breast pain– The pain is linked to menstrual periods with dull, heavy or aching accompanied by breast swelling or lumpiness. It affects both breasts, particularly the upper, outer portions, and can radiate to the underarm and is known to get Intensified prior the two weeks leading up to the start of your period, then eases up afterward.
  2. Noncyclic breast pain. The origin of pain in this may be the breast or outside the breast too such as nearby muscles or joints and may be felt in the breast. It is not related to the menstrual cycle. It is usually described as tight, burning or sore. It affects one breast. The pain may be in a localized area or may spread more diffusely across the breast.
  3. Extramammary breast pain– The term “extra mammary” means “outside the breast.” This kind of breast pain feels like it starts in the breast tissue, but its source is actually somewhere else, for example, pulling a muscle in your chest.

Common causes of breast pain

  1. Wearing the wrong bra – It is important to know the right size and right fit and wear a supportive bra when needed such as during exercise.
  2. Hormonal changes – Changes that take place before menstruation and during pregnancy are linked to breast pain. Cyclical breast pain has a strong link to the menstrual cycle.
  3. Fatty acid imbalance – an imbalance of fatty acids within the breast cells may affect the sensitivity of breast tissue to circulating hormones.
  4. Breast size – Women with large breasts tend to have noncyclic breast pain due to the size of their breasts.
  5. Medication use – Certain medications, including hormonal pills used for infertility treatments, oral birth control pills, hormonal replacement therapy, and certain antidepressants may cause breast pain.
  6. Breast structure – Noncyclic breast pain often results from certain changes that occur in the breast tissue in response to hormonal changes. These include cysts.
  7. Breast trauma – prior breast surgery or other factors localized to the breast can lead to breast pain.
  8. Stress – During extreme periods of anxiety, pressure, and stress, women may experience breast pain.
  9. Caffeine – using too many caffeine-containing drinks has been linked to increased cases of breast pain.
  10. Issues with bones of rib – also known as costochondritis. It is an inflammation costal cartilage and may reflect as breast pain in women.

Now we know the causes of breast pain. A woman’s breast shows changes at multiple points in life. Breast pain usually has the above-discussed causes and if it gets intolerable, it is advisable to visit your doctor.

Written by: Dr.Afroze Fatima

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

TONSILLITIS

Tonsils are two lymph nodes which are situated at the back of the throat. Inflammation of these lymph nodes is called tonsillitis.

It is common among children and can occur at any age. It is caused by a variety of viruses and bacteria, but streptococcal bacteria is contagious and could lead to serious complications if left untreated.

Symptoms:

  • Red, swollen tonsils
  • Yellow or white colored  patches on the tonsils
  • Sore throat
  • Difficult or painful swallowing
  • Fever
  • swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  •  scratchy, muffled or throaty voice
  • Bad breath
  • Stomachache in younger children
  • Stiff neck
  • Headache

Complications:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Disrupted breathing during sleep
  • Infection spreading to surrounding tissue leading tonsillar cellulitis and peritonsillar abscess

Diagnosis:

The doctor examines the throat physically and palpate the neck region to check swollen lymph nodes and can take a throat swab for culture to know the cause of infection.

Treatment:

At home:

  • Encourage fluid intake
  • Take lots of rest
  • Avoid irritants
  • Use lozenges to relieve sore throat
  • Lukewarm salt water gargles several times a day

Medications:

  • Pain and fever can be minimized by taking analgesics and antipyretics
  • Antibiotics: If tonsillitis is caused by the bacterial infection then the doctor will suggest antibiotics which should be used. A complete course of antibiotics should be taken to prevent relapses or further complications.

Surgery:

Tonsillectomy: A surgical procedure done to remove tonsils in cases of recurrent tonsillitis, chronic tonsillitis and in bacterial tonsillitis which doesn’t respond to treatments.

Surgery is indicated when tonsillitis is occurring frequently

It is also indicated in cases such as breathing difficulty, swallowing difficulty of food and abscess formation

Prevention:

Tonsillitis is caused by viral and bacterial infections, so hygiene should be maintained

  • Wash hands before eating and after using toilets
  • Avoid sharing utensils, water bottles, and food
  • Change the toothbrush after being diagnosed with tonsillitis

 

By,

Dr.Chandrashekar

 

References:

https://www.healthline.com/health/tonsillitis#treatment

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tonsillitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20378479

 

TIPS TO PREVENT FLARE UP OF GOUTY ARTHRITIS.

It is a condition caused by deposition of uric acid crystals in a joint leading to inflammation and swelling of the joint. It is a kind of arthritis which begins suddenly.

Cause:

The buildup of uric acid crystals in the joint leads to gouty arthritis. Uric acid is a byproduct of purine metabolism. Purines are substances in our body and are also found in food. Uric acid is excreted by the kidneys. An excess of uric acid present in the bloodstream is known as hyperuricemia and if left untreated will lead to acute attacks of gout.

Tips to prevent flare-ups:

  • Stop eating high purine-containing foods such as shellfish, red meat, and beer which sets off the gout attack
  • Stop or reduce intake of alcohol, it is one of the triggering factors for gout as it reduces the kidneys’ ability to filter uric acid and can result in excess build-up leading to gout attacks.
  • Being overweight is one of the reasons for gout attacks. Most of the obese people have metabolic syndrome which leads to elevated uric acid levels in the body leading to gout attacks. So make sure to reduce weight and exercise and eat healthy to prevent obesity.
  • Reduce the intake of soda. It is one of the triggering factors to elevate uric acid levels. So make sure to reduce intake of soda or if taken not more than 12 ounces per day.
  • Always stay hydrated, researchers have found that people who are dehydrated have high levels of uric acid levels in joints and formation of kidney stones. Though the exact reason is not known. So make sure to have plenty of water daily.
  • Proper fitting shoes: Always wear shoes which are comfortable to walk or else it may cause trauma to the foot which in turn flares up the gout attack.
  • Some medications such as diuretics reduce the kidney’s ability to remove uric acid and leads to hyperuricemia, a risk factor for developing gout. So if you have gout attacks, make sure to go over the medications when you consult a doctor and undergo regular checkups to prevent the risk of gout attacks.

 

By,

Dr.Chandrashekar

 

References:

https://www.webmd.com/arthritis/understanding-gout-prevention

https://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/gout/articles/how-to-stop-a-gout-attack.php

https://blog.ekincare.com/2018/07/19/gouty-arthritis/

 

MUSCLE STRENGTHENING EXERCISES.

MUSCLE  STRENGTHENING EXERCISES

Basic muscle strength is required for your simple everyday tasks such as sitting or standing posture or walking, running, lifting and throwing. The task you do pre determines the type of strengthening exercises that help you reach your goals.

5 exercises that can help strengthen your muscles quickly are:

  1. Jumping Jacks: this is a whole body exercise that warms up your body and elevates the mood and activates various groups of muscles in the body. This exercise also helps with motor coordination. To do the exercise stand straight with feet close and hands close to the body. Jump and split your legs so that the right leg is in front and left leg is at back, again do the vice versa.  Do 15 to 30 jumps, while taking a rest in between for a minute for each set.
  2. Arm Extensions: this exercise helps in strengthening the arms and shoulders. Take hold of a dumbbell or water bottle, and then flex your elbow keeping close to the body. Then raise the arms straight up over the head and slowly return back to its original position. Do two or three sets of each 10 to 15 repetitions. Take rest for a minute for every set.
  3. Forward Lunges: it helps in strengthening muscles in your legs and buttocks. Take a big step forward with one leg and bend your knees so that it’s at a 90° angle with the floor. Bring your other leg down until it’s almost touching the floor. Push yourself back up to the starting position. Alternate legs with each repetition and be careful to keep your torso upright and back straight when doing this exercise. Do two to three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions by taking a minute rest in between each set.
  4. Pushups: doing this strengthens the pectoralis muscles along with back muscles of the arm. Get into the plank position forming a straight line, slowly raise yourself by pushing the ground away from you. Make sure to breathe out as u push and breathe in as you come back to the original position. Do around two sets of 10 to 15 repetitions by taking a rest for a minute in between each set.
  5. Planks: this exercise helps in strengthening the abdominal muscles or core muscles. Get into a push-up position, rest your whole body weight on your forearms and toes holding your position above the ground.  Hold the position for 30 to 60 seconds. Do two to three sets by resting for a minute in between each set.

Who can do the strengthening exercises?

Men and women of all age group can do these exercises to strengthen the core muscles. It is important to start slow with about 5 repetitions of each type of muscle strengthening exercise and gradually increase the number of repetitions. People above 50 years of age need to consult a doctor before starting the exercises and need supervision while doing these exercises as they put a strain on their bodies.

Benefits of strengthening exercises:

  • Improves overall fitness
  • Helps in developing lean body mass
  • Helps in burning calories
  • Improves mental strength
  • Helps in developing stronger bones

P.S : It’s always best to consult a fitness expert before doing these exercises so that they can guide you and advise you the best-suited exercises according to your requirements.

 

By,

Dr.Chandrashekar

 

References:

https://physioworks.com.au/treatments-1/muscle-strengthening

https://www.stylecraze.com/articles/core-strengthening-exercises/#gref

https://www.brunet.ca/en/advices/strengthen-your-muscles-quickly.html

 

 

 

Tips to beat work stress

Stress accounts for 40% of all work related illnesses. Progressive organizations are adopting proactive ways to build employee resilience to avoid stress and exhaustion, based on the understanding that mental health is as important as physical health for well-being.

Tips to handle work stress better –

  • Right start to the day – A calm morning will lead to a better day.  Starting the day with good nutrition, proper planning, and a positive attitude may relieve the stress of the workplace.
  • Be clear on requirements – Unclear job requirements contributes to job burnout. If you don’t know exactly what’s expected of you, or if the requirements keep changing with little notice, you may find yourself much more stressed than necessary. Talk to your supervisor about the expectations and requirements from you, it can relieve stress for both of you.
  • Stay away from conflict – Interpersonal conflicts are a major part of work stress and most of the time avoidable. Avoid getting into office gossip, discussion on personal issues and comparisons. Try to avoid people who don’t work well with others.
  • Stay organized – This helps in avoiding unnecessary clutter and chaos at workplace reducing a lot of work stress. Keeping yourself organized means by maintaining a work calendar, clearing the clutter.
  • Be comfortable – Since a major part of the day is spent in the office, physical discomfort is one of the most common causes of work stress. Sit on a comfortable chair, avoid incorrect posture and take rest whenever possible can relieve a lot of stress at work.
  • Walk at lunch – One way to increase physical activity and manage stress at work at the same time, is to get some exercise during your lunch break and perhaps take short breaks throughout the day. This can help you relax, lift your mood, and get into better shape.

 

Being a high achiever can help you feel good about yourself and excel at work but being a perfectionist, can drive you and the people around you stressed. Hence opt for achievable goals and make it a stress free working environment for yourself and others.

 

-Dr Prerna Gaur

Syncope (Loss of Consciousness): A symptom, not a diagnosis..

Syncope, or fainting, is a form of sudden loss of consciousness caused by decreased or insufficient blood flow to the brain which can be of rapid onset, short duration, and spontaneous and complete recovery.  40% will experience syncope at least once in a lifetime. Syncope can occur when a normal reflex is overstimulated, which slows the heart rate and, along with dilation of blood vessels, lowers blood pressure and decreases blood flow to the brain.

Types of Syncope:

Vasovagal syncope is the most common type of fainting. It can be provoked by emotional or physical stress, for example, intense fear, prolonged standing in a crowded, warm room, or having blood drawn. It is often preceded by warning symptoms such as sweating, nausea, lightheadedness, and visual blurring.

Situational syncope occurs in relation to certain specific actions, most commonly urinating or straining with a bowel movement.

Carotid sinus syncope can occur with pressure on the carotid artery, often resulting from a tight-fitting shirt or shaving.

Orthostatic syncope Occurs immediately or up to 10 minutes after assuming upright posture from sleeping or sitting position. Orthostatic hypo-tension refers to low blood pressure that occurs while standing. This may result from dehydration, medications, or certain health conditions.

Cardiac Syncope(or cardiovascular) syncope is caused by arrhythmia and structural heart disease. These may occur in combination because structural disease renders the heart more vulnerable to abnormal electrical activity.

Disorders Mimicking Syncope

  • With loss of consciousness, i.e., seizure disorders, concussion
  • Without loss of consciousness, i.e., psychogenic “pseudo-syncope”

 

Evaluation:

  • The history and physical examination are the most important tools in the initial evaluation of syncope.
  • Details of the syncopal event must be evaluated in detail, including postural, exertional, or situational symptoms, palpitations or cardiac symptoms, use of medications, family history of sudden cardiac death and personal history of cardiac disease.
  • Patients who experience syncope with urination, defecation, coughing, swallowing, or while drawing blood have situational syncope.
  • Syncope related to ischemia is presumed when symptoms are present with ECG findings.
  • Monitoring blood pressure during and after attack are necessary to know if it is related to change in the blood pressure
  • Syncope in patients with coronary artery disease requires evaluation for arrhythmia and ischemia. The evaluation includes exercise stress testing, myocardial perfusion imaging, or cardiac catheterization, depending on the patient’s level of risk and specific findings
  • EEG, Head CT, Head MRI are rarely used, may help in diagnosing seizure and neurological causes.
  • Sugar levels are also tested to rule out hypoglycemic attacks which can mimic syncope.

 

Management:

After knowing the type of syncope and the cause for it, management will be based on the type.

  1. Acute intervention includes physical maneuvers, eg: crossing legs or tugging arms, lowering head, lying down
  2. If it is orthostatic syncope, moving feet and leg few minutes before rising, rising slowly and step-wise will help.
  3. Syncope due to cardiac issues must be treated accordingly based on the test reports.
  4. Reduce / stop exacerbating medication.
  5. Long-term prevention includes education, diet, fluids, salt, minimizing caffeine/alcohol, support hose, sleeping with head of bed elevated, drug therapy,cardiac pacing.

 

References:

https://www.healthline.com/health/syncopal-episode

https://www.webmd.com/brain/qa/what-causes-fainting

By,

Dr. Y. Alekhya