Cancer at any age is dreadful and when the cancer patient is a child, it is hideous. Even after cancer treatment and cure, the effects of this deadly disease remain through the child’s adulthood stages. One study insists on the fact that one in 12 adult survivors of childhood cancer may have undiagnosed blood pressure.
Apart from heart damage due to chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments, having high blood pressure worsens the situation. Even after diagnosis, one in five patients don’t take medications or follow lifestyle changes needed to treat the disease. One good thing among all these is that, high blood pressure is treatable and less-painful than cancer on any given day.
The Deadly Link Between Cancer Treatment Procedures & Blood Pressure
Research has already established a link between cancer drugs known as anthracyclines to heart muscle weakening and radiation therapy to cardiac rhythm disorders and damages to arteries and valves.
Technology advances have made it feasible for most of the childhood cancer patients to survive through adulthood and hence, they face increased risk of hypertension and other health problems as they age. While the primary reason for death is malignancy, cardiovascular disease is the second reason for death and illness in these cancer survivors.
The study involved 3,016 adults who were cancer survivors since childhood. By the age of 30, 13% of them developed high blood pressure with the percentage increasing dramatically with the patient’s age. It increased to 37% by age 40 and crossed 70% by age 50. In general, these survivors are twice as likely to develop high blood pressure as the general population once they grow into adults.
One sure fact is that these patients did not develop blood pressure as a result of radiotherapy or chemotherapy. Also, the patients were checked for BP levels during their single visit every time and there is the probability that some patients could have developed high blood pressure temporarily due to checkup tension.
Also, these patients were followed up continuously and received greater care than other cancer survivors. Any adult in 20s, 30s and 40s does not imagine getting himself/herself checked for blood pressure during those ages but a cancer survivor needs to consider it as his/her chances of acquiring hypertension is higher and can start at an early age.
Such child cancer survivors can also start eating nutritious foods and adapting to a healthier lifestyle to avoid further health complications such as blood pressure and diabetes. They can get in touch with reputed nutritionists/dietitians at www.firsteatright.com who can help them plan a healthy meal keeping all their other health aspects in mind.
The early man used his entire body from head to toe to hunt down animals, gather food and live safely away from the dangerous clutches of animals. The modern man apart from using his fingers, head and neck, does not use most part of the body while working-yes, I am talking about all the software engineers/people working on computers typing away at jet speed on their laptops without moving even slightly here or there all through the day! These people, even if they have never heard of the term ‘text neck’ are sure to feel/experience one.
Tightness and pain slowly crawl up your neck and upper back after working on your system or playing your favorite game of cricket or watching episodes of ‘The Crown’ on your precious smartphone. You don’t realize the number of times you pick your mobile to access the GPRS, send messages or check mails. These can add to the pain in the neck and cause critical problems during your elderly years. Looking at your mobile phone while lying on the bed before sleeping can drastically affect sleep routines. The negative effects of smartphones on our health have been elaborately discussed at www.firsteatright.com
The front portion of the neck experiences pressure every time you look down and so does your back portion of the neck due to muscle contraction that happens when these muscles try to support the weight of the head (around 5 kilograms). Beyond these, text neck tightens the front of the neck and chest that causes discomfort of the shoulders and spinal cord as well.
You would laugh at someone who asks you to refrain from using your smartphones as mobiles have become your best friend these days. Performing simple exercises can help lift off a part of the stress on your neck and back. The amount of time you spend in the ‘text neck’ position, the same amount of time (if not more) should be spent in the opposite position to keep your neck balanced. Individuals become 10% shorter due to spinal compression and exercising for the neck unloads the joints and increases the space between the vertebrae.
Exercise to Counterbalance ‘Text Neck’ Position
Counter the forward-and-down head position by pulling your back such that your head firmly rests between your shoulders. This relaxes the spine muscle and relieves strain in the neck muscle.
Sit upright with your head situated directly above your torso. Now, nod your head from top to bottom slowly to gauge the motion of your top neck joint. Hold up to the bottom of the nod that creates a small double chin for up to 10 seconds and slowly let go. Do not overdo this such that you cut off your breath or hit your chin into the throat.
Lock your hands behind your head in the sitting/standing position. Open out your elbows and squeeze your shoulder blades back. You would be able to feel a stretch in the front of your chest. You can increase this stretch by bringing the head and shoulders back slightly to arch the upper middle back. Hold in this position for 10-20 seconds and release slowly.
Sit at the edge of your seat with legs apart and your feet turned out at 45 degrees. Keep your arms loose on your sides and your palms facing forward. Sit straight with your head back over your shoulders. Take about 10 deep breaths in and out. Repeat the same again.
The fragrance of a beautiful rose, the aroma of baked muffins or the lovely perfume gifted by your darling hubby make you feel delighted and pleasurable. At the same time, able to detect gas leaks, burning food or stale meat protects an individual against harmful health effects. Any changes in your sense of smell can impede your quality of life indicating a severe health problem residing inside your body.
As people grow older, their sense of smell diminishes, and this is predominantly present among the male population. Even one study has found that almost one-quarter of men between the ages of 60 and 69 experienced smell disorders while only about 11% of women in the same age group reported any problem.
Sensory cells called as olfactory sensory neurons that are found in a small patch of tissue inside the nose helps you smell things and are linked to the brain. Every neuron has one odor receptor and microscopic molecules released by substances around us (rose in the garden or coffee brewing) induce these receptors. As soon as the neurons detect the molecules, they send signals to the brain to identify the smell. Smells reach the neurons in two ways-either through nostrils or through a channel that connects the throat to the nose. If a person has cold, these channels are blocked, and you lose the ability to enjoy a food’s flavor. This proves that your sense of smell and taste are interconnected to each other.
If your sense of smell does not work properly, even strong flavors such as coffee or chocolate becomes difficult to distinguish. People with smell disorders either don’t get to smell things exactly the way in which they are meant to be smelt or experience a decline in the sense of smell.
Hyposmia: This indicates the decrease in ability to detect odor.
Anosmia: The complete inability to detect odor. Rarely, some people are born devoid of a sense of smell (congenital anosmia).
Parosmia: Change in odor perception, for instance something that has a pleasant smell now smells foul.
Phantosmia: The presence of an odor sensation that does not exist.
The major causes of a smell disorder include:
A smell disorder can be diagnosed in two ways. One type of test aims at diagnosing the smallest amount of odor that a person can detect while another type of test consists of a paper booklet of pages that are filled with different odors. If an individual is not able to recognize the odor, then he/she is said to have a smell disorder.
An otolaryngologist helps diagnose a smell disorder and suggests the needful action. Some people might recover their ability to smell instantly for no reason, some people might need a change of medication, some people with nasal problems might need a surgery and others might recover their sense of smell once they are cured of their illness.
A change in the sense of smell can make some people change their eating habits. This makes some individuals eat too little food and lose weight while making some other individuals eat too much food and become obese. If in case you suffer from such weight-related issues, you can get in touch with a dietitian/nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com to guide you and help you stick to healthy weight goals. A smell disorder can also be a warning sign of Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s or multiple sclerosis. It is better to speak to your physician and get the needful done before it attacks you badly.
Rare Disease Day is held on the last day of February every year. As the name suggests, this day is dedicated to all the rare diseases that rarely get public attention. We have days dedicated for individuals suffering from diseases such as AIDS and cancer, but there is least importance given for rare diseases that strike at least 1 in 20 people at some phase of their life. Spreading awareness and making people understand these diseases is the core aim of this day.
This day is practiced throughout the world reaching more than hundreds of thousands of people with around 94 countries participating in these campaigns. The last day of February is aptly declared as ‘Rare Disease Day’ as February is the only month that has rare number of days-28 or 29 days and the first Rare Disease Day happened on Feb 29th 2008, a rare date that occurs only once in four years.
What are Rare Diseases?
There are over 6000 rare diseases that are classified under various disorders and characterized by different symptoms that vary not only from disease to disease but also from patient to patient who has the same disease. 80% of rare diseases have a genetic origin while the rest are due to infections, allergies and environmental causes or are degenerative and proliferative. Read more on how genes determine the health of an individual to some extent at www.firsteatright.com. It is also saddening to know that 50% of rare diseases affect children. Marfan syndrome, Turner syndrome and retinal eye disorder are popular rare diseases. Common symptoms mostly hinder the diagnosis of these diseases leading to misdiagnosis and delayed treatment. These affect the patient’s quality of life as firstly the diseases are not diagnosed accurately on time and secondly, there are no proper cure available for most of these diseases that further add pain and suffering to the affected individual and his/her family. Out of more than 6000 diseases only a few hundred have any treatment.
Every case of rare diseases is different and due to such diversity, research must be conducted on an international level to provide connectivity between researchers, clinicians and patients so that the affected individual can benefit from pooling of resources across the world. While we still need major breakthrough and rare disease patients face a plethora of challenges, mammoth progress is happening every day.
Active Participation of India
India is actively conducting various programs, events and marches on Rare Diseases Day every year. In 2017, events were held across the country, symposiums were conducted, and a film festival was organized. In Bengaluru on Feb 25th, 2018 there was a walk/run organized to bring hope and positivity to all the people suffering from a rare disease and to also provide access to national and international resources.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.