There exists bacteria, fungi, virus and other pathogens that reside comfortably inside the human body. Our body proves to be a cool and comfortable place for formation of stones too! Kidney stones are hard mineral deposits that form when substances such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid become hard enough to adopt a stone structure inside our kidneys. More commonly witness among the male population compared to the female population, there is always a chance of recurrence of kidney stones within 10-15 years in almost 50% of people who have had one already.
Origin & End
Almost 80-85% stones comprise of calcium while the rest are uric acid stones in people with low urine pH levels. Once formed in the kidney, these stones can move down to the ureter thereby restricting urine flow. This might cause excruciating pain accompanied by blood in the urine, nausea, vomiting and flak pain (pain on one side of the body between the stomach and the back). When the stone passes down the ureter further towards the bladder there might be instances of frequent urination, bladder pressure or pain in the groin.
During such instances, it is advisable to meet a physician who will perform the required tests to confirm the presence of kidney stones, their size and numbers. The excretion of these stones varies anywhere between few weeks to months depending on the size and number. Medications prescribed help to reduce pain and discomfort until the stones are chucked out of the body. Sometimes, the stones are too large to pass naturally and are removed with the help of a surgical procedure called ureteroscopy.
There is no sure way to prevent kidney stones, specifically when you have a family history of it! Almost one in ten people will have a kidney stone in their lifetime. Proper diet, a healthy lifestyle and certain medications might reduce the risk of this condition. Get in touch with a registered dietitian nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com to get tips and tricks that help a person lead a healthy lifestyle in a practical way. Simple tips include:
‘What’s trending in fashion this season?’ is a common question but “What’s trending in nutrition and foods?” is an often-quoted one these days as people are growing to be health-conscious. The instant answer to the latter question is millets!
Millet is the name given to a whole group of small-seeded grains in the grass family that needs minimal water and tends to be resistant to pathogens and pests that affect important crops like corn and wheat. As millets can withstand arid temperatures, dry spells and has a short growing season, it is one of the most-preferred crops in the tropics of Asia and Africa, especially India, Nigeria and Niger. In fact, millets overpowered rice as the universal grain in China and was the staple grain in Europe during the Middle Ages. These tiny grains have been consumed since the start of the ancient civilization dating back over 7,000 years. But these traditional foods were eclipsed by processed or ‘convenience’ foods until recently and its only now that all our healthy ancestral foods are regaining value for their nutritional benefits. Also, the past several decades have witnessed frequent periods of drought that led to poor crop yields and hence, farmers in drought-prone regions have also shifted their focus towards harvesting of drought-resistant crops such as ancient grains. Millets find their use as animal fodder, cereal crop or are also used as an ingredient in birdseed.
While proudly we can say that India is the world’s largest producer of millets, there are not many who utilize it for culinary purpose and the traditional millet dishes have been long forgotten which need to be revived.
The tiny millet seeds are packed with high nutrition content. They contain vitamins, minerals, magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium and zinc. It is gluten-free and has a low-GI value which makes millets a suitable dish for people with gluten intolerance or wheat allergies. One cup of cooked millet contains 20% or more of the daily value of copper, magnesium, manganese and phosphorus along with B-complex vitamins such as niacin, folacin, thiamine and riboflavin.
Magnesium in millets helps reduce blood pressure, risk of heart disease and migraine problems. The fiber in millets acts as a natural prebiotic (dietary fiber that helps in the growth of good bacteria in gut). The gluten-free grain carries a subtle, sweet, corn-like flavor that varies in texture depending on how its cooked. Millets cooked with less oil can be fluffy and light like rice/quinoa while those cooked with more oil seem like a porridge or mashed potato.
Millets are not a temporary diet fad and these versatile grains are only going to be increasingly used. Popular millet varieties include:
Millets cater to the diverse needs of individuals.
Heart attacks are not so dramatic in real life as they are portrayed in movies and you always don’t fall down holding your arms tight by your heart. There is a vast difference in what women think a heart attack would feel like and what it actually feels like. It’s a fact that next to the reproductive system, it is the cardiovascular system that functions extremely differently between the two sexes.
Never Ignore These Symptoms
Women have smaller blood vessels compared to men and are likelier to suffer from smaller, non-fatal heart attacks. While a recent research conveyed the news that men and women face similar symptoms during a coronary blockage, women mostly succumb to a silent heart attack which shows no symptoms. Every woman is different and experiences a different set of symptoms. Some of them mentioned by heart-attack survivors even take us by surprise:
Upper arms ache terribly sometimes when we get up after sleeping the previous night. Most of us ignore this ache blaming our improper sleeping position or gym workouts and it also turns out to be a trivial reason in most cases. Rarely can these be symptoms of a heart attack and they are present along with jaw and chest soreness.
Persistent Jaw Pain
Jaw pain occurs due to cold, sinus issue or a muscle problem. Problems in the jaw along with fatigue and arm issues can occur months before a heart attack occurs and intensify as the day fast approaches.
Nausea & Vomiting
A 2018 study showed that two-thirds of women who experienced a heart attack before the age of 55 suffered from gastric problems, indigestion issues, nausea or stomach pain while it was only 50% of men who experienced similar symptoms. Vomiting normally is a case of some digestive problem, but when it is present with other symptoms here, it can be an indication of a heart attack.
If you feel out of breath while talking rapidly in the middle of a meeting, doing household chores or even when you lie down simply, it can be an early sign of heart problem. This happens when the arteries are blocked unable to send oxygen to all parts of the body.
Fatigue is an often-ignored symptom by most women as they experience it every month during their menstruation or due to overburdening workload. Sometimes it shoots up past its reasonable levels, for instance people feel like taking a nap soon after shower, feel like sitting down on the steps after climbing one flight of stairs or feel exhausted only after standing for 10 minutes together. These changes are critical and need immediate attention as they are different from the everyday aches and pains that women put up with.
Similar to jaw pain, back pain can happen sometime before the attack hits you. Some experience it as a sharp pain between the shoulder blades while some others feel as though the pain is right behind their heart. Lower or upper back pain starts in the chest and spreads to these areas.
A tingling sensation in the chest or chest tightness is often ignored as it is accompanied by symptoms such as jaw pain, fatigue and stress. Some assume it to be gas. Chest discomfort is the most notable symptom of heart disease. Some feel their chest to be as heavy as an elephant sitting over it while some others say that it was simply a burning sensation.
Symptoms of Flu
Some people experience flu-like symptoms including fatigue, nausea and body aches which they ignore. If you feel that things seem out of place even mildly, get it checked immediately. It might turn out to be a normal flu, but you have ruled out the possibility of a grave disease.
Snoring is not an instant sign of heart disease and it is ok to snore when you snooze. Extremely loud snoring like a chocking or gasping sound is indicative of sleep apnea as you stop breathing for several moments while sleeping. Sleep apnea is extremely dangerous when left unattended. Get to know the symptoms and precautionary measures from the website www.firsteatright.com. Cardiovascular health can be maintained by following a healthy lifestyle that includes ample physical activity, a healthy diet and a peaceful work-life balance. Being aware of how your gender affects cardiovascular risk profile and taking necessary action can be even more helpful in letting you stay healthy.
Human body is an intricate art work that is delicately connected. As intricate as it is, our body also sends out strong signals when there is something going wrong inside it. Most women notice these warning signs weeks or months before the actual heart attack. Chances of recovery increase based on your reporting time of these symptoms-the sooner, the better. Meet your physician immediately if you feel that you are not normal or when you experience any of these symptoms continuously for more than five minutes.
Virtual reality games and videos captured the gadget market some years back and youngsters go crazy over these stuff in today’s world. Virtual reality (VR) is a scenario created artificially using software and presented to the user such that he/she believes it to be a real environment. VR makes it possible to experience anything, anywhere, anytime. Sound and sight are the two most-used sense organs while experiencing this virtual reality with the use of headsets, props or multi-projected environments that helps the individual experience the happiness of the artificial world, look around it and interact with virtual features.
Psychotic disorders are severe mental disorders that cause abnormal thinking and perceptions. Such people are far away from reality as they are always affected by delusions and hallucinations. Delusions are believing things that are not true and hallucinations are hearing or seeing things that are not present, hearing voices or feeling something that is not there.
Schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, substance abuse disorders, brain tumors, stroke and brain infections can cause psychotic symptoms. Read more on these diseases and disorders at www.firsteatright.com. Individuals with psychotic disorders are under constant paranoia and mostly avoid social situations due to utmost suspicion or anxiety. A group of researchers focused on such patients and have found that adding virtual reality cognitive behavioral therapy alongside medications as treatment for psychotic disorders can help reduce anxiety and paranoia.
The first group were asked to step into a computer-generated underground train carriage and a lift. This study helped the patients overcome fear of their situations and feel safe. One group was told to react in the normal way and avoid eye contact as a defense strategy while the other group was advised to lower their defense and try accepting that they were safe from the computer characters by standing toe-to-toe or staring at them. The second group who were asked to outgrow their fears showed substantial reduction in their paranoid delusions while the first group saw a small reduction in delusions.
The research team found that almost 1-2% of population have severe paranoia at some point in their lives and find it difficult to leave the comfort of their home due to their heightened sense of mistrust.
Individuals who were subjected to the underground virtual reality tube train session commented that they were devoid of any fears travelling by lift or tube trains after their VR sessions.
CBT is a widely used form of psychotherapy that combines cognitive therapy and behavioral therapy. The underlying principle behind CBT is that feelings, thoughts and behaviors are interlinked and influence well-being. CBT differs from other traditional forms of psychotherapy in that CBT focuses on the current problem at hand and solutions to solve it rather than digging into the past problems.
Another study showed that 90% of people with psychosis assume that people around them exist to constantly harm them and hence, try to avoid other people’s company as much as possible. They either stay alone spending time by themselves or just have one or two friends.
The researchers divided people with similar psychotic disorders into two groups-one (intervention group) received the usual treatment along with VR CBT and the other group (waiting list control group) continued to receive only the usual treatment plan. Altogether there were 116 participants and 58 participants were assigned to each study group. All participants underwent assessment at the start of the study, 3 months after completion of the CBT treatment and once again at the end of 6 months. Assessment included perceived social threat, quantity of time people spend with others socially, anxiety and momentary paranoia.
There were altogether 16 VR CBT sessions with each session lasting for an hour over a 12-week period. Individuals were exposed to 4 different VR scenarios (bus, street, café and store). The scenario was customized for every participant and evoke situations which triggered fear or paranoid thoughts. The avatars present in these VR scenarios, their reaction to the participants and even their appearance was controlled by the research group.
Although there was no difference at the 3-month assessment, considerable social interaction and improvement could be found at the end of the 6-month assessment period. The result also showed that individuals in the VR CBT group showed reduced paranoia and anxiety at the end of both 3-month and 6-month assessment compared to the CBT group. There was no difference found in perceived social threat score between the two groups.
This shows that VR CBT can become a successful treatment form for psychotic disorders. Before that, much more research on its long-term effects is needed to clearly prove its advantage over widespread clinical use.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.