Eating is blissful for some. They can go about munching on a variety of delicious and tasty dishes whenever they feel bored or tempted. At a young age, we don’t care about calories, health quotient or the ill effects of a certain food. For example, if you ask a teenager to refrain from eating pizza, he/she is surely not going to give heed to what you recommend. But, as the teenager grows, he/she is sure to bother about the calories present in every food that they eat irrespective of their hunger.
High blood pressure, high cholesterol values and risk of heart disease are becoming a common issue these days and though, we would love to continue the teenage habit of munching on anything that comes by our way, monitoring our food intakes becomes of utmost concern here.
Impact of Cholesterol on Day-to-day Life
Cholesterol is a waxy substance found in the cells of the body. Its not bad in moderate quantities and our body needs certain quantities of cholesterol to produce hormones, vitamin D and enzymes needed for digestion. But too much of cholesterol can be a problem.
Every adult above the age of 20 is advised to get his/her cholesterol levels checked every 4 to 6 years with a lipoprotein blood test. Avoid these cholesterol-rich foods to keep your cholesterol levels under control:
Eating the above-mentioned foods is not a sin. All you have to keep in mind is to eat them in controlled portions and stick to your daily physical activity routine to stay in good health. If you suffer from high cholesterol values which keeps hitting your health badly, it is better to get in touch with a registered dietitian nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com who can help you control cholesterol values with healthy eating plans and a simple activity routine.
Lung Cancer Awareness Month (November 1st-November 30th)
Breathing is the crux of human existence and lungs are the primary organs of the respiratory system which also comprise of airways, blood vessels and muscles that help a person breathe. Lungs help to breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide from the body. Termed as ‘gas exchange’ this is a vital element of breathing.
Alongside gas exchange, the respiratory system also performs other important functions that support breathing such as:
Humans are blessed with two lungs-the right and left lung each having distinct characteristics. The right lung is divided into three lobes and the left lung into two lobes. These lobes are like balloons that are filled with sponge-like tissue. Each lung is surrounded by pleura-membranes that surround each lobe of the lungs.
Air enters our body primarily through the nose but can also enter through our mouth if we are accustomed to breathing through our mouth. This air enters the throat which passes it to the trachea or wind pipe. Trachea is composed of two bronchial tubes that enter each lung which are again divided at the lobes of the lung. The tiniest of the bronchial branches are called bronchioles which are comprised of air sacs or alveoli. Though small, the air sacs enable exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Walls of the alveoli are comprised of capillaries (blood vessels) through which blood passes entering via the pulmonary artery and leaving via the pulmonary vein. In the capillaries, blood pushes carbon dioxide into the alveoli and takes oxygen from air in the alveoli.
Breathing is a complex process which can be greatly disturbed owing to the presence of infections, injuries, diseases and other factors.
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide but shows no symptoms until later stages. Absence of much symptoms is due to the presence of restricted number of pain receptors in the lungs.
Lung cancer is commonly present among the older generation, specifically amongst people belonging to the 70-74 age group. Individuals younger than 40 face the least risk of the disease. Although it can occur in anyone, smoking is the primary cause (more than 85%) of this cancer owing to the various toxic substances that are inhaled.
The symptoms of lung cancer vary depending on the type of lung cancer and the placement and size of the tumor. Common symptoms include:
Cancer that starts in the lungs is called as primary lung cancer and one that starts elsewhere and spreads to the lungs from another place in the body is called as secondary lung cancer. There are three main types of lung cancer namely:
Small cell lung cancer: Almost 10-15% of lung cancers belong to this category and falls under primary lung cancer. It spreads quickly compared to the rest of the types.
Non-small-cell lung cancer: Almost 85% of lung cancers belong to this category making it the most common type present universally.
Lung carcinoid tumor: This is the least-present type of amounting to lesser than 5% of the total lung cancer statistics. These tumors grow slowly and rarely do they spread.
Treatment purely depends on the stage of diagnosis, type of cancer and how far the disease has spread. When the cancer is confined to a small area which means that it has been diagnosed early, surgery is the preferred option where the portion of the affected lungs are removed surgically. When health conditions don’t permit surgery, radiotherapy is the suggested option for treatment. Chemotherapy is introduced to the patient only if the cancer has spread too much making surgery or radiotherapy an ineffective option.
Diagnosis plays a very important role in treatment and survival rates. Only 1 in 20 people live for at least 10 years diagnosis while 1 in 3 people live at least for a year for sure after diagnosis.
The best way to prevent lung cancer is to stop smoking (if you smoke) as this is the primary cause of the disease. Even if you have been a heavy smoker until now, your chance of acquitting the disease reduces once you stop it. After some 10 years of quitting, the chances of developing lung cancer decrease by almost 50%. When such are the advantages of quitting, why can’t we think about it seriously? Read more about the side effects of smoking and the advantages that tag along once a person quits smoking from the website www.firsteatright.com.
Eat healthy: Keep your lungs healthy by eating nutritious and wholesome food. Include five portions of fresh fruits and vegetables daily, choose whole grains, eat foods that are high in fiber diet, low in fat and rich in nutrients.
Physical activity: Exercising regularly decreases the risk of lung cancer in fact, any type of cancer. Indulge in at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week which amounts to at least 30 minutes of exercise five days a week.
Halloween Day (October 31st)
Halloween is the most desired day for children as they right royally grab umpteen candies to eat, dress up as spookily as possible and the schools and neighborhoods are buzzing with activities. But as parents, are you ready for all the sugar laden treats that could last for months after the festival? Having a party together, going for a trick or treat or celebrating in your own unique way, there are multiple creative ways in which you can make Halloween healthier, desirable and enjoyable.
There are quite a number of safety measures that should be ensured before sending your child for his/her Halloween celebration.
Kids jump with excitement and are ready to do anything to look their best on Halloween. They don’t mind the flowing dresses, huge hats or mighty swords. But as parents, we need to make sure that the costume fits correctly without being too big or too small making it uneasy for the kid to move around easily. If you are making a mask, hat or a wig ensure that these props fit your child perfectly instead of blocking their vision.
What is Halloween without the scary or silly Jack-o’-lanterns? The custom is believed to have originated in Ireland where pumpkins were often carved with grotesque faces. Since then, the tradition of carving pumpkins and lighting them to ward off evil forces has been followed worldwide. Never give kids the responsibility of carving pumpkins with knives as there are many dangerous consequences attached to it. You can help them with permanent markers where the child can draw features over the pumpkin and make them spooky/silly according to their wish. Else, allow them to draw the features and help them with the carving process. Also, instead of lighting candles inside the carved pumpkin, you can use glow stickers. If you wish to use candles, place the pumpkin in places where there are minimal chances of tripping over and blow off the candles when you are not at home.
Halloween is the time of year where children are prone to car accidents twice as much compared to any other time of year. It is better to:
This is the most sought-after part during Halloween and children love to munch on candies as and when their bags fill up. But, it is always better to wait until you reach home before opening your candy bag. This way, you ensure that you eat only those that are fully wrapped and get to read the ingredients if your child has any food allergies. Never let children eat any edibles that seem to be made of unknown ingredients. Before you kid gets ready for the candies, it is always better to make him/her aware of the idea that not all candies need to be emptied then and there. Parents can take a few to their office and share it with their colleagues or even encourage their children to trade candies for other prizes such as their favorite toy or dress. This way, you ensure better health and less sugar intake.
There is no hard and fast rule attached with Halloween celebrations. It is the time of year to celebrate and promote togetherness in an amicable way. As parents you can always incorporate positive changes such as:
Adolescents and youngsters form the majority of population in India. This is a ‘cat on the wall’ stage which terrorizes every parent and excites every adolescent! Worldwide, there are around 1.2 billion people, almost 1 in every 6th person living in this world is an adolescent aged between 10 and 19 years. Adolescence is the period of maximal growth of an individual-girls and boys attain puberty, hormone levels change and they love to explore their body and mind. While most adolescents are healthy, some of them suffer from premature death, illness and injury due to alcohol/tobacco use, unprotected sex, sedentary lifestyle, lack of exercise or exposure to violence/trauma. All these rips off the teenager of good health and affect their health lifelong as adults and also their children’s health. Avoiding such behaviors during adolescence and promoting healthy behavior in these individuals is needed to enable them to grow up into healthy adults who can reproduce healthy kids.
Some of the critical health issues that hit these people include:
Early pregnancy and childbirth
Globally, there are 44 births born of girls aged 15-19 years of every 1000 births (11% of total births) and early pregnancy and childbirth is the leading cause of death in these girls. Enabling better access to contraceptive information and pills, specifying strict rules on minimal age for marriage and enforcing them can curb such early pregnancies greatly. If in case such adolescent girls do get pregnant, appropriate antenatal care must be provided and in countries where laws permit, safe abortion practices should be given for those who wish to terminate the pregnancy.
While the total number of deaths due to HIV is down by 30%, HIV-related deaths in adolescents are rising with around 2 million teenagers living with HIV and many of them even unaware of their HIV status. Youngsters must be made aware of ways to protect themselves, given access to these means and given better access to HIV testing and counselling services. Condoms for avoiding sexual transmission of the virus and clean needles/syringes for injecting drugs must be made available to them.
Vaccinations have helped decrease the attack of a great number of diseases including polio, measles and mumps. Still, diarrhea and respiratory tract infections are said to be the top 5 causes of death for 10-19-year olds.
Mental health problems
Depression is the 3rd leading cause of ill health and disability among adolescents and suicide is quoted as the third leading cause of death in adolescents aged between 15 and 19 years. Trauma, rape, violence, humiliation and poverty increase the chances of mental illness by multi-folds. Children should be trained in life skills and parents should develop a fine rapport with their children that enables them to detect any changes in their children’s behavior immediately.
Use of alcohol/drugs
Use of alcohol and drugs are major sources of other harmful issues such as unprotected sex, injuries due to road accidents, violence by a partner and premature deaths. Drugs availability must be reduced as drug use is dominant among 15-19-year olds. Injuries and deaths due to road accidents too is a major reason of death among adolescents. Blood-alcohol levels must be set lower for teenage drivers.
Malnutrition and obesity
Malnutrition and obesity exist at two ends of the spectrum in developing and under-developed countries. There are many children who enter adolescence as malnourished teenagers which makes them vulnerable to health issues. Obesity in kids and teenagers is also on the rise in low-, middle- and high-income countries globally. Its high time to curb the obesity epidemic and join hands together to promote healthy eating among our present generation kids to enable them to grow into healthy adults. For more insights on managing the obesity epidemic and learning to live a healthy lifestyle please visit the website www.firsteatright.com.
Exercise and nutrition
Iron deficiency anemia was the leading cause of quality life lost to disability and death in 2015. Teenagers consume a bulk portion of junk foods high in saturated fats, trans fat, free sugars and salt that’s totally harmful for the body. Data too suggests that fewer than 1 in 4 individuals meet the physical activity requirements of exercising for 60 minutes daily.
Smoking starts as early as adolescence due to peer pressure or the excitement to try new things and this develops into a habit gradually. To prevent this, it is necessary to increase tobacco prices, impose higher taxes on tobacco products and ban tobacco advertising. Almost 1 in 10 adolescents aged 13 to 15 years use tobacco which needs immediate intervention.
AVOID FRAUD. EAT SMART.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.