Showing posts with label disease and illness. Show all posts
Showing posts with label disease and illness. Show all posts

Monday, April 24, 2017

Happiness in a storm

We have spent an inordinate amount of time figuring out the relationship between positive mindfulness  and its impact on our health, and today medical science has proven that positivism influences our brain cells and escalates our health. That explains why some patients with terminal disease live longer than others, or why with some people life seems easier than others. 

This is unarguably also the reason why my opthalmologist tells me to live stress free since negative emotion flares up health conditions. With each bout of stress my eye condition flares up and this leaves me extremely low and to a more stressful existence. Talking of which, now I know how my parents were being able to pull through extraordinary life circumstances inspite of being faced with some handsome health conditions in different phases of their lives. They have been fostering positive emotions all through, in the middle of all bizarre health crises and have had an extraordinary time fighting those.

The impact of positivist on health got reiterated only the other day ,when my boss, a renowned doctor himself, mailed me an article by Jane E Brody. "A Positive Outlook May Be Good for Your Health". The article wonderfully explains what happens to you when you are positive and sums up 8 skills to practice to stay happy and calm when your health is not going good. Quoting from the article:

An important goal of the training is to help people feel happy, calm and satisfied in the midst of a health crisis. Improvements in their health and longevity are a bonus. Each participant is encouraged to learn at least three of the eight skills and practice one or more each day. The eight skills are:

■ Recognize a positive event each day.
■ Savor that event and log it in a journal or tell someone about it.

■ Start a daily gratitude journal.
■ List a personal strength and note how you used it.

■ Set an attainable goal and note your progress.
■ Report a relatively minor stress and list ways to reappraise the event positively.

■ Recognize and practice small acts of kindness daily.
■ Practice mindfulness, focusing on the here and now rather than the past or future.

Monday, May 4, 2015

How to prepare yourself before doctor's visit and make most out of it

I have been meeting patients everyday for several years and have noticed that there has been a striking shift in the delineation of the patients. Patients are more involved, interactive and informed than the pre-internet days. Also, as much as we revere the profession of a medical practitioner, the role of a doctor has been most discussed and often criticized.  What a doctor should do and what he should not, how he should and how he should not etc. have put their lives on perpetual edge. We are quick in passing judgments about their societal and tangible roles as in rendering proper, timely and cost effective medical treatment.

However, how many of us are aware about our roles as patients? Are we doing our bits as patients? What are our duties towards a healthy doctor-patient relationship?

This article is research based and I would hope that reading through this will help you understand your role as a patient. Aside this, you will also find this article helpful in organizing your medical data and coping with your medical condition. So, how to make most out of your doctor's visit?

What  you must do

Take the usual dose of medication before seeing your doctor

If the appointment is in the morning time you should not miss any of the morning doses. This, especially, is relevant for the hypertensive patients who are on regular anti hypertensive medication. If he the morning dose of medicine it gets difficult for the doctor to alter and correct the dose of medicines. 

Carry all the medical documents along

You, as a patient should carry his medical file, even the ones that he feels irrelevant. Let the doctors decide on that. This would make the visit so much smooth. The doctor gets to know the history, the medical conditions, the past hospitalizations in less time. Besides, the risk of missing an important information is averted.

Carry the medicines you are currently on

The doctor would most definitely want to know about the medicines his patient is currently on. This also may help him detect the probable side effects that the patient might be having from a medicine. You, as a patient, should keep records of the previous treatment. inform your doctor about drug allergies, supplements you are on, sensitivity issues, past hospitalizations, other illnesses that you are being treated for etc. 

Nothing wrong in being internet savvy but choose your source smartly

With the advent of internet life has been so much easier. From battery to books to medical conditions to their treatment - most of us are now self educated medicos. This may run us into grave things that we may not be able to reverse. Internet is great but we must not feed ourselves on the unauthenticated sources of information. At the end of the day, only a doctor, you heard it right, only a doctor will be able to treat you right - not the internet.

Bring along mags, books, ipods etc.

You should not equate visit to a doctor with visit to a friend's or with visit to the super market. You should come prepared with the probable waiting times. Let's face it - doctors are supposed to run into emergency anytime. 

Consider involving your friend/ spouse/ parent

Come along with someone with whom you are comfortable and may disclose your personal stuffs. Sometimes, patients are unwilling to share medical history with the doctor that may have played an important role in the diagnosis.

Speak up and ask

Feel free to ask questions to your doctor. You should know about your health conditions and what your doctor is planning for you. Ask about the medicines, plan of treatment, diagnosis etc. Also, make sure you can read your doctor's hand writing. Else you can ask for a typed/ legible prescription. 

What you must not do

Know your conditions and health issues. Respecting the value of time you should come prepared with all the questions you want to ask your doctor.  Also, keep in mind that not all doctors want to be asked. So:

D not interrupt your doctor. Value his expertise.
Do not take calls in between. Do not get distracted by your gadgets. Switch off your phone and gadgets before entering doctor's office
Do not digress too much. Come prepared with the questions that you want to ask your doctor. So, be very precise and crisp and choose your questions wisely.
Do not be repetitive. Some doctors do not indulge in too many questions. Keep it short and specific.
Do not pad your queries. Be open and matter of fact.

Do not record the session with prior permission. Do ask for permission. Else, most doctors going to shoo you off.

PS: I work in healthcare facility for more than ten years now. 

You may also read:

Photo credit ~ AMD

Friday, April 24, 2015

How well you know your heart: A guide to various heart conditions

Today, everyone is familiar with the term ‘heart disease’, but not everyone is conversant with the spectrum of diseases related to the heart. What commonly referred to as heart disease is actually a bouquet of heart conditions with some connections and many differences. Heart ailment is a terrible thing to dwell with. It’s dreadful. As much as it sounds bizarre, it is heart-warming to know that this petite fist size organ can manipulate all rhythms of our lives. As a heart patient, caregiver, conceivable candidate for heart disease, as a healthy person we must initiate to know more about the most beautiful part of our body that works sequentially 365 days, nonstop.

Heart disease talks may get intimidating more so for a non-medic like me. Having said that, I have tried to demystify it, and so this article happened - A vital guide to various heart conditions by a John Doe.

Angina, atherosclerosis, heart attack

We come across many people who often say that they are having angina. What is this angina? Angina is simply chest discomfort, fullness, irritability that is caused by reduced blood flow in the body. Arteries are channels that supply blood with oxygen in the body. Arteries get clogged and taper due to calcium and fat deposits from bad food and sickly lifestyle. People with unstable angina show signs of discomfort on chest, neck, arms and even stomach and need to get immediate medical help. Since our whole body is like a fish bone array of arteries, they may get clogged elsewhere also. Likewise they are referred to as cerebral (brain), pulmonary (lung), peripheral (limbs), renal (kidney), carotid (neck) etc. These are all cardio vascular events. Heart attack (MI - myocardial infarction) happens when an artery is clogged completely (100% occlusion). Heart attack is a life threatening condition. After heart attack (if not treated immediately) the area gets dead requiring extra effort to keep other areas of the heart healthy.


Some people suffer from arrhythmias. Arrhythmia is abnormal irregular heart rhythms caused by erratic electrical system in the heart. Heart may go slow, race, skip etc. They can cause a variety of symptoms like dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath, blackouts, fainting and palpitations. Arrhythmias may feel like flutters in the heart and is a very disturbing feeling. If left untreated, arrhythmias can be life threatening. There are different kinds of arrhythmias, like, VT, SVT, AF (AFib), tachycardia, bradycardia etc.of which only your cardiologist can guide you with.

Heart valve disease

Heart valves are shafts that control the flow of blood in one direction only. The valves lie at the exit of each heart chamber and maintain one way blood flow without leakage. It is important that I go into little details here. It took me many years to understand how heart valves function but it is not that complex after all.

The heart has four chambers. Right and left atria and right and left ventricles. Blood flows from right and left atria into your ventricles through the tricuspid and mitral valves. When the ventricles are full, the tricuspid and mitral valves shut. This prevents blood from flowing backward into the atria while the ventricles contract. As the ventricles begin to contract, the pulmonic and aortic valves are forced open and blood is pumped out of the ventricles. Blood from the right ventricle passes through the open pulmonic valve into the pulmonary artery, and blood from the left ventricle passes through the aortic valve into the aorta and the rest of the body. This pattern is repeated over and over with each heartbeat, causing blood to flow continuously to the heart, lungs and the body.

Heart valve disease can develop at or before birth (congenital) or can be acquired sometime during one's lifetime.  Children often acquire inflammation of the valve, holes in the heart (ASD, VSA), etc. which sometimes remain undetected until adulthood. Valve disease is mostly caused by untreated rheumatic fevers caused by bacterial infection in childhood. Valve problems are characterized by weakness, extreme lethargy, shortness of breath swelling of ankle, joints, feet. .

Heart failure

Heart failures are extreme conditions when our heart slows down and fails to pump good blood to the whole body. Heart failure is a chronic, progressive condition in which the heart muscle is unable to pump enough blood through to meet the body's needs for blood and oxygen. This can be due to thickening (hypetrophic cardiomyopathy), restricting (restrictive cardiomyopathy), enlarging (dilated cardiomyopathy) of the heart, heart muscles or the heart sac. Heart failure is a serious condition that needs long term treatment and in many cases inspite of optimum medical help patients do not survive.

Heart conditions are triggered by uncontrolled blood pressure, chronic diabetes, kidney disease, high levels of bad cholesterol (low HDL), unhealthy eating habits (binge eating and excess sugar, high carb and less nutrient dense diet), smoking, obesity, sedentary and erratic way of life. Although by modifying these we may achieve a heart safe body, we can never be sure.  

Photo credit ~ irishfoundation

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving wouldn't be complete without thanking her

There lived a princess in the heart of the city of Calcutta in the eastern part of India. She had all the things in life – a loving father, 3 loving sisters, nephews, nieces, brothers, a big house, lot of books and the money to buy more and most of all the love of everyone around – everything that would make someone classically happy.

Then one day as she was getting ready to join her lovely sisters for a movie, she felt numbness on her legs. She fell down. Things followed rapidly there after. After several top doctors in the city were consulted, investigations procuring humongous bills were taken care of and after never ending sleepless nights, the top neurologists came to conclude that she was suffering from a rare type of neurological disease - Moyamoya disease(MMD).

In a matter of one year, she started to feel enormously weak and numb. She succumbed at home several times and had to be hospitalized few times. She was ventilated and weaned off after stormy periods. On all occasions, she was hassled, humiliated and treated like a vegetable. Now, she rests in an ICU facilitated bed at home, cared by her father, sisters and full time expensive and expert nurses. The room has suction tube, syringe pumps, ryle’s tube mechanics, all that a proper ICU must have.

A lot could be said about the medical mal treatment, mis diagnosis, lack of medical expertise and callous practices. We all know how it goes. Maligning is easy. Today however, I want to thank her who is living it all numb, unaware, yet not dead. Her fleeting smile (that’s once in a blue moon on seeing her father) is the reason her father is still fighting it along with her. He has stents to take care of his clogged arteries, he has a lot many instructions to abide by and he is not left with much money now. Still, he never does miss his dose of medicine so that he might not miss his daughter’s dose. He spends nearly 50K per month for her beautiful daughter. He is failing now with aches and pains catching up every now. But, he should never give up on the hope. That’s what has made both father and daughter so much more alive than many of us and so painfully beautiful.

Moyamoya disease was first identified in Japan. It occurs most frequently in patients from Japan and Korea. Moyamoya disease is a rare vascular disorder characterized by the progressive narrowing of the blood vessels in the circle of Willis (the ring of arteries at the base of the brain). The result is irreversible blockage of the carotid arteries to the brain as they enter into the skull. Moyamoya disease primarily affects children, but may also occur in adults ages 20 to 40.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

What to ask Your Doctor before Coronary Angiogram?

Coronary angiogram is a complex yet arty procedure where the cardiologist dexterously inserts a narrow tube called catheter through the femoral/ radial artery with plastic introducer sheath. The catheter is guided through the artery into the heart and then dye is injected into the artery. The dye flows through the artery to the heart and stops or goes slow at the clogs in the heart arteries. The percentage of block is asserted by the cardiologists. This whole process is monitored through a highly defined x-ray machine managed by specialized technicians. As much as it sounds easy, coronary angiogram has immense risks attached if not performed by specialized team.

This article will give you insight into the urgency of the procedure or if at all you require it or if you will benefit from it or not

How important or necessary is this test for diagnosis?

Angiography is an important procedure that confirms the ailment. It's just an invasive diagnostic that help the doctors decide on the treatment thereafter. The urgency and the immediate need of the procedure can only be decided by the consultants, who will be knowing the degree and the importance of the procedure.

When is it done?

Doctors recommend angiography when you are symptomatic of pain in your chest, jaw, neck or arm (that can't be explained by other tests), unstable angina, a heart defect you were born with, a heart valve problem that requires surgery.

What to keep in mind before angiogram?

If you:

Are allergic to iodine dye used in the test
Have ever had a serious allergic reaction
Have asthma
Are allergic to any medicines
Have any bleeding problems or are taking blood-thinning medicines
Have a history of kidney problems or chronic diabetes

What will happen during the procedure?

During a coronary angiogram, a type of dye that's visible by X-ray machine is injected into the blood vessels of your heart. The x-ray machine rapidly takes a series of images (angiograms), giving a detailed look at the inside of your blood vessels and the heart.

What are the risks?

Most of the times, major complications are rare. However, potential risks and complications include: heart attack, stroke, injury to the catheterized artery, irregular heart rhythms, allergic reactions to the dye or medications used during the procedure, kidney damage, excessive bleeding, infection, blood clots, radiation exposure from the X-rays

What does it reveal?

An angiograms show doctors what's wrong with your blood vessels. It can:

Show how many of your coronary arteries are blocked or narrowed
Locate the blockages in your blood vessels
Show how much blood flow is blocked through your blood vessels
Check the results of previous coronary bypass surgery or stenting
Check the blood flow through your heart and blood vessels
Check the size and movement of the heart valves

Based on the results, your cardiologist decides on the treatment from which you would be optimally benefited. For instance, that you would benefit from having coronary angioplasty, bypass surgery, valve replacement or just medical management.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Bunions and Heel Spur: Two painful feet conditions


The two terrible feet conditions that people often suffer from are heel spur and bunions. Both are inexpressibly painful and are persistent so much so that it becomes hard to get rid of them. Calcaneal spur, commonly known as heel spur, is the in-growth of the calcaneal (heel bone) mostly due to deposit of calcium. Bunion is a foot condition where the big toe bends towards the second toe forming a sharp bony prominence. Pains, from mild to severe, are caused by the inflammation and the bone pressing against the shoe.  Bunions are more common in women and are caused by a number of reasons, including wearing shoes that are too tight, years of abnormal motion, poor foot mechanics, bone deformities, flat feet and arthritis. However, common to both feet conditions are our body weight. Obese people are more prone and it’s generally reported that being overweight is an aggravating factor.

 Symptoms of heel spur:

Excessive continuing pain on putting your heel flat
On slow and less walking it decreases temporarily
On fast walking, jumping, carrying weights the pain increases


Stretching exercises
Losing body weight
Wearing shoes that have cushions, heel cradle and heel cup all over and absorb shocks
R.I.C.E therapy

Symptoms of bunions:

Moderate to severe pain on walking
Bony growth of the big toe
Big toe bent towards the other toes
Both feet usually affected


Choose shoes with roomy toe box, cushioned cradle and padding all over to accommodate the bony prominence.
Losing body weight
R.I.C.E therapy
Surgery is an option when conservative treatment fails and you have chronic pains.

What is  RICE-(M)?

R – Relative Rest
I – Ice
C – Compression
E – Elevation
M – Motion

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Natural Healing With 6 Seasonal Summer Fruits

Natural Healing With 6 Seasonal Summer Fruits -

Monday, December 20, 2010

Chuck the High Heels now!

High heels make you look sassy and elegant and make you feel fantastically beautiful. Having to wear, balance and walk comfortably in high heels, is an art in itself. Wearing them is at the discretion of the individuals, and being aware is another thing. The effects of wearing habitual high heels are slow but could be severe at some point and it varies from individual to individual.

1. Back, feet, legs ache: constant wearing could lead to chronic lower back pain and muscle sprains which could lead to severe injuries and bone shortening, ligament and cartilage tearing and knee injury.

2. Spine stress and posture defect: Wearing high heels regularly could deform the spine and affect the posture by dis-balancing body movements.

3. Bunions and severe feet condition: High heels lead to unhealthy feet and legs leading to conditions like bunions, in growing toe nails and other severe conditions that might require surgical intervention.

4. Restricted blood circulation: In some cases they may lead to constricted blood circulation leading to unhealthy nervous system.

6. Mental imbalance: In rare cases, it's been found that the mental health has been impaired to certain extent.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

5 spices that help us fight cancer

5 spices that help you fight Cancer and other Diseases