The Six Worst Health Mistakes Women Make

Even though Bangalore homemaker Radhika Patel* was diagnosed with breast cancer, she insisted on postponing treatment until summer holidays had started for her two school-going children.

This mindset—putting the family’s wellbeing much before their own health—is typical of many women and, doctors opine, is one of the biggest health mistakes women make. It’s not always easy to shift the focus from work and family to oneself, but the likely payoff—a longer, healthier life—is worth the trouble.


You may have heard that women don’t have to worry so much about heart disease—it’s a man’s problem. False! Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among Indian women too, accounting for 17 percent of female mortality.

Some doctors are slow to recognize heart disease in women. According to studies, women wait longer than men to go to hospital when having a heart attack, and physicians are slower to recognize the presence of heart attacks in women because “characteristic” patterns of chest pain and ECG changes are less frequently present.

Also, India has the highest number of diabetics in the world. According to Dr Anil Mishra, medical director and senior consultant cardiologist at Kolkata’s B.M. Birla Heart Research Centre, men who have diabetes have double the chances of developing heart disease. But, he points out, the risk becomes four-fold in the case of women. “Stress at work, a very competitive lifestyle, eating out and fast food, smoking and alcohol intake are increasing in women especially in the 20 to 50 age group,” adds Dr Ashok Seth, chairman and chief cardiologist at New Delhi’s Escorts Heart Institute and Research Centre. “All these significantly increase their chances of developing heart disease at a younger age. Oestrogen, the female hormone, is known to protect women from heart disease until they reach menopause. But it’s becoming increasingly clear that recent lifestyle changes are neutralizing this protective role.”

“Women suffering from coronary heart disease often present atypical chest pain and shortness of breath,” Dr Mishra explains, “not the classic symptoms seen in men, such as crushing chest pain or pain down the left arm. Women suffer silent ischaemia more often than men, which means they may experience no pain at all.” So, many women mistakenly identify their heart-related symptoms as gas-related, and take antacids. By not understanding, or downplaying, the condition, women often delay seeking essential medical attention.

Women over 30 should take a lipid profile test to know their “bad” (LDL) cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Women with high total cholesterol due to high “good” (HDL should be above 50) cholesterol may not have an increased risk of heart disease. On the other hand, some women with only slightly elevated cholesterol levels may have high “bad” cholesterol, low “good” cholesterol and high triglyceride levels, and therefore be at increased risk.


The Pap smear test is a simple examination of cervical cells for malignancies. It’s a shame there’s no national cervical cancer-screening program. Even worse, most Indian women are dismally unaware of the need to undergo regular screening.

Dr Suneeta Mittal, professor and head, department of obstetrics and gynaecology at New Delhi’s All India Institute of Medical Sciences, recommends that a woman should have her first Pap test three years after commencing sexual activity.

Thereafter, she should be tested every two years. Women testing negative over three consecutive Pap tests may choose to test once every three to five years. But those with increased risk (such as those with multiple sexual partners, a family history of cervical cancer, cervical dysplasia or human papillomavirus infections) should undergo an annual Pap smear.

Dr Mittal also advises women with symptoms of vaginal discharge (especially if it’s bloodstained), inter-menstrual bleeding or postcoital bleeding, to consult a gynaecologist. In short, don’t ignore these symptoms—early diagnosis and prompt treatment increases the chances of being cured.


Dr D. Vasanthi, head, department of gynaecology, Apollo Hospital, Chennai, suggests that women undergo a mammogram at age 40. After that, an ultrasound scan of the breast may be made part of an annual health check-up. Only women at high risk, who have a family history of breast cancer, may be prescribed more frequent mammograms.

But hospital screening and mammograms aren’t foolproof. Experts estimate that about 20 percent of the cancers detected in a given year will be missed at the screening, but will become clinically evident in the period before the next screening.

That’s why regular self-examinations are important.

Dr Chittaranjan N. Purandare, noted Mumbai gynaecologist, who was until recently president of the Federation of Obstetric & Gynaecological Societies of India (FOGSI), advises women to make self-examination of their breasts a regular habit. “It is simply a question of checking to see if there are any changes in the appearance of the breast, or feeling a lump,” he says.

Why is this so important? The incidence of breast cancer in urban India is rising. And recent studies show that incidence of breast cancer has overtaken cervical cancer, cited as the most frequent cancer in Indian women only a decade ago.

Neerja Malik, 56, founder of the Apollo Cancer Support Group in Chennai and a two-time breast cancer survivor, also strongly endorses self-examination. “In spite of having done a mammogram, I detected my breast cancer myself both times at ages 44 and 51. The first time, I detected a lump myself 10 months after the mammogram. The next time, a lump had grown considerably and I felt some discomfort when I slept on my stomach,” she recalls. “I wish I had done breast self-examinations regularly; it may have helped earlier detection.” As Dr Rajendra A Badwe, director of Mumbai’s Tata Memorial Hospital, a leading centre for cancer care, observes, if the average of one in 28 women in India who will develop breast cancer during their lifetime detect the disease at an early stage, they have every reason to enjoy a longer life, the five-year survival rate in India being 80 percent.


Knowledge of which diseases run in your family, especially those that developed before age 50, can sometimes help determine which tests a woman may need, and when.

After Geeta Kudva, a Bangalore mother of two boys, reached menopause at 42, her gynaecologist advised her to perform regular breast self-examinations, stressing that Geeta had a higher risk of developing breast cancer because she had reached menopause at a comparatively early age. At the time, Geeta tested negative for breast cancer. “I made it a point to keep tabs on my health,” she says. “Two years ago, when I was 52, I detected a pea-sized mass in my breast and immediately reported it to my gynaecologist. I was found to have a malignant tumour.”

While Geeta has completely recovered from cancer today, what is noteworthy is the fact that 20 years ago, Geeta’s maternal aunt had developed breast cancer also at age 52. She died within a year of diagnosis.

Knowing that a cancer runs in your family can help you decide on early testing. If it’s breast cancer, it’s best to start yearly mammograms five to 10 years earlier than the age at which a close relative developed breast cancer, but generally not before the mid- to late 20s.


Ten to 15 percent of Indian women over the age of 60 are likely to suffer an osteoporotic fracture. These include spinal breaks that cause “dowager’s hump,” and debilitating hip fractures.

To prevent osteoporosis, take steps now. A woman’s bone mass peaks by about age 30; after that, it decreases by a slight amount every year until menopause, following which the loss accelerates.

The higher you start your peak bone density, the better off you are, experts say. Staying active helps fight this bone-wrecking disease. Doctors recommend 1000 mg of calcium a day for women between 19 and 50, inclu-ding pregnant and lactating women, and 1200 mg for women 51 and over. Two cups of skim milk and 225 grams of curd together can provide about 1000 mg.


No time? Regular exercise is one way to save time, since it gives you more energy for the rest of your day. Plus, it fights stress, lowers the risk of a slew of diseases and boosts overall health. And it promotes weight loss, making for one less thing to worry about.

Professor V.B.N. Prasad, head of the department of orthopaedics at Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences, Hyderabad, points out that even housework provides good exercise. He maintains that those who do a lot of housework can avoid or significantly postpone osteoporosis.

Health experts recommend 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week. Even things like walking and gardening count. Muscle-strengthening exercises are also important.

Remember Radhika Patel, the dedicated mother who postponed her cancer treatment? “The children were my top priority,” she recalls, although taking care of her own health would in fact have been better for her children. Fortunately, her husband insisted she start treatment immediately. She underwent surgery and six months of chemotherapy, after which she was on medication for seven years.

If women neglect their health and miss screening and check-ups, or decide to postpone a treatment, it’s up to other family members to take charge. Today, 20 years after that grim diagnosis, Radhika Patel is doing fine, “thanks to prayer and positive thinking,” as she puts it, “and to my husband who understood that any delay could have had disastrous consequences.”

Source - readers digest

Can cognitive behavioural therapy really change our brains?

CBT is used to treat many depression and anxiety disorders

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a type of talking therapy that's used to treat a wide range of mental health problems, from depression and eating disorders to phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It recommends looking at ourselves in a different way that might prove useful for all of us in everyday life. But what happens to our brains when we have CBT?
What is cognitive behavioural therapy?

CBT is based on the idea that problems aren't caused by situations themselves, but by how we interpret them in our thoughts. These can then affect our feelings and actions.

The way we think about a situation can affect how we feel and how we act

For example, if someone you know walks by without saying hello, what's your reaction?

You might think that they ignored you because they don't like you, which might make you feel rejected. So you might be tempted to avoid them the next time you meet. This could breed more bad feeling between you both and more "rejections", until eventually you believe that you must be unlikeable. If this happened with enough people, you could start to withdraw socially.

But how well did you interpret the situation in the first place?
Common errors in thinking style
Emotional reasoning - e.g. I feel guilty so I must be guilty
Jumping to conclusions - e.g. if I go into work when I'm feeling low, I'll only feel worse
All-or-nothing thinking - e.g. if I've not done it perfectly, then it's absolutely useless
Mental filtering - e.g. noticing my failures more than my successes
Over generalising - e.g. nothing ever goes well in my life
Labelling - e.g. I'm a loser

CBT aims to break negative vicious cycles by identifying unhelpful ways of reacting that creep into our thinking.

"Emotional reasoning is a very common error in people's thinking," explains Dr Jennifer Wild, Consultant Clinical Psychologist from Kings College London. "That's when you think something must be true because of how you feel."

CBT tries to replace these negative thinking styles with more useful or realistic ones.

This can be a challenge for people with mental health disorders, as their thinking styles can be well-established.
How do we break negative thinking styles?

Some psychological theories suggest that we learn these negative thinking patterns through a process called negative reinforcement.

Graded exposure can help people confront their phobias

For example, if you have a fear of spiders, by avoiding them you learn that your anxiety levels can be reduced. So you're rewarded in the short term with less anxiety but this reinforces the fear.

To unlearn these patterns, people with phobias and anxiety disorders often use a CBT technique called graded exposure. By gradually confronting what frightens them and observing that nothing bad actually happens, it's possible to slowly retrain their brains to not fear it.
How does cognitive behavioural therapy work on the brain?

Primitive survival instincts like fear are processed in a part of the brain called the limbic system. This includes the amygdala, a region that processes emotion, and the hippocampus, a region involved in reliving traumatic memories.

“Brain scan studies have shown that overactivity in these two regions returns to normal after a course of CBT in people with phobias.

What's more, studies have found that CBT can also change the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for higher-level thinking.

So it seems that CBT might be able to make real, physical changes to both our "emotional brain" (instincts) and our "logical brain" (thoughts).

Intriguingly, similar patterns of brain changes have been seen with CBT and with drug treatments, suggesting that psychotherapies and medications might work on the brain in parallel ways.
How effective is cognitive behavioural therapy?

Of all the talking therapies, CBT has the most clinical evidence to show that it works.

Studies have shown that it is at least as effective as medication for many types of depression and anxiety disorders.

But unlike many drugs, there are few side effects with CBT. After a relatively short course, people have often described long-lasting benefits.

"In the trials we've run with post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD] and social anxiety disorder, we've seen that even when people stop the therapy, they continue improving because they have new tools in place and they've made behavioural and thinking style changes," Dr Wild explains.

CBT may not be for everyone, however.

Since the focus is on tackling the here and now, people with more complicated roots to their mental problems which could stem from their childhood, for example, may need another type of longer-term therapy to explore this.

CBT also relies on commitment from the individual, including "homework" between therapy sessions. It can also involve confronting fears and anxieties, and this isn't always easy to do.

Ultimately, as with many types of treatment, some people will benefit from CBT more than others and psychologists and neuroscientists are beginning to unravel the reasons behind this.


The trickle-down case for designer babies

Our pick of the week from around the web, including the decline of Wikipedia, biology’s brave new world and an astronaut fact-checking the film Gravity.

Death in space
An astronaut fact-checks the film "Gravity". Getting a puncture in your space-suit isn’t all bad. “When you’re slowly running out of oxygen, everything seems funny. You slowly nod off. I experienced this phenomenon in an altitude chamber during my training as an astronaut. At some point, someone in the group starts cracking bad jokes. Our brains are gentle with us. A person who dies alone in space dies a cheerful death.”

The decline of Wikipedia
Wikipedia’s community has built a magnificent resource, but its glory days are gone. The volunteer workforce of the English-language Wikipedia has shrunk by more than a third since 2007, and is still shrinking. The “loose collective” running the site today, 90% male, operates a “crushing bureaucracy” with an “often abrasive atmosphere” that deters newcomers. “It looks like Wikipedia is strangling itself.”

Gambling with civilisation
William Nordhaus’s book, "The Climate Casino", gives a calm and reasoned view of the dangers from climate change. But that won’t be enough to win over the sceptical and the indifferent. “Given the current state of American politics, the combination of self-interest, ideology, and hostility to science constitutes a huge roadblock to action, and rational argumentation isn’t likely to help. Meanwhile, time is running out.”

Biology’s brave new world
All the key barriers to the artificial synthesis of viruses and bacteria have been overcome. “The biologist has become an engineer, coding new life forms as desired.” Which may produce breakthroughs in public health; equally, it may produce plagues and other horrors on a global scale, as the science gets easier to replicate. “The tracking of novel DNA and life forms should be implemented on a voluntary or mandatory basis immediately.”

The origins of the concept of species
The concept of “species” is a useful organising tool for science, not a category that exists in nature. “We really do see the patterns in the world we name species. The mistake arises in thinking that our perceptual biases somehow give us the structure of the world”. Usage comes from Athanasius Kircher, a 17th Century Jesuit who calculated how many kinds of animal could have fitted on to Noah’s Ark, and used the Latin word species for “kind”.

The greatest philosopher of the Twentieth Century
The title may well belong to FP Ramsey, who died at 26, having “figured out the principles governing subjective probability, and so opened the way to decision theory, game theory and much work in the foundations of economics… Contemporary debates about truth, meaning, knowledge, logic and the structure of scientific theories all take off from positions first defined by Ramsey.” He translated Wittgenstein, who overshadowed him.

Bad government software
Why do so many government software projects go off the rails? “Big, custom projects are unique by definition, so they are sold as promises, not as finished products. Every vendor promises the same thing, so the one who promises to do it at the lowest cost often wins; when the project turns out late, bad, and over budget, too many executives have too much invested in its success to admit defeat.”


The scientific way to find a perfect partner

What are your chances of finding Mr or Ms Right? How many people should you date before you decide to settle down? Maths has the answer.

Peter Backus at the University of Warwick, UK, calculated that he had a 1 in 285,000 chance of meeting the woman of his dreams in any given night in London. Not great odds: that’s 400 times fewer than the best estimates of how many extra-terrestrial life forms there are.

So how many people should you date before you decide to settle down? Fortunately there’s a formula to find this out, and it’s called Optimal Stopping Theory. The theory says if you reject all suitors for the first 37% of your dating time, then after that period you should pick the next person who surpasses all others you’ve seen before. This method has been seen in fish choosing suitors. It’s also supposed to work in other areas too, like hunting for houses. So now you know.

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Hacking our senses to boost learning power

Some schools are pumping music, noises and fragrances into the classroom to see if it improves exam results – could it work?

What did your school smell like? Was it noisy or peaceful?

It might not seem important, but a growing body of research suggests that smells and sounds can have an impact on learning, performance and creativity. Indeed, some head teachers have recently taken to broadcasting noises and pumping whiffs into their schools to see whether it can boost grades. Is there anything in it? And if so, what are the implications for the way we all work and study?

There is certainly some well-established research to suggest that some noises can have a detrimental effect on learning. Numerous studies over the past 15 years have found that children attending schools under the flight paths of large airports lag behind in their exam results.

But general noise seems to have an effect too. Bridget Shield, a professor of acoustics at London South Bank University, and Julie Dockrell, now at the Institute of Education, have been conducting studies and advising politicians on the effects of all sorts of noises, such as traffic and sirens, as well as noise generated by the children themselves. When they recreated those particular sounds in an experimental setting whilst children completed various cognitive tasks, they found a significant negative effect on exam scores. “Everything points to a detrimental impact of the noise on children’s performance, in numeracy, in literacy, and in spelling,” says Shield. The noise seemed to have an especially detrimental effect on children with special needs. `

Shield says the sound of “babble” – the chatter of other children, is particularly distracting in the classroom. Architects that fashion open-plan classrooms in schools would do well to take this on board. “People are very distracted by speech – particularly if it’s understandable, but you’re not involved in it.” This phenomenon is also known as the irrelevant speech effect, she says, adding that “it’s a very common finding in open-plan offices as well.”

Whether background sounds are beneficial or not seems to depend on what kind of noise it is – and the volume. In a series of studies published last year, Ravi Mehta from the College of Business at Illinois and colleagues tested people’s creativity while exposed to a soundtrack made up of background noises – such as coffee-shop chatter and construction-site drilling – at different volumes. They found that people were more creative when the background noises were played at a medium level than when volume was low. Loud background noise, however, damaged their creativity.

This makes sense for a couple of reasons, says psychologist Dr Nick Perham, at Cardiff Metropolitan University in the UK, who studies the effect of sounds on learning but was not involved in the study. Firstly, he says, sounds that are most distracting tend to be very variable. A general hum in the background suggests a steady-state sound with not much acoustical variation. “So there’s not much there to capture your attention – nothing distracting the subjects,” he says. At the same time, the background noise might cause the subjects to be in a slightly heightened state of arousal, says Perham. You don’t want too much or too little arousal. “Medium arousal is best for good performance. So it might be that a general hum in the background gives an optimum level of arousal.” With that in mind, Perham suggests there may be some benefit to playing music or other sounds in an art class or other situations where creativity is key.

Many teachers all over the world already play music to students in class. Many are inspired by the belief that hearing music can boost IQ in subsequent tasks, the so-called Mozart effect. While the evidence actually suggests it’s a stretch to say classical music boosts brainpower, researchers do think pleasant sounds before a task can sometimes lift your mood and help you perform well, says Perham, who has done his own studies on the phenomenon. The key appears to be that you enjoy what you’re hearing. “If you like the music or you like the sound – even listening to a Stephen King novel – then you did better. It didn’t matter about the music,” he says

What causes coronary heart disease?

Your heart is a pump the size of a fist that sends blood around the body

Coronary heart disease (CHD) is arguably the the UK's biggest killer. CHD develops when the blood supply to the muscles and tissues of the heart becomes obstructed by the build-up of fatty materials inside the walls of the coronary arteries.
What is coronary heart disease?

Your heart is a pump the size of a fist that sends oxygen-rich blood around your body. The blood travels to the organs of your body through blood vessels known as arteries, and returns to the heart through veins.

Your heart needs its own blood supply to keep working. Heart disease occurs when the arteries that carry this blood, known as coronary arteries, start to become blocked by a build-up of fatty deposits.

How common is CHD?
CHD causes round 74,000 deaths each year. That's an average of 200 people every day
In the UK, there are an estimated 2.3 million people living with the condition
About one in six men and one in nine women die from the disease
Death rates are highest in Scotland and northern England
In the past couple of decades, deaths from CHD have nearly halved due to better treatments

Source: British Heart Foundation

The inner lining of the coronary arteries gradually becomes furred with a thick, porridge-like sludge of substances, known as plaques, and formed from cholesterol. This clogging-up process is known as atherosclerosis.

The plaques narrow the arteries and reduce the space through which blood can flow. They can also block nutrients being delivered to the artery walls, which means the arteries lose their elasticity. In turn, this can lead to high blood pressure, which also increases the risk of heart disease. This same process goes on in the arteries throughout the body, and can lead to high blood pressure which puts further strain on the heart.

If your arteries are partially blocked you can experience angina - severe chest pains that can spread across your upper body - as your heart struggles to keep beating on a restricted supply of oxygen. You are also at greater risk of a heart attack.

Some people have a higher risk of developing atherosclerosis due to genetic factors - one clue to this is a family history of heart disease in middle-age. Lifestyle factors that increase the risk include an unhealthy diet, lack of exercise, diabetes, high blood pressure and, most importantly, smoking.

However, in the past couple of decades deaths from coronary heart disease have nearly halved, thanks to better treatments.
What happens during a heart attack?

A heart attack happens when one of the coronary arteries becomes completely blocked. This usually happens when a plaque, which is already narrowing an artery, cracks or splits open. This triggers the formation of a blood clot around the plaque, and it is this blood clot that then completely blocks the artery.

With their supply of oxygen completely blocked, the heart muscle and tissue supplied by that artery start to die. Emergency medical intervention is needed to unblock the artery and restore blood flow. This may consist of treatment with drugs to dissolve the clot or thrombus, or a small operation done through the skin and blood vessels to open up the blocked artery.

The outcome of a heart attack hinges on the amount of the muscle that dies before it is corrected. The smaller the area affected, the greater the chance of survival and recovery.

While a heart attack will always cause some permanent damage, some areas may be able to recover if they are not deprived of blood for too long. The sooner a heart attack is diagnosed and treated, the greater the chance of recovery.
Other heart diseases

Other diseases that commonly affect the heart include:
Chronic heart failure - CHD is one of the main causes of heart failure. It affects around one million people in the UK, and many more have it but haven't been formally diagnosed. Here, the heart doesn't works effectively as a pump, and fluid gathers in the lower limbs and lungs. This causes a variety of symptoms and significantly reduces quality of life.
Infection - bacterial infections such as endocarditis are much rarer these days thanks to antibiotics, but can damage the valves of the heart as well as other tissues. Viral infections can damage the heart muscle leading to heart failure, or cause abnormal heart rhythms.
Congenital heart disease - a number of defects can develop in the heart as a baby grows in the womb. One example is a hole in the heart, also known as a septal defect. Congenital heart disease may cause abnormal blood flow and put excessive strain on the infant's heart after it has been born.
Cardiomyopathy - a disease of the heart muscle that can occur for different reasons, including coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, viral infection, high alcohol intake and thyroid disease.

How to Get Rid of Whiteheads

WhiteheadsWhiteheads are small white bumps caused by clogged skin pores. Thus, they are similar to blackheads. However, unlike blackheads they appear white or yellow in color.

The reason is that the sebum, dirt, dead skin cells, etc. trapped in the skin pores do not get exposed to the oxygen in the air as the follicles have narrow opening to the skin surface.

In case of blackheads, though, the follicles have a wider opening, thereby allowing air to enter follicles. Hence, the plugged material turns dark in color due to oxidization of melanin.

A whitehead, also known as a closed comedone or milium (plural milia), is a form of acne. It is usually painless but can be infected with P.acnes bacteria. More often than not, whiteheads appear on the face, particularly on cheeks temples, and forehead.

Some people are more prone to blackheads and whiteheads than others because their sebaceous glands produce sebum with oleic acid rather than linoleic acid which is calming to the skin and does not lead to the development of hard plugs.
How to Get Rid of Whiteheads

Here are 10 suggestions to help clear whiteheads.
  1. Facial Steaming
  2. Baking Soda Deep Pore Cleanser
  3. Milk and Lemon Juice
  4. Tea Tree Oil
  5. Cornstarch and Vinegar
  6. Almond and Honey Face Scrub
  7. Oatmeal Mask
  8. Deep Pore Cleansing Strips
  9. Benzoyl Peroxide
  10. Extraction
  • Facial steaming can be done about once a week to open up your pores and loosen up the buildup of oil, dirt, and dead skin cells. For this, you need to boil a pan of water and pour it in a large bowl. Put a few drops of an essential oil like that of lemon, chamomile, rosemary, etc. in it and place your face over the bowl to expose it to the steam for 5-10 minutes. Alternatively, you can dip a towel in warm water, wring it, and then place it on your face for a few minutes and repeat the procedure two to three times. After this steam treatment, you may soak a cotton ball in apple cider vinegar and apply it on the affected areas.
  • Add four tablespoons of baking soda in a cup of warm mineral water. Apply this mixture on your face and leave it for about 10 minutes. Finally, remove the mask and follow up with a moisturizer. Preferably, follow this remedy after facial steaming.
  • Mix one tablespoon each of lemon juice and salt (preferably dead salt) in two tablespoons of whole milk. Rub this recipe on your face. Rinse it off after 15 minutes to reduce whiteheads. Regular application of this milk and lemon juice face pack can also nourish and soften your skin.
  • Soak some tea tree oil on a cotton ball and dab on the affected area to fight bacteria and cure blackheads, whiteheads, and acne breakouts. It helps reduce acne scars, too.
  • Take cornstarch (absorbs oil) and apple cider vinegar (works as an astringent) in a ratio of 3:1. Mix both the ingredients in a bowl and apply the resultant paste on the affected area for about 15-30 minutes. Finally, wipe it off with a clean washcloth and wash your face with lukewarm water, followed by a cold water rinse to close the pores.
  • Grind a handful of blanched almonds. Take two tablespoons of this paste and a tablespoon of pure honey (preferably manuka honey) and a little lemon juice. Exfoliate your skin with this almond and honey facial scrub and wash it off after 15-20 minutes.
  • Add a tablespoon of honey in two tablespoons of oatmeal. Heat the mixture slightly in a microwave. Apply it on your face and after 20 minutes, remove it with lukewarm water to clear blocked pores. Instead of honey, you can combine oatmeal with plain yogurt, too. After exfoliation, wrap an ice cube in a piece of cotton cloth and run it over your face. It helps close the pores.
  • Regularly apply a cleanser, followed by deep cleansing pore strips to reduce whiteheads by pulling away the buildup dirt and sebum. It can help treat mild acne as well. Plus, you may use facial cleansers containing alpha hydroxyl acids and salicylic acid.
  • Application of an over-the-counter treatment containing at least 5% benzoyl peroxide inhibits acne growth by killing the bacteria and exfoliates dead skin. Thus, it is often recommended for healing whiteheads. After applying this remedy, though, make sure moisturize your face lightly as benzoyl peroxide tends to dry out your skin. Follow this treatment two times in a day for about four to six weeks. Antibiotics are used at times, but most antibiotics are not effective in preventing as well as curing whiteheads.
  • There is also the option to consult a dermatologist or skin care specialist and get your whiteheadsextracted by an expert. An instrument called whitehead extractor is used for this purpose. to remove that

Concentration Difficulty..symptoms..causes

What is concentration difficulty?

Concentration difficulty is a decreased ability to focus your thoughts on something. Concentration difficulties can be related to difficulty staying awake, impulsiveness, intrusive thoughts or concerns, overactivity, or inattention. They can be caused by medical, cognitive or psychological problems or may be related to sleep disorders or medications, alcohol or drugs.
Medical conditions that are known to cause difficulties with concentration include a variety of chronic illnesses, sleep apnea, heavy metal poisoning, infections, pain syndromes, traumatic brain injury, and stroke. Cognitive problems that can be associated with concentration difficulties include attention deficit disorder, learning disabilities, vision disorders, delirium, and dementia. Psychological conditions that can interfere with concentration include anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder (alternating periods of depression and elevated mood), emotional trauma, and stress.Concentration difficulties may be long-term, established conditions, as in the case of attention deficit disorder, or they may arise as a result of illness or another event.
Depending upon the cause, concentration difficulties may resolve with appropriate treatment.
Any changes in concentration abilities that do not have a directly identifiable cause or that last more than a day or two should be evaluated by a medical professional without delay. Seek prompt medical carefor new onset, progressive, or worsening difficulties with concentration. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if the symptoms come on suddenly or if they are associated with head trauma, changes in level of consciousness or alertness, the worst headache of your life, high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit), loss of sensation, seizures, or sudden behavior change, such as confusion, delirium, lethargy, hallucinations or delusions.

What other symptoms might occur with concentration difficulty?

Concentration difficulties may accompany other symptoms, which vary depending on the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Conditions that lead to concentration difficulty may involve several different body systems.... Read More About Concentration Difficultysymptoms

What causes concentration difficulty?

Concentration difficulties can be caused by medical, cognitive or psychological problems or may be related to sleep disorders or medications, alcohol or drugs.... Read More About Concentration Difficultycauses

Source..Local Health

What Is Tuberculosis? What Causes Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease that is caused by a bacterium calledMycobacterium tuberculosis. TB primarily affects the lungs, but it can also affect organs in the central nervous system, lymphatic system, and circulatory system among others. The disease was called "consumption" in the past because of the way it would consume from within anyone who became infected.

According to Medilexicon`s medical dictionary, tuberculosis is "A specific disease caused by infection withMycobacterium tuberculosis, the tubercle bacillus, which can affect almost any tissue or organ of the body, the most common site of the disease being the lungs."

When a person becomes infected with tuberculosis, the bacteria in the lungs multiply and cause pneumonia along with chest pain, coughing up blood, and a prolonged cough. In addition, lymph nodes near the heart and lungs become enlarged. As the TB tries to spread to other parts of the body, it is often interrupted by the body's immune system. The immune system forms scar tissue or fibrosis around the TB bacteria, and this helps fight the infection and prevents the disease from spreading throughout the body and to other people. If the body's immune system is unable to fight TB or if the bacteria breaks through the scar tissue, the disease returns to an active state with pneumonia and damage to kidneys, bones, and the meninges that line the spinal cord and brain. 

TB is generally classified as being either latent or active. Latent TB occurs when the bacteria are present in the body, but this state is inactive and presents no symptoms. Latent TB is also not contagious. Active TB is contagious and is the condition that can make you sick with symptoms. 

TB is a major cause of illness and death worldwide, especially in Africa and Asia. Each year the disease kills almost 2 million people. The disease is also prevalent among people with HIV/AIDS.

Global tuberculosis campaign threatened by multi-drug resistance

In October 2012, Dr. Mario Raviglione, Director of the WHO Stop TB Department, warned thatthe number of people becoming infected with MDT-TB (multi-drug-resistant) tuberculosis has risen considerably. He added that too few are being diagnosed and treated.

The global campaign to reduce TB infections by half by 2015 could be seriously jeopardized by MDT-TB.

We are now at a crossroads, Dr. Raviglione emphasized - either we eradicate TB in our lifetime, or the disease becomes increasingly resistant, harder to treat, and gains ground.

In March 2013 WHO, warned about a serious funding shortage. Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of WHO warned that without expanded treatment and funding, the global fight against TB will be seriously undermined. Dr. Chang said "We are treading water at a time when we desperately need to scale up our response to MDR-TB. We have gained a lot of ground in TB control through international collaboration, but it can easily be lost if we do not act now."

What causes tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis is ultimately caused by the Mycobacterium tuberculosis that is spread from person to person through airborne particles. It is not guaranteed, though, that you will become infected with TB if you inhale the infected particles. Some people have strong enough immune systems that quickly destroy the bacteria once they enter the body. Others will develop latent TB infection and will carry the bacteria but will not be contagious and will not present symptoms. Still others will become immediately sick and will also be contagious.

What are the symptoms of tuberculosis?

Most people who become infected with the bacteria that cause tuberculosis actually do not present symptoms of the disease. However, when symptoms are present, they include unexplained weight loss, tiredness, fatigue, shortness of breath, fever, night sweats, chills, and a loss of appetite. Symptoms specific to the lungs include coughing that lasts for 3 or more weeks, coughing up blood, chest pain, and pain with breathing or coughing.

How is tuberculosis diagnosed?

Tuberculosis diagnosis usually occurs after a combination of skin, blood, and imaging tests. 

The most common diagnostic test is a simple skin test called the Mantoux test. The Mantoux test consists of a small amount of purified protein derivative (PPD) tuberculin that is injected into the forearm. After 48 to 72 hours, a doctor or nurse looks for a reaction at the injection site; a hard, raised red bump usually indicates a positive test for TB. Blood tests may also be used to determine whether TB is active or latent (inactive), and microscopic sputum analyses or cultures can find TB bacteria in the sputum. 

Chest x-rays and computer tomography (CT) scans are also used to diagnose TB. If the immune system traps the TB bacteria and creates scar tissue, this tissue and the lymph nodes may harden like stone in a calcification process. This results in granuloma (rounded marble-like scars) that often appear on x-rays and CT scans. However, if these scars do not show any evidence of calcium on an x-ray, they can be difficult to distinguish from cancer.

Who gets tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis is spread from person to person through tiny droplets of infected sputum that travel through the air. If an infected person coughs, sneezes, shouts, or spits, bacteria can enter the air and come into contact with uninfected people who breath the bacteria into their lungs. 

Although anyone can become infected with TB, some people are at a higher risk, such as:

  • Those who live with others who have active TB infections
  • Poor or homeless people
  • Foreign-born people who come from countries with endemic TB
  • Older people, nursing home residents, and prison inmates
  • Alcoholics and intravenous drug users
  • Those who suffer from malnutrition
  • Diabetics, cancer patients, and those with HIV/AIDS or other immune system problems
  • Health-care workers
  • Workers in refugee camps or shelters

How is tuberculosis treated?

Treatment for TB depends on the whether the disease is active of latent. If TB is in an inactive state, an antibiotic called isoniazid (INH) is prescribed for six to twelve months. INH is not prescribed to pregnant women, and it can cause side effects such as liver damage and peripheral neuropathy

Active TB is treated with INH as well as drugs such as rifampin, ethambutol, and pyrazinamide. It is also not uncommon for TB patients to receive streptomycin if the disease is extensive. Drug therapies for TB may last many months or even years. 

If a patient has a drug-resistant strain of TB, several drugs in addition to the main four are usually required. In addition, treatment is generally much longer and can require surgery to remove damaged lung tissue. 

The largest barrier to successful treatment is that patients tend to stop taking their medicines because they begin to feel better. It is important to finish medications in order to completely eradicate the TB bacteria from the body.

In December 2012, Sirturo (bedaquiline) was approved as part of a combination therapy for adults with multi-drug resistant TB. According to the FDA, bedaquiline was the first TB drug to be approved in the USA in forty years.

Vitamin C helps destroy drug-resistant tuberculosis

Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Yeshiva University, reported in the journalNature Communications (May 2013 issue) that vitamin C, when added to existing TB medications, can shorten treatment duration.

The team say that their finding may change how new TB medications are designed.

The scientists say they had been analyzing how TB bacteria become resistant to a first line drug for TB called isoniazid when they made their surprising discovery.

Team leader, William Jacobs, Jr., Ph.D., explained that they had noticed that the TB bacteria that were resistant to isoniazid were lacking in mycothiol (a molecule). "We hypothesized that TB bacteria that can't make mycothiol might contain more cysteine, an amino acid. So, we predicted that if we added isoniazid and cysteine to isoniazid-sensitive M. tuberculosis in culture, the bacteria would develop resistance. Instead, we ended up killing off the culture - something totally unexpected."

Dr. Jacobs believes that cysteine helps destroy TB bacteria by acting as a reducing agent that elicits the creation of free radicals, which can damage DNA.

Jacobs, said "To test this hypothesis, we repeated the experiment using isoniazid and a different reducing agent - vitamin C. The combination of isoniazid and vitamin C sterilized the M. tuberculosis culture. We were then amazed to discover that vitamin C by itself not only sterilized the drug-susceptible TB, but also sterilized MDR-TB and XDR-TB strains."

How can tuberculosis be prevented?

There is a vaccine available for tuberculosis called the BCG vaccine that is used in several parts of the world where TB is common.This vaccine usually protects children and infants from the disease, but adults can still get TB after being vaccinated as children. 

Better methods of preventing tuberculosis or TB relapses include eating a healthful diet that takes care of your immune system, getting a TB test regularly if you work or live in a high risk environment, and finishing TB medications. To prevent transmitting the disease to others if you are infected, stay home, cover your mouth, and ensure proper ventilation. 


Saudi Arabia king orders 1,345-pound man to be airlifted from home and flown to hospital

Officials prepare him for the plane ride on a special 'rescue bed.'

Khalid Mohsen Shaeri is removed from his Jazan apartment with a forklift.

A Saudi Arabia man who may be the heaviest person in the world is now getting proper medical treatment — thanks to his king.
Khalid Mohsen Shaeri, who weighs 1,345 pounds, was extracted from his Jazan home and airlifted to a medical facility in the capital city of Riyadh on Monday,

Shaeri is lowered from the building during an operation that was six months in the making.

King Abdullah gave the green light for officials to destroy part of the building so that they could airlift Shaeri out of the second-floor apartment using a forklift.

The operation was tough to plan because Shaeri lives on the second floor of his building.

The king also flew in a special "rescue bed" from the U.S. to make Shaeri's ambulance trip more comfortable, the Independent reported.

The 20-year-old Shaeri weighs 1,345 pounds, and likely will have surgery soon.

Shaeri was taken to the King Fahd Medical City facility once arriving in the capital and is expected to undergo surgery soon, according to Arab News.
The Red Cross, Saudi Arabia's health ministry and military personnel all took part in the expensive operation, which reportedly took six months of preparation.

Shaeri is put on a special plane for his flight to the capital.

Shaeri is taken onto the plane en route to the King Fahd Medical City facility.

Shaeri is taken onto the plane en route to the King Fahd Medical City facility.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia signed off on the expensive trip.


King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia signed off on the expensive trip.

At the moment, the 20-year-old Shaeri is not recognized by Guinness World Records as the heaviest person in the world. That distinction belongs to Manuel Uribe of Mexico, who weighed 1,235 pounds in 2006. By last year, Uribe had lost more than 200 pounds.

Officials prepare him for the plane ride on a special 'rescue bed.'

Officials prepare him for the plane ride on a special 'rescue bed.'


New drugs for hard-to-treat childhood cancers

The drug seems to be effective against every type of cancer cell. (Reuters)

Scientists have developed a whole new class of drugs that, for the first time, targets the structure of the cancer cell, paving way for new treatments to tackle the disease.

Researchers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) demonstrated that the therapy is effective in two types of cancers in the animal model - neuroblastoma, a cancer that affects children, and melanoma, skin cancer.

"Our drug causes the structure of the cancer cell to collapse - and it happens relatively quickly. We've been surprised and excited by the potential of this treatment," said lead study author, Professor Peter Gunning, from UNSW Medicine.

The drug seems to be effective against every type of cancer cell.

The work could lead to an entirely new type of chemotherapy, which could have more positive outcomes for hard-to-treat cancers and have fewer long-term side effects for survivors.

"Attacking the architecture of the cancer cell has long been an obvious target, but until now, attempts have failed because the building blocks of the structure of the cancer cell are also used to build the heart and muscle, so the toxicity was unacceptable," said the first author on the paper, Dr Justine Stehn from the Oncology Research Unit, in the School of Medical Sciences.

But the team recognised there was a second "building block", the protein tropomyosin, in the cancer cell structure that was sufficiently different from those in the heart and muscle, which could be safely targeted.

The study was published in journal Cancer Research.

Black pepper - more health benefits than you know!

We use it to spice up our omelette, or add that extra zing to Indian dishes, but did you know that humble black pepper can add a lot more to your food than just flavour. Here is a list of its top 10 benefits.

Helps prevent cancer:According to a study carried out by the University of Michigan Cancer Center, black pepper was found to prevent the development of breast cancer tumors. They found that the piperinecontent of black pepper plays a key role in preventing cancers. It further stated that when combined with turmeric its anticancer properties are heightened. Apart from the piperine, black pepper also contains Vitamin C, Vitamin A, flavonoids, carotenes and other anti-oxidants that help remove harmful free radicals and protect the body from cancers and diseases. Other studies have suggested its efficacy in stalling the progression of skin cancers and bowel and colon cancer as well. Add a teaspoon of pepper powder to your food once a day. It is better that you eat freshly ground pepper rather than adding it to a dish while cooking.

Helps in digestion: The piperine content of black pepper makes it a great digestive. It stimulates the taste buds to signal the stomach to produce more hydrochloric acid. This acid is essential to digest proteins and other foods in the stomach, which when left undigested cause flatulence, indigestion, diarrhoea, constipation and acidity. The excess hydrochloric acid secreted helps in preventing these conditions. To aid in digestion, add a tablespoon (depending on the number of servings being prepared) of freshly ground pepper powder to your meal, while cooking. It will add to the flavour of the dish and keep your stomach healthy.

Helps you lose weight: Black pepper is great in aiding the proper assimilation (extraction of all the nutrients) of food. Moreover, its outer layer which contains potentphytonutrients stimulates the breakdown of fat cells. It also promotes sweating and urination and is a great way to get rid of excess water and toxins from the body. All these activities collectively help in weight loss. For effective weightloss, just sprinkle pepper over your food. Do not eat too much of the spice, it can cause severe side effects.

Relieves gas: Known for its carminative properties (a substance that prevents the formation of gas) black pepper is great to relieve discomfort caused due to flatulence and colicky pain. Adding pepper to your meals instead of chili powder will help relieve flatulence.

Can give you clear skin: Apart from a great way to help you sweat and release all the toxins from your skin, it acts a great exfoliant. Pepper when crushed and added to a face scrub, helps slough off dead skin, stimulates circulation and helps deliver more oxygen and nutrients to the skin. The antibacterial and anti inflammatory properties help keep the skin safe from infections like acne.

Beats dandruff: Ditch those anti dandruff shampoos, try using pepper instead. Because of its antibacterial and anti inflammatory properties, pepper is great to get rid of dandruff. Mix a teaspoonful of crushed black pepper in a cup of curd. Mix well and apply on the scalp. Leave in for about half an hour. Rinse out your hair well. Do not use shampoo at this stage. Wash your hair with shampoo the next day. Make sure you do not use too much pepper, it may cause your scalp to burn.

Clears up a stuffy nose and relieves cough: Due to its antibacterial properties, black pepper is a very effective natural remedy to cure colds and coughs. Its warm, spicyflavour also helps loosen phlegm and relieve a stuffy nose. Try sprinkling freshly ground pepper on hot soup or rasam. It will immediately loosen up the phlegm and help you breathe easier.

Helps people with anorexia: Black pepper is known to improve digestion and stimulate the taste buds. Because of this property, it is a great natural remedy for people with anorexia (a condition where the person does not eat) by helping them regain their appetite. Adding a little pepper to their food, will go a long way in resolving anorexia.

Helps the body use nutrients more efficiently: Black pepper is known to have properties that help enhance bioavailability. This means that it helps in the proper transport and absorption of nutrients from food. This property also helps drugs work more efficiently.

Is a natural anti-depressant: The Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology reported that the compound piperine in black pepper increases the cognitive function of the brain and helps beat depression. It was also found that pepper eaten on a regular basis helps the brain function properly. Add it to your daily meal, or eat it as seasoning on a salad. Pepper in any form can help make you smarter and less depressed.

So, the next time you want to spice up your meal, use pepper. It will not only add to the flavour, it has the potential to make you happier.
Source .. dna india

Hepatitis C patients lack access to affordable treatment and care

On the occasion of World Hepatitis Day on Thursday, legal experts, doctors and members of various non-government organisations expressed concern at the growing rate of Hepatitis B and C.

“In India, the prevalence of Hepatitis C is estimated to be in the range of 1.8-2.5 per cent. Studies conducted in different regions show that the prevalence of Hepatitis C among people who inject drugs ranges from 33 per cent, in places including Amritsar and Delhi, to almost 95 per cent in Manipur. Patients living with Hepatitis C lack access to affordable and appropriate treatment and care,” said noted lawyer Anand Grover.

Speaking at a press conference, he added that the failure of the Union Health Ministry to start prevention and treatment efforts is driving this hidden epidemic to grow in India. “It is time to hold the government accountable for protecting both public health and the right to health,” said Mr. Grover.

AIIMS assistant professor in the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre Dr. Ravindra Rao said that cost-effective measures of preventing the infection among those most vulnerable should be urgently scaled up in India and be made available to all. “This will ensure prevention of not only Hepatitis C but HIV as well,” he added.

The group also noted that Hepatitis C can be treated and cured with newer drugs in the pipeline, which will simplify the treatment regimen and improve cure rates. All patients, including people who inject drugs, must have access to these medicines. Yet numerous hurdles, from healthcare-setting discrimination to drug prices, still need to be overcome so that access to treatment is equitable and does not overlook people who use drugs.
Source - THE HINDU


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