Dr. Nafeesa is an Ex. HOD of Fortis Hospital (Dept of Nutrition & Dietetics) and she has also served with a ministry of health license (gov of UAE) in Dubai. She has managed dietetic needs of ill, critically ill and healthy persons successfully. She is an editorial board member of International Journal Of Nutritional Science & Food Technology, USA. She is a member of American Society Of Nutrition (ASN), Indian Dietetic Association And Nutrition Society Of India.
Dr. Nafeesa, M.Sc, Ph.D. (nutrition & dietetics) is a diet & nutrition expert, health & wellness counselor, speaker & recipe developer. Her expert nutrition advice has helped thousands of individuals with or without medical conditions to improve overall health as well as medical conditions. She specializes in medical / therapeutic nutrition for conditions like diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension, hypo / hyperthyroidism, PCOS & renal.
There is nothing surprising when we comment that cholesterol, diabetes and an increased body weight are contributing factors of heart disease and stroke. In a healthy person who is free from all these conditions and ailments, the risk remains greatest when blood sugar and blood pressure number keep fluctuating constantly.
Diabetes and BP have become as common as cold and cough with one in every four persons suffering from these ailments. Even small children are victims to juvenile diabetes in increasing proportions. The Korean study that used insurance records and health exams of more than 7 million adults none of whom suffered from a history of diabetes, high BP, heart attack or stroke showed that individuals who displayed maximum variation were at a/an:
127% increased risk of death
43% increased risk of heart attack
41% increased risk of stroke
Even with any of the measures fluctuating constantly, the risk factor remained constantly high. For example, when an individual’s blood sugar levels changed, heart attack risk increased by 16% and stroke risk by 13%.
This clearly shows that individuals need to regularly keep an eye on their BP and sugar levels to stay far away from heart attack and stroke. While a heart attack is the result of interrupted blood flow to the heart due to the presence of a blood clot, stroke is the result of a blocked blood vessel that flows to the brain due to a clot or rupture. Most problems with heart attack and stroke start owing to an inappropriate lifestyle. Correcting the lifestyle and adhering to healthy habits negates the risk of heart attack and stroke to a great extent. Eating right, exercising regularly, staying active, reducing stress as much as possible and practicing relaxation techniques are a great way to stay health in life and minimize the risk of diseases. Get in touch with reputed registered dietitian nutritionists at www.firsteatright.com to help you in this endeavor and succeed. One particular thing of interest is that, most individuals at a higher risk who experienced maximum variations were those belonging to the older age group and were mostly women. Hence, people belonging to these two risk groups must be extra cautious and follow the principles of a healthy lifestyle vigorously.
Weekends are not complete without the late-night parties and catch up sessions with friends in some of our favorite hangouts in the evening followed by a scrumptious dinner. There are not many who love to meet up over breakfast or lunch. Maybe the cool evening breeze, glamorous lights across eateries and pubs or a relaxed evening after completing all your pending chores in the morning are some of the reasons given by many of us for choosing dinner as the preferred meal for eating out or meeting people. You might save all your calories for the big dinner meal, but this might end you in trouble after all!
Save the Date but Change the Time
Looking forward to spend some time with your long-time buddy over an elaborate course of barbecue-styled foods and desserts makes you jump with joy. Dressed up in the best attire, you attack the restaurant’s menu and order an elaborate meal! Enjoy this meal as you might not feel so excited over another dinner like this after reading the consequences of eating a late-evening meal.
Eating big meals after 6 p.m. can lead to increase in blood pressure rates and blood sugar levels. Any food consumed after 6 p.m. is not going to instantly make you weigh more but the additional calories might lead to side effects such as high BP and sugar. Its been said that for every additional 20 calories consumed (based on a 2000-calorie diet) after 6 p.m. there is an increase in the risk of higher fasting glucose, insulin and insulin resistance all of which are risk factors for diabetes.
A team of researchers studied the link between meal timings and hypertension risk in people. The study involved almost 13,000 people aged between 18 and 76 who took up a survey that questioned them about their daily eating habits writing down their daily calorie intake after 6 p.m. Researchers found that more than half of the participants consumed more than 30% of their recommended calories after 6 p.m. daily and these people were at a 23% increased risk of developing high blood pressure compared to others. Also, those who consumed more than 30% of their calories in the evening were at a 19% greater risk of developing prediabetes compared to those who ate calorie-restricted meals at night. Now, when we eat has become as important as what we eat and how much we eat.
All are well-aware that prediabetes and increased blood pressure are high risk factors for heart disease. Read more about what causes a heart disease and how you can control your risk of suffering from a heart disease by visiting the website www.firsteatright.com. The study shows that consumed a major portion of your calorie requirements before 6 p.m. in the evening saves you from cardiovascular disease! Eat a light dinner and above all, eat an early dinner to avoid increase in health risks.
Getting up in the morning can be a gargantuan task for many who fall in love with sleep. Monday blues are common as we are forced to get back to school, college or office after two luxurious resting days filled with good food, plentiful sleep and fun. Even otherwise, none can find a better reason to get up foregoing the luxuries of tucking yourself under the bed covers and sleeping to heart’s content.
Often, our parents or spouse raise the curtain blinds or open windows to allow the sun to shine upon us during mornings. These too go missing during the winter season making it more advantageous for the sleepy bags to lie down forever in bed. In fact, these people consider it a sin to wake up when its dark outside. Above all these, there might be some situations during which you are unable to get out of bed at all indicating the presence of a serious problem. We have even got a term to describe this issue-dysania.
Dysania is the inability to get up and get out of bed. While the normal human is filled with a desire to sleep for a little longer even after getting up dysania-affected people crave to remain in bed for days together, practically do this and are even perturbed at the thought of leaving the comfort of their bed. Though not clinically proved and accepted this condition is said to be extremely popular among individuals and there are millions of them who swear by it.
It is highly rare that a person is diagnosed with dysania alone. In most cases, this condition is accompanied most of the time with depression or chronic fatigue syndrome. Depression can make a person lead a lifeless life disrupting his/her entire happiness. Know more about it and learn to stay away from depression with the help of tips available at the website www.firsteatright.com. Though not outrightly visible there are clear signs indicating the disease. These individuals don’t feel sleepy all the time but lack the energy or even the attitude to step out of bed. Tiredness and laziness to get up might only procrastinate activities but dysania affects day to day activities way more than this impacting quality of life. Also, despite their responsibilities these individuals feel the need to stay in bed for days together. If you feel ‘tired’ or ‘bored’ it might be a normal phase that happens once a while but if ‘overwhelmed’, ‘stressed’ or ‘anxious’ are the words to describe your thoughts, it is better to meet a physician right away.
Tips for Better Sleep
Adults need anywhere between six and eight hours of sleep daily. Some ways to help you sleep better include:
Follow regular bedtime schedules. This helps you spend less time in bed and more time sleeping. Try to go to bed an hour or two earlier to get up earlier without much stress/fatigue.
Keep your bedroom cozy and comfortable with soothing music, dim lights and aromatic fragrances while going to sleep
Do something that involves your mind before going to sleep. This might make you tired and feel like falling asleep in a while
Restrict caffeine intake and try to drink a warm cup of milk
Take a bath or do yoga before going to bed
Eat lightly before bedtime and avoid alcohol consumption
Don’t use your smartphones or any other electronic gadgets before bedtime
While symptoms might be indicative of a general feeling of boredom or laziness it is better to get it checked with your physician to rule out dysania.
Our feet enable us to walk steadily without falling over and hurting ourselves. Some people experience pain in their feet due to overweight and some others find it painful to walk or feel uncomfortable when there is a bump on the bottom of the foot. The size of the bump can even be as small as a green pea or as big as a golf ball. It might also be on the arch of the foot, ankle or anywhere else too and might hurt or not hurt depending on its location and size. Whatever be it, better to check out the bump and ensure that it’s not cancerous.
There are different reasons for a bump on the back of the feet:
Improper weight distribution: The long bones behind the toes are sometimes misaligned and this hinders body weight distribution as a person walks. Some areas tend to absorb more pressure due to this and calluses might even develop on the ball of the foot. This mostly is present in people with diabetes and these people should take extreme care and avoid these calluses from turning out into ulcers.
Big toe joint: When a person’s big toe joint does not move correctly while walking, there is excess force applied to the toe’s bottom. Due to this pressure there might be chances that a callus might develop and the bone might enlarge.
Plantar fibromas: This is mostly a hereditary condition that causes a nodule to form on the foot’s bottom. These nodules are non-cancerous and form in the plantar fascia, the ligament in the foot’s arch
Plantar warts: These are usually caused due to human papilloma virus (HPV) and found at the heel, forefoot or toe base. The virus can enter the feet when an individual has any cuts or weak spots and leads to small wart formation. They are small and usually go away on their own. Read more on HPV from the website www.firsteatright.com.
Dyshidrotic eczema: If bumps at the bottom of your foot are itchy and filled with fluid, it might be due to dyshidrotic eczema. While the exact cause is still unknown, researchers assume the primary cause to be allergies. People with this condition might find their skin to be flakey, cracked and painful to touch.
Cysts: These are fluid-filled sacs that are usually benign and extremely small visible under a microscope. As the cyst grows, it causes pain and discomfort.
Bursitis: This is an inflammation of the natural cushion between bones and soft tissue.
Synovial sarcoma: This is a type of soft-tissue sarcoma which can be malignant. It grows as a lump or swelling. Cysts and sarcomas appear similar initially and it is easy to confuse between the two, but while cysts are benign, sarcomas are malignant and can spread to other parts of the body.
Haglund’s deformity: This forms under the Achilles tendon and is a bump on the back of the foot or heel. This bump, when it touches or rubs against a person’s shoes might cause pain and discomfort.
Presence of a bump on the person’s feet that does not go away in a couple of days or causes pain/discomfort, it is better to meet a physician. Treatment for the bump depends on the cause primarily.
Uneven weight distribution: An insole or orthotic can treat bumps due to uneven weight distribution as it removes the pressure off the balls of the feet.
Plantar fibromas: Foot orthotics can prove helpful in this case too as it relieves pressure from the arch of the foot and also reduces the size of the nodule. Surgery is considered only during inevitable situations as performing a surgery calls for removing most of the plantar fascia.
Plantar warts: Usually these don’t need any treatment but if they bleed, change color or cause noticeable discomfort, it is better to consult a physician. The physician would suggest whether the wart needs to be removed or not. If you don’t see any changes in the wart, try home remedies such as keeping the leg area dry and clean, avoid touching with your hand and if you touch, please wash your hand immediately and change your socks and shoe every day.
Bursitis: It is usually treated with rest, anti-inflammatory drugs and ice. If none of these improve your condition, the doctor might suggest physical therapy or corticosteroids and recommend surgery when the situation goes beyond hands.
Cysts: Cysts can be drained by the doctor using a sterile needle and never try to drain your cyst at home. Surgery might be needed if the cyst is bigger in size.
Synovial sarcoma: This is malignant and it is better to seek medical attention immediately. Doctors remove it with surgery and might also suggest chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
Haglund’s deformity: You can wear open back shoes, keep ice over the affected area or take anti-inflammatory medications as home remedies. If these are not effective, you can go for ultrasound treatments, tissue massage, orthotics, heel pads or immobilizing boots. Surgery might be needed if any of the treatment options are ineffective.
The hype and fervor surrounding probiotics and prebiotics is slowly fading away with the introduction of another new term ‘psychobiotics’. Quickly brushing up on our basics, probiotics are foods that contain microorganisms that improve the good bacteria count and prebiotics are those that act as foods for these microorganisms. Continuing research on the gut microbiota has introduced us to surprising results. The fact that bacteria have a positive impact on human health is known since ages, but we are learning more and more about the gut-brain connection and their definite impact on our appetite, mood and circadian rhythm too only for the past few decades. If curiosity gets the better of you, www.firsteatright.com is the website to clear any of your pending doubts regarding the gut-brain connection.
Establishing a Strong Connection
By definition, psychobiotics are live bacteria that confer mental health benefits by interaction with gut bacteria on ingestion. During early phases, psychobiotics were described as playing a critical role in treating psychiatric conditions but ongoing research has helped mankind treat these as beneficial agents that have a positive impact on anyone who suffers from anxiety problems, clinical depression and stress. Initially, psychobiotics were branded as probiotics that post-ingestion establishes positive psychiatric effects. The thundering study results showing improved immunity, decreased stress and better memory make each of us aware of the importance of gut bacteria in our lives and this leads us to exploring yet another new domain-psychobiotics.
Animal studies are what is happening in full pace now with only extremely limited human sample sizes which makes replication next to impossible. It’s been clearly proved that the immune system, vagus nerve, gut hormones and neurotransmitters are fully involved in the bacteria-gut-brain axis. Researchers are excited over that fact that these psychobiotics might help in treating psychological disorders and improve cognition down the lane. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s now have a new foe! Some suggest including antidepressants, antipsychotics, exercise and eating in the umbrella of terms describing psychobiotics due to their lasting impact on the human gut.
Wait Until Further Notice
Research is under way and nothing has been completely established but food products are stacked in supermarket aisles boasting psychobiotics effect. These are advertised as elevating the effect of antidepressants and antipsychotics but there is a long way to go before we conclude on anything. Material is available and hints are peaking out here and there on the positive effects of psychobiotics, but we need to channelize these hints and bring out the best possible. There have been correlations between eating a Mediterranean diet for an extensive period and reduced risk of depressive disorders. Researchers also feel that studying the gut microbes of those following a Mediterranean-style diet might help them identify bacterial strains that have psychobiotic activity. Once all these have been proved and advantages well-established, psychobiotics would be our dear future cure.
Not each of us suffering from midnight coughing or chest tightness are asthma patients. Asthma is a chronic condition characterized by typical respiratory symptoms such as dyspnea, wheezing, chest tightness or cough. A study in Canada came up with a shocking result sometime back which showed that one-third of adults diagnosed with asthma actually don’t suffer from the condition at all. The major depressing thing about the disease is that it is a common condition which can cause disastrous consequences when left untreated. The challenge here is diagnosing the symptoms as these occur, seem invisible for a while and then might occur again.
The research team got in touch with thousands of people from 10 different Canadian cities questioning them if they had their asthma diagnosed in the past 10 years. Those who were willing to participate in the study were diagnosed for the disease and if the results proved negative, they were directed to a lung specialist. If again there was no positive results confirming the disease, these people were slowly subjected to reduction in their medicine dosage and finally the medicines were stopped completely. These people were followed-up for a year and two tests taken within the time. If the test results were normal the medicines were completely stopped (from reduced dosage).
Around 1026 people were eligible to participate in the study out of which 613 completed all the study tests involved which helped confirm the presence or absence of the disease.
Out of 613 participants, 410 (67%) participants were diagnosed with asthma and the remaining 203 (33%) were confirmed of its absence. Of the 203 people who had their asthma ruled out, only a third of them were taking asthma medications daily and around 79.3% were taking it occasionally.
Only 50% patients confirmed of asthma were taking medications daily and 90% were taking it occasionally.
The 203 people who had their asthma ruled out were diagnosed with rhinitis and acid reflux. Acid reflux can be controlled by avoiding certain foods and a complete list of the ‘to be avoided’ foods are available at www.firsteatright.com.
When Do You Confirm it as Asthma?
One must suffer from a history of respiratory symptoms that are present in the case of asthma (such as wheezing, coughing (especially during the night) and chest tightness) along with proof of variable expiratory airflow obstruction which can be measured by a spirometer. The spirometer can gauge lung functioning by looking out for any inflammation or narrowing of the airway.
The study helps to confirm one thing for sure-an asthma diagnosis once does not mean that you are bound to take asthma medications forever. Diagnosing it formally and getting your diagnosis confirmed every couple of years can help you stay away from a lifelong rigor of asthma medications.
“I feel tired all the time despite sleeping well”, “I have no energy to even play with my 4-year-old kid” or “I just drag through the day to come back and fall on the couch” are often-quoted remarks nowadays by youngsters, middle-aged individuals and the elderly people alike. People visit doctors with such complaints but come back empty-handed without any solution as physicians don’t find anything wrong. They might order for a couple of tests, get your medical history, order for a physical examination and do blood tests but these never give you successful feedbacks or help you hit right onto the problem frustrating both the patient and the doctor. Some of them come up with the ‘adrenal fatigue’ theory as the cause behind such lack of energy but this theory remains unaccepted by the medical fraternity.
The term ‘adrenal fatigue’ was coined in 1998 by Dr. James Wilson, a naturopath and an expert in alternative medicine. He defines adrenal fatigue as a collection of signs and symptoms (a syndrome) that are the results of an underactive adrenal gland functioning. This occurs mostly as a side effect of stress or after chronic infections such as bronchitis, flu or pneumonia. Dr. Wilson says that although the patient exhibits no signs of physical illness, they live everyday being tired, feeling ‘grey’ or unwell.
The adrenal glands that sit over the kidneys produce cortisol, a stress hormone. Continuous stress can lead to low levels of cortisol due to strained adrenals. This causes brain fog, low energy, depressive mood, salt and sweet cravings, lightheadedness and other symptoms. A review of 58 studies concluded that there is no proper scientific evidence to associate adrenal impairment as a reason for fatigue. Also, the Endocrinology society (the world’s largest organization of reputed endocrinologists) and other medical specialties don’t support or recognize this as a medical condition. Such huge differences in conventional versus complementary medicine frustrate the common man seeking medical guidance for his/her health problems.
When Symptoms Match…
When you experience all the above symptoms, it is essential that you meet your physician immediately because these symptoms might also be signs of other problems such as sleep apnea, depression, autoimmune diseases, infections, kidney and liver diseases and heart/lung problems. When your physician rules out any of these conditions and you feel that adrenal fatigue is the root cause for your problem, just answer this one question: “What type of stress is causing such a major impact on your life?” Most of you would blame the modern lifestyle and hectic office work to be the main cause. Get rid of modern-day stressors with the help of tactics given at www.firsteatright.com.
When doctor send you back saying that you are 100% fit and it all depends on how you see, you feel even more agitated and angered. Surfing the net might lead to multiple treatment options which stress you even more. Mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety have similar symptoms but patients avoid taking medications despite unsuccessful counselling sessions fearing its side effects.
The Next Step
Battling adrenal fatigue and finding a clear-cut solution to the problem is quite hard. The patient and the doctor need to really gel well and spend time discussing about the problem, which is mostly seen only in the case of alternative and complementary physicians as they have a more holistic approach towards their patients. Few physicians suggest cortisol replacements that can be dreadful even when consumed in small doses resulting in weight gain, osteoporosis, diabetes and heart disease.
Despite clarity, there are millions of people suffering from similar symptoms and counselling, medications, lifestyle changes and encouragement can work in the patient’s favor. But never jump onto conclusions by yourself and go for remedies prescribed for this unproven disease. This can only leave you feeling sicker while the actual problem still takes a toll on your health. Try to go through your lifestyle activities one by one to find out whether any of them are causing the problem. The solution to your problem might be simpler that you think and you may start feeling better in quite sometime once you analyze and diagnose it properly.