Vitamin B12: What you need to know

Vitamin B12 and folate is an important nutrient that performs several important functions in the body, including keeping the nervous system healthy.

The deficiency of Vitamin B12 causes anaemia, a general condition that cause wide range of problems.

In this blog article, let’s understand the importance of Vitamin B12, functions, symptoms and its sources.

Role of Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is a nutrient that helps keep the body’s nerve and blood cells healthy and helps make DNA, the genetic material in all cells.

The deficiency of Vitamin B12 causes Anaemia, a condition which causes having either fewer red blood cells than normal or having an abnormally low amount of haemoglobin in each red blood cell. Vitamin B12 also helps prevent a type of anemia called megaloblastic anemia that makes people tired and weak.

However, there are several different types of anaemia and each one has a different cause. For example, iron deficiency anaemia happens when the body does not contain enough iron.

Symptoms of vitamin B12 or folate deficiency

Vitamin B12 and folate perform several important functions in the body, including keeping the nervous system healthy.

A deficiency in either of these vitamins can cause a wide range of problems, including:

  • extreme tiredness
  • a lack of energy
  • mouth ulcers
  • muscle weakness
  • disturbed vision
  • psychological problems, which may include depression and confusion 
  • problems with memory, understanding and judgement

Some of these problems can also happen if you have a deficiency in vitamin B12 or folate but do not have anaemia.

Causes of a vitamin B12 or folate deficiency

There are a number of problems that can lead to a vitamin B12 or folate deficiency, including:

  • Pernicious anaemia – In this type of anaemia, your immune system attacks healthy cells in your stomach, preventing your body absorbing vitamin B12 from the food you eat.
  • A lack of these vitamins in your diet –Vitamin B12 is generally found in every food we eat and so this is uncommon unless you have a vegan diet, follow a fad diet or have a generally poor diet for a long time
  • Medicine – certain medicines, including anticonvulsants and proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), can affect how much of these vitamins your body absorbs

Both vitamin B12 deficiency and folate deficiency are more common in older people, affecting around 1 in 10 people aged 75 or over and 1 in 20 people aged 65 to 74.

Complications of vitamin B12 or folate deficiency anaemia

Although it’s uncommon, vitamin B12 or folate deficiency (with or without anaemia) can lead to complications, particularly if you have been deficient in vitamin B12 or folate for some time.

Potential complications can include:

  • problems with the nervous system
  • temporary infertility
  • heart conditions
  • pregnancy complications and birth defects

Adults with severe anaemia are also at risk of developing heart failure.

Some complications improve with appropriate treatment, but others, such as problems with the nervous system, can be permanent.


Early detection is important

Most cases of vitamin B12 and folate deficiency can be easily treated with injections or tablets to replace the missing vitamins.

Vitamin B12 supplements are usually given by injection at first.Then, depending on whether your B12 deficiency is related to your diet, you’ll either require B12 tablets between meals or regular injections.These treatments may be needed for the rest of your life.

Sources of Vitamin B12

Vitamin B12 is found in meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, yeast extract (such as Marmite) and specially fortified foods. However, the best sources of folate include green vegetables, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts and peas.

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Facts you must know about Intermittent Fasting

Since a few years intermittent fasting has gained traction for its incredible effects on disease and aging. But does it really work or is it worth the effort? In this blog article, we’ll walk you through the process an give you some insider tips straight from our experts. Let’s begin.

What is intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting is the process of cycling periods of eating and fasting. This type of fasting aids weight loss, but it is less of a diet plan and more of a lifestyle choice that reaps you some incredible health benefits.

There are different intermittent fasting methods. These are:

  • Eating in the ratio of 5:2: This method of intermittent eating allows you to eat normally five days a week and fast for the other two days. However, you need to keep it just between 500 and 600 calories.
  • Eat-stop-eat cycle: In this method, you stop taking food for 24 hours, once or twice a week.
  • 16/8: This is the most popular method where you eat all of your daily calories within a shortened period — typically 6 to 8 hours — and fast for the remaining 14 to 16 hours. You can do this every day, or a few times a week.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF INTERMITTENT FASTING

When you don’t eat any food for a set period of time each day, you do your body and your brain a whole lot of good. It makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint when people weren’t eating three square meals a day. Instead, humans evolved in situations where there wasn’t much food, and they learned to thrive when fasting.

Switching to an intermittent fasting diet expands your limits and boosts your performance in a number of ways. Here are some of the powerful benefits of intermittent fasting:

  • Boosts weight loss
  • Increases energy
  • Promotes cellular repair
  • Reduces insulin resistance and protects against type 2 diabetes
  • Lowers bad cholesterol
  • Promotes longevity
  • Protects against neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
  • Improves memory and boosts brain function
  • Makes cells more resilient

How to do intermittent fasting?

There are no guidelines or nutritional suggestions for “days” when eating is restricted. But physicians and dieticians suggest eating a nutrient-dense diet full of plants and protein to tide you over through fasting periods.

To understand IF, you have to first understand what happens when you eat.

Insulin is a hormone that’s released when we eat, but it isn’t meant to be released all the time. Intermittent fasting is simply letting your insulin level go down to normal so that you unlock your fat stores. Typically you can’t lose any weight unless they get that insulin level down. Which is why eating very small meals throughout the day doesn’t really help with weight loss.

The science behind intermittent fasting is same as that of exercise. During exercise, there’s a stress on the cells. They don’t grow and get bigger during the exercise but in the resting period. In intermittent fasting, like the resting period, the cells go in kind of a stress-resistance mode. And then when you eat, they’ve prepared themselves to quickly take up nutrients, proteins, and grow.

How to Get Started

When first trying IF, the transition can be challenging.

Initially you may feel uncomfortable, and even get painful hunger pangs as they abstain from food. It is suggested that you take it slow, trying different kinds of IF to see what works with their goals and routine. You can take the “feeding window” from an initial unrestricted period down to 12 hours, then 10 hours, then eight hours, before finding a feeding window that is sustainable.

To make fasting manageable, experts suggests that you can take an overnight fast, which can more easily fit into people’s routines. Research shows that restricting eating to daytime hours, an approach that aligns eating patterns with circadian rhythms, has been shown to have metabolic and weight loss benefits.

What Are the Risks of Intermittent Fasting?

Some dieticians warn that ignoring hunger cues can have unforeseen consequences.

Anyone with a history of disordered eating patterns should consult a health professional to confirm that IF is right for them.

One systematic review published in the journal Stress in 2016, found that IF may initially increase stress levels of fasters. The increase may subside after a few weeks of fasting. Other research says IF could cause greater metabolic fluctuations and increased appetite on non-fasting days relative to intermittent energy restriction, a diet that allows some food.

What are your thoughts in this article? Share it in the comments section.




World Hepatitis Day: Know the facts

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 4.4 million people are currently living with chronic hepatitis B and C. Many more people don’t even know that they have hepatitis.

On World Hepatitis Day, let’s raise awareness on how we can prevent hepatitis and keep it from spreading. Let’s dive at the details.

What is Hepatitis?

Hepatitis refers to an inflammatory condition of the liver which is commonly caused by a viral infection. But there are other possible causes of hepatitis which includes secondary result of medications, drugs, toxins, and alcohol.

There are different types of viral infections of the liver that are classified as hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E. A different virus is responsible for each type of virally transmitted hepatitis.

Hepatitis A

Hepatitis A is caused by an infection by hepatitis A virus (HAV). It is transmitted by consuming food or water contaminated by feces from a person infected with hepatitis A.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is transmitted through contact with infectious body fluids. Injection drug use, having sex with an infected partner, or sharing razors with an infected person increase your risk of getting hepatitis B.

Hepatitis C

Hepatitis C comes from the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Hepatitis C is transmitted through direct contact with infected body fluids, typically through injection drug use and sexual contact.

Hepatitis D

Hepatitis D is a serious liver disease caused by the hepatitis D virus (HDV). HDV is contracted through direct contact with infected blood.The hepatitis D virus can’t multiply without the presence of hepatitis B.

Hepatitis E

Hepatitis E is a waterborne disease caused by the hepatitis E virus (HEV) and is mainly found in areas with poor sanitation and typically results from ingesting fecal matter that contaminates the water supply.

Symptoms of hepatitis

Signs and symptoms of acute hepatitis appear quickly. They include:

  • fatigue
  • flu-like symptoms
  • dark urine
  • pale stool
  • abdominal pain
  • loss of appetite
  • unexplained weight loss
  • yellow skin and eyes, which may be signs of jaundice

Chronic hepatitis develops slowly, so these signs and symptoms may be too subtle to notice.

How hepatitis is diagnosed

History and physical exam

Ask your doctor to take your history and determine the risk factors you may have for infectious or noninfectious hepatitis.

Liver function tests

Your blood samples are used to determine how efficiently your liver works. If there are abnormal results of these tests,, it is the first indication that there is a problem. High liver enzyme levels may indicate that your liver is stressed, damaged, or not functioning properly.

Other blood tests

If your liver function tests are abnormal, your doctor will likely ask you to take other blood tests to detect the source of the problem. These tests can check for the viruses that cause hepatitis.

Ultrasound

The abdominal ultrasound uses ultrasound waves to create an image of the organs within your abdomen. This test can reveal:

  • fluid in your abdomen
  • liver damage or enlargement
  • liver tumors
  • abnormalities of your gallbladder

This can be a useful test in determining the cause of your abnormal liver function.

Liver biopsy

A liver biopsy  involves your doctor taking a sample of tissue from your liver. It is done on skin with a needle and doesn’t require surgery. Typically, an ultrasound is used to guide your doctor when taking the biopsy sample.

This test allows your doctor to determine how infection or inflammation has affected your liver.

Tips to prevent hepatitis

Hygiene

Practicing good hygiene is one key way to avoid contracting hepatitis A and E. Hepatitis B, C, and D contracted through contaminated blood can be prevented by:

  • not sharing drug needles
  • not sharing razors
  • not using someone else’s toothbrush
  • not touching spilled blood

Vaccines

Using vaccines is an important key to preventing hepatitis. Vaccinations can help in the prevention of hepatitis A and B and experts are currently developing vaccines against hepatitis C.

Complications that arise due to hepatitis

Chronic hepatitis B or C can often lead to more serious health problems. Because the virus affects the liver, people with chronic hepatitis B or C are at risk for:

  • chronic liver disease
  • cirrhosis
  • liver cancer

When your liver stops functioning normally, liver failure can occur. Complications of liver failure include

  • a buildup of fluid in your abdomen, known as ascites
  • increased blood pressure in portal veins that enter your liver, known as portal hypertension
  • involve fatigue, memory loss, and diminished mental abilities due to the buildup of toxins, like ammonia, that affect brain function
  • hepatocellular carcinoma, a form of liver cancer

People with chronic hepatitis B and C are required to avoid alcohol because it can accelerate liver disease and failure. Certain supplements and medications can also affect liver function. If you have chronic hepatitis B or C, check with your doctor before taking any new medications.

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Understanding Shift Work Sleep disorder(SWSD)

Working in night shift/ rotational shifts hours is more common than you might think. According to an editorial published in the New England Journal of Medicine, up to 20% of workers work either night or rotating shifts.

 Although not everyone who works odd hours has the shift work sleep disorder, a lot can be at stake.

Researchers have found that shift workers who are sleep-deprived often get irritable or depressed and their memory and ability to focus can also become impaired. Their relationships and social life can suffer, too.

While many employees aren’t able to change their work hours, there are ways to lessen the effects of SWSD. Read this blog for some quick bytes of info from experts.

What is shift work sleep disorder?

Irregular sleep patterns and nontraditional work schedule can disrupt a person’s circadian rhythm, or “biological clock.” It regulates wakefulness and sleepiness at relatively set times throughout the 24-hour day. It disturbs the circadian rhythm and can cause frustrating symptoms when it’s out of the natural process.

The Cleveland Clinic estimates that between 10 to 40 percent of shift workers experience SWSD. Those who have regularly shifting schedules are most likely to be affected. However, not everyone who works a nontraditional shift experiences SWSD. Many people who work these shifts have certain circadian rhythms that supports the cycle, these are the people who are best able to avoid the disorder.

SWSD can cause higher risk of:

  • Ulcers
  • Insulin resistance
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Heart disease
  • Sleepiness
  • Alertness
  • Body temperature
  • Hormone levels
  • Hunger

What are the symptoms of shift work sleep disorder?

People affected with SWSD may experience many of the following symptoms:

  • excessive sleepiness, both on and off the job
  • difficulty  in concentrating the task at hand
  • lack of energy
  • insomnia that prevents you from getting adequate sleep
  • sleep that feels incomplete or not refreshing
  • depression or moodiness
  • trouble with relationships

Lifestyle changes that can help treat SWSD

There are many lifestyle changes you can make which may help relieve some of your sleep disorder symptoms:

  • Try to keep a regular sleep schedule irrespective of whether you are working or not.
  • If possible, talk to your boss about taking a gap of 48 hours off after a series of shifts.
  • Wear sunglasses when leaving work to minimize sun exposure. Doing so can help prevent the “daytime” clock from activating.
  • Take naps when possible.
  • Limit caffeine intake four hours before bedtime.
  • Maintain a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables.
  • Use heavy shades for sleeping to create a dark environment.
  • Ask family and other live-in companions to reduce surrounding noise
  • Avoid a long commute if you can. It can cut into your sleeping hours and cause further drowsiness.
  • Take over-the-counter medication after consulting a doctor.
  • Purchase a lightbox for light therapy to expose your eyes to extremely bright but safe light before work.
  • To improve sleep quality as much as possible, try to block out disruptions. Try not to look at your phone or bright screens for an hour before bed. Use white noise machines, calming music, or earplugs to drown out the background noise of the day.

Sleep is an important activity that keeps you healthy. It’s never good to sacrifice sleep for the sake of work and make the body suffer the consequences. However, proper management can help you regulate the sleep patterns and overall quality of life.

What are your thoughts on this article? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

Everything you need to know about Chronic pain

Aches and pains are common. In fact, pain is an important reaction of the nervous system that helps alert you to possible injury. Whenever there is pain, brain signals travels from the injured area up your spinal cord and to your brain and notifies it of the pain. In case of Chronic pain, your body continues to send pain signals to your brain, even after an injury heals. This can last several weeks to years and, as a result, can limit your mobility and reduce your flexibility, strength, and endurance. Over time,this may make it challenging to get through daily tasks and activities.

Understanding Chronic pain

Chronic pain lasts at least 12 weeks. The pain may feel sharp or dull, causing a burning or aching sensation in the affected areas. It may be steady or intermittent, coming and going without any apparent reason. Chronic pain can occur in nearly any part of your body.

A number of factors play a role in the experience of chronic pain. The image below can help you conceptualize the complicated nature of the chronic pain.

Chronic pain model

Tissue damage. The tissue injury or damage initially starts the pain. The tissue damage gives an input to the nervous system (the pain signal) which is also termed “nonciceptive input.”

Pain sensation. In the simplest terms of this model, pain sensation is the actual perception that occurs in the brain after the nerve signal (due to nonciception) travels from the periphery to the central nervous system. Pain sensation is experienced in the brain, while nonciception occurs at the site of injury.

Thoughts. The Cognitions or thoughts occur in higher brain centers. These are an assessment of the pain sensation signal coming into the nervous system as well as events surrounding it. These thoughts can be conscious or unconscious and will greatly influence how the pain signal is perceived.

Emotions. The emotional aspect of pain is a person’s response to thoughts about the pain. The belief about pain creates a distinction whether it is a serious threat or not, which creates a corresponding emotional response which may include fear, depression, and anxiety. Conversely if you believe the pain is not a threat, then the emotional response will be negligible.

Suffering. The term “suffering” is often used as a synonym for “pain” even though they are theoretically and conceptually distinct. For instance, a broken bone may cause pain without suffering. But in contrast, bone pain due to a tumor may cause the same pain as a break but the suffering will be much greater due to the “meaning” behind the pain. Suffering is very closely tied to the emotional aspect of pain and less to the physical aspect.

Pain behaviors. Pain behaviors are defined as things people do when they suffer or are in pain. These are behaviors that others observe as typically indicating pain, such as talking about the pain, grimacing, limping, moving slowly, and taking pain medicine. Pain behaviors are in response to all the other factors in the pain system model (tissue damage, pain sensation, thoughts, emotions, and suffering) and are also affected by previous life experiences, expectations, and cultural influences in terms of how the pain is expressed. Interestingly, pain behaviors are also affected by the outside environment, such as how others respond.

Causes:

A Chronic pain is usually caused by an initial injury, such as a back sprain or pulled muscle. Some research points that chronic pain develops after nerves become damaged. The nerve damage makes pain more intense and long lasting. In these cases, treating the underlying injury may not resolve the chronic pain.

In some cases, however, people experience chronic pain without any prior injury. The exact causes of chronic pain without injury aren’t well understood. rs with no obvious cause

Who is at risk for chronic pain?

Chronic pain can affect people of all ages, but it’s commonly affects older adults. Besides age, other factors that can increase your risk of developing chronic pain include:

  • having an injury
  • having surgery
  • being female
  • being overweight or obese

How is chronic pain treated?

The severity and frequency of chronic pain can differ among individuals. So doctors create pain management plans that are specific to each person. Your pain management plan will depend on your symptoms and any underlying health conditions. Medical treatments, lifestyle remedies, or a combination of these methods may be used to treat your chronic pain.
The main goal of treatment should be to reduce pain and boost mobility. This helps you return to your daily activities without discomfort.

Medications for chronic pain

There are Several types of medications are available that can help treat chronic pain. Here are a few examples:

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers, including acetaminophen (Tylenol) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as aspirin (Bufferin) or ibuprofen (Advil).
  • Opioid pain relievers, including morphine (MS Contin), codeine, and hydrocodone (Tussigon)
  • Adjuvant analgesics, such as antidepressants and anticonvulsants

However the medications is to be strictly followed under a healthcare provider’s assistance.

Medical procedures for chronic pain

Certain medical procedures can also provide relief from chronic pain. An example of a few are:

  • Electrical stimulation: This procedures helps reduces pain by sending mild electric shocks into your muscles. It numbs you pain.r nerves and tricks your brain to not feeling pain.
  • Nerve block: This process includes an injection that prevents nerves from sending pain signals to your brain
  • Acupuncture: This age old practice involves lightly pricking your skin with needles to alleviate pain. This techniques dates back to centuries and helps treat it.
  • Surgery: Surgery corrects injuries that may have healed improperly and that may be contributing to the pain.

Lifestyle remedies for chronic pain

Additionally, various lifestyle remedies are available to help ease chronic pain. Examples include:

  • Physical therapy
  • Tai chi
  • Yoga
  • Psychotherapy
  • Massage
  • Meditation

There isn’t a cure for chronic pain, but the condition can be managed successfully. It’s important to stick to your pain management plan to help relieve symptoms.

Physical pain is related to emotional pain, so chronic pain can increase your stress levels. Building emotional skills can help you cope with any stress related to your condition. Here are some steps you can take to reduce stress:

Take good care of your body: Eating well, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly can keep your body healthy and reduce feelings of stress.

Continue taking part in your daily activities: You can boost your mood and decrease stress by participating in activities you enjoy and socializing with friends. Chronic pain may make it challenging to perform certain tasks. But isolating yourself can give you a more negative outlook on your condition and increase your sensitivity to pain.

Seek support: Friends, family, and support groups can lend you a helping hand and offer comfort during difficult times. Whether you’re having trouble with daily tasks or you’re simply in need of an emotional boost, a close friend or loved one can provide the support you need.

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Important nutrients your body needs to optimize eye health

Proper diet and nutrition are essential for health and growth, and this also holds true for the eyes. A number of nutrients can help keep your eyes healthy, and some may even improve your eyesight. They are necessary for cellular regeneration, maintaining tissue health, and for fighting against diseases.

Here’s an article that walks you through the important nutrients that optimizes your eye health.

Eye diseases and diet plan.

The following diseases and their progression have been found to be linked with deficiency of certain micronutrients. These include cataract, night blindness, conjunctival and corneal xerosis, and Macular Degeneration (AMD).

Specific nutrients that promote eye health

Antioxidants

Antioxidants are specific micronutrients that combat the ill effects of free radicals and other oxidants in the eye and help ward off signs of ageing.

Vitamins

The most commonly researched antioxidants are vitamins A, C and E. They are found explicitly in fruits and vegetables, like oranges and other citrus fruits, tomatoes and in green leafy vegetables. These nutrients are also present in nuts, seeds, dairy products and other food types. Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, along with selenium are the essential nutrients to reduce cataract risks and degeneration of macula.

Vitamin A cures night blindness, dry eyes (xerosis), and macular degeneration. And, Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that combats free radicals, supports healthy blood vessels, and prevents ultraviolet radiation-induced damage within the eye. Vitamins like Vitamin E is known to regulate enzyme activity, and help in neurological functions.

Lutein and Zeaxanthin

These are the yellow plant pigments that are found in yellow and orange peppers, sweetcorn, saffron, kale, spinach and broccoli. Nutrients like Lutein and zeaxanthin cannot be produced by the human body, and have to be consumed as food.

Essential Fatty Acids

The two types of essential fatty acids that are responsible for eye health are Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids. They are necessary for the cellular development and in the formation of cellular membranes. They are known to improve the nerve conduction in the retina and prevent deterioration of cell membranes, thereby reducing the risk of vision loss due to macular degeneration and glaucoma. Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids are found in oily fish like salmon and halibut, in walnuts, flaxseed, soybean, and dark leafy vegetable. Omega 6 Essential Fatty Acids are available in linoleic acid, vegetable safflower, sunflower oil, and grape seeds.

Carotenoids

Carotenoids, especially, beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, gamma-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin have an action similar to vitamin A activity. Astaxanthin is a fat-soluble carotenoid that is a very potent antioxidant and is known to decrease the risk of cataract, retinal detachments, and macular degeneration.

Minerals

Zinc, Chromium, Copper, and Selenium are essential minerals which are vital for eye health and help in rejuvenating the eye and improving vision

What should I eat for healthy eyes?

  • Whole grains and cereals help decrease the risk of age-related eye diseases.
  • Fatty acids are known to help prevent dry eyes and possibly cataracts.
  • Limit your consumption of saturated fats from red meats and dairy products that may increase your risk of macular degeneration. Lean meats, oily fish, nuts, legumes, and eggs are excellent sources of protein, which are also good sources of essential fatty acids.

A combination of a healthy, antioxidant-filled diet and annual visits to your eye doctor can help preserve your eye health and vision. So the next time you’re out grocery shopping or sitting down to a meal, make sure you’re choosing food that looks out for your eyes, too.

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Benefits of Yoga backed by Science

Though Yoga is said to be linked to the ancient India, it is practiced all over the world irrespective of the nationality or religion. It is a combination of physical, mental, and spiritual practices that has strong evidence of improving overall health. Research suggests that adding yoga to your current health practices can improve your quality of life.
Here are the benefits of inculcating yoga in our everyday life backed by strong research.

1. More Bone Density:

Yoga includes several weight-bearing yoga postures like Tree Pose, Warrior Pose, Triangle Pose, etc., that help in reversing the bone loss by building bone-density. Healthy bones are extremely important for people of any age to minimize the risk of developing fragile bones– medically known as osteoporosis and osteopenia. Daily yoga practices can assist in building bone mass in the spine and femur.

2. Clear and Shiny Skin

Yoga practices deeply purify the body inside-out. Additionally, the postures work as detoxifying agents at some levels eliminating toxins and granting inner glow and lustrous skin.

3. Builds Core Strength


The purpose of core strengthening is essentially about building core stability. This involves not just strengthening the muscles, but a functional component as well. The aim is to build the strength and integrity of the core to easily maintain the balance of the trunk vs. limbs during any type of movement. Here’s a blog that walks you through the different poses that strengthens your core. But it’s highly recommended that these postures are practiced under an expert’s supervision.

4. Treats a Backache

According to several types of research, the performance of Yoga poses along with its variations and modifications are potent in treating the symptoms of lower backpain and many other back problems. This natural science is highly effective in treating a backache and providing a long-lasting relief.

5. Stress Relievers

Many people begin practicing yoga as a way to cope with feelings of anxiety. Interestingly enough, there is quite a bit of research showing that yoga can help reduce anxiety. In a research, 34 women diagnosed with an anxiety disorder participated in yoga classes twice weekly for two months. At the end of the study, those who practiced yoga had significantly lower levels of anxiety than the control group.

Another study followed 64 women with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is characterized by severe anxiety and fear following exposure to a traumatic event.After 10 weeks, the women who practiced yoga once weekly had fewer symptoms of PTSD. In fact, 52% of participants no longer met the criteria for PTSD at all.

6. Enhance Quality of Prana

Pranayama is central to the Yoga. The diverse breathing techniques improve the quality of life force–prana and nourish the body and mind thereby increasing your lifespan.

7. Overall Well-being

A regular practice of Yoga enhances multiple aspects of physical, mental, and spiritual being honoring the practitioners with an efficiently working healthy body, mind, and spirit.

The Bottom Line

Multiple studies have confirmed the many mental and physical benefits of yoga.Incorporating it into your routine can help enhance your health, increase strength and flexibility and reduce symptoms of stress, depression and anxiety. Finding the time to practice yoga just a few times per week may be enough to make a noticeable difference when it comes to your health.

What’s your thoughts on this article? Share your thoughts in the comment section.


6 Surprising Health Benefits of Donating Blood

Every three seconds, someone needs a blood transfusion!

Moreover, 20% of the recipients are children, cancer patients, accident victims or patients undergoing surgery who just need a little pint of your blood that could save their lives.

It’s shocking to say that though 60% of the population are eligible to donate blood, yet less than 4% do! Car accident victims, cancer patients need pints of blood that gets hard to obtain.

Since blood can’t be made or manufactured, these patients depend on blood donors for their lives. After a poll on the reasons why people hesitate giving blood, we found out a good number of reasons.

Though you’re considering donating blood but are unsure of the effect it will have on your body. Or maybe you’ve done it before and are curious about how it might impact you if you donate regularly. In any case, you may be surprised at some of the advantages. We consulted with health professionals to identify some of the biggest benefits of donating blood.

The benefits of giving blood

1. Giving blood can reveal potential health problems

While it isn’t the same thing as a trip to the doctor, donating blood can be another way to keep an eye on your cardiovascular health. You’ll receive a mini-physical prior to the blood draw, in which someone will check your pulse, blood pressure, body temperature, hemoglobin and more.  This can sometimes shed light on issues you didn’t even know about.

“If your blood is too low in iron, the clinic will tell you and won’t draw your blood. They will also inform you of any other blood issues they notice or if anything seems unusual. An occasional check up on your blood quality could be the key to spotting a health issue before it becomes life-threatening.

2. Giving blood can reduce harmful iron stores

One in every two hundred people in the U.S. is affected by a condition called hemochromatosis and most of them don’t even know it. Hemochromatosis is a disease that causes an iron overload and is labeled as the most common genetic disease.

Blood donation helps reduce the body’s extra iron stores and maintains optimum levels of iron in the body.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the removal of red blood cells by phlebotomy (or donating blood) is the preferred treatment for patients with excess iron in their blood.

3. Giving blood may lower your risk of suffering a heart attack

Donating blood at least once a year could reduce your risk of a heart attack by 88 percent, according to a study conducted by the American Journal of Epidemiology.*

High levels of iron in the blood constrict your blood vessels and create more risk of a heart attack. Depleting those extra iron deposits by donating blood gives your vessels more room to operate and flow

4. Giving blood may reduce your risk of developing cancer

In an average, completely healthy person, the link between giving blood and decreased cancer risk is slim. But research does support a reduced risk of cancer for blood donors with different maladies, one of which is hemochromatosis.

A study focused on patients affected by peripheral arterial disease (PAD) describes the patients affected with this disease had a common circulatory problem. PAD patients who regularly donated blood had a lower risk of developing cancer than those who did not.

5. Giving blood can help your liver stay healthy

Another danger of iron overload is the health of your liver. “In recent years, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the hepatic expression of metabolic syndrome, has reached epidemic proportions,” reports the National Center for Biotechnology Information.

Research has linked too much iron with NAFLD, Hepatitis C and other liver diseases and infections. Though there are many other factors involved in these problems, donating blood can help relieve some of those iron stores and avoid extra issues in your liver.

6. Giving blood can help your mental state

While there are several physical benefits to donating blood, the most powerful health benefit is arguably in the psychological realm. Donating blood means that someone (or multiple people) somewhere will be getting the help they desperately need.

This kind of interaction has major psychological benefits. Getting out of your usual environment to do something good for someone else is stimulating in the best kind of way.  Volunteering has been shown to have positive effects on happiness. In people over 65-years-old, volunteering also reduces the risk of depression and loneliness.

Blood donation benefits everyone

The health benefits of donating blood are considerable—but of course, the most important part of the process is helping to save lives. Donating blood is good for you, and it’s even better for all the people who desperately need the help.

Donate blood, stay healthy and save lives!

Common Asthma Triggers and how to avoid them

Asthma can be stressful and challenging. Though you can’t see it coming, you definitely can prevent its trigger by avoiding certain circumstances, material or environment known as Asthma triggers. Asthma triggers can either worsen asthma symptoms or cause an asthma flare-up.

With a little planning, you can learn to prevent exposure to your triggers and reduce your risk for an asthma flare-up or attack. Here’s an article which tells you how you do it.

Triggers in the air

Exposure to pollen, air pollution, cigarette smoke, and fumes from burning vegetation can make your asthma flare up. Pollens are most troublesome during spring and fall, although flowers, weeds, and grasses bloom throughout the year. Avoid being outside during peak pollen times of day.

Use air conditioning to reduce indoor air pollutants, such as pollen, to lower the humidity in the room or house. This reduces your risk of exposure to dust mites and prevents you from the risk of a flare-up. Sometimes, exposure to cold weather may also cause a flare-up in some people. It is best to avoid extreme cold environment as much as you can.

Exposure to Feathered and furry pets can trigger asthma.

Pets and animals, though adorable, can trigger an asthma episode in people who are allergic to them.

Additionally, proteins found in an animal’s saliva, feces, urine, hair, and skin can trigger asthma. The best way to avoid a flare-up from these triggers is to avoid contact with animals altogether.

If you’re not ready to part ways with a beloved family pet, try keeping the animal out of your bedroom, off furniture, and outside most of the time if possible. Indoor pets should be bathed frequently.

Stay out of Dust-Mites

Dust mites is a common allergen found in places and rooms we frequent, including bedrooms, living rooms, and offices. You can purchase dust-proof covers for your mattress, box spring, and sofa. Washing linens on the hottest water setting cleans the trapped dust mites.

Carpets and rugs are dust magnets, too. If you have carpeting in your home, it may be time to bid adieu and have hardwood floors put down instead.

Don’t be friendly to mold

Mold and mildew are two big asthma triggers. You can prevent flare-ups from these triggers by being aware of damp places in your kitchen, bath, basement, and around the yard. High humidity increases the risk for mold and mildew growth. Invest in a dehumidifier if humidity is a concern. Be sure to toss out any shower curtains, rugs, leaves, or firewood with mold or mildew.

Threats that crawl

Cockroaches aren’t just creepy; they can make you sick, too. These bugs and their droppings are a potential asthma trigger. If you discover a cockroach problem, take steps to eliminate them. Cover up, store, and remove open water and food containers. Vacuum, sweep, and mop any areas where you see cockroaches. Call an exterminator or use roach gels to reduce the number of bugs in your home. Don’t forget to inspect your home’s outside to see where bugs might be hiding.

Other conditions can cause asthma

Infections, viruses, and diseases that affect your lungs can trigger your asthma. Examples include colds, respiratory infections, pneumonia, and the flu. Sinus infections and acid reflux can also cause an asthma flare-up, as can some medicines.

Perfumes and heavily scented items can aggravate your airways. Stress, anxiety, and other strong emotions can also trigger fast breathing. This irritation in your airway or fast breathing can cause an asthma flare-up too. Additionally, food allergies may cause an asthma attack, especially if you have a history of having an anaphylactic reaction to a food allergen.

Balance your exercise

Exercise can be a common asthma trigger, but this is one trigger you shouldn’t avoid. Physical activity is important for your overall health, and it’s a risk worth taking.

Be wise about incorporating physical activity, exercise, and outdoor activities into your life. If exercise-induced asthma is a concern, talk with your doctor about medications that help prevent asthma flare-ups when you’re physically active.

What to do when you can’t avoid triggers

In some situations, you cannot help getting exposed to some common allergens. Dust is a good example. People who are highly sensitive to dust will have a difficult time avoiding it.

In this case, your doctor may recommend allergy shots for you. Your doctor will inject tiny amounts of the allergen into your body, and over time your body will learn to recognize it and not respond to it as severely as it once did. This treatment can reduce your asthma symptoms during a flare-up and may make some triggers more manageable.

What’s your experience with Asthma triggers? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

How healthcare technology is impacting our lives

Technology has changed the world so much that if someone from 100 years found themselves in today’s world, they would probably think that they have been teleported to another world. The speed of change is so rapid that it’s difficult to anticipate where we are heading to in the span of 10 years.

Healthcare technology is no different. From improved operational efficiency to standards in patient care, the healthcare transformation has enhanced the entire experience for both patients and medical professionals.

Moreover, breakthroughs like robot-assisted surgery, virtual healthcare, nanomedicine are pushing boundaries of innovation that technology has brought to healthcare.

The following are five of the top healthcare technology and healthcare industry trends and innovations that are revolutionizing the field at the present.

Availability of Information and big data

There isn’t a doubt in the fact that big data has changed the way we manage, analyze and leverage data in any industry. Even in healthcare, its application has a lot of positive and lifesaving outcomes.

Healthcare data has helped doctors in gathering data and convert it in critical insights, that can then be used to provide better care. Healthcare data analytics is used now to analyse the data-driven findings to predict and solve a problem before it is too late, but also assess methods and treatments faster, keep better track of inventory, involve patients more in their own health and empower them with the tools to do so.

Electronic Medical Records

Electronic medical records allow all patient histories, test results, diagnoses and relevant information to be stored centrally in an online location. The data allows for more focused and accurate care as well as the ability to see health trends for each individual. Moreover, it’s becomes easier to access, share and store the voluminous health information in a single place, without the risk of misplacing or losing critical health information.

Telemedicine/Telehealth

The barriers of getting a professional medical advice is now shorter as medical professionals can now use media such as video, online discussion platforms for real-time consultation with patients. It gives patients options to consult right from home without having to travel. It also have opened up opportunities to patients to consult specialists out of town. The launch of electronic medical records has added to the efficiency of teleconsultation, making patient health records accessible to all relevant departments and care providers for discussion and deriving health insights . This results in improved case management, treatments and patient recovery.

Mobile apps

Mobile apps are key to improving accessibility for patients and healthcare professionals. It enables people to easily manage their health and wellbeing- right from prompting them to get checkups, to finding general medical information or accessing their test results securely online without having to spend more time in waiting to visit GP. There are also apps where healthcare professionals, can quickly access information relating to diseases and drugs, images for clinical matters, continued education activities and so on.

Medical breakthroughs

VR For workforce training: In a study, radiologists who viewed images of arteries through 3D VR technology were more confident when diagnosing splenic artery aneurysms.

VR for physical and mental health: Specialists use VR for pain management where immersion of virtual worlds have been shown to lower levels of anxiety and have relaxing effects. It is also used in Expose therapy where VR simulators can recreate frightening or tramautic environments to help patients accept emotions and face fears.

Healthcare technology have made lives easier, increased efficiencies and brought the world closer.

What are your thoughts on this? Share your thoughts in the comment section.