Health Facts and Myths on Coffee

For most of us, this aroma filled golden vice is what starts our day! But when we are tempted to drink more of it, the endless conflicting stories about coffee fills us with guilt. Here we are with some deep research on how coffee affects your health, so that you can satisfy your taste buds and devour your next cup of brew with clear conscience. Let’s begin

Myth: Coffee causes heart disease

Fact: Two or more cups of coffee a day was associated with increased risk of heart disease and decreased mortality. This is not true.

There are many research evidence that coffee consumption does not increase the risk of cardiovascular disease nor does it raise cholesterol levels or cause irregular heartbeat. There weren’t any high alert observations noted, except a slight temporary rise in the blood pressure in individuals who were sensitive to caffeine. Moreover, this rise was temporary and not very different from the result from normal activity, such as climbing stairs.

Note: People with high blood pressure need to watch out and are required to consult their physician about the caffeine intake as there are metabolic issues in this case.

Myth: Coffee causes decreased mortality

Fact: High coffee intake was associated with death from cancer, heart disease or anything. This is not true and there was a long research to prove this wrong.

The Harvard Health Professionals Follow-Up Study, which began in 1986, and the Nurses’ Health Study, which started in 1976, have been following coffee consumption habits of healthy men and women for decades.

The statement given by Dr. Rob Van Dam of Harvard’s school of health is –

“We did not find any relationship between coffee consumption and increased risk of death from any cause, death from cancer, or death from cardiovascular disease. Even people who drank up to six cups of coffee per day were at no higher risk of death.”

Note: Some populations can find coffee consumption potentially harmful. People with sleep issues or uncontrolled diabetes may need to ask their doctors before adding caffeine to their diets.

Myth: High amount of coffee causes Cancer.

A huge study of more than 25,000 coffee drinkers in South Korea shows that moderate daily consumption — that’s three to five cups a day – is found to moderately reduce one’s risk for melanoma, a highly dangerous skin cancer. But in the case of decaffeinated coffee, it was not the same and didn’t provide protection. The study supports a previous finding of a link between coffee and a reduced risk for basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer.

The reality check

Weighing between the benefits and the harm caffeine gives our body, it was noted that high intake of caffeine significantly reduced the benefits that coffee gives to our body. That means- it’s necessary to watch your coffee intake and limit it to 3 times a day. High caffeine intake is associated with:

Women should take particular note. Coffee may increase menopausal hot flashes. And pregnant women might be more likely to be at risk as it reaches the fetus and might restrict growth. Doctors recommend only a cup a day during pregnancy.

  • Contributes to higher blood pressure

There’s a genetic mutation many of us have that can affect how fast our bodies metabolize caffeine. The gene is called CYP1A2 — if you have the slow version, it might contribute to your high blood pressure. If you already have High BP, it’s advisable to consult a doctor on your caffeine intake.

There’s more…

There multiple studies with Caffiene intake, but one thing is clear- high intake of caffeine is harmful (in some cases). And interestingly enough, the way you make your coffee could also make a health difference — there’s a compound called cafestol in the oily part of coffee that can increase your bad cholesterol or LDL. It’s caught in the paper filters, so as long as you use paper filters to strain those, it should be fine. But if you’re a lover of French press, Turkish coffee or the boiled dark coffee popular, you could be putting your health at risk.

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

A beginner’s guide on lowering Cholesterol

Cholesterol is an essential type of fat that is carried in the blood but too much of it is a risk factor for heart disease. Managing your cholesterol by maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle can help reduce your cholesterol levels. The catch is: even if the changes don’t show up directly in the cholesterol numbers, they can be lowering your risk for heart disease. So if you still haven’t made the change to a heart-healthy lifestyle, Check out this guide to get started.

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that’s found in all the cells in your body. Your body needs some cholesterol to make hormones, vitamin D, and substances that help you digest foods and it makes all the cholesterol it needs. Cholesterol is also found in foods from animal sources, such as egg yolks, meat, and cheese. Two types of lipoproteins carry cholesterol throughout the body:

  • LDL (low-density lipoprotein), sometimes called “bad” cholesterol, makes up most of your body’s cholesterol. High levels of LDL cholesterol raise your risk for heart disease and stroke.
  • HDL (high-density lipoprotein), or “good” cholesterol, absorbs cholesterol and carries it back to the liver. The liver then flushes it from the body. High levels of HDL cholesterol can lower your risk for heart disease and stroke.
  • When your body has too much LDL cholesterol, the LDL cholesterol can build up on the walls of your blood vessels. This buildup is called “plaque.” As your blood vessels build up plaque over time, the insides of the vessels narrow. This narrowing blocks blood flow to and from your heart and other organs. When blood flow to the heart is blocked, it can cause angina (chest pain) or a heart attack.

    Check out tips from our health experts.

    Follow the golden rule: Exercise

    exercise

    If your cholesterol numbers aren’t where they ought to be, working out should be a key part of your get-healthy strategy. The right kinds of workouts or activities, done regularly, can raise levels of heart-protecting HDL cholesterol and drop dangerous triglyceride levels. The AHA (American Heart Association) recommends the following activies as safe to follow

  • Brisk walking
  • Bicycling
  • Racewalking, jogging, or running
  • Swimming laps
  • Playing tennis (singles)
  • Aerobic dancing
  • Hiking uphill
  • You can add Resistance Training for Heart Health to lower LDL levels. Resistance training uses machines, free weights, bands, or your own body weight to build muscle. Adding muscle increases your metabolic rate, so you’ll burn more calories even when you’re at rest. The AHA recommends strength training at least twice a week for heart health.

    Be food aware- track your Diet

    Your body can produce all the cholesterol it needs. High-cholesterol foods are often foods that are also high in saturated fats. These foods should be limited in a healthy diet Try to avoid much amount of – fatty meats, processed meats like salami and sausages, snack foods like chips, deep-fried foods, cakes, biscuits and pastries.

    Here are our dietery recommendations:

  • Increase the amount and variety of fresh fruit, vegetables and wholegrain foods you have each day.
  • Choose low or reduced-fat milk, yoghurt and other dairy products or have ‘added calcium’ soy drinks.
  • Choose lean meat (meat trimmed of fat or labelled as ‘heart smart’).
  • Limit fatty meats, including sausages and salami, and choose leaner sandwich meats like turkey breast or cooked lean chicken.
  • Have fish (fresh or canned) at least twice a week.
  • Replace butter and dairy blends with polyunsaturated margarines.
  • Include foods in your diet that are rich in soluble fibre and healthy fats, such as nuts, legumes and seeds.
  • Limit cheese and ice cream to twice a week.
  • LDL cholesterol can be lowered by polyunsaturated oil (for example, sunflower or safflower oil). Eating oats and legumes can lower LDL cholesterol by five per cent. Food components like saponins (found in chickpeas, alfalfa sprouts and other foods) and sulphur compounds (like allicin – found in garlic and onions) may also have a positive effect in lowering cholesterol levels.
  • Plant sterols can lower cholesterol level. Consume nuts, legumes, cereals, fruit and vegetables.
  • Don’t go by the labels

    Don’t avoid dairy foods just because they have cholesterol.

    Some people believe that cutting out dairy foods altogether is the safest option, but this isn’t true. Dairy foods are an important part of your daily diet and contribute many essential nutrients, especially calcium. Vegans, however, can obtain calcium from many other sources including soy milk.

    You don’t need to avoid eggs and seafood

    Some foods are high in cholesterol but are fine to eat in moderation, as long as your overall diet is low in saturated fats. For example: Egg yolks – a single egg yolk contains 200–250 mg of cholesterol, which is almost the uppermost recommended daily intake (300 mg). However, reducing egg intake is probably not important for healthy people with normal blood cholesterol levels.
    Seafood – prawns and seafood contain some cholesterol, but they are low in saturated fat and also contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Seafood is a healthy food and should not be avoided just because it contains cholesterol. However, avoid fried and battered seafood.

    Reduce Portion Size to Lower Cholesterol

    Reduce food portion sizes to help keep your weight down to a healthy limit for heart health.Controlling your weight is an important part of getting to healthy cholesterol levels, so it’s crucial to know your portion sizes if you’re trying to lower cholesterol. A portion of starchy carbohydrate, like potato or pasta, should be only about half the size of a baseball. A heart-healthy portion of meat should be about the size of a deck of playing cards, or about three ounces.

    Restaurants commonly serve more food that you need, so consider splitting an entrée. Cooking at home will give you more control over your portion sizes, as well as what goes into each dish. You can learn more ways to enjoy smaller portions at the USDA’s Choose My Plate site.

    Stop smoking to lower cholesterol and protect your heart health.

    smoking

    There are many reasons your heart will thank you for not lighting up. Cigarette smoke raises levels of LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, and a blood fat called triglycerides. Those cause waxy plaque to build up in your arteries. At the same time, it lowers HDL, or “good” cholesterol and increases the risk of heart disease.It also indirectly affects the heart in the following ways.

  • Clogs your arteries
  • Increases clotting
  • Fills your lungs with tar
  • Thickens your blood
  • Take help when needed

    For some people, diet and lifestyle changes are not enough. High blood cholesterol levels often have a genetic component. Some people inherit altered genes that cause high cholesterol and this cannot usually be changed sufficiently by lifestyle or diet. If you are not able to cut down cholesterol levels on your own, it is advisable to do so in your doctor’s guidance.

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

    Pain In The Joint? – The Know All About Arthritis

    With increased aging, your body gets prone to aches and pains. You easily get fatigued and  tend to experience a nagging pain especially around the joints of the legs and hands. Why does this happen? Let’s look at an overview of a common problem that is not limited by age alone – Arthritis. 

    What is Arthritis?

    Arthritis is the inflammation of the joints, which can affect multiple joints at the same time. There are different types of Arthritis, the most common being -osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). 

    Osteoarthritis, also called degenerative arthritis, is the inflammation around a joint caused due to the breakdown and eventual loss of cartilage in the joint leading to the bones rubbing against each other. 

    Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is not related to age but associated to deficiency in the immune system of the body. It is normally supposed to protect the body from the foreign substances like bacteria, viruses etc  from attacking it. This leads to the inflammation that causes the tissues  lining the joints to thicken- causing pain and swelling around the joints. 

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 54.4 million adults in the United States are diagnosed with some form of arthritis. And, out of these 23.7 million people have their activity curtailed in some way by their condition. 

    Arthritis is more common among adults aged 65 years or older, but it can affect people of all ages, including children. 

    What are the symptoms of arthritis?

    Symptoms :

    Though the symptoms of Arthritis depend on the type of arthritis that affects the person, the most common symptoms seen include the following:  

    • Joint Pain 
    • Stiffness
    • Swelling 
    • Redness
    •  Decreased range of motion 

    Inflammation may also be associated with general “flu”-like symptoms including: 

    • Fever 
    • Chills 
    • Fatigue/loss of energy 
    • Headaches 
    • Loss of appetite 
    • Muscle stiffness 

    If left untreated, it can cause severe joint deformity.

    What causes arthritis?

    The joints are kept flexible by a tissue called cartilage. The basic function of this tissue is to protect the joint from stress by absorbing the pressure and shock created when you move them. The normal wear and tear can cause a reduction in the amount of this cartilage. Any infection or injury to the joints can exacerbate the natural breakdown of this cartilage tissue. The reduction in the normal amount of the flexible tissue causes inflammation of the joint resulting in some form of arthritis. 

    What happens when there is Joint Inflammation? 

    When there is inflammation, there is increased blood flow to the part of the body which brings in chemicals to attract the white blood cells. The increased number of cells and inflammatory substances within the joint can cause irritation, wear & Tear of cartilage (cushions at the end of bones), and swelling of the joint lining (synovium). 

     Abnormal metabolism can also affect the cartilages, leading to a form of arthritis called gout and pseudo gout. 

    Risk factors:

    Certain risk factors have been associated with arthritis. Some of these are modifiable, that is they can be prevented from causing arthritis while others are not modifiable. 

    Non-modifiable  risk factors: 

    • Age: Increased aging may increase the risk of developing arthritis 
    • Sex:  Arthritis is more common in females, with around 60 percent comprising of women. Gout is more common in males than females. 
    • Genetic factors: Specific genes are associated with a higher risk of certain types of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and ankylosing spondylitis  

    Modifiable  risk factors:

    • Overweight and obesity: excess weight can contribute to both the onset and progression of knee osteoarthritis. 
    • Joint injuries: Damage to a joint can contribute to the development of osteoarthritis in that joint. 
    • Infection: Many microbial agents can infect joints and trigger the development of various forms of arthritis. 
    • Occupation: Certain occupations that involve repetitive knee bending and squatting are associated with osteoarthritis of the knee. 

    How is arthritis diagnosed? 

    Diagnosis of arthritis includes a combination of physical examination and a couple of lab tests.  The physical examination consists of checking for fluid accumulation around the joint, signs of inflammation like warmth, redness and to see if there is any limitation of movements.  

    Lab Tests:

    Depending on the type of arthritis suspected, the tests done will vary. Common tests include blood tests and tests on the fluid  around the knee joint. Blood test includes tests to check for specific antibodies such as anti-CCP (anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide), RF (rheumatoid factor), and ANA (antinuclear antibody). 

     Apart from lab tests, several imaging techniques can also be used to diagnose arthritis. These include: 

    • X-rays: X-rays can show cartilage loss, bone damage, and bone spurs. X-rays are often used to track the progression of the disease. 
    • Computerized tomography (CT): CTs can visualize both bone and the surrounding soft tissues. 
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): MRI can produce more-detailed cross-sectional images of soft tissues such as cartilage, tendons and ligaments. 
    • Ultrasound. This technology uses high-frequency sound waves to capture soft tissues, cartilage and fluid-containing structures such as bursae. Ultrasound is also used to guide needle placement for joint aspirations and injections. 

    How is arthritis treated? 

    The goal of treating arthritis is to reduce the pain caused and improving joint function. Just like the combination of methods used to diagnose arthritis, there are a combination of methods used to treat arthritis. 

    Medication 

    Several different types of medication are used to treat arthritis depending on the types of arthritis: 

    • Analgesics This is effective for pain management, but doesn’t help decrease inflammation. 
    • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) -It helps control pain as well as inflammation.  
    • Counter-irritants- It blocks the transmission of pain signals from your joints. 
    • Immuno-suppressants help reduce inflammation 
    • Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs used especially in case of rheumatoid arthritis 

    Surgery :

    Performing surgery treats the following aspects of arthritis

    • Joint repair 
    • Joint replacement 
    • Joint fusion.  

    Physical therapy 

    Physical therapy involving exercises that help strengthen the muscles around the affected joint is a core component of arthritis treatment. 

    Lifestyle and home remedies : 

    In many cases, arthritis symptoms can be reduced with the following measures: 

    • Weight loss.  
    • Exercise. 
    • Heat and cold. Heating pads or ice packs may help relieve arthritis pain. 
    • Assistive devices. Using canes, walkers, raised toilet seats and other assistive devices can help protect your joints and improve your ability to perform daily tasks. 

    Alternative medicine :

    Though many use this reliability is questionable 

    • Acupuncture 
    • Yoga
    • Massage 

    Diet also forms an important part of managing arthritis. Here are a few suggestions to include in the diet that could help manage arthritis. 

    • Fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, both of which may be beneficial for reducing inflammation and the severity of arthritis symptoms. 
    • Garlic may possess anti-inflammatory properties, and that eating it may be associated with a decreased risk of osteoarthritis. 
    • Broccoli has been associated with reduced inflammation. It also contains sulforaphane, which may have anti-inflammatory properties 
    • Walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which could alleviate arthritis symptoms as well as inflammation. 
    • Berries contain antioxidants that have been shown to decrease arthritis-related inflammatory markers 
    • Spinach is rich in antioxidants, including kaempferol can reduce inflammation and slow the progression of osteoarthritis. 
    • Olive oil has been shown to reduce inflammation and may be associated with a lower risk of arthritis. 

    Takeaway : 

    Suffering from arthritis could potentially affect your everyday living and have an impact on the quality of your life. However, with the right treatment, support, knowledge, and approach, you will be able to live a fulfilling, happy and successful life. 

    How to keep your liver healthy

    The liver is a workhorse of the body that is often taken for granted.  It performs almost 500 functions, which includes the primary work of filtering blood coming from the digestive tract before it travels to the rest of the body and producing necessary proteins for blood clotting. It detoxifies chemicals, metabolizes medications, breaks down hormones and secretes the bile that helps in the digestion of lipids in the small intestine. In short, the liver is an incredibly vital organ.

    To keep the  body’s regulatory, detoxification and metabolic functions in optimal condition, it’s necessary to keep your liver healthy and free from complications. Fortunately, most liver problems are reversible or treatable if discovered early. Check out tips from our health experts on how to keep your liver healthy.

    Cut down smoking

    Smoking essentially spoils the entire body as it releases over  7,000 or so carcinogens which circulates the entire body, beginning in your esophagus and winding up in distant locations you wouldn’t give a second thought to.

    As for the liver, cigarettes are extremely harmful to the liver processes as it produces chemicals that damage the liver cells and impair its processes.  Read the entire research study here.

    There are also studies that link cigarette smoking with the development of liver cancer. Apart from this, smoking is known to alleviate the toxic properties of some medications (such as paracetamol) on the liver and reverse the effects of medicines.

    Limit your alcohol intake

    Our liver can only process or break down a small amount of alcohol every hour. Beyond this, it can damage the liver cells and lead to inflammation and scarring (cirrhosis). It can cause the alcoholic liver disease which causes oxidative stress and toxins in the gut area.

    For this reason, men should limit their alcohol intake two standard drinks a day while women should only have one.

    Regularly exercise

    Regular exercise is key to a healthy liver. Exercise decreases stress on the liver, increases energy levels and helps to prevent obesity – a risk factor for liver disease. Exercises like  walking, swimming, weight training etc  can help you maintain a healthy weight which is essential for optimal liver function. Aim for a total of 150 minutes of exercise, such as brisk walking or swimming per week

    How much you exercise, the types of exercises you do, and how well you take care of yourself are all keys to having a healthy liver and healthy life.

    Have a balanced diet

    High levels of fat in the blood  and high levels of cholesterol  are common causes of fatty liver disease. Reduce the intake of saturated fats, transfats and hydrogenated fats in your diet.

    Deep fried foods, red meats and dairy products have saturated fats while trans and hydrogenated fats are found in processed foods. Choose high-fibre foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains or proteins such as  fish, white meat, beans and nuts.

    Get vaccinated against viral liver infections

    Get vaccinated against hepatitis A and B, both viral liver infections. Hepatitis A is contracted from contaminated food and water. It is better to  avoid raw or contaminated seafood or shellfish.

    Hepatitis B, on the other hand,  can be contracted through sexual contact, contaminated blood, and needles. It is advisable to practice safe sex and avoid unnecessary sharing of toothbrushes, razors, needles and other personal care items –as these can also transmit hepatitis B or C. If you are a Hepatitis B or C carrier, consult your doctor for a screening program to detect problems early.Also, take an immediate screening test if your parents are a carrier and/or you are not sure of whether you have or not.

    Be careful of weight loss pills or fad diets

    Over-the-counter weight loss pills which are available without a prescription may contain toxins and ingredients which can be harmful to the liver. Second an opinion with your doctor on the side effects before taking medication for weight loss.

    As for the diets, fad diets that makes your weight fluctuate aggressively cause excessive stress on your liver. Avoid any diet that promises large amounts of weight loss in an unrealistically short period. These diets are usually lacking in essential nutrients and are not beneficial but harmful to your liver. If you are looking for an effective way to lose weight, it’s advisable to ask your doctor or dietitian to help you create a healthy diet.

    Takeaway

    If you may notice, a lot of health problems can be avoided by simple modifications in your lifestyle. It is especially true in the case of liver. Adopt these practices in your everyday routine and experience the difference it brings to your body.

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

    How to protect your eyes from blue screen light

    Mobiles/Desktops have become a part of our everyday lives. This especially accounts for employees who spend almost three fourth of their awake time in front of devices. The continuous exposure to blue screen light affects the cornea and causes eye and health complications that reflect in the later phase of their lives.

    Most of us undermine the consequences of blue screen light and don’t take any preparations in reducing the exposure. Here’s a blog article with insights on why blue light is harmful and steps that can be taken to reduce the risks associated with it.

    Why is blue light harmful?

    The artificial blue light from the LED and screen-based OLED illumination operates on the spectrum of the 380–500 nanometer range- which falls in the most harmful range of 415-455 nanometer range.

    Because of its temperature and frequency, the blue light tends to affect both the retina and the cellular anchors, which lead to early onset of Advanced Macular Degeneration. Blue light has also been linked with consistent melatonin disruption which could successively lead to some cancers.

    Different age levels require different levels of protection. Children under the age of 14 who use tablets and phones with high energy light are at special risk. Until 14, their corneas aren’t fully developed, and if they’re constantly in front of a device, it could affect just not their eye sight but also their mental health.

    Adults have their own issues to deal with. Blue light penetrates all the way to the retina in the back of the eye and builds up there over time. The cumulative effect caused by blue light leads to eye strain, dry eye, and unnecessary exhaustion.

    How to cope up with device strain?

    Use proper lighting.

    use proper lighting

    Eye strain often is caused by excessively bright light either from outdoor sunlight coming in through a window or from hard interior lighting. While using a computer, your ideal lighting should be about half as bright as that typically found in most offices.

    Eliminate exterior light by using shades or blinds. Reduce interior lighting by using fewer light bulbs or fluorescent tubes, or using lower intensity bulbs and tubes. If possible,keep your computer monitor or screento the side of the windows, instead of in front or behind it.

    Minimize glare.

    minimize glare

    Glare on walls and finished surfaces, as well as reflections on your computer screen also can cause computer eye strain. Consider installing an anti-glare screen on your monitor and try painting the bright white walls a little darker color with a matte finish.

    If you wear glasses, purchase lenses with anti-reflective (AR) coating. AR coating reduces glare by minimizing the amount of light reflecting off the front and back surfaces of your eyeglass lenses.

    Upgrade your display.

    computer screen

    It’s best if you replace CRT (Cathode Ray Tube) with a flat-panel liquid crystal display (LCD) which is typically used on laptop computers.

    Compared to CRT, LCD screens are easier on the eyes and usually have an anti-reflective surface. The CRT screens can cause a little flicker of images, which is a major cause of computer eye strain. Even if this flicker is unnoticeable, it still can contribute to eye strain and fatigue during computer work.

    When choosing a new flat panel display, select a screen with the highest resolution possible. Resolution is related to the “dot pitch” of the display. Generally, displays with a lower dot pitch have sharper images. Choose a display with a dot pitch of .28 mm or smaller.

    Finally, choose a relatively large display. For a desktop computer, display can be of at least 19 inches.

    Adjust your computer display settings.

    Adjusting the display settings of your computer can help reduce eye strain and fatigue. Generally, these adjustments are beneficial:

    • Brightness. Adjust the brightness of the display so it’s approximately the same as the brightness of your surrounding computers. If it looks like a light source, it’s too bright. If it seems dull and gray, it may be too dark.
    • Color temperature. Blue light is of short-wavelength visible light that causes more eye strain than longer wavelength hues -such as orange and red. Reducing the color temperature of your display lowers the amount of blue light emitted by a color display for better viewing comfort. Nowadays mobile screens also have the feature of using the reading mode which causes the colour temperature go orange red from blue.
    Exercise your eyes.

    Consider looking away from your computer at least every 20 minutes and gaze at a distant object (at least 20 feet away) for at least 20 seconds. Some eye doctors call this the 20-20-20 rule.”Looking far away relaxes the focusing muscle inside the eye to reduce fatigue.This exercise reduces the risk of your eyes’ focusing ability to “lock up”  after prolonged computer work.Remember to blink frequently during the exercises to reduce your risk of computer-related dry eye.

    Consider computer eyewear.

    eye wear

    Computer glasses are best to protect your eyes from unnecessary glare.Consider photochromic lenses or lightly tinted lenses for computer eyewear to reduce your exposure to potentially harmful blue light emitted by digital devices.You can take help from your optician to find the best glasses to fit your type of eyes.

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

    How to protect yourself from heatwaves

    According to meteorologists, the sweltering temperatures with a heat index reaching past the normal range will hold steady for the next few days. The heat can drain you off your energy, making you prone to infections, prickly heat and low blood pressure. Moreover, the harmful UV exposure can cause dehydration and damage your skin in the cellular level.

    Impact of heat waves on health

    Scorching sun and heat waves can cause number of illnesses. From mild heat cramps to serious heat- strokes, it cannot be taken lightly. Especially, people with respiratory and cardiovascular health conditions need to take necessary steps to prevent further complications in event of extreme heat.  Listed below are the health effects of extreme heat, in decreasing order of severity:

    Heat stroke:

    The most serious type of heat illness is a result of overload of body heat Signs of heat stroke may include a core body temperature of more than 40°C/104°F.

    Heat exhaustion:

    It is caused by excessive loss of water and salt. Symptoms may include heavy sweating, weakness, dizziness, and nausea.

    Heat fainting:

    It is caused when our body tries to cool itself but heat exertion dilates the blood vessels to such an extent that blood flow to the brain is reduced.

    Impact of heat waves on skin

    Heat waves cause increased sweating that makes the small particulate matter from pollution more likely to stick to the skin, causing free radical damage. UV radiation and pollution act cause damage to skin in cycles, causing damage at a cellular level. Moreover, people might also experience eczema and psoriasis flare-ups as hotter temperatures cause increased blood flow to the skin, which can in turn intensify inflammatory skin conditions.

    While we can’t possibly do anything about the heat, we can take measures to protect ourselves from the rising temperatures and stay healthy. Here, five simple steps for keeping your body healthy—and your skin cool.

    1. Stay Hydrated

    Staying hydrated is very crucial during summer as it ensures that your body keeps functioning normally. Excessive heat causes sweating, which lowers energy levels and electrolytes from your body. You can replace the lost electrolytes in your body by intake of some flavored water with mineral rich fruits like watermelon, lemon, kiwi, etc. Consuming fluids in any form like- slushies and lemonades- also helps your body regain the fluid balance.

    2. Know when to act

    Be able to recognize the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and true heat emergencies (heat cramps, heat rash, heat exhaustion, heat stroke)

    Image source:CDC gov

    3. Watch your diet

    watch diet

    If you normally eat three meals a day, break that up five or six smaller ones to fight the natural fatigue that comes with heat. Avoid heavy, hot foods as well. (Meat and other heavy foods generate heat both when you cook them and when you digest them.) Stick with salads and fruit for something cool and satisfying.

    4. Moisture your skin

    moisturize

    Sun’s rays can cause pigmentation and wrinkles if you don’t protect your skin during the warmer months, as increased exposure to the sun’s UVA rays is primarily associated with skin ageing.
    Moisturising after shower is the best way to keep your skin hydrated.  Water usually moves from high concentrations to low, meaning that you are more likely to get moisture loss after you get out of the shower. In hotter seasons this effect is increased, which can lead to dry skin.

    Remember to apply a good quality moisturizer after you shower to avoid this from happening. Moisturizing not only keeps your skin fresh and hydrated, but it will also help to maintain your tan.

    Look for ways to keep your surroundings cool

    Air conditioning is the best way to keep your body under optimum temperatures.

    However, there are also downsides of using AC as people in over air-conditioned environments may experience chronic headaches and fatigue. Those who work in buildings which are constantly being pumped full of cool air may also experience constant mucous membrane irritation and breathing difficulties. Their skin also loses moisture content and makes skin dry.

    It’s always best to use an AC just as much as needed and look for alternate ways to keep your environments cool, here’s an entire blog to guide you on this.

    Special measures are needed to protect your body against heatwaves. Grab refreshing drinks, wear loose and comfortable clothes and keep yourself cool.

    Do you have any thoughts to add?  Share your thoughts in the comment section.

    Women’s Reproductive Health: An overview

    Women are quite different from men in terms of physical and emotional health. The state of their body is designed with a great capacity of bearing pain and giving birth to children- no wonder women are regarded as a giver and an epitome of love.

    It’s quite crucial that women are aware of the health aspects, processes and changes in their body- as it is affected in completely different ways than that of a man. If you don’t pay heed to the changes, chances are that it may cause health complications in their future point of lives.

    Let’s understand the stages of women’s reproductive health and discuss the changes it brings in terms of their physical, emotional and mental well being.

    Reproductive Health

    Just like a caterpillar transforms to a butterfly, a woman’s body is designed to undergo rapid transformation to carry forward the process of life. It’s the reproductive or sexual health/ hygiene that addresses the reproductive processes and functions at all stages of women’s life. There are three stages in the reproductive life of a woman, namely

    1) Puberty

    2) Pregnancy

    3) Menopause

    In all the three stages in reproductive health, a woman not only experiences physical changes in her body but also alterations in her mental and emotional health.

    PUBERTY

    This is the stage when a young woman’s body matures to a state when she is ready to bear children. This typically takes place in girls between 11-14 years, where she experiences physical changes in her body along with the development of secondary sexual characteristics- like breasts, and hair at different parts of the body.

    She starts to have menstruation – or monthly bleeding called “period.” During this cycle, the uterus lining builds up to prepare itself for pregnancy. During the time, if pregnancy doesn’t happen, then the hormone levels of estrogen and progesterone begin falling. The very low estrogen and. progesterone levels indicate the body to begin menstruation. At the time of menstruation, the body discards the monthly buildup of the lining of the uterus and is seen as bleeding through the vagina.

    Now, though this is normal for any woman to go through every month, there is a lot of physical and mental stress that she undergoes due to the changing hormone levels.

    Physical Changes

    • Increased fatigue
    • Bloating of the body
    • Cramps in the lower abdomen
    • Back pain and leg pain
    • Headache and dizziness
    • Nausea and vomiting
    • Anemia – due to excessive bleeding
    • Irritable bowel syndrome
    • Change in appetite.

    Emotional/ Mental Changes

    Typically, termed as Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) – these changes can be experienced by a woman even as a post menstrual syndrome.

    • Mood swings
    • Depression or feelings of hopelessness
    • Intense anger and conflict with other people
    • Tension, anxiety, and irritability.
    • Decreased interest in usual activities
    • Difficulty in concentrating

    PREGNANCY

    The next most important stage in any woman’s life is when she will be able to give birth to her own child. With changing life style patterns and increasing stress levels, what seemed to be a natural process earlier, is today becoming increasingly difficult due to increased problems with the reproductive health of women and men.

    A woman considers giving birth to a child a salvation and pleasure- beyond words. However, such pleasure is felt by her at the cost of her health. During this phase, every woman undergoes rapid physical and mental transformation and it’s quite necessary for a woman to be prepared well before she gets pregnant. She requires lot of attention, emotional support from the loved ones during and after pregnancy. Changes that woman goes through includes:

    Physical Changes

    • Weight gain
    • Increased respiratory rate – breathlessness
    • Increased heart rate
    • Heartburns/nausea/ constipation
    • Skin changes – stretch marks
    • Increased frequency of urination
    • Easy fatiguability
    • Sleep disturbances
    • Changes in hormone levels

    Mental and Emotional Changes

    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Increased Irritability

    During this stage, a woman requires special care for the her and child’s physical and emotional well being . Nutritious food at regular intervals, rich in Vitamins and minerals like Iron, calcium etc is the need of the hour. Good sleep for a minimum of 7-8 hours ensures that emotional stability. Contrary to beliefs, the woman should exercise (though not vigorously) and as per advise of the doctor.

    MENOPAUSE

    Menopause is the stage when a women stops having her periods permanently. The event of confirmation of menopause is when she had not had her period for 12 months in a row. It usually begins between the ages of 45years and 55 years but can also develop any time before or after this age range.

    Why does Menopause Occur?

    Menopause is a natural process and occurs as the ovaries age and produce less reproductive hormones, which include
    • Estrogen
    • Progesterone
    • Testosterone
    • Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
    • Luteinizing hormone (LH)

    The notable change seen at menopause is the loss of active ovarian follicles- the structures that produce and release eggs from the ovary wall, allowing menstruation and fertility. The changes are not sudden and occur gradually with the periods becoming less consistent. There also could be changes in the blood flow, which either could become heavier and longer.

    The perimenopausal phase is the time around menopause which is quite stressful like the other stages. Here, there are rapid changes in the hormone levels and it plays havoc on the physical and mental being of the woman.

    Symptoms include

    • Hot flashes (or flushes): Sudden feeling of hot and red blotches on the upper part of the body. They may experience heavy sweating during the hot flash and cold shivering after the flash.
    • Irregular periods. Periods may be lighter or heavier, or they may come more often or less often.
    • Urinary problems: It includes leaking urine while sneezing, or difficulty in holding urine long enough to get to the bathroom.
    • Increased hair growth on other areas of the body, such as the face, neck, chest, and upper back
    Other symptoms include:
    • Vaginal dryness
    • Reduced libido
    • Sore or tender breasts
    • Dry skin, mouth and eyes
    • Weight gain
    • Painful and stiff joint
    • Hair thinning or loss of hair
    • Insomnia: Problems in sleeping
    • Mood Changes: feel irritable or have crying spells.
    • Increased anxiety
    • Feeling Depressed
    • Becoming forgetful or having trouble focusing

    Health Issues after menopause

    • Heart disease. Estrogen helps keep blood vessels relaxed and open. It also helps the body maintain a healthy balance of good and bad cholesterol. Without estrogen, cholesterol may start building up on artery walls leading to the heart.
    • Stroke. Your risk for stroke doubles every decade after age 55. The lower levels of estrogen in your body may cause building up cholesterol on artery walls leading to the brain.
    • Osteoporosis. Less estrogen levels after menopause causes you to lose bone mass more quickly than before, which puts you at risk for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis causes your bones to become brittle, weak and causes it to break easily.
    • Urinary incontinence. About half of postmenopausal women have trouble holding in their urine.
    • Oral issues. Dry mouth and an increased risk for cavities are more common after menopause.

    Takeaway

    Women’s health has been described as “a patchwork quilt with gaps”. Although many of the issues around women’s health relate to their reproductive health- menstruation, birth control and menopause, there arises a need to have a broader understanding of women’s health to include all other aspects of health. So much that it has led to replacing the term “Women’s Health” with a much broader term- “The Health of Women”.

    Even with conditions such as cardiovascular disease or osteoporosis, that affects both men and women- it manifests differently in women. Women’s health issues also include medical situations in which they face problems not directly related to their biology, but also issues such as gender-differentiated access to medical treatment and other socioeconomic factors.

    Women are multifaceted, and play different roles in her lifetime from being a daughter, sister, wife or mother to someone. She always places the health and interests of her loved ones, before her own. Hence it is our duty to care for her as much as she does for us. In Hindu mythology, women are regarded as an epitome of Sakthi- so let’s take time to protect this energy.

    This women’s day, gift the woman in your life with an Aarogya shree health package, a comprehensive full body health check- at a reasonable price.

    Remember, if a woman remains healthy, the world around her is healthy too.

    Understanding Polycystic Ovary Syndrome ( PCOS)

    Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is an endocrine system disorder that affects women in their reproductive years.

    It causes disruption in ovulatory and menstrual cycles, with an excess production of male type hormones- all of which contribute to infertility. PCOS are likely to be caused due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

    PCOS can be associated with a number of complications like insulin resistance type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease and high blood pressure. If not treated in time, PCOS can cause serious health complications in their reproductive health.

    This article looks at the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of PCOS.

    Understanding PCOS

    Most women with PCOS grow a number of small cysts, or fluid-filled sacs, on their ovaries.

    pcos

    Image source:         MANJ.com

    The cysts are not harmful, but they can lead to an imbalance in hormone levels.

    Of the many health conditions associated with PCOS, it mainly causes infertility in women –  as it can prevent ovulation and reduces the chances of conceiving.

    Even  if women do conceive with the presence of PCOS, they have higher chances of developing complications associated with pregnancy such as miscarriage, gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced high blood pressure, preeclampsia, and premature delivery.

    Risk factors

    The risk factors of PCOS aren’t identified. But the incidence of risk of PCOS are vaguely related with that of genes, Insulin resistance and stress.

    1. Genes: PCOS is thought to have a genetic component. A research study states that women with a family history of PCOS are 20-40% more likely to get affected with it.
    2. Insulin Resistance: PCOS isn’t only about infertility; it causes major metabolic problems, too. Women with PCOS are more likely to have insulin resistance if they’re overweight, inactive, or have an unhealthy diet. However, there is also no clear evidence of the fact whether insulin resistance causes PCOS development, or if it’s the PCOS that leads to insulin resistance.

    Associated health risks

    There are several health risks associated with PCOS.

    These include:

    • type 2 diabetes
    • infertility
    • high cholesterol
    • elevated lipids
    • sleep apnea
    • liver disease
    • abnormal uterine bleeding
    • high blood pressure
    • obesity possibly leading to issues with low self-esteem and depression
    • metabolic syndrome
    • nonalcoholic fatty liver (steatohepatitis)
    • depression and anxiety

    Also, there is an increased risk of endometrial, gestational diabetes, pregnancy-induced high blood pressure,heart attacks and miscarriage.

    Symptoms

    Apart from the formation of cysts on the ovaries, the  symptoms of PCOS include:

    • irregular menses
    • excess androgen levels
    • sleep apnea
    • skin tags
    • infertility
    • acne, oily skin and dandruff
    • high cholesterol
    • male pattern balding
    • insulin resistance
    • type 2 diabetes
    • pelvic pain
    • depression and anxiety
    • decreased libido

    Tests and diagnosis

    A doctor can diagnose the condition through medical history, a physical exam that includes a pelvic exam, and blood tests to measure hormone, cholesterol, and glucose levels.An ultrasound may be used to look at the uterus and ovaries.

    Treatment

    Though a definitive cure for PCOS is yet to be ascertained-  currently managing the  symptoms that affect an individual is the mainstay of treatment. Once the symptoms abate, slowly  it reduces the risk of PCOS. However, it’s also important to evaluate the purpose for treatment of PCOS- whether the individual wants to become pregnant or is it to reduce the risk of secondary medical conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.

    There are several recommended treatment options, including:

    Birth control pills: These can help regulate hormones and menstruation.

    Diabetes medications: These help manage diabetes, if necessary.

    Fertility medications: If pregnancy is desired,  follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) medications are recommended.

    Fertility treatments: These include in-vitro fertilization (IVF) or inseminations.

    Surgical options include:

    • Ovarian drilling:Tiny holes are made in the ovaries that can reduce the levels of androgens being produced.
    • Oophorectomy: This Surgery aims in removing one or both ovaries.
    • Hysterectomy:This involves removal of the uterus.
    • Cyst aspiration:Fluid is removed from the cyst.

    Lifestyle changes

    There is no cure for PCOS, but some home and lifestyle interventions can make a difference and relieve some symptoms.

    These include:

      • eating a healthy, well-balanced diet including plenty of fruits and vegetables
      • exercise regularly
      • maintaining a healthy weight in order to reduce androgen levels and reduce the risk of diseases such as diabetes and heart disease
      • not smoking, as this increases levels of androgens and the risk of heart disease

    Diet and PCOs

    Women with PCOS are often found to have higher than normal insulin levels. If you don’t produce enough insulin, your blood sugar levels can rise. This can also happen if you’re insulin resistant, meaning you aren’t able to use the insulin you do produce effectively.

    In such cases, your body may try to pump out high levels of insulin in an effort to keep your blood sugar levels normal. Too-high levels of insulin can cause your ovaries to produce more androgens, such as testosterone.
    A diet high in refined carbohydrates, such as starchy and sugary foods, can make insulin resistance, and therefore weight loss, more difficult to control.

    The bottom line

    If you’re coping with PCOS or any of its symptoms, you may feel frustrated at times. Taking proactive steps regarding your health can improve your mood as well as reduce your symptoms. If your symptoms persist, speak with your doctor. They can work with you to identify the cause and recommend next steps.

    A beginner’s guide to understanding Thyriod

    Thyroid diseases are, arguably, one of the commonest endocrine disorders, that affects many worldwide. A recent study states that about 42 million people in India suffer from thyroid diseases- and majority of them are women. And that’s the count which excludes the part of the population who have a thyroid problem but are not yet diagnosed.

    Detection and diagnosis of thyroid disorders is quite different from other regular diseases and a lot of people experience trouble interpreting their health with respect to the thyroid gland.
    In this blog article, let’s explore the key information about various important aspects of thyroid disease.

    Anatomy and functions

    thyroid

    Image Source:Alltohealth

    The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland, lies below your Adam’s apple, along the front of the windpipe. The thyroid has two side lobes, connected by a bridge in the middle. When the thyroid is its normal size, you can’t feel it.

    The thyroid secretes several hormones, collectively called thyroid hormones. It is produced when the thyroid gland takes iodine from your diet, combines the amino acid tyrosine and iodine to make the thyroid hormone.

    The two key hormones produced by the thyroid are thyroxin( known as T4) and triiodothyronine (T3).
    Everything in your body—including digestion, the growth of your hair and nails, your sex drive, and the function of your organs and glands relies on thyroid. The right levels of thyroid levels largely controls the metabolism, brain and heart.

    The pituitary gland works with the thyroid gland and detects the levels of thyroid hormone circulating in your bloodstream and releases a hormone called Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). When TSH is released, it stimulates the thyroid to produce more hormone and when the levels drop, it slows down production of thyroid hormone.

    Thyroid Conditions

    There are a number of specific diseases that can affect your thyroid gland. The Thyroid conditions are caused typically due to the underlying thyroid disease.

    Thyroiditis

    This is a category of thyroid disease that involves Inflammation of the thyroid, usually from a viral infection or autoimmune condition. Thyroiditis can be painful, or have no symptoms at all.
    The treatment depends on the type of thyroiditis and varies greatly from monitoring and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications to antibiotics and thyroid hormone replacement medication and in some severe cases may necessitate the removal of a part or whole of the gland by a surgery.

    Graves disease

    This is an autoimmune disease where your immune system inappropriately produces antibodies, known as thyroid stimulating antibodies (TSI). These antibodies overstimulate your thyroid gland and cause it to overproduce thyroid hormone.The Graves’ disease is frequently accompanied by goiter and in some cases hyperthyroidism.

    Goiter

    It is a general term for thyroid swelling. Goiters can be harmless, or can represent iodine deficiency or a condition associated with thyroid inflammation called Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

    Hyperthyroidism

    It is caused by excessive thyroid hormone production and is most often caused by Graves disease or an overactive thyroid nodule. The symptoms include anxiety, insomnia, panicky feeling, tremors, exaggerated reflexes, elevated heart rate, diarrhea or loose stools, feeling overheated and unexplained weight loss.

    Hypothyroidism

    It is caused by low production of thyroid hormone. The most common cause of hypothyroidism is the Thyroid damage caused by autoimmune diseases. The symptoms include fatigue, weight gain, inability to lose weight with diet and exercise, Constipation, Infertility, Feeling cold, Hair loss, Brain fog, Muscle and joint pains/aches

    Thyroid cancer

    Thyroid cancer is most often found in nodules (fluid-filled or solid lumps) in the thyroid gland. Depending on the cancer’s stage, it may spread to surrounding tissue. There are four types of thyroid cancer- Papillary, follicular or Hurthle cell, Medullary and Anaplastic thyroid cancer.

    Signs and symptoms

    The Symptoms appear in the neck and thyroid area. It includes:

    • Discomfort in the neck
    • Visible thyroid enlargement or lump
    • Hoarseness
    • Sore throat
    • Difficulty swallowing

    In some cases, thyroid diseases and conditions can have no symptoms at all, such as thyroid cancer or certain types of thyroiditis.

    Causes and Risk Factors

    The key risk factors for thyroid disease include:

    • Iodine deficiency or excess
    • Exposure to radioactivity
    • Overconsumption goitrogenic foods
    • Surgery or trauma to the neck area
    • Pregnancy or recent childbirth
    • Female gender
    • Personal or family history of autoimmune disease
    • Cigarette smoking

    Treatments

    The Treatment varies from person to person and may include monitoring, medication, surgery or radioactive iodine.

    •Thyroid surgery (thyroidectomy):The surgeon removes all or part of the thyroid in an operation. It is performed for thyroid cancer, goiter, or hyperthyroidism.

    •Antithyroid medications: Drugs can be used to slow down the overproduction of thyroid hormone in hyperthyroidism.

    •Radioactive iodine: Iodine can be used with radioactivity in low doses to test the thyroid gland. Large doses can be used to destroy cancerous tissue.

    •External radiation: A beam of radiation is directed at the thyroid, on multiple appointments. The high-energy rays help kill thyroid cancer cells.

    Diagnosis

    Diagnosis of a thyroid condition involves several key steps:

    •A clinical examination.

    •Blood testing: The blood tests include the thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test, free thyroxine (Free T4) and free triiodothyronine (Free T3) antibodies testing to diagnose disorders of thyroid.

    •Imaging tests: These tests include the radioactive iodine uptake (RAI-U), CT scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and ultrasound to evaluate to further evaluate the size, shape, and function of the thyroid gland.

    •Fine needle aspiration biopsy: Fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsy is done when to test for the possible thyroid cancer.

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    5 Actionable tips to beat exam stress

    If you are  in school or college- stress during exams is completely natural. The real problem is,when it becomes excessive to an extent that lays a negative impact on health as well as the performance in the exam.
    Help is at hand though, and there are strategies you can use to alleviate stress and for a smoother time during exams. But first, let’s look at the contributors of stress.

    What is exam stress?

    Exam stress occurs when you feel an increased sense of panic or anxiety during or after an assessment or test of some sort. At the point of stress, your brain is not in its best state to accumulate information and can lead to a vicious cycle of more stress and less work. It can make you forget the information you learned even if  you’ve put in plenty of hours in preparation.

    Symptoms of Exam stress

    The symptoms of test anxiety can vary considerably and range from mild to severe- from nervousness to panic attacks before or during exams.

    • Physical symptoms –It includes sweating, rapid heartbeat, dry mouth, fainting, sweaty palms,heart palpitations and nausea. The milder cases of test anxiety can cause ticklish sensations in the stomach, while more severe cases can cause students to become physically ill.
    • Cognitive and behavioral symptoms. Students tend to avoid the testing situations or source of fear. Some students attempt to self-treat their anxiety by taking prescription medications and alcohol and as a result fall prey to substance abuse. It is reported that there are situations when many people even blank out on answers to the test, even though they were sure that they knew the answers to the questions. Other cognitive symptoms include- Negative self-talk, trouble concentrating on the test and racing thoughts etc.
    • Emotional symptoms of test anxiety can include depression, low self-esteem, anger and a feeling of hopelessness. Students tend to berate or belittle themselves because of the emotional symptoms.

    Actionable tips to curb exam stress

    1. Practise mindfulness

    mindful

    Mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) is scientifically proven to be an effective treatment for reducing stress. This was initially created to help hospital patients, but now it is used by a broad range of people, including students.

    Close your eyes and focus entirely on your breathing. Be aware of every breath and “follow” the air as it goes from your lungs and out through your nose.
    You can also try lying with your back on the floor while keeping your eyes closed. “Move” your focus through your body, focusing on one area at a time. You don’t have to be sitting or lying down to practice mindfulness- you can even practice it while walking.

    The more you practice mindfulness, the more you’ll start living in the present and the less stressed you’ll be.

    2. Get enough sleep

    sleep

    Most of the students do the mistake of not getting enough sleep the day before exam. When you cut your usual hours of sleep, research shows that stress levels will tend to increase.

    Practise these tips to get a good night’s rest every night:

    • Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time every day. This helps to set your body’s internal clock and optimizes the quality of your sleep.
    • Keep your regular sleeping hours, even on weekends-Aim to keep your sleep schedule as regular as possible. If you have a late night, try taking a short nap the following day, rather than sleeping in.
    • Keep your electronic devices out of your bedroom. The blue light emitted by your electronic devices (e.g. phone, tablet, computer, TV) is especially disruptive to sleep.
    3. Learn and apply time management techniques

    to do

    A study involving students revealed that those who had been taught time management techniques showed lower levels of exam-related anxiety than those who had not.

    Effective time management includes getting enough rest and a good night’s sleep, which leaves you feeling more energized so that you’re able to focus when studying.

    Here are a few tips:

    • Take a break after studying for 40 to 50 minutes. For most students, working in blocks of 40 to 50 minutes helps them to be as productive as possible.
    • Block out time for studying. Put it in your calendar and treat it as if it’s a fixed appointment.
    • Allot time for rest: Like you allot time for studying, it’s necessary that you follow strict time for rest too. Long hours of break-less study can lower the efficiency and small breaks can boost it up.
    4. Don’t multitask

    Doing several tasks at once may seem like an efficient use of your time, but multitasking actually wastes time and reduces the quality of your work.

    Here’s how to avoid multitasking:

    • Get rid of all distractions before you start studying
    • Make a list of all the tasks you need to complete for the day; work through the list one item at a time.
    • Set a realistic deadline for every task on the list.
    5. Not being perfect is sometimes okay

    Do you sometimes feel as if you’re not good enough? Do you think that you’ll never be able to achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself?

    If so, you may be a perfectionist.

    Being a perfectionist may sound ideal, but it often causes undue stress.

    These are some ways to deal with it:

    • Set realistic goals instead of trying to achieve the impossible.
    • Celebrate small and big successes. If you didn’t succeed on what you want to achieve, don’t be hard on yourself- set your next ideal goal.
    • Make sure you take time out from studying to do things you enjoy.

    Over to you

    Do you use any techniques to overcome exam stress that aren’t listed in this article?

    Or maybe you have a question you’d like to ask.

    Let us know by leaving a comment below!