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.

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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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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.

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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.


Why is immunization important?

It is always better to prevent a disease than to treat it after it occurs.

Diseases that used to be common around the world can now be prevented by vaccination. Thanks to vaccination the outbreak of smallpox was nullified because of its discovery. There are many cases where vaccines have prevented countless cases of disease and saved millions of lives.

While some of us are clearly against the use of vaccination for developing body immunity, we”l show you reasons why you should administer vaccines for immmunization.

Why vaccination?

Children are born with an immune system composed of cells, glands, organs, and fluids located throughout the body. The immune system recognizes germs that enter the body as “foreign invaders” (called antigens) and produces proteins called antibodies to fight them.

The first time a child is infected with a specific antigen, the immune system produces antibodies designed to fight it. The immune system “remembers” that antigen and when it enters the body again, even after many years, the immune system can produce antibodies fast enough to keep it from causing disease a second time. This protection is called immunity achieved by administering vaccines.

And as the famous adage goes” Prevention is always better than cure”.V prevent.

What happens in the body when we vaccinate?


Vaccines contain the same antigens (or parts of antigens) that cause diseases. For example, measles vaccine contains measles virus. But the antigens in vaccines are either killed, or weakened to the point that they don’t cause disease. However, they are strong enough to make the immune system produce antibodies that lead to immunity. In other words, a vaccine is a safer substitute for a child’s first exposure to a disease. T. Through vaccination, children can develop immunity without suffering from the actual diseases that vaccines prevent.

A good vaccine will provide adequate and prolonged protection against the disease.However, the number of doses needed varies from vaccine to vaccine. For some vaccines, there is a need for a booster dose later in life to maintain protection. These include vaccines against tetanus, diphtheria, polio and pertussis. Booster doses may also be required for travel vaccines.

Offers lifelong immunity

The best time to vaccinate is when we are tyoung. There are ample well resaerched reasons why health experts have chalked out atime table for administereing vaccinations. Once your body is introduced to vaccinations, your body rovides a lifelong vimmunity to that disease. Many diseases have been eliminated completely and others are close to extinction– primarily due to safe and effective vaccines.

Is safe and effective

Vaccines are only given to children after a long and careful review by scientists, doctors, and healthcare professionals. Vaccines will involve some discomfort and may cause pain, redness, or tenderness at the site of injection but this is minimal compared to the pain, discomfort, and trauma of the diseases these vaccines prevent. Serious side effects following vaccination, such as severe allergic reaction, are very rare. The disease-prevention benefits of getting vaccines are much greater than the possible side effects for almost all children.

Saves time and money

Some vaccine-preventable diseases can result in prolonged disabilities and can take a financial toll because of lost time at work, medical bills or long-term disability care. In contrast, getting vaccinated against these diseases is a good investment and usually covered by insurance. The Vaccines for Children program is a federally funded program that provides vaccines at no cost to children from low-income families. Ask your child’s health care professional for more detailsI

Protects future generations

Vaccines have reduced and, in some cases, eliminated many diseases that killed or severely disabled people just a few generations ago. For example, smallpox vaccination eradicated that disease worldwide. Your children don’t have to get smallpox shots any more because the disease no longer exists. By vaccinating children against rubella (German measles), the risk that pregnant women will pass this virus on to their fetus or newborn has been dramatically decreased, and birth defects associated with that virus no longer are seen in the United States. If we continue vaccinating now, and vaccinating completely, parents in the future may be able to trust that some diseases of today will no longer be around to harm their children in the future.

Have you vaccinated your child yet? It’s time to get going. Share your thoughts about it in the comments section.

A beginner’s guide to Vitamin D

It’s not easy to estimate if you’re getting enough vitamin D. The only way to know for sure if you have a deficiency is to get tested, which most people rarely do.

Maintaining healthy levels of vitamin D is crucial for many of your body’s functions, but many of us aren’t getting nearly enough of it. Vitamin D deficiency is linked to increased risks of various cancers, cardiovascular disease, immune disorders, depression, and other adverse health conditions.

If you’re suffering from a vitamin D deficiency, it’s in your best interest to get yourself back up to recommended amounts quickly. Restoring your levels can help prevent health problems and complications. Fortunately, there are many simple, healthy, and effective ways to increase vitamin D levels.

What is Vitamin D and how does it help in the processes in our body?

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin that’s stored in the liver and fatty tissues. Unlike other vitamins, Vitamin D is mostly made up by our body on its own, rather than solely relying on food sources.

To obtain vitamin D, our body first converts sunshine into chemicals that are used by the body. In particular, when UV-B sunshine rays land on the skin,  a substance in the skin called 7-dehydrocholesterol converted into vitamin D3.

7-dehydrocholesterol is very similar to cholesterol itself and converts “previtamin D” to make it into usable vitamin D3. Previtamin D first travels through the kidneys and liver in the bloodstream and then is converted into a biologically active and usable substance called calcitriol.

Vitamin D actually becomes a hormone within the body, particularly a secosteroid hormone which impacts not only our skeletal structure, but also our blood pressure, immunity, mood, brain function and the ability to protect ourselves from cancer.

How Our Bodies Get Vitamin D From the Sun to Prevent Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms

Many people assume that the best way to acquire vitamin D is through drinking milk, eating fish or even taking supplements like cod liver oil. While these do serve as food sources of vitamin D, direct exposure to the sun is actually the best way to absorb this important vitamin.

When you sit in the sun unexposed, without sunscreen, for roughly 10 minutes, you likely absorb about 10,000 units of natural vitamin D. However, keep in mind that this amount differs from person to person, depending on skin tone.

Symptoms of Vitamin D deficiency

You might not realize that you have a vitamin D deficiency as the symptoms can be very vague and unnoticeable. But certain signs are more common than others — manifestations of a deficiency can include lower back pain, throbbing bone pain marked by feelings of pressure over the sternum or tibia and muscle weakness. These symptoms sometimes lead to a misdiagnosis of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome or arthritis.

Testing for a Deficiency

Ask your doctor for a vitamin D test, known as the 25(OH)D test which will measure your levels in nanograms per milliliter.  The insufficiency levels is often categorized as under 30 nanograms per milliliter and a deficiency as less than 20 nanograms per milliliter. It is recommended that the level of 50 nanograms per milliliter. If your results return as insufficient or deficient, speak with your physician about the best course of treatment.

Top Vitamin D Sources to Prevent Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms

While some foods provide vitamin D, exposure to sunlight is still the best way to get the vitamin D you need in order to prevent vitamin D deficiency symptoms. However, eating foods that are rich in vitamin D also helps you acquire more. This good-quality , natural sources of vitamin D into your diet regularly really helps:

  1. Sunlight: Aim to spend 10–20 minutes of unexposed time in the sun daily (between 1,000 and 10,000 IUs).
  1. Food Sources: Such as Halibut, Carp Fish, Mackerel, Eel, Maitake Mushrooms (exposed to UV light), Salmon, Whitefish, Portobella Mushrooms (exposed to UV light), Swordfish, Rainbow Trout, Cod Liver Oil, Sardines, Tuna, Eggs, Raw Milk
  1. Taking a vitamin D supplement If you’re vitamin D deficient, it’s likely that your doctor will recommend a vitamin D supplement

Top 7 Health Benefits of Vitamin D

1. Contributes to Bone Health

Vitamin D plays a role in absorption into the bones. It also has effect on other important vitamins and minerals that contribute to both health, including vitamin Kand phosphorus.

A deficiency in vitamin D can result in the softening of your bones, which is called osteomalacia, or a bone abnormality called rickets. Additionally, a deficiency increases your risk for developing osteoporosis and experiencing fractures or broken bones.

2. Helps Manage Blood Sugar Levels and Can Prevent Diabetes

Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption and utilization, therefore contributing to the regulation of insulin secretion. (16)

According to a 2015 study published in Current Diabetes Reviews, vitamin D replacement has beneficial effects on all aspects of type 2 diabetes, including the incidence, control and complications of the disease. There is also mounting evidence linking low vitamin D levels to diabetes. (17)

3. Protects Against Cancer

Researchers have found that increased sunlight exposure and circulating levels of vitamin D are associated with the reduced occurrence and mortality in many types of cancer. (18)

Moreover, vitamin D deficiency symptoms have been correlated with increased risks for cancer development, especially breast, colon and prostate cancers.

4. Enhances the Immune System

Our immune cells contain receptors for vitamin D, and it’s been shown that vitamin D seems to prevent prolonged or excessive inflammatory responses. Inflammation is often at the root of many modern, chronic diseases and autoimmune disorders: multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive disorders, high blood pressure, and more. (22)

6. Facilitates Hormone Regulation and Helps Improve Mood

Because it acts like a hormone within our bodies and affects brain function, vitamin D deficiency has been linked to an increased risk for mood disorders, including depressionseasonal affective disorder, and severe mood problems experienced during PMS, insomnia and anxiety. (23)

What are your thoughts on this article? Are you aware of your Vitamin D levels? Share your thoughts in the comment section.

Managing Type 2 Diabetes in Older Adults

Diabetes is common in the elderly population. By the age of 75, approximately 20% of the population are afflicted with this illness. Diabetes in elderly adults is metabolically distinct from diabetes in younger patient populations, and the approach to therapy needs to be different in this age group.

Moreover, the diagnosis of diabetes in the elderly is often missed because its symptoms, such as dizziness, confusion, and nocturia, are often common and nonspecific.  When left untreated, it can cause further health complications which cannot be corrected in later point of time.

This article will walk you through the risk factors and the diabetes management techniques in older patients. Let’s begin.

Why are seniors at risk of diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes is linked to an unhealthy lifestyle. Major risk factors for diabetes include age, being overweight, genetic predisposition to diabetes, and a reduction in activity levels. The rates of type 2 diabetes steadily increase with age.

Type 2 diabetes is most likely to occur if you:

  • are over 45 years old and have high blood pressure;
  • are over 45 years old and are overweight;
  • are over 45 and have (or have had) one or more family members with diabetes;
  • have had a heart attack in the past;
  • have heart disease;
  • have or have had a blood sugar test that is borderline-high;
  • have or have had high blood sugar levels during pregnancy (a condition called gestational diabetes);
  • have polycystic ovary syndrome and are overweight;

What are the effects of diabetes on seniors?

A key issue for seniors with diabetes is that, sometimes, the symptoms may not be very obvious.

In addition, symptoms of type 2 diabetes such as excessive thirst or frequent urination ar e not strong symptoms to be noted and other symptoms like feeling tired and lethargic can often be misinterpreted as just part of the normal ageing process. For all the above reasons, older people with diabetes may be relatively free of symptoms and may remain undiagnosed until damage has been done.

If left unchecked, the accumulation of glucose in the blood can cause enormous damage to nearly every major organ in the body, including kidney damage; artery damage, which increases the risk of stroke and heart attack; eye damage, leading to vision loss; erectile dysfunction (impotence) in men; and nerve damage, which can lead to traumatic injury and infection. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to mend the damage that has already been done, but you and your doctor can work together to control your blood sugar and help minimise the impact of diabetes in the future.

How do other conditions affect diabetes for the elderly?

Many older people have other health conditions along with diabetes, and this can complicate diabetes management.

For example, high blood pressure or high levels of certain fats in the blood can progressively speed up the common complications of diabetes, such as kidney problems, eye problems, foot problems and heart and blood vessel problems.

Particularly elderly affected with diabetes and whose blood glucose levels are high are more prone to infections than people with normal blood glucose levels.  It ‘s important to keep your blood glucose levels in check while simultaneously taking precautionary measures against additional infection. Having regular vaccinations against ‘flu and pneumonia can help in this case.

Medications, herbs and supplements can also have an impact on your blood glucose levels, so make sure you tell each doctor, pharmacist and complementary healthcare practitioner who treats you that you have diabetes so they can recommend the appropriate treatment for you.

How can doctor help in diabetes Management in the elderly

Your doctor needs to run regular tests on the following:

  • Blood tests  to check that your diabetes is under control;
  • Eye check to keep track of possible eye disease (diabetic retinopathy);
  • Blood pressure monitoring
  • Foot health for any signs of foot ulcers or infections and recommend a specialist or podiatrist to help manage any diabetic foot problems, if necessary;
  • monitor your levels of cholesterol and triglycerides (types of fat found in the bloodstream), and provide treatment if your levels are outside the normal range;
  • Urine tests to check for any kidney problems (diabetic nephropathy);
  • Provide vaccinations against ‘flu and pneumococcal disease up-to-date to help prevent additional illness; and

Self management techniques for the elderly

For diabetes, the golden rule is management. Let’s explore a few self management techniques which by regular practice can show consistent results.

  • Wear proper footwear and monitor feet regularly
  • conduct regular blood glucose monitoring to keep track of your condition;
  • watch your diet and make healthy choices such as eating less fat and more healthy, carbohydrate-containing foods such as fruit, vegetables, bread and legumes;
  • quit smoking
  • lose weight if you need to;
  • Do some form of physical activity, under the guidance of your doctor;
  • keep any recommended vaccinations up-to-date; and
  • Ensure you take your medication according to your doctor’s instructions.

Remember, while untreated diabetes puts you at significant risk of a range of serious health problems, the risks can be minimized by appropriate medical and lifestyle treatment.

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