Wednesday, April 26, 2023
"Dry eyes" is a condition that occurs when tears do not meet the moisture requirement of the eyes, which finally results in excessive dryness in the eyes. Technically dry eyes are termed as "xeropthalmia," "Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS)" or "dry eyes syndrome."
We shall discuss this health complication in detail in the upcoming content.
Types of Dry Eyes
1) Aqueous tear-deficient dry eye- The lacrimal glands do not produce an adequate watery component of tears to lubricate the eye surface.
2) Evaporative dry eye- The meibomian glands are inflamed due to which the rate of evaporation of tears is increased
Symptoms associated with Dry Eyes
Apart from feeling a weird dryness in and around the eyes, the person will also suffer from the following symptoms
Sensing that something is always stuck in your eyes
Redness in eyes
Burning and itching of eyes
Eyes feel tired and tensed
Accumulation of mucus in and around eyes
Blurry vision and difficulty in focusing
Causes of Dry Eyes
The tear film comprises three layers: the outer oily layer, the watery middle layer, and the inner mucus layer; abnormality in these three layers gives rise to dry eyes. There are several underlying reasons associated with dry eye syndrome. We explain them below:
Drying of eyes and decreased tear production is a side effect of aging, especially after 50 and it's also common in menopausal women
It can happen when the oil glands (meibomian glands) of the eyes are clogged, or the lacrimal glands (tears) do not produce sufficient tear
"Dry eyes" is one of the side effects of vitamin A deficiency, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, thyroid problems, etc.
Allergies and inflammation in cornea and conjunctiva
Medications used during hormone replacement therapy, for treating high blood pressure, antidepressants, antihistamines, acne, etc. also cause dry eyes
Eye surgeries like LASIK and prolonged use of contact lens
Prolonged exposure to smoke, wind, pollutants, dry environment and computer
Diagnosis of Dry Eyes
Your eye doctor will examine your eyes by applying various techniques and procedures. During this process, he/she will also ask questions regarding your medical history.
Schirmer test- This test is done to measure the volume of tears produced by your eyes by placing blotting strips under the lower eyelids for 5 minutes. The quantity of tears soaked by strip is then measured.
Dry eyes are also diagnosed with special dye drops used on the eyes, which produce various staining patterns on the cornea. These stains form the measure for determining the time taken for the tears to evaporate.
Treatment of Dry Eyes
Wide range of treatment options are there for dry eyes which depend entirely on the underlying cause:
Medicines like prescription eye drops are advised to keep the eyes moist and protect from inflammation. Secondly, antibiotics are used to treat eyelid and corneal abnormalities. Eye inserts or artificial tears also inserted by the doctor to lubricate the eyes. Cyclosporine is widely used to treat dry eyes.
Several "tear conservation" strategies are used like – permanent or temporary blocking of tear channels with punctual plugs or performing a heat treatment called thermal cautery. Unblocking the oil glands by applying thermal pulsation is also done by ophthalmologists.
If dry eyes are a side effect of various other complications like Sjogren's syndrome or rheumatoid arthritis, your eye doctor might refer you to specialty doctors.
What to Expect?
Dry eye conditions are treatable over time. There are no as such pre preparations needed before the check-up. However, if you have severe abnormalities in eyelids, then surgery may be suggested by your doctor.
Apart from getting the treatments done, make sure your diet is rich in foods containing vitamin E and omega 3-fatty acids. Also, wash your eyes frequently with clean and cold water for the health of your eyes.
Friday, April 14, 2023
Sulochana Eye Centre Basheerbagh, Hyderabad
Dr. Murali Krishnamachary Aasuri,
M.D.(Ophthal) AIIMS; DNB
Medical Director, Sulochana Eye Centre,
Former Associate Professor, L.V. Prasad Eye Institute.
#3-6-69/2, Serene-Villa, Opp. Talwalkar Gym,
Avanthi Nagar colony, Basheerbagh, Hyderabad – 500029.
Phone: +91-40-6610 3343
Know Your Doctor
Medical School (Osmania Medical College) 1982-1988
Junior Residency (Post-Graduation) in Ophthalmology at R.P. Centre, AIIMS, New Delhi (1989-1992)
Senior Residency (Cornea & Anterior Segment) at R.P. Centre, AIIMS, (1992-1993)
Ectopic pregnancy is an abnormal condition wherein the fertilized egg stays in the fallopian tube instead of moving into the uterus and attaching it to the uterus lining. Affecting one woman out of every 50 is a dangerous condition wherein the fallopian tube stretches with time, causing terrible pain in the abdomen and pelvic area.
Signs and Symptoms of Ectopic Pregnancy
The symptoms that form the basis of the diagnosis of Ectopic pregnancy are:
- Unusual abdominal pain
- Mild or abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Nausea and vomiting
- Severe, sharp pain in the lower abdomen
- Dizziness and fainting
- Low Blood Pressure
- Abnormal bleeding
- Stabbing pain in shoulder and neck
- Sharp pain in the pelvis
Causes of Ectopic Pregnancy
Ectopic pregnancy is often caused due defects in the fallopian tube that hinders the movement of the fertilized egg into the uterus. It might also be caused due to congenital abnormality in the fallopian tube or might also result from an unsuccessful tubal ligation.
Below are some more health conditions responsible for ectopic pregnancy:
- Sexually transmitted diseases
- Infertility treatments like IVF
- Suffering from Pelvic Inflammatory disease (PID)
- Use of intrauterine device (IUD) during sexual intercourse
- Surgery in the fallopian tube and pelvic treatments
- Endometriosis (propagation of the endometrial tissue in the uterus lining) and fibroid tumors
- Women who are addicted to smoking and already have a medical history of ectopic pregnancy are at high risk of having a similar experience.
Diagnosis of Ectopic Pregnancy
Ectopic pregnancy diagnosis begins with a pelvic examination. Symptoms like localized pain and tenderness in the abdomen are tested. Your doctor also senses for any growth inside the ovary and fallopian tube.
Then ultrasound is performed to check for pregnancy in the uterus approximately after six weeks of periods. A blood test is done to measure hCG levels. A low level of hCG and progesterone is an indication of ectopic pregnancy.
Bleeding from a ruptured fallopian tube is detected by a special diagnostic procedure known as culdocentesis. Your doctor will perform a localized inspection inside the topmost part of the vagina with the help of a needle.
Under emergency conditions like unbearable pain in the lower abdomen or profuse bleeding from the vagina, the patient should be immediately rushed to the hospital, and surgery might be the only safe option.
Treatment of Ectopic Pregnancy
Various options for treatment include:
If the ectopic pregnancy has been detected early, then medication like methotrexate is injected to halt growth and progression of the tissue and dissolve the growth.
hCG levels are monitored and normalized with drugs, and other minor abnormalities are treated after a series of blood tests.
The ectopic tissue formed and minor damage in the fallopian tube is repaired easily with laparoscopic surgery.
If the fallopian tube, as well as the ovary, is damaged completely, then they are removed surgically.
What to Expect After Ectopic Pregnancy?
Your doctor will let you know about your chances of getting pregnant in the future, as well as the risks associated with it. However, if your fallopian tube is functional after the treatment, you can normally conceive after 6-7 months gap. You can also successfully conceive if you are have recovered from STDs (if it was the cause of your ectopic pregnancy).
Preventive Measures for Ectopic Pregnancy
Congenital defects are not under your control. However, several factors reduce the risks of ectopic pregnancy. Limit your sexual partners and always have safe sex. Use protections, especially condoms, to guard yourself against STDs and STIs. Quit smoking to conceive without complication.
Losing a baby is a challenge to deal with, thus express your feelings to your loved ones and receive emotional support. Consult with your doctor and hope for good news in the future.
Eye Exercises for Healthy Eyes
An increase in computer usage, watching TV, and exposure to pollution have tremendously affected our eyes even though we may not realize. The need for eye exercises is not only to heal eye problems but also to keep our eyes healthy. You don’t need to churn out hours for doing these eye exercises, instead, try to remember and imply them while relaxing in office or during your leisure hours or maybe anytime and anywhere you want.
Let’s have a look at those eye exercises that would keep your eyes healthy.
Best Eye Exercises for Healthy Eyes
This is a relaxation technique for eyes. So do it whenever you are sitting idle or have been exhausted by seeing your computer screen. Rub your palm against each other until they warm up. Rest your elbows on a table and cup your eyes with your palm, with the fingers facing your forehead. Breathe while covering your eyes. Make sure your eyes are not in contact with your inner palm. Keep your eyes covered for 5-10 seconds and repeat the exercise 3-4 times.
Focusing could be done for three reasons – for more precise zoom and to improve near and far vision. Focus on your index finger without looking anywhere else and bring the finger closer to your nose without shifting your focus. Move your finger back and forth 2-3 times.
The second exercise is to focus on a very close object (10 inches) to your eyes and on another object that is very far, about 10-20 feet away. Look at the nearer object first, take a deep breath, and then focus immediately on the distant object. Repeat this about ten times.
So here you play tennis with your eyeballs. Amazed right? This is how you do it. Keep your head still. Look on the left side as far as you can, then gently swing your eyeballs to the right and look at the right side. Follow the same by swinging your eyeballs up and down. Other movements are: rotate your eyeballs in a clockwise motion and then anticlockwise motion. Repeat each exercise 10 times.
Your eye muscles become intensely flexible with this exercise. Have you ever imagined drawing the numerical 8 with your eyeballs? If No, then try out. Please do not do it in haste; make your eye movements slow. Rest for a few seconds after tracing one set of 8 and then repeat for 5-6 times.
Your eyes relax when you blink, and this exercise must be religiously practiced by those who need to sit before computers for hours after hours. Start blinking to de-stress your eyes. To begin with- blink every 3-4 seconds for 5 minutes, consciously. Then look at your computer for the next half an hour, keeping your blinking activity normal. You will surely feel the difference. Your eyes won’t feel heavy and stressed anymore.
This exercise is funny but indeed healthy for your eyes. Keep your head still and shut your one eye (e.g., left eye). Now, look diagonally upwards to the left with the other eye. Focus for a few seconds and then move your eyeballs diagonally to the bottom right to get a vision on the right-hand side. Repeat the same with the other eye. Now open your eyes and do it with both the eyes. Before you end the exercise, focus on an object placed between the center of your eyes, and take a peripheral view of it. This completes your exercise.
You will reap the benefits once you start doing the exercises. Start it right now for healthy-looking and beautiful eyes.
Sunday, April 9, 2023
Colorectal Cancer Screening
Colorectal cancer is a painful disease wherein the cells of the rectum divide abnormally to form tumors and polyps. The initial symptoms often go unnoticed, but after detecting abnormalities, doctors usually suggest undergoing colorectal cancer screening.
We shall discuss the screening procedure in detail in the upcoming content.
When to take up the test?
Usually, colorectal screening is advised to men and women above 45 years of age who have had a family history.
Screening tests must also be performed when you observe the following symptoms:
- Blood in stool
- Itching and pain in the rectum while passing stool
- Severe constipation
- Tenderness in the lower abdomen
- Abnormal stools
- Random weight loss
Points to note:
The colorectal screening test is a must for people with inflammatory bowel disease, and it is usually performed after one year on those who have undergone surgery for colorectal cancer.
Anal flexible sigmoidoscopy must also be performed in the age group of 10-12 years on those with family history of familial adenomatous polyposis.
Objectives of Colorectal Cancer Screening
The main objective of the tests is to detect colorectal cancer early, even if symptoms are not evident. This screening ensures early diagnosis of cancer and a 100% recovery. The outcome is – “saving lives of many.” Other than cancer, they also check for polyps and other abnormalities in the rectum, which could be cured by treatment.
Types of Colorectal Cancer Screening Tests
Colonoscopy is a longer version of sigmoidoscopy. It involves a complete analysis of the colon and the rectum with the help of a colonoscope inserted via the rectum.
A camera is attached at the end of the colonoscope, which is connected to a computer outside where your doctor can view the condition of your colon and rectum. During this process, a sample can be collected for biopsy purposes, or polyps can be removed. The entire process will take around 30 minutes, and your doctor may give a mild sedative before the test.
The basic procedure is the same as the colonoscopy. The only difference is that the sigmoidoscope is only 60 cms long, inserted into the rectum to view your entire rectum and part of the colon. Your doctor will not take more than 15 to 20 minutes for this. In most cases, sedatives are not given to patients, but a preliminary digital rectal exam is performed for easing the insertion of the sigmoidoscope. Colorectal cancers and polyps get easily detected with this technique.
Virtual Colonoscopy or CT Colonography
As the name suggests, an imaging technique computerized tomography (CT) is used to procure a cross-sectional or 3-D view of the large intestine and the rectum. The colon is enlarged by inserting a catheter filled with air through the rectum, which is painless. The test gives a clear picture of the abdominal organs, and it can detect how far cancer has spread in only 10 minutes.
Other Tests that are also a part of the screening:
Fecal Occult Blood Test (FOBT):
It is also termed as stool DNA test (sDNA) or fecal immunochemical test (FIT)- involves testing the stool for hidden blood.
Double-contrast Barium Enema:
It involves the use of barium sulfate solution pumped inside the intestine to get X-ray of the colon and intestine
How to Prepare for the Screening Tests
Do not get tensed or apprehensive about the screening test. Your doctor will examine you and then decide which test you need to undergo.
Secondly, consult with your doctor about your health problems, whether you are taking any medicines or laxatives and if you are pregnant.
Your rectum and colon should be empty. A day before the exam you may be asked to cleanse your colon with special fluids.
You may be given sedatives before the screening is done.
Possible Risks of Colorectal Cancer Screening Tests
Colorectal screening is the only way to detect cancer in the colon and rectum. However, in some cases, it can fall out for the following reasons:
The fecal occult blood test sometimes shows a false negative test wherein the patient has cancer, but the test shows negative.
This is just the opposite of the false negative. The patient is diagnosed with false cancer when she/he doesn’t have it.
In such cases, further tests are suggested for more accuracy.
During the tests, especially during colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy, the patient may undergo lower abdominal pain, anal pain, and feel the urge to pass bowel. Dizziness and nausea are some other side effects.
However, these side effects are not a significant concern. In most cases, the tests are accurate and are the best diagnostic measures to start early treatment for colorectal cancer.
Healthy Soups for Weight Loss
Soups are healthy and filling. A bowl of soup can mostly be substituted for solid foods at dinner, or it could serve as a pre-lunch appetizer. However, a bowl of soup would be healthy only if you choose the ingredients correctly, follow a low-calorie recipe, and make it healthy in every way. Before moving onto the soups that enhance weight loss, we shall tell you the tricks of a healthy recipe.
Preparing healthy soups
- Use olive oil for cooking
- Avoid garnishing with butter
- No creams on top
- Do not use sauces as taste enhancers
- Keep it completely natural
- Do not add cornflower or starch for thickening
- Exclude corn, potatoes, red meat, and other types of carb-rich foods.
5 Soup Types for Weight Loss
One of the most famous soups for losing weight is cabbage soup. Cabbage is no doubt a healthy choice, and you can prepare it deliciously. Chop some cabbage and lettuce finely, mince onions, and carrot. Saute the vegetables in olive oil and then prepare the soup by adding water or vegetable broth. Do not add any seasoning. Increase the quantity of vegetables to make it thick.
Chicken soup is a delight for all non-vegetarian people. Eliminate corns if you have it to shed off pounds. First, prepare some broth by boiling sliced chicken breasts. Chop onions, carrots, and French beans. Boil them along with the chicken, sprinkle pepper and salt. Pour the broth and boil for some more time. And your soup is ready to be sipped hot. To bring a change in taste, you can also add oregano, thyme, basil, parsley, lemon, etc.
For complete nutrition, you can choose the healthiest vegetables to prepare your soup. Chop carrot, beet, beans, celery, kale, tomatoes, mushroom, onion, etc. Saute them in olive oil with some ginger flakes. Boil them and add some vegetable broth for a richer taste. This delicious and sumptuous soup is ideal for a low calorie, nutritious dinner.
Green-Leafy veg soup
Next time buy bunches of green leafy vegetables for making soups at home. Include spinach, spring onions, kale, and lettuce as the key ingredients. Mince them, boil them and improvise the taste by adding tomatoes, ginger, and garlic. All you get is the perfect detox soup for your system.
Lentils are utterly healthy and delicious—mix different varieties of lentils. Soak them in water for 10 minutes and then boil them in a pressure cooker. You can also mix vegetables while cooking the lentils. This soup is rich in protein, and fiber is a must for regular gym-goers.
Points to Note:
A bowl of soup is just a healthy weight loss supplement for appetizer, lunch, or dinner. You need to eat calorie-less solid foods also to make up for the nutrition demand of your body. Do not do crash dieting by relying on soups throughout the day.
There are numerous options for soups that you can prepare at your home by improvising the ingredients and taste. Every day try something different so that you enjoy it and lose weight quickly.
Natural ways to lower blood pressure without medication
Is it possible to lower blood pressure without medicines? The answer is YES. Since the rise in blood pressure is a consequence of inappropriate lifestyle and bad food habits, it can bring down by modifying those two aspects.
Let’s look at those beautiful, healthy, natural, and drug-free remedies for lowering blood pressure.
Get on to Walking
It’s a fact that walking lowers your blood pressure. Compel and motivate yourself to wear on your walking shoes and get on it for at least 30 minutes a day. The whole idea of walking is also to lose weight.
Breathing practice is an excellent approach to de-stressing your body. Breathe in and breathe out for at least 10 minutes after getting up from the bed.
Asanas/Yoga postures to Lower Blood Pressure
Practice these yoga therapies only under the guidance of a yoga trainer, viz. Parvatasana (the hill or mountain pose), Ujjayi (victory breathing), and Apanasana (downward breathing pose). Some more postures that are also beneficial for lowering high blood pressure are Baddhakonasana, Upavista Konasana, and Virasana,
Cut Down Salt
Salt increases blood pressure, so it is advised to cut down sodium intake as much as possible. Do not add extra salt to cooking at home. You have to stop eating fried foods, like French fries, processed and preserved foods loaded with sodium.
Potassium regularizes the sodium levels in the body by enhancing the excretion of excess sodium in the urine. Hence, in case of high blood pressure, increase potassium-rich foods in the diet.
And also white beans, green leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, bananas, sweet potatoes, dried apricots, avocadoes, mushrooms, and fish (mackerel, tuna, herring, etc.) must be present in your dish.
Say No to Cholesterol Rich Foods
Your cooking oil must be cholesterol-free. You can opt for cholesterol-free olive oil, sunflower oil for day-to-day cooking. Egg yolk, red meat, butter, shrimps, caviar, shellfish, processed meat like sausages, and fast foods are just NO for you.
Substitute Complex Carbohydrates
Get rid of foods rich in simple carbs- sweets, chocolates, cakes, cookies, pasta, white bread, white rice, corn, and other types of white flour rich foods. Have healthy carbohydrates in moderation in your breakfast. It could be oats, muesli, and a slice of brown bread.
Ease on omega 3, protein and fiber
A diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber significantly brings down blood pressure. Have baked fishes like salmon, tuna, etc., include heart-friendly nuts (walnuts, peanuts) and eat loads of fruits containing fibers (guava and apples).
Cut caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, and go herbal.
Stressed out at work, so the probable solutions are – going on a smoke break, sipping 2-3 cuppas of tea and coffee, aren’t they? We say, stop doing that. You can have decaf coffee and relax with herbal tea, of which green tea is the best. Last but not least, you need to stop binge drinking.
Relax, de-stress and stay happy
You have to lead a tension free life to control your high blood pressure. Manage your work pressure; find time for your kids, family, and friends to stay happy. Happiness and laughter contribute a lot to good heart health.
If you observe a slight rise in your blood pressure, make sure to immediately incorporate these changes in your lifestyle to avoid further elevation. Keep monitoring it. You don’t need to resort to medicines if you are committed to your health and religiously follow the much-needed changes explained here.
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