November 29, 2011

What You Need to Know for Losing Weight During Pregnancy

weightqWhen you get pregnant, it is expected that you will gain some weight. In fact, doctors will caution some women from trying to control their weight as it is healthy to gain at least some weight. The norms for weight gain while you are pregnant will depend on your body type going into the pregnancy and other factors. Generally, the average sized woman will gain between 25 and 35 pounds. If you are underweight, you will gain slightly more. If you are overweight you will gain slightly less. Expect to gain around 2 to 4 pounds in the first three months and a pound week thereafter.

Those who are gaining way more weight, and are not having twins, will need to look at methods for losing weight during pregnancy. If done correctly, you will not pose any problems for the baby and you will be able to get down to a normal pregnancy weight which will help you to have a healthier pregnancy. It is always a good idea to work with your health care provider to make sure that you are staying safe for your sake as well as for the baby’s sake.

Maintaining moderate exercise
Exercise is one of the best ways to make sure that you are losing weight during pregnancy. You do not have to go overboard with aerobics or running. Just some walking will help you to stay in shape. The good news is that the walking will also help to get your body ready for labor. It will make sure that you are ready to pass your baby from your system in a natural way. Make sure that you are not walking for extended periods of time as this can actually induce labor. Instead, a nice 5 minute walk after meals will help you to burn off a few extra calories.

Do not restrict calories
Many women will try to abstain from eating so that they can start losing weight during pregnancy. The problem with this is all of the nutrition you bring into your system is being used by the baby. Instead of reducing calories, make sure that the calories you eat are smarter. This means trying to reduce the amount of empty calories like candy and soda in your diet. Instead, eat meals with substance to them. This will help you to get the protein, calcium and vitamins to your baby so that there will be healthy development.

Increase the number of times you eat
If losing weight during pregnancy is important to you, you can simply increase the amount that you are eating each day as well as making sure that the meals you eat are smaller. Eating 6 small meals a day will help you to increase your metabolism as well as making sure that your baby is getting a steady stream of food. This is also known as grazing by doctors because instead of sitting down to 3 heavy meals, you are eating light, yet substantial meals twice as often.

Less Sleep Can Get You Some Serious Health Problems

sleepIn this fast moving world, people are now giving more importance their social and work life rather then giving importance to their overall health and well being. Nowadays, people are all busy in making money while neglecting the fact that there are some other things that are of equal importance as well. There is competition between the people to get ahead of others in terms of financial status and in order to enhance and improve their financial status, many individual are now spending hectic and restless life. However, those individuals who are not taking proper rest and enough sleep are completely unaware of the fact that less sleep can cause them some serious health problems.

No matter how busy you are in making money, the general rule of the thumb is that, an individual should get a good sleep for at least 6 to 8 hours. According to the statements made by many famous physicians and scientists, it has been proven that if you are normal adult then you take some sleep for at least 6 to 8 hours on daily basis in order to safeguard yourself from different concerns because less sleep can get you some serious health problems in the near future.

With the help of different researches, it has been proven that the deep sleep have direct impact on person’s immune system. However, if you don’t take sufficient amount sleep then its effects will be of two kinds, first is the short term effects and second is the long term effects. Short term effects of improper sleep includes Drowsiness, Sudden mood swings, Loss of short term memory, Loss of decision, creative and motor skills, Loss of problem solving skills, Loss of concentration and etc. While on the other hand, long term effects includes Obesity/weight-gain, Premature aging, Exhaustion, fatigue, loss of energy, Increased risk of infections, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, gastrointestinal disease, Chronic memory loss, Depression and etc. There are some other health related issues also associated with the less sleep like heart problems and uncontrolled sugar levels.

As stated earlier that less sleep can get you serious health problems, recent researches in developed countries like USA and UK has been conducted and it has been proven that less sleep has direct impact on the following major functions of a human body:

• Brain and nervous system        • Cardiovascular system
• Metabolic functions                 • Immune system

Now, if you want to safeguard your body from some serious health problems because of the lack of sleep or improper sleeping schedules, you must make sure that you take at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep on daily basis.

First Response Pregnancy Test – Accurately Know Whether You are Pregnant

pregnancy testAny pregnancy test is formulated to diagnose whether a woman is pregnant or not. Most of the pregnancy tests including first response pregnancy test uses beta compartment of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) – a hormone specifically increased when a woman is pregnant. hCG is released by placents, after the fertilized ovum is implanted in the uterus. It is a qualitative test, only to measure the presence of the hormone. The concentration where the result will be positive depends upon the brand. Many first response pregnancy test kit can detect as low as 1 mIU/ml of urine, others will be positive with 20 mIU/ml to 100 mIU/ml.

The next question that can come to our mind is that how you can check your pregnancy. Well, as it was said earlier, the first response pregnancy test measures the presence of hCG in urine. All these tests are card based tests and you have to put required amount of urine in the right slot. There is a test area and if you are pregnant, there will be two vertical bands over the test area. If your urine does not contain hCG, there will be only one band. Mid stream urine sample has to be used. To get this, you have to discard the first flow of urine, and then collect the middle part of urine flow in a clean glass pot and let the last part of urine flow again. First morning sample of urine is ideal as the hCG concentration is maximum in this time.

The accuracy of first response pregnancy test depends upon the time when you are performing the test. Most of the test kits available in the market can detect your hCG when you first miss your period. Almost 90% test results are positive at this period. The maximum positivity (almost 97%) can be achieved when you do the test seven days after you miss your period. Some modern kit can detect the hCG even 4 days before you expect your menstruation. If you assume that you can be pregnant, you can do this test.

16 Weeks Pregnant – What You Should Expect

It’s really funny that a lady who has never being pregnant thinks about the changes in her body as ever week is passing by.

16 weeks of pregnancy comes under second trimester of the pregnancy period. The belly may not be much obvious, more so in slender women. Women love this period of their pregnancy as they are just flabby so as to look pregnant but not so that they look awkward. The most exciting feature a pregnant woman can notice is the movement of the baby. Depending on several factors, first movement of baby occurs at 16 to 20 weeks of pregnancy. Medically it is termed as quickening and is felt as light flickering over the abdomen.

You may need some maternity clothes at this time. Although there is not much growth of the baby and you may not actually need them for a couple of weeks more, but getting used to clothing that helps the room to grow your body is accepted by many pregnant mothers.

You should do some blood tests at this period after consultation with your doctor. The most important test is AFP (Alfafetoprotein) test and Triple test. These tests are conducted to measure the congenital abnormality, if any, to your baby. If there is increased level of AFP in your blood, there is considerable chance of delivering a baby with Down syndrome (mental retardation, lanky stature and congenital organ abnormality). The chance of termination of pregnancy can be thought of.

Amniocentesis is another test that is also conducted at this time. It detects any chromosomal problem in your baby. A thin needle is passed through your abdomen to draw a little amount of amniotic fluid under radiological guidance (ultrasonography).

At 16 weeks, your baby is almost 4.5 inches long and weighs about 3 Oz. At this time, the baby can hold the head straighter inside the womb and starts moving.

Why You Can’t Lose Weight?

lose weightMany of weight loss enthusiasts often get frustrated that even after regular dieting and some weight loss exercises, they are not losing weight as per their expectation. The reasons may be several, but in this article, we shall discuss about the common causes of not losing weight even after trying hard.

1. The first cause may be that you are having snacks more often. You may be not hungry, but the sight or thought of snacks compel you to open a pack of potato chips or chocolate. Drinking plenty of water after meal can overcome this condition

2. You may be going to late night parties more often. The metabolic system of your body slows down in the wee hours of night. If you eat late, the foods you had taken get little time to digest properly and stored as fat in the body parts.

3. Metabolism in the aged people also slows down. It is quite natural to gain some weight after you reach 35 years of age. Fat gets deposited in the abdomen, thighs and hips. Taking low fat dairy products, foods that contain less fat and oil, regular exercise can be of help.

4. You are not counting the portion sizes. The foods may be right, but the portion size you are taking is larger. While dining in a restaurant, ask the waiter about the portion size. You can divide a single dish among your family and if you are eating alone, pack the portion you cannot eat. While cooking at home, roughly calculate the total amount that would suffice your entire family member.

5. If your resting metabolic rate is low compared to others, your body will burn less fat even you exercise for longer duration. It is a genetic phenomenon and you cannot control it. Only thing you can do is to cut down the amount of food you eat.

6. Female are more prone to gain weight faster than their male counterpart. Blame to the female hormone. Fat is deposited around the thighs and bums. Men has more muscle mass than female and it helps in burning fat effectively than female.

7. If you do not like to exercise, you cannot lose weight. Proper dieting and adequate exercise, both are needed for effective weight loss. Skip any of them and you are a loser.

8. Proper exercise schedule is mandatory. If you do not exercise whole of the week and do it on the whole Sunday, it will not be of any help. Rather, it will make you exhausted. You should work out three times a week for better result.

9. Do not skip your breakfast. If you do so, you would surely feel hungry till you have time for lunch. And you will continue to take snacks in between which are, of course, full of saturated fat.

10. You may be much stressed out. In this condition, your body produces a hormone called ‘Cortisol’. Cortisol is notorious to produce more hunger.

11. You may be suffering from some diseases like hypothyroidism or cushing’s syndrome. In these conditions, people get flabbier.

12. If you are taking some drugs like antidepressants or on oral contraceptive pill, you may gain weight.

These are in a nutshell why you are losing enough pounds even when you are trying hard. The list is not exhaustive, but includes most of the common causes.

Things You Should Know About Skin Cancer

Skin cancer describes three malignant condition of the skin – Squamous cell carcinoma, Basal cell carcinoma and Malignant melanoma. The skin consists of two layers – the inner dermis and the outer epidermis. Skin cancer occurs in the epidermal layer. Therefore, all the three variants are clearly visible by naked eye and make it possible for early diagnosis. It is the most common form of all the cancers occur in human body. According to a recent survey, more than one million people get affected by skin cancer in a year. The major cause of skin cancer is exposure to Ultraviolet rays.

People with fair skin develop skin carcinoma earlier than blacks. Continuous exposure to sunlight causes exposure to UV rays. This ray can change the character of the cells present in the epidermis. Having sunburn in early childhood doubles the risk of developing skin cancer. However, sunburn in adulthood does not reduce the risk.  A person residing in high altitudes or deserts possesses greater risk towards development of skin cancer. It is seen that constant handling of some chemicals increases the possibility. Patient having family history of skin cancer has threefold chance of the same.

Exact cause of any cancer is not known. Cancer occurs due to uncontrolled and unregulated multiplication of cells.

Before the development of overt malignancy, changes of the morphology of the epidermal cells occur in quick succession. After continuous exposure to UV ray, dysplastic change occurs in the cells with deposition of keratin materials. This precancerous condition if the skin is called ‘Actinic keratosis. They are usually less than 1 cm in diameter. They may be red, skin or tan brown colored. They have a rough and sandpaper like consistency. In excess production of keratin, a ‘Cutaneous horn’ develops. There is no consolidated opinion regarding development of clear cut cancerous lesion from all ‘Actinic keratosis. But if it occurs, a lesion usually produces ‘squamous cell cancer’ of the skin.

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer. Most common site for this tumor is facial skin. They are slow growing tumors and occasionally metastasize. Persons having Xeroderma pigmentosum (a disease where there is inherited disorder of DNA repair) has absolute chance of developing basal cell carcinoma. There tumors appear as pearly papules, the blood capillaries are usually visible from outside (telangiectasia). Some of the tumors may contain melanin and can mimic melanomas. Advanced condition of basal cell carcinoma generally ulcerates and there is extensive local foray of bones. That is why; basal cell carcinoma was previously called as ‘Rodent ulcer’.

Squamous cell carcinoma is the second most common skin cancer. It usually occurs over the sun-exposed parts of the skin. It can also occur after exposure to industrial carcinogens (tar and various oils), discharging osteomyelitis cases and old burn scars. Patients having lowered immunity also posses high risk for squamous cell carcinoma. DNA sequence of certain viruses (Human Papilloma Virus – I) are accepted as potential precursors of this type of skin cancer.

Treatment of most of the variants of skin cancer is complete, even for the aggressive cancers. The modes of treatment include – 

Surgery – complete excision of the lesion leaving a healthy margin can cure most of the cancers. Surgery followed by skin grafting may be necessary for a large lesion.

Curettages – the area is curetted and electrodessication is done afterwards.

Cryosurgery – extreme low temperature can destroy the cancer cells. It is useful in ‘Actinic keratosis.

Laser ablation – controlled beam of laser is used to kill the cancer cells.

Radiation therapy – surgically inoperable lesions are being treated with radiation therapy.

Things You Should Know About Flu Symptoms

flu symptomsInfluenza or more commonly known as ‘Flu’ is an infectious disease caused by Influenza virus. Often we confuse flu with common cold which is not the case. But often it becomes difficult to differentiate between these two. Influenza includes cold and many other symptoms like fever, headache, dry cough and pain in the muscles.

Influenza virus is taxonomically placed in the Orthomyxoviridae family. It is a RNA virus that can affect any mammal and birds. Transmission of influenza virus occurs through aerosol. Typically when an infected person coughs, sneezes, droplets are formed. When a healthy person inhales these droplets, the virus gets passed through to the upper respiratory tract and multiplies. It can also be transmitted through feces, saliva and blood. Influenza virus can withstand low temperature. It can sustain more than a month at 0˚C and even more in sub-zero temperature. But they are vulnerable to high temperature and common detergents and disinfectants.

Flu has shown seasonal trends. It is common during the change of seasons like from winter to summer and summer to rainy season. It caused pandemic in the 20th Century and killed millions of people throughout the world. Every time there was an influenza epidemic, a new virus strain was identified.

The symptoms of flu can differ person to person depending upon their level of immunity. In persons having high immunity level, it can be only mild degree cold and sore throat. But for persons with low body constitution, it can become fully fledged fever, dry cough, body ache and others. The common symptoms of flu are –

Fever: – high rise of temperature. It can be 101˚F (38.3˚C) in adults and in children it may be as high as 103˚F to 105˚F (39.4˚C to 40.5˚C). Often the fever is associated with chill mimicking symptoms of malaria, although rigor is usually absent.

Sweating: – fever is associated with sweating. And if antipyretic (medicines to lower down fever) is used, there is profuse sweating. This is also another mimicking symptom to malaria.

Sore throat and dry cough – it may vary from different persons. Those who have high immunity or suffered from flu earlier, only have mild to moderate sore throat. This is due to development of antibodies in blood. But for the first time victims and especially in the children, a constant bout of dry cough prevails.

Headache – it occurs mainly in frontal and posterior aspect of the skull. Frontal headache is typically around the eyes.

Body ache – severe pain in the body especially in the back, hands and legs. The pain is characteristically of muscular in nature.

Running nose – constant serous discharge from the nose is seen. Otherwise, the patient may complain of stuffy nose.

Generalized weakness – extreme fatigue is another common symptom. Patient may feel lethargic all the times.

Anorexia – as with other viral infection, loss of appetite is present in a patient with flu.

Red eyes and face – high grade of fever can cause flushed face and red eyes mimicking conjunctivitis. There may be watery eyes also.

Diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain – these mainly occurs in case of children.

Influenza is a self-limiting disease. Symptoms of flu disappear within a week or two. But when you know the flu symptoms, you can take proper precaution and act accordingly.

Dry Eyes: The Things You Should Know

dry eyesOur tears express many of our moods. The things make you sad will bring tears to your eyes. Again on the extreme opposite hand, tremendous enjoyment also makes you cry. But have you ever thought of the situation when your eyes become dry? Well, it can happen and the condition is called Dry Eyes Syndrome.

Dry Eyes Syndrome is medically termed as Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca or Sicca syndrome. More than 10 million American citizens are suffering from dry eyes. If the tear is evaporated from the eyes at a rate which is more than normal or more commonly if the production of tear by the tear gland becomes compromised, the Dry Eye Syndrome (DES) can occur. Tears are the main source of nutrition and lubrication of the most outer part of our eyes. In case there is less tear production, this outer surface becomes dry. And every moment we blink or come in contact with the outer world, this layer gets irritated. Now let us know that the outer layer of the eyes is very much delicate. Here lies the cornea through which light rays fall over the lens and after that to the retina. If there is less amount of tear, there will be friction between the inner surface of the eyelids and the outer layer of the eyes. After a certain time, there is fair chance of production of opacity over the cornea, which means blindness.

The common symptoms of DES include a constant irritation on the eyes. You will feel that some small particles have entered and there is continuous gritty sensation. In DES, both the eyes are usually involved. There will be pain in the eyes, redness and feeling of heaviness behind the eyeball. There is secretion of exudative white fluid from the eyes which does not relieve the symptoms. The symptoms worsen in conditions of constant gazing like sitting in front of a computer, watching television, reading or driving. They also aggravate in windy and smoky atmosphere and become a bit lessened in humid conditions.

As it was already mentioned, DES occurs when there is less production of tear from the eyes. The cause is mainly idiopathic (where the actual cause cannot be differentiated). The common medical conditions where it can occur are – congenital absence of tear (lacrimal) glands, Xerophthalmia (Vitamin A deficiency), Sjögren’s syndrome, Rhuematoid Arthritis, SLE and Wegner’s granulomatosis. Long standing use of some drugs like diuretics, antidepressants, oral contraceptives and some hypertensive drugs can bring out DES.

Your ophthalmologist can diagnose the case only from the symptoms itself. Schirmer’s test is performed to quantify the amount of tears produced from the lacrimal glands. Recent development in diagnosing DES is to measure a special molecule called Ap4A in the tears. It can increase in some cases of DES.

Your doctor will tell you to avoid the conditions where you may have to gaze for a long time. The treatment includes instillation of artificial tear preparations over the eyes and to block the tear outflow system that drain out tears. Presently, there are over-the-counter artificial tear preparations available which means you don’t have to carry a doctor’s prescription to buy a product. Food additives containing Omega-3 fatty acid have shown to reduce the symptoms of DES to a certain extent. Instillation of Cyclosporin drop has also beneficial activity on DES. A small surgical procedure can block the mouth of the tear drainage system.

DES can be very irritable. You must consult the ophthalmologist once you feel that your eyes have become dry. Early diagnosis can make the condition more favorable.

Are You Suffering From Back Pain?

back painAre You Suffering From Back Pain

Most of us complain of back ache at some time in our lives, in fact four out of five Americans suffer from some kind of back pain. These complaints may refer to the neck and shoulders, the middle of the back and the kidney area, or the base of the spine. Back pain can be either acute or chronic, that is to say of sudden and short duration, or ongoing and recurrent.

Back pain often affects other areas of our body such as our arms and legs because back pain can radiate to other areas. Our central nervous system is located in the spine, which is why some spine injuries result in paralysis, because the nerves are damaged. Most back pain and back injuries are usually of short duration, or treatable, paralysis is the exception rather than the norm.

Causes of Back Pain

Back pain is one of the biggest causes of absenteeism from work. Research studies show that a lot of lower back pain is due to bad posture and sitting in a chair with no support. In recent years there has been a trend towards what is known as ergonomic office furniture, that is to say furniture that takes into a count the user and their relationship to their surroundings. Ergonomic chairs will generally have a supportive seat, adjustable back, arms and height, further studies suggest that in companies where old office furniture has been replaced with ergonomic furniture, absenteeism drops and productivity increases. Less absenteeism and greater productivity, it has been found, is a direct result of proper seating arrangements.

Back pain can also result from bad posture generally or lifting heavy weights in the wrong manner; each of these things can put a strain on your back and result in back pain. When people fail to lift heavy objects in the proper manner it may result in an injury to the back that will need medical help and advice.
Sometimes the discs in your spine may be injured and will protrude or ‘slip’ this is often the cause of heavy lifting or moving around awkwardly. In many cases a slipped disc can occur because of general wear and tear. Arthritis is another cause of back pain and treatment will differ depending on whether you are suffering from osteoarthritis, which is the result of general wear and tear, or rheumatoid arthritis, which is an immune system disease that cripples the sufferer.

When a disc presses on a nerve it can result in sciatica, a painful condition that can send pain shooting down the leg. This is often alleviated by physiotherapy or by visiting an osteopath. Osteoporosis is where the bones of the skeleton fracture easily because they have become brittle, this is usually found in older people, but can occur in the young.

Remedies

In most cases back pain can be alleviated by over the counter medicines and minor changes in your life style. Back surgery is only undertaken in rare cases as back pain usually responds to other methods. If you suffer back pain for more than three days in a row then you should see your doctor as there may be an underlying medical problem.

You should see your doctor immediately if the pain is constant and intense and doesn’t ease when you lie down on a flat surface. You should also seek help if the pain spreads down you legs, arms or both. If you have weakness or numbness in your legs you should see your doctor or if the pain follows a fall or a blow and he or she may prescribe X-rays or a bone scan as well as stronger pain medication. Your doctor may prescribe codeine or tramadol for the pain.

Most back problems are easily treatable at home with simple remedies and better posture, if the problem continues then you should see your doctor, if only to be on the safe side.

Are You Suffering From Neck Pain?

neck painAre You Suffering From Neck Pain?
At some point in their lives, most people will complain of neck pain. Neck pain can be acute, i.e. it comes on suddenly, often as the result of an underlying infection or other problem, and can last from a few days to a few weeks. Sometimes people suffer from what is known as chronic neck pain and this refers to pain that is recurrent and ongoing over a longer period of time. Chronic neck pain can also be the result of an underlying problem, but the cause is often more serious than that experienced with acute neck pain. Chronic neck pain does not always have a serious cause, sometimes all that is needed is a minor lifestyle change to deal with the problem.

Common Causes of Neck Pain
People who regularly complain of neck pain may indulge in hobbies that result in their being hunched over a work bench or desk. If this happens to you then you may need to look at new ways of engaging in your hobby where you are not hunched over all of the time. If you spend a lot of your time working on a computer then your head should be on a level with the top of the computer monitor, if you constantly have to bend your head back a little to see the screen, or bend it down, you will suffer from neck pain. Studies show that people suffer a lot less with neck pain when they have a chair that has an adjustable height and adequate arm and back support.

For short term, chronic neck pain, you can get over the counter remedies such as aspirin or ibuprofen to help alleviate the pain, but you should also pay attention to your posture and to your seating arrangements at work. If you find that these simple remedies don’t work and you are still suffering from neck pain then you should see your doctor because the pain may be the result of some other, underlying condition.

Underlying Causes of Neck Pain
Neck pain can be the result of wear and tear on the joints and muscles, if the pain continues you should see your doctor immediately. In older people neck pain may be the result of osteoarthritis – the kind of arthritis that comes from general wear and tear. In both cases the pain will be chronic and you may experience stiffening of the neck and should seek medical help.

Chronic neck pain could be the result of an injury to the discs, where the jelly like cartilage seeps through the disc’s outer covering; when this happens you could have pain in other, nearby areas such as the shoulders and top of the spine because the nerves are affected. Neck pain may also be the cause of an accident that results in an injury known as whiplash, if you do have an accident that results in a sudden and unexpected jolting of the neck, you could have whiplash. You need to seek specialist help for whiplash as you may need to wear a collar or neck support for a while.

Remedies
If you suffer from persistent neck pain then your doctor may suggest that you see a physiotherapist who will recommend a series of exercises to strengthen the neck muscles and ease the problem. You may be prescribed what is known as TENS, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, this is where electrodes are placed on the neck because the tiny electrical pulses can help relieve the pain.

Your doctor may prescribe stronger pain medication for chronic neck pain such as strong anti-inflammatory medicines or a narcotic medication such as tramadol. If you have a neck injury or disc problems then your doctor may want you to have a collar fitted that restricts neck movement.

There are many causes of and treatments for, neck pain; no two people will experience things in the same way. If you have ongoing neck pain or have been involved in an accident then the only safe thing to do is to see a medical professional.