vaccination 1

Don’t Wait, Vaccinate

Going on a vacation is an exciting time for everybody. Your bags are packed, your tickets are booked and you can’t wait to get on that plane that will take you to your destination. All the excitement and anticipation, however, can often cause people to disregard one simple additional task, getting vaccinated.

You don’t need to get vaccinated whenever you travel, but international travel particularly, makes you vulnerable to getting afflicted by diseases and disorders that you might not have been vaccinated for previously because those vaccine-preventable diseases might be rare in your country. However, some types of international travel, especially to developing countries and rural areas, may have higher health risks. These risks depend on a number of things including where and when you are travelling, the age you are off, any specific health condition you suffer from and your vaccination history.

The World Health Organization defines a vaccine as a biological preparation that improves immunity to a particular disease. Some vaccinations are generally recommended while others are specifically required when travelling to a particular country. It is very important to gain knowledge about the vaccinations that you may be required to take, at least 4 weeks in advance. This will help the body to develop immunity and also some vaccinations may involve multiple doses spread over several weeks.

The first step to ensuring that you are properly vaccinated before your travels are to consult a specialist physician with your immunisation records. Vaccinations have a number of advantages that we generally tend to disregard. They help prevent diseases that can be easily passed onto those who aren’t vaccinated. We live in a time and age where people travel across the globe easily, and it is only easier for diseases to travel and pass on from person to person.

Vaccinations are as important for an individual’s personal health as is eating right and staying fit. Yet many people do not get themselves or their children vaccinated as recommended, causing them to be vulnerable to illnesses. Vaccinations can actually help prevent certain conditions, like breast cancer, HIV/AIDS etc. A number of people lose their lives each year to such vaccine-preventable diseases. Pregnant women, infants and adults with chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or those with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop complications from certain vaccine-preventable diseases during travel. These complications can include long-term illness, hospitalisation, and even death. Immunisation is considered one of the greatest public health achievements and experts agree that immunisation is key to staying healthy.

Vaccinations are not just for an individual’s better health, it is about staying healthy yourself and protecting a community. Travel vaccinations are particularly necessary because you are likely to develop health issues that you didn’t have at home in foreign lands.

It is however not guaranteed that a vaccination will protect you from a disease and you will not develop a particular disease because of the vaccination. However, following a healthy travel routine can help to stay away and safe from infectious diseases. A shot that lasts less than 10 seconds could save you from pain and ill health, and make your trip one remember. It is of utmost importance to pack good health for the trip.

 

Dr.Samer Nours Alfil 

Specialist General Medicine 

Aster Clinic, Al Barsha 

Samer-Nours-Alfil - Barsha

*Aster Clinics are running special vaccination campaigns for Umrah. For more information and appointments, visit – http://asterclinic.ae/vaccination/

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Busy is life

How About Some ‘Desk-ercise’?

What is the Cubicle Circuit concept and how would it benefit people? What does it do to the body?

People with desk jobs have an established itinerary of activities to perform on a daily basis. Most people have all day desk jobs where they begin and end their day at their desks, parked in front of a computer for 8/10 hours straight. A lot of times people completely disregard the havoc a simple desk job can cause to their body. Research has linked a number of health concerns with too much sitting. Low back pain, wrist pain, obesity, metabolic syndrome, shoulder aches, stiff neck etc. are a few of the health issues that may be caused.

Sitting in one position continuously can cause people to have a hinged back and increase the risk of death from cancer and cardiovascular diseases. A lot of systems in the body are affected by sitting for prolonged hours, predominantly the muscular-skeletal system. The posture maintained by the body for prolonged periods is directly related and contributes to health conditions like neck and back problems, muscle pain etc. The body needs some form of an exercise. Sitting continuously for prolonged periods can lead to obesity. Cardiac diseases are also on the rise because of a sedentary lifestyle.

Busy is Life is an initiative of Aster Clinics to trigger a thought in the minds of those people who are so busy in their day to day lives that they completely ignore their health. Cubicle circuit, in particular, is to help those with a desk job to take a break to break the chain of activities every 30 minutes – 1 hour. Instead of sitting, standing up to work for a few minutes, walking when talking over the phone, stretching a little at regular intervals, are all small steps towards breaking the circuit towards a healthier workplace environment. Movement can have profound impacts on your health. When one is sitting continuously, all health processes are stalled which is why the more you sit in a particular position for prolonged periods, the more serious are the health conditions.

Can the stretching suffice or do U have some tips on what people on desk jobs eat or binge on? As most of them feeling bored or hungry and want to snack on and off.

Standing up, stretching, walking and changing your posture at regular intervals in a day can help negate the harmful effects that sitting for a long duration can cause. Along with these activities, one must also sit on a comfortable chair, adjust the position of the chair and desktop/laptop screen in a way that slouching is avoided.

It is rather common that people snack on sandwiches, chocolates and cookies, coffee etc. excessively when doing a desk job because these are all convenient foods. They are easily accessible and the most convenient to pack and get along. This is another major change that needs to be made. The food that you eat at work should be healthy and full of lean protein. Drinking lots of water are extremely necessary to stay hydrated throughout the day. Salads and fruits must be a regular inclusion in the diet. Snack options should be yoghurt, a fruit or vegetable or even nuts like almonds and walnuts. There may be a number of times where you are required to eat out for a celebration at work, it is best to choose the healthiest option when it comes to restaurant or even the food. It surely isn’t possible to be completely away from food items like pizzas, biscuits, soft drinks etc. which is why an occasional indulgence is okay. This practice should be made not just at work but also in general to adopt a healthy lifestyle.

Also people doing desk jobs tend to get very low and bored at times due to the monotony of work, do you think Cubicle Circuit can uplift their mood, interest in work and Happiness factor?

Sitting in one place and working throughout the day causes a mental block in your head after a certain point. Towards the end of the day, you will be tired, drained, fatigued and mentally drained. Research states that more than sitting at the desk throughout the day, it is your seating posture that affects the mood because different muscle groups are affected, hence leading to hormonal imbalance. Sitting for a very long time also makes a person more prone to depression because the mind has an effect on the body. Also, slouching while sitting induces feelings of fearfulness, dullness and sluggishness.

The head, neck and shoulder should always be aligned, the neck or spine shouldn’t ever curve because the brain considers it a signal that the body is tired making you feel fatigued. A spine stretch will help better your mood. Standing up at intervals helps relieve the stress in the back and neck, hence acting as a mood buster for the body.

Any examples you’d like to give to anyone who has seen a considerable change in work performance and health by following Cubicle Circuit?

Doctors always advise people to follow these steps to increase productivity at work and to improve their health. Walking and stretching at regular intervals can help us stay motivated and avoid being tired. These are little steps that everybody should incorporate in their life as they lead a long way in ensuring a healthy body and mind.

Your health and happiness related advice for people with desk jobs?

As it is very rightly said, ‘Health is Wealth’. Always ensure to take good care of your health, irrespective of whether at home or work. The human brain isn’t meant to work for extended periods, our focus shifts from time to time, however only a small break is required to get the focus back on track. Taking small breaks from a sitting position at work to standing up and moving around will not only help the body relax but also helps the brain to regain focus. Employees who take frequent but short breaks during work have much more stamina and suffer from fewer aches and pains. Avoid eating at the desk and continuously staring at the computer screen as it increases the strain caused to the eye. You may feel that a two minute break is not long enough but it is long enough to do your body a favour and give it the rest it needs. Unfortunately, this advice is not taken seriously and people do not realise the toll of stress and fatigue on an individual’s health and performance. Breaks are most effective when they are taken before they are actually needed. Taking a two minute break in between work to walk or stretch and eating healthy food instead of junk, are crucial steps that are essential to have a healthy mind and body.

 

Dr.Faisal Dalvi 

Internal Medicine Specialist 

Aster clinic, Muteena (DMPC) & Bur Dubai (AJMC) 

Dr faisal - DMPC

News Source – http://www.khaleejtimes.com/news/uae-health/how-about-some-desk-ercise

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joint pain

Healthy Joints For a Healthy Living

A joint also called an articulation, is any place where adjacent bones come together (articulate with each other) to form a connection.  The joint allows the bones to move freely but within controlled limits.

There are various types of joints in the body but among them, the synovial joints are the most common joint.

A key structural characteristic for a synovial joint is its joint cavity. This fluid-filled space is the site at which the articulating surfaces of the bones come into contact with each other. This gives the bones of a synovial joint the ability to move smoothly against each other, allowing for increased joint mobility.

Some joints, such as the knee, elbow, and shoulder, are self-lubricating, almost frictionless, and are able to withstand compression and maintain heavy loads while still executing smooth and precise movements. Other joints such as sutures between the bones of the skull permit very little movement (only during birth) in order to protect the brain and the sense organs.

In a joint, bones do not directly come into contact with each other. They are cushioned by cartilage that lines your joints (articular cartilage), synovial membranes around the joint and a lubricating fluid inside your joints (synovial fluid).

Muscles provide the force and strength to move the body. Coordination is directed by the brain but is affected by changes in the muscles and joints. Changes in the muscles, joints, and bones affect the posture and walk, and lead to weakness and slowed movement.

AGING CHANGES ON JOINTS AND MUSCLES

From about age 30, the density of bones begins to diminish in men and women. This loss of bone density accelerates in women after menopause. As a result, bones become more fragile and are more likely to break, especially in old age.

As people age, their joints are affected by changes in cartilage and in connective tissue. The cartilage inside a joint becomes thinner, and components of the cartilage (the proteoglycans—substances that help provide the cartilage’s resilience) become altered, which may make the joint less resilient and more susceptible to damage. Thus, in some people, the surfaces of the joint do not slide as well over each other as they used to. This process may lead to osteoarthritis or osteoarthrosis. Additionally, joints become stiffer because the connective tissue within ligaments and tendons becomes more rigid and brittle. This change also limits the range of motion of joints.

Loss of muscle (sarcopenia) is a process that starts around age 30 and progresses throughout life. In this process, the amount of muscle tissue and the number and size of muscle fibres gradually decrease. The result of sarcopenia is a gradual loss of muscle mass and muscle strength. This mild loss of muscle strength places increased stress on certain joints (such as the knees) and may predispose a person to arthritis or falling.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis can include:

  • Painstiffnessa grating or grinding sensation (crepitus) when the joint movesswelling (either hard or soft)not being able to use the affected

Joint normally, which can make it difficult to do certain activities

(For example climbing stairs).

PREVENTION

Exercise is one of the best ways to slow or prevent problems with the muscles, joints, and bones. A moderate exercise program can help you maintain strength, balance, and flexibility. Exercise helps the bones stay strong.

A Harvard Alumni Study has published a report that a caloric expenditure of >2000 kcal/day associated with 25% reduction in mortality, they even suggested that physical activity levels must be maintained THROUGHOUT life

Research shows that:

  • Exercise can make bones stronger and help slow the rate of bone loss.
  • Older people can increase muscle mass and strength through muscle-strengthening activities.
  • Balance and coordination exercises, such as tai chi, can help reduce the risk of falls.
  • Physical activity in later life may delay the progression of osteoporosis as it slows down the rate at which bone mineral density is reduced.
  • Weight-bearing exercise, such as walking or weight training, is the best type of exercise for maintenance of bone mass. There is a suggestion that twisting or rotational movements, where the muscle attachments pull on the bone, are also beneficial.
  • Older people who exercise in water (which is not weight bearing) may still experience increases in bone and muscle mass compared to sedentary older people.

Aerobic exercise is any exercise that increases your pulse rate and makes you short of breath (for example a brisk walk, swimming or using an exercise bike). Regular aerobic exercise should help you sleep better, is good for your general health and well-being, and can also reduce pain by raising the levels of pain-relieving hormones called endorphins.

  • Stretching is another excellent way to help maintain joint flexibility.

See your doctor before you start any new physical activity program. If you haven’t exercised for a long time, are elderly or have a chronic disease (such as arthritis), your doctor, physiotherapist or exercise physiologist can help tailor an appropriate and safe exercise program for you.

To summarize

Older adults are the fastest-growing segment of the population

  • As the older adult population increases in number, there is considerable impact on health care and economic aspects of society
  • Observational studies suggest that physical activity may increase the quantity and quality of life

It’s never too late to start living an active lifestyle and enjoying the benefits.

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Influenza Paediatrics

Paediatric Influenza Infections

Viral flu or Influenza is one of the most common and significant causes of respiratory infections worldwide. As many as 1 in 3 children, seeking treatment for flu – like illnesses, at the peak of flu season ( December to February), are at the risk of complications like pneumonia and bronchitis.

 

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

High fever, chills, myalgia, headache, fatigue, nasal congestion, non-productive cough, conjunctivitis and sometimes diarrhoea.

 

MODE OF SPREAD

The Influenza virus spreads through coughing, sneezing or touching objects used by infected person.eg: Handkerchief or towels

 

DIAGNOSIS

Mostly clinical, based on examination findings. In some cases, your Paediatrician may recommend a complete blood count or a nasal swab test to confirm it.

 

TREATMENT

It is mostly supportive, in the form of

  • Acetaminophen for fever
  • Expectorants
  • Steam Inhalation
  • Saline nebulization
  • Oral or IV Fluids, if oral intake is reduced.
  • Anti-viral therapy with Oseltamivir, in severe cases
  • Antibiotics – don’t have a role in most cases.

 

PREVENTION

Regular handwashing and personal hygiene help prevent infections from spreading. It is difficult though to prevent infections from spreading amongst family members and in school.

The flu vaccine can help reduce or prevent viral influenza. It can be given to children over 6 months of age. It is effective for up to 1 year after vaccination. It is recommended for children with recurrent viral respiratory infections, especially when they start school or daycare.

It is an inactivated vaccine and may cause fever up to 2 days after vaccination. It is to be avoided for children with an egg allergy.

 

Dr.Brindha BalaSubramanian

Specialist Paediatrician & Neonatologist 

Aster Clinic, Al Muteena (DMPC)

Dr.-Brinda-60x60

 

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Pregnant women eating fish

Heartburn During Pregnancy

Many women experience heartburn for the first time during pregnancy, although rather common and mostly harmless it can be very disturbing. The increase in acidity and heartburn is, in fact, one of the lesser discussed side-effects of pregnancy. Pregnant women, more often than not, are subject to symptoms of heartburn, which usually begins sometime around their second or third trimester and carries on until the end of their pregnancy.

Heartburn is a burning sensation that begins from a person’s stomach and extends till their chest. The lower esophagus that keeps the content of the stomach in place, leaks or becomes weak and lets the acids flow back into the esophagus, hence causing a fiery sensation.

Pregnant women are prone to heartburn and acid reflux for two main reasons; an increase in the amount of progesterone that their body produces during the course of a pregnancy. The change in hormone levels causes the lower esophageal sphincter to relax, resulting in the backwash. Another reason for the increased incidence is the fact that the growing uterus can crowd the abdomen, putting pressure on the stomach and the lower esophagus and forces the stomach acids upwards. These are not the only reasons for heartburn, however, these are most common reasons. Many women experience gastrointestinal issues during their pregnancy that comes and goes during the course until the baby is born.

Despite the inevitability of experiencing heartburn during pregnancy, there are a number of ways to manage and reduce heartburn during pregnancy. Certain common lifestyle changes can help self-manage heartburn during the course of pregnancy.

  • Eat slow and small meals: Eating smaller meals with an adequate interval between them as opposed to a few large meals can greatly help in reducing the effects of heartburn and acidity. Eating your food slowly allows your stomach to better digest the food and also prevents you from overeating. These steps go a long way in calming the acidity that might flare up during and after meals.
  • Drink water before meals: Sipping on a glass of water before meals would not only help you increase your fluid intake, but also give you a sense of fullness that might prevent you from overindulging during your meals. Intake of fluids should be before or after meals rather than during meals.
  • Stand or walk after your meals: It is strongly suggested to stand or walk around for a brief period of time, rather than simply sitting or lying down. Some light activity after meals can help quicken digestion.
  • Do not go to bed right after eating: Despite the fatigue that accompanies pregnancy, doctors say that going to bed right after eating a meal, heavy or light, can exacerbate the symptoms of heartburn. The suggested time period of having a meal is 3 hours before bedtime. This gives the body enough time to begin digestion and prevent the reflux of stomach contents while you sleep.
  • Elevate your head and chest while sleeping: Putting blocks under the legs of your bed can help in elevating your upper body while you sleep. This prevents the backwash or reflux of the stomach acids up to your esophagus.
  • Understand your triggers and avoid it: Different foods elevate heartburn symptoms in different women. It is important to identify and avoid those food items.
  • Wear loose fitting clothes: The growing fetus is already putting pressure on your stomach. Added to which, tight fitting clothes would only serve to add to that pressure on your already crammed abdomen. Wearing loose fitting or maternity clothes from an early stage in your pregnancy can help your stomach and abdomen area have some room to breathe.

There are also certain home remedies to relieve the symptoms of heartburn. Antacids can also be considered, however only after consulting with a gynaecologist. Heartburn during pregnancy is not something that has to be dealt with silently. A few changes in lifestyle practices can help towards ensuring a smooth and heartburn free pregnancy.

 

Dr.Prakash B Shankar 

Specialist Gastroenterologist

Aster Speciality Clinic, International City 

Dr.Dr_.-Prakash-Shankar-Sp.-Gastro-for-Aster-IC_-2-164x200

*Aster Clinics are currently running special GERD clinics on Mondays and Thursdays. For more information and appointments, visit – http://asterclinic.ae/gerd-gastroesophageal-reflux-disease/

 

 

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