Not being okay is okay: Let’s talk Depression

In the recent times, the term depression has become extremely conversational and is often used in daily conversations. What people fail to realize is the gravity of the term, the fact that depression is a serious illness and the significance of depression as a mental condition. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is one of the leading causes of disability worldwide.

Depression is highly prevalent worldwide but still not recognized as having serious health implications. Mental health is a topic that people lack awareness about, because of the myths surrounding it. Mental illness is not a permanent state of mind, but a temporary condition which generally gets disregarded because of the taboo and the social stigma attached to it. Globally a massive 300 million people suffer from depression and as per health reports, 4-5% of the population of UAE suffer from clinical depression.[1]

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Oral Health is Overall Health

Often, as children, we were encouraged and compelled by our parents to ensure that we brushed and flossed our teeth twice a day. Although many of us back then might not have understood the insistence of our parents to inculcate these habits into us, as we got older we started to appreciate the good oral hygiene habits that we were exposed to.

1. Why is oral hygiene necessary?

Our oral and maxillofacial (jaws and face) components consist of 32 adult teeth and the upper and lower gums. When referring to oral health and oral hygiene, it is generally understood to reflect the condition of the teeth and gums.

The oral and maxillofacial cavity forms the starting point of our digestive system. Without the process of chewing of the jaws and the teeth, we would not be able to eat or digest the food that is necessary for our sustenance. In order to ensure that the rest of our body maintains its functions using the nutrition we derive from food, we first need to ensure that our teeth and gums are pain free and well maintained. Poorly managed oral hygiene can lead to conditions such as cavities, loss of teeth and gum inflammation that hinder our ability to eat healthy food.

The hindrance to eating however only forms the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the detrimental effects of poor oral hygiene. Some of the most common oral diseases and conditions are:

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5 most common yet ignored men’s health conditions

 

1. Cardiovascular diseases

Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are a class of conditions involving the heart and affecting arteries, blood vessels, veins etc. that could cause heart attacks or strokes. Cerebrovascular heart diseases, affecting the blood vessels supplying blood to the brain, congenital heart disease causing malformation of the structure of the heart since birth, deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism causing blood clots in the leg veins are common CVD.

While conditions of the heart are  among leading causes of deaths in the world, they are generally ignored because heart diseases can even occur with symptoms that do not involve the heart at all. Something that seem as simple as snoring, gum bleeding or fatigue could be a symptom of heart problems.

Common symptoms

Symptoms causing heart diseases can manifest itself in any part of the body. These include sweating, inflammation and shortness of breath. Discomfort in the chest for a few hours, severe pain in the neck, jaw, heartbeat that is slower or faster than usual, fainting, changes in vision and loss of coordination include important signs that show up.

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Lose the Back Pain at Work

In today’s time and age with the wide scale spread of the corporate culture, the majority of the people spend their days working at a desk and in front of a laptop. Despite not having to do anything physical or strenuous that might strain the back directly, this makes people susceptible to back pain irrespective of the age. Long working hours coupled with long commutes only serve to exacerbate the gradual damage that can be caused by having a bad posture.

The ill-effects of sitting with poor posture for a few hours is not immediate, but over time the stress that poor posture places on your spine can lead to anatomical changes in your spine. This, in turn, can provoke back pain through the constriction of your blood vessels and nerves. Back pain due to poor posture is characterised by the following symptoms, firstly, it is worse at certain times of the day. Secondly, it starts in the neck and moves down to the upper and lower back. Thirdly, the pain subsides once you switch positions or stand. And finally, it might coincide with a chair or a new car. However, despite the ill effects of slouching during work or while driving, there are a few remedies to prevent the onset of back pain. These include;

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Obesity Fuels Chronic Kidney Diseases

A health survey conducted by the Dubai Health Authority in collaboration with the Dubai Statistics Centre revealed that 11.9% of people in Dubai suffer from obesity.[i] The growing issue of obesity plays a key role in reducing people’s life expectancy and causes several severe health conditions. Obesity is a combination of factors including high calorie intake, lack of exercise, sedentary lifestyle practices etc. Obesity is now a growing phenomenon across the globe and is one of the key factors responsible for a number of chronic diseases including kidney diseases.

Obesity causes mortality due to diabetes, stroke, conditions of the heart, certain cancers etc. However, a rarely discussed and rather unknown fact is the link between obesity and its consequences on the kidney. Obesity is directly linked to chronic kidney diseases (CKD) and its progression because obesity facilitates diabetes and hypertension which are the two common causes of kidney conditions. Body Mass Index (BMI) is the most used parameter to determine obesity, however, the waist circumference or waist to hip ratio is a better indicator of chronic health conditions. Obesity influences chronic kidney conditions in two ways; an obese individual is at a higher risk of diabetes and high BP which are causative factors of CKD. On the other hand, an obese individual’s kidneys will have to function much harder for the process of filtration in order to meet the demands of a person with higher BMI. An obese individual can also be at the risk of having kidney failure.

Obesity is reported to be one of the leading causes for chronic kidney conditions and end-stage renal disease (ESRD). The end stage of chronic kidney conditions is called ESRD when they kidneys are no longer able to function to its ability on a daily basis.

The most common kidney damaging conditions are;

Polycystic kidneys: is a condition where a person has multiple cysts in the kidneys causing it to enlarge. This condition is generally a birth defect.

Kidney stones: or Nephrolithiasis are hard mineral deposits made of acid salts that form inside the kidney or urinary tract. People who take medicines for gout are at a risk of kidney stones, dehydration is also a cause for the condition.

Proteinuria: a condition developed when there is abnormal protein in the urine. Albumin is a protein found in the human blood because the body needs it to fight infections, build muscle etc. The function of the human kidney is to filter the blood and remove things that aren’t required by the body. There will be an underlying cause for proteinuria which needs evaluation.

Focal segmental glomerulosclerosis: is a condition caused by scarring of the kidney. This condition may be caused due to primary or secondary reasons. The primary reason of scarring being no obvious cause, the secondary reason may be caused by another pre-existing condition, a prescribed drug, obesity or any other underlying condition.

Glomerulonephritis: is a condition causing inflammation of the Glomeruli (the kidney cell). This can lead to Hypertension, blood in the urine and proteinuria. In certain cases, this can progress to acute kidney failure.

It is extremely important to keep your kidney healthy for it to function to its full capability. Your blood sugar needs to be in control, failing which will cause diabetes. Keeping your body and mind fit by staying active helps in keeping the body fit and healthy. Water is key to prevent kidney conditions, drinking water flushes out the toxins from the kidneys and reduces the chance of kidney stones. Smoking is a causative factor for a number of health conditions, and it is always best to quit it. Certain over the counter medications may also cause kidney damage. This does not mean that they should not be taken at all, however, a physician must be consulted before self-medication. Routine medical checks are important to screen for chronic kidney conditions and for those who aren’t aware of the health risks they have. An obese individual must be aware of the positive impacts of losing weight which will include prevention and reduction of various chronic health conditions like diabetes, hypertension, heart diseases and kidney conditions.

Every year, March 9th is celebrated as World Kidney Day with the aim of educating people about the importance of kidney health and the diseases associated with the kidney. This year World Kidney Day goes by the theme of ‘kidney disease and obesity’ because obesity is a potential risk factor for kidney diseases which is an unknown fact. Obesity and chronic kidney conditions are both preventable, upon undertaking healthy lifestyle practices. This kidney day lets us all promise ourselves to ensure adopting and advocating healthy lifestyle practices to beat the harmful health consequences of obesity and related kidney diseases.

Dr. John Cherian Varghese

Specialist Nephrologist 

Aster Clinic & Hospital 

Dr. John Cherian

[i] –  http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/health/survey-12-of-dubai-population-is-obese-1.1838295

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