Ways to improve your child’s immunity

A child is continuously exposed to disease-producing organisms like bacteria, viruses, fungi and other parasites. Although a simple exposure does not mean that your child will fall sick, a strong immune system provides the child with a natural defense against diseases.

Newborns enter this world with an inexperienced immune system. With time children battle various infections and get their immunity primed. Hence it is perfectly normal for a child to develop 6 to 8 episodes of upper respiratory infections in a year. In fact, it is important for a child to acquire mild infections and develop lifelong immunity against some diseases. However, if a child is overly susceptible to infections, his/her immune system may need to be boosted.

The simplest yet important way to boost a child’s immunity is to give him the necessary vaccinations. Hygiene techniques, particularly hand washing, also play an important role in reducing the stress on a child’s immune system. Hence, children should be taught the importance of hand washing at home and school.

A few ways to boost up a child’s immunity include:

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Living with PCOS

PCOS is one of the most common endocrine disorders in women of reproductive age, often complicated by chronic anovulatory infertility and hyperandrogenism with the clinical manifestations of oligomenorrhoea, hirsutism, and acne.  Many women with this condition are obese and have a higher prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance, type II diabetes and sleep apnoea than is observed in the general population. They exhibit an adverse cardiovascular risk profile, as suggested by a higher reported incidence of hypertension, dyslipidemia, visceral obesity, insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia. PCOS is frequently diagnosed by gynecologists and it is therefore important that there is a good understanding of the long-term implications of the diagnosis in order to offer a holistic approach to the disorder.

Counselling :

Women should be made aware of the long-term implications of their condition, including their cardiovascular risk, by their doctor, in a way that is tailored to their individual circumstances. Women should be made aware of the positive effect of lifestyle modification, including weight loss, for improving their symptoms. Especially those women who are overweight or obese.

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GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux disease)

Gastroesophageal reflux is essentially the reflux or regurgitation of stomach contents back into the food pipe or esophagus. This is a normal process that occurs in otherwise healthy children, and adults. Most episodes are brief without causing any symptoms or problems. However, in some people, acid reflux can injure the esophagus and result in symptoms such as heartburn, vomiting, or pain when swallowing. This condition is called gastro esophageal reflux disease (GERD).
GERD occurs when the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) becomes weak or relaxes when it shouldn’t, thereby causing the stomach contents to rise up in the esophagus. Increased pressure on the abdomen due to excessive weight, obesity, pregnancy, and certain medicines such as those for asthma, calcium channel blockers, painkillers, sedatives, antidepressants and smoking, all contribute to the eventual weakening of the lower esophageal sphincter
The most common symptoms of GERD include heart burn, the regurgitation of food, chest fullness/ pain, feelings of excessive salivation and so on. Some patients also experience feelings of nausea, pain or the feeling of constantly having a lump in their throat, bad breath and the wearing down of their teeth. These symptoms are further exacerbated at night while lying down flat to sleep.
GERD can affect people of all ages, from infants to older adults. People with asthma are at a higher risk of developing GERD as asthma flare ups cause the stomach contents to flow back, or reflux into the esophagus. Conversely, acid reflux can make asthma symptoms worse by irritating the airways and the lungs. If one has both GERD and asthma, managing the GERD may help control the asthma symptoms.
Investigations may be necessary in some cases and may include Endoscopy (inserting a tube through the mouth to examine the inside of the esophagus), an X-ray of the upper digestive system, an ambulatory acid pH test (which monitors the amount of acid in the esophagus), and an esophageal impedance test (which measures the movement of the substances in the esophagus). If you have accompanying symptoms like persistent vomiting, loss of appetite, weight loss, difficulty in swallowing or vomiting blood etc. it is advisable to immediately see a doctor and get their advice.
Treatment for GERD starts with changes in lifestyle measures such as waiting for at least two hours after food before lying down, raising the head of the bed, avoiding tobacco, losing weight if overweight, decreasing alcohol intake, avoiding heavy meals, and decreasing caffeine intake.

However, the first step for treating GERD is to begin making the necessary dietary changes to help reduce the severity of your symptoms and give your body time to heal. It is important to consider which foods cause heartburn and discomfort and which foods don’t cause any painful symptoms at all. Few foods which are best avoided when on a GERD diet are spicy foods, trans fat and high-fat foods, very hot foods and liquid, mint and chocolate, alcohol and other foods which could be triggering an individual’s GERD. It should also be noted that each individual’s case is different and not everyone reacts the same way to particular foods. One needs to take the time to find out what ‘triggers’ theirs symptoms and make their own ‘safe to eat’ and ‘foods to avoid’ lists. It may take a little while before you fully understand your body’s reactions, but the most effective way to manage the condition is to “listen” to your body and work with it to devise a plan that will help in your specific situation. If these symptoms interfere with your daily life it is time to see your physician. Medications like proton pump inhibitors or histamine blockers may be necessary. Although sometimes in severe and intolerant cases, surgery may also be recommended.

Dr. Vijay Anand. V

Specialist Gastroentrologist

Aster Clinic, Al Qusais

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Aster DM Healthcare buys Saudi’s Sanad hospital for INR 1.6k crore

MUMBAI: In one of the largest healthcare deals in West Asia, Dubai-based Indian billionaire Dr Azad Moopen has acquired majority stake in Sanad hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for INR 1,600 crore. Aster DM Healthcare, Moopen’s company, bought the additional 57% from a Saudi partner to up total stake to 97%. In December 2011, the company had acquired 40% in the hospital.

The deal closed after the necessary clearances from Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), the body that takes foreign investment related decisions in the kingdom, came through in September.

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Botox – an anti-aging tool

Botox is one of the most “in things” these days. Loads of people swear by it and there are many who swear against it. Botox along with fillers are  considered the “holy grail” against ageing. But did you know that Botox is actually a toxin?? Sounds Strange, but yes it is. The whole  beauty of using botox in medical science is that we have been able to use its lethal effect for our benefit. (more…)

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