The role of Vitamin D in preserving health

Vitamin D is part of a group of fat-soluble vitamins which can be obtained from a few foods, sunlight and supplements. The main role of Vitamin D is to assist in the metabolism of Calcium and Phosphorus and also in mineralization of bones. Till now, different forms of Vitamin D have been discovered, namely Vitamin D1, D2, D3, D4 and D5 respectively.

Vitamin D Deficiency – Reduced dietary intake or inadequate exposure to sunlight can lead to a deficiency of Vitamin D in the human body. Some studies have defined deficiency as a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level of less than 20 ng per mL (50 nmol per L), and insufficiency is defined as a serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D level of 20 to 30 ng per mL (50 to 75 nmol per L). In case of insufficient Vitamin D levels, 25 hydroxy- cholecalciferol was brought to the kidney and thus the kidneys cannot respond naturally and they fail to connect with blood calcium. The levels of calcium phosphate crystals begin getting low and hence form less soft tissue in the body. Less calcium from the circulation also creates the bone releasing all available calcium, for normality of blood calcium level. The bones, as a result, turn soft and bendable. Calcium in the bone activates the action of the osteoclasts and works as a synthesizer to the bone as well. But Vitamin D deficiency can cause dematerialization the bone. Some significant symptoms are bone pain & soft bones, frequent bone fractures, bone deformities or growth retardation in children.

(more…)

facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Read More

Body Mechanics and Posture

Body mechanics is a term used to describe the ways we move as we go about our daily lives. It includes how we hold our bodies when we sit, stand, lift, carry, bend, and sleep. Poor body mechanics are often the cause of back problems. When we don’t move correctly and safely, the spine is subjected to abnormal stresses that over time can lead to degeneration of spinal structures like discs and joints, injury, and unnecessary wear and tear.

Standing
Millions of people spend a good deal of their time on their feet. Standing work, including bending, lifting, carrying and reaching can be tough on the back – especially if proper body mechanics are not being used. Use the following guidelines to minimize the risk of injury to your back when working while standing.

  • Avoid standing in one position for prolonged periods of time. Change your position as often as you can. This will not only help relieve stress on your spine, it also helps increase circulation and decrease muscle fatigue. When you can, stretch. Gentle stretching exercises during a break can help ease muscle tightness.
  • Make sure the surface you are standing on is firm and level.
  • If possible, lean on a solid support. This can help reduce fatigue during long periods of standing.

(more…)

facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Read More

Ergonomic injuries

Ergonomic Injuries

1) What are ergonomic injuries and how are they caused?

Most people these days have desk jobs that require them to be seated at their desks for 8-10 hours straight. People often fail to realize how much havoc a simple desk job can create in their life. People tend to disregard a lot of simple symptoms by confusing them with symptoms of other conditions and fail to realize that they could be caused by seemingly harmless factors like sitting on a chair for prolonged hours. A lot of health conditions have been said to be caused because of sitting for prolonged hours. Ergonomic injuries affect the muscles, spinal disc, nerves, ligaments, joints etc. Hinged back, back pain, pain in the wrist, stiff neck and shoulder aches are a few of the most common health issues seen due to poor seating posture and continued sitting.

The most commonly suffered ergonomic injuries are;

(more…)

facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Read More

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.

Dr. Ashwin Narasimhaprasad 

Specialist in Orthopaedics  

Aster Clinic, Muteena (DMPC)

Dr. Ashwin - Muteena

http://asterclinic.ae/doctor/dr-ashwin-narasimhaprasad/

facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Read More

Back Pain: The other side of Back of School

The gradual increase of weight of the school bags can have a long-term effect on the children’s health and well-being. 

Every bone in our body has a growth point and it grows as per age. Skeleton is under-development during the growth years in children; therefore, carrying huge weight on their backs, even for a short time can expose them to greater risk of stunned or abnormal growth.

Some potential problems which result due to regular carrying of heavy bags are physiological and compensatory Scoliosis (curvature of the spine) and hunchback deformity or even Trapezitis. Trapezius is a muscle at the back of the neck which helps in shrugging movement of the shoulders along with upward movement of the head. Regular weight handling and bad posture can cause inflammation and muscle spasm in this muscle, which is known as Trapezitis.

(more…)

facebooktwitterredditlinkedinmail

Read More