Bust Breast Myths

Reports from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) Program of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) shows that 1 per 1000(or 124/ 1 lakh) women develop breast cancer in a year.[1]

A woman’s breasts undergo various changes during the growing years. The breasts, influenced by hormonal changes occurring during the menstrual cycle, degenerate and lead to the formation of debris and fluid collection which feel like lumps. This sensation is common among women and is rather normal, as these lumps are usually benign and disappear on their own with time. Breast cancer develops when one malignant cell in the breast starts multiplying in an uncontrolled manner. Upon division, these cells cause lumps which are felt by the woman if it is on the exterior surface of the breast. If the lump is small and deep within, it is difficult to be felt with bare hands.

Breast cancer is said to be caused by a combination of factors including, stress, smoking, drinking, age, genetic factors, unhealthy lifestyle etc. However, all these factors in combination need not necessarily be causative of breast cancer, even one of them can cause the condition. Women these days are aware of the condition, and even its causes. Yet they tend to disregard the importance of early detection and screening. October is recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month in order to create awareness about the condition and early detection.

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Don’t take Obesity lightly

A 2016 health survey conducted by the Dubai Health Authority stated that 36.1% of the total population was considered to be in the pre-obesity stage, i.e. they were overweight and nearing obesity unless the necessary actions were taken. And 11.9% of the total population included obese individuals.[1]

Obesity is a growing health concern across the world, causing various chronic health conditions and reducing people’s life expectancy. Obesity and being overweight are terms used to describe weight that is generally unhealthy for a given age and height.

As defined by the WHO, obesity is abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that may impair health. Excessive fat accumulation is caused by a combination of factors including, genetics, high-calorie intake, lack of exercise, sedentary lifestyle practices etc. A crude population measure of obesity is the body mass index (BMI) – a person’s weight (in kilograms) divided by the square of their height (in meters). A person with a BMI of 30 or more is generally considered obese, while a person with a BMI equal to or more than 25 is considered overweight. Obesity is now a growing phenomenon across the globe and is directly linked to causing some of the preventable chronic diseases like diabetes, blood pressure, knee and joint problems, stroke, conditions of the heart, as well as certain cancers.

So why are people in Dubai becoming obese? Genetic and cultural factors do play a role in determining an individual’s chance of becoming obese, however, most people blame it on their sedentary lifestyles, long working hours, unhealthy food practices, lack of physical activity, and easily available fast food options. We all give these excuses, but do we realize that we are letting these factors get in the way of good health. Are these really the causative factors for obesity?

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Your questions on Breast Cancer answered

Since what age should women start a breast examination?

Breast cancer is one such cancer that can be cured if detected and treated during initial stages. It is extremely important for women to know what their breasts look and feel like normally so that they are able to differentiate in case of any changes. Breast cancer can happen to women across all age groups, although a majority of the cases of breast cancer occur in women over 40 years of age. However irrespective of the age, women should be aware of their body and its changes. Diagnosing breast cancer in women under 40 years of age is difficult because the breast tissue during that age is much denser than in older women. However self-breast examinations must be done once a month and can be done by women in their 20’s as well. During the teens, women tend to feel lumps in the breast which is quite normal as the breasts are developing and the lumps normally disappear on their own gradually. However, if the lump gets bigger in size or causes pain/discomfort it is better to consult a specialist in order to understand the cause.

A self-breast examination should be done by women whose breasts are fully developed (post-adolescence). Beginning the practice early will help women create a habit out of it and they will become much more familiar with their breasts and can address any changes that the breast undergoes. The self-examination should be done after the days of mensuration as during those days the breasts tend to be swollen. At a younger age, regular examination at frequent intervals is recommended in order to rule out any health condition. Mammograms are not recommended for women below 40 years of age because of the dense breast tissue women have at a younger age, hence mammograms may not be extremely efficient. Women over 40 years of age should screen themselves annually. In case of women who are at higher risk of developing breast cancer; i.e. women who have a family history of breast cancer, women who started menstruating before 12 years of age, women with poor lifestyle habits, women diagnosed with benign breast conditions previously etc. it is recommended to consult a specialist who would be able to advise on the right time to begin mammogram screening.

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Skin care for adults

Living in a temperate, desert climate like the middle east can cause many adults to have skin care problems. Some of the more common skincare problems at adults in the UAE face are Acne, Hyperpigmentation, and Eczema. In this blog article, I answer some commonly asked questions about the aforementioned skincare disorders.

Adult acne

What are the top causes of adult acne?

Adult acne can be caused due to various reasons including excess sun damage, pollution, stress, unhealthy diet, hormonal changes, menopause and poor lifestyle practices like smoking. Some medications can also react with the skin and result in acne.

It is a common belief that the growing years is when all such skin problems occur and once you cross 20’s managing the skin is rather easy. However, this isn’t the case, acne is not caused only in teens. A lot of people develop acne during the adulthood.

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Hyperlipidemia and the risk of cardiovascular disease

Hyperlipidemia is one of the major preventable cardiovascular risk factors and refers to increased levels of lipids (fats), such as cholesterol and triglycerides, in the blood.

Although hyperlipidemia does not cause symptoms, it can significantly increase your risk of developing cardiovascular disease, including diseases of blood vessels supplying the heart (coronary artery disease), brain (cerebrovascular disease), and limbs (peripheral vascular disease). These conditions can, in turn, lead to chest pain, heart attacks, strokes, and other problems. Because of these risks, treatment is often recommended for people with hyperlipidemia.

 

OTHER RISK FACTORS FOR CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE

In addition to hyperlipidemia, there are a number of other factors that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and its complications:

  • Diabetes mellitus, type 1 and 2
  • Hypertension (people with hypertension include those with a blood pressure at or above 140/90 and those who use blood pressure medication
  • Kidney disease
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Family history of coronary disease at a young age in a parent or sibling (young, in this case, means younger than 55 years for men and younger than 65 years for women)
  • Gender: Men have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease than women at every age
  • Age: There is an increased risk of cardiovascular disease with increasing age

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