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.

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Diabetes effects in UAE

The effect of Diabetes in the UAE

November is designated as the official Diabetes Awareness Month, and Specialist Physician Dr. George Cherian sat down with the reporters of Friday Magazine to give his insights on the condition and the effects of Diabetes in the UAE. Here are the excerpts from the published interview.

Diabetes in 2017;  how is it affecting people here in the UAE, any statistics/numbers that you can share? 

The International Diabetes Federation states that 415 million people globally have diabetes. As per research conducted by the International Diabetes Federation, 19.3% of the population in UAE are living with Diabetes.

Diabetes is extremely common these days. Earlier it was seen in people above the age of 50. These days there are innumerable cases of youngsters who have diabetes. There are two common types of diabetes, namely Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is much more common than Type 1 and typically develops in adults, although now children as young as 13 years of age develop the condition. The increase in type 2 diabetes appears to be driven by genetics and unhealthy lifestyle conditions. Genetic factors are out of individual control, however, lifestyle factors like healthy dietary practices and maintaining a healthy weight are factors that can be controlled and managed at an individual level.

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Let’s talk about Men’s Health

From time to time men are brought up with ideas like not to cry, not to complain and always show they are strong. This could also be the reason as to why a lot of men have a lazy attitude towards their health. Even amongst general talk, the most conversations lean towards women’s health and issues, how much do we really talk or know about men’s health?

A recently conducted survey revealed that men would rather talk about sports, current affairs, their jobs, kids etc. and not about health. [1] Women are always advised to get regular screenings and tests done in order to make sure they are healthy, but don’t men need to follow the same?

There is a need to create awareness among men about the various health conditions that could affect them in order to urge them to visit a healthcare professional regularly in order to get tested and treated. Urological conditions are rather common in men, they affect a variety of diseases affecting the urinary tract or the reproductive organs. Below listed are 5 of the most common urological conditions in men, their causes, symptoms and treatment options:

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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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