Restless Leg Syndrome

Do you feel a strange sensation in your leg or the urge to kick or flail your legs at night, resulting in you either waking up or your sleep getting disturbed?

If yes, then you might be suffering from a neurological disorder called ‘Restless Legs Syndrome’ or RLS.

The causes of RLS can be divided into the following categories:

  • Idiopathic (Without any specific cause)
  • Familial (May run in some families)
  • “Iron deficiency anemia,” in which there is too little iron in the blood
  • Other medical conditions like kidney disease, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis.
  • Pregnancy

What are the symptoms of RLS? — People who have RLS get an uncomfortable urge to move their legs when they are at rest. They describe the feeling as crawling, creeping, pulling, or itching. And they say the feeling is deep in the legs – not on the skin – usually below the knees. These symptoms usually get worse as the day moves on, and they are worst at night. The only way that the sensation goes away is when people kick or move their legs. Some people with RLS find that their legs move on their own while they are asleep.

In short, the symptoms of RLS include:

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Hepatitis B – Its causes and effects

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a worldwide problem and can cause acute hepatitis, acute liver failure, chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis, and liver cancer. As WHO marks its third annual World Hepatitis Day, it said about two billion people worldwide have been infected with hepatitis B since its discovery and about 600,000 people die every year as a result of the infection.

In recent years the UAE has made moves to relax rules surrounding medical tests for those seeking work permits.

This means that mandatory tests for hepatitis C no longer exist and visa screening and deportation for hepatitis B only applies to certain professions.

It was in 2010 that the Ministry of Health announced an overhaul of the residency medical law.

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healthy plate

A Healthy Ramadan Plate

The holy month of Ramadan is a time when families gather together to enjoy a rich and heavy meal, particularly during Iftaar. One must keep in mind that during Ramadan, the diet of an individual who is fasting is completely altered and completely depends on the meals consumed during Suhoor and Iftar. It is crucial to decide and consume the right kind and amount of food because these meals help an individual sustain their fast for the entire day.

Suhoor (early morning meal) needs to be wholesome in order to provide the required nutrients and energy to last until the next meal at Iftar. An ideal Suhoor meal should contain foods rich in fiber, protein, calcium, and vitamins. Cereals like oats with nuts and dry fruits, wholemeal bread, green leafy vegetables, brown bread with yogurt and fruits are ideal meal options for Suhoor. Eggs are rich in protein and nutrients and help stay fuller. Dairy products are also a great source of nutrition that helps stay hydrated throughout the day. Dry fruit milkshakes, watery fruits like cucumber and tomato are great sources to keep the body hydrated. Drinking plenty of water is key during the non-fasting hours in Ramadan to keep the body hydrated throughout.

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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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5 Secretly Healthy Foods for Pregnancy

Below mentioned foods are loaded with delicious flavors and pregnancy friendly ingredients, to keep you involved in this festive season. So go ahead mommy to be and indulge.

Melon with lime

Watermelon or other melon with a squeeze of lime

Watermelon is 92 percent water, so it’ll help you stay hydrated during pregnancy while also providing a sweet treat. And each cup of diced watermelon has 170 mg of potassium approximately. You can also make homemade watermelon juice by blending it with some fresh lime squeeze and strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve. Then just chill and sip!

Yoghurt with Citrus and Mint
The thick, creaminess of yoghurt feels indulgent enough to scratch that itch for a treat. Punch it up with orange segments plus a sprinkle of chopped mint for a dessert recipe that packs 11 grams of protein and less than 200 calories, plus a dose of brain-development–boosting vitamin C.

Buttermilk with a twist

If you are having a craving to take buttermilk, try it with a hint of mint, ginger and a pinch of salt. This remedy will enrich your taste buds with the boost that you need.

Munch time try raw nuts

Here’s another winning combo of protein and healthy fats. It’s great post-dinner, but you could also easily throw a handful into a plastic baggie for an on-the-go indulgence.

Tofu, fruit, and granola

A small bowl of diced tofu topped with 1 cup of diced mango and 2 tablespoons of high-fiber granola

Many types of store-bought granola are high in sugar and don’t have a lot of fibre. Look for one with at least 3 g of fibre per 1/3 cup serving and no more than 9 g of sugar.

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