The rise in air pollution, coupled with lousy lifestyle habits, is causing a spike in respiratory diseases. According to a Lancet report, the contribution of chronic respiratory diseases in India increased from 4.5 per cent in 1990 to 6.4 per cent in 2016. With respiratory issues on the rise, there is an increased demand for natural solutions to treat such issues. Instead of conventional medicine, people are turning to alternative medical therapies to find cures for ailments.
Common Lung Disorders
Bronchitis is a health condition that causes inflammation in the airways of the lungs. This leads to narrowing of the air pathways and excess mucus causes wheezing, coughing and difficulty breathing. It is a chronic condition that interferes seriously with daily life.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
It is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that obstructs the airflow to the lungs. Symptoms of COPD include breathing difficulty, mucus (sputum) production, coughing, and wheezing. It can result from long-term exposure to irritating gases or particulate matter, most often from cigarette smoke. Those affected by COPD are at an increased risk of developing lung cancer, heart disease, and a variety of other conditions.
This is another variation of COPD. Bronchitis causes a similar build-up of mucus that can cause inflammation and coughing. The lungs' airways are constantly inflamed as chronic bronchitis often lasts for months on end. Symptoms of chronic bronchitis include incessant coughing, whistling sounds while breathing, wheezing and a tightening of the chest.
It is said that the cure for all ailments is available the natural way. Here are some of the alternative medicine approaches to treat respiratory disorders.
Alternative Medicinal Approaches to Treat Respiratory Disorders
Asthma is one of the most common lung diseases. One of the primary causes of asthma is allergies, which often result from the food consumed. It is crucial, therefore, to first prepare a diet that is suitable for an individual. Often, dairy products, meats, and certain nuts can increase the production of mucus.
Foods like these must be avoided. Also, antioxidants can prevent damage resulting from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Diet is important in this regard, as fruits and vegetables high in Vitamins A, C, and E can improve the condition of COPD patients.
Yoga and Exercise
Treatment of lung disorders often involves the use of the lungs to promote healthy breathing habits. Exercises like cycling, swimming, yoga etc. that create a need for full capacity breathing are of great importance. Exercising the diaphragm is important and simple activities can go a long way in the treatment of the same.
Pranayama, the practise of controlled breathing, is an integral part of alternative treatment for people suffering from respiratory issues. This extensive breathing practice helps to expand the lungs and improve the capacity of the lungs, which helps an individual breathe more freely.
Nasal irrigation systems like JalNeti using a Neti pot can help to rinse the sinuses, which may provide some relief from symptoms of respiratory allergies.
The traditional Chinese practice of acupuncture involves inserting thin needles into the skin to stimulate certain parts of the body. According to a study published in the journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology, people with allergic rhinitis who were given acupuncture treatments twice a week for eight weeks had fewer symptoms than those administered placebo.
It is important to remember that no one complementary or alternative therapy works well for everyone with respiratory issues. Therefore, a proper assessment is done before deciding on the approach to the treatment plan. For those considering alternative medicine for their respiratory problems, it is recommended to speak to an expert first and discuss the approach that may work best. (Vinoda Kumary, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jindal Naturecure Institute)
Read More► Heartfulness Meditation Helps in Reducing Stress, Reveals Study
An immediate challenge today is the prevention of Diabetes among the youth and pregnant women, Union Minister of State Dr. Jitendra Singh said on Sunday.
The minister, also a renowned Diabetologist, called for a mandatory diabetes test in all maternity hospitals and for every pregnant women, adding that more than 70 per cent of India's population is below 40 years of age.
Calling for an integrated and holistic approach to fight Diabetes, Singh said: Covid has prompted us to discover new norms in adversity and underlined the importance of combining traditional Indian management modalities with the Allopathic System."
"Diabetes is a growing epidemic globally and more so in India. A total of 88 million adult populations in India has diabetes in 2019 as per the latest International Diabetes Federation (IDF) estimates and this is projected to rise by almost 74 per cent to 153 million by 2045, giving India the dubious distinction of becoming the diabetes capital of the world," Singh said.
Sharing the concerns about of Diabetes that is making fast inroads in rural India with huge economic bearing on poor families, Singh said that there is a need to popularise Telemedicine to provide easy and affordable access to the ailing population.
Talking about the National Digital Health Mission, Singh said it can revolutionise healthcare in India as citizens will be issued a health card that will have all their medical information.
He said, the details of medical tests, illnesses, doctors' prescriptions and medical reports will be on a single identity card and will be the first of its kind in the world.
The Union Minister was speaking at a webinar on diabetes on the occasion of World Diabetes Day, jointly organized by Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samasthana, S-VYASA, Bengaluru and Central Council for Research in Yoga and Naturopathy, CCRYN, New Delhi.
Read More► Breast Cancer a Life Changing Reality
Recent medical advances have made breast cancer a highly manageable disease, especially when detected early, as in the case of stages 0-to-II cancers.
Timely treatment also minimises disruptions to the patient's daily routine and quality of life. Advancements in digitalisation have also greatly benefited women, as they can easily access information through YouTube on how to self-examine themselves and learn about breast anatomy or changes in breast structure that should be brought to the notice of specialists immediately.
Women above the age group of 20 -25 years should examine themselves monthly, and those above 40 years of age should go for mammography at regular intervals. With earlier breast cancer detection, the survival rate increases to 80 per cent (Stage 1 and stage 2), as compared to 56 per cent in Stage 3 and stage 4.
In India, however, early treatment is the exception rather than the norm. By the time most patients are diagnosed, they are already in stage III or IV of the disease, where treatment modalities are more complex. Additionally, the stigma of living with breast cancer can hamper the patients' quality of life in physical, psychological, and social terms.
Mental health counselling, family and institutional support, and new drugs and modalities can help women at all stages of breast cancer to improve life expectancy, health, and overall happiness, thus ticking all the boxes for improved life quality.
Stigma And Suffering
One in 28 Indian women is at risk of developing breast cancer during her lifetime. As per a CII report, the median age for diagnosis is 46 years, and nearly half of all diagnosed women are premenopausal, i.e., relatively young compared to breast cancer patients in Western nations.
The concern, though, is that at the time of diagnosis, around 70 per cent of Indian women are already in stage III or stage IV (known as metastatic breast cancer, or cancer that has spread to other parts of the body). While getting screened early may seem like an evident solution, however, low awareness and culturally ingrained stigmas still prevent many women from getting the timely help they need.
Due to cultural factors and social taboos, women do not get checked for breast cancer or share their symptoms with others, thereby leading to delayed diagnosis. Unfortunately, the pandemic has only amplified the burden of our healthcare system, magnifying these delays.
A QOL-Itative Approach
Focusing on patients' QOL means helping them thrive on the physical, emotional and social parameters by improving their all-around experience of the disease. New hope has also come in the form of targeted therapies that shrink or remove tumours by disabling specific proteins on cancerous cells to block their growth.
These therapies, which can often be taken orally, allow patients to bypass chemotherapy and related harsh side effects. Targeted therapies are proving more effective than chemotherapy in extending the survival rates of patients with stage III or IV cancers up to 5-8 years even if a patient is diagnosed at a metastatic stage.
The rise of non-invasive, chemo-free targeted therapies is opening a new front in the battle against advanced and metastatic breast cancer. By reducing or eliminating frequent hospital visits and the side-effects they earlier took for granted, it is possible to enhance patients' physical and psychological well-being and to help them live longer with dignity and independence.
Breast cancer doesn't mean the end of life. Today, treatment options for breast cancer have advanced, giving hope to patients even in advanced stages. Nowadays, due to government policies (Ayushman Bharat), every woman, regardless of her social strata, can avail of world-class cancer treatment in medical facilities across the country.
Even in advanced stages, families should not lose hope, as newer drugs such as molecular therapy treatment have proven effective for patients suffering from hormone-positive breast cancer, which is the most common form of cancer among Indian women. As many as 60 to 90 per cent of patients respond to these advanced treatments positively, enabling them to lead an enhanced quality of life. With such innovations, cancer can be viewed as a chronic disease that needs management.
Awareness-building and sensitisation are key. Educating women and girls in urban and rural contexts about breast cancer, the importance of regular self-monitoring, and de-stigmatising medical examinations and advanced treatment options, so that they can maximise their chances of identifying and beating the disease.
It would also help address psychosocial impacts like anxiety, depression, or fear by making therapy or psychiatry facilities accessible, affordable, and un-stigmatised for patients. This would also include teaching families and communities to support patients by accompanying them for treatments, helping with chores, spending time with them, and not letting them feel like a "burden".
The late American writer John Diamond said that cancer is "a word and not a sentence". However, for lakhs of women, breast cancer is a life-changing reality. While conventional treatments for breast cancer are constantly evolving and their efficacy is undeniable, life after a breast cancer diagnosis is about more than survival (extending the patient's life) or pain management (alleviating physical discomfort). What's required is a holistic approach towards improving the quality of the patient's life and this is being understood today. (Padma Shri Pankaj Shah, Medical Oncology Haematology, Zydus Hospital, Ahmedabad)
Read More► Is Pregnancy Related Low Back Pain Sciatica?
Although India has, for a long time, battled the incidence of cancer, latest estimates pegs them to be rising at significantly higher rate. Once thought of as an old age disease, cancer is now a cause of concern also among the youth and children.
National Cancer Awareness Day is observed every year on November 7 in India, to increase awareness about cancer prevention and the need for its early detection.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), there will be an estimated 12 per cent rise in cancer cases in India in the next five years.
Longer life expectancy is a major contributor to the overall cancer incidence. As people grow old, their bodies have longer time to allow faults to build up and the body accumulates more of these faults in the genes, considerably increasing the risk of cancer.
"Larger proportion of older individuals is the first cause of increased cancer numbers. The higher the proportion of older age in the population, the higher is the chance of cancer," Wesley M Jose, Clinical Associate Professor, Medical Oncology, Amrita Hospital, Kochi, told IANS.
Further, males (52.4 per cent) are more prone to the risk of all cancer cases compared to females (47.4 per cent). Tobacco use is the major reason comprising 48.7 per cent of cancers among males and 16.5 per cent among females.
A recent report states that the number of cancers associated with tobacco use in 2025 would be 4,27,273 contributing to 27.2 per cent of India's total projected cancer cases. Initiation of tobacco, known to contain at least 69 cancer-causing agents, in the youth is a contributory factor to the increased burden of cancers associated with tobacco use in India.
"Tobacco cessation will reduce the cancer burden by about 25 per cent. The major contributing factor being tobacco and ghutka consumption that directly accounts for 27 per cent of cancers in India," Murad E. Lala, Oncologist at P.D. Hinduja Hospital & MRC, Mahim, Mumbai, told IANS.
"We all know that oral and lung cancer that affects our male population to the maximum can be prevented by curbing smoking and tobacco consumption. We need to start thinking of some unhealthy foods similar to what we think about tobacco unnecessary, addictive, and harmful," said Anil Heroor, Director-Advanced OncoSurgery Unit, Fortis Hospitals Mumbai.
Apart from tobacco, alcohol, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle and environmental factors also contribute to the increase in cancers.
"The overall living circumstances of the Indian population have improved and that have also led to a larger sedentary workforce, which has access to a high-calorie diet. These factors indirectly have affected the rise in numbers," Jose said.
"Nearly six types of cancers are linked to obesity and are slowly on the rise among people under 50. These are cancers of the colon or rectal, pancreas, kidney, gallbladder, uterine (also called endometrial cancer), and multiple myeloma. These Cancers are often not discovered in younger people until the disease is advanced and harder to treat," Heroor said.
Childhood cancer is also seeing an increasing trend, mainly of leukemia and lymphomas. Childhood (0-14 years) cancers constitute 7.9 per cent of all cancers, according to ICMR.
"The common types of cancers in children are leukemias, lymphomas, CNS tumours, retinoblastomas and Wilm's tumours. While most of the childhood cancers are curable if detected early and treated appropriately, children in India have limited access to tertiary centres that treat childhood cancers. This delay in treatment causes the survival rate to drop," Jose said.
The cancer burden in the country can be reduced by strengthening the government health systems, making universal health coverage, health education, treatment compliance, and early detection centres at the community level.
Besides, vaccination for virus-related cancer like liver and cervix, and improved physical activity, stricter tobacco and alcohol laws can also help, the experts suggested. (IANS)
Read More► Women Can Have A Heart Problem & Not Even Realise It
Navratri is the festival where nine days of fasting can be observed by a devotee. Many pregnant ladies wish to fast for their religious or personal beliefs. Though it is said that women during pregnancy should be very careful when it comes to fasting because it is not only the mother who needs all the essential nutrients but also the need of the fetus for healthy growth and development.
However, fasting during pregnancy is not as hard as it allows the consumption of various healthy foods at appropriate intervals. But one thing should be remembered by all pregnant ladies that they should not go hungry for long intervals as a baby's nutrition depends on the mother. It is very important to take carbs during pregnancy while fasting. Carbohydrates play a vital role in our growth system. It is an important nutrient source that not only provides energy to muscles and the brain but using the right kind of carbs in the diet can effectively help to provide essential nutrients, build the desired body or accelerate fitness goals.
There are two types of carbs slow and fast carbs which depends on the Glycemic Index ( the rate at which carbs get digested as compared to glucose secretion).
Fast carbs have a high GI and release energy at a much higher pace and get used quickly which makes you feel hungry often and add to weight gain issues. Fast carbs include processed foods such as bread, sugars, starchy vegetables, fruit juices etc.
As compared to this, slow carbs have a low GI and release energy slowly into the body and help to maintain a "satisfied" feeling as your blood sugar levels are maintained.
There are many non-pregnant women who want to shed extra calories. Fasting will be the perfect time to start their fitness journey. To lose weight and stay healthy, the purpose should be to source the right kind of carbs, which release energy slowly and helps you in the long run. Hence, for that, focus on including slow carbs in your diet such as whole grains, seeds and nuts, beans and legumes, vegetables etc. It also tends to be high in fibre.
Should Carbs Be Taken During Fasting?
Although fasting is a very traditional and customary ritual and most people fast for spiritual purification, there is no denying that if you keep yourself nutritionally in check, it can be therapeutic for the body as it can act as a form of detox and keep you healthy as well. So, it is significant to choose the right food while you are on a fast diet to prevent yourself from being deficient in important nutrients as it can make you likely to develop health ailments like weakness, heart problems, skin issues, defective bone growth, etc.
Pregnant women with illnesses such as diabetes, anaemia, high blood pressure should avoid fasting as it could lead to various other complications.
Avoiding carbohydrates will be the last thing you need to do during fasting as it provides energy to the brain and muscles and make you energetic and more productive throughout the day. So, Make sure you are getting enough right kind of carbohydrates, proteins, minerals and vitamins from different sources and be vigilant about selecting healthy foods rather than munch on processed foods.
There are various food options that include slow carbs and few tips to make your fasting healthier:
Because you are fasting, you tend to eat lesser food than usual, and are hungry at odd times, eating slow carbs foods can help you keep fuller for longer as they take longer to digest and break down. Combine high carbohydrates like potatoes and sabudana (widely used in fasting) with other fibrous vegetables like spinach, cabbage, tomatoes, capsicum, bottle guard, etc. Also, try to bake, roast or grill vegetables instead of deep-frying them. Kuttu is a brilliant combination of carbohydrates (70-75 per cent) and protein (20-25 per cent). It is also rich in proteins, B-complex vitamins and minerals like phosphorus, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper and manganese. Use it to make chapatti instead of gorging on puris.
Samak rice is extremely easy to digest and provides energy, contains a high amount of fibre, B-complex vitamins and important minerals like iron and magnesium.
Try and adopt healthy snacking and don't binge on puris, sabudana vada, potato chips, and other delicacies as they are loaded with sugar, salt and fat content, Instead, opt for roasted makhana as they loaded with antioxidants or a mixture of nuts (almonds/raisins/walnut)/ baked chips, roasted peanuts, etc.)
Eat plenty of seasonal fruits and vegetables.
Eat small meals and do not starve yourself. This will help maintain blood glucose levels and prevent you from feeling low.
Keep yourself hydrated. Drink lots of water and fluids like coconut water, lemon water, and buttermilk without adding sugar. These beverages will keep you satisfied for a long time.
While you can gorge on the above-mentioned food items, also try out these healthy recipes this Navratri season:
Sweet potato chaat
1 bowl (250 gms)
Calories-304.5 Cal Carbs-62.09 gms
2-3 Sweet Potatoes (Boiled)
A handful of almonds, peanuts and walnuts
1 tsp Cumin powder and Black pepper
1 tsp chia seeds and roasted flax seeds
Rock salt for taste
1 lemon (for juice)
Boil sweet potatoes and peel them and cut them into small pieces
Now mix the nuts with sweet potatoes
Now add salt, cumin powder and black pepper to it and mix it properly, add lemon juice also
Sprinkle chia seeds and flax seeds
The chaat is now ready to eat
2 pieces (45 gms)
1 cup Kuttu ka Atta / Buckwheat Flour
1/2 cup Sour Curd
1 /4 tsp Ginger paste
Salt to taste
1 tbsp Fresh Coriander (Grated)
1 tsp Green Chilli (Chopped)
Clean and wash the buckwheat in enough water only once. Then drain the excess water using a strainer
Mix the buckwheat, sour curd and half a cup of water in a bowl. Cover it and soak it for at least 4 to 5 hours.
Now add green chilli, ginger paste and salt to the batter and mix very well
Pour the batter into a greased thali and spread evenly by rotating the thali clockwise. Also, Sprinkle freshly chopped coriander
Steam in a steamer for 10-12 min. Or till the Dhoklas are cooked
Cool slightly, cut into pieces and serve immediately with green chutney.
Read More► All You Need to Know About Gluten Free Grains
Many people believe that heart disease typically affects men. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of mortality not only among men, but also among women. But women are actually at greater risk if not detected early, and this exacerbates the issue.
Signs of poor heart health do not appear as visibly in women as it does in men. What this means is that if a man has a heart issue, there are specific symptoms like angina which can be spotted easily and the right course of action be recommended. The same issue in a woman may not result in a sign or symptom that can be easily spotted. So often, their symptoms go ignored or unrecognised and they do not receive timely intervention to correct the problem. The issue is so acute that today 1 in 3 deaths among women is due to coronary heart disease.
There is also a significant lack of self-awareness among women about risk factors and the prevention of CVDs. Women don't only attend to matters of the home, but they hold positions at leading companies, and continue to rise to the occasion and meet impossible demands on their time. Through all of this, they take care of the emotional needs of their family members and loved ones; and still culturally are predisposed to putting the needs of others before their own. The stress they experience, among other common risk factors, often goes unnoticed by those around them. And stress has a greater influence on CVD risk in women vs men. Along with stress, other factors like diet quantity and quality also have a greater influence on CVD risk in women vs men. Additionally, women are also impacted by female-specific risk factors for CVD like polycystic Ovarian syndrome PCOS, preeclampsia, pregnancy induced hypertension and gestational diabetes.
In such a situation where symptoms of a heart problem do not manifest visibly, it is extremely important for women to be aware of their own risk factors and adopt proactive measures to take care of their heart health. For example, one risk factor, stress has been linked to a greater intake of energy and nutrient-dense foods, mainly sources of sugar and fat, and to poor diet quality. Women can take simple steps like reducing unhealthy fats and products with high content of sugar and salt to improve the quality of their diet. Choose ingredients that are good for the heart, like oatmeal, wholegrains, fiber rich vegetables, blended oils with the right balance of fatty acids, legumes, soy products, and the like. Regular and consistent exercise, adequate sleep, and other such lifestyle modifications can help maintain heart health in the long term.
Furthermore with signs of poor heart health not manifesting visibly in women, it is crucial that they get regular health check-ups done to assess their risk proactively. Self-awareness and early identification of cardiovascular risk factors can lead to better prevention of CVD in women.
This World Heart Day, let's choose self-care. Get a simple heart check-up done and encourage other women in yourselves too, to get the same done. Take proactive steps for heart health today.
(By Brajesh Kunwar)
Read More► Myth or Fact: Exercise Must Be Avoided After A Heart Attack