Mental Health Day: Significance and Objective

World Mental Health Day and Mental Health Day in India is observed on 10th October every year. This day is significant because it raises public awareness about mental health care and encourages people to become involved in improving their mental health.

Mental health is one of the most overlooked aspects of public health. Around one billion people suffer from mental illnesses; three million people die each year from excessive alcohol consumption, and one person commits suicide every 40 seconds. In addition to social stigma and discrimination, some human rights violations are committed against people with mental health issues.

Mental health refers to a person who is "adjusted emotionally and behaviorally in an acceptable manner." It is a state of mental health that is devoid of mental disease. Mental health is defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as "personal well-being, autonomy, perceived self-efficacy, competence, intergenerational reliance, and self-actualization of one's intellectual and emotional capacity, among other things."

Mental health problems can develop due to sadness, stress, loneliness, anxiety, grief, mood disorders, and a variety of other mental illnesses. Therapy, counselling, or medicine can all aid in the recovery process from various ailments.

Everybody, everywhere, can join in this year's campaign: as people, by taking tangible measures to promote our mental well-being and the mental health of friends and family; and as companies, by taking steps toward implementing wellness programs for employees.

The government is working hard to expand mental health services with media outlets that will help raise mental health awareness.

Mental Health Significance and Theme of Mental Health Day

The pandemic had a significant influence on people's mental health. Governments from around the globe highlighted the need to scale up effective mental health services at all levels during the World Health Organization in May 2021. Additionally, several countries have developed novel approaches to delivering mental health treatment to their citizens.

It prompts us to consider acquiring additional knowledge about our nervous system for our mental well-being. Let us take a closer look at the matter.

There are several well-researched facts about the CNS. The nervous system is a complex network of nerves and special cells known as neurons that send information between various body areas. The brain is the body's most complicated organ, using 20% of the oxygen we breathe. The brain is believed to have 100 billion neurons linked to thousands of others. It is the electrical wiring of the body.

The neural system is essential because it enables all of the body's components to communicate. Additionally, it responds to both external and internal changes in the body. The nervous system communicates both electrically and chemically. The nervous system is composed of the brain, spinal cord, nerves. The nervous system is engaged in every thought, word, and action you make.

What could go wrong with your neurological system?

Numerous issues can affect your neurological system as per the nervous system facts, including the following:

  • Nerve injuries that result in the death of nerve cells or the severance of nerves
  • Meningitis and encephalitis are examples of infections.
  • Stroke is caused by the obstruction or tear of blood arteries that supply the neurological system.
  • Brain cancer
  • Hyperglycemia or multiple sclerosis can cause nerve fibre damage.
  • Aspartame slows metabolism, resulting in complex PTSD and sleep disorders.
  • Brain haemorrhage symptoms include headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, seizures, confusion, sudden tingling or numbness or weakness, paralysis, difficulty in swallowing, etc.
  • Stroke during sex

Once nerve cells die in the brain or spinal cord, they cannot regenerate. However, nerve fibres can occasionally regrow if their cellular body is not damaged. Nerve fibres might take months to regrow. Doctors can occasionally reattach tiny nerves, restore their function, and repair the spinal cord and the brain. If you notice any of the signs mentioned above or symptoms, these are sufficient reasons to consult a neurologist.

What effect does ageing have on the neurological system?

As individuals age, their brains lose nerve cells. Your body has a more challenging time producing new nerve cells and repairing damaged ones. In comparison to younger generations, older generations are more likely to:

  • Have difficulty in recalling previous events or picking up new skills
  • Have difficulty with words
  • Have reaction times that are slower
  • Skin has less sensitivity
  • Clumsiness

It brings us to another critical point: what are the different forms of mental disease? The following are a few examples:

  • Depressive conditions (such as depression or bipolar disorder)
  • Anxieties.
  • Personality abnormalities.
  • Diseases of the mind (such as schizophrenia)
  • Anorexia.
  • Health diseases associated with trauma (such as post-traumatic stress disorder)
  • Disorders related to drug addiction.

Mental Health Causes

The following factors will lead to the aforementioned mental diseases or mental illnesses:

  • Genetics.
  • Environment.
  • Adverse childhood experiences.
  • Stressful happenings, such as the death of a loved one or getting involved in a vehicle accident.
  • Negative thinking.
  • Unhealthy habits, such as not having enough sleep or skipping meals.
  • Drugs and alcohol: Substance abuse can precipitate a mental disorder.

Mental Health Awareness

The key to excellent mental health is to be aware of how to improve one's mental health. Mental health awareness is essential because it enhances the likelihood of early intervention. This early detection increases the possibility of a speedier recovery. Mental health is now recognized as a disease as a result of increased awareness. These diseases are treatable.

It takes us to another thought-provoking point on the importance of mental health or the significance of World Mental Health. Our psychological, emotional, and social well-being all fall under mental health, affecting our feelings, thoughts, and actions. Moreover, it influences our dealing with stress, interactions with people, and making good decisions. Mental health is critical at all stages of life, including childhood, adolescence, and maturity.

Additionally, one could inquire about the mental health objectives. World Mental Health Day is observed to ensure that primary mental health treatment is available and accessible to all. Another goal is to promote the application of mental health knowledge in primary care and social development.

 Mental health care is critical because it has the potential to prevent many mental disorders. The following are some strategies for maintaining your mental health:

  • Communicating your feelings, especially when you are distressed
  • Keeping yourself active
  • Eating well in the sense that you consume nutritious and balanced foods
  • Drinking enough water
  • Maintaining contact with your social circle friends and family
  • Seeking help when necessary and not being afraid to ask
  • Taking a break from your routine
  • Doing something you enjoy or developing a long-lost hobby
  • Accepting who you are and what you have, the way they are
  • Caring for others

If you are concerned about your mental health or want to know more about taking care of your mental health, you should always contact a neurologist or opt to consult an online neurologist. Several cities also provide mental health care services wherein you can contact a mind doctor in Delhi, a top neurologist in Jaipur, a mind doctor in Agra, the best neurologist in Faridabad or even a migraine doctor in Jaipur.

FAQs related to Mental Health

  1. What are the strategies that will help you remain mentally alert?

The following strategies may help you stay mentally alert for longer:

  •         Physical activity
  •         Limiting alcohol consumption
  •         Smoking cessation
  •         Obtaining therapy if you have hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, or diabetes
  1. What are the foods that heal nerve damage?

Several of the best foods for nerve repair include the following:

  • Vegetables that are green and leafy. Broccoli, spinach, and asparagus are all excellent sources of vitamin B, a nutrient that is necessary for nerve regeneration and function.
  • Fruits. Consume at least one fruit every day to aid in the healing of injured nerves.
  • Zucchini.
  • Squash.
  • Quinoa.
  1. What is the state of mental health in India?

India is the world's most depressed country, according to a WHO assessment. According to the research, between 1990 and 2017, one in every seven Indians suffered from a mental disease such as depression, anxiety, or another severe disorder. Additionally, India suffers from a shortage of mental health specialists. These issues demand a quick response from both the government and individuals.

References:

  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK20367/
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nerve_injury
  • https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14480-brain-bleed-hemorrhage-intracranial-hemorrhage
  • https://www.nature.com/articles/sc2011132
  • https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/mental-health-causes-mental-illness
  • https://www.who.int/campaigns/world-mental-health-day

 


Effects Of Depression On The Human Body

What is depression?

Depression is a complex mental condition that affects over 264 million people across all age groups worldwide. From having frequent mood fluctuations to experiencing persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness, depression can manifest itself in various forms, degrees, and duration. In most severe cases, this may even lead to death by suicide. 

Causes and symptoms of depression

While depression results from chemical imbalances in brain, there are many other potential causes for this complex and little understood heath condition. Knowing the symptoms of depression are essential to understanding what is depression. These include genetic vulnerability, personal trauma, stressful life events, certain medications, and even social isolation. It is believed that certain ways of thinking and behaving can fasten the dive into depression, while others can prevent it. Two or several of these forces interact to cause depression in human beings.

If we talk about the symptoms of depression, they can manifest themselves both physically as well as emotionally. The emotional symptoms of depression include persistent feeling of sadness, irritability, and hopelessness. Lack of focus and concentration are also related to one’s mental state. 

Physical Symptoms

Depression can have debilitating effects on body just as it affects the mind. Physical effects of this debilitating problem include constant feeling of fatigue, erratic sleep habits, loss of appetite, muscle pain, frequent headaches etc. 

Depression can have both short-term and long-term effects. While appetite loss, weight issues, and other physical symptoms are short term effects of depression, one can suffer malnutrition from not eating enough or obesity from eating too much. Changes in food habits and accompanying weight loss or gain can also be a side effect of antidepressant medications. Long-term depression can also cause death by suicide. 

Pain

From sore muscles to frequent head aches, people with depression often complain of chronic body pain which can be debilitating and also contribute to other physical effects of depression.

 

Gastrointestinal Symptoms

Depression is also said to cause stomach related problems, such as nausea, bloating, diarrhoea, or constipation. This could be because of a neurotransmitter called serotonin that is present in the brain and gut. Serotonin is linked to depression because it is said to help regulate mood, but researchers also know that it also plays a role in maintaining digestive function. 

 

Can depression affect your immune system?

Yes, it does. Depression can cause your immune system work less optimally, making one more prone to seasonal sicknesses like flu and cold. A weakened immune system takes longer for patient to get better.

 

Sleep Problems/Fatigue

Sleep disorders are one of the most important and visible symptoms of depression. People who are depressed either struggle to fall sleep, or sleep too much. Then comes the problem of perpetual fatigue i.e no matter how much they sleep, they never feel rested. They also struggle to perform activities of daily living, such as bathing or doing household chores. 

 

High Blood Pressure

Depressed people are often under stress for a long period of time. While it’s surely not the only cause, stress is one of the biggest contributors to high blood pressure

Chronic stress, primarily has been linked to high blood pressure. This in turn, increases a person’s risk of cardiovascular disease like heart attack.

 

Social effects of Depression

In addition to the body health effects of depression, patients also experience social effects of depressive mental state. The social effects of depression change how a person functions in the world and their relationship with others. Avoiding social contact and interaction is a common pattern in people falling into depression. Some people begin skipping activities they normally love to do and start isolating themselves from the world outside. Others turn to liquor or junk food to hide their pain and sadness. Some social effects of depression include:

  • Substance use and abuse
  • Social and family withdrawal
  • Decreased performance at work or school

 

Depressive state vary from person to person, but what they have in common is that they can serve to worsen patient's mood, unleashing a vicious cycle.


Nerves Impact The Intensity Of Alzheimer’s : How?

Alzheimer’s is a neurological disorder that impedes the brain’s memory and ability to function. More commonly known as the memory loss disease, the prevalence of Alzheimer's disease is worldwide.  A person grappling with Alzheimer’s disease, the brain cells start to deplete to a stage where the brain’s size shrinks and the person’s memory is completely diminished. In Alzheimer’s disease, nervous system development is  severely affected. 

 

Who Does Alzheimer’s affect? 

Generally, it is people above the age of 65 who are at the risk of having this illness. This is because, with ageing, the brain shrinks along with loss of neurons. However, in case of Alzheimer’s patients, the neurons start degenerating rapidly, thus causing cognitive impairment and memory loss. Apart from this,  genetics too can be a factor that leads to Alzheimer’s. If Alzheimer’s runs in your family, you’re at a risk of it developing in you too. Neurological problems, such as stroke, head injuries, and other health conditions too, can affect the brain and lead to Alzheimer’s. In some serious cases, severe Alzheimer’s can lead to hemorrhage in the brain. 

 

Neuropathology of Alzheimer’s Disease 

Neurofibrillary tangles and Beta-amyloid plaques are mainly responsible for the damage caused to the brain cells. Apart from this, another important feature of this neurological disorder is depletion of nerves and loss of connection between the neurons. With time, the brain eventually shrinks and its normal way of working is impeded. Depending upon the intensity and severity of the disease, there are three types of Alzheimer’s disease - mild, moderate, and severe. A person goes through each of these stages as time progresses. 

The symptoms of Alzheimer’s intensify over the years. Some of them are given below- 

  • Lack of energy or the zest to work
  • Forgetting to carry out simple tasks
  • Withdrawal from social life, signs of depression 
  • Trouble understanding or interpreting words, symbols, etc.
  • Struggling in solving problems, remembering directions 
  • Slurred speech, and trouble putting words to thoughts 
  • Confusion about the time and place, difficulty in remembering faces. 
  • Wandering
  • Delusions

 

How does Alzheimer’s affect the body?

Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, meaning that the symptoms keep getting worse as time passes by. While the cognitive effects of Alzheimer’s disease are known to everyone, very few know how debilitating effect Alzheimer’s can have on the person’s body. Alzheimer’s disease kills you slowly over a period of time. It doesn’t hit you all at once, it is a slow burn, which at first affects the memory and gradually all of you.  Hence, many a time, one may miss the early signs of this disorder. 

 

Some of the physical challenges that a patient may notice are - 

    • Loss of balance and poor coordination 
    • Trouble in movements such as standing, sitting 
    • Shuffling or dragging feet while walking 
  • Weak or stiffened muscles 
  • Fatigue 
  • Problems with bladder and bowels 
  • Difficulty in chewing or swallowing food 
  • Seizures or twitches 

Physical symptoms start showing up during the moderate stage of Alzheimer's. 

 

Alzheimer’s and Phantom pain

Phantom pain is a condition where one perceives or imagines the pain from the part of the body which no longer exists. It is a common condition amongst dementia patients to perceive pain. The degeneration of brain cells makes it difficult for Alzheimer's patients to explain or articulate pain. There’s no specific diagnosis of phantom pain, doctors can still identify them and treat them. 

 

Autonomic Dysfunction and Alzheimer’s 

Autonomic dysfunction is the medical condition where the nerves in the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) are damaged. This condition is usually common in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Autonomic nervous system regulates several involuntary movements in the body such as digestion, heart rate, respiratory rate, urination, etc. The effects of this disease can range from mild symptoms to severe life threatening conditions. 

 

Some of the symptoms of Autonomic Dysfunction are - 

  1. Dizziness and fainting
  2. Urinary problems, bladder issues, incontinence, etc.
  3. Sexual problems in both men and women
  4. Sweating abnormalities which indirectly affect the regulation of temperature in the body
  5. Blurry vision, sluggish pupil reaction. 
  6. Difficulty in digesting and other digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, diarrhoea  
  7. Problems with heart rate. Exercise intolerance where there is difficulty in maintaining heart rate. 
  8. Tremors and muscle weakness 

Researchers have observed that Alzheimer’s disease can lead to autonomic dysfunction. The nerve damage in this disease interrupts the messages sent between the brain and the other organs, as well as areas of the autonomic nervous system. It is necessary to seek consultation from a professional for proper diagnosis and treatment. Consult the best neurologist in Delhi for quick recovery and enhanced treatment.  

 

Alzheimer’s is a disease where the rapid loss of neurons affects the person, both mentally and physically. Simple, routine activities become a challenge. Going through the day, constantly forgetting stuff can make the patient moody, and frustrated. Living with Alzheimer’s is a difficult task. Not only is the person’s ability to remember is lost, there are other functions in the body that are impaired. It becomes necessary for the caretaker and the family members to give attention and care for people with Alzheimer’s. 

 

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Caring For A Person With Epilepsy: 10 Ways

Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by seizures. The nerve cell activity in the brain is disturbed, thus causing the frequent outbursts of electrical energy. Caring for someone with epilepsy can be difficult as one does not know when or where the seizures occur. Epilepsy depends from person to person. While some people can live on their own and manage their seizures by themselves, others on the other hand may need a lot of care and attention. 

 

Epilepsy seizures can be different for different people. There are several reasons why a seizure can be triggered. Sometimes bleeding or haemorrhage in the brain can lead to seizures. The two major types of seizures are- 

 

  • Focal onset seizures- These seizures at first start in the brain and later spread to other parts of the body. A person may experience sudden movement or twitching which is out of their control. They might zone out or not remember anything after the seizure. 

 

  • Generalized seizures -These seizures affect multiple parts of the brain at the same time. People are barely aware of what’s happening around them. These can be dangerous and frightening to watch. 

Such sudden outbursts can make living with someone with epilepsy difficult. 

How to support someone with epilepsy?

The sudden seizures and the effect it has on the person, makes caring for them an arduous task. One needs to be calm and ready when it comes to looking after someone with this disorder. Here are a few tips that will come in handy while caring for someone with epilepsy. 

 

  • Always be prepared

The seizures are irregular and unpredictable, hence, it’s important that the caretaker is ready for anything that they might have to face in the future. The best way to be prepared is to know what the other person is going through. You can do this by reading more about epilepsy and talking to the doctors and gaining more information about what type of seizure the person has and what to do when someone has a seizure. 

 

  • First Aid 

Since the seizures are so unpredictable, it’s safer to keep a first aid box handy as the patient may hurt themselves. The first thing to do is to ease the person out of the epileptic seizure. Keep them away from other people and let them calm down. In case of any injuries, cover them up. Remove all the obstacles in front of them to avoid clashes. Practice breathing with them. If things get worse, provide them with the required medications or call for help. 

 

  • Observe and take notes 

As a caregiver, one of the best ways to support someone is observing their seizures. Doctors can’t be with the patient the whole day, however, as someone who is usually around the patient, you can observe them and their seizures and take notes of them. You can note down how long the seizure lasts, when and how it takes places, what triggers the seizures, etc. Maintaining a record of all these points will help you and the patient in future treatment. 

 

  • Medications  

It is vital that you provide the person suffering their medications on time. Ensure what dosage they’re having and at what time. It is necessary that the person suffering has their medicines on time for their effective working. Medications will help the person recover and have a better life.

 

  • Be supportive and encouraging

As a caregiver one of the best ways you can help a person with epilepsy, is by encouraging them. A few words of daily encouragement can help them overcome the disorder and get better. The frequent seizures have a great impact on the person and can affect them severely. Hence, it becomes necessary that you take good care of them and help them relieve their anxiety and frustration. Help them focus on the positive aspects of life and engage in activities that will keep them busy and shift their attention. 

 

  • Ensure they get enough rest

Seizures can be exhausting, both mentally and physically. Therefore, sleep is necessary. Ensure that the person is getting enough and sound sleep. Sleep deprivation is one of the triggers of seizures. Hence a sound and peaceful sleep is a must. 

 

  • Make them communicate 

Being dependent on someone and having frequent seizures can deeply affect the mental state of a person. Thus, talking to them and having a conversation can comfort the person, and help in managing epilepsy. 

 

  • Take care of their diet 

When a person has a seizure they’re barely aware of what happens around them. They may tend to skip their meals or ignore their diet. Some may even resort to alcohol in order to overcome this disorder. However, alcohol will only cause further damage to the patient’s body and health. 

 

  • Keep emergency contact ready 

Safety is of most importance. Therefore, in case of any emergency, such as times when the person has a seizure longer than usual, or anything unusual you notice, keep the emergency contact nearby. This way you can immediately call for help without wasting much time. Consult the best neurologist in Delhi for better treatment and care of a person with epilepsy. 

 

  • Teach them relaxing techniques

In order to get someone to overcome their seizure, you should help them relieve their stress and anxiety. Teaching them relaxing techniques will help them soothe themselves and calm them down. Stress is one of the reasons for seizures. By learning relaxing techniques such as meditation or yoga, you can ease out the stress. 

 

Caring for someone with this disorder can be overwhelming and exhausting. However, it is important to note that this is just as hard for them as it is for you. With proper love, care and medical attention, one can take control of their life. 

 

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Development Of Nervous System In A Child :Its Importance

A newborn child is a universe in itself. The initial years are of most importance and require great care and attention. There are several changes taking place in the body as the growth takes place at an exponential rate. Most of the development in a child takes place in the first five years. Similarly, the development of the nervous system too, takes place in the initial years, which later helps the child to learn, speak, think and carry out several activities. 

 

The spinal cord, the brain and the nerves make up the nervous system. There are two types of nervous system, the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. A child goes through four stages of nervous system development. At birth, the bones in the skull of the newly born baby are soft and flexible. Later, as the baby grows, the bones become strong and hard. The development of the central nervous system which comprises the brain and the spinal cord, starts right when the child is in the womb. 

 

The development of the brain in childhood depends on various factors such as the child’s environment, relations and experiences. At birth itself, the brain has approximately 100 billion to 1 trillion neurons. The well development of the brain depends upon the proper nutrition and brain building activities. 

 

The 6 stages of nervous system development are - 

As mentioned earlier, the development of the nervous system begins in the womb itself. There are millions of nerves present all over the body which help in carrying out several functions of the body. The neurons are responsible for major functions such as learning and memorizing, and thus their development continues for lifetime. The formation of neurons in children is as follows :

  • Stage 1- Neurogenesis

This is the first step in the formation of neurons in the body. The cells undergo mitosis, in order to produce neuroblasts, or stem cells which ultimately can be differentiated into neurons. 

  • Stage 2- Cell Migration 

At this stage, things start getting a bit complex. Here, the cells start moving to great distances in order to form distinct nerve cell populations. For example- layers of cerebral cortex, nuclei in the central nervous system. 

  • Stage 3- Cell Differentiation 

In the process of cell differentiation, the cells form into distinctive types of neurons or glial cells. 

  • Stage 4- Synaptogenesis 

As the name suggests, synaptogenesis is the establishment of synaptic connections as axons and neurons grow. The synapses, axons and the dendrites all help in communication. The formation of synaptic connection starts right from the second trimester and continues throughout childhood and adult life.  

  • Stage 5 - Neuronal Cell Death 

This is the selective death of nerve cells. 

  • Stage 6- Synapse Rearrangement 

In this stage, some synapses are lost whereas, on the other hand, other synapses are developed in order to refine synaptic connections. 

 

Food and Nutrition for the Development of the Nervous system 

Food is the fuel for the human body. It is quintessential that a growing child gets the right nutrition supplement in order to ensure their robust growth. Some of the food items that serve as good nourishments are - eggs, greek yogurt, green leafy vegetables, fish, nuts and seeds such as peanuts and sunflower seeds, oatmeal, fruits such as apples, bananas and plums. All of these foodstuffs will aid in enhancing memory and improving cognitive skills. 

 

Children are prone to harm or nerve damage. While it’s not that common for a nerve damage there’s always a possibility. Given below is the list of best food for nerve repair. 

  • Food rich in magnesium and potassium help in curbing the nerve pain. Leafy vegetables, pumpkin seeds, fresh fruits, almonds, avocado, tofu, salmon, etc. are rich in magnesium and potassium. 
  • Foods high in Omega 3 such as sardines, walnuts, salmon, etc.  
  • Vitamins such as b12, b6, b2.
  • Anti inflammatory foodstuffs such as ginger can heal the nerve damage pain
  • Turmeric, a spice easily found in every household has several medicinal properties.

The importance of Nervous System Development

The nervous system is the engine of the human body. It controls every cell, tissues and organ system in the body. Hence, it’s crucial that no harm is caused to the nervous system.  If the nervous system is harmed, there can be grave repercussions. Every part of the nervous system carries out major functions in the body. The spine, the skull and the vertebrae, thus exist in order to protect these fragile systems.

 

A child is just a delicate being as the nervous system. Thus, one needs to take utmost care while bringing them up. At times, because of some complications, or heredity and environmental factors, there is the late development process of the nervous system. In cases such as these, it is important that you seek guidance and treatment from a neurologist. Seek treatment from the best neurologist in Delhi for the well being of your child. 

 

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7 Possible Causes For Lower Back Pain

Often, we may feel a stinging and sudden pain in the lower back. It can because of sitting for long hours in the same position. Lower back pain is a common condition and usually, there is no cause for concern as it gets better on its own. Almost everyone, at some point in their life, has faced it. However, at times the pain can be as a result of injuries or straining of muscles or because of some diseases, one can feel intense pain or ache in their lower back. 

 

Symptoms of Lower Back Pain- 

One can easily detect lower back pain as they feel a dull ache in their back. The pain can be acute or chronic, varying from person to person and what injury they have.  Symptoms can aggravate over time, some of them are - 

 

  • Dull ache- The pain is felt in the lower back, usually when there is a minor injury or a muscle strain. One can experience severe spasms, and difficulty in moving. 
  • Stinging back pain that affects the buttocks, pelvis, hip, legs and the feet. 
  • Pain that intensifies as you sit for long hours, etc. 

 

What causes lower back pain? 

The human body is an intricate design and is prone to injuries if not taken care of.  There are numerous reasons why one may have a backache. Factors such as age, gender, etc. too can cause lower back pain. The pain can range from minor, dull ache in the back to intense pain that hurts when you move and hampers your daily life. 

Some of the possible causes are -  

 

  • Injuries  

Many a time, one can get severely injured while playing sports, driving or during road accidents or a fall that can inflict injury one. Receiving such a painful blow on the lower back can damage the spinal cord, or leave you with vertebral fractures. In cases such as these, it’s important to seek lower back pain treatment, to avoid any further complications. 

 

  • Sprains and strains

Sprains and strains of the ligaments and muscles, can occur in the lower back suddenly because of some heavy work. This can be as a result of overstretching or tearing in muscles and ligaments. Symptoms can include muscle spasms, pain and stiffness in the back. 

 

  • Disc Injury

The discs are the spongy cushions that are located between the vertebral column. These discs are delicate and are prone to injury as they can tear or herniate. The soft material in the discs can rupture or bulge and affect a nerve. Disc injury can occur after twisting your back or while lifting something heavy. Disc injury may go unnoticed or only seen during an X-ray. 

 

  • Sciatica

A person with sciatica can fell stinging pain that runs down from the lower back to one or both the legs. This is because the pain radiates along the path of the sciatica nerve. Symptoms may include burning pain or piercing of sharp needles. At home, for quick pain relief, one should use an ice pack at the sight of pain. 

 

  • Spinal stenosis 

In spinal stenosis, the spinal canal starts narrowing, which in return can add pressure on the spinal cord and the nerves in the spine. This condition is common amongst people over the age of 50 years. Spinal stenosis occurs due to the degeneration of the discs between the vertebral column. One may experience symptoms such as numbness, cramping and weakness in the legs. The very first symptoms that one may notice is difficulty while walking or standing.

 

  • Abnormal spinal curvature  

When seen in an X-ray, the spinal cord looks like a ‘S’ from the side. This is the normal spine curvature. However, some people are born with deformities. Abnormal curve can cause poor posture and pain as it puts pressure on the tendons, vertebrae, muscles and ligaments. Some of the abnormal spinal curvatures that are detected during childhood or early adolescence are- scoliosis, kyphosis and lordosis. 

 

  • Health conditions. 

There are several health conditions that can be a cause for lower back pain. Some of them are as follows :

  • Arthritis is a medical condition wherein there is an inflammation of the joints. It is usually common among people of old age. 
  • Pregnancy, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, cancer, etc are the lower back pain causes in females. 
  • Spondylitis is another type of inflammation between the joints of the spinal cord. 

 

Can a neurologist help with lower back pain? 

The answer is YES. A neurologist can help with lower back pain. Very often people go to a chiropractor for back pain, however, what is not known is that even a neurologist can diagnose and treat diseases of the back. A neurologist specializes in conditions affecting the brain, nervous system and the spinal cord. They can detect the symptoms and causes for your back pain. 

 

While lower back pain is a common condition, it is necessary that you seek the proper treatment from an expert. 


Is Your Diet Cola Making You Dumb

The artificial sweeteners used in diet sodas—and thousands of other processed foods—are anything but sweet. In fact, they can be toxic to the brain. Consuming these sugar substitutes on a regular basis is not a recipe for a healthy memory.

We see a lot of patients, who believe artificial sugar drinks are good and would help them lose weight. On the other hand these drinks tend to cause digestive issues, arthritis, forgetfulness, and confusion. In fact, these chemical laden drinks can hurt your brain and cause memory loss.

Research has linked drinking diet colas to stroke and Alzheimer’s disease.

4 Ways Artificial Sweeteners Steal Your Mind-

  1. Forgetful.

One of the most commonly used artificial sweeteners, aspartame, is extremely harmful to the brain. In simple words aspartame works by stimulating brain cells, but in excessive amounts and over long term it can overstimulate the brain cells and works like a potent neurotoxin. It can damage brain cells and cause cell death, which leads to forgetfulness and ultimately dementia.

  1. Chronically High Insulin

Elevated insulin levels increase your risk for Alzheimer’s disease and also raises the risk of heart disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and other health problems. High Insulin  is associated with weight gain and obesity.

  1. Slow Metabolism

Contrary to the belief that artificial sweeteners can cause weight loss, they actually make you gain weight. Many animal studies have shown that artificial sugars slow down the metabolism  and cause weight gain. In one such study,  rats which were fed artificially sweetened food, were found to  have slower metabolisms and greater weight gain than those given sugar-sweetened foods—

despite the fact that the rats that ate sugary foods consumed more calories than those that are artificially sweetened foods.  Both diabetes and obesity are considered independent risk factors for memory problems and several forms of dementia. 

  1. Impaired Gut Health

Artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose, saccharine, and acesulfame potassium) have toxic effects on gut bacteria. Compromised gut bacteria can lead to issues such as indigestion,  acidity, impaired absorption of nutrients like leaky gut, a condition in which the lining of the gut becomes excessively permeable. Leaky gut has been linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias.

Sweeter Alternatives

If you want to avoid sugar and don’t want the damage that comes from artificial sweeteners, here are two options.

Erythritol, a sugar alcohol that comes in crystals or powder form, is calorie-free and doesn’t cause blood sugar or insulin levels to spike. (Note: Be aware that sugar alcohols, such as Xylitol and Maltitol, may cause GI distress.)

Stevia, a natural plant extract, is 200-300 times sweeter than sugar, but it does not impact blood sugar levels the way sugar does. Some evidence suggests stevia may stabilize blood sugar, but more research is needed.  (Note: If you take medication for blood pressure or diabetes, talk to a healthcare provider before using stevia.)

 

Originally Published On Max HealthCare - Is Your Diet Cola Making You Dumb?

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Is Sex A Common Cause Of Brain Stroke?

India, with the largest number of patients suffering from hypertension, obesity, and diabetes (unfortunately, they are the risk factors for stroke) may very well be called as the “Stroke Capital” or at least would be heading towards becoming one.

The more we know about stroke, the better we are going to be in dealing with this menace. In my practice, I come across various patients with varying degrees of curiosity about the causes of stroke. One such curious query that is often directed my way is whether “Sex can cause brain stroke”?

Unfortunately, the answer to that question is “Yes”.  Sex is not a common cause of stroke but, it has been associated with various kinds of brain stroke.

The neurology literature does talk about brain strokes in patients during the sexual intercourse and even following it.

Now, what is interesting in this regard is how does sex cause stroke?

Patients have been known to have strokes where a blood clot travels from the legs to heart (during sexual activity) and then makes its way into the brain to cause a blockage in the blood flow to the brain.  Subarachnoid hemorrhage (kind of stroke where a blood vessel ruptures to spill blood into the brain) has also been associated with sexual activity and those patients suffer from a severe and terrible headache often associated with nausea or vomiting. In some patients, the blood vessels in the neck that carry blood from the heart to the brain may get injured or dissected and may cause a stroke. Sex, although not very often can cause brain stroke.

So, that brings me to another question, how would one know if he or she is having a stroke. Recognizing stroke is a matter of knowledge and awareness and not expertise. If you know the signs and symptoms of stroke you don’t need a doctor to diagnose stroke.

 

STROKE: REMEMBER THE 7 S METHOD TO DIAGNOSE STROKE

    • SUDDEN (symptoms usually start suddenly)
    • SIDE WEAK ( face, arm or leg or all three can get weak)
    • SPINNING ( VERTIGO) with disbalanced
  • Sight ( loss of vision)
  • SECONDS ( note the time when the symptoms start and rush to the hospital)

Any of these symptoms can be present, all of them don’t need to present to diagnose stroke.

Is Stroke treatable?

Yes of course it is, but the likelihood of good recovery goes down with every passing minute. According to a study done by researchers in 2006 in the USA, a patient with ischemic stroke (stroke due to the blocked blood vessel) loses 190,0000 brain cells every minute, about 14000,000,000 nerve connections are destroyed every minute and 12 km (7.5 miles) of nerve fibers are lost every minute. The end result is the patient is paralyzed for life and becomes dependent. That's pretty scary!!!

What is the single most important factor in stroke care?

The most important part of stroke care is not the doctor or the hospital, it’s the patient! Patients tend to ignore their symptoms and hence delay the treatment. If the patient and the family are aware of stroke symptoms they can reach the hospital in time and can get treated.

Is there any treatment for Stroke?

Yes. The treatment depends on which kind of stroke the patient has. Up to 85 % of all strokes are ischemic (blocked blood vessel). For ischemic brain attack, there is an option of intravenous medication called tPA (recombinant tissue plasminogen activator) available which can be given to the patient within the first 3 to 4.5 hours of the symptom onset. The patients who have a blockage in a large blood vessel can be offered a procedure called Mechanical Thrombectomy ( can be done up to 24 hours, but sooner the better!!!), which involves removing

the blockage in the blood vessel and restoring the blood supply. This procedure is done through a small nick in the groin and there is no open surgery involved. Recent trials have shown that patients do exceedingly well post mechanical thrombectomy and have a greater chance to live life independently.

 

Originally Published On Max HealthCare - Is Sex A Common Cause Of Brain Stroke?

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Are You Stroke Smart? Calculate Your Stroke Smart Score

Let’s see if you are stroke smart. Below are eleven questions based on general knowledge about stroke. Try and answer them and then score yourself to see if you are a Stroke Novice or a Stroke GOD.  Every question is one point.

1. What is Stroke?

  • Is it how you swim?
  • Related to cricket?
  • A brain emergency
  • A heart disease.
  • Its bad, but I don’t know what it is exactly

Answer: Stroke is rapid and sudden damage to the brain. Also known as brain attack or paralytic attack.

2. How common is a stroke?

  • Very rare, I haven't heard anything about it.
  • It's common but I will never see it in my life.
  • Who cares!!!
  • It’s so common that someone close to me might be having one right now.

Answer D: Stroke is the third leading cause of death, after coronary heart disease and cancer. On average, someone in the United States has a stroke every 40 seconds. More women die of stroke than of breast cancer.

3. Which organ does stroke affect?

  • Brain
  • Heart
  • Lungs
  • Muscles
  • Cricket bat

Answer A: Brain, Brain, Brain.

4. How do you diagnose Stroke?

  • Stroke is painful, chest pain may occur.
  • Stroke can cause a lot of symptoms like weakness, numbness, slurred speech etc.
  • Stroke can’t be diagnosed; it is happening quietly inside the body.
  • Only doctors can diagnose it.

Answer B: Stroke can cause a lot of symptoms like weakness, numbness, slurred speech etc.  Most of the strokes are painless. Stroke can be diagnosed reliably by patients and their relatives. In fact, its easy to diagnose stroke, keep reading....

STROKE: REMEMBER THE 7 S METHOD TO DIAGNOSE STROKE

SUDDEN (symptoms usually start suddenly)

SLURRED SPEECH ( speech is not clear, as if drunk)

SIDE WEAK ( face, arm or leg or all three can get weak)

SPINNING (VERTIGO) and disbalance.

SEVERE HEADACHE

Sight ( sudden loss of vision)

SECONDS (note the time when the symptoms start and rush to the hospital).

 

5. Who is at risk of having Stroke?

  • Stroke affects old people only.
  • Stroke affects unhealthy old people.
  • Stroke can affect the young and the old generation.
  • Babies don’t have a stroke.

Answer C: Up to one-third of stroke patients belong to the age group of 20 to 60. Even babies can have a stroke.

6. Is paralysis/ stroke treatable?

  • No way. It’s permanent.
  • Ayurveda or homeopathy may help.
  • Yes,  Yes, Yes

Answer C: Yes. Newer treatment modalities have changed the paradigm of stroke treatment. Stroke is very much treatable and the patients do extremely well.

7. What should you do if someone close to you has a stroke?

  • Lay them on the floor and get them some water.
  • Wait for the symptoms to get better.
  • Ask them to sleep, maybe they are tired.
  • Rush to the hospital.

Answer D: Rush to the hospital immediately. Don’t waste time. The longer you wait the more brain injury happens. Brain loses 1900000 brain cells every minute.

8. How bad is stroke?

  • Not really, no one dies of a stroke.
  • Stroke can kill you!
  • The stroke will get better, just stay calm.
  • Stroke is like the flu. It will pass over.

Answer B: Over 15% of people who have had a stroke die within 30 days, and 15-30% of people who survive a stroke are permanently disabled.

9. Is it worse in women or men?

  • Doesn’t matter.
  • Men
  • Women
  • Men have more strokes but women die more often.

Answer D: Women have a higher stroke mortality rate than men. Six in ten stroke deaths occur in women, largely due to strokes occurring later in life in women, when strokes are more dangerous.

10. Is it preventable?

  • No, it’s your karma
  • Yes, of course, you don’t need a doctor.
  • I am not sure
  • It's all in the genes.

Answer B: Yes, it is. Control BP, sugar and cholesterol. Stop smoking. Active lifestyle and daily exercise prevent stroke. Some strokes may be genetic though.

11. Until how long is the recovery possible?

  • 1 week and then no recovery is seen.
  • 1 month
  • 1 year
  • 2 years.

Answer D: People seem to think that recovery is only possible for the first few days after a stroke, however, patients can continue to recover with physical therapy for up to a year in most cases and sometimes recovery is seen even at 2 years.

Stroke SMART score:

0-4: Stroke Novice

5-7: Stroke Player

8-10: Stroke Pro

11: Stroke GOD

 

Originally Published On Max HealthCare - Are You Stroke Smart? Calculate Your Stroke Smart Score

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A Harmless Neck Massage Could Cause Stroke!

How many times have we gone to a salon for a haircut or to a parlour for a beauty treatment and received a complimentary head and neck massage? Little do we know that a harmless neck massage could be a harbinger of something much worse, like a stroke?  Yes, you read it right and your eyes and brain are serving you well.

Our brain is by far the most important organ of the body and that is probably a good reason that God decided to keep it at the top, well protected on all sides by a strong skull. However smart the guy upstairs may have been, he had to find a way to connect the brain to the body and that’s where the whole problem started.

The brain communicates with the whole body as the nerves fibres descend down through the neck and then spread all over. The blood supply to the brain also comes up from the neck in the form of four big tubes, two in the front and two at the back. Neck thus is kind of important. As these blood vessels travel north to the brain they are vulnerable to injury and damage. Any vigorous neck movement that pulls the neck backward or pushes it forward can injure the blood vessels. Injury to the blood vessel is known as dissection in medical terms and can lead to the devastating paralytic attack or brain attack.

You will be surprised to know that even though it may seem unlikely but we are subjected to such movements on a daily basis. A massage therapist, a chiropractor, a beauty therapist, a barber, or anyone who has their hands on your neck can literally kill you (no pun intended).  Neurology literature is filled with such case reports where neck manipulation or wrong positioning of the neck has led to injury to the blood vessels leading to a stroke or paralytic brain attack. Terms like “Barber Chair stroke” or “Beauty parlour stroke” have been coined for the same reason.  As the blood vessel gets injured the blood supply to the brain may get blocked or reduced leading to neurological deficits like paralysis.

Simple Steps that can keep you out of danger

The first step in making a change for good is the awareness of the situation. Now that you are aware of the danger, simple steps can prevent such disastrous outcomes.  Just follow the precautions mentioned below and you should be safe and ready for a good relaxing massage (Don’t touch the neck).

  • Avoid any vigorous movements or overextension of the neck.
  • Any movement that creates pain should be avoided.
  • Do not crack your neck or go for neck manipulation unless under the supervision of a well qualified professional. Avoid it, if possible.
  • Injury to a blood vessel causes neck pain may cause dizziness, vertigo, nausea or vomiting. Do not ignore these symptoms. Rush to the hospital.
  • Avoid neck massages by unqualified staff.

How would you know if you were having a stroke due to vessel injury/dissection?

STROKE: REMEMBER THE 6 S METHOD TO DIAGNOSE STROKE

  • SUDDEN (symptoms start suddenly)
  • SLURRED SPEECH ( speech is not clear, as if drunk)
  • SIDE WEAK ( face, arm or leg or all three can get weak)
  • SPINNING ( VERTIGO)
  • SEVERE HEADACHE/NECK PAIN
  • SECONDS ( note the time when the symptoms start and rush to the hospital)

ANY OF THESE SYMPTOMS CAN BE PRESENT IN ANY COMBINATION. YOU DON'T NEED ALL SYMPTOMS TO DIAGNOSE STROKE.

What to do next?

Rush to the hospital. STROKE OR BRAIN ATTACK IS TREATABLE. Every minute counts. According to a study done by researchers in 2006 in the USA, a patient with ischemic stroke loses 190,0000 brain cells every minute. Every 10 minutes the brain loses brain cells equal to the population of Delhi.

Can a patient recover from paralysis?

Yes, stroke is treatable and patients can recover very well IF the treatment is given in time.

What is the single most important factor in stroke care?

The most important part of stroke care is the patient. Patients tend to ignore their symptoms and delay the treatment which can lead to irreversible paralysis and even death. If the patient and the family are aware of stroke symptoms they can reach the hospital in time and can get treated.

Originally Published On Max Health Care - A Harmless Neck Massage Could Cause Stroke!

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