Beating The Asthma Blues!

Of the India’s 1.2 billion population, a large number of people in India suffer from lung ailments. With the quality of air deteriorating day by day, the numbers are growing even further, leading to a significant rise, especially, in the count of asthma patients.

As per the World Health Organization (WHO), a whooping 60,000 people in India succumb to the disease every year. This year, the World Asthma Day is themed “You Can Control Your Asthma”, to arrest the trend of asthma menace in people. Before going into the ways to tackle the disease, it is important to understand what it actually is.

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What is Asthma?

Asthma is a disorder related to the lungs and is characterized by breathing troubles. A person suffering from the disease experiences shortness of breath as the airways in the lungs, which allow the in-out movement of air from the organ, get inflamed. Due to the inflammation, the airways become constricted and narrowed, causing obstruction in the air movement. This obstructed activity hampers the normal breathing process in individuals and the condition is known as asthma.

Symptoms of Asthma

  • Breathlessness/shortness of breath
  • Coughing
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in chest
  • Tightness in neck
  • Fatigueness

Causes of Asthma

Till date, the exact trigger for asthma has not been determined. The condition, however, is genetical and get exaggerated due environmental factors. The triggers, though, could differ from person to person. Some of them are:

  • Air pollution
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol intake
  • Allergens like pollens, dust mites
  • Common cold
  • Smell of petrol and diesel combustion
  • Stress and emotional outburst
  • Heavy physical activity
  • Allergy to some medications
  • Allergy to preservatives in food and drinks
  • Obesity

Countering Asthma

It is a fact that asthma cannot be treated, but can be well managed to keep it under control. If the symptoms are ignored and due consultation is not taken, the disease can be fatal. Few things can help the disease from getting severe:

  • See a doctor if you come across the above-mentioned symptoms repeatedly.
  • Do not ignore unexplained shortness of breath and seek professional guidance.
  • If you are asthmatic, be sure of the triggers that can induce breath-related problems. Be wary of the triggers and try to stay away from them. Know well how to handle the situation if you confront the environmental irritants.
  • Take your medications as prescribed by your doctor in time.
  • Always carry your inhaler with you. Keep it handy so that it can be put to use in an emergency.
  • Follow the self-management plan as devised by your physician without fail.
  • Keep your near and dear ones informed about your condition, so that they can take appropriate action in case of an emergency.
  • Try to keep your weight under control as obesity further aggravates breathing issues.
  • Keep your surrounding neat and clean. Dust leads to worsening of asthmatic condition.

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Top Sex Myths Busted by Sexologists

Ours is the age and times characterised by instant access to everything. Each of our smart phones is a world in itself. No wonder the youth today are open and have exposure to handy information. However, when it comes to sexual knowledge and understanding, majority of people do not reach the right channels. Not all information available on internet is reliable or factual. Although expression of sexual needs or desires are now accepted as normal, the topic of sex is still discussed in hushed voices by a majority in the country yet.

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Most sexologists feel that people are still reluctant to discuss their sexual problems or doubts without feeling ashamed or embarrassed due to lack of appropriate education and awareness creation initiatives. It is extremely important to be rightly informed when it comes to sexual matters. Here is clearing the clout. Find these commonly held notions busted.

1. Sex during menstruation cannot make a woman pregnant

This is a myth which has been believed by 90 percent of the people since a long time. However, Sexologists in Delhi explain that this is completely false and although the chances of getting pregnant are lower than normal during your menstrual cycle, it is absolutely possible. Importantly, women who have menstrual cycles of short durations are more vulnerable as sperms have the ability to survive inside the body for a couple of days.

2. First-time sex won’t make you pregnant

According to Sexologists, this is the most dangerous myth that people believe. It is a common assumption that the chances of a woman getting pregnant while having sex for the first time are next to impossible. However, research suggests that as much as 20 percent of women are found to conceive after their first few sexual encounters.

3. Toilet seats can spread STDs

Sexologists clearly state that sexually transmitted diseases can only be spread through close skin or mouth contact which results from touching, hugging or kissing. They further explain that these infections and diseases are not found in the urine of a person and also, are unable to survive in the general environment for a long duration. Thus, your chance of catching a STD from a toilet seat is null.

4. Emergency contraceptives cause abortion

These pills, generally referred to as ‘morning after’ pills are largely known to cause abortion effectively. However, Gynaecologists say that if you consume these pills after you have become pregnant, they will have no effect at all. Since very little information is available about pills which induce abortion and ones which reduce the chances of pregnancy, a large majority of people remain in the dark about this.

5. HPV vaccine makes you immune to cervical cancer

Although the HPV vaccine serves as an effective blocker for the viruses leading to cervical cancer and genital warts, it is not 100% efficient. Sexologists and gynaecologists suggest that women who have been administered the vaccine are still at risk (although lower), and should not avoid their routine Pap tests.

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All you need to know about a Root Canal Treatment


What is a Root Canal?

Decaying of a tooth because of cavity is sometime inevitable. Problem starts when the decaying process become so profound that the tooth gets badly infected and abscesses may form, generally at the centre of the tooth.

This is a time when you have to see a dentist for a root canal treatment. A root canal treatment typically involves removing of nerves that are dead and the pulp that has been formed in the area. The infected tooth is then thoroughly cleaned and secured thereafter.

The nerve that is removed during this process does not have a major role to play in tooth’s health. So even after the nerve has been removed, your daily activities are not going to be hampered. Only the sensation of hot or cold is going to be affected because of it, which is the core function of a nerve i.e to provide sensation.

Some signs that indicate a Root Canal Treatment

Some of the typical signs that indicate a root canal treatment are
*Terrible pain in the tooth
*An increased sensitivity to hot or cold
*Formation of dental abscess
*Swelling of gums
*Sometimes darkening of the tooth

Root Canal – What happens during the treatment?

You can visit any dentist for a root canal symptom. Upon examination, the dentist will tell you the degree to which your tooth is infected. A more serious treatment is usually performed by an endodontist. An endodontist is an expert in problems related to human dental pulp and nerve of the tooth. A good dentist may arrange the treatment by an experienced endodontist at his clinic only.

The Steps

X-Ray : The X-ray would be done to determine the seriousness of the problem. It helps in assessing if the surrounding area or bones have been affected by problem.
Anesthesia: An anesthesia may be given to numb the area around the tooth to ease the pain and uncomfortable during the treatment.
Rubber dam: The dentist will place a sheet of rubber around the tooth to keep it dry of saliva.
Drilling: The dentist will drill your tooth with precision to create an access hole into the tooth. The pulp,and nerves will be thus removed during the procedure. The debris is removed using water or sodium hypochlorite.
Sealing: After thorough cleaning, the tooth is then sealed. There is usually a week’s gap between cleaning and sealing, the dentist may put a temporary filling. However. less serious cases may be sealed on the same day.
Final Sealing: During the next appointment, the dentist will permanently fill the tooth using a sealer paste and a rubber compound called gutta percha.
Restoration: The final restoration of tooth includes putting a crown on the tooth to prevent it from breaking or any other problem.

Root canal treatments are highly successful treatment for serious decay to the tooth. The treatments may last for a good time and sometimes whole life depending on the care you do.

Prevention from a Root Canal

Since decay, trauma or frequent dental procedures may result in decay of a tooth nerve and inflammation of pulp, practising oral hygiene – regular brushing, flossing is vital to overall teeth health. While indulging in high risk physical activities, try to guard your mouth wearing a mouth guard.

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Empowering Patients in the Communication Era

By Dr. T.V. Rao

Today the world is guided by Information and communication technology and healthcare is no exception. Health communication and health information technology (IT) are becoming central to health care, public health, and the way our society views health.


These processes make up the context and the ways professionals and the public search for, understand, and use health information, significantly impacting their health decisions and actions. In the past our patients were at the receiving end when a doctor’s decision making is final. With the growing competitive talents and skills in the profession rising, unethical practices and conflicts of interests is on rise. Dissemination of information to the patients is making them kings to make their own choice to accept or reject the treatments offered to them.

Today patients are enthusiastic to know about their health status. Today, Internet made everyone to know about the facts and also confused when the information is not authentic. It only means that we are moving into era where we are dealing with many half knowledge people. Particularly in developing nations, many patients want definite diagnosis and wish to know what are the consequences as medical issues are now open to patient as well as treating physicians.

It only means that the doctors would bring in effective use of communication and technology. The health care and public health professionals can bring about an age of patient and public-centered health information and services. The increase in online health information and services challenges users with limited literacy skills or limited experience using the Internet. The current problem with worldwide web remain with major misinformation creating distrust between the physician and patients.

In India, we have dedicated sites to guide the patients and the patients however search the information many times from untrustworthy web portals as major manipulation for commercialization and misinform the patients. Nowadays healthcare applications are a useful resource to guide patients regarding their health concerns by helping them connect with the doctors, fix appointments. An all new innovation in this area is the ability of a patient to ask questions online and get answers from a pool of doctors.

Now patients and family caregivers can be on the same page with their doctor. The patient and doctor relation are changing faster as we cannot hide the facts on survival disability and death.

Allowing opportunity for discussion may be as important for patients as giving and receiving information, understand the problem and treatment options available, and which are appropriate to the patient’s circumstances, personality, expectations, fears, beliefs, values and cultural background. Doctors should give advice.

There should be no coercion, and the patient is free to accept or reject the advice. Patients should be encouraged to make their own decisions. Patients should be frank and honest in giving information about their health, and doctors should encourage them to be so. However in emergencies, when immediate intervention is necessary to preserve life or prevent serious harm, it may not be possible to provide information.

(Dr. Rao is Professor of Microbiology, Travancore Medical College, Kollam)

When do you need Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery?

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What is Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery?

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery is required to treat and correct a range of diseases affecting mouth, face, neck and jaws. The specialty caters to patients who experience problems of wisdom teeth, facial pain, misaligned jaws, accident victims suffering from facial injuries, patients with tumors, cysts, those with developmental craniofacial abnormalities of the jaws or those seeking reconstructive and dental implant surgery. The aesthetic correction of maxillofacial area is also performed by a maxillofacial surgeon.

What does the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery include:

  • The impacted wisdom tooth is removed by this surgery.
  • Some orthodontic related treatments are performed under this speciality.
  • The absent teeth can be replaced by dental implants.
  • To support teeth and bridges – bone grafting is done under this procedure.
  • The jaw surgery is one of the main procedures performed under this speciality.
  • The disproportion forehead and upper face are corrected by this surgery i.e. by craniofacial surgery.
  • The fractures of facial skeleton are performed under this.
  • The tumors or cysts in the jaw and facial region are removed under this procedure.
  • Restructuring of the nose is done by a maxillofacial surgeon – Rhinoplasty.
  • Restructuring of the chin is also done by a maxillofacial surgeon – Genioplasty.
  • The facelifts, eyelid and brow surgery.
  • The temporomandibular joint surgery.
  • The cleft lip and palate is corrected by primary and secondary surgery under this.
  • Any other congenital facial deformity.
  • The benign and malignant lesions of the salivary glands are managed under this speciality.

The procedures performed under Oral and Maxillofacial surgery are numerous. The speciality has expanded over the last decade and cover more problems related to oral and maxillofacial problems now. Right from your minor impacted tooth problem to the major head or neck surgery.

The key here is to choose a good Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon. An experienced Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon can help you with right guidance and treatment. Else, chances are you might end up getting multiple surgeries done. Now-a-days, many hospitals – both private and government- has a specialised team of oral and maxillofacial surgeons to provide world class treatment and satisfactory results.

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6 Health Benefits of Yoga


The number of people dying in India from non-communicable diseases have touched a new high. In India, non-communicable diseases alone are estimated to have accounted for 60 percent of all deaths in 2014, while 26 percent between the ages of 30-70 years had a probability of falling victim to the four main diseases – diabetes, cancer, stroke and respiratory diseases.

Though the figures present worrying state of the deteriorating health status of Indians, the fact is that most of the premature deaths that result from non-communicable diseases are preventable. The key lies in adopting simple lifestyle changes and diet modifications that can bring a great change. One of the most effective and proven way of staying healthy and keeping diseases at bay is Yoga.

Whether you want a workable solution for your health issues, want to lose weight, aim for a stronger and leaner physique or want a peaceful mind, yoga is a one stop solution that offers a holistic benefit over any other physical activity. Yoga is not just a physical movement of your body, what it truly does is to strike a harmony between your mind, body and soul that generates quantum of benefits. Hitting the mat regularly can do miracles to your health.

Here are the six major benefits that you can achieve with daily practice of yoga:

  1. Healthy and hearty: Yoga helps in keeping an all around fitness. Apart from a great way of toning your body, the deep breathing combined with various yoga poses helps in keeping diseases at bay and even go a long way in curing various health issues. The various yoga poses help in keeping the muscles and joints flexible. Yoga is an excellent activity to get rid of back pain, knee pain by increasing lubrication of the joints, ligaments and tendons. Sun Salutations and Kapal Bhati pranayama and power yoga help in weight loss. Yoga helps in maintaining the blood pressure and a healthy heart.
  2. Boosts immunity: Regular yoga helps in building the immunity and the strength to fight with diseases. The deep breathing helps in better circulation of blood which keeps all the organs in a healthy state. Yoga is a perfect activity to be performed during pregnancy. It helps a pregnant woman stay healthy and reduces pregnancy related complications.
  3. Boost sexual life: The postures that focus on pelvic region helps in boosting the sexual desire, arousal, performance and orgasm for both the sexes. It helps in keeping the genital area healthy and women can specifically derive great benefit in keeping urinary issues, reproductive issues or genital problems at bay. Women going through the painful experience of menopause can greatly benefit from it.
  4. Peaceful mind and better sleep: Half an hour of meditation and yoga will make you feel like a mini holiday every day. It relaxes mind and soul and takes you to the journey of peace and serenity. It helps you connect with nature and makes you a calmer and stronger person inside out. Practice regularly and sleep issues like anxiety and insomnia will be a thing of the past. It is one of the best relaxation and stress management technique.
  5. No more food cravings: Yoga makes you love your body slowly. You will find a great connection between your body and mind. It helps create a greater awareness about your physical and emotional sensations associated with eating. You will enjoy making smarter food selection and mindful eating. Food cravings is not something you have to fight because you will feel naturally inclined towards healthy eating.
  6. Stay energetic: The daily hectic life drains you out of energy? You feel you are getting old earlier? You look haggard and remain tardy whole day? Your personal and professional life is getting affected by your repeated refusals to formal and social events? Well, there is no medicine in the world that can cure this problem. A 15-20 minutes of concentrated yoga is all you need. Even at work, a few minutes of meditation will leave you refreshed and recharged and you are back to your work tension-free and energetic.

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Thalassemia: Blood Test Can Save Gen Next

Knowing Thalassemia

When it comes to haemoglobin in blood, anemia is something people are commonly aware of. What many people, however, do not know is that this anemia could either be due to iron-deficiency or thalassemia.

While anemia due to iron-deficiency can be controlled with proper medication and diet rich in iron content, the falling haemoglobin levels happening on account of thalassemia is a cause of concern as people suffering from its severe form have to deal with regular blood transfusions on lifelong basis.

In India, according to studies, around 30 million people carry beta thalassemia gene, and over 7,000 newborns are estimated to be affected with the blood disorder every year.

Understanding Thalassemia

A genetic disorder, a person affected with it has restricted production of haemoglobin, which is responsible for carrying oxygen in the blood. There are two globin proteins in haemoglobin — alpha and beta. Both of these are coded by a unique gene and a newborn has two copies of each of them, one each from the parents.

If the parents are the carriers of mutated or faulty globin protein, then the chances are their children will suffer from thalassemia. One or two mutated gene do not cause much health problem, but such people usually remain anemic.


The severe forms of thalassemia — alpha major or alpha minor — is when the newborns have three or more faulty genes in the haemoglobin. While those with alpha major traits do not survive, those with beta thalassemia have to undergo regular blood transfusions for survival sake.

Blood Test: To Know Whether You Are Thalassemia Carrier

Thalassemia carriers lead a normal life, but they are normally anemic. It is difficult to gauge whether they bear one or two mutated genes until they go for blood test.

When should one go for blood test:

– If you get fatigued easily
– If you have poor appetite
– If you have large spleen, heart or lung
– If you have bone problems
– If you have slowed growth
– If you delayed puberty

In case you are diagnosed with anemia, and even after medication and proper diet the condition doesn’t improve, you must go for complete blood count or special haemoglobin tests that would help determine whether it is due to thalassemia or not.

While it is a fact that thalassemia carriers do not face any problems in leading a normal life, it is important for them to at least know they carry faulty haemoglobin genes. A simple blood test can help know their status and make them choose a life partner who is not affected with the blood disorder, so that the next generation children are thalassemia safe.

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