Monday, November 16, 2009

Diabetes and Pregnancy

Pregnancy brings a sea change in the metabolism in pregnant women. Your bodyhas to produce extra insulin to meet the requirements of your body during pregnancy, especially from 4th month onwards. Hormonal changes during pregnancy may interfere with the insulin function and if your body can't cope with the situation, you may develop gestational diabetes. Women with family history of diabetes mellitus, older mothers and obese women are at the risk of developing gestation diabetes mellitus (GDM). The diabetes mellitus in pregnancy could be classified as pre-gestational or gestation diabetes mellitus. One out of fourteen cases of pregnancy may develop GDM in second or third trimester of pregnancy due to effect of placental hormones. Ideally, all pregnant women should be tested to rule out gestation diabetes. The routine examination of urine for sugar, on every visit to the gynaecologist could give an indication about onset of gestation diabetes and need for further investigations and medication. If elevated level of blood sugar is observed on random blood sugar (RBS)investigation, one should go for glucose tolerance test (GTT). Diabetic mothers need extra care to prevent spontaneous abortion and malformations in infants. Babies born to diabetic women, who were diabetic before they became pregnant, would have a greater risk of health problems, if diabetes was poorly controlled. Babies grow bigger in diabetic expectants due to extra sugar crossing the placenta and may make labour and delivery more difficult. Periodic screening, dietary control and proper medication are must to avoid GDM associated complications in expectant mothers and babies born.

Age-Related Vision Loss: Preventive Tips

Human eye is the first imaging system, the retina of which is embedded with tone sensitive and color sensitive receptors. There are around 120 million rods and 6 million cones in the retina of each eye. There are separate sets of sensitive cones for the tree primary colors and are termed as red, blue or green receptors. These receptors supply information to our brain about shape, size and color tone of the images. The central part of the retina of our eyes is called mecula that helps us to see the finer details. With ageing comes the age-related vision loss. Eyes are very delicate organ of our body and with the advancing age need extra care and dietary supplements to offset the age-related degeneration. Age-related macular degeneration(ARMD) is a disease of our eyes that causes progressive degeneration of macula. There are two common types of ARMD: 1) Atrophic or dry ARMD causes the thinning of the mecula and affects the majority of patients, 2) Exudative or wet ARMD may be hemorrhagic and is caused by the development of abnormal blood vessels beneath the epithelial layer of retina. These blood vessels may bleed and cause scarring and loss of central vision in old age. Dry ARMD causes gradual vision loss and the risk can be lowered/prevented through regular eye check-up after the age of 55 years. The early detection of ARMD is the key to save our eyes from age-related vision loss. Treatment of both types of ARMD is available in the Eye Departments/Centers of major hospitals worldwide. The risk of developing ARMD could be lowered by regular intake of Vitamin C, E, beta-carotene and zinc supplements.

Oral Cancer: Preventive Tips

Thermal, chemical or mechanical trauma on the inner-sides of our cheeks or in the oral mouth) cavity may lead to pre-cancerous lesions in our mouth. Any smoky appearance of the inner-side of cheeks needs a check-up by a dentist or general health physician. Majority of lesions of the oral cavity caused by any type of trauma cited above are reversible if the lifestyle is modified. Very hot beverages like coffee/tea and hot curries are the cause of thermal trauma. Smoke and nicotine content of cigarettes causes the thermal as well as chemical trauma. Cumulative effect of habitual cigarette smoking may cause pre-cancerous or cancerous lesions in the oral cavity. Mechanical pressure on the outer-side of any of our cheeks may lead to injury inside. Chewing of pan-masala and green chilies also causes chemical trauma. To avoid/lower the risk of oral cancer do the followings:

  1. Avoid takings very hot coffee/tea or other foodstuffs.

  2. Avoid tasting chemicals and industrial solvents.

  3. Use mild amount of chilies in your food.

  4. Avoid smoking.

  5. Avoid using ill-fitting dentures.

  6. Avoid chewing tobacco, pan-masala or green chilies.

  7. Chew and blow the bubble gum if you can as it rejuvenates the oral epithelium.

  8. Exercise your cheeks by pushing these out by holding air in your mouth at least 10 times daily.

  9. Eat curd or yogurt with your meals once or twice daily

  10. Consult your dentist or family physician if you have any suspicious lesion in your mouth.