K WAY (Kauvery Wellness and You) – July 2016 Issue

Love the Elderly - Care of Senior Citizens

Being the family physician, I get to interact with a large number of people above the age of 60, generally referred to as the geriatric age group. Most of them come in for their annual, routine, health checkup.

I have had the opportunity to make a few interesting and important observations which I feel that when duly considered would go a long way in maintaining, not only the physical and mental health of the geriatric population but also of the society as a whole.

Though they are referred to as the 'old' or the 'elderly' or the 'geriatric' they are much more active, enthusiastic, disciplined than their younger generations. One can learn a lot from the elderly. Unfortunately, many of them can be found in a low mood, withdrawn or depressed. Some of the reasons could be:

  • Retirement
  • Lack of financial support
  • An involved, career-oriented professional life which has deprived them of socializing, thus leaving them with a limited social circle
  • Children living far away, or living close by but not having enough time to interact with them because of their hectic lifestyle.
  • Death of spouse
  • Last but not the least the most important reason being, a fear of becoming unwell or bedridden and hence a burden to the family

So what can we do to soothe their minds? Taking care of the elderly at our homes and making them feel wanted is very essential. Spend a few minutes to enquire if they have eaten, slept well, or would like to go out. Arrange small get-togethers with their friends. Regular annual health checkups will ensure that they are physically fit. Give them love and affection so that they remain mentally fit. This way, we can ensure that they not only live long but that their quality of life is also enhanced.So what can we do to soothe their minds? Taking care of the elderly at our homes and making them feel wanted is very essential. Spend a few minutes to enquire if they have eaten, slept well, or would like to go out. Arrange small get-togethers with their friends. Regular annual health checkups will ensure that they are physically fit. Give them love and affection so that they remain mentally fit. This way, we can ensure that they not only live long but that their quality of life is also enhanced.

Despondency, negativity or depression can be nightmarish in an elder's life. After all, every one ages, so it's important to empathize with the aged. And let us give the elderly the care they rightfully deserve.

Article by Dr. Kavitha Sundaravadanam, MBBS, DFM, RCGP (UK)
Family Physician - Master Health Checkup

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4D Ultrasound - Now available at Kauvery!

3D ultrasound is a medical ultrasound technique used mostly in obstetric ultrasound to provide three dimensional images of the fetus. 4D ultrasounds allow visualization of a 3D image in real time.

3D/4D ultrasounds are best done at 24- 28 weeks when there is adequate liquor volume.

Radiologists use 2D and Doppler ultrasounds regularly throughout pregnancy to examine the fetus, assess amniotic fluid and look for birth defects, among other things. The more-detailed 3D and 4D ultrasounds are performed during pregnancy to closely examine suspected fetal anomalies, such as cleft lip and spinal cord issues, or to monitor something specific.

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OCD-The enemy within: All about Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

"Divert, Distract, Relax, Gain control - after all it's just your mind!" - these are some of the tips or techniques that well-meaning friends & family give, when someone reveals (if at all they do) that he or she is grappling with a constant stream of intrusive, unwanted thoughts, doubts or fears.

But alas! The person has tried it all and even more. But only to be plagued with more and more menacing thoughts.

They could be suffering from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) - a type of disorder which affects 3 out of every 100 people.

Normally the human brain is designed to filter out what's dangerous and what's not. In OCD, the filter becomes dysfunctional, the person experiences repetitively intrusive irrational thoughts, doubts or fears concerning harm, danger or disease.

A person might have obsessive fears of contamination or obsessive doubts about safety. Sometimes they are compelled to think in a way which they do not want to - called 'contrast thinking'

For example: A pious person might compelled to think about an obscene word or image while in a temple.

These thoughts which just pop into one's mind are extremely embarrassing and guilt provoking. The sufferer is then compelled to perform certain behaviors over and again called compulsions in order to ward off or neutralize the bad thoughts or to make sure that they are secure or clean.

For example, a sufferer might check repetitively whether he has locked his house or might keep washing his hands repeatedly.

Sometimes the obsessions & compulsions have no link at all. The sufferer might believe that if he does not complete a task a particular way, someone he loves might die.

The person knows it is silly, odd, unnecessary but is unable to control thinking about it. That's why people with OCD often suffer in silence and this is why it is called 'the silent disease'.

OCD is believed to be related to low levels of a chemical called serotonin in the brain. There appears to be a genetic vulnerability to OCD, but why it happens to some people remains an elusive area of research as yet.

But the good news is that a lot of treatment methods work. Medications help balance the low levels of brain serotonin. Cognitive behavioral therapy and more specifically exposure & response prevention (ERP) are specialized methods of psychotherapy proven to be effective.

Having OCD does not mean one is crazy or that one has to attempt to deal with it all alone. Help is available. Just seek out. No lab tests will diagnose OCD. Talking to your psychiatrist will put things in a better perspective. OCD is very much an illness like hypertension or asthma. Treat it early! Treat it right!

Good luck.

Article by Dr. Yamini Kannappan DPM, DNB Psychiatry
Consultant Psychiatrist, Kauvery Hospital, Chennai

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How to handle ENT problems: Tips for taking care of your ears

ENT deals with three of the 5 sense organs-
EAR, which is responsible for Hearing & Balance
NOSE, which is responsible for Smell & Breathing
THROAT, which is responsible for Voice & Breathing

Since Ear, Nose and Throat are exposed to the atmosphere; they are constantly bombarded by the impurities in the atmosphere.

Therefore it is important that we learn how to take care of these sense organs. Here are some of the things you can do:

Ears:Ears are actually two organs in one. One part of the ear is responsible for hearing and the other part for maintaining our balance. Ear is the first sense organ fully developed in utero or in the uterus itself.

Hearing Assessment in a just bornshould be done immediately using OAE. If hearing loss is detected, treatment should be started immediately. A child who does not hear well can have difficulty in speaking, as a child speaks what he/she hears. Another important point to be borne in mind is that much of the database for words, language and production of speech is formed by 5 years of age. Therefore, early rehabilitation can give better and faster results. In rare cases, Cochlear Implantation may be required.

Cleaning the wax in the ears by yourselfmust be avoided at all cost. Wax is naturally produced in the ear and is meant for protecting the ear from fungal and other infections. Usually the wax will soften and exit the ear on its own. But sometimes, the wax does get hard causing pain, in which case, you may be tempted to clean your ears, using ear buds. But this may cause physical damage in the ear canal leading to further complications.

Pain in the earfollowing a bout of cold/after a flight/after a slap/swimming or diving, should be taken seriously. Do not have a head bath or wait for the pain to subside on its own. The pain may be due to perforation of the ear drum. If not attended to immediately, it may lead to complications, ear discharge, and diminished hearing.

Ear dischargeis not normal. It can be a sign of a serious infection that can spread to the brain & can be life-threatening

Foreign Body:If your child puts anything in his/her ear, or nose, do not attempt to remove it yourself as you may push it deeper which can cause injuries and complications. Instead consult an ENT specialist immediately, who will remove it for you.

Ear plugs, Head-phones and loud musiccan destroy the delicate Cochlea, resulting in Hearing loss or Tinnitus, hence, they must be avoided.

Nose:Repeated sneezing and cold are signs of allergy which can cause Rhinitis or Sinusitis. Tests can be done and today we have special treatment called Immunotherapy or Desensitization, which provides almost 90% cure.

Bleeding from the nosecan be an indication of dangerous systemic and nasal conditions. When a person starts bleeding, first-aid should be given as follows: make the patient sit up while bending slightly forward, and pinch the nostrils tightly. Apply Ice cubes to forehead and go to a nearby ENT - Surgeon. The surgeon will identify the cause which most likely could be Hypertension or Cancer.

Today Sinusitis can be cured through Endoscopic Surgery (FESS). Popular perceptions that sinusitis prevails from childhood and cannot be cured, is wrong.

Throat:Is responsible for speech, swallowing and breathing. Any change in swallowing pattern, hoarseness of voice or difficulty in breathing should be attended to, at an early stage. Young women who are anemic, and have difficulty in swallowing may be suffering from PV Syndrome or even post-Cricoid Cancer.

Difficulty in swallowing withswelling in the neck should not be ignored.

Any change in voice should be attended to, in order to receive timely treatment

Infections of tonsils with lymph nodesin the neck require surgery to remove the tonsils. Tonsils are protective only as long as they are normal. But once they are destroyed by infection, it can trigger other ailments likekidney failure, rheumatic heart disease, arthritis, skin or eye problems.

Some childrenbreathe through the mouth, or snore, or have perpetual cold. Such children could be suffering from adenoid enlargement. They may not be getting adequate oxygen, leading to daytime sleeping and lack of concentration. It is advisable for such children to be treated with adenoid tonsillectomy if necessary.

Fish bones get caught in the throatsometimes. In such a case, it is advisable not to give banana or rice balls because that will only push the bone deeper into the flesh, making it more difficult to remove the same. Immediate consultation with a doctor will solve the problem early. It is best to avoid toys that have small parts or battery cell, groundnuts, peas, beads, etc. as these can get pushed in to the lungs. Removing the same can be very difficult, leading to tragic consequences.

Take care of your Ear, Nose and Throat and they will serve you well for a lifetime.

Article by Dr. Ranjana Kumari Gupta
Senior Consultant ENT Surgeon, Kauvery Hospital

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