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How this Mumbai-based Parsi couple beat obesity to lead healthy lives again

Parsi couple Kaynaz and Perseus Ghista were struggling with obesity and its associated health issues. However, their path to wellness not only transformed their physical health but also profoundly impacted their personal and professional lives by showcasing the profound impact of bariatric surgery in their journey. The wife’s journeyIn 2017, Kaynaz, weighing 126 kg, sought the expertise of Dr Ramen Goel, bariatric & metabolic surgeon, Wockhardt Hospitals, Mumbai Central. Her weight had been a source of numerous health issues, including joint pain, high blood pressure, and an overall decline in her quality of life. The decision to undergo bariatric surgery was driven by the desire to reclaim her health and vitality. Surgery and recovery She underwent gastric bypass surgery, a procedure known for its effectiveness in significant weight loss and improvement in obesity-related conditions. The surgery was successful, and over the course of a year, she experienced a remarkable transformation, shedding weight and regaining her health. Six years post-surgery, she now weighs 94 kg. Dr Goel commenting on her progress said, “Kaynaz's dedication to following the post-surgery guidelines and making lifestyle changes was truly commendable. It’s always inspiring to see patients transform their lives in such a significant way.” Life after surgery The weight loss brought about a dramatic change in her lifestyle. Activities that were once a struggle became part of her daily routine. Her energy levels soared, allowing her to engage more actively with her family and friends. Professionally, she found a new level of confidence, which was reflected in her work performance and relationships with colleagues. Reflecting on her journey, Kaynaz commented, “I feel like a completely new person. I can participate in activities with my family and friends without feeling exhausted. My job performance has improved, and I feel more confident every day.” The husband’s journeyInspired by his wife's success, Perseus, who weighed 156 kg, decided to follow suit a year later. His obesity had led to severe sleep apnea, a condition that affected his breathing during sleep. Surgery and a smooth recoveryDr Goel performed a similar bariatric procedure on Perseus. Due to his sleep apnea, the team needed to be especially attentive, but their skill and careful monitoring ensured everything went smoothly. Perseus came through the operation safely and began his journey to better health. Dr Goel added, “His case was particularly challenging due to his severe sleep apnea. We had to act swiftly to manage his oxygen levels during surgery. Thankfully, everything went well, and he made a full recovery.” Recovery and transformation Post-surgery, the husband’s recovery was closely monitored. Over the next six years, he experienced a profound transformation, with his weight dropping to 87 kg.  Sharing his experience, Perseus said, “The surgery was a turning point in my life. Not only did I lose weight, but my sleep apnea also improved drastically. I feel healthier and more energetic than I have in years.” Beyond weight loss Family and relationships The couple’s journey transcends mere numbers on a scale. The weight loss brought about a renewed sense of hope and happiness in their lives. They began to engage in more family activities, and their relationship strengthened as they supported each other through the process. The bond with their extended family and friends also improved as they could participate more actively in social gatherings and events. The wife reflects on their relationship, “We’ve grown closer through this journey. Supporting each other through the ups and downs has strengthened our bond.” Professional impact Both the husband and wife experienced a boost in their professional lives. The wife’s newfound confidence translated into better job performance and opportunities for career advancement. The husband, too, found that his improved health allowed him to work more efficiently and with greater enthusiasm. Overall well-being Today, the couple leads a healthy and fulfilling life. They are living testimonials to the positive impacts of bariatric surgery. Their story is a testament to the fact that weight loss surgery is not just about losing weight but about gaining a new lease on life. It’s about overcoming health challenges, strengthening personal relationships, and achieving professional goals. Their story is a perfect example of how bariatric surgery can change lives. It’s not just about the physical transformation, but the overall improvement in quality of life. I’m proud to have been a part of their journey. This journey underscores the profound human impact of weight loss surgery, highlighting how such medical interventions can bring about positive 

15 June,2024 02:25 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
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Researchers link hot weather with increased headaches for people with migraines

Scientists have found a link between increased headaches and hot temperatures for individuals with migraines, saying that as temperatures rise, so do chances for migraine attacks.  Weather change is one of the most common trigger factors for migraine, said Vincent Martin, director of the Headache and Facial Pain Center at the US-based University of Cincinnati. The study looked at the use of Fremanezumab drug and whether it could prevent headaches caused by high temperatures. Fremanezumab is administered by injection under the skin and is part of a set of monoclonal antibodies that have hit the market in the past six years to treat migraine in patients. Researchers cross-referenced 71,030 daily diary records of 660 migraine patients with regional weather data and found that for every temperature increase of 0.12 degrees Celsius, there was a 6 per cent increase in the occurrence of any headache. However, during the periods of Fremanezumab treatment, the association completely disappeared. "This study is the first to suggest that migraine-specific therapies that block Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide (CGRP) may treat weather-associated headaches," said Fred Cohen, a study co-author and assistant professor of medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. If the results are confirmed in future studies, the drug therapy has the potential to help many people with weather-triggered migraine. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, believed that weather and medicine were intimately linked. "A couple thousand of years later, we are proving that weather matters in human health," said Al Peterlin, who retired as chief meteorologist at the US Department of Agriculture and co-author of the study. The findings from the study were set to be presented at the American Headache Society's 66th annual scientific meeting in San Diego, California, over the weekend. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever.

15 June,2024 12:21 PM IST | New Delhi | IANS
Kaustubh Shiravanekar

Mid-Day Premium Combating suicide through one man's efforts to heal emotional wounds

Ever since we entered the 2020s, we have all read cases in newspapers about a rather sensitive topic. From 3 Idiots to Chhichhore, from Deepika Padukone to Shah Rukh Khan, from teenagers to senior citizens- all have talked, explained and been educated on it, yet, we find ourselves in the middle ground when it is brought up. This demon in question is none other than suicide. According to a report by the NCRB, 1,70,924 cases of suicide were recorded in only the year 2022 in India, a 4.2 per cent increase from 2021, making it the highest recorded rate over 56 years. Out of these cases, the maximum cases were that of 18 to 30 years old at a whopping 35 per cent followed by 30 to 45 standing at 32 per cent. The highest reported cause of these suicides was found to be family-related issues. (Data: Imagine, the place where one is supposed to be the safest on earth, the people whom they can rely on at any moment, become the very reason they want to end their life. Be it pressure on young students to perform extremely well in exams, or a family feud putting stress on someone, adversities need to be battled but the battle wounds need to be tended to. Kaustubh Shiravanekar does this very thing- tends to unknown people’s mental and emotional wounds, just out of his sheer will with Project Anamika. When asked how a Standard Chartered banker who seems to be set in life started helping people, he narrated the poignant account of how Project Anamika was born. “In 2014, I met a girl on one of those anonymous chat apps. We instantly clicked! She was living in Delhi, studying in college, and had a real zeal for dancing. We used to talk for hours. She wanted to be a classical dancer, but both of her parents were reputed doctors, and they were against that. They wanted her to follow in their footsteps, constantly pressuring her to pursue MBBS after graduation. She was exhausted from constant fights. Sometimes, she had thoughts of running away or even taking her own life due to such matters weighing her down.” Students, especially engineering and medical, contribute largely to the astounding suicide rate numbers. “I still remember that day, December 23rd. She had a breakdown after a career dispute at home. The entire day, I was chatting with her, constantly making sure she was feeling okay and not getting too pressured by these things. At around midnight, I woke up shivering, with a bad feeling about something. I checked my phone and saw a message from her a few hours ago, just two words - ‘Goodbye…’" “I was freaked out because she never used to say goodbye; it was always something like "see ya." I texted her on the app, but there was no reply. I frantically dialled 100. The officer on the other end patiently listened and helped me get connected to the Delhi Police, but those guys simply brushed me off, saying it was impossible to find someone with the limited details I was giving in a city like Delhi! I didn't even have her mobile number; all our communication was on that app, so tracking her wasn't possible. In the morning, I sent an email to the app developers, begging them to share her contact details so I could forward them to the authorities, but to no avail. They declined, citing privacy policy concerns. I felt rock bottom, helpless at that moment.” The virtual walls seemed to have paralyzed Kaustubh, left feeling helpless. “It's been 10 years, and I never knew what happened to her. I had that app until it shut down in 2018, but she was never active again.”  After a year, on the same date, he started Project Anamika, a pseudonym of that anonymous full-of-life girl. Explaining what project Anamika is, he said “It is a personal level self-sustained initiative to offer support, consolation, and a listening ear online or offline to any individual who feels depressed or like ending their life. Through this I am active online on multiple forums like Suicide Watch on Reddit, Quora where people post when they feel down and someone there like me offers informal counselling and life advice, helping them to get over such thoughts. In offline I just hear out my friends, and colleagues, just letting them know that they are not alone someone is always there for them.” He does not even remember an approximate number of the many people he has helped, saying that he just does his part and moves on. He mentioned quite a memorable anecdote in his quest, that of a girl named Harmony Haagensen from the United States. “There is a group on FB, ‘A group where we all complain’ where people just come and rant about everything they want and get it off their mind. Harmony was one of them, I saw one of her posts ranting about fate, she had lost her house to arson the previous night. Everyone got out but her dog didn't make it. She was devastated, losing her friend, house everything in just a few hours. I just pinged on her messenger, thought would offer some good words. We talked a bit, she was quite depressed much to the point that she had lost the will to live. For a few days, I kept in constant touch and talked her out of it. Eventually, her family recovered, and things got better. She assured me that it was all okay and she was hopeful for the future. This case has a special place in my heart cause after recovering Harmony promised me to continue the chain and be the person I was for her if she ever gets a chance. Also, each Sunday she visits Pie's grave and puts a flower on it by my name, creating an emotional bond, which gives me goosebumps to date!” Kaustubh is a testament to how just a “Hope you are well”, or a “Everything will fall in place” might become the best thing ever to happen to that person. With small but impactful steps like this we can, in the maestro Michael Jackson’s words, “heal the world, make it a better place”.

15 June,2024 12:19 PM IST | Mumbai | Tanishka Desai
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New growth, changes in size and colour of moles may be skin cancer: Doctors

One should always pay attention to new skin growth, size, colour of moles as it could be skin cancer, said doctors on Thursday, after American pop singer and actor Kevin Jonas shared that he underwent surgery to remove basal cell carcinoma.   In a video posted on his Instagram account, Jonas shared that he underwent surgery to remove basal cell carcinoma -- a type of skin cancer that most often develops on areas of skin exposed to the sun, such as the face -- from his forehead. "Yes, that is an actual little skin cancer guy that started to grow and now I have to get surgery to remove it." "Make sure to get those moles checked people," shared Jonas, brother-in-law of actress Priyanka Chopra, in the video. The news highlights how crucial it is to keep an eye on moles and new skin growths, especially in younger people. "Even while it could be easy to simply write off skin changes as nothing serious, there are some symptoms that need to be seen by a doctor right away. These consist of any progressive changes in size, shape, or colour as well as asymmetry, uneven borders, various colours, and a diameter bigger than a pencil. Because skin cancer, especially melanoma, can be aggressive in its early stages but is highly treatable, early diagnosis is critical," Pooja Babbar, consultant - medical oncology, CK Birla Hospital, Gurugram, said. "Pay attention to any new skin growth, non-healing skin ulcer or swelling or change in any moles like (increase in size, change in colour, bleeding) and consult your doctors," added Vineeta Goel, senior director and HOD - Radiation Oncology, Fortis Hospital, Shalimar Bagh.  The expert advised to always use sunscreen, hats, gloves, and other protective clothing when stepping out in the sun and maintain a healthy lifestyle to prevent skin cancers. S C Bharija, chairperson, department of Dermatology, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital said that moles, especially on white skin, need to be monitored regularly. "They should be protected from UVA radiation by avoiding extreme sun exposure. In case of a sudden increase in size, the presence of itching or bleeding and darkening of the lesions should not be ignored and urgent medical opinion should be taken. An early skin biopsy would help to diagnose the problem," the doctor said. The experts also called for frequent self-inspections and expert skin examinations to help in early detection, as it can boost treatment outcomes. "Early diagnosis requires lesser treatment and results in higher cure rates -- this is a golden line for every cancer including skin cancers. Skin cancers are easy to pick up at an early stage as they get noticed if one is little aware of them," Vineeta said. This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever.

14 June,2024 04:41 PM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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Clear national blood policy best way to ensure patients receive safest possible

A clear national blood policy, with all its stakeholders working together, is the best way to ensure that patients receive the safest possible blood whenever they need it, said experts on World Blood Donor Day on Friday.  World Blood Donor Day is observed every year on June 14 to honour and thank those people who donate their blood, voluntarily and unpaid, to give others the gift of life. According to Rahul Bhargava, principal director and Chief BMT, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram, investing in blood bank infrastructure and advanced testing allows us to catch potential issues early on. "That's why robust government initiatives are crucial. Encouraging voluntary donation and stricter donor screening tests are vital for blood donation and access to safe blood," Bhargava said. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the national blood system should be governed by national blood policy and legislative framework to promote uniform implementation of standards and consistency in the quality and safety of blood and blood products. In 2018, 73 per cent of reporting countries, or 125 out of 171, had a national blood policy. Overall, 66 per cent of reporting countries, or 113 out of 171, have specific legislation covering the safety and quality of blood transfusion, as per WHO data. "The government should urgently consider consolidating the regulatory framework for blood tender services under a single legislation- blood law. Blood should be brought out of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, and the regulator should look much beyond the licensing of blood banks," said Anubha Taneja Mukherjee, member secretary, Thalassemia Patient Advocacy Group. According to experts, it is important to screen for infectious agents such as malaria, HIV, hepatitis B and C, and syphilis to prevent transfusion-transmitted infections (TTIs). Additionally, performing blood typing, antibody screening and crossmatching to ensure immunological compatibility is crucial, thereby preventing hemolytic and other transfusion reactions. "These measures safeguard patients, particularly those with compromised immune systems or requiring multiple transfusions, from potentially life-threatening complications," said Shruti Kamdi, consultant transfusion Medicine, SRCC Children's Hospital, Mumbai. She also mentioned that comprehensive testing and strict adherence to safety standards are "fundamental in maintaining a reliable blood supply and ensuring the efficacy of transfusion therapy". This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever.

14 June,2024 04:34 PM IST | New Delhi | IANS
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10 tips to manage conjunctivitis during monsoon season

The onset of monsoon brings with it an outbreak of conjunctivitis, which can be viral, bacterial or a combination of both. Conjunctivitis refers to a common ocular condition encountered by ophthalmologists all around the world. Patients usually present with red or pink eyes, lid swelling, watery or mucoid discharge (yellow or greenish), eye pain, and severe eye congestion with blurred vision.  At times, there can be fever, sore throat or upper respiratory infection associated with it. Patients with conjunctivitis need to be thoroughly examined in clinics to start appropriate treatment. Over-the-counter prescriptions usually lead to microorganism resistance and ineffective therapy because not all pink eyes are infectious.  Tips to safeguard yourself from contracting the disease: • Keep good hand hygiene - regular hand washing, using sanitizers regularly.• Avoid eye rubbing and touching of the eyes.• Avoid using common water bodies like swimming pools and steam rooms like saunas.• Avoid sharing common items like towels, pillow covers, handkerchiefs, clothes, makeup brushes and eye drops.• Wearing dark glasses to avoid cross-contamination is a myth; they should be worn to avoid aversion to light (photosensitivity) if present, and they give protection from touching your own eyes.• Keep your workplace and your home clean by frequently disinfecting surfaces like tabletops, floors, and seating and changing bed linens.• Avoid using contact lenses during monsoons as they can be a source of infection.• After coming in contact with dirty water or swimming pool water, it's better to always take a shower.• Whenever your eyes turn pink or red, visit your nearest ophthalmologist and never self-prescribe medicines or self-treat. If conjunctivitis is not well treated, it can lead to vision problems and cellulitis of the area around your eyes.• Eye makeup should be minimal. If you apply it regularly, make sure you wash it off before you go to sleep. Sanitise your makeup brushes and applicators.• Treat your underlying cold, cough, or respiratory tract infection.• Complete the course of medicines as prescribed by your treating doctor and also go for a follow-up whenever called. (By: Dr Sakshi Lalwani, Pediatric And Neuro Ophthalmologist at Dr Agarwals Eye Hospital with CEDS, Bandra)

14 June,2024 03:00 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
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Mid-Day Premium Discover a lesser-known technique to tackle menstrual woes

Sakshi Mali’s menstrual health took a dark turn when she developed a 4.5-centimetre-wide cyst in 2022. “I used to suffer from severe mid-cycle cramping for one and half years and wouldn't do without anti-spasmodic,” the 32-year-old tells this writer.  Seeking remedies, she experimented with homeopathy for six months without success. Additionally, hormonal medicines from gynecologists failed to help. It wasn't until 2023 that she discovered the benefits of vaginal steaming, which began to alleviate her severe menstrual pain.  “I did vaginal steaming for one month and the midcycle pain went away like magic, I conceived naturally without any medication in a couple of months. Also, when I went for my first sonography, there were no remaining cysts either,” shares Mali.  While this may seem too good to be true, it appears that more women are opting for the practice of vaginal steaming also known as yoni-steaming. For Anshula Singhal, the problem of severe pain in the pelvis and legs after intercourse had become a norm until she steamed her lady bits. “Within two months – I was relieved of the pain and could go about sexual activity without any fear,” informs the 40-year-old.  Recent studies have highlighted potential health risks associated with the long-term use of Meftal Spas, a common medication used to address menstrual pain.In a recent advisory issued by the Indian Pharmacopoeia Commission, health concerns have been raised regarding the use of this widely-consumed painkiller The report highlights that the medicine contains mefenamic acid which is known to induce allergic reactions While the medicine can provide temporary relief from symptoms like cramps and abdominal discomfort, prolonged use may lead to adverse effects such as gastric irritation, kidney damage and increased risk of cardiovascular issues. Given these concerns, many individuals are exploring natural alternatives like vaginal steaming as a safer option for managing period pain and related symptoms. (L-R) Herbs that go into the steam box, Dr Prity Maniar, Mumbai-based certified vaginal steaming practitioner  So, what is vaginal steaming? Dr Komal Bhadu consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Ruby Hall Clinic informs, “Vaginal steaming, also known as yoni steaming, is a traditional practice where a person sits over a pot or basin filled with hot water infused with herbs. They typically cover themselves with a cloth or robe to trap the steam, allowing it to permeate the vaginal area.” Dr Prity Maniar, a certified vaginal steaming practitioner and founder of The Womb Story, shares that traditionally, herbs were sprinkled on burning coal inside a pot that produced fry smoke meant to warm a woman’s genitals. This ancient Ayurvedic practice, however, posed risks due to the use of burning coals, which could damage the skin and cause indoor pollution. Additionally, the unavailability of coals made it difficult to perform.  Also Read: Her lady bits are on strike: Misconceptions about female pleasure men need to know Maniar took cues from this practice to devise a new-age steam box that addresses the shortcomings associated with the use of coal. “Now, I use water as a medium instead of coals. The hot water bowl goes inside this steam box and you can sit over it and consume the steam comfortably through an opening which is just around the perineal area.” It can be done right from teenage to menopause and later too.  However, there is limited scientific evidence supporting these claims, and additional research is necessary to validate its effectiveness, informs Bhadu.   But why steam your lady bits? Maniar remarks that while it’s true that the uterus is a self-cleansing organ and periods help to detox/ cleanse, so are our gut and our digestive system, yet we still do a gut detox despite eliminating stool every day. Similarly, a uterus detox needs to be given a thought.  Advocates of vaginal steaming share that this natural remedy offers a multitude of benefits for a wide range of menstrual and period-related issues, such as premenstrual syndrome (PMS), painful periods, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), cysts, fibroids, endometriosis, low libido, menopause, irregular periods, short cycles and postpartum recovery.  Maniar adds that this practice is not only advantageous for addressing physical symptoms but also plays a significant role in enhancing emotional well-being. It helps release pent-up emotions often unknowingly stored in the womb or uterus. Additionally, vaginal steaming enhances sensuality making it a holistic approach to women's health. “The practice of vaginal steaming has deep roots in various cultures across India and around the globe, including traditions from Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Mexican and Mayan cultures. These traditions have long recognised and scientifically validated the benefits of steaming, especially during the postpartum period,” she adds.   How safe is vaginal steaming? The safety of vaginal steaming is a topic of debate among medical professionals. While proponents claim it offers benefits that have been discussed above, there are significant concerns about its safety.  Potential risks include burns from hot steam, infections from unsterilised equipment and disruptions to the natural vaginal flora, which can lead to other health issues. Bhadu adds that there are chances of potential irritation or allergic reactions to the herbs used in the steaming process.  On the contrary, Maniar opines that there are no side effects associated with using the steam box as it uses water. “If one is sitting over the steam box, there are no chances of burns as there's no constant source of heat/ steam. And when it comes to the pH of the vagina, sexual intercourse and semen would change the pH and not steaming.” Maniar claims this after doing the vagina pH tests post using the steam box.  Group session for vaginal steaming  How to prepare for vaginal steaming? Here is how you can prepare for a vaginal steaming session at home: 1. You will need a bowl of hot water and a selection of herbs suited to your needs. The container can be made of stainless steel, glass, or ceramic to ensure safety and maintain the temperature of the water. 2. Boil water and pour it into your chosen container. Add the herbs to the hot water, allowing them to steep and release their beneficial properties into the steam. 3. Place the bowl in a comfortable, quiet area where you can relax. You can choose to kneel over the bowl or use a steam box designed for this purpose, which provides added comfort and support. 4. Carefully position yourself over the bowl or steam box, ensuring that the steam can reach the vaginal area. It is important to keep a safe distance to avoid burns and ensure a gentle steam experience. 5. Drape a blanket or large towel around your waist and the bowl to trap the steam. Sit comfortably and relax for 20-30 minutes, allowing the steam to work its magic.  Also Read: Endometriosis affects 43 million women in India: Study  What to expect during the steam session: Many women report a variety of sensations and emotional releases during their steam sessions. Some describe it as a melting-down effect, feeling as though tension is dissolving away. Others feel a sense of release as if something is being let go from within, informs Bhadu.   What goes into the steam box Experts list down the herbs that go into the making of the vaginal steam box: Dried rose, lavender, basil, rosemary, chamomile, calendula, nettles and mugwort are commonly used in vaginal steaming, each offering distinct benefits.  Some of these herbs, such as lavender and rosemary, help increase blood flow, while others, like chamomile and calendula, are known for their infection-fighting properties. Additionally, herbs like nettles can help reduce menstrual flow.  Maniar emphasises that “It’s essential that these herbs are not combined randomly, as their effects can vary greatly. I customise herb blends after conducting an online consultation to understand each individual's menstrual cycle, medical history and specific symptoms”   How often can you steam Just as diet, exercise and medication plans vary for each individual, so too must steam plans be tailored according to a person's menstrual history. Each plan can differ in frequency, ranging from 3 to 6 times per month or menstrual cycle, depending on the cycle's length and specific symptoms, outlines Maniar.  It's essential to avoid vaginal steaming during certain conditions: when on periods or spotting, during pregnancy, if there's an active infection and for those trying to conceive naturally, steaming should be avoided until ovulation.  Also Read: Half of slum girls don’t change sanitary napkins in school, survey reveals

14 June,2024 02:05 PM IST | Mumbai | Ainie Rizvi
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Mid-Day Premium Midday Special: Seeking non-discriminatory healthcare for LGBTQ+ patients

A recent qualitative study conducted by Lakshya Arora, P.M. Bhujang and Muthusamy Sivakami has brought to light the prevalent discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual and others) in the healthcare domain.  The study revealed that "Most administrators and doctors in Indian hospitals were not familiar with the varied needs of the LGBTQIA+ spectrum and treated them as a homogenous group." Additionally, some administrators believed that serving the minuscule LGBTQIA+ population may adversely affect business in private hospitals. Consequently, disparities in healthcare delivery have led to a reluctance among the queer community to seek medical services. With a lack of accountability at the systemic level, the report underscores the need to implement inclusive practices in order to create a non-discriminatory environment for LGBTQIA+ patients. Profile of the study participants from "Understanding discrimination against LGBTQIA+ patients in Indian hospitals using a human rights perspective: an exploratory qualitative study" published in the National Library of Medicine To develop guidelines for more inclusive and non-discriminatory healthcare, spoke to experts from the healthcare and legal fields about how hospitals can better serve LGBTQ+ patients. Here are the key takeaways from interactions with Dr Sonal Anand, a psychiatrist at Wockhardt Hospitals, Mumbai and Dr Preeti Rawat, Professor K J Somaiya Institute of Management (KJSIM). How can healthcare providers be trained to ensure non-discriminatory care for LGBTQ+ patients?Anand: Healthcare providers must ensure that they are unbiased and treat every patient equally, irrespective of their gender, economic and social status. This requires creating a safe and welcoming space for LGBTQ+ patients to develop a better understanding of their health concerns.  Healthcare providers can take up comprehensive education programs that focus on cultural competence, inclusive communication and the specific health issues prevalent within the LGBTQ+ community, such as higher rates of mental health disorders, substance abuse and sexually transmitted infections like HIV, Syphilis and Hepatitis B.  Training should include modules on recognising and addressing implicit biases, creating welcoming environments, using inclusive language and understanding the unique challenges and stressors faced by LGBTQ+ individuals due to discrimination and social stigma. Regular workshops, sensitivity training and updates on best practices can equip healthcare providers with the knowledge and skills needed to offer empathetic and equitable care to LGBTQ+ patients. What are the unique health needs and challenges faced by LGBTQ+ individuals that healthcare providers must be aware of?Anand: LGBTQ+ individuals often find it challenging to deal with social stereotypes, which can adversely impact their mental health. This further leads to experiencing mental health problems like depression, stress, social anxiety, self-harm and even suicidal thoughts which can also contribute to bad habits like excessive consumption of alcohol, drugs and tobacco.  These mental health challenges can be compounded by experiences of bullying, family rejection and the stress of concealing one’s identity. Additionally, LGBTQ+ youth are particularly vulnerable and may require tailored support services to navigate these difficulties. Understanding the mental health landscape for LGBTQ+ patients is crucial for healthcare providers, who should be trained to offer empathetic and affirming mental health care and referrals to LGBTQ+-friendly therapists. Another significant health challenge is the higher prevalence of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) within the LGBTQ+ community, especially among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender individuals. Some of them are at higher risk of developing STDs like HIV, Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea and Syphilis.  Health experts should take cognisance of the specific sexual health risks and needs of LGBTQ+ patients, including the importance of regular STI screenings, PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) for HIV prevention, and safe sex practices. Moreover, transgender individuals may face unique health needs related to hormone therapy and gender-affirming surgeries, requiring specialsed knowledge and sensitivity.    What role does patient feedback play in training healthcare providers to deliver more inclusive and non-discriminatory care to LGBTQ+ individuals?Anand: Patient feedback plays a crucial role in training healthcare providers to deliver more inclusive and non-discriminatory care for queer people, by offering direct insights into the experiences and challenges faced by these patients within the healthcare system. This can be accomplished by having meaningful conversations and encouraging them to share their experiences Through feedback mechanisms such as surveys, focus groups and patient interviews, doctors can identify areas where biases and gaps in care exist. This real-world input allows for the development of targeted training programs that address specific issues, improve communication skills and promote understanding of LGBTQ+ health needs.  Incorporating patient feedback into training ensures that the curriculum remains relevant and responsive to the evolving needs of LGBTQ+ patients, ultimately fostering a more welcoming and supportive healthcare environment. What strategies can be implemented in medical training to address and eliminate biases against LGBTQ+ patients?Anand: To address and eliminate biases against LGBTQ+ patients in medical training, one effective strategy is to arrange panel discussions or invite LGBTQ+ individuals to share their personal experiences and healthcare challenges.  These firsthand accounts provide invaluable insights into the barriers and biases LGBTQ+ patients encounter, fostering empathy and understanding among healthcare providers. Hearing directly from LGBTQ+ patients helps humanise their struggles and underscores the importance of non-discriminatory care. Additionally, these discussions can highlight practical examples of inclusive practices, such as using correct pronouns and names, which can significantly enhance patient comfort and trust. Another essential strategy is to incorporate comprehensive LGBTQ+ health topics into the medical curriculum. This includes detailed modules on the specific physical and mental health issues faced by LGBTQ+ individuals, such as higher rates of mental health disorders, the need for regular STI screenings and the particular requirements of transgender patients undergoing hormone therapy or gender-affirming surgeries.  Encouraging an open mindset and curiosity about the LGBTQ+ community helps healthcare providers stay informed and compassionate, ultimately leading to unbiased and equitable medical care.   Edited excerpts from the interview with Dr Preeti Rawat, Professor K J Somaiya Institute of Management (KJSIM): How can healthcare institutions implement training programs that address the unique needs and rights of LGBTQ+ patients within the legal framework?Rawat: Learning to care for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer/questioning community involves understanding and being open to multiple special considerations and avoiding unconscious and perceived biases. Maintain an open mind and avoid judgment regarding sexual orientation and practices.1. They need compassionate care.2. The hospital admission form should include transgender as an option.3. The staff is to be trained to refer to patients by their names and chosen descriptive pronouns. 4. Healthcare professionals should be trained to use gender-neutral terms such as ‘significant other’ or ‘partner.’ 5. Include members of the LGBTQ community as part of their staff and the hospital notice boards should communicate its inclusiveness towards LGBTQ+ patients and staff.6. They should be sensitised to avoid using language or words that are derogatory or discriminating. What legal protections exist for LGBTQ+ patients  and how can healthcare providers be educated to uphold these rights and avoid potential discrimination?Rawat: From a legal standpoint, homosexuality has been legal in India since 2018. Transgender individuals have a constitutional right to change their legal gender and a third gender (non-binary) is officially recognised. The Supreme Court has ruled that the Fundamental Right to Privacy is intrinsic to life and liberty, falling under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. Additionally, the Court has declared that bodily autonomy is an integral part of the right to privacy, which includes an individual's sexual orientation. These legal protections should be integrated into the curriculum and practical training for healthcare providers. It is crucial that healthcare providers assure patients that their communication and medical records, including tests and results, are kept confidential. This approach ensures respect for the legal rights and personal privacy of LGBTQ+ patients, fostering a more inclusive and trustworthy healthcare environment.

14 June,2024 02:02 PM IST | Mumbai | Ainie Rizvi
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Mid-Day Premium Food, fitness and water workouts: Guide to wellness during monsoon

Pitter-patter, rain drops and sweeps us off with monsoon blues. You may ring in the Bambai ki baarish with long drives to Khandala, tapri chai and bhajiyas, tuning in to your monsoon playlist or snoring next to the window. Despite all the fun, your body has to face the brunt of lowered activity and immunity levels Call it a psychosomatic reaction, lethargy or feeling under the weather — the monsoon season often leads to flu, indigestion, shoulder pain or body aches resurfacing. Not only this, the body also becomes prone to infections and our overall immunity is compromised. The onset of this monsoon calls for a holistic guide to maintain fitness through the 4-month long season. Fret not, we roped in fitness, wellness and Ayurveda experts who share with us handy tips to keep sickness at bay during the rains: Foods to eat for a stronger gut  Curd and buttermilk are beneficial during monsoons for their probiotic properties, which boost digestion and immunity. Image Courtesy: iStock The rainy season provides a beautiful break from the scorching sun but also brings an increased risk of infections caused by various viruses and bacteria, informs Dr Nivedita Pandey, gastroenterologist and hepatologist, at Gooddeed Clinics.  These can lead to simple ailments like a runny nose, cough, diarrhea and vomiting, or more severe, life-threatening infections such as viral hepatitis or typhoid. To combat these health issues, Pandey shares dietary recommendations to boost immunity and maintain energy levels during monsoon:  1. Avoid street foods, especially uncooked items like golgappa and chaat, as well as juices like sugarcane or fruit juice. 2. If you must eat out, always choose cooked food and avoid salads and chutneys served with your meal. 3. Include fermented foods in your diet, as they are rich in beneficial bacteria that improve colon health and boost immunity. 4. Consume plenty of buttermilk and yoghurt and consider including South Indian cuisine items like idli and rasam. 5. Eat seasonal fruits like jamun, mangoes and melons, which are rich in vitamin C and enhance immunity. 6. Avoid eating leafy vegetables during the rainy season as they spoil easily. 7. Steer clear of oily and greasy meals, which take longer to digest and can increase fatigue. 8. Drink chana sattu mixed with lemon and cumin to stay hydrated and ensure adequate protein intake in your diet.  While boiled and well-cooked cruciferous veggies such as broccoli and cauliflower are encouraged, leafy greens contain a lot of contamination and are infection-prone and must be avoided. Fibres are important for our bowel movements. To help the gut, add more fibre, probiotics and prebiotics.  Since immunity and digestive power are deeply impacted during the monsoon, eat food that is easier to digest. Add triphala, haritaki, tulsi, guduchi, amalaki to aid the digestive system and stick to meal times without munching in between meals. To maintain gut health, the three vital aspects are normal bowel movement, good fibre intake and healthy gut flora.  Have buttermilk at lunch and add a tadka of hing, zeera, kadi patta to soup and veggies to make them more digestible. Junk and heavy, oily food can aggravate the pitta [acidic fire] in the body, so reduce the intake of gravies and deep-fried dishes and restrain your meat intake. A chicken soup is good in the season, but red meat would be too heavy for the body to digest.  Workouts to try during monsoon  Monsoon weather often leads to reduced outdoor activity, promoting a sedentary lifestyle. However, simple home exercises like pilates, bodyweight workouts and stretching can help maintain fitness during this period. Celebrity trainers share with us two basic workouts to try this monsoon: Pedalling exercise for glutes and obliques 1. Lie flat on your back. Bring your knees up to a 90-degree angle and press your lower back to the floor. 2. Raise your heels until they are in level with your knees and slowly begin to "pedal". Now put your hands behind your head. Do not link the fingers; elbows should be even with your ears. 3. Lift your head as if you are beginning a crunch. While still "pedalling", touch your right elbow to the left knee, then your left elbow to the right knee. Your upper torso should move diagonally across your body with your elbow. This motion works the obliques, while the movement of the legs engages the rectus abdominus. Remember to breathe evenly throughout the exercise. 4. Don't pull on your head. Your lower back should remain on the floor to maintain proper positioning. If your back arches off the floor, it could cause undue strain. To make the abdominal exercises easier on your body without losing effectiveness, raise your heels.   Walking lunges for rear strength and flexibility with the back leg 1. Stand tall with your shoulders back and down, and abdominal engaged, place feet together. Your arms can be flat by your side, or holding your hips or behind your head. 2. Breathing normally, step forward with your right foot, bending both knees so that your front knee is aligned over your ankle and the back knee comes close to the floor. Your back heel is lifted off the floor. 3. Before your back knee touches the floor, push up with your back left leg, forcing the weight of your body through your right heel, simultaneously bringing your left foot together with your right foot. 4. Without pausing, alternate legs, lunge forward with your left foot, bending both knees so that your front knee is aligned with your ankle and the back knee comes close to the floor. Your back heel is lifted off the floor. 5. Before your back knee touches the floor, push up with your back right leg, forcing the weight of your body through your left heel, simultaneously bringing your right foot together with your left foot. 6. Continue to perform the steps above, alternating legs for 20 steps and increasing the steps as you get stronger.  Also Read: Commuting by Mumbai local trains during monsoons? Mumbaikars share fashion, travel hacks Swimming pool workouts to try this monsoon Swimming is an exceptional full-body workout that can be easily tailored to various fitness levels and goals, informs Aman Puri, Founder of Steadfast Nutrition, a Mumbai-based sports and wellness nutrition brand. Besides being a fantastic way to stay cool during the scorching summer months, swimming also burns more calories than many land-based exercises. Puri breaks down east swimming exercises you can try this monsoon to enhance your fitness routine. 1. Freestyle swimming Freestyle, also known as front crawl, is the most popular stroke and is excellent for cardiovascular fitness. This stroke involves a combination of alternating arm movements and a flutter kick, making it perfect for overall muscle strengthening. Specifically, freestyle targets the arms, shoulders, and core muscles. Benefits:Freestyle swimming improves cardiovascular health, builds muscular endurance, and enhances overall body coordination. It’s an efficient way to burn calories and increase stamina. 2. Backstroke workout Backstroke is another effective exercise, primarily focusing on the upper body, including the arms, shoulders, and back. It also helps improve posture and spine alignment. Unlike freestyle, you swim on your back, which can be more relaxing while still providing a robust workout. Benefits:Backstroke strengthens the muscles of the upper body and core, enhances flexibility, and improves your posture. It’s also an excellent stroke for those with back issues, as it helps in spine alignment and reduces strain on the back. 3. Walk in water Walking in water is a good swimming workout to start with - it strengthens your arms, core, and lower body. The intensity of the exercise can be increased by using hand or ankle weights.  4. Interval training Interval training is a favoured choice among swimmers because it allows them to adjust the intensity of their workout as their fitness improves. Swimmers can customise the number of laps and rest intervals to match their skill level. The key is to maintain a pattern of alternating between high and low efforts.Benefits:Consistent interval training enhances cardiovascular conditioning, increases muscle strength, and boosts endurance. It’s an effective way to break through fitness plateaus and improve overall swimming performance. 5. Butterfly stroke The butterfly stroke is the most challenging and intense swimming stroke, providing a superb workout for the entire body, particularly the upper body and core. It involves a dolphin kick paired with synchronised arm movements. Benefits:The butterfly stroke builds significant strength and endurance, especially in the shoulders, chest, and core. It also improves flexibility and coordination, making it an excellent full-body workout. 6. Sprint Interval workout Sprint intervals are an efficient workout to boost swimming speed, power, and anaerobic capacity. These high-intensity exercises require maximum effort for short bursts, followed by rest or low-intensity swimming. Benefits:Sprint intervals enhance cardiovascular fitness, increase muscle power, and improve anaerobic capacity. This method also helps in developing fast-twitch muscle fibres, essential for explosive movements. 7. Kickboard workouts Kickboard workouts are excellent for improving leg strength and kicking technique. By using a kickboard, you can isolate your lower body, aiding in more efficient and faster swimming. Benefits:Kickboard workouts enhance leg endurance, power, and flexibility. They also help in refining your kicking technique, making you a more efficient swimmer. Additional tips for effective swimming workouts Hydration:Staying hydrated is crucial, even while swimming. Make sure you drink water before, during, and after your workout to prevent dehydration. Warm-up and cool-down:Always include a warm-up and cool-down in your routine to prepare your body for exercise and aid in recovery. Incorporating a variety of swimming activities into your summer fitness program keeps your workouts interesting and provides numerous health benefits. Whether your goal is to boost endurance, build strength, or improve technique, swimming can help you achieve it. Dive into the pool this summer and enjoy a refreshing, full-body workout with swimming. Also Read: Follow this quick fashion guide to help you brave the rains in style Lessons from the books of Ayurveda Further, Dr Sudha Asokan, Founder of Dr Sudha's Ayurveda Kendra informs that monsoons can lead to bad digestion, body aches and terrible immunity. “This damp season is ideal for Panchakarma which refers to the cleansing of the body. The increased moisture helps expel toxins, while Abhyangam (massage) and Pizhichil (oil pouring) loosen them for elimination through therapies like Vamana (therapeutic vomiting) or Basti (enemas).”  To keep monsoon-prone diseases at bay Indian spices serve as as precautionary ingredients. He recommends warming spices such as ginger, garlic, pepper, turmeric and tulsi. “They are respiratory herbs. Cooking spices like rosemary, turmeric, coriander, garlic and cloves have medicinal value and can be used to light the digestive fire. A tablespoon of apple cider vinegar with warm water is also a great addition. Use herbs and spices to make herbal teas and tissanes.  Interestingly, monsoon is a time to put fresh juices on hold and cut consumption of raw foods. This is mostly due to unhygienic handling during the rains. “If you can ensure the vegetables are thoroughly cleaned, a small amount is permissible. Carrots and cucumbers are okay as the outer layer gets peeled, but broccoli and cauliflower should not be consumed raw. Also, if you must, then choose chaas over yoghurt. 

14 June,2024 01:24 PM IST | Mumbai | Ainie Rizvi
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Expert sheds light on the role of neurorehabilitation in post-stroke recovery

Stroke, a leading cause of disability worldwide, affects millions of lives each year. In India, the prevalence of stroke is alarmingly high, with the disease burden steadily increasing. Amidst this growing challenge, shares Dr Gaurish Kenkre, General Manager and Center Head, Atharv Ability, Mumbai, that post-stroke neurorehabilitation emerges as a crucial aspect of the recovery journey, filling a significant need gap in the healthcare landscape. Prevalence of stroke in IndiaIndia grapples with a rising tide of stroke cases. Studies indicate that India recorded 13 lakh cases of stroke in 2019, the highest in the Southeast Asian region. Factors such as lifestyle changes, urbanisation and an aging population contribute to the increasing prevalence. Moreover, stroke affects individuals across all socioeconomic strata, highlighting the urgent need for comprehensive care and rehabilitation services. Stroke imposes a considerable burden on individuals, families and healthcare systems. Beyond the physical impairments, stroke survivors often face cognitive and emotional challenges, impacting their quality of life and functional independence. The economic burden is also significant, encompassing healthcare costs, lost productivity and long-term care expenses. Despite the staggering prevalence of stroke, access to specialised neurorehabilitation services remains limited in India. This creates a glaring need gap, as many survivors do not receive timely or adequate rehabilitation interventions. Addressing this gap is essential to maximise recovery potential and enhance the long-term outcomes of stroke survivors. Way forwardNeurorehabilitation encompasses a range of interventions aimed at promoting recovery, restoring function,and improving the quality of life for individuals affected by stroke. Some key interventions include: Robotics: Advanced robotic devices assist in repetitive task training, facilitating motor recovery and functional independence.Artificial Intelligence (AI): AI-based technologies personalise rehabilitation programs, optimising outcomes through data-driven insights and adaptive interventions.Aquatic Therapy: Water-based exercises offer a low-impact environment for rehabilitation, promoting mobility, strength and balance.Physiotherapy: Tailored exercise programs and manual techniques help improve muscle strength, coordination and range of motion.Counselling: Psychological support and counseling address emotional distress, depression, and adjustment issues commonly experienced post-stroke. Research consistently demonstrates the efficacy of neurorehabilitation in improving outcomes and enhancing the quality of life for stroke survivors. Through targeted interventions and multidisciplinary approaches, neurorehabilitation helps individuals regain independence, reintegrate into society and pursue meaningful activities. Furthermore, early and intensive rehabilitation can mitigate secondary complications, reduce disability and promote neuroplasticity, facilitating recovery processes. Offering hope, support and transformative interventions, Neurorehabilitation emerges as a cornerstone of care in the journey of recovery post-stroke. As India grapples with the growing burden of stroke, prioritizing access to comprehensive neurorehabilitation services is imperative. By bridging the need gap and embracing innovative interventions, stroke survivors can be empowered to reclaim their lives, restore function, and thrive beyond the confines of disability.  Also Read: Seeking non-discriminatory healthcare for LGBTQ+ patients

13 June,2024 04:00 PM IST | Mumbai | mid-day online correspondent
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40 pc of Indian men don’t talk about their mental health openly: Experts

While society has started openly discussing issues such as anxiety, depression and stress, men’s mental health continues to be an overlooked area. About 40 per cent of men in India do not talk about their mental health openly, over fear of stigma, said experts on Thursday. International Men's Health Week is observed every year from June 10 to June 16, to raise awareness on men’s health issues. “The lack of discussions about men’s mental health or their propensity to seek help along with the growing suicide rates may be explained by the male gender norms that are socially constructed,” said Dr Samir Kumar Praharaj, Professor and Head - Department of Psychiatry, Kasturba Medical College and Hospitals, MAHE, Manipal. “About 40 per cent of Indian men don’t talk about their mental health openly, largely due to stigmas and misconceptions, including the mistaken belief that men should handle their emotions on their own,” added Dr Shyam Bhat, Psychiatrist, and Chairperson, of LiveLoveLaugh. Historically, societal expectations have dictated that men embody strength, resilience and emotional stoicism. Biological and hormonal influences like testosterone also contribute to different emotional responses in men. Dr Samir said that in most cases, men are an example of how to mask emotions since it is considered shameful for them to express feelings or seek help. “When depressed, men are more likely to display aggression and anger rather than sadness, compared with women, who may be more in touch with their sadness and vulnerability,” remarked Dr Shyam. "Consequently, many men suffer in silence or become isolated and resort to substance abuse, as they battle their internal struggles without the support they desperately need. This increases suicide risk in men, and consequently, death by suicide in men occurs 2.5 times more than in women," he added. The doctors called for awareness campaigns and educational programmes to assist in the elimination of myths and stigmatisation associated with mental disorders as well as foster conversation. Dr Samir stressed healthy habits such as exercising, doing mindful activities and engaging in creative outlets for better mental health. “The emphasis should be shifted to altering the perception of male masculinity and persuading men to take their mental health issues seriously and to seek help if they experience any difficulties,” the health expert said. Also Read: Seeking non-discriminatory healthcare for LGBTQ+ patients This story has been sourced from a third party syndicated feed, agencies. Mid-day accepts no responsibility or liability for its dependability, trustworthiness, reliability and data of the text. Mid-day management/ reserves the sole right to alter, delete or remove (without notice) the content in its absolute discretion for any reason whatsoever

13 June,2024 02:35 PM IST | Mumbai | IANS
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