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Broad chest, weak lungs - Are men more prone to respiratory diseases?The long-standing, chronic afflictionof the respiratory disease is called as COPD, i.e., Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. COPD is the obstruction within the lung tissue, causing improper circulation and entrapment of air. This limits the space for air to move in and out, directly affecting the quality of inhalation. A small reminder here may be necessary - breathing is synonymous with life, why? Because that's how we get oxygen, which is vital for the functioning of each and every cell within the body. With COPD, the ability to take in oxygen gets compromised increasingly. Continued cough, sputum, and shortness of breath are the main symptoms. COPD is more common in men. Does it have to do anything with being a male? Not necessarily. No specific link has been established to say that COPD risk is higher for you solely because you are a man. Then, what could it be? A study conducted in 2011 in USA showed that the number of men who smoke is 5% more than the women who do. To understand the reason behind this, let us see the primary causes of this disease. Air pollution, some genetic predispositions, frequent acute infections, exposure to harmful chemicals for a long time (usually occupational) - are some of the main causes, and the number one cause is smoking, owing to almost 80-90% of the cases. Park this thought. Next piece of information is simply revisiting some facts you may already know: #The gender classification ofsmokers - Men are known to smoke more than women all over the world, not only in numbers, but also in quantity. Whether it is a developing country or a developed one, 2011 studies say there are more male smokers everywhere than female smokers. Not only there are more men who smoke, they smoke for longer periods and more number of cigarettes than female smokers. This may vary from country to country, like India has much less women smokers than USA does, but the difference between the two genders holds true everywhere, only the ratios differ. #Occupational exposure to harmful chemicals and gases - These are industries of mining, textile, chemical engineering, welding, etc. The number of men working in such industries is way higher than women. #Air pollution - Men are more exposed to air pollution since they are outdoors more than women. This may not apply to all countries and societies, but is generally true. Now, we can put the pieces together and understand why COPD is more common in men? Yes, they are at a higher risk because of higher exposure to smoking, pollutants and irritants. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of lung diseases and male smokers outnumber women across the world. You can figure out the math here!
The moody man - Mood swings in menMen, such jokes on a woman's monthly mood swings are passe. Recent research proves that men are equally prone to have mood swings. Have you experienced a myriad of emotions? Angry, irritated, feeling helpless, self-pity, an irrational urge to throw things and cry and be depressed all at the same time? These are signs of mood swings. And the point of interest here is that you don't have to be a woman to experience mood swings. Men face their share of mood swings too! Men undergo hormonal influence too. And like women this causes them too to be irritable and cranky. The difference here is that the hormonal fluctuations are not as severe in men as in women. So the mood change lasts for a lesser time compared to a woman. Men's moods are also affected by psychological and physiological stressors. So a man who has to work against time to meet a deadline will be very irritable. A man who is deprived of sleep will end up snapping at you for no apparent reason. The myth that men don't cry, is something that men take to heart. Men are emotional beings and it is okay to show some of the emotions. The male stereotypical image is such that if a man is expressive of his emotional side, he isn't considered macho enough. Hence men tend to internalize their emotions and feelings. Often this leads to chronic depression. Taming the mood swings. Any form of physical exercise helps keep the mood in balance. This helps in keeping the aggressiveness under check. Sex is also a great way to release the stress and feel better, rather than snapping and using profanities. Another helpful way is to ask yourself 'why'. Whenever you feel that you are doing something irrational or out of character, ask yourself why. The answer you get from yourself will help clear the situation and you will end up handling it in a mature fashion. The irritable male syndrome. This is the male equivalent of the female menopause - The Andropause. It covers the symptoms seen in middle-aged men that occur due to the drop in testosterone levels. Like women, men show mood changes, bouts of irritability, grumpiness, hypersensitivity, anxiety and frustration. The recent research on men having mood swings and the society's acceptance of these findings is very encouraging. It helps stress in the fact that men are emotional too. There is nothing anti-macho about a man crying his heart out at times. It only shows he is human, after all.
Inspiring fitness goals for womenBeing fit comes with the benefit of enhanced mood and lowered hormonal rages. Coupled with right proportion of sleep, hydration, and a job you love, you will be nearing towards a perfect body. Goal 1: WorkOut Your Body to A Song! Make a playlist of all the songs you love and choose to execute your regime through it. Goal 2: "Be Yourself" Challenge Holistically develop your body by acknowledging what you love to do. Choose a sport that you love and join a group. If you love animals, then walk your dog which will let you lose weight and enjoy the company of pets. If painting or photography interests you, then trekking along landscapes of beauty should be your weekend getaway. Goal 3: Become the Hourglass with 1-Month Workout Regime Evaluate your body type and create a month-long regime to gradually progress towards animpeccable body shape and continue it beyond the initial 1 month. Start with small steps and do not go in for crash diets. Choose healthier snacks. Add a bit ofsleep to your daily dose in case you tend to sleep less. Begin with 15minutes of workout containing exercises recommended by your trainer to suit your body. Goal 4: Be the Health-Smart Mom! Lose the extra pounds you brought on during pregnancy and set a role model for your children. Go to the park with your children and play games with them. Pick up sports that you all can share and do together! Goal 5: The Yoga Guru Pick up yoga and start from the first step. Did you know that the initiation of anyone into the system of Yoga occurs through stage of Yama? Yama refers to the ethical principles that will guide your life while you move towards taking control of your life. The five Yamasin yoga are non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, celibacy, and non-possessiveness. They form the ground for your body to start on a healthy path. Move yourself towards following these principles and pick up the following asanas (body-postures) to lose weight: setu band (the bridge pose), bhekasana, dhanurasana, shalabhasana, chakki chalan, nauka chalan, and sarvangasana. A healthy lifestyle is the framework for any fitness goal. Do not go for unrealistic or transient goals. Start by making preparatory changes in your lifestyle: Lower your junk food intake, sleep adequately, drink at least two liters of water daily and hydrate your body sufficiently. Goal 6: Going Back to Nature Plan a trekking trip to your dream destination and walk your fat away. Bring back home a healthier body and a more peaceful mind. Goal 7: Master Your Body Make a journal of all activities you do in a day. The intention is to become aware of your habits that might be hurting your body unknowingly. Trace habits like binging on a snack while watching TV, sitting in a bad posture while on the desk and reading a book at a dimly lit place may be few pointers. This is a long-term challenge (4 months) to bring your body under your control through self-awareness. Goal 8: Green Regime Go for a diet which involves vegetables, fruits, and grains. Detoxify your body by being off junk food for at least two months. Goal 9: Bony to Healthy Increase your weight to become the inspiration for underweight people and guide them towards a healthy body. Goal 10: Run for the World Join marathons and runs for different social causes. Commonly known as 'Run for a Cause,' be the torchbearer to a certain cause by joining organizations that work on the same and initiating a run or marathon. This will not only prepare your body and move it towards healthy living; you will also be doing your part for the others.
Academic pressure in children and young peopleUnderstandably, parents, educators and politicians consider this topic a high priority. Exam preparatory businesses are found in every street and parents are willing to invest huge amounts of money to further their child's education. Another result, though, is childhood and teenage stress and anxiety. Signs of anxiety from too much pressure to succeed at school may show itself in sleep disturbances, erratic/poor eating, low mood, excessive worrying, low confidence levels and fear of failure - all eventually heading towards premature burnout. Younger children may experience nightmares, show bad behaviors or refuse to go to school. Teens may engage in destructive behaviors like drinking or drugs. They may struggle to concentrate or lose interest in their day-to-day activities and hobbies. They may gradually withdraw and isolate themselves. Anxiety and stress maybe linked to queasy tummies, headaches, and flaring up of skin conditions like rashes and eczema. The school and college admissions process has become more difficult than ever before. Competition is fierce. Many apply to a handful of good institutions hoping to get a much-wanted place. The stress does not stop after the exams - the wait for a decision is excruciating. Only a small proportion of eligible candidates succeed. Rejection can feel devastating. Highly capable and hardworking young people who spend many hours studying and preparing for assignments and exams, find the whole experience undermining and frustrating. Increasing external pressure from competitive peers, higher thresholds of parental expectations in a fast-paced world and the increasingly selective, goal-based focus of educational institutions will not feel supportive to a fragile child. Education should lead us from darkness to light. However, high and unrealistic expectations from parents and schools can affect a child's overall development. Whilst there is evidence that the parent's role supports or facilitates the child's achievements, there have also been concerns that a parent with unrealistic expectations can create unnecessary pressure - this worsens stress and fosters performance anxiety in children. Schools may put pressure on parents and the child to ensure that the child is meeting school targets and is not deficient in any area, rather than understanding that every child has a different potential and ability to manage stress. Children may perform better at school and feel more confident about themselves if they are told that failure is a normal part of learning, rather than being pressured to succeed at all costs, according to new research published by the American Psychological Association (2012). Recognizing this key concept and intervening early is vital. Parents and teachers need to communicate better with each other and the child. Understanding the child's strengths and interests but accepting the child's limitations at the same time is important. Supporting the child's efforts and self-esteem is the surest way to motivate them in a healthy manner. A simple conversation at the end of the day about how things are going on and giving positive feedback on the child's efforts go a long way. Where degrees and educational attainments are seen as the passport to financial success, are we losing sight of educating minds and supporting children's emotional, psychological, social and spiritual growth potential?
Bonding with the babyIt is an immense pleasure to hold a baby in your arms, isn't it? The bonding between amotherand her baby starts within the womb itself. When the baby is born, a few parents bond with the baby within minutes. But for others this may take some time. If the baby is taking time to respond to your affections, don't worry, here are some tips to help you with the bonding. Babies respond to the mother by making sounds, grasping, smiling, or crying. Touching, holding, kissing, cuddling, talking and singing help build a bond with your child. Infants prefer a human face to any other stimuli. So face your child as much as possible. The attention span of a new born baby is quite short. Hang a colorful object on top of the pram, cradle,or cot. Your baby already likes toys of different shapes. Various reflexes develop by the fourth week after birth. These include sucking, grasping, searching for the nipple and blinking. Baby may gaze at you some time. Respond by nodding, smiling, and talking to the baby. Babies are sensitive to their surroundings. They respond to music or the phone ringing by staring at it quietly. They observe toys keenly, spot colours and become happy at times. These are heart warming moments for the parents. Father's care usually builds a protective and secured feeling in a child which he carries for life and prevents building of any unreal fears in him in later life. So dads should care for and make their babies feel secure. You love to touch your bundle of joy, right? Babies love, enjoy, and need it as well. Skin-to-skin touch helps growth and development of the child. Mom's touch soothes the baby when he is irritated. Start reading to your child. It is never too early. It helps the development of reading skills and language. Babies enjoy pictures in the book. Even if baby can't understand words, they love to hear the parents' voices. During the first few months, they understand little of it, but they are thrilled by listening to you. Have a short reading session with your child daily.Dads can try this trick to make the baby sleep. Carry her around while patting her very gently on back.
Be positive. Here's howAs someone so very rightly said, "We are the sum total of our thoughts". So the more positive thoughts you have, or are capable of thinking, the more positive will be the outcome of your life journey. Here are a few tips to think more positively and empower yourself: Have a daily positive thinking routine. Generally the time when you are just waking up, i.e., the half awake state, is best for you to start feeding positive thoughts about yourself. The mind is more accepting of suggestion at that time. You can just feed your brain with happy and positive thoughts about your situation and what you hope to achieve for yourself and your family. Creative positive visualization is another great method of positive thinking. At a set time, just picture your life in the way you want it to go. This is different from daydreaming. Creative visualization gears you up for action while daydreaming remains just wishful thinking. If you have difficulty in certain areas of your life, say at work or with your relationship, visualize a positive outcome. This will engage your mind in thinking of various action plans to get about that positive result. Positive affirmations are a great way of reminding yourself that all is well. Have patience with yourself as your mind will probably not even believe half the things that you are affirming. That's what affirmations are all about.They are statements that you feed your mind about what you are and what you can achieve. Positive affirmations can help you reprogram your mind to what your heart really desires. Let go. Feel that delicious sense of surrender as you just indulge in mentally letting go of things. As a busy person you probably end up trying to control the outcomes of every situation and feel bad when things don't go the way you expect them to. Remember things can go wrong from time to time. Like you, life is also not perfect, so why expect perfection from others? Learn to let go of that emotional baggage that you are carrying. The weight of the world needn't rest on your shoulders. Collective consciousness is where you should try to tap into. Think of situations where things can go horribly wrong for someone else. Send out a silent prayer for those unfortunate people in this world. Chances are that your prayers just might help some stranger badly in need of a prayer or two. This can only come back to you manifold. Help someone else become a positive person. This can only reaffirm your faith in positive thinking. Positive energy is what everyone naturally seeks and we can for sometime blame our friends or family for being a negative influence on our lives. This line of thinking will get you nowhere. Instead think what's the next best option? Think of how you can convert negative energy or experiences into positive ones. Initially you might meet with resistance, but remember if you are positive then positivity is yours for keeps.
The male ego: Fragile male self-esteemIn a world where men are constantly competing with one another, adding a woman to this dynamic changes the perception for majority of men. The fact that a woman is doing better than a man can largely affect relationships at a personal and professional level. Simple things like opening a door for men or even pulling a chair for him can make him feel self-insufficient. The whole concept of a woman doing something/anything better than him brings down his self-esteem. In a relationship the roots go deeper and men who are making less money or not doing as well as their partners have a more fragile self-esteem. The mental insecurity that a woman may be a better provider for the family and has more potential than he does, changes the dynamic of his relationship, while for women this does not seem to be the case. Fragile self-esteem alters your everyday determination and persistence. Without being determined, the only way to go is downwards. When self-esteem is affected by women doing things that he can do, men seem to take it in a negative manner and lower their self-esteem. Small examples of this in our day to day life are - driving your own car as compared to having a driver, being physically weaker than a woman, etc. Men are creating rules to ensure that women who are considered lower than them cannot perform or do better than them. Systems and frameworks are made which ensure that situations never come up where a "lower person" does better than a man can, all out of the fear that they can't perform! From the day we are born to the rest of our lives, we are drilled with the fact that men are better, stronger, and smarter than women. So when situations arise where she is doing or has done better than you, the male self-esteem is questioned and, most of the time, drops. Being the person you are meant to be, you would automatically create a system by your choice and influence it to reduce the possibility of any other to be able to achieve what you have, in turn increasing your self-esteem. However, when the other overcomes or surpasses this obstacle, your self-esteem will be hit hard causing a drop in your self-esteem like the stock exchange does on its bad days. Self-esteem is a very personal topic and completely dependent on the situations you have encountered across your life. However, when majority of these are leaning in one direction then there is no question of failure. Consider a world dominated by women, What would happen to your self-esteem? Do you think you would survive in this kind of world, a world in which all your thoughts are limited by restrictions and rules you have to adhere too, to ensure things like your family name is kept out of shame. So let us all do as the women have been doing for centuries, embrace it, and learn to maintain our self-preservation and esteem irrespective of our surroundings. This may sound hard but let us work towards a world where women and men are equal. Don't let your self-esteem be affected by your surroundings, if you know your surroundings are not the best for the future.
21 foods for a healthy heartFollowing is a list of heart-healthy food substances: Garlic: Did you ever think that the commonly available garlic in your kitchen can be heart healthy? It may be smelly for some, but for the heart it is a soothing substance. Garlic is known to control blood pressure, serum triglyceride level & cholesterol level. Carrot: Carrots, though taste sweet, have the ability to control blood sugar levels because of high level of antioxidants in them. So include carrots in your diet, especially in salads. Orange: This juicy fruit has cholesterol-lowering ability because of fibre pectin in it and also helps control blood pressure. Almonds: Though all nuts are believed to be nutritious, almonds are considered to be heart healthy. Almonds are rich in vitamin E, calcium, plant sterols, fibre and antioxidants. Almonds help in lowering LDL cholesterol and reducing risk of diabetes. Walnuts: Walnuts are rich in omega 3 fatty acids, monounsaturated fats which help in lowering cholesterol levels.  Oatmeal: Oats are very healthy & help in lowering the bad LDL cholesterol. You can have one bowl of oatmeal mixed in milk along with nuts as breakfast. Flaxseed: This honey coloured shiny seeds contain substances which are heart healthy, such as lignans, ALA and omega 3 fatty acids. It helps in lowering cholesterol level and controlling diabetes. Tofu: It is a type of soybean protein which can be replaced with paneer. Tofu is rich in fibre and polyunsaturated fats which prevent clogging of arteries.  Barley: The fibre in barley is believed to lower cholesterol and blood glucose levels.  Tuna fish: Tuna fish is rich in omega 3 fatty acids which helps in lowering cholesterol levels.  Salmon: It is very good for heart as it is rich in omega 3, EPA and DHA. It lowers and reduces the risk of inflammation in arteries. It is also believed to maintain the ratio of good cholesterol to bad cholesterol. Red wine: Red wine contains catechins and resveratrol, good for heart health.  Black beans: They are a rich source of magnesium which helps in lowering blood pressure. It also contains folate, antioxidants and fibre which is helpful in controlling blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Fresh herbs: If you are hypertensive and want to control your salt intake then try using fresh herbs as a substitute for salt. It also contains antioxidants which are good for heart. Herbs include rosemary, sage, oregano and thyme. Extra virgin olive oil: This is rich in heart-healthy polyphenols & monounsaturated fats. As it's very costly you can use it as a topping for bread or salad. Sweet potatoes: White potatoes are believed to increase glycemic index so you can replace them with sweet potatoes. It is heart healthy as it has low glycemic index and also contains fibre, vitamin A and lycopene. Low fat yoghurt: You can include this in your breakfast safely as it contains calcium & potassium which helps in lowering blood pressure. Dried cherries: They are rich in anthocyanins and antioxidants which help in neutralizing the action of enzymes which cause plaque formation. In winter you should opt for strawberries, blueberries for a healthy heart. Cayenne chili pepper: Your blood sugar normally increases post a meal. By sprinkling cayenne chili pepper over your food can help preventing insulin level spike post meals. Hot cocoa: Coffee helps in patients with type 2 diabetes. Hot cocoa contains antioxidants helpful for heart. Kosher salt:  This is very beneficial for heart patients as it contains half the amount of sodium as compared to table salt and thus helps in controlling high blood pressure.
The age of nutritionAdvantages of Healthy Eating: Increased mental acuteness Resistance to illness and disease Higher energy levels More strong immune system Faster recuperation times Better management of chronic health problems Eating Obstacles for Seniors:  Lifestyle changes: Lifestyle changes can be an eating obstacle. For example single seniors may not know how to cook or may not like eating alone. Activity level: Seniors often cut back on activity for physical and medical reasons. Weight gain can result from the decrease in calories burned. Metabolism: Every year over the age of forty, our metabolism slows down. This means that even if you continue to eat the same amount and kinds of food as when you were younger, you're likely to gain weight because you're burning fewer calories. In addition, you may be less physically active now. Taste and appetite: The senses of taste and smell diminish, so one may be inclined to season one's food more heavily than before even though seniors need less salt than younger people. One may struggle with loss of appetite due to lifestyle, loneliness or a medical condition. Health Issues: Physical ailments and prescription medications, become a daily exercise, and ends up often negatively influencing appetite. Digestion:Due to changes in your digestive system, you generate less saliva and stomach acid as you get older, making it more difficult for your body to process certain vitamins and minerals, such as B12, B6 and folic acid, which are necessary to maintain mental alertness, a keen memory and good circulation. Emotional Factors: Emotional factors such as loneliness and depression can affect your diet. For some, feeling down leads to not eating and in others it may trigger overeating. Specific Nutritional Recommendations for Seniors: Some important guidelines for seniors include Reduce sodium (salt) to prevent high blood pressure, Monitor fat intake in order to maintain healthy cholesterol levels Consume more calcium and vitamin D for bone health Eat more fibre-rich foods to prevent constipation Cut back on sugar and on dry foods Ensure getting recommended amount of important vitamins and minerals Increase water intake, and Perform regular physical activity Eating well as you age is easier than you think: Focus on good carbohydrates. Opt for whole grain nutrition (brown rice, whole wheat bread, rolled oats, barley, and millet), not refined "white" products, such as white bread, white rice, or products made with white flour. To manage weight and maintain optimum health, focus on eating efficiently. This means choosing foods that maximize nutritional value, not calories. Whole, natural, fresh foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, healthy sources of protein (poultry, fish, eggs, and tofu) and dairy products that contain calcium constitute efficient eating. Highly processed and refined foods usually contain more calories and fewer nutrients. Raw equals roughage! Aim to eat at least one daily serving of your fruits and vegetables raw. This not only preserves their nutritional value, it's an easy way to eliminate constipation. Steaming is the best way to cook vegetables; it preserves nutrients. Light sauting is next. Bone up on calcium. All dairy products are not created equal. Milk, cheese and yogurt retain their calcium content; cream cheese, cream and butter do not. As part of a healthy senior diet, choose fat-free or low fat dairy products. Choose first-rate fats. Get your "good" fats from oils such as olive oil and sunflower oil, avocados and avocado oil, nuts and seeds. Keep it moist. In addition to drinking enough water each day, aim to consume foods with high water content. Staying properly hydrated flushes toxins from your body, relieves constipation, helps keep your joints flexible and your mind clear. High water content foods include melons, grapes, cucumbers, onions, apples, cabbage, and, of course, soup.
Easy tips for fresh breathBrushing your teeth twice daily is not enough for fresh breath. How well you brush, and how long you brush are equally important, as are flossing regularly and eating right. 19 year-old Rita suffers from bad breath. It is a huge drawback for her. No one at college wants to be her friend. Her doctor suggested that she brushes twice daily, and also prescribed a good mouth wash for her. Following this advice has not helped her much. There must be millions of us who identify with Rita's problem. Halitosis, or bad breath, is a huge embarrassment not only for the person who has it, but also for the person who has to bear it. It can be a cause of social isolation, as seen in Rita's case. A fresh smelling breath is a sign of good hygiene. A fresh breath makes you more confident of yourself, and you feel ready to face any challenge that life throws your way. So, what do you do to keep your breath minty fresh all day? Brush twice a day, and use a good mouthwash regularly, would be your reply. But is this enough? Let us start by busting a few myths here! Mouthwash will give you fresh breath all day long. It won't. It will only make your breath fresh temporarily. As long as you brush your teeth regularly, you need not worry about bad breath! Brushing your teeth is necessary. The key here is how long and how well you brush. Most of us brush for 35 to 40 seconds, which is just not enough. One needs to brush properly over all the surfaces of the teeth to clean them well. This should take you not less than two minutes! And you thought brushing twice daily was enough! Here are a few tips to keep your breath fresh: Bad breath is the result of bacterial activity in your mouth. One of the reasons for bacteria to grow is due to dryness. So, never let your mouth go dry. Keep your mouth well hydrated. Drink loads of water. One of the other reasons for bacterial activity in the mouth is the food particles that get accumulated in the cracks between your teeth. Be sure to rinse your mouth well every time you finish eating something. Flossing is an activity you should never ignore. Flossing does what regular brushing cannot do; It removes the food stuck between your teeth. Avoid foods that cause bad breath-like coffee, tea, sugary drinks, garlic, onions, or broccoli. Sugarfree gums are a good way to keep your mouth hydrated, as they increase the flow of saliva. Gel based toothpastes may give you a fresh breath, but the effects are temporary. Go for fluoride toothpaste that is good in the long run. Yoga poses like the Kapal Bhati Pranayam, Sheetali Pranayam, Sheetkari Pranayam, Yoga Mudra, Simha Asana are effective in combating bad breath. Visit your dentist regularly, and get your teeth cleaned professionally. Avoid junk food, and foods that are rich in sugar and fats. Instead, go for fresh fruits and vegetables. Quit smoking and alcohol consumption. Simple things like brushing daily, flossing daily, rinsing your mouth after every meal, and eating right can help you keep your breath smelling fresh all day long.
A fine spine - Common disorders of the spineThe spine is made up of small bones called vertebrae that are stacked one upon the other. When viewed from the side, the normal spine has gentle curves to it. Because the spine is a complex structure and happens to be at the center of all our activities, it is subjected to a lot of diseases. A common misconception of low backache is that you should rest. In fact, rest is not recommended at all. Keep up with light non-strenuous activities after the symptoms have subsided. Given here are a few common conditions of the spine: Loss of curvature: The spine, when seen sideways has gentle curves to it. The curves, when lost, can lead to pain and imperfect posture. Kyphosis and Scoliosis are the commonest form of spine curvature abnormalities.Kyphosis is the abnormal and excessive curving of the upper part of the spine. It is commonly called as a hump. It may be present since birth or may develop during the teenage years. The most common symptoms seen are a hump, back pain and muscle stiffness. The pain remains constant and does not worsen over time. If the curvature is too much, then the thoracic cage may get compressed and pressed for space. This may cause cardio-thoracic problems like chest pain, shortness of breath and even death. Compression of spinal nerves may cause loss of bladder and bowel control, loss of sensation and muscle weakness. Kyphosis is treated with physiotherapy, anti-inflammatory drugs and in severe cases, with bracing.Scoliosis is the side-to-side curvature that occurs during growth spurts before puberty. It may also be caused by spinal cord injuries and arthritis. Scoliosis develops gradually. The symptoms seen are usually by people other than the patient, where they may notice a slight slouch while walking. At times it may be seen that clothes that used to fit earlier are now ill-fitting. The pants seem to have shortened on one side. The curvature if mild responds well to physiotherapy. Physiotherapy is also useful as it helps to stretch and strengthen the muscles. This helps in stopping the progression of curvature. Severe cases require bracing and even surgical intervention with rods, hooks, wires and screws to correct the curvature. Sciatica: Sciatica is a condition that arises when the sciatic nerve is pressed upon. This condition arises when a degenerated vertebra presses upon the disc below it, or when there is a disc prolapse.  Abnormally tight piriformis muscle of the buttocks and a tumor in the spine may also cause sciatic pain. The hallmark symptom is the characteristic pain along the leg that starts from the hip and radiates all the way down. The pain is worsened by sitting and tingling numbness also develops. Treatment includes anti-inflammatory medicines and physiotherapy. Spondylolisthesis: When the spine is subjected to the pressures of daily activity, there is a lot of wear and tear that goes on in the vertebrae. This may cause the vertebra to move forward and slide on the vertebra below it. As a result, you may experience a constant backache. Spondylolisthesis can be congenital, it may occur due to trauma to the vertebral column, due to a tumor in the vertebra or due to degenerative changes in the vertebra and cartilage as a result of diseases like arthritis. Low backache is the hallmark of this disease. The pain is typically worse after any exercise that involves the lower back. The motions of low back are restricted and if there is nerve compression then tingling and numbness along the leg may also be seen.Rest and avoiding exertion of back muscles helps reduce the symptoms. Physiotherapy helps in restoring the strength and improving the range of motions. Spinal Stenosis: Degenerative diseases like osteoarthritis cause development of bone spurs in the vertebral column leading to its narrowing. This puts pressure on the nerves and leads to pain and tingling and numbness. Cervical Spondylosis: This condition occurs due to degenerative changes in the vertebrae of the neck region. Commonly seen as neck stiffness with pain that radiates all the way down the arm.  The pain occurs as the nerves get compressed by disc prolapse or bone outgrowths in the vertebra. Treatment includes neck immobilization, cervical traction, medications for pain and physiotherapy. Ways to reduce spine problems and backache are: Quit smoking Adopt a perfect posture Do exercises that will strengthen your core, lower back muscles and abs. Do not ignore or overlook the pains. Consult your doctor at the earliest. Spinal problems are the ones that are frequently overlooked. Ignoring the symptoms may lead to worsening of the problem. See your doctor at the earliest to be safe. The spine is the backbone of our body, in the true sense of the word. It is up to us to keep our spine in good condition as an unhealthy spine will interfere with almost all our body functions.
Importance of sex educationOur society is beset with a lot of myths about Human Sexuality and hence the family relationships are affected adversely. A man is considered (mistakenly) as a man only when he performs effectively in bed. In other words a man hangs his self-esteem on his male organ. Hence whenever there is a problem in performing sex, he becomes frustrated and depressed. In order to cover up his inadequacy he may blame his wife for his problems. This attitude will adversely affect the martial relationship, leading to unhappiness in nonsexual aspects of marriage. He may become violent when the wife retaliates. Marital break down, even if not ending in legal separation will be a very messy affair. Sexual behavior is determined by information or knowledge one has on hand and the parameters of comfort zone. Unfortunately we are dealing with a behavior that is besmirched with myths and misconceptions, and a breeding ground for stigmas and taboos, which leads to unhealthy sex life. These barriers have to be broken; otherwise healthy sexual and family life cannot be achieved. It is guesstimated that one in every three couples have some sexual problem or other and they do not know how and where to seek help. The media gives them anonymity and guides them in proper direction. The three main enemies of sexual satisfaction are guilt, anxiety and fear. All these stem from ignorance. Due to the stigmatization sex education is not available. Hence the streets have become not only the libraries for knowledge on sex but also the laboratories. When one of the dimensions (recreation) becomes problematic it impacts the health of the other two dimensions (procreation and relation). Magazine columns endeavor to dispel sexual ignorance and empower people with scientific knowledge. The aim is twofold: First, to inform in simple language, the scientific aspects of sexual problems and clarify myths surrounding sexuality; Second, to help people become comfortable with their own sexual life and elaborate on various treatment options available. People will thus be empowered to take responsibility for their own health and happiness. Have an open mind. All dimensions of human life are important. To consider one as unimportant and attach a stigma will hamper the development of the full potential of an individual. Understanding sexuality will enrich our lives and relationships.
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