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Tips to make you feel handsomeYou must have heard that looking good takes a lot of money and hard work. But trust me, it's not true at all. You just need to stay confident, and follow few simple and easy tips to get that perfect look. Let us start off by trying to understand what exactly does handsome mean. Well, a simple definition could be -"being handsome means being confident and having loads of style and poise". It's not dependent on somebody's face, or body specifically. So, what makes a person handsome? Will his attitude count? Do we need a lot of money to get that look?  Let's answer all such questions in the article. Personal care: The first for getting a perfect look is to look after yourself well. This shall include: Hygiene: Personal hygiene is most important. Dental hygiene, managing body odor, cutting your nails on time, removing hair in the underarms, nose, and taking care of overall body hygiene is of utmost importance. Skin care: Like women, men need to take care of their skin as well. Applying moisturizers or lotions is necessary. Hair care: Try and wash and shampoo your hair at least twice in a week. You could use natural or artificial conditioners in the hair to make it soft.  Get a trim every month, or else they can become too long and unmanageable. The suave and debonair look: Along with everything else, one needs to take care of one's facial hair also. Try and avoid the rough and rugged look, and get a good shave for yourself. You can either keep clean shaved look, or maintain a beard which is well trimmed. This will give you an urbane and classy look. Clothes cabana: One needs to understand that there are some clothes which shall look good on them and others not. Try and determine which shades look good on you. After this, you need to choose your formal and casual wears as well. Take risks, as you cannot guess what will look good on you every single time. The must have checklist is given below:  A pair of good dark blue jeans A white shirt A colored T-shirt Jacket and waist coat Dinner jacket or tuxedo (whichever suits you) Pair of black trousers Sweatshirts A Full pastel shade sweater Accessorize your look- You need to pair good clothes with cool embellishments like- Shoes: Get two different pairs-one leather and the other sports- for formal and informal occasions. The shoes should be buffed with shoe wax regularly, and you can wash off the dirt on your sports shoes once a month, at least. Belts and Tie: A good and well fitting tie, and a sober choice in belts always adds to the look of the "complete man". Watches: A good analog watch is a "must have" on every guy's wrist. Work out regimens: Now, work out does not only mean joining a gym, or keeping a personal trainer. You need to just keep your body fit, and that can be done by jogging, yoga, or even daily walks. You can even pick up a sport, for that matter. Eat healthy: Try to follow a diet regimen which, nowhere, means you need to have nightmarish boiled vegetables only. You just need to avoid eating outside . This shall not only help you look good, but will let you remain  young and fit for many years.  Once in a week, though, you can easily dig into your favorite foods. Say no to cigarettes and alcohol: Working out, or eating healthy will never help you get in good shape till you say no to all the bad . Try and quit smoking and drinking, as they affect your health and stamina adversely. Along with that, they also have a very bad effect on your mental health. Million dollar smile: Try to wear a good and sweet smile, as a straight face might end up making you look unapproachable and arrogant. So, remember, smiling always helps to complete your attire, and style. Good stance: Wearing all the best outfits  might go all in vain if you have a bad body posture. Try to walk and sit straight. Having an erect stance always makes you look more confident, attractive, and masculine. Wear your confidence and attitude: Lastly, be comfortable and confident with whatever you wear, and however you look. Being confident makes you win half the battle always. So, what are you waiting for? Start off your preparations, as being handsome does not really require an occasion.
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!
Hair straightening do's and don'tsWhat's in a hair? Well when someone thought of this quote, he or she certainly did not foresee the future because in today's world hair is everything. For a woman and a caterpillar at least! Let's just talk about women! Hair not only covers your scalp, but also protects it.  Hair is known to be something that enhances the beauty of a woman, as there is nothing like the feel of smooth and silky hair caressing the shoulders. Women all over the world dream to have beautiful, strong, silky, and preferably, long straight hair. Why straight hair? Let's find out, women are born with all kinds of hair, curly, wavy, long, and short but according to some women there is nothing that beats having a straight hair and there are women in this world who could go to any length achieving that straight hair they always desired. One of those ways is straightening, a styling technique used since the 1980's, which involves the flattening as well as straightening of hair, to give it a smooth, streamlined, and a sleek look. Straightening can be of two types, temporary or permanent. Temporary straightening can be achieved by a straightening iron or relaxers and generally lasts up to the first wash. Permanent hair straightening generally requires the use of Lye and other chemicals (more commonly known as creamy crack) with the help of a hot comb, hot iron, and relaxers. Permanent straightening, with proper care, can easily last up to a year. According to documentary "Good Hair" by actor Chris Brown, African American women are known for their profound use of "creamy crack" to get that perfect straight hair they long for. They are also the women who make the cosmetic companies rich, thanks to their profound use of hair straightening and hair care related products. African American women also account for the highest amount of money spent on hair care and hair care related products. Coming in a close second are the women from Central and South East Asia. These women are also known to go to extremes to get that perfect straight hair look, which is generally shown in TV Commercials endorsed by celebrities. Now that we are aware of the statistics, it is time that we look into the do's and don'ts of hair straightening. Straightening your hair once in a while may sound like a good idea, but it is extremely essential that we understand that extreme care is required here. Hence it is always better to know the do's and don'ts before we decide to break the bank (straightening ain't cheap) for straightening treatments. Do's : Make sure your diets consist of plenty of healthy foods, water. Also doing regular exercise is advised. Always use a shampoo and conditioner that best suits you. Remember to ask your stylist about the kind of products that suit you. Always go for hair spa treatment once a month since your hair needs that extra nourishing. Don'ts : Do not wet your hair at least for three days after the treatment. Do not tuck your hair behind your ear. Avoid twisting your wet hair with a towel. Avoid extreme scrubbing of your hair while shampooing. Straightening even once can cause excessive damage, hence do not do it repeatedly. Straightening your hair once in a while is okay, but doing it continually is ill advised as it can have a lot of negative consequences. Straightening also comes with certain side effects such as heavy chemical reaction, dizziness, permanent hair damage, dryness, skin irritation, itchiness, and severe chemical burns. Hence, it's always better to have a professional do it at a salon rather than doing it yourself. Hair straightening, though done by the same method all around the world, requires different types of hair care products as the hair type is mostly related to your race and ethnicity and your geographical location.
Importance of breastfeedingBreastfeeding is a natural act and that is why it is also one of the most beneficial acts for a baby. Breastfeeding provides essential nourishment and is the best food for the baby's stomach to digest. No matter how many infant formulas enriched with vitamins and minerals you provide to your baby, it can never replicate mother's milk. As for the mother, there is nothing more joyous than providing your baby with the best start that it can get in the long journey of life. The bond that the mother and the baby share through breastfeeding is one of the most special bonds. For the first six months, breastfeeding your baby is recommended for all mothers whether they are working or at home. Most working mothers are given leave, whether paid or unpaid, so they must ensure they provide their babies with regular breast milk. Breast milk protects the child against diarrhea, respiratory infections, pneumonia, ear infections, and helps to reduce chronic constipation and colic that the babies are prone to. Research also points to the fact that breastfed babies are immunized and protected against allergies, asthma, sudden death, diabetes, and obesity. They remain much healthier than those babies who are formula fed. In India, only 41% mothers begin early breastfeeding even though it has so many benefits. Mothers who exclusively breastfeed their babies help them to survive better. They also gift them with better brain development and these babies are likely to perform well intellectually. No matter which economic section of society the mother comes from, she can provide her baby with the best start in life by breastfeeding it and make sure that the child develops to its full potential. Breastfeeding is natural, simple, and cost-effective way to ensure your baby is healthy and continues to develop healthily. Since the breastfeeding campaign began on a large scale, child mortality has decreased. Immediate breastfeeding within one hour of birth has helped to significantly reduce sudden baby deaths. The colostrum, the first thick yellow breast milk is what protects babies from many diseases as it is filled with goodness. Lack of nutrition or malnutrition is another aspect that leads to infant deaths. Breastfeeding can significantly lower infant deaths from malnutrition as the mother's milk is one of the most nutritious foods provided by nature for the baby's healthy growth. A mother has the full ability to provide adequate nutrition for the baby, therefore breastfeeding needs to be encouraged fully. Employers need to create an appropriate space within their premises and should encourage new mothers to breastfeed their child. Breastfeeding also has a number of benefits for the mother. It helps to burn calories and the mother can return to her former pre-pregnancy state. Breastfeeding helps mothers to reduce their risk of breast, uterine, and ovarian cancer;high blood pressure;diabetes; and heart diseases. So for the first six months, mothers must make sure to breastfeed their baby and do not substitute it with baby food products.
Activities to help your toddler talkWe understand how eager parents are to talk to their kid. They want to hear their soft voice and babble talks. So start teaching them as soon as possible to help them to speak fast and clear. Here are some activities which will help you to teach your kid to talk. The playful ways: The best way of teaching your kid to speak is to, well,play. Most of the learning is done through playing. Be a child with your child. Act playfully foolish --kids enjoy that a lot. And when the kid is happy and in playful mood, they try to talk. Building vocabulary: Use a word in more than one sentence to make them understand the meaning of the word. For example, 'The color of leaves is green' and 'Your father is wearing a green colored shirt.' If the kids hear a word used often in different sentences, it becomes a permanent part of their vocabulary. Give them practical examples: Teach them the names of the things they see around. Or get actual objects and be descriptive to teach them the name of the object and talk about the object's features. Use a toy phone: You must have seen kids trying to talk over phone to their dads or friends. They try to copy you the way you talk over phone. It can be a great way to teach them to speak. Pretend that you are talking to the kid's dad or grandparents, and pass over the phone to the kid and encourage them to chitchat over the phone. Story telling: Kids listen to the stories very carefully. Show them the pictures in the storybook and describe them with the story. Then repeat the same story the next day. Ask your child if she/he remembers what was there in the story by showing them the picture. Help them if they get stuck. Sing together with the child: Music is another amusing way to teach the child to speak. Listen to a song, sing and dance along. Encourage the child to dance and sing with you. Children are great at learning lyrics of a song. Reward the child on completing a task: When you reward the child with his/her favourite toy or snack, they understand the benefit of performing the task. And they take effort to get the reward. Ask your child to recite a poem for you, or speak a certain word or sentence and entice the child by showing him the reward he will get on completing the task.  
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?
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.
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.
Top 10 tips for weight maintenanceTIP 1: Stay Calm and PlanDon't worry about your weight excessively. This will only result in stress which can be counter-productive to your pursuit. Remember that you have reached the goal you had to and you are strong enough to sustain it. Take one day at a time. Do not think about how you are going to keep it forever. Just focus on the next day. TIP 2: Health JournalKeep a journal where you note down your eating and exercising patterns. Write down what you eat, plan your meals, drink adequate water, and form an exercise regime. Did you know that you can include an activity within your life as a habit by performing it for 21 days? Do these things not because you have to but because they are good for your health. Slowly, they will become a part of who you are. TIP 3: Being Healthy Is A Lifetime DealOne of the greatest mistakes that people do is to think that once they have lost weight, they can return to their early eating habits. Remember that your health is with you for life. Shift your perspective from 'I have to become thin' to 'I have to be healthy.' Once you do this, you will find it easier to stay healthy for the well-being of your body. TIP 4: Be RealisticWhen you are planning your lifestyle, don't take up unrealistic goals. This is one of the reasons why weight-trainers say that the best way to reduce and sustain right weight is to make it 'your life.' Eat right, sleep well, and drink lots of water. These three, if done properly, can help you to have the right body weight. If you have any rules like 'don't eat cake or pastries ever,' 'quit drinking,' then rethink about them. Are you going to be able to never eat sweets? The primary goal is to make a balance, choose the middle path. TIP 5: Get An Idea Of Your Weight-PatternMany people stop weighing their body once they have reached the ideal weight. They think that the scales are only for the fat ones. A person with such a perspective is only looking for slim bodies and not healthy ones. Remember that your weight is not a judgment of your appearance, but a barometer of your health. So do not stop doing the weekly weight checks. Keep a report of your weight every week and check out the causes for any abnormal changes. TIP 6: Accept Your Limitations And Learn From ThemEveryone has their ups and downs. Don't get discouraged and be angry at yourself if you binged on a donut on a cloudy day. Everyone makes mistakes. It is not the end of your weight maintenance. It is simply a blip. Learn from it. Know what the causes are for it and work on making sure you react to the cause differently next time. TIP 7: Thirst And HungerYour body could confuse your thirst for hunger. So, if you are feeling hungry really soon after your previous meal, then start by drinking a glass of water and check if you feel better. If you do not, then it is time for a light healthy snack. TIP 8: Inspire YourselfWeight maintenance is primarily a psychological task. Till the time you were reaching the ideal weight, you learn everything you had to about being healthy. Now, you have to make sure you don't let obstructions stop you from sustaining this healthy lifestyle. So, join other people who are only in the process of maintaining their weight. Become part of the running blub or catch up with a health conscious friend regularly. TIP 9: Mind Over MatterBalance your eating patterns. If you think that you will be going out for lunch, then have a healthy breakfast and cut down on the dinner. You might be craving for a dessert, so you can have salad for the main course and treat your sweet tooth. Talk to yourself about what you are going to eat. Ask yourself if you really want to eat it because you are hungry or are there any other reasons for it. How would you feel about it after you are done eating? TIP 10: Celebrate Your AchievementsLastly, be proud of your weight maintenance program. Celebrate the fact that you worked hard towards making sure you have a healthy body and invite people who were part of your pursuit. Embrace your body and toast to the next year of a healthy lifestyle.
High fiber foods and their benefitsFiber has many health benefits and that is why it is important to include fiber in your diet. However, if you are not used to fiber in your diet then introduce it slowly or it could cause indigestion and gas. Fibers are good for overall health and help to boost the immune system and help prevent a number of diseases. The digestive health benefits of fiber : If bowel movements are regular, then fibers will prevent both constipation and diarrhea. Regular movements flush out excessive cholesterol as well as harmful toxins from the intestines which could also be carcinogenic. Fiber helps to reduce inflammation of the intestines, could bring relief from irritable bowel syndrome and prevent piles, ulcers, and acidity. The benefits to the heart Soluble fiber is good for the heart. Fiber reduces the bad cholesterol levels (LDL). It helps to lower blood pressure, improves the levels of good cholesterol (HDL). Fibers reduce the risk of stroke also. These factors are good for heart heath. Weight Loss Fiber can help you to lose weight as it makes you feel fuller for longer which means you will eat less. High-fiber fruits and vegetables have lower calories, so by adding these to your diet cuts calories which could aid in weight loss. Eat 21 to 38 grams of fiber per day depending on your age and gender. Diabetes If you already suffer from type II diabetes then you should have soluble fiber as it slows down the absorption of sugar and can help to maintain blood sugar levels. Regulating blood sugar can also reduce the risk of kidney and gallbladder stones. Cancer prevention Though research is still ongoing, but the general conclusion is that eating fiber foods keeps the colon in a better condition and this could prevent colon cancer. However, it does prevent digestive tract cancer. The more fiber you eat the more fluids you should drink as that helps to absorb fiber better. Good for the skin Eating fiber is good for the skin as they help to flush out toxins from your body which otherwise cause acne. Besides eating a lot of fruits and vegetables produce antioxidants that are good for your skin. Some tips Start your day with fiber as it keeps you full and sugar levels just right to keep you energetic. Try to replace white rice, bread, and pasta with brown rice and whole grain products. Eat seeds, nuts, and flaxseeds either whole or ground and sprinkle some on fruit, yoghurt, or cereal. Add beans and legumes to your diet as often as possible. Eat whole fruits instead of juice. Insoluble fiber can be found in foods like whole grains, wheat, cereals, and vegetables such as carrots, celery, and tomatoes. Whereas soluble fibers are found in barley, oatmeal, beans, nuts, and fruits such as apples, berries, citrus fruits, and pears. Foods like meat, dairy, and sugar have no fiber and some foods like white rice, white bread, and pastries have no fiber either because it has got removed because of refining.
Winter - When your heart feels the cold too!As per a study in America, 193.6 people of every 10000 people die of a heart disease every year. 53% of the heart attacks occur in the winter months. Heart diseases have a seasonal trend as found by medical research recently. A team of medical researchers recently conducted a survey which saw 10,000 participants between the ages 35 to 80 from around seven European countries. The study was conducted to see if there is any seasonal variation in the presentation of heart diseases. The participants were measured on the parameters of blood pressure, waist circumference, body mass index, blood glucose levels and blood lipid levels. The parameters were later adjusted for sex, age and smoking. The results revealed that the incidence of heart disease shows an upward trend in the winter month [Jan to Feb] as compared to the summer months [June-Aug]. The researchers accept that there is no logical explanation to these findings. A plausible cause being the fact that the eating habits change in winter. One tends to eat more which in turn increases the cholesterol levels leading to heart diseases. Several other theories are being put forth. According to one, during the winter months the body undergoes hormonal imbalance. The day and night variation in the hormone levels, especially that of cortisol varies. This results in a lower threshold for heart attacks. Yet another theory says that the cold temperature tends to constrict the arteries narrowing the blood flow to the heart tissue and this result in a heart attack. On the basis of this study, scientists advise that more attention is to be paid to heart health during the winters.
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.
Busting misconceptions about homosexualityIn the past few years, homosexuality has become a subject of public discourse in India. Thanks to gay pride marches and the Delhi High Court's historic ruling decriminalizing same-sex intercourse in 2009, more people today are willing to accept homosexuality as normal. However, there are still a large number of people who are still confused about whether homosexuality is normal. Homosexuals are people who get attracted to people of the same gender. Gay is a term used for both male and female homosexuals, but some prefer the term 'lesbian' when it comes to women homosexuals. Some misinformed people consider homosexuality as a purely decadent western phenomenon which is far from the truth. Homosexuality finds its place in recorded history throughout the world. So is homosexuality abnormal? A few decades ago a gay person would have ended up on a psychiatrist's couch where attempts would have been made to re-orient him/her towards the heterosexuality. However, as the American Psychology Association notes, "No, lesbian, gay, and bisexual orientations are not disorders. Research has found no inherent association between any of these sexual orientations and psychopathology. Both heterosexual behavior and homosexual behavior are normal aspects of human sexuality." Some scientists are trying to find a genetic link to homosexuality. Results so far have not established a definite link. A whole lot of factors could play a role in deciding sexual orientation - genetic, hormonal, developmental, social, and cultural. One cannot safely conclude that being "gay" is in one's genes and is therefore, hereditary. Legalizing gay marriages Same-sex marriage is legally recognized in several jurisdictions within the United States. As of April 2013, nine states—Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and Washington—as well as the District of Columbia and three Native American tribes[1]—have legalized same-sex marriage, representing 15.7% of the US population.
Adrenaline rush - Feel it inside!Imagine yourself at a great height, either scaling a dangerous cliff-hanger of a rock face or on a bungee jumping platform. Some of us who have had the pleasure of doing high adventure sports like racing or indulging in perilous activities like giving out an acceptance speech for the first time are well aware of that strange feeling in the solar plexus, the clammy hands and intensely thudding heart, and the rush of blood to the head just as you are about to take the plunge! The heart beats faster than ever, breathing goes rampant, the senses seem to become supercharged, and the fear, the joy, and the excitement meddles with the mind. That’s adrenaline rush! So what do you want to do? Fight? Or flight? Either ways, adrenaline does it for you. Speaking medically, the two small adrenal glands on top of the pair of kidneys release a magic chemical that gives the animals way towards the fight-or-flight response to counter certain high-intensity situations, called adrenaline or epinephrine. The chemical entity is a hormone, a neurotransmitter as well as a medicine and is too complex to explain its behavior. However, when it works the heart pumps out the blood to the excited muscles and all the juices surge up inside the body. There is more to this topic than just the physiological mumbo-jumbo. The hormone acts every day in the normal course of life, but not regularly to the extent when it produces side effects such as shakiness, palpitation, high anxiety, and profuse sweating! Thats kept for special situations like physical threat, excitement, bright lights, noise, and really high temperature – in good or bad ways. Let us surf through some of the rewarding and a few of the nasty situations where the jolting juice takes charge of our body! The Good ones: Countering Stress: In extreme stress conditions like accidents or fracture, the body needs to react fast and is at its highest awareness. Adrenaline keeps the muscles up and kicking to help the victim fight with the stress. High Energy Requirement: In majority of sports, more specifically in contact sports like Rugby, Boxing, Mixed Martial Arts, etc., the player needs to be in his full sense and topmost concentration level. The adrenaline rush runs in the background to keep them at their extreme self. The Push Mode: Often the daily chores aren enough to excite us and we tend to search for some adventure. In such pursuit of excitement, there are times when the road is a dead end or there is only one way forward – the impossible or most difficult one! The hormone pumps the brain both ways with fear and with the push to conquer the fear and proceed. Adventure Sports often sounds fun, but at times when running ahead of a raging bull, or hanging off a cliff, or rafting down the rough waters of a cascade – feels like the heart shall come out and scream!! It is the rush of adrenaline that keeps one ahead of the fear and explore the high-energy fun of winning over it. Life Saving Moments: In cases of life-threatening emergencies such as drug overdose, cardiac arrest, or pulmonary failure, where the heart and lungs suddenly cease to function and the body gets into a shock –– the epinephrine shots are considered as a life-saving medication to bring the patients back to life (only to be used judiciously by a qualified medical practitioner). The important medical use of adrenaline is in treatment of acute anaphylaxis and allergies under medical supervision. The Bad Ones: Disorders of the Adrenal: Tumors and cancers of the adrenal gland can cause hyperactivity of this high-performance hormone affecting the normal functioning of the heart and the blood vessels by increasing heart rate and creating anarchy in the body systems. Over-Stressed Adrenaline Rush: The demand-supply mismatch in the present world scenario requires one to perform at his/her epitome of mental and physical strengths. In that constant urge of performance, the brain and the body is stressed out so intensely that the adrenaline surge symptoms are experienced by the individual even in the absence of threatening situations. Sudden sweating of palms, shortness of breath, pounding heartbeats, or chest pains without a justifiable reason can be a result of constant stress.
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