Breast cancer happens to be the most common cancer among women globally. Though it may affect both men and women, breast cancer is more common in women. According to the epidemiological studies, the global burden of BC is expected to cross almost 2 million by the year 2030[2]. Even in India, the newly reported cases of breast cancer have significantly increased.

Despite multiple campaigns and efforts by the Government and private organizations, the awareness around breast cancer remains low, especially in sub-urban and rural India. It is critical to understand that cancer can be defeated if diagnosed at early stages. Take a look at some of the early symptoms of breast cancer   

Mutations in BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes are associated with breast cancer. A BRCA 1 and 2 profile test is ordered in Individuals with a strong history of breast or ovarian cancer.

Early Symptoms of Breast Cancer:

The most common symptoms of breast cancer include: 

  • Changes on breast skin, such as swelling, redness, or other visible differences in one or both breasts
  • A lump or a mass or nodes felt on or inside of the breast or armpit
  • An increase in size or change in shape of the breast(s) (not linked with puberty in young girls)
  • Discharge other than breast milk from nipples
  • Pain or ulceration in/on any part of the breast 
  • Inward pulling of the nipple or pain in the nipple area

Not all women with breast cancer experience the same symptoms. They can vary to some extent from person to person.
A study has reported that women aging above 40 with high cholesterol were 45% less likely to develop breast cancer than those without high cholesterol. Track your cholesterol levels from time to time.

Early detection saves lives

It is common for women to ignore a doctor visit owing to the privacy concerns and stigmas associated. Do not hesitate to consult a doctor if you notice any early warning sign.

What can put you at risk of breast cancer?

Risk factors that cannot be changed (non-modifiable risk factors)

  • Advancing age: Most breast cancers are diagnosed after age 50. The risk for breast cancer increases as a woman gets older.
  • Reproductive history: If a woman got periods before age 12 and had menopause after age 55, this exposes her to hormones for a longer period, that can increase the risk of getting breast cancer.
  • Dense breasts: Women with dense breasts are more likely to get breast cancer.
  • Family history of breast or ovarian cancer: The risk of getting breast cancer for a woman goes up if her first-degree relative (mother, sister, or daughter) has breast or ovarian cancer.

Risk Factors that can be controlled (modifiable risk factors)

  • Sedentary lifestyle: Women who are not physically active have a higher chance of getting breast cancer.
  • Being overweight: Unhealthy weight or obesity increases women’s risk of getting breast cancer than those who have maintained a normal weight.
  • Reproductive history: Having the first pregnancy after age 30 and not breastfeeding can raise breast cancer risk.
  • Alcohol consumption and smoking: Several studies have shown that drinking alcohol and/ or smoking increase a  woman’s risk for breast cancer.

Tips to cut down the risk of breast cancer

  • Get involved in physical activity. Exercise regularly
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Limit alcoholic drinks and quit smoking, one step at a time
  • If you have a family history of breast cancer or inherited changes in your BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes, talk to your doctor about other ways to lower your risk.

A simple habit to keep yourself safe from breast cancer

A breast self-exam is a simple check-up which women can do at home to look for changes or problems in their breast. This method requires a woman to look at herself and feel each breast for possible lumps, distortions or swelling. 

Here is how you can perform self-breast examination:

Step 1

Undress from the waist up and stand straight with your hands on your waist in front of a large mirror in a well lighted room. Take your time and observe your breasts. Look for any changes in shape, size or position, or any change in skin around it. Check if there is any puckering, dimpling, sores or discoloration. they might not be equal in size or shape and that’s perfectly okay. If you notice any change, bulging of the skin, visible distortion or swelling, you should bring it to the notice of your doctor.

Check your nipples, examine them carefully for any sores, peeling or change in their direction- a nipple that has changed position or has redness, rash or swelling.

Step 2

Raise your arms high and look for the same changes in the mirror. See if there is any sign of fluid coming out of any nipple,  it can be watery, milky or yellowish fluid or even blood.

Step 3

Lie down on a bed and then touch your left breast with your right hand and vice versa. With the fingertip pads of your hand check your breast using a firm smooth circular motion. Examine the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side- from your collar bone to the top of your abdomen, from your armpit to your cleavage.

Follow a pattern so as to cover the whole breast area. Start from the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast. Or as more women prefer, you can also move your finger pads up and down vertically, in rows like while you are mowing a lawn. Be sure to check all the tissues from the front to the back of your breast

Step 4

Feel your breasts while standing or sitting. Cover your entire breast, using the same movements described in the previous step.

Do not panic if you feel a lump or something unusual while you are self-examining yourself. There can be a number of causes behind the changes, not just cancer. It might be due to hormonal changes, a benign breast condition or an injury. Consult a doctor and clear any doubts.

Breast Cancer screening

One should not depend only on self-exam to rule out cancer. No single test can detect all breast cancer early but breast cancer organizations believe that performing a breast self-exam along with other screening methods can increase the odds of early detection. Regular physical examination by a doctor, mammography and if necessary ultrasound or MRI; all or any might be needed.

Apart from breast self-examination, certain imaging tests can help learn more about your breasts and detect any disease even before it gives symptoms:

  • Mammogram. This detailed X-ray gives doctors a better view of lumps and other problems.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This body scan helps create detailed images of the insides of your breasts.
  • Biopsy. For this test, the doctor removes tissue or fluid from your breast and looks at it under a microscope to check for cancer cells and, if they’re there, learn which type they are. Common procedures include:
  • Fine-needle aspiration
  • Core-needle biopsy
  • Surgical (open) biopsy
  • Lymph node biopsy
  • Image-guided biopsy

Remember, breast cancer can be treated. The key to treatment is early detection and timely adequate care. Just take care of yourself and stay aware of warning signs.

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Liver is one of the major abdominal organs in humans performing the important function of metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats along with detoxification of harmful substances and toxins from the body by production of bile. It also functions as a major site for production of proteins and clotting factors. It also serves to store glycogen reserves for the body as well as storage of important vitamins and minerals.

Keep an eye on your liver health with a liver function test.
Here, we have discussed late-stage liver disease called liver cirrhosis, a condition in which the normal architecture of the liver is replaced by fibrotic tissue. Usually after cirrhosis sets in, it is irreversible. As the normal functions of liver are hampered due to fibrosis in liver over time, multiple complications arise, and the most important and troublesome of it is portal hypertension, where blood coming from portal vein (draining blood from entire GIT) toward liver faces excessive resistance due to fibrosis in the liver. Clinically patients with portal hypertension are identified by presence of low blood platelet count and enlarged spleen.

Symptoms of Liver Cirrhosis

The clinical signs and symptoms in cirrhosis mimic the level of fibrosis in the liver. The early signs usually include feeling tired or weak, loss of appetite, unintentionally losing weight, nausea, vomiting, mild pain or discomfort in the abdomen. Other features associated with loss of normal liver functions are development of jaundice coagulation disorder, encephalopathy, etc.

While any liver insult can ultimately lead on to cirrhosis unless intervened in time, the most common causes are chronic alcohol use, chronic viral infections affecting liver like hepatitis B and C viruses, biliary cirrhosis, autoimmune liver inflammation and rarely some inherited liver disorders. Overall chronic alcohol consumption remains to be a major cause for cirrhosis in India and worldwide. The accurate diagnosis of alcohol causing liver cirrhosis requires accurate history regarding the amount and duration of intake along with corroborative symptoms like vague upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea and even malaise. Meanwhile a few patients may present straight away with complications of cirrhosis like abdominal distension, edema and even gastrointestinal variceal haemorrhage.

Test for Liver Cirrhosis

Laboratory investigations may reveal signs of acute blood loss as in anemia along with nutritional deficiency with low platelet counts commonly.

  • Liver function tests may show signs of mild increase in serum bilirubin as fibrosis in liver hampers its elimination along with elevation in levels of liver enzymes in blood, both ALT and AST are elevated but AST levels higher than ALT approximately in a ratio of 2:1 are typical of alcoholic liver disease and cirrhosis.
  • Coagulation profile may show increased PT time.
  • Pathological confirmation of cirrhosis can be obtained with the help of liver biopsy.
  • For patients with suspected viral cause for cirrhosis blood tests may be done for detecting HCV RNA, HBsAg, HBeAg and Anti HBe levels along with quantitative HBV DNA levels.
  • For autoimmune causes of cirrhosis, blood levels of antinuclear antibody (ANA) or anti-smooth-muscle antibody (ASMA) may be done.
  • Anti-Mitochondrial auto-antibodies (AMA) are present in patients developing cirrhosis due to biliary cause along with other signs of cholestasis.
  • Fibroscan may help detect the level of fibrosis in the liver and the need for liver transplant in future.
  • For patients who have risk factors associated with development of cirrhosis it is prudent to rule out development of portal hypertension at the earliest. One should be vigilant for development of ascites and features of hypersplenism like low platelet counts (thrombocytopenia) and low WBC counts (leukopenia).
  •  It is important to rule out variceal bleeding in suspected patients at onset of cirrhosis with the help of endoscopy.
  • Ascitic fluid study may be done to rule out other causes for it.
  • Apart from these radiological investigations like CT scan or MRI abdomen should be done to evaluate the level of cirrhosis and portal hypertension.

Treatment for Liver Cirrhosis

Management of people with cirrhosis primarily revolves around 2 main components- first managing the etiology causing it and other managing the complications arising due to cirrhosis. All the complications arising due to cirrhosis require specific management.

In general, the main treatments include reducing salt from your diet and taking a type of medicine called a diuretic.

  • For people developing liver cirrhosis due to excessive consumption of alcohol abstinence is the cornerstone of therapy. Patients who are unable to abstain from alcohol are shown to have significantly low 5 year survival.
  • Occasionally patients with alcoholic cirrhosis have been shown to benefit from the use of glucocorticoids or oral pentoxifylline (drug causing decrease in pro inflammatory cytokines).
  • For patients developing cirrhosis due to viral etiologies antiviral drugs have shown to benefit. For Hepatitis B virus Entecavir or tenofovir are useful, and for patients with cirrhosis due to Hepatitis C Virus direct antivirals have replaced the use of pegylated interferon and ribavirin.
  • For patients developing cirrhosis due to autoimmune inflammation of the liver, immunosuppressive therapies are useful.
  • UDCA is shown to help cirrhotic patients with etiology of biliary stasis.

Managing complications arising due to cirrhosis revolves around managing complications of portal hypertension. The measures revolve around managing portal hypertension and ascites. In people with advanced cases of liver cirrhosis, a liver transplant may be the only treatment option as the liver may not be functional.

Make sure to follow your doctor’s advice and get all tests done as advised.

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Post the pandemic, slowly and steadily life is returning back to normal with the daily morning hustles, travel to work, the formal attire, work life discipline etc. The lockdown was a period of rapid adjustment, balancing home and office life, with hectic meeting schedules, late working hours, taking care of the household chores etc.

Understandably, after nearly 2 years of work from home, returning to the workplace is not an easy change and getting back to the previous routine is certainly not an overnight task. Now that offices are opening and employers want their staff to return, it is once again a period of stress and anxiety for the employees who have got so used to the informal working environment. This time returning to the offices and carrying on usual business would not be as simple and quick as just another announcement of reopening or return.

Creating a workplace environment that cares about the mental wellness of the employees has become increasingly important now more than ever. The back to back meetings with busy schedules can adversely make the employees feel tired, exhausted and stressed, thereby affecting their productivity levels and leaving a dent on their mental wellbeing.

While mental well being is important, physical well being also cannot be shunned and therefore it is vital to get a preventive full body health checkup done on a routine basis. Going for a series of medical full body tests to ensure the body is fit and healthy, can be another boost to join the office and work afresh.

You can book and get your full body health checkup at a reasonable cost done here.

Here are some basic tips that can help you power your mental health and ensure your mental well-being at the workplace.

1. Identify the cause of your anxiety: is it the socialising that you would have to do after nearly 2 years of being anti-social, leaving the safety net of your home, immense work pressure or is it the safety issues like are all your coworkers vaccinated, will the family be safe at home alone, or managing and balancing home and office life. If you are worried about either of these, it is better to talk it out with your co-workers and leader to quickly adjust and heal from the trauma of the pandemic.

2. Strike the optimum work life balance: now that the office is away from home, how to manage and strike a balance between the two is a question which worries the most. Certain adjustments have to be made; you need to ensure setting up a daily routine, completion of work on time, not taking work from the office back once you are at home, so as to keep the office and work life separate, and in the process save yourself the mental exertion and burn outs.

3. Ask & discuss: share your concerns with your employers, discuss the difficulties you are facing –you might not be the only one having problems adjusting. Clarify what is bothering you- safety concerns or commute issues. Sometimes knowing what to expect about the upcoming work environment eases a lot of stress. It can prove to be one of the best ways to tackle exhaustion and depression.

4. Discuss with your co-workers: understand that most of your colleagues are in the same boat; so discussing the stressful issues with them may help you deal with your problems and offer better clarity. How they are dealing with the daily commute to office issues, health queries, mental stress of leaving loved ones at home alone daily etc.

6. Socialise often: mingle with your coworkers, share tea breaks with them, go on a walk with them etc. Catching up with colleagues, empathising with them is a great stress buster. Moving around with people you are comfortable with will surely help you to adjust back easily and swiftly.

7. Set a routine: all of us usually followed a certain routine before the pandemic; revise the rituals before you head back to the office. Set your alarm, dress for work, get your bag ready and make your preparation slowly but thoroughly. Try to get into the swing of things. Set realistic goals, and celebrate all your successes and wins, while also learning from your failures and not let them dampen your mental being.

9. Be gentle – not only with yourself but with others too, for as said before, all are sailing in the same boat. For some the ride is smooth, for others it’s full of rapids. Mistakes will be made, people might get offended, failures are going to be part of the routine, but what needs to be done is not getting depressed, getting over it and moving forward towards your big goals.

10. De-stigmatize mental health: everyone struggles and fights their own battles, don’t be scared of talking about mental health concerns with superiors or the concerned authority. Take stress management classes, discuss mental health care policies and come out of this taboo associated with mental illness.

You have to live with yourself, why not make it a period of happy adjustment and enjoy life in the not-so-new office environment. Mental wellbeing issues can be cured by strong will power and positive attitude. Life is all about changes and how we adapt to it defines it!

Take one day at a time – take time to adjust – talk and discuss about the causes of the anxiety that is troubling you.

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The generational advancement in our society owes itself a healthy sex life. Sex- a term considered much interdicted in society, is the powerful reason for existence of the human society itself. The amount of sex a person tends to indulge in varies depending on a multitude of factors, like the age, the partner’s sex drive, level of relationship etc. Having sex regularly does come up with its own mutual benefits, from lowering stress and reducing blood pressure, to improving the functioning of the immune system; it is also responsible for putting you in a better mood! These account for having a healthy sex life. And while there are perks, there are also counter effects of not having a healthy sex life, leading to increased stress coupled with a few other concerns.

How do you define a healthy sex life?

With the daily hustle and bustle of life, maintaining a good and safe sex drive is essential. Time and effort from both parties are what keep the intimate relationship flourishing. Consent practiced with proper hygiene and contraceptives leads to numerous benefits such as low blood pressure, sound sleep, better heart health, increased libido etc, resulting in a person enjoying healthy sex life.

To ensure healthy sex life, one can get themselves tested for any underlying issues, before committing themselves to a certain relationship. A sex hormone-binding globulin test (SHBG), is a protein made by the liver, found in both men and women, the levels of which can help determine sexual problems if any.

Ways in which lack of action, can be bad for you:

Apart from the anxiousness and stress, not having a healthy sex life can trigger a host of other problems such as

  • Increased blood pressure levels: having sex in a way contributes to aerobic and muscle-building exercise, which not only makes you feel physically better but also helps calm anxiety and therefore keeps the pressure levels under check. Unhealthy sex practices can lead to increase in stress, which in turn can cause blood pressure to rise.

  • Chances of prostate cancer: a few research studies have stated that orgasms lead to the regulation of the metabolic cells, and are also linked to low levels of stress, thus men who ejaculate often, have a lower risk of getting prostate cancer as it removes harmful substances from the prostate.

    The risk of prostate cancer increases with advancing age. Book a PSA test now. If PSA is found to be above normal values it may indicate cancer of the prostate. However, high PSA levels do not always mean cancer.

  • Enhanced risk of heart disease: while regular sex is believed to improve blood circulation with healthier blood vessels, it is also known, that for males, the production of the harmful chemical, homocysteine, which can trigger cardiac problems, is reduced upon having sex. A major side effect of unhealthy sex life, therefore, is the chance of heart disease increasing.

  • Unhealthy vagina: this especially holds true for women hitting menopause, as the body does not produce much oestrogen, long periods of not having sex can lead to tightening of the vaginal canal, and result in bleeding during sex. In contrast, healthy and frequent sex leads to regular blood flow and lubrication that keeps the vagina healthy.

  • Prone to illness: though sex may reduce the probability of germ exposure, healthy sex is good for the immune system. It produces an antibody, Immunoglobulin, which shields from common cold and cough. People who seldom have sex are less prone to fall ill as compared to those who do not have an active sex life.

    Not sure how well are you keeping with your health status? Book a comprehensive health test package.

  • Aches and pains experience: while having sex not only uplifts the mood, it is also beneficial when it comes to reducing pains and aches, menstrual cramps etc. Having healthy sex releases endorphins in the body which relieve and ease pain in the head, back, legs, or even arthritis pain.

  • Quality of sleep: healthy sex releases oxytocin and vasopressin among the many hormones in the body that induces sleep. The many hormonal releases help curtail stress and get the body into routine sleep. Adversely, not having a healthy sex life, can lead to lower quality of sleep. In fact, vice versa, if you eye a healthy sex life, quality of sleep is equally important.

  • More stress and anxiety: not having a healthy sex life can often put you at risk of heightened stress and anxiety. While having sex might be the last thing in your mind when you are stressed, it is actually proven to reduce stress through the help of hormonal release. The production of oxytocin counters the effects of the cortisol hormones, or the stress-inducing hormones.

We have different lifestyles, preferences and health habits. All of us go through a range of physical, emotional, and mental feelings. If these tamper with the sex life, one should consult a specialist who can help them get through it and lead them towards a better and comprehensive sexual life. If you are worried about the side effects of not having a healthy sex life, talk it out; a few lifestyle changes, therapy, or meditation are some basics that might help.

To ensure you have a healthy sexual life, you should have regular check-ups and examinations, which may include blood-test, urination sampling, genital and vaginal examination etc.  These might also include tests for STIs, a major factor when it comes to healthy sex life, tests for sexual dysfunction, and for women, cervical cancer tests as well. Practicing an unhealthy sex life requires you to be a little concerned and find out the root cause, talk it out with your partner and a medical expert, and get yourself examined to keep an eye on your sexual health.

Keeping these few points regarding the possible side effects of having an unhealthy sex life in mind can help you in large to get out of that spectrum and reap the many health benefits associated with sexual intimacy, letting go of the long dry spells!

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Your gut is a hard-working organ of the body that aids in the digestion of the foods you eat, absorbs nutrients, and utilizes it to energy and maintain your body functions. Not just this, it also helps keep your immunity balanced. Did you know that around 70 per­cent of your immune sys­tem is housed in your gut? Making sure that your diges­tive sys­tem is functioning properly is an essen­tial part of regulating your over­all health.

How to know if you have poor gut health?

Signs of an unhealthy gut are not just limited to the stomach,they include effects on skin, energy levels and overall health too. 

Here are 5 common signs of an unhealthy gut

  • Upset stomach: Stomach disturbances like excessive burping, gas, bloating,flatulence, constipation, diarrhea, and/ or acidity
  • Uncontrolled changes in weight, usually weight gain 
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Constant fatigue
  • Irritation and mood changes

Is food intolerance a gut issue?

Some people may find it difficult to digest certain foods and can show an unpleasant physical reaction to them. For example, bloating, diarrhea, etc. An easy way to know if you are intolerant to certain specific food items is to get a food intolerance test done. Please note that it is different from a food allergy. Food intolerance is related to the digestive system while food allergies involve the immune system. Allergy-causing food can trigger signs and symptoms more severe than food intolerance, including digestive problems, rashes, or swollen airways.

Looking to book a food intolerance blood test? Get tested here.

How to improve gut health naturally?

Here we have covered practical and effective natural remedies for gut health:

  1. Eat fermented foods regularly

Studies have shown that people who consume fermented foods (like yogurt, kimchi, idli, dosa, dhokla, etc.) on a regular basis have a diverse and healthy gut flora, also called gut microbiome. Your gut harbors trillions of friendly bacteria that helps your digestive system work well. Anything that maintains gut flora is a tonic for gut health. As per some researchers, fermented foods may give small colonies of existing bacteria a chance to grow and flourish. Explore your local cuisines to find what fermented food options they offer.

2. Asafoetida (Hing) for your rescue:
Hing or Asafoetida is considered an important ayurvedic medicine that aids digestion and relieves gas-related problems. Though there is not much scientific evidence available, some studies have shown it to help boost digestion by increasing the activity of digestive enzymes. Moreover, it may help digest fat by increasing bile secretion from the liver.

How to use Hing for stomach problems: Put half a teaspoon of asafoetida in lukewarm water and drink it right away. Many people have claimed that it relieves the gaseous problems and gas-related stomach pain right away.

3. Eat less sugar and sweeteners:

Eating a lot of sugary foods or artificial sweeteners may cause imbalance of gut flora. If you have to replace sugar, choose natural sweeteners like stevia, figs, dates, etc. A few animal studies reported that some of the artificial sweeteners like sucralose, aspartame can mess with good gut bacteria and destroy microbiome diversity in ways that may interfere with the digestive system’s natural mechanisms.

4. Do not compromise on sleep:
Irregular sleep habits and disturbed sleep can have negative outcomes for the gut flora. This may increase the risk of indigestion and gut inflammation. A plentiful and healthful sleep schedule helps keep your gut better functional. As an adult, aim for at least 7 hours sleep per day on an average.

5. Quit smoking for good:
Smoking has zero benefits. Even the mood elevator effect is transitional and it ends up worsening long-term mental health picture. Research published has found that smoking may cause an increase in potentially harmful gut bacteria and decrease the levels of beneficial ones. This alters the gut flora and leaves you feeling cranky and bloated.

6. Eat slowly:
Chew your food thoroughly. Never rush to finish your meals. This helps ensure complete and quick digestion and optimum absorption of nutrients. A healthy digestion process is what you need for reducing gut discomfort.

7. Add probiotics and prebiotics:
Probiotics are the mixture of healthy gut bacteria. This can reverse the damage caused to your friendly bacteria and add more to maintain a balanced level. Yogurt or buttermilk is a popular probiotic food because it’s widely available. Especially in summer, taking buttermilk alongside day meals is considered a good practice. Probiotics are the food for good gut bacteria. Mostly they feed on fiber rich foods. Aim to include more green leafy vegetables in the daily diet and cut down on junk food, one step at a time. Fiber-rich foods can be aptly called stomach healing foods.

Along with the aforementioned tips, certain yoga poses and physical activity can help you maintain a healthful digestion. Remember to keep moving and sit less.

Have a happy and naturally healthy gut!

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For those who love exercising but find it difficult to fit it into their daily schedules especially with offices reopening after an almost two years halt, you might want to try and do some desk exercise and workouts that will help you stay fit and healthy. Most of us spend the majority of our day at the work desk, almost 8-10 hours we are at the desk. Wellness and health are imperative, and one does not always need a yoga mat, plates, and dumbbells to exercise and keep healthy; desk exercise or what is now commonly called ‘Desk exercise’ is the new trend.

Excessive sitting comes with counterproductive effects on our health. Poor posture with little to no movements can cause musculoskeletal disorders. Apart from neck pain, lower back pain, and stress, it can also lead to high blood pressure, and weight gain; and in certain cases, some heart ailments, diabetes, and other chronic conditions can also prevail.

Stay in the know of your inner health with our specially curated health checkup packages

Even spending the least 10-12 minutes exercising at the desk can help with blood flow and provide energy to go all day long. Analysis shows that in order to avoid being desk potatoes and just staying in one position, little to moderate movements till the water cooler, using stairs in place of the lift, talking while walking etc. are some easy ways that can help. The business will also be in turn rewarded well when the employees stay fit and healthy.

Here are some desk exercises that can be performed, the benefits of which are endless, right from keeping the weight in check, improving health conditions, uplifting the mood, and ultimately boosting energy needed for prolonged hours of sitting. A few of them include:

  • Neck twists: In a straight sitting position, lean your head forward, slowly turn the neck in the left direction, pause, and repeat the same in the right direction. Try to do it 3-4 times on either side. When you find yourself unable to get away from the desk, this is one of the best exercises to perform.
  • Shoulder stretches: Hold your hands together; bring them above your head with the palms facing upwards, and try to push the arms or stretch them as much as you can. This is a great way to help release the neck and shoulder tension while on a desk.
  • Hamstring pulls: This is a simple one that can be done while just sitting on the chair. Place both the feet on the ground, extend one led outward, and try to touch your toes, hold it for 2-3 deep breaths, and then repeat the same with the other leg.
  • Wrists and finger stretch: This is by far one of the most important and useful desk exercises since most of our time goes texting or typing on screens. Hold your hands straight in front of you with the palms facing down and the fingers facing inwards toward your body. To make the maximum of the stretch, hold it till you feel the tension release or hear those cracking noises from between the fingers. This can be repeated any number of times throughout the day.
  • Oblique turns: A lot of us sit on a swivel chair; why not use it as a prop to help exercise? Sit upright and with the feet a little above the ground, twirl it around while holding on to the edge of the table. You can do this back and forth 10-15 times, this helps fix the oblique abs.
  • Shoulder shrugs: Apart from shoulder stretches, this is another exercise that can be done sitting on a chair, raising the shoulders together upwards toward the ears, and dropping them simultaneously. This can also be repeated 8-10 times.
  • Flutter kicks: This is not an actual kick, since we need to remember and respect the office environment as well, it simply is an exercise that works on the obliques and abdominals. Lift one foot 5-6 inches above the ground and pause, return the foot and repeat it with the other alternatively. Try this at least 10 times with both the legs.
  • Chest stretch: Clasp your hands behind your lower back and push the chest outwards while slightly raising your chin, if you can, try and hold it for about 2-3 deep breaths. You can feel the stretch in your upper body with this exercise.
  • Lower abs lift: Often you don’t want your co-workers to know you are exercising or stretching, this leg lift is one such exercise. Sit straight with your feet on the ground, slowly lift one leg up, while keeping the core tight, almost to a 90 degree, and try it out with the other one alternatively. You can do this for 8-10 seconds with both the legs around 7-8 reps each. To take the most out of this stretch, try lifting both the legs up together too.

A piece of caution while working on these stretches is to not overdo them, though with each exercise you might feel a tension release or a muscle stretched, do only what is comfortable, as it is the workplace, we are referring to here.

Too much sitting and less physical activity can hamper healthy lipid levels in the body. Book a lipid profile test and know for yourself.

Physical activity can do wonders for our minds and bodies. If you work in an office setting and sit for the majority of the day, then implementing workplace wellness solutions related to exercise is critical. Next time you feel tired and your body feels strained, you can go for these easy exercises and stretches. They will help get the blood moving, pump up energy for the day long, build up strength and also prevent stiffness or any injury in the body. If you experience any discomfort, you can consult a doctor, they would be able to guide you better on how to proceed with moderation.

These exercises do not require any kind of investment except for taking out some time that is essential to counter the effects of sitting in front of the screen all day. The more you move about, the better you will be able to maintain your energy

Along with physical activity, health checkups are crucial to maintain a healthy body. Find comprehensive health packages here.

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Kidney biopsy is a procedure to procure tissue samples from the abnormal kidney with an aim to identify the pathology. This test is also called renal biopsy test. It helps to correctly diagnose the various diseases, as well as help healthcare professionals to plan treatment and foretell associated prognosis.

During the procedure, the tissue samples will be collected by your health care professional and then marked and labelled for identification before sending it to a pathologist for careful assessment under microscope. The reporting usually takes around 5 to 7 days depending on available laboratories and logistics. Make sure to get your kidney biopsy test report analyzed through an expert.

Who needs a kidney biopsy?

Kidney is your main excretory organ and helps the body to eliminate a variety of toxins from the body by producing urine. It also helps the body to maintain normal levels of various electrolytes in the body. The kidneys produce an average of around 2 litres of urine per day in a healthy adult. While most kidney problems are identified with simpler investigations like routine urine examination, urine gram stain and culture sensitivity, some people may need to undergo ultrasound of kidneys and on rare occasions require radiographic CT and special X Ray images. However at times when these investigations are not enough to correctly diagnose the pathology, a kidney biopsy is planned. Some of the indications of a kidney biopsy are as follows

  • Blood (haematuria) or protein (proteinuria) in the urine
  • Abnormal blood test results suggesting a kidney cause
  • Acute or chronic kidney diseases where other investigations have not yielded fruitful results
  • Nephrotic syndrome (a condition involving excessive leakage of proteins in urine)
  • Glomerular disease (condition affecting the filtering units of the kidney)
  • To determine the results of ongoing treatment like if the patient is improving or deteriorating
  • In people with deteriorating kidney functions post-transplant, it helps to identify a specific cause and even save the transplanted kidney at times.
  • In diagnosis of suspected kidney tumor.
  • Other unusual or special conditions.

How do you prepare yourself for a kidney biopsy?

The risk of kidney biopsy though very small is not negligible and the same should be understood from the doctor before signing the consent for it.

  • You are advised to disclose all your medical history to your doctor in advance like any history of other diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, thyroid problems or any disease pertaining to heart or breathing or even a history of stroke. Any history of bleeding disorders must be told to your doctor.
  • Disclose all the medications you are presently consuming especially if you are on blood thinners, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) and aspirin. The most common complication is bleeding which may require blood transfusion or even surgery at times. For patients on aspirin medication should be stopped a week before surgery to avoid increased risk of bleeding. Medications to control high blood pressure may be taken till the morning of the procedure.
  • Blood work up before the biopsy is done to rule out any pre-existing bleeding disorder, blood infection and low haemoglobin. You may also be advised to undergo investigations like chest X-Ray, ECG, Ultrasound and some routine blood work up prior to the procedure to determine the safety of anaesthetic agents
  • You are advised to disclose any allergies if any specifically to contrast agents. The biopsy procedure may involve general anaesthesia, so patients are advised to have 6 to 8 hours of fasting before the procedure.

Kidney biopsy test price may vary from lab to lab. Always book your test through a trusted lab partner.

How is kidney biopsy done?

Kidney biopsy is usually performed by a nephrologist or a radiologist. There are various methods to obtain a biopsy sample from the kidneys. The most commonly used approach is a percutaneous approach, however other approaches which can be employed to secure a tissue sample are laparoscopic, open and rarely trans-jugular. A laparoscopic approach involves the use of a thin biopsy needle through your skin to acquire samples of your kidney tissue. The procedure is usually completed within an hour. The patients are advised to lie prone with a firm support under the belly unless biopsy is indicated in a transplanted kidney. Special circumstances like obesity or pregnancy may require lying down, seated, or other comfortable positions. Procedure requires intravenous (IV) or local sedatives to help you stay comfortable during the procedure. Radiological assistance may help guide the location, depth and angulation of biopsy needles to secure adequate biopsy samples. Finally the desired puncture site is cleaned with an antiseptic solution to avoid infection. The health care professional might ask you to withhold your breathing during the biopsy to avoid damaging blood vessels and normal organs. The procedure does not require any stitches and just a normal dressing is sufficient at the puncture site.

Post kidney biopsy care and risks

  • Post procedure the patients are observed for signs of bleeding with continuous monitoring of vitals. Typically patients are advised bed rest for a duration of 12 to 24 hrs. Patients are advised to refrain from heavy lifting, strenuous exercise and competitive sport for a couple of weeks post procedure.
  • While minimal amounts of blood in urine post biopsy is expected, passage of blood in urine beyond 24 hrs of biopsy is unusual and requires urgent attention from your concerned doctor.
  • Pain at the site of biopsy is mild and usually lasts only for a few hours post procedure, however continuous worsening of pain requires thorough evaluation.
  • Other red flag signs are unable to pass urine, high fever or have loss of consciousness post biopsy.
  • Pain, redness, swelling and oozing of tissue fluids from the biopsy site indicate infection.
  • The biopsy report takes around 5 days however you may have a provisional report in a couple of days.
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India enjoys a tropical climate; while some parts of it are wet, other parts mostly feel the wrath of the harsh sun during the months of March till late July. Many people are susceptible to fall ill or become a victim of dehydration during this time. Fluids are therefore a necessity to keep the organs and the body active and running all day long. Some of it will come from food, some from juices, lemonades, coconut water, caffeinated drinks, etc.

Water for life

As the weather warms up in most parts of the country, we tend to get thirsty and sweat profusely. Since our bodies are almost 60% made up of water, keeping them well hydrated, especially in this sultry weather, will allow us to function better and maintain blood electrolytes levels, right from keeping our energy levels up to supporting an active immune system. Consuming enough liquids assists the body in better absorption of nutrients and makes way for better digestion, as the water helps break down food, making it a requirement for regular and healthy gastric functioning too.

The mildest of dehydration can take away energy from your body; it can dismantle the body’s ability to carry out normal functions, and make you feel lethargic all the time. The survival of your body is most dependent on water as every cell, tissue and organ in it, needs an adequate supply of water to perform their functions optimally.

Sure you are taking enough care of your body health needs? Check out with health checkup packages, specially curated for you.

How much water intake is required?

Depending on the weather along with certain factors such as if you exercise, or if you suffer from any ailment, are pregnant etc. you might have to modify the intake but otherwise it is usually advised to take in around 3-4 litres for men and around 2-3 litres for women. We tend to lose water as we breathe and perspire, through our urine and bowel movements etc. hence, to retain the liquid lost and replenish the supply, a healthy adult living should aim for at least 2-3 litres of water daily. This can constitute water containing foods or beverages apart from water as well.

Your doctor or dietician can help determine how much water intake is enough for you on a daily basis. If you rarely feel thirsty or your urine passes out colourless/ light yellowish, these are indications your liquid intake is normal. To make sure you don’t suffer from dehydration, it is wise to drink a glass of water between each meal, after exercising and not wait until you are extremely thirsty. You can also try out certain digital apps to check how much water is good for you.

6 smart ways to stay hydrated during summers

Here are some ways in which you can ensure to stay hydrated at all times during the scorching summer heat:

  1. Add some flavour: If you find plain water too boring to consume regularly, you can add some zest and flavour, maybe slices of cucumber or lemon, or fresh mint leaves, fruit slices etc. It will not only act as a cooler down the throat but will also encourage water intake frequently. For sweet lovers, you can add a pinch of cinnamon and cardamom along with half a teaspoon of Rooh Afza, and cool it. This makes a delicious, mildly sweet flavoured water.

  2. Eat your water: Certain fruits and veggies have high water content, such as grapes, watermelon, strawberries, cucumber, lettuce, spinach etc. Their consumption can often lead to fulfilling the daily quota of water for the body. Including them in the diet will not only help keep the body hydrated but will also help supply the healthy nutrients contained.

  3. Sip some energising smoothies: Prepare some tasty fruit smoothies, with strawberries, peaches, blueberries etc. this can work wonders too. They are a great and refreshing way to help you stay hydrated.

  4. Make fruit popsicles: To add a twist to the daily water intake, you can freeze some fruits like watermelon, grape and strawberry to fill in the popsicle mould and enjoy it after an hour or whenever you feel thirsty. This is not only a way to rehydrate but will also help add a delicious flavour to the plain water intake.

  5. Avoid loss of body fluids: Avoiding extreme sun exposure, especially during mid afternoon hours, when the sun rays are at their strongest helps keep the body temperature in control and prevents you from getting dehydrated or falling sick. If you have to step out, try and wear loose fitting, cotton clothes that are light and airy to allow your skin to breathe. Carry an umbrella or a hat and sunglasses to keep your head cool.

  6. Go for snack alternatives: Instead of having carb packed pasta and noodles, try for zucchini noodles or healthier alternatives that contain water. Mixing them with tomato sauce which in itself is a powerhouse of water will make such meals hydrating and an overall healthy option for hunger pangs during the day.

How to know if you can be dehydrated

Dehydration can be mild, moderate or in some cases severe where the individual has to be admitted for IV fluid hospital trip. The doctors will accordingly prescribe fluids and medications that will act as the best defence mechanisms to beat the dehydration afflicted. When you feel any of the following signs or symptoms, consult an expert immediately for a timely cure.

  • Dark urine
  • Tiredness and fatigue
  • Dryness near the mouth
  • Irritability
  • Drowsiness
  • Difficult bowel movements
  • Faster heartbeat

While these are some physical signs to check for dehydration, one can also go for blood tests, to check the levels of sodium, potassium and other electrolytes.

With the temperatures soaring, it pays to drink enough liquids throughout the day. It does well to your skin too, and is good for muscle development. Besides, it works on the overall immunity as well. Anything done in excess can be harmful; similarly, though it is advisable to drink enough water and keep the fluid intake adequate, going beyond the limit can adversely deplete the sodium level of the body. Hot and humid weather makes us sweat more than usual, and hence requires additional and frequent fluid intakes. Take care!

For electrolytes blood tests and exclusive health packages, check .

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Immunity boosting foods image

We are what we eat

In wake of this, it is important that we choose wisely and eat food that helps boost our immunity, fight infection and keeps us healthy and fit. With the ongoing pandemic and rise in the number of cases yet again, we need to make sure our immune system is strong and ready to fight off pathogens such as virus, bacteria, or any other foreign particle that can have an adverse reaction on our health. As a response to these pathogens, the immune system releases antibodies that attack and kill these particles, but for the system to be strong, one has to incorporate the right food and diet that will help it strengthen. One way in which we can ensure to maintain good health and well being is to make sure we are taking enough immune boosting nutrients through our daily diet.

Along with diet, make sure to keep a check on your vital health numbers. Book a preventive health check up here.

Here are a few immunity boosting food, straight from the kitchen that will keep the immune system strong and help prevent frequent illnesses-

1. Yogurt: This can be a good source of vitamin D, and also contains probiotics that helps regulate the immune system and prepares our body to fight against diseases. In general, avoid flavoured ones, and instead go for homemade yogurts, adding seasonal fruits or even honey to make it sweet and at the same time, nutritious and healthy.

2. Turmeric (Haldi): Turmeric, found in every household’s kitchen, contains curcumin that is found to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. The bright yellow coloured powdered spice has since ages been used to treat wounds, acnes etc. It promises itself as an immune booster that can help keep diseases at bay. We often find ourselves consuming haldi in curries, and other day-to-day food, keeping in check, this goes inside our bodies and improves immune response needed.

3. Garlic: A staple found in almost every household, garlic not only adds flavour to the food, but is also an excellent source to boost immunity. Eating it in its raw form can work wonders for the body. It contains sulphur compounds such as allicin, and is a must have food for healthy keeping. It produces T-cells that can reduce the amount of stress hormones, thus proving a boon for the immune system either way.

4. Ginger: People often turn to hot ginger tea when they feel under the weather; it helps decrease inflammation, nausea, sore throat etc. One might love it when it’s added in food or dessert or drinks, for the flavour, but unknowingly, it also works as a good source of antioxidants.

5. Spinach: A leafy vegetable, rich in vitamin C, spinach is at its best when cooked little, so that the nutrients remain intact. This is a powerhouse in itself, with not just vitamin C present, but also several antioxidants and flavonoids, vitamin E and beta carotene, that are both capable of enhancing the infection fighting ability of the immune system.

6. Papaya: With the richness of vitamin C, this is a fruit enough to get the daily recommended amount of vitamins. Along with vitamins, it has potassium, magnesium, folate etc. which are all essential and beneficial for keeping the immune system in check. The fruit has a digestive enzyme, papain, which contains anti-inflammatory properties too. All in all, a bowl of papaya in your breakfast can do wonders to keep immunity strong.

As per a few studies, vitamin D has got some role in regulating the immune system. Check out if you have enough vitamin D levels in your body with a simple blood test.

7. Tea: Another most common thing found in every household, with consumption levels approx 2-3 times a day in any house. This has disease fighting polyphenols and flavonoids, antioxidants responsible for destroying cell damaging free radicals. Whether it is black tea or green, in fact green tea has high levels of epigallocatechin gallate aka EGCG, that is a powerful antioxidant to boost the immune system working. Make sure to avoid high sugar content in your tea.

8. Citrus food: Highly rich in vitamin C, responsible for increasing the production of white blood cells, citrus foods like oranges help keep the immune system strong, by fighting infections. One should include fruits like grapefruits, oranges, lemons etc. in their diet, to maintain the daily requirement of vitamin C. During Covid outbreak, people have been subscribed to tablets for keeping vitamin C in check as well.

9. Nuts: Nuts like almonds and walnuts are a powerful source of vitamin and healthy fats. They are another key to building a healthy immune system. They also contain manganese, magnesium and fibre, making for a healthy munching on the go snack. Soak them overnight, to have them the next morning, or have them in their raw form, however you like it.

Apart from these easily available kitchen foods, there are a lot of other food items such as dark chocolate, berries, mushrooms, oysters etc. that help strengthen the immune system and improve its ability to fight infections. Our immune system is complex, it needs the right amount of care and handling to make sure it functions well and prevents colds, coughs, and other illnesses. Exercising, drinking plenty of liquids, getting adequate sleep, meditation etc. are some lifestyle changes which when accompanied with the right choice of food, can make the immune system stronger.

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Healthy liver image

We often tend to undermine how important an organ our liver is. It is responsible for filtering the blood of the body and removing toxins, fats, carbs, sugar etc. from whatever food goes inside our bodies. In fact, it is the largest internal organ of the body. Performing important functions like digestion, metabolism, acting as a storehouse for nutrients, basically working round the clock, your liver needs an adequate amount of care, to function optimally, digest food and get rid of harmful toxins.

Want a healthy liver? Follow these tips:

The good habits:

1. Live an active lifestyle:

Brisk walking, swimming, jogging, taking up any sport etc. helps keep the liver young and healthy. It decreases the stress on the liver, and also prevents obesity, which can affect the liver adversely. When you get in the habit of exercising, it burns triglycerides for fuel, thereby reducing liver fat and letting it perform at its best.

2. Watch you sugar intake:

Eating too much sugary food, can lead to the body developing insulin resistance, and causing abnormally high blood sugar levels for diabetes. Sugar has a direct impact on the liver. Avoid sugar in the form of fructose, artificial sweeteners etc. to satisfy the sugar craving, instead choose natural sweeteners in the form of fruits, coconut, or go for sugarcane juice that is both healthy and provides energy too.

3. Get vaccinated:

Hepatitis A and B, are both viral liver infections that can be prevented with proper vaccinations. While hepatitis A can be caused due to contaminated seafood, polluted water, stale food etc. Hepatitis B can be due to unsafe sex, contaminated blood or needles etc. One must get themselves vaccinated against these, to avoid adverse effects on the functioning of the liver.

4. Get rid of that extra fat:

Non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a consequence of not keeping the body weight in control and being obese. It is also referred to as the silent epidemic, caused by extra fat building up in the liver, this can be the cause of non alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which if not taken seriously can lead to liver damage or in some extreme cases liver cancer as well.

The Bad ones:

1. Not regularly checking on liver health:

While exercising and a balanced diet can go a long way in keeping the liver healthy, it is important to know how well your liver is functioning. Schedule regular tests as advised by a doctor to check liver function.

2. Indulge in excessive drinking:

Occasional drinking or drinking in moderation is fine, for example, men should limit themselves to 2 drinks while women to 1 glass of drink per day only. It’s best if consumed alongside food as compared to drinking alone or on an empty stomach. Because when we consume alcoholic beverages, it gets converted to acetaldehyde, a chemical that is structurally similar to formaldehyde. This can lead to liver inflammation or even permanent damage to liver cells.

3. Ignoring hydration:

Drinking enough water cannot be stressed enough. It is good not only for the liver but also for the well functioning of the whole body. Taking sufficient fluids helps flush the toxins and waste out of the body. In a well hydrated system, blood is thin comparatively, which makes it easy for the liver to filter the blood for removing waste. It is recommended to drink lots of water especially during the day, so that the liver does not have to overdo itself at night, and can also relax while you sleep!

4. Putting extra salt in food:

Too much consumption of salt can lead to an increase in blood pressure in the main artery of the liver. In today’s lifestyle, we just want to go for fast foods, processed foods or packed/ readymade food items which contain a lot of salt; their intake should be limited. For better food taste, one can go for different herbs and spices, and reduce salt intake, as it also affects weight loss.

Want to get your liver health checked? Book your test here.

One should visit a doctor, to find out the right cause and severity of liver damage or for regular health checkups for the liver as well. Your doctor would suggest going for blood tests for knowing any genetic relation or liver problems or the liver function tests to check for any particular liver related disease; a liver biopsy if needed, to look out for signs of liver damage or even imaging tests like a CT scan or MRI.

There are a lot of other factors that can affect the liver, such as getting a good night’s sleep, avoiding smoking, consuming less fast food, being careful if taking painkillers or other drugs, as they can also significantly cause damage to the liver etc. Implementing the good habits and gradually getting rid of the bad ones, can prove beneficial for the liver, considering the vital functions it performs, it is essential we take proper care of it, especially considering our stressful and busy lives.

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