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Mental Health Wellness

Let’s Talk: Managing your mental health during Covid 19

Man is a social animal and given this day and age, we have been used to getting around across geographies and interacting regularly with other people. But with the current lockdown this is an area that is directly impacted.

While people in lockdown in India have done the right thing to protect them from Covid 19 but their mental health is definitely suffering. Anxiety, depression, Insomnia among others have become common. In this situation, Mental Health Helplines are the best way out.

Lets Talk, a Mental Health Support Helpline is a free volunteer supported project initiated by a group of collaborators to help people cope with emotional impact of Covid-19 pandemic.  

It aims to help those facing dramatic psychological conditions such as panic attacks, anxiety / stress and those suffering mentally and emotionally due to quarantine / isolation /lockdown.

Lets Talk helpline number is 844 844 9428 and has a team of 120+ volunteers who are supporting this initiative, including Psychologists from across the country.

The project has been powered by different International and National Partners in the space of Mental Health, Helpline Support, Social Organizations and Outreach Support. Partners already on boarded include Global Dignity, Arogya World India Trust, Life Surfers, Suicide Prevention India Foundation, Oust Labs, Hope Network, Global Shapers Community, Ria and Manah wellness.

The team behind Lets Talk commented on this initiative

“We are grateful to the volunteers who have come forward to help and support the community at this critical juncture. We believe that mental health impact of this pandemic is going to be significant and will have long lasting impact.

At Lets Talk, we are continuously looking at multiple outreach channels, who could collaborate with us in our initiative to help all those who are worried about the uncertainty of events, a deep sense of meaningless at the moment, missing our loved ones and some of us, our freedom.

At this difficult time, we can’t help you to be in a different place, but we can help you be in a different mind space. So, Lets Talk.”

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Wellness

10 Tips To Improve The Digestive System

Modern lifestyles, improper dietary habits and eating junk food all place a huge strain on the digestive system. Problems with digestion can affect every other part of your body and bring down your quality of life. As the English author Samuel Johnson said, “He who does not mind his belly, will hardly mind anything else.” Caring for your digestion is not difficult. Here are a few simple ways to do it.

Eat A High Fiber Diet

Eating lots of vegetables, fruits and grains that are rich in fiber will enable food to move smoothly through the digestive system and reduce the strain on it. This also helps to prevent Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Hemorrhoids.

Eat The Right Balance Of Fiber

Insoluble fiber or roughage cannot be digested by the system and so it adds bulk to the stools, making a bowel movement easier. Soluble fiber absorbs excess water and keeps the stools from becoming too liquid. A balance of both types of fiber is important.

Control Fat Intake

The more fat in your diet, the slower the digestive process which results in constipation and other problems. However, some amount of fat intake is required for good health and energy. Balancing fatty foods with high fiber foods helps to control the fat intake.

Ensure Probiotic Intake

Not all bacteria are bad. Probiotics are a type of healthy bacteria that helps to support the digestive process, strengthen the immune system and accelerates the natural breakdown of food by the body.

Eat Lean Meat

Proteins are an essential part of a healthy diet and can be found in lentils, grains and vegetables. If you are a non-vegetarian, meat is a good source of protein. Avoid fatty cuts of meat that place an increased strain on the digestion and consume only lean cuts.

Drink Lots Of Water

Staying hydrated by drinking enough water has all kinds of health benefits, including on the digestive system. Water acts as a lubricant, enabling the smooth digestion of food and elimination of waste from the body.

Keep Regular Mealtimes

Eating your breakfast, lunch and dinner at as near as possible at the same time every day means that your body is provided nourishment at the right interval thereby preventing the digestion from being overloaded by sudden large food intakes and also by not allowing the stomach to remain empty for long periods, which results in acidity and other problems.

Get Enough Exercise

Exercise is usually looked on as a way to lose weight and not being overweight is good for overall health. More than this, exercise supports the digestive system and the movement of the body keeps pushing food through the digestive system, which enables good bowel movements and prevents constipation.

Reduce Stress

Mental stress and anxiety place a great strain on the digestive system and prevent it from functioning properly. It can cause all kinds of digestion-related medical conditions including the development of ulcers in the stomach. Make stress-reducing activities like Yoga a part of your daily schedule.

Avoid Bad Habits

Smoking, excessive consumption of alcohol and tea or coffee all interfere with the smooth functioning of the digestion. If the habits cannot be totally removed from your life, then very moderate consumption is the next best step.

Caring for your digestion has a positive impact on all aspects of your wellbeing. If you are suffering from a digestion-related medical condition or simply suffer from one or more of the common symptoms of digestive problems, contact Kauvery Hospital where the Gastroenterology Center of Excellence gives you access to the Best Gastroenterologist in Chennai, medical technology and treatment protocols to provide world-class treatment and care.

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Wellness

12 easy steps to manage your foot care in diabetes

(The following is a guest post by Dr Anuj Chawla)

Diabetes is a health problem that can affect several body parts, one by one. One in six people with diabetes resides in India with an estimated number of 77 million and the number is projected to rise to 125 million by 2040. It has been observed that 10-15% of people with diabetes will develop a foot ulcer at some point in time. A survey done in 2014 revealed that only 54% of diabetics in India were aware that diabetes could lead to foot problems and only 22% had their feet examined by a health worker or doctor.

Do you know that it can affect your feet too? If you have a minor cut on your feet, it can turn into a significant wound because diabetes impairs wound healing in your body. Also, you may not be able to feel anything in your feet because of nerve damage. Because of diabetes, blood flow to your feet is obstructed as well. This will cause a small wound to amplify into a stubborn infection, due to which you face the risk of amputation.

In case you suffer from diabetes, you need to take precautions to protect your feet and hence avoid any serious foot problems. Guidelines you need to follow to avoid Diabetic foot problem are as follows:

  1. Soaking your feet in lukewarm water: You must always keep your foot clean. Treat your foot like you will take care of a newborn baby. Use lukewarm water to soak in your foot and clean them. Avoid excessively hot water.
  2. Regular inspection of your feet: You need to check your feet regularly for blisters, cuts, swelling, redness, or nail problems. You can use a magnifying hand mirror to check the bottom of your feet. Do seek help from your doctor if you notice something suspicious.
  3. Be gentle with your feet while cleaning it: Use a soft sponge and washcloth to wipe your feet. Dry your feet by gently patting it, especially between the toes. 
  4. Trimming nails carefully: You need to cut your nails straight across. Also, do not forget to file the edges of your nails. Don’t trim your nails too short as it risks the development of ingrown toenails. If you are worried about your toenails, then you can seek the advice of your foot and ankle specialist. 
  5. Moisturizing your feet but not between the toes: Always use a moisturizer to prevent itching and cracking of your dry skin. But you must always keep in mind that the place between your toes should not be moisturized as this may risk the development of a fungal infection. 
  6. Proper treatment of the corns or calluses: If there are corns and calluses, then you should not try to treat them all by yourself. You must visit your doctor to get rid of them.
  7. Getting your foot examined periodically: This is one of the essential guidelines that you need to follow if you want to avoid Diabetic foot problems. You must get your feet regularly examined from your foot and ankle expert.  
  8. Keeping your diabetes under control: It is always necessary to keep a check on your blood sugar level to prevent Diabetic foot problems.  
  9. Quit smoking: Smoking will accentuate the worsening of blood flow in your feet. Hence if you are a diabetic person and also have a habit of smoking, then it is high time that you quit smoking forever.
  10. Wearing slippers or shoes while walking: You cannot afford to walk barefoot even at your home. You must wear a sandal or boots to avoid any cut or injury at your feet.
  11. Inspect inside of the shoe before wearing: Always shake and feel for the inside of the shoe to look for any pebbles or nail inside as you may not feel it when you wear it.
  12. Exercise: Walking helps in controlling weight and improves circulation. Wear properly measured and fitted shoes as the size and shape of your foot may change with time.

In India, barefoot walking, lack of awareness, the paucity of regular proper exercise, delay in seeking appropriate care, and shortage of trained healthcare providers and foot care services are the principal factors that add to the burden of foot disease in diabetes. Hence, prevention and initial management of diabetic foot are of paramount importance. Please visit the nearest foot and ankle expert to learn more and avoid any future complications.

Dr. Anuj Chawla is one of the leading Orthopedics and foot & ankle surgeons in India. He has extensive overseas experience of managing diabetic foot and its complications. He can be contacted at dranujchawla@gmail.com.

For a consultation with Dr. Anuj, book an appointment by visiting the website: http://dranujchawla.com/

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Wellness

The curious rise of mental illness in India

Rahul (name changed) was having a tough time at office. He had worked his way to the top of the finance industry in Mumbai India. He was now a Sr VP at a financial institution and looking forward to a great time steering the entry of a new financial institution in India. But somehow his work load was increasing. What started as a stretch project spanning a few weekends, had consumed him for months. Soon he started dreading the thought of going to office. Even at work his ability to cope with work was reducing, affecting his effectiveness. Soon he was in a cycle, where stress was eating away at his ability to get things done, which contributes to further delays and more stress. Soon panic attacks started hitting him in the office. He would sweat profusely and remain tense throughout the day.

Rahul was lucky that he recognised some of the symptoms and sought medical help. He reached out to a counsellor and started treatment immedicably. He also took a break from work and focused entirely on his wellbeing. Slowly over a period with counselling and medication, Rahul felt better as the incidents of panic attack and their severity started reducing. Before long he was back at a new job, this time with the knowledge that he would have to handle his work better and avoid triggers that might set off the attacks again.

Rahul’s case is not an isolated case. I remember when I joined the technology world, my first job was with this healthcare network. A middle level manager who was my mentor at that time used to warn me about not taking projects with pressure. He said it was just not worth it. Coming from the medical world, we know all about pressure and its physiology that helps us a humans trigger the flight or fight reflex.

According to a report published by the World Economic Forum in 2014 on the impact of non-communicable diseases on Indian economy it is projected that the loss due to lack of mental health would run into trillions.

“The evidence is compelling. India stands to lose $4.58 trillion before 2030 due to NCDs and mental health conditions. Cardiovascular diseases, accounting for $2.17 trillion, and mental health conditions ($1.03 trillion), will lead the way in economic loss.”

So today we stand at the crossroads of healthcare highway, where mental well being is going to cost us more than Diabetes and Cancer put together by 2030. India it seems is one of the most depressed country in the world. We have close to 6.7 % of the population that is suffering from some mental illness. And just like Diabetes there is no specific urban/rural divide on this. So, the common feeling that people in the villages are not affecting by depression is not true. On the other hand, I feel they are worse off as there is limited awareness and facilities available in the rural areas. According to a WHO report done by National Care of Mental Health, suicide rates in India are around 10.7 per lakh of population and they are mostly below 44 years.

What should one do if you felt tings were not ok mentally?

Well for starters contact your physician immediately. Best not to self diagnose. I myself had consulted my physician after the death of my mother and visited a counsellor.

The secondly seek support from family and friends. I had taken my wife into confidence during that time. She had accompanied me to the session.

Finally, no matter how bad it may seem there is no justification for self-harm. If such thoughts to occur, best to take help from one of the many depression helplines. I have a list that I found at a website, not sure if this is current but still a good list to use.

In conclusion, mental health is a clear and present danger for us in India. Rising expectations and the collapse of work life balance has brought us to this situation. I still feel digital can help in specially providing immediate, anonymous counselling. Work is important but not at the cost of life. Do take care and keep smiling.

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Wellness

Feeling heavy or bloated ? It would be your wheat

Usha name changed the typical Indian Software Engineer. She was active and a fitness freak but used to feel bloated and heavy after every meal. Despite signing up for Zumba classes and hitting the gym regularly, the bloating and the heaviness never left her. After doing this for a couple of years what did the most next most logical thing when she went and consulted a nutritionist to understand whether her diet was causing some issues. After initial tests and consultations, she found out that, she was gluten intolerant and was not able to digest certain types of grains including wheat. After moving to a non-gluten based diet into other substituted by other grains Usha found out that have bloating came down the heaviness reduced in as a matter of fact she started losing weight and getting back into shape.