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Trick Your Mind Away from Stress

Simple and natural ways to beat stress when it starts growing on you

With schedules getting busier with each generation, the corresponding stress keeps on piling up. Students suffer from examination stress. School children deal with stress related to peer pressure and homework. Adults deal with stress related to kids, loans, work and a plethora of other things. A little stress might be a good motivator, but when it gets out of hand, stress is detrimental for performance. It hinders natural thinking and causes physiological changes in the body. Weight gain and loss, loss of appetite, irritability, lack of sleep and headaches are common symptoms of stress. It is ironical that most of the stress which we feel is created by us. But there are several ways to fight it too. Once you have recognized the underlying cause of the stress, it isn’t hard to fight it, or at least mitigate its effects.

We show you how, this week.

1. Drink more orange juice

Researchers at the University of Alabama found that regular consumption of vitamin C stops the secretion of stress hormones, leading to a better life. Orange juice is cheap, easily available and healthy. It can even be made at home. Two 8-ounce glasses of orange juice daily give you the vitamin C needed by the body for proper functioning.

2. Laugh

We have already mentioned the importance of laughter. Laughing produces stress relieving hormones which reduce stress immediately. Laughing is cheap and one can laugh anytime, anywhere. It diverts the mind from other factors as well, which might be responsible for stress indirectly.

3. Cocooning

Often undervalued, cocooning is one of the best ways to fight stress and get motivated again. In the moment you feel totally overwhelmed, gently place both palms side by side on your face, fingers gently resting on your closed eyelids. This cocoons and quietens the mind, until you feel more centered and ready to face the world again. We often do this when frustrated, but now we know what it’s called. Cocooning is also a great way to rejuvenate yourself when low on energy.

4. Breathe

Anxiety leads to shallower breathing, which is restricted only to the upper area of the chest. This leads to headaches and a general sense of uneasiness. We tend to get irritable and make hasty or unwise decisions. One must lengthen one’s breath consciously, breathing deeper into the belly. Count to three on the in-breath, and four on the out-breath. This refreshes the amount of oxygen in the body and takes away greater amounts of stress-inducing carbon dioxide. The body ends up rejuvenated and the mind is able to think more clearly.

5. Circuit breaker

The best way to deal with stress is to take your mind off it. All the techniques described so far ultimately distract the mind. The problem might not go away, but diverting the mind can certainly give it the power to think clearly when re-engaging with the same problem. Try to take the dog for a mini walk. Revisit your funniest emails. Listen to your favorite song. Make yourself a cup of herbal tea. Indulge in some stress-releasing food such as ice-cream. The key is to trick the mind into feeling that the problem can be resolved.

6. Let the tears flow

We mentioned how laughter helps to reduce stress, but crying it out is equally important. Crying can be very therapeutic. It is one of the most cleansing experiences the body can go through. Deep sobs open the chest and diaphragm, releasing bound-up energy. This helps to free up the heart of muscular tension. A good cry also enhances oxygen delivery to the cells and stimulates release of specific neurochemicals in the brain that promote relaxation. Crying often makes us introspect and retrospect into the problem and come up with solutions to tackle it. The mind is also motivated to deal with the problem.

7. Exercise

We have already mentioned how important it is to exercise the body to exercise the mind. Exercise does not mean a workout in the gym. Exercise simply refers to physical activity. Walking with a friend and discussing the problem might help. Going for jogs reduces stress and takes away anger. Playing your favorite sport takes away stress too. it is important to channelize the energy and distress the mind.

When the body realizes that there is a problem, it releases adrenaline so that the body and mind can tackle the problem. The mind, however, might decide to use this negatively, and that is when we feel the effects of stress. It is important to channelize this excess energy so that the mind can be tricked into thinking that the problem isn’t big enough. That is how the mind works. Stress cannot vanish, but we can reduce its effects on the mind. As Lord Buddha once remarked, “To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”

JUST FOR LAUGHS

We’ve all heard and read how laughter is the best medicine. There have been stories about patients diagnosed with inoperable diseases who bounced back to life simply because they started laughing more. Clichéd as it might sound, laughter is indeed the best medicine known to man. But how exactly does laughing benefit us? What parts of the body does it affect? Is it true that laughing can actually cure diseases which are otherwise incurable? Well, let’s find out!

1. It is a great medicine for the mind.

Humor reduces the level of stress hormones produced by the body and hormone-level reduction simultaneously cuts the anxiety and stress impacting the body. Additionally, the reduction of stress hormones results in better performance by the immune system. One stops being sad, anxious or angry, which reduces the stress on the mind. Distressing emotions are dissolved and the minds shifts its attention elsewhere.

2. It reduces blood pressure

Laughter works up the muscles in the body, leading to an initial rise in blood pressure followed by a more sustained drop. Blood vessels dilate and an increased amount of oxygen enters the circulation due to deeper breathing. The ‘heartier’ the laugh, the better – laughing 15-20 minutes a day is good for heart health. No wonder people get red while laughing their hearts out- it’s the increased flow of blood.

3. It improves cardiac health

Laughter is a great cardiovascular workout, especially for those who are incapable of doing other physical activity due to injury or illness. It gets the heart pumping and burns a similar amount of calories per hour as walking at a slow to moderate pace. It also releases hormones which are similar to those produced by the body when one works out in a gym. Laughing increases blood flow and works up the entire body, thereby simulating exercise in the body.

4. It boosts T cells

T cells are specialized immune system cells just waiting in your body for activation. They help the white blood cells in immunological processes. When you laugh, you activate T cells that immediately begin to help you fight off sickness. This is how the ‘feel-good’ factor comes into play when one start laughing when one is sick.

5. Fun ‘ab’-domen workout

One of the benefits of laughter is that it can help you tone your abs. When you are laughing, the muscles in your stomach expand and contract, similar to when you intentionally exercise your abs. Meanwhile, the muscles you are not using to laugh are getting an opportunity to relax. We know how our stomach hurts when we laugh too hard. That is nothing but the abdominal muscles getting used.

We’ve been over the things that laughter can do for us. But one question still remains unanswered. How exactly does laughter affect our body in this manner?

Scientists from the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston have concluded that the body changes physiologically when we laugh. Muscles throughout our body and face are stretched and our pulse and blood pressure go up(which later comes down), and we breathe faster, sending more oxygen to our tissues. A study conducted by them also showed that laughter can be like a mild workout and offers some of the same advantages as a workout, along with burning calories. It is precisely for this reason that we often see people in parks participating in ‘Laughter Clubs.’ Not only are they a great way to socialize, but fresh air combined with concentrated laughter can do wonders for the body.

Laughter is infectious and for the time that a person is laughing, the mind is completely free from stress. The body goes physiological as well as psychological changes to produce positive results which are usually unheard of from traditional medicines. It isn’t important what makes you laugh. One might watch a comical movie, visit a comedy club, do something stupid, or even read a joke, but it is important to smile and laugh. Remember how Preity Zinta looked in the movie Kal Ho Na Ho? Shah Rukh Khan literally had to teach her how to smile! We don’t want that, do we? Laughter is the cheapest way to get things flowing in the body and it even helps you connect with people. So think of something funny, do something silly, or just force yourself, but laugh!

Walk Your Way to a Healthier Tomorrow

Walking is often the first exercise doctors recommend us when we complain of something related to weight. It is also the first step we take to reduce weight or reduce that extra fat on the tummy. However, walking is not only a stepping stone to a lean body; it is something which refreshes our mind, clears our thought process and helps our body fight invading diseases. Staying healthy has been an important point of concern for us, so let’s see how you can walk your way to a better lifestyle.

1. It strengthens your heart

Regular walking has been shown to reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. It lowers levels bad cholesterol (LDL) while increasing levels of good (HDL) cholesterol and keeps blood pressure in check.

Doctors strongly believe that anything that raises one’s heart rate and gets blood pumping is a workout for the heart and circulatory system, also known as cardiovascular exercise. According to the Indian Medical Association, walking briskly for up to 30 minutes can help prevent and control the high blood pressure that can cause strokes – reducing your risk by up to 27 per cent.

2. It lowers disease risk

Walking has been known to ward away heart diseases. It has even been known to keep away Type II diabetes and cancer of the colon, breasts and the womb. Walking also keeps your immune system strong and helps fight ailments better. It also helps improve one’s posture.

3. It keeps weight in check

To lose weight, basic mathematics suggests that one needs to burn around 600 calories more than what one consumes in a day. Running, cycling and swimming will definitely help, but people tend to be more regular with walks, which makes walking the best way to reduce weight. A study conducted by an American health agency shows that a person weighing 60 kg burns 75 calories simply by strolling at 2 mph for 30 minutes. Walking also increases the metabolism rate, which means that calories are burnt even while resting-that’s how effective walking is.

4. It gives you energy

It might seem like a paradox but a brisk walk is one of the best natural energizers. It boosts blood circulation and increases oxygen supply to each and every cell in the body and one feels more alert and alive. It wakes up stiff joints and eases muscle tension so you feel less sluggish. In fact, any sort of physical helps stimulate the body and mind, but walking is the easiest. Irrespective of the circumstances, one should take out at least half an hour for a walk.

5. Improves brainpower

As already mentioned, walking stimulates blood flow, and provides oxygen to the brain. This leads to improved functioning of the brain and better ability to recall. Students doing some sort of physical activity have been known to perform better than those who stayed put in their chairs. A moderate dose of physical activity is also known to lower the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in seniors.

6. It makes you happy

The ability of exercise to boost mood is undisputed. Studies have shown that regular, moderate-intensity exercise such as brisk walking is as effective as antidepressants in cases of mild to moderate depression. Activity releases endorphin’s into the bloodstream, which are basically responsible for the ‘feel-good’ sensation in the mind and body. This reduces stress and anxiety.

7. It is a great way to socialize

In today’s technology ridden world, walking is the best way to socialize. One can have proper, meaningful conversations while actually benefiting from all the advantages of walking. Be it a group of people, or that special someone, walking with someone is the best way to exchange thought. The best part is that distances become magically shorter when walking with someone.

Physical activity in all forms is good for the heart, body and mind. However, with people’s lives getting busier each day, one might not find time to go to a gym, go swimming or cycling. Jogging requires a lot of dedication itself. Walking is the easiest and most convenient of physical activity. Be it with a group or alone with your favorite songs playing, brisk or slow, a walk is energizing for the mind and body alike. Aristotle had good foresight when, so many years ago, he mentioned how walking was the best form of exercise. So what are you waiting for? Grab some shoes and walk your way to a healthier tomorrow!

Fix Your Sleep

We’ve already covered the whys of getting proper sleep in previous articles. But it’s not always possible to get the right amount of sleep due to various reasons. It’s important to figure out the underlying problem and fix it to the greatest extent possible and this is what we cover this week.

Fatigue is the first sign of a problem with one’s sleep, though we normally don’t conclude that we might have a sleeping disorder. The need to take sleeping pills or relaxants to induce sleep is the next stage. This is followed by irritability. This is followed by an urge to sleep at odd hours during the day. Concentration might be severely hit too.

Irregularities in one’s sleep indicate bad health, which may be due to a plethora of reasons.  There are a lot of known sleeping disorders identified by various health agencies. Fortunately, there are ways to get rid of them or suppress them to a great extent. Some of them are:

1.    Insomnia

Contrary to common disbelief, insomnia is a sleeping disorder, not a condition. One of the most common sleeping complaints, insomnia is the inability to get the amount of sleep you need to wake up feeling rested and refreshed. Insomnia is often a symptom of another problem, such as stress, anxiety, depression, or an underlying health condition. However, most cases of insomnia can be cured with lifestyle changes you can make on your own—without relying on sleep specialists or turning to prescription or over-the-counter sleeping pills.

Stick to a regular sleep schedule to support your biological clock which is the unsung hero when it comes to getting proper sleep. Avoid naps during the day. Limit yourself to a maximum of 30 minutes during the day if necessary, since napping during the day can make it more difficult to sleep at night. Using back lit devices such as mobile phones, iPad’s and laptops is a strict No. Caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine should be limited. Stop drinking caffeinated beverages at least eight hours before bed. Avoid drinking alcohol in the evening; while alcohol can make you feel sleepy, it interferes with the quality of your sleep.

2.    Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea is a common sleep disorder in which your breathing temporarily stops during sleep due to the blockage of the upper airways, which interrupt your sleep. While one might not remember these awakenings, one might feel exhausted during the day, irritable and depressed, or see a decrease in productivity. Sleep apnea is serious and potentially life-threatening, but can be successfully treated with Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), a mask-like device that delivers a stream of air while you sleep. Losing weight, elevating the head of the bed, and sleeping on your side can also help in cases of mild to moderate sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is responsible for quite a few deaths and consulting a doctor at the right time is the best way to beat it.

3.    Restless legs syndrome (RLS)

This sleeping disorder causes an almost irresistible urge to move one’s limbs when one is resting or lying down and is usually due to uncomfortable, tingly or creeping sensations. The sensations are triggered by rest and get worse at night. Repetitive cramping or jerking of the legs during sleep is often a symptom. The exact causes of RLS are still unknown. Researchers are of the opinion that the brain might be consuming iron abnormally leading to RLS. Putting soap under the sheets while sleeping is a mysterious remedy which has worked for numerous RLS patients. Sipping water throughout the day also helps, since one’s limbs remain hydrated. RLS is often misdiagnosed, but if diagnosed properly, it can be treated.

4.    Narcolepsy

Often confused with fatigue, Narcolepsy involves excessive, uncontrollable daytime sleepiness. It is caused by a dysfunction of the brain mechanism that controls sleeping and waking. Narcolepsy patients often complain of feeling sudden weakness or loss of control of muscles when laughing, angry, or experiencing other strong emotions. Narcolepsy can be cured with medicines which act as stimulants for the brain and body. Scheduled naps help reduce the effects of narcolepsy. Consuming healthy diets help patients stay alert since they remain energised during the day. It is important to contact your doctor at the earliest when suffering from narcolepsy since this disorder gravely affects concentration and productivity.

5.    Shift work sleeping problems

This occurs when your work schedule and your biological clock are out of sync. This forces you to work when your body is telling you to go to sleep, and sleep when your body is signaling you to wake. There are a numbers of things one can do to reduce the impact of shift work on sleep. Taking regular breaks and minimizing the frequency of shift changes is the first step. Try to regulate your sleep-wake cycle naturally by increasing light exposure at work and limiting light exposure when it’s time to sleep. We’ve already stressed the importance of sleep. While the disorders mentioned above are not exhaustive, these are the most common ones. Lack of sleep is serious not only for you, but also for others near you. Remedial action can be taken against insomnia as a symptom, but it is extremely important to visit a doctor if problems with sleep persist.

Analyse Your Headache

The right analysis of the throbbing pain in your head might just cure it!

Read on to know more.

Headaches are something which have affected each and every one of us. You stay back in the office to complete that last assignment and you return home with a headache. You rush to catch an important flight and spend the rest of the time in air with a headache. The electricity goes off for a class and you return from school with an aching head. The point is, headaches can be triggered by the least suspicious causes and can affect anyone, irrespective of age. But causes for headaches are many, and preventive measures vary for each of them. In our latest post, we break down the mountain of headache into an extremely simple picture.

The Indian Medical Association has identified 150 diagnostic categories of headaches. Without going into medical jargon, we list the main types:

1.       Tension headaches: These are basically chronic headaches which commonly affect adults and adolescents on a daily basis. These are caused due to muscle contraction in the brain and cause mild to moderate pain and come and go over a prolonged period of time.

Close your eyes and try to rest for some time whenever a tension headache troubles you. A massage would be best, but simply applying pressure on the neck will also do the job. Listen to music to calm your nerves and bid farewell to the headache.

2.       Migraines:  According to the neurovascular theory, various triggers cause abnormal brain activity, which in turn causes changes in the blood vessels in the brain. Genetics plays a role in migraines and they have a tendency to run in families. Migraine pain is moderate to severe, often described as throbbing pain in one side of the head. Migraine headaches can last from four hours to three days and usually occur one to four times per month. Migraines are associated with symptoms such as sensitivity to light, noise, or odours, nausea and loss of appetite. Abdominal migraines affect children and induce vomiting. 

The effect of a migraine attack can be reduced by taking painkillers. Try to stay in dark rooms with proper ventilation since the brain needs oxygen. Preventive measures include avoiding excessive heat and loud noises and consuming meals on time.

3.       Cluster headaches: These are the least common, yet most severe type of headaches. The pain of a cluster headache is intense and may be described as having a burning or piercing pain that is throbbing or constant. The pain is so severe that most cluster headache sufferers cannot sit still and will often pace during an attack. The pain is located behind one eye or in the eye region, without changing sides. Cluster headaches occur one to three times per day during a cluster period, which may last two weeks to three months. The headaches may disappear completely (become dormant) for months or years, only to recur.

Anti-inflammatory drugs are the best remedy against cluster headaches. Triptans are just as good. Breathe as much as possible as oxygen will improve your condition. Dihydroergotamine can cure clusters in five minutes but should NOT be coupled with triptans.

 4.       Sinus headaches: Sinus headaches are associated with a deep and constant pain in the cheekbones, forehead, or bridge of the nose. The pain usually intensifies with sudden head movement or straining and usually occurs with other sinus symptoms, such as nasal discharge, feeling of fullness in the ears, fever, and facial swelling.

The best way to cure a sinus headache is by speaking, which clears the nasal passage as explained in our post ‘Away You Go, Common Cold!’ Decongestants and nasal sprays serve the same purpose. Bending might not be a good idea since the head’s alignment is disturbed so try to keep your head straight. Antihistamines may be used if the problem is caused due to an allergy.

5.       Hormone headaches: Headaches in women are often associated with changing hormone levels that occur during menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. Chemically induced hormone changes, such as with birth control pills, also trigger headaches in some women. 

Consume plenty of water to keep the body hydrated and rest in a dark, quiet room. Massaging the paining area should relieve some pain. Deep breathing and yoga are also helpful. Placing an ice bag or cold cloth will cool down the body and reduce the pain.

Headaches result from signals interacting between the brain, blood vessels, and surrounding nerves. During a headache, specific nerves of the blood vessels and head muscles are activated and send pain signals to the brain. It’s not clear, however, why these signals are activated in the first place.

Common causes of tension headaches include emotional stress related to family and friends, work, or school. Skipping meals and changes in sleep patterns may trigger acute headaches in some people. Weather changes may also cause the head to ache. Eyestrain and neck or back strain due to poor posture trigger cervical spondylitis, causing headache which might last for days. Too much physical activity can also trigger a migraine in both adults and children.

A proper diagnosis of the cause of your headache might treat it. Painkillers with Ibuprufen are the first things one should consume when encountered with a headache. Report the problem to your doctor if it persists. Proper nourishment and adequate rest cure most headaches, albeit over time. Headaches can never be cured entirely, but their effects can be mitigated to a large extent using the aforementioned methods, and for that, it is important to understand what type of headache affects you.

What’s In A Name-Getting it right: EMRs vs. EHRs

We often use the words EHRs and EMRs in the same context, without even thinking that the two could be different. After all, doesn’t ‘medical’ in EMR convey the same meaning as ‘health’ in EHR? But a difference does exist between the two. In theory, and by definition, the difference should play into any provider’s clinical software selection. The confusion between the two words has further been increased due to marketing messages and technical terminology, which have clouded the provider’s understanding of the two software definitions.

What’s In A Name-Getting it right: EMRs vs. EHRs

The National Alliance for Health Information Technology (NAHIT) recently established definitions for electronic medical records (EMR) and electronic health records (EHR).

According to NAHIT, and EMR is defined as the electronic record of health-related information on an individual that is created, gathered, managed, and consulted by licensed clinicians and staff from a single organization who are involved in the individual’s health and care. In simpler words, an EMR is a legal record maintained and preserved by the clinic or hospital. EMRs are characterised by controlled medical vocabulary, order entry, computerized provider order entry, pharmacy and clinical documentation applications. The data in the EMR is owned by the hospital/clinic and records every dose of medicine given to the patient, every procedure carried out on the patient and what happened to the patient during his/her visit to the hospital/clinic.

On the other hand, an EHR is defined as the aggregate electronic record of health-related information on an individual that is created and gathered cumulatively across more than one health care organization and is managed and consulted by licensed clinicians and staff involved in the individual’s health and care. In layman’s language, an EMR is nothing but a collection of data of all the hospitals a patient has visited, all the tests he/she has undertaken and all the medicines prescribed to the patient. The EHR connects the various clinical systems and providers by combining important data.

Put simply, an EMR is a record maintained by the hospital/clinic and an EHR is nothing but a collection of all EMRs put together in simple language from different hospitals visited by a patient. EMRs are used to create EHRs which are further used to update EMRs. An EHR provides clinical decision support and alerts providers to health maintenance requirements by delving into the patient’s medical history.

An EMR is more useful for a specialist. If your responsibility is taking care of one unique problem – perhaps an orthopaedist setting a bone – then a stand-alone EMR may well be sufficient. Certain specialists may not need information about patient history as much as they need specialty-specific workflows and templates.

It is important to note that EHRs can be established only if the EMRs of the various hospitals have evolved to a level that can create and support a robust exchange of information between stakeholders within a community or region. It will be difficult to establish effective EHRs until we have established clinical information transaction standards that can be easily adopted by the different EMR application architectures now available.

The idea of an EHR has been around since about the late 1960s. Due to meaningful use requirements, the use of EHRs is becoming more widespread throughout the health care industry. EHRs and EMRs are used interchangeably by many people in the healthcare industry, our government, and the press. However, these terms describe completely different concepts, both of which are crucial to the success of local, regional, and national goals to improve patient safety, improve the quality and efficiency of patient care, and reduce healthcare delivery costs. EHRs are reliant on EMRs being in place, and EMRs will never reach their full potential without interoperable EHRs in place. It’s important to understand the differences, and to reduce confusion in the market, but the bottom line is that electronic records represent a notable improvement over paper medical records because they not only enable the convenient, accurate, and comprehensive capture of a patient’s history, but they also facilitate the rapid searching, recall, and electronic sharing of that history with other providers and medical applications, improving patient care, decrease in overall costs and improvements in overall patient outcomes. Electronic records are here to revolutionize healthcare as we know it, and the sooner we adopt them, the better it is for us.

Recorded Live! – Implementation of EHRs around the world

In our previous posts we’ve been over the various benefits and challenges posed by Electronic Health Records (EHRs). The bottom line is that computers are here to help us. While there are a few things which would hold back certain people from using them, we need to accept the changes brought forth in the digital age. Like all digital changes, the quality of Electronic Health Records, too, can only improve with time.

Keeping this in mind, Duke University Health System (DUHS) has become the first provider to implement USA’s leading (EHR) system, with a whopping 223 outpatient facilities and Duke University Hospital now utilizing this state-of-the-art system.  Shelling out a staggering amount of $700 million for the EHR service by Epic Systems, USA, the new EHR enables Duke Medicine providers to communicate more effectively about shared patients with non-Duke providers throughout the state and country. Duke’s EHR allows the confidential and secure sharing of a patient’s health information between more than 180 health care institutions that utilize the same health records system. A new online portal accompanying the system allows patients to access test results and other information from the new health records system. Patients also can schedule appointments online, communicate with their physicians electronically, request prescription refills, and more.

It is not without foresight that the government of USA has paid more than $22.5 billion in incentives to doctors and hospitals to switch from paper to electronic health records. Boston-based Partners HealthCare, University of California, San Francisco are following suit. The US Veterans Affairs Department has released the first procurement for its next-generation electronic health record system, with a focus on support services for the Health Systems Informatics division of the Veterans Health Administration.

More recently, a robbery of over 800 medical records from a hospital in Connecticut, goes on to show how important EHRs can be when risks associated with paper copies of records are so high. Hartford’s Saint Francis Hospital announced last week that printed records carrying medical information of over 850 patients were stolen late in December. The stolen documents included names, dates of birth and medical record numbers of patients treated at the hospital. Data as sensitive as this can be disastrous if it finds its way into the wrongs hands. Terrorists, too, are on the lookout for personal data. Data theft is just a toned down version of identity theft.

Among the many reasons EHRs benefit patients and caregivers are improving privacy and security of patient data. EHRs also provide more coordination of health care services, improved patient safety, and lower waste and less risk for redundant tests. That means there is better diagnosis of patients and fewer errors.

Closer home in India, at a Continuing Medical Education meeting (CME) in Delhi this week, it was demonstrated how Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) can be prevented with the use of EHRs. Often neglected, EHRs can make a difference in the detection of DVT by providing clinical decision support on all risk factors. The government of India has already framed an extensive set of standards for EHRs in the Indian mainstream.

However, apprehension in India is more than in the developed countries. Patients are worried about conventional facial interaction between patients and doctors. Surveys have found that Indian patients still believe that a correct diagnosis isn’t possible without lengthy interviews between patients and doctors. However, EHRs simply reduce the time taken to diagnose an ailment while efficiently letting a doctor know something which might be missed otherwise. Another thing holding back India’s population is the number of internet users. Only 11.4 % people in India use the internet, a tiny fraction when compared to her population. Such setbacks will eventually be dispelled-slow and steady will get it done for India. As mentioned earlier, the digital age might take some time to settle in, but it is the reckoning of today’s world. Today’s fast paced world needs faster and efficient diagnostics along with security and confidentiality, and that can be provided only by EHRs.

Away you go common cold!

An emergency tone rings through our minds when we feel an itchy throat. Was it the extra scoop of ice-cream last night? Or the three extra cubes of ice? Was it the sudden, piercing gust of cold wind? Sudden sneezes are just as bad. One cannot help but wonder if these are signs of an approaching storm- the common cold. A common cold can strike anyone unannounced. What begins with a stuffy nose usually ends with medical bills, a frail body, a depressed mind and a few wasted days. Common colds can be avoided but once you’ve contracted one, you need to fight it off. So what can you do?

1. Rest. The importance of a good eight hour sleep cannot be stressed enough. Simply put, the body’s immune system kicks into action when we fall sick to ward off the invading illness. Our bodies need to suspend all other extraneous activities in order to direct all energy towards fighting the disease. That is why rest is so important. Depriving our bodies of sleep simply worsens the condition since the body cannot focus solely on the illness. This is the reason why most medicines contain compounds which make you drowsy. It’s so important to rest the body that it needs to be enforced if necessary.

2. Clear the sinuses. Sinuses are the hardest hit when you’re down with a cold. Lying in the para-nasal cavity between the eyes and the nose, their blockage is responsible for tears and the distinct nasal voice during a cold. Lack of taste during a cold is also associated with blocked sinuses. Speaking increases the amount of air entering the nose and is the simplest way to clear the nasal passage. Steam is also helpful clears congested cavities between the nose and the eyes. Alternatively, one may use decongestants to help breathe better.

3. Chicken soup for the body. One needs to be very careful with one’s diet when sick. The right food can work wonders for you. Studies have shown that chicken soup helps build immunity and helps people get better faster. The exact mechanism is unknown but the advantages are indubitable. It also has psychological effects on people and makes them confident of recovery. Additionally, the hot liquid from the soup may help clear the nasal passages and soothe your throat. This can also be achieved by consuming other hot liquids such as coffee and tea, but the caffeine content might not encourage you to rest enough, and that is why chicken soup is perfect.

4. Spice it up. Spices in food are just as important as medicines, and are known to help build the body’s immunity. Consuming chillies on a regular basis drastically reduces one’s chances of falling sick. Ingredients like ginger, garlic and chilli peppers are renowned for their anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, as well as their ability to clear the sinuses. Spices can also help get rid of germs from the system. Plus, they might be the only foods you have a chance of actually tasting since these are the only things your olfactory lobes will sense.

5. Take a hot bath or shower. You might not want to leave your bed, but a hot shower can be extremely effective. The steam from the hot water will help to clear your nasal passages, while also relax your body. It is often advised to sweat out a bad cold to make your body act against it faster and a hot bath will do just that. But be careful and avoid overdoing it. Cover your body as soon as possible after the bath to prevent the cold from escalating. If the heat leaves you feeling a little dizzy, consider putting a plastic chair or stool in the shower. These are simple and effective ways to ward off flu. But common colds leave you with bad taste in the mouth, literally, and one should get rid of them as soon as possible. It is important to reiterate the importance of getting enough rest and eating a healthy diet for good immunity. Consumption of adequate vitamins, especially vitamin C can greatly improve your immune system. Omega 3 fatty acids and folic acid are just as important. Your immune system is your best friend and it’ll simply reciprocate the amount of care you give it.

Why Sleeping Beauty was a smart girl!

As we grow older, sleep becomes more and more of a luxury that we never valued when we had the chance. We find numerous ways to prep ourselves up and compensate for a lack of sleep, but sometimes no amount of caffeine can reverse the damage being done. What difference could an extra hour of sleep make in your life? Maybe quite a lot, experts say. Studies show that the gap between getting just enough sleep and getting too little sleep may affect your health, your mood, your weight, and even your creativity.

Better health. Getting a good night’s sleep won’t grant you immunity from disease, but study after study has found a link between insufficient sleep and some serious health problems, such as heart disease, heart attacks, diabetes, and obesity. One study simulated the effects of the disturbed sleep patterns of shift workers on 10 young healthy adults. After a mere four days, three of them had blood glucose levels that qualified as pre-diabetic.

Less pain. If you have chronic pain — or acute pain from a recent injury — getting enough sleep may actually make you hurt less.  Many studies have shown a link between sleep loss and lower pain threshold. Unfortunately, being in pain can make it hard to sleep. This is always knowledge for regular gym goers who sometimes experience a hike in pain caused due to a fiercer routine. Sleep it off!

Lower risk of injury. Sleeping enough might actually keep you safer. Sleep deprivation has been linked with many notorious disasters; of course, any kind of accident is more likely when you’re exhausted. When you’re overtired, you’re more likely to trip, or fall off a ladder, cut yourself while chopping vegetables or even doze off while you’re driving. These events can have disastrous consequences.

Better mood. Getting enough sleep won’t guarantee a sunny disposition. But you have probably noticed that when you’re exhausted, you’re more likely to be cranky. That’s not all. Not getting enough sleep affects your emotional regulation; you’re more likely to snap at your boss, or burst into tears, or start laughing uncontrollably. Sleep keeps you sane!

Better weight control. Getting enough sleep could help you maintain your weight — and conversely, sleep loss goes along with an increased risk of weight gain. Why? Part of the problem is behavioural. If you’re overtired, you might be less likely to have the energy to go for that jog or cook a healthy dinner after work. The other part is physiological. The hormone Leptin plays a key role in making you feel full. When you don’t get enough sleep, Leptin levels drop. Result: people who are tired are just plain hungrier — and they seem to crave high-fat and high-calorie foods specifically

Clearer thinking. Sleep loss affects how you think. It impairs your cognition, your attention, your memory and recall and your decision-making. Studies have found that people who are sleep-deprived are substantially worse at solving logic or math problems than when they’re well-rested. You are also more likely to think innovatively and creatively when you aren’t trying to sneak in a nap- creativity requires some time to sit and think, which isn’t possible if all you want to do is lie down.

If you’re getting less than the recommended seven or eight hours of sleep a night, above are six reasons why you should shut down your computer, turn off the lights, and go to bed an hour early tonight. You may wake up more beautiful, smarter or best of all, the best version of yourself.

Five essentials for your medicine cabinet

Doctors have a livelihood because we all fall sick at some time or the other. Though their expertise is irreplaceable, sometimes it is simply unavailable. For the situations in which something causes your body harm that must be remedied immediately but can be done easily, here are five things you must ensure you have in your medicine cabinet to ensure you can avoid pain, no matter how mild or severe, from an in grown toe nail to a profusely deep cut:

Nail Cutter/Clipper: Adopting frequent nail maintenance habits keeps nails healthy and free from infection. Healthy fingernails and toenails are clean, dry and kept short. Nails should be cut straight across to prevent ingrown nails, rounded slightly at the tips and have smooth nail edges to prevent snagging and tearing. Be sure not to cut nails below the nail bed or pull on hangnails — either can open the door to bacterial, fungal and viral infections (warts).

Adhesive Bandages: These come in a variety of shapes and colors, from clear to camouflage, an­d there should be a stash in your medicine chest. Most scrapes do just fine uncovered, but if you cut or scrape yourself in a place where the wound could get dirty (such as a paper cut on your hand), or where your clothing will rub against it (such as a scraped knee), you’re smart to cover it with an adhesive bandage.

Thermometer: Everyone should keep a thermometer on hand to check for fevers. What you may not know is what kind of thermometer to have. Mercury is a neurotoxin that poisons our nervous systems, damaging the brain, spinal cord,kidneys and liver. It also affects our hearing, speech and sight, as well as how we think and feel. Human health isn’t the only concern about mercury glass thermometres: It’s also bad for the health of our environment. If you still have one, it’s time to switch. Get yourself a safer alternative such as a digital electronic thermometer, a glass alcohol thermometer, a glass gallium-indium-tin (galinstan) thermometer or an ear canal thermometer.

Antibiotic: For cuts and scrapes you should have Polysporin or Neosporin in your medicine cabinet. You can wash it with warm water and soap, but since that’s not always enough, two common standbys are hydrogen peroxide and isopropyl alcohol, also known as rubbing alcohol, which kill bacteria on contact. And having a bottle of isopropyl alcohol around comes in handy for other uses, too — it’ll clean your bathroom fixtures, tweezers and thermometers, remove hairspray from the bathroom mirror and even prevent ring around the collar.

Muscle Creams: Having a muscle cream (such as Moov or Relaxyl), balm (Iodex), self-heating wrap or heating pad on hand to soothe sore muscles or ease any bodily pain is a must, such as back, shoulder, neck or hamstring pains. The ingredients in topical creams and adhesive patches like Icy Hot and Bengay are absorbed through your skin into your bloodstream, meaning you should be stingy with how frequently you apply them!

Having these essentials will keep you ready for almost any medical situation that arises at your home! Prevention is better than cure!