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WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY AGEING BRAIN?

Your brain does not keep on growing but stops its growth and slowly starts ageing. Your brain is still developing when you begin to be called an adult but it does not last long and once you reach your late 20s the ‘cognitive decline’ or ageing of the brain starts very slowly.

A shrinking brain

Jokingly we say that your brain has shrunk to people who have grown older. This is no joke since it is physiological change our body cannot avoid. After you reach the age of 40 years, the brain gets 5% smaller with each passing decade. The process gets accelerated once you reach 70 and the brain cells die off with passing age.

Regular exercise helps

Regular physical exercise helps to have a healthier heart and those with healthy heart score high in mental tests. This means habits that help your heart also help your brain. Good sleep, balanced diet and daily exercise are observed to be brain boosters even if you are growing in age.

Episodic memory goes

The memory that helps us remember facts, like the capital of a country is called the semantic memory. While the ability to ride a bicycle is the procedural memory or muscle memory but remembering events in our life and that happens to us is called episodic memory. It is the episodic memory that goes first followed by semantic memory.

Activity for brain health

Similar to good physical health aiding the brain health, a good mental and emotional health is brain nourishing. Challenging the brain with new skills keeps it going longer. Spending time with a group of good friends is emotionally enhancing and it can help you live longer while keeping your brain active.

Blood flow to brain

Blood flow to the brain diminishes as we grow older, with age it becomes slower and slower. First the slow blood flow affects the frontal cortex, where you have vocabulary skills. When you do regular exercise the heart’s pumping improves and the bonus blood keeps the mind healthy.

Vitamin to prevent dementia

There are three vitamins mainly, folic acid, B6 and B12 that helps lower the levels of certain proteins that causes dementia. These vitamin B series can be easily obtained from consuming bread, fortified cereals and leafy greens.

Head injury and memory

When as a youngster you get a head injury or blow to the head it causes memory loss right away. Later you may recover from the temporary memory loss but as you age the symptoms can return to haunt you and cause trouble leading to Alzheimer’s etc.

Brain health and mental health

Even though as you age your brain health diminishes the mental and emotion health of an aging person should be better than that of a youngster.

Women have better memory

In the memory battle, it is always the women who win. When a memory test is taken the women score well than the men in any age group. This is more apparent after the age of 40 years.

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WHAT HABITS CAN AFFECT YOUR BRAIN FUNCTION?

There may be lot of things you take for normal and do everyday that affects your brain functioning and even damage its structure in the long run. Certain habits like staying up late into the night, not having breakfast and getting too stressed through the day are not brain healthy habits. Though these are dangerous by themselves the ability to change your lifestyle can help regain brain and body health.

Know Your Brain

The brain is a complex and delicate organ that has a say directly or indirectly in each of the body function. It regulates functions like heartbeats, blood pressure, hormonal balance, body temperature and so on. Brain is responsible for movement, learning, memory, emotions and cognition etc. with impact on the overall health of the human body.

Here are few bad habits that can cause damage to the brain.

Totally Avoiding Breakfast

In the morning as you get up brain starts allotting nutrients for various physiological processes. This happens after a long fast that the body is subjected to. If you don’t eat breakfast you will not be supplying enough energy for various functions of the body. Breakfast gives the energy the body needs and also helps in gaining concentration, memory, bad moods, and poor intellectual and physical performance. In the long run this habit could create havoc with the body functions.

Habit of Smoking

Smoking is a very harmful habit since it reduces the the oxygen supply to the brain. Smoking is considered to cause neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. The toxins release from cigarette combustion interferes with DNA production, leading to mutations causing cancer cells to develop.

High Sugar Consumption

The intake of high quantities of refined sugar daily and in high quantities promotes accumulation of harmful substances in the body. The increased sugar in the body interferes with immune functioning and slows down neurological development thus affecting the efficiency of the brain.

Lack of Sleep

It is a known fact that our body needs at least 8 hours of sleep at night, so that the brain can rest and recoup. This also helps in maintain the metabolic process in it proper way which leads to production of energy, as well as cellular renovation. When we deprive ourselves of sleep everyday, it slowly accumulates and causes death of brain cells which keeps you tired and in a bad mood every day.

Uncontrolled or Overeating

Most of us are in the habit of taking larger quantities of food than actually food that will satisfy our hunger. We also have the habit of snacking on fired and unhealthy food. The result from all this overeating is the accumulation of residual substances like fats and hardening of the cerebral arteries. This causes great damage to the brain and its functioning.

Habitual Drinking

Alcohol as you know damages organs like the liver and the heart apart from the nervous system. This impairs the chemical reactions in the brain and damages brain functioning. Alcoholism also kills neurons and reduces the speed at which nerve impulses are transmitted in the nervous system of the brain.

For optimum functioning of the brain many of the bad habits have to be rectified and then you can enjoy absolute health in body and mind.

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CAN PRECANCEROUS LESIONS LEAD TO SKIN CANCER?

Most often we do not take any spot or discolouration on our skin very seriously, thinking that it may go away. Sometimes you notice a spot on the arm or leg that was not there before and head to your dermatologist to find out what it is. After examining the spot, the doctor may tell you that it is a precancerous lesion. What does that mean? It is serious and it means that after some time it can develop into cancer. It means you should immediately start treatment or does all these means that you need not do anything about it.
According to medical experts, a precancerous lesion is a change in some areas of the skin that always carries a risk of turning into skin cancer. It is a preliminary state of cancer and requires all our attention and treatment. Although not all precancerous lesions will ultimately turn into cancer, many doctors treat these lesions as a preventive step. The lesion may be removed with minor surgery before it has a chance to turn into cancer.

What are the common types of skin lesions?

ACITINIC KERATOSIS:

It is the most common type of precancerous lesion. These lesions appear in areas of the body that are often exposed to the sun. The lesions often appear as red or flesh coloured scaly areas. The lesions may look similar to a wart. The lesion will have a dry surface and have a rough texture. Many times you may not be aware of the bump until you notice the scales that appear on it. There is a chance of Actinic Keratosis turning into full-fledged carcinoma.

MOLES:

Everyone knows about moles and it is a common occurrence. Most of these moles are benign skin growths and harmless. But some of these moles can potentially develop into cancer over a period of time. If you have moles on your skin and they are changing colour, have an uneven border or becomes very large, you should immediately consult your dermatologist. The more moles you have there is a chance that one or more may develop into skin cancer.

ACITINIC CHELITIS:

This is similar to Acitinic Keratosis but instead of the body skin the scaly patches will appear on the lips. The lips will constantly feel cracked and chapped with small dry and scaly patches. The lips may also swell and show more defined lines. If some scaling and swelling is seen on the lips it is time that you consulted a dermatologist without fail.

CUTANEOUS HORNS:

Those who develop cutaneous horns on their skin should be vary, because these can develop into cancer. The person with cutaneous horms has a higher risk of developing cancer. The horns occur most commonly in elderly people and those with fair skin.

What are the treatments for skin lesions?

Your doctor will decide whether your precancerous lesion requires immediate treatment or not. Usually the doctor will suggest removal of these lesions to minimise the risk of cancer developing. The removal can be through surgery using cryosurgery method or freezing method, excision, electro cautery or laser surgery etc. depending on the type of lesion. Sometimes doctors will conduct a biopsy of the removed lesion to find out if it is carcinogenic.

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HOW WILL YOU MEET THE NEED FOR POTASSIUM?

Potassium is a kind of mineral that helps control the working of our cells. It enables the creation of electric impulses that lets the cells do their jobs. The working of nerves, the muscles and even the heart is dependent on getting enough of potassium; otherwise their normal working is affected.

How much is required?

The potassium need of the body differs with age. A just born to 6 months baby may require just 400 milligram, a 9- 13 year child required 4500 milligram whereas a pregnant mother may require 5,100 milligram of potassium.

Slows down Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is the weakening of the bones. A diet rich in meat and dairy products will result in production of acid in the body which may help weaken the bones. But a diet rich in vegetables, greens and fruits can help maintain the bone strength and prevent osteoporosis.

Prevents Kidney Stone

A diet rich in meat makes your body often get kidney stones. Potassium helps get rid of the acid, which keeps the minerals where they belong, that is in your bones. This prevents the occurrence of kidney stones.

Helps the muscles

Your cells need the right amount of potassium inside and sodium on the outside for them to work normally. Too little or too much on either side of the cell wall can weaken the muscles and make them squeeze involuntarily.

Prevents High BP

Normally blood does exert some pressure on the walls of the veins and arteries but at times this scales up and it known as high BP. This condition can lead to stroke, heart disease and heart failure. The high BP is often a ‘silent killer’ because it sneaks on you without any symptoms. The sodium in the salt makes the condition worse, whereas potassium can help get rid of sodium and eases the pressure on the walls of the blood vessels.

Prevents Stroke

A stroke usually happens when the blood flow is limited or cut off from the part of the brain. Often high BP leads to the blood vessel bursting or getting blocked. You can keep the high blood pressure under control if you have an intake of right quantity of potassium.

Source of Potassium

Bananas

A single banana of medium size has 422 milligrams of potassium. You can take a banana as a snack or slice it into your cereal. If you soak or cook the banana then it will lose the potassium content.

Potatoes

When you take a medium potato and bake it with the skin then it has around 926 milligram of potassium. If you load up the baked potato with butter or cream then you might end up with health problems.

 Oranges

A midsized orange can contain around 237 milligrams. The oranges are also healthy and full of vitamins and minerals.

Likewise tomatoes, beans and sunflower seed also have enough of potassium.

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YOUR GUIDE TO MULTIPLE MYELOMA

Myeloma is a type of blood cancer is caused when plasma cells type of WBC that fight infections start to grow out of control. The cells are found in the marrow or the spongy tissue of some of the bigger bones in our body like the vertebra.

What causes multiple myeloma?

It is observed that like many other types of cancer, multiple myeloma has no relevant cause. Even then there are certain things that heighten the chances for multiple myeloma. Age is one major reason; those over the age of 65 year can be affected. Men are more prone to get MM rather than women. Hereditary is yet another cause for multiple myeloma.

What are the symptoms of multiple myeloma?

Since multiple myeloma prevents the formation of healthy blood cells the following symptoms may be seen:

  • Anemia (low red blood cells), causing continuous fatigue
  • Thrombocytopenia (low platelets count) causing bruising and bleeding
  • Leukopenia (low white blood cells), which raises risk of infection
  • Bone Fractures – Myeloma cells make bones weak and prevent growth of new bones
  • Infections – Plasma cells make antibodies to fight germs but abnormal plasma cells crowd out healthy plasma cells and WBC that protect from infection
  • Confusion and dizziness
  • Kidney problems
  • Numbness or muscle weakness especially in legs

What are the treatments?

Treatments for multiple myeloma include traditional cancer drugs, chemotherapy and corticosteroids. Other treatment options are Stem Cell Transplant using the patients own stem cells.

Can multiple myeloma be prevented?

Multiple myeloma is not caused by lifestyle choices or it cannot be detected by early screening. You are diagnosed with MM only after y has had it for a while, this makes it difficult to prevent it though later management of multiple myeloma is possible.

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