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Liver disease is a serious concern in India with more than 10 lakh cases being reported every year. Late diagnosis often leads to detection of the condition when it is at the end-stage of liver cirrhosis has occurred, during which time it is difficult to treat and it could lead to death, says Rajiv Lochan, Lead Consultant — HPB and Transplant Surgery, Aster RV Hospital.
The World Health Organisation has reported that liver disease is the tenth most common cause of death in India with liver cancer being the fourth common cause of cancer-related deaths.
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“A pandemic-like situation can be dangerous for people suffering from liver disease as they are at a higher risk of suffering from severe complications from a virus such as Covid-19. A case in point is the earlier SARS epidemic, during which liver damage was observed in more than half of the afflicted patients. During the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, it has been observed that a significant percentage of patients develop liver dysfunction, particularly those suffering from severe Covid-19,” says Lochan.
He adds, “While more research and observation is required to fully understand the link, possible reasons for this could be the impact of the virus on the liver, an undesirable immune response from the body which impacts the liver, sepsis, or medication-related liver injury. During the second wave of the pandemic, more people are reporting GI symptoms which indicate the potential of the virus to infiltrate and attack organs in the body apart from the lungs. Needless to say, patients with liver conditions need to take extra care of their body and health during this time. People who indulge in certain lifestyle habits that contribute to liver damage but who haven’t seen any outward symptoms of liver disease may also find that contracting the coronavirus results in more liver-related symptoms.”
Individuals with pre-existing liver disease appear to be at significant risk of complications from the Covid-19 infection. Various studies are underway to ascertain the exact impact of this virus infection on such patients.
According to Lochan, these are some simple ways to care for your liver, with particular relevance to the current pandemic:
* Avoid binge-drinking alcohol at all costs
With more time on hand, people are turning to unhealthy habits such as regular drinking/binge drinking which is a major cause of liver damage. Excessive alcohol puts the system on overdrive to process the toxins in the system, the brunt of which is taken up by the liver. Smoking is equally bad for the liver and heavy drinkers often tend to smoke. Use this time to ease off of these addictions.
* Eat a liver-friendly diet
The liver’s function is to detoxify. Consuming fruits and vegetables which help keep the liver healthy and functioning effectively is important to prevent liver damage. Some examples are antioxidant-rich fruits such as berries, green tea, healthy fats such as olive oil, fatty fish, avocado, bananas, nuts, and green leafy vegetables like spinach, fibrous foods such as whole grains, garlic, etc are beneficial to the liver. Highly refined, processed, high sodium, loaded with artificial sugars such as most ready-to-eat food items, fried food, and excessive maida prepared items are unsuitable for liver health.
* Do not forget to exercise
Please devote extra time to exercise. Medical studies increasingly show that exercise is most essential for liver health. Regular exercise which increases the heart rate to 80 percent of the target heart rate, at least 4 times a week helps in keeping the liver healthy. If you have any specific illnesses, do discuss this exercise regime with your doctor before taking it on.
Obesity is a prime cause of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. If you are overweight, use this time to reduce and maintain a healthy weight for your body type. If you are at a healthy weight, avoid turning to healthy foods to deal with boredom, stress, etc, and continue practicing a healthy diet and lifestyle. Genetics can also play a role if the liver disease runs in the family; use this time to get liver function tests.
Even seemingly skinny people can accumulate fat around the liver, leading to fatty liver disease as demonstrated by various studies in India. We are on the verge of a fatty liver disease epidemic and this can be easily accentuated by the current pandemic.
* Practice safe behaviors and be responsible
Unsanitary needles and unprotected sex can lead to Hepatitis B and C, which is part of a group of viruses that can attack the liver. Unhygienic tattoo parlors, injecting drugs, basically any needles that have come in contact with an infected individual’s blood and reintroduced into a healthy person can lead to liver disease. Taking vaccination can help reduce the risk of contracting the disease. Wearing a mask and maintaining social distancing is still the most effective way to not contract the disease. Given the long drawn out nature of this pandemic, its economic consequences, and the social isolation it demands, a nihilistic attitude has set in with society (including administrators and regulators) as a whole has developed fatigue and has thrown these simple measures out of the window. This attitude is partly responsible for the current surge in infections. Being responsible to oneself and to one another is key.
* If eligible, take the Covid vaccine
It is strongly recommended that you take these vaccines if suffering from any chronic liver ailment or are otherwise eligible. Please discuss this with your treating doctor.
Identifying and arresting liver disease early is important to prevent the need for long-term management of the disease. In the middle of the ongoing pandemic, if you experience any of the following symptoms — jaundice, water retention and swelling in the legs and feet, unexplainable fatigue, strong odor from urine and dark yellow color, severe and unbearable abdominal pain, vomiting, itchy skin, please visit a doctor for consultation. (IANS/KB)
Great historic events that have shaped the world and changed the outlines of countries are often not recorded in memory, or so we think. Wars made sure to destroy evidence and heritage, and the ones who survived told the tale of what really happened. Folklore, albeit through oral tradition kept alive many such stories, hidden in verse, limericks, and rhymes.
Ringa-ringa-roses, a common playtime rhyme among children across the world, is an example of folklore that has survived for many centuries. It tells the story of the The Great Plague of London which ravaged the city between 1665-1666.
The Plague broke out from improper disposal of garbage and poor sewage conditions. Fleas from the rats that lived in the sewers spread the disease that killed more than half of London's population. Many people fled from their homes as there was no medicine available for those who were infected.
Beak-shaped masks worn during the Great Plague of London Image source: wikimedia commons
It was around this time that masks began to be invented. The first masks were shaped like beaks, and were worn not to protect the wearer from the disease, but to the prevent them from being able to smell the decay and death around them, which they called 'miasma'. The beaks were filled with floral herbs that allowed doctors and nurses to tend to the sick without being reviled from the smell.
Children are often seen forming circles by holding hands and reciting loudly,
Pockets full of posies
We all fall down"
An illustration of the Great Plague of London, 1665 Image source: wikimedia commons
When the last line is sung, they break the circle and fall down. The roses and posies are believed to be the preferred fragrances inside the masks, and a single sneeze (a-tishoo) was enough to infect the one who was exposed to the disease. Consequently, they fell down, ill, and later died.
An alternative version of this rhyme is sung about the fall of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in the aftermath of World War II. The roses and posies are interchanged with geranium and uranium, to symbolise what was used in the atomic bomb. But this version is not as famous the original.
Keywords: Rhymes, Ringa-ringa-roses, Great Plague of London, WWII, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Folklore
In modern times, many social movements aim to bring reform to the society we live in, on the basis of certain existing patterns. Patriarchy is something that many aim to cleanse our cultures of, to usher in the era of social and gender equality. Despite all these so-called movements, in southern India, certain societies that patronise matriarchy have existed since before India's independence. The Nairs and Ezhavas of Kerala, and Bunts and Billavas of Karnataka are matrilineal societies that continue to thrive in a patriarchal country.
Kerala remains separate from the rest of India in many ways. Be it literacy policy, form of government, or cultural practices, this state does not always conform to the ideal that India is known for. Even so with their social structure. Certain tribes have remained matrilineal, where the decision-making power rests with the eldest female of the family.
The Nairs and Ezhavas of Kerala, and Bunts and Billavas of Karnataka are matrilineal societies that continue to thrive in a patriarchal country. Image source: wikimedia commons
A male member, who is the close confidante of the matriarch is chosen. He plays a crucial role in representing the male members of his family, and his opinion is highly valued. He is called karavanan. The men reside in separate rooms or in separate houses, and do not interfere in the upbringing of children. Property is also passed down along the lineage of the eldest female. Among the Nairs, matriarchy is more prominently adhered to than the Ezhavas, who have some patrilocal connections.
In Karnataka, the Bunts and Billavas belong to the Tuluva ethnic group. They are also a predominantly matriarchal society, founded on the belief in a legend. Their matrilineal descent is known as Aliyasantana.
The story is told of a demon who threatened to destroy a kingdom if the king did not sacrifice his sons, but the king's sister comes forward to offer her children in sacrifice for the sake of the kingdom. The demon is touched and does not destroy the city. Since then, the kingdom, or the property is inherited through female lineage.
In Karnataka, the Bunts and Billavas belong to the Tuluva ethnic group. They are also a predominantly matriarchal society, founded on the belief in a legend. Image source: wikimedia commons
In the recent past, many of these matriarchal societies have been reduced to matrilineal societies by certain governmental laws. They fall under the patriarchal scheme of the rest of the state but have reserved the right to pass on property and heritage through the female line. In the North east of India, matriarchal dominance is far more resilient than the south.
Keywords: Bunts, Billava, Nair, Ezhava, Aliyasantana, Matrilineal, South India, Karnataka, Kerala
Apple inc. Is an American multinational tech firm specialized in consumer electronics, computer programs, and internet services founded by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne in 1976 to manufacture Wozniak's Apple iComputer. It is the world's top tech company in turnover (totaling $274.5 billion in 2020) and its most valuable corporation. Apple is the fourth-largest PC seller by unit sales and the fourth-largest smartphone manufacturer in the world.
Apple has revealed a slew of new products at a special launch event that has been long-awaited. On the day of the live event, Apple announced the iPad mini, Apple Watch Series 7, iPhone 13 mini, and iPhone 13, as well as the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Apple has revealed a slew of new products at a special launch event that has been long-awaited. | Photo by Daniel Romero on Unsplash
In the first major product announcement during the event, Apple introduced the newest edition of the iPad and a 5G-capable iPad Mini.
iPad: The 10.2-inch iPad is equipped with a solid A13 processor that delivers 20 percent quicker performance than the preceding version. According to Apple, it is now three times faster than a Chromebook. A new 12MP ultra-wide camera with Center Stage, which utilizes machine learning to optimize the front-facing camera during FaceTime video chats, as well as more incredible accessory support, including compatibility with the first-generation Apple Pencil, are among the new features. For 64GB of storage, the iPad costs $329.
iPad Mini: In addition to reduced borders and more rounded edges, the 8.3-inch iPad mini also has improved front and back cameras. A liquid retina display, USB-C compatibility, magnetic support for the Apple Pencil, an enhanced speaker system, and new hues such as pink and purple are all features of the new Apple iPad Mini. The starting price is $499.
In the first major product announcement during the event, Apple introduced the newest edition of the iPad and a 5G-capable iPad Mini. | Photo by Leone Venter on Unsplash
The other major unveiled products include:
iPhone 13 and other variants: The iPhone 13 range is almost identical to the iPhone 12 lineup, with a 5.4-inch iPhone 13 Mini, a 6.1-inch iPhone 13, a 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro, and a 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max. It was also revealed that the Watch Series 7 has a smaller "S7" processor, which may allow for a bigger battery or other components to be housed in a smaller footprint. The gadgets have a revolutionary design that includes a dual-camera system, placed diagonally. Apple's iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini have longer-lasting batteries than the previous generation of devices. In addition, Apple claims that the iPhone 13 will have a battery life that is 2.5 hours longer than the iPhone 12, and the iPhone 13 mini will have a battery life that is 1.5 hours longer. A more energy-efficient display, an upgraded 5G chip, and functionality called "Cinematic Mode," similar to the famous Portrait mode function but is only available for movies, are among the other enhancements. The A15 Bionic chip present in the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 mini is also used in the 6.1-inch iPhone 13 Pro and 6.7-inch iPhone 13 Pro Max, also 6.1-inch devices. However, it also has a five-core CPU, which promises graphics that are 50% quicker than previous models. Other notable features of the Pro devices include a brilliant Super Retna XDR display with a higher refresh rate and long-lasting battery life. Now, for the price, it will start at $699 for the iPhone 13 mini with 128 GB of storage, $799 for the iPhone 13 with 128 GB of storage, and the Pro and Pro Max have starting prices of $999 $1,099, respectively.
Apple Watch Series 7: The new Apple Watch Series 7, which is smaller and has a larger screen than its previous model, was introduced by Apple on Wednesday. There is a 20% increase in screen size over Series 6 on the new watch. A complete keyboard that you can touch or slide to write out text messages can show 50% more text. It starts at $399.
Keywords: Apple, iPad, iPad Mini, iPhone 13, iPhone 13 pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max, iPhone Mini, Apple event 2021