Tuesday January 28, 2020

Here’s how Sun Can Strengthen Your Bones

Get some sun for strong bones

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Sun exposure
Sun exposure can increase Vitamin-D levels in you body. Pixabay

Maintaining good bone health is prime for a healthy life. With the setting of the winter season, especially in cities like Delhi which has more pollution and little scope for sun rays to make its way through, natural vitamin D is hard to come by. Vitamin D synthesis in the body is reduced to a bare minimum because the quality of sun exposure is reduced. Dr. Vishwadeep Sharma Senior consultant, Arthroscopy & Sports injuries, Dept of Orthopaedics at Fortis Flt. Lt. Rajan Dhall Hospital sheds light on the subject.

Many studies have been conducted to estimate the best time in the day to get sun exposure and how much of the sunlight is needed to maintain adequate levels of Vitamin D. The Sunshine with UVB radiation is the Radiation essential in the synthesis of Vitamin D.

Broadly speaking about 20 percent of the body, especially arms and Legs if exposed to sunlight for a minimum of fifteen minutes a day can help in the synthesis of a good amount of Vitamin D. The next question to be addressed is the time of the day best suited for the exposure to sunlight. As against the myth of early morning and late evening sunshine, it is actually the afternoon sun between 10 am to 3 pm which is most apt for the synthesis of the vitamin D from the Skin of the human body. For this, the exposed area of the skin has to be free from any topical sun-blocking creams or other agents.

Sun light
Many studies have been conducted to estimate the best time in the day to get sun exposure. Lifetime Stock

Cities like Delhi with high PM content and pollution don’t have the quality of sunshine required for good exposure for the synthesis of Vitamin D, hence dietary supplementation becomes important for maintaining good bone health. The reason for sunshine not able to synthesize Vitamin D is because the pollution in the environment filters the UVB radiation.

Women especially pre-menopausal and the post-menopausal category are prone to osteoporosis and osteomalacia. Women who cover themselves fully (HIJAB) and with excessive use of sunblock creams have lower levels of Vitamin D with decreased bone density. Osteomalacia in adults and rickets in children are secondary to deficiency of Vitamin D. This chronic deficiency can cause a lot of disability for the particular age group. These conditions are entirely preventable by for measures like fortification of foods and dietary supplements

Children in the early years of growth have to have adequate dietary as well as good sunlight exposure. Children especially toddlers once weaned off the mother’s milk have to be supplemented with foods rich in Vitamin D.

Sun light
Bone health can be maintained by ensuring a good exposure to sun. Pixabay

Many years back ago the vitamin D research was not up to date, studies conducted on children with good sunlight exposure showed healing of their rickets sequel just by sunlight exposure.

Bone health can be maintained by ensuring a good amount of exercise in the winter season. Exercise impacts bone health directly by maintaining bone density which counters conditions like osteoporosis. This is based on the fact that bone metabolism is essentially a balance between the mineral deposited in the bone and the hormones in the body. The hormones with impact on bone health are PTH (Parathyroid Hormone), Thyroid hormone and estrogen, progestogen in the women.

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Vitamin D is also essentially a hormone with its action directly at the level, of the nucleus of each and every cell in the body. Personal habits like smoking, excessive alcohol use can have a severe effect on bone metabolism with worsening of Osteoporosis and are best avoided. (IANS)

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5 Health Tests That Women Should Undergo

Here are 5 health tests every woman should have in 2020

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women health
he fast-changing lifestyle and juggling career with bringing up children sooner or later begins to take a toll on women's health. Pixabay

BY PUJA GUPTA

Indian women often tend to put their own needs on the backburner, preferring to tend to home and family first. However, the fast-changing lifestyle and juggling career with bringing up children sooner or later begins to take a toll on their health. Many common health problems in women can be prevented or effectively tackled by undergoing testing for the following five health tests, suggested by Dr Kirti Chadha, Sr. Vice President with Metropolis Healthcare Ltd.

Anaemia

Anaemia, the most common blood disorder, is a condition in which a person lacks enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues or organs. Women are especially at risk of iron-deficiency anaemia because of blood loss from their periods. India carries the highest burden of anaemia despite having an anaemia control programme running for the last 50 years. About 58.6% of children, 53.2% of non-pregnant women and 50.4% of pregnant women in India were found to be anaemic in 2016, as per the National Family Health Survey.

women health
Women are especially at risk of iron-deficiency anaemia because of blood loss from their periods and this affects their health. Pixabay

The normal haemoglobin level for women is 12 gram per decilitre (g/dlL). All women should get tested for anaemia at least once a year. The test will look for the size and colour of red blood cells, haematocrit, haemoglobin and ferritin levels.

Vitamin D Deficiency

Researchers have linked vitamin D deficiency with increased risk of poor bone health and depression in women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Symptoms include bone pain, muscle weakness and fatigue. Women often do not get enough Vitamin D from their diet or being exposed to sunlight, and end up being deficient. Having optimum levels of vitamin D is very important for overall health and well-being of a person.

The most accurate way to measure how much vitamin D is in your body is the 25-hydroxy vitamin D blood test. A level of 20 nanograms/millilitre to 50 ng/mL is considered adequate for healthy people. A level less than 12 ng/mL indicates vitamin D deficiency.

Calcium Deficiency

As women get older, they become more prone to osteoporosis (reduced density and quality of bone). A good healthy diet is enough to provide all the calcium that our body needs. However, women do not realise they have low calcium levels until they have suffered bone loss or fracture.

Women should undergo a blood test once a year to check for levels of calcium, albumin and ionized or free calcium. Sustained low calcium levels of below 8.8 mg/dL may confirm a diagnosis of calcium deficiency disease (Hypocalcemia).

women health
Many common health problems in women can be prevented or effectively tackled by undergoing testing. Pixabay

Pap Smears and Pelvic Exams

Women should start undergoing these exams every year from the age of 21, or even earlier if they are sexually active. This is important to reduce their risk of cervical cancer, which is the second leading cause of death in women due to cancer. Cervical cancer can be entirely avoided through regular screening.

A pelvic exam will generally include an external visual exam to check for irritation, redness, sores, swelling or other abnormalities, followed by an internal visual exam. A pap smear test is conducted to examine cervical cells and check for any abnormal growth in the uterus and the cervix.

Barring any other problems, women aged 30 and above need a pap smear once every three years if they have had three normal tests in a row.

Mammograms and Breast Exams

All prevention tests in women start early, and so is the case for the exam to check for breast cancer. A manual exam where a doctor tests for lumps and abnormalities is recommended starting around age 20 up to until 40 years.

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A mammogram is a screening test for breast cancer and involves applying moderate compression to the breasts so that X-ray images can be captured. Mammograms are done every one or two years beginning at age 40, as recommended by the American Cancer Society. (IANS)