5 lifestyle disorders and therapies that have emerged to counter them

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    » 5 lifestyle disorders and therapies that have emerged to counter them

    A month ago,
    28-year-old Santosh Shukla underwent an angioplasty operation where two
    stents were inserted at the site of blockages in his heart. Reason: The powai
    resident 12 hours of sitting at the desk and no time to exercise, coupled
    with an unhealthy diet.

    Doctors say Shukla’s sedentary
    life and overweight body couldhave caused a cardiac blockage this early in
    life for the past three weeks, 41-year-old Prakash Anand has been taking
    inversion therapy to reduce an almost unbearable back pain. The cause? The
    Bangalore-based resident spends long hours working on the computer and
    slouching.

    These two cases are obviously not isolated and
    will probably strike a chord with several thousand Mumbaiites, as would
    stories of vitamin deficiency, eye fatigue, obesity and mobile phone-induced
    thumb injuries.

    Indeed, as medical experts say, the
    lifestyle of the average urban Indian youth has undergone a drastic change in
    the last five years — perhaps faster than in any preceding decade in history.
    With habits that force us to work long, sleep less, eat at odd hours, and
    look good even when we are tired, personal health, sadly, is last in the list
    of priorities.

    The
    price of an inversion table starts at Rs
    31,000

    Thankfully however, as
    lifestyle-related disorders, diseases andinjuries keep popping up, so do
    newer therapies to counter them. Take the case of inversion therapy, which
    involves hangingupside down to decompress the discs, or botox procedures for
    stilettotarsals and Vitamin D sprays to counter Vitamin B12 and D3
    deficiency.

    Professionals complain of backache, thanks to
    jobs that require long hours of sitting down, lack of exercise and wrong
    postures. “Who has the time to exercise regularly? Patients today understand
    the gravity of their back problem, but cite time constraints as a reason for
    not exercising,” says Dr KS Bhawish, a physiotherapist at Back Proof, an
    inversion therapy clinic, which launched in March this
    year.

    Anil Nayak, co-founder of Kartavya Healtheon, a disease
    management company, says there are numerous factors for lifestyle-related
    disorders, which are affecting working-professionals, homemakers, college
    students and even tiny tots. “Food, stress, overall functioning of the body,
    environment, all play a major role in our lives. For many, a slim body is the
    sign of being healthy, which is a wrong notion,” Nayak
    says.

    Decades ago, high cholesterol or blood sugar was
    associated with middle age. “Today, youngsters in their early 20s are being
    diagnosed with high cholesterol and sugar levels. They don’t want to
    exercise; they gorge on junk food and work for long hours. How will their
    body cope?” says Nayak, who adds that newer medicines are being launched
    depending on body metabolics. “Stress is a word that is sometimes loosely
    thrown around, but if you are thinking too much about a particular thing, be
    it in your professional or personal front, you are a victim of anxiety,
    relatively a new-age phenomenon that the previous generations were more
    immune to.”

    But there is a golden rule, Nayak adds, to
    keep your lifestyle from wrecking your health. “The first thing is to accept
    that things can sometimes go out of control. More importantly, one needs to
    re-look at lifestyle habits every now and then and adopt a routine of
    self-management. This could include keeping a check on the food you eat,
    walking regularly, counting your calories, and hydrating yourself regularly.
    All this may sound simple and easy, but obviously very few follow them. These
    are the basic tools to avert a health crisis.”

    Inversion therapy For those who think working
    on the laptop for a few extra hours is no big deal, talk to Prakash Anand for
    a second opinion. Eight years ago, one day at work, a sharp pain ran through
    Anand’s back. He couldn’t move. Then commenced a long-duration physiotherapy
    session and exercises to treat what was diagnosed as herniated disc. “I was
    on bed rest for three weeks,” says the now 41-year-old game producer, who
    works for a gaming company.

    While Anand did recover from
    the injury, he was never fully comfortable with his back. “I took acupressure
    therapy to ease the pain, but long hours on the computer nullified all my
    efforts. While the physiotherapist had advised me to exercise regularly, I
    just didn’t have time,” says Anand.

    Then, last month, the
    same shooting pain returned when he lifted a heavy object. That day, while
    returning early from office, Anand came across Back Proof, a centre for
    inversion therapy. “Curious, I walked in and ended up chatting with the
    physiotherapist and we set up an appointment for the next
    day.”

    For the past three weeks, Anand has been taking
    inversion therapy to decompress the pressure off his discs. “My first
    session, which was a mix of exercises and lying upside down on the inversion
    table, lasted for 20 minutes. By the end I was feeling as if a weight had
    been taken off my back,” recalls Anand, whoadds that the pain has reduced by
    90 per cent in the past 21 days.

    Arvind Agarwal, a
    software entrepreneur who launched Back Proof, suffered before he grew wise.
    In 2012 he was researching a new technique to solve his chronic back pain due
    to long hours (interestingly enough he was doing his research on the computer
    as well) when he came across the concept of inversion
    therapy.

    “I had tried everything from physiotherapy,
    acupressure and painkillers, which all gave temporary relief. That’s when I
    decided to bring the table down for myself,” says Agarwal, who launched Back
    Proof in Bangalore in March this year. “I knew there would be takers for this
    therapy as I had tried it and it worked,” says Agarwal who took the therapy
    for two months regularly.

    Dr Rajeev Singh, a
    physiotherapist who works at the centre, says, “The patient lies upside down,
    balancing at a specific angle to release the spinal compression. When we sit
    or stand, the disc is compressed and a radiating pain shoots through the
    nerve roots that lies behind the disc. The ideal thing to do is stop sitting
    and standing but we can’t do that. We have to go on with our daily lives. By
    hanging upside down, the body works as a traction.”

    And it
    is not the back alone that benefits from this therapy. Dr Bhawish, another
    physiotherapist at Back Proof, says, “When you hang upside down, you not only
    help your back but rehydrate the disc, reduce BP, correct a wrong posture.
    The oxygen flow to the brain increases and the heart takes lesser effort to
    pump, thereby controlling BP.”

    Obesity it was mild chest pain that took
    28-year-old Santosh Shukla to the doctor for a check-up. “Turns out, I had
    high diabetes and two heart blockages,” says Shukla, who suffers from obesity
    since many years. “I was on the heavier side, but I never gave it a serious
    thought. I ate what I liked, and didn’t really bother about my diet,”
    says the Chandivali-resident, who works in the back office of a chemical
    company, which adds to his sedentary lifestyle. 

    According to World Health
    Organisation,  Obesity is the biggest global lifestyle threat, affecting
    children and adults alike

    Dr Amprapali
    Patil, founder of Trim and Tone, who treated Shukla, says lifestyles
    disorders are not just because of the food we eat. “Now, we drive even to
    small distances. We don’t have time to walk, and processed food is a
    so-called ‘stress buster’. Obesity is the biggest global lifestyle
    threat, affecting children and adults, both. It leads to cardio-vascular
    diseases, sleep apnea and even depression. 

    “When
    Shukla came to us, we were not surprised at the results. Even 25-year-olds
    have heart attacks these days. In spite of so much awareness about organic
    food, low-calorie food and diseases-specific diet foods, today’s generation
    is living on the edge,” says Dr Patil.

    Vitamin D spray A few months ago, Full Life, a
    healthcare company, launched Vitashine D3 Spray. “Let’s face it, not everyone
    with a Vitamin D deficiency has the time to expose themselves to the morning
    sun. We have brought this product from UK and currently, it is available on
    call,” says Varun Khanna, founder of Full Life, adding that their marketing
    strategy is underway.

    “One must use the spray, which
    contains a dose of 1,000 Internationa Unit (IU), once a day. This product is
    completely vegetarian as it is sourced from algae. It is a more convenient
    method than popping a pill, which has a dose of 60,000 IU. The lower dose
    prevents toxicity. The spray helps bring the levels of the vitamin in your
    body.”

    Some like 33-year-old Shilpa Thakkar vouch for the
    spray. While she was told to take vitamin d3 injections to popping pills. she
    decided against it as the high dosage affects the liver. “I took the spray
    for three to four months,” says Thakkar. “When I was detected with a
    deficiency, I was advised to expose my body to the morning sun. Frankly, with
    work and hectic schedules, I didn’t comply. The spray is handy and efficient
    and my tests show that my levels have improved,” she says.

    Orthopaedic injuries a few years ago,
    Mumbai-based public relations professional Melanie Fernandes woke up one
    morning to find she could not move her ring finger. “It went numb. The
    orthopaedic diagnosed it as a frozen finger caused by constant use of the
    laptop trackpad. I switched to using a mouse and the condition improved,”
    Fernandes recalls.But last month, she had spent a few days working several
    hours a stretch on her computer. The index finger swellen and turned stiff.
    “It was diagnosed as reactive arthritis, so I rested the finger and took
    anti-inflammatory medication. Now I have started giving my hands the required
    rest by stretching at regular intervals,” she says.

    Dr
    Prabhoo Ramchandra, an orthopaedic surgeon with Mukund Hospital in Andheri,
    says, “Long hours of work and travelling in packed trains and buses often
    lead to neck and lower back pain. Patients also complain of fatigue. Another
    worrying trend is that of thumb and wrist injuries, due to overuse of
    computer and cellphones.” He adds that people today have forgotten the
    importance of drinking water. “This leads to muscle cramps and dehydration,
    which often worsens cases of muscular spasmsand pain.”

    The
    solution is simple, he says: drink plenty of water and invest in ergonomic
    products for specific problems. “Today, there are great products, such as
    mouse, keyboards, chairs and hand rests, to save your body from occupational
    and lifestyle hazards,” he concludes.

    Eye
    fatigue
    While most of the other disorders cause pain or
    weakness, eye fatigue is often ignored for years, say doctors, as it usually
    starts with a twitch. Take the case of Ashok Shah, a 42-year-old
    businessman, who visited ophthalmologist Dr Deepak Sadarangani at Hinduja
    Healthcare Surgical in Khar last month. “He complained of dry eyes, a classic
    symptom of severe computer vision syndrome,” says Dr Sadarangani, adding that
    it is not just the computer but also the cell phone and the television that
    gives the eye muscle no time to relax. “With people sleeping fewer hours, the
    eyes don’t get complete rest,” he adds.

    Tired eyes can lead to dry eyes
    and double vision

    The window to the rest of
    your body, the eye is often overstrained, overworked and taken for granted.
    “While fatigued or tired eyes will not leave you blind, they will leave you
    with dry eyes, blurry vision, double vision and headache,” says Dr Himanshu
    Mehta, founder of Vission Eye Centre, Juhu.

    Spending too
    much time in air-conditioned rooms aggravates the dryness. “We can detect
    diabetes, kidney problems and blood pressure by looking at teh condition of
    the eye,” says Dr Mehta, adding “Look out of the window at the greens, palm
    your eyes, sleep well, lubricate the eye if need be, and leave your
    electronic gadgets aside.” For all the disorders, the good news is that
    help is also close at hand. Some names in the story have been changed on
    request 

    Via: Lifestyle

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