How Long Does it Take to Recover from Joint Replacement Surgery?

Joint replacements surgeries are very successful procedures with extremely effective outcomes. Such surgeries can be performed on any joints of the body, including the hip, knee, ankle, foot, shoulder, elbow, wrist, and fingers. These operations can provide a major improvement in the quality of life and most importantly getting rid of the excruciating pain. After having replacement surgery, you can resume most activities within 6 weeks. However, returning to your normal life like the way it used to be may take time.

There is a long road to recovery when it comes to joint replacement surgeries. It can take up to three months for the pain to settle down, and up to a year for a complete recovery. Recovery time varies for every patient, depending on medical, genetic and circumstantial factors. It also depends on the complexity of the procedure. Whatever your condition may be, it is important to follow your surgeon’s advice, being patient and allowing yourself time to recover.

A patient’s recovery and rehabilitation plan is crucial to the overall success of replacement surgeries. Rehabilitation starts soon after the surgery and can help you regain physical strength and get back to your daily activities. Your physiotherapist will monitor your specific needs and recommend you exercise to keep your knee moving and to prevent it from developing further problems.

After-care is an essential part of your recovery

The rehabilitation process after surgery for a knee or hip replacement can be a demanding time and requires a strong commitment. The knee will continue to improve for as long as two years as the scar tissues heal and muscles strong through exercise. To get most out of your new knee, it is important to exercise as instructed. Exercise helps to strengthen your joint and surrounding muscles, improves flexibility and range of motion, and builds a foundation for you to recover more easily.

Your physiotherapist will also give you advice on how to cope at home before you leave the hospital, explaining the best ways to get dressed, take a shower and move about without damaging your knee. The goal is to prepare the patient for a safe and comfortable return home as looking after yourself at home is one of the most important parts of your recovery. During this time, you need to look after yourself and pay attention to any problems such as stiffness, pain or infection, while strictly adhering to the doctor’s instructions and advice. You are more likely to recover faster and more safely by adopting healthy living options. Eating a well-balanced diet that promotes healthy weight loss, incorporates foods that boost healing, and stabilizes blood sugar is highly recommended.

Recovery from a replacement needs patience and preparation

Being an active participant and keeping a positive attitude during the healing process can help you get there sooner and ensure a more successful outcome. There will be days not as good as expected, but you will eventually get there. So if you feel foggy or lost, just look at the larger picture—not the day-by-day.

What is a Brain Tumor? What Symptoms Should One Look for?

A brain tumour in simple words is the growth of abnormal cells in the brain. It may be cancerous or non-cancerous. The cancerous ones are called malignant and the non-cancerous ones are called benign. The source of the tumour can also be different, meaning that it may start at some other place in the body and grow towards the brain. Depending on the source, a tumour may be primary (if it originates in the brain) or secondary (if it originates in some other place in the body). There are various other types of tumour depending on origin, nature, effects, etc.

Some of the symptoms that one should look for if suspecting a brain tumour are mentioned below-

1. Headache: This is a primary concern when talking about tumors. While headaches are common and may be caused due to various reasons, continuous or regular headaches should not be ignored. An extreme headache is a warning sign for brain tumors, especially if any common medication is not working. Another warning sign is when headaches are accompanied by vomiting.

2. Seizures: These are changes or disturbances in the electrical activity of the brain. Like headaches, a brain tumor is not the sole cause of seizures, but it is a possible cause. There are various types of seizures and of different levels. In many cases, this is the first indication of a tumor. If you experience a seizure, it should not be avoided at any cost.

3. Mood swings or changes in personality: Brain tumors are known to affect a person’s behavior. this is something that may be more noticeable to people around the patient. Research has shown that this may continue even during the treatment of the tumor. In some extreme cases, this may also result in depression.

4. Memory loss: Mood swings may be accompanied by memory losses. In some cases, the patient is frequently confused. This is again a symptom that is more clearly visible to people around the patient.

5. Fatigue: This is a step higher than feeling tired. Constant exhaustion is known as fatigue. This includes sleepiness, loss of focus, and inability to perform basic activities that were earlier very easy. This too is a symptom common to many diseases or illnesses but when combined with other factors, it becomes an indicator of brain tumor.

In isolation, these symptoms may not raise an alarm. But if a patient experience more than one or two symptoms, there is a high possibility that the cause is a brain tumor. You must keep a tab on your health and make sure to add one complete body checkup every year to keep up with your aging body. Keep safe!

 

Why Some People Have Allergies and Others Don’t?

Allergies are very common and yet you may find yourself all alone dealing with it while others are enjoying a normal healthy life. For example, you accidentally eat peanut cookies at a party that causes itching and swelling of the mouth and tongue, leaving you helpless and looking for a cure. Meanwhile, your friends and others are enjoying those scrumptious cookies. Living with an allergy can be frustrating, disruptive and in some cases even life-threatening. Wondering why some people are allergic to certain things while others are not is natural.

Before we delve into any reasoning, let us understand what is an allergy or an allergic reaction. An allergy or allergic reaction is nothing but your immune system’s attempt to defend you normally against harmless substances, such as pollens, foods, house dust mite, animals, insect stings, and even medicines. Whilst in most people these substances pose no problem, in allergic individuals their immune system identifies them as a potential threat and produces an unnecessary response to it.

There is a lot of confusion about allergies and their development in individuals. Scientists are not entirely sure why some people suffer from allergies while others don’t, but studies show that genetics and environment are both important factors.

Being allergic can be purely genetic. Genetic tendency to develop allergies is called atopy. However, being atopic does not guarantee an allergy will develop, it just means it is more likely. In other words, having a parent who is allergic to nuts does not mean that the child will necessarily also be allergic to nuts, it only increases the likelihood of having any allergy at all. An individual with atopy produces specific IgE antibodies after exposure to common environmental allergens and is said to be sensitized to that allergen. The best way to confirm whether someone has an allergy is by doing skin-prick testing or a blood test that checks whether their immune system has produced antibodies to an allergen.

The environment must also factor into determining whether someone will be allergic or not. After all, the environment is everything we are exposed to. Studies suggest that the likelihood of developing an allergy increases if we are exposed to a particular allergen capable of influencing our immune responses. There is evidence that suggests that the rates of allergies and asthma are lower for those living on farms, due to exposure to a specific molecule apparently found in cow manure.

While we know that genetics and environment are somewhat responsible for the development of allergies, but we’ve still got a long way to go. The scientists are working to set out a broad theory identifying all other possible causes of allergy. Factors other than genetics and environment that can play a dominant role in the specificity of these allergies, their prevalence and severity.

Masks Will Shield Us from COVID19, Here’s How

The COVID-19 pandemic has created history with so many nations and millions of people affected, with the numbers of infected seeing no decline. COVID-19 is a disease caused by a coronavirus. Any person infected with the virus experiences respiratory problems like cough, fever, difficulty in breathing, loss of taste and smell, etc. The virus is said to have originated in China and has infected almost 7 million people worldwide. The recovery rate is fairly well and older people or people with a weak immune system due to any reason are more prone to deaths.

As of now, there is no vaccine to curb the spread of the virus. Some of the ways in which the virus can be stopped from spreading are keeping a distance from people and avoiding physical contact with them, washing hands from time to time, keeping your surroundings clean, not touching mouth or eyes without washing hands, and wearing masks and gloves when around people.

How do masks help?

There are various types of masks like simple cloth masks, surgical masks generally used by doctors, N95 masks, etc. The cloth masks are more popular because they can be made at home with scrap cotton fabric, are reusable (they can be washed after use), and are much cheaper than the other varieties. These masks have proven to be effective against the virus.

The basic purpose behind wearing a mask is that it minimizes the transmission of the virus through talking, coughing, sneezing, etc. The virus is spread through droplets released during respiratory activities like talking, sneezing, coughing, etc. These droplets are not large enough to penetrate the mask, so the virus stays out.

There is always a chance that these droplets fall on surfaces, which are then touched by someone. To avoid this scenario, it is recommended that people should not touch their mouths or eyes without washing hands.

 

How to make masks?

There are numerous tutorials on the Internet as well as in newspapers on how to make masks. Many people having sewing machines and scrap fabrics have made masks in bulk and distributed them for free. If you make your own mask, make sure it is a clean cotton fabric that allows you to breathe. The mask should cover the nose and the mouth.

If you are purchasing the mask or getting it for free, wash it before use. The masks can be washed by hand or even in a washing machine. Make sure you have at least two masks per person if you are frequently going out. You may remove the mask when you are at home if no one is experiencing respiratory problems at your home. However, if you are outside, never remove the mask.

Why the Healthcare System Can’t Do Without Nurses

It’s difficult to imagine the healthcare system without Nurses during this outbreak of COVID-19. Don’t you think? These selfless caregivers have dedicated themselves to the victims of this life-threatening outbreak. They are an integral part of building a strong healthcare system. Nurses have been integral to the healthcare system since time immemorial. Florence Nightingale is credited with laying the foundation for a robust healthcare system. She was the first to notice that there was a direct link between recovery rates and hygiene. She even went on to write ‘Notes on Hospitals’ that to this day serves as a textbook on hospital reform. We celebrate her birthday as ‘Nurse’s day’. Their dedication to patients, their care, and their service.

Nurses are caregivers of individuals of all ages, families, and communities. They have been playing an outstanding role in building a strong healthcare system since forever. Nurses are integral to a strong healthcare system at all times. Here’s why:

Monitoring Patients 24/7: Nurses are the first and last ones to check up on you while you are admitted to the hospital. Their duty doesn’t stop there. They keep checking up on you from time-to-time throughout the course of the day. Giving you your medication, checking your vitals, checking if you need anything, and other important things.

They have a major part in your recovery. They are in tune with your symptoms, your condition, and pay keen attention to your well-being.

Nurses are the bridge between you and the doctor. They communicate with the doctor about your health from every now and then. Their keen sense your well being helps them identify the smallest changes in your health thereby raising alarm should something go wrong.

From the time you step into the hospital for your treatment until you finally recover, the nurse is there by your side whenever you need them.

Educating Patients: Nurses play the most important role in helping you stay abreast with your health. While doctors do their bit, nurses also double up to reassure you.  They help you understand the care that needs to be taken, during recovery, help you fix a schedule and manage your time.

Nurses Go Beyond their Job: So, nurses check the patient, give the medication they need and get going? No, they don’t work that way.

Nurses understand their duties very well. But they also understand that patients’ need more than just monitoring them. They are compassionate, caring, confident and competent. They understand the difficulty one faces when admitted to the hospital. The patient isn’t used to the hospital environment and with the ongoing treatment, things can take a toll on the patients mental health. Nurses talk to the patient about things other than their treatment. They understand the discomforts the patient is going through, they take more than equal part of the patients’ process of recovering and a lot more.

Who can be a better example than Florence Nightingale? The founder of modern nursing came to light during the Crimean War. During this time of the Crimean War she would make rounds of the wounded soldiers at night. And that’s how she earned the nickname ‘The Lady With The Lamp’.

Doing more than just treating the sick and wounded. She would make sure that the soldiers were comfortable and recovering.

Her contribution, compassion and commitment towards taking care of patients are beyond commendable.

Nurses have always been an integral part of the healthcare system and will continue to be. Not just in the times like COVID-19, but otherwise as well.

Cardiac Ablation

What is cardiac ablation?

Cardiac ablation is a procedure performed to treat heart arrhythmia — a problem associated with the rate or rhythm of your heartbeat. Sometimes your heart may beat too quickly, too slowly, or unevenly. These heart rhythm problems are called arrhythmias.

Arrhythmias is a common problem in old adults and people with heart problems. It is very important to treat it to manage its symptoms and prevent a stroke. The symptoms can vary between individuals. Some of the common symptoms include chest pain, palpitations, fatigue, and shortness of breath. Many people can live normal lives with regular medication to normalize the heart’s rhythm. Blood-thinning medications may also be prescribed. Others that don’t respond to medication would need to undergo cardiac ablation to restore a regular rhythm to prevent the heart conditions from worsening.

What is the procedure?

Cardiac ablation is a procedure that uses thin, flexible tubes called catheters to reach into the heart via the groin vessels. The catheters record the heart’s electrical activity to detect the area where the arrhythmia or abnormal heart activity is coming from. Radiofrequency energy or freezing is then used to destroy the abnormal tissue, resulting in a scar. The scar tissue is incapable of initiating the electrical signal causing irregular heartbeats, preventing the electrical signals from travelling to the rest of the heart and causing arrhythmias.

Are there any risks involved?

The immediate result of the procedure can be very good. However, like all procedures, there may be some risks and side effects involved, such as bleeding, pain, and infection at the catheter insertion site. Less common complications may include a heart attack or stroke. Recurrence may also occur in as many as 30% of patients within one year and repeat therapies may be required. Overall, cardiac ablation is considered a safe procedure. However, as there many different forms of cardiac ablation, it is important to discuss your procedure and risks involved with your doctor.

 

Natural Home Remedies for Cuts, Bruises and Burns

The use of natural remedies to treat small injuries at home is something we all have grown up with. Back in the days when Dr. Mom used to take something out of the kitchen pantry or garden to treat that minor cut or provide instant relief against a small burn. The remedies were effective in treating minor skin wounds and burns by preventing infection, speeding up the healing process, and reducing scarring.

There are several herbs and kitchen ingredients that help accelerate the healing process of minor wounds. Listed below are some safe home remedies and easy-to-remember tips for minor cuts, bruises and burns.

Aloe Vera

Aloe vera is an effective anti-inflammatory that can provide instant relief against minor burns and small wounds. Many aloe vera products are available in the market. However, using fresh aloe can provide maximum benefits. To use, cut the leaf horizontally and scoop the gel out with a spoon or spatula. Apply a thin layer of this gel directly to your skin to soothe burns or calm irritated skin.

Turmeric 

Turmeric’s natural anti-oxidant and anti-bacterial properties make it an incredible home remedy for treating small cuts and wounds. If applied directly to a bleeding wound, it will clot immediately. Plus, oral consumption of turmeric can accelerate the healing process.

Coconut oil

Coconut oil has antifungal and antibiotic properties that help in healing and preventing secondary infections in open wounds. Apply it directly to the area with a cotton ball or clean fingers, rubbing it into the wound gently. It is a great moisturizing agent for the skin and is known for noticeably reduce scarring.

Raw honey

Raw honey can work wonders for minor cuts. Just clean the wound and apply a thin layer of raw honey, then close securely. Before you will know, the natural sweetener will do the trick. Most importantly, it prevents any bacterial infection due to its fabulous antibacterial properties. Mixing it with onion promotes faster healing.

Teabags 

Treat bleeding wounds, cuts, and burns by placing a cool and moistened tea bag against the affected area. The caffeine in tea apparently shrinks the blood vessels, when applied with a little pressure on the bleeding wounds. For gaining maximum benefits, use chamomile. The incredible herb has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that are known to speed the rate of healing.

Disclaimer 

These natural healing solutions provide an immediate cure for minor injuries. See a doctor for more severe cuts and burns that could require sutures or dressing. Additionally, check the wound daily for any signs of infection, such as redness or swelling, pain, or itching. If any of these symptoms persist contact your healthcare practitioner.

Screen Time for kids: How much is too much?

In a world full of gadgets and technology, adults and kids’ access to electronic devices like tablets, mobiles and laptops has dramatically increased. Screens are widely used for education, communication and entertainment. Thus, making it difficult for parents to determine the right amount of screen time for their children and themselves.

However, the kids’ screen time has become a bigger concern these days. This is a rising concern not only amongst parents, but also amongst the health practitioners and governments around the world that are advising parents to limit kids’ screen time. Various studies suggest that screens may have critical effects on a child’s development when they begin using electronic devices such as mobiles and tabs at an early age. According to WHO, screen time for children between the age group of  2-5 years should be no more than one hour per day and kids below two years of age should not be exposed to it at all.

There is a lot of advice and emerging research around screen time that suggests children who spend long periods in front of the screen are more likely to have poor physical, social and intellectual development. This is enough for any parent to be concerned. However, considering the fact that these days devices like mobiles and tabs are part of their kids’ lives, outright denying access may not be an option anymore.

Thankfully, there are sensible and evidence-based ways to limit screen time among kids. Here’s how to go about it:

Limit Screen Time

Set rules. There is no one better than a parent to decide what’s good and bad for your children. Limit the screen time for your kids to not more than 30 minutes. However, as you take this decision, make sure to involve your children in the conversation so that they understand why you’re setting screen limits for them.

Monitor Screen Time

There is no denying the fact that the internet can be one source of learning and increasing awareness for children. It helps develop their skills and interests. However, it is important to monitor what they are accessing, making sure that the screens are used optimally and not for watching inappropriate content.

Introduce Active Play 

Setting time limits and alarms for restricting screen time may not be enough. As parents, you must foster a culture where physical fitness and health take priority over everything else. Introduce growth-promoting activities at home, take kids to play outdoors, participate with them in creative crafts and activities, and inculcate the habit of reading books.

Encourage Family Time 

Start with having a ‘NO SCREEN’ policy during meal times. Try to engage in non-screen-based activities and entertainment whenever possible. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t get involved in using screens together. A specified amount of screen time can be useful and enjoyable for families travelling, on sick days or on weekends.

Lead by Example

This should take precedence over everything else. Kids learn from their parents. The biggest mistake parents can commit is to tell their kids that screens are harmful and then check their phone.Be a role model for your kids.  Use your devices only when necessary and do indulge in other activities that you enjoy. Hence, showing your kids that electronic devices like mobiles, tabs and laptops are not the only way for education and entertainment. There are various other activities that they should indulge in.

Overhydration - The Risks It Holds

Water is important for all living things to lead a healthy life. There are many health benefits of consuming water. Few being, it helps carry nutrients in our body, proper digestion, weight loss and prevents dehydration. But did you know drinking too much water could be harmful to your health? Too much water is a bigger threat than too little. Drinking too much water can lead to Overhydration/Water intoxication. Confusion, nausea, vomiting, headache, and disorientation are some of the symptoms of water intoxication. Severe cases of water intoxication can lead to coma and death.

Water intoxication can also lead to hyponatremia and impaired brain functions. Hyponatremia is characterized by electrolyte imbalance or low sodium concentration in blood. Sodium levels decrease below 135mEq/L blood serum. Sodium helps in cell signaling and various other functions in the body. Due to a drop in the levels of sodium one starts feeling nauseous, disoriented and in some cases, they experience a headache. And as mentioned earlier in severe cases water intoxication can lead to death. The swelling of the cells is also caused by water intoxication. When sodium levels are lower in the body, water enters the cells through the semipermeable membrane through osmosis. The swelling of the cells, including brain cells, causes serious damage to the muscle tissue, organs, and the brain.

When one is overhydrated will experience diarrhea and prolonged sweating. A decrease in potassium ions called hypokalemia can also be detected in patients having water intoxication. When one drinks too much water, the balance between intracellular and extracellular potassium ions is hampered. Low sodium in the blood can cause the brain to swell up.  It also overburdens the heart. Water intoxication can lead to heart failure in patients undergoing dialysis. Too much water increases the volume of blood inside the body. This exerts unnecessary pressure on the blood vessels and the heart. It might also lead to seizures sometimes.

Overhydration can also cause Acute Kidney Injury (AKI). It also lowers plasma levels of arginine vasopressin that helps in preventing the kidney to function. Maintaining homeostasis would become very difficult if the fluid level is too high. Liver problems, frequent urination, chlorine overdose, potential risk of coma are some of the other complications that might arise from water intoxication.

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the daily fluid intake varies and depends on the person’s age, sex, medical conditions and daily activity. The National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine recommends women to drink 2.7 litres and men to drink 3.7 litres of water on a daily basis.

In order to treat water intoxication or overhydration, one should immediately stop drinking too much water, seek medical attention and stop any medication that is causing water retention in the body. The patient might be given diuretics and administer sodium to bring back the balance in the body fluids.

Water is good for our well-being as long as we do not drink too much. Too much and too little water is bad for our health. So, it is right to consume just enough water required. If you feel nauseous after drinking water, seek medical attention immediately.

What is Thalassemia?

It is important to understand the medical condition first before you go further into understanding its causes, symptoms, and treatment. So, let’s understand what Thalassemia is. Thalassemia is a genetic blood disorder in which the body produces an abnormal form of hemoglobin. What is Haemoglobin? Hemoglobin is the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. This blood disorder of producing an inadequate amount of hemoglobin results in the destruction of red blood cells in a large number, which eventually leads to anemia.

Thalassemia is caused due to the mutation of one’s genes that are involved in the production of hemoglobin. This disorder is passed on to you by your parents. If one of the parents is the carrier, then you are likely to get thalassemia minor, but if both the parents are carriers, then you will inherit a serious form of the blood disorder. The symptoms are usually seen within the first two years of the child’s birth, but there are cases where the symptoms are seen soon after the baby is born.

Most of the common symptoms are:

1. Fatigue

2. Weakness

3. Pale or yellow skin tone

4. Delayed growth

5. Bone deformities

6. Dark urine

The diagnosis of Thalassemia can be confirmed with a blood test. The lab technician checks for the number of red blood cells and abnormalities in the size, shape, or color. Blood tests can also help in DNA analysis to look for mutated genes. Prenatal testing is another way to diagnose thalassemia and severity. Tests used to diagnose Thalassemia in fetuses include Chorionic Villus Sampling and Amniocentesis. Chorionic Villus Sampling is done usually in the 11th week of pregnancy. This test involves removing a tiny piece of the placenta for evaluation. And Amniocentesis is usually done in the 16th week of pregnancy. This includes examining a sample of the fluid that surrounds the fetus.

Mild forms of Thalassemia do not need treatment. However, for moderate to severe Thalassemia, treatments include:

Blood Transfusions: Severe forms of Thalassemia require frequent blood transfusions, possibly every few weeks. Blood transfusions cause a build-up of iron in the blood over the course of time, which can cause damage in the heart, liver, and other organs. To avoid this from happening, Chelation Therapy is required.

Chelation Therapy: This treatment is used to remove excess iron from the blood to keep your health in check. Frequent blood transfusions can result in building up the iron in the blood which is dangerous for your health. Having said that, there are chances that you would have excess iron in the blood even without blood transfusion. Thus, it is important to keep a check on your health from time to time.

Stem Cell Transplant: It is also known as bone marrow transplant. It might prove to be beneficial in some cases. For Children with severe Thalassemia, it can eliminate the need for lifelong blood transfusions and drugs to control iron overload.

Some lifestyle changes and home remedies might also work with Thalassemia patients. Avoiding excess iron, eating healthy diets, and avoiding getting infections can also help the patients.
You can’t skip from inheriting thalassemia from your parents, but it surely can be treated. If you carry a Thalassemia gene or have Thalassemia, consider talking to a genetic counselor for guidance when you are planning to have children.

  1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/thalassemia/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20355001
  2. https://www.hoacny.com/patient-resources/blood-disorders/what-thalassemias/other-names-thalassemias/treatment-thalassemias
  3. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/14508-thalassemias/management-and-treatment