Chest pain

Heart Attack in Women

Heart disease is the number one cause for death among women in India. Although it is often thought of as a “man’s disease,” around the same number of women and men die each year of heart disease. A number of recent studies have revealed that more women are falling prey to heart diseases, breaking the myth about men being at a greater risk.

What causes a heart attack?

Heart diseases affect the cardiovascular system and blood vessels. Several problems can result from this, many of which are related to atherosclerosis – a condition developing when plaque starts building up in the walls of arteries. Such a build-up narrows the arteries, making it more difficult for blood to flow through. In case a blood clot is formed, it can hinder the blood flow, causing a heart attack or stroke.

Heart attack symptoms in women

The more common symptoms like chest pain is a possible sign of heart attack but as women grow older of suffer from certain diseases like diabetes, they are likely to encounter the following:

  • Unexplained feeling of fatigue
  • Indigestion
  • Shortness of breath
  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Discomfort or sudden pain in the throat, neck, or jaw
  • Nausea
  • Shooting pain in the arm
  • Chest pain in the right, left, or middle

Women who feel tired and breathless tend to think that the pains are associated to their daily routine and cannot lead to a heart attack. However, women much not ignore these symptoms and consult a physician right after they experience an unusual pain.

Heart Attack risk factors in women

Certain diseases tend to affect women only. These include polycystic ovary disease (PCOD), diabetes, endometriosis, and high blood pressure developing during pregnancy, increase the chances of coronary artery disease (CAD) – one of the leading causes of heart attack. Endometriosis raised the risk of developing CAD by 400% in women below the age of 40 years. Other conditions and lifestyle choices can also put women at a higher risk for heart disease, including:

  • Diabetes
  • Overweight and obesity
  • Poor diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Stress

Decreasing the risk factors associated with a heart attack

While you can’t control all your heart attack risk factors, such as aging, gender, and heredity, there are certain things that are under your control. To prevent the risk of a heart attack:

  • Stop smoking and minimize exposure to second-hand smoke
  • Control high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure
  • Stay physically active daily
  • Maintain your weight, especially if you are obese or overweight
  • If you have diabetes, stick to a treatment plan and manage your blood sugar
  • Try handling stress by opting for relaxation techniques like yoga or deep breathing
  • Limit alcohol consumption.
  • Incorporate a variety of vitamins and minerals in your diet

When to see a doctor

Women often say they noticed some of the warning signs before a heart attack. The sooner you report your problem, the better the chances are of diagnosing the issue before it results in a full-blown heart attack.

Request an appointment with a cardiologist.

Foot pain or ankle pain

Our feet have a complex structure that consists of 26 bones, more than 30 small joints, and many muscles, tendons, ligaments, and nerves. Any problem in the feet or ankles is usually, but not always, related to arthritis.

Due to the arch shape of the feet, the body’s weight is evenly spread over many bones and joints. Feet with lower arches tend to be more flexible than those with higher arches. The arch of a foot is not necessarily a problem but it can increase the chances of developing other problems of the feet. The structure of the foot changes as we get older or if arthritis affects the foot joints. The changes are noticeable in the arch.

Taking care of foot/ankle pain

For most people, foot problems come and go without any prescribed treatment, or can respond well to self-treatment. Certain precautions help prevent some problems.

Common foot care tips

  • Wash your feet regularly, especially the area between your toes and dry them thoroughly
  • Use a proper foot cream
  • Clip your toenails every six to eight weeks and use an emery board to smooth jagged edges
  • Don’t ignore minor cuts, blisters, or grazes. Seek professional advice if they do not heal within two to three days
  • Use proper medications if you have ulcers on your feet
  • If you have athlete’s foot, use cream or powder recommended by the doctor
  • Toenails are vulnerable to fungal infections. Use antifungal creams to expedite the healing process
  • Try foot exercises to ease pain and prevent future injuries
  • Get the right footwear

It is always advisable to consult your doctor if your problem persists.
Book an appointment now.

Hip pain

The hip joint is the most important joint of the human body. It allows us to walk, run, and jump. The hip joint not only bears the entire body’s weight; it is also one of the most flexible joints, allowing a great range of motion. However, despite its durability, the joint is not indestructible. Age and overuse can cause wear and tear or the joint may get damaged causing pain. Hip fracture, particularly in elderly people can occur due to the result of a fall or other injuries.

Managing hip pain

  • Activate your muscles by starting your day with regular exercises
  • Ice your inflamed joints four to five times daily for 10–15 minutes
  • Swimming and water aerobics help lower the pain
  • Avoid high impact activities as they can worsen the symptoms
  • Losing weight can help offset pressure on the joint and relieve hip pain
  • If your hip hurts during a certain exercise, stop immediately

It is always advisable to consult your Doctor if the problem persists.Book an appointment now.

Knee pain

A lot of factors like a sudden and overuse injury or arthritis can lead to knee pain. You are likely to experience symptoms like swelling and stiffness. Most common knee problems include sprained ligaments, meniscus tears, runner’s knee, and tendinitis. If a previous injury is left untreated, it can flare up suddenly and cause pain. Knee pain can affect people of any age and though its treatment depends mainly on the cause, minor knee pain responds well to self-care measures.

Managing knee pain

  • Too much of rest can weaken your muscles and worsen the pain. So, keep moving
  • Exercise regularly to strengthen your muscles and improve balance
  • Be careful during movement to curb the risk of fall. Remember: Weaker, painful, or unstable knees are more prone to falls and injuries
  • Keep a check on your weight to reduce stress on your knees
  • Wear the right pair of shoes

It is always advisable to consult your Doctor if the problem persists.
Book an appointment now

Low back pain

Low back pain is one thing that almost everyone experiences at some point of time in their lives. In most cases, it does not require any treatment and gets better on its own. But if the pain is intense and unbearable, or refuses to go away, then, it requires treatment. A number of factors can lead to low back pain like a sudden injury or lifting something heavy. Other major causes of low back pain can be spine defects, a structural reason like a narrow spinal cord, spinal curvature, bone tumours, etc. Symptoms can range from a dull ache to a stabbing or shooting sensation. If the pain lasts for more than three months, it is considered chronic.

Managing low back pain

  • Apply ice for 24 to 48 hours after an injury and switch to heat after that to reduce the inflammation
  • Keep doing your daily activities only if the pain is not unbearable
  • Maintaining the correct posture is important
  • Try to get enough and good sleep
  • Visit physical therapists for specialized exercises to strengthen core muscles

It is always advisable to consult your Doctor if the problem persists.
Book an appointment now.

Neck pain

There can be a number of causes for neck pain, including poor posture and sitting at the desk for too long. However, more serious causes like infections, tumours, congenital abnormalities, age, or even cancers require treatment by specialists.

Conditions which are not serious can usually be relieved within a few days with some basic exercises, physiotherapy, or posture correction. Visit your doctor immediately if the pain continues for over a week or if you experience other symptoms like fever, headaches, swollen glands, weakness, numbness, or tingling sensations.

Managing neck pain

  • Use cold to numb acute pain and reduce inflammation
  • Take over-the-counter pain relievers to control mild to moderate pain
  • Use a neck collar for short periods to rest the painful muscles and tissues and ease your discomfort
  • Use a heating pad to relieve pain or opt for a warm whirlpool bath if one is available once the acute pain calms down

It is always advisable to consult your doctor if the problem persists.
Book an appointment now.

Shoulder pain

Pain in the shoulder can be the result of a number of causes that can include muscle or joint strain, sprain due to the lifting of heavyweight, or any other injury. Sometimes an old injury may also result in pain at a much later stage in life, which becomes chronic pain when ignored. Shoulder pain can also be due to tendinitis, swelling of tendons that attach the muscles to the joint. You can experience symptoms like inflammation or tension in the muscles and tendons around the shoulder.

Neck pain can cause referred pain in your shoulder blade or upper arm. Remember, if you feel a tingling sensation in your hands or arm, it can be a problem in your neck which is often referred to as radiated pain.

Managing shoulder pain

  • Take adequate rest to relieve your shoulders from everyday stress
  • Stop exercising if the pain is severe
  • Try cold compress and heat therapy
  • Avoid poor postures like slouching your shoulders
  • Avoid smoking as it leads to poor blood circulation

It is always advisable to consult your doctor if the problem persists.
Book an appointment now.

Warm, tender, swollen Joints

Warm, tender, swollen joints can be symptoms of underlying conditions like arthritis or dislocation. Some of the most common types of arthritis include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriatic arthritis, and septic arthritis. Home remedies can help prevent swollen joints. However, consult your doctor if the pain is accompanied by fever and if you cannot find a specific cause of the pain.

Managing warm, tender, and swollen joints

  • Apply an ice pack wrapped in a cloth for 10 minutes at a time to ease the pain
  • Avoid sitting on low chairs and couches
  • Maintain a good posture
  • Avoid being inactive for a prolonged period
  • Watch your weight and have a healthy diet
  • Regular light exercise is essential

It is always advisable to consult your doctor if the problem persists.
Book an appointment now.

Stiffness in joints

Stiff joints become a common phenomenon as we age. Although age is not the only factor responsible for stiff joints. Other factors like obesity, arthritis, lupus, and other medical conditions and lifestyle choices result in stiff joints.

Managing joint stiffness

  • Use a hot and cold compress
  • Opt for over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory medicines
  • If you are overweight, try losing excess weight
  • Be active and exercise regularly
  • Follow a healthy and balanced diet

It is always advisable to consult your doctor if the problem persists.
Book an appointment now.

Weight loss

Weight loss generally refers to a reduction of the total body mass due to a mean loss of body fat, fluid, adipose tissue, connective tissues, and other factors. Unexplained weight loss, or losing weight without trying, can many a times be a cause for concern. Unintentional weight loss might indicate an underlying medical condition like:

Hyperthyroidism – Also known as an overactive thyroid, develops when your thyroid gland makes excess thyroid hormone than required. These hormones control many functions in the body, including metabolism. An overactive thyroid, can lead to quick burn of calories even if you have a good appetite. The result is unintentional weight loss.

Rheumatoid Arthritis – Rheumatoid Arthritis patients often lose their appetite as a result can suffer from unintentional weight loss. Also Anti-rheumatic drugs can cause diarrhea, nausea, and stomach upset, which may lead to weight loss.

Diabetes - Patients with high blood sugar tend to urinate a lot, and this can result in dehydration which can be a possible cause for weight loss. Also, muscle breakdown can occur if blood sugar levels are too high, which can lead to an unhealthy weight loss.

Depression - We know that depression has lots of symptoms like appetite disturbances, lack of energy etc. Usually weight gain is associated with depression but weight loss can also be a problem. With severe depression, one might lose weight because they lose interest in food. In patients with low body weight, the brain gets starved and they develop of depression. Proper food habits may make the depression goes away.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease - Weight loss is a typical symptom of the Inflammatory Bowel Diseases of Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. There may be many reasons for loss of appetite and weight loss in IBD. Some people may develop food aversions because they associate eating with pain. Some medications and nutrient deficiencies due to IBD can cause taste changes which may make a person less interested in eating leading to weight loss. IBD can also cause changes in the levels of hormones like leptin and ghrelin which have a role in making you feel hungry or full this can lead to weight loss.

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease - Weight loss is a sign of severe COPD. Inflammation of the lungs here gets so severe that the lung volume expands in size. This reduces the amount of space between the lungs and the stomach, and when one eats, the two organs push against one another making it uncomfortable. This makes breathing even more difficult and may ultimately discourage you from eating. Damaged lungs can burn as much as 10 times more calories than normal, healthy lungs thus even if you do have a good appetite, this phenomenon can lead to unintentional weight loss. Depression and anxiety from COPD can result in mental health issues leading to weight loss.

Endocarditis – Endocarditis is an infection and inflammation of the heart valves and the inner lining of the heart chambers, which is known as the endocardium. It occurs when infectious bacteria or fungi, enter the bloodstream and settle in the heart enters the bloodstream through a break in the skin caused by a skin injury; a dental procedure; or a skin prick, especially among intravenous drug users. Poor appetite and weight loss are among some of the common symptoms of Endocardium.

Tuberculosis - In addition to symptoms such as coughing and fever, it often results in significant weight loss and lack of appetite. Most individuals with active TB experience weight loss. Weight loss among people with TB can be caused by several factors, including reduced food intake due to loss of appetite, nausea and abdominal pain.

Cancer- Sometimes people ignore symptoms like that of weight loss. Many a times they don’t even know that these symptoms could mean something is wrong. People having cancer are prone to weight loss at some point or the other. When one loses weight for unknown reason, it is called an unexplained weight loss. A sudden and unexplained weight loss of 10 pounds or more may be the first sign of cancer.

Congestive Heart Failure- First, weight loss congestive heart failure may occur because of a lack of blood flow to the gastrointestinal tract. Low blood flow around the gastrointestinal tract may make it harder for the body to absorb nutrients and move food through the body. Along with that, general symptoms of congestive heart failure – including dizziness, nausea, and fatigue – may make it difficult for late-stage patients to eat. Mood disorders such as anxiety and depression may also cause unplanned weight loss in late-stage congestive heart failure.

It is normal for body weight to fluctuate, but if you’re losing weight without any change in your daily habits, then something may be reason for it. A visit to a doctor is must if you experience 5 percent weight loss in 6 to 12 months.

To know more write in to us at askmedica@medicahospitals.in

Snoring & Quality of Sleep

When we breathe, air flows past the relaxed tissues in our throats, causing the tissues to vibrate. The result is snoring, the hoarse or harsh sound that occurs. Though almost everyone snores off and on, it becomes a chronic problem for some. In some cases, snoring may also indicate a serious underlying health issue. Besides, it can be a cause of extreme nuisance and sleeplessness for those sharing the room with the snorer.

Causes

A number of factors can lead to snoring, such as the anatomy of your mouth and sinuses, alcohol consumption, allergies, a cold, and your weight.

When you drift off to sleep, and progress from a light to a deep sleep, the muscles in the roof of your mouth (soft palate), tongue and throat relax. When the tissues in your throat relax enough, they partially block your airway and vibrate. The more narrowed your airway gets, the more forceful the airflow becomes. This increases tissue vibration, which causes your snoring to grow louder.

Your mouth anatomy: A low, thick soft palate can narrow your airway. Overweight people may have extra tissues in the back of their throats that may narrow their airways. Similarly, if the triangular piece of tissue hanging from the soft palate (uvula) is elongated, it can obstruct airflow and increase vibration.

Alcohol consumption: Too much alcohol consumption before bedtime can cause snoring, because it relaxes the throat muscles and lowers your natural defenses against airway obstruction.

Nasal problems: Chronic nasal congestion or a deviated nasal septum (a crooked partition between your nostrils) may contribute to snoring.

Sleep deprivation: Lack of sleep furthers throat relaxation.

Sleep position: Sleeping on the back causes the most frequent and loudest snoring because gravity's effect on the throat narrows the airway.

Being overweight: Overweight or obese people are more likely to snore or have obstructive sleep apnoea.

Family history:  Of snoring or obstructive sleep apnoea is a potential risk factor for the disorders

Gender: Men are more prone to snoring or have sleep apnoea than women.

Complications

Habitual snoring is more than just a disturbance for your bed partner's sleep. Snoring that is associated with OSA, raises the risk of other complications, including:

  • Daytime sleepiness
  • Frequent frustration or anger
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • A greater risk of high blood pressure, heart conditions and stroke
  • An increased risk of behaviour problems, such as aggression or learning problems, in children with OSA
  • An increased risk of motor vehicle accidents due to lack of sleep

 

Certain lifestyle changes like losing weight, avoiding alcohol close to bedtime or sleeping on your side, can help reduce or cease snoring. Certain medical devices and surgery may help to reduce disruptive snoring, but these should be used only with a Doctor’s advice.

Sleep Apnoea

Snoring may often be associated with a sleep disorder called obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). Though not all snorers have OSA, it may be a good idea to seek further evaluation by a doctor if following symptoms are noticed, along with snoring:

  • Pause in breathing during sleep
  • Feeling extremely sleepy during daytime
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • Headaches in the morning
  • Sore throat on waking up
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Gasping or choking during sleeping
  • High blood pressure
  • Chest pain at night
  • Loud snoring that disrupts sleep of those nearby

Poor attention span, behavioural issues, or poor performance in school children

In OSA, loud snoring is followed by periods of silence when breathing stops completely or nearly stops. Finally, this reduction or pause in breathing signals your waking up, which may be accompanied by a loud snort or gasping sound.

This pattern of breathing pauses may get repeated several times during the night, sometimes as much as five times during every hour of sleep. Due to disrupted sleep, the quality of sleep will be poor.

When to see a doctor

If you suffer from any of the above symptoms, see your doctor. The doctor may advice you too do a sleep study to test for obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA).

Children may suffer from OSA too. Nose and throat problems, for e.g. enlarged tonsils, and obesity, can often narrow a child's airway, which can lead to your child developing OSA. If your child snores, ask your paediatrician about it.

Request appointment with Sleep Apnoea specialist

Thyroid Diseases

A thyroid is a gland located at the base of the neck. This important gland produces hormones that regulate blood pressure, body temperature, heart rate and weight. It is an essential part of our bodily operation. Any problem in the thyroid has an effect on the well-being of the whole body. Thyroid disease diminishes the quality of life. If is an issue with the thyroid gland, the faster it is addressed, the better you will feel.

There are four main thyroid disorders, with distinct symptoms, and these can have serious implications, if left untreated:

Hyperthyroidism: An overactive thyroid

Symptoms: Weight loss, rapid heartbeat, anxiety, fatigue, trouble sleeping, tremors and sweating.

Hypothyroidism: An underactive thyroid

Symptoms: Thinning hair, weight gain, fatigue, muscle weakness, joint pain, depression and impaired memory.

Thyroid cancer: Malignancy in the cells of the thyroid

Symptoms: A lump on the neck, difficulty swallowing, swollen lymph nodes and changes in the voice.

Thyroid nodules: Growths on the thyroid

Symptoms: Nodules do not produce symptoms in many cases; in others, they become large enough to be seen and/or felt easily. Most nodules are benign; some may be cancerous.

Treatment options for these conditions include:

Hyperthyroidism: There are many treatment options available for hyperthyroidism. These include radioactive iodine, anti-thyroid medications, beta blockers or surgery. It needs to be determined which option is the best for you.

Hypothyroidism: An oral medication called synthetic thyroid hormone levothyroxine is the most commonly used medication for hypothyroidism.  There is improvement of fatigue symptoms and even weight management after taking this medication. However, arriving at a correct dosage is important as different patients require different treatment plans.

Thyroid cancer: The type, size and stage of the tumour will determine the treatment plan for thyroid cancer. There may be surgical removal of the tumour, either partially or completely, radioactive iodine, external radiation therapy, chemotherapy or targeted drug therapy.

Thyroid nodules: Large noncancerous nodules are surgically removed, or thyroid suppression therapy is used.

Request appointment with Diabetes & Endocrinology specialist

Frequent Urination

The kidneys, the tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder (ureters), the bladder, and the duct through which urine is expelled from the bladder out of the body (urethra) comprise the urinary tract. A disease in any part of the urinary tract may lead to frequent urination.

Factors that may be linked to frequent urination:

  • Bladder infection, disease, injury or irritation
  • Increase urine production due to certain conditions
  • Any change in the muscles, nerves or other tissues that can affect bladder function
  • Some cancer treatments
  • Increase in urine production due to drugs or beverages

Depending on the cause of frequent urination, other urinary problems may crop up:

  • Urination with pain or discomfort
  • A strong urge to urinate
  • Finding it difficult to urinate
  • Loss of control on bladder function
  • Urine color that is unusual

Frequent urination can be caused by specific diseases / conditions etc.

  • Prolapsed bladder (cystocele)
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Prostate enlargement (Benign prostatic hyperplasia)
  • Stones in urinary bladder
  • Changes in kidney function
  • Diabetes insipidus (intense thirst and heavy urination)
  • Diuretics (water retention relievers)
  • Consuming excessive fluids, alcohol or caffeine
  • Interstitial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome)
  • Infection of kidney (pyelonephritis)
  • Bladder that is overactive
  • Pregnancy
  • Prostatitis (swelling and inflammation of prostate gland)
  • Radiation treatment that affects the pelvis or lower abdomen
  • Type 1 diabetes
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Urethral stricture (narrowing of the urethra)
  • Urinary incontinence (involuntary leakage of urine)
  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • Vaginitis (inflammation of vagina resulting in discharge, itching and pain)

Request appointment with  Urology specialist

Hiccups

Involuntary contractions of the diaphragm (muscle that separates chest and abdomen and plays an important role in breathing) are called Hiccups. Each contraction is followed by a There is a sudden closure of the vocal cords after each contraction, producing the typical "hic" sound.

A large meal, alcoholic or carbonated beverages, or sudden excitement may cause hiccups. It may also indicate an underlying medical condition. Hiccups usually last only a few minutes in most people. Rarely, it may persist for months, resulting in weight loss and exhaustion.

Symptoms

Hiccupping is a symptom. It may sometimes be accompanied by a slight tightening sensation in your chest, abdomen or throat.

Causes

Common triggers that cause hiccups lasting less than 48 hours include:

  • Drinking carbonated beverages
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Over-eating
  • Excitement or emotional stress
  • Sudden temperature changes
  • Swallowing air while chewing gum or sucking on candy

Hiccups that last more than 48 hours may be caused by varied factors:
Nerve damage or irritation
Damage to or irritation of the vagus nerves or phrenic nerves, which serve the diaphragm muscle, could be due to the following reasons:

  • A hair or something in your ear that touches your eardrum
  • A tumour, cyst or goiter in your neck
  • Gastroesophageal reflux
  • Sore throat or laryngitis

Central nervous system disorders: A tumour or infection in the central nervous system or damage to the central nervous system due to trauma may disrupt the body's normal control of the hiccup reflex.
Examples include:

  • Encephalitis
  • Meningitis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Stroke
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Tumours
  • Metabolic disorders and drugs

Long-term hiccups can be triggered by:

  • Alcoholism
  • Anaesthesia
  • Barbiturates
  • Diabetes
  • Electrolyte imbalance
  • Kidney disease
  • Steroids
  • Tranquilizers

Risk factors
Men are more prone to develop long-term hiccups than women. Other factors that can increase the risk of hiccups include:

Mental or emotional issues: Short-term and long-term hiccups can be triggered by anxiety, stress and excitement.
Surgery: Some people develop hiccups after administration of general anaesthesia during surgery, or after procedures involving abdominal organs.
Complications
Prolonged hiccups may interfere with:

  • Eating
  • Sleeping
  • Speech
  • Wound healing after surgery

When to see a doctor
See your doctor if your hiccups last more than 48 hours or if they are so severe that they interfere with eating, sleeping or breathing.