Breast cancer is the most frequent cancer among women. Each year it impacts around 2.1 million women. Also it is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women. According to WHO in 2018, 627,000 women died from breast cancer.
To improve breast cancer outcomes and survival, early detection is critical. Mammogram is a great option which doctors suggest women to undergo, especially once they cross 40 years. But Mammogram is not error free. Research says, about 20% of mammograms gives out false-negative results, meaning the doctor or technician fails to detect the cancer.False-positive mammograms are also possible, wherein doctor or technician reports of cancer, but is proven wrong upon further testing, which makes it not so reliable. Also mammogram poses radiation risk.
So like in any other field, hope lies in Artificial Intelligence. Let’s look at following solutions which can surely give some hope when it comes to detecting Breast cancer, with nearly hundred percent accuracy.
India on one side is world’s biggest consumer of antibiotics and on other side in India antibiotic resistant superbugs are on the rise. In India, antibiotic-resistant infections in new born babies alone claim 60,000 lives each year. News hit headlines when last year a woman from US died after being infected by a superbug named carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), a multidrug-resistant organism (resistant to a total of 14 antibiotics) during her visit to India. If we go by research reports, one in every four samples of Escherichia coli and all samples of Klebsiella pneumonia in India will be resistant to key last-resort antibiotics by 2030.
The scary point is, it can affect anyone, of any age. If urgent action is not taken, we will soon head back to ‘post-antibiotic era’ where lives were lost to small infections & minor injuries.
Antibiotic resistance has become one of the biggest threats to health, especially in developing countries like India. Microorganisms are becoming resistant to the antibiotics used to treat the infections they cause, leading to longer illnesses & more deaths. Benefits of advanced medical treatments such as chemotherapy & major surgery will be completely lost. Already a growing list of infections like pneumonia, tuberculosis, blood poisoning & gonorrhoea are becoming difficult to treat.
over-use & misuse of antibiotics in livestock, fish farming & on plants
lack of new antibiotics being developed
poor infection control in hospitals, clinics & farms
lack of toilets & proper sewage disposal
It’s just not humans who are over using antibiotics, but livestock’s too. If we have to believe they are used more each year on healthy animals than on sick humans. Tetracycline, penicillin, erythromycin, and other antimicrobials that are important in human use are used extensively in the absence of disease in today’s livestock production.
Antibiotic makers are also contributing towards drug resistance. It is estimated that 80% of the antibiotics sold by multinational pharmaceutical companies in the global market are manufactured in India and China. It was alarming to learn that a drug factory in India was found to have the same level of antibiotics in its wastewater as in the blood of a person under treatment for severe infection.
If you thought we lose maximum number of our women to Breast cancer, then you are wrong. Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of women. A woman’s lifetime risk of dying from heart disease is eight times greater than that of breast cancer. The most worrying factor is that now heart ailments are affecting more women in the reproductive age group, unlike in the past when women got it mostly after menopause. This could be because levels of oestrogen, a hormone which gives extra protection to women’s heart is found in low levels in young women due to changing lifestyle, early onset of diabetes, obesity and related ailments and physical inactivity.
Some Women heart facts:
A greater proportion of women (52 percent) than men (42 percent) with heart ailments die of sudden cardiac death before reaching the hospital
69% of Housewives and 67% of working women above 35 years are at risk of Heart disease
Excess belly weight , so-called apple shape , raises a woman’s risk for heart attack
Oestrogen is protective for women’s heart prior to menopause, hence women tend to get heart attacks 10 to 15 years later than men. These numbers are changing with levels of oestrogen going down in young women
Women having high lipids, abdominal obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure are at high risk for heart ailments
Women who have had recurrent miscarriages are at particularly high risk for heart disease
Women often overlook symptoms and discomfort pertaining to heart diseases, and rarely consult an expert and as a result early symptoms goes unrecorded
Women do not get the classic pattern of angina with pain in the left side of the chest, but are more likely to get atypical angina, in which they could experience discomfort in the shoulders, back, and neck followed by breathlessness
Mental stress too contribute towards heart attack symptoms in women
Broken heart syndrome, caused by stressful situations which leads to severe, but usually temporary, heart muscle failure is observed in women in menopause
Women with inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus, also have a higher risk of heart disease
Women who are more prone to depression, are at increased risk for heart disease
Women who take birth control pills with estrogen, you are at risk for heart ailment.
People who admitted to brushing their teeth less frequently had a 70% extra risk of heart disease
Women who take daily soda based drinks are at risk of heart attack
Deaths from Breast cancer in India is predicted to increase to 76,000 year on by 2020 with an average age of incidence shifting to 30 years from 50 years. Very disturbing facts. The age adjusted incidence rate of Breast cancer was found as high as 41 per 100,000 women in Delhi, 37.9 in Chennai, 34.4 in Bangalore and 33.7 in Thiruvananthapuram.
High time we move from disease care to preventive care. This can be done by increasing disease awareness, initiating population-based breast cancer screening programs and making breast screening available at more hospitals and healthcare centres at less cost. Through breast surveillance, cancers can be detected early when they are small and have not spread to lymph nodes making breast conservation possible as well causing reduction in mortality from breast cancer.
First understand the Risk factors:
Compared to married women, single women showed 4–5-fold higher risk for developing breast cancer in the age group of 40–54 and above
Nulliparous women (woman who has never given birth) have a 2.2-fold higher risk than parous women
Having one or more first-degree relatives (mother, sisters) who have had breast cancer increases a woman’s chances of developing this disease
BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations having been identified as the major genetic cause
The risk of developing breast cancer increases with age
Overweight women are at a higher risk of developing breast cancer
High breast cancer incidence have been reported in Parsi community (consanguineous marriages, late age of marriage and childbirth)
Women who have had breast biopsies have an increased risk of breast cancer
Women who have high breast density have an increased risk of breast cancer
Women who have received radiation therpay to chest wall for any cause have an increased risk of breast cancer
Diagnosed with Diabetes….need to worry. Diabetes leads to shorter life span, increase the cost of medical care, many a times lead to permanent physical disability, and loss of independence. At the same time do not fret, you are one among 425 million from around the world. Tom Hanks, Halle Berry, Larry King, Sonam Kapoor and Kamal Hassan has it and are thriving. This disease, though chronic, can be kept under control by bringing in changes in lifestyle and food habits. But before heading straight to making corrections in lifestyle, understand the basics of this disease so that you can LIVE HAPPILY WITH IT.
Why we must not take Diabetes lightly
Having diabetes does not mean just take a shot of insulin or pills and live carefree. At first, doctors did think that exogenous insulin or drugs would solve all the problems of diabetes. As people began to live longer with diabetes they understood that administration of insulin or drug cannot completely correct the diabetic state.
Diabetes associated with cerebro-vascular disease and diabetes associated with amputations are two of the most frequently reported conditions requiring assistance with daily living. Diabetes is the leading cause of new blindness and kidney failure in adults. People with diabetes are twice as likely as members of the general population to have heart disease. Pregnant women with diabetes require intensive prenatal care, and their babies are five times more likely to require intensive perinatal care.
Understanding diabetes: The first step towards managing it
What Is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a disease in which the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin to support normal food metabolism. Understanding diabetes: The first step towards managing it
There are two main types of diabetes: Type I, also known as insulin-dependent diabetes, and Type II, non-insulin-dependent diabetes. Type II is the most common one.
World Diabetes Day is celebrated on November 14, the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting, one of the men credited with discovering insulin.
Although diabetes cannot be cured, it can be managed successfully.Diabetes management means keeping under control blood glucose, blood pressure and blood fats levels. Good control is very important to avoid long-term complications
Disease management starts with :
Blood Sugar Monitoring: The first step to Diabetes management
Many elements are important in managing diabetes on a daily basis, but blood sugar management is the most essential one. It helps in
Determining whether treatment plan is working
Understanding how diet and exercise affect blood sugar levels
Even though Tuberculosis is preventable and treatable, it remains the world’s deadliest infectious disease.India has the highest burden of Tuberculosis in the world. In 2015 alone, 2.8 million cases of TB was reported and 480,000 people died from it. India had 130,000 multi-drug resistant TB patients in 2015, the highest in the world. 60 percent of the total number of Tuberculosis cases comes from six countries and India is on top followed by Indonesia, China, Nigeria, Pakistan and South Africa. 40% of India’s population, which accounts to around 50 crore, have Latent Tuberculosis. Latent TB infection means a person have infectious agent present in him, but would not show any evidence of active disease as long as his immunity stays strong!.
In a TED Talk on ‘India’s Tuberculosis crisis’, Zarir F Udwadia, a leading expert on TB and chest physician at the Hinduja Hospital & Research Centre, Mumbai, called it, “Ebola with wings.”…..
The situation at this moment in India looks grim as number of patients with multi-drug resistant TB and extensively drug-resistant TB is on rise. As per latest report almost one in five cases of TB shows resistance to at least one major anti-TB drug.
What is Tuberculosis ?
Tuberculosis is an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis that affects the lungs. It can also spread to other parts of the body, like the brain and spine. Mycobacterium is an airborne pathogen, hence TB can spread through the air from person to person.
Selenium is an essential micronutrient found in Brazil nuts, chicken, fish, turkey, crab, nuts, cereal and eggs. Selenium is an “essential nutrient”, meaning our bodies cannot make it, and so we have to get it from our diet. Without it the heart, joints, eyes, immune system and reproductive system can suffer. We require 55 micrograms of seleniumto maintain proper health and this selenium we must obtain through dietary sources.
What is Selenium
Selenium is a non-metal element that occurs in the earth’s crust. Selenium is necessary in the body’s production of selenoproteins. There are around 25 selenoproteins in humans and many of these are enzymes that act to protect the body against oxidative damage. Since the ageing process, as well as certain diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disease, is associated with an increase in oxidative damage, maintaining adequate selenium intakes may provide some protection against these processes.
Where is Selenium found
Plants pick up selenium from soil. The selenium content in plant foods depends on the concentration of selenium in the soil where the plants grow. Seafood and organ meats are rich in selenium. Other foods that have selenium include muscle meats, grains and dairy products. It can also be found in drinking water in some places.
People living in places where the soil is selenium deficient have low selenium levels. People who smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol often are more likely to have selenium deficiency. Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or other conditions that interfere with how the body absorbs selenium can lead to low selenium levels. Kidney dialysis patients may also become low in selenium. The chemotherapy drug cisplatin can lower selenium levels in the blood, but it is not known if cisplatin can lead to a significant deficiencies.
My previous post was all about ‘Good Bacteria‘ and the role they play in maintaining a healthy life. Some researchers believe that up to 90 percent of all diseases can be traced in some way back to the gut and health of the microbiome. Poor gut health can contribute to leaky gut syndrome and autoimmune diseases and disorders like arthritis, dementia, heart disease, and cancer.
So it’s understood that good health begins in the gut while poor gut function, due to an imbalance of gut bacteria, can lay us open to digestive disorders and a host of other health problems.
So how can we make our Gut to stay healthy ?
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” – Hippocrates
Answer is Try out Probiotic, Prebiotic and Synbiotics
The health benefits imparted by probiotics and prebiotics as well as synbiotics have been the subject of extensive research in the past few decades. These food supplements termed as functional foods have been demonstrated to alter, modify and reinstate the pre-existing intestinal flora. Functional foods also provide the body with required amount of vitamins, fats, proteins and carbohydrates.
The term Probiotics is derived from a Greek word meaning “for life”. Probiotics have been defined as live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host. The concept of probiotics evolved at the turn of the 20th century from a hypothesis first proposed by Nobel Prize winning Russian scientist Elie Metchnikoff.
Most people consider microbes as germs, but truth is trillions of microbes that live in our gut execute many functional roles – aid in digestion, keep a check on infectious agents, boost immunity, synthesize many vitamins, play a key role in maintaining Hormone balance and Brain function.
So they are for sure our ‘Friends’
“Taking into account the major role gut microbiota plays in the normal functioning of the body and the different functions it accomplishes, experts nowadays consider it as an “organ”
Two thirds of the gut microbiome is unique to each person, and what makes this unique is the food we eat, the air we breathe and other environmental factors.
The initial composition of the gut microbiota depends on the mode of delivery: babies delivered vaginally harbour gut microbiota resembling microbial communities found in their mothers’ vaginas, whereas those born via Cesarean section apparently acquire microbes from the skin, dominated by taxa such as Propionibacterium and Staphylococcus
Formula fed babies have less of good microbes compared to breast fed babies, giving them a healthier edge over the other. Gut of breastfed babies primarily consists of Bifidobacteria – considered a “friendly” bacteria that benefits the gut
People treated with prolonged courses of antibiotics that kill a wide spectrum of bacteria can develop life-threatening diarrhoea due to an overgrowth ofClostridium difficile
Microbiome and Disease state
Each of us have a complex ecosystem of bacteria located within our gut and we call them microbiome or gut microbiota. The vast majority of the bacterial species that make up our microbiome live in our digestive systems. Some researchers believe that up to 90 percent of all diseases can be traced in some way back to the gut and health of the microbiome. Poor gut health can contribute to leaky gut syndrome and autoimmune diseases and disorders like arthritis, dementia, heart disease, and cancer.
Why do we feel sick or get vomiting sensation on the morning of an important exam ?
Stressed or Anxious, one feel butterflies in stomach. Feeling nervous or going through nerve wrenching moment, stomach growls and rumbles. Well – thoughts happen in brain, but stomach acts. The gastrointestinal tract is sensitive to emotion. Anger, anxiety, sadness, elation — all of these feelings can trigger symptoms in the gut. It’s just not the troubled brain can send signals to the gut, but gut too sends signal back to brain. Scientists were shocked to learn that about 90 percent of the fibers in the primary visceral nerve, the vagus, carry information from the gut to the brain and not the other way around. Vagus nerve, originates with the dorsal motor nucleus in the medulla and extends through the abdomen to the viscera.
Gut Our Second Brain
Our Gut has its own branch of the nervous system called the enteric nervous system that can function on its own, even if it is disconnected from the brain. The enteric nervous system, the second brain consists of sheaths of neurons embedded in the walls of the long tube of our gut. The second brain contains some 100 million neurons, more than in either the spinal cord or the peripheral nervous system. It actually arises from the same tissues as our central nervous system (CNS) during fetal development. The ENS supervises the processes of digestion and stays in close contact with, and is heavily influenced by, the central nervous system (the CNS) which comprises the brain and spinal cord. The ENS and CNS also use many of the same chemical messengers or neurotransmitters including acetylcholine and serotonin.
“Brain that stays in Gut” is giving a new dimension to our understanding of digestion, mood, health and disease onset.
” Our two brains — the one in our head and the one in our bowel — must cooperate. If they do not, then there is chaos in the gut and misery in the head — everything from “butterflies” to cramps, from diarrhea to constipation.”– Dr. Michael Gershon