Thursday, September 26, 2013

Follow doctor’s orders during your pregnancy

Having a baby is a magical time in a woman’s life. It is an exciting wait for a tiny miracle. It is important for a pregnant woman to take care of herself. One of the most important decisions you have to make, if you are expecting, is who your doctor will be and which hospital you would like to have your baby in. Once this decision is made, you need to make sure that you see your doctor on a regular basis throughout your pregnancy, maintain your records, do all the tests that the doctor has advised and follow the doctor’s directions correctly.

Tests that your doctor may advice you to do 

There are three trimesters in a pregnancy of three months each. Every trimester could be quite different from the other. The way your body feels, your emotional and physical needs may be different for each, as your body goes through a myriad changes during pregnancy. Your doctor will give you some routine tests for all three trimesters and some special ones, specifically during a certain trimester. Let’s take a look at the three trimesters and the tests that you may be required to do.

First trimester tests

Prenatal screening 

During the first trimester, it is important to do a prenatal screening which would include fetal ultrasound and maternal blood testing. This is to check if the fetus is healthy and has no birth defects. You may also have to do a plasma protein screening and/or a human chorionic gonadotropin test. These are again tests for any fetal abnormality. Apart from this, you will have to do routine blood and urine tests to check your vital parameters. These include a hemoglobin test to check your RBC, WBC and platelet count, fasting and random blood sugar test to determine your sugar levels. Some people get gestational diabetes which causes their sugar levels to go up, during pregnancy. It usually settles down after the baby is born.

Tests during your second trimester 

During the second trimester, the number of tests done may increase. You will have your routine blood, urine and stool tests, but you may also have to do blood tests to check for genetic markers. These are also tests that check if the baby has any birth defects. An ultrasound will also be advised to check the position of the baby and the placenta. If the genetic markers show any kind of abnormality, then a test called amniocentesis may be done. For this test, amniotic fluids will be drawn from the amniotic sac and this will be analyzed.

Tests during the third trimester 

You will be in the home stretch by now. If you have done all the tests recommended by your doctor during the first two trimesters, you can be sure now that you are carrying a healthy baby to term. In this trimester, the doctor may recommend an ultrasound to see the position of the baby. In the later stages, if you are having a difficult pregnancy, fetal monitoring may be advised. This keeps a check on the baby’s status 24/7. This is done to ensure that the baby does not go into distress unnoticed. If the baby does show signs of distress, the doctor may make a decision to bring the baby out early, as it may be safer outside than inside your womb.
Apart from these tests, the doctor will give you shots for a variety of illnesses to immunize you and your child. If you follow your doctor’s advice and take care of your health, you will be holding a tiny miracle at the end of it!


Friday, September 20, 2013

Why is Chronic Disease Prevention Important?

What is Chronic Disease? 

Chronic Disease is a condition that is long lasting and cannot be cured. It affects millions of people all over the world. The Center for Disease Control reports that chronic disease is the leading cause of death and disability in the United States. Chronic diseases are costly health problems but very often they can be prevented and in many cases controlled. The best way to control chronic disease is to put the patient and the family as the focal point of the situation and help them control it. When the patient and family are working in tandem with hospitals and doctors and taking charge of their illness, the effective management of the disease becomes easier and healthcare costs go down, making it an affordable situation for everyone involved.

Different kinds of chronic diseases 

The definition of a chronic disease is a disease that is almost permanent with no effective cure. The patient will have to live with the disease all their lives. Some well known chronic diseases are
  • Allergy
  • Alzheimer's Disease Caregivers
  • Asthma
  • Breast Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Glaucoma
  • Heart Disease
  • Obesity and Overweight
  • The Food and Fitness Environment

How to prevent Chronic Diseases 

Chronic diseases are on the rise today due to many causes. Pollution, bad nutrition, substance abuse, stress factors are just some of the contributors to diseases. The good news is that people are living longer these days but the bad news is that they are not living it healthily. We are a nation filled with people who have healthcare problems and we are unable to cope with it. The effects of the lifestyles of the previous generations are manifesting now. There is nothing much that we can do about existing problems, but we can learn from it, and ensure that we, nor our future generations end up in the same state. It is an unfortunate fact that most of these diseases could have been prevented if people had taken care of themselves.

Let us take a look at some preventable chronic diseases:

Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis etc could be hereditary, in which case it is plain bad luck for you. But here are a few things you can do, to ensure that you are not at a high risk for some of these chronic illnesses.
  • Stop any kind of substance abuse. If you are unable to do it on your own, join a support group.
  •  Have well balanced meals and eat at the right time. It is advisable to see a dietician and get a proper meal plan.
  •   Do some form of exercise. Try to exercise in the open air at least a few times a week. A slow jog or swimming are great outdoor exercises.
  •  Have routine checkups. Don’t keep putting this off. If there is something amiss, the earlier it is detected, the faster action can be taken.
  •  Keep your stress levels down. Doing yoga and meditation will help.
  •  If you are a woman and over 40, have regular checkups with your gynecologist
  •  See a specialist if you feel unwell for a long period of time. A general practitioner is okay for a cold or fever, but if you find no relief, it is best to go to a specialist.
  • Make sure that you have a health insurance plan. You never know when you may fall sick, so make sure that your premiums are up to date and you and your family are covered at all times.

These are just small things that you can do to make your life healthier!