Bacteria and fungi reside in our body fulfilling their purpose in life! None can be unaware of the good bacteria in the human gut nor the discovery of Penicillin, the first of a series of antibiotics developed from fungi which benefitted the entire world. Fungi can live in the air, water, soil and plants and there are also some fungi that reside naturally in the human body including the yeast Candida. This is a type of fungus and Candidiasis is a fungal infection caused by this yeast. There are more than 20 species of Candida yeasts that can infect humans and Candida albicans is the most common among them.
Candida typically resides in the mouth, intestinal tract and mucous membranes of the skin without causing infection. When these grow beyond what’s normal, Candidiasis strikes. The overgrowth of Candida depends on the healthy bacteria in the human body. More the number of these bacteria, lesser the chance of a fungal infection.
Candidiasis: Place of Origin Matters!
Candidiasis that develops in the throat or mouth is called “thrush” or oropharyngeal candidiasis, one that develops in the esophagus is called esophageal candidiasis or Candida esophagitis. Esophageal candidiasis is the most common infection occurring in people living with HIV/AIDS. Typical symptoms include:
Genital Yeast Infection
Candidiasis in the vagina is called as ‘vaginal yeast infection’ or by other names such as vaginal candidiasis, vulvovaginal candidiasis or candida vaginitis. Major symptoms include:
It is mostly pregnant women, those using contraceptive pills, those with a weakened immune system, having diabetes or those taking antibiotics who are commonly affected. Wearing a cotton underwear that prevents the chances of a yeast infection is suggested. There might also be situations where the Candida resides in the vagina but does not cause any infection. Treatment includes antifungal medications.
Unlike the other two mentioned above, invasive candidiasis is an extremely dangerous fungal infection that can affect the blood, heart, brain, eyes, bones and other parts of the body. Candidemia, a bloodstream infection, is common in hospitalized patients.
This is a newly emerging fungus that is becoming a serious health threat worldwide primarily due to its multidrug-resistant nature, failure to show positive results with standard laboratory tests and its vast outbreak in healthcare settings.
Candida auris has been causing severe illness in several countries worldwide, including India. The yeast has the capability to enter the patient’s bloodstream and spread all through the body causing serious invasive infections. This yeast is capable of causing bloodstream infections, wound infections and ear infections. Although strains of the species are extracted from urinary and respiratory specimen, there is no clarity if there is a chance of lung or bladder infection.
Blood culture or other body fluids can be used to diagnose this fungal infection but the diagnosis process is pretty hard as it can easily be confused with other types of yeast such as Candida haemulonii. While any hospitalized person is at a risk of this infection, the risk is even more higher in patients who use breathing tubes, feeding tubes or central venous catheters. Although echinocandins (antifungal drug) are prescribed as treatment forms, there are chances that the fungus can lead to fatality too.
Women outlive men mostly. While it is the male of the family who is engaged much in physical exercise throughout his life, women mostly neglect their health for the well-being of the entire family. Yet they live longer than men! Have you ever thought about the logic behind this? It might be because women engage in household chores every single day, run behind kids in grooming them and never take rests/naps in between, all of which might add up to a considerable amount of activity performed each day of a woman’s life. Whereas, men either slog at the gym or take fancy to the newspaper at home. There is no middle line in between where they engage in simple daily chores. Keeping things in proper place, washing clothes, drying them, paying bills or shopping for grocery-all of this are a woman’s job. Maybe all these are fruitful to women in the form of longevity!
Once their children are married and the burden is lifted off their shoulders, women try to engage themselves socially, are eager to look after their physical health and wish to spend time relaxing themselves. She thinks about yoga or walking, enrolling in a laughter therapy class or attending meditation sessions to keep the mind and body fit. There is no age limit to start exercising but the only concern is that, sooner you start exercising the better it is for your health and well-being.
A new study shows that middle-aged and elderly women who walk/exercise are at a decreased risk of heart failure. Heart failure exists as the number one cause of death amongst people worldwide. There are numerous factors such as high blood pressure/blood sugar levels, increased cholesterol levels, stress and other conditions that enhance the risk of a heart failure in people. The current lifestyle and work conditions amplify the risk even more.
The study was a large-scale one that monitored exercise routines and heart health of more than 1,30,000 women since the early 1990s. The women involved were quoted to be healthy citizens in their postmenopausal age anywhere between 50 and 70 years. The beauty of the study is that the results shown were linked to duration of the walk rather than its intensity. Hence, even the small walks that we take as a part of the daily chores performed to enable our day-to-day living can be added to the total duration. Each of us walk mostly throughout the day doing small things at well-paced intervals. The study explains that it is the amount of activity and not the effort taken for the activity which acts as the key determinant for preventing heart failure in older women. The researchers also comment that the same findings could be applicable for men too.
The only downside of the research is that participants self-reported on the activity durations and intensity and hence, we can strongly believe that variations are possible from what has been conveyed. It is also worth mentioning here that the participants were monitored for 14 years during which 2,500 of them experienced heart failure. The study group further analyzed the subgroup of women who previously suffered from one of these two types of heart failure-reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) and preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). HFrEF occurs when the muscle is extremely weak to perform the action of contraction with enough force while HFpEF occurs when the heart stiffens and loses flexibility and is comparatively less serious but commonly present among older women.
When a woman engages in some physical activity (even as trivial as getting up and sitting down) every hour or so, her risk of heart failure reduces by as much as 9% compared to women who never exercised. The same was applicable to women who fulfilled the requirement of 150 minutes of brisk walk every week. These women had a 30% reduced risk of heart failure. The research did not probe further than the mentioned 150 minutes of activity and it still remains an open question whether walking for longer durations reduces the risk of heart failure even further. Until then, keep walking as much as you can to stay healthy as long as you can. For a better insight into the type of foods suitable for elderly population and the diet that can be followed for heart health, please visit the website www.firsteatright.com to get in touch with nutritionists/dietitians who can guide you to a better life in a healthy way.
‘Well-behaved’ is a generalized term that has different perspectives. Well-behaved might mean saying ‘please’, ‘sorry’ and ‘thank you’ according to one parent while it might be to stay quiet, follow table manners during meals, respect elders and share things with other kids according to some other parent. Whatever might be the meaning, every parent would second the fact that raising a well-behaved child is a compelling task that needs continuous efforts.
Children are exposed to different scenarios, experiences and meet innumerable people while they grow up. They pick numerous things from such enriching experiences which nurtures every child to be a unique human being with different qualities. Some grow up into rule-followers, some into rule-breakers and some other kids are rule makers. The journey is tiresome and needs closely guarded mentoring so that we fix our aim on the ultimate goal (well-behaved child) rather than the short-term goal (stop the crying child in a public place from crying). Given here are four major points that can be your basic guide and parenting tips to nurture today’s children to grow into tomorrow’s valuable citizens.
There is no minimum age to differentiate right from wrong: Every parent should remember that any behavior that isn’t acceptable must be corrected right from an early age. Otherwise, it might confuse the child. For example, if you laugh at your toddler when he kicks you with his/her foot similar to playing basketball and suddenly when he/she does the same during preschool and you shout, this is definitely going to confuse your kid. Why is mom/dad shouting at my behavior now while they laughed at it sometime back? This question will stay in your kids mind and keep taunting them. The earlier you start teaching your child that hitting or kicking is wrong and nod a strong ‘no’ when he/she does it, things might work in your favor.
Firstly, it is critical to understand your child’s developmental stages carefully. No kid is going to throw tantrums or hit you simply to ruin your mood. It might be out of anger, irritation, inability to express his/her view or sadness. When you start correcting kids right from an early age, you start teaching them good and bad ways of expressing these emotions. Children are capable of few things at their age and it is unjustifiable to push them way beyond their capability. If you are unaware or doubtful of a child’s developmental capabilities, talk to the physician or pediatrician and set realistic expectations for behavior.
Lay consistent rules: Once you lay down rules, stick by them. Don’t budge here and there according to your convenience. If jumping on the bed is prohibited, it ought to be prohibited always. Excusing your kid when he/she is sad, when you have important chores to do or allowing just because your temperament is bad right then are mixed indications to your child. Maintaining your ‘no’ list is extremely difficult and requires abundance patience but pick your priorities. Every family has certain important rules which they prefer to follow. Anything that might hurt another person’s feelings must be prohibited anytime; religious meetings, prayer halls and services always expect people to maintain calm and composure and likewise. It is up to the family to decide on their basic rules. If jumping on the couch or playing jarring music is fine with you, its ok.
Appreciate goodness: Just like how you condemn bad behavior or tantrums, appreciate and praise your child’s good deeds and behavior. Be encouraging when your child stops a bad behavior and acknowledge it with a strong positive feedback instead of simply being relieved when they don’t throw tantrums. Our kids deserve kudos for following rules and not only punishments when they break the rules. Surprise them with non-food rewards such as stickers, play date or a movie which encourages them to follow their good act thereon. For more ideas on non-food rewards, please visit the website www.firsteatright.com. Spend time with kids and show them that you invest your time for their sake. Children behave much more better when they start understanding this.
Be a role model: As Gandhi rightly said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”, don’t expect your kid to say, ‘thank you’ and ‘sorry’ if you don’t do it yourself. Kids pay more attention to what we do than what we say. Preaching something to kids and following some other things will surely not work out in your favor.
If you are facing difficulties in raising children, please get in touch with your doctor and ask for suggestions. Some children have a tougher time than others and so do some parents. Never hesitate to request for help-asking for help, understanding and implementing what is told is what will make you a better parent in life.
Elders always call upon their kids to help them in household chore. Now, research itself proves that kids who help their parents while cooking eat healthier food compared to other kids.
Arrange food creatively: Placing foods in the shape of your kid’s favorite cartoon character or forming a pattern in the rim of the plate can make the food more enticing for your kid. Broccoli or cauliflowers are excellent choices for flowers or trees, cucumber or carrot slices make great eyes and blackberries/grapes are the perfect choices for animal’s eyes.
Involve kids in meal preparation: Children eat more nutritious food when they help in the food preparation. Even research shows that it is advantageous in a lot many ways. Kids would love the mixing, mashing, grating or washing process involved. There are various trivial yet critical things during which your child can be of immense help in the kitchen. For more ideas on this, please visit the website www.firsteatright.com.
Plan the meal together: When you sit with your kids to chalk a meal plan, they are happy as they feel that you respect their views. It also imparts the importance of a balanced diet, kindles their interest to explore different foods and they might also contribute one or two creative ideas that had not even entered your mind until then.
Increase your rapport: Being together in the kitchen paves way for spending quality time with your kids without any expense or the presence of some fancy things. Baking cookies or cupcakes can turn an ordinary evening into an extraordinary one creating beautiful memories that are sure to last lifelong.
Chance to learn life skills: Cooking opens the door for teaching your kids practically. You can talk about math and fractions when measuring rice or water for cooking. Also, you have a chance to explain the importance of hygiene and food safety while washing hands or cleaning your work space.
Bring out the creativity in you: Keep inspiring your kids to be creative. Give them independence to unleash their creative skills in decorating cookies or a fruit bowl as per their desire. You can even conduct a contest asking your child and his/her friends to come up with the most creative designs. It is all about participating and hence, best-suited to announce all the kids as winners rewarding them with an attractive prize.
Don’t chatter about the clutter: Never keep complaining or instructing your kids when they try their hands on something new in the kitchen. Let them be themselves and have fun. You can ask them to help you clean up the mess after they are done with their activity.
Dietitian Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.