Some are born with a defective heart for no mistake of theirs! The word ‘congenital’ means existing at birth and hence the name ‘congenital heart defects’ given to children born with heart defects. Though it is also called as congenital heart disease generally ‘defect’ is more appropriate as the abnormality is due to improper development of heart or a blood vessel near it.
In general, human hearts have valves, arteries and chambers that carry blood in a circulatory motion that is, blood is pumped from the heart to the lungs for oxygen, back to the heart and out of the body. When there is a malfunction, the circulation is disturbed and it might affect the circulatory functioning as well. The defect can obstruct blood flow, cause it to flow in the wrong direction or wrongly place or block blood flow completely.
The underlying cause for congenital heart defect is not crystal clear in most cases and we can only propose a few conditions that can increase the risk of the defect:
Signs & Symptoms
Many children don’t experience any symptoms and the defect remains undiagnosed until the child grows up. If symptoms exist, they are mostly any of these:
There are about 18 different types of congenital heart defects which also sometimes occur in combination. The commonest of them include:
The treatment depends on the type of the defect. Minor problems such as a hole in the heart might resolve on their own without treatment while any defect that causes problems needs surgery or other interventions. People with congenital heart disease require treatment throughout their lives and it is better to be in contact with a specialist right from childhood through adulthood. There is also the possibility of developing other complex problems due to congenital heart defect and the individual remains under medical supervision lifelong.
Surgery or other treatments might curb the individual’s ability to exercise and also require them to stay precautious throughout to avoid getting infections.
It’s the time of the year where we see houses adorning colorful stars, tall Christmas trees and captivating decoration filling every branch of the tree. Children are gearing up for their winter vacations and youngsters are planning with all their might for welcoming the New Year with sleepless nights and endless dinner treats. Amidst all this one must always remember to sail through the holiday season in good health and enjoy it in style. Ensure the following tips to enjoy your holidays:
Cook food safely: Festive seasons and dinners are never short of tasty treats and delightful dishes that fulfill our taste bud requirements. There are also aplenty chances of food poisoning and it is better to wash your hands and surfaces before and after preparing food, avoid cross-contamination, use a food thermometer to check internal temperature of foods and refrigerate foods as soon as possible to avoid spoilage.
Wash hands often: Cold and cough are having their time of life now and it is essential to practices hand hygiene by washing hands with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds.
Don’t drink and drive: Take 100% precaution to avoid driving after drinking whosoever it might be-either yourself or someone you know. Any person drinking and driving puts not only his/her life at risk but also everyone in the road in a danger situation.
Pick and choose healthy food: Fill your plate with plentiful of fruits and vegetables that are high in nutrients and help in lowering your risk of diseases. Avoid eating oily foods or those high in salt, sugar and fats. There are various healthy options to choose from while planning for a holiday party and for a list of these options please visit the website www.firsteatright.com.
Accommodate exercise whenever possible: You might be on a holiday but exercising needs no vacation. Ensure to achieve your required 150 minutes of weekly physical activity and also see to that kids get their daily share of 1 hour a day of activity. Make it family-based by going for a walk after dinner, playing a game of football post lunch or taking up badminton during your free time.
Fasten seat belts: It might be to your friend’s house across the road but ensure to buckle up your seat belts as well your kids’ however short the trip might be to ensure safety.
Keep an eye on the child: It might be a family get together or friends outing. While the adults have fun on one side the kids are busy with their own games and toys on the other side. It is always recommended to keep an eye on your little ones and keep dangerous toys, food, household things and other such objects out of the child’s reach. Also, never allow them to go to the swimming pool or the nearby pond all by themselves.
Don’t smoke: Smoking might be an enjoyable affair to you, but should it have a gruesome effect on your loved ones around too? Don’t let the smoke disturb your health as well as the health of loved ones around. Refrain from smoking.
Holiday stress might bring out the worst on you: Each of us need a well-deserved break and holidays offer the perfect opportunity to fulfill this wish. But people get overstressed during holidays too seeing to last-minute arrangements, late-night partying, haphazard sleeping routines and change in food habits. Take a break when you feel that way and reconnect yourself to the inner self by finding a support group, interacting socially and getting sufficient sleep.
Thyroid problems and deficiency have become a common issue among individuals. Women mostly get it either during pregnancy or after delivery. The problem is addressed with a regular dose of thyroxin or similar medication, but the side effects of thyroid deficiency are many. Hair fall, fluctuating weights, tiredness and palpitations are common problems. Addressing the variations in the thyroid hormone using yoga as a complementary therapy is a great way to address the issue. Stress is a great side effect of thyroid problems and yoga is the best way to address stress. Even a study has shown that yoga reduces stress and improves overall well-being. There has also been a small study that associates improved thyroid functioning with regular yoga and another study that showed that practicing yoga for six months improved cholesterol levels and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) levels. All this in turn reduced the need for thyroid replacement therapy in women suffering from hypothyroidism. Read more about hypothyroidism and the general recommendations on food habits from the website www.firsteatright.com.
Stretch with Yoga Poses & Address Thyroid Problems
Certain yoga poses stimulate the throat, improve circulation and have a positive impact on the thyroid gland located in the neck region. The following are the recommended poses for addressing thyroid problem:
Supported Shoulder Pose: This is an upside-down pose known as an inversion. An inversion stimulates blood flow to the throat which stimulates the thyroid gland. The individual lies down on the floor with a towel under his/her shoulder to support it. He/she places the shoulder on the edge of the towel and rests the head on the mat. Pressing the arms firmly against the floor, the person slowly lifts the legs keeping it at a right angle while breathing in. Breathing out, the legs are lifted further up pushing up onto the shoulders. The position is such that the body and the legs are in a straight line up from the shoulders. The legs are lowered slowly after breathing deeply.
Plow Pose: Similar to the shoulder pose, an individual starts to do this pose in the same way. The difference is that instead of holding the legs up straight he/she should bring the leg over the head and rest the toes on the floor behind the head. The person supports the lower back with the help of arms that are firmly rested against the floor and breathing deeply for three times. Slowly the legs are brought back above the head and lowered onto the floor. This position might create discomfort for overweight/obese people generally but is a safe position to perform.
Bridge Pose: A good pose for strengthening the back as well as for thyroid health. Lie down on the mat and bring your feet inwards towards the hips. Keep your arms by your side and press the palms to the floor. Slowly lift the hips to the sky and when you find it difficult do it by putting the palms on the lower back for support. Breathe deeply thrice and lower the hips to get off the position.
Fish Pose: This is the best position to practice either after the shoulder or the plow pose as the body is stretched in the opposite direction. Sit down with your legs stretched forward, place your hands behind with the fingers tucked under the buttocks, lower the elbows down and lean backward. Now drop the head as far as it goes down trying to touch the crown of your head on the mat. Your chest would be facing up against the sky. Breathe deeply for three times and then lift your head slowly to come back to normal position.
Boat Pose: This works well on the core stimulating the throat as well the thyroid. For this pose one must sit on the floor with the legs out in the front and the palms facing down on either side of the legs. Lean back slowly with the back straight. Bend your knees and lift the feet off the floor such that the body and the legs together make a ‘V’ shape. Raise your alms to your shoulders length with the palms facing each other. Breathe in deeply, bring your legs and arms down and come back to normal position.
Upward Bow Pose: Lungs and chest are stretched in this pose stimulating the thyroid and pituitary glands and strengthening the arms and legs. Lie down flat, bend your knees and bring them close to the body. Place your hands next to the head pointing the fingers toward the shoulders and the elbows pointed upwards. Lift your tailbone and buttocks, ensure that your thighs and inner feet are parallel, press into feet and hands lifting onto the crown of the head. Lift the head off the floor until your hands are straight. Stay in this pose for 5-10 seconds. Return back to normal bending your arms, buttocks and tailbone.
Cobra Pose: This pose stimulates the throat and the thyroid. To do this it is recommended to lie down flat on the stomach on the mat, place you palms on the mat under the shoulders and press it against the mat, lift the head until the chin is lifted away from the mat and the back is arched, drop the head back towards the buttocks and breathe deeply thrice. Slowly bend back the head and go back to normalcy.
It is advisable to do any of the poses after learning them from a professional. There is no need to do all the poses in one go and it is also allowed to modify the poses to suit your needs.
You learn the nuances of parenting and start becoming a versatile parent even before your child is conceived in the womb. Fathering a child is not restricted to grooming your kid into a mature adult, spending on your beloved children and investing for their future benefits. All these are beautiful gestures from your side as a dad, but they are of use only when the child grows up in a healthy way nurtured with all the required nutrients. To all the women who reprimand their husbands when they go to play a game of badminton or cricket on weekends, please don’t prevent them from doing so! Your husbands are not only enjoying their ‘me’ time with friends (I understand that its going to be frustrating for you thoroughly but alas we need to look at the benefits that outweigh anger) but are also preparing themselves for fathering a healthy child.
Inside the Fetus
Its amazing to hear compliments from others when your child performs something exemplarily. Comments like ‘She sings just like you Rahul’ or ‘He has got the same face’ are heart-warming to hear. Genetic traits and inheritance play a pivotal role in each of our lives making us who we are. Nurture does change our approach to things and helps us evolve as better humans, but nature does equally define our growth. Hence, even before conception it is helpful for preparing in the best way possible to give birth to a healthy child.
A new study has shown that paternal exercise plays a prime role in defining the metabolic health of the offspring well into their adulthood. It talks about correcting health of the individual at the cellular level. Of late, there have been evidences piling up linking the existence of type 2 diabetes and decreasing metabolic health to poor diet intake and the major roles dad play in contributing towards obesity and metabolic changes of the offspring.
A team of researchers analyzed the father-offspring concept on a group of mice who were fed a normal diet or a high-fat diet for three weeks. A small group of mice from either group were sedentary while some exercised. These mice bred after three weeks and the offspring led a sedentary lifestyle eating a normal diet for a year. Results showed that:
Dietitian Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.