Diabetic Kidney Disease

Summary: Kidneys are bean-shaped organs. These are very important organs of the body. The main functions of kidneys include extracting waste from blood, balancing body fluids, forming urine and contributing in other important functions of the body. The onset of diabetes makes the work of kidneys tough and disrupts its normal functioning. Impaired functions of kidneys give rise to kidney diseases. This blog talks about diabetes and kidneys, symptoms of the kidney diseases and the tips to prevent these diseases.

Diabetes and Kidneys: Diabetes increases blood glucose level. The surge in glucose level in blood make the work of kidneys difficult as they have to filter more and more blood. This increased work load starts putting burden on the filters. Slowly and slowly they start becoming leaky and the useful substances, such as protein fail to get filtered. It gets flushed out along with urine. It is a medical condition known as microalbuminuria (having small amount of protein in the urine).
If the condition of microalbuminuria is allowed to worsen, it will result into macroalbuminuria (having large amount of protein in urine). If even in this stage, the kidney complication remains untreated, the kidneys start losing their ability to filter. Resultantly, waste products start getting deposited in the blood. In that stage the filtration work is done through machine(dialysis). When even dialysis does not produce the required result, kidney transplant becomes the only solution.

In essence, better a person keeps diabetes under control, the lower becomes the chance of getting kidney disease.
Symptoms of the Kidney Disease: The problem with kidney diseases is that they do not show symptoms unless the entire function is out of order. It is simply because the kidneys start working hard to compensate for the failing capillaries. However, some symptoms of these diseases (though the symptoms of two individuals are not same) are as follows:
Ø Fluid Build Up
Ø Loss of Sleep
Ø Weakness
Ø Upset Stomach
Ø Poor Appetite
Ø Difficulty in Concentration
Ø Weight Loss
Ø Dry, itchy Skin
Ø Puffiness around the Eyes
Ø Muscle Cramps
Ø Needing to Pass Urine more often than usual

Tips for the Prevention of Kidney Diseases:

Ø Control Diabetes, High Blood Pressure and Heart Diseases: The precursors of kidney diseases are diabetes, high blood pressure and heart diseases. Therefore, controlling sugar levels, blood pressure and cholesterol will help keep heart diseases at distance. Annual health check-up for those who are above 40 years also serve the purpose.

Ø Reduction in Salt Intake: Salt triggers the formation of kidney stones. Apart, it also increases the amount of sodium in diet and blood pressure. Therefore, the intake of salt should not be more than five-six grams (one teaspoon) per day. Apart, avoid restaurant food and stick to home-made food.

Ø Remain Hydrated: Drink adequate amount of water every day to keep yourself well hydrated. It is simply because presence of enough fluid will help kidney flush out sodium, urea and toxins from the body and nullify the possibility of developing kidney diseases. The recommended dose of water for a healthy kidney is 4-6 glasses of water whereas people who have a kidney stone, should take 2 to 3 litre of water everyday to minimize the risk of developing new stones.

Ø Say No to Alcohol and Smoking: Frequent intake of alcohol causes imbalances of the body and hormonal control that disrupts the normal functioning of the kidneys. Though smoking does not have any bearing on the functioning of the kidneys, but it makes them less efficient. Smoking does also affect heart health adversely that trigger kidney problems.

Ø Exercise Daily: Obesity is closely associated with kidney-related problems; in fact, it doubles the chances of developing kidney diseases. Therefore, doing exercise daily proves to be extremely instrumental in keeping kidney diseases at bay, as it controls the portion size. 
                                                                       ----Ashish Jha

6 Things that you should do to Avoid Diarrhea in Summer

Summer months are favourite months of diarrhoea. Though diarrhoea can hit anybody at any point of time, but in scorching hot weather conditions, it hits more and more infants, children and younger people. It is because in summer season severe gastroenteritis takes place because of bacterial infection in intestine and stomach. However, there are some preventive measures to keep this disease at a distance. This blog talks about some of these measures.

During summers, the most common cause of diarrhoea are infections caused by the microscopic-sized parasites, known as giardiasis and cryptosporidiosis. Diarrhoea generally gets transmitted through the contaminated water. These can spread from one person to the other and also from animal to person by contracting illness from agents. Diarrhoea comes along with other ailments, such as abdominal cramps, nausea, loss of appetite, vomiting, mild fever, etc. Sometimes Diagnosis of Diarrhoea gets delayed and that triggers alarming and chronic situations.

However, to prevent these alarming circumstances during summer months, it is always a prudent move to follow some natural preventive measures. Some of these measures are given below:

Ø Keep your Hands Clean: Mind, if your hands are not clean, more susceptible you will become to get diarrhoea. It is because diarrhoea attacks when it comes in contact with bacteria, viruses, organisms and parasites, like giardiasis. If your hands are not clean, germs will get spread at a fast pace, damaging your bowel movement and causing watery poo.

Therefore, for ensuring safety from these pathogens, you should keep washing your hands at frequent intervals. Mind, the cleaner your hands are, lesser you become susceptible to diarrhoea.

Ø Stay Away from Antibiotics Though doctors of today are quite prompt in recommending antibiotics, but the use of antibiotics is not good for the microbial balance in the intestine. This imbalance leads to diarrhoea. Hence, you should go for holistic remedies than to take(devour) antibiotics. Avoid using these medicines in minor infections, but if the intake is unavoidable, include more yogurt. Yogurt will help prevent the occurrence of diarrhoea as its live active culture help maintain the microbial balance and prevent infection from reaching the intestine.

Ø Say No to Undercooked Foods:  Eggs and meat contain bacteria and live parasites that give rise to chronic diarrhoea conditions. Hence, before consuming them, make sure that they are properly cooked. Apart, drink adequate water in summer months as water washes off toxins and infections from the body naturally. Despite remaining hydrated, if parasites are still in your body, you can take mild antibiotic, but only after taking advice and assent of your doctor. The moderate dose of antibiotics helps kill parasites and stop occurrence of the disease.

Ø Do not Eat Raw Foods without Washing: Fruits and vegetables are the breeding grounds for bacteria that may lead to acute infections and diarrhoea. Therefore, make sure to wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before eating them raw. Apart, Salads should also not be consumed hours after they are cut/prepared. Making these types of mistakes may lead to intake of parasites/viruses and ultimately diarrhoea.

Ø Have More of Fluids: During summer season, maintain your body well hydrated. Take adequate of water, but not the untreated water, as diarrhoea is predominantly a water-borne disease and dirty and impure water is the main reason of infection.

Ø Avoid Acidic Foods: In summer season, our body tends to get infections/ diseases very fast. Therefore, you should minimize the intake of spicy and acidic foods, such as grapefruits, oranges as they can cause diarrhoea symptoms by breaking down the stool. Apart, avoid taking milk if your body is sensitive to lactose products. In addition to these, you should also avoid taking caffeine as it can make your stool loose.

It is important to know that the above-mentioned measures include, but not limited to the measures taken to avoid diarrhoea in summer.

                                                      ---Ashish Jha


Suicide: The Ultimate Existential Choice

Reading Albert Camus' 'The Myth of Sisyphus' seventh time, I again stopped at his deeply thought-stirring words and didn't proceed further: 'There's but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that's suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest-whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories-comes afterward. These are games; one must first answer.'

If life's an absurd, meaningless pantomime, don't we owe it to ourselves to do the logical thing, and end it? Camus is not being morose here; he was, by all accounts, a warm and amiable individual who relished life. Rather, he asks us to be dispassionately logical. Many have taken their lives from despair or despondency, but who has done so from the necessary conclusion of a logical chain of reasoning? We must also distinguish between having a reason to kill oneself, and suicide motivated by the ultimate meaninglessness of life. The former may be a rational option-as it was for the Stoics-even for those who retain a sense of life's meaning, but whose dignity, or quality of life, has permanently dropped below a level acceptable to them. However, suicide based on the absurdity of life would be different, more fundamental: It's philosophically justified  suicide, which says 'no' to life whatever the circumstances. 

So, philosophically speaking, is life worth living? Sisyphus' task is pointless, and even what's achieved is consequently undone. However, pointlessness is different to meaninglessness, a distinction that Camus stressed, for acceptance of the Absurd is merely the first step to a higher philosophy. If we overcome our disappointment and despair, avoiding the false lures of hope and illusory dreams, then we can achieve a new clarity and strength. At the end of Sophocles' Oedipus Rex, the tragic hero finds himself blind, desperate, and exiled, yet accepts both his choices and absurd fate. Could we not similarly conclude that, despite our absurd existence, and all that life throws at us, 'all's well'?

Personally, I've always believed that suicide's the ' ultimate exercise of  human volition.' It's the extreme manifestation of existential choice. Why can't I die when I'm of no use to anyone, even to myself? And why should one be embarrassed about what the people will say when one ends one's life? If life belongs to an individual, death too is an inalienable part and parcel of his /her existence. Waiting for the perfect moment to shuffle off the mortal coil, Bhishma told Karna when the latter came to see him: " Karna, life comes to a full circle when death's in your hands and at your beck and call ", knowing very well that the man (Karna) he was telling this to, already chose his death by giving away his earrings and impenetrable armour making himself gleefully vulnerable to death. Wasn't it an 'Altruistic Suicide'? 
                                                            ----Sumit Paul

Indian Education System Needs A Revamp

Having studied at Indian and foreign varsities, what I've gathered is the startling difference between the oriental (precisely, Indian) and occidental education systems. At the risk of sounding a tad presumptuous, let me state categorically that the existing Indian education system leaves a lot to be desired in terms of classroom teaching and the overall performance of the Indian students. The examination-oriented education system in which students get 596 out of 600 is not just ridiculous, it's outright embarrassing. This bespeaks the accent on memorising and not applying one's brains. This textbook-based and exam-oriented education is outright inimical to the natural intelligence of the students.

I wonder, why UGC has still not dispensed with Lord Macaulay's antediluvian education pattern that aimed at producing English-speaking native babus. What he conceptualised way back in 1832 is still prevalent with minor changes, whereas universities in the West progressed by leaps and bounds in their approach and curriculum. Even Pakistan's premier varsities are far ahead of India in their modernity and revolutionary ideas. Let me tell you with a tinge of sadness and also with a sense of anger that when I approached Lucknow varsity and UGC for my M Phil theory on the homosexual elements in Firaq Gorakhpuri's Urdu poetry (Sukhan-e-Firaq mein humjinsi anasir), I was told that Firaq was a sacrosanct figure in India and I couldn't pursue my M Phil on this controversial aspect of his poetry. The world knows that Firaq was an avowed gay and late Vinod Mehta clearly stated this fact in his memoirs Lucknow Boy. Firaq himself never hid this fact and called himself a homosexual.

I'm sure, the VC of Lucknow University was not aware of this fact. But he outright rejected my intention to pursue an M Phil degree in Urdu on Firaq's rather embarrassing sexual preference. Frustrated, I approached Islamabad varsity and completed my thesis on this aspect of one of the greatest Urdu poets of the last century, that too, without a guide as one can pursue Doctoral/Post Doctoral research works at Pakistani varsities with and without guides. One doesn't have to undergo the rigmarole of seeking the 'guidance' of old-fashioned guides and interminable formalities that are here at Indian varsities. This exasperates me no end. The education system that exists in India, stymies the intellectual queries and is very straight-jacketed. Here, getting high marks is the only criterion of being a brilliant student.

At Al-Azhar (Cairo), where I studied Qura'an and Classical Arabic, and then at the elite British and Ivy League US varsities across the globe, nowhere did I find this morbid stress on marks and parroting. There seems to be no concept of liberal education in India. This very idea is alien to the Indians and the UGC. Until the whole system is revamped in India, you'll continue to see brainless, lousy students with marks over 90/95 percents. Indian education system needs a seismic jolt to come out of its deep slumber.  
                                                       ----Sumit Paul

Cardiovascular Diseases: An Overview

Cardiovascular disease is one of the most severe health complications that arise out of diabetes. The data shows that overall, cardiovascular disease is the top killer of Indians. If the symptoms of these diseases are not taken seriously, these will turn into the life-threatening diseases. The present blog talks about the symptoms, risk factors, prevention and treatment of the cardiovascular diseases.

The word cardiovascular means heart and blood vessels and cardiovascular disease means any damage to the heart and blood vessels. The blood vessels get damaged due to surge in the blood glucose level, smoking, high blood pressure and high amount of cholesterol. The medical term cardiovascular disease comprises heart disease, stroke and the diseases of the heart and circulation.

As surge in the blood glucose level is the predominant cause of cardiovascular diseases, it is important for the people with diabetes to make some lifestyle-related changes, such as quitting sedentary lifestyle, eating healthy diet, losing extra weight and stopping smoking. There are a number of things that cause these diseases, but the individual symptoms may vary from person to person.

Symptoms of the Cardiovascular Diseases
·         Hands and legs becoming cool
·         Less or absent pulses in the hands and legs
·         Swelling in the feet and ankles
·         Pale, clammy appearance
·         Swollen veins in the neck
·         Rapid or shallow breathing
·         Rapid and/or irregular heart rate
·         High or low blood pressure
·         Abnormalities in the retina
·         Extra or abnormal heart sounds
·         Fluid in the lungs
·         Abnormal sounds of arterial blood flow throughout the body

Risk Factors of the Cardio-vascular Diseases
Ø Diabetes
Ø Obesity
Ø High Dietary Salt
Ø Hypertension
Ø Alcohol and Cigarette Consumption
Ø Insufficient physical activities and stress
Ø Having a partner with cancer
Ø Hyperlipidemia or high blood cholesterol
Ø Stress
Ø Air pollution
Ø High blood pressure
Ø Family history of heart disease
Ø High blood cholesterol
Ø Sex: Men are more likely to develop CVD at an earlier age than women.
Tips to Prevent Cardiovascular Diseases
Ø Quit Smoking: If you are addicted to smoke, make a comprehensive strategy to quit it at the earliest. You may talk to your doctor, take counselling, smoking cessation drugs or watch online programs to curb the addiction.
Ø Lead Active Lifestyle: Contrary to the popular belief, exercise is very much essential even for the persons suffering from cardiovascular diseases. You just need to take advise on the type of exercise that will suit to your condition.
Ø Eat Healthy Foods: It is rightly said that food is the best medicine. Take low fat and low sodium diet to reduce your risk factors, such as extra body weight, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, etc.
Ø Take Alcohol in Moderation: You need not say no to alcohol, but you should moderate its consumption. Limit to 2 drinks per day if you are a man and if you are a female, stick to maximum of 1 drink per day.
Ø Maintain a Healthy Weight: If you want to keep your cardiovascular diseases at bay, you need to maintain a healthy weight. If you are overweight, you can talk to your doctor and know about some measures to lose extra weight.

Treatment for Cardiovascular Diseases
Medications: If the lifestyle changes do not bear fruit, doctors prescribe medications to control the cardiovascular diseases. Though the type of medication depends upon the type and nature of the cardiovascular diseases. The early the medications start, less becomes the need of any surgical intervention.
Medical procedures or surgery: If medications also do not provide the required results, doctors recommend medical procedure or even surgery. However, that too depends upon the type and nature of the disease.
                                                                                                                                                                                            --------Ashish Jha

Help with a Motive

According to the newspapers, the heat wave was causing fainting spells, so the young lady wasn't surprised to see the middle-aged man next to her in church slump down towards the floor. Quickly she knelt down beside him, placed a firm hand on his head and pushed it down between the knees. " Keep your head down," she whispered urgently." You'll feel better if you can get the blood into your head." The man's wife looked on convulsed with laughter and did nothing to help her husband or the young lady. She must be quite heartless, the young lady decided. Then, to her dismay, the man managed to break loose from her muscular hold and hissed, " What are you up to, you meddling fool? I'm trying to retrieve my hat from under the bench!"

People who try hard to improve things frequently achieve remarkable success in making them worse. In the final analysis, the solution to problems lies neither in action nor in inaction but in understanding, for where there's true understanding , there's no problem. Years ago, an old gentleman gave me a golden advice: Service is good. But one must know, when to serve and when not to. Service is like sympathy. There're times, when words of sympathy simply put you off and there're occasions when no help is the best help. At times, some of us behave in an over philanthropic manner and try (nay, show off) to help out people in distress only to increase their miseries. We don't try to understand the root of any issue and jump headlong. The overzealous attitude to help and mitigate the intensity of problems only increases it manifold. Confucius was dying, a few disciples were trying their level best to thwart the inevitable by applying all sorts of remedies. Irritated, yet retaining his proverbial sense of humour, Confucius told those over enthusiastic disciples, 'Please don't try anything, you're hastening  my end. Let me be with you all for a few moments more.' Everything, however good or well-intentioned it may be, has its utility in certain circumstances. 

When you're thirsty, only water can quench your thirst, not wine. We must understand the usefulness of our actions according to the need of the situation. Always remember the Turkish adage: Always extend your hand to help, but should also know when to put it in pocket. When help is uncalled for, it's sure to backfire. If you look into the whole phenomenon of helping out others, you'll often notice a subtle condescension on the part of those who help. Agreed, all those who help people don't have any motive at all, but many a time, a sense of helping others stems from deep-seated pontification and air of superiority over the less privileged. That's why many true philanthropists never disclose their identity/name while donating a big sum to an organization. They deliberately choose anonymity.

The moment we flaunt our act/s of helping people, we've the secret desire to get a mileage out of it. Bukhari mentioned a thought-provoking episode in the life of Muhammad. Once Muhammad was sitting with his disciples. One of them said, 'Rasool, yesterday night I gave a bagful of dates andgera (a kind of Arabian bread in those days that used to be eaten after soaking in camel's milk) to a poor Jewish woman.' Muhammad heard and smirked. That man repeated what he did for the poor Jewish woman. Muhammad again smirked and said nothing. Frustrated, that disciple again said the same thing. This time Muhammad said, 'Shame on you! You helped her and now telling everyone that what a great thing you've done! Your help has a ring of artificiality and dishonesty to it. You just want praise from others. You've degraded yourself and insulted your faith.' Many of us are like that self-seeking disciple of Rasool, who paint the city red when they do something good for someone. Human beings are crazy, nay paranoid, about publicity and popularity. We all seek a few moments of fleeting glory, even if that be moonshine. Our so-called philanthropy is often an act of publicity.         

                                                           ---Sumit Paul

Churning out Books

' Methinks, the easiest thing in the world is to become a writer,' Mark Twain rightly said. Hearing that one former Miss World and actress just finished a self-help (what else?) book and prior to that, one more actress penned her memoirs, I think all actors and actresses will soon follow suit. First of all, when 'blank on top' celebrities decide to become writers, they look for ghost writers and once the book is complete, they curry favour with the publishers, throw pre-launch parties and also rope in reviewers who write favourable reviews in exchange of a few greenbacks. Then the publishers send a few copies to bookstores where such books gather dust till doomsday and no one buys them.

I remember, years ago, someone told me that a Hindi film actress wrote a book of poems. I took it from a friend of mine and couldn't proceed further after reading a few juvenile and schmaltzy poems. She wrote that all poems were original but I found them heavily influenced by Sachidanand Hiranand Vatsyayan 'Agye' and Dharmveer Bharti. That she at least read them is worth-lauding! My point is, why on earth do they try to write in the first place? When you read actors' blogs and tweets, you realise how awfully they express themselves. Writing leaves a permanent legacy. These failed actors and celebrities know that there's no way they can be remembered by the posterity. So they become writers. And I'm sure, even their family members don't read their books. Writing is a passion. It doesn't come overnight. One has to sweat it out.

When Hollywood heart-throb Errol Flynn wrote his uninhibited autobiography, 'My wicked, wicked ways', he didn't forget to acknowledge his friend's contribution in completely rewriting it. His friend was a professor of English at Illinois University, who requested Flynn never to mention his name. People from show-biz can seldom write. Granted, there could be exceptions. But they are exceptions. And when ' they write, they rape with pens' (Rex Harrison, Oxford educated Hollywood actor, who essayed the role of Professor Higgins in 'My Fair Lady' and also acted in Krishna Shah's Indo-American film 'Shalimar ' in 1977). You may have noticed how inarticulate most of them are while talking. It's called 'show-biz' or ' model syndrome.'

All models are so self-obsessed and narcissistic that when it comes to acting and delivering dialogues, they get tongue-tied. Moreover, it's the latest fad to write a book (known as Chetan Bhagat Syndrome), no matter who writes it for you. You ought to have at least a couple of books to your credit. Then only can you be called 'socially arrived.' All social butterflies introduce themselves as writers, to boot! This amuses me. I have come across people, who boast of writing 15-20 books and they condescendingly ask me how many have I written, as if churning out books is the easiest thing in the world. And if you bother to have a look at the books written by any Tom, Dick and Harry, you will instantaneously understand that all books are completely based on downloaded material with a few changes here and there. That's the reason, one modern age 'spiritual guru' writes minimum two fat volumes every year. No one reads.

So no one can detect plagiarism in any book. It's of no consequence whether or not your books are read. What matters most is how many you produce from your never-ending and ever active factory. After all, numbers count. Don't they?           
                                       ---Sumit Paul

Life itself is a Miracle

Once someone approached a disciple of the Muslim mystic Bahauddin Naqshband and said, " Tell me why your Master conceals his miracles. I've personally collected data that shows beyond any doubt that he's been present in more than one place at a time; that he healed people by the power of his prayers but tells them it was the work of nature; that he played people in their troubles and then attributes it to their good luck. Why does he do this? " I know exactly what you are talking about," said the disciple, " for I've observed these things myself. And I think I can give you the answer to your question.

 First, the Master recoils from being the centre of attention. And secondly, he is convinced that once people develop an interest in the miraculous, they've no desire to learn anything of true spiritual value. " Faith, I mean true faith, is never miracle-based. That one requires miracles to believe, shows the fundamental weakness of belief and dilapidation of faith. Miracle is sorcery. It's a sleight of hand and exploitation of collective gullibility. Once Vivekananda saw a hath yogi walk on water as if he was walking on a surface, he asked him where did he learn this 'great art', ' a never before miracle.' That man proudly replied that he spent 24 years of austerity and learnt how to walk on water from a sanyasi in the Himalayas. ' Sad, very sad', said Vivekananda.' ' You and your guru wasted two decades for imparting and learning a mere magical trick. You could have utilised these years to uplift the lives of poor. That would have been the greatest miracle, because untiring service of mankind is no less a miracle. Moreover, by learning how to walk on water, you just inflated your ego and wasted your life on earth and this has helped no one.' Those who are firm in faith, never believe in miracles. And those who are truly enlightened, never resort to miracles to attract their followers. Human life itself is the greatest miracle. No other so-called miracles can eclipse it. And every golden morning is nature's own way to mesmerise us with a miracle. Seeing an infant's guileless and angelic face is a miracle.

Hearing someone's unaffected and hearty laughter is a miracle because in this age of universal gloominess and deep-rooted sorrows, a consummate laughter is an unexpected phenomenon. It's a miracle. To quote poet Idris Lakhnavi, 'Is daur mein tere chehre pe hansi/Hansne waale tu kahin farishta toh nahin?' (There's a streak of smile on your lips in such difficult times/Man tell me, are you an angel?' Despite so much bloodshed, so many wars, conflicts, skirmishes and so much violence, man has not lost his inherent goodness and faith in mankind and our audacious optimism that a day will come when there will be no differences, no distinctions and no discrimination among men and no boundaries among nations.

However Utopian all this may sound and seem, is it not a great miracle? To have an unwavering faith in anything and in any idea is a faith of the most sublime form. Motivation Guru Shiv Khera always says, 'Vishwas khud ek chamtakaar hai' (Faith itself is a miracle). What else is required to be qualified as a miracle when miracles are scattered around aplenty? We require miracles, when we lose faith in ourselves and in our universal goodness. Remember the words of the modern American sage Ralph Waldo Emerson, 'Look deeper. The whole world and your own life will appear as the greatest miracles.'  
                                                                    ----Sumit Paul