Androgenic-anabolic steroids can be detrimental to health and even cause premature death

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine No Comments

Muscle mass can be built naturally through healthy food and exercise

New Delhi, 16th November 2018: A gym instructor in Kerala was recently arrested on charges of unauthorized sale of steroids. Research indicate that the use of steroids to fast-track the development of body and muscles is a rampant practice in several gyms in the country. Youngsters are often lured into developing muscles quickly through the indiscriminate use of steroid supplements, mostly in the form of injections. This is despite the fact that only licensed dealers are permitted to deal in steroids.

The indiscriminate and prolonged use of androgenic-anabolic steroids (AAS), which are synthetic derivatives of the male hormone testosterone, can cause fatal side effects, leading to even premature death. Nandrolone, Stanozolol, and Methenolol are among the commonly used AASs for disproportionate muscle mass development.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr KK Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Androgenic steroids also referred to as ‘anabolic-androgenic steroids’, are synthetic steroidal androgens. The hormones testosterone and dihydrotestosterone in stanozolol increase the synthesis of protein within the cells, resulting in a faster buildup of cell tissue. These drugs were once used exclusively by athletes and bodybuilders. It has the ability to add strength without excess weight gain and does not convert to estrogen or cause water retention. Bodybuilders use it to preserve lean body mass and lose fat. It is available as 5 mg tablets and is given in the dose of up to 25 mg per day. Pharmacological doses of stanozolol decrease serum high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol and increase low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol concentrations. However, when used in excess without prescription, they can even lead to hepatomas.”

The long-term effects of performance-enhancing drugs haven’t been rigorously studied. However, doping is prohibited by most sports organizations and no matter from which angle on looks at it, the use of performance-enhancing drugs is certainly risky.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “The addition of anabolic steroids to the human system can cause shrinking testicles, reduced sperm count, infertility, baldness, breast development in men and an increased risk of prostate cancer. Women also suffer from side effects that include growth of facial hair, male-pattern baldness, adverse change in the menstrual cycle leading to infertility, enlarged clitoris and deepened voice.”

Some tips from HCFI

Here are some foods that can help you develop muscle mass naturally in combination with physical activity.

Quinoa This is a protein-packed grain and contains all nine of the essential amino acids. It is gluten-free and easy to digest.

Almonds These are full of protein and an excellent source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and magnesium.

Soy Another natural protein source, one cup of soy contains over 20 grams of amino acids. It also stacked with other important vitamins and minerals, making this meat alternative one of the healthiest muscle-building foods around.

More women suffer from seasonal affective disorder in winter

Health Care, Heart Care Foundation of India, Medicine No Comments

Eating healthy, staying hydrated, and regular exercise can prevent the condition

New Delhi, 15 November 2018: More than 10 million in India experience similar or the same symptoms of a usually self-diagnosable ailment called Seasonal affective disorder (SAD), indicate studies. Its milder version usually resolves itself within months. It is also estimated that 4 out of 5 sufferers of this condition are women. The age of onset is estimated to be between 18 and 30 years but it can affect anyone irrespective of this.

SAD is defined as recurring depression with seasonal onset and remission. Fall-onset (winter) SAD is more common. It is primarily characterized by atypical symptoms of depression. SAD occurs in climates where there is less sunlight at certain times of the year. It can be mistaken as a “lighter” version of depression, but this is not the case. It is a different version of the same illness and people with SAD are just as ill as people with major depression.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “The human body, its metabolism, and hormones react to changing seasons. This further leads to changes in mood and behavior. Just as certain people become irritable and aggressive in summer, others feel low and lethargic during the monsoon and winter. For women, especially those who are housewives, can fare worse than men since they do not have much access to the world outside in a colder weather.”

Some symptoms of fall-onset SAD include inability to wake up in the morning, craving for carbohydrate-rich food, marked increase in weight, irritability, interpersonal difficulties (especially rejection sensitivity), and leaden paralysis (heavy, leaden feelings in arms or legs).

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “Light therapy has been proven to be effective in people with SAD. It may take 4 to 6 weeks to see a response, although some patients improve within days. Therapy is continued until sufficient daily light exposure is available through other sources, typically from springtime sun. Other ways to prevent the onset of this condition include eating a healthy and balanced diet; staying hydrated; getting enough sunlight; and engaging in regular outdoor activities.”

Some tips from HCFI.

People with SAD can include these food items in their diet to manage symptoms.

  • Turmeric You can mix this with milk and drink it at night before sleeping. It also helps get rid of cough and cold, boosts immunity, reduces inflammation, keeps you warm.
  • Sweet potatoes They are a very good source of fibre, vitamin A, and potassium. Apart from relieving constipation, they also boost immunity.
  • Dates They are very rich in nutrients; keep you warm; and prevent cold-related illnesses.
  • Ginger Consume ginger juice with honey every day. It can provide relief from cough and cold and aid digestion.
  • Dry fruits Instead of processed snacks, you can opt for dry fruits in between meals or add it to food items. They generate heat in your body, and are rich in nutrients.

Obsessive compulsive behavior (OCD) may lead to depression over time

Medicine No Comments

3 in 100 people suffer from OCD in some form

New Delhi, 14th November 2018: The obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) department of NIMHANS, treats about 60 patients a week on an average, including 10 new patients. Patients spend five to six hours a day on the activity they are obsessed with and in some cases even 16 hours. These symptoms interfere with their day-to-day functioning or cause distress. The patients fall between the age groups of 4 and late 50s!

OCD is a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over. Three in every hundred people suffer from some form of OCD, and they may not even be aware of the problem.

Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee, Dr K K Aggarwal, President, HCFI, said, “Addiction is commonly associated with substance abuse such as alcohol, tobacco and drugs. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has listed different reasons (as below) for why people take drugs: to feel good: feeling of pleasure, ‘high’; to feel better: to relieve stress; to do better: improve performance; curiosity; and peer pressure. However, it is not just drugs but also certain behaviors that can be categorized as addictive. OCD falls under the latter. People suffering from this condition have uncontrollable, recurring thoughts and behaviours, and feel the urge to repeat an action over and over again – mounting to an addiction with one or more habits. When this behavior starts interfering with one’s daily life and routine in a significant manner, it is time to seek help.”

People with OCD can’t control their actions and thoughts; believe that life cannot continue as normal while the imbalance remains; attach extraordinary significance to their thoughts; need constant reassurance; doubt everything; and focus on exactness and order.

Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Group Editor-in-Chief of IJCP, said, “The cause of OCD usually lies in a serotonin imbalance – this chemical is produced in the body for the nerve cells and the brain to function at their optimum. It is imperative to treat and manage OCD in a timely manner failing which it can even lead to depression over time. One of the common modes of treatment for OCD is psychotherapy. Apart from this cognitive behavioral therapy can help overcome certain faulty beliefs.”

Some tips from HCFI

Eat healthy Gut health is an important factor in preventing many behavioral issues including anxiety and obsessive actions. Eat a diet that is rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

Avoid stress Techniques such as yoga and meditation can help you avoid unwanted stress. Try and lead a parasympathetic lifestyle.

Exercise regularly Physical activity for about 30 minutes every day is said to boost the feel-good hormones and provide fuel to the brain. This will help you focus better and reduce anxiety.

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