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Vitamin D culprit for slouch

Slouching is bad for respiration — it does not give the lungs enough space to expand
The slouch may be due to a lack of Vitamin D with or without calcium deficiency.

Dr Gita Mathai   |     |   Published 09.06.21, 01:47 AM

My mother slouches when she sits and stands.

A slouch is bad for respiration — it does not give the lungs enough space to expand. It looks bad too. The slouch may be due to a lack of Vitamin D with or without calcium deficiency. Once this is addressed, she needs to consciously sit and stand straight. This can be done by standing against a wall with the feet six inches apart. The head, shoulders, hips and heels should touch the wall. While sitting on a chair or driving, she should place a rolled-up towel at the small of the back, and use a low pillow while sleeping.

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Nose block

I have a deviated nasal septum. One side of my nose is permanently blocked. If I develop a cold or an allergy and the other side also gets blocked, I just can’t breathe. My doctor has advised surgery. I am scared.

Yoga has breathing exercises, such as breathing through one nostril with the other closed. You could also try a non-absorbed steroid spray and steam inhalations. Yoga takes time. If there is no improvement in a month or two, you can think about surgery.

Stretch marks

I did some heavy workouts and bulked up at the gym. Now I have ugly white stretch marks.

Stretch marks form when elastic skin is overstretched. It can occur in any sort of rapid weight gain. Preventing stretch marks involves drinking plenty of water and oiling the skin regularly before bath. This should be done before the marks appear — with a mixture of 250ml of coconut oil and 250ml of sesame oil. Once the marks have appeared, exfoliation and dermal abrasion won’t help, nor will over-the-counter creams. Regular use of retinol creams such as Tretinoin may help.

Heart attack

My neighbour complained of acidity and abdominal pain. Then she collapsed and died. A heart attack?

Heart attacks can be difficult to diagnose, especially in women, as the symptoms can be confusing and vague. Common symptoms are chest pain or a feeling of pressure in the chest, pain radiating to the jaw or down the left arm, irregular, thumping or fast heartbeats, nausea and indigestion or a feeling of weakness. It is better to go to a doctor if these symptoms appear rather than self-medicating.

Holter prescribed 

I had some chest pain. The ECG report is normal but still the cardiologist has asked me to wear a Holter monitor.

A Holter is a small apparatus, slightly bigger than a cellphone. It will record your cardiac function over 24 to 48 hours to enable the doctor to make an evidence-based decision about your treatment. An ECG only records your cardiac function statically at a certain point in time.

Bug bites

Every time I go out to the garden, I get bitten by bugs. It itches very badly. I don’t want tablets.

Apply a paste of baking soda on the bites. You will get relief immediately.

Weight loss

I just don’t seem to be able to lose any weight.

Losing weight and keeping it off is a lifetime commitment. Results sometimes appear slowly and almost imperceptibly. You need to eat only till the feeling of hunger goes, not until you are full. Exercise regularly for 30-40 minutes a day — walk, jog, swim, climb stairs, cycle, skip or do Pilates or yoga. Better still, cross-exercise by doing something different every day.

The writer is a paediatrician with a family practice at Vellore and the author of Staying Healthy in Modern India. If you have any questions on health issues, please write to yourhealthgm@yahoo.co.in



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