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Monday, December 10, 2012

Taking care of Elderly

We often notice elderly people frequently complaining about their health. The causes behind these complaints are numerous. Reduced secretion of digestive juices, weak gums and teeth, consumption of various medications, lack of physical exercise etc, reduces their digestion capacity.  Unhealthy food consumption at this stage can lead to acidity, constipation, lose motions etc. These further aggravate the existing conditions.  The body of aged persons will be fragile and easily susceptible to diseases, injuries and allergies. Hence a proper care has to be taken about their diet and life style. Here are few tips to take care of elderly at home. These help them to balance their health and lead a comfortable healthy life.

1.Make them to understand the fact that they are young at heart and meanwhile their body needs extra care. 

2.Encourage them to eat soft foods which are easily digestible and get absorbed quickly to provide energy and nutrition.

3.Soft rice, well cooked vegetables, milk, soft pulp of fruits, juices and soups can be digested easily.

4.Deep fried foods, spicy curries can cause trouble.

5.Give them plenty of boiled warm water. This helps to prevent water borne infections.

6.Request them to consume their regular medications on time. Monitor this daily.

7.Get their complete health checked up once in six months.

8.Ask them to apply moisturizing lotion to skin. Skin tends to dry as we age. Dry skin is easily susceptible to fungal infections.

9.Motivate them to be physically active.  Make it a point to accompany them if they are too weak to walk by themselves.

10.Keep them engaged in one or the other activity. This makes their brain active and keeps diseases like Alzheimer at bay. Telling bedtime stories to grand children, giving tips about recipes, teaching embroidery, painting, singing or anything they are good at.

11.Provide non slippery flooring in their room and bath room.

12.Fix horizontal bars in their bathroom to provide grip.

13.They have taken care of us till now. Now it is our turn to repay them by taking utmost care with love and affection.

This article is copy righted. The author Dr.SavithaSuri is an Ayurvedic Physician and web master of Know for Better

Dry Fruit Milk Mix for Elderly

Aged persons need more nutrients to aid the repair process of body. Their body needs more vitamins and proteins as it experiences continuous degenerative process. Elders‘ diet should be simple, nutritious and easily digestible.  Here is a recipe which help to supply good amount of vitamins, proteins, antioxidants , minerals and many more.

Dry fruit milk mix

Almonds – one cup
Shelled Pistachios – one cup
Cardamom – 10 in number
Saffron- ¼ spoon
Ragi- ¼ cup

Roast almond, pistachios, ragi separately in low flame. Allow them to cool. Remove outer skin of cardamom and collect seeds. Blend all roasted ingredients, cardamom and saffron in a blender into a fine powder. Store it in an air tight container. Mix a spoon of this with a glass of warm milk. Stir it well. Sugar, sugar candy, jaggery or date syrup can be added to this for sweetening . This warm drink supplies plenty of nutrients to elderly. Here is a list of benefits of ingredients.

Milk: Milk contains nutrients like protein, fat, mineral matter, water and lactose. It is rich in calcium and vitamins. It is the natural food of all young mammals. Milk is a reservoir of nutrients and forms an important ingredient of a balanced diet. As it is rich in calcium it makes our bones and teeth strong. It helps to nourish the body with high quality proteins and vitamins. Drinking milk everyday helps to keep our body fit. Warm milk induces good sleep.

Saffron: Saffron acts as a cardiac tonic and is used to treat diseases which originate from vitiation of blood. It helps in easy flow of urine. saffron helps to increase appetite .It also reduces indigestion, diarrhea, vomiting and acidity. Saffron is used as an active ingredient in ayurveda preparations for diseases of central nervous system.

Almonds :Almonds are rich source of fiber, proteins, minerals, vitamins and heart friendly fats. The fiber in almonds gives a feeling of fullness when consumed and add up to roughage content of diet. Almonds contain good percentage of proteins.  Apart from these vitamins and minerals like vitamin E, riboflavin, magnesium, calcium, copper and manganese are also present in significant amount. All these nutrient components help to boost body immunity, energy and repairing process of tissues.

Pistachios :Pistachios are rich in antioxidants, heart friendly fats, phytosterols, carotenoids, vitamins and minerals. The nutrients of this nut help to lower cholesterol level and prevent absorption of cholesterol from food. Consumption of pistachios helps to prevent cancer and diseases of heart. Studies have shown that carotenoids prevent muscular degeneration. The minerals and vitamins of pistachio help to boost body immunity and aid in normal functioning of body.

Ragi:Ragi is minor millet which is a store house of nutrients. The bioavailability of nutrients in this cereal has increased its nutrition value. Ragi provides fiber, starch, minerals and vitamins.
Dry Fruit Milk Mix for Elderly

Prepare baby cereal at home

Parents will be under utter confusion when their tiny tot is 4 months old.  Now they have to introduce him to the world of solid foods. Numerous advertisements on TVs and magazines about baby formula foods aggravate the state of confusion. Did our parents and grandparents face the same dilemma when we were young? How did they react to this situation?

We discussed this topic with elders. We stumbled upon many easy solutions which were healthy, nutritious, devoid of any chemical preservatives and prepared at home with love and care.  Here are few recipes for your precious one.

After fourth month baby requires solid food to cater to its growing needs. For this various vegetables like beans, carrots, green leaves and pulses can be cooked in pressure cooker. The contents are mashed and strained. The soft semi solid food is fed to baby with small spoon.  Take care to select only one vegetable at a time. Cook only few small pieces of it and mash them well. A dash of salt and sugar can be added to enhance taste. Feed this according to baby’s needs. Do not compel him to consume more. Follow his instincts of likes and dislikes. (Usually in beginning baby may take one or two small spoons of this) continuing breast milk along with these is very essential as breast milk provides complete nourishment.

When baby is 7 months old the following cereal meals, prepared at home, can be fed.

Rice cereal:

Ingredients –

    Basumathi rice – 1 cup
    Moong dal or green gram-1/4 cup
    Jeera  or cumin seeds – ¼ spoon

Roast rice and green gram separately till they turn little golden yellow. Roast cumin seeds till they crackle. Turn off heat. Allow all the ingredients to cool to room temperature. Mix all ingredients and coarsely powder them in a blender. Store it in an airtight container. Required quantity of this has to be cooked well in boiling water (hardly takes 5-6 minutes to get cooked) along with little salt and sugar to bring it to a soft semi solid state. Boiled and mashed vegetables can be added to this to enhance nutrition value.

Instead of cumin seeds, powder of elaichi (cardamom) can be added to make a sweet variant of this. Mashed fruits enhance the nutrition value and taste of this cereal.

Ragi cereal

Ragi is minor millet which is a store house of nutrients. The bioavailability of nutrients has increased its nutrition value. Wash ragi and drain excess water. Spread it on a clean cloth and allow it to dry in shade. Roast it in a thick bottomed woke till one or two of it pops.  This has to be floured in flour mill. Sieve this flour to remove husk.  Store it in an airtight container.  This has to be cooked in boiling water to semi solid state. Boiled vegetables or mashed fruits can be added to increase nutritional value of this.

1.    Please consult your pediatrician before introducing your toddler to solid food.
2.    Researchers advise to breast feed baby till he is 2 years.
3.    If he develops allergy to any vegetables, fruits or cereal  consult pediatrician immediately
This article is copy righted. The author Dr.SavithaSuri is an Ayurvedic Physician and web master of Know for Better Read article at Prepare baby cereal at home

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar level) in diabetes

Hypoglycaemia is a condition where the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood drops below a certain point – about 3.0mmol/l.

This causes a number of symptoms such as dizziness, sweating, shaking and palpitations, that usually go away 10 to 15 minutes after eating sugar.

What causes hypoglycaemia?
Insulin is normally produced in the pancreas and helps the body's cells absorb glucose from the blood:

After a meal the glucose level rises after a meal to about 7-10mmol/l.

One to two hours later, the glucose level starts dropping again. By the next meal, the glucose level is back to normal: about 4-5mmol/l. The insulin level in the blood has also returned to normal.

Hypoglycaemic episodes (hypos) can be caused by:
over-treatment - the dose of insulin or diabetes tablets is set too high or you accidentally take too much.

mismatched calorie intake versus demand - this happens when your body needs energy but can't get it from your calorie intake ie if you eat less than usual or exercise more.
alcohol - alcoholic drinks tend to lower the blood sugar.

What happens during a hypo?

You can experience some or all of the following symptoms:

a feeling of weakness
rapid heartbeat
difficulty concentrating
blurred vision
temporary loss of consciousness

This means loss of consciousness can occur without warning.

To avoid this, you are advised to:

maintain a higher level of glucose in the blood
measure your blood sugar level more frequently.

How is a diagnosis made?

Diagnosis is made by measuring the blood sugar level with a glucose meter.

A glucose level below 3.0mmol/l indicates hypoglycaemia.

Some people experience symptoms when their blood sugar level is higher than this – eg at 4.0mmol/l. (Therefore 'four is the floor' for blood glucose levels.)

Hypos can't be detected with urine tests for glucose.

How is hypoglycaemia treated?

Mild hypoglycaemia is treated by drinking or eating about 10-20g sugar, eg in the form of sweetened juice, milk or glucose tablets.
In the case of a more serious hypo, an ambulance should be called. The paramedic will then give glucose intravenously or glucagon (GlucaGen) (a glucose-increasing hormone) is injected into a muscle, or into the fatty tissue under the skin.

Your partner and other family members can also be taught to give glucagon injections at home.

A glucagon kit can then be provided so if you suffer several hypos with unconsciousness, immediate treatment is available. In this way, a hospital visit can be avoided.

If you experience hypos repeatedly, you should measure blood sugar level at least four times a day. This allows you to adjust your insulin and know when you need a snack.

What can I do about hypoglycaemia?

Be familiar with the warning symptoms of hypoglycaemia. This way, you can get treatment quickly. When in doubt, measure your blood sugar levels.
Always carry sugar – preferably glucose in a rapidly-absorbed form such as glucose tablets.
 Measure glucose levels regularly. How often depends on your lifestyle – it's something that a combination of practical experience and expert advice will determine. It can vary from one or two readings a week to several readings a day. Knowing how your blood sugar levels change with various activities means you can adjust your level of insulin and minimise the risk of a hypo.
Follow the dietician’s advice and maintain regular eating habits. Some people experience symptoms of a hypo just before a main meal. To avoid this, have snacks between meals to prevent sugar levels dropping too steeply.
Take care when exercising: exercise lowers glucose levels in the blood. You can counter this by taking less insulin than usual beforehand or by eating more before, during or just after exercise. Remember that hypoglycaemia may occur some hours after exercise.
Carry an identity card that lets others know you have diabetes.

At night

For many people with diabetes, a low blood sugar level during the night is a big problem because you can sleep through it.

If you wake up with a headache and feel unusually irritable, measure your blood sugar at about 3am.

Lower your risk of a hypo by measuring blood sugar at 10pm or 11pm. If it's below 8mmol/l, eat a snack.

Alcohol lowers the blood sugar just like insulin – so avoid alcoholic binges.

After drinking a lot of alcohol or dancing, eat a snack before going to bed.
In the long term

Normally, hypoglycaemia is easily treatable. A few mild episodes in a week are not harmful.

It starts to become dangerous only when the glucose level keeps dropping below acceptable limits – the brain's principal source of energy is glucose.

Also  Read  Erectile dysfunction in Diabetes