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ASTHMA – MIDNIGHT MALADY?

Asthma, that dreaded disease is said to be on the rise, perhaps due to increased air pollution.While an attack of asthma can occur at any time, sufferers feel that symptoms are much worse at night.

Based on these reports, doctors at the University of Texas have set up a “night owl” research team which specializes in investigating nocturnal asthma.Their findings confirm what the patients have been saying all long – the body’s airways become narrower at night, making breathing difficult. Levels of hormones and body chemicals change considerably during the night and more asthma related deaths occur than during the day.

The researchers are now taking a new look at treatments for this ailment, and evolving modified drugs for night time  use.

If your asthma symptoms are different at night or if your day time medication doesn’t work for you in late hours, do mention it to your doctor.

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MYTH

FAIRNESS CREAMS TURN DARK SKINS FAIR

 

The only change so far wrought by these creams has been in the bank accounts of their manufacturers. To date, says dermatologist Rekha Sheth, medical science has found no way to turn dark skins fair.The color of your skin is determined by the pigment producing cells called melanocytes present in the upper layer of the skin. In the dark skinned persons, the production rate of melanocytes is higher and their number may be marginally more, than in the fairer skinned. This is genetically determined; but factors like uv radiation from the sun, hormonal imbalances, skin disordered, prolonged illness, certain medications and some perfume based cosmetics can increase the production of the melanocytes causing hyper pigmentation. Such hyper pigmentation can be reduced by a hydroquinone based medication prescribed by a skin specialist and used under strict medical supervision. Hydroquinone stabilizes the production of melanin i.e brings it down to normal levels, but it cannot bring melanin production to below normal levels, and that is why it cannot make your skin lighter than its genetically determined color.

So called fairness creams also use hydroquinone. But hydroquinone used on normal skins, far from turning them fair, can even cause adverse reactions, ranging from allergic reactions dryness, itching, burning, peeling and redness to leucoderma(milky white patches resulting from the destruction of melanocytes.) With prolonged, indiscriminate use, these patches could even appear on parts of the body where the cream is not being used.

While there is no cure for dark skins, there is prevention. Dark skins tan more easily than do fair skins, and keeping out of the sun is the most important step you can take to keep down melanin production.

But the bottom line of course is that the glow that comes from a healthy skin can put the milkiest-white complexion in the shade.

And two more bonus points : The higher rate of melanin production in the dark skins provides increased protection from the sun’s uv rays which means slower skin aging and much lower risk of skin cancer.

JUST EXHAUST-ED

                                        HEALTH FLASH

Heart patients who exercise outdoors and deep-bretahe polluted city air are likely to do themselves harm, say researchers at the University of North Carolina. To study effects of polluted air on heart activity, 41 heart patients were first asked to work out for an hour on a busy city street where air was polluted with car exhaust fumes etc.The they worked out on stationary bikes in clean indoor air.

On day two of the experiment, they spent an hour in clean air and then did their bike exercise.

Comparing data, researchers found that dirty air increased the bikers arrhythmia that is, irregular heart beats – significantly.More arrhythmia means increased risk of heart attack.

Heart patients or not, everone should try to exercise in clean air. If you can find some!

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