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DT Health: Prevention & cure for stretch marks

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CHENNAI: Feeling some kind of ridge or indentation when you touch your skin? Seeing some kind of tiger stripes on your skin? This is one of the most common issues faced by women during pregnancy and is called stretch marks Medically, they are termed as Striae Gravidarum.

Senior consultant dermatologist Dr Monisha Aravind says almost 55 per cent to 90 per cent of women get stretch marks during their pregnancy. Stretch marks are a natural result of the skin stretching during pregnancy. It usually occurs on the hips, abdomen, breasts and thighs.

Experts say that it starts as a flat, pink to red band and then later it becomes raised, longer, violet top red in colour.

There are various reasons for the occurrence of stretch marks and are basically caused due to the stretching of the skin. They appear when the skin gets stretched over a certain area causing the collagen to break down and leave a mark.

“Raised hormonal levels like estrogen, androgens and glucocorticoids is also one of the reasons. The increased stretch of the abdomen causes the breakdown of collagen and elastin fibres.

People tend to develop stretch marks owing to family history, increased pre-pregnancy weight, excessive weight gain during pregnancy, reduced Vitamin C levels or Gestational diabetes,” says Dr Monisha.

Increase in pre-diabetes among youth alarming

An alarming result from the National Urban Diabetes Survey indicates that 14 per cent of the Indian population has prediabetes. Out of the global burden of 88 million pre-diabetic patients, 77 million belong to India. Pre-diabetes is a highly prevalent disease in the Southeast Asian region with an epidemic rate of 8.9 per cent. Patients with prediabetes are more likely to fall prey to premature morbidity than others. About 2 per cent of all deaths in India are due to prediabetes, observes WHO.

Pre-diabetes is a preliminary condition of diabetes characterised by a high blood sugar level; higher than normal but lower enough to not be considered type 2 diabetes. The pancreas secretes insulin, which is designed to distribute sugar in all body cells; however, due to the increased sugar content in blood, there is less secretion of insulin, which ultimately diminishes the functioning of the pancreas. In some cases, the incapacity to process sugar may develop from impaired lifestyle patterns, unhealthy dietary habits and genetic dispositions. However, the core cause of pre-diabetes still remains unknown. Out of the total prevalence rate of 12.3% of pre-diabetes in the Indian population, about 8.4% is among adolescents and adults.

Early detection can help remit and prevent the disease. In most cases, it is asymptomatic, making it difficult to detect. Some of the common early symptoms are - going to the toilet more often, especially at night; exhaustion, sudden weight loss, genital itching or thrush; cuts and wounds taking longer to heal, blurred vision, feeling extremely thirsty.

The most common test will be checking your HbA1c levels which is your average blood glucose (sugar) levels for the last two to three months. However, always remember this can be remitted by making mindful and healthy lifestyle choices from an early age.

Dr Chandan Choudhary, consultant nephrologist, NephroPlus
Dr Chandan Choudhary, consultant nephrologist, NephroPlus

Rela Hospital treats woman with brain stroke

A 41-year-old Chennai woman suffering from brain stroke that led to a near-complete speech disability was evaluated at Rela Hospital by the Neurology and the Intensive Care team of doctors.

Upon completion of MRI investigations, it was diagnosed as a brain stroke in the ‘language area,’ which required the patient to be under our expert care. She was able to move her hands and legs but was unable to speak even a single word. She was extremely emotional that she could not express her thoughts or feelings.

“We were able to identify and diagnose within 20 minutes of the patient’s arrival that it was a brain stroke and in specific to the ‘language area’. The patient was transferred to the Integrated Stroke Unit where she was under observation for 48 hours,” said Dr Shankar Balakrishnan, Clinical Lead Interventional Neurology. “The Integrated Stroke Unit, pressed into action, helped achieve maximum functional abilities within the first month,” he added.

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