Mother's Day: Mommy's health comes first

Sunday, 11 May 2014 - 6:15am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

This Mother's Day, resolve to pay close attention to her health. And if she has any issues, here's what you can do about it

The primary take carers, nurturers of families -- mothers are so engrossed in doing so, that they put themselves, their health on the back burner. But what about their health? Does your mother often complain about heath issues like joint pains, sleep issues, fatigue, being low on energy or headaches? If yes, then it's time you take sit up and not just notice but do something about it too. We spoke to experts on the common signs of health issues that mothers face, what could they mean and how to go about treating them.

Here's what you need to if your mother complains about...

Joint pains
A lot of mothers above the age of 35 tend complain about back pain, knee pain, shoulder pain, or pain in the heels. These usually occur due to stress, lack of exercise, bad posture, lack of exposure to sunlight, etc. Also, when the calcium content in the bones gets depleted, it increases the chances of getting fractures after the age of 40, informs Dr Umesh Shetty, orthopedic surgeon with Aviva Hospital. Most mothers end up self-medicating themselves with pain killers, but if the pain persists for over two to three weeks, then it's time to see a doctor.

What tests need to be done:
Firstly, X-rays of the affected areas will need to be done, to assess the nature of problem. Other tests that might be done are CBC (complete blood count), blood sugar test, test to check uric acid levels, ESR (Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate) and sometimes even thyroid tests might need to be done, to rule out rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, diabetes, to determine the causes.

Watch out for danger signs:
Symptoms like continuous nagging pain, swelling, inability to do routine activities like walking, climbing stairs, standing in the kitchen, etc. should not be turned a blind eye at, if they persist over a span of two to three weeks. Early detection of such problems is imperative. Ideally, after the age of 35, a basic review/check once a year is recommended with an orthopedic. Then accordingly, diagnosis, treatment via medication and lifestyle modifications will be suggested, says Dr Shetty.

Sleep issues
Working mothers, especially often face problems like disturbed sleep. The reasons could be many ranging from stress (work, children, financial issues, family problems, etc.), anxiety, depression, hormonal changes, sleep apnea, use of gadgets like computer, mobile phones before bedtime that stimulate the brain, or even having coffee after 4 pm or working out after 7-8 pm, which also stimulates the mind, says Dr Anamika Rathore, consultant ENT surgeon, Cumballa Hill Hospital and Bombay Hospital.

What tests need to be done:
Disturbed sleep is a very common and has a number of causes, however, if it prolongs for over a period of two to three months then its advisable to see a doctor. Sleep efficiency needs to be checked for nightmares, waking up to urinate, etc. A doctor will have to diagnose the cause of the problem. Sometimes, a sleep study test (polysomnography test) might need to be done to check for sleep apnoea, says Dr Rathore.

Watch out for danger signs:
Some women might suffer from sleep deprivation syndrome, which can have effects like irritability, mood swings, hampering on sexual performance, sometimes, it may lead to psychological issues, too. It's therefore important to diagnose the problem and undertake lifestyle changes like exercising, doing yoga, practicing healthy sleep habits, etc.

Fatigue, low on energy
Mothers first priority is her family and she works like a machine caring for the family. In the process, her own nutritional needs take a back seat and end up in nutritional deficiencies. "They do not feed themselves within an hour of waking of waking up which gives rise to sluggish metabolism. Also, reasons like eating large meals, skipping meals or eating after long gaps. These give rise to issues like weight gain, gas and bloating. These metabolic problems could lead to problems like diabetes, blood pressure, besides other problems like hair loss, mood swings, PMS, pain in the back and joints, etc." informs nutritionist Pooja Makhija.

What tests need to be done:
If your mom complains about being constantly tired, a test to check vitamin B12 deficiency should be done. For moods swings and irritability, check out for hemoglobin levels. For PMS related issues could be linked to deficiency of vitamins B6 and B12. If she complains about back and joint pain, her calcium levels need to be checked, advises Makhija.

What you can do for your mom:
It's not possible for working mothers to roam around with food everywhere. But you should enure that at least she has small frequent meals or four square meals throughout the day. Make sure that her protein intake is taken care of. After seeing a professional and diagnosing her deficiencies, accordingly vitamins and supplements need to be given.

Mothers usually get stressed worrying about their children and families. Headaches are very common and the reasons are many sinusitis headaches, migraines, premenstrual headaches, stress, etc. Usually self-medication through tablets only provide temporary relief but if the problem persists after a while then they should consult a doctor, says health consultant Parul R Sheth.

What tests need to be done:
Dr Sheth says that usually for very frequent headaches, medical issues like high blood pressure needs to be checked. If the mother is prone to vertigo and has headaches, nausea, giddiness, losing balance, then an ENT specialist needs to be consulted. But sometimes, in spite of all the minor reasons the cause is not known, then probably a CT scan might be undertaken to check for something serious.

What you can do for your mom:
A visit to a physician or a family doctor should be done to assess the nature of problem. After determining why, how long, the seriousness of the problem, the next course of action will be taken.

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