7 interesting facts about bones

 

Your bones are what the rest of your body is built on and around. In humans and animals, bones provide protection to internal organs and support for muscles as well as enabling easy movement. There are many lists out there regarding bones in humans and usually, they start off by telling you that you have 206 bones in your body as an adult. Yeah, about that… 

#1. You probably don’t have 206 bones

New-born children have around 300 bones that eventually fuse together the older you get and eventually stop growing in size. However, ‘206 bones’ is more of a generalisation than a universal fact. Some people have an extra pair of ribs, some percentage of populations have extra sesamoid bones (sesamoids are tiny bones embedded in tendons or muscle) some people don’t have all the sesamoids, and there are often differences between individual people.  Another quirky fact is that there seems to be some difference in the way different specialists count bones, with hand and foot doctors often including more bones in their counts!

Don’t worry though, your bones are probably 99.99% similar to the next person, with just tiny variations in the total count.  Now you know that the count of 206 bones is close enough, but not exact!

#2. Your blood needs help from your bones, so does your brain

The neurons of your brain need minerals like calcium and phosphate to be able to fire and function properly. These vital minerals are stored in, you guessed it, your bones! Your bones don’t just give you support and structure but they’re also vital for brain function and muscle contraction. Equally important is the generation of blood cells, and the bone marrow is where ALL new blood is created.

#3. The tiniest bone in the body looks like a stirrup 

If you’ve ever been horse riding or even seen someone ride a horse with a saddle then you’ve seen a stirrup. It’s those things attached to the saddle on either, upon which the rider places their feet. The smallest bone in our body is called the ‘stapes’ which is Latin for stirrup. Together with the Malleus (hammer) and the Incus (anvil), the stapes forms the bone group of our inner ears. You could both of your stapes on top of your fingernail, that’s how small it is! 

#4. Bones are alive

We’re most familiar with the fact bones are built with calcium and most of us have the idea that bones are rather inanimate lifeless material. But your bones are in fact dynamic and active tissues, getting broken down, regenerated as well as self-repairing all through your life. Depending on the individual, your bones replace themselves completely every 7-10 years. 

#5. Bone is NOT stronger than steel

Bone has high compressive strength, good flexibility and elasticity as well the all-important ability to self-repair. But even though bones have really good strength at dealing with compression, when force is applied too quickly, bone will break or even shatter in cases where steel wouldn’t even flinch.  

However, your bones are still an engineering marvel, with scientists and biomedical engineers still unable to find materials that have the amazing properties and strength of bone while still being light and somewhat flexible. 

#6. There’s a bone attached to your tongue

I know what you’re thinking, the tongue is made up fully of soft flexible tissue, how can there be a bone hiding in there? The Hyoid bone isn’t inside your tongue, rather it sits in between your chin and voice-box, where it holds up the tongue above it. This would be at the base of your tongue and below it. Along with its associated muscles, the hyoid bone also helps to support the larynx. 

This bone’s existence in humans (and the differences it has among our great ape cousins) helped scientists understand how and when we first developed the ability to talk like humans!

#7. You have the same amount of bones in your neck as a giraffe!

Giraffes (and you!) have 7 vertebrae in their necks, except of course theirs are much longer than ours, some specimens measuring more than 10 inches long. Another animal that shares the same number of neck bones is a mouse. In fact, most mammals (with some exceptions like those from the sloth family) all have 7 bones in their neck, of course with variations in size and shape depending on each creature. 

Conclusion

Exercise and calcium-rich foods are a great way to ensure your bones stay strong and can regenerate properly. You need your bones to maintain their strength, as bones tend to lose density (and toughness) with age. Take care of your bones, and they’ll take care of you.

For more information, you can always talk to a doctor online on MediBuddy.

 

The stigma surrounding Vitiligo

 

This rare skin disorder affects just about 1% of the world’s population, and its rarity plays a part in the large amount of untrue information that people have about it. Vitiligo is when the body’s melanin-producing cells in the skin (called melanocytes) are slowly destroyed by the body, resulting in white/un-coloured patches of skin that usually grow larger through the person’s lifetime. Melanin is the dark pigment our skin cells produce which gives us our skin colour, as well as provide a certain level of protection from UV radiation. The condition lasts a lifetime and patches will often start on the hands, feet and face, changing shape and growing with time. Many people who have this skin disorder face social stigma due to a poor understanding of the disease. Let’s understand it better and disprove the myths:

MYTH: Mixed race parents results in patchy skin children

Although extremely foolish, this myth still gets some traction from people who have a poor understanding of genetics (and usually have suspect ideas on race). People with this disease have normal skin at birth, but also parental ethnicity has nothing to do with the way this disorder operates. Usually, the patches that are the main symptom of vitiligo, start showing up before the age of 20 (in some cases later). 

MYTH: People with lighter skin don’t get vitiligo

While the patches of unpigmented skin are harder to notice (and easier to mask with cosmetics) in lighter skin patients, the disorder affects people of all skin colours. This myth is purely down to the fact that light patches are more noticeable of darker skin. 

MYTH: Vitiligo is related to other skin diseases

No, vitiligo is a skin condition that occurs because of an autoimmune reaction where the body itself destroys melanocytes (melanin-producing cells). It has NOTHING to do with leprosy (caused by bacteria), skin cancer (various causes like UV radiation, genetics, etc.), or albinism (genetic defect where no melanin is produced from birth). 

MYTH: Keep distance as Vitiligo is spreadable

False, Vitiligo is not a disease that can be spread through close contact or touch. This skin condition is simply a faulty autoimmune response that destroys your pigment (colour) producing cells. There is usually nothing harmful or life-threatening with this condition, as most of the symptoms of Vitiligo are just external patches. VITILIGO CANNOT BE SPREAD FROM ONE PERSON TO ANOTHER. 

MYTH: Certain foods make Vitiligo worse

Think about it, have you ever eaten any food that changed your skin colour? There seems to be zero factual or scientific proof that any food or combination of foods makes vitiligo worse (or better). Some people with this skin condition self-report that certain foods (bananas, apples, chickpeas), as well as certain natural preparations like various herb mixtures, help to improve their vitiligo. Others say things like alcohol, citrus, fish or wheat products make the patches worse. However, none of this is backed by any actual evidence or doctors around the world. Since vitiligo is an autoimmune disorder, there may be some benefit to foods with antioxidants and phytochemicals but even this is not backed by any scientific evidence. 

MYTH: Applying oils and herbal treatments to the skin will lessen the patches

There is no known oil or cream that can reduce or cure vitiligo patches. Similarly, there is no easy to find convenient vitamin supplements that can be prescribed to vitiligo patients. While a balanced diet with ample amounts of vitamins and nutrients is good for everyone, don’t expect diet or lotions to make much of a difference to your vitiligo. 

MYTH: It can be cured or reversed

No, vitiligo is currently not curable by any known medically approved treatment plan. This is similar to most other autoimmune diseases, as the best form of care is usually just regular checkups and managing symptoms. Certain medically proven treatments exist, but only for making the patches less obvious and they do not cure vitiligo. Some of these treatments are application of steroids, phototherapy (which is not always successful and has a potential for causing skin cancer), skin or cellular grafts (involves surgery). Some people use makeup and cosmetics to disguise their patches, others make use of tattoos. 

Conclusion

While this skin condition is not curable, the good news is that there seems to be no physical harm to people who have vitiligo. They have healthy bodies and can function normally. Many non-scientific tips and tricks exist for supposedly “curing” vitiligo. Hence it is very important to watch out for non-medical people who claim to have treatment for vitiligo, as these people are not trained professionally.

People with vitiligo face a lot of social stigma due to their skin condition, this leads to a lot of internal struggle as well. People in this vulnerable state are often taken advantage of by non-medical rogues who try to make money off of them. If you or someone you know has vitiligo talk to a qualified dermatologist. Hopefully, this article has helped you understand this disease better, feel free to share it with everyone you know. Together we can all lower the stigma of this skin condition!

For more information, you can always talk to a doctor online on MediBuddy.

5 ways to manage diabetes easily

 

Simple things that are within your control when you have diabetes

Diabetes is an issue that is so prevalent in this modern world that you probably know who has this disease. It doesn’t help that people with diabetes are much more likely to suffer heart failure (between 2 to 4 times) than someone without this illness. On the flip side, heart failure itself is a possible hazard in causing diabetes. 

Some of the latest research in patients who have gone through heart failure in India suggests that patients tend to have many negative beliefs and behaviours regarding self-care. This is impacted by socioeconomic factors, gender and education level. Victims of this disease, which needs to be managed long term, seem to have trouble sticking to good self-care actions. With disorders like this, medication and doctors are not enough, the sick person must also be involved by taking care of themselves.

In the case of diabetes as well, there are several things that most people can do to help them better control the disease. This in turn should have good consequences for the person’s overall health. 

What is diabetes

In an effort to make this information accessible to as many people as possible, we’ll keep this as simple as possible.

The cells of your body need fuel to function properly. For most of the body’s cells, this fuel is glucose (a type of sugar). The hormone responsible for making glucose go into your cells is called insulin. When you eat and digest food, your body naturally produces more insulin and it is transported throughout your body through the blood. Because of the insulin being there the glucose from your food can be used nicely by your cells, for energy or even storing energy for later.

But, if your body doesn’t produce enough insulin then your cells can’t take the glucose inside, this sugar remains in your blood. This is called Type 1 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is when the cells in your body are not affected by insulin, usually slowly over a longer period of time. The causes are related to lifestyle factors, especially obesity. The result of both types of diabetes results in high blood glucose (sugar) levels. 

What are some things you can do

 In general, but especially in developing nations with ever-increasing rates of diabetes, it’s quite common that people often have incomplete knowledge of the disease. As well as not having enough understanding of things that they can do themselves to help their condition, or things to avoid so that it doesn’t get worse. 

Without further ado, let’s look at and understand some straightforward things you can do to manage your diabetes.

Proper Diet

Now that you know that diabetes makes your blood sugar high, it’s easy to see that you should be eating foods that help you keep your blood sugar levels low. Include whole grains and fibre rich foods in your diet, and stick to good fats such as those found in nuts, oils from vegetable sources and fish. Lower your use of bad fats such as red meats, chicken skin, whole-fat dairy products, coconut and palm oils, ghee and ice-cream. Your doctor may even advise you to cut these things from your diet completely. 

You might already know this, but sugary beverages such as sodas, premade caffeinated drinks, fruit drinks and juices are all not good when you’re trying to keep your blood sugar low. You should also make sure your meal sizes are appropriate and try to watch how particular foods affect your glucose level. Finally, if your meals are not balanced or if you don’t eat enough food while you’re on diabetes medication, you might experience very low levels of blood sugar. (In this case, it is okay to have sugar-rich foods or beverages to quickly raise your blood sugar to normal).

You can quickly look up the nutritional content of most foods online if you’re not sure whether a particular food is good for you or not. Note: dietary requirements for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, while similar, they are not the same. Always talk to your doctor if you have doubts regarding what is allowed or not allowed in your diet. 

No more tobacco

People who smoke tobacco cigarettes have twice the risk of gradually developing diabetes compared with non-smokers. This is mainly because using tobacco can lead to your body becoming resistant to insulin, which obviously leads to higher blood sugar. In fact, tobacco usage (along with a bad diet, lack of physical activity, and being overweight) is one of the top Type 2 diabetes risk factors which can be adjusted by the affected person. 

Tobacco usage (smoking, chewing, etc.,) should be reduced heavily or stopped altogether. If you find yourself mentally unable to cope and stop tobacco usage, reach out to friends, family or counsellors for help and support.

Lower alcohol consumption

Similar to the previous entry on our list, alcohol can mess with your blood sugar and your insulin levels. Excessive and prolonged alcohol use can disrupt your pancreas, and since insulin is produced in your pancreas this can lead to Type 2 diabetes. Drinks like sweet wines and beer can cause your blood sugar to go up, and in many cases drinking excess alcohol can cause very low blood sugar. This is especially dangerous for Type 1 diabetes patients. Please speak with your doctor regarding what is allowable for you.

Alcohol is an appetite stimulant, making you want to overeat. Most alcoholic drinks also happen to be calorie-rich, which will contribute to weight gain. This brings us nicely to our next topic.

Weight reduction 

Being overweight or having obesity is tied very strongly to diabetes. Some experts stating that nearly 90% of diabetes patients are either overweight or obese, making it a very clear risk for developing the disease. Weight reduction, therefore, is of utmost importance, as it has been proven that proper weight loss (as directed by your doctor/ professional dietician) can reduce the potency of diabetes in most people. Some studies found that reducing your weight by just 7% could increase your body’s ability to use insulin by 57%! 

The effects of losing weight properly cannot be overstated, it is essential to have a fixed plan for this with your doctor or health provider. They are likely to suggest diet changes (such as those we have already mentioned) as well as an exercise plan. Speaking of which…

Exercise  

In partnership with your doctor, make an exercise plan that is appropriate for your particular body and age. In most cases having a regular brisk walk for 30mins a day is more than enough, however, the exact details will come down to your doctor’s decision. For type 1 diabetes patients, your doctor may prescribe a change to insulin injections depending on your exercise schedule. One thing to keep in mind is to always stay hydrated.

Conclusion

While diabetes can progress and get worse, leading to cardiovascular complications and even heart failure it’s not always the case. The hopeful news is that for Type 2 diabetes (90% of diabetes patients have Type 2 diabetes) symptoms can be reduced and even totally reversed through proper diet, daily exercise, stopping of harmful substances like tobacco, alcohol and planned weight loss. Be sure to check your blood sugar levels regularly!

For more information, you can always talk to a doctor online on MediBuddy.

The dark side of social media trends.

 

 

The good, the bad, and the ugly: A note on Social media trends.

It all started with an idea:

An idea to make an egg the most famous public figure on the face of the earth. 

An idea to make a pair of lips worth a billion dollars.

An idea to make a toddler a business tycoon. 

An idea to make a little boy singing on a sidewalk a rock star. 

 

Here’s another idea.

How about we stop making a mockery out of a fellow human’s mistake in the name of marketing? 

Brands and content creators burn the midnight oil in a race to the top. Riding every wave in hopes of going viral has now become a norm. Trending memes, content formats, videos, gifs, pictures, and posts are aplenty. It’s great that we’re collectively moving towards a more creative world. Kudos to all the creators out there and a big thanks for blessing us with the gift of great content!

 

But who’s going to bell the cat?

The ugly side to this creative world is not knowing how much is too much. 

Let’s take a quick look at some hard-hitting numbers:

 

  • A study conducted by the WHO showed that 1 out of 5 Indians may be a victim of depression. The suicide cases in India is at an alarming rate of 11 for every 1 lakh, and a majority of the people who commit suicide are less than 44 years old
  • Cyberbullying, when directly or indirectly linked to suicide, has been referred to as cyberbullicide.
  • Victims of cyberbullying were almost 2 times as likely to attempt suicide than those who were not.

 

There is no time more urgent than now to talk about the importance of mental health. We are still reeling in the effects of the pandemic and the changes it has brought with it. Being holed up for over a year has only worsened mental health issues. The dependency on smartphones and social media platforms to safeguard the sense of belonging has increased rapidly in the last year. Phantom vibrations and mindless scrolling are becoming the least of our concerns; cyberbullying has single-handedly managed to wreak havoc in the peaceful lives of many. 

 

What everyone who made a joke about turning ‘off the mic’ forgot was the aftermath of this short-lived amusement. 

Who’s going to be talking about the mental health of that young lady? You guessed it right, no one.

 

Well, not today. Making a fellow human the butt of all jokes stops today. Join us in our mission to go tell it on the mountains, over the hills and everywhere that ‘To err is human. To make a mockery out of someone’s err is inhumane.’ It’s time to take matters into our own hands and highlight the need to think like a human and not work like a machine just to keep an algorithm going. 

 

If you ever feel like talking to someone about your issues, please know that help is always just an app away. Talk to a health expert on MediBuddy.