Water is the primary element before the creation of the heavens and the earth existed. There are many benefits of water such as purity, cleanliness and health. The Quran puts an emphasis on its significance.
"We made from water every living thing" (Qur’an 21:30)
"And it is He who created the heavens and the earth in six days, and his Throne was upon water". (Qur’an 11:7).
The human body compromises of 70% of water and it is recommended to drink between 8 – 10 glasses of water daily to maintain good health.
Maintenance of fluid balance.
Water aids in transporting nutrients around the body, production of saliva, circulation, digesting food and regulating the body temperature. Thus, drinking water boosts the metabolism and improves the digestive system.
Helps with losing weight.
Drinking water aids in filling the stomach and reducing the appetite. It also increases the breakdown of fat cells.
A reduction of water, increases the tendency of becoming fatigue. The heart works harder to pump blood around the body. Muscles become tired, it also increases the risk of aching joints and muscle cramps. Moreover, other organs also work less efficiently. Thus, drinking water increases energy, prevents dehydration and fatigue.
Drinking water helps to keep one refreshed, concentrate better and think clearly. The European Journal of Neurology have published a study that discovered reducing water intake causes headaches and migraines.
Improves kidney function
Drinking water helps the kidneys to filter the blood and produce urine that compromise of toxins and other wastes as well as fluid. However, waste is primarily removed via urine and sweat. Furthermore, drinking water else helps to reduce the risk of kidney stones by diluting salts and minerals that causes kidney stones
Improves the beauty of skin.
Drinking water reduces the risk of clogged pores, pimples and acne.
An insight into breast cancer
What is breast cancer and how does it develop?
How can you tell the difference between a normal breast tissue and a lump?
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the UK and each year 55,200 people are diagnosed. It is more common in women than men.
The function of the breasts is to produce milk to nourish the child and this is known as lactation. The three types of tissue that make up the breast are fat, connective and glandular tissues.
The size of the breasts is dependent on the amount of fat tissue. The development of the breasts is primarily influenced by hormones. There is little difference between a male and female breast before puberty, however, when the girl enters puberty, the hormones progesterone and oestrogen causes the breasts to develop and mature.
The connective tissue and ligaments provide support and shape of the breasts. The glandular tissue produces milk and are organized into sections called lobes. The lobes comprise of smaller structures called lobules where the milk is synthesized. Milk is made from water and nutrients that has been removed from the blood. The milk is stored in lobules until the oxytocin hormone sends a signal to the lobules to contract. This is known as milk-ejection reflex. The milk travels through a network of tiny tubes known as ducts that come together to form larger ducts that exit the skin in the nipple. The dark pigmented area of the skin is called areola and is covered with montgomery glands whose function is to secrete oil to lubricate the area.
In addition, the breast consists of lymph vessels and nodes. They are part of the immune system that runs throughout the body. The lymph is a yellow fluid that flows through the nodes and vessels. It collects waste products that is drained into the veins for discard. There are also blood vessels in the breasts.
Like any part of the human body, the breasts comprise of numerous cells. Sometimes cells undergo mutations and continue to divide rapidly. This does not mean it is cancerous and is known as non-invasive tumour. Some lumps are also not cancerous such as cysts. However, when it begins to invade surrounding tissue, it is then defined as cancerous. It is life-threatening if they continue to grow and spread to other parts of the body via the blood and lymphatic system.
Breast cancer initiates in the ducts or the lobes. Some types of cancers cause lumps in the breast but not all do. If cancer cells have spread to one or more lymph nodes, there is a higher probability that the cells could spread to other parts of the body. A biopsy to remove a lymph node is required to know whether the cancer is present.
Causes of Breast cancer
There are factors that increases the risk of breast cancer such as excessive alcohol, overweight, old age, hormonal levels, family history and smoking. Recent studies have shown by changing to a healthy diet, 9 out of every 100 cancer cases can be prevented.
This test is taken to search for signs on whether a cancer is developing. The test is called mammography and comprises of taking x-rays of the breasts. Breast screening has diagnosed 15,500 breast cancers each year in the UK. It is done between 50-70 years of age
How to tell from a normal tissue and a lump?
A normal breast tissue will feel bumpy with ‘ridges’ and ‘valleys’. If you feel a lump, then check the opposite side. For instance, if the lump is on the upper outer right breast, check the upper outer left breast. Abnormal lumps would feel hard and do not move around easily under the skin. Other physical changes include breast pain, changes in shape or size, redness, inverted nipples and dimpled breast skin. A yellow, brown or red discharge from the nipples also takes place.
What should I do if I find a breast lump?
Contact your G.P immediately even if you had a recent mammogram.
There are a number of websites that provide further information:
Are you a new mother? Do you know someone who is going to give birth soon? Are you having joint discomort? Find out tips from Discomfort to Comfort!
Are you a new mother? Do you know someone who is going to give birth soon?
Having joint pain can be discomforting and it does not influence all women. Many ladies would question thinking is it a temporary post-partum joint discomfort or is it permanent? How can I get rid of it?
During pregnancy, bodily changes occur and there are some special hormones such as relaxin that is secreted by the body to prepare for the baby’s growth inside the mother’s womb.
Relaxin aims to relax the ligaments that is attached to the pubic bone. This expands the muscles and ligaments beyond its normal capacity. Ligaments are tough connective tissue that attaches bone to bone.
The weight during the last trimester of pregnancy causes high pressure on the spinal cord, knees and coccyx. This will take time to go back to normal after given birth due to the tightening of the muscles and ligaments.
Soreness in the joints can also be caused due to picking up the baby, feeding and carrying him. This causes lack of rest to recover from pregnancy and childbirth and which ultimately causes joint discomfort in the neck, back, knee, feet and hips. This normally lasts for several months after giving birth.
Some parent report that joint ache is due to breastfeeding. However, this factor alone cannot be the cause rather it is a combination of factors.
Tips from Discomfort to Comfort!
May Allah give all my sisters who are expecting a child a safe and healthy pregnancy and new baby insha’Allah.
The aim of this article, aims to inform you the difference between DNA, genes and chromosomes. To identify and understand the structure of the DNA molecule. To understand the differences between the DNA in eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells. This is needed to be clarified before my upcoming article about DNA damage and its link to cancer in sha Allah
In the human body, we have millions of eukaryotic cells. Amongst the organelles in the cell is the nucleus that contains the genetic information in the form of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) to control the cell. It is important to note that there are other types of eukaryotic cells besides the animal cell. These are plants, fungi and protists. The structure of a eukaryotic cell is shown below:
The relationship between genes, chromosomes and DNA
The nucleus consists of chromosomes. Chromosomes are synthesised from long DNA molecules. A gene is a short section of DNA. A gene occupies a fixed position, called a locus, on a particular DNA molecule. Each gene codes for a polypeptide (protein) by stating the order of the amino acids sequence. A polypeptide are lots of amino acids monomers bind together via peptide bonds to form protein polymers. This is done via a condensation reaction where water is also produced as a by-product. Therefore, the function of DNA is to produce proteins.
What is DNA?
It is a nucleic acid polymer that consists of monomers called nucleotides that are bound together via a condensation reaction. Water is also formed in the reaction as a by-product.
A nucleotide is composed of the following elements:
The structure of the nucleotide
A nucleotide consists of three components:
A) a phosphate group
B) a sugar
C) a nitrogenous base.
The phosphate group is negatively charged and this provides the nucleic acid with acidic properties. It is attached to the 5’ carbon of the sugar molecule
It is a 5-carbon sugar called a pentose. There are two types of pentose sugars: ribose and deoxyribose. Deoxyribose means that the ribose has lost an oxygen atom ‘de-oxy’.
There are four nucleobases: cytosine ( C), Guanine (G), Thymine (T) and Adenine (A). These are attached in the position where the hydroxyl group (-OH) is located in the sugar molecule which is 1’ carbon.
The bases are known by their first letters. Because there are four different bases, the nucleotide is named based on the type of base as shown below:
However, this is not to say that more phosphate groups cannot be added to the nucleotide. For instance, Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) has three phosphate groups and plays a role in respiration as energy is provided as ATP.
Nucleotides polymerisation does not involve the bases and is conducted by producing phosphodiester bonds between carbon 3' of the ribose sugar and an oxygen atom of the phosphate group. This is a form of a condensation reaction.
Two nucleotides: dinucleotides
Three nucleotides: trinucleotides
Few nucleotides: oligonucleotides.
Many nucleotides: polynucleotides
A polynucleotide has a free phosphate group at one end, called the 5' end. This is because the phosphate group is bound to carbon 5' of the ribose sugar. This forms the sugar phosphate backbone. There is a 3’ end because there is a hydroxyl (-OH) group on carbon 3’ of the ribose sugar.
Two scientists,Watson and Crick in 1953, investigated the 3D DNA structure more closely and discovered that the DNA molecule has the following:
Purines and Pyrimidines.
There are two forms of nitrogenous bases: purines and pyrimidines. Purines are double-ringed structures whereas pyrimidines have one ring.
The Genetic Code
The genetic code is universal, non-overlapping and degenerate. There are 20 different amino acids and 4 different bases. Therefore, bases are read in groups of 3 called a triplet. Consequently, this provides 64 combinations that is more than sufficient enough to code for the 20 amino acids. A sequence of three DNA bases that code for an amino acid is called a codon. The 64 codons form the genetic code. Some codons symbolise the start of a gene whereas other codons symbolise the end of the gene.
However, it is important to note that approximately 2% of all DNA molecules situated in eukaryotic cells do not code for polypeptides. The remaining DNA molecules are called non-coding DNA and they do not produce genes. There are two types of non-coding DNA and is dependent on where it is situated:
Prokaryotic cells have a simple structure and a cell size of 1-10um and have a large surface area to volume. This increases their metabolic and growth rates providing a shorter generation time in comparison to eukaryotic cells. Examples of Prokaryotes are bacteria and archae. They do not have a nuclear membrane around its DNA nor contains any membrane-bound organelles. Majority of prokaryotes are unicellular (one cell), however some prokaryotic cells are multicellular (more than one cell) such as cyanobacteria.
Alternatively, eukaryotic cells have a complex structure and it has a membrane bound nuclei. Examples of eukaryotic cells are plants and animal cells. The size of eukaryotes is 10-100um.
Key Points to Remember
The cervical spine otherwise known as the neck consists of bones, nerves, ligaments, muscles and tendons. It is strong and flexible structure allows movement to occur in all directions.
The neck is located between the base of the skull and the upper back known as the thoracic spine. The neck entails 7 vertebral segments which surrounds the spinal cord.
There are discs present between these vertebrae.
The role of the cervical spine:
It protects the spinal cord. The spinal cord are nerves from the brain that runs through the back until the lumbar spine (lower back). The function of the spinal cord is to relay messages from the brain to the body.
Allows blood to flow to the brain
The cervical spine provides a pathway for the blood to travel through the brain via vertebral arteries. The cervical spine contains vertebral openings. No other part of the spine contains these openings.
The cervical spine supports the head and the various movements of the head.
Causes of the Neck Pain
This is a common problem and many get better after several days or weeks.
Amongst the causes are the following:
Physical examination during rest and motion
Scan – CAT,MRI, myelogram
Electrical tests such as electromyography (EMG) and nerve conduction velocity test (NCV).
This is dependent on the cause. The fundamental manner is to avoid neck injury.
Ruqyah is a form of Prophetic Medicine that is done for a general purpose as well as to protect one from evil. This article will look at the meaning of the unseen, who are the jinn and the angels, symptoms of how one know if they possessed by the jinn or black magic and how to perform ruqyah.
Al Ghayb (The unseen)
The Unseen (Al-Ghayb). What does it mean? Can we know the unseen? Or is this something sacred and kept to Allah (The Most High)?
Al-Ghayb is defined as something that cannot be visualised. Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen (May Allah have mercy upon him) said in Sharh al-Aqeedah al-Waasitiyyah that there are two types. Ghayb Al-Mutlaq (Unseen in the Absolute sense), where knowledge is hidden from all of the creation in the heavens and on the earth but is known to Allah (The Most High) alone. The other type of unseen is the one who is ignorant of it; it is unknown to all people but is not unique to Allah (The Most High).
Little do we know of the Unseen, as this is something Allah (The Most High) has kept for Himself. We do not know what will happen in the next hour, the following day, week, month, and year. We can have intentions to do something or go somewhere, but whether this intention will turn into action, will not occur without the permission of Allah (The Most High). When we plan on doing a course, marrying someone, buying a house or going on holiday, are we fully confident that this will occur? Everything is destined, and this is why it is important to always make Dua (Supplication) to Allah, the Almighty, to grant what is best for us and protect us from all forms of evil such as evil eye.
In the Qur’an we are constantly reminded of this very fact; Allah the All mighty, is All knowing and All seeing.
“But perhaps [that] you dislike a thing and it (is) good for you; and perhaps [that] you love a thing and it (is) bad for you. And Allah knows while you (do) not know.”
[Quran, Surah Al-Baqarah: The Cow, 2:216]
“And with Him are the keys of the Ghayb (all that is hidden), none knows them but He. And He knows whatever there is in the land and in the sea; not a leaf falls, but He knows it. There is not a grain in the darkness of the earth nor anything fresh or dry, but is written in a Clear Record”
[Quran, Surah Al-An’am: The Cattle, 6:59]
Islamic rulings on fortune-tellers:
It is in human nature to be curious of our future and some people go above and beyond in getting a so called glimpse of it. However, in Islam, this is not allowed. A hadith narrated by by Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) said:
‘Some people asked the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) about fortune-tellers, and he said: “They are nothing.” They said: O Messenger of Allaah, they say something and it comes true. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “That is a word of truth which the jinn snatches and cackles into the ear of his familiar like the cackling of a hen, and they mix more than one hundred lies with it.”
[Sahih al-Bukhari, 7561]
So the question is how can they manipulate and steal this word?
Our Beloved Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
‘…when our Lord, may His name be blessed and exalted, decrees some matter, the bearers of the Throne glorify Him, then the people of heaven who are closest to them glorify Him, until the tasbeeh reaches the people of the lowest heaven. Then those who are nearest to the bearers of the Throne say: What did your Lord say? And they tell them what He said. And the people of heaven ask one another for the news, until the news reaches the lowest heaven. Then the eavesdropping jinn snatch what they can and convey it to their familiars. What they narrated as they heard it is true, but they add lies to it.”
[Sahih al-Muslim, 2229].
This implies that the Jinn do not have knowledge of the unseen, rather they overhear it from the angels. However , even the Angels do not have knowledge of the unseen.
“(He Alone is) the All‑Knower of the Ghayb (Unseen), and He reveals to none His Ghayb (Unseen)”
[Quran, Surah Al-Jinn: The Jinn, 72:26]
Angels and Jinn
In Islam, Muslims believe that Jinn and Angels exist and are amongst the creation of Allah (The Most High). However, we are unable to see them despite their interactions with human beings. Our sources of evidence that declare their existence are in the Quran and the Sunnah.
Believing in the existence of Angels is one of the six pillars of faith in Islam; Allah (The Most High), His angels, His Books, His Messengers, The Last Day and predestination both good and bad comes from Allah (The Most High).
They were created before mankind but we do not know precisely when. They are made from light, have wings and come in various sizes.
Their purpose in life is to follow the commands of Allah (The Most High) and do not deviate nor stop worshipping Him. They are free of sin.
“Who disobey not, (from executing) the commands they receive from Allah, but do that which they are commanded.”
[Quran, Surah Al-Tahrim: The Banning, 66:6]
The phrase ‘Jinn’ derives from the word ‘Janna’ which is defined as, to conceal and they were created from fire.
"Indeed We created man from dried clay of black smooth mud. And We created the Jinn before that from the smokeless flame of fire,"
[Qur'an, Surah Al-Hijr: The Stoneland, 15:26-27]
In many respects, they have many similarities with human beings. They live on earth, were created to worship Allah (The Most High), have free will, eat, drink, marry, have children, die and are accounted on the Day of Judgement whereby they will either go to Jannah (Paradise) or Hell (Jahannam).
"I did not create the Jinn and mankind except to worship Me."
[Qur'an, Surah Al-Dhariyat: The Winds that Scatter, 51:56]
They are found in bathrooms, dumps, animal yards and other locations that are filled with impurity.
"Cover your utensils and tie your water skins, and close your doors and keep your children close to you at night, as the Jinns spread out at such time and snatch things away. When you go to bed, put out your lights, for the mischief-doer (i.e. the rat) may drag away the wick of the candle and burn the dwellers of the house." Ata said, "The devils" (instead of the Jinns) [Sahih Bukhari,4:533]
This is why we recite the dua before entering the toilet:
“O Allah, I seek refuge with you from all evil and evil-doers.” [Sahih Al-Muslim, 375]
Majority of them are disbelievers and are called Shayateen (devils) and form part of the army of Iblis.
"Indeed he (Iblis) and his tribe watch you from a position where you cannot see them,"
[Qur'an, Surah Al-A’raf: The Heights, 7:27]
Jinns who are Muslims have been revealed at the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and are attracted to the Quranic recitation:
“Say (O' Muhammed): It has been revealed to me that a group of Jinn listened and said; 'Indeed we have heard a marvellous Qur'an. It guides unto righteousness so we have believed in it, and we will never make partners with our lord,'"
[Qur'an, Surah Al-Jinn: The Jinn, 72:1-2]
How can I know if I am possess by the Jinn?
Individuals who have had experiences in being possessed by the Jinns have mentioned the following symptoms/signs:
1) Dislike to hear the Quran nor the Adhaan (Call for prayer).
2) Losing consciousness when Quran is being recited.
3) Frequent nightmares.
4) Being anti-social. In other words, the tendency to avoid people.
5) The Jinn speaks when Quran is being recited.
6) Madness “Those who devour usury will not stand except as stands one whom Satan by his touch hath driven to [epileptic] madness…"
[Qur'an, Surah Al-Baqarah: The Cow, 2:275]
How can I know if I am affected by Black Magic?
Normally magic is referred to a deception by presenting something to an audience that is untrue. However, Black magic is when one seeks the aid of Shayateen (Devils) to perform something bad against somebody. The symptoms that one who is being affected by black magic is:
1) Disliking one’s spouse.
2) Loss of appetite
3) Unable to have sexual intercourse with one’s spouse
4) Change in behaviour with unknown reasons
5) Frequent miscarriages.
6) Sudden obedience for someone
7) Sudden love for someone
8) Imagining one has done something but never have done.
9) Different attitude within the house than outside the house. They miss the family when away but when at home it alters to hatred.
Please note that these symptoms are not solely if one is possessed by a Jinn or affected by black magic. Other causes for such symptoms include psychological or physiological reasons.
Forms of Ruqyah:
It is important to note that trials that consist of illnesses, arguments and problems, are natural and should not be assumed it is due to black magic. If one is suffering from anxiety or depression, one should first reflect on their lives and increase their connection with Allah (The Most High) via Dhikr (His Remembrance) and Dua (Supplication). One needs to be conscious in what they are saying and calling upon Allah (The Most High) sincerely.
1. Initiate with Bismillah (In the name of Allah) as Allah (The Most High) is the One who can cure everything.
A synonym for Ruqyah is "ta'with" and "ta'withah", from which obtains the “Mu'awwidhatan" (the two protecting ones) for the last two Surahs only:
Many research have been done on yoga on its health benefits. Majority of the studies consider yoga to be a safe and effective manner to increase physical activity. For instance, balance, flexibility and strength. But what is Yoga? What does it consist of? Where does it originate from? What are the health benefits of yoga?
Yoga are exercises whose origins can be traced back to India 5,000 years and was then adapted in different manners in other countries around the world. It aims to increase one’s health and wellbeing. It consists of postures and breathing. Posture aims to increase strength and flexibility. Yoga classes can take place in many locations such as hospitals, surgeries, schools and leisure centres. There are various styles of yoga for instance, Iyengar, Ashtanga and Sivananda. However, one style is not better than the other style and is dependent on your level of fitness. The duration of the session is between 45 minutes to 1 and a half hours. There are a range of health benefits of yoga:
It builds muscle strength – The difference between building strength via yoga and building strength via gym and weights, is the former balances strength with flexibility. Alternatively, the latter builds strength by using flexibility causing an imbalance. An advantage of muscle strength is that it protects us from conditions such as back pain and arthritis as well as preventing falls.
It releases muscle fatigue, chronic tension, soreness in the limbs - This can decrease stress and lower mood. Tension can present tension in the muscles.
Improves flexibility – inflexibility in muscles and connective tissues can cause poor posture. Having tight hamstrings can flatten the lumbar spine and can cause back pain and degenerative arthritis of the spine. Inflexibility can also cause neck, other muscle and joint problems. Tight hips can affect the knee joint, this is due to improper alignment of the thigh and shinbones.
Supports connective tissue - The whole body is connected. If you change the posture and change the way you breathe. An alteration in the way one breathes, can affect the nerves of the nervous system.
Eases pain – besides back pain and arthritis, other conditions yoga helps are fibromyalgia and carpal tunnel syndrome. Relieving pain can improve the mood.
Improves balance – Bad posture or movement patterns can lead to poor proprioception. Proprioception is the ability to sense movement in the joints. Poor proprioception is associated with knee and back pain. So by doing yoga, it increases proprioception which leads to better balance.
Increases health of bones – it can improve bone density and lowers the level of the stress hormone cortisol. This in turn aids calcium in the bones.
Prevents breakdown of cartilage and joint – yoga allows the joints to be in full motion and aid in preventing arthiritis.
Increases blood flow – this allows more oxygen to the cells. It also aids in circulation especially in the hands and feet. Twisting movements increases movement of venous blood (blood from veins that have low oxygen) out from internal organs and allow oxygenated blood (blood with oxygen) to flow.
Inverted poses such as shoulderstand, headstand and handstand can increase venous blood from the legs and pelvis back to the heart, where it can be pumped to the lungs to increase the amount of oxygen. Swelling in the legs is one of the symptoms of heart and/or kindney problems. Thus, yoga can lower the swelling that occurs.
It increases the level of haemoglobin and red blood cells – This increases the amount of oxygen to the cells. Haemoglobin is the iron-rich protein pigment found in the red blood cells. The role of the red blood cells is to carry oxygen around the body via the blood. How? Haemoglobin binds to the oxygen to form oxyhaemoglobin.
It thins the blood – It makes the platelets less sticky and lowering the level of clot-promoting proteins in the blood. This in turn reduces heart attacks and strokes.
Increases heart rate – It lowers the risk of heart attack by lowering the resting heart rate, increase endurance and improve the amount of oxygen uptake. It can also relieve depression.
Lowers high blood pressure – A study took place where they compared the effects of Savasana (Corpse Pose) of yoga with simply lying on a sofa. After three months, they discovered that Savasana lowered both the systolic and diastolic blood pressures.
It improves immunity – When stretching muscles, it increases the draining of lymphs. Lymphs is a viscous fluid rich in immune cells. By increasing the drainage of lymphs, it increases the body’s ability to fight infection, destroy cancer cells and remove toxic waste products.
Regulates adrenal glands – Cortisol is the hormone responsible for stress. Adrenal glands secrete cortisol which can increase immune function and improve long-term memory.Very high levels of cortisol is linked to depression, osteoporosis, hypertension and insulin resistance.
It lowers blood glucose levels – Yoga lowers levels of glucose in the blood and also lowers bad cholesterol known as Low density lipoproteins and increases the levels of good cholesterol known as high density lipoproteins. It also lowers levels of cortisol and adrenaline which increases weight loss and improve sensitivity effects of insulin. Lowering the blood glucose levels, will reduce the risk of diabetic complications such as blindness, heart attack and kidney failure.
It increases happiness, focus, relaxes the body, increases you to sleep, increases self-esteem, inner strength and allows one to be drug-free. A study investigating the effects of people with asthma, diabetes and high blood pressure discovered that yoga aided them in lowering the dosage of medications and even some were taken off medications.
Moreover, it increases awareness, helps in relationships and self-care.
Furthermore, a study discovered that yoga nidra which involves contemplating an image in one’s mind, improves the quality of life for individuals with cancer and HIV. It also lowers headaches and postoperative pain.
Improves a healthy lifestyle
It prevents Digestive problems – Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcers, constipation are amongst the digestive problems that can be increased by stress. Yoga eases constipation. It can also lower the risk of colon cancers because moving the body helps more transport of food and waste products via the bowels.
It maintains nervous system which induces relaxation when having difficulty to sleep. Improve blood flow to pelvis if one is trying to improve pregnant.
Meditation, Asana, and pranayama are yoga exercises that can improve immune system. It increases the levels of antibody levels, and lowering it when needed when there is an aggressive immune function.
Kriyas, Jala neti and other exercises can increase breathing via the nose which filters the air, warms it as cold, dry air triggers asthma attack, it humidifies it and removes pollen and viruses from the nose, drains sinuses and prevents the mucus from building up.
A study published in The Lancet revealed that in yoga, there is a technique known as ‘complete breathing’ which helps patients with congestive heart failure as they have lung problems. This led to increased oxygen saturation of their blood and improves various measures of lung function, including the maximum volume of the breath and the efficiency of the exhalation.
What's stopping you from doing yoga ;)
Do you have lower back pain?
This article circulates around this topic. It does not aim to remind you of your pain, rather it aims to inform you of why this occurs and in what ways to reduce the pain.
Nearly 8 out of 10 people have lower back pain which implies it is really common. The symptoms vary from person to person. There are many reasons as to why lower back pain even occurs that happens normally in the lumbar spine area.
The main reason is due to bad posture. For instance, not sitting or standing, lifting or bending correctly and/or for long periods of times. Other causes include over-stretching and over-using the muscles where the latter can occur during sport known as repetitive strain injury.
This is why all NHS staff have an annual training known as Manual Handling to lower the incidence of lower back pain.
Being stressed, pregnancy, smoking, overweight and long-term use of medications are other reasons. In relation to pregnancy, carrying the baby can add strain.
In relation to smoking, smoking can cause tissue damage in the back.
In relation to overweight, being overweight can add pressure.
In relation to medications, an example are corticosteroids that is normally prescribed for anti-inflammatory conditions such as asthma, allergic rhinitis (hayfever), inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and others. When it is used for a long-term period of time, it can weaken the bones.
These causes can lead to:
A problem with the bones, nerves, spinal muscles, tendons or discs in the lumbar spine area can cause lower pain that can radiate to other areas of the body.
Moreover, the symptoms that one gets can imply for a particular medical condition. For instance, sciatica which is a slipped disc. It can cause lower back pain, numbness and a tingling feeling down one leg are the main symptoms.
Another condition lower back pain can be related is due to arthiritis. Having joint pain especially in the back whilst walking are one of its symptoms.
Furthermore, back pain can also be due one of the symptoms of whiplash that can occur following an accident. It is very rare that back pain can be due to a more serious condition of the spine such as cancer, infection or fracture.
Additionally, it is important to seek medical attention urgently if you have back and one of the following as this could be a sign of a serious problem:
What’s the lumbar spine?
Lumbar is derived from the Latin word ‘lumbus’ defined as lion. The role of the Lumbar spine is for flexibility (lifting, bending, twisting) and strength. The lumbar spine is where the spine curves inward towards the abdomen. This is known as lordosis.
The lumbar spine connects the thoracic spine with the sacral spine (sacrum) as shown in the image below. It has five vertebrae (L1-L5) providing support of the weight of the whole back. However, L4-L5 and L5-S1 carry most of the weight. Thus, they are more prone to injury.
The lumbosacral joint (L5-S1) allows one to rotate, for instance when running or walking, the pelvis and hips can swing.
The spinal cord initiates from the base of the skull through the spinal column and ends at T12-L1. T12-L1 is where the thoracic spine links with the lumbar spine. The nerves then branch out like roots forming ‘caud equina’ that extend to the bottom, legs and feet.
Thus, it is very rare that the cause of the lower back pain is due to nerve damage or paralysis as the spinal cord does not run via the lumbar spine.
How can I lower the pain or prevent it?
Releasing inner endorphins
Engaging the brain
There are skills that the patient can develop to lower or ignore the pain signals which therefore influence how you perceive the pain. Pain specialists are able to help in this manner.
Despite pain can cause difficulty sleeping or staying awake, having less sleep can make the pain worse.
Do activities that make you happy
Having pain can influence your life whether that be the ability to get stuff done or relationships and can affect your mood and sleep. Thus, distracting yourself by doing something you enjoy can help.
As earlier stated, stimulating the blood flow allows nutrients to enter the affected area. This aids in healing the damaged area as it supplies cells with energy and recovery. When having problems with the back especially the lumbar spine, the discs do not receive good blood flow.
Hijama therapy (wet cupping) is effective as it can promote good blood flow in the area and remove toxins. When negative pressure is applied on the skin, endorphins are released which is needed to trigger for recovery.
Other therapies such as chiropractic, massage, and CBT also helps.
Acupuncture is another therapy that can help massively. It began in China centuries ago and involves inserting thin needles at certain points on the body. Traditional Chinese medicine is known for its strength and improving health. There are 2000 points connected by pathways to create an energy flow known as Qi (Pronounced as Chee). Stimulating these points allows the imbalance energy flow to be corrected which helps to relieve pain. Moreover, acupuncture also allows:
There is this green, rich, creamy fruit that I am in love with – Avocado. Yes avocado. It is my favourite fruit that I eat and use for hair and beauty purposes.
It is the native fruit of Central and South America for centuries. There are different types of avocado fruits but the popular one is Hass, that weight 170g and has dark green/black sin. It consists of the following:
Fat – But the good, healthy version! Omega 3 fatty acids! This helps to lower cholesterol and improve the heart circulatory system. However too much of avocados can lead to WEIGHT GAIN despite you are consuming good monounsaturated fats!
Protein- needed to strengthen the bones
Carbohydrates – for energy!
Vitamins – It has Vitamin B5, E, K helps maintain regularity of the body.
Fibre – to help digest (break down) the food
Minerals – Magnesium, iron, phosphorus, potassium. Did you know it has more potassium than bananas according to studies conducted by New York University Langone Medical Center!
It contains lycopene and beta-carotene which are important carotenoid antioxidants that aids in reducing cell damage. Their highest concentrations can be found in the dark green area near the skin.
Avocado and Cancer
Research have shown that Avocados have the ability to lower the risk of certain cancers such as prostate, skin and mouth. This is due to the mixture of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents it contains. Phytochemicals in avocados are able to stop cancer cells from growing leading to death (apoptosis).
Lu et al. discovered that carotenoids have a big role in preventing cancer. Lutein accounts for 70% of carotenoids found in avocado. Vitamin E also found in avocados can prevent the growth of androgen-dependent (LNCaP) and androgen-independent (PC-3) prostate cancer cell lines.
How? By leading cancer cells to G2/M cell cycle arrest and increase p27 protein expression.
Because avocado has a high monounsaturated fat content, it allows Lutein and other bioactive carotenoids to be absorbed into the blood where it can contribute to lowering the risk of cancer.
Lee et al. discovered that Avocatin B, a fat found in avocado induces leukaemia cell death without affecting normal peripheral blood stem cells, this is due to where mitochondria are located. Cells that do not contain mitochondria nor CPT1 (an enzyme that aids in transporting mitochondria lipid) were insensitive to avocation B. The team of researchers also found that Avocatin B can inhibit fatty acid oxidation and decreased NADPH levels. This ultimately causes reactive oxygen species (ROS)- dependent death of leukaemia cells.
Avocado and the Cardiovascular system
Due to the high content of monounsaturated fats in avocado, it lowers the blood cholesterol levels which in turn reduce the risk of heart disease. This is due to high amount of the beta-sitosterol compounds in avocado.
Furthermore, avocados can increase levels of HDL (high density lipoproteins - good cholesterol). A study found that patients with mild hypercholesterolemia (high cholesterol levels in the blood) who consumed avocados within their diet for one week had: 22% decrease in LDL (low density lipoproteins - bad cholesterol), Triglycerides, and 11% HDL.
In addition, avocados contain folic acid (vitamin B12) and vitamin B6 which regulates the levels of the amino acid homocysteine as high levels of homocysteine can increase the risk of heart disease.
A recent study discovered that avocados were linked to reduced risk of metabolic syndrome. This in turn lowers the incidence of diabetes, stroke and coronary heart disease.
Moreover, due to the high levels of potassium, it helps keep the blood pressure under control and can also regulate sodium chloride (salt) levels in the blood as that can increase the blood pressure.
Avocado and the Immune system
One of the anti-oxidants besides carotenoids found in avocado is Glutathionine. Studies have shown that lymphoid cells having a good amount of glutathione strengthens the immune system.
Avocado and the Muscoloskeletal system
Avocados contain phytosterols, omega 3 fatty acids, carotenoids and polyhydroxolated fatty alcohols that provide anti-inflammatory support in patients with arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Avocado and the Endocrine System
The low carbohydrate levels in avocados aids in maintaining blood glucose levels. Its high levels of monounsaturated fats helps stop insulin resistance. This in turn helps regulate the blood glucose levels. Soluble fibres in avocados also aid in regulation.
Avocado and the Nervous System
Avocados contain Lutein, a form of carotenoid that lowers the risk of cataracts and macular degeneration of the eyes.
Avocado and the Reproductive System
Avocado contains Vitamin B12 which aids in preventing birth defects such as neural tube defects and spina bifida.
Avocado and the Digestive system
Avocados contain fibre which aids in digesting foods because it aids in bowel movements, and keeping the intestines healthy.
Avocado and Beauty
Avocados contain Vitamin C and E which keeps the skin glowing and nourishing. Another study found that Avocado and B12 cream may be useful in treating psoriasis; an autoimmune condition that is characterised by red, crusty skin patches.
As we to strive our hardest to make use of these blessed ten days of Dhul Hijjah by performing good deeds, fast, reading Quran, Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah) and seeking His forgiveness. Millions of our brothers and sisters around the world are travelling or are currently present in Makkah to perform Hajj. Hajj is the Arabic phrase for ‘Pilgrimage’ and is the 5th pillar of Islam. Allah subhanahu wa taala says in the Quran:
“... And Hajj (pilgrimage to Makkah) to the House (Ka‘bah) is a duty that mankind owes to Allah, those who can afford the expenses (for conveyance, provision and residence); and whoever disbelieves (i.e. denies Hajj, then he is a disbeliever of Allah), then Allah stands not in need of any of the ‘Alâmin (mankind and jinn).” [Qur’an 3:97].
For those who are fasting these ten blessed ten days, here is an article about how to maintain your health whilst fasting:
This article below will circulate for those who are travelling to Hajj or Umrah. I will try to make it concise and will be as a bullet point format in sha Allah.
- Always ensure that you have a general health check-up with your G.P before departure especially the elderly, pregnant, chronic diseases (heart/renal/lung/diabetes) and cancer.
- Ensure that you aim to keep active for Hajj, exercise appropriately. For instance, gradually increase your walking distances before travelling
- Those with diabetes, asthma, epilepsy – ensure that it is control at optimum level before travelling. In addition, this applies to individuals on anti-coagulant therapy with warfarin.
- Ensure that you have enough medications with you travel. If you need to carry medications in hand luggage. Prior approval is needed from the airline, airport and letter from your G.P stating your conditions is done due to security reasons.
- Women who want to delay their menstruation/monthly periods need to speak to their G.P who may prescribe hormonal therapy. This needs to be done well in advance.
- Ensure you carry a first aid kit that includes plasters, dressings, anti-septic lotion etc.
- Ensure that your ID that entails personal information and accommodation details need to be accompanied at all times. There also needs to be details for UK contacts for emergency.
- Ensure that you have the vaccinations necessary. There is a section about it later on in the article. Vaccines are less effective in individuals with certain types of cancer or undertaking chemotherapy. If you previously had a stem cell transplant or chemotherapy, your immunity may be low or have lost it to diseases you were previously vaccinated against. Thus, you may need new vaccinations.
- Be aware of your surroundings and in an emergency call 997.
- Ensure that you have travel insurance that declares all your medical conditions
1) Eldery (65+)
2) Chronic disease (respiratory/renal/heart/diabetes)
3) Immunodeficiency (congenital/acquired)
4) Malignancy and terminal illnesses.
5) Pregnant women
6) Children under the age of 12.
The following should be given before being able to go to Umrah or Hajj with visa.
- This is given to adults and children above the age of 2 whereby a quadrivalent vaccine against meningitis which has been issued not more than 3 years and no less than 10 days prior to arrival in Saudi Arabia.
- Currently the UK Travel Health Advisory Board (NaTHNaC) and the Saudi Government recommend that all Hajj pilgrims are vaccinated against meningitis (ACWY) using the conjugated meningococcal (ACWY) vaccine.
Those who are coming from countries out of the UK should have the following vaccinations:
Travelling on Air
- If you have a heart condition or clinical history of heart disease, travelling via air increases your chance of deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This occurs when blood travels too slow via the veins. Consequently, this forms a clot that blocks deep veins.
- There is no immediate symptoms of DVT but it can cause swollen thigh, paleness, increased heat around the affected area.
- Even during the autumn and winter, during the day in Saudi Arabia, temperatures can reach 30 degrees which puts pilgrims at risk of:
- This is present throughout the year but predominantly from September to January.
- Areas that are at risk are mainly in the South Western regions of Saudi Arabia except for Mecca, Medina, Jeddah and Taif and the Asir Province as they are high altitutde areas. Thus, the risk is low in both cities Mecca and Medina.
- However, the journey between both cities is 6 hours on road and passes through a high risk location for malaria.
- This is common during Hajj and all Hajj pilgrims are at risk especially the elderly, the young, those with chronic diseases that may have a chance of being dehydrated.
- Those travelling with a low budget are at greater risk. There is greater risk whilst:
1) consuming food that have been contaminated during preparation/storage.
2) Unpasteurised dairy products
3) Contaminated water
4) Raw unpeeled fruits/vegetables.
- Majority of cases, TD lasts approximately for a few days and may require medications.
- There is no vaccine that can protect one from TD.
Blood-borne Viral infections.
- Examples include Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV.
- Hepatitis A – caused by a Virus and can be transmitted via contaminated food/water. Strawberries/lettuce are at risk as well as Crustaceans such as oysters and crabs. Symptoms include – loss of appetite, weakness/fatigue, nausea/sickness, fever/pyrexia as well as jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes).
- Hepatitis B caused by a virus and is the major cause of chronic liver disease and cancer. Symptoms are similar to that of Hepatitis A but in addition, abdominal pains (tummy pains) and flu-like symptoms can also occur. It is transmitted via blood transfusion, needles and unsterilized medical equipment.
- Blood-borne infections can also be caused when shaving the heads via non-sterile blades.
2. Combined Hepatitis A and B (protects against A and B).
3. Combined Hepatitis A and Typhoid fever vaccine (protects against Hepatitis A and Typhoid).
- Hepatitis A Vaccination should be given up to two weeks before you leave.
- It can also be given up to the day of departure if needed.
- Babies under the age of one are cannot be vaccinated.
- Protects for a year.
- A booster dose is given 6-12 months after 1st dose and can protect for at least 20 years.
- After having Hepatitis A vaccination, you may experience some side effects such as tiredness, nausea, headache, loss of appetite.
- Before being vaccinated, double check with your G.P if you are pregnant/breastfeeding/immunodeficient/allergies.
- If it is acute, pain killers can relieve symptoms.
- If it is chronic, treatment is dependent on how affected is the liver.
- Medications are prescribed to slow the viral production and prevent liver damage.
- It is severe is a serious type of bacterial infection caused by Salmonella typhi.
- It is transmitted via contaminated food/water.
- The combined Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccine.
- There also two main vaccines that can prevent Typhoid that work by stimulating the body to produce antibodies (proteins that fight infection) to avoid you from getting ill by typhoid bacteria:
1) Vi vaccine – given as a single injection is more effective than Ty21a vaccine.
- It isn’t suitable to those with low immune system such as people with HIV.
- It is not suitable to individuals with cancer who are receiving chemotherapy.
- It is not usually suitable for children under six.
2) Ty21a vaccine – given as three capsules to take on alternate days
- Vaccine is given a month before travel.
- None of the vaccines are 100% effective which is why maintaining personal hygiene especially when drinking and eating is crucial.
- There can be side effects such as headache, feeling sick/nausea, abdominal pain and having fever (1 in 100 experience hyperthermia [high temperature 38 degrees and above)])
- Symptoms can include hot flushes and paleness. It can occur in children more than adults.
- This is caused due to weakness, disturbed sleep via travelling.
Travelling with Asthma,
- Anything that can trigger your asthma, can make it worse, such as dust, tobacco smoke etc
Travelling with diabetes
On your return from Hajj or Umrah visit your G.P for a check-up or if you had continuous cough for more than 3 weeks, diarrhoea, fever, vomiting, jaundice
I will post all my health-related articles on a level where everyone and anyone will be able to read and understand.
Health is crucial in every single person’s life. Its something that money can’t buy. Thus a good health makes you rich so look after it.