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COVID-19 is still raging after 11 months and testing has only been the most effective way to keep in check the rate of increase in the active cases. With time and the increasing need, different types of COVID -19 tests are developed and are used. But the number of tests has also birthed confusion in people about which tests to take?

So, what are the best COVID-19 tests?

Amongst the many types of COVID-19 tests available around, it becomes quite important to know the details of these tests. Because all these covid tests have their advantage and usage and also they differ according to the conditions in which they give the best results.

COVID-19 tests are broadly classified into two groups

Diagnostic tests and Antibody tests

1. Diagnostic tests Test to diagnose current infection in the body

Diagnostic tests are of 2 kinds—Molecular test, Antigen Test

Molecular Test-

Molecular tests are used to find the current infection. Popularly known as the PCR test, nucleic acid test, molecular test, a viral test is used to find if someone is currently infected by the COVID-19 virus.

How the sample is taken– Samples are taken from nasal swabs, saliva, throat, or other fluids of the body.

How does it work? – Test looks for the genetic material in the sample which only comes from the COVID-19 virus. PCR technology is used to amplify and identify genetic material.

How accurate is the molecular test – The test is one of the most accurate but the genetic material starts accumulating in the passages after some time so a very recent infection might not be detected. A nasal swap sample is better to get an accurate result.

Chances of getting a false negative can be from 2% to a maximum of 37% and that of getting a false positive (report says positive but you actually are not infected) is close to zero.

It can take from a day up to a week for the result to come.

In a pooled testing several samples are combined and are run under a molecular test. In case of a negative result, all the individuals are negative whereas in case of a positive result all the individuals need a second test. This is a fast way to get more people tested.

Antigen tests-

Antigen tests are also diagnostic tests and also are performed on a nasal, throat, or saliva swab but instead of looking for genetic material, it looks for protein fragments of the virus.

The reported rate of false-negative results is as high as 50%, which is why antigen tests are not favored by the FDA as a single test for active infection. However, the FDA recently provided emergency use authorization for a more accurate antigen test. Because antigen testing is quicker, less expensive, and requires less complex technology to perform than molecular testing, some experts recommend repeated antigen testing as a reasonable strategy. According to one test manufacturer, the false positive rate of antigen testing is near zero. So, the recent experience of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, who apparently had a false-positive result from an antigen test, is rare.

Antigen tests have higher chances of giving a false negative which accounts for about 50%. Although this test is not favored by the FDA but is still authorized to be used under required circumstances. Because the antigen test is less expensive and gives the results faster. Also, the antigen test doesn’t require any complex technology as compared to the molecular test. That is the reason, the antigen test is done more than once to confirm the reason for illness.

Although in the antigen test, the false positive rate is near to Zero.

This antigen test gives the fastest result in a few minutes.

2. Antibody test- the test to identify any past infection

Antibody tests or serologic tests are done for the detection of any past infection.

How the sample is taken- A blood sample is taken for the result.

How does it work– The test identifies the presence of antibodies produced in the body to fight against the infection. It might not tell about a present infection but it can accurately detect whether a person had an infection in the past or not.

Accuracy of Antibody testThe test is accurate after a keratin time only because the immune system takes time to produce antibodies.

It can up to a few days for the results to come.

Takeaway-

We have come a long way in identifying the newly identifies infection in such a short period. There are many tests in the market by many companies and they are almost accurate enough to identify the COVID-19 infection in the body. Although, the accuracy of any test is not 100% and it cannot even be because accuracy is affected by many factors like samples, the testing process, and the time of testing, handling of the sample.

So, in keeping the risk of false results one should either take professional guidance or monitor their condition to choose the best COVID-19 test for themselves.

Dr. B. Lal Clinical Laboratory gives complete guidance and all testing facilities for COVID-19 tests. Contact us for more information or any query related to COVID-19. Our doctors would do their best to help you.

Vitamins have undisputed importance in the human body. The levels of vitamins in the body have a major impact on how the body performs. Vitamins serve endless purposes and functions in the body which makes it necessary to keep an eye on their levels in the body. Their importance and requirement can never suffice for over intake also. Too much intake of vitamins can have their effects and consequences.

Vitamin B-12 is one such important vitamin in the human body. Vitamin B-12 helps in the formation of DNA and red blood cells, proper nerve functioning, brain health, etc. Another factor that makes Vitamin B-12 important is the fact that our body does not produce it. We have to maintain its levels by external means. The human body like most vitamins does not store Vitamin B-12 in the body so we have to take in small amounts of Vitamin B-12 daily in our diet.

This brings us to another question. How much of Vitamin B-12 do we need to intake?

Levels and amounts of per day intake of Vitamin B-12 depend on age, eating habits, medical condition, and personal health.

Infants (6 months) need 0.4mcg

Babies (12- months) need 0.5mcg

Children (1-3 years) need 0.9mcg

(4-8 years) need 1.2mcg

(9-13 years) need 1.8mcg

Teenagers (14-18 years) need 2.4mcg

Adults need 2.4mcg

Pregnant and breastfeeding women need 2.6mcg and 2.8 mcg of Vitamin B-12 per day.

Now when it comes to maintaining the levels of vitamins there are only a few means by which we can monitor the levels of vitamins in the body. Deficiency symptoms are one way to conclude if you have a deficiency of any vitamin but a more concrete clinical test is required to follow up treatment.

Blood or urine tests can be used to test Vitamin B-12 levels. These tests will tell overall Vitamin B-12 level, methylmalonic acid, homocysteine, and holotranscobalamin.

Deficiency of Vitamin B-12 can lead up to

  • Weakness
  • Pale skin
  • Constipation, loss of appetite, gas
  • Vision issues
  • Nerve damage, tingling, numbness, a problem in walking, muscle weakness
  • Smooth tongue
  • Mental issues like depression, memory loss, behavioral changes
  • Temporary infertility in women

Higher levels of Vitamin B-12 are commonly seen in obese people and excessive meat-eaters. More than normal Vitamin B-12 levels are indicators of liver disease, leukemia, diabetes, etc.

When should one get a Vitamin B-12 test?

It is important to monitor your body and look for any signs or symptoms of Vitamin B-12 deficiency like although it takes a lot of time for symptoms to show up.

  • Tingling in the hands and feet
  • A racing heart
  • Jaundiced skin with a yellow tinge to it because of the low level of red blood cells in the body due to deficiency of Vitamin B-12
  • Weakness or fatigue due to lack of RBC’s. Low levels of red blood cells lead to improper circulation of oxygen and cause fatigue.
  • Weak nerve endings and functioning. Myelin is an important substance produced in the body which surrounds and protects the nerves. Myelin needs Vitamin B-12 to form. This results in pin and needles sensation in limbs.
  • Glossitis is inflammation of the tongue which makes the tongue red, painful, and swollen. Mouth ulcers are also a symptom of deficiency of Vitamin B-12.
  • High temperature
  • Dizziness
  • Those people who follow a vegan diet should get Vitamin-B12 because of lack of dairy can cause Vitamin-B12 deficiency.
  • Those who have conditions of which interfere with Vitamin-B12 absorption.
  • During pregnancies the cell production and DN synthesis activity in women’s body increases which needs a high amount of folate. So it is advised getting tested add supplements to the diet.

Your doctor might recommend a Vitamin B-12 test in case of high levels of serum folate levels.

Purpose of the test

The symptoms which present the need to test Vitamin-B12 levels take years to shown and often are misunderstood for something else. Generally, the need for Vitamin-B12 arises if there are chances of a condition called megaloblastic anemia in the patient’s body. In this condition, the body does not absorb the Vitamin-B12.

Another purpose is to diagnose higher concentrations of Vitamin-B12 in the body. Higher doses of Vitamin-B12 can have severe skin infections and the disease called rosacea in which the patient gets pus-filled bumps and redness on the skin.

What is an active Vitamin-B12 test?

Active Vitamin-B12 test is done to test the level of B-12 which is available for the body to use.

Types of Vitamin B-12 test and the procedure

Blood test –For a blood test you will be instructed to not eat or drink for 8 hours before the test. You have to make sure you are well hydrated also. A small area of your arm or near elbow will be cleaned by alcohol and an elastic band might be tied around your upper arm. Enough amount of blood is collected through a needle and a bandage is applied on your needle wound.

The sample is taken to the lab to test Vitamin B-12 levels, holoTC, etc.

Urine test-

You will need to send samples to the lab in the jar provided by them. Or another way is to dip the strips provided directly in the urine sample and read the result right away.

Other cases in Vitamin-B12 can be prescribed.

  • Weak bones
  • Male infertility
  • Inflammatory bowel diseases.
  • Heart diseases
  • Asthma
  • Sleep and mental disorder
  • Diabetes
  • Swollen tendons
  • Alzheimer’s diseases

Results

Both high and low levels of Vitamin B-12 can be indicators of other health issues. This is best discussed with a doctor.

Results according to pg/mL of Vitamin B-12

Below 150 pg /mL – low

200 to 600 pg/mL – normal

800 pg/mL – high

In the case of urine test MMA under 3.8 mcg/mC is considered normal.

The biggest and most mortal pandemic the human race has ever experienced is still harrowing the humankind. We all are doing our best to stop the affliction rate but still, the active number of cases is increasing at a rapid speed. In this fight, to date, only tests have been a promising weapon. Testing helps keep the number of positives in check and from increasing by a chain reaction. Where the traditional RT-PCR diagnostic tests are expensive, takes way too much time other alternative testing methods are required.

Antibody tests or serological tests look for the presence of antibodies in the body which is produced by the immune system of the body to fight against the virus. The test is used to detect any past infection and the chances of again being infected.

Testing has been a very important tool during this whole pandemic. Testing has made the enemy visible and it has to an extent made clear what we are fighting against.

Until now antibody tests were just used to pick up the presence of antibodies but now with new developments, the extent of these antibody proteins can also be measured.

How this is important?

The level of antibodies produced in the body determines whether the patient had developed immunity or not.

Antibodies tests also help in trials of vaccines. Promising candidates are needed to examine if the vaccine is producing the right amount of antibodies in the patient’s body.

It can be difficult for the serological test to pick an infection in the early stage.

Antibodies last for a longer time in the bodies. So, it works best in the case of antibody tests.

A positive antibody result indicates that a person had an infection in past. If there are no symptoms of a present infection that means that patient has fought the virus on. Under these circumstances, it can be presumed that a person would be immune to the virus now.

FDA approved the antibody tests for COVID-19 under the dire conditions. Antibody tests can help identify a population who no longer at the risk of getting infected directly.

This could allow people to return to work and necessary positions who are immune to a level from the disease. Health workers, essential workers, and officials can return to work and help the community as well as their families.

Although how long the immunity lasts is not concrete and it will depend upon many factors like lifestyle, individual health condition, individual immunity, and antibody levels.

It also depends on the virus. If under any circumstances COVID-19 virus mutates and overcomes the immune human bodies has developed patient is under the risk of getting infected again.

Prolonged observation of recovered patients can help to deduce the response of immunity towards the virus.

Antibody tests can help us lift the strict lockdowns

Antibody tests are efficient and fast which will help in calculating what portion of the population was infected and the extent of that infection whether it was mild or severe. It would also help in drafting the data according to the area as the antibody test can b done in herds. It would tell which areas are under severe attack and which are not. This will help in lifting the lockdowns and restrictions in the areas accordingly.

It will also help in determining who are up to returning to normal day to day tasks or traveling overseas.

Benefits of antibody test-

  • Antibody tests reveal cases that were infected but didn’t know it. This will help in the control of the unwitting spread of the virus. The knowledge of how common the virus is still unknown.
  • The serologically immune people can volunteer back to work because it is rather likely that they would transmit the virus or get infected again. People can return to work and can have more freedom regarding the movement in the community.
  • Serologically immune patients can help in treatment and vaccine research as their blood contains plasma which has strong antibodies. Antibody therapies involve deriving convalescent plasma and hyperimmune globulin from the blood of recovered patients to provide immunity to infected people. Recovered people can even donate blood to people with severe diseases.
  • Antibody tests have clinical utility and people like front line workers, medical workers, health care workers, industry workers, police staff can get tested and return to work.
  • Large scale antibody tests can be used to assess better the extent of the spread of the virus. This algorithm can be used to curate a relative strategy to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus. It can help determine if we are heading towards herd immunity.

Antibody tests will tell us if we are moving towards herd immunity

An antibody test tells if the COVID-19 virus dissolving proteins are present in the body. The increasing number of population with higher antibodies intents that virus will no longer be able to reproduce and will lead us to back to normalcy.

How is the test performed?

The test is done on a sample of blood. The sample is tested for 14 respiratory viruses, including SARS-CoV-2. The test can take generally up to two hours to complete.

Human life relies on the process of breathing. Breathing is the basic living process on which life depends. It is important to understand the significance of the process of breathing. With breathing, we inhale air and that is circulated throughout the body so it matters, what are we breathing and how are we breathing. Yet with time and lifestyle, people have forgotten how to breathe properly.

If breathing is taken seriously and done with utter care and consciousness it can benefit the body and can increase the efficiency of everyday life and process. Breathing is a workout in itself for the body.

The right way to breathe

Before even thinking about breathing exercises we need to learn the proper way to breathe. Breathing is not an independent process it happens with other processes and also affects them.

First, it is important to evaluate your posture. It is necessary to have a straight sitting posture rather than slouchy which does not allow proper space for breathing. Straight posture will allow the air to enter, circulate, and pass out of the system without any restriction. Breathing is paid so much attention that hardly any notice is given to exhaling. Maximum people do not exhale completely leaving carbon dioxide in the lungs. Try to push all the air out of the system which will make your lungs more efficient in their job.

What are the breathing exercises?

Breathing exercises are just breathing but with added conditions to enhance the breathing experience and improve your breathing organs.

Some breathing exercises you can practice are;-

  1. Pursed Lip Breathing
  2. Diaphragmatic breathing
  3. Breath focus technique
  4. Lion’s breath
  5. Alternate nostril breathing
  6. Resonant breathing
  7. Sitali breath
  8. Humming bee breath

Benefits of breathing exercises

  • Improves immunity

Breathing exercises increase the amount of oxygen in the body and increases the release of toxins with carbon-di-oxide. Increased oxygen in the cells and tissues makes them healthier and help them perform better. Healthier and proper functioning organs improve the immune system of the body as well. Clean blood full of oxygen fights better against infectious bacteria and viruses. Improved breathing will also help in better absorption of vitamins and minerals in the body.

  • Clams down anxiety

Psychologists swear by deep breathing exercise to tackle anxiety attacks and also as a long term treatment practice. Deep breathing helps in bringing heart rate to normal and increase oxygen levels. This helps in giving the brain the signal to unwind. Regular deep breathing will help in balancing the hormones releasing endorphins in the body.

  • Increases sleep quality

A deep breathing exercise that entails complete exhalation of the air out provides better sleep. Breathing detoxifies the body and signals to calm down. A deep breathing exercise before bed can help even insomnia suffering people.

  • Decreases toxicity of the body

Stress, eating habits, and shallow exhalation turns the body acidic, and with deep breathing, all the toxins are released turning the body to alkaline. It detoxifies the body. Deep breathing also helps in releasing the lymph around the body and removes strain from the body.

  • Improves digestive system

Deep breathing increases oxygen in the digestive organ and they perform better relieving from any gastrointestinal issues, constipation, indigestion, etc. proper digestion keeps the body energetic and healthy.

  • Good for cardiovascular health

Breathing exercises will help strengthen the cardiovascular muscles and improve blood pressure. Regular deep breathing also decreases the chances of stroke. Deep breathing stimulates the vagus nerve which reduces the ‘fight or flight’ response.

  • Improve concentration and cognitive properties

Regular breathing exercises can improve focus and concentration. It also improves memory and cognitive properties and brain functioning.

  • Gives healthy and glowing skin.

Breathing exercises increase the oxygen concentration in cells giving skin healthy and inner glow. It makes your skin healthy. Breathing exercises burn fat and help in balance hormones which results in less stress and clear skin.

  • Reduces inflammation in the body

Sheetali pranayama is one such breathing exercise which helps in cooling the body down. It triggers a powerful evaporating cooling effect which brings down inflamed agitated emotions and decreases inflammation in the digestive system which stresses the whole body.

  •  Helps sinusitis

Yogic breathing practices can help in sinusitis as the vibrations produced in this exercise dislodge all mucous and drain sinusitis from the body.

  • Makes the body and joints strong

Breathing exercises increase the oxygen level in the cells and it affects joints in a good way. It makes joints and muscles strong. It helps in reducing the strain of physical exercise and the chances of wearing the muscles down. Body’s ability to handle intense physical movement increases.

  • Strengthen lungs

Lifestyle habits have greatly affected the lungs and their lungs. Breathing exercise helps in increasing the air build up in the lungs and diaphragm. It increases the lung elasticity which gives more breathing space.

Lungs- the spongy pair of organs encased in the ribcage is a very important part of the human body and respiratory system. Lungs are the main participant of the respiration process and filtration of air. Lungs have a complex structure of criss-cross lacework of tubular branches divided into several other sub branches and have a sack ending called alveoli.

Lungs filter the air inhaled and separate oxygen from unwanted gases and components. Then this oxygen is supplied to the rest of the body and carbon-dioxide is released back into the environment through the nose.

Lungs are under work every second of our lives and are one of the first internal organs which come into contact with the outer factors of the environment and this fact makes lungs more susceptible to damage than other organs.

Maintaining healthy lungs is important for humans to live life to the fullest. Weak lungs will make the normal day to day tasks into a war against the body.

Lung Diseases-

Lung diseases have become very common in people due to the environment and deteriorating unhealthy lifestyle, either by choice or due to any social requirement. Any damage to the respiratory system can even result in the respiratory failure. So it is quite important to take care of our lungs.

Common causes of lung diseases

  • Quality of air we breathe for a long period of time.
  • Lifestyle habits like smoking, working in factories, poor ventilation surroundings.
  • An infection in the lungs
  • Genetic disease etc.

Some of the major lung diseases are-

  • Pneumonia
  • Asthma
  • Lung Cancer
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
  • Tuberculosis
  • Bronchitis

Symptoms of Lung Diseases-

Although every lung disease has its own symptoms. But some of the common lung disease symptoms are-

  • Persistent coughing
  • Wheezing in some cases
  • Fast breathing (gasping of air)
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Pressure in Chest
  • Bluish colour of lips or skin because of oxygen deficiency
  • Coughing out mucus or blood in some cases

Lung Diseases Diagnosis

At times it can be difficult to identify the critical conditions of the chest and lungs at the initial stages but with the help of proper guidance of doctors and medical experts, the process of diagnosis of the lung diseases can be understood by its symptoms.  Diagnosis of lungs is done to identify the high risk factors in the patients and it will also help in observing the symptoms related to lung diseases. Generally, blood test is done to examine the level of oxygen in the patient and a pulmonary function test is conducted for examining the status of the lungs. There are some tests which are conducted in the laboratory as a part of the diagnosis process.

There are some tests that needs to done for examining the health of the lungs and these tests are as follow:

  • Allergy test
  • Chest imaging
  • Sweat chloride
  • Influenza test
  • Respiratory syncytial virus
  • Sputum cytology
  • Bronchoscopy
  • Purtussis
  • Lung biopsy
  • Mycoplasma test
  • Pleural fluid analysis
  • Immunoreactive trypsin
  • Blood culture
  • AFB testing
  • X-ray
  • Pulmonary artery catheterization
  • Thoracoscopy

Importance of timely getting the screening and diagnosis done-

The problems associated with lung and infections are increasing rapidly across the globe and it is necessary to take immediate action to control the spreading of the infection in the entire body. It can only be done with the help of the right treatment at the right time so that the infection can be controlled and lung diseases can be cured timely. Getting the diagnosis done timely will help in the examination of the lung diseases and evaluating the symptoms properly for initiating the right treatment and medication. It is also crucial to keep a check on the activities and a response is generated by the body and it can be done with the help of regular monitoring of the blood levels and oxygen levels. It will help in ensuring the health of your lungs. If there is any abnormal response generated by the lungs then it can be examined during the process of screening and diagnosis so that necessary changes in the medication can be done.

Treatment of lung diseases

There are multiple treatments for handling different lung diseases. Depending on the symptoms of the patient and examining the lung disease, suitable treatment should be selected for specific symptoms observed in the patient.

Surgery

A lung transplant and lung volume reduction surgery can be done for treating the patient who is suffering from lung diseases. Lung transplant can be considered as an option for the patient who does not have any smoking habit. If the condition of the lungs is getting worse than lung transplant and lung volume reduction surgery can be done for reducing the problems associated with lungs diseases. The lung that is unhealthy can be replaced and either one or two of the lungs can be replaced with the help of the surgery.

Supplemental oxygen or Oxygen Therapy

Supplemental oxygen can also be considered as oxygen therapy.

It is a treatment where the damage caused to the lungs cannot be reversed but it can help in making the lungs healthy through which a strong respiratory process can be developed.

It will also help in stabilizing the blood pressure of the patient.

It helps in formulating the sleeping pattern and conditions through which oxygen levels can be maintained.

The human body cannot store the oxygen so this therapy helps in controlling the oxygen level of the patient.

It works in removing the prongs and it should be conducted while maintaining all the safety precautions.

How is it Different from Corona Virus Testing?

A year struggling with COVID-19 and still end is nowhere to be seen. It seems like we are digging the hole deeper. Cases are increasing and so is the need for testing. Testing is also a very important ammunition against the pandemic. It is not lost on anyone that COVID-19 testing has been an expensive and time-consuming method. So, other methods to test the presence of the COVID-19 virus have been continuously researched and Antigen is one such method.

What is Antigen?

The antigen is a substance that can stimulate the body to produce an immune response by activating lymphocytes which are white blood cells that are the main infection-fighting cells of the body. Antigens are of different types and can be found in the form of proteins, lipids, polysaccharides, or nucleic acids. The immune system of the body recognizes the distinctive features present on the surface of the antigens.

 What is Antigen testing?

Antigen testing is a diagnostic point-of-care nasopharyngeal swab test that indicates presence or absence of COVID antigen in the body. It takes 30 min to test. The test is crafted to detect a certain protein in the virus that stimulates the immune response in the body.

How does antigen work?

COVID-19 has many known antigens like nucleocapsid phosphoprotein, a glycoprotein that has a spike-like protrusion o its surface.

Antigens produce antibodies that have Y- shaped proteins produced by B cells of the immune system. These Y- shaped proteins have antigen-binding sites that bind to the specific part of the antigen surface.

This process helps in eliminating antigens from the body by direct neutralization or by pushing them for elimination by other arms of the immune system.

What does the antigen test indicate?

Whether a person is currently infected by any pathogens virus in this case that is the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The nucleic acid-based test detects genetic materials whereas antigen testing detects proteins, glycans. These proteins are found on the surface of the SARS-CoV-2.

How will the antigen test help in detecting COVID-19?

Antigen tests are generally used to diagnose the presence of respiratory pathogens like influenza, or respiratory syncytial virus. The antigen test detects the presence of a viral antigen that implies a current infection. Rapid Antigen Test for COVID-19 is a test picks on the traces of any antigens in the body which indicates the presence of a virus in recent time.

In simple words, the Rapid Antigen test detects the presence of viral proteins that occur in the body if the body is subjected to the COVID-19 virus. It is generally tested in a sample taken from the respiratory tract. If the antigens are present in a certain quantity it will attach 

itself to specific antibodies on the paper strip in an observatory bag which generates visible signals in nearly 30 minutes.

How accurate is the antigen test?

 Accuracy of antigen tests depends on the circumstance for and in which they are used. Rapid antigen test gives the best results when conducted in the early stages of infection. In the early stage, the viral virus concentration is high and can be easily detected. Antigen tests are very specific but do have lower sensitivity than the RT-PCR test, reason that the Antigen test is mostly used in the early stages.

This accounts for highly accurate results but chances of picking false negatives. Negative results are not necessarily a confirmation of not being infected. So, a follow-up of the RT-PCR test is necessary to confirm the negative test.

  • Antigen test can be very helpful in controlling the spread as it is a very time-saving test and give results faster.
  • Antigen tests can help in the control of spread from an actively infectious person.
  • The antigen test gives results in no tie compared to the RT-PCR test which takes a minimum of 3 days to get the results.
  • The antigen test is also very cost-effective compared to the very expensive RT-PCR test. If new manufacturers enter the market with an antigen test kit it can lead to an increase in the tests per day rate due to its simple design.
  • The antigen test is very simple compared to the other genetic test.
  • Antigen testing can be very helpful due to the increasing number of cases to be tested and a shortage of resources and laboratories to be tested.

Where will the antigen test be helpful?

Although FDA has not given a complete reign over conducting antigen tests it is authorized and with further research, it can be deemed fit to carry on a large scale.

  • In high containment zone antigen tests can help detect influenza-like illness.
  • COVID hotspots areas can hugely benefit from the fast and quick antigen test to keep the new cases in check but under strict supervision.
  • Asymptomatic patients can be tested by antigen test. Patients who are already hospitalized for one or the other serious diseases like HIV+, Chemotherapy patients, transplant patients, patients of the age of more than 65.

Do you get short of breath even just down a couple of stairs? Have severe un-accounted hair loss, sudden dizziness, or cold feet? If yes then you might sit and consider if you have Anemia.

Iron-deficiency anemia is a condition of deficiency of red blood cells in the body. Red blood cells are a very important part of the blood and play various important roles. Red blood cells carry oxygen to pass through the tissues of the body. Haemoglobin is the main protein of red blood cells and deficiency of haemoglobin can cause a lot of damage to the body. Haemoglobin affects the functionality of the organs of the body. Always having fatigue and dizziness are the most common result of Iron deficiency Anemia.

Iron is an important component of haemoglobin and deficiency of iron is a major cause of Anemia. Mineral iron is needed to produce haemoglobin and deficiency of iron results in Iron deficiency Anemia.

Unfortunately, Anemia is very common amongst the population. 6% of the population suffers from Anemia.

Types of Anaemia-

There are nearly 400 types of anemia which can be divided into three major groups.

  • Due to blood loss
  • Due to a decrease in blood cells or no production of red blood cells.
  • Due to the destruction of red blood cells.

There are different types of Anemia. Some are passed down genetically while others can be caused by a long-term disease or accident. In most women anemia occurs during pregnancy. And heavy menstrual flow Infants have anemia passed through or my mother’s medical condition. Rest cases of anemia can be because of any chronic disease, organ failure, or lifestyle.

Pregnancy-induced anemia is a common occurrence and is cured after some time but other types of anemia can be serious and be the indication of a medical condition and require special medical care.

Symptoms of Anaemia

Anemia symptoms can be very mild and common they are often overlooked. But this can lead to a major decline in the number of red blood cells. Symptoms of anemia can vary and depend on the cause of anemia.

  • Sudden dizziness, lightheadedness. Feeling of nearly passing out.
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness and difficulty to perform in day to day activities.
  • Weird cravings for inedible items like ice, mud or clay, etc.
  • Tongue swelling
  • Cold feet and hands compared to the body.
  • Irregular heartbeat while doing the most basic of work.
  • Headaches.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Pale skin.

Possible Causes of Anaemia

  • Blood loss

Due to blood loss body can lose a large number of red blood cells. This can happen either in accident, disease, or slowly internal bleeding.

Gastritis, Ulcers, gastrointestinal, hemorrhoids, cancers, blood loss during childbirth, etc. are causes of blood loss. Ulcers can cause internal bleeding.

  • Blood Loss during pregnancy.                                                                                                                                 
  • Consumption of Non-steroidal or anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen can cause internal bleeding in the stomach.
  • Not enough production of red blood cells.

In this case, the body does not produce enough red blood cells. It can be due to faulty organs or deficiency of iron mineral. Haemoglobin is made in the body but can be made without a sufficient amount of iron. A diet which lacks iron mineral can cause anemia. Bone marrow produces blood in the body. Sometimes bone marrow is affected by factors like other chronic diseases, and wars

  • Destruction of Red Blood Cells

Under pressure, red blood cells become incompetent in traveling through the body and burst this is called hemolytic Anaemia. An enlarged spleen can also cause and destruct the cells entirely.

  • Poor diet – it is important a diet full of all the necessary vitamins so the production of red blood cells is not affected. Vitamins are also necessary to maintain the levels so the production of red blood cells is not disrupted.
  • Body not absorbing iron- in case of any after-effects of a disease like celiac disease or gastric bypass or surgery body stop or decreases the quantity of iron absorbed. Even though mineral iron is present in enough quantities body cannot absorb and use it.

Diagnosing Iron deficient Anaemia

If you notice symptoms of anemia consult your doctor for a test.

A doctor can diagnose anemia by blood tests which are;

  • Complete blood cell test (CBC)

Measures platelets, haemoglobin, hematocrit, white blood cells, and Red blood cell.

After examining the results of this type based on the severity of your anemia either you will get treatment or further test to better understand your condition.

Treatment – Depending on the type and extent of your anemia doctor will prescribe appropriate treatment.

  • Iron and other Supplements – To restore mineral iron levels in your body supplement are a very convenient way and are rather very effective. It is prescribed to take on an empty stomach to better absorb the iron. This method can take up to months for desired results. Vitamin c is also prescribed because t helps iron absorb better.
  • Proper diet plans and recommended food list is given to follow and compare results after time. It is advised to eat red meat, leafy vegetables, cereals, oranges, or citrus fruits.
  • In case of any internal bleeding or disease, a proper treatment is continued to eradiate the issue.

Depression is a clinical disorder that is now unfortunately very common in people of all ages. India has the highest rate of depression in youth. Globally more than 264 million people are suffering from depression. Depression is one of the major contributors to suicide amongst the younger generation.

What makes it more concerning, is that it is diagnosed with difficulty and way too late. Lack of awareness and conceitedness makes it more difficult for the person to seek out help.

Although in recent years much effective medication like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), and therapies have been discovered to cure depression such as behavioral activation, cognitive behavioral therapy. But it is to understand that mediation for depression is not as simple as any other curative medication.

Antidepressants are used generally for mild to severe cases of depression and are not the first line of treatment. But when it comes to antidepressants many face-to-face psychological treatments are used to come to the right type of antidepressants for the patients.

The point with antidepressants is that it is a difficult and long process to find one which suits the patient most harmlessly. Most common antidepressants don’t work for 70% of people. It takes a long and painful process of hit and trial. This takes a lot of time and is a very taxing process for the patient. Some do not even find their perfect or near to perfect match. Trial and error make patients prone to side effects like anxiety, restlessness, insomnia which will not be able to find is a side effect or result of depression. This can make depression a lot worse than better.

So, away is brought to light to skip the trial and error and straight to the important part.

Yes, a finger-prick blood test can predict likely can guide the depression treatment towards effectiveness in less time.

Research published by some researchers in England suggests a premedication test to suggest the right medication.

Let’s dismantle this problem first to get a better understanding.

Depression affects bodies in different ways. This demands unique medication accordingly. A blood test can be used to come up with a way to better decide on the required antidepressants which would help the patient to recover from clinical depression without trial and error. This method could bring an end to the guessing game of antidepressant prescriptions.

US Southwestern Medical Center says that having a biological explanation can change the way depression is treated.

What are we looking for in the blood?

Blood has biomarkers in it. These act like chemical signals. People have different levels of these biomarkers. Levels of these biomarkers indicate whether the medication would work for the patient or not.

According to scientists tests of levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) will give a better understanding to doctor about the drugs to prescribe and their success rate.

This will not only help the patients who still haven’t got a working medication for them and increase the rate of cured depression patients.

A very common behavior seen in depression patients is dropping the medication course in just 3 months.

Dr. Trivedi Director of the Depression Centre of UT Southwestern Medical Center says “giving up hope and dropping medication is a very common behavior.” But a treatment plan including blood test and a biological proof will give results and patients would be more likely to continue the medication.

A relation between CRP levels and drug used is found by scientists.

  • CRP level less than 1mg/L – escitalopram works just fine.

CRP level higher –   

  • escitalopram plus bupropion works more effectively

CRP is a very general, basic, and effective way to measure inflammations in a human body hence it is an effective marker for depression.

According to Dr. Trivedi’s research one does not need a higher amount of inflammation to experience the symptoms of depression. A small range of inflammation in the body can trigger depressive symptoms, inpatient.

Many advanced types of research are to get a better idea of the role of CRPs with other antidepressants and to find more alternatives for CRPs.

Patients are hopeful that biological reasoning could be found so there are better and more chances of curing the illness. Rather than just relying on guessing treatments and questions and answer with the patients which has not proven to be much effective.

One major benefit is finding, what type of metabolizing system the patient has?

  • A better understanding of how a certain drug will react to the genes in the body. For eg. How the patient process the drug can be predicted. Is it too slow that it can cause buildup in the body or too fast that the drug leaves the body without working?

These blood tests can also help in determining how the body will react to a certain drug. It helps in avoiding harmful, ineffective drugs, and side effects.

 This does have its limitations but it’s the beginning to find a more stable and effective treatment route for depression.

With the constant research and studies, treating depression can surely become easier and quicker in the future, helping people avoid the emotional, physical and mental stress of trial and error method of f antidepressants and therapy techniques and eventually making them realise what’s actually important, a move towards a  healthy life.

We should be more responsible about health issues and specifically towards mental health as we tend to ignore it. Science have been making constant efforts to tackle this condition have made appreciable efforts towards it.

All we can do it hope for the best while managing the rest.

We are facing a global pandemic since the beginning of this year 2020 and have realized the importance of a healthy lifestyle and immunity power. You might as well be aware of the fact that this coronavirus attacks the lungs and makes it vulnerable. This brings us to the importance of healthy lungs.

Healthy Lungs play a vital role in helping our bodies function well. Lungs are our support system for breathing. As per the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 235 million people are suffering from asthma. We all know the benefits of pranayama and yoga for better functioning of the lungs.

So what more can we do to make our lungs healthier and stronger, making it immune to the virus and other diseases? What are the odds of having a few food items as an answer? We would like to break it to you that certain foods help your lungs grow stronger! These include garlic, turmeric, ginger, fish, walnut, citrus fruits, onion, and apple. There are many more on the list but for now, we will study how exactly do they help in making the lungs function better and make it healthier. Let’s go through them and find out how!

Also, Read Why Is Vitamin D So Important for Your Health?

Raw Food items that are good for healthy lungs –

Garlic –

The anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties of garlic are beneficial to people with conditions like asthma, bronchitis, and as per few recent studies, garlic has protective effects on even a lung cancer patient to an extent as it might work as a chemopreventive agent. It enhances the elimination of toxins and carcinogens, helping your lungs to function better, as it comprises flavonoids, stimulating the production of glutathione.

Turmeric –

As Indians, we know the use of turmeric as a natural antiseptic with medicinal qualities. It is also a major part of most of the food preparations. The anti-inflammatory property of Curcumin found in turmeric is really important in improving the functioning of lungs and helps in conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, pulmonary fibrosis, and acute lung injury because of its effectiveness in pulmonary conditions with abnormal inflammatory responses. The Curcumin compound helps in relieving the inflammation of the airways and tightness of the chest, which is associated with asthma.

Ginger –

Ginger is a very usual and important part of many food recipes that we eat and drink and it also offers many benefits to the lungs. The anti-inflammatory qualities cause bronchodilation in asthmatic patients. It is also credited for breaking down the mucus and expelling it.

Fish –

The omega 3 fatty acids, extracted from fish are beneficial for patients with chronic lung diseases like a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that decrease the inflammation of the lungs in COPD patients. Apart from fatty acid, the fish oil also protects the lungs from infections by a bacterium called Haemophilus influenza.

Walnut –

For those who are vegetarians and won’t consume omega 3 fatty acids from fish, walnut is for your rescue here. Same as in fish oil, walnuts are well loaded with omega 3 fatty acids, which turns out to be really helpful for COPD patients by controlled inflammation of the lungs.

As little as one handful daily can turn out to help fight asthma and other respiratory ailments.

Also Read, 9 Solid Foods that Enhances the Body Immune System

Water –

Water is the basic form of life. Water itself is life. And there is nothing more beneficial and effective than water. Water is one of the purest ways to detoxify your body. You must drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of water to keep your body hydrated because dry lungs are more susceptible to inflammation and irritation.

Citrus Fruits –

Citrus fruits, especially orange and lemon, are an amazing source of antioxidants and Vitamin C and Vitamin C, in turn, helps in boosting the immunity and fighting against respiratory infections. The fruits that are rich in Vitamin C reduce wheezing in children and optimize lung functions and breathing in COPD patients, as per a few recent studies.

Onion –

Onion, again, is the most commonly used vegetable in every other Indian household due to its taste, micronutrients, and vitamins. Even traditionally, it has been used as an herbal remedy for cold, influenza, and bronchitis. It helps improve the lungs and its functioning with its anti-inflammatory properties.

Flaxseeds – 

Many surveys are showing that flaxseed oil can help in the reduction of lung fibrosis. They help in protecting lung tissues before and after exposure to the radiation and help in the reduction of lung inflammation.

Apple –

We all are aware of the famous adage that says, “an apple a day, keeps the doctor away”. Well, we cannot deny this, can we? This adage has been backed by several recent studies with scientific evidence. As per a few clinical studies, the risk of developing lung cancer is reduced by regular consumption of apples. Apple is also credited for the reduced risk of asthma, as per a study. It helps maintain and improve the functioning of the lungs and the entire respiratory system.

Takeaway –

These were the 8 foods that are amazing for healthy lungs. As the proverb goes, “we are what we eat”. Make sure you add these to your daily diet and ensure better and healthier lungs and respiratory system for your body. These are the basic foods that we consume every day in Indian households, but if you are going through any serious lung-related problem, make sure to visit the doctor right away to ensure the best of your health.

Stay tuned to  Dr. B. Lal Clinical Laboratory for more updates.

In a speeding 21st century life, we often stay laid back and ignorant about our health and body. Usually, to stay healthy in this busy and junk food generation, we often take multivitamins and expect a healthy life from it. But that would be too ambitious, to be honest. Your vitamin supplement from the store will never be able to substitute a healthy lifestyle and a good diet.

In this post, we will talk about 10 essential vitamins and minerals which you would definitely want to make a part of your routine to avoid diseases and lead a healthy life. Let’s take a quick look!

Vitamin A

A fat-soluble vitamin that is present naturally in many foods like salmon, green vegetables, orange, yellow vegetables like carrots, squash, etc. Vitamin A is very important for building a healthy immune system, maintaining a normal vision, and reproduction. It also deals with the proper functioning of the heart, lungs, kidneys, etc. and other important organs. Vitamin A is differentiated in two, one found in poultry, fish, and dairy products, called Preformed Vitamin A, while the other is found in fruits and other plant base veggies and is known as Provitamin A. Healthy teeth, skin and eyes can be ensured by Vitamin A.

B Vitamins

B Vitamins are responsible for increased energy production, immune system functioning, and iron absorption by the body. So next time you feel tired and lazy, you know what your body needs! Food like potatoes, bananas, lentils, whole grains, and beans are a wholesome bunch of B Vitamins. Stock it up for a tiring and lazy day!

Also, Read, Lifestyle Changes Actually Help To Control Diabetes

Vitamin C

The amazing vitamin that is responsible for the enhanced skin elasticity, and strong blood vessels. Vitamin C also comes with great antioxidant functions! Vitamin C is required for the growth and repair of almost all parts of your body. Healing your wounds and scars are also features of this amazing Vitamin. And you where it comes from, Oranges! A lot of them! Make fruits like guava, grapefruits, kiwifruits, and strawberries an important part of your daily breakfast meal and get a boost of Vitamin C all together!

Vitamin D

The sunshine nutrient, synthesized by our body from the ultraviolet rays of sunlight absorbed by the body, is mainly responsible for calcium and phosphorous, which leads to empowering the bones in our body. Vitamin D deficiency may lead to low bone density and diseases like osteoporosis, which makes bones weak and brittle, leading to injuries. So next time be extra careful while using your daily sunscreen lotion as it stops the body from creating vitamin D from sunlight. Food like eggs, fish, and mushroom is helpful supplements for the same.

Vitamin E

We all know the importance of the immune system and immunity power as we are facing a global pandemic right now and to fight it, we surely do need a stronger immune system. Vitamin E is exactly the Vitamin you are looking for! It makes the immune system stronger to fight against bacteria and viruses. The alternative feature of this vitamin is that it helps in removing wrinkles by protecting against free radicals and it also helps in maintaining healthy blood circulation. Just look at it! It’s a win-win situation!

Vitamin K

It is a group of fat-soluble vitamins that produce prothrombin, a protein, and a clotting factor responsible for blood clotting and bone metabolism. It also plays a vital role in regulating blood calcium levels. It turns out to be really helpful in making healthy bones. Make a healthy meal of spinach, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts for your full-day Vitamin K dose, helping in blood coagulation.

Folic Acid

A perfect supplement to the diet of pregnant ladies out there! With the cell-renewing and birth-defect reduction qualities of folic acid it can surely help you before and after delivery of your healthy child. The meal should include asparagus, broccoli, citrus fruits, beans, nuts, cauliflower, seeds, and corn. How better and tastier can it get, right?

Calcium

Calcium is pretty famous among all the nutritional elements for its bone-powering qualities. Make sure you are consuming a decent amount of calcium in order to keep your bones strong by drinking a lot of milk and soy lattes. Our vegan friends can depend on tofu!

Iron

Iron holds the credibility of healthy muscles and blood in our bodies.  A decent meal of oysters, pumpkin seeds, and spinach can provide you with enough iron for your body!

Zinc

Immunity, growth, and fertility, all are taken care of by zinc in our bodies. It also helps in cell division, cell growth, wound healing, and the carbohydrate breakdown. It also is responsible for our important senses such as smell and taste. A zinc-rich diet may include cashews, beans, oysters, and even dark chocolate! Yes, we just gave you a reason to eat it!

These were 10 important vitamins and minerals essential for a healthy life, along with tasty, yet healthy food supplements to enrich them!

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