One of In­dia’s fore­most gas­troen­terol­o­gists and ‘Health & Nu­tri­tion’ pan­elist, Dr Deepak Amara­purkar, passed away in the heavy rains that lashed Mumbai last month. Dr Amara­purkar’s death has left not only a big void in the med­i­cal fra­ter­nity but also amon

Health & Nutrition - - JUST LAUNCHED - Co­or­di­nated by PRABHAKAR A PUTHRAN

As I am get­ting older, I am find­ing that my ap­petite is di­min­ish­ing. Should I use nu­tri­tional drinks to sup­ple­ment my limited diet? Richa Agar­wal, New Delhi I un­der­stand your con­cern but as I do not know your age, I do not know what you mean by grow­ing older. I also need to know about your phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity, whether you are los­ing weight, are un­der stress and many other things in­clud­ing clin­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion find­ings. I would rec­om­mend you con­sult a physi­cian and di­eti­tian be­fore con­sid­er­ing any nu­tri­tional drinks.

I have hic­cups on a reg­u­lar ba­sis, and some­times they last for a long time. Should I be wor­ried? How can I stop the hic­cups? Reena Dalmia, Su­rat Hic­cups oc­cur be­cause of the spas­modic con­trac­tion of the di­aphragm. The type of hic­cups you have de­scribed do not seem to be sin­is­ter. To stop the hic­cups, adopt sim­ple mea­sures like breath­ing from the mouth while clos­ing the nos­trils. There are some med­i­ca­tions like Ba­clofen which can be used in con­sul­ta­tion with the doc­tor. What is a stool soft­ener? Is it okay to use one for long pe­ri­ods? Ma­hesh Khanna, Mumbai A stool soft­ener is a bulk-form­ing lax­a­tive like Is­ab­gol which has a high fi­bre con­tent. It can be used safely for a pro­longed pe­riod.

On a CT scan for an­other pur­pose, my doc­tor saw a cyst in my liver. It scared me, but he said not to worry. Should I worry? Shruti Iyer, Chen­nai See­ing a small cyst on a CT scan is no rea­son for worry. It may be nor­mal. How­ever, if you are wor­ried, con­sult a gas­troen­terol­o­gist.

I have tried just about ev­ery­thing for my chronic con­sti­pa­tion. Is there any­thing new that might be of help? Any med­i­ca­tions to treat it? Sarita Ka­math, Nag­pur You must drink three litres of wa­ter ev­ery­day and have ad­e­quate fi­bre in your diet. There are many new med­i­ca­tions for con­sti­pa­tion but you need to be eval­u­ated be­fore start­ing on them.

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