Saturday, 20 September 2014

Whiplash

Whiplash
Credit: ageonicsmedical
Whiplash – Sudden Movement of the Head, Damage to Ligaments/Tendons

Whiplash also called neck sprain or strain is caused by sudden movement of the head forward, backwards or sideways which could occur after sudden impact in a road accident wherein the vigorous movement tends to damage the ligaments and tendons in the neck.

Tendons are the fibrous, tough bands which connect muscles to the bone while ligaments are the fibrous connective tissue which link two bones together at a joint. In whiplash, the intervertebral joints, those which are between the vertebrae discs and ligaments, cervical muscles and the nerve roots may get damaged.

People get affected by whiplash when they experience an abrupt backward or a forwards jerking motion of the head in an accident and the symptoms may not show or could be delayed for 24 hours or more even after the trauma.

But some people may develop one or more symptoms within the first few days after injury like stiffness and neck pain, headaches, lower back pain, dizziness, pain or numb feeling in the arm or hand, difficulty in concentrating and remembering, pain in the shoulder or between the shoulder blades and irritability, fatigue and sleep interruptions.

Road Accidents/Sudden Blow/Fall or Slip – Causes 

Road traffic accidents being the main cause of whiplash, due to the sudden stopping impact of the collision results in the sudden violent head movement. With this violent impact of the forward, backwards or sideways movement, ligaments and tendons tend to get damaged resulting in this ailment.

Low speed collisions may also lead to whiplash. Besides road accidents, whiplash could also be due to sudden blow to the head especially during a boxing game, rugby or sports. A fall or a slip wherein the head tends to get affected due to a violent and sudden jolt backwards could also be the cause of whiplash, or being struck on the head by a solid and a heavy object.

No specific treatment has been scientifically proven to be effective for whiplash though pain relief medication with gentle exercises, physical therapy, massage, heat, ice, traction, injections and ultrasound could be helpful for some people

Diagnosis Based on Symptoms 

Whiplash injuries earlier were treated with immobilization in a cervical collarthough the present trend is encouragement of movement instead of immobilization. Ice is also recommended within the first 24 hours of the impact which could be followed with gentle movement.

If the neck pain is painful, it is essential to keep it mobile from the early stage which could improve its functions and quicken the recovery. It is better to move the neck by using a neck brace or collar instead of keeping it still.

Diagnosis of whiplash is often done based on the condition and injury of the ailment through a series of tests and scans like x-rays, computerised tomography –CT, or magnetic resonance imaging –MRI is done incase of a fracture or any other problem. Whiplash usually tends to get better on its own or after following some basic treatment.

Whiplash that lasts for six months or beyond is called chronic whiplash or late whiplash syndrome and the treatment plan would be based on the symptoms and if the pain tends to be severe, the physician would recommend stronger painkiller or the option of physiotherapy.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Motor Neurone Disease


Motor Neurone Disease
Motor Neurone Diseases – Group of Progressive Neurological Disorder

Motor neurone diseasesMND, is the name for a rare ailment connected with a group of progressive neurological disorder that tends to damage motor neurons, which are the cell that control the necessary voluntary muscle activity like speaking, breathing, swallowing or walking. Motor neurone disease is also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – ALS, which takes place when the nerve cells in the spinal cord and the brain known as motor neurons tend to stop functioning properly affecting the muscle activities in the body. Messages from nerve cells located in the brain known as upper motor neurons tend to get transmitted to nerve cell in the brain stem and the spinal cord, called the lower motor neurons to particular muscles. From the upper motor neurons it is directed to the lower motor neurons to enable movements like walking or chewing while lower motor neurons control movements related to the arms, legs, chest throat, face and the tongue. The spinal motor neurons are also known as anterior horn cells while the upper motor neurons are called corticospinal neurons.

Disorder in Coordination between Upper/Lower Motor Neurons

When the disorder in the signals between the lowest motor neurons and the muscles takes place, the muscles fail to function properly resulting in gradual weakening and thereby develop uncontrollable twitching known as fasciculation. Disorder in the coordination between the upper motor neurons with the lower motor neurons, results in tendons reflexes like the knee and the ankle jerks getting overactive and over a period of time, the capabilities of controlling the voluntary movement could be weaken or lost. Individuals suffering from motor neurone diseases will find the normal activities difficult as the condition progress and finally may find it impossible to function normally.

Weakened Grip/Slurred Speech ……

Symptoms of this condition tends to begin gradually over weeks or months and affects only one side of the body at first and then gets worse. Early symptoms could be a weakened grip wherein the person may face difficulty in holding or picking objects, slurred speech, dragging of the leg, and weakness at the shoulder which would make lifting of the arm difficult, or a foot drop which is the result of weak ankle muscles. Though the condition is not painful, as the condition progresses, symptom may spread to the other areas of the body and eventually the person may have difficulty in movement or is unable to move. This could also affect communicating, breathing or swallowing.

Life Shortening Ailment

MND is a life shortening ailment for most of the cases and the life span could probably be three to four years when the symptoms occur, though there are few cases where some tend to live up to ten years or even longer. In most cases of MND, it could be fatal since the involvement of the breathing muscles makes the person prone to drowsiness and susceptible to chest infections. Though there is no cure for MND, treatment could be aimed at making MND patients comfortable and provide them with maximum support as well as compensate for the loss of bodily functions like communication, breathing, and mobility or swallowing.

Modern Technology Brings Better Treatment Options


Dental care
More people today have appearance goals, even when they begin to age. They recognize that quite often, appearance begins with the skin. With this in mind, those people are quickly finding that new technology makes it much easier to get the sort of skin rejuvenation that last. Yaletown Laser Centre in vancouver is just one of the facilities offering individuals a bevy of different options designed to make life just a little bit easier.

What are those companies like Yaletown Laser offering today? For one, these places offer botox treatment that can breathe new life into a person's face. The effects of age catch up with even the best person. Botox treatments provide a very easy, very affordable solution for those individuals who want to get more out of their later years.

In addition, today's laser technology can provide things like hair removal. Quite often, women run into problems with unwanted hair in all the wrong places. They might fight this for a prolonged period of time, but getting wax treatments can be cumbersome if done for long enough. Laser hair removal takes care of the problem permanently, allowing individuals to look their best without having to engage in a near-constant maintenance process.

 With new technology has come the ability to look one's best even in old age. Lasers provide individuals with new options that are easy, quick, and affordable. As more individuals have come to value the appearance of their skin, more have sought out the best laser facilities for a range of different treatments.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Japanese Encephalitis – Viral Brain Infection


Japanese Encephalitis
Japanese encephalitis previously known as Japanese B encephalitis to distinguish from von Economo’s A encephalitis is a type of viral brain infection which spreads through mosquito borne Japanese encephalitis virus that is from the Flaviviridae family. It is mostly common in the rural areas in South East Asia, the Far East and the Pacific islands. This virus is often found in birds and pigs which are passed to the mosquitoes which tend to bite the infected animals.

Domestic pigs and wild birds like herons have the virus in plenty and transmission to humans could cause severe symptoms. Human could get the infection when they are bitten by infected mosquito and most of the ailment could result in mild symptoms which are short lived, like flu, though in some cases, the infected persons may experience inflammation of the brain along with symptoms which may include sudden onset of high fever, headache, coma, tremors, disorientation and convulsions.

Around 1 in 250cases could also be fatal wherein the infection could spread to the brain and cause serious symptoms which may include seizures or fits, inability to speak, confusion, paralysis – inability to move certain areas of the body.

Precautions to Prevent this Disease – Vaccination 

Presently there is no specific treatment for this ailment though patients could focus on supportive care and take precaution to prevent this disease by using personal protective measures to get vaccinated and avoid mosquito bites.

Treatment could involve supporting the functions of the body when it tries to fight off the infection which will need admitting the person to the hospital where they are kept on fluids, oxygen and treated for any symptoms.

One in every three cases tends to develop further serious symptoms and dies while those who survive may have permanent brain damage. Immediate medical aid should be taken if faced with the symptoms of Japanese encephalitis especially for those who had recently visited or are in any of those infected areas.

Care to be Taken to Reduce the Risk of Japanese Encephalitis 

Japanese encephalitis is very rare in travellers from out of risk areas. Those who are at risk are those who may be living and working in rural areas where there is a widespread of this infection and seventy five percent may involve children under 15 years of age.

For the prevention of Japanese encephalitis, the best option is to get vaccinated against the infection before visiting any location where there could be risk of the infection of the disease and if the visit is to be made in rural areas or hiking or campus, the chances of risk are higher.

Though the vaccine is available privately and provides protection against the disease, it is also essential to take precaution to reduce the risk of getting mosquito bites like taking care to sleep in room with close fitting gauze over the windows and door, or if sleeping out in open areas, care should be taken to use mosquito nets which have been impregnated with insecticide, apply a good amount of insect repellent to the exposed parts of the body and covering up long sleeved tops, trousers and socks to be free from infected mosquito bites.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Fibromyalgia


Image Credit: torontopolyclinic/ 500px
Fibromyalgia – Chronic Pain in Ligaments/Muscles

Fibromyalgia also known as fibromyalgia syndrome is a long term ailment which causes chronic pain in ligaments and muscles. Though women are more prone to this condition in their mid-thirties to late fifties, it can also occur in people of any age including children and the elders.

The exact cause of fibromyalgia is not known but research indicates that it could be relatively common conditions with some estimates suggesting that nearly 1 in 20 cases could develop fibromyalgia to some extent.

Its causes could most likely involve some factors like genetic which may run in families where certain genetic mutation could make the person vulnerable in developing this disease. Infection of some illness could also trigger this condition and emotional trauma or stress could be linked to fibromyalgia.

Symptoms at times could also begin after surgery, or a physical trauma or psychological stress while in other cases; it could gradually get accumulated over a period of time. Diagnosing this condition tends to get difficult since fibromyalgia symptoms can be similar to a number of other conditions.

Symptoms of Fibromyalgia

Though there is currently no cure for fibromyalgia, there are certain treatments which could be helpful to some extent to relieve some of the symptoms and make life easier. Treatment could be a combination of medication of anti-depressants and painkillers, or talking therapies which could involve counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy –CBT.

Changes in lifestyles could also add to bring much relief to this condition like undertaking exercise programmes together with relaxation techniques. It has been observed that exercises together with relaxation and stress reduction have provided good benefit to the person with this condition together with pain relief.

Besides the muscular pain and stiffness, the patient may also experience widespread pain associated with fibromyalgia and is described as a dull ache which could last for atleast three months.

Cognitive Difficulty – Fibro Fog

This pain could occur on both sides of the body as well as above and below the waist. The person also experiences fatigue and often tends to wake up feeling tired inspite of being asleep for a long period of time. Their sleep is often interrupted by pain with the result they tend to suffer from sleep disorder like restless legs syndrome and sleep apnoea.

A cognitive difficulty is a symptom referred as fibro fog which impairs the ability to concentrate or pay attention on mental tasks. Besides these, the person with fibromyalgia may also experience headaches, depression and pain or cramps in the lower area of the abdomen.

The pain accompanied with lack of sleep could create difficulties in the daily functions at home or at work and the frustration of dealing with this inability could be a misunderstood condition resulting in depression and ill health.

According to research, it is believed that repeated nerve stimulation could cause the brain with fibromyalgia to change involving an abnormal increase in levels of certain chemicals in the brain which may cause pain. Moreover, the pain receptors in the brain develop a kind of memory of the pain and tend to get more sensitive and overreact to pain signs.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Cardiomyopathy Disease of Heart Muscle

Cardiomyopathy
Cardiomyopathy is a general term for diseases of the heart muscle having many causes, symptoms, signs and treatments. It occurs when the walls of the heart chambers tend to get stretched, stiff or thickened and affects the ability of the heart to pump the blood in the body.

In other rare cases, the muscle tissue is replaced in the heart with scar tissue. As cardiomyopathy tends to get worse, the heart gets weaker and is unable to pump blood through the body to have a normal electrical rhythm which could lead to a failure of the heart or irregular heartbeats known as arrhythmias.

This in turn could cause fluid to accumulate in the lungs, feet, ankles, legs or abdomen. People suffering from cardiomyopathy are at risk of dangerous forms of irregular heartbeats which can lead to cardiac death and the most common type of cardiomyopathy is known as dilated cardiomyopathy. The term cardiomyopathy could theoretically refer to any disease related to the heart and is usually referred to severe myocardial disease which leads to heart failure. Some types of cardiomyopathy are inherited and are seen in children as well as younger individuals.

Different Forms of Cardiomyopathy

In the case of dilated cardiomyopathy, the muscle walls of the heart tend to get stretched and thin and cannot contract or squeeze sufficiently to pump the blood in the body. People with dilated cardiomyopathy are at greater risk of heart failure where the heart fails to pump enough blood to the body at the appropriate pressure.

Besides this, the person is also at a risk of valve problems, blood clots and irregular heartbeat and immediate treatment would be essential. The symptoms of heart failure may cause shortness of breath, extreme tiredness and ankle swelling.

Besides dilated cardiomyopathy, there are other types of cardiomyopathy namely hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy and restrictive cardiomyopathy. A heart transplant may be needed for people with severe heart failure. Cardiomyopathy differs from a heart attack though heart attack also tends to damage the heart muscles but may also be caused due to other reasons.

DilatedCardiomyopathy takes place in people between the age of 20 to 60 years more in men than women and when the heart muscles tend to start stretching and getting thin or dilate it could mean that the heart muscles is not capable of contracting normally and is unable to pump sufficient blood to the body. Over a period of time the heart tends to get weak which could lead to heart failure and other complications.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is considered a very common form of cardiomyopathywhich can affect people of any age group and occurs when the heart muscle cells tend to get enlarged causing the wall of the heart to thicken. This could further block the flow of the blood out of the ventricle and if a blockage takes place, the heart would need to work harder in pumping the blood to the body which in turn could lead to chest pain, dizziness, fainting or shortness of breath. This form of cardiomyopathy could also have other effects on the body.

Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy is a rare type which takes place when muscle tissue in one area of the heart is replaced with scar tissue thereby disrupting the heart’s electrical signals causing irregular heartbeats. Some of the symptoms may include palpitations together with fainting after doing some physical activity which normally affects young adults and teenagers.

Restrictive cardiomyopathy tends to affect the older group of individuals wherein the heart gets stiff and rigid due to abnormal tissues like scar tissue replacing the normal heart muscles.

Conclusion 

There is no cure for this ailment, but it could be kept under control by maintaining a healthy diet, quitting smoking if one is prone to smoking, lose excess weight if overweight, reducing the intake of alcohol, get sufficient sleep, handle stress and ensure that any underlying condition like diabetes is kept under control.

Medical treatments may be needed in order to control the blood pressure, remove any excess fluid, correction of the abnormal heart rhythm or prevent the clotting of the blood. In cases with obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the septum which is the wall dividing the left and right side of the heart get thickened, bulging into the main heart chamber.


 In such a case, an injection of alcohol in the heart is given to reduce portion of the muscle in the septum or a septal myectomy or heart surgery is done to remove part of the thickened septum, the mitral valve could be repaired simultaneously if required.

Individual with heart rhythm problems could also have the need of a pacemaker or some similar device that could be implanted to control the abnormal rhythm of the heart. Heart transplant is the last resort when other treatment is not effective and does not give much relief to the patient.

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Rubella, German Measles


Rubella
Rubella also known as German measles is a viral infection which is very common in children andis best recognized by its distinctive red rash. It is not the same as measles or rubeola though these two condition share the same characteristic that of red rash.

Rubella is caused by a different type of virus called togavirus and spreads in the similar way as cold or flu through someone who is infected with this ailment via their droplets of moisture from the nose or throat which is released in the air when they cough, talk or sneeze. A person can get affected when they tend to come in contact with the droplets from these infected people and it could take two to three weeks for the symptoms to surface.

A person with rubella could be infectious to other people from one week before the symptoms develop and up to four days after the rash appears. In such a case, the infected person should stay away from work or school for six days after the rash starts in order to avoid the spread of this disease to others especially pregnant women where the highest risk to the foetus is during the first trimester as well as later stage of pregnancy.

Measles Mumps Rubella – MMR Vaccine

The symptoms of rubella usually tend to last a few days though the glands may get swollen for several weeks. The measles mumps rubella – MMR, vaccine is given to children twice in the US before they reach the school level and is highly effecting in the prevention of rubella.

 The symptoms may include a high temperature, cold like symptoms like cough and running nose, swollen glands around the head and neck, red pink skin rash made up of small spots, and aching and painful joints.

The rubella rash may look like several other viral rashes and the physician usually conduct laboratory test to confirm rubella. The person may have a virus culture or a blood test which can help to detect the different types of rubella antibodies in the blood wherein these antibodies indicate if there had been a recent or past infection or a rubella vaccine.

Congenital Rubella 

There is no specific treatment for rubella though the symptoms tend to pass off normally within seven to ten days. The best way to prevent this disease is to be immunised with the MMR vaccine. Children are given this vaccine as their routine childhood immunisation programme which is given in two doses; the first is given between 12 – 13 months old and a booster when they are around three to five years of age.

MMR vaccine can be given to older children as well who have not been immunised earlier. Congenital rubella is an ailment which occurs when the virus in the mother affects the child during the first three months of pregnancy and affects the development of the child.

After the fourth month the mother’s rubella infection is less harmful to the child. Pregnant women who have not been vaccinated for rubella and have not been infected with the disease in the past are at risk of getting infected themselves as well as the unborn child.