Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Acute Cholecystitis

Acute Cholecystitis – Swelling of Gallbladder

Acute cholecystitis is the swelling of the gallbladder which is the organ below the liver that helps the body to digest fat. Cholecystitis can be very severe which may need immediate medical attention. If this condition tends to persist for a long period or the person may face repeated attacks, it is known as chronic cholecystitis.

The most common cause of acute cholecystitis is gallstones which according to the British Medical Journal are 90% responsible for this condition. The gallstones tend to block the bile ducts, wherein the bile gets build up in the gallbladder causing the inflammation. Besides this, acute cholecystitis could also be the reason of severe illness or tumour though these causes could be rare.

Women tend to suffer from gallstones, two to three times more often than men and have a higher risk of developing acute cholecystitis. The main symptoms of acute cholecystitis is sudden pain in right area of the stomach – abdomen which tends to spread towards the right shoulder and the affected area of the abdomen is very tender where taking deep breaths could be very painful.The pain connected with acute cholecystitis unlike any kind of abdominal pain tends to be persistent which does not go away after a few hours


Some may experience additional symptoms like a high fever or temperature, sweating, nausea and vomiting, yellowing of the skin as well as the white area of the eyes, loss of appetite, and a bulge in the abdomen.

The symptoms of acute cholecystitis could be like any other illness and to diagnose the illness, the doctor should know the medical history together with the symptoms by checking the abdomen for swelling or tender areas or some additional tests like - Abdominal ultrasound of sound waves is used to create an image of the organ, cholangiography is used for dye injection in the bile ducts to indicate the gallbladder as well as the bile ducts on x-ray, hepatobiliary scintigraphy, a process which tends to create an image of the upper area of the small intestine, liver, gallbladder and the bile duct and CT scan which provide computerized images of the internal organs.

If the person is diagnosed with acute cholecystitis, they make have to undergo blood tests to identify other problems if any.

Calculous/Acalculous Cholecystitis

Cause of acute cholecystitis is grouped in two sections, namely calculous cholecystitis and acalculous cholecystitis. In the case of calculous cholecystitis, which is the most common and less serious type, develops when the main opening of the gallbladder known as the cystic duct tends to get block by gallstone or substance known as biliary sludge with small crystals of cholesterol and salt.

This blockage in the cystic duct collects in the gallbladder putting pressure inside it causing it get inflamed. In few cases, the inflamed gallbladder may get infected by bacteria.Acalculous cholecystitis is a less common type though more serious which usually develops as a complication from a serious illness, infection or an injury which could damage the gallbladder.

It is often connected with problems like accidental damage to the gallbladder at the time of major surgery, or serious injuries, blood poisoning, burns, severe malnutrition or AIDS. The treatment is recommended by the physician based on the symptoms, though most of the time it goes away on its own.

Monday, 15 December 2014


Leptospirosis – Bacterial Infection, Spread through Animals

Leptospirosis is a kind of bacterial infection which is spread by animals and caused by corkscrew shaped bacteria known as leptospira. Leptospirosis is also known as field fever, rat catcher’s yellow and pretibial fever.

In 90% of the cases, it could cause mild flu type of symptoms like headaches, muscle pains accompanied with fevers. In some other cases, the infection could be more severe causing life threatening problems like organ failure and internal bleeding. If the infection could cause the person to turn yellow with kidney failure and bleeding, it is known as Weil’s disease.

 If lot of bleeding is caused from the lungs, it is known as severe pulmonary haemorrhage syndrome. Common mild symptoms of most cases of leptospirosis infections is difficult to diagnose and a detailed history of the places visited or had been in contact with any animals could help with the diagnosis.

A person can get affected with leptospirosis on touching soil or water which could have been contaminated with the urine of wild animals infected with the leptospira bacteria. Animals which are known to be carriers of the bacteria include dogs, rodent, especially rats, cattle and pigs and people who tend to deal regularly with animals, like the farmers and vet are at a higher risk of developing this disease.

Biphasic Disease

Besides this, individuals could also be at risk if they are frequently in contact with sources of freshwater like the rivers and lakes which couldbe due to participation in recreational activities like water sports and fishing. This infection in humans could cause a range of symptoms and some infected, may have no symptoms at all.

Being a biphasic disease, it starts suddenly with fever together with chills, intense headache, severe myalgia or muscle ache, abdominal pain, conjunctival suffusion and a skin rash occasionally. The symptoms tend to appear after an incubation period of 7 – 12 days and the first phase ends after three to seven days of illness.

Disappearance of the symptoms coincides with the antibodies that appear against Leptospira and the disappearance of the bacteria from the bloodstream. The person is a carrier for three to four days till the second phase starts with another occurrence of fever.

A distinguished feature of the second phase is meningitis or inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain.

Treated with Antibiotics 

Leptospirosis can be treated with a course of antibiotics where the tablets are given for a week in cases of mild forms of leptospirorsis. In severe cases, the need for admission to the hospital would be essential in order to support the functions of the body when the infection is being treated with injections of antibiotics.

Human vaccines are available in limited countries which include Cuba and China though presently no human vaccine is available in US. Preventive measures can be taken through effective rat control together with avoidance of the urine contamination in water sources.

Leptospirosis is very common in the tropical regions of the world and it is anticipated that due to global warming together with the expected increase in floods that the number of cases of this disease is likely to continue and increase in the near future.

Saturday, 13 December 2014


Credit: Skindisorders3
Carbuncles – Cluster of Boils under the Skin

Carbuncle is a red, swollen and painful cluster of boils which are connected to each other in a group of hair follicles under the skin. It is an infection of a hair follicle having small collection of pus or abscess under the skin.

 Carbuncle usually is likely to occur on hairy area of the body like the back or nape of the neck though it could also develop in other areas of the body like the buttocks, thighs, armpits or groin. A person having carbuncle may have additional symptoms like high fever and may feel weak and exhausted.

Most of the cases are caused by Staphylococcus aureus bacteria or staph bacteria which usually live harmlessly on the surface of the skin or in the lining of the nose. If they get inside the skin they cause skin infection like boils.

They inhabit the skin surface, nasal passages and the throat and these bacteria could be the cause of the infection by entering the skin through a hair follicle, puncture, small scrape though at times there is no point of entry.

Boils are common in teenagers and young adults especially males, where young males, living in overcrowded and probably unhygienic conditions could be at risk of carbuncle. It is less common and could occur in middle aged or older men due to poor health of a pre-existing health condition like diabetes.

Likely to Leave Scars

To get healed, the carbuncles have to be drained which are filled with pus, a mixture of white and old blood cells, bacteria together with dead skin cells. Carbuncles are more likely to leave scars than boils.

An active boil or carbuncle is contagious and the infection can spread over to other parts of the body or to other people through the contact of skin or on sharing of personal items. Hence it is essential to ensure appropriate self-care measures such as maintaining clean area and covered, till the carbuncle gets drained and healed.

To manage,promote healing, minimize scarring and prevent carbuncles, medical treatment is essential. Should a person tend to have boils which persists for a more than a few days, they should contact the doctor at the earliest for timely treatment.

 Most of these boils can be treated successfully at home and one of the best means to speed up its recovery is to apply a warm facecloth to the boil three to four times a day and if it does not heal, the doctor may consider draining it.

Possibility of Developing Secondary Infection 

Boils or carbuncles should never be squeezed or pierced since it could cause the infection to spread leading to further complications. If the carbuncle should cause complications, a week long course of antibiotics may be recommended.

At times, the boils or carbuncles tend to return and in such instances, one may need further test to identify the problem and could be prescribed with antiseptic solution for removal of the bacteria from the skin. Though most of the boils tend to get better without much complication, some may tend to develop a secondary infection which could range from a relatively minor infection of the deeper layer of the skin like cellulitis, to rarer and more serious infection like blood poisoning – sepsis.

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Keratosis Pilaris

Keratosis Pilaris
Credit: Doctor Tipster

Keratosis Pilaris – Common & Harmless Skin Condition 

Keratosis pilaris is a common and harmless skin condition causing the skin to become rough and bumpy as if it is covered in permanent goose pimples making the skin feel like sandpaper. The bumps tend to be light coloured and appear usually on the upper arms, buttock and thighs with swelling or redness at times. They also tend to show up on the face which is less common. With the exception of itching, this ailment does not hurt or gets worse.

 Children and teenagers tend to suffer from this condition which disappears as they get older. There is no cure for keratosis pilaris though there are treatments to improve the rash, like usage of soap free cleansers and exfoliating gently. The need to visit the physician does not arise unless the condition tends to cause reasons for concern.

Patches of the affected skin may be covered in tiny spiky bumps which may be white, red or skin coloured and this spotting tend to appear like `chicken skin’ or permanent goose pimples. This condition is not contagious and could get worse during winter months or dry conditions but improves in summer.

Build-up of Keratin 

Keratosis pilaris is the result of build-up of keratin, which is the protein that protects the skin from infections together with other harmful issues. These build-up acts as a plug which blocks the opening of a hair follicle and what triggers it, is not known.

If a person tends to have a dry skin, they are more likely to suffer from keratosis pilaris which gets worse in winter when the moisture level is the air is less, though it can get better in summer time. Besides this, it could also affect people with certain skin conditions like eczema which is also known as atopic dermatitis.

This condition cannot be prevented though it can be kept under control by lessening it effects which include using warm water instead of hot for showering and bathing, limiting the time in water, avoid scratching at the bumps or rubbing the skin roughly, using soap which contains added oil or fat, adding moisture to the air with a humidifier at home and using thick moisturizers generously on the skin.

Treatment – Moisturizing/Exfoliating/Laser Therapy 

With no cure for this condition, moisturizing lotion or creams could be of tremendous help to the skin which can look and feel better, where various options are available over the counter though for stronger versions, a prescription would be needed.

To reduce the redness, steroid creams could also be used though the effectiveness of these treatments is limited. It often takes months for the improvement of the skin. Warm baths followed by exfoliating the affected areas with coarse cloth or a stiff brush could be helpful in unplugging the pores and can be used as a treatment method.

Several case of keratosis pilaris have been successful with treatment of laser therapy which involves the passing of intense bursts of light at the affected areas of the skin and based on the response to the treatment, multiple sessions over a period of few months would be essential.

Saturday, 6 December 2014


Dwarfism – Restricted Growth/Short Stature

Dwarfism is restricted growth, a condition which is characterised by short stature and could be caused due to several various medical conditions. It is generally defined as an adult height of 4 feet 10 inches or less and the average adult height with people of dwarfism is 4 feet.

This disorder is divided into two categories namely: proportionate short stature – PSS, which is a general lack of growth and disproportionate short stature – DSS, a problem with the way some bones tend to grow. In the case of Proportionate shorty stature the length of the trunk, which is the abdomen and chest, will have a normal proportion with the legs though they will have a general lack of height. Common cause of this disorder is being born to small parents and can also occur when the body is not capable of producing enough growth hormone.

There are certain types of genetic syndrome which may also cause PSS. For instance, girls with Turner syndrome and children have genetic abnormality like SHOX, gene haploinsufficiency may have a mild form of PSS. Proportionate dwarfism could be due to medical conditions that may be present at birth or appear in the early stage of childhood which limits the overall growth and development where the head, trunk and the limbs are small though proportionate to each other. The outcome of these disorders could affect the overall growth, most of which could end in poor development of one or more body systems.

Disproportionate Short Stature – DSS

Disproportionate short stature – DSS is when a problem occurs with the way joints and bones grow where certain limbs tend to be shorter, or the trunk could be particularly short. There could be a severe lack of height. Conditions related to DSS are often caused by faulty gene and several children born with this disorder have parents of average height while the faulty gene occurs by chance.

These people are treated based on the cause of short stature which is likely to involve several different forms of healthcare professionals. Should the legs be particularly short, DSS could be treated with a leg lengthening procedure though it is uncertain regarding the effectiveness as well as the safety of this and certain children who have restricted growth could be eligible for treatment with human growth hormone.

Most of the people with disproportionate dwarfism tend to have normal intellectual potentials with only rare exceptions to the rule which are the result of a secondary factor like excess fluid around the brain known as hydrocephalus. Latest study shows that Dwarfism gives protection from diabetes and cancer.

This disorder is due to achondroplasia that causes disproportionate short stature resulting in an average size trunk, short fingers, with wide separation between the middle and ring fingers, short arms and legs, particularly short upper arms and upper legs, disproportionately large head, having a prominent forehead with a flattened bridge of the nose, progressive development of bowed legs/swayed lower back and limited mobility at the elbows.

Surgical/Hormone Therapy

Surgical procedure which could resolve problems with disproportionate dwarfism comprises of correcting the direction the way the bones tend to grow, stabilizing and correcting the shape of the spine, increase the size of the opening in bones of the spine, to alleviate pressure on the spinal cord and placing of a shunt to eliminate excess fluid if present, around the brain.

Hormonetherapy is for those with hormone deficiency which involves treatment with injection, a synthetic version of the hormone which could increase the overall height. Regular check-ups with the physician are essential which could help in improving the quality of life in dwarfism.

Friday, 5 December 2014


Laryngitis – Inflammation of the Larynx/Voice Box

Laryngitis is inflammation of the larynx or the voice box which could be due to irritation, overuse or some infection. In several cases, it tends to get better without treatment in a weeks’ time.The vocal cords in the larynx have a twofold of mucous membrane covering muscle and cartilage and as the vocal cords open and close smoothly,it forms sound through their movement and vibration.

The larynx or the voice box is a tube type of a structure which is at the entrance of the windpipe and the lump in the front of the throat is called the Adam’s apple which is the larynx. It helps to channel oxygen in the windpipe when one breathes, acts like a valve closing off the windpipe when one swallows to prevent food of liquid getting into the airways and contains the cord which vibrate as the air passes through producing the sound of the voice.

But in laryngitis, the vocal cords get inflamed and irritated with swelling that causes distortion of sound produced by air passage resulting in a hoarse voice. In a few cases of laryngitis, the voice could be almost undetectable.

The condition of laryngitis could be short lived or long lasting with several cases of laryngitis triggered by temporary viral infection or vocal strain which are not really serious. Sometimes, persistent hoarseness could indicate a serious underlying medical condition. Symptoms of laryngitis include: loss of voice, sore throat, dry throat, dry cough, tickling sensation and rawness of the throat and hoarseness and often tends to get belter without treatment.

Symptoms of Laryngitis 

The need to consult a physician arises if the condition tends to get serious or last longer than three weeks. Immediate medical attention is needed if the person experiences noisy high pitched breathing sounds when inhaling, drools more than usual, has trouble swallowing, with difficulty in breathing and runs a temperature higher than 103 F.

Laryngitis in most cases is caused by viral infection like cold or straining of the voice and in such cases, the symptoms tend to disappear within a week. This type of condition is known as acute laryngitis. Laryngitis occasionally may have other causes like smoking, allergic reaction or alcohol misuse where the symptoms could last much longer and is known as chronic laryngitis.

To help in the healing of the vocal cord, it is advised to refrain from smoking and avoid smoky atmosphere, drinking of plenty of fluids especially water and provide sufficient rest to your voice as much as possible.

Preventing Laryngitis 

If the case is related to allergic reaction it is necessary to avoid the substance causing the allergy or take medication to help in controlling the body’s reactions to the substance. It is not always possible in preventing laryngitis since it is caused very often by common infections like cold and flu which are difficult to avoid.

As per the physicians’ advise, taking the annual flu vaccine could help to reduce the risk of suffering from laryngitis. Besides this, there are also other ways to help in reducing the chances of this condition like avoid straining the voice and consumption of plenty of liquid.

Things to Know About Education for a Career in Holistic Health

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