Monday, 28 July 2014

Lipoedema


Lipoedema
Lipoedema – Symmetrical Impairment of Fatty Tissue

Lipoedma is a chronic disease of lipid metabolism which results in symmetrical impairment of fatty tissue storage and distribution with hyperplasia of fat cells of individual.

It occurs exclusively in women who are usually associated with a family history and characteristic features and can be diagnosed depending on clinical history together with physical examination.

 In lipoedema, the legs get symmetrically enlarged from the ankle up to the hip though the hands and the feet remain unaffected. The fat that is built up often creates a ring of fatty tissue overlapping the top of the feet as though there were tight bands all around the ankle.

Due to the increased fat that gets accumulated under the skim, the legs tend to appear pale and feel cold when compared with the other areas of the body. Moreover the skin also tends to feel fatty which gets tender and can bruise easily. Though the feet and hands are not affected, the arm can get affected occasionally.

Painful with Ache in Affected Areas

Lipoedma can be painful and women with this ailment tend to complain of ache in the affected limbs as well as pain in the knees.

They may also experience fluid retention where around 60 percent cases suffer from small varicose veins seen under the skin surface.

Lipoedma tends to trigger at puberty or when hormonal changes take place, though it may trigger or worsen before or after pregnancy at peri-menopause and following gynaecological surgery such as surgery of the uterus, ovaries or fallopian tube or other surgery with general anaesthesia. Since it triggers in puberty or pregnancy, it indicates that hormones are responsible in this ailment.

 It could also trigger due to extreme stressful situation like a death in the family or divorce, since the cortisol levels increases causing an inflammationwhich is often overlooked as simple weight gain. If this condition is diagnosed at the initial stage, though it is very rare, there is a possibility to prevent a significant expansion of lipedmatous fat cells as well as alert patients to their risk factors enabling them to take proper care.

Family History of the Condition 

The fat accumulated gets worse in people who are obese though it also affects people of normal weight. It should not be mistaken for obesity since dieting would not make any kind of difference to this ailment. Lipoedema in men are rare wherein the men have usually been taking hormone therapy or have cirrhosis of the liver.

The cause of lipoedema is not known though it could be a family history of the condition in around 50 percent of cases. The treatment which seems to be effective for lipoedema is a procedure known as tumescent liposuction which involves injecting a liquid solution in the legs to enable numbness of the area and reduce blood loss, before removal of the unwanted fat.

This has been reported to be very effective with long term results. Treatment that is not helpful for lipoedema are raising the legs, dieting which may tend to result in losing fat from areas which are not affected by the ailment with little effect on the affected areas though weight gain does not seem to affect lipoedema areas, diuretics wherein tablets are taken to eliminate excess fluid.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Sleep Apnoea



Sleep Apnoea
Obstructive Sleep Apnoea – Interrupted Breathing while Sleeping 

Obstructive sleep apnoea – OSA is a condition which causes interrupted breathing while sleeping and there are two kind of breathing interruption known as apnoea wherein the muscles and soft tissues in the throat relax and collapse to cause a total blockage of the airway which occurs when the airflow is blocked for ten seconds or more.

Hypopnoea is partial blockage of the airway resulting in reduction of airflow which is greater than 50 percent for a period of ten seconds or more. Sleep apnoea may result the way one breathes while sleeping. In the case of untreated sleep apnoea, breathing get interrupted for a brief moment or becomes very shallow during sleep and these breathing pauses last between 10 to 20 seconds and can take place several times at night waking the person out from their natural sleep.

This results in spending more time in light sleep with less time in deep restful sleep to be bright and energetic the next day. The outcome of sleep apnoea is slow reflexes, a feeling of sleepiness all through the day, poor concentration with risk of accidents and other serious health issues over a period of time such as high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, weight gain and stroke.

Sleep – Natural Brain Activity

Sleep being a natural brain activity is essential for every individual. Sufficient amount of deep sleep is needed in order that the body and mind gets refreshed for the next day. With only limited amount of sleep the person may experience a feeling of tiredness even after waking from short intervals of sleep, For effective functioning of the body, a person needs an average of seven to eight hours of sleep and around 15 to 25 percent of the time could be spend in the deepest phase of sleep which is known as slow wave sleep.

People with OSA may come across repeated incidents of apnoea and hypopnoea. During these incidents, the person is drawn out of their deep sleep into a lighter state of sleep or brief period of wakefulness, due to lack of oxygen, in order to restore normal breathing though further recurrence of apnoea and hypopnoea may take place after falling back into deep sleep. This may even take place more than once, throughout the night for a minute.

OSA – Snore Loudly/Breathing Noisy

People with OSA condition tend to snore loudly and their breathing can be noisy and often interrupted by gasping and snorting with each incident of apnoea. Repeated interruptions to sleep due to OSA could lead to tiredness during the day.

Moreover the person with this condition may have no memory of breathlessness and be unaware on the lack of sleep at night. OSA is common in people between the age group of 35 to 54 though it can affect people of any age including children. OSA can be treated with a variety of treatment options to reduce the symptoms of this ailment.

Losing excess weight, lifestyle changes, could help in resolving mild cases of sleep apnoea besides use of breathing apparatus while sleeping could also be helpful.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Embolism – Blockage by Foreign Substance

Embolism
An embolism is an ailment where the blood flow in an artery gets blocked by a foreign particle like a blood clot or an air bubble.

The body’s tissues and organs need oxygen in order to function properly which is circulated in the body through the bloodstream and if the blood supply to major organs like the brain, heart or lungs is blocked, the organs tend to fail which can affect the overall health of the person.

The most serious conditions which can be caused by an embolism are: Stroke, where the supply of the blood to the brain gets interrupted or completely stopped and the pulmonary embolism where the supply to the lungs is stopped. Embolism is caused when a foreign body which could be an object or a substance should not be present in the blood.

These foreign bodies which tend to cause embolism are called emboli and singleemboli are called an embolus.

Blood contains Natural Clotting Agents

Blood contains natural clotting agents which prevents excessive bleeding when a person get injured Some health conditions like obesity, cancer, heart disease or pregnancy can cause blood clots to form when there is no bleeding and the blood clot could travel in the bloodstream before being clogged in an organ or a limb.

Fracture caused to a long bone like the thigh bone could lead to fat particles in the bone from being released into the bloodstream. Air bubbles or other types of gases entering the bloodstream could also be the cause of embolism. Scuba divers need to take precautions from air embolisms and if the diver tends to swim too quickly to the surface, the change in the pressure could cause nitrogen bubble to occur in the bloodstream.

This could cause the person to experience decompression sickness which is referred to as `the bend’. Extensive atherosclerosis or narrowed arteries which could be the cause of high cholesterol where small pieces of cholesterol tend to break away from the side of the blood vessel can end up in embolism.

Treatment Depends on Cause/Size/Location of Blockage

The different types of embolism besides the brain and pulmonary embolism are: Retinal embolism where small clots block the blood flow to the retina of the eye which may result in sudden blindness in the eye, amniotic embolism, when the amniotic fluid at the time of pregnancy tend to form clots which may reach the lungs, leading to pulmonary amniotic embolism, thromboembolism is caused when a blood clot or thrombus breaks free, forming an embolus which could lead to a heart attack.

Septic embolism is the result of infection from bacteria present in pus. Treatment for embolism depends on the cause of the blockage, the size of the blockage and the location of the blockage in the body where a surgical procedure known as an embolectomy is carried out for the removal of the blockage. At the time of surgery, the physician tends to make a cut in the affected artery and the foreign substance which is the cause of the blockage is sucked out through a process known as aspiration.

Medication is also used to dissolve embolism. Embolism which are caused by air bubbles are treated in a hyperbaric chamber where the air pressure inside the chamber is kept higher than the normal air pressure outside which helps in the reduction of the size of the air bubble within the diver’s body.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome – Condition causing Pain/Numbness/Tingling Sensation

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Carpal tunnel syndrome or CTS, is a common condition causing pain, numbness and a tingling sensation in the fingers and hand which may affect the working of a person’s wrist. The word carpal is derived from the word carpus which means wrist and is taken from the Greek word karpos.

In medical terms, the carpus is referred to an assembly of eight small bones which lie side by side in the wrist, in two rows, that join the forearm to the hand and the tunnel is a narrow passageway for nine tendons and one nerve called the median nerve which lies in the middle of the forearm and the wrist passing from the forearm to the hand.

This passageway is on the carpal bones and roofed by a strong ligament, known as the flexor retinaculum. In CTS condition, a group of symptoms take place simultaneously and it is called a syndrome. The median nerve in the case of CTS get pressed or pinched within the narrow tunnel producing symptoms of pain, numbness and a sensation of pins and needles in the hand and these symptoms summed together is known as carpal tunnel syndrome.

Caused – Compression of the Nerve/Median Nerve

Usually this condition develops gradually and begins to get worse atnight which tends to affect the thumb, index finger, middle finger and part of the ring finger.

Besides these, other symptoms may include paraesthesia – pins and needles sensation, thumb weakness and dull ache in the hand or arm. As this condition progresses, the person may also experience a weakened grip in the affected hand and fingers together with a loss of muscle mass on the outer side of the hand and at time the pain may also affect beyond the wrist and the forearm.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by compression of the nerve which controls the sensation and movement in the hand or the median nerve. It is not clear why the median nerve tends to get compressed though there are a few incidents which may increase the risk of developing CTS such as – a family history of CTS, strenuous, repetitive work with the hand, injuries to the wrist, pregnancy - up to around fifty percent of pregnant women tend to develop CTS and other health condition like diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.

Durkan Test/Nerve Conduction Velocity Test

In some cases CTS disappear without any treatment or with some simple self-care measures. In other cases, for the treatment of CTS patient, the doctor will check the patient’s history and examine for signs of median nerve neuropath by performing the Durkan Test and check for presence of the Tinel’s sign, the pins and needles sensation which is a positive sign of CTS. A nerve conduction velocity test – NCV may also be recommended to confirm the diagnosis.

When the diagnosis is confirmed, there are various treatment options some of which are splints and braces which are advised especially at night in order to support the wrist. Physiotherapy and exercises are recommended where the patient is taught to exercise in order to tone the muscles of the upper limb together with specific exercises to treat CTS which can reduce the severity of the pain.

Surgical release of the carpal tunnel is also done where the retinaculum is divided to create more space for the nerve in case of patients for whom the conservative therapy does not give the desired result.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Eye Floater – Awareness

Eye Floater
Often we may not be aware of the different health issues that could affect our lives and it is best to have some information and knowledge on the various ailments where precaution could be undertaken that can help in the cure of the condition. Eye floaters are one such condition which may be ignored due to ignorance of the same.

These are tiny spots, flecks, specks or cobwebs that may be drifting aimlessly in one’s field of vision. Though annoying, these ordinary eye floaters and spots seem to be common but usually are not a cause for worry. They appear when tiny pieces of the eye’s gel like vitreous, break loose in the inner back of the eye. The vitreous is a gel like consistency right from birth and all through our youth which begins to dissolve as we age and liquefy creating a watery centre and some un-dissolved gel particles at times float around in the liquid centre of the vitreous.

 They tend to take on various shapes and sizes giving rise to the floaters that are seen. One will observe that these spots and floaters are particularly evident while looking at a bright clear area, like the computer screen or the sky and one will envisage tiny bits of debris floating loose within the eye. The shadows seen are actually shadows from these floaters which are cast on the retina as light passed through the eye giving rise to these spots that are seen floating aimlessly in one’s field of vision.

Eye Floaters, Sign of Retinal Tear/Detachment

These shadows of specks never seem to remain still when one tries to focus on them, on the contrary they tend to move when the eye moves, thus creating an impression that they are drifting in the air. In rare cases, eye floaters could be a sign of retinal tear or retinal detachment, where the retina tends to pull away from the blood vessels which supply the oxygen as well as the nutrients. Eye floaters cannot be prevented since it is a part of the natural ageing process.The need of a physician may arise when the person sees a shower of floaters and spots that are sometimes accompanied by light flashes which calls for immediate attention and treatment.

Posterior Vitreous Detachment - PVDs

The sudden appearance of these spots could mean that the vitreous is being pulled away from the retina or it could be that the retina itself is being dislodged from the inner back of the eyes which contains the nutrients, blood and oxygen which is essential for healthy function. If the retina is torn, vitreous may invade the opening pushing out the retina which could lead to the detachment of the retina. In the event of retinal tear or detachment, immediate care and treatment need to be taken in order to reattach the retina and thereby restore the normal function of the eye before its vision is lost permanently. More common than retinal detachments are Posterior vitreous detachments – PVDs and are not serious even when floaters appear all of a sudden though some vitreous detachment could also damage the retina while tugging on it which may lead to a tear or a detachment. For enriching information pertaining to health visit - Dream Health which will be beneficial to the viewer.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Lazy Eye

Lazy Eye
Credit:rocklandeye.com
Lazy Eye – Amblyopia – In Early Childhood

Lazy Eye also known as amblyopia is an early childhood condition which occurs when the child’s vision in an eye does not develop properly, which means that the child’s eyesight in one eye does not develop the way it should.

The problem usually is in one eye though at times it may affect both the eyes. It is estimated that 1 out of 50 children may develop lazy eye and is diagnosed around the age of four. When one suffers from amblyopia or lazy eye, the brain focuses on one eye more than the other and tends to ignore the lazy eye and if the eye is not stimulated adequately, the visual brain cells do not mature properly.

The term `lazy eye’, does not seem to be accurate since the eye is not lazy though it may be more appropriate to use the term lazy brain since it seems to be a development problem in the brain and not an organic problem of the eye.

Unable to Focus Properly

There are usually no symptoms for a lazy eye and young children are often not aware that they are having vision problem and if they have the problem they are unable to explain it. Older children may relate that they cannot see in one of the eye.

In some cases, one eye may tend to look different from the other which is another condition that could lead to lazy eye like a squint. The person with lazy eye will be unable to focus properly with one of the eyes and while the other eye makes up for the problem, in the event the affected eye suffers as a result.

 The eye with impaired vision or amblyopia will not get clear images while the brain will not receive clear date ending in ignoring it. In several cases the brain and the good eye compensate for the shortfall so well that the child does not observe that they are facing any problem with their vision and a lazy eye is first detected only after a routine eye check-up.

Blurred/Double Vision/Squint

The symptom and signs of a lazy eye are blurred vision, double vision; eyes do not seem to work together, poor depth perception of vision, a squint which is either upwards, downwards, inwards or outwards. The eye which works like a camera has an image made up of light which comes through the lens of respective eye and beams on a light sensitive layer of tissue known as the retina.

The retina in turn conveys the image into nerve signals which are sent to the brain where it then combines the signals from each eye in a three dimensional image. Lazy eye is the result when the brain connection which is responsible for the vision does not function properly which is due to a reduction in the amount of light in the eye, confusion between eyes where two images are not same as in the case of a squint and lack of focus in the eye.

If the person suffering from amblyopia is neglected it can lead to the central vision of the eye not reaching normal levels. Do Visit Dream Health for information regarding health issues.

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Acromegaly – A Hormonal Condition

Acromegaly
Acromegaly is a hormonal condition in which the body produces too much growth hormone which leads to excess growth of body tissues over a period of time and is mostly common in middle aged adults but extremely rare in children.

The name `acromegaly’ is derived from the Greek word `extremities – acro and `great’ – megaly due to the common symptom of this condition in abnormal growth of the hands and feet.It is a serious systemic condition which is caused in over 98% of cases by benign tumour – adenoma of the pituitary gland which secretes excessive growth hormone-GH. Growth hormone is produced and released by a pea sized gland just below the brain known as the pituitary gland and when growth hormone is released in the blood, it tends to stimulate the liver in producing another, hormone insulin like growth factor 1 – GF-1.

This is responsible for the growth of muscles, bones and the cartilage in the body, the process of which is essential for the growth as well as the repairs of the body tissues. Negligence on the treatment of acromegaly may result in marked bony and soft tissue changes including altered facial appearance, enlargement of the hands and feet, carpal tunnel syndrome, and sleep apnea.

Symptoms Vary and Differ Gradually

Besides this, other serious problems may occur like accelerated cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus hypertension and the possibility of a risk of colon cancer. If the tumour tends to develop before the completion of bone growth in adolescence, it may lead to gigantism due to the serious systemic changes resulting from growth hormone for which treatment need to be done with transsphenoidal surgery.

The symptom of acromegaly may vary and develop gradually and hence a diagnosis of this ailment may be difficult to detect. Some of the typical features may include large, prominent facial features, abnormally large hands and feet, tall height if it takes place before puberty and an enlarged tongue.

The diagnosis of this ailment is detected by demonstrating elevated levels of growth hormone and insulin like growth factor. Lack of suppression of growth hormone to oral glucose administration is mostly used to confirm excess GH production. On confirmation of the biochemical of acromegaly, a MRI of the pituitary needs to be performed to check the presence of pituitary adenoma.

Removal under General Anaesthesia

Acromegaly is treated to reduce excess growth hormone bringing it to normal levels, to relieve the pressure which the tumour exerts on the surrounding structures, to treat any hormone deficiencies and to improve the symptoms of acromegaly most of which is done through surgical removal of the tumour together with medication.

The possibility of surgery may be needed to remove the adenoma in the pituitary gland which helps to correct the excess growth hormone in the patient though at time the tumour may be too large to remove it entirely. Removal of the gland is done under general anaesthesia wherein an incision is made through the nose or inside the upper lip to access the gland.

The person experience prompt relieve of pressure on the surrounding structures on removal which leads to a rapid lowering of growth hormone levels.