Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Cellulitis



Cellulitis
Cellulitis – Bacterial Infection of the Skin 

Cellulitis is a bacterial infection of the skin and tissues beneath the skin and unlike impetigo, a very superficial skin infection, cellulitis is a kind of aninfection that involves the skin’s deep layers, which is the dermis and subcutaneous tissue. Its main bacteria responsible for cellulitis are Streptococcus and Staphylococcus, which are the same bacterial that could cause impetigo.

MRSA- methicillin-resistant Staph aureus could also cause cellulitis while at other times, bacteria such as Hemophilus influenzae, Pneumococcus and Clostridium species could also be the result of cellulitis. This disease is quite common and can affect people of all ages and races, men and women alike.

Cellulitis is not contagious and sometimes it tends to appear in areas where the skin could be broken open like the skin near ulcers or surgical wounds. Cellulitis is often treated with oral or intravenous antibiotics.

It appears as a swollen, red appearance on the skin which feels hot and tender and could spread rapidly to other areas. The skin on lower areas of the legs commonly tends to get affected though it could affect any area of the body or face. It could also affect only the skin’s surface or also affect underlying tissues of the skin and spread to lymph nodes as well as the bloodstream.

Symptoms of Cellulitis

Cellulitis tends to begin with small areas of tenderness, redness and swelling which may spread to the adjacent skin that would feel warm to the touch and as the red area begins to get large, the person may have fever which at times may accompany with chills and sweats, tenderness and swollen lymph nodes near the area of infected skin.

 Sometimes small blisters may also form and burst. This condition may appear when one or more types of bacteria may enter through a crack or break in your skin. Bacteria is more likely to enter these areas of skin when a person may have had a recent surgery, cuts, puncture wounds, athlete’s foot or dermatitis, besides ulcers.

There could also be certain kinds of insects or spider bites which could transmit the bacteria to begin the infection of cellulitis. Moreover areas of dry flaky skin could also be at risk for entry point for the bacteria.

Treated with Antibiotics – Oral/Intravenous 

When faced with the symptoms mentioned, the person should consult the physician who could distinguish if the inflammation is due to an infection and diagnose the ailment. Cellulitis is often treated with antibiotics which are designed to eradicate the likely bacteria that could be the cause of cellulitis.

At times the treatment may need the administration of intravenous antibiotics in the hospital since oral antibiotics may not provide sufficient penetration of the inflamed tissues to be effective or it could also be administered at home.

Physician is the best judge in choosing a treatment based on the several factors which include the extent and location of the infection, the kind of bacteria responsible for the infection and the overall condition of the person suffering from cellulitis.

If this condition is not treated it could spread the infection rapidly and could be dangerous to the person and hence it is necessary to seek timely treatment.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Gilbert’s Syndrome

Gilbert’s Syndrome
Gilbert Syndrome – Common Harmless Genetic Liver Disorder

GilbertSyndrome also called Gilbert Meulengracht syndrome is a common harmless genetic liver disorder caused due to increased bilirubin, a chemical which results from the normal breakdown of haemoglobin from red blood cells. It is a condition where high levels of bilirubin tend to build up in the blood. Bilirubin is the yellow pigment which is found naturally in the blood that forms when the red blood cells are broken down.

This disorder is also referred as constitutional hepatic dysfunction and familial nonhemolytic jaundice. The abnormality results in mild elevation of bilirubin in the blood especially after starvation or dehydration. Gilbert syndrome is the outcome of a genetic mutation in promoter region of a gene and the gene is on chromosome 2 while other types of mutation in the same gene could cause Crigler-Najjar syndrome which appears to be more severe as well as a dangerous type of hyperbilirubinemia – high bilirubin in the blood.

The cause of hyperbilirubinemia is the outcome of reduced activity of the enzyme glucuronyltransferase that binds bilirubin with other lipophilic molecules rendering the bilirubin water soluble which is then excreted in bile into the duodenum.

Short Lived Incidents of Jaundice

Persons suffering from Gilbert’s syndrome may experience occasional and short lived incidents of jaundice and the skin and the white area of the eyes may turn slightly yellow while others may have problems during episodes of jaundice like abdominal pain, loss of appetite, feel tired or sick, dizziness, irritable bowel syndrome – IBS, which is a common condition causing stomach cramps, bloating, constipation and diarrhoea and problems on focusing and thinking clearly.

These symptoms may not be directly related to increased bilirubin levels and could also be the result of other disorder, than Gilbert’s syndrome. This disorder produces an increased level of unconjugated bilirubin in the bloodstream though it does not cause any serious consequences. Mild instances of jaundice may occur under conditions of stress, fasting, exertion and infection while severe cases will be yellowing of the skin tone as well as the sclera in the eye.

Faulty Gene

In the case of Gilbert’s syndrome, the person has faulty gene which means that their liver has problems in removing the bilirubin in the blood. In normal situation, when red blood cells reach the end of their life which is about 120 days, the red pigment, haemoglobin that carries oxygen in the blood breaks down into bilirubin where the liver converts it into water soluble form and thereafter it passes into bile and eventually removed from the body through urine or stools.

Bilirubin gives the urine its light yellow colour and stools their dark brown colour. In this disorder, the faulty gene which means the bilirubin does not pass into the bile normally and instead it builds up in the bloodstream causing the skin and eyes with the yellowish tinge. Besides inheriting the faulty gene, there are no known factors for the development of this disorder and are not related to any environmental factors, lifestyle habits or serious underlying liver problems like cirrhosis or hepatitis C.

Though it is a long term condition, it does not require any treatment and is not a threat to health. Episodes of jaundice with any associated symptoms are short term and will gradually pass off.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Anger Management


Anger Management
Anger – Learning to Control Anger

It is normal to get angry when one may be ill-treated or misunderstood but just like all things has its limitation; anger too should be within its limits. When one tends to get angry, the actions and its reaction could have an impact on the individual and the one to whom it may be targeted to.

 If a person tends to have a hot temper, it could pose as a problem when it harms the person or others. But managing anger could also be a problem for several people who may find it difficult to keep their temper under control. There could also be health issues related to unresolved anger like high blood pressure, depression, heart attack, anxiety, problems with digestion, etc.

Such a kind of a person need to take control of themselves when angry and learn to master the art of anger management which could be helpful when faced with it. Learning to control anger and expressing it rightly could help to build a better relationship, lead a healthy and satisfying life as well as help in reaching their goals.

Every individual tends to have physical reaction to anger and one could try to keep a reign on their temper and prevent regretting the outcome of it at a later stage.

Recognize Anger Signs

Individuals need to recognize the anger signs when angry like the heart beats faster and breathing tends to get quicker thus leading the person to react. Other signs could also be like tension in the shoulders or the clenching of the fists. Should the person have a history of losing control and comes across these kinds of signs, the best option would be to move away from that situation.

This would help in easing the atmosphere as well as give the person time to cool off the heat. Another option would be counting to ten which can give the person sufficient time to cool and sober down and thus overcome the urge to lash out when angry.

Besides counting, breathing out for a longer time than breathing in and relaxing as you breathe out also helps in the most amazing way since the person automatically breathes in more than out, when angry and this trick is to get the person to breathe out more than in, which helps to calm and sober down, enabling them to think clearly.

Exercises and Relaxation

To manage anger in the long term, one could bring down the general stress level with the help of exercise and relaxation while running, walking, yoga, swimming and meditation could be some of the activities which could be beneficial in reducing stress.

Regular exercise could be a daily routine to eliminate anger and irritation with regular hours for relaxing and making sure that one receives sufficient sleep should be taken into consideration. Other ways could be by getting engaged in creative hobbies like writing, dancing or painting which could release the tension and reduce the feeling of anger within.

Discussion with a trusted person could also be helpful wherein with the exchange on discussions, one could come across several things which otherwise could have been overlooked and get a different perspective on that situation.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Gout


Image credit:webmd.com
Gout – Crystals of Uric Acid Deposited in Joints

Gout is a kind of arthritis wherein crystals of uric acid tend to get deposited in the joints. It could cause sudden joint inflammation in one joint and severe gout could at times affect several other joints at the same time. This is known as polyarticular gout.

The most common symptom is severe and sudden pain in the joint together with swelling and redness. It is the toe which is commonly affected though it could develop in any other joint. The symptoms develop rapidly and are at its worst within 6 to 24 hours and usually last for around 3 to 10 days. Thereafter, the joint tends to look and feel normal again and the pain also disappears completely.

Gout is the cause of the accumulation of crystals of by-product chemical of metabolism in the joint which is the uric acid and when it tends to accumulate it could cause inflammation in the joint. Elevated level of uric acid in the bloodstream could lead the uric acid accumulation in the tissue of a joint which is found in the body and a normal by-product of the body breaks down on certain proteins known as purines.

Causes of Gout

If too much uric acid is produced or too little is excreted while urinating, the uric acid accumulates and may cause tiny crystals of sodium urate to form in and around the joints.

These tend to gradually build up over the years which are like hard needle shaped crystals and when it reaches a high concentration level crystals in the joint, they tend to cause two types of problems such as, some may spill over from the joint cartilage inflaming the soft lining of the joint resulting in pain with inflammation of an attack of gout while some pack together forming hard slowly expanding lumps of crystals or tophi which could cause progressive damage to the cartilage joint as well as the nearby bone and eventually results in irreversible joint damage causing stiffness and pain on movement.

Some of the common factors of gout is age and gender and may affect a person as they grow old andit is three to four times more likely in men, person having high blood pressure or diabetes, having close relatives who have been suffering from gout, a diet rich in purines like eating sardines and liver frequently and drinking too much of beer or spirits since alcoholic drinks contain high level of purines and being overweight.

Treatment and Relief for Gout 

Gout can be treated by relieving the symptoms which can be done by using ice packs and taking painkillers while in some cases, alternative medication may also be required. Preventing gout attacks in the future through a change in lifestyle which could involve losing weight if found to be overweight and taking medication which could lower the level of uric acids.

It is essential to follow the prescribed medication given by the physician and adhere to any recommended changes in lifestyle. Some complications may also arise which though uncommon may include kidney stones wherein high level of uric acid could lead to stone developing in the kidneys, permanent joint damage due to on-going joint inflammation between attacks and due to formation of tophi in the joint which damages the cartilage and bone if not treated for several years, tophus formation that are tophi of small and large lumps which at times are visible and felt easily under the skin.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Tendonitis


Tendonitis
Tendonitis – Inflamed & Painful Tendon

Tendonitis is referred to inflamed and painful tendons. Tendons are flexible, tough, fibrous bands of tissue which connect muscles to the bones and when they get inflamed, irritated or suffer microscopic tear it is called tendonitis.

These tendons can be small like tiny, delicate bands in the hands or large heavy rope like cords in the calf or thigh muscles. They are helpful in moving the bones and joints when the muscles contract. Some of the tendons are covered by a protective sheath which is lined with a kind of membrane containing synovial fluid that helps the tendon in easy movements and reduces friction.

The pain in the tendons could be due to small tears in the surrounding tissue or it could be the gradual deterioration of tendon where it is connected to the bone and this form of tendon pain is called tendinopathy which could affect tendons in the elbow, shoulder, wrist, thigh, knee or the back of the heel and is rarely caused by infection like gonorrhoea though it could also affect other areas of the body.

Tendon Injury

It is caused due to a tendon injury while taking part in sports which could involve throwing or the use of racquet in the case of tennis, or the overuse or straining of a tendon such as using a computer mouse causing tendonitis in the wrist due to repetitive strain injury – RSI.

Inflammation of the sheath which surrounds the tendon – Tenosynovitis, can at times be associated with rheumatoid arthritis. A tendon which tends to be painful may get better after some days if the affected area is given rest from all activities which could cause the symptoms. Application of ice pack wrapped in a towel to the affected area together with painkiller could give some relief to the tendonitis.

In persistent cases of tendonitis, physiotherapy, injections or shock wave therapy may also be suggested while in other cases, a surgery may be recommended in order to treat the tendon pain which has not shown any signs of relief after treatment.

Restricted Movement/Swelling/Redness/Tenderness

Tendonitis that causes pain in the tissues surrounding a joint when the joint has been put to a lot of strain, may feel weak and the area could be red, warm to the touch and swollen while tendonitis caused by an infection like gonorrhoea, could have other symptoms like rash and fever.

A consultation with the physician will help to diagnose and treat the ailment wherein at the time of physical examination; the physician could look for swelling, redness, tenderness, muscle weakness or limited motion in the affected tendon and may ask the person to move in some specific ways to figure out which tendon could be affected.

In some cases, a blood test may be needed to check for causes of inflammation around the joins like gout or rheumatoid arthritis while x-rays may also be taken to confirm if there is a dislocation, fracture of any bone disease. In other cases like Achilles tendonitis, or the back of the heel, ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging – MRI scans could also be used to identify the extent of tendon damage.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Scleroderma


Scleroderma
Scleroderma – Chronic Connective Tissue Disease

Scleroderma is a chronic connective tissue disease which is classified as one of the autoimmune rheumatic diseases wherein the body tends to attack its own tissues. It results in hard, thickened areas of skin and at times with problems with internal organs as well as the blood vessels.

Though the cure is unknown, people still tend to lead a full productive life. The word `scleroderma’, comes from two Greek words `sclero’, which means hard and `derma’ means skin. In this case the hardening of the skin is the most obvious sign of the disease which has been called progressive systemic sclerosis though the term has been discouraged since the scleroderma is not really progressive and varies from person to person.

Scleroderma is not contagious or infectious, cancerous or malignant. Based on the form of the disease, it could affect the skin by few thickened oval patches which may take place in any area of the body or one may find lines of thickened skin on the face, scalp, legs or forearms. Other possibilities of this condition would depend on which internal organ is affected.

For milder form of this condition, treatment would not be essential. There are two types of scleroderma namely localised scleroderma which may affect only the skin and systemic sclerosis which may affect the circulation of the blood as well as internal organs together with the skin.

Types of scleroderma

Milder form is the localised scleroderma and may take place at any age wherein the disease only seems to affect the skin with one or more hard patches while the internal organs are not affected.

 Localised scleroderma is of two kinds namely Morphoea and Linear. In the case of Morphoea, one will find small oval skin patches, which tend to be itchy, may affect skin in any area of the body, patches could be hairless or lighter/darker than the normal skin, and patches may tend to fade after a few years, while in Linear form of scleroderma, one will have thickened skin which appears in lines across the face or scalp leg or arm, lines tend to persist longer than morphoea patches, occasionally affecting underlying bone and muscle, could lead to growth problems in the case of children and may cause deformity.

Consultation/Specialized Test

People with systemic sclerosis tend to have problems with their gut like heartburn and difficulty in swallowing. The skin begins to get puffy and thickens restricting joint movement while toes and fingers may begin to get swollen before the skin tends to get hard and tight.

Besides, the facial skin too gets tight especially around the mouth area. Systemic sclerosis commonly occurs in adults in the age group of 30 and 50 affecting women more than the men with rare instances of about only 10% of children being affected with this ailment.

The process of diagnosis may involve consultation with rheumatologist or dermatologist with blood studies along with other specialized test based on which organ is affected.

 Treatment is carried out to relieve symptoms and to prevent the disease from getting worse, to identify and treat any other complication which may arise like pulmonary hypertension, minimum disability through occupational therapy and physiotherapy.

Choosing the Right Dictation Software


Are you in the market for dictation software? If you're running a fast-paced, high-volume business, good records can mean the difference between a closed sale and the one that got away. But what if you aren't sure what to look for in dictation devices and programs? Here are just three tips to help you decide.

1. Know Your Options

There are dozens of programs out there for business dictation, and the best one for you will depend on your personal preferences in terms of speed, output and sound quality. Do you need something compatible with word processors? Do you care about hands-free playback? Ask yourself these questions before you start shopping for software.

2. Buy the Right Equipment

In addition to the program itself, you'll also want to purchase high-quality headphones and microphones. You might also want to throw in a few recorders for dictation away from the office. Your hardware is just as important as your software, so give it an equal amount of consideration.

3. Mind Your Budget

It's easy to get so caught up in the excitement of buying dictation equipment that you forget about your budgetary restraints. Start small with a single program and headset. If your business demands it, you can always add to your supplies later.

These are just a few ways to ensure clear, useful business dictation. If you're tired of poor transcriptions or recordings that you can barely hear, it's time to invest in professional software to do the job.