Thursday, 26 June 2014

Listeriosis – Bacteria known as Listeria Monocytogenes

Listeriosis
Listeriosis is an infection which develops on eating food contaminated by bacteria known as Listeria monocytogenes, most commonly known as listeria.

Listeria is in the environment and primarily spreads through the oral route after ingestion of contaminated food. Thereafter the organism penetrates the intestinal tract causing the infections and the diagnosis of listeriosis needs isolation of the organism from the blood or the cerebrospinal fluid.

Listeriosis can be mild in some people with a high temperature, vomiting and diarrhoea and these symptoms pass off within three days with any treatment needed.

 In rare cases, the infection could be a bit severe and may spread to other areas of the body resulting in serious complications like meningitis. Some of the common signs of severe listeriosis may include a stiff neck, severe headache and tremors.

Listeria Bacteria – Chilled Food/Ready to Eat

Listeria bacteria are normally found in chilled `ready to eat’, foods which may include pre-packed sandwiches, butter, soft blue cheese, cooked sliced meats, smoked salmon, soft cheese like Brie or Camembert to name a few.

Older adults, with weak immune systems, pregnant women and new-borns are at a greater risk of being affected and it is also very rare that persons without these risk factors can be affected.

The person affected experiences fever and muscle aches and often followed by diarrhoea or some other gastro intestinal symptoms. Mostly all those diagnosed with listeriosis have invasive infection i.e. the bacteria tends to spread from their intestines to their blood stream or other areas of the body and the person gets affected after two months on eating the contaminated food.

Symptoms – Fever/Muscle Ache/Headache/Stiff Neck 

The symptoms of the affected person may vary and high riskperson besides pregnant women may suffer from fever, muscle aches, stiff neck, headache, loss of balance confusion and convulsions.

 Pregnant women may experience mild flu though the infection during pregnancy may tend to lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery or even life threatening infection for the new born.

Previously healthy people who have been exposed to a large dose of Listeria may tend to develop a non-invasive illness which means that the bacteria have not spread in their blood stream or other body areas and the symptoms may include fever and diarrhoea

Maintain Good Food Hygiene 

If the person has consumed contaminated food with Listeria but does not have any symptoms, then probably no test or treatment is needed according to expert and even for people at high risk for listeriosis.

The best way of reducing the chances of listeiosis is to make sure that one maintains good food hygiene like not consuming food which is past its expiry dare, by following storage instruction on the food labels, making sure that the temperature of the refrigerator is between 0 degree C and 5 degree C and ensuring that the food is cooked well.

Prevention is better than cure and the main means of prevention can be done by cultivating safe handling, cooking and consumption of food which may include washing raw vegetables well and cooking raw food thoroughly and reheating leftover or ready to eat food till it is steaming hot.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Edward’s Syndrome – Chromosomal Condition


Edward’s Syndrome
Credit:doctorshangout.com
Edward’s Syndrome also known as trisomy 18 is a chromosomal condition which is associated with abnormalities in several areas of the body.Individual with this condition often have a slow growth before birth or intrauterine growth retardation and a low birth weight.

In most cases of Edward’s syndrome, the child develops three types of chromosome 18 in each cell of their body instead of the normal two. In normal condition, each cell in the body contains 23 pairs of chromosomes which carry the genes inherited from their parents and the extra genetic contents in Edward’s syndrome tends to disrupt the baby’s normal development process.

Other features include a small abnormally shaped head, a small jaw and mouth and clenched fists with long fingers that overlap with short fingernails, low set ears, and smooth rocker bottom feet.Due to the presence of some life threatening medical problems, nearly three quarters of the infants with syndrome are miscarried or stillborn and the ones who tend to survive beyond a year will have a developmental and intellectual disability.

Several Abnormalities with slow growth

The child with this condition tends to grow slowly in the womb and will have a low birth weight. Doctors may get to know that the baby has Edward’s syndrome by checking their characteristic features though this conditions must go through the genetic tests.

They also tend to have heart defects with abnormalities of other organ which develop before birth like kidney problems, feeding problems in infancy resulting in poor growth, breathing problems, hernias in the wall of the stomach where internal tissues push through a weakness in the muscle wall, frequent infections of the lungs as well as urinary system, bone abnormalities like a curved spine, and severe learning disability.

Rarely Inherited, Occurs Randomly 

Trisomy 18 is rarely inherited and usually occurs randomly during the formation of eggs and sperm where there is an error in the division of cells and the extra chromosome is either in the egg cell of the mother or in the sperm cell of the father and since it takes place randomly, it is extremely unlikely for parents to have more than one pregnancy affected by this condition.

There are different types of Edward’s syndrome such as Full form wherein around 94 percent of the babies with this condition tend to have the full form of this disease with each cell having three copies of chromosome 18 instead of the usual two and most of the babies with full form type die before infancy. In Mosaic trisomy 18, about five percent of the babies have the extra copy of the chromosome 18 in only some of their body cells and it is a less severe form of the disease.

The severity of this type of syndrome depends on the type and number of cell which have the extra chromosome. In this case some babies may only be affected mildly while some may be severely disabled. In Partial trisomy 18, babies with this type of syndrome will have an extra copy of only a part of chromosome 18 and the severity of partial trisomy 18 may depend on the amount of chromosome contents that is triplicated where some may be mildly affected while others may be severely disabled.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Antisocial Personality Disorder – Long Standing Pattern of Disregard

Antisocial Personality Disorder
Antisocial personality disorder is characterized by a long standing pattern of disregard or violation for people’s rights, often overstepping the limits and violating those rights, which begins in childhood or as a teen and continues through adulthood. It is the disorder defined in the diagnostic and Statistical Manual – DSM.

Dissocial personality disorder is the name of a concept defined in the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problem wherein the diagnosis may include antisocial personality disorder.It is not known why some of the people develop this disorder but both genetics as well as traumatic childhood experiences could be responsible for this disorder.

Some with this antisocial personality disorder may have an antisocial or alcoholic parent and could have grown up with harsh and inconsistent parenting. It is often referred to, as sociopathy or psychopathy though neither of them are recognized professional labels for diagnosis.

Lack Empathy

The person suffering from Antisocial Personality Disorder lacks empathy and tends to be cynical, contemptuous or callous on the feelings, rights and suffering of other people and may have and arrogant self-appraisal which may be excessively self-assured or opinionated.

They may also tend to display superficial charm and be quite voluble and verbally impressive to someone who may not be familiar with the topic.

This disorder is diagnosed when a person’s pattern of antisocial behaviour takes place from 15 years of age which may consist some of the following symptoms: Failure to conform to social norms with regards to lawful behaviour with repeatedly performing acts which would give reasons for arrest.

 Impulsivity or failure to plan ahead, reckless disregard for safety of self and others, deceitfulness by repeatedly lying or conning others for own selfish motives, irritability and aggressiveness by repeated physical fights or assaults, lack of remorse by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt or mistreated consistent irresponsibility by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behaviour or in honouring financial obligations.

Requires Trained Mental Health Professional

Since personality disorders have a long standing and enduring pattern of behaviour, they are often diagnosed in adulthood.

It is often difficult to diagnose them in childhood or adolescence since the child or teen is constantly in the development process, personality changes and maturation and according to the DSM-5, antisocial personality disorder cannot be diagnosed in people below the age of 18 years old.

This disorder is 70 percent more prevalent in males than females andis diagnosed by a trained mental health professional like a psychologist or psychiatrist though family physicians or general practitioners are not generally trained or even well equipped to make a psychological diagnosis.

Treatment – Long term Psychotherapy

Very often people with antisocial personality disorder ignore the symptoms and avoid seeking treatment. They do not seek out treatment until the disorder tends to significantly interfere or create an impact on the person’s life, resulting in stretching the person’s coping resources to reach to its limits ending in stress to self as well as to others.

The diagnosis for antisocial personality disorder is made by a mental health professional while comparing symptoms and life history, making a determination whether the symptoms meet the criteria necessary for a personality disorder diagnosis.

 Treatment for this disorder involves long term psychotherapy with an experienced therapist in treating this kind of personality disorder together with medication to help with specific symptoms.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Diphtheria, an Upper Respiratory Tract Illness

Diphtheria
credit: mark ufo clan su
Diphtheria an upper respiratory tract illness is a contagious bacterial infection which affects the nose and throat and sometimes may also affect the skin. Being contagious, the bacteria can spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes where the droplets of their saliva may affect another person’s nose or mouth.

The person may experience a sore throat, low fever and an adherent membrane on the tonsils, pharynx or even nasal cavity. A milder version of diphtheria may also affect the skin and less common situation may include myocarditis and peripheral neuropath.

It can spread by direct physical contact or breathing the aerosolized secretion of the person who is affected with diphtheria. Diphtheria pertussis tetanus -DPT was recommended to all school going children in the U.S.; and boosters of the vaccine for the adults when it had spread in developed countries.

Swabs of Sample Cells for diagnose 

Diagnosing diphtheria can be done by taking a swab of the throat, nose of wound on the skin and the swab is like a cotton bud on which the small sample of cells can be collected. The sample is thereafter examined under a microscope to check for bacteria which may cause diphtheria.

Once confirmed of this ailment, the person needs to be treated immediately to prevent the development of any serious complications.

The symptoms of diphtheria usually tend to begin a couple of days to seven day after the infection sets in, with fever of 38 degree C. or more, chills, tiredness, bluish skin coloration, sore throat, hoarse cough, headache, difficulty in swallowing with painful swallowing, difficulty in breathing, foul smelling blood-stained nasal discharge and lymphadenopathy.

Other symptoms may also include cardiac arrhythmias, myocarditis, cranial and peripheral nerve palsies.

Hospitalization Essential with Isolation 

People with respiratory diphtheria may need to be hospitalized in order to monitor response to the treatment and manage complications if any. DAT or Equine diphtheria antitoxin being the mainstay of treatment is administered after specimen testing is carried out without waiting for laboratory confirmation.

DAT is available in the United States to physicians only under an investigational new drug protocol on contacting CDC at a given number on 770-488-7100.

To reduce communicability, to eliminate the causative organisms, and to stop exotoxin production, an antibiotic is given for the same together with supportive care- i.e. airway cardiac monitoring is essential.

Those in close contact with the diphtheria patient are recommended antimicrobial prophylaxis to avoid attracting the ailment.

Antibiotic and antitoxin medicine is used in the treatment of diphtheria and the person suspected of suffering from this ailment is kept in isolation when they are admitted in the hospital.

Vaccine Programme Introduced in 1940

Diphtheria was very common ailment and also the leading causes of death in young children, before the vaccination programme was introduced in the year 1940 and it had been successful and thereafter since 1986, there has been on fifteen recorded cases of diphtheria in England and Wales with no deaths.

If the doctor diagnoses the condition they need to tell the local authority since diphtheria is considered a contagious disease and precaution needs to be taken to avoid spreading of the disease.

Monday, 16 June 2014

Noonan Syndrome – Unusual Facies & Malformations

Noonan Syndrome
Noonan syndrome was recognized first as an entity in 1963 when Ehmke and Noonan described it when a series of patients faced unusual facies with multiple malformations which also included congenial heart disease.

At first it was thought that the patients had a form of Turner syndrome with which Noonan syndrome shares various clinical features. The main feature of Noonan syndrome comprises of unusual facies which is hypertelorim, webbed neck, down slanting eyes, 50% cases of congenital have heart disease, short stature together with chest deformity.

Around twenty percent of the people with Noonan syndrome have mental retardation. Besides this, bleeding diathesis is also present in half of the patients suffering with this syndrome while skeletal, neurologic, lymphatic, genitourinary, eye and skin findings may tend to vary.

Affects Various Areas of the Body

Noonan syndrome is an ailment which may affect various areas of the body and is characterized by unusual facial characteristics as mentioned above.

People with this syndrome have distinctive facial features like a deep groove in the area between the nose and mouth or philtrum, widely placed eyes which are usually blue or blue-green in colour with low set ears which are rotated backward.

The affected person may also have a high arch in the roof of the mouth, a high arched palate, poor alignment of the teeth with a small lower jaw. Most of the children with Noonon syndrome tend to have a short neck and children as well as adults may have excess neck skin which is called webbing together with a low hairline at the back of the neck.

Pectus Excavatum/Carinatum

Between fifty to seventy percent of individuals with this condition tend to have short stature and at birth they are generally of normal length and weight but their growth slows down over a period of time which could be due to the abnormal levels of growth hormone that may contribute to the slow growth.

These individuals have a sunken chest known as pectus excavatum or a protruding chest called pectus carinatum while some of them may also have an abnormal side to side curvature of the spine or scoliosis.

Most of the Noonan syndrome patients have a heart defect, the most common being the narrowing of the valve which controls blood flow from the heart to the lungs.

 Some of the affected people have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a thickening of the heart muscle which forces the heart to work more to pump blood.

Associated with a Variety of Bleeding Disorders

A variety of bleeding disorders are associated with this ailment and some people may also have excessive bruising, nosebleed or even prolonged bleeding after an injury or a surgery. Women who have a bleeding disorder may have excessive bleeding during menorrhagia or childbirth.

Noonan syndrome in adolescent males may experience delayed puberty and affected individuals go through puberty from the age of 13 or 14 with a reduced pubertal growth while females with Noonan syndrome typically have normal puberty and fertility.

Noonan syndrome may cause various other signs and symptoms and most of the children diagnosed with this ailment have normal intelligence though a small percentage has special educational needs while some have intellectual disability.

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Cavernomas – Vascular Malfunction

Cavernomas
Image credit: surgicalneurologyint.com
Cavernomas also known as cavernous angiomas, cavernous haemangioma or cerebral cavernous are vascular malfunctions comprising of a tangle of vessels or abnormal blood vessels which resemble a blackberry, found in the brain and the spinal cord.

It looks like a blackberry which is filled with blood that flows slowly through vessels which are like caverns and vary in size from a few millimetres to several centimetres. The most reliable test in diagnosing a cavernoma is a magnetic resonance imaging – MRI.

Majority of the cases diagnosed with cavernomas report no history of family link though many are present at birth while in others, there is a family link. Those who have more than one cavernoma are likely to have inherited factor and when the condition has been inherited, half of the family will be having a cavernoma. The risk of anyone in the family having a cavernoma is fifty percent if there have been a number of family members who have been diagnosed with a cavernoma.

Leaky Blood Vessels - Seizures

At times there could be definite family history but there could be a possibility of a family history if a number of family members have had small strokes or epilepsy. Anyone can be a victim of cavernoma and often there does not seem to be any health issue.

Cavernomas can be diagnosed in young adults and both male as well as females are likely to have this ailment. The cells which line a cavernoma are same to those lining the normal blood vessels though they are leaky and may cause seizures, which is the most common symptom that can be treated with medication. The person may also suffer from stroke which is due to the bleeding in the brain.

Monitoring the Symptoms – Essential

The symptoms of this ailment may vary in severity and sometimes bleeding may cause no symptoms at all since the leak of the blood is very small. People suffering from this condition may experience a sense of weakness, numbness, double vision or slurred speech though these could also be symptoms of other conditions and may not be connected to the cavernoma.

As the cavernoma changes in size when it bleeds and reabsorbs blood, symptoms may come and go. Hence monitoring the symptoms is most essential as new symptoms like a stroke could indicate that the cavernoma is bleeding. People who may have had a stroke due to cavernoma are more likely to face another one in the future than people who did not have any symptoms.

Neosurgery/Sterotactic Radiotherapy 

Women who have cavernomas which have already bled are at greater risk of further bleeding than men and the risk of a second bleed from a cavernoma reduces over a period of time. To treat this ailment, surgery could be used on cavernomas which have bled or could be causing seizures which cannot be controlled with medication.

Some of the types of treatment used in the UK include neurosurgery wherein the surgery in done under general anaesthetic to remove the cavernoma, sterotactic radiotherapy done with many low energy beams of radiation which are focused at the cavernoma at one time without the use of anaesthetic.

Friday, 6 June 2014

Learning Disability – Group of several Disorder

Disability
Learning disability is a term which includes several areas of functions where a person may face difficulty in learning which is usually caused by unknown factors. Learning disorder, learning difficulty and learning disability are often used interchangeable but are different in several ways. While learning disability may refer to significant learning problem with regards to academic, it is however not enough to warrant an official diagnosis, learning disorder on the other hand can be an official diagnosis wherein the individual could meet a few criteria which are determined by a psychologist, paediatrician etc.

 The difference lies in frequency, degree and the intensity of the reported problem and these symptoms should not be confused. Learning disabilities refers to a group of several disorders determined by inadequate development of specific language, academic together with speech skills which may include reading disability known as dyslexia, mathematic disability – dyscalculia and writing disability – dysgraphia. The disorder which affects the brain’s ability in receiving and processing information is the unknown factor and this disorder could cause several problems for the person in learning quickly or in the same manner as a person without the learning disability.

Various Challenges

People with this disability tend to face many problems in performing specific types of skill or in completing task if left by themselves or if taught in a conventional way. Individuals could also have unique challenges to face which could often be pervasive. Interventions and present technologies could be helpful based on the type and severity of the disability which could help the person in learning strategies that may lead them toa successful future.

 Interventions could be quite simple while there are others which could be complex and intricate. The current technologies may require student training for effective classroom supports. Parents together with teachers and the school could make their contribution in creating plans which can bring about intervention and accommodate in aiding the student in the learning ability and towards a successful future as well as an independent learner.

Learning Disability – Mild/Moderate/Severe

Learning disability could be mild, moderate or even severe and people with mild learning disability can talk easily and to some extent independent though they may take a longer time than usual in learning new skills. Some others may not be able to communicate at all and may suffer from several more disabilities. There are some individuals with learning disabilities who are independent while there are others who need help in their daily tasks but it all depends on individual abilities. Some of the learning disabilities are diagnosed at birth like Down’s syndrome while others may not be recognised till the child is old enough to walk or talk. Once a person is diagnosed with learning disability, the physician can recommend specialist support according to their need which may include paediatrician, speech and language therapists, physiotherapist, educational and clinical psychologists.

Disability associated with Cerebral Palsy/Meningitis

Learning disability occurs when the development of a person’s brain gets affected which could happen either before they are born, during their birth or in early childhood and the factors affecting their development could be that the mother may be ill at the time of pregnancy, the unborn child may develop certain genes, problems during birth which may not send enough oxygen supply to the brain, parents may pass on certain genes to the unborn child or known as inherited learning disability, or it could be illness like meningitis or an injury which could have occurred in early childhood. At times, there is no known cause for learning disability while condition could be associated with this disability like cerebral palsy.

Profound and Multiple Learning Disabilities

Individuals with Down’s syndrome have some sort of learning disability as well as people with cerebral palsy. Autism individuals may also have learning disabilities with around thirty percent of the people suffering from epilepsy alsotend to have a learning disability.

When a person has more than a single disability the most significant being learning disability, a diagnosis of a profound and multiple learning disabilities – PMLD is used. Those individual who have been diagnosed with PMLD may also have a physical or sensory disability, mental health difficulties or complex health needs and would need the help of someone with their daily functions of life like eating, support in going to the toilet and washing.

Support/Guidance/Encouragement

Children with learning disability can also be successful in life if proper support is extended towards them. Encouragement with the right motivation should be administered provided with positive thinking which can make their learning experience fruitful with desired results.

Learning disability could differ in every person and parents being the main support could identify the problem in their children and strive to seek help from professionals who can guide them in overcoming this disability and face a bright future with hard work and determination, inspite of the hurdle faced, in the form of learning disability.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Shingles – A Viral Infection of a Nerve and Skin

Shingles
Shingles, also known as zoster or herpes zoster, is a viral infection of a nerve and the skin around it and is caused by the herpes varicella zoster viruswhich also causes chickenpox.

After the person suffers from chickenpox, the virus remains inactive in the nerve tissue near the spinal cord and the brain. The immune system which is the body’s natural defence system, keeps the virus under control but later, the virus tends to reactivate thus causing shingles.

It is unknown why the virus of shingles gets reactivated at a later stage which could be due to the low immunity system of the person that could be the result of being old, stressed or a condition which may affect the immune system like HIV and AID. It causes a painful rash which develops into itchy blisters. Though singles may occur on any part of the body, it is often seen as a single strip of blisters which wraps around the left or the right side of the torso and does not cross over the centre of the body.

Since it is not a life threatening ailment, shingles can be very painful and vaccines could be helpful in reducing the risk of shingles and treatment in its initial stage could help in shortening infection as well as reduce the chances of complications.

Symptoms – Headache/Fever/Burning Pain/Itching…..

Before the rash appears on the body, most of the people begin to feel unwell. The early symptoms include headache, fever and the possibility of incorrect diagnosis. The symptoms are followed by sensation of burning pain, itching, hyperesthesia or over sensitivity or the feeling of pins and needles tingling, pricking or numbness known as paraesthesia.

The pain could be mild to severe in the affected area with sensation which could be described as stinging, aching, tingling, numbness or throbbing which can be accompanied with quick stabs of agonizing pain. Herpes zoster in children is often painless though older people tend to suffer from this condition as they age and the ailment could be more severe.

Complications like Post-Herpetic Neuralgia

In several cases after a day or two and sometimes after a three weeks’ period, the initial phase is followed with the appearance of the characteristic skin rash and the pain together with the rash which appear on the torso though they may also be seen on the face, eyes or on various other parts of the body.

The rash at first appears similar to the appearance of hives but unlike hives, herpes zoster causes skin changes which are limited to dermatome resulting in a strip or belt like pattern which is on one side of the body and does not cross the midline. Shingles can also lead to complications like post herpetic neuralgia where severe nerve pain may last for over three months after the rash has disappeared.

 It is found that post herpetic neuralgia affects 1 in 10 people with shingles and is more common in older people affecting around a third of individuals over 80 having shingles. It is not possible to prevent shingles, but a vaccine can reduce the chances of the development of this ailment.

After taking the vaccine and if one still develops shingles, the condition may tend to be mild and last for a shorter time than the usual period.

Take the Next Step Toward Your Phlebotomy Certification

If you are ready to take your career to the next level, you might consider earning your Phlebotomist certification. As a Phlebotomist, your position within the medical industry proves invaluable for many situations. Whether in emergency rooms, doctor's offices, laboratories or any type of medical situation, you will find Phlebotomists plying their trade.

Making an incision or using a needle to enter a patient's or blood donor's vein is a delicate, though common, procedure, and the health industry continually needs well-trained, qualified and professional Phlebotomists who have also earned their certification.

One example of a place where you can earn your certifications includes American Society of Phlebotomy Technicians. With this type of organization and program, you can also benefit from ongoing and continuing education opportunities, home study and the organization's membership newsletter. Other unique opportunities include the development of cross-training programs to help fill out each student's capabilities, making you even more appealing to future prospective employers.

The specifics of the Phlebotomy certification and training offer you can look forward to support in your studies as you inch toward taking your tests for certification then, once you achieve certification, a Phlebotomy program will help you gain confidence, which will ultimately lend to a sense of self-confidence you have in your work.

A good training program will offer you resources that will help you feel comfortable doing work wherein your confidence is critical in making your patients feel comfortable and at ease. Learn how to technically do your job well, as well as giving excellent patient care.