Saturday, 29 November 2014

Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal Neuralgia
Image Credit:Healthtap.com
Trigeminal Neuralgia – Sudden Severe Facial Pain 

Trigeminal neuralgia – TN also known as tic douloureux is a sudden severe facial pain which is described as sharp, shooting like an electric shock. Trigeminal neuralgia affects the trigeminal nerve which is one of the largest nerves in the head wherein it sends impulses of touch, pressure, pain and temperature to the brain from the face, gums, jaws, forehead and around the eyes.

It usually takes place in sudden short attacks which could last for a few seconds for about two minutes and tends to stops abruptly. In majority of the cases, it affects a certain part or all of one side of the face and the pain is mostly felt in the lower part of the face. Sometimes it could affect both the sides of the face though not normally at the same time.

In these situations the person may have regular attacks of pain for days, weeks or even months and in severe cases, these attacks could occur several times in a day. There is a possibility of the pain to improve or disappear altogether for some months or years at a time which is known as a period of remission, though these periods could get shorter with passage of time and some may even develop a more continuous aching, burning sensation and throbbing, at times accompanied by sharp attacks.

Blood Vessel Pressed on Nerve – Brain Stem 

The most common cause of trigeminal neuralgia is the blood vessel pressed on the nerve towards the brain stem which over a period of time, changes occur in the blood vessels of the brain resulting in blood vessels being rubbed against the trigeminal nerve root.

This constant rubbing with each heartbeat tends to wear away the insulating membrane of the nerve leading to nerve irritation. The attacks of pain occurs due to activities which involve lightly touching the face like washing, brushing the teeth and eating though it could also be triggered by wind or movement of the head or the face and sometimes it could also occur without any trigger.

The symptoms features sudden, severe, electric shock like pain or stabbing pain which could last for several seconds and is experienced on the face and around the lips, nose, eyes, scalp and the forehead. Symptoms show up when a person tends to brush the teeth, or applying makeup, touching the face, swallowing or on feeling a slight breeze.

Most Painful Condition 

Trigeminal neuralgia is considered to be one of the most painful conditions and the pain is experienced on one side of the jaw or cheek though some may feel at different intervals on both sides and the attacks of pain could be repeated one after the other.

This ailment is more common in women than in men and rarely affects individuals below the age of 50.It is usually a long term illness with periods of remission which tend to get shorter over a period of time and is treated with an anticonvulsant medication which is also used to treat epilepsy and the medication needs to be taken till the pain diminishes or disappears totally.

If the person is entering a period of remission and pain disappears, stopping the medication should be done slowly over a period of days or week as advised by the physician.

Hypotonia


Image Credit: Janelle Aby, MD, Stanford.edu
Hypotonia – Decrease Muscle Tone

Hypotonia is a medical term for decreased muscle tone which is the amount of tension or resistance to stretch in a muscle and is felt as resistance to movement. It is not the same as muscles weakness and it can be difficult to use the muscle which has been affected. Muscle weakness could at times develop in hypotonia based on the cause of the ailment.

This ailment is often identified in babies’, immediately after birth or at a very tender age though it could also develop in the later stage of life. Hypotonia is not a medical disorder; it is a potential manifestation of several other diseases and disorders which can affect the motor never that is controlled by the brain or muscle strength.

Recognizing the symptoms of hypotonia in early infancy is quite straightforward though diagnosing the cause could be difficult and not very successful. The effects of hypotonia on the development of a child on long term would depend mainly on the seriousness of the muscle weakness as well as the nature of the cause. While some disorder tends to have a specific treatment, the principle treatment for most hypotonia of neurologic or idiopathic cause is physical therapy and occupational therapy for remediation and probably music therapy.

Symptoms - Children

Hypotonia is presumed to be associated with the disruption of afferent input from stretch receptors or/and lack of the cerebellum’s facilitatory efferent influence on the fusimotor system which is the system that innervates intrafusal muscle fibres in controlling muscle spindle sensitivity.

Hypotonia when present at birth is detected when the child is six months old in infants and young children, if not earlier. Some of the symptoms may include: the child may have little or no control of their neck muscles and hence their head tend to flop, feel limp when held as though they would slip easily through the hands, unable to place any weight on their leg of shoulder muscles, arms and legs tend to hang straight down from their sides instead of bending at the elbows, hips and knees, would be finding sucking and swallowing difficult and may have a weak cry.

Besides this, the child may also take a longer time to reach development like crawling, sitting up, walking, talking and feed themselves.

Symptoms - Adults

An adult suffering from hypotonia may envisage the following problems:
  • Would tend to be clumsy and fall frequently 
  • Have an unusual degree of flexibility in the hips, knees and elbows 
  • Have difficulty in rising up from a lying or sitting position 
  • Difficulty is reaching for or lifting objects
Based on the cause, this disorder may either improve or stay on or may get worse over a period of time while babies with hypotonia caused by premature birth usually improve as they grow up while hypotonia caused by infection or any other condition would improve if the underlying condition is treated successfully though often it is not possible to cure the underlying cause of this disorder. 
If the ailment is inherited, it could persist all through the person’s life while treatment could improve activities like mobility and speech. Treatment may involve physiotherapy, occupational therapy as well as speech and language therapy.

Trying To Get Pregnant


Test Kit
There are some couples who have difficulties getting pregnant. If you are among the people who aren't sure what's wrong, then rapid fertility ELISA kits are an option that can give you answers.

When you can't have children, you want to know some kind of answer as soon as possible. These tests give you those answers so that you can plan other options if you still want children. There are several kinds of the fertility test kits depending on which one would be best for you. Some of them give results more quickly than others. It doesn't take long to get the answers back, especially if the test is done in a hospital or laboratory setting. The test can also help determine who might be the one in the relationship suffering from fertility issues. It can also give couples an idea of when the woman is fertile so that they can plan through the month when to try to get pregnant more than at other times.

A fertility test can give couples the answers they need to many questions that are related to fertility issues. These could be when the woman is ovulating or if there might be something wrong with the sperm count.

Monday, 24 November 2014

Graves’ Disease


Graves’ Disease
Byebyedoctor.com
Graves’ Disease – Autoimmune Disease

Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disease which affects the thyroid which is a small gland in the front area of the neck. It creates hormones known as T3 and T4 which regulates how the body utilises the energy and the thyroid hormone levels are controlled by the pituitary.

 This is a pea sized gland in the brain which makes thyroid stimulating hormone – TSH that enables the thyroid to make thyroid hormone. With Graves’ disease, the immune system tends to make antibodies which act like TSH making the thyroid to produce more thyroid hormone than what is needed by the body.

This is known as an overactive thyroid or hyperthyroidism and an overactive thyroid affects every function of the body in speeding up like the heart rate as well as the rate wherein the body turns food into energy.

This disease is the result of overactive thyroid and is closely related to Hashimoto’s disease which is another autoimmune disease that affects the thyroid.It could run in families and can occur at any age though it is most common in women in the age group of 20 – 40.

 Smokers are more likely to develop this disease. Being an autoimmune condition, the immune system tends to mistake something in the body for a toxic substance and attacks it.

Overproduction of the Thyroid Hormones

In this condition, it attacks the thyroid gland leading to an overproduction of the thyroid hormones. What triggers the immune system to do this is not known and like several autoimmune conditions it is presumed that a combination of both genetic as well as environmental factors would be responsible.

Some people suffering from Graves’ disease may also have their eyes affected where the tissue behind the eyes tends to get inflamed and swollen causing them discomfort and bulging in one or both the eyes.

At times it could also cause double vision which is known as Graves’ ophthmopathy and these symptoms could occur before or at the same time or after the other symptoms of the disease begins to show up. Eye problem often tends to get better without much treatment.

Factors Responsible for Graves’ Disease

Factors responsible for this disease may include Genes wherein some people are prone to this disease due to their genes. Emotional stress or trauma could also trigger this disease, pregnancy also affects the thyroid where 30% of young women who suffer from Graves’ disease have been pregnant in the 12 months prior to the onset of the symptoms which indicates that pregnancy could trigger Graves’ disease in some women.

Sex hormones also play a role which could explain why Graves’ disease affects women more than men. Infection too is responsible in the onset of Graves’ disease though no studies have shown it to be directly the cause of this disease. Graves’ disease can be treated through drugs which helps the thyroid from making too much thyroid hormone.

Radioactive iodine – RAI, treatment can be helpful wherein a pill which contains RAI is swallowed which is a form of iodine that damages the thyroid by giving it radiation and destroys thyroid cells where less thyroid hormone is produced.

Through surgery where most or the entire thyroid is removed though one would need to take thyroid hormones to replace the needed thyroid hormone which the body no longer produces.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

Asbestosis


Asbestosis
Asbestosis – Lung Tissue Scarring 

Asbestosis is a process of lung tissue scarring which is caused by prolonged exposures to asbestos fibres. Asbestos is a term for a group of minerals which are made of microscopic fibres and in the past was extensively used in construction.

Patients with x-ray findings or biopsy results could also have remote history of asbestos exposure and delayed development of this condition. Smoking too could increase the frequency or the rate of progress of asbestosis by preventing the efficient elimination of inhaled fibres through the airways. Asbestos could be very dangerous though not considered as a health hazard if undisturbed.

However if the material with asbestos is drilled, broken, chipped or allowed to deteriorate, it could give out some fine dust containing asbestos fibres and when the same is breathed in, it could enter the lungs and gradually cause damage over a period of time.

Breathing in the asbestos fibres could scar the lungs with a number of symptoms like shortness of breath which may take place after physical activity in the initial stage and eventually tends to be a constant problem. A person may suffer from persistent cough, wheezing, extreme tiredness, chest pain, and in more advantaged situations, clubbed or swollen fingertips.

PFT/Exercise Test/CT Scan

Exposure to Asbestos is divided into three forms, namely asbestosis – lung scarring due to asbestos fibres, disease of the lining of the lung – pleural plaques, scarring or fluid accumulation and lung cancer. Cancer of the lining of the lung due to asbestos exposure is Mesothelioma while cancer of the larynx, throat, kidney, oesophagus and gallbladder is linked to asbestos exposure which is treated based on the kind of condition of asbestosis.

The abnormalities in breathing can be identified with function test like pulmonary function tests – PFT or exercise test which is performed at specialized laboratories since asbestosis could obstruct the airflow and restriction of lung inflation.

Besides, this condition could also affect the ability of transferring oxygen to the blood. In advanced cases, the person could have reduced blood oxygen and would be in needof supplementary oxygen. The abnormalities in the x-ray include thickening of the lining of the lungs with tiny lines marking the lower portions of the lungs. CT scans could be very helpful in separating asbestosis from other conditions which may have similar reports but even a CT scan may not identify the disease of lining of the lung- pleural disease in people with asbestosis.

Biopsy & Microscopic Examination

At times a biopsy and microscopic examination of the lung could help in diagnosing asbestosis where under microscopic examination; some coated fibres are seen with pattern of scarring. The content of coated as well as uncoated asbestos is linked to the severity of this disease and since other particles could resemble asbestos, a clear identification would require scanning electron microscopy.

 Presently, to detect asbestos fibres in the lung tissues and fluid, secretion or sputum could be used to diagnose together with the history of asbestos exposure as well as the characteristic x-ray or the results of the CT.

Since there is not cure for asbestosis once it has progressed and the damage has already been caused to the lungs, it is most important to quit smoking if the person has a tendency to smoke to prevent further damage to the lungs and smoking could also increase the chances of lung cancer to the person with this ailment. Some treatment like oxygen therapy could bring about some improvement and quality of life to these patients.

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.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Retinal Detachment


Retinal Detachment
Retinal Detachment – Thin Tissue Lining at the Back of the Eye Pulls Away

Retinal detachment takes place when the thin lining which lies at the back of the eye tend to pull away from the blood vessels supplying it with oxygen and nutrients. The retina is the thin tissue lining the inside of the back of the eye and when one looks around, light from the objects we intend to see enters the eye.

It can be compared to the film of a camera though unlike the camera, the retina continually renews itself electrically and chemically enabling us to see end number of different images daily without the need of being superimposed.The person with this condition will experience warning signs which could indicate that their retina is at risk of detaching before they tend to lose their sight.

It could include sudden appearance of floater, which are dark spots that float in one’s field of vision, or sudden short flashes of light in one eye, blurred or distorted vision. Prompt treatment is essential and the eye surgeon should be consulted for timely treatment since negligence could lead to blindness in the affected eye.

Caused due to Being Thinner & Brittle

Retinal detachment is caused due to the retina getting thinner and more brittle as the person tends to age and pull away from the underlying blood vessels. It could also be the result of direct injury though this is less common.

If a person is diagnosed with retinal detachment, they are referred to an eye specialist for immediate treatment wherein the ophthalmologist studies the back of the eye with an ophthalmoscope or a magnifying class connected to a light together with a slit lamp which is a microscope that magnified the eye.

If the view of the retina is poor, an ultrasound scan could also be used. Retinal detachment is a rare condition where one in every 10,000 people may develop a new case of retinal detachment. As it is associated with aging, most of the cases affect adults between the age of 50 and 75. It could also be caused by an injury to people of any age which also includes children.

Immediate Treatment Essential

The sooner the retinal detachment is treated the lesser the riskof permanent lose to some or all of the vision in the affected eye.

There are several cases of successful reattached surgeries conducted with a number of various forms of surgeries available depending on the choice of the individual. However, some may be unfortunate where their eyesight may not fully return after surgery and could have permanently reduced peripheral, side or central vision which could happen even if the retina has been reattached successfully.

It may takes months to completely recover from eye surgery during which period the vision may be reduced which means that one may not be in a position to perform some of the activities like driving or flying. For some time after the surgery, the person may experience watering, discomfort, swelling, redness and itching of the affected eye which can be treated with eye drops prescribed by the eye surgeon.

 Blurred vision could also last for several months with new glasses recommended since the scleral buckle changes the shape of the eye.

Monday, 3 November 2014

Costochondritis


Costochondritis
Costochondritis – Inflammation of the Cartilage

Costochondritis is a medical term for inflammation of the cartilage which joins the ribs to the breastbone or sternum. Cartilage is the tough, though flexible connective tissue which is found in the body especially in the joints between bones and acts as a shock absorber, supporting all the joints.

The Costal cartilage area joining the ribs to the breastbone is called the costochondral joint. This ailment causes chest wall pain which could be reproduced on pushing on the involved cartilage at the front of the rib cage. It is a harmless musculoskeletal chest pain and tends to resolve without much treatment.

Females tend to get more affected with this ailment than men. Costochondritis can at time get confused with a separate condition known as Tietze’s syndrome since this condition too involves inflammation of the costochondral joint causing similar symptoms.

However, Tietze’s syndrome tends to be less common than costochondritis and could cause chest swelling besides other symptoms while costochondritis does not show any swelling.

Symptoms Gradual or Start Suddenly 

Inflammation is the natural response to infection, irritation or injury, by the body. It is unknown why the costochondral joint tend to get inflamed though in certain cases, it has been connected to severe coughing which could strain the chest area, or an injury to the chest, physical strain from continuous exercises or sudden exertion which one may not be accustomed to, infection which may include respiratory tract infection, wound infection, wear and tear where the chest’s movement in and out 20 to 30 times a minute could over a period of time lead to discomfort in the joints.

When the costochondral joint tends to get inflamed, one experiences sharp chest pain which could be worse while lying down in a particular posture, or with pressure on the chest like wearing a seatbelt or hugging someone, taking deep breath, coughing or sneezing, or any physical activity.

This condition can be common in adults over forty years of age while Tietze’s syndrome affects adults below forty years. The symptoms could develop gradually or it could start all of a sudden.

Self Help & Medication To Relieve Symptoms

At times it could be difficult to find the difference between a chest pain which is associated with costochondritis and the pain caused by a more serious condition like a heart attack though heart attack can cause more widespread pain with additional symptoms like breathlessness, sweating and nausea.

For costochondritis, a physical examination is carried out by checking and touching the upper chest area around the costochondral joint for any pain as well as the recent medical history of the person. Before confirming the diagnosis certain tests need to be carried out to find out the other possibilities that could cause the chest pain which could include, an electrocardiogram –ECG that records the rhythms and the electrical activity of the heart, a chest x-ray and a blood test for signs of underlying inflammation.

A diagnosis of costochandritis could be confirmed if no other condition has been found. This condition usually gets better after a period of few weeks though self-help and medication could help in relieving the symptoms like avoiding task which could aggravate the pain, applying hot fermentation to the painful area or using pain relief to ease the pain.

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Tay–Sachs disease


Tay–Sachs disease
Tay-Sachs Disease – Rare Autosomal Recessive Genetic Disorder

Tay-Sachs disease is a rare autosomal recessive genetic disorder which causes progressive damage to the nervous system. It causes deterioration of nerve cells and of mental and physical abilities which tends to begin around six months of age where the normal development of a child tends to slow down and gradually begins to lose the ability to move eventually resulting in death by the age of four.


This disorder tends to develop when harmful quantities of cell membrane components called gangliosides begin to accumulate in the brain’s nerve cells resulting in the premature death of the cells. Ganglioside is a kind of splingolipid that makes Tay-Sach disease part of the sphingolipidoses and there is no known cure or treatment for this disease.

The obvious symptoms in the early stages include a child getting excessively startled by sudden noises and red spots begin to appear near the middle of the eyes and then the child begins to develop problems like muscle weakness, loss of hearing, increasing loss of vision and seizure. Often most of the children suffering from Tay-Sachs die between the ages of three to five years.

Hexosaminidase-A/Hex-A/GM2 Ganglioside

Tay-Sachs of less common forms could begin later in childhood or even in early adulthood which usually progresses less rapidly than in the case of younger children. This disease is caused due to genetic mutation which takes place when the instructions in the cells get scrambled in some way, resulting in one or more processes of the body to malfunction.

The genetic mutation here, in the HEXA gene results in the body not producing an enzyme known as Hexosaminidase-A or Hex-A and without this enzyme, the fatty substance known as GM2 ganglioside build in the cells of the brain and nerves results in malfunction and finally destroys them. Both the parents need to be carriers of HEXA mutation to have a child with Tay-Sachs disease where each child stands a 25% chance of developing the condition.

People of high risk groups are recommended screening for Tay-Sachs disease before they start a family which can take place at two points, before or after the baby is conceived. If it is diagnosed in an unborn child, the parents can decide whether the pregnancy should be continued or not

Treatment with Supportive Care to Ease Symptoms

Though there is no cure for this disease one could aim at treatment and supportive care which could ease the symptoms or extend life and make living with this condition as tolerable as possible like preventing problems with the lungs and airways, relieving any feeding or swallowing problems and using medication to help in relieving and controlling symptoms like fits and muscle stiffness.

Children with this disease are more vulnerable to problems with their lungs and airways which is due to the food or liquid getting into the lungs thereby causing infection known as aspiration pneumonia or increased muscle weakness could lead to poor cough reflexes with build-up of mucus in their lungs causing congestion. They are also prone to drooling and the excessive amount of saliva could further affect their breathing.