LIFE RESEARCH CENTRE INTERNATIONAL

Common Diseases

 
                                                                                        

                                                                                            COMMON DISEASES                                                                           

MALARIA Malaria is a common infectious or endemic disease. Periodic attacks of chills and fever without apparent cause always suggest malaria, particularly if the individual has been in the malarious area within the year. Definite diagnosis depends on demonstration of parasites in the stained blood smear. Causes: Following are the factors res­ponsible for the spread of this disease:Season: Malaria is a seasonal disease. In most parts of India, maximum prevalence is from July to November. Temperature: It affects the life cycle of malarial parasite. The optimum temperature for the development of malarial parasites in the insect vector is between 20-30 degrees C. Temperatures greater than 30 degrees G are lethal to the parasites. Humidity: Mosquitoes are most active at high humidity. Rainfall: During the dry and hot summer, malarial parasites do not multiply but as soon as the rains come and weather becomes humid, breeding of mosquitoes takes place at tremendous rate giving rise to epidemics of malaria. Housing: Ill-ventilated and ill-lighted houses provide ideal indoor resting place for mosquitoes. Man made malaria: Burrow pits, garden pools, irrigation channels and engineering projects have led to the breeding of mosquitoes and an increase in malaria. Usually, after 10-35 days of mosquito bite patient develops a short (2-3 days) prodrome of irregular low-grade fever, malaise, headache, muscle pains and chilly sensation. This is frequently taken for viral infection and treated so.Primary attack begins abruptly with shakuig followed by fever and sweating, with irregular remittent fever. Within a week, typical pattern of disease is established, the fever lasts for 1-8 hours, after which it subsides and the patient feels well until the next rigour. A rigour occurs every 48 or 72 hours depending on the species of the parasite.In falciparum malaria - a serious type of malaria, there may be chilly sensation rather than shaking chill, the temperature rises gradually and falls by lysis. The attack may last 20-36 hours. The fever may even go higher than 104°F (40°C). The presence of severe headache, drowsiness, delirium or confusion may indicate impending Cerebral Malaria. It is a serious complication of falciparum malaria with high mortality rate. Preventive Measures: After diagnosis is made and proper treatment is administered, malaria can be cured. The drug Chloroquine orally once a week should be started one week before arrival in the area and should be continued for 6-8 weeks after leaving the area. In areas where malaria is resistant to Chloroquine alternative drug will be required for prophylaxis for which your doctor is the best guide.The spread of malaria can be reduced if following measures are adopted:(0 Keep your house clean and well lit.(ii) Do not allow water to accumulate in and around your house.(iif) Regular spraying of your house with insecticides.(iv) Man vector contact can be reduced by preventive measures such as protective clothing, bed nets, mosquito coils, etc.                                                               MENOPAUSE In simple language, menopause means age-related stoppage of monthly menstrual bleeding, permanently. It is not an ailment; it is a stage of life through which every woman has to pass. The mean age has remained 48-50 years despite an increase in longevity. No w the post-menopausal phase covers about one-third of a woman's life. In this region, most of the women experience menopause around 45 years of age, and undernourishment may be a cause for the early development. Causes and Symptoms: Women who reach the menopause stage prematurely or suddenly due to the surgical removal of ovaries suffer more distressing symptoms as outlined below.The cause of menopause and the associated symptoms is believed to be hormonal changes, having occurred at this age/stage. This stage requires care and attention by the husband and other family members of thewoman, besides her gynaecologist, to keep her in good mental and physical health. Supervision of a gynaecologist will save her from a number of health problems and risks. This will also give a peep into the health status of her husband, which may otherwise be neglected. No doubt, this is the age at which a comprehensive look into the health and wealth of husband is required. Neglect can mean an unhappy and uncomfortable living, besides the risk of several serious ailments.It is important that all women need regular check-ups by a gynaecologist, as they approach their middle age (40 to 58). At this age most women start suffering from one or more unwelcome symptoms - hot flushes, mood swings, irritability, lack of concentration, lack of decision-making power, lack of sleep, night sweats, loss of sex desire, pains in bones and muscles, chest pain with or without breathlessness, lack of control on urination, headaches; distention of abdomen, putting on weight, protrusion of tummy and hips, etc.Also, menstrual periods become irregular. Other symptoms may be bouts of rapid heart-beat or actual cardiovascular disease, sudden tears in the eyes, loss of libido, crashing fatigue, anxiety, feeling ill at ease, feeling of dread, apprehension, doom, disorientation, mental confusion, disturbing memory lapses, itchy-crawly skin, sore joints, muscles and tendons, increased tension in muscles, rough and inelastic skin, gastro­intestinal distress, indigestion, flatulence, gas pain, nausea, depression, hair loss or thinning of hair on head, pubic or whole body; increase in facial hair, dizziness, light­headedness, episodes of loss of balance, changes in body odour, electric shock sensation under the skin and in the head, increased bleeding in gums, burning tongue, burning roof of mouth, bad taste in mouth, change in breath odour, changes in "fingernails, tinnitus, ringing bells in the ears, etc. More importantly, with the advent of the menopausal age, the incidence of actual heart disease and fractures due to bone weakening also rise manifold.! Advice: To prevent unwelcome symp­toms and serious health hazards, the middle age women have to institute lifestyle and attitudinal changes well in time. The best time to make first visit to your gynaecologist is at the onset of perimenopause - a few years before the menses stop but with the onset of some symptoms like hot flushes or even if you have not suffered symptoms but crossed the age of 40. The  gynaecologist will take a detailed history of your symptoms, fears, apprehensions, etc., and would also examine your person from every angle. At this stage some investigations to rule out certain ailments like breast/genital cancers would be required. This would also be the best time to discover any ailment - diabetes, hypertension, obesity, bone weakness, heart changes, thyroid function tests, urinary changes, sex-related complaints, eye-related problems, early detection of genital and other concerns, etc. While starting with the specific therapy, the gynaecologist will advise about the essentials of diet, exercises, yoga, joining of a self-help group or a menopause club, etc. Her counselling would cover not only physical aspects but also emotional and social aspects.                                                                                                                             

MIGRAINE A neurological, and often hereditary disease, migraine is typically characterised by severe, recurring head pain, usually located on one side of the head and one or more of the following associated symptoms: nausea, vomiting and increased sensitivity to light, sound and smell. Other symptoms may include light-headedness, diarrhoea and scalp tenderness. Migraine symptoms vary for each individual sufferer, making diagnosis complicated.Often developing around the time of the first menstrual period, migraine appears to be the result of falling levels or reduced availability of estrogen. Menstrual migraine is often more difficult to treat than other types of head pain. Women who have migraines only with their period can often achieve relief by taking preventive (prophy­lactic) medication just before their period begins.Migraine is a very specific syndrome that should be reported if the person has been experiencing pain in half the head.Migraine is a disease, the headache is only a symptom. During migraine, inflammation of the tissue surrounding the brain exacerbates the pain. Therefore, the medicine often prescribed to treat a headache dilutes the blood vessels and, therefore, can make a migraine worse. Causes: Migraine is caused by psy­chological factors, such as stress and depression. It is a neurological disease, not a psychological disorder. Migraine is a disease that involves the heightening of one's senses. The patient is more sensitive to his or her surroundings, including light, sound, smells, taste and touch.However, migraine cannot be life threa­tening. It can induce a host of serious physical conditions such as strokes, aneurysms, permanent visual loss, severe dental problems, coma and even death. Migraine and epileptic seizure disorders are also interrelated, the most intimate interrelationship between the two being Migraine-triggered epilepsy. Proper Diagnosis Essential: Migraine is one of the most misdiagnosed, mistreated and least understood diseases. Sixty per cent of women and 70 per cent of men with migraine have never been diagnosed with this disease.A correct headache diagnosis should be made first and only then should one start therapy. During the headache evaluation, it is very important for the patient to be accurately descriptive of his headache history, symptoms and characteristics. Treatment and management of migraine headaches should involve medication as well as a combination of other therapies including stress manage­ment, regular exercise and relaxation therapy and lifestyle changes.


                                                                           

MYOPIA Myopia is defined as an eye defect where the image of the object falls before the retina of the eye. The person affected with myopia cannot see distant objects clearly, but can see objects that are close to him.Myopia is also known as shortsighted­ness. It may be caused due to increased Anterior Posterior length of the eyeball, increased curvature of cornea or lens, increased refractive index of the media, parti­cularly of lens sclerosis (early cataract). Types of Myopia: Myopia can be broadly classified into three main types:Congenital myopia: It is present since birth and may be unilateral or bilateral. Simple or developmental myopia is common type where the defect increases usually as age advances.Pathological myopia or degenerative myopia where the condition rapidly increases and there may be high myopia up to 20D or more. Degenerative changes occur in post segment and fundus like myopic crescent choroidal sclerosis, post staphyloma due to stretching or sclera, vitreous degeneration, retinal detachment and development of nuclear cataract seen. Treatment: Latest technologies that are available for treatment of myopia are :Radial Keratotomy, where the problem is corrected by making a series of radial cuts around outer edges of the comea by a hand held small blade thereby reducing corneal curvature and reduction of myopia.Photo refractive Keratotomy, where laser rays are used to correct the defect by gently removing corneal tissues from the central area of the cornea, thereby reducing the corneal curvature. Lasik procedure combined with laser where small layer of the cornea are removed microscopically and then laser rays are applied to correct the defect.                                                                                                               

PLAGUE Plague has plagued mankind through the centuries. The first outbreak recorded in 1320 BC was known as the "Black Death" and caused an estimated 50 million deaths. Over the last two millennia, the plague has become widespread, affecting a large number of countries on most continents. How it spreads: For plague to infect a human population, four elements must converge: an agent (the bacterium Yersinia pestis), a vector (the flea Xenopsylla cheopsis), a reservoir (rat) and a human host.  Incubation: In humans, the disease sets in after 3-7 days after infection.Symptoms: High fever, chills, cough, breathing difficulty, body pain, blood in sputum. Types of plague: Bubonic plague is theresult of a flea bite in which the plague bacillus travels through the lymphatic system to the nearest lymph node where h forms a swelling, known as buboes.The Septicaemic form occurs when the insect deposits the bacillus directly into the blood-stream. This form is usually fatal.Pneumonic plague occurs when the lungs are infected by the plague bacillus. Pneu­monic plague can be transmitted directly from person to person via infected air droplets or through infected clothing and other contaminated articles.  Advice: (i) Remove infected clothing and store in labelled plastic bags.(ii) If your body has been exposed, take a thorough bath.(iii) Clean personal items with- a mixture of one part household bleach and nine parts water.(iv) In the case of face-to-face contact (within two metres) with infected people, take the antibiotic Prophylaxis for seven days.If you develop a fever or cough within seven days following exposure, seek prompt medical attention and begin antibiotic treatment.The plague is 'potentially fatal' but is completely curable, if diagnosed on time. Fighting back: Continued vigilance is required, particularly in human populations living near natural plague foci. Plague foci are not fixed and can change in response to shifts in factors such as climate, landscape and migration of the rodent population. Effective treatment methods enable almost all plague patients to be cured if diagnosed in time. The use of these measures has led to a sharp reduction in the episodes of the plague throughout the world. Treatment: For those who think they are vulnerable, a single dose of the antibiotic Doxycyclin is enough.  


THYROID GLAND Thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland you can feel at the base of your neck, just below your Adam's apple. Two lobes - the butterfly 'wings' - fit to either side of your windpipe. The gland is a manufacturing and storage facility for thyroid hormone, which is often referred to as the body's metabolic hormone. Thyroid produces two types of hormones popularly known as T3 and T4. Major function of thyroid gland is to concentrate iodine from circulation and convert it to the thyroid hormones - T3 and T4 (iodine enters the body chiefly with food and water). Among other actions, it stimulates enzymes that combine oxygen and glucose, a process that increases the basal metabolic rate and body heat production. It helps maintain blood pressure, regulates tissue growth and development, is critical for skeletal and nervous system development and plays an important role in the maturing of the reproductive system. That is the reason it is always considered to be an organ of great interest both to the doctors and to the patients. The most common thyroid problems involve abnormal production of thyroid hor­mones. Too much of these vital body chemicals results in a condition known as hyperthyroidism. Hypothyroidism, by con­trast, stems from an underproduction of thyroid hormones. There is a simple and ubiquitous neck self-check, which can detect thyroid pro­blems before they get serious. Tilt your head back and focus a mirror or on the area between middle of the neck and collarbone. Watch yourself swallow a sip of water. Check for any bulges in the lower neck, above the collarbone. Repeat this a few times. If you see any protrusions (other than the voice box), contact your doctor.  SymptomsThe following are the symptoms of hyperthyroidism:(i)Weight loss despite increased appetite.(ii)Increased heart rate, high blood pressure, nervousness and excessive per-spiration.(iii) More frequent bowel movements, sometimes with diarrhoea.(iv) Muscle weakness, trembling hands (v) Development of a goitre.  The following are the symptoms of hypothyroidism: Lethargy.Reduced heart rate.  Sensitivity to cold, Numbness in the hands, Development of goitre. The following are the symptoms of ibacute thyroiditis:(i)        Mild to severe pain in the thyroid glands.(ii)        Thyroid feels tender to the touch.
(iii) Pain when swallowing or turningaur head.(iv) Appearance of these symptoms shortly iter a viral infection, such as flu, mumps or leasles. 
Stages of development of thyroid : You are likely to develop thyroid problem if: (i) You are a smoker (ii) You have another pituitary or endocrine Disease (iii) You have suffered from chronic tigue syndrome (iv) You have been exposed to radiation (v) You have been treated with lithium. Word of Advice: In the following cases, you need medical assistance:(i) If you are feverish or delirious and have a rapid pulse, you could be having a thyrotoxic crisis, a sudden and dangerous complication of hyperthyroidism.(ii) If you feel intensely cold, drowsy and lethargic, you could be experiencing a myxedema coma, a sudden and dangerous complication of hypothyroidism that can cause unconsciousness and possibly death. Treatment: Often it becomes difficult to diagnose thyroid problems at an early stage, a simple blood test of FT3, FT4 can diagnose most of the thyroid diseases. Though most of the thyroid patients are manageable, they require persistent surveillance at regular intervals to avoid permanent damage or complications. The following are treatments for thyfoid problems:A diet rich in protein, calcium, magnesium and iodine supports thyroid function. Be sure to receive enough B vitamins, vitamin A, vitamin C and selenium.  

 

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