Underactive Thyroid Gland Explained

An underactive thyroid gland, also known as hypothyroidism, is a medical condition that occurs when your thyroid gland does not produce enough hormones. Located in the front lower part of the neck below the larynx, the thyroid gland is made up of special cells that produce hormones. Hormones are chemical messengers in your body that send information to the organs and tissues, controlling processes such as mood, growth, and metabolism. Your thyroid produces two thyroid hormones (triiodothyronine and thyroxine) that regulate the way your body uses energy from food or your body’s metabolism. Your metabolism is an important factor that affects your heartbeat, your body’s temperature, and how well you burn calories, among other things. When you don’t have enough thyroid hormones, the process in your body slows down. As a result, your body makes less energy and your metabolism becomes sluggish.

Symptoms

The symptoms of hypothyroidism depend on how low your thyroid hormone is. These signs and symptoms can be vague and mimic other medical conditions. The symptoms tend to develop very slowly, sometimes even over several years. At first, the symptoms are barely noticeable, such as weight gain and fatigue. Many people think that the symptoms are the result of getting older. However, as your metabolism continues to slow down, you may experience more noticeable problems. The signs and symptoms include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Cold intolerance
  • Fatigue or tiredness
  • Constipation
  • Weight gain
  • Dry skin
  • Muscle and joint weakness, pain, and cramps
  • Joint stiffness or swelling
  • Puffy face
  • Slowed movements, speech, and heart rate
  • Depression
  • Loss of libido
  • Thinning hair
  • Memory impairment
  • Enlarged thyroid gland

The signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism can be different in infants. Hypothyroidism often occurs in middle-aged or older women, but it can also affect anyone, including infants. Infants born with a gland that doesn’t work properly or without a thyroid gland may experience few symptoms. The problem of hypothyroidism in babies usually include:

  • Hoarse crying
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Protruding, large tongue
  • Umbilical hernia
  • Yellowing of the whites of the eyes and skin or jaundice.

As hypothyroidism progresses, infants often have trouble feeding and can fail to develop and grow normally. They may also have poor muscle tone, constipation, and excessive sleepiness. If hypothyroidism in infants isn’t treated, it can result in severe physical and mental development. Children and teens can also develop hypothyroidism. The symptoms are generally similar to adults, but children and teens may also experience:

  • Delayed permanent teeth development
  • Poor mental development
  • Delayed puberty
  • Poor growth, which results in a short figure.

If you have any symptoms of hypothyroidism, such as feeling tired for no reason, constipation, dry skin, or a hoarse voice, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. 

Causes

  • Hashimoto’s disease. The main cause of hypothyroidism is a condition called Hashimoto’s disease. It is an autoimmune disorder in which your body produces antibodies that attack your thyroid gland, resulting in inflammation and interfere with your thyroid gland’s ability to produce thyroid hormones. Viral infection can also cause thyroiditis. 
  • Thyroiditis. This condition occurs when your thyroid gland is inflamed. The inflammation causes the thyroid hormones to leak into your blood, which raises the overall levels and leads to hyperthyroidism (a condition in which a person produces too much thyroid hormone). After a couple of months, it can develop into hypothyroidism. Bacterial or viral infection, as well as an autoimmune condition or after pregnancy, can also cause thyroiditis. 
  • Over-response to treatment for hyperthyroidism. People with hyperthyroidism are usually treated with anti-thyroid medications or radioactive iodine. These treatments aim to get thyroid function back to normal. Sometimes, treating hyperthyroidism ends up reducing thyroid hormone production too much and results in permanent hypothyroidism.
  • Radiation therapy. Radiation for cancers of the head and neck can affect your thyroid gland, leading to hypothyroidism.
  • Thyroid surgery. Removing a large portion of your thyroid gland can halt hormone production and you will need to take thyroid hormone for life.
  • Congenital disease. In the case of congenital hypothyroidism, your thyroid gland doesn’t function properly since birth. It can lead to physical and mental growth problems. However, early treatment can prevent any complications.

There are also other causes of hypothyroidism, such as medication, pituitary disorder, iodine deficiency or too little iodine in your diet, and pregnancy. 

Risk factors

Hypothyroidism can affect anyone at any age, but some factors can increase your risk of developing the condition, including:

  • Age. Hypothyroidism is more common among people older than 60.
  • Gender. Women have a higher chance of developing hyperthyroidism.
  • Race. Caucasians and Asians are a lot more prone to the condition.
  • Genetic. Hypothyroidism can be hereditary. If you have a family history of thyroid disease, you are more likely to develop hypothyroidism.
  • Certain medical conditions. Autoimmune disease, such as celiac disease or type 1 diabetes, makes you more prone to the condition.
  • Certain medical treatments. Radiation therapy to your upper chest or neck as well as thyroid surgery can lead to hypothyroidism.
  • Pregnancy. Having been pregnant or delivered a baby within the past six months increases your chance of developing the condition.

Diagnosis

To find out if you have hypothyroidism, your doctor usually reviews your medical history and will carry out a physical examination. Your doctor may advise you to take a blood test. The most common blood test is the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) test, which detects the amount of TSH in your blood. If your TSH levels are above normal, you may have hypothyroidism. On the other hand, if the levels are below normal, you may have hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. To confirm the diagnosis and determine the cause, your doctor may perform additional tests, such as triiodothyronine, thyroxine, and thyroid autoantibody blood tests. Your doctor may also check your liver enzymes, prolactin, sodium, and cholesterol levels.

 Treatment

The treatment of hypothyroidism focuses on supplementing the thyroid hormone. There is currently no cure for this condition, but there are treatments to help control it. The treatment normally involves taking daily hormone replacement tablets to raise your thyroxine levels. This tablet is called levothyroxine and is identical to the thyroxine hormone. You may need to take this tablet in the morning before eating every day. The dosage depends on your medical history, current TSH level, and the symptoms you experience. Your doctor will regularly monitor your blood to determine if the dosage of levothyroxine needs to be adjusted. At first, your doctor may check your TSH level after six to eight weeks, but then the blood levels are checked six months later.

Am I Lactose Intolerant

Lactose intolerance is a very common digestive condition that affects about 75 percent of the world’s population. It is a condition in which a person is unable to fully digest the lactose (sugar) in milk. If you have lactose intolerance, you may experience digestive problems when you consume dairy. This condition is not harmful, but it can be uncomfortable and have a negative effect on your quality of life. Being lactose intolerant shouldn’t be confused with being allergic to milk since both conditions are different. With lactose intolerance, the body reacts to milk sugar, while with a milk allergy; the body reacts to milk proteins.

What is lactose intolerance?

Lactose is the sugar found in milk. It is a disaccharide, which means it consists of two sugars. Lactose is made up of one molecule each of the simple sugars glucose and galactose. The human body uses an enzyme called lactase to break lactose down into galactose and glucose, so the body can absorb it into the bloodstream and use it for energy. However, people with lactose intolerance don’t make enough enzyme lactase. With only low levels of lactase, lactose moves through the gut undigested, then goes on to the colon where it mixes with normal ferments and bacteria and causes digestive problems. 

If you have lactose intolerance, you will experience symptoms around 30 minutes to 2 hours after consuming foods that contain lactose. The symptoms can vary from mild discomfort to severe reaction, usually depends on how much lactase your body produces and how many dairy products you consume. The symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain or cramps
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea (sometimes with vomiting)
  • Bloating
  • Flatulence or gas

You may also experience an urgency to go to the toilet and constipation. Diarrhea happens because of the undigested lactose in your small intestine causes water to move into your digestive tract. When the lactose reaches your colon, it gets fermented by the natural bacteria in your gut and forms gas as well as short-chain fatty acids. When this happens, you may experience bloating, pain, and flatulence. 

What are the types?

There are three types of lactose intolerance.

  • Primary lactose intolerance is the most common type of lactose intolerance. This type is caused by a decrease in lactase production caused by age, meaning lactose is poorly absorbed. People start their life with plenty of lactase, which is necessary for infants since they get all their nutrition from milk. As children grow older, they replace milk with other foods, resulting in reduced lactase production, but still enough to digest the amount of dairy in a typical diet. However, in people with primary lactose intolerance, their lactase production decreased significantly, which makes milk products difficult to digest by the time they reach adulthood. This type of lactose intolerance is thought to be partially caused by family genes. 
  • Secondary lactose intolerance occurs when your small intestine reduces lactase production after an illness, surgery, or injury in your small intestine. The most common causes are Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, gastroenteritis, ulcerative colitis, intestinal surgery, and chemotherapy. 
  • Congenital or developmental lactose intolerance is very rare. Babies that are born with lactose intolerance because there’s a complete absence of lactase activity in their bodies. It occurs when both the father and the mother pass on the same gene variant. Premature infants can also have lactose intolerance because they have an insufficient level of lactase.

What are the risk factors?

Some factors make a person more likely to have lactose intolerance, including:

  • Growing older. Lactose intolerance often appears in adulthood and uncommon in babies or young children.
  • Premature birth. Premature infants can have decreased levels of lactase since the small intestine develops lactase-producing cells late in the third trimester.
  • Ethnicity. People of African, Asian, American Indian, and Hispanic descent are more prone to lactose intolerance.
  • Some cancer treatments. Radiotherapy for cancer in the abdomen or intestinal complications from chemotherapy can increase your risk of lactose intolerance.
  • Diseases that affect the small intestine. Bacterial overgrowth, Crohn’s disease, and celiac disease are some small intestine problems that can cause lactose intolerance.

How do I know if I have lactose intolerance?

People who experience symptoms of lactose intolerance are recommended to keep a food diary, to list food they have consumed, symptoms, and when they appear. Your doctor will likely ask you to try a lactose-free diet for around 2 weeks. If the symptoms improve, you are probably lactose intolerant. Your doctor may also perform some tests to detect an intolerance, the tests include:

  • Breath test
  • Blood test
  • Stool sample
  • Underlying condition

What is the treatment for lactose intolerance?

There is no cure for lactose intolerance. The best treatment is to avoid foods that contain lactose. Some people may be able to eat small servings of dairy, such as tea with milk. Cutting out dairy from your diet can mean you miss out on important nutrients and can lead to malnutrition, such as calcium, vitamin A, Vitamin B12, vitamin D, and protein. Therefore, it is important for you to consume food with similar natural content. If you don’t want to give up dairy, there are a few natural treatments that may help you. You can buy enzymes to help digest lactose, but the effectiveness may vary from one person to another. 

Which foods contain lactose?

Lactose can be found in products that contain dairy. Dairy foods that contain lactose are cow’s milk, goat’s milk, ice cream, yogurt, cheese, and butter. Foods that use dairy as an ingredient can also contain lactose; these include biscuits, cookies, chocolate, candies, bread, baked goods, cakes, and instant soups, and breakfast cereals, foods made with a milky sauce, potato chips, desserts, and processed meats. To know whether a product contains dairy or not, you can look at the label. On the ingredients list, added milk or dairy products usually described as milk, milk powder, milk solids, milk casein, milk sugar, milk by-products, whey, whey protein, and whey protein concentrate curds, buttermilk, dry milk solids, melted milk, cheese, and sour cream. There are also certain prescription medications (such as birth control pills) and a small number of over-the-counter drugs (such as medication for stomach acid) that contain lactose.

Categories: Lactose Medical

What Causes Vertigo

Vertigo is one of the most common medical problems. It refers to a sensation of dizziness or off balance. When you experience vertigo, you feel like you’re moving when you’re actually not or it feels the world around you is spinning when it’s not. People who have experienced vertigo describe the sensation to be similar to motion sickness, feeling dizzy, or feeling like the things around them are moving. However, vertigo is completely different from lightheadedness. Many people think that vertigo is a fear of heights, but it’s not. The condition can be associated with looking down from a great height, but it can refer to any ongoing or temporary spells of dizziness. Vertigo has two categories, peripheral and central. Peripheral vertigo is a result of a problem in the vestibular nerve or the inner ear. The vestibular nerve is the nerve that connects the inner ear with the brain. Central vertigo happens when there’s a problem in your brain, particularly in your cerebellum. The cerebellum is the part of the hindbrain that controls the coordination of balance and movements. 

Most cases of vertigo are peripheral vertigo, making up around 93 percent of cases. Some of the most common causes are:

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is believed to stem from a disturbance in the otolith particles. The inner ear has a function to send signals to your brain about your position and helps keep your balance. When you have BPPV, specific changes in your head’s position can bring on vertigo.
  • Labyrinthitis is an inflammation that occurs in the inner ear labyrinth and the nerve within that’s responsible to encode your body’s head motion and position, as well as sound. This condition is usually caused by a viral infection.
  • Meniere’s disease is a disorder in your inner ear caused by a build-up of fluid and changing pressure in your ear. This condition can lead to vertigo with ringing in the ear (tinnitus) and hearing loss. 

Vertigo may also be associated with other problems, such as migraine headaches, certain medications, brain problems (including stroke and tumor), head or neck injuries/trauma, ear surgery, perilymphatic fistula, prolonged bed rest, otosclerosis, herpes zoster oticus, syphilis, transient ischemic attack, acoustic neuroma, and multiple sclerosis.

A change in the position of your head often triggers vertigo. People who experience vertigo usually describe it as feeling like they’re swaying, spinning, tilting, unbalanced, and pulled in one direction. Vertigo may be a symptom of other conditions, but it also has its own related symptoms. Other symptoms include:

  • Jerking or abnormal eye movements
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Headache
  • Ringing in the ears (tinnitus) or hearing loss

All of these symptoms can last from a few minutes to a few hours or longer. They also may come and go and you also will need to be aware of vertigo’s warning signs, as it can result in serious complications. These include:

  • Vertigo related to deafness and no history of Meniere’s disease
  • Vertigo related to neurological signs, such as new weakness or lack of muscle coordination
  • Sudden vertigo that isn’t affected by a change of position.

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should make an appointment with your doctor. Your diagnosis of vertigo depends on whether the cause is peripheral or central, you have true vertigo, and any life-threatening conditions are present. To determine the type of vertigo you have, your doctor may perform a head-thrust test, Romberg test, Dix-Hallpike test, and Fukuda-Unterberger test. Your doctor may also ask you to do imaging tests, such as CT scan and MRI.

The treatment for vertigo depends on the cause. Some types of vertigo will go away without treatment because your brain is able to adapt to the inner ear changes. However, if there’s an underlying problem, it will need medical attention. For instance, if your vertigo is caused by a bacterial infection, you may need antibiotic therapy. Treatment for vertigo may include:

  • Medicines can relieve some symptoms. Antihistamines (betahistine, promethazine) or anti-emetics (metoclopramide, prochlorperazine) can reduce nausea and motion sickness. If you have an acute vestibular disorder associated with a middle ear infection, your doctor may prescribe steroids, antibiotics, and antiviral drugs. 
  • Vestibular rehabilitation is a type of physical therapy that can help strengthen the vestibular system. The vestibular system’s main function is to send signals to the brain about the body and head movements. If you have recurrent attacks of vertigo, vestibular rebab can train your other senses to compensate for vertigo.
  • Canalith repositioning maneuvers is a recommended series of specifying body and head movements for people with BPPV. These movements are done to move the calcium deposits in your inner canal to enter an inner ear chamber so your body can absorb them. During the procedure, you may experience vertigo symptoms as the canalith moves. These movements are effective and safe.

If your vertigo is caused by Meniere’s disease, you have to treat the disease. Treatment usually includes prescription medicine, such as glycopyrrolate, lorazepam, and meclizine, to relieve the dizziness you feel. Other treatment options usually include:

  • Taking diuretic therapy and restricting salt
  • Avoiding chocolate, alcohol, cigarettes, and caffeine
  • Pressure pulse treatment
  • Surgery.

You can also perform a number of exercises to improve the symptoms of vertigo without visiting the doctor. These exercises are:

  • Epley maneuver for BPPV aims to move particles from the semi-circular canals to the vestibule of the inner ear so your body can resorb them more easily. 
  • Brandt-Daroff exercises are used to break up the particles or crystals that lead to vertigo. You are advised to repeat the exercises five times in the morning, afternoon, and evening. These exercises are normally performed for two weeks.

Home remedies may help resolve your vertigo and limit its impact on your daily life. These home remedies consist of lifestyle changes and herbal solutions. To help reduce the impact of vertigo, do the following steps:

  • As soon as you feel dizzy, sit down
  • If you know a movement can make you feel symptoms, do it slowly
  • If you get up at night, use good lighting
  • If your ability to walk or sense of balance is affected by vertigo, use a cane to prevent falls.

You also need to avoid driving or using a ladder. It is advisable for you to make some changes in your home to prevent falls and serious injuries. To help alleviate the problem, try to get up slowly. It is also important for you to take care when looking upward and you should avoid making sudden changes in your head position.

Categories: Medical Vertigo

Fever in Children Explained

Babies and children have a normal temperature of about 36.4°C (97.52°F), although it may vary slightly for each child. A fever is defined as a high temperature of 38°C (100.4°F) or more when taken rectally. Every kid gets a fever from time to time. It is one of the most common concerns for parents to bring a child to the emergency department. Fever itself is not an illness, it is a symptom or a sign. It is one of the body’s natural reactions in order to fight infections, such as coughs and colds. It stimulates the body’s defense mechanism to fight and damage the cause of the infection. It usually causes no harm and can actually be a good thing, unless it is persistently and extremely high or lasting more than a week. In this case, fever may be a sign of a serious illness.

Numerous factors can cause a high temperature in children, such as tonsillitis, chickenpox, certain medicines or vaccinations, heart stroke, blood transfusion, some kinds of cancer, autoimmune disease, or disorder in the brain. 

The following are some signs to check a high temperature or if your child is experiencing a fever.

  • Your child is not as active or talkative as usual.
  • Your child’s forehead, tummy, or back feel hotter than usual. Measure the temperature by a digital temperature.
  • Your child has red cheeks.
  • Your child feels sweaty or damp.
  • Your child seems less hungry, thirstier, and fussier.

Not all fevers need to be treated in healthy kids. However, high fever can make your child feel uncomfortable. Treating your children will help relieve discomfort but will not help the body get rid of the infection any faster. Seizures from fever, known as febrile seizures, can develop in children between the age of 6 months to 5 years. If your child experiences a febrile seizure, it will likely happen again. However, the child usually outgrows the febrile seizure and it does not mean that your child has epilepsy.

You can decrease your child’s fever by giving anti-fever medicine. But it is important not to give your child aspirin as it has been linked to a serious disease known as Reye syndrome. Usually, you can look after the child at home and the temperature should go down within 3 to 4 days. Here are some things you can do when your child has a fever:

  • Dress your child in light clothes because excess clothing can trap body heat and will only cause your child’s temperature to rise. However, don’t undress your child to cool down.
  • Give and encourage your child to drink plenty of fluids.
  • Give your child a lukewarm bath but don’t use alcohol baths. 
  • Do not give your child paracetamol if your child is under 2 months.
  • Do not give ibuprofen if your child has asthma, is under 5kg, or under 3 months old.
  • Do not combine ibuprofen and paracetamol, unless a doctor tells you to.
  • If you are really worried, it is advised to go see a doctor.

Although a fever is typically not dangerous, there are some warning signs you need to be aware of. These signs include:

  • Your child is 3 months old or younger and has a temperature of 38°C (100.4°F) or higher.
  • Your child has a reoccurring fever above 40°C (104°F).
  • Your child is under 2 years of age and experience a fever of 38°C (100.4°F) that lasts more than a day.
  • Your child is 2 years old or older and experiences a fever of 38°C (100.4°F) that lasts more than 3 days.

If the signs above happen to your child it is best to go to a doctor or an emergency department. In addition, there are also some signs where you need to call for an emergency immediately, including:

  • Your child is having trouble breathing.
  • Your child has blue skin and lips.
  • Your child has a seizure.
  • Your child has a rash that looks similar to bruises, usually grey or blue.
  • Your child has a headache, a stiff neck, or vomiting.
  • Your child is limp, drowsy, hard to wake, and unresponsive.
  • Your child is bothered by the light.

Taming Your Anger

Anger is a normal, natural, and healthy emotion. It is a powerful feeling that occurs when you are hurt, disappointed, frustrated, or annoyed. It is also a response to threats, so some anger is required for survival. However, it can be a problem if you are unable to control it and it gets out of proportion and is easily triggered. The emotion can even delay your decision-making process, destroy relationships, and cause harm both to your physical and emotional health. People who find it difficult to control their anger or experience anger out of a normal emotional range can have different types of anger issues. Some of the most common forms of anger are:

  • Passive anger can sometimes be difficult to identify. Some people who experience this type of anger may not even know that they are angry. The emotions are usually displayed as meanness, apathy, or sarcasm. You may “express” passive anger by alienating friends and family, skipping work or school, as well as performing poorly in numerous situations. Although you might not realize or you can’t explain your actions, these are self-defeating behaviors that can impact your life negatively.
  • Judgmental anger usually comes with feelings of bitterness. People who have judgmental anger express it by putting people down or make others feel small in public because they are trying to make themselves look better by comparison. This type of anger is strongly linked to low self-esteem.
  • Chronic anger can dominate someone’s way of thinking and behavior. It is long-term and can lead to health issues, including heart problems, headaches, skin disorders, high blood pressure, and digestive problems. It can also impact your immune system and result in other mental disorders.
  • Self-inflicted anger is directed toward oneself. People who experience self-inflicted anger punish themselves for things they think they have done wrong. They may overeat, starve themselves, or even cut themselves because they believe that they need to be punished for their wrongdoing.
  • Volatile anger can be excessive or extremely violent. It can come without warning and is unpredictable. Volatile anger also does not need a reason to happen.

Anger is caused by numerous factors, mainly a person’s environment. Financial issues, poor social situations, stress, abuse, or family problems can contribute to the development of anger. People who were raised by parents with anger issues are usually more prevalent in this disorder. It is also said that genetics, as well as a person’s body ability to deal with certain hormones and chemicals, play a role in how the person deals with anger. For example, if your brain can’t react normally to serotonin, it might be especially hard for you to manage your emotions.

Anger control is important to help you avoid doing or saying something you may regret. There are numerous ways you can get your anger under control before your anger escalates or you experience anger outbursts. Here are some steps you can take to deal with your anger:

  • Know your anger signs. Notice the signs when you are getting angry, for example, your heart beats faster, you breathe quickly, and you feel the tension in your shoulders. When you notice these signs, get out of the situation.
  • Count to 10 and breath slowly. Counting down to 10 will give you time to calm down. When you are counting, your heart rate will slow down and your anger will subside. If you are really angry, you can count more.
  • Think before you speak. Before you say anything, take a few moments to think, and make sure that you are thinking clearly. When you are angry, it is easy to say something you will regret.
  • Express your anger only when you are calm. Contrary to popular beliefs, anger needs to be expressed. Make sure you are already calmed down and you can think clearly. Express your frustration in a non-confrontational way. Tell others your concerns and needs in a calm way, without hurting others. 
  • Get some possible solutions. Do not focus on what made you angry, instead work on solutions to resolve the issue. Focusing on anger can only make things worse instead of fixing anything.
  • Do not hold a grudge. Forgive the person who angered you and learn from the situation.
  • Seek help. For many people, controlling anger is a huge challenge. If your anger is difficult to control and causes you to do things that harm yourself or those around you, seek professional help.

Categories: Anger Management

How to Tame Your Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. It is a lifelong and chronic condition that stops your body from using insulin the right way and alters the way your body processes sugar (known as glucose), which is an important source of energy. When you have type 2 diabetes, your body is resistant to insulin or your body does not produce enough insulin needed to maintain normal glucose levels. Insulin is a hormone that allows glucose in the blood to enter cells and keeps blood sugar level from getting too high or too low. This type of diabetes was known as adult-onset diabetes, however, nowadays more and more children are diagnosed with this disease. It is said that it is due to the rising number of childhood obesity. 

The symptoms and signs of type 2 diabetes usually develop slowly. Some people are not aware that they have type 2 diabetes for years. Here are the signs you should be aware of:

  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Increased hunger
  • Blurry vision
  • Sudden, unintended weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Infections that happens frequently
  • Numbness in the hands or feet
  • Wounds or sores that heal slowly

If you notice any of the symptoms, it is best to call your doctor immediately so your doctor can diagnose your condition properly and you can get early treatment.

Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body resists insulin and when your pancreas cannot produce enough insulin. When there is not enough insulin in your body, sugar builds up in your bloodstream instead of moving to your cells. It is still mainly unknown why this condition can happen. However, it is believed that genetics and environmental factors contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes. Factors that can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes are:

  • Family history, your chance of getting type 2 diabetes increases if you have a family member, mainly a parent or a sibling who has type 2 diabetes.
  • Race, it is still unclear why, but people from certain races are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes, including Asian-American, American Indian, black, and Hispanic.
  • Weight, even though you do not have to be overweight to have type 2 diabetes, people who are overweight have a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Inactivity, physical activity can help you control your weight and makes your cells become more sensitive to insulin.
  • Age, as you get older, particularly after you reach the age of 45, your risk of developing type 2 diabetes is higher. 
  • Too much glucose from the liver, your liver usually sends out glucose when your blood sugar is low and then stores it when your blood sugar is high, but some people’s liver keeps sending out glucose.

Many people ignore the signs of type 2 diabetes, especially when it is still in its early stage. However, diabetes can affect numerous major organs. Long-term complications can eventually be life-threatening. Diabetes can lead to nerve damage, heart and blood vessel disease, kidney damage, hearing impairment, sleep apnea, skin conditions, eye damage, and slow healing.

Healthy lifestyle choices are one of the main factors to prevent type 2 diabetes and it can also help prevent complications even when you are already diagnosed with diabetes. Here are some examples of a healthy lifestyle:

  • Eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Avoid added sugar or food with a lot of fat and calories.
  • Add at least 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity into your daily routine. Make time to take a walk, ride a bike, or swim.
  • If you are overweight, try to lose 5% to 10% of your body weight and keep your weight in a healthy range. 

Although type 2 diabetes is a lifelong condition and there is currently no cure for it, your life does not have to end with it because there are many ways to manage it so you can stay healthy. Most people can manage the condition by having the right diet plan and fitness routine. A healthy diet can help you feel better. Focus you’re eating plan around food with fewer refined sweet, calories, and foods that contain saturated fats. Eat more vegetables, fruit and more foods that contain fiber. Being physically active is one of the key parts of managing your diabetes type 2. You can do anything you like, such as walking, cycling, or swimming you do not have to become a marathoner, all you need to do is find the activity you like, get moving, and do it regularly.

You may also want to check your blood sugar level regularly, especially if you are on insulin therapy. This will help you to know if your blood sugar level stays within your target range.

While some people can manage type 2 diabetes with exercise and diet, others may need insulin therapy and diabetes medications. There are numerous factors that determine which medication is best for you, such as your blood sugar level and your health condition (if you have any other health problems). Some of the most common medications for type 2 diabetes are metformin, sulfonylureas, meglitinides, thiazolidinediones, DPD-4 inhibitors, GLP-1 receptor agonists, SGLT2 inhibitors, as well as insulin. Insulin therapy is typically used as the last resort, but today many doctors prescribe it sooner because of its benefits. 

If you have type 2 diabetes and you are overweight (or your body mass index is higher than 35), you may be advised to undergo bariatric surgery (weight-loss surgery). People who had bariatric surgery seen dramatic improvements in their blood sugar levels. However, it is important to note that surgery has its drawbacks, such as risks, costs, and drastic lifestyle changes.

Other than taking medications, having therapy, and surgeries, you also need to make some lifestyle changes. For instance, you need to schedule an annual physical exam, take care of your teeth, pay attention to your feet, keep your blood pressure under control, quit smoking, and keep your vaccinations up to date. Remember that you need to commit to managing your diabetes to stay healthy and avoid further complications. 

Categories: Diabetes Medical

Fighting Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a common neurological disorder where the brain activity becomes abnormal and is also known as a seizure disorder, it is characterized by frequent recurring seizures. Seizures happen when there is a burst of abnormal electrical activity in the brain that temporarily changes how it works, it causes an involuntary change in body movement, awareness, behavior, or sensation. Epilepsy can happen to anyone. It affects both males and females of all races and ages. According to WHO, around 50 million people around the world have epilepsy. Many different conditions that affect someone’s brain can cause it, such as infections, head injury, childbirth complications, certain genetic disorder, and stroke. However, some people with epilepsy do not have any definite cause.

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The main symptom of epilepsy is repeated seizures. The warning signs and symptoms of seizures may include:

  • Temporary confusion
  • Uncontrollable jerking and shaking in the arms and legs
  • A staring spell
  • Strange sensations, such as unusual smells or tastes, tingling feelings in the arms
  • A repetitive movement that seems inappropriate
  • Panic, fearful, and become angry for no reason
  • Dazed and inability to communicate
  • Stiffness for no apparent reason
  • Loss of consciousness – sometimes you pass out and not remember what happened.

If any of the symptoms stated above are present, start keeping track of what occurs and share it with your doctor. However, not all behavioral changes are necessarily seizures. Many people mistake epilepsy with other medical problems just because similar symptoms happen to them. Fainting, narcolepsy, cataplexy, sleep disorders, nightmares, panic attacks, maybe similar to seizures, but they’re not the same. Other than knowing the main symptoms of a seizure, it is important to differentiate it with something else. Seizures are usually unpredictable, meaning you can’t predict when and where it may happen. They are also episodic, brief, and stereotypic. The best way to know for sure is to see a professional and get a test or an evaluation. Seek immediate help if one of the following condition occurs:

  • You are having a seizure for the first time
  • You have breathing problems
  • You have seriously injured yourself during the seizure
  • You are experiencing heat exhaustion
  • You have a high fever
  • You are pregnant
  • You have diabetes
  • The seizure lasts more than five minutes
  • A second seizure follows immediately, or you have lots of seizures in a row.

Depending on which part of the brain is involved, seizures have many different effects on people. Doctors generally classify seizures as focal or generalized based on how abnormal brain activity begins.

  • Focal seizures or partial seizures happen when a seizure appears in just one area of your brain. There are two categories of focal seizures: focal seizures without loss of consciousness and focal seizures with impaired awareness. The symptoms for focal seizures are often confused with other neurological disorders, such as migraine and mental illness. Therefore, a thorough examination is needed to distinguish it from other disorders.
  • Generalized seizers involve all areas of the brain. There are six types of generalized seizures, including absence seizures, tonic seizures, atonic seizures, clonic seizures, myoclonic seizures, and tonic-clonic seizures.

There is still no cure for most types of epilepsy. However, the condition can be managed with treatments, and surgery can stop some kinds of seizures from occurring. Treatment can help many people with epilepsy have fewer seizures or even stop having seizures completely. Treatments include:

  • Medicines. Your doctor will prescribe seizure-preventing drugs or anti-epileptic drugs. Anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) are mostly taken orally. Not all patients react the same to AEDs, but it appears to help control 70% of cases of seizures. 
  • A special diet. A ketogenic diet can help control seizures.
  • Surgery. People who respond poorly to medication treatments can opt for surgery to remove a small part of the brain that’s causing the seizures.
  • A small electrical device. People with epilepsy can choose to undergo a procedure to put a small electrical device inside their body that can help control seizures.
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Some people may need treatments for life, but others might be able to stop treatment if the seizures disappear over time. Although epilepsy is a life-long condition, most people can have a normal life as long as their seizures are well controlled.

Categories: Epilepsy Medical

Is It Safe To Travel Overseas For Cancer Treatment In 2019?

Cancer can change a person’s life drastically. A cancer diagnosis affects everything, including your family, your work, and your relationships. It forces you to make many serious decisions such as where and how you are going to treat it. And one of the most alarming things in battling cancer is not having the money for treatments. Cancer medicines and treatments are getting very expensive in many parts of the world. The prices exceed medicines used for other major diseases, and the cost is increasing at a fast rate. This might make it inaccessible for a lot of cancer patients, especially those in the low and middle class. Cancer treatments remain unaffordable for many people worldwide. 

Cancer Treatment around the World

Fortunately, with the recent rise of medical tourism and low budget airlines, people can get treatments in other countries. While some patients may travel abroad to get the best quality rather than costs, others are looking to save up money. Countries such as India, Turkey, Jordan, South Korea, and Mexico are known to offer excellent cancer treatments at affordable costs. But is it safe to travel overseas for cancer treatments?

Traveling abroad might bring new hopes in this dark period for some people. While it does sound easy and doable, traveling abroad is not without risks. For a serious disease like cancer, carrying out research is vital.  The first thing you want to do is, of course, consider which country you want to go to. You will need to find out if the country has the right cancer services for you and if it will actually allow you to save money than getting the treatments done in your home country. You must know beforehand if your selected country has specialists for your treatment. You should find out if those specialists are experienced and accredited as well. 

You can get information everywhere, from the internet, friends, or even your local doctor. But of course, gathering information can be confusing, especially if your main and only source is Google. Luckily, companies like MyMediTravel provide free medical information and referral for anyone, which allow you to do your research in one single platform. You can find medical centers overseas that match your requirements, you can read reviews, and you can compare all those medical centers to find the best one for you. They even have a Free Quote form so you can tell them all your important needs and details to let them analyze the best options for you. This feature can save you hours of research time and will give you the perfect and personalized information.

Nurse talking with woman with cancer

Once you find the best medical center that matches your needs, it is also necessary for you to consider travel insurance, flight times, the total time you have to stay in your chosen country and arrange treatments. You can also use a medical travel company to get that information since they provide travel recommendations. They can even book your accommodation, arrange airport pick up, and get you booked on your preferred date. 

The bottom line is, if you really want and need to travel abroad for treatments, you need to consider many things to make it as safe as possible. Whether you research it by yourself or utilizing medical travel companies, you need to make sure that you understand all the benefits and risks.

Categories: Cancer Medical

Do You Suffer From Excessive Daytime Sleepiness? Yes Read On

We all feel sleepy at work sometimes, but when you feel like you have been tired for a long time and you find it hard to stay awake during the day; you may be suffering from Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS). People who have excessive daytime sleepiness feel sluggish and tired on most days. It often interferes with their daily activities, such as work, school, and even. Many people mistake this condition with “fatigue.” However, excessive daytime sleepiness and fatigue are two different conditions. It’s also true that people with this condition may experience the same symptoms as a depressive disorder – such as poor energy, frustration, and irritability – but you also should not confuse the two.

 

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So what exactly is excessive daytime sleepiness?

Also known as daytime hypersomnia, excessive daytime sleepiness can be a primary condition or a secondary condition. While primary daytime hypersomnia happens with no other medical conditions existing, secondary daytime hypersomnia is a symptom of underlying conditions. These conditions include chronic fatigue syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, restless legs syndrome, kidney failure, narcolepsy, and sleep apnea. Excessive daytime sleepiness is characterized by persistent sleepiness and lack of energy during the day, even after you have had adequate night-time sleep. It can be caused by several things and the most common causes are poor sleep habits, such as irregular sleep schedule or insufficient hours of night-time sleep, jetlag or shift work. Some EDS is also a side effect of certain medication, vitamin deficiency, or drug abuse.

 

A lot of people do not recognize sleepiness as a legitimate concern. Many adults think that feeling frequently tired, compelled to nap repeatedly, or unable to enjoy life’s activity is normal, but you should distinguish between occasional daytime sleepiness and excessive daytime sleepiness. EDS can have drastic and long-term effects on your health. It can also result in motor vehicle accidents and dangerous errors. The common symptoms of EDS are constant low energy, irritability, loss of appetite, slow thinking, restlessness, difficulty remembering, and anxiety. If you are feeling any of these symptoms, it is advisable to talk to your doctor. Your doctor can diagnose EDS by taking a closer look at your sleep habits. A number of tools to diagnose EDS have been developed, such as the Epworth Sleepiness Scale and Multiple Sleep Latency Test. Once you have been properly diagnosed, you and your doctor can take steps to treat it. 

 

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To treat EDS, you should address its underlying cause. If it is because of a disorder such as sleep apnea, it can be treated with a continuous positive airways pressure machine (CPAP) or with prescribed medication. If it’s not caused by a disorder, the best way is to make changes to your sleep schedule, stress management, sleeping environment, or habits and routines. In the United States, drugs like modafinil (Provigil), Xyrem, Armodafinil (Nuvigil) have been approved to treat EDS symptoms. It is very important that you talk to your doctor, so you can discuss your condition and work on a treatment plan. Your doctor will also determine if a medication is right for you because the treatment depends on your situation, medical history, and sleep habits. Excessive daytime sleepiness is not a life-threatening condition, but if you leave it untreated, it may impact on your quality of life.

Categories: My Blog

I want to learn about Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a learning disability. It interferes with the learning capacity of children.  It occurs right at childhood. If diagnosed and supported early, children can learn to defeat it.

Symptoms 

The symptoms of Dyslexia are the following:

  • The child may experience a delay in speech.
  • The child will find it difficult to recall alphabets, names, numbers, and spellings
  • Concentration issues and fear while learning
  • The problem in vision and correlation
  • Dizziness
  • Motor skills like holding the pencil and writing may be difficult for the child.
  • Low confidence level
  • Difficulty in reading out
  • The child finds it difficult to remember a list of instructions
  • Confusion between left and right
  • Difficulty in responding
  • Constant poor grade levels of the child
  • Trouble in sentence formation

Normally these children face a very challenging time in school. The above symptoms are normally interpreted as reluctance to learn.  Nowadays teachers know the symptoms and will be of great assistance to the child with their learning difficulties.

Treatment

When one feels that the child is dyslexic, the best thing is to meet an educational specialist (or) doctor who is specialized in this field. They can check for the condition by conducting various tests on how the child reads and writes. Few of the above symptoms have relevance to ADHD and depression. Hence identifying the issue correctly is important.  With the help of an education specialist, the parent has to work out a learning plan.

Assistance in the following form can be provided to the child:

  • Helping in phonics
  • Help to read faster
  • Help to understand how the child learns
  • Patiently Teaching the child
  • Teaching to write more legibly and clearer

Reading programs like Orton-Gillingham can be used.  This will help the child understand sounds and letters in a step-by-step way.

Multisensory instruction can help the child to use all their senses.  Using touch, smell, sound, etc will be of great help. This will improve the finger co-ordination of the child.  

There are special schools for such kids which have education programs focusing on removing the learning difficulties.  Removing fear in the mind of the child is more important. Hence placing the child under a normal teacher may not work.  A more specialized teacher may be needed.

Gradually over time, these can help the child move on with their learning difficulties.  There are various celebrities who have come up in life in spite of having this difficulty.  Hence the confidence level of the child has to be improved first. Encouraging their other skills like drawing, singing, etc. can help with improvement.  

 

This video shows a typical Orton-Gillingham lesson from start to finish. The new concept being taught is the vowel team AY.

Categories: My Blog