The cornerstone of good healthcare: Nurses

What makes for a good hospital? Most people answer with good, experienced doctors. True. But what makes for a great hospital? The answer is – nurses. The silent yet ever important part of the hospital, nurses are not just caregivers, they are the patients’ advocates and health educators of patients, their families and the community as a whole. The following quote by Rawsi Williams best highlights the great duty carried out by nurses throughout the world -

“To do what nobody else will do,
in a way, nobody else can do,
in spite of all we go through;
that is to be a nurse.”

What do nurses do?

People don’t believe that the work of a nurse encompasses a lot. But the truth is that for a nurse to be good at his/her job, they need to be adaptable and competent. Nurses take on different roles throughout the day and also throughout their careers. When administering direct patient care, nurses are required to monitor, analyse and record patient symptoms, reactions and progress. Their service is as important as that of doctors in the performance of treatments, examinations and rehabilitation.

With the constantly changing medical field and the day-to-day innovations that appear in the medical landscape, nurses need to continuously learn about upcoming technologies, medicines and medical procedures to provide the best possible care for patients. Apart from being great managers and expert care providers, they also have o be skilled in communication. Since they spend more time than even doctors with patients, it is essential that nurses are adept at interacting with patients, putting them at ease and helping in their recovery. It only when the cure and care fields of medicine work together that a patient recovers completely. And the nurses play an important role in this regard.

“They may forget your name,
but they will never forget how
you made them feel.”
- Maya Angelou

 Nursing as a profession does not just end with giving the patients medication on time or ensuring they are comfortable. The nursing practice has many systems and processes in place that helps in the smooth functioning of the healthcare centre and also ensures relevant data regarding patient medical histories, measures of treatment and other important facts are recorded properly and kept safe for future references. The nursing process consists of 5 steps: assessment, diagnosis, planning, implementation and evaluation. These 5 steps are common throughout the field of nursing and are the common factors that unite different types of nurses who work in varied fields. These steps make the core of nursing practice and are essential in imparting holistic, patient-centric care. Nurses also play an important role learning process of young medical interns and residents. Experienced nurses are able to help young practitioners with their years and knowledge and are many times responsible for preventing major mishaps.

So, the next time you are in the hospital, please make sure to thank the nurses too. For though the doctor diagnosed and treated you, the nurse brought you back to health. All of us at Vikram Hospital would like to say a huge thank you to all our nurses and the nurses positioned throughout the world for the amazing work that you do.

 

Febrile fits vs other fits – what are the differences and how to treat them

Seizures are beyond the patient going into convulsions. There are different kinds of seizures and whether the person is epileptic or not is diagnosed on the basis of their symptoms. Apart from febrile fits that occur in toddlers and young children, seizures are divided into two major groups – depending on where they begin in the brain. They fall under either generalised or partial seizures (also called local or focal). Here’s everything you need to know about the different kind of seizures followed by the course of treatment to get rid of them for good.

Febrile seizure:

Seizures happen when the normal functioning of brain cells is disrupted causing an electrical surge, which causes the brain to shut down. Since children’s brains are still developing, a high fever can lead to fits known as febrile seizures. Most febrile seizures are harmless, especially when they occur at the age of 3 or more. Only children with recurrent seizures, or when the cause of the seizure has not yet been identified need to be hospitalised.

Generalised seizure:

When electronic impulses are sent from throughout the brain, generalised or grand mal seizures occur. In this case, the sufferer loses consciousness and usually collapses. Most accidents occur during generalised seizure like tongue biting and unintentional loss of urine.

Absence seizures:

During absence seizures too, the person loses consciousness but merely for a few seconds. These could happen several times a day.

Clonic seizures:

Repetitive, rhythmic jerks on both sides of the body characterise these fits.

Myoclonic seizures:

These seizures consist of sporadic jerks on both sides of the body and could get intense with the patient throwing or dropping things.

Tonic seizures:

Tonic seizures are identified by stiffening or rigidity of the muscles. They can happen on their own or as part of a generalised seizure.

Atonic seizures:

Atonic seizures happen when there is a sudden loss of muscle tone essentially in arms and legs causing the person to fall.

Partial seizure:

Partial seizures are produced by electrical impulses that occur in a small part of the brain. The patient may or may not lose awareness. Focal seizures are when the seizures begin as partial but culminate into generalised or grand mal seizures.

Treatment:

As for febrile seizures, the convulsions disappear once the fever comes down, so there is no medication or treatment needed in such a scenario. Most doctors would need a medical history as well as information on any other medication being taken to handle seizures. Along with a special diet, an implant that works on the nerves and prescribed medicines, almost all seizures are treatable. Others can be treated surgically.

Seizures happen when the brain’s threshold to control the electronic activity is crossed. Some people are more vulnerable, depending on this threshold. The cause of epilepsy includes genetics, illness or brain damage. Even then, most people with seizures go on to lead full, active lives.

Not everybody can look like Kate Middleton. Thankfully, you don’t have to.

The morning of April 23rd, 2018, Kate Middleton gave birth to a healthy 8-pound baby boy and the world rejoiced. Kate Middleton had been the talk of the town ever since the news of her pregnancy broke. From discussing her maternity fashion to her organic diet, there has been so much speculation about the expectant mother. But one thing that caused a stir everywhere was Kate’s flawless public appearance in just about seven hours from her delivery.

Kate was seen strolling out of the hospital with a newborn baby in her arms waving at the media looking all decked up. Not that we are getting cynical but most of the moms we know could barely walk seven hours after giving birth. But there’s Kate, showing off her new baby in a stunning red dress, looking flawless as always.

While we are certainly impressed with the endurance and physical strength that she showcased.  The truth, of course, remains that the royal method of giving birth is not that different to the way the rest of us do it. And we know how daunting childbirth actually is for any woman and the time after delivery can just be so much more painful than the rest of the things put together.

Known as the postpartum period, the time after delivery is one of the most essential phases in a woman’s life. The postpartum period lasts six to eight weeks, beginning right after the baby is born. During this stage, your body undergoes several changes physically and emotionally. It develops its own requirements which need to be fulfilled in order to return to a normal lifestyle. Postpartum care involves getting proper rest, nutrition, and vaginal care.

Getting Enough Rest

Giving birth can be quite overwhelming. Rest is crucial for new mothers to rebuild their strength. Make sure you take rest whenever you can. Sleep when your baby sleeps, this may be only a few minutes of rest several times a day, but these minutes can add up. Focus on your health first. Only a healthy mother can nurture a healthy baby. Forget about the chores. Do not try to be a perfectionist. This is not the time when your house is going to be perfect. Another thing you can do is have your baby’s bed near yours for feedings at night. It saves steps and energy.

Eat Right

In addition to rest, all mothers need to maintain a healthy diet to promote healing and recovery. Your body has undergone many changes during pregnancy, as well as with the birth of the baby. Besides, your body is now nourishing two bodies, you are breastfeeding. Eat healthy meals every day. Include grains, fruits, proteins, dairy, vegetables and just about everything on your plate. Taking care of the nutritional intake needs to take priority over and above everything else. You need to heal and recover from pregnancy and childbirth, and eating the right food can help!

Vaginal Care

New mothers should make vaginal care an essential part of their postpartum care. While it is normal to experience vaginal bleeding, discharge or soreness, there is still no reason for you to take it for granted. It is important to keep your perineum very clean. This is the area between the vagina and rectum. Continue to do perineal care, as advised by your healthcare provider, until you see your healthcare provider at your first check-up. Avoid using tampons for the first six weeks, as they can lead to infection. Use sanitary pads instead. Abstain from sexual intercourse for four to six weeks after delivery so that your vagina has proper time to heal.

Staying healthy during the postpartum period is as important as staying healthy during pregnancy. Stay on top of all of your healthcare appointments and follow your doctor’s instructions for the health and safety of you and your baby. Don’t pile any pressure on your head to be or look perfect. Don’t be anxious to lose those extra kilos. Don’t forget to take care of yourself!

 

 

What to do in case of animal bites

We have all gotten quite used to mosquito and insect bites but an animal bite is not too common. And however rare, this might be, one must be aware and prepared for such situations at all times. Here’s all that you need to know about animal bites and how to treat animal bites.

What are the symptoms to look for?

In case of an animal bite, these are the most commonly observed symptoms that you might encounter -

  • Redness around the bite area
  • Swelling
  • Pus formation
  • Strong pain
  • Warmth around the bite area
  • Red streaks from the bite site
  • High temperature

What to do immediately?

Firstly, do not panic. Panic is your worst enemy at the time of an unfortunate incident such as this.

So, if you get bitten by a stray animal or even a pet, you must first make sure to address it immediately especially if you notice bleeding, irrespective of its severity.

You must first wash it under running water so that any saliva from the animal’s mouth can be cleaned off. After which, you must use an antiseptic liquid such as Dettol or Savlon directly over the bite and wipe off excess bleeding by pressing the damp cotton over the bitten/wounded area. You may apply a general antiseptic cream or ointment for instant relief prior to visiting the doctor.

In case of excessive bleeding, you must immediately press the area until the bleeding ceases and obviously visit the doctor.

Things to remember:

The bites’ severity may be different based on which animal bite it is. If it is a dog, you must immediately get yourself a shot of tetanus/rabies as per your doctor’s advice. If the bite is from a pet dog, it is advised that you check if the pet’s vaccinations are up to date. If they are, then you may not require a rabies shot.

Other animals such as rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, cats, birds and squirrels may also bite humans due to various reasons. And almost all of the aforementioned creatures are likely not harmful or poisonous but it can never do to leave it be and thus, getting yourself some medical attention is highly advised.

Animals bites in most cases are not fatal, but it is always a better idea to not get bitten than treating a bite. Get all pets vaccinated and show caution around farm animals or other animals in case you come in contact with them.

Did you know that the stomach can digest itself? All things weird and wonderful about your tummy.

The stomach is one of the most wondrous organs in the human body. It is not just multi-functional but multi-faceted as well. Apart from the fact that stomach fat is bad, many people don’t know much about their tummy, not even where it is situated exactly. Here are some facts about the stomach, that will make your jaw drop!

Like the title proclaims, the stomach could digest itself. The hydrochloric acid present in the stomach is strong enough to digest itself and other organs. To ensure this does not happen, the stomach produces a new layer of mucus every two weeks. This mucus is responsible for preventing the stomach from digesting itself. The hydrochloric acid can also break down any metal.

It also kills off all bacteria and viruses, hence it acts as the first line of defense against infections and diseases. But the abundance of acid in the stomach offers the perfect environment for an enzyme called Protease to flourish. Protease is responsible for breaking down proteins so that they can be digested with ease.

When blushing, it is not just the cheeks that turn pink. At the same time, the stomach blushes too. The lining of the stomach turns red.

Stomach only pre-digests the food. It is the small intestines that perform the major task of digestion.

No matter how obese or lanky a person is, the size of the stomach in everyone is almost the same.

The stomach is actually located a bit higher than what most people believe. It is situated just below the ribs. What we think the stomach is actually the abdomen, that contains the stomach, liver, spleen, pancreas, intestines, and kidneys, as well as blood vessels and nerves.

When the food leaves the stomach, it is in a semi-fluid form. This concoction is termed as chlyme.

The stomach can hold up to 1.5 litres or half a gallon of food and water. The process of burping rids the stomach of all the air that comes with food or intake of soda and aerated drinks.

The churning or rumbling of the stomach has an official term. It is called ‘Borborygmi’.

Yes, the stomach can store a lot of food and water and possesses amazing powers of digestion but you would still need to take care of it. Foods high in carbs are digested faster than protein rich or fast dense meals. Next time you get those hunger pangs, go back and review what just went inside your stomach!

Diabetic Retinopathy Diagnosis and Treatment

Diabetic retinopathy is a common microvascular complication of diabetes. It is caused by a high blood sugar level that, over time, irreversibly damages the delicate blood vessels surrounding the retinas. This can lead to loss of vision and eventually blindness.

 

Who can suffer from it?

 

Everyone who has diabetes is at risk of developing diabetic retinopathy. However, the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy increases with the length of time you have had diabetes. The risk is also increased when blood glucose levels and blood pressure are not well controlled over time.

 

Symptoms and Diagnosis 

 

Diabetic retinopathy often develops initially with little or no symptoms. Symptoms may include:

  • Blurred or patchy vision that can’t be corrected with prescription glasses
  • Problems with balance, reading, watching television and recognising people
  • Floating shapes in your field of vision
  • Being overly sensitive to glare
  • Difficulty seeing at night
  • Experiencing eye pain and redness

 

Diabetic retinopathy is diagnosed with the help of a comprehensive dilated eye exam. During this exam, the eyes are dilated using special eye drops that allow the Optometrist to get a clear view of the back of your eye.

 

Precaution is always better than cure!

Diabetic retinopathy is a dreadful condition that can cause blindness if left undiagnosed and untreated. Therefore, the first and foremost thing that we need to do is to create awareness about the potential for vision loss and the need for lifestyle changes as a key to prevention. There are two things that people living with diabetes need to do:

 

Retinal eye screening – It is an integral part of diabetes care. Annual screening is recommended for all people with diabetes to ensure that their eyes remain in optimal health.

 

Effective diabetes management – Behavioural change through lifestyle choices – eating healthy food, weight control, regular exercise and quitting smoking – will help in controlling blood glucose levels and maintaining a healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels.

 

Treatment 

Good blood glucose levels and blood pressure, and regular comprehensive eye examinations can greatly reduce the risk of developing diabetic retinopathy but it does not eliminate it.  Laser is the most common treatment for diabetic retinopathy. The laser treatment seals leaking blood vessels and can be used to reduce the growth of new fragile vessels, helping prevent vision loss.  For more complicated cases where there is a massive bleed or the retina detaches, surgery may be required.  While surgery can correct structural damage, but once lost, the visual function can’t be restored.

 

Diabetic retinopathy is a severe condition, ensuring all the affected people have access to important health care services is of utmost importance. This blog aims to create awareness about the growing prevalence of diabetic eye disease and the importance of regular screening and monitoring.

How to avoid UTIs this vacation season

Urinary tract infections are one of those annoying and painful disorders that can easily be avoided by taking a few precautions. These account for the most visits to physicians’ offices per year. A UTI essentially occurs when infection enters the urethra and reaches up to the bladder. Not only are they more common in women, but the rate of these infections also peak during summertime.

 

Causes of UTI:

 

Summers are essentially vacation time with kids on their summer break and a greater need to beat the sweltering heat. It is during this time that they are at an increased risk of getting a UTI. This is because of the following reasons:

 

Dehydration: The body tends to be more dehydrated in summers than in winters. In such a case, the harmful bacteria that causes UTI might not be fully flushed out from the body.

 

Bathing in the pool: Moisture plays a big role in contracting UTI. This is why swimming pools are a breeding ground for this kind of infection especially when there is urine and low levels of chlorine in the water.

 

Symptoms of UTI:

 

It’s important to learn the early signs of this infection. If the following symptoms manifest, it is essential to contact a doctor immediately.

 

  • Pain/burning sensation while urinating
  • Frequent urination
  • Lower abdomen/pelvic pain or pain on the side near the ribs
  • Fever
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Urine that is cloudy, bloody or has a strong odor

 

Prevention of UTI during vacation season:

 

Taking these few simple steps can help avoid making painful memories of summer vacation.

 

Keeping hydrated: Drinking lots of fluid will help ensure more urination that will, in turn, flush out infection-causing bacteria from the system.

 

Avoiding tight undergarments/swimwear: Tight/moist undergarments would not just irritate the urinary tract but also increase the risk of bacterial growth. Germs tend to grow more in a wet and warm environment so changing out of wet bathing suits or sweaty clothes as soon as possible is crucial.

 

Avoiding holding back urine or rushing while urinating: Holding urine would give enough time for the infection to grow while it is in the urinary system, while rushing may not allow it to be fully released.

 

Keeping these few simple things in mind and practicing basic hygiene will ensure that summer vacations turn out to be fun without cause for worry over UTI.

Slip disc: How common is it?

The backbone or spine is made up of a series of individual bones that are stacked together to form the vertebrae. These bones are cushioned by discs in between which protect these bones by working as shock-absorbers. So when you lift, walk or engage in any other physical activity, your back remains unharmed thanks to these discs. It is when these disc become weak or injured that the problem starts.

 

How common are slip discs?

 

Slip discs are extremely common, and the most common cause of backache in people aged 35 – 55 years. It is also more common in men than in women.

 

What causes a herniated disc?

 

Each disc has two parts: a soft, gelatinous inner portion called the nucleus populus and a tough outer layer called the annulus. When the disc becomes weak or injured,  it causes the inner portion to protrude through the outer ring. This condition is called slipped, herniated, or prolapsed disc which can cause discomfort to the point of excruciating pain. The outer layer becomes weak or torn because of a variety of factors – age, being overweight, injury or heavy lifting are some of them. Sedentary lifestyle and a physically demanding job also act as catalysts.

 

The herniated nucleus pulposus can press on the nerves near the disc, resulting in pain and numbness.

 

What are the symptoms?

 

Although a slipped disc can happen anywhere along the spine, the lower back is more vulnerable to a herniated disc. That is because being overweight or doing improper lifting causes more stress on the lower back than any other part of the back. Common symptoms of a slipped disc include:

 

  • Pain and numbness
  • Pain that extends to arms and legs
  • Pain that worsens after sitting/standing or at night
  • Tingling or burning sensation along with pain
  • Unexplained weakness

 

The most common indicator of a slipped disc is the inability to control muscles and therefore, difficulty in ease of movement like before.

 

What is the course of treatment?

 

The course of treatment depends on the intensity of pain and how far the disc has slipped. Most cases of slipped discs are treated conservatively – with a combination of medication, exercises, and physical therapy. However, if the symptoms do not subside within 6 weeks of medication, surgical intervention may be required. Some of the most common surgeries involving slip discs are microdiskectomy in which only the damaged part of the disc is removed. After removal of the disc, the vertebrae are fused together or the disc is replaced with an artificial one.

 

Can slip discs be prevented?

 

Slip discs in all likelihood cannot be prevented. But certain measures can be taken to reduce the risk of developing one. These include:

 

  • Bending and lifting from the knees rather than the waist
  • Maintaining a steady weight
  • Exercising and weight training to strengthen muscles
  • Living an active lifestyle

Stents_ Different types of stents and their benefits

Stents are typically small mesh tubes that are used to treat a blocked passage. Blood flow or flow of other fluids along with other bodily functions is resumed post stent placement. When a stent is placed in the heart, it is used to treat narrow or weak arteries.

 

What purpose does a stent solve?

 

Limited blood flow or blocked arteries can create serious and deadly consequences. This is where coronary stenting comes in. A stent is placed in a narrowed artery not just to open the blocked passage but also to treat a heart attack or reduce symptoms of a heart disease like chest pain.

This is done through a procedure called percutaneous coronary intervention, commonly referred to as angioplasty. It is done under local anesthesia and you would need to spend a night at the hospital even though the procedure takes about an hour or more, depending on the number of stents placed.

 

What are the different types of coronary stents?

 

Bare metal coronary stents – These are tubular, mesh-like devices that do not have any medications embedded in them.

 

Drug-eluting stents – These stents are coated with medications that prevent inflammation and interrupt the renarrowing on a long term basis. These reduce the risk of renarrowing to upto 10 percent especially for diabetics who are under high risk for such renarrowing.

 

Bioabsorbable stents – This stent is made of a special polymer that eventually dissolves into the body. Once it is placed it releases a drug called everolimus that limits the growth of scar tissue hence preventing the artery from getting blocked again.

 

Dual therapy stent – This is a combination of both drug and bioengineered stent.

 

Several innovations are constantly being made to make sure the process of stenting is as successful as can be. A covered stent is also employed at times. It comes with a coating of anti-restenosis drugs that can be released for months before it becomes a bare metal stent.

 

What are the complications associated with stenting?  

 

While stenting comes with minimum complications, it is not risk free. Blot clots followed by re-narrowing of the artery and ultimately complete blockage can take place. Scar tissue is one of the complications. Plaque, that is made of cholesterol and other substances gets attached to the walls of a vessel so that artery becomes narrow again. While placing another stent is often resorted to, coronary artery bypass surgery which is much more invasive may be needed in some cases.

Stents are also placed in the bile ducts, bronchi or ureters. These tubes can also become blocked or damaged just like the arteries. The complications of not placing a stent outnumber that of placing one, which is why doctors generally opt for it as an emergency procedure.

The growing popularity of laser treatments

We all yearn for healthy beautiful skin at every stage of our life. Most of us have something on our skin we would rather be without – a big mole, unwanted scars, a crop of freckles, impulsively acquired tattoos, so on and so forth. The list is endless just like our desire for the perfect skin. Thanks to the most advanced cosmetic technologies and medical skin care, flawless skin has become a reality.

 

One of the most amazing innovations and technologies that are emerging and sweeping the field of dermatology is the laser treatment. Laser treatments have been proven significantly effective, giving some really amazing results. Laser treatment uses an intense beam of light that targets specific cells. Lasers come in numerous intensities and can treat just about any skin-related problem. They help in reducing the visibility of stretch marks, surgical and acne scars, age spots and sun damaged skin, unwanted hair, wrinkles, unwanted facial vessels etc. Lasers can seem like magic wands. Dermatologists love lasers, they were among the first to use the laser in medicine for the treatment of skin problems.

 

Most medical and surgical specialties have now harnessed the powerful laser for their use. The

lasers in use today are far more specialized and advanced than those of the past. You may be wondering, however, if laser therapy is actually safe to use and whether it is truly an effective solution for dealing with unwanted skin and cosmetic health issues. Thankfully, laser treatment today is extremely safe and highly effective for many people.

 

Owing to their immediate and amazing results, laser treatments have become a much sought-after method for skin correction and rejuvenation. One of the fastest growing medical procedures, laser treatments are now being offered by a large number of medical offices as well as in freestanding medi-spas and salons. But put one of these lasers in the hands of someone without the right training, and you can end up with permanent skin damage. If you choose to have a laser treatment, make sure you select just the right practitioner. When performed by an experienced and trained laser surgeon, laser surgery is primarily a safe procedure. You can rely on the experience and expertise of providers to appropriately evaluate your skin and provide the appropriate treatment option for your condition and aesthetic goals. Remember to always follow the advice of your practitioner both before and after treatment in order to get the best results.

 

How safe are they?

Laser and light-based treatments have been safely used for many years for a variety of medical and cosmetic procedures. Technological and medical advances in recent years have significantly lowered the chances of serious side effects. In rare cases, some patients may experience blisters, burns, and pigmentation changes that generally vanish over time.

 

 

In conclusion, laser treatments have become so common, you can rely on industry experts to help you solve the dermatological problem without any fear. Our Cosmetology and Plastic Surgery department boasts of some of the most experienced doctors in the field, for appointments click here.