Is there anything you can do to contain Gallbladder Attacks?

A gallbladder attack is a term commonly used to gallstone blockage. Gallbladder is a sac that is located above the right abdomen and just below the liver and is the storage unit for the bile juice produced by the liver. Bile is basically made up of water, cholesterol, bile salts, fats, bilirubin, and proteins. Bile juice generally help in preventing the formation of gallstones with the acids and proteins it contains. But when there is an imbalance in the bile components or if the bile contains too much cholesterol or bilirubin, it can result in the formation of small pebble-like deposits known as gallstones.

These gallstones can sometimes block the bile duct resulting in increased pressure in the gallbladder. This increased pressure gives rise to a sporadic pain in the center of the upper abdomen called biliary colic and this is called a gallbladder attack. This pain continuously radiates from the center of the belly to upper back. A gallbladder attack usually lasts about 15 minutes to an hour and the only way it can be managed is to let it naturally pass.

A gallbladder attack is also called a gallstone attack, acute cholecystitis, or biliary colic. It usually happens after a heavy meal. Our body produces more bile after we eat so we are more prone to gallbladder attacks after a meal. Some other symptoms of gallbladder attacks are:

- Nausea

- Vomiting

- Fever

- Chills

- Dark urine

A gallbladder attack can lead to other complications such as liver problems. The gallstones can get stuck in the bile duct and can back up the bile into the liver which results in jaundice. If the gallstone blocks the way to the pancreas which results in gallstone pancreatitis. Gallstones that are very small will pass through the ducts causing no harm or pain. But the larger stones are the ones that get stuck and cause pain and inflammation.

Treatment

The most common treatment for gallstones is a gallbladder surgery during which the entire gallbladder is removed. This procedure is called cholecystectomy and in the process, surgical incisions are made in the abdomen to remove the gallbladder. The surgery is a minor one but the patient may have to stay in the hospital for a week with 4-6 weeks of recovery time.

There are some non-surgical treatments also available for patients who have pre-existing medical conditions. Medications are prescribed in case of non-surgical treatments. These medications are able to dissolve cholesterol-based gallstones but the dissolving process may take years and there is always a risk of the stones coming back.

Preventing further attacks

Gallstones may be genetic but a few lifestyle changes can help in lowering the risks of gallstones or having gallbladder attacks.

- Losing Weight

- Exercising

- Balanced diets

- Avoid skipping meals

- Avoid weight loss supplements

Consulting a doctor is recommended if you do have a family history of gallstones.

 

All you need to know about Pediatric Epilepsy

A normal brain functions with millions of nerve cells that use electrical signals to control the body’s functions, thoughts, and senses. Millions and billions of these nerve cells or neurons constitute together to form a circuit. This circuit conducts electric signals from the brain and if this circuit is interrupted or there is an imbalance in the neurons due to any reason, seizures occur. These seizures are called Focal epilepsy if they occur at a specific part of the brain. But if the seizures occur in the entire brain, it is called General Epilepsy.

The cause of epilepsy is generally hard to register. Basically, anything that injures the brain including, infections, poisoning, head injuries, etc. can cause epilepsy. The brain works with the neurons to form a system and when this system is disrupted due to faulty electrical activity, epilepsy occurs. The factors responsible for this disturbance may be head trauma, stroke, tumor, infectious diseases, prenatal injuries, autism, etc.

The symptoms of epilepsy include:

- Jerking of the body parts

- Strange tastes in the mouth

- A rising feeling in the stomach

- Strange smells

- Repetitive movements

Epilepsy can develop at any time of life regardless of age. A survey shows that 2-3 in every 1000 children in India suffer from epilepsy. Some children develop epilepsy before or post birth due to a brain injury during the childhood or infection while in the womb. Some researchers believe that developing epilepsy is genetic to some extent. This means that anyone who starts having epileptic seizures has always had some level of genetic tendency to do so.

If your child is diagnosed with epilepsy, you might want to take him to a pediatric neurologist who specializes in brain and nervous system. A pediatric neurologist may ask you to get an electroencephalogram (EEG) test done which records the electrical activity of the brain. After the test and the first inspection, the doctor decides what kind of treatment your child might need.

-Anti-epileptic drugs

Anti-epileptic drugs are taken by patients who suffer from epilepsy to reduce seizures. These drugs don’t really cure epilepsy or stop the seizures while they are happening but they prevent them from happening while the patient is on the medication. Although AEDs work well for many children, this doesn’t happen for everyone.

-Ketogenic diet

A Keto diet is medically approved nutrient filled fitness diet that is often started alongside AEDs supervised by trained medical specialists and dietitians. This diet helps in reducing the severity of seizures.

Tips to make your child’s life easier:

-Dealing with emotions

If your child is suffering from epilepsy, he/she is gonna need your whole support. It’s natural for your child to feel resentful and have emotional breakdowns while feeling different from other kids of their age. Help your kids deal with this feeling by talking to them.

-Depression

Your child might get depressed because of low self-esteem. This usually comes from anger, frustration, and embarrassment. Make sure your child understands the disease as much as possible by meeting other children suffering from the same.

-Being positive

Epilepsy might restrict your child from doing certain activities and this can wear down the morale of your child. Try to get him to be positive and participate in different activities but at the same time help him learn how he can minimize the risks.

Diet to help you fight Tuberculosis!

Tuberculosis or TB as it is widely known is a contagious bacterial infection that usually affects the lungs. It can spread to other parts of the body as well and is caused by a type of bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

TB is a highly contagious disease, however, treatment is possible and there are high chances of recovery after long term administration of antibiotics. Just like the flu virus, TB infection can spread from an infected person to another through the air. When an infected person coughs, sneezes, talks, laughs, or sings, tiny droplets that contain the germs are released.  The infection spreads upon breathing in of these germs.

Diet to fight TB infection:

Timely diagnosis and long-term, on-time treatment through the use of a variety of TB drugs has been successful in completely curing the disease. Since the recovery time frame is quite long, the body becomes weak and this further increases the recovery period. To help your body fight off the infection, it is essential to provide the right nutrients to it.

Malnourished persons find it more difficult to fight off the TB infection and are also more susceptible for a relapse or reinfection after recovery. A simple high protein diet that is easy to digest along with enough vitamins and minerals to regain strength and stamina is effective in aiding recovery.

Here is a list of food items that should ideally be included in the daily diet:

  1. Toned milk and curd

  2. Hard boiled or poached eggs

  3. Leafy dark colored greens like spinach and kale that are rich in Iron and B-complex

  4. Whole grains like wheat and rice as carbohydrates aid in better digestion of proteins

  5. Seasonal fruits and vegetables that are a rich source of natural vitamins and minerals

  6. Use unsaturated fat like olive oil or vegetable oil

  7. Drink plenty of water

A varied healthy diet and avoiding certain harmful substances like alcohol and tobacco as well as shunning refined food products and high-fat high cholesterol red meat products are beneficial in strengthening the body to fight off the tuberculosis infection.

The Role of support groups in helping patients cope with Parkinson’s

Diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease brings a stressful impact on the lives of people. As the disease progresses, it affects the physical and mental well-being of the patients. A disturbed mental state also contributes to the worsening of the physical symptoms. Due to this, it becomes increasingly challenging for them to reach out for support.

 

Many times family members lack the necessary training to deal with emotional imbalances of these patients. In such a situation patients often need external advice and support to sail through the difficult times.

If you’re suffering from Parkinson’s's disease, here are some of the coping strategies:

Individual counselling:

If you’re hesitant to open up publicly and find it extremely hard to talk to your family members, you can get an appointment with a psychological counsellor. Then set up a face to face interactive session with the counsellor to discuss your depression or anxiety issues with him/her.

This approach is helpful if you’re dealing with an internal problem that you find inappropriate to tell your family.

Group therapy:

Take help from non- governmental organisations who are running Parkinson’s support groups to help them. They often provide support for individual sufferers as well as caregivers.

Group therapy is a wonderful approach to deal with anxiety issues if you are okay with discussing your issues in a group. These group sessions have a trained moderator who is a psychological counsellor. The aim is to share the problems openly and understand other’s struggles as well. This will enable you to confide in others and will give a larger perspective towards dealing with your own problems. It will make you feel that all are in it together and give your strength to fight the disease.

Long term support at a care centre:

This approach is best suited for people who have higher stress levels and require continuous counselling and care. These care centres keep the patient engage in other activities like problem-solving sessions or indulging in hobbies to distract their mind from their existing issues.

If you have severe anxiety attacks and require constant support, this is the best approach towards dealing with it.

Online support groups

With high social media engagement, it is easy to find people who are also suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Now you can connect with other patients on online platforms like Facebook or Twitter and share your struggles with them and listen to theirs. This is a powerful way to build an online supportive community and has a wider reach than the offline method. It is always good to talk to multiple like-minded people who share the problems of life just like yours.

Women-only support groups

These groups create a comfortable environment for women with Parkinson’s to discuss their symptoms, medicines or their role in their families. Women are generally more open to sharing their concerns with other women. Thus such women-only support groups can make a huge positive difference in their lives.

You can seek the help of these support groups depending upon your needs and medical condition. This will definitely improve the quality of your life.

 

Not all fevers are created equal. What does a fever mean?

Any increase in your body temperature is termed as “fever”. Fever is not an illness but our body’s natural defence against infection of any kind. Whenever a viral or bacterial infection sets in, our body’s thermostat-hypothalamus resets it at a higher level. This creates an unfavourable condition for these pathogens and helps in fighting these. A low-grade fever is often not treated as it resolves in itself once such pathogens are eradicated. There can be some non-infectious reasons for fever too such as heat stroke, sunburn, side effects of certain medication or in children after an immunization.

Fever usually is a part of an illness and should be considered in the light of other symptoms such as cold, cough, sore throat or rash. Fever in itself is indicative only of the presence of an infection, but when considered along with other symptoms can help reach a definite diagnosis and treatment. High fevers should not be ignored especially in infants and young children as it can result in delirium and febrile convulsions.

Different types and duration of a fever:

To classify fever, it is important to consider its severity and duration as well as a combination of both.

Based on severity, the fever can be classified as:

  • Low-grade fever where the temperature is between 100-102℉ or 38.1-39℃

  • Moderate fever where the temperature is between  102.2-104℉ or 39.1-40℃

  • High fever where the temperature is between 104.1-106℉ or 40.1- 41.1℃

  • Fever higher than 106 ℉ or 41.1 ℃ is called as hyperpyrexia.

Based on duration, fever can be classified as acute if it lasts less than 7 days, the fever is termed as sub-acute if it lasts more than 7 days but less than 14 days. If a fever lasts more than 14 days, it is called as chronic or persistent fever.

Some other classification of fever:

Continuous fever: When the temperature remains higher than normal throughout a 24 hour period, with very little variations, it is called continuous fever. This type of fever is noticed when a patient is suffering from diseases such as lobar pneumonia, typhoid, urinary tract infection, infective endocarditis etc.

Intermittent fever:  When the temperature keeps fluctuating during a 24 hour period, it is called intermittent fever.  The spike in temperature can occur at the same time each day, or every few hours and is in a repetitive pattern. Diseases that exhibit this kind of intermittent fever are malaria, pyemia and septicemia.

Septic fever:  When the body temperature is very high and does not improve with antipyretics, it can point to septic fever. The patient should seek immediate medical attention to prevent the worsening of health.

Periodic fevers: Recurrent episodes of high temperature that can last for a few days or weeks and are separated by symptom-free intervals. Recurrent infection, malignancy or non-infectious inflammatory diseases can cause this kind of fever.

How does the pig fly? Swine Flu, the history and treatment of H1N1

Swine Flu is called so, as historically the influenza virus and infection was common among pigs. Occasionally, this infection was passed on to humans, mostly to farmers or veterinarians who were in close proximity to pigs. In 2009, a particular strain of influenza called H1N1 caused widespread respiratory infection among humans. The infections were declared as a global pandemic because a large number of people world over got infected by the same. After this, scientist termed the infection as H1N1v, which means its a variant and has spread to humans.

How is the swine flu transmitted:

The virus enters your body when you come in contact with the virus. You can get infected by inhaling the virus or by touching a surface contaminated with the virus, then touching the mouth or nose. Infected droplets are expelled into the air through coughing or sneezing. The influence viruses infect the cells that line your nose, throat and lungs.

Symptoms of swine flu:

Once infected, a person starts showing symptoms within 3-5 days. The primary symptoms are similar to common flu infection.

  • Fever

  • Sore throat

  • Cough

  • Muscle aches

  • Headache

  • Chills

  • Fatigue

  • Runny or stuffy nose

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

Detection of Swine flu:

If you have more than one or all of the above symptoms, visit your doctors for a complete examination. The doctor might recommend a rapid flu test or test to specifically look for H1N1. These tests results may take time, however, doctors might start treatment right away.

Preventive methods:

The best way to avoid swine flu is by getting yourself vaccinated. You can practice good care during the flu season to prevent the spread of the disease.

As it is easily transmitted, avoid going out if you have the symptoms.

  • Cover your nose and mouth while sneezing and coughing, preferably with a tissue.

  • If a tissue is not readily available, cough into your elbow rather than the hands.

  • Frequently and thoroughly wash your hands or use alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

  • Don’t share your personal items with others

  • Wear a mask while traveling or if you are in a big group.

Treatment of swine flu:

Antiviral medicines can be used to treat swine flu. The treatment for swine flu is mostly symptomatic. Your doctor may prescribe medicine to manage fever. Drugs like Acetaminophen (Tylenol), Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin), or Naproxen (Aleve) can help manage pains and aches. Plenty of fluids and rest is advised.

Antiviral drugs are advised to high-risk groups like pregnant women, small children, adults who are 65 years and older, persons who have a weak immune system or chronic health issues like Asthma, or cardiac issues.

 

What are the challenges patients face after going through Joint replacements?

There are millions of people in India today who require joint replacement surgery and millions more who have already undergone the surgery. The most common joint replacement surgeries performed are total knee replacement, total hip replacement and shoulder joint replacement surgeries. These surgeries are advised by an orthopaedic surgeon when medicinal treatment or other non-surgical methods fail to provide relief to patients suffering from Osteoarthritis, infection of joints or trauma to the joints.

If you are planning to get a joint replacement surgery, it is important for you to understand some of the commonest challenges multiple patients face after a joint replacement surgery :

Post-surgery complications:

  1. Infection

  2. Blood clots

  3. Deep Vein Thrombosis(DVT)

Recurrent pain complaints

Pain and swelling in the joint area usually indicate infection. But recurrent pain without swelling in the replaced joint is often caused due to undue pressure on the new joint. This gets worsened if a patient is obese and has limited to zero physical activity.

Medium to High anxiety levels:

Implant placement inside the body is usually not well accepted by many patients. Sometimes they feel low in confidence and believe that they won’t be able to go about their normal routine or perform daily tasks. They fear to cause any harm to the new joint implant.

Solutions to deal with the challenges after joint replacement surgery:

Majority of the patients have long term success with implants if they continue with the advised physiotherapy plan after their surgery. Physiotherapy increases the flexibility and range of motion in their joints.

One in 100 patients can develop an infection in the wound or around the joint implant. A patient will display symptoms such as swelling around the joint, pain, fever and chills. Normally such patients require a repeat surgery to cure the infection.

Physical exercise is the best remedy to prevent the formation of blood clots after surgery. It is essential to follow the advice of your doctor on the frequency and duration of anti-clotting medicines after surgery. DVT is a serious complication which needs to be avoided at any cost. Patients are usually at risk of developing DVT within 2- 10 days after surgery. This happens when a blood clot formed in the joint spreads to veins in arms or legs causing obstruction. In severe cases, it can spread to the major veins in lungs causing breathing difficulty. Doctors put patients on anti-clotting medicines such as Heparin, Warfarin etc after joint replacement surgery to prevent such an incidence.

Every bit of exercise counts after the surgery. It will prevent weight gain and improve flexibility in muscles around the joint. Recurrent pain due to heavy pressure on joint will subside if you continue physical therapy.

Getting plenty of rest to ward off anxiety and depression after the joint replacement phase is essential. Taking medicines on time, performing exercises, eating a healthy diet to gain strength and improve stamina is also extremely important. With an improvement in physical health, you will automatically observe changes in your mental health too. Stay strong and take support from your family members during the healing period.

All you need to know about Brain Aneurysm- a Blood vessel disorder!

When there is a bulge or ballooning in the weakened area of the artery, it is called an aneurysm. It can develop anywhere in the body, however, the most common occurrences are in the abdominal aorta and the brain. Brain Aneurysm is also called an intracranial or cerebral aneurysm.

Brain Aneurysm usually occurs between the underside of the brain and base of the skull. They remain asymptomatic unless there is a rupture and can remain undetected for years. There is always a risk of an aneurysm leaking or rupturing causing life-threatening bleeding inside the brain that can lead to a hemorrhagic stroke.

A hemorrhagic stroke is quite serious and requires immediate medical intervention. It can cause:

  • Reduced blood flow to the brain (cerebral vasospasm)

  • An increased presence of spinal fluid in the brain (hydrocephalus)

  • Coma

  • Permanent brain damage

Symptoms of a ruptured Brain Aneurysm include:

The prominent symptom is an intensely painful headache along with the loss of consciousness. Other symptoms may include:

  • Vomiting

  • Sensitivity to light

  • Drowsiness

  • Balancing issues

  • Stiff neck

  • Drooping eyelids

  • Confusion

A leaking aneurysm can present with a sudden and extremely severe headache.

An unruptured aneurysm will not present any symptom especially if it is small, but, a large one that exerts pressure on brain tissues and nerves can cause a dilated pupil, pain behind one eye, changes in vision, double vision or numbness on one side of the face.

What are the causes for a brain aneurysm?

The reasons that cause weakening of the blood vessels and leads to aneurysm is unknown. There are some external factors such as smoking, high blood pressure or drug abuse that can weaken the artery and increase the risk of developing an aneurysm.

It is to be noted that it occurs in adults than children and is more common in females when compared to males. A family history of brain aneurysms is also a contributing factor.

Treatment for a brain aneurysm

If the diagnosis is an unruptured brain aneurysm that is small in size, then active observation and lifestyle changes are recommended.

In the case of a ruptured aneurysm, surgical intervention is required. Doctors recommend treatment based on the location, size and type. The two mainly recommended course of action are:

  1. Surgical clipping: In this, a section of the skull is removed to locate the aneurysm. A metal clip is used to cut off blood flow to the aneurysm. The skull is then sealed shut.

  2. Endovascular coiling: In this, tiny platinum coils are sent through a catheter. These coils stop blood flow to the aneurysm. Although this process has less risk than clipping, there are chances of rebleeding.

In the case of a big aneurysm, where the above procedures are not possible, flow diverter surgery is recommended. In this, a stent is placed in the artery to divert blood flow away from the aneurysm.

 

What to expect during a Bronchoscopy procedure?

The word ‘scopy’ basically means an examination, observation, or having an insight into something usually with an instrument having a name ending with ‘scope’. A Bronchoscopy is a procedure that allows the doctors to examine and observe the inside of our windpipe, lungs, and other main pathways into our lungs such as Bronchi. A tube containing a light and camera in front is inserted into our lungs through our mouth or nose to look for infections or diseases. Most Bronchoscopes are made with flexible fiber-optic material and the integrated cameras are compatible with colour videos.

Sometimes the x-rays and the CT scans can come out abnormal and show some signs of infection but not clearly. So to clear out the diagnosis, doctors refer the patients to get a Bronchoscopy in the following cases:

- Lung Disease

- Tumor

- Chronic Cough

- Infection

People with lung cancer are referred to an Endobronchial Ultrasound (EBUS). An EBUS is a Bronchoscope with an ultrasound probe built in it which can help the doctors to determine the type of cancer patient is suffering from. In some cases, Bronchoscopes are also used to remove tumors and other obstructions in the air passages or lungs.

Although bronchoscopy is a simple, painless procedure, it’s important to follow the instructions given by the doctor before the procedure takes place.

- Doctors usually insist that the patient stops taking any blood thinning medications such as aspirin weeks before bronchoscopy is conducted.

- You’ll need to avoid eating or drinking for at least 6-8 hours before the procedure.

- Arrange for someone to take you home after the procedure as it is not safe to drive after a procedure which involves sedatives.

- It is important to follow specific instructions, especially concerning medication use.

The quick and painless procedure usually takes 30mins to an hour to complete. After the doctors keep the patient under observation for blood pressure and breathing for a few hours until the medication takes off.

Bronchoscopy is usually safe but in some difficulties can be developed by the patients in rare cases. He/she may develop breathing problems, infection, fever, pneumonia, etc. SO it is always recommended to look for breathing difficulties, chest pains, coughing up blood, etc after the procedure.

Role Of Exercise In Parkinson’s Treatment

Parkinson’s Disease

Do you know someone who gets sudden tremors, has developed an impaired body balance, stiffness in their muscles, or has started slurring recently? If yes, then you might wanna head to a physician as they might be developing Parkinson’s Disease.

Parkinson’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder that affects primarily dopamine-producing (“dopaminergic”) neurons in a specific area of the brain called substantia nigra. In Simple words, Parkinson’s is a progressive nervous system disorder that affects the movements of our body parts causing sudden stiffness and tremors. Parkinson’s usually develops slowly over the years. The symptoms of the disease are not even noticeable during the first few years. The progression of the symptoms is different depending on each individual due to the diversity of the disease.

Our brain produces a chemical called dopamine which acts as basically a messenger. Sometimes the brain cells or neurons break down and die causing abnormal brain activity due to lack of neurons and lack of dopamine levels in the brain, leading to symptoms of Parkinson’s. In some rare cases, certain genetic mutations can cause Parkinson’s. Environmental toxins or the presence of Lewy bodies within the brain cells are some other causes of the disease.

There are many medications that can treat the symptoms and complications of Parkinson’s but none that can reverse or slow the neurodegenerative process that leads to disability in Parkinson’s.

Role of exercise in Parkinson’s

Exercise is important in Parkinson’s disease to help maintain balance, mobility, and the ability to run daily errands. Studies have shown that vigorous exercise helps in providing neuroprotective effects thus improving motor function, cognition, and quality of life in patients. Parkinson’s is a chronic disease which causes tremors, rigidity in muscles, slowed movement, and balance impairment. The risk of Parkinson’s increases with age and aging depends on muscle mass and function. So exercising can improve muscle mass, strength, and function.

Exercising can help in improving the mobility and balance of the body. Though tremors may not improve by exercising, it can help to improve the cognitive functions and endurance of a Parkinson’s patient. Different exercise programs can help improve different aspects such as strength, endurance, balance, flexibility, and coordination.

People with PD who have participated in the regular exercise for longer than six months have seen significant progress and benefits. People with PD who exercise with intensity, experience greater benefits. Recent research indicates that high-intensity interval training may be more effective than longer periods of moderate intensity. There are various types of exercise programs to help patients with Parkinson’s in different aspects.

- Balance Exercises

These exercises aim to improve the lower body strength hence preventing the risk of falling by improving the balance.

- Endurance Exercises

Raising the heart rate and breathing for an extended period of time by running, swimming, and dancing can help in improving endurance by enhancing cardiovascular strength.

- Flexibility Exercises

Maintaining flexibility is important for patients with Parkinson’s. This can help in stretching and maintaining muscle movements.

Exercises don’t really increase the number of neurons or the amount of dopamine released by the brain but it does prompt the brain to use the dopamine more efficiently.