Herbs

Jul 10, 2007 at 09:37 o\clock

Sun Burn.

A sunburn is a burn to living tissue such as skin produced by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, commonly from the sun's rays. A similar burn can be produced by overexposure to other sources of UV such as from tanning lamps, or occupationally, such as from welding arcs. Exposure of the skin to lesser amounts of UV will often produce a suntan. Usual mild symptoms in humans and animals are red or reddish skin that is hot to the touch, general fatigue, and mild dizziness.

Sunburn can be life-threatening and is a leading cause of skin cancer. Sunburn can easily be prevented through the use of sunscreen, clothing (and hats), and by limiting solar exposure, especially during the middle of the day. The only cure for skin burn is slow healing, although skin creams can help. 

Typically there is initial redness (erythema), followed by varying degrees of pain, both proportional in severity to the duration and intensity of exposure. The condition occurs when incident UV radiation exceeds the protective capacity of melanin in the skin. Concentrations of this pigment vary greatly among individuals, but in general, darker-skinned people have more melanin than those with lighter skin. Correspondingly, the incidence of sunburn among dark-skinned individuals is lower.

After the exposure, skin may turn red in 2 to 6 hours. Pain is usually most extreme 6 to 48 hours after exposure. The burn continues to develop for 24 to 72 hours occasionally followed by peeling skin in 3 to 8 days. Some peeling and itching may continue for several weeks. 

Common symptoms of sunburn include tenderness, pain, edema, itching, red and/or peeling skin, rash, nausea and fever. Also, a small amount of heat is given off from the burn, giving a warm feeling to the affected area. Sunburns may be first- or second-degree burns. 

Minor sunburns typically cause nothing more than slight redness and tenderness to the affected areas. In more serious cases blistering can occur. Extreme sunburns can be painful to the point of debilitation and may require hospital care.  

The more critical and long-term danger posed by sunburn is an increased risk of future skin cancer, which is believed to be highly correlated.

The risk of sunburn increases with proximity to the earth's equator. It can also be increased by pharmaceutical products that sensitise some users to UV radiation. Certain antibiotics, contraceptives, and tranquillizers have this effect.[4] People with red hair and/or freckles generally have a greater risk of sunburn than others because of their lighter skin tone.

 In recent years, the incidence and severity of sunburn has increased worldwide, especially in the southern hemisphere, because of damage to the ozone layer. Ozone depletion and the seasonal ozone hole has led to dangerously high levels of UV radiation. 

Potential forms of protection include wearing long-sleeved garments and wide-brimmed hats, and using an umbrella when in the sun. Minimization of sun exposure between the hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. is also recommended. Commercial preparations are available that block UV light, known as sunscreens. Sometimes called suncreens or sunblocks, they have a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) rating, based on the sunblock's ability to reduce the radiation at the skin. 

When one is exposed to any artificial source of occupational UV, special protective clothing (for example, welding helmets/shields) should be worn. Eyes should not be neglected, and wrap-around sunglasses which block UV light should also be worn. UV light has been implicated in pterygium and cataract development.

There is no immediate cure for sunburns, but the pain can be relieved by hydrating the skin. This is done by applying products containing aloe, vitamin E, or both. Do not use any products with lidocane, as it can prevent healing and damage skin. Drinking fluids can aid in hydration, and eating high protein foods will assist tissue repair. Analgesics such as acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) or ibuprofen (e.g. Advil) can also reduce pain. 

 

The best treatment for most sunburns is time. Given a few weeks, they will heal.[9] Overall, the most important aspect of sunburn care is to avoid the sun while healing, and to take precautions to prevent future burns.   

 

 

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Jul 6, 2007 at 11:41 o\clock

SHINGLES.

Shingles (otherwise known as Herpes Zoster) is a painful, blistering rash caused by the chickenpox (varicella) virus, which affects only a limited area of skin, and makes you feel surprisingly tired, run down, and even depressed.  

 

You may feel slightly unwell, and develop a localised area of pain and tenderness a few days or sometimes up to two weeks before the rash appears. The rash starts off as red spots, which quickly turn into blisters. They always affect only one side of the body (left or right) and never cross the midline. This is because they come out on the area of skin which is supplied by one particular nerve.

 

 The rash may affect any part of the body, including head and limbs. It may thus appear as a band around one side of the chest or abdomen, or down an arm or leg. It may affect the head, and when it affects the upper cheek or the side of the forehead it may also affect the eye. You should certainly see your doctor if you have shingles affecting the side of the head, and especially if it seems to affect the tip of your nose or the eye itself. 

 

It is usually a very painful rash, and typically people can't bear clothes touching the affected area  There is a general debility and exhaustion, sometimes with aches and pains and sometimes a mild fever. Depression is often a feature of shingles, as in many other viruses. You may need up to three weeks off work.

  The blisters burst and crust over, usually within a week and the area slowly settles, sometimes leaving pale scars. The pain may settle as quickly as the rash, but unfortunately some people are left with pain affecting that area for many months or even years (Post herpetic neuralgia).  

 

You can only get shingles (Herpes Zoster) if you have previously had chickenpox. After having chickenpox the virus lies dormant in the nerves, and shingles occurs when it is revitalised in one particular nerve to the skin, thus explaining the way it affects a clearly demarcated band of skin only. 

The main thing in treatment, is to take regular pain relief (an analgesic), possibly even better an anti-inflammatory pain killer (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug), as long as these do not upset you or interact with any medications you may be taking. In addition calamine lotion can help to soothe the area. 

 

If any of the blisters become infected with ordinary germs (bacteria) the area becomes more red and sore (inflamed) and may take longer to heal. The doctor may treat this with antibiotics, in the form of a cream, or by mouth.

 If the eye is affected (ophthalmic herpes) or looks like it may become affected, your doctor is likely to ask an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) to see you as a matter of urgency. The treatment is likely to involve specific anti-viral eye drops, and possibly treatment by mouth as well. 

You cannot do much to avoid shingles. If you have shingles you should stay away from other people until the blisters have dried (usually about seven days), as there are virus particles in the blister fluid. The risk is that people who have not had chickenpox might catch that from you.

 Shingles is caused by a reactivation of the dormant virus in the nerves of people who have previously had chickenpox. As as a result shingles can unfortunately occur more than once. 

You may have further attacks of shingles, especially at times when you are run down. These attacks may affect a different part of the body.    

 

 

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Jul 3, 2007 at 10:21 o\clock

Blood Clot In The Legs.

A blood clot embedded in one of the major deep veins of the lower legs, thighs, or pelvis, commonly referred to as deep venous thrombosis (DVT), blocks blood circulation through these veins, which carry blood from the lower body back to the heart. The blockage can cause pain, swelling, or warmth in the affected leg.

 

Blood clots in the veins can cause inflammation (irritation) called thrombophlebitis. The most worrisome complications of DVT occur when a clot breaks loose (or embolizes) and travels through the bloodstream and causes blockage of blood vessels (pulmonary arteries) in the lung. This can lead to severe difficulty in breathing and even death, depending on the degree of blockage.

 

People who are elderly and those who are obese experience the highest rates of deep vein thrombosis; however, this in no way means that healthy, young individuals have nothing to worry about. Certain people, born without important blood thinning properties, are always at an increased risk for developing blood clot.

 

Prolonged sitting, such as during a long plane or car rideProlonged sitting, such as during a long plane or car ride; Prolonged bed rest or immobility, such as after an injury or during an illness (stroke); Recent surgery, particularly orthopedic, gynecologic, or heart surgery ; Obesity; Recent childbirth ; Use of estrogen replacement (hormone replacement therapy, or HRT) or birth control pills; Malignant tumors (cancer) and Disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), a medical condition in which blood clotting occurs inappropriately, usually caused by overwhelming infection or organ failure  are some of the causes for DVT.

 

The most common symptoms of blood clots in the legs include tenderness, redness, pain, swelling, fever, rapid heartbeat, a sudden and unexplained cough, and joint pain and soreness. DVT can also have potentially devastating effects on pregnant women causing miscarriage or stillbirth if the clot travels to an artery in the placenta where it can reduce the supply of oxygen to the fetus.

 

When your physician suspects that you may have a blood clot, s/he will perform a complete physical exam that includes a review of your medical history. An easy in-the-office indicator of DVT is a sharp pain in your leg when you flex your foot upward. Other tests, which can aid in your physician's diagnosis of DVT, include: an ultrasound of the leg or an x-ray of the veins in your leg after dye is injected into a vein in your foot to allow your physician to see your blood flow. If you are in a high-risk group for developing DVT, your physician may order additional tests that measure your blood's clotting ability.  

 

Treatment of DVT begins with self-help techniques that you can incorporate at home including: avoiding prolonged bed rest. If bed rest is unavoidable such as in pregnancy or other medical conditions that require you to remain inactive, it's important that you remember to move your legs on a regular basis even if it's just swinging them over the side of your bed a few times an hour or putting your knees up and down several times. If you smoke, quit. If you don't smoke, don't start! Smoking is especially dangerous for people at risk for DVT. As always, regular exercise is important to reduce your risk of blood clots forming in your legs. If you have severe varicose veins, the use of support stockings can help decrease the chance that a blood clot will form. 

 

Although a DVT may resolve on its own, the life-threatening consequences of a clot reaching the lung, called pulmonary embolism, are severe enough to warrant seeking medical attention at once  Your doctor may tell you to go immediately to a hospital emergency department if you have leg pain or swelling with any of the risk factors, go to a hospital emergency department immediately.

 

If you have a DVT, you will be treated with a blood-thinning medication (anticoagulant). These medications do not make the clot go away. They stabilize the clot and make it adhere to the vessel wall. The body normally lyses (breaks up) the clot on its own. This is a gradual process that may take several days or weeks. Anticoagulants prevent further clotting and worsening of the condition.

 

Thrombectomy is surgical removal of the clot. Much controversy surrounds using this treatment instead of anticoagulation. Thrombectomy is performed when a large blood clot is obstructing the vessels in the lung and the patient is in critical condition. Surgery is effective, and the results are immediate.

 

People who cannot take anticoagulant medication may undergo a placement of an umbrellalike device (filter), which is usually placed via the veins in the leg or neck, under local anesthesia. A small, metal, umbrellalike filter is inserted into the inferior/superior vena cava, the main large vein that carries blood back to the heart from the upper/lower body. This technique is performed in a hospital. The umbrella should catch any clots that break loose from the veins of your lower body before they travel to your lung. 

 

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Jun 29, 2007 at 12:26 o\clock

Thyroid Problems.

The thyroid gland is located on the front part of the neck below the thyroid cartilage (Adam's apple). The gland produces thyroid hormones, which regulate body metabolism. Thyroid hormones are important in regulating body energy, the body's use of other hormones and vitamins, and the growth and maturation of body tissues.

Diseases of the thyroid gland can result in either production of too much (hyperthyroidism) or too little (hypothyroidism) hormone. 

Production of thyroid hormones: The process of hormone synthesis begins in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus releases thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH). The TRH travels through the bloodstream to the pituitary gland, also in the brain. In response, the pituitary gland then releases thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) into the blood. The TSH then stimulates the thyroid to produce the two main thyroid hormones, L-thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). The thyroid gland also needs adequate amounts of dietary iodine to be able to produce T4 and T3.

Regulation of thyroid hormone production: To prevent the over- or underproduction of thyroid hormones, the pituitary gland can sense how much hormone is in the blood and adjust the production of hormones accordingly. For example, when there is too much thyroid hormone in the blood, the TRH does not work effectively to stimulate the pituitary gland. In addition, too much thyroid hormone will prevent the release of TSH from the pituitary gland. The sum effect of this is to decrease the amount of TSH released from the pituitary gland, resulting in less production of thyroid hormones in the thyroid gland. This then works to restore the amount of thyroid hormone in the blood to normal. Defects in these regulatory pathways may result in hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.

 

Causes for Production of thyroid hormones: The process of hormone synthesis begins in a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus releases thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH). The TRH travels through the bloodstream to the pituitary gland, also in the brain. In response, the pituitary gland then releases thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) into the blood. The TSH then stimulates the thyroid to produce the two main thyroid hormones, L-thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3). The thyroid gland also needs adequate amounts of dietary iodine to be able to produce T4 and T3.

 

Regulation of thyroid hormone production: To prevent the over- or underproduction of thyroid hormones, the pituitary gland can sense how much hormone is in the blood and adjust the production of hormones accordingly. For example, when there is too much thyroid hormone in the blood, the TRH does not work effectively to stimulate the pituitary gland. In addition, too much thyroid hormone will prevent the release of TSH from the pituitary gland. The sum effect of this is to decrease the amount of TSH released from the pituitary gland, resulting in less production of thyroid hormones in the thyroid gland. This then works to restore the amount of thyroid hormone in the blood to normal. Defects in these regulatory pathways may result in hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism.

 

The causes for Hypothyroidism are:  1. Antithyroid antibodies: These may be present in people who have diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic hepatitis, or Sjögren syndrome. These antibodies may cause decreased production of thyroid hormones.  2. Loss of tissue: Treatment of hyperthyroidism by radioactive destruction of thyroid tissue or surgical removal of thyroid tissue can result in hypothyroidism. 3. Congenital: Hypothyroidism can be present from birth. 4. When there are defects resulting in an increased amount of TSH; the increased TSH results in a goiter (enlargement of the thyroid gland itself that can be seen as an obvious swelling in the front of the neck).

 

 The causes for Hyperthyroidism are: 1. Graves disease: This thyroid condition results from abnormal stimulation of the thyroid gland by a material in the blood termed the long-acting thyroid stimulator. 2. Toxic multinodular goiter: This occurs when part of the thyroid gland produces thyroid hormones all by itself, without regard to TSH stimulation. It usually occurs in people with a long-standing goiter—usually in the elderly. 3. Thyroiditis: This is an inflammatory disorder of the thyroid gland. 4. Pituitary adenoma: This tumor of the pituitary gland causes independent TSH production leading to overstimulation of the thyroid gland. and 5. Drug-induced hyperthyroidism as in the case of heart medication called amiodarone. 

There is no known way to prevent hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism. 

Untreated hypothyroidism may have severe effects on the brain as well as cause intestinal obstruction and inability of the heart to beat effectively. An infection, exposure to cold, trauma, and certain medications may often cause a worsening of hypothyroidism.  

Severe hyperthyroidism, called thyrotoxic crisis, may be life-threatening because of the effects it has on the heart and brain. It often occurs in people who are untreated or are receiving inadequate treatment for thyroid problems. A severe infection can also cause a thyrotoxic crisis. 

Seek immediate attention at a hospital's Emergency Department if you have the signs and symptoms associated with thyroid problems.  

 

 

 

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Jun 28, 2007 at 10:22 o\clock

Blood in urine.

The medical term for blood in urine is “hematuria”. The “heme” refers to the hemoglobin in red blood cells and the “uria” means that it is in the urine. Also, when we talk about blood in the urine, we really mean red blood cells in the urine.

Urine is normally a light yellow to dark amber, depending on how concentrated it is. The most common symptom of blood in the urine a change in urine color because it takes very little blood in the urine to turn it pink or red. However, many people have blood in their urine without a change in the color and have no symptoms.

The easiest way to make a diagnosis is to use a urine dipstick because it is very sensitive for hemoglobin. However, a positive dipstick doesn’t always mean there is blood in the urine. To confirm the diagnosis, your doctor needs to find red blood cells in your urine using a microscope.

There are two different types of blood in urine depending on how much blood is in the urine. If there is enough blood that it is obvious to the naked eye, it is called gross hematuria. If you need a microscope to see it, then it is called microscopic hematuria.  Despite the quantity of blood in the urine being different, the types of diagnoses that can cause the problem are the same, and the workup or evaluation that is needed is identical.

Since blood in the urine must come from one of the organs involved in making or transporting the urine, the evaluation of hematuria requires that we consider the entire urinary tract. This organ system includes the kidneys, ureter (the tube that carries the urine from the kidney to the bladder), bladder, prostate, or urethra (tube leading out of the bladder).

There are multiple causes of blood in urine. Some are serious, including cancers, trauma, stones, infections, and obstructions of the urinary tract. Others are less important, and may require no treatment. These may include viral infections, nonspecific inflammations of the kidney, medications which thin the blood's clotting ability, and benign prostate enlargement.

No matter how obvious the reason for hematuria appears to be, a complete evaluation is almost always necessary to rule out a serious underlying disease, such as a cancer. There are usually three diagnostic tests necessary to give us a look at the entire urinary tract, and these include the intravenous pyelogram (IVP), cystoscopy, and a urine cytology.

The intravenous pyelogram, or IVP, is an x-ray evaluation of the urinary tract. In this procedure, a dye is injected into the veins, and this is filtered by the urinary tract. A series of x-rays are then taken over a thirty-minute period, looking for abnormalities. This study is especially useful for evaluating the kidneys and ureter, but not the bladder, prostate, or urethra. Therefore, a second examination called a cystoscopy is necessary. In this procedure, a small viewing tube, or cystoscope, is used to visually inspect the bladder and the urethra. In most instances, this can be done without discomfort by the use of local anesthetic jelly. The cystoscope is passed up the urethra into the bladder, and the inspection is carried out. The entire examination takes less than ten minutes. The final test is a urine cytology, which involves voiding urine into a cup and having that urine examined by a pathologist to look for cancer cells

Management of blood in urine depends upon the underlying cause. Many times a cause cannot be found, which is fortunate, because it generally suggests that there is not a harmful situation present. Remember that the real reason for a hematuria workup is not to prove a specific cause, but to rule out a serious problem. If no cause is found for the hematuria, the urine should be checked on a yearly basis to make certain that no changes are occurring. However, if gross hematuria were to recur, repeat evaluation may be necessary, and a physician should be consulted. A blood test to check kidney function and a blood pressure check should be done as well. Men over fifty should have a yearly PSA, or prostate specific antigen, to screen for prostate cancer.

Further discussion of the treatment for hematuria would depend upon the results of the previously mentioned workup and the exact cause for the hematuria. The urologist who performs this examination would direct any further treatment or workup that would be necessary. 

 

 

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