Thursday, 1 December 2016

COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT DRINKNG ALCOHOL

Alcohol is a stimulant.

The euphoric and inhibitory effect has made alcohol to be falsely dumped as a stimulant. Alcohol is a depressant, it causes sleep, drowsiness, altered consciousness, coma, even death. Death may ensue in higher concentrations when the vital function like breathing are depressed.

Alcohol and its associated problems are for the person who drinks.

Alcoholism is not only a problem to the individual drinker but also a problem to the society at large. The state is obligated to enact laws and enforce them to restrict alcohol use. Alcohol use is associated with violence, drunk driving, risky sexual engagement which touches the society at large.

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CAUSES OF ALCOHOLIC BLACKOUTS.

Alcoholics lack will power and are morally weak.

Alcoholism results as a result of variety of factors like genetic, environmental, social and others. Individuals who engage in drinking may develop alcohol dependence which makes it hard for them to quit. Occurrence of withdrawal seizures, agitation, tremors, irritability, hallucinations and many more impels an alcoholic to engage in drinking with an intent to cease the symptoms.

Small amount of alcohol can't affect body functions negatively.

The grounds in which there are legal restrictions on alcohol use is simply because it is clear that alcohol affects and has a propensity to alter bodily functions. Alcohol blows are in place to curb drunk driving. Drinking during pregnancy is a red light to healthy pregnancy.

Alcohol effects are short-lived.

Lets depict this scenario, Samuel is an alcoholic. He has a designated driver to take him home when drunk. When he gets home he spends most his night at the servant quarters to avoid argument with his wife.

Acute effects of alcohol can lead to drunk driving, automobile accidents, loss of lives, family violence, fight, falls, risky sexual engagement and the progressive drinking will result to alcohol dependence and a compromised health status. No one is immune to the effects of alcohol.


Alcohol promotes health status of the body.

There is a lot of errors and half truths about use of alcohol. As a matter of fact one doesn't become an alcoholic in one day. The small bits of alcohol taken in disguise of promoting one health puts one at throes of being alcoholic and doesn't exonerate one from acute and long-term effects of alcohol.








Monday, 24 October 2016

VAGINAL DISCHARGE- FAQ AND ANSWERS

HOW DOES NORMAL VAGINAL DISCHARGE LOOK LIKE?

A vaginal discharge plays a vital role in the body of a woman though it is something that most women rarely discuss about because of the embarrassment that may come along with it. It helps to keep the vagina moist, clean, remove dead cells, get rid of bacteria and prevention of infections. A normal vaginal discharge is clear and/or white, doesn't have pungent smell and may thickens during ovulation.

HOW DO I KNOW VAGINAL DISCHARGE IS UNHEALTHY?

Usually women are aware of how their vaginal discharge varies at different periods of their menstrual cycle and most of them are able to identify signs of abnormal vaginal discharge. They include:-
  • Changes in color of discharge- greenish, yellow, grey or white curd-like may be a sign of infection.
  • Changes in amount of the discharge- frothy or profuse discharge.
  • Changes in smell of the discharge- foul smelling.
  • Associated symptoms like itching, lower abdominal pain, pain when passing urine and frequent urination.

WHAT CAUSES ABNORMAL VAGINAL DISCHARGE?


It is healthy for a woman to produce clear or white discharge but the amount and color changes depending on the time of menstrual cycle. Abnormal vaginal discharge is a sign that a disease causing micro-organism has gained entry and multiplied in the reproductive system. Poor hygiene status, malnutrition, stress, sexual contact are some ways in which the micro-organisms gain entry into the reproductive system. Common vaginal infections like bacterial vaginosis, trichomonomiasis, candidiasis and gonorrhea are common vaginal infections in women.

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Monday, 8 August 2016

SPECIAL DIETARY CONSIDERATIONS FOR PEOPLE WITH GASTRIC ULCER

 Introduction:



Stomach and duodenal ulcers commonly called peptic ulcers occur in the stomach and duodenal wall respectively. Stomach is lined up by a mucous lining which forms a barrier and protects the stomach wall from corrosive effect of gastric acid. When this barrier is broken, the stomach wall is exposed to the corrosive effect of gastric acid and an ulcer forms. 

Infection with H. pylori bacteria and prolonged use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and diclofenac are common factors that cause the mucous lining to break down. 

Both stomach and duodenal ulcers are associated with:-
  • Severe upper abdominal pain which may also be felt at the back.
  • Vomiting. Vomit may be blood stained or coffee ground in color.
  • Indigestion and bloated tummy.
  • Dark-colored stool.

 

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DIETARY CONSIDERATIONS:-


Meal frequency and portioning- the stomach is able to tolerate small and frequent meals which helps in reduction of gastric acid production and helps in relieving symptoms associated with the ulcer. Overeating may worsen ulcer symptoms.

Smoking- tobacco contains nicotine. Nicotine has been associated with increased gastric acid production, irritation to the stomach wall lining and may predispose to ulcer formation and worsening of ulcer symptoms. 

Probiotics- they are commonly found in fermented food products like yogurt. Please note, if there is an existing ulcer, fermented food products may worsen the ulcer symptoms and delay healing process. On the other hand, probiotics have have antibacterial property and may help in eradication of H. pylori which is a common cause of gastric ulcer. 

Milk- there is no surprise here but milk prescription is no longer encouraged. After taking milk, it exerts a soothing effect to the ulcer and temporarily relieves pain but it has a residual and rebound gastric acid production which may exacerbate ulcer formation and worsening of the symptoms. 

Honey -This sends me back to college days when we used honey to dress diabetic wounds. Honey has antibacterial properties and studies have shown that it may play a crucial role in inhibiting H. pylori growth. For those who have problem controlling their blood sugar level should consult a Doctor with regard to use of honey.

Food seasoning- black pepper, chili may not play crucial role in healing process. They are associated with indigestion or dyspepsia. But spicy food is controversial in that they may exacerbate symptoms in some individuals and in this case one is encouraged to stop or use less spices in food. If there is no discomfort after eating spicy food then one can use them.





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Thursday, 28 July 2016

SUNSCREENS AND VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY; IS THERE A RELATIONSHIP?

In nutshell, let me take you through a crush course of nutrition. Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin which functions to enhance absorption and use of calcium and phosphorous in the body in maintenance of good health of teeth, bones and muscles.

Lack or low levels of vitamin D in the body has been linked to rickets in children (bones becomes soft and lose shape) and osteomalacia in adults (associated with bone and muscle pain)

But where does body get Vitamin D from?
  • Dietary supply- mostly animal products but the amounts are limited.
  • UVB rays from the sun- main source.
  • Supplementation- not common.

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Lets face the facts, the body uses UVB rays to convert a lipid-based substance under the skin into Vitamin D which form the bulk of vitamin D supply to the body.

When one applies sunscreens adequately as per the manufacturers instructions, the UVB rays from the sun don't penetrate the skin and this may increase burden and morbidity of vitamin D deficiency in the general population.

Sunscreens have been found to reduce level of vitamin D production in the body though this may not be that significant to affect the overall level of vitamin D.

Solution.

Vitamin D deficiency can have a lethal and devastating effects on the body. For people who suffer from sunburns, this is not the end to use of sunscreens because they play a vital role in prevention of sunburns. Individuals are encouraged to get short bursts of sunlight expose without sunscreens especially during early hours of the day when the heat from the sun is gentle on the skin. Irregular use and applying a sunscreens lightly on the skin play a vital role in minimizing the incidence of vitamin D deficiency.

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Sunday, 22 May 2016

HIV/AIDS CURE UPDATE

GENE EDITING TECHNOLOGY SHADES LIGHT FOR HIV/AIDS CURE

The countdown for cure of HIV/AIDS by 2020 has been challenge-driven but with the wake of things cure seems more imminent. 

The challenges being faced by health sector in treatment and cure for HIV/AIDS like understanding how the virus persists in the body, chatting the precise location of the viral reservoir that persists, complete elimination of the virus and recording how much virus the reservoir holds are continuously being addressed through research. 

In VIVO studies involving mice and rats and using gene editing technology has shown that scientists were able to isolate the commonest HIV-1 strain. Using the same technology, In VITRO studies showed successful elimination of the virus from human cells but clinical trials have not yet been instituted. 

Gene-editing technology has been dumped as far-reaching, flexible and a better platform to overcome latent persistence of viral reservoir and it can be used with existing HAART regimen to eradicate mutated strains of the virus.

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Tuesday, 26 April 2016

EMERGENCY CONTRACEPTION; ARE THERE RISKS?


Emergency contraception or Morning after pill is one of the safe ways to avoid unwanted pregnancy after unprotected sexual contact or when a birth control method like condom has failed. 


This method functions by either preventing implantation of the fertilized ovum to the uterus, prevention of fertilization of the ovum or temporarily blocking the ovum from being released. Women with existing medical condition should seek medical advice for help.

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There is a lot of information displayed via the internet which is complete mismatch to the truth and has been merely made available to encourage responsible sexual behavior and avoid unnecessary use of emergency contraceptives.

Emergency pills are loaded with higher amounts of hormones and regular use is not advisable as they may have negative effects on the body. The side effects are short-term resolving some days after using the pill and are not serious. Some of the side effects associated with emergency pills include:-
  • nausea and vomiting.
  • Feeling tired.
  • Dizzy spells.
  • Heavy menstrual flow or inter-menstrual bleeding.
  • Breast tenderness.
  • Abdominal cramps.
Emergency contraception pill and infertility is a major concern and one of the frequently asked question in contraception world. There is no available data which links use of emergency pills to infertility. 
Those using emergency pills to avoid unwanted pregnancy should know that emergency pills can delay ovulation for for about 3-4 days and can cause bleeding 7 days after taking the pill. 



Emergency Contarceptiob-WebMD. Address: http://www.webmd.com/sex/birth-control/emergency-contraception.
Emergency contraceptiom- The morning After Pill. Drug.com. Address: http://www.drugs.com/article/emergency-contraceptive-pill.html


Tuesday, 22 March 2016

TIPS ON PREVENTION AND TREATING BODY ODOR



In the former blog, we featured 'what causes body odor' and found that it is non-harmful bacteria on the surface of the skin acting on sweat producing odorous substances.

Lets see different ways of how body odor can be prevented or treated.



Warm water bath- taking bath once a day is recommended. Keep in mind that warm bath is necessary to kill bacteria on the skin. For individuals who sweat a lot, bathing twice a day will be a good idea in preventing and treating body odor. 


Check on your diet- eating spicy foods, red meat, egg yolk, broccoli and broccoli sprouts on regular bases is associated with body odor. The idea here is not to stop eating such meals because your body needs them but to check on the frequency and also quantity of such foods in a meal. 


Use of deodorants - application of deodorant makes it hard for the bacteria on the surface of the skin to flourish. Deodorants make the surface of the skin acidic which is not suitable media for the bacteria to grow and multiply. 


Use of antiperspirants- they block sweat pores on the skin and help to reduce the amount of sweat that comes out to the skin surface. Antiperspirants have their own flaws as the have been linked to various forms of cancer.


Type of clothing- allowing the sweat to evaporate or get absorbed by the clothing we put on is an important element in prevention of body odor. Put on clothing that absorbs sweat and allows the skin to breathe again to fend off bad body smell. Natural fibers like wool cotton and silk can help a great deal.


NOTE: Armpits are more prone to odor especially if the hair is not shaved. This makes sweat evaporate slowly creating more time for the bacteria to break down the sweat and more production of odorant substances. 


Surgery- this is only recommended when self care methods described above fail and body odor persists. Surgery aims at removing  or destroying some sweat glands to reduce sweating and control body odor.

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References:
Treating and preventing body odor- MNT. Address: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/173478.php?page=2
Body odor – treatment; NHS. Address: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Body-odour/Pages/Treatment.aspx.

Monday, 21 March 2016

WHAT CAUSES BODY ODOR?




Body odor is unpleasant smell that human body gives out when non-harmful bacteria that lives on the surface of the skin breaks down fatty acids in sweat into odorant substances. Poor personal hygiene and an existing medical condition are two broad factors attributed to this phenomenon. Body odor is more common at the armpits, under the breasts, the umbilical region and the pubic region. 

WHO IS AT RISK OF BODY ODOR?



Body odor is basically as a result of non-harmful bacteria on the surface of the skin acting on fatty acids in the sweat. There are several factors that can perpetuate production of these odorant substances like:-


Biological lineage- according to MedicineNet.com, 1/3 of the people suffering from body odor could have inherited genetic disorder like trimethylaminuria (TMAU) in which individuals have an off putting fishy smell. TMAU is excreted from the body via urine, breath, sweat and saliva.
 
Environmental condition- people who live in cold areas have fewer sweat glands hence less production of odorant substances as compared to those who live in warm or hot regions. Fewer sweat glands may be attributed to adaptation mechanism to cold climate.

Diet preferences- eating spicy foods on regular basis has been associated with production of odorant substances in the body. Foods commonly associated with odor are red meat, egg yolk, onions, broccoli and broccoli sprouts, garlic and sea foods. Food sources with strong pungent smell tend to release the same smell through breath, sweat and urine.


Obese individuals- people who are obese have high metabolic rates and are prone to excess sweating which makes them highly susceptible to production of odorant substances.

Medications- this may manifest as a side effect of some of the drugs prescribed by your Doctor. Asprin, antidepressants, antipsychotics and acetaminophen are some of the drugs with associated with excess body sweating and body odor production.

Hormonal variations- progesterone and estrogen can play a significant role in body odor. Hot flashes are commonly associated with excessive sweating and as a result more odorous substances are produced as the sweat is acted up on by the non-harmful bacteria on the skin. This is more prevalent in female.

Puberty- Girls and boys during puberty are active and experience significant hormonal variations in their bodies. On these grounds they are more predisposed to excessive sweating and body odor.

Medical conditions- having an uncontrolled diabetes mellitus may be the reason why body odor exists and persists. Ketoacidosis is a medical emergency in diabetes that can result in body odor production. People who have thyroid problems may also experience excessive sweating which can also be linked to bad body smell.

Interested Reading: What Your Handwriting Say About Your Personality And Personality Trait

WHAT CAUSES BODY ODOR?

Sweating is a vital biological phenomenon in which the body gets rid of waste products of metabolism but this can be a horrible experience if sweat is not taken care of. The fatty acids in sweat are acted up on by the normal skin bacteria into substances that release bad smell. 

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References:

Saturday, 19 March 2016

BENEFITS OF YOGA IN RELIEVING MENTAL STRESS

Stress is a biological way in which the body reacts to a challenge. During stress mode, the body mobilizes its own mechanism to return the situation to normal. First there is activation of the sympathetic nervous system which arouses and prepares the body for fight or flight in response to the stressor.[1]

The aroused state of sympathetic nervous system doesn't prevail forever. When the stress stimuli is eliminated, there is activation of parasympathetic nervous system which gradually enables the body return to a state of calm and relaxation. [1]

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No one is immune to stress and as a matter of fact the things which push us more to the edge because of their demands can be used to define our success. It is the hustles in life that makes us prone to stress.

Yoga embodies integration of physical poses, breathing technique and concentration of the mind into the present. It focuses on alleviation of stress and negative emotions that have been the back bone of chronic diseases. [2]

Yogics have greater resilience to tension and emotional stress than non-yogic which prepares them to overcome daily life challenges and enhance recovery. The yoga disciplines brings feeling of calm and relaxation brought about by parasympathetic nervous activation.

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 Lets contrast this biological yoga phenomenon to other aerobic exercises. Bearing in mind that meditation and breathing technique is crucial in activation of peripheral nervous system and have a dominant effect to sympathetic nervous system. During aerobics, the activation of sympathetic nervous system may persist to dominate since the exercise doesn't engage the mind and may propagate into a full fledged stress vis-a-vis yoga poses. [3]

Mastering the technique of breathing and concentration of the mind to present can be an awesome course. Research has shown that during inhalation there is a slight sympathetic activation and heart rate races, and during exhalation there is a slight parasympathetic activation bringing a feeling of calm.

Reference:-  
 1. Stress (biology)- Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Address: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/?title=Stress_(biology). Last edited; 15/06/2015 by Yamaguchi.
2. Explaining the therapeutic effect of Yoga and its ability to increase quality of life- PubMed. By Catherine Woidyard. Address:http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3193654/. Viewed on: 19/06/2015.Health
3. Yoga for stress relief; Reduce stress with Yoga-  Yoga Journal. By Kelly Mcgonigal. Feb 14, 2011. Address:http://www.yogajournal.com/article/ayurveda/tame-stress/
4. Article Explains Importance of Heart Rate Variability for Your Health- HeartMath Institute. Jan 26, 2015. Address:https://www.heartmath.org/articles-of-the-heart/science-of-the-heart/article-explains-importance-of-heart-rate-variability-for-your-health/ Viewed on; June 22nd, 2015.

  

Thursday, 10 March 2016

WHAT HANDWRITING SAY ABOUT PERSONALITY AND PERSONALITY TRAITS

Graphology is the art of studying and analyzing handwriting. Analyzing handwriting has never been easy and may be done on the basis of criminal investigation like signature forgery, in dating for partner compatibility and potential employee selection. 

As long as one is able to write using hand, graphologist is able to study and analyze it and draw conclusions about their personality though this may not be conclusive enough as handwriting may change according to the prevailing condition like a new pen, mood changes, the nature of writing material e.t.c.
In nutshell there are 4 personality types whose handwriting can be described as follows:-
 

Choleric- they are dumped as ambitious and full of enthusiasm. They believe in speed and are fast in what they engage in which makes them have a poor handwriting.
 

Sanguine- they are very expressive in what they do, like attention and approval from others people. This makes they have good handwriting.
 

Melancholics- dumped as loners and thinkers type. They linger much at details and have good analytical skills. They write in a complex manner and are very unpredictable in their handwriting.
 

Phlegmatic- are calm, quiet and relaxed type but they may be fearful, shy and lazy which makes them not well expressive in what they do. They tend to have small and neat hand writing.
People write differently and this may be pointers to certain traits of their personality. 

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Writing using big letters that go even beyond lines of a standard writing material may portray one as outgoing, attention seeker and tend to be confident in what s/he does.

On the other hand, people who write using small letters as compared to lines on a standard piece of paper are thought to have introverted and timid traits. 

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How one dots the i's is a sentence may also tell something about personality traits. Sanguine have very expressive and flamboyant hand writing and they may place the dot for the 'i' distinctively above the 'i.' People may circle or put a dash to their i's rather than putting a dot. 

Circling is associated with child-like traits while putting a dash may portray one as overly critical.

Word spacing may also be of much value in eliciting personality traits of an individual. People who space their words closely like mingling with others while those who space words distantly like being alone, free and independent. 

SHARING IS CARING

Sunday, 6 March 2016

BEYOND ZERO CAMPAIGN; WHAT IT MEANS

Am just from The First Lady Half Marathon which was flagged at Nyayo Stadium Nairobi. I attended the event courtesy of Avenue Rescue Services as a medic/First AID and stationed at Uhuru Park with an ambulance next to us ready for any medical emergency. 

Beyond Zero Campaign Foundation with its slogan 'Inspiring Action. Saving Lives.' was spearheaded by Her Excellency Mrs. Margaret Kenyatta with an aim to promote maternal, newborn and child health in Kenya through grassroots mobile clinics.

Healthcare delivery in Kenya is challenge- orchestrated with majority of Kenyans not able to easily access healthcare facility where they can get quality care without discrimination.

HIV/AIDS continue to have a devastating impact and is one of the leading causes of death in the Sub-Saharan Africa. Beyond Zero Campaign targets to achieve zero new HIV infections as one of the action plans towards curbing the morbidity and mortality nature of HIV/AIDS. This agenda caught my attention as it rhymes well with the 90-90-90 target for HIV/AIDS care plan. 

90-90-90 is an ambitious HIV/AIDS treatment plan which targets to bring and endemic end of this epidemic in 2020 by ensuring that:-
  • 90% of all people infected with HIV/AIDS know their HIV status.
  • 90% of all people diagnosed with HIV have been started of sustained antiretroviral therapy.
  • 90% of all HIV infected cases have undetectable viral load or have attained viral suppression. 
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Tuesday, 1 March 2016

OVERWEIGHT AND OBESITY LINKED WITH POORER EPISODIC MEMORIES STUDIES INDICATE.


Overweight and obesity has been implicated with onset of wide range of chronic illnesses like Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, High blood pressure, early onset of Alzheimer’s disease, Arthritis, different types of cancers and others.

A recent study published in the Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology at The University of Cambridge in U.K denoted that overweight and obesity has been associated with increased risk of cognitive decline as evidenced by poorer episodic memories of events by subjects who had unhealthy Body Mass Index (BMI) above 25. 


This study involved subjects aged 18-35 years with BMI ranging between 18 -51. The subjects were then engaged in a mental challenge to hide items on computer screen for two days then they were probed to establish if they can recall which items they had hidden where and when.  (Treasure-Hunt Task) 



The researchers found that the subjects with unhealthy BMI (above 25) had poorer episodic memories of which items they had hidden where and when as compared to subjects with healthy BMI. They also found that the magnitude of poor episodic memory worsened with increase in BMI.


Overweight and obesity has also been implicated with loss of brain mass (white and grey matter- which makes up neurons). Study findings noted that obese individual had the highest brain mass loss of 8% with overweight individuals having 4% brain mass loss as compared to those who had healthy BMI of 18- 25. The brain mass loss was noted at certain parts of the brain like:-

  • Cerebrum- to include Parietal lobe, frontal lobe and the basal ganglia.
  • Hippocampus.
  • And the anterior Cingulate gyrus.

The structural modification of the cerebrum, hippocampus and the anterior cingulated gyrus had corresponding functional cognitive deficits with respect to the part of the brain involved. 


Basal ganglia is involved in initiation and fine control of complex body movements. Loss of brain mass in the basal ganglia may result in uncoordinated and clumsy movement. Both parietal and frontal lobes involved in planning and memory with hippocampus playing crucial role in long term memory. 



Diminished ability to form vivid memory of events may play a significant role in perpetuating the morbidity nature of obesity in the entire population and have a negative impact on health. Memory plays an important role in eating and since this is compromised to certain degree in obese subjects, they may not be at a position to regulate their eating tendencies. 


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References:
Overweight, Obesity linked to poorer memory for young adults- Medical News Today. Address: Http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/307188.php.
Can Obesity cause memory loss? A study found that people defined as obese had lost brain tissue- The Doctors Weighs In. Address: http://www.thedoctorsweightsin.com/can-obesity-cause-memory-loss/.