Allergy

What is allergy?

Allergy is an abnormal autoimmune response of the body’s defense mechanism with any foreign substance. In simple words allergy is hypersensitivity of the immune system to any foreign substance which can be different in different people such as
Dust
Pollen
Insect stings
Pet dander
Food items
Latex
Drug/medicine
Mold
All these are also types of allergies and these substances called as allergen.

Signs and Symptoms
If you come in contact with something to which you are allergic, your immune system considers it dangerous and releases chemical called histamine to counteract it. The release of histamine can cause a variety of symptoms, including
Skin rash,
Headache,
Sneezing,
Runny nose,
Swelling,
Nausea and
Diarrhea
Though some symptoms are common in any types of allergy but few symptoms depend upon the allergen or the substance you are allergic with.
Anaphylaxis is type of severe allergic reaction which can be dangerous or life threatening; symptoms include low blood pressure, low pulse, shortness of breath, wheezing, blurred vision and collapse.

1. Dust allergy
If you are allergic with dust or pollen or dander which you can breathe in may cause following symptoms
Itchy eyes, redness in eyes, watery eyes, painful eyes, sneezing, itching and irritation in and around the nose, runny nose or stuffy nose due to blockage or congestion, coughing, sore-throat, shortness of breath, headache ( commonly called as allergic rhinitis/hay fever).
Allergic rhinitis takes two different forms:
Seasonal: Symptoms of seasonal allergic rhinitis can occur in spring, summer and early fall. They are usually caused by allergic sensitivity to airborne mold spores or to pollens from grass, trees and weeds.
Perennial: People with perennial allergic rhinitis experience symptoms all over the year. It is generally caused by dust mites, pet hair or dander, cockroaches or mold. Underlying or hidden food allergies rarely cause perennial nasal symptoms.

2. Stings allergy
If allergen comes in contact with skin (stings) swelling, rashes, hives, itching with common allergic symptoms may occur.

3. Food allergy
Common Allergen food items are peanuts, eggs, milk, wheat, fish and soy.
If allergen is food item then nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, shortness of breath may occur.

4. Mold Allergy
Mold is a fungus, which can grow in any moisture area, bathroom, basement, any closed room, unused clothes for long time and places with lack of sunlight. Molds are tiny and most of the time can’t be seen through naked eyes, spores from molds get in contact with air and therefore give allergic reactions like sneezing, coughing, runny nose or stuffy nose, itching around eyes and nose, may be itching and rashes on skin, difficulty in breathing or wheezing.

5. Drug allergy
Common drug allergens are penicillin and related antibiotics, sulfa drugs, aspirin, ibuprofen, anticonvulsants, chemotherapy drugs, some dye containing drugs.
Allergic reactions include skin rashes, swelling, hives, shivering, or sweating, low Blood pressure, low pulse, wheezing, and may be anaphylaxis reactions.

6. Latex allergy
Usually health care workers and people having multiple surgeries are at greatest risk with latex containing gloves. This may be serous and fatal. Symptoms may be skin rashes, swelling, hives, itching, wheezing, shortness of breath, asthma symptoms or anaphylaxis reaction.

7. Pets /animal dander allergy
This type of allergy also has the common symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, itchy eyes and nose, red eyes, coughing, sore throat, wheezing.
Sometimes allergy symptoms can be very severe and turn in to anaphylactic reactions, so be very careful if you are having any allergy.

Diagnosis
If you are having any of these symptoms with contact of allergen and you are thinking that you may have allergy with any of these then you can go to your health care provider, he will ask you questions about your routine, your work and home environment, detailed medical history, family history, frequency and severity of symptoms, and exposure to common triggers.
For confirmation of trigger of allergic reaction he may order for Skin prick test in which using a small, sterile probe to prick the skin with extracts from common allergens, such as tree pollen and pet dander, and observing the reaction A positive reaction (a raised welt with redness around it) may indicate that you are allergic to that substance. Occasionally, your allergist may order a blood test and a skin test to confirm an allergy.

Management and treatment
The best way to manage allergy problem is the prevention, which is avoidance of allergen.
If you know that you are allergic with particular substance you should avoid to come in the contact with allergen.

Dust allergy
Air born allergies like dust, pollen, animal dander, molds have common symptoms and triggers.
1. Avoid going to the places rich in dust, pollen or animal dander, molds.
2. Clean your home with central vaccuming and use mask while dusting.
3. Use mite proof blankets and mattresses.
4. Wash all bed linens regularly.
5. Choose the room with proper sunlight.
6. Keep windows closed during high pollen periods.
7. Use sunglasses or eyeglasses to protect eyes from dust, pollen and dander.
8. Keep pets out of the room all time.
9. Use high efficiency air filter to clean the whole house.
10.If you are living in humid or sticky climate, use dehumidifier.
11.Use vent fan in kitchen and bathroom to remove moisture.
12.Stay away from smoke and smoking

Food allergy
If you have food allergy and you know about triggering food causing allergy then NEVER EAT the trigger food item.
When you are eating outside, in restaurant be extra careful, and tell to all your friends and group about your allergic food item. Use clean dishes which are not in contact with allergen.

Stings allergy
1. For outdoor activities wear full sleeve and completely covered body clothes.
2. Do not walk barefoot on the grasses, do not go near bushes.
3. Be careful around nest areas.

Drug allergy
Make sure that your doctor or health care professional knows about your allergy and symptoms in detail.
Avoid any combination of related drug.

Latex allergy
Avoid latex containing gloves.

TREATMENT
1. Antihistamines to counteract allergic reactions
2. Decongestants help relieve nasal stuffiness and pressure caused by swollen nasal tissue.
3. Non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) to reduce inflammation or swelling.
4. Allergy shots (immunotherapy)
5. Epinephrine/Adrenaline injection.
People can carry epinephrine auto injectors for stings and food allergy or severe allergic reaction.

So basically allergy is an immune response, if you are having strong immunity probably you will not suffer any immunity related problems but because of weak immunity you can suffer from so many problems. The best way to improve immunity is the yoga and meditation; if you are suffering from any allergic problem you should follow healthy lifestyle with yoga (pranayama) regularly. Deep breathing exercises or pranayama rejuvenates your inner energy and boost up your brain with balancing all the chemicals and hormones in the body. So hormones and chemicals releasing during immune response can be controlled by yoga and meditation.

Please note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional.

Content source  –  www.acaai.org  American College of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology

 

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PCOS/PCOD/Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome or PCOS is a hormonal endocrine disorder of ovary in women in all over the world. Other name for PCOS is Stein-Leventhal Syndrome. As the name indicates multiple cysts in the ovary is called polycystic ovary syndrome, and the size of ovaries in women with PCOS are 2 to 5 times the normal size.
Undiagnosed and untreated PCOD is a leading cause of female infertility. PCOS affects 4 to 6% of women, the full-blown syndrome of hyperandrogenism, chronic anovulation and polycystic ovaries. Because of wide variety of clinical symptoms and biochemical features exact definition of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is least understood and can be confusing. According to Rotterdam criteria definition of PCOS contains two out of three following criteria:
1. Oligomenorrhea or Anovulation
2. Hyperandrogenism (clinical/biochemical)
3. Polycystic ovaries with exclusion of other etiologies.

Hormonal and biochemical changes are responsible for PCOS symptoms. There may be abnormality in the four active compartments: a) ovary, b) hypothalamus-pituitary compartment, c) peripheral fat or d) adrenal glands. Abnormality in ovarian compartment is responsible for hyperandrogenism in PCOS. Ovaries in women with PCOS are 2 to 5 times the normal size.

Hormonal changes in PCOS
1. Hyperandrogenism – Increased level of total and free testosterone.
High intraovarian androgen concentration inhibits follicle maturation results in inactive granulosa cells with minimal aromatase activity for conversion to estrogens.
2. Increased LH without increase in FSH leads to Increase LH/FSH ratio.

Clinical symptoms

1. Menstrual dysfunction – From amenorrhea to oligo menorrhea. Menarche tends to be delayed, irregular menstrual cycles or 4 to 6 menstrual periods per year.
2. Acne – Severe acne in teenage years is very common finding of PCOS.
3. Obesity – About 50 % women with PCOS found obese. Obesity in PCOS linked to insulin resistance, diabetes mellitus and increased risk of cardiovascular disease in later life.
4. Hirsutism – Excess hair growth on the face and body.
5. Alopecia – Hair loss and male pattern baldness.
6. Acanthosis nigricans – Hyperpigmentation of the skin.
7. InfertilityInfertility is the common problem in PCOS women.

How to Diagnose?

1. Symptoms and clinical features are most important in early diagnosis. Patient gives history of irregular menstruation, acne, excess facial hair growth and weight gain (high BMI). During reproductive age women may have history of infertility.

2. Laboratory tests – Blood tests to know the level of some hormones, Blood sugar, Insulin and IGF 1, cholesterol and triglycerides level in PCOS women.
Criteria for metabolic syndrome in PCOS women
• Abdominal obesity (waist circumference >88 cm or 35 inches)
• Triglycerides >150 mg/dl
• HDL-C <50 mg/dl
• Blood pressure > 130/85
• Fasting blood sugar of 110-126 mg/dl and 2-hour glucose from oral glucose tolerance test of 140-199 mg/dl

3. Ultrasonography – Ultrasonographic examination is a useful method for early detection of PCOS and follow-up. Generally, ovarian size is increased. The most important ultrasonographic finding is a bilaterally increased number of microcysts measuring 0.5 to 0.8 cm with generally more than five microcysts in each ovary.

Management

The management of PCOS depends upon clinical symptoms and presenting problems.

Menstrual irregularities
1. Weight loss – In obese women weight loss should be the first line of treatment. A reduction in body weight of 5-10 per cent will cause a 30 per cent reduction in visceral fat, which is often sufficient to restore ovulation and reduce markers of metabolic disease.
2. Oral contraceptives – Often OCPs can have the benefits of contraception, protection against endometrial cancer and improve skin manifestations such as acne and hirsutism.

Acne
Mild acne can be treated topically with keratinolytics such as azelaic acid, retinoids or with antibacterials erythromycin 2 % gel or clindamycin 1 % lotion. Severe forms can be treated by oral antibiotics or isotretinoin.
But in PCOS antiandrogens are most effective because acne occurs as a result of hyperstimulation of sebaceous glands by androgens. Cyproterone acetate, Spironolactone Flutamide and Finasteride have antiandrogenic properties. Cyperoterone acetate can be combined with OCPs.

Hirsutism
Hirsutism can be treated by physical therapy such as bleaching, shaving, plucking, depilatory creams or electrolysis and laser. Combined Oral contraceptive is useful for prevention of excess hair growth.

Alopecia
Psychological supports and hairstyling are the treatment for alopecia. Drugs such as minoxidil, cyproterone acetate, spironolactone has limited role.

Infertility
Main cause of infertility in PCOS is anovulation. So methods of inducing ovulation are reduction of insulin concentrations, FSH (follicular stimulating hormone) stimulation and reduction in LH (luteinizing hormone) concentration.

Weight loss
Weight loss is the mainstay therapy for induction of ovulation. Weight loss improves endocrine profile and the likelihood of ovulation and a healthy pregnancy. Diet plan and exercises should be encouraged.

Clomiphene citrate
Clomiphene citrate 50 mg orally for 5 days is a common method to induce ovulation. Serial transvaginal ultrasound is used to look for follicles or urinary LH test can also be done to know fertile period.

Metformin
For treating hyperinsulinemia in PCOS women Metformin 500 mg 8 hourly is an effective treatment.
In patients who do not ovulate with clomiphene citrate and metformin, doctor can advise for laparoscopic ovarian drilling or parenteral gonadotrophic therapy.

Laparoscopic ovarian drilling
Laparoscopic ovarian drilling is a simple procedure whereby several punctures are made in one or both the polycystic ovaries.

Gonadotropin therapy
Gonadotrophin therapy is indicated for women with anovulatory PCOS who have been treated with antiestrogens, either if they have failed to ovulate or if they have a response to clomiphene that is likely to reduce their chance of conception. Patients are started with very low dose gonadotrophin (FSH) and the dose is gradually increased. When the leading follicle reaches 14 mm, the FSH threshold dose is reduced by half.
In some patients, invitrofertilisation (IVF) or even intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) may be the only option for pregnancy.

Complications

PCOS patients are increased risk of developing chronic diseases which are directly linked to obesity in PCOS.
Non-insulin dependent Diabetes mellitus (NIDDM)
Cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension and coronary heart disease
Endometrial cancer
Infertility
Depression and anxiety

Because of the risk of chronic disorders, PCOS patients are advised to continue follow-up every 6 months.

Please note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional.

Content source – Jeffcoate’s Principles of Gynaecology 7th edition

GERD / Heartburn /Regurgitation/Indigestion

What is GERD?
Gastroesophageal reflux disorder is reflux or regurgitation of acid content or bitter fluid from the stomach to the esophagus. Most common words used for GERD are heartburn, indigestion, acid reflux and acid regurgitation. It can affect individual’s quality of life so do not ignore if you are having this problem.

Symptoms of GERD
GERD presents with acid content or bitter taste in mouth usually after meals, on lying down or with bending, straining or heavy lifting. GERD often accompanied with other symptoms such as;
• Heartburn or burning sensation or heaviness around middle of the chest or upper abdomen
• Nausea
• Vomiting
• Halitosis or bad breath
• Difficulty in swallowing or pain during swallowing.
• Dry, long-lasting cough with sore throat.
• Wearing away of your teeth/erosion of enamel of your teeth.

Causes of GERD
GERD means acid content coming back up to the esophagus or food pipe. Actually when we swallow food it comes from esophagus to stomach. At the lower end of esophagus there is a band of muscles called as lower esophageal sphincter (LES) which plays an important role in preventing acid reflux from the stomach means it acts as a barrier between lower part of esophagus and stomach. When lower esophageal sphincter relaxes it allows food to enter in to the stomach and then it closes to prevent food particles and acidic content to flow back in to the esophagus, but if there is weakness in the muscles of lower esophageal sphincter it may relax at inappropriate time when actually it should not and causing stomach contents to rise up in to the esophagus. Factors like distention of the stomach, delayed emptying of the stomach, large sliding hiatal hernia, or too much acid in the stomach can also make it easier for acid reflux to occur.

Risk factors of GERD
1. Obesity – Increased weight may cause increase pressure on the abdomen and may causes relaxation of LES at inappropriate time.
2. Pregnancy – In pregnancy due to high progesterone level motility of entire gastrointestinal tract decreases and LES relaxation leads to acid regurgitation and heartburn.
3. Smoking – smoking and passive smoking also relaxes LES leads to acid regurgitation.
4. Certain medications- antihistamines, analgesics, antidepressants, Calcium channel blockers used to treat high BP, Asthma medications eg bronchodilators and theophylline, sedatives, antibiotics and estrogen replacements.
5. Sedentary lifestyle – People who work as sitting for long, do not do any physical activity and late night work or not sleeping in the night increases acid content of stomach.
6. Wrong dietary habits – Oily and spicy food, junk food, chocolates, peppermints and alcoholic beverages increases acid content of stomach and weakens LES.
7. Low gap between meal and sleep – Ideal time gap between meal and sleep (going to bed) should be at least 3 hours but reduced time gap or going to bed just after meal decreases digestion process and increases acid content of stomach.
8. Hiatus hernia – Hiatus hernia is a condition in which the opening in your diaphragm lets the upper part of the stomach move up into your chest, which lowers the pressure in the esophageal sphincter.

Even when the LES and the diaphragm are intact and functioning normally, reflux can still occur. The LES may relax after having large meals leading to distension of the upper part of the stomach. When that happens there is not enough pressure at the LES to prevent reflux. In some patients the LES is too weak or cannot mount enough pressure to prevent reflux during periods of increased pressure within the abdomen.

When you need to go to the doctor
If you are having acid reflux or heartburn twice in week for few weeks, accompanied by other symptoms like nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, bad breath, chronic dry cough, sore throat then you should take an appointment with your doctor.

Diagnosis
1. Signs and symptoms, medical history, medication history, family history, lifestyle and dietary habits, and physical examination are important to diagnose GERD.

If patient has chronic heartburn, symptoms are not improving, trouble in swallowing then doctor can order few of these diagnostic tests and may refer the patient to gastroenterologist.

2. Ambulatory 24 hour acid pH probe test – It is a test to monitor the amount of acid in your esophagus. This is the most accurate procedure to detect acid reflux. A gastroenterologist performs this procedure at a hospital or in outpatient care as a part of an upper GI endoscopy. A thin tube with pH sensor passed through the patient’s nose or mouth in to the esophagus which measures how much and how many times stomach regurgitates acid, other part of tube is connected to the computer which records the pH readings. Monitoring is for 24 hours.

Bravo wireless esophageal pH monitoring – This is also for pH monitoring but in this the doctor temporarily attaches a small capsule to the wall of your esophagus during an upper endoscopy. The capsule measures pH levels in the esophagus and transmits information to a receiver. The receiver is about the size of a pager, which you wear on your belt or waistband. You can follow your usual daily routine during monitoring, which usually lasts 48 hours. The receiver has several buttons on it that you will press to record symptoms of GERD such as heartburn. The nurse will tell you what symptoms to record. You will be asked to maintain a diary to record certain events such as when you start and stop eating and drinking, when you lie down, and when you get back up. Before this procedure your doctor will ask to stop all GERD medications if you are taking any. After about 5 to 7 days capsule will fall off and pass through the stool.

3. Upper GI endoscopy and Biopsy –Procedure performed by surgeon or gastroenterologist in the hospital usually under sedation. Endoscope is a thin flexible tube fitted with camera to see inside the organs. Doctor carefully feeds the endoscope in to the upper gastrointestinal tract (esophagus, stomach and duodenum) to examine and if need to take small sample of tissue (biopsy) for further examination.

4. X-ray images of Upper GI – Upper GI series usually performed by X -ray technician at hospital or outpatient center. Patient is asked to drink barium to coat the inner lining of your upper GI tract. With help of barium (contrast) X-ray doctor can detect hiatal hernia, esophageal stricture, ulcers or any other problem.

5. Esophageal manometry – Esophageal manometry measures muscle contractions in your esophagus. A gastroenterologist may order this procedure if you’re thinking about anti-reflux surgery.

Treatment
Depending upon signs and symptoms doctor may recommend naturotherapy, pharmacotherapy or surgery.

Naturotherapy
1. Lifestyle change – If you have sedentary life style, change it and try to walk every day for 30 min and in the sitting job try to walk after each meal and after every 2 hours for 5-10 min.
2. Dietary habits – Avoid caffeine, avoid spicy, fatty and junk food and alcoholic beverages. Increase intake of fibers, fruits and fresh vegetables. Do not overeat. Healthy breakfast is must to prevent acid reflux.
3. Meal time – You should follow a strict pattern of meal time. Last meal of the day should be at or around 7 pm, so that you can have time gap between meal and sleep at least 3 hours. Do not go on the bed just after a meal.
4. Sleeping habits – Always try to go to bed around 9 pm- 10 pm and minimum 6 hours sleep is very important for healthy life. Sleep on a slight angle. Elevate the head of your bed 6 to 8 inches by safely putting blocks under the bedposts.
5. Quit smoking – smoking increases acid production and quitting smoking will prevent from cancer and many diseases.
6. Stop taking over the counter available analgesics and medicines which can increase acid production.
7. Weight loss- if you are overweight or obese try to loose your weight to prevent obesity related disorders.
8. Aloevera – Aloevera soothes the burn or inflammation, so drinking aloevera juice is beneficial in GERD.
9. Banana and apple are natural antacids.
10. Avoid tight-fitting clothes.
Follow healthy lifestyle and Health tips.

Pharmacotherapy
1. Antacids to relieve heartburn and other mild symptoms. Antacids are available over the counter are Maalox, Mylanta, Gelusil, Gaviscon, Rolaids and Tums, may provide quick relief. But antacids alone will not heal an inflamed esophagus damaged by stomach acid. Overuse of some antacids can cause side effects, such as diarrhea or constipation.
2. H2 blockers decrease acid production. H2 blockers are Ranitidine (Zantac 75), Cimetidine (Tagamat HB), Famotidine (Pepcid AC), Nizatidine (Axid AR).
3. PPIs(Proton pump Inhibitors) limit acid secretion in the stomach and resolution of the symptoms with healing of the esophagus. Over the counter available PPIs are Omeprazole (Prilosec),lansoprazole, pantoprazole(protonix), rabeprazole(Acip Hex), esomeprazole (Nexium)
4. Prokinetics help the emptying of stomach faster. On prescription metoclopramide(reglan), Bethanechol (Urecholine)

Surgery
Though most of the time GERD improved and relieved by medications but if symptoms are not improving with medications and lifestyle change, doctor may advice for surgery.

Fundoplication – For long-term reflux prevention Nissen fundoplication is the most common surgery. Surgeon perform this at the hospital under anesthesia by using laparoscope, which is a thin tube fitted with video camera. Fundoplication is a procedure to tightening the lower esophageal sphincter by wrapping the top of the stomach. Hospital stay usually 2-3 days. Return to normal daily activities in 2 weeks.

Using LINX – Linx is a ring-shaped magnetic titanium based device which is used to wrap around lower esophagus and top of stomach to tighten the lower esophageal sphincter. Because of the strong magnetic attraction between titanium beads in the ring it prevents opening during acid reflux.

Complications Of untreated GERD
Respiratory problems – Because of acid reflux in GERD sometimes during sleep acid can go in to the lungs which cause respiratory problems.
Dry and long-lasting cough or sore throat
Chest congestion or fluid in the lungs (Aspiration Pneumonia)
Hoarseness of voice
Wheezing
Laryngitis
Esophagitis – It is inflammation of esophagus because of destruction of normal esophageal lining by acid. If left untreated chronic esophagitis may be cancerous.
Esophageal stricture- In this esophagus becomes narrow.
Barrett’s esophagus – Untreated GERD may sometimes give rise to a serious condition like barrett’s esophagus which is cancerous.

Key point to remember
Heartburn due to GERD and chest pain due to angina (reduced blood supply to the heart) or heart attacks are similar. GERD related heartburn usually after heavy meal or spicy food and gets worse by bending or lying down. Chest pain or discomfort due to angina usually after exertion or emotional stress and not affected by changing in the positions and gets worse after physical activity and does not go away with rest.If you are not sure visit to the doctor without delay.

Please note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional.

Source content – The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), International Foundation for Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders aboutgerd.org

Acne or Pimples

Acne or commonly known as pimples are very common skin problem in teenage and late teenage groups, though any age group from newborn to adults or sometimes older people can also have acne, usually women complains about acne but common in men too. Acne has negative effects on selfesteem due to cosmetic reason and it gives scars when goes off.
Acne is a chronic inflammation of pilosebaceous units (hair follicles and accompanying sebsceous glands) due to increased sebum production. Acne may present as various forms include seborrhea, comedones, papules, pustules, nodules, pseudocyst and after that scars when acne goes off.

Pathogenesis
There are four major pathogenic factors in the development of acne
1. Increased sebum production
2. Follicular hyperkeratinization (follicular plugging with sebum and keratinocytes)
3. Propionibacterium acne (P. acne) colonization
4. Release of multiple inflammatory mediators

Factors that may cause acne
Severity of acne depends upon sebum excretion rate which increases in puberty. There are multiple factors which can cause acne.
1. Hormonal factors – Sex hormones androgens, progesterone and testosterone increases sebum production rate. At puberty, level of these hormones increases thus cause acne formation. Estrogen reduces sebum production. But most patients have normal hormone profiles.
2. Genetic factors – sometimes if anyone in family had bad acne that may run in to family.
3. Environmental factors – high humidity, heat and sweating may also cause acne.
4. Stress and depression – Psychological stress and depression may disturb the hormonal level and may cause acne.
5. Lack of sleep – Insufficient sleep also stimulates sebum production and acne formation.
6. Certain cosmetics which contain lanolin, vegetable oils, butyl sterate or lauryl alcohol and oleic acid are another cause of acne.
7. Some products which are irritants on skin or allergic to skin also cause acne.
8. Dietary habits – High intake of dairy products, meat, sugars, junk food also cause acne.
9. Hair dandruffs also cause acne so hair washing frequently advised to prevent acne.
10.Certain medications also provoke acne.

Signs and symptoms
Local symptoms are pain tender and erythema. Acne vulgaris typically affects the areas of skin with the densest population of sebaceous follicles (eg, face, upper chest, back). Acne vulgaris may have a psychological impact on any patient, regardless of the severity or the grade of the disease.
Acne or pimples may be in different forms
Comedones are sebaceous plugs impacted within follicles. Depending on wheather follicle is closed or dilated(open) at skin suface comedones are of two types closed comedone or whiteheads and open comedones also called blackheads.
Plugs are easily extruded from open comedones but are more difficult to remove from closed comedones. Closed comedones are the precursor lesions to inflammatory acne. Whiteheads (closed comedones) are flesh-colored or whitish palpable lesions 1 to 3 mm in diameter; blackheads (open comedones) are similar in appearance but with a dark center.
Papules and pustules are inflammatory acne, usually occurs after propionibacterum acne colonization in closed comedones, these are red lesions around 2-5 mm in diameter, papules are relatively deeper and pustules are superficial.
Nodules or small eruptions which are solid and painful. Cysts are suppurative nodules.
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Acne fulminans – It is rare but severe presentation usually associated with fever, joint pain and swelling. It is usually found on the trunk.
Acne Conglobate – Severe acne, characterized by multiple comedones, nodules, abscess, sinuses, cysts and marked scarring without the presence of systemic symptoms. More commonly present in adult males on the trunk and upper limb.
Acne Excorii- Self inflicted excoriation of skin due to repetitive touching , picking and pricking of preexisting acne lesions. Most commonly presents in teenage girls and people suffering with psychological stress or depression.
Pyoderma faciale (also called rosacea fulminans) – occurs suddenly on the midface of young women. The eruption consists of erythematous plaques and pustules, involving the chin, cheeks, and forehead.
Secondary acne– acne caused by either greasy or irritant cosmetics, exposure to oil and dust or some medications like corticosteroids, anticonvulsants, lithium. Polycystic ovary syndrome, menstrual irregularities and premenstrual period are usually associated with acne.

Diagnosis
Signs and symptoms along with medical history, menstrual history, any medications, psychological stress or depression and environmental history.
Local examinations of acne and scars
Laboratory tests for female menstruating patients to check hormone levels of total and/or free testosterone, dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate, luteinizing hormone (LH), and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH).

Treatment
It is important to treat acne to reduce the extent of disease, scarring, and psychological distress.

A. Naturotherapy (Natural way of treatment for simple acne and prevention of severe acne).
1. Affected areas should be cleansed daily.
2. Change dietary habits avoid oily food, reduce intake of dairy products and sugar. Food should be rich in fibers and fruits.
3. Drink plenty of water.
4. Full sleep for 6-8 hours.
5. Pranayama (deep breathing exercises) helps to reduce stress and thus acne.
6. Avoid irritant cosmetic products.
Follow healthy lifestyle and health tips.

B. Pharmacotherapy
Consultation with a specialist may be necessary. Treatment should involve educating the patient and tailoring the plan to one that is realistic for the patient. Treatment failure can frequently be attributed to lack of adherence to the plan and also to lack of follow-up.

Topical therapy is useful in mild and moderate acne, as monotherapy, in combination and also as maintenance therapy. Systemic and physical therapy depends upon severity of acne.
1. Benzoyl peroxide – Mild acne usually managed with topical therapy. Initially started with low concentration topical benzoyl peroxide for short duration then gradually increased if tolerated.
2. Topical retinoids – Topical retinoids target the microcomedo–precursor lesion of acne. Tretinoin and isotretinoin are commonly used topical retinoids.
3. Topical antibiotics – Many topical antibiotics formulations are available, either alone or in combination. They inhibit the growth of P. acne and reduce inflammation. Topical antibiotics such as erythromycin and clindamycin are the most popular in the management of acne.
4. Other topical agents – Azelaic acid, Salicylic acid, Lactic acid/Lactate lotion, Tea tree oil 5%, Picolinic acid gel 10%, Dapsone gel 5% can also be used either single agent or in combination therapy.
5. Systemic antibiotics – Oral antibiotics are indicated in mainly moderate-to-severe inflammatory acne. Tetracyclines and derivatives still remain the first choice. Macrolides, co-trimoxazole, and trimethoprim are other alternatives for acne. Gastrointestinal upset and vaginal candidiasis are most common side effects. Doxycycline can be associated with photosensitivity. Minocycline may produce pigment deposition in the skin, mucous membrane, and teeth. Autoimmune hepatitis, systemic lupus erythematosus-like syndrome, and serum sickness-like reactions occur rarely with minocycline.
6. Hormonal therapy – Used in female patients suffering with androgenic alopecia, hirsuitism, seborrhea, and proven ovarian or adrenal hyperandrogenism.
Oral contraceptives – Anti-acne effect of oral contraceptive governed by decreasing level of circulatory androgens through inhibition of luteinizing hormones (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH).
Spironolactone – functions primarily as a steroidal androgen receptor blocker.
Cyproterone acetate– it is first androgen receptor blocking agent used in combination with ethinyl estradiol to treat acne in females.
Flutamide – used to treat acne in females with hirsuitism.

7. Oral isotretinoin – used to treat modereate to severe acne which in not responsive to conventional therapy.

C. Physical treatment-
Intralesional injections of triamcinolone acetonide may be required for inflamed acne nodules or cysts, which can also be incised and drained, or excised under local anaesthetic.
UVB phototherapy or PDT can occasionally be used in patients with inflammatory acne who are unable to use conventional therapy.

Summary of treatment

• Comedones: Topical tretinoin
• Mild inflammatory acne: Topical antibiotics, benzoyl peroxide, or both
• Moderate acne: Oral antibiotics
• Severe acne: Oral isotretinoin
• Cystic acne: Intralesional triamcinolone
• Oral contraceptives are effective in treating inflammatory and noninflammatory acne in females.

Effective treatments aim to improve the condition and prevent worsening (including later scarring), and to restore emotional well-being and self-esteem. The psychological impact of acne must not be underestimated and should be considered in management decisions.

Please note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional.

Content source –  Davidson’s Principles and Practice of Medicine(22ndedition), Indian Journal of Dermatology, http://www.merckmanuals.com, http://www.dermnetnz.org

Appendicitis

Appendicitis is acute inflammation of vermiform appendix. So first you should know about Appendix.
Appendix is actually a vestigial part of intestinal tract, it looks like a worm therefore named as vermiform appendix. It is a hollow tube like structure which is closed at one end and connected to cecum at another end. Cecum is a pouch like beginning of large intestine.
Appendix is located at the right lower side of the abdomen, it is around 3-4 inches long and roughly a quarter of an inch in diameter. Though it is a vestigial remnant of large cecum but still its functions are not clear. Presence of lymphoid tissue supports the role in immune system whereas another function is the collection of beneficial bacteria which is helpful in illness. The inner lining of the appendix produces a small amount of mucus that flows through the open central core of the appendix and into the cecum.

Appendicitis
If anything blocks the opening of appendix or prevents it from expelling its contents into the cecum may result in appendicitis means inflammation of appendix, which is very painful and if spreads it may be dangerous. Appendicitis may be Acute or chronic and one of the most common cause of abdominal pain .It is a clinical emergency. Most common cause of obstruction is fecolith (hardened pieces of fecal material), obstruction leads to multiplication of bacteria and worsening inflammation. Because of blockage of appendix fluid and mucus collection occurs inside appendix leads to edema, swelling and distention of the organ, and when it bursts spilling of all its content in the abdominal cavity and the surrounding organs will lead peritonitis. Therefore appendicitis is an emergency and surgical removal of the appendix is the definitive treatment.

Causes of appendicitis
An obstruction, or blockage, of the appendiceal lumen causes appendicitis. Mucus backs up in the appendiceal lumen, causing bacteria that normally live inside the appendix to multiply. As a result, the appendix swells and becomes infected. Sources of blockage include
 Stool, parasites, or growths that clog the appendiceal lumen
 Enlarged lymph tissue in the wall of the appendix, caused by infection in the GI tract or elsewhere in the body
 Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), which includes Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, long-lasting disorders that cause irritation and ulcers in the GI tract
 Trauma to the abdomen
An inflamed appendix will likely burst if not removed.

Symptoms
1. Pain- Initially pain starts around the navel or all over the abdomen and after few hours it is localized to right lower side of the abdomen. The pain may be very severe that discomforts patient to move in any position or at rest. Patients usually lie down, flex their hips, and draw their knees up to reduce movements and to avoid worsening their pain
2. Fever usually low grade
3. Nausea and vomiting
4. Constipation or diarrhea
5. Anorexia/loss of appetite
6. Inability to pass gas
7. The feeling that having a bowel movement will relieve discomfort

How to Diagnose?
1. Clinical symptoms with medical and surgical history.
2. Physical examination with detailed abdominal exam- Health care provider will examine abdomen for specific signs of appendicitis ( Rovsing’s sign, Psoas sign, Obturator sign, Guarding and Rebound tenderness)
Women of childbearing age may be asked to undergo a pelvic exam to rule out gynecological conditions, which sometimes cause abdominal pain similar to appendicitis.
3. Laboratory test -Some tests which are used to confirm appendicitis
Blood test will show high WBCs (white blood cell count) usually more than 10,500 cells/        µL,   which is a sign of infection.
Check the level of Serum electrolytes- sodium(Na), potassium(K), Magnesium(Mg),              Chloride and Calcium(Ca).
Urine analysis to rule out pregnancy , UTI and kidney stones.
4. Imaging test-
Abdominal X- ray to detect obstruction.
Abdominal ultrasound to identify enlarged or inflamed appendix, abscess and in females to rule out ovarian torsion or other related disorder.
CT scan – Imaging test to identify inflamed or enlarged appendix, abscess, and other abdominal disorders. Women of childbearing age should have a pregnancy test before undergoing a CT scan. The radiation used in CT scans can be harmful to a developing fetus.
MRI- MRI used to diagnose appendicitis and other sources of abdominal pain is a safe, reliable alternative to a computerized tomography (CT) scan.

Treatment
Surgical removal of appendix is the definitive treatment of appendicitis. Therefore if health care provider finds classic symptoms and signs of appendicitis so without performing imaging test surgeon can perform laparotomy for removal of appendix and complications can be greatly reduced. Appendectomy is preceded by IV antibiotics and iv fluids.
Surgical removal of appendix is called appendectomy which can be either through laparotomy or laparoscopy.
Laparotomy– Laparotomy removes the appendix through a single incision in the lower right area of the abdomen.
Laparoscopy– Laparoscopy is a surgical procedure in which a small fiberoptic tube with a camera is inserted into the abdomen through a small puncture made on the abdominal wall. Laparoscopy allows a direct view of the appendix as well as other abdominal and pelvic organs. If appendicitis is found, the inflamed appendix can be removed with the laparoscope. But intraabdominal adhesions are contraindication of laparoscopic surgery. Advantage of this is fast recovery and very low chances of post operative infection. Surgeons recommend limiting physical activity for the first 10 to 14 days after a laparotomy and for the first 3 to 5 days after laparoscopic surgery.

Abscess– Sometimes an abscess forms around a burst appendix called an appendiceal abscess. A surgeon may drain the pus from the abscess during surgery or, more commonly, before surgery. To drain an abscess, a tube is placed in the abscess through the abdominal wall. The drainage tube is left in place for about 2 weeks while antibiotics are given to treat infection. Six to 8 weeks later, when infection and inflammation are under control, surgeons operate to remove what remains of the burst appendix.

Fact about appendicitis
Appendicitis is a medical emergency that requires immediate care. People who think they have appendicitis should see a health care provider or go to the emergency room right away. Swift diagnosis and treatment can reduce the chances the appendix will burst and improve recovery time.

Please note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional.

Content source – http://www.niddk.nih.gov The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, Encyclopedia Britannica, Merckmanuals.com

UTI (Urinary Tract Infection)

What is UTI?
Urinary tract infection is UTI, so first you should know about urinary tract. Urinary tract consist of two kidneys, two ureters, one bladder and one urethra. Kidney plays a very important role in excretion of metabolic waste products and formation of urine. The ureters drain urine from kidney and deliver it to the bladder. Function of bladder is to store urine and then release during micturition. The urethra is the tube through which urine passes from the bladder to the exterior of the body. The female urethra is around 2 inches long and ends inferior to the clitoris and superior to the vaginal opening. In males, the urethra is around 8 to 10 inches long and ends at the tip of the penis.
Infection in the urinary tract caused by microorganisms and most common bacteria is E.coli derived from gastrointestinal tract. UTI is the term commonly used to describe urethritis and cystitis, infection in the urethra called as urethritis and infection in the bladder is called as cystitis. But infection can be in any part of the urinary tract from the kidney to urethra. Microorganisms or bacteria can travel from urethra to bladder, bladder to ureter, and ureter to the kidney which may result in pyelonephritis (infection in the kidney).
Urinary tract is divided in to
Upper urinary tract consist of kidney and ureter and
Lower urinary tract consist of bladder and urethra.

Urinary-System
Causes of UTI
E.coli is the most common microorganism to infect urethra but other microbes proteus, pseudomonas, streptococci, staphylococci and klebsiella are also common. Chlamydia and Mycoplasma can infect the urethra and reproductive system but not the bladder. Chlamydia and Mycoplasma infections may be sexually transmitted and require treatment of sexual partners.
UTI is more common in women because in women, the ascent of organisms into the bladder is easier than in men; the urethra is shorter and the absence of bactericidal prostatic secretions may be relevant.
Sexual intercourse may cause minor urethral trauma and transfer bacteria from the perineum into the bladder.
Risk Factors of UTI
1. Poor Hygiene
2. Using dirty toilets
3. Multiple sexual partner or new sexual partner
4. Using a diaphragm for birth control, because it may slow urinary flow and allow bacteria to multiply.
5. Condom use may also cause UTI because of minor vaginal trauma during intercourse.
6. Tampons and spermicidal jelly may cause irritation of vaginal and surrounding skin which can result in UTI.
7. Pregnancy
8. Menopause (atrophic urethritis and atrophic vaginitis)
9. Nerve damage around bladder or in spinal cord injury patient can not completely empty bladder which can allow bacteria to grow.
10. Using catheters in bedridden patients.
11. Diabetes
12. Bowel incontinence
13. Any instrumentation in the bladder or urethra during surgery.
14. Kidney stones
15. Enlarged prostate
16. Inappropriate use of antibiotics (interrupt natural flora of gastrointestinal tract and urinary tract).

Symptoms of UTI
Symptoms of UTI depends upon age, gender, other associated disorders, presence of catheter and the site of infection.
1. Abrupt onset of frequency of micturition and urgency.
2. Dysuria (pain in the urethra or burning sensation during micturition).
3. Pain in lower abdomen during and after urination.
4. Cloudy urine with an unpleasant odor.
5. Sometimes blood in urine (hematuria which may be microscopic or visible).
6. Fever (when infection reached to kidney, usually in catheterized patients but it can be the first symptom in men).
7. Nausea and vomiting if infection is severe.
Acute Pyelonephritis is a condition when infection spreads to the kidney, recognized by fever with chills, rigors, nausea, vomiting, loin or back pain, hypotension, guarding or rigidity may be an indication of hospitalization.
Diagnosis-
1. Clinical symptoms with medical and surgical history.
2. Investigations/lab tests-

      Urine Dipsticks
Urine microscopy and cytometry
Urine Culture to know microorganism

For these tests patient is asked to collect clean catch urine by washing and wiping genital area and midstream urine sample in a sterile container, so that bacteria around the genital area cannot come in to the urine sample and will prevent the confusion of test results.
       Blood test for complete blood count, urea and electrolytes in infants, children and patients with fever or any complicated infection.
       Blood culture
Imaging tests-
USG (ultrasonography)– Ultrasound uses a device, called a transducer, that bounces safe, painless sound waves off organs to create an image of their structure.
CT scan – CT scans use a combination of x rays and computer technology to create three-dimensional (3-D) images.
MRI – MRI machines use radio waves and magnets to produce detailed pictures of the body’s internal organs and soft tissues without using x rays.
Radionuclide scan– A radionuclide scan is an imaging technique that relies on the detection of small amounts of radiation after injection of radioactive chemicals. Special cameras and computers are used to create images of the radioactive chemicals as they pass through the kidneys.
Urodynamics – Urodynamic testing is any procedure that looks at how well the bladder, sphincters, and urethra are storing and releasing urine. Most of these tests are performed in the office of an urologist—a doctor who specializes in urinary problems—by a urologist, physician assistant, or nurse practitioner. Some procedures may require light sedation to keep a person calm.
Cystoscopy – looking inside the bladder and urethra with a camera lens inserted via the urethra through a long thin tube.
Pelvic examination in women and rectal examination in men.
Investigations to diagnose UTI depends upon age, gender clinical symptoms and severity of infection thus use selectively.
Treatment of UTI
Because UTI caused by microorganisms mostly bacteria so antibiotics are recommended to treat the UTI, after getting the results of urine culture which usually takes 48-72 hours. For lower UTI usually 3 days course of antibiotics are recommended. Trimethoprim is the first choice of treatment if bacteria is trimethoprim sensitive, but for trimethoprim resistant bacteria nitrofurantoin or quinolones are effective.
In severe infections treatment may continue for 7-14 days, depending upon patient’s condition doctor decides for intravenous or oral treatment.
Penicillins and cephalosporins are safe to use in pregnancy but trimethoprim, sulphonamides, quinolones and tetracyclines should be avoided.
Fluid intake of 2-3 liters and urinating frequently is usually recommended to flush out the toxins of kidney.
Prevention of UTI
1. Good personal hygiene
2. Drink plenty of fluids around 3 liters per day
3. Urinate frequently if you feel to empty the bladder, do not hold for long time
4. Cranberry juice helps to prevent infection.
5. Urinate before and after sexual intercourse.
6. Wipe from front to back after toilet, in that way bacteria will not come from anal region to urethral region.
7. During menstruation change pads frequently and tampons use should be avoided.
8. Use non-spermicidal lubricated condoms, because spermicidal jelly is skin irritant which cause bacteria to grow and results in UTI.
9. Use cotton and loose fitting underwear and clothes to keep area around urethra dry.
10. Avoid irritant feminine products like deodorant sprays, powders or douches which irritate urethra.
11. Quit smoking
12. Choose healthy diet rich in fibers, protein.
13. Avoid caffeine, nicotine, carbonated soft drinks, spicy food and alcohol.

Please note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional.

Image curtsey –shutterstock.com
Content sourceDavidson’s Principles and Practice of Medicine (22nd edition), The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases niddk.nih.gov

Antibiotics

Antibiotics are the antimicrobial drugs which are designed to work against microorganisms either by inhibit the growth or kill the infecting organism. Antibiotics are effective against bacteria, so they are also known as antibacterial. It is important to know that antibiotics are not effective against viruses such as common cold and influenza. So before taking any antibiotic proper knowledge about antibiotics is very important. Never take any antibiotic without doctor’s prescription and never ask doctor for prescribing antibiotics, it would be harmful for your body.
Antibiotics were one of the most, if not the most, transformational discoveries in all of medicine. Infections are something that we struggled to treat for many, many years, for centuries before the advent of antibiotics, and infections were a major cause of death before the advent of antibiotics. They are really miracle drugs in cancer chemotherapy, bone marrow transplantation, stem cell transplantation, ant severe infection. But overuse and misuse of antibiotics is worldwide concern nowadays.

Antimicrobials are classified in many ways, according to chemical structure, mechanism of action, against the type of organism, spectrum of activity, type of action and antibiotics obtained from microorganisms. Antimicrobials according to the type of organisms against which primarily active are Antibacterial, Antifungal, Antiviral, Antiprotozoal, Anthelmintic.
Antibiotics have different mechanism of action. They work either by inhibiting cell wall synthesis, inhibiting protein synthesis, cause leakage from cell membranes, cause misreading of mRNA code and affect permeability, interfere with DNA synthesis or DNA function, inhibit DNA gyrase or interfering intermediary metabolism. Antibiotics may be bacteriostatic or bactericidal. Some static drugs may become cidal at higher concentration, on the other hand some cidal drugs may be only static under some circumstances.

Problems with the use of antibiotics
1.Toxicity
Local irritancy – usually at the site of administration, pain and abscess formation at i.m site or thrombophlebitis with i.v administration.
Systemic Toxicity- Almost all antibiotics may cause some type of systemic toxicity, depending upon doses. Some antibiotics Aminoglycosides can cause 8th cranial nerve and kidney toxicity, tetracyclines can affect kidney and liver, chloramphenicol can cause bone marrow depression, vancomycin can cause hearing loss and kidney damage, polymixin B and amphotericin B can cause neurological and renal toxicity. So never use any antibiotics without doctor’s prescription and advise.
2. Hypersensitivity Reactions
All antibiotics can cause unpredictable reactions from rashes to anaphylactic shock.
3. Drug resistance
Natural resistance– some microbes have always been resistance to certain antibiotics. They lack the metabolic process or the target site which is affected by a particular drug.
Acquired Resistance- It is development of resistance by organism due to the use of antibiotics over the period of time. It is the biggest problem for public health. Bacteria, like any living organism, want to survive. They are adapted that way, and any successful bacteria is the bacteria that’s most able to survive in the environment. So bacterial resistance is largely inevitable, because bacteria will always change in order to survive, this is a phenomenon that plays out in nature. Resistance may be developed by mutation or gene transfer. Resistance organisms can be either drug tolerant, drug destroying, or drug impermeable.
4. Superinfection
This is an appearance of new infection because of using antibiotics. Antibiotics may alter the normal microbial flora of our body which is natural host defence for our body. More complete the suppression of body flora, greater the chances of developing superinfection. Most common example is antibiotic induced diarrhea, because of suppression of colonic bacteria by antibiotic. Superinfections are more common when host defence is compromised.
5. Nutritional Deficiency
Prolonged use of antibiotics alter the normal intestinal flora (which plays an important role in synthesis of Vitamins B complex group and Vitamin K), may result in vitamins deficiency.
6. Masking of an infection
Short course of an antibiotic may be sufficient to treat one infection but it can also suppress another organism for a while which may become a severe infection later. For example syphilis is masked by single dose of penicillin which is enough to cure gonorrhea.

The most common and biggest problem today with antibiotic use is the resistance, The golden age of antibiotics appears to be coming to an end, its demise hastened by a combination of medical, social and economic factors. For decades, these drugs made it easy for doctors to treat infections and injuries. Now, common ailments are regaining the power to kill.

The problem goes beyond treating infections. As bacterial resistance grows, Lesho said, “we’re all at risk of losing our access” to medical miracles we’ve come to take for granted: elective surgeries, joint replacements, organ transplants, cancer chemotherapies. These treatments give bacteria an opportunity to hitch a ride on a catheter or an unwashed hand and invade an already vulnerable patient.
The struggle to sustain the effectiveness of antibiotics is a never-ending arms race. If humankind were regularly finding new anti-microbial agents and turning them into medicines, there might be less cause for worry.
Researchers haven’t identified a new class of antibiotic medication since 1987. As a result, while bacteria have continuously evolved new ways to develop resistance against antibiotics, the medicines have not gained new mechanisms to fight back.
Because of overuse and misuse of antibiotics microorganisms also found new ways to survive, they modify themselves against antibiotic and thus antibiotic does not work against microorganism. Though hospitals are following infection control policies, but everyone has to aware the fact about antibiotics. We are close to the time of end of antibiotic usage only because of resistance. We are quickly running out of therapies to treat some of these infections that previously had been eminently treatable. There are bacteria that we encounter, particularly in health-care settings, that are resistant to nearly all — or, in some cases, all — the antibiotics that we have available to us, and we are thus entering an era that people have talked about for a long time.
So I want to tell you that never use antibiotics without doctor’s prescription and never force them for prescribing antibiotics.
If doctor prescribes you antibiotics, complete the full course and in the correct way as doctor told you, and follow your doctor’s instructions.

Content source – latimes.com, medical news, The essentials of pharmacology book by K.D.Tripathi ( 6th edition)

Please note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional.