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lifestyle tips diabetes

Lifestyle Tips in Diabetes – Diet and Exercise

Diabetes mellitus, commonly known as diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is higher than usual.  Blood glucose is the main source of energy for the body and comes from the food we eat. 

The pancreas, an organ that lies near the stomach, makes a hormone called insulin which helps glucose from food get into body cells to be used for energy. 

With diabetes, the body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t effectively use the insulin it makes. Not being able to produce insulin or use it effectively leads to raised glucose levels in the blood (known as hyperglycemia).

Over the long-term high glucose levels are associated with damage to the body and failure of various organs and tissues.

Tips to prevent Type 2 Diabetes

Here are some tips to help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes. 

  • Lose extra weight. Excess weight is the single most important cause of type 2 diabetes. 
  • Eat a balanced, healthy diet 
  • Get more physical activity. Exercise can help to lose weight, lower blood sugar and boost sensitivity to insulin
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Quit smoking

How does exercise help in Diabetes?

Exercise increases insulin sensitivity and stimulates another mechanism that allows the  muscles to absorb and use sugar for energy, even without insulin.

Steps a person can take to embrace a lifestyle with diabetes include:

  1. At least two and a half hours of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity per week like brisk walking, water aerobics, swimming, or jogging.
  2. Two to three sessions of resistance exercise per week such as lifting weights or doing pushups. It strengthens the muscles.
  3. Incorporate flexibility in exercises like stretching or yoga into your weekly routine. Yoga brings peace and calmness and lowers blood sugar.

Diabetes and Diet

Healthy eating is a central part of managing diabetes. In some cases, changing the diet may be enough to control the disease. Following tips may be helpful:

  1. Eat more frequently and in small portions.
  2. Eat vegetables and fruits and have them in place of high-calorie food.
  3. Whole grains high in fiber are recommended as a healthy source of carbohydrates.
  4. Eat pulses, a low-fat starchy source of protein and fiber, such as beans, lentils, chickpeas and garden peas.
  5. Reduce intake of saturated and trans fats by having poultry and fish under the grill, rather than fried.
  6. Select skim (fat-free) milk and low-fat (1%) dairy products and reduce the consumption of cheese and butter.
  7. Reduce sugar intake and pay attention to food labels.
  8. Reduce salt intake by avoiding foods with high sodium such as processed foods.

lifestyle tips diabetes

 

Disclaimer:

ERemedium blogs are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as advice or as a substitute for consulting a physician. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment from a healthcare professional.

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HbA1c

Importance of Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) Test

Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test

Diabetes mellitus, commonly known as diabetes is a chronic disease that occurs when blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is higher than usual.  Blood glucose is the main source of energy for the body and comes from the food we eat. 

Over the long-term high glucose levels are associated with damage to the body and failure of various organs and tissues.

Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test may be needed if a person has the symptoms of diabetes including:

  1. Frequent urination
  2. Excessive thirst
  3. Weight loss
  4. Increased Hunger
  5. Extreme fatigue
  6. Blurry vision
  7. Slow-healing wounds
  8. Tingling or numbness in the feet or toes

Men with diabetes may have

  • Decreased sex drive
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED)
  • Poor muscle strength.

Women with diabetes may have 

  • Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)
  • Yeast Infections
  • Dry, Itchy skin

Why is the Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) test important?

The HbA1c test is a useful, simple and inexpensive blood test that can be used to diagnose diabetes and also to monitor blood glucose control in people with known diabetes.

This test evaluates the average amount of glucose in the blood over the last 2 to 3 months. It’s also called HbA1c, hemoglobin A1C, glycated hemoglobin, and glycosylated hemoglobin.

HbA1c readings are reported as a percentage and can be interpreted as below:

A1c Level Indication
Less than 5.7%  Normal
5.7% to 6.4%  Prediabetes
6.5%  Diabetes

What is Hemoglobin?

Hemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells and provides blood its red color. Hemoglobin carries oxygen throughout the body.

How does the HbA1c test work?

The sugar in the blood is called glucose. When glucose builds up in the blood, it binds to the hemoglobin present in red blood cells forming glycated hemoglobin. The amount of glucose that combines with hemoglobin is directly proportional to the total amount of sugar that is in the system at that time.

As red blood cells in the human body survive for 8-12 weeks before renewal, measuring glycated hemoglobin (or HbA1c) can be used to reflect average blood glucose levels over that duration, providing a useful longer-term gauge of blood glucose control. 

The higher the level of glucose in the blood, the higher the level of hemoglobin A1c is detectable on red blood cells.

What are the benefits of lowering HbA1c?

Improving HbA1c for people suffering from Diabetes cuts the risk of complications such as:

  • Retinopathy
  • Neuropathy
  • Diabetic Nephropathy
  • Cataracts
  • Heart Failure
  • Peripheral vascular disease

How does HbA1c differ from a blood glucose level?

HbA1c provides a longer-term trend, similar to an average, of how high the blood sugar levels have been over a period of time whereas Blood glucose level is the concentration of glucose in the blood at a single point in time.

How often HbA1c levels should be checked?

Hemoglobin A1c levels may be checked every three months until a person with diabetes reaches the treatment goals.

People with diabetes who are meeting treatment goals and have stable blood control are recommended to check their hemoglobin A1c every six months.

How is the HbA1c test done?

The HbA1c test is a simple blood test with no need for fasting before the test. The blood sample can be taken by the doctor or at a pathology lab. 

What are the tips to lower HbA1c levels?

Here are some tips to help lower HbA1c levels:

  • Lose extra weight. Excess weight is the single most important cause of type 2 diabetes. 
  • Eat a balanced, healthy diet 
  • Get more physical activity. Exercise can help to lose weight, lower blood sugar and boost sensitivity to insulin
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Quit smoking

HbA1c

 

Disclaimer:

ERemedium blogs are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as advice or as a substitute for consulting a physician. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment from a healthcare professional.

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Insulin

Insulin in Diabetes – Types, Injections site, Steps to Inject

Insulin is a hormone made by the pancreas. The pancreas is an organ behind the stomach that is the main source of insulin in the body.

Insulin is responsible for allowing glucose in the blood to enter cells, providing them with the energy to function. A lack of effective insulin plays a key role in the development of diabetes.

What is the role of Insulin?

The cells in the body need sugar for energy. Insulin is often described as a “key,” which unlocks the cell to allow sugar to enter the cell and be used for energy.

Insulin helps balance out blood sugar levels and keeps them in a normal range. 

What is Insulin resistance?

In some people, especially those who are overweight or inactive, insulin is not effective in transporting glucose into the cells. This inability of insulin to exert its effect on cells is called insulin resistance.

When the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin to overcome insulin resistance, it may lead to Type 2 diabetes.

Does every person with Diabetes need to take Insulin?

No. Insulin is mandatory for people with type 1 diabetes, but many people with type 2 diabetes can manage blood sugar levels with diet, exercise, and oral medications. Some individuals with type 2 diabetes may also need insulin for control.

Insulin Injections

Insulin injection is a safe way to control sugar levels.But insulin injections should be taken only with the advice of the doctor.

There are different types of insulin that your doctor may recommend depending upon the severity of diabetes.

Some major types of insulin injections are:

Type Onset Time Peak Action Time Overall Effect Time
Rapid-acting insulin 5-15 mins 30-90 mins 3-5 hours
Short-acting insulin 30-60 mins 2-3 hours 5-8 hours
Intermediate-acting 2-4 hours 4-12 hours 10-18 hours
Long-acting insulins 2-10 hours 6-16 hours 16-24 hours

Insulin

 

Disclaimer:

ERemedium blogs are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as advice or as a substitute for consulting a physician. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment from a healthcare professional.

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Thyroid Problems

Thyroid Problems – Types, Causes, Symptoms and Diagnosis

The thyroid is a small, butterfly-shaped gland at the base of the front of the neck and produces triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4) hormones. These hormones affect all aspects of metabolism and also influence the control of vital functions, such as body temperature and heart rate. The thyroid gland also needs adequate amounts of dietary iodine to be able to produce T4 and T3.

Thyroid Problems

Types of Thyroid problems

The main types of thyroid problems are:

Hyperthyroidism: When the thyroid produces too much hormone. It’s also called overactive thyroid.

Hypothyroidism: When the thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormone. It‘s also called underactive thyroid. 

Thyroid Cancer: When some of the thyroid cells become cancerous.

Goiter: An unusually enlarged thyroid gland. Usually, the only symptom of a goiter is a swelling in the neck. A very large goiter can also cause a tight feeling in the throat, coughing, problems swallowing or breathing. 

Thyroid Nodules: A condition called toxic nodular goiter or multinodular goiter. Thyroid nodules are growths that form on or in the thyroid gland and can cause the thyroid gland to overproduce hormones.

Thyroiditis: An inflammation of the thyroid gland and may be associated with either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. Thyroiditis may be due to an autoimmune disorder (especially Hashimoto thyroiditis), an infection, exposure to a chemical that is toxic to the thyroid, or due to an unknown cause (idiopathic). 

How do thyroid problems affect women?

Women are more likely than men to have thyroid diseases, especially right after pregnancy and after menopause. In women, thyroid diseases can cause:

  • Problems with the menstrual period: The thyroid helps control the menstrual cycle. Hyperthyroidism or Hypothyroidism can make periods very light, heavy, or irregular. Thyroid disease can cause periods to stop for several months or longer, a condition called amenorrhea and can also lead to early menopause (before age 40).
  • Problems getting pregnant: When thyroid disease affects the menstrual cycle, it also affects ovulation making it harder to conceive.
  • Problems during pregnancy: Thyroid problems during pregnancy can cause health problems for the mother and the baby.

What causes Hypothyroidism?

The following conditions cause hypothyroidism:

    • Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: The most common cause of hypothyroidism. The disease occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks and slowly destroys the thyroid gland and its ability to produce hormones.
    • Postpartum thyroiditis: An inflammation of the thyroid after giving birth, affecting around 10% of women. 
    • Removal of the thyroid gland: The thyroid may have been surgically removed or chemically destroyed.
  • Medications: Few medications, particularly lithium may cause drug-induced hypothyroidism.
    • Congenital defects: Hypothyroidism can be present from birth resulting in mental retardation, goiter, and short stature.
  • Iodine deficiency: Lack of iodine diminishes the ability of the thyroid gland to make enough thyroid hormone. 

What causes Hyperthyroidism?

The following conditions cause hyperthyroidism:

  • Graves’ disease: The most common cause of hyperthyroidism. Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder that occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland. This can cause the gland to overproduce the hormone responsible for regulating metabolism.
  • Thyroid Nodules: A condition called toxic nodular goiter or multinodular goiter. Thyroid nodules are growths that form on or in the thyroid gland and can cause the thyroid gland to overproduce hormones.
  • Pituitary adenoma: The tumor of the pituitary gland leads to overstimulation of the thyroid gland.
  • Subacute thyroiditis: A temporary inflammatory disorder of the thyroid gland resulting in periods of increased thyroid hormone release due to the inflammation.

What are the symptoms of Hypothyroidism?

Common symptoms of Hypothyroidism

  • Weight gain
  • Fatigue
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin
  • Puffy face
  • Hoarseness
  • Muscle weakness
  • Muscle aches
  • Thinning hair
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Depression
  • Impaired memory
  • Enlarged thyroid gland (goiter)
  • Irregular menstrual periods

Babies with hypothyroidism may have

  • Cold hands and feet
  • Constipation
  • Extreme sleepiness
  • Hoarse cry
  • Little or no growth
  • Low muscle tone
  • Persistent jaundice
  • Poor feeding habits
  • Puffy face
  • Stomach bloating
  • Swollen tongue

Children and teens have the same signs and symptoms as adults, but they may also experience:

  • Poor growth, resulting in short stature
  • Delayed development of permanent teeth
  • Delayed puberty
  • Poor mental development

What are the symptoms of Hyperthyroidism?

Common symptoms of Hyperthyroidism

  • Nervousness
  • Irritability
  • Muscle weakness
  • Infrequent, scant menstrual periods
  • Weight loss
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Enlarged thyroid gland
  • Vision problems
  • Heat sensitivity
  • Racing heart

How is Thyroid disease diagnosed?

Early diagnosis and treatment of thyroid disease is crucial. Doctors may order one or more blood tests to check thyroid function. 

  • TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone)


This test measures the amount of TSH (Thyroid-stimulating hormone) in the blood. TSH stimulates the thyroid and is produced by the anterior pituitary gland. This test is used to diagnose hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, screen newborns for hypothyroidism, and monitor treatment for thyroid disorders.

  • T4, Free


This test helps to evaluate thyroid gland function and diagnose thyroid disease including hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. Free T4 is also used to help diagnose congenital hypothyroidism in newborns. 

Almost all of the T4 found in the blood is bound to protein. The rest is free (unbound) and is the biologically active form of the hormone. This test measures the amount of free T4 in the blood.

  • T3 Free and Total


It Helps to evaluate thyroid gland function and diagnose thyroid diseases including hyperthyroidism. It also helps to monitor the effectiveness of treatment of a thyroid disorder. 

Almost all of the T3 found in the blood is bound to protein. The rest is free (unbound) and is the biologically active form of the hormone. This test measures the amount of free T3 and total T3 (bound plus unbound) in the blood.

  • Thyroid Antibodies

This test measures the level of thyroid antibodies in the blood and  helps to diagnose and monitor autoimmune thyroid diseases and to distinguish these from other forms of thyroid disease.

Antibodies are proteins made by the immune system to fight foreign substances like viruses and bacteria. There are different types of thyroid antibodies.

Thyroid peroxidase (TPO) antibodies: These antibodies can be a sign of Hashimoto thyroiditis or Graves’ disease.

Thyroglobulin antibodies (Tg): These antibodies can also be a sign of both Graves’ disease and Hashimoto thyroiditis. Most people with Hashimoto thyroiditis have high levels of both Tg and TPO antibodies.

Thyroid-stimulating hormone receptor antibodies (TSHR): These antibodies can be a sign of Grave’s disease.

  • Thyroglobulin

This test measures the amount of thyroglobulin, a protein produced by the thyroid gland, in the blood. This test is used to monitor the treatment of thyroid cancer and to detect recurrence.

Non-Laboratory Tests

  • Thyroid scans

A specialised imaging procedure to diagnose thyroid gland abnormalities and to evaluate thyroid function in different areas of the thyroid.

  • Ultrasound 

An imaging scan that is used to examine the thyroid for abnormalities, including cysts, nodules or tumors.

 

Disclaimer:

ERemedium blogs are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as advice or as a substitute for consulting a physician. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment from a healthcare professional.

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Kidney Disease

Kidney Diseases – Types, Symptoms, Prevention Tips, and Treatment

Did you know that 17 in every 100 Indians suffer from some form of kidney disease? 

In India, 1.36 Lakhs adults die due to chronic kidney disease, which is more than AIDS.

The kidneys are a pair of bean-shaped organs located at the bottom of the rib cage and are mainly responsible for:

  • Filtering waste products, excess water, and other impurities out of the blood. 
  • Regulating pH, salt, and potassium levels in the body. 
  • Regulating blood pressure and the production of red blood cells.
  • Activating a form of vitamin D that enhances calcium absorption.

Kidney Disease

 

Types of Kidney Disease

Kidney disease occurs when the kidneys cannot function properly.

Chronic Kidney Disease

Chronic kidney disease is a condition characterized by a gradual loss of kidney function over time and is mainly caused by diabetes, high blood pressure and other disorders.

High blood pressure is dangerous for the kidneys because it can increase the pressure on the glomeruli. Glomeruli are the tiny blood vessels in the kidneys where blood is cleaned. Over time, the increased pressure damages these vessels and kidney functions begin to decline. 

Diabetes is also a major cause of chronic kidney disease. The increased level of sugar in the blood damages the blood vessels in the kidneys over time. 

Early detection and treatment can often keep chronic kidney disease from getting worse. When kidney disease progresses, it may eventually lead to kidney failure, which requires dialysis or a kidney transplant to maintain life. 

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones occur when minerals and other substances in the blood crystallize in the kidneys, forming solid masses (stones). Kidney stones usually come out of the body during urination. 

Glomerulonephritis

Glomerulonephritis is an inflammation of the glomeruli. Glomeruli are extremely small structures inside the kidneys that filter the blood. Glomerulonephritis can be caused by infections, drugs, or congenital abnormalities.

Polycystic kidney disease

Polycystic kidney disease is a genetic disorder that causes numerous cysts (small sacs of fluid) to grow in the kidneys. These cysts can interfere with kidney function and cause kidney failure.

Urinary tract infections

Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are bacterial infections of any part of the urinary system. Infections in the bladder and urethra are the most common. If left untreated, these infections can spread to the kidneys and cause kidney failure.

Symptoms

The following symptoms are early warning signs of developing kidney disease:

  • Fatigue due to a buildup of toxins and impurities in the blood. 
  • Trouble sleeping, due to decreased kidney function resulting in buildup of toxins in the blood. 
  • Poor appetite due to a buildup of toxins and impurities in the blood resulting from reduced kidney function
  • Muscle cramping, due to Electrolyte imbalances resulting from impaired kidney function.
  • Edema – Swollen feet, hands and ankles, due to decreased kidney function leading to sodium retention.
  • Puffiness around the eyes due to the kidneys leaking a large amount of protein in the urine.
  • Dry/Scaly skin, when the kidneys are no longer able to keep the right balance of minerals and nutrients in the blood.
  • Frequent urination, especially late at night
  • Decreased mental alertness due to a buildup of toxins and impurities in the blood. 

Severe symptoms may include:

  • Nausea, Vomiting due to a buildup of toxins and impurities in the blood. 
  • Loss of appetite  due to a buildup of toxins and impurities in the blood resulting from reduced kidney function
  • Changes in urine output
  • Fluid retention is common in kidney disease and manifests with swelling.
  • Anemia (a decrease in red blood cells), can cause weakness and fatigue.
  • Decreased sex drive, is very common in patients with kidney disease.
  • Sudden rise in potassium levels 

Are you at risk for kidney disease?

The major risk factors for kidney disease are:

  • Diabetes, the most common cause and can damage the blood vessels in the kidneys. 
  • Hypertension, the second most common cause, can cause damage to the blood vessels and filters in the kidney,
  • Age, more common among people over 60
  • Family history of kidney disease
  • Atherosclerosis can reduce blood flow and cause scarring of the kidney.
  • Smoking is harmful for the kidneys and can cause kidney disease to progress.
  • Obesity increases the risk of developing major risk factors for chronic kidney disease, like diabetes and hypertension.

How can kidney disease be prevented?

Following measures can be taken to prevent kidney disease:

  • Drink plenty of water: It helps to flush out infection-causing bacteria
  • Control blood sugar: The best way to prevent or slow kidney damage 
  • Control blood pressure: High blood pressure can increase damage to the kidneys.
  • Reduce salt intake: Too much salt can be harmful for people with kidney disease
  • Quit smoking: Smoking is harmful for the kidneys and can cause kidney disease to progress.

What are the treatments for Kidney disease?

The doctor will diagnose the cause of Kidney disease for e.g. Diabetes, High blood pressure. and may accordingly prescribe

    • Medications to treat the cause such as high BP, high cholesterol.
  • Special Diet that’s lower in sodium, protein, potassium, and phosphate.
    • Lifestyle changes for better health.
  • Dialysis may be needed if kidneys don’t work well anymore.
  • Kidney Transplant may be recommended If kidney disease is advanced.

Disclaimer:

ERemedium blogs are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as advice or as a substitute for consulting a physician. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment from a healthcare professional.

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Tuberculosis

Tuberculosis – Types, Symptoms, Complications, Prevention Tips and Diagnosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is an airborne bacterial infection that primarily affects the lungs, although it can also affect other parts of the body including the joints, bladder, spine, and brain.

Tuberculosis is a highly infectious disease and one of the leading causes of death worldwide

There are 2 types of tuberculosis:

  • Latent or Inactive tuberculosis: In this condition, the bacteria causing tuberculosis remain in the body in an inactive state and cause no symptoms. Latent tuberculosis is not contagious.
  • Active tuberculosis: In this condition, the bacteria are present in the body and cause symptoms. Active tuberculosis is contagious.

Tuberculosis

What are the symptoms of Tuberculosis?

The signs and symptoms of active tuberculosis in the lungs include: 

  • A bad cough that lasts 3 weeks or longer
  • Coughing up blood 
  • Chest pain
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Chills
  • Night sweats

Signs and symptoms vary according to the organs involved. For example, tuberculosis of the spine may cause back pain and tuberculosis in the kidneys might cause blood in the urine.

What causes Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis is caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The bacteria spread from one person to another through microscopic droplets released into the air. A person with the untreated, active form of tuberculosis can transmit the bacteria via:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Speaking
  • Singing
  • Laughing

Who is at risk for Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis has many risk factors, including:

  • Tobacco use: Using tobacco highly increases the risk of tuberculosis.
  • Excessive Alcohol: Intake of excessive alcohol weakens the immune system and increases the risk of tuberculosis.
  • Weak immune system: Several conditions can weaken the immune system, including:
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Diabetes
  • Severe kidney disease
  • Certain cancers
  • Cancer treatment, such as chemotherapy
  • Drugs to treat Rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and Psoriasis
  • Medications to prevent organ transplant rejection.
  • Malnutrition
  • Very young or advanced age

What are the complications associated with Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis without treatment can be fatal and can cause numerous health complications such as:

  • Back pain and stiffness.
  • Joint damage due to tuberculous arthritis especially in the hips and knees.
  • Meningitis, due to swelling of the membranes that cover the brain.
  • The liver or kidney functions are impaired if they are affected by tuberculosis.
  • In rare cases, tuberculosis can infect the tissues surrounding the heart, causing inflammation and fluid collections that may interfere with the heart’s ability to pump effectively.  

Can Tuberculosis be prevented?

The best way to prevent tuberculosis infection is to avoid being in close contact with a person who has active tuberculosis. People who are infected with active tuberculosis should follow the below tips:

  • Stay home: Avoid stepping out during the first few weeks of treatment for active tuberculosis.
  • Cover mouth: Use a tissue to cover the mouth during laughing, sneezing or coughing to keep tuberculosis particles from spreading through the air.
  • Wear a mask: Wearing a surgical mask during the first few weeks of treatment may help lessen the risk of transmission.

How is Tuberculosis diagnosed?

Tuberculosis can be diagnosed with the help of the below tests:

  • Skin test: The skin test is done by injecting a small amount of fluid called tuberculin into the skin in the arm. If a person has been infected with tuberculosis, a lump will form at the site of the injection. This usually means that tuberculosis germs have infected the body. It does not indicate whether a person has developed clinically active tuberculosis disease.
  • Blood Test: The tuberculosis blood test measures how the immune system reacts to the germs that cause tuberculosis. It does not indicate whether a person has developed clinically active tuberculosis disease. The blood test may also be preferred over the skin test with certain health conditions or for specific groups of people. 
  • Chest X-Ray: Chest X-ray looks for certain small spots in the lungs. These spots are a sign of tuberculosis infection and indicate that the body is trying to isolate the tuberculosis bacteria. 
  • Sputum Test: The sputum coughed up from the lungs is examined under a microscope to look for evidence of the tuberculosis bacteria.

Disclaimer:

ERemedium blogs are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as advice or as a substitute for consulting a physician. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment from a healthcare professional.

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Stress

Stress – Types, Causes, Symptoms, Complications, and Tips to reduce

Stress is a normal part of life and is the body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat. The body reacts to these changes with physical, mental, and emotional responses. 

This stress response, also known as the “fight or flight response”, is activated in case of an emergency. 

The situations and pressures that cause stress are known as stressors. The hypothalamus in the brain is the one that is responsible for detecting a stressor or perceiving a threat. It sends signals to the adrenal glands to release cortisol and adrenaline hormones. Adrenaline increases the heart rate and supply of energy while cortisol boosts glucose concentration, the body’s source of fuel, in the bloodstream for energy.  

Prolonged activation of the stress response causes the body to constantly produce adrenaline and cortisol resulting in wear and tear on the body.

Stress

The different types of stresses are:

  1. Acute Stress

Acute stress is the stress that comes with day to day living such as the butterflies in the stomach due to an upcoming job interview or a huge occasion such as a wedding.

  1. Episodic Stress

Episodic stress is basically when a person gets overwhelmed by the number of things and when acute stress happens more frequently than it should. 

  1. Chronic Stress

Chronic stress is a stress that results from repeated exposure to situations that lead to release of stress hormones. Chronic stress disrupts nearly every system in the body and can cause serious health problems. It can suppress the immune system, upset digestive and reproductive systems, increase the risk of heart attack and stroke, speed up the aging process and cause anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.

What are the causes of stress?

Some of the common causes of stress are:

  1. Threat: A physical threat, social threat, a financial threat may make a person feel stressed.
  2. Fear: A fear can also lead a person to feel stressed. 
  3. Uncertainty: Unable to predict or control a situation can also result in stress.

What are the warning signs of stress?

Chronic stress can cause a number of psychological and physical symptoms.  

Psychological symptoms of stress can include:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Lack of confidence
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Difficulty with decision making
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Loneliness
  • Forgetfulness
  • Constantly fretting and worrying

Physical symptoms of stress can include: 

  • Muscle tension and pain especially around the neck, jaw, shoulders, and back
  • Constant feeling of tiredness
  • Headache
  • Muscle spasms
  • Indigestion
  • Decreased sexual function
  • Shortness of breath 
  • Increase in or loss of appetite
  • Racing heart, Chest pain
  • Cold and sweaty palms
  • Vulnerability to infections
  • Bad skin and hair loss
  • Nausea and dizziness
  • Infertility

What are the complications associated with stress?

Medical conditions that can occur as a result of chronic stress include: 

  • Heart diseases such as hypertension, arrhythmia, stroke, heart attack
  • Mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and personality disorders
  • Insomnia or sleeplessness
  • Menstrual problems
  • Hyperventilation
  • Indigestion, heartburn, irritable bowel syndrome
  • The glucose in the bloodstream shoots up as the liver is forced to produce it. This can eventually lead to metabolic syndromes and type 2 diabetes.
  • Worsening skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, acne, hair loss
  • High blood pressure
  • Recurrent cold and flu
  • Bulimia
  • Autoimmune disorders

What are the tips for reducing stress?

A person can learn to manage stress and lead happier, healthier lives with the following tips:

  • Keep a positive attitude.
  • Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga. They ease muscle tension and decrease feelings of anxiety.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Eat healthy, a well-balanced diet.
  • Learn to manage time more effectively.
  • Set aside time for hobbies and interests such as reading a book.
  • Get enough rest and sleep. Sleep helps the body to rest and relax. It also assists in suppressing appetite while increasing immunity and promoting better weight loss.
  • Seek out social support. 
  • Spend time with family and friends.
  • Avoid caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol. These substances actually stimulate stress further instead of reducing it. 
  • Journaling can bring great insights and self-awareness and is also a highly effective stress management tool. 
  • Counselling or talk therapy can be of immense help if a person is highly stressed. 

Disclaimer:

ERemedium blogs are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as advice or as a substitute for consulting a physician. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment from a healthcare professional.

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Skin Allergies

Skin Allergies – Types, Symptoms, Causes, Prevention Tips and Diagnosis

Allergies are one of the most common chronic diseases. 30% of the population in India suffers from some form of allergies. 

Allergy is an immune response to substances that are usually harmless. The substances that cause allergic reactions are Allergens. The common Allergens are

  • Animals, especially furry animals
  • Food, such as milk, gluten
  • Pollen
  • Bites of wasp and bees
  • Pollution and Dust
  • Mites and Molds
  • Household chemicals and sprays
  • Certain medication

Skin allergies are a reaction to an allergen or irritant and can be caused by a variety of factors. When an allergen is responsible for triggering an immune system response, then it is an allergic skin condition

During an immune system response, the body makes an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE). These antibodies respond to allergens. The symptoms that result are an allergic reaction.

Skin Allergies

What are the causes of Skin Allergy?

Triggers that can lead to skin allergy include:

  • Latex
  • Pet dander
  • Poison ivy or poison oak
  • Laundry detergent
  • Soap
  • Nickel
  • Chemicals
  • Insects
  • Pollen
  • Sunlight

What are the types of Skin Allergy reactions?

Most common types of skin allergy reactions are:

  • Eczema: Eczema, also known as atopic dermatitis, is the most common skin condition, especially in children. A common symptom of eczema is dry, red, irritated and itchy skin. Eczema is often linked with asthma, allergic rhinitis (hay fever) or food allergy.
  • Hives: Hives (urticaria) are red bumps or welts that appear on the body. The condition is called acute urticaria if it lasts for no more than 6 weeks, and chronic urticaria if it persists beyond 6 weeks. Acute urticaria is most commonly caused by exposure to an allergen or by an infection.  Acute urticaria can also be triggered by non-allergic causes such as heat or exercise, as well as medications, food items such as peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, insect bites or infections. 
  • Contact Dermatitis: Contact Dermatitis is a reaction that appears when the skin comes in contact with an irritant or an allergen. Symptoms can include a rash, blisters, itching, and burning. Soaps, laundry detergents, fabric softeners, shampoos, nickel, adhesives, nail polish, and latex gloves can all cause contact dermatitis.
  • Angioedema: Angioedema is swelling in the deep layers of the skin and many times occurs in soft tissues such as the eyelids, mouth or genitals. It is often seen together with urticaria (hives). Angioedema is called acute, if the condition lasts only a short time such as minutes to hours. Acute angioedema is commonly caused by an allergic reaction to medications or foods. Chronic recurrent angioedema is when the condition returns over a long period.
  • Hereditary Angioedema: Hereditary angioedema is a rare, but serious genetic condition involving swelling in various body parts including the hands, feet, face, intestinal wall and airways. 

What are the symptoms of Skin Allergy?

A skin rash is the primary symptom of an allergic skin reaction. 

The rash may start as an itching sensation, a raised bump, redness or any combination of:

  • Rash
  • Itching
  • Redness
  • Swelling
  • Raised bumps
  • Scaling or flaking of skin
  • Cracked skin

What are the tips to prevent Skin Allergy?

Following tips can be utilised to take control of Skin Allergy:

  • Minimize time in direct sunlight
  • Keep irritated skin protected with a moisturizer
  • Avoid contact with irritants
  • Avoid scratching rash or hives

How is Skin Allergy diagnosed?

If you see any of the symptoms of Skin Allergy, speak to your doctor today. 

The doctor will consider your family and medical history, your symptoms and may recommend the following tests to make a diagnosis.

  • Skin test. Your skin is exposed to small amounts of the proteins found in potential allergens. If you’re allergic, you’ll likely develop a raised bump (hive) at the test spot on your skin.

Blood test. Measures the amount of allergy-causing antibodies in your bloodstream, known as immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. 

Disclaimer:

ERemedium blogs are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as advice or as a substitute for consulting a physician. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment from a healthcare professional.

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PCOS

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) – Causes, Symptoms, Complications, Lifestyle Tips

The commonly used name for Polycystic Ovary Syndrome is PCOS. These days it is a common health problem, in which numerous small cysts(fluid-filled sacs) develop in ovaries, which affects a woman’s hormone levels. Women with PCOS may have infrequent or prolonged menstrual periods or excess of male hormones(androgen) levels.

Early diagnosis and treatment along with weight loss reduce the risk of long-term complications such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

PCOS

What are the possible causes of PCOS?

The exact cause of PCOS is unknown. Factors that may play a role include:

  • Heredity: The risk of PCOS may be higher if there is a family member with PCOS.
  • Excess Insulin: Insulin is produced in the pancreas, which lets cells to utilize sugar present in the blood, to produce energy. If the cells become resistant to the action of insulin, then the blood sugar levels can rise and the body may produce more insulin. Excess insulin may increase androgen production, causing difficulty with ovulation.
  • Low-Grade Inflammation- PCOS diagnosed women have a type of low-grade inflammation that stimulates polycystic ovaries to produce androgen, which can lead to heart and blood vessel problems.
  • Excess Androgen: The ovaries produce abnormally high levels of androgen, resulting in hirsutism and acne.

What are the symptoms of PCOS?

Signs and symptoms of PCOS vary and may include:

  • Irregular periods, lack of ovulation prevents the uterine lining from shedding every month. 
  • Acne, male hormones can make the skin oilier than usual and cause breakouts on areas like the face, chest, and upper back.
  • Hair Growth, women with this condition grow hair on their face and body including on their back, belly, and chest. Excess hair growth is called hirsutism.
  • Heavy Bleeding, The uterine lining builds up for a longer period of time, resulting in periods heavier than normal.
  • Weight gain, especially around the waist
  • Male pattern baldness, the hair on the scalp gets thinner and falls out.
  • Skin darkening, dark patches of skin can form on the neck, in the groin, and under the breasts.
  • Headaches, hormone changes can trigger headaches
  • Difficulty getting pregnant as a result of irregular ovulation or failure to ovulate
  • Skin tags, small pieces of excess skin on the neck or armpits

What are the complications of PCOS?

  • Type 2 Diabetes: PCOS affected women usually develop type 2 diabetes.
  • High Blood-Pressure: Women with PCOS are at greater risk of having high blood pressure, a leading cause of heart disease and stroke.
  • Unhealthy Cholesterol: Women with PCOS often have higher levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and low levels of HDL (good) cholesterol. High cholesterol raises the risk of heart disease and stroke.
  • Sleep Apnea: It is a respiratory problem in which a person experiences pauses in breathing while asleep. Many women with PCOS are overweight or obese, which can cause sleep apnea. Sleep apnea raises the risk of heart disease and diabetes.
  • Metabolic syndrome: Many women with PCOS are overweight or obese. Both obesity and PCOS increase the risk for high blood sugar, high blood pressure, low HDL (good) cholesterol, and high LDL (bad) cholesterol. Together, these factors are called metabolic syndrome, and they increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.
  • Infertility: Women diagnosed with PCOS, suffer from the imbalance in female sex hormones(estrogen). This imbalance may prevent the development and release of mature eggs which inhibits ovulation or pregnancy.
  • Depression and Anxiety: Depression and anxiety are common among women with PCOS.
  • Endometrial Cancer- Problems with ovulation, obesity, insulin resistance, and diabetes (all common in women with PCOS) increase the risk of developing cancer of the endometrium (lining of the uterus or womb).

What is the impact of PCOS on pregnancy?

Women with PCOS can struggle to become pregnant and are at higher risk of developing the following complications during pregnancy:

  • Miscarriage:  A miscarriage is the loss of the baby before 20 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Gestational diabetes: Gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) is a type of diabetes that can occur in the second part of the pregnancy and goes away once the baby is born. It is diagnosed when a woman has higher than normal blood glucose levels during pregnancy. Women with gestational diabetes, as well as their children, are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes later in life.
  • Pre-eclampsia: Pre-eclampsia is one of the most serious conditions during pregnancy where there is a sudden rise in blood pressure and swelling, mostly in the face, hands, and feet. If left untreated, it can lead to serious complications such as liver or renal failure and in rare cases, progress to eclampsia.
  • Pregnancy-induced high blood pressure: This condition is due to an increase in blood pressure that may occur in the second half of pregnancy and can lead to early delivery, low birth weight, placental separation and other complications for the baby. 
  • Preterm birth: Most pregnancies last around 40 weeks and babies born between 37 and 42 weeks are considered full-term. Babies that are born before 37 weeks are considered premature. Premature babies often have complicated health problems, both right after birth and later in life.
  • Cesarean section (C-section): A cesarean section is a surgical procedure to deliver a baby through a cut in the mother’s abdomen and uterus. PCOS diagnosed women often undergo this surgery, due to the complication associated with PCOS, such as pregnancy-induced hypertension.

Lifestyle tips in PCOS

A healthy diet and regular exercise help to lose weight and reduce PCOS symptoms. Following changes may be included in lifestyle:

  • Increase intake of
    • Foods rich in protein such as dals, sprouts, milk products, fish, chicken, eggs
    • High fiber vegetables 
    • Whole grains such as brown rice, whole wheat, millets
    • Nuts like almonds, walnuts, pistachio
    • Anti-inflammatory foods and spices such as turmeric, cinnamon, amla 
  • Avoid
    • Foods high in refined carbohydrates, such as white bread and muffins
    • Sugary snacks and drinks
    • Inflammatory foods, such as processed and red meats
  • Regular exercise like walking, cycling, swimming or weight training can help to control the associated metabolic problems and weight gain.

How is PCOS treated?

Treatment of PCOS depends on the type and severity of the individual woman’s symptoms such as infertility, hirsutism, acne or obesity. 

Following steps may be included:

    • Lifestyle changes: Healthy, balanced diet and Physical Activity helps to lose weight and reduce PCOS symptoms. It also helps to lower blood glucose levels and helps in ovulation.
    • Medications to cause ovulation: Medications can help the ovaries to release eggs normally. 
  • Birth control pills: If a woman doesn’t plan to become pregnant, birth control pills can help to control menstrual cycles, lower androgen levels, and reduce acne.
  • Diabetes medication: It may help to lower insulin resistance in PCOS, reduce androgen levels, slow hair growth, and regulate ovulation.

Diagnosis of PCOS.

The doctor will typically evaluate a woman’s signs and symptoms, medical and family history, and physical exam as well as laboratory test results to help make a diagnosis.

Laboratory Tests:

Follicle-stimulating Hormone (FSH)

Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) is a hormone associated with reproduction and the development of eggs in women and sperm in men. This test measures FSH in the blood and helps in the evaluation of menstrual irregularities, hypogonadism, infertility and helps in diagnosing pituitary disorders. FSH will be normal or low with PCOS.

Luteinising Hormone (LH)

Luteinizing hormone (LH) is a hormone associated with reproduction. This test measures the amount of luteinizing hormone in the blood and is used to help diagnose the cause of infertility. LH will be elevated in PCOS.

Testosterone, Total

Testosterone is the main sex hormone in men, produced mainly by the testicles, and is responsible for male physical characteristics. It is present in the blood of both males and females. The testosterone test may be used to help evaluate PCOS, infertility, hirsutism, and virilization in girls and women.

Sex Hormone Binding Globulin (SHBG)

Sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) is a protein produced by the liver that transports the hormones testosterone, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), and estradiol in the blood as biologically inactive forms. This test measures the level of SHBG in the blood and may be used to help evaluate women for excess testosterone production. SBGH may be reduced in PCOS.

Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH)

Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) is a hormone produced by reproductive tissues, including the testicles in males and the ovaries in females. This test measures AMH in the blood and used to assess ovarian function and menopausal status, evaluation of PCOS in women. An increased level of AMH is often seen with PCOS.

Prolactin

Prolactin is a hormone whose primary role is to promote breast milk production (lactation). This test measures the amount of prolactin in the blood. A high level of prolactin may be seen in PCOS.

TSH (Thyroid Stimulating Hormone)


This test measures the amount of TSH (Thyroid-stimulating hormone) in the blood. TSH stimulates the thyroid and is produced by the anterior pituitary gland. Women with PCOS usually have normal TSH levels. TSH is checked to rule out other problems, such as an underactive or overactive thyroid, which often causes irregular or lack of periods and anovulation.

Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) 

This test is used to detect Diabetes. It’s also called HbA1c, glycated hemoglobin test, and glycohemoglobin. 

Androstenedione

Androstenedione is an androgen responsible for the onset of sexual differentiation in males and females. This test measures the amount of androstenedione in the blood and may be used to help diagnose PCOS. 

Non-Laboratory Tests:

Ultrasound

Ultrasound may be used to check the appearance of the ovaries and the thickness of the lining of the uterus. 

Pelvic Exam

A pelvic examination of the whole pelvic region helps the doctors to detect if a woman has abnormal or enlarged ovaries.

 

Disclaimer:

ERemedium blogs are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as advice or as a substitute for consulting a physician. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment from a healthcare professional.

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Fatty Liver

Fatty Liver Disease – Stages, Causes, Symptoms, Complications, and Prevention Tips

Fatty liver, also known as hepatic steatosis, is a common condition caused by the buildup of excess fat in the liver cells. This condition can cause liver inflammation, which can damage the liver and create scarring. In severe cases, this scarring can even lead to liver failure.

There are two main types of fatty liver disease:

  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver: Fat buildup in the liver that is not linked to drinking alcohol.
  • Alcoholic fatty liver: Fat buildup in the liver as a result of drinking excessive quantities of alcohol.

Fatty Liver

What are the stages of fatty liver disease?

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) can be broken down into four different stages:

  • Stage 1: Steatosis (Simple fatty liver) is a stage where there is a largely harmless build-up of fat in the liver cells but not to an extent to cause symptoms to appear.  
  • Stage 2: Non-alcoholic Steatohepatitis (NASH) is a more serious form of NAFLD and occurs if the liver becomes damaged causing it to become inflamed. NASH is more likely to occur in people who are overweight or obese, or who have diabetes.
  • Stage 3: Fibrosis occurs when persistent inflammation causes scar tissue around the liver and nearby blood vessels, but the liver is still able to function normally.
  • Stage 4: Cirrhosis, the most severe stage, happens when normal liver tissues are replaced by fibrosis to the extent that the structure and function of the liver is affected and can lead to liver failure and liver cancer.

Alcoholic fatty liver occurs in three stages:

  • Stage 1: Steatosis (Fatty liver) is characterized by an excessive accumulation of fat inside the liver cells. Heavy drinkers usually get to the fatty liver stage in their early years of alcohol abuse. 
  • Stage 2: Alcoholic Hepatitis is characterized by the inflammation of the liver leading to the degeneration of liver cells. Jaundice is the most common symptom in this stage.
  • Stage 3: Liver Cirrhosis is the last and final stage of Alcoholic Liver Disease where permanent scarring of healthy liver tissue occurs. It is a severe condition and an irreversible one.

What are the causes of fatty liver disease?

When the body produces excess fat or doesn’t metabolize fat efficiently, it leads to the accumulation of fat in liver cells and causes fatty liver disease.

Some of the common causes of fatty liver disease are:

  • Intake of excess calories causes fat to build up in the liver.
  • Certain conditions such as overweight or obesity, diabetes or high triglycerides can lead to fatty liver.
  • Alcohol abuse, malnutrition may also lead to fatty liver.
  • Chronic viral hepatitis, especially Hepatitis C
  • Rapid weight loss.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Certain genes may also raise the risk of developing fatty liver.

What are the symptoms of fatty liver disease?

The symptoms of fatty liver disease may include:

  • Discomfort or pain in the upper right side of the abdomen.
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Jaundice, yellowing of skin and eyes
  • Swelling in the abdomen and legs 
  • Confusion and trouble concentrating
  • Extreme fatigue or tiredness
  • Weight loss
  • Enlarged blood vessels just beneath the skin’s surface
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Red palms

What are the risk factors for fatty liver disease?

There are many risk factors for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, including:

  • Obesity
  • Type 2 diabetes 
  • Insulin resistance
  • High blood pressure 
  • High cholesterol levels
  • High triglyceride levels
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Underactive thyroid
  • Family history of fatty liver disease
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Underactive pituitary gland
  • Age over 50 years
  • Smoking

What are the complications of fatty liver disease?

The main complication is cirrhosis which causes scarring of the liver.  Scarring can result in:

  • Fluid buildup in the abdomen
  • Swollen veins in the esophagus that can rupture and bleed
  • Confusion, slurred speech, and drowsiness
  • Liver cancer
  • End-stage liver failure

How is the fatty liver disease diagnosed?

Following tests may be used to diagnose the fatty liver disease:

  • Blood tests to measure global liver function and indicate inflammation.
  • Liver ultrasound is a simple imaging procedure that looks for irregularities in the shape and consistency of the liver and for problems of the biliary tract, such as gallstones.
  • Computed tomography (CT) is a method of body imaging that provides a detailed view of the liver.
  • A liver biopsy may be needed to make a definite diagnosis of fatty liver disease. The test also helps in defining the stage of disease and the severity of liver inflammation.

How can the fatty liver disease be prevented?

A person can follow below tips to prevent fatty liver disease:

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Eat a balanced diet that is high in vegetables, fruits, and good fats.
  • Limit consumption of refined carbohydrates such as sweets, white rice, white bread.
  • Limit consumption of saturated fats, trans fats such as red meat, processed snack foods.
  • Exercise regularly.
  • Limit or avoid alcohol.
  • Take medications as prescribed. 
  • Quit smoking

Disclaimer:

ERemedium blogs are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as advice or as a substitute for consulting a physician. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment from a healthcare professional.

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