healtha – HTV https://htv.com.pk Sat, 16 Jan 2021 07:04:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Abortion https://htv.com.pk/health-a-to-z/abortion https://htv.com.pk/health-a-to-z/abortion#respond Tue, 05 Jun 2018 04:12:26 +0000 https://htv.com.pk/?p=36341

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Overview

A pregnancy that ends before a baby is born is known as an abortion. Abortions that occur spontaneously or naturally are termed miscarriage. Abortion can also be voluntarily induced in a variety of scenarios, and have the minimum amount of risk to the patient if carried out as early in the pregnancy duration as possible.

Causes

Spontaneous Abortions can be due to a large number of reasons. In the first trimester, the most common cause of a miscarriage is an abnormality within the baby’s chromosomes. Other causes include, but are not limited to:

  • Trauma to the mother or the fetus
  • Maternal hormonal imbalances
  • Obesity
  • Advanced maternal age
  • Various pre-existent diseases
  • Unhealthy lifestyle
  • Drug abuse

A number of these risks can be managed or avoided by compliance with the doctor’s instructions at regular pre-natal checkups.

Symptoms

A typical presentation of a spontaneous abortion includes:

  • History of vaginal discharge or bleeding
  • Abdominal pain or cramps
  • Discharge of fetal tissue from the vagina

The patient can also experience other symptoms such as:  fever and chills in case of an infectious or septic abortion, weight loss, back pain, and sudden disappearance of signs of pregnancies , such as fetal movements.

Diagnosis

A diagnosis is usually made on the basis of patient history and physical examination. Tests that can be carried out to confirm loss of pregnancy include an ultrasound and /or a blood test like beta-human chorionic gonadotropin (B-HCG) hormone levels.

Treatment

Abortions can be carried out or assisted in case of incomplete spontaneous cases either medically or surgically. Following are some drugs that can be used:

  • Prostaglandins (misoprostol),
  • Antimetabolite agents (methotrexate)

Surgical options include dilation and curettage (D&C) and vacuum assisted aspiration.

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Acne https://htv.com.pk/health-a-to-z/acne https://htv.com.pk/health-a-to-z/acne#respond Mon, 04 Jun 2018 12:03:58 +0000 https://htv.com.pk/?p=34944

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Overview

Acne is a common skin problem that almost every man or woman faces at some point in their life, particularly in adolescence. It comes into sight as pimples, nodules, blackheads or whiteheads when your skin pores get clogged up with sebum (oily secretions) naturally produced by skin glands. This embarrassing, unattractive, and often painful condition can be frustrating as it is difficult to resolve, especially with oily skin.

Causes

Unfortunately, eruption of acne or pimples is primarily due to reasons outside our control:

  • Hereditary Factors:

Certain individuals have a pre-disposition to developing pimples, while some don’t.

  • Hormones:

High testosterone levels can flare up sebum production and hence give rise to acne. This hormonal fluctuation is very common at the time of puberty , in both males and females.

  • Bacterial Infections:

Clogged up pores become a home for the growth of bacteria, which may break up the accumulated oil and cause localized inflammation. Tender pimples or nodules may develop and cause significant discomfort.

Symptoms

Acne most commonly appear on the face, but may also be present on the neck, shoulders, arms, back, or chest. In addition to being unsightly and uncomfortable for the individual, it can also cause:

  • Pain
  • Scarring
  • Stress
  • Psychological problems (especially in teenagers).

Diagnosis

The diagnosis of acne is clinical, based on patient history and skin examination. Currently three classes of drugs exist that can be used to treat this skin condition:

  • Retinoids
  • Antibiotics
  • Benzylperoxidase

Treatment

Severe acne must be treated under the advice of a dermatologist. Care of skin hygiene, utilization of medicated skin products and cosmetics, and management of stress can also prove helpful.

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Acute Rheumatic Fever https://htv.com.pk/health-a-to-z/acute-rheumatic-fever https://htv.com.pk/health-a-to-z/acute-rheumatic-fever#respond Sun, 03 Jun 2018 09:55:41 +0000 https://htv.com.pk/?p=36356

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Overview

Inadequate treatment of a common infection called strep throat or scarlet fever, caused by the streptococcus bacteria, can lead to an inflammatory condition called Rheumatic Fever. It is most often a disease of childhood, occurring in children 5-15 years of age but can also occur in adults. Unfortunately, this disease is still prevalent mostly in the underdeveloped regions of the world.

Causes

When a person gets infected with a certain bacterium (named as Group A Streptococcus), he/she may develop a strep throat, or less commonly scarlet fever. This bacteria produce proteins that are similar to proteins normally produced by our own body, which causes our immune system to perceive normal body organs – specifically the heart, joints, skin, and the central nervous system – as foreign, and end up attacking them. This results in widespread inflammatory attacks and in an acute phase, it is termed as Acute Rheumatic Fever.

Risk factors for developing this condition include:

  • Family History
  • Type of the strep bacteria
  • Poor sanitation
  • Overcrowding

A child improperly treated or not treated at all for strep throat may be at risk for developing Rheumatic Fever.

Symptoms

Symptoms of Acute Rheumatic Fever vary with respect to duration, severity, and may change along the course of the disease. Onset of symptoms is usually two to four weeks after strep throat, and may include the following:

  • Fever
  • Pain in joints, which may migrate from one joint to another
  • Small, painless nodules under the skin
  • Heart murmurs
  • Chest pain
  • Painless rash
  • Jerky, uncontrollable body movements
  • Outbursts of unusual behaviour

Complications

In some cases, Rheumatic fever can cause some long-term complications. The most common lasting damage is that to the heart, specifically in the heart valves and the myocardium- the muscle of the heart. These conditions usually arise ten to twenty years after the initial disease.

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of Rheumatic fever depends on patient’s history, clinical physical exams, and the following tests:

  • Blood tests to check for the antibody against the bacteria, and CRP (C-Reactive Protein) and ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) to assess inflammation
  • ECG (electrocardiogram) and Echocardiogram to check for heart function

Treatment

The best way to prevent Rheumatic Fever is to conduct a full antibiotic course for strep throat in an infected child. Following are some modes of treatment for ongoing rheumatic fever:

  • Antibiotics
  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Corticosteroids
  • Anticonvulsant medication

Strict follow up and long term inspection for symptoms and complications is of utmost importance.

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Acute Poliomyelitis (Polio) https://htv.com.pk/health-a-to-z/acute-poliomyelitis https://htv.com.pk/health-a-to-z/acute-poliomyelitis#respond Sat, 02 Jun 2018 07:53:25 +0000 https://htv.com.pk/?p=36350

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Overview

Poliomyelitis, or Polio, is a contagious viral disease that has been eradicated almost worldwide. Unfortunately, Pakistan is one of the few countries in which it still persists. It can be a lethal condition of nerve paralysis which leads to immobility, difficulty in breathing, and even death.

Causes

People infected with this virus can pass it out via their feces; direct contact with these carriers’ feces or ingestion of contaminated food or drink can also spread the virus. Unvaccinated individuals, especially kids under the age of five, are at the most risk.

Symptoms

Sometime, people may get infected with polio virus and not experience any symptoms at all. In other cases, flu-like symptoms may arise which include:

  • Fever
  • Sore throat
  • Fatigue
  • Body pain
  • Headache
  • Nausea or vomiting

The most severe form of polio is rare and attacks the nerves. It may begin with harmless flu-like symptoms but can progress to:

  • Flaccid (floppy) paralysis
  • Muscle weakness
  • Loss of muscle reflexes

People suffering from this disease for years can also experience a condition called Post-Polio Syndrome in which muscle deformity or disability, wasting (atrophy) of muscles, difficulty breathing or swallowing, sleep disturbances are common complaints.

Diagnosis

Doctors can suspect this disease usually by clinical examination of the physical signs, such as neck stiffness, abnormal reflexes and difficulty swallowing. The diagnosis can be confirmed by analysis of throat, stool or cerebrospinal fluid (a fluid surrounding the brain) samples.

Treatment

Treatment of polio is largely supportive and aims at preventing future complications. It includes:

  • Pain management
  • Physiotherapy (to prevent muscle wasting and deformities)
  • Ventilators to assist breathing

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AIDS https://htv.com.pk/health-a-to-z/aids https://htv.com.pk/health-a-to-z/aids#respond Fri, 01 Jun 2018 09:58:55 +0000 https://htv.com.pk/?p=36933

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Overview

Acquired Immuno-deficiency Syndrome or AIDS is a chronic, life-threatening disease caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Once in the system, this virus attacks the body’s immune system and eventually leads to its failure after years of infection. This makes the body vulnerable to a number of opportunistic infections, cancerous conditions and diseases not usually found in a body with intact defense mechanism.

Causes

HIV is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) that can be transmitted from an infected individual to others. It can be spread by:

  • Sexual intercourse
  • Using/sharing contaminated needles
  • Blood transfusions
  • During pregnancy or delivery
  • Breastfeeding

Risk factors for this disease include:

  • Unprotected sexual practices
  • Pre-existing STIs
  • Intravenous drug abuse
  • Not being circumcised

Symptoms

The course of AIDS has three distinct phases:

  1. Primary Infection (Acute HIV):

A month or two after the virus has entered thee body, the patient experiences a flu like illness which includes:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Body pain
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  1. Clinical Latent Infection (chronic HIV):

Besides occasional lymphatic swelling in some people, this stage is usually asymptomatic and can last for up to 10 years if there is no ongoing treatment.

  1. Progression to AIDS:

After the virus has replicated enough to render the immune system useless, the body becomes defenceless against common germs. We call it AIDS when the immune system is severely compromised. Following conditions can develop:

  • Recurring fever
  • Dramatic weight loss
  • Oral yeast infections
  • Shingles
  • Chronic, severe diarrhoea
  • Persistent fatigue

Complications

The diseases that are common in a person with AIDS can be of the following types:

Infections:
Tuberculosis, Candidiasis, Cryptococcal meningitis, Toxoplasmosis, Cryptosporidiosis, etc

Cancers:
Kaposi’s sarcoma, Lymphoma, etc

Chronic Conditions:
Wasting syndrome, neurological demise and dementia, kidney disease, etc

Diagnosis

Diagnosis can be made after checking for antibodies in the body against HIV by blood or saliva tests. A quicker way to diagnose AIDS is to test for antigen (a protein) produced by HIV immediately after infection. The tests used for this purpose are called ELISA and Western blot analysis. Following tests are conducted to assess status of the disease:

  • CD4 T cell count
  • Viral Load
  • Drug resistance

Treatment

The best way to prevent HIV infection is to ensure safe sexual practices, usage of sterilized needles, screened blood transfusions and encouraging circumcision in men. Pregnant women with HIV need to undergo treatment and strict medical supervision to prevent transmission to the baby. There is no cure available for HIV/AIDS but following medications are currently used to control the virus:

  • Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs)
  • Nucleoside or Nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NRTIs)
  • Protease Inhibitors
  • Entry or Fusion inhibitors
  • Integrase inhibitors

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