Tag Archives: Health

Cure for diabetes imminent- scientists

Scientists near cure for diabetes
By Chukwuma Muanya

Scientists claim they are closer than ever to cures for type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
According to researchers beginning a world-first trial in the south of England, type 1 diabetes could be prevented by feeding babies powdered insulin.

Pregnant women are being asked to sign up to the National Health Service (NHS) trial in the Thames Valley in a bid to protect at-risk babies from type 1 diabetes for the rest of their lives.

People with the condition do not produce the hormone insulin, which regulates blood sugar, and scientists suggest feeding it to babies who show signs of diabetes.

This could train the immune system not to stop the body producing vital insulin, and prevent type 1 diabetes from ever developing, the researchers say.

Researchers from Oxford University say the trial is ‘an enormous breakthrough’ and hope they can stop the potentially deadly condition from developing.

And scientists at the University of Alabama have revealed a cheap drug commonly used to treat high blood pressure could improve diabetics’ symptoms and reduce the amount of insulin they need to take.

Pregnant women in Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Milton Keynes and Oxfordshire are being invited to take part in the NHS’s world-first trial.

It is the first to ever look into preventing type 1 diabetes, the researchers say, and will involve screening all babies for diabetes risk at birth.

The findings were published in the journal Nature Medicine.

Experts expect one per cent of the children to have a high risk – a greater than 10 per cent chance of developing type 1 diabetes – because of their genes.

Parents of those children will then be offered powdered insulin to give their child until they are three years old, with the aim of giving them protection for life.

Insulin is a hormone, which controls the levels of sugar in people’s blood, and those with type 1 diabetes do not produce any, so their sugar levels get dangerously high.

People with the condition have to regularly check their blood sugar levels and inject themselves with insulin to keep steady levels of glucose in their body.

Type 1 diabetes cannot be cured, and can lead to complications such as blindness, kidney failure and limb amputation because of nerve damage.

It also makes people much more like to have a stroke or heart attack.

The Primary Oral Insulin Trial, called POInT, aims to prevent the condition ever developing in people who have a high risk when they are born.

In people with type 1 diabetes, a faulty immune system causes the body to attack its own insulin-producing cells in the pancreas and destroys them.

By feeding babies insulin, scientists hope the immune system will become used to the hormone and not attack pancreatic cells in the future.

Also, new research suggests a single injection could cure both obesity and type 2 diabetes without any side effects.

A study found injecting a hormone, known as FGF21, into obese mice causes weight loss and greater insulin sensitivity for more than a year.

Insulin resistance is the reduced ability of cells to respond to the hormone, which transports glucose out of the bloodstream and is associated with the onset of type 2 diabetes.

FGF21 is thought to lead to weight loss by boosting animals’ energy levels, making them more active.

The hormone also raises their body temperatures, which causes rodents to burn calories.

The study was published in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine.

Type 2 diabetes is a condition, which causes a person’s blood sugar to get too high.

Type 2 diabetes is associated with being overweight and you may be more likely to get it if it’s in the family.

The condition means the body does not react properly to insulin – the hormone that controls absorption of sugar into the blood – and cannot properly regulate sugar glucose levels in the blood.

Excess fat in the liver increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes as the buildup makes it harder to control glucose levels, and also makes the body more resistant to insulin.

Weight loss is the key to reducing liver fat and getting symptoms under control.

Symptoms include tiredness, feeling thirsty, and frequent urination.

It can lead to more serious problems with nerves, vision and the heart.

Treatment usually involves changing your diet and lifestyle, but more serious cases may require medication.

How was the research was carried out? The researchers, from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, fed adult mice either a standard or high-fat diet for 10 weeks.

The weight of the animals fed the standard diet increased by 27 per cent, while the other rodents’ increased by 72 per cent, making them obese.

The obese mice were then injected with FGF21. Those of a healthy weight were given a placebo-style jab.

All of the rodents were then fed their respective diets for around one year, with their body weights being monitored throughout.

Results suggest the weight of the mice injected with FGF21 normalised within a few weeks of the jab, making them a similar size to the rodents given a standard diet.

The obese animals, which were suffering from insulin resistance, also had normal levels of the hormone after being given the jab.

FGF21, which has been associated with bone loss, did not cause any change to the mice’s bone density or volume.

When the researchers fed a high-fat diet to older adult mice and then injected them with FGF21, the rodents initially lost 10 per cent of their body weight, with them continuing to shed the pounds until they were the same size as healthy animals.

The scientists carried out this second experiment due to the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes increasing with age.

Although the findings, published in the journal EMBO Molecular Medicine, are promising, the researchers add larger, longer studies in animals are required before FGF21 can be considered for treatment in humans.

Source: The Guardian

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Tooth decay

Tooth decay

By Dr. Sylvester Ikhisemojie

Tooth decay is one of the most common disease conditions in the world today. It is very common in Nigeria and it affects people of all ages and both sexes. It is a preventable disease as well and affects an estimated 1.5 million people every year in Nigeria according to some estimates. This disease is caused by the presence of certain foods in our mouth which are broken down by different types of bacteria that act on such foods. Unfortunately, there is no way we can live without some of those bacteria because they are also natural inhabitants of the mouth. This disease has a technical term called dental caries which is a diagnosis made by a dental surgeon who is more usually just known as a dentist in everyday communication. This essay is provoked by two people close to yours truly who had some rather serious experiences and that is why we need to share their travails in order to increase the level of awareness.

The first person is a polytechnic graduate who began to experience toothache about two years ago. Soon, the pain became so severe that it was impossible to chew anything with that side. Still, he refused to go to a hospital not to mention a dentist. When the tooth became so diseased that it began to shake, he took a pair of pliers one fateful evening and removed the offending tooth. He simply grasped it in the curved hooks of the device and twisted the tooth until it came off. That device was not sterilised; it was the same one the mechanics and electricians use for their daily work and no form of pain relief other than his sheer determination to get the bad tooth off. He claimed that the pain he endured in doing so was nothing compared to what he suffered up till that point. He removed it by sheer brute force. Now, he has another bad tooth and thinks it is wiser to seek expert help.

The second person is a university graduate of many years who suffered for a long time and endured many sleepless nights that the use of different types of pain killers simply did not ameliorate. She decided to seek medical help when the gum on that side became noticeably swollen and her mouth began to smell. There is no toothpaste she did not try but the smell simply did not go. One fateful night, after she managed to sleep despite the pain, a sudden rush of pus into her mouth woke her from sleep. The volume of pus was so much and the smell was overpowering that she knew she must seek help. At daybreak, she feverishly sought the hospital attention she had avoided for years. The tooth was extracted to her immense relief and she was placed on some antibiotics and more pain-relievers.

Now, the two cases described above are people who are well educated and live in metropolitan Lagos, not some village dwellers with little or no access to proper health care. It can only be imagined what the situation is in the hinterland. As stated earlier, dental caries is a preventable disease. It is a persistent condition and it is widespread. Many people take poor care of their teeth. Sometimes, it is an embarrassment to take a look at the teeth of some people your age and you see what they are taking around. Some of them have teeth that have grown from white or off-white to gray and even green.

They retain coloured plaques on the teeth and also between them and end up with some quite disappointing optics when you take a close look at such dentition. Worse, when they have cavities in their teeth, decayed teeth as we have seen above, and they acquire a mouth odour that makes their breath offensive.

Tooth decay is most commonly found in two aspects of the teeth. One area is at the top of the teeth which are most often the portions in constant contact with the food we eat. The other area is the zone between the teeth which are usually more hidden and are protected from basic tooth cleaning by the poorly motivated person who just does some perfunctory washing of their mouth. But such washing is seldom sufficient to keep the teeth healthy. It may clean the mouth but not the teeth. Good cleaning of the teeth must include efforts to use a brush which is now a commonplace tool everywhere for at least two minutes at a time and with stroking motions conducted in an up and down manner. The usual practice for most people is to do it across.

On top of that, many people also fail or forget to brush their tongue. Both of them must be done in tandem in order to ensure a healthy mouth. And tooth brushing should be done at least two times a day.

The decaying tooth starts first to develop a hole either at its top or at the side between the two adjacent teeth. Afterwards, the acids produced by the action of bacteria in the mouth causes the enamel to begin to wear much like the tyre of a car. At some points of wear or corrosion, holes develop. These holes get progressively deeper until they reach the layer beneath the hard, bonelike enamel called the dentine which is where the nerves are. That is when the pain begins. It is also the softer part of the tooth and when the damage reaches that area, the tooth is guaranteed to literally get destroyed from the inside. It is these various stages of tooth damage that a dentist looks out for during their examination that will guide the treatment you get. They use reflective mirrors to conduct these tests and X-rays are also included. Following all of that, it is possible to determine what kind of treatment you should be getting.

Treatment for dental caries, or tooth decay, is divided into four different types. The most common type of treatment is the filling of the tooth which almost everyone has heard of. There are various materials for doing this and the aim is to patch over the defect that has formed in the affected tooth so that it can function normally. The other mode of treatment is to have a crown done especially when the resulting defect in the tooth has left a rather large gap. In another form of treatment, the pulp of the tooth which contains the damaged nerves together with the blood vessels is removed by a dental surgeon and the whole area is filled up and reinforced with a crown. That is known as the root canal treatment. The last type of treatment available is the one everyone seems to know about and perhaps go for; that is extraction. The reason for this last option is perhaps that most people will present late in the hospital and often there are no meaningful choices left and the tooth is simply removed.

Source: The Punch

How to manage Asthma

How to manage Asthma

Adelani Opeyemi

Asthma is a condition in which a person’s airways become inflamed, narrow, swell and produce extra mucus which makes it difficult to breath.

According to Dr. Chiosa Enubele, Asthma is a common lung condition that causes occasional breathing difficulties. It affects people of all ages and often starts in childhood, although it can also appear for the first time in adults.

Enubele stated that there is currently no cure for asthma, but there are simple treatments that can help control early stages so it doesn’t have a significant impact on someone’s life.

He said: “Some people, particularly children, may eventually grow out of asthma. But for others it’s a lifelong condition, but before then there are some early symptoms they might exhibit like wheezing, a tight chest and also coughing.”

He explained that the severity of symptoms varies from person to person and often comes and goes but can be more persistent for some. Moreover, several conditions can cause similar early symptoms of asthma, such as chest infection or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), so it’s important to get a proper diagnosis to have the right treatment.

How asthma occurs

Dr. Enubele noted that inflammatory swelling of the breathing tubes that carry in and out of the lungs could cause asthma. “The inflammation makes the breathing tubes highly sensitive so they temporary become narrow, this occur randomly, or after exposure to a trigger. The tubes may also sometimes become clogged with sticky mucus, he added.”

How to manage asthma

Enubele stated that Pet Dander, a common asthma trigger is often difficult to avoid entirely because for many, our pets are just like members of the family, Fumes from household cleaners can trigger asthma. Avoid inhaling fumes at home and prevent exposure away from home as much as possible.

He advised people to remove household plants and keep bathrooms clean and dry by opening a window or using a bathroom fan during showers or baths. Breathing smoke even secondhand smoke and smoke on clothing, furniture or drapes can trigger an asthma attack, revealed Enubele.

“Be sure to ask for a smoke free hotel room when traveling. Intense emotions and worry often worsen asthma symptoms so take steps to relieve stress in your life.”

Extremely hot and humid weather and poor air quality can exacerbate asthma symptoms for many people. Asthmatic patients should limit outdoor activity when these conditions exist or a pollution alert has been issued.

According to Enubele, physical activity is also important even for people with asthma. One can reduce the risk for exercise-induced asthma attacks by working out inside on very cold or very warm days, so talk to your doctor if you have hay fever. Use medications as directed and stay inside as much as possible when pollen counts are high.

Make sure people around you know you have asthma because it is important for family members, friends, co-workers, teachers, and employers to be able to recognize symptoms of an asthma attack and know what to do if one occurs.

Enubele said, “Everywhere you go, keep quick-relief asthma medicines readily available. Follow policies at your child’s school to make sure he or she is allowed to carry an inhaler and any other emergency rescue medications that may be necessary.”= As a parent, make sure the school nurse knows your child has asthma, and also note that chalk dust can trigger an asthma attack so it may be helpful for your child to sit away from chalkboards in class.

“If you are asthmatic or have a love one who is asthmatic, know the location of the nearest hospital to your home, your job and your child’s school. When you are traveling, locate the nearest emergency facility beforehand, in case of an asthma attack, advised Enubele.”

What asthmatic patients should avoid

Enubele said that keeping your asthma under control can be a matter of life and death. If you struggle with asthma, then you should know to avoid these things:

It can be a tough thing for many people to avoid, but getting extremely frightened, anxious, or angry can be especially harmful for asthmatics. All three emotions, experienced at a high level, can cause stress, which can alter your breathing and lead to an asthma attack. It turns out not regularly vacuuming and preventing dust from accumulating can have a negative impact on your health if you are asthmatic. While you might not see the dust, dust trapped in your carpet and kept on furniture can induce asthma related symptoms.

Although a glass of red wine a day is said to help with heart health, ingesting wine regardless of whether it is red, white, pink, black, or purple, can harm someone with asthma more than it can benefit them. The reason is that wine contains sulfites, a type of preservative put into different types of food and beverages.

Sulfites, also known as sulfur dioxides, are known to trigger symptoms in asthma. While lemon juice might not cause issues for most asthmatics, artificial lemon juice can. The triggering factor, similar to that of wine, is the sulfite put into artificial lemon juice in an effort to keep it fresh for a longer period of time. Squeezing your own lemons for a zesty flavor can allow you to breathe easier while enjoying the fruity flavor.

Everyone’s asthma may not be triggered by perfume, but a considerable amount of people consider perfume to be a trigger for their asthma. If you are one of those people, it can be hard control your exposure to the loud fragrances that cause you to cough, wheeze, and struggle for air when you are outside of your home.

The most you can really do is politely ask others not to spray their perfume around you, or stay away from areas you know will have strong scents for example, the fragrance section in a department store. If perfume, fortunately enough, does not trigger your asthma, be courteous of those who can’t say the same and avoid spraying perfume heavily or in public areas.

While avoiding intense negative emotions, dust, wine, artificial lemon juice, and perfume may not always be possible, for your own sake, try to stay away from these things if you notice that they affect your asthma. You will certainly be better off in the long run if you avoid these possible triggers.

Source: The Sun

Causes of excessive farting

What Causes Excessive Gassing- Fatulence?

The human body is a massive machine, working 24/7, doing all manner of functions and working to keep you alive. In performing all of these functions, certain by products will be produced, which must be passed out of the body, to avoid toxicity and to make you comfortable.

When things also go wrong, it would also show up in the excess production of these by products. And one of such product is gas.
Flatulence, also known as farting, is the act of passing intestinal gas from the anus. Flatulence is passing gas from the digestive system out of the back passage. It’s more commonly known as “passing wind”, or “farting”.

The average person farts less than 20 times per day. Gas in the gastrointestinal tract has only two sources. It is either swallowed air or is produced by bacteria that normally inhabit the intestines, primarily the colon. Swallowed air rarely is the cause of excessive flatulence.
The source of excessive gas is intestinal bacteria. The bacteria produce the gas (primarily hydrogen and/or methane) when they digest foods, primarily sugars and nondigestible polysaccharides (for example, starch, cellulose), that have not been digested during passage through the small intestine. The bacteria also produce carbon dioxide, but the carbon dioxide is so rapidly absorbed from the intestine that very little passes in flatus.
Your diet or even a health problem can lead to problems with excessive gas.

Farting is often laughed about, but excessive flatulence can be embarrassing and make you feel uncomfortable around others. However, it can usually be controlled with changes to your diet and lifestyle. Flatulence is a normal biological process and is something everyone experiences regularly. Some people pass wind only a few times a day, others a lot more, but the average is said to be about 5 to 15 times a day.
Intestinal gas, or air in the digestive tract, is usually not noticed until we burp or pass it rectally (flatulence). The entire digestive tract, from the stomach to the rectum, contains intestinal gas as the natural consequence of swallowing and digestion.
In fact, certain foods, such as beans, are not fully broken down until they reach the large intestine (colon), where bacteria act on (ferment) them.
Excessive intestinal gas sometimes indicates a digestive disorder, but everyone passes gas several times daily, and occasional burping or belching is normal.

CAUSES:
Excess upper intestinal gas can result from swallowing more than a usual amount of air, overeating, smoking or chewing gum. Excess lower intestinal gas can be caused by eating too much of certain foods, by the inability to fully digest certain foods or by a disruption in the bacteria normally found in the colon.
When you swallow food, water or saliva, you also swallow small amounts of air, which collects in the digestive system. Gases can also build up when you digest food. The body needs to get rid of the build-up by farting (flatulence) or burping (belching).

Sometimes you may not notice you have passed wind because most of the gases are odourless and often released in small quantities. Flatulence usually only has a bad smell if it contains gases that smell, such as sulphur. However, it’s important to remember it’s normal for the gas you pass to sometimes smell a bit.
Excessive flatulence can be caused by swallowing more air than usual or eating food that’s difficult to digest. It can also be related to an underlying health problem affecting the digestive system, such as recurring indigestion or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Swallowing air :

It’s perfectly normal to swallow air while breathing and eating. However, it’s easy to swallow a lot more air than usual without realising it. This can cause excessive flatulence.

Excess air can be swallowed by:
• chewing gum
• smoking
• sucking on pen tops or hard sweets
• having loose-fitting dentures
• not chewing food slowly and thoroughly – swallowing large pieces of food causes you to swallow more air.
• Hot and fizzy drinks also increase the amount of carbon dioxide in your stomach, although this is more likely to cause belching rather than flatulence.
Foods that cause excess gas:
• Foods that cause gas in one person might not cause it in another. Common gas-producing foods and substances include:
• Beans and lentils
• Vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts (cruciferous vegetables)
• Bran
• Dairy products containing lactose
• Fructose, which is found in some fruits and used as a sweetener in soft drinks and other products
• Sorbitol, a sugar substitute found in some sugar-free candies, gums and artificial sweeteners
• Carbonated beverages, such as soda or beer

Digestive disorders that cause excess gas:
Excessive intestinal gas — belching or flatulence more than 20 times a day — sometimes indicates a disorder such as:
• Autoimmune pancreatitis
• Celiac disease
• Crohn’s disease (a type of inflammatory bowel disease)
• Diabetes
• Dumping syndrome
• Eating disorders
• Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
• Gastroparesis (a condition in which the muscles of the stomach wall don’t function properly, interfering with digestion)
• Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
• Intestinal obstruction
• Irritable bowel syndrome
• Lactose intolerance
• Peptic ulcer
• Ulcerative colitis (a type of inflammatory bowel disease)

Medicine:
Flatulence, often caused by indigestion, is a possible side effect of many types of medicine, including:
• non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen
• some laxatives
• antifungal medicines
• statins
• varenicline (Champix) – used to help people stop smoking

TREATMENT:
Excessive flatulence can usually be treated by making changes to your diet and lifestyle. Several over-the-counter treatments are also available if your flatulence is becoming a problem.
By itself, intestinal gas rarely indicates a serious condition. It can cause discomfort and embarrassment, but it’s usually just a sign of a normally functioning digestive system. If you’re bothered by intestinal gas, try changing your diet.
However, see your doctor if your gas is persistent or severe, or if it’s associated with vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, unintentional weight loss, blood in the stool or heartburn.

Diet:
You should try to avoid eating foods high in unabsorbable carbohydrates. Certain processed foods should also be avoided as they can contain ingredients that cause flatulence, including:
• any foods with artifical sweeteners
• sugar-free sweets or chewing gum
• fizzy drinks
However, it’s still important to eat a healthy balanced diet, including at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Choose foods containing carbohydrates that are easy to digest. These include:
• potatoes
• rice
• lettuce
• bananas
• grapes
• citrus fruits, such as oranges
• yoghurt
It’s important to note that people react differently to certain foods, so some foods listed above may still cause flatulence. You may find it useful to keep a food diary to see whether certain foods make your symptoms better or worse.
You may also find it useful to eat 6 small meals a day rather than 3 large ones. Smaller meals are easier to digest and may produce less gas.
There’s some evidence to suggest drinking peppermint tea can help improve the symptoms of flatulence. There’s also some evidence that small amounts of ginger can help with digestion or an upset stomach, which may be causing flatulence. However, pregnant women should consult their doctor before taking ginger.
Swallowing air:

When eating, make sure you chew food slowly to reduce the amount of air you swallow. This will also help with digestion. Avoid chewing gum as it can also cause you to swallow more air than usual.
You should also give up smoking, if you smoke. Smoking can cause you to swallow more air than usual, and tobacco smoke can irritate your digestive system. See stop smoking for more information and advice about quitting smoking.

Exercise:
Getting plenty of exercise can help improve the functioning of your digestive system and bowel. It has also been shown to help with bloating and the passage of gas.

Medications and other remedies:
There are several over-the-counter remedies that can help treat the symptoms of flatulence.
• Charcoal tablets:
Charcoal tablets are a type of medication available over the counter from pharmacists. The charcoal absorbs gas in the digestive system, which helps reduce symptoms.
Charcoal tablets may not be suitable for you if you are currently taking other medication. This is because the charcoal might absorb the medication and make it less effective. Please see your doctor before taking any medication.
Clothing containing activated charcoal, or charcoal pads placed inside clothing, can help absorb foul-smelling gas released during flatulence.

Dietary supplements:
Probiotics may also be useful in treating flatulence. Probiotics are a dietary supplement, usually sold in liquid or capsule form, which encourages the growth of “friendly bacteria” in your digestive system.
The “friendly bacteria” should help digestion and reduce the symptoms of flatulence, particularly in people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Probiotic yoghurts may also help, but avoid those with artificial sweeteners or added fibre.
It may also be necessary to carry out ultra sound, CT scans, MRI, x rays and identify what type of gas is being produced , absorption tests can all be carried out, depending on the diagnosis by your doctor.

Source: ThisDay

Ways to get rid of body odour

Ways to get rid of body odour

Doris Obinna

When it comes to body odour, staying or getting clean is the biggest weapon in your arsenal while still managing your sweat. Most often, too much of sweat triggers the odour, according to expert.

Body odour is most likely to occur in the following places: feet, groin, armpits, genitals, pubic hair and other hair, belly button, anus, behind the ears, the rest of the skin, to a lesser extent.

A pungent body odour won’t give you that confidence whenever you are in the public. Often, you are withdrawn because people find your body scent unpleasant. At this point, you are concerned about health issues and want to save a little money on personal care products as well as having a backup plan when your deodorant applicator runs dry.

The eccrine glands, which are located on almost every part of the body, produce body cooling sweat that is mostly water. According to research, the apocrine glands, which are located in the armpits and in the groin, among other areas, produce sweat that performs a number of functions, one of which is to work as a kind of waste removal system that offloads microscopic bits of fat and other matter.

Experts say the sweat from the apocrine glands is the big problem with body odour. Bacteria feed on the fats and other secretions, and their waste products produce that distinctive fetid odour that announces your presence before you enter a room. You will notice, after a vigorous workout, that your sweat smells okay, not great, but at least clean and healthy. Wait a couple of hours and the bacterial feeding frenzy that ensues will transform your healthy smelling sweat into something pretty foul.

The strength of the odour a person produces depends on how much sweat his or her glands secrete as well as the number of bacteria on the skin. People with strong underarm odours carry two to three times as much underarm bacteria as other people. The best way to prevent body odour is to wash away sweat and bacteria thoroughly and regularly. Clean the underarm and groin area with water and soap, preferably a deodorant soap, at least once a day and more often if necessary.

According to a medical expert, Olalekan Sunday, body odour is the smell of bacteria growing on the body, but it is actually the result of bacteria breaking down protein into certain acids.

He said: “When a body gives off a scent others may find unpleasant, it is known as body odour. Body odour usually becomes evident if measures are not taken when a human reaches puberty. People who are obese, those who regularly eat spicy foods, as well as individuals with certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, are more susceptible to having body odour.

“People, who sweat too much, such as those with hyperhidrosis, may also be susceptible to body odour. However, often the salt level of their sweat is too high for the bacteria to break down. It depends on where the excess sweating is occurring and which type of sweat glands is involved.
“Sweat itself is virtually odourless to humans. It is the rapid multiplication of bacteria in the presence of sweat and their breaking down of sweat into acids that eventually causes the unpleasant smell.”
Also, a family medicine specialist, Hina Syed, said body odour can act as a powerful looking glass that reflects your health status.

“Generally, a simple shower can mitigate the stench. But select cases may require a more systematic approach, attacking the odour at the source. Some conditions and diseases even produce a signature aroma,” he said.

When asked how one would know if one has a problem, he said: “You start by identifying whether body odours are physiological. For instance, if you are someone who sweats a lot and your sweat always smells a certain way, that’s normal. But if you notice a change in the smell or you are sweating more than usual, that is worth investigating.”

Syed said some people sweat more than others. Kids going through puberty, for example, may produce a signature odour, as do people who are overweight or obese. Diabetes can also produce “off” scents in terms of body odour.

“But if you notice a sudden change in the amount or smell of your sweat, it could indicate a health problem. Conditions ranging from overactive thyroid to menopause can cause excessive sweating at night or during the daytime. If the issue is not medical, use deodorant more frequently; shower often and wear lightweight clothing,” he said.

Causes

Sunday said body odour is caused by bacteria breaking down sweat and is largely linked to the apocrine glands.

He said: “These glands are found in the breasts, genital area, eyelids, armpits, and ear. In the breasts, they secrete fat droplets into breast milk. In the ear, they help form earwax. Apocrine glands in the skin and the eyelids are sweat glands.

“Most of the apocrine glands in the skin are located in the groin, armpits, and around the nipples. In the skin, they usually have an odour. They are scent glands.
“The apocrine glands are mainly responsible for body odour because the sweat they produce is high in protein, which bacteria can break down easily.”

Causes of foot odour

Most of people wear shoes and socks, making it much more difficult for the sweat to evaporate, giving the bacteria more sweat to break down into smelly substances.

Moist feet also raise the risk of fungi developing, which can also give off unpleasant smells.
Smelly feet are less of a problem socially than underarm odour because the unpleasant smell is usually contained by shoes and socks.

However, the smell may become obvious if the person with smelly feet visits a home where shoes are taken off before entering, as is the custom in various countries and homes.

To tackle this, wash your feet at least once a day, using warm water, to kill bacteria. Make sure you dry your feet thoroughly afterward, including in between your toes.

Note that bacteria thrives on dead skin. If the soles of your feet have patches of dead skin remove them with a pumice stone. Ask your pharmacist for special foot deodorants and antiperspirants. If you have athlete’s foot, you should not use deodorants or antiperspirants. Treat the fungal infection with appropriate medication.

Whenever you can, walk around barefoot or at least slip out of your shoes regularly.

Prevention of odour

The following steps may help control armpit odour:
Keep the armpits clean: Wash them regularly using anti-bacterial soap, and the number of bacteria will be kept low, resulting in less body odour.

Hair: When armpits have hair, it slows down the evaporation of sweat, giving the bacteria more time to break it down into smelly substances. Shaving the armpits regularly has been found to help body odour control in that area.

Deodorant or antiperspirant: Deodorants make the skin more acidic, making it more difficult for bacteria to thrive. An antiperspirant blocks the sweating action of the glands, resulting in less sweating. Some studies, however, have indicated that antiperspirants may be linked to breast cancer or prostate cancer risk. This study suggests that current research is inconclusive on the risks of antiperspirant sprays.
Treatments

The following steps may help control body odour:

Wash daily with warm water: Have a shower or bath at least once a day. Remember that warm water helps kill off bacteria that are present on your skin. If the weather is exceptionally hot, consider bathing more often than once a day.

Clothing: Natural fibers allow your skin to breathe, resulting in better evaporation of sweat. Natural-made fibers include wool, silk or cotton.
Avoid spicy foods: Curry, garlic, and other spicy foods have the potential to make some people’s sweat more pungent. Some experts believe a diet high in red meat may also raise the risk of developing more rapid body odour.

Aluminum chloride: This substance is usually the main active ingredient in antiperspirants. If your body does not respond to the home remedies mentioned above, talk to a pharmacist or your doctor about a suitable product containing aluminum chloride. Follow the instructions given to you carefully.
Botulinum toxin: This is a toxin produced by Clostridium botulinum; it is the most poisonous biological substance known. However, very small and controlled doses are today being used in various fields of medicine. A relatively new treatment is available for individuals who sweat excessively under the arms.

The individual is given approximately 12 injections of botulinum toxin in the armpits, a procedure that should not last more than 45 minutes. The toxin blocks the signals from the brain to the sweat glands, resulting in less sweating in the targeted area. One treatment can last from two to eight months.

According to Sunday, when self-care and medicinal measures are not effective at treating severe body odour, a doctor can perform a surgical procedure called endoscopic thoracic sympathectomy (ETS), which destroys the sweating-controlling nerves below the skin of the armpits.
“This procedure is a last resort and runs the risk of damage to other nerves and arteries in the area. It can also increase sweating in other parts of the body, known as compensatory sweating,” he said.

Understanding Cataracts: Causes, Prevention And Treatment

Understanding Cataracts: Causes, Prevention And Treatment

BY DR ZUBAIR ABDULHI

A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens. It is the most common cause of vision loss in people over age 40. It is also the principal cause of blindness in the world affecting more than 20 million people globally with over 51% of them in developing countries like Nigeria. It is speculated that over 600,000 Nigerians may have cataracts by the year 2020.The lens is a clear part of the eye behind your iris that helps to focus light or an image on the retina, which helps us to see via a complex mechanism.

The lens must be clear for the retina to receive a sharp image. If the lens is cloudy from a cataract, the image will appear blurry, cloudy, misty or faded.

Types of cataracts

Cataracts develop slowly and can be found in one or both eyes. It cannot spread from one eye to the other. There are three types of cataracts:
• A subcapsular cataract occurs at the back of the lens. It is common in diabetics.
• A nuclear cataract forms in the central area of the lens.
• A cortical cataract starts in the periphery of the lens and works its way to the centre in a spoke-like fashion.

What causes cataracts?

Ageing is the commonest cause of cataracts. Yet, certain things make it more likely that a person will develop cataracts.
• Secondary cataract can form after surgery for other eye problems like glaucoma.
• Cataracts can also develop in people who have other health problems like diabetes.
• Cataracts are sometimes linked to steroid use.
• Cataracts can develop after an eye injury, sometimes years later.
• Some babies are born with cataracts or develop them in childhood, often in both eyes. These are usually due to maternal infections.
• Cataracts can develop after exposure to some types of radiation.

Symptoms

• Your sight is misty and cloudy. You may feel like your glasses are dirty and need cleaning, even when they don’t.
• Colours seem faded or look a little more washed out than they should be.
• Double vision.
• Frequent prescription changes.
•Sensitivity to light and glare – headlights, lamps or sunlight may seem too bright. You may also see a halo around lights.
• Night blindness.

How can one prevent the development of cataracts?

Besides elderliness, there are risk factors for cataracts. They can be managed to reduce the onset and severity of symptoms as well as the progression of cataract. These steps include:
• Control your blood sugar and blood pressure if you are diabetic and/or hypertensive.
• Wear appropriate eye wears to shield the eyes from ultraviolet radiation from sunlight and other sources.
• Keep fit and maintain a healthy weight.
• Quit smoking.
• Use steroid-containing medications only on doctor’s orders.
• Protect your eyes from trauma during sports and avoid violence.
• Reduce your alcohol consumption.
• Eat more fruits and vegetables.

Cataract treatment.

The definitive treatment for cataracts is surgery with the replacement of the lens using an artificial lens. The procedure is very safe and patients regain near perfect vision after the procedure. N.B: If you think you have a cataract, see an eye doctor for an exam to find out for sure.

Myths and facts about blood donation

Myths and facts about blood donation

By Solomon Fowowe

World Blood donor day is celebrated every 14th of June annually in many countries across the World. The celebration day coincides with the birthday Anniversary of Austrian Scientist Karl Landsteiner, who discovered the ABO blood group system. According to the World Health Organization, the day raises awareness of the need for regular blood donations to ensure the quality, safety and availability of blood and blood products for patients in need. The theme of this year’s World Blood donor day is ‘Be there for someone else. Give blood. Share life’.

Blood product includes whole blood, blood components, and plasma derivatives. It is any therapeutic substance prepared from human blood.

Blood donation helps make blood available to millions that need transfusion of blood and blood products.

The blood donated helps save millions of lives each year. It also has an essential, life-saving role in maternal and child care and during the emergency response to man-made and natural disasters. Blood transfusion also helps patients with life threatening conditions live longer. It is useful in medical and surgical procedures too.

However, there are myths concerning blood donation that discourages most people from blood donation. Here we burst the blood donation myths.

MYTH 1: Blood donation hurts

Fact: The needle prick is the only pain one feels when donating blood. The area on the arm heals within a day or two. The weakness post donating blood can be dealt with by drinking plenty of water and eating.

MYTH 2: Smokers cannot be blood donors

Fact: You can donate even if you are smoker. However, you must be at least 17 years old and weigh at least 50 kilograms. Also, you should avoid smoking for three hours after donating blood and also stay away from alcohol for 24 hours.

MYTH 3: Donating blood makes the immune system weak

Fact: There is no such lasting danger to the immune system when you donate blood. While the Red Blood Cells return to normal within a few days, the White Blood Cells take a few weeks, However, if the body finds itself in danger, they can be produced quickly.

Read More: World Blood Donor Day 2018: Five health benefits of donating blood

MYTH 4: Blood donation consumes time

Fact: Blood donation takes 45 minutes to an hour, only. The donation process itself takes barely 10-12 minutes, but the entire process from filling out forms to taking refreshments after donation takes that amount of time.

MYTH 5: Blood donation causes obesity

Fact: Blood donation doesn’t affect your body weight at all, it remains unchanged unless you decide to reward yourself with too much junk post-donation — and that, my friend, is your responsibility and has nothing to do with blood donation, so stop finding excuses.

MYTH 6: Weightier people are more eligible to donate blood than lighter ones

Fact: What even? As long as you weigh above 50 kgs, donating blood has nothing more to do with your weight — only because a person below that weight would probably have to face relatively more weakness issues than a person who is above 50 kgs. Also, your weight has nothing to do with the amount of blood your body produces!

MYTH 7: Blood donation is not for diabetic people

Fact: You cannot donate blood only and only if you take supplements to fix your diabetes, like insulin. You CAN donate blood if you control your diabetes with the help of lifestyle changes and pills. Those who have heart problems and blood pressure from type 2 diabetes, however, might not be able to donate in exceptional cases.

MYTH 8: You cannot donate blood if you have high blood pressure

Fact: Those with blood pressure between 180 systolic and 100 diastolic can very well donate blood. This frame might be considered high, but it does not isolate you from donating blood. Moreover, blood pressure medicines do not interfere with the process at all.

MYTH 9: Seasonal allergies disqualify you from blood donation

Fact: Seasonal allergies do not interfere with blood donation, just like any other mild cold and cough does not affect your daily routine. So, “I have a cold,” is an absolutely lame excuse for not giving your blood to someone who needs it.

MYTH 10: A blood donor is prone to infections

Fact: A fresh needle is used for each blood donor. So, there is no chance of an infection that is usually assumed to be transferred from needles — like HIV — from blood donation.