Asthma Attack: Things To Do

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Asthma is one of the chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases. In the United Kingdom, asthma attacks kill at least three people each day. But many deaths caused by asthma attacks are preventable.

If you are undergoing asthma treatment aptly, your chance of suffering from an asthma attack reduces greatly. Hence, it is important that you keep regular follow up with your doctor if you are asthmatic.

Prior to knowing about the things you can do to avoid an attack, it is important that you be aware of the signs and symptoms of asthma, such as –

  • Cough
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightness
  • Breathlessness
  • Gasping for breath
  • Perspiration

How to tackle an asthma attack?

The signs and symptoms of asthma will not necessarily occur abruptly. In fact, they come on gradually after some time. If you suspect an asthma attack, you need to:

  1. Sit down and take slow & steady breaths
  2. Relax and do not panic; otherwise, things can go bad
  3. Take a single puff of your medicated inhaler every 60 seconds – maximum up to 10 puffs
  4. Call your medical professional if you do not have an inhaler or you do not feel better even after using an asthma inhaler
  5. Repeat the 3rd step if an ambulance has not arrived within 10 or 15 minutes

Make sure you keep your asthma medications with you when you go to hospital. If your symptoms ameliorate at home without any aggressive medical intervention, see your GP within 24 hours of the attack. People treated in hospital for asthma need medical care again plausibly after two weeks of hospitalisation. Hence, it is imperative to discuss how you can prevent asthma attacks in future.

The following steps can help prevent the risk of asthma attack:

  • Follow your asthma treatment plan and take all the medicines as directed
  • Have regular asthma check-up with your GP at least once or twice a year
  • Check with your asthma nurse or doctor on how to use an inhaler aptly
  • Stay away from things that trigger your asthma symptoms

Do not neglect your symptoms if they aggravate. Follow your asthma action plan and immediately see your GP if your symptoms get worse. It is also imperative that your family members and friends know how to manage this kind of an emergency situation. It can be useful to share your prescription medicines or asthma action plan with others so that they can be helpful when you have an asthma attack.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Is More than Just Wind

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We make fun of so many people pertaining to their gastric problems. However, problems with our digestive system are no laughing stuff, and they may affect all of us. Perhaps, that is why they are considered a great source of material for people to make fun of. Many of us with digestion problem have to deal with discomfort and embarrassment.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is one of the most common gastric issues. Experts opine that one in five people may experience IBS symptoms in their lifetime, and it is more common in women.

What is IBS?

Irritable Bowel Syndrome is a functional gastro-intestinal problem that is associated with the way your digestion works. IBS is not due to a single underlying gastric problem. It could be caused by a combination of problems such as peptic ulcers, inflammation, colitis, and bowel cancer. It does not cause any serious medical complications like cancer or gut blockage. It is treatable, but incurable. IBS symptoms are manageable with healthy diet and lifestyle.

Signs and Symptoms

  • On and off stomach pain, which is ameliorated on evacuation of gas or bowels and aggravated after eating
  • Alternate diarrhoea and constipation
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Excessive flatulence or eructation
  • Unsatisfactory defecation
  • Mucus discharge from stools

If you experience these symptoms for more than six months, you are more likely to be diagnosed with IBS.

Irritable Bowels Treatment

Your doctor, after diagnosing the condition, will advise you symptomatic treatment. A pain relief medicine – antispasmodic – can help with abdominal spasms or pain. There is no specific treatment to cure irritable bowel syndrome. You can manage IBS with a high fibre diet and regular exercise. You need to cut down on dairy products, onions, barley, wheat and rye.

Fortunately, many people with IBS do not experience any serious problem. However, it is often painful and discomforting. Lifestyle changes can be of great help.

The bottom line is to never ignore some gastric related symptoms. Even if there is some underlying problem with your gastrointestinal system, the chances of treatment are successful if diagnosed and treated early.

Just see your GP if you experience any change in your bowel movements and stool form, no matter how mild it is.

Migraine May Lead To Stroke, Research

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A new research suggests medical practitioners to consider severe headaches or migraine one of the possible risk factors for stroke.

Medical researchers advise healthcare providers to be aware of the connection between migraine and stroke, although the exact reason behind the link is idiopathic.

According to a recent study, women who suffer from migraine have an increased risk of having a stroke. The finding leads to some suspicious link between these two medical issues. Migraine is a kind of severe headache that often occurs in the presence of an aura in the form of flashing light, sound or smell.

Generally, migraine is not considered a causative factor for cardiovascular ailment. However, the study suggests healthcare professionals to consider headaches & migraine as a plausible risk factor for cardiovascular as well as cerebrovascular disease.

The study tracked down nearly 1,000 women with signs of cardiac disease. The follow-up for six years concluded that nearly 20% women with a history of chronic headache and migraine had a stroke or heart attack as compared to those who did not have migraines.

Apparently, there are several hypotheses about the connection between these conditions. However, the study did not testify the cause-and-effect connection between headaches or migraine and stroke.

Some experts believe that both the conditions affect the brain, so there could be a possible connection. Also, there is a probability of issues related to blood vessels. Inflammation, swelling, sluggish blood circulation and blood clotting issues may play a great role in both migraine and stroke. However, clogging of arteries and hypertension that cause heart disease do not seem to have any connection with migraine.

Physicians are requested to take special precautions to lower the risk of cardiac or cerebral problems in people with chronic migraine, especially in younger patients. They can ask their patients affected with stroke about the history of migraine.

Special care should be taken by women with migraines. They should control high blood cholesterol, avoid smoking and be cautions while using oral contraceptive pills, as they increase the risk of stroke as well as heart attack.

Promote Good Health This World Antibiotic Awareness Week

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This World Antibiotic Awareness Week, it is important to increase the awareness of antibiotic resistance to encourage good health.

The aim is to encourage best practices amid the general public, medical workers and policy makers. Antibiotic awareness helps avoid unwanted visits to casualty rooms and prevention of antibiotic resistance.

It is important to be aware of antibiotics so that we can tackle the ever increasing problem of antibiotic resistance. One of the key features of awareness is making people understand the demerits of resistance of antibacterial medications through effective education, training and communication.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has started an initiative, Antibiotics: Handle with Care, which reflects the message that antibacterial drugs are very important and should be preserved. They are only meant for treating bacterial infections and when prescribed by medical professional. WHO is trying to encourage all people, including medical practitioner, medicos and para-medics to help raise awareness about antibiotic resistance.

What is antibiotic resistance?

It occurs when a particular antibacterial drug has lost its potential to control or destroy bacterial growth. The bacteria become resistant and continue to grow and multiply even in the presence of antibiotic therapy. You develop antibiotic resistance if you use antibiotics haphazardly, irregularly, unnecessarily or overtly. Eventually, the antibiotic fails to bring up cure and the infection persists, sometimes making things bad.

Medical experts often prescribe antibiotics for a specific duration. One needs to complete the course of treatment to get rid of the bacterial infection. It is important to complete an antibiotic course even if you feel better within a day or two of treatment. If you fail to do so, you are more likely to develop an antibiotic resistance.

Many people with cold and flu often take up antibiotics, which is absolutely incorrect. Cold and flu are viral infections and antibiotics are of no use. This unnecessary use of antibacterial drugs (when you do not have bacterial infection) can lead to antibiotic resistance.

Your GP is the right person to explain you how, how much and how long you need antibiotics. Do not self-medicate and overdose with any antibiotics; they can prove harmful to your body

Vitamin B12 Deficiency In Pregnancy Increases Offspring’s Diabetes Risk

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According to a new study finding, children born to mothers with vitamin B12 deficiency during gestation are at higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Vitamin B12 is an essential water-soluble vitamin that is found in animal products such as milk, eggs, fish, meat and poultry. This nutrient is essential for various bodily functions such as red blood cell formation, neurological functioning and DNA synthesis. The daily recommendation of Vitamin B12 in children aged 14 years is 2.4 micrograms, while in expected mothers and nursing mothers it is 2.6 and 2.5 micrograms, respectively.

The study has found that women with vitamin B12 deficiency during pregnancy are more likely to have high body mass index (BMI) and low premature babies with high cholesterol. In addition, babies are known to have higher insulin resistance in childhood with increased risk of type 2 diabetes.

Furthermore, children born to women with low vitamin B12 are known to have more than normal leptin level, which may increase the risk of diabetes and other metabolic disorders. Researchers have found that excess weight can increase the leptin level, causing letpin resistance. This can lead to overeating, weight gain and insulin resistance, leading to type 2 diabetes.

However, researchers are not able to pinpoint the exact mechanism by which deficiency of vitamin B12 in pregnancy increases leptin level in offspring. Either B12 deficiency causes fat accumulation in the foetus, or low B12 leads to chemical imbalance in the placental genes that secrete leptin.

If the precise mechanism is found, the current vitamin B12 recommendations during pregnancy may need to reviewed.

Vitamin B12 supplement can help correct the deficiency. However, it is important for expecting mothers to speak to their doctors before using any vitamin-based supplements. Some of them may contain ingredients that are not advised during pregnancy.

Signs and Symptoms Of Lung Cancer

It’s November, the Lung Cancer Awareness Month! Millions of people die due to lung cancer, and smoking is considereresized one of the largest causes. Since lung cancer is a very common disease, it is important that you be aware of the signs and symptoms.

Lung cancer is common, irrespective of age and gender. Smoking is the chief cause of lung cancer; however, non-smokers may also get it. In the United Kingdom, six in 10 people are diagnosed with lung cancer, while most of them are 70 and above. It is essential to look for changes, if any, and when to see a specialist.

Do not panic if you experience any of the following signs or symptoms, just get them checked.

  • A chronic cough that persist for more than three weeks
  • A change in a cough that lasts for a longer duration
  • Chronic chest congestion
  • Persistent chest or respiratory infections
  • Breathlessness on slightest exertion or even at rest without any reason
  • A cough with bloody expectoration
  • A change in voice or hoarseness that lasts for more than three weeks
  • Chest pain that doesn’t get better
  • Chronic generalized weakness

These signs and symptoms are also seen in people with bronchitis, asthma, emphysema, chest infections, pneumonia and bronchial issues. If you have these symptoms, do not ignore them, instead consult your GP right away. Early detection with timely treatment promotes good prognosis.

If you are a smoker and experience these symptoms, the first thing you need to do is quit smoking. Studies have found that smoking cessation significantly decreases the risk of lung cancer. There are a few ways to quit smoking. Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) is available in the form of chewing gums, skin patches, etc. NRT is found to be the most effective way of smoking cessation. You can ask your GP for other ways of quitting smoking.

Winter Vomiting Bug Outbreak

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Here come the harbingers of winter – coffee, sunsets at 4.30pm and the winter vomiting bug. However, this year, the dreaded norovirus has attacked a new channel in the people’s stomach. Over the last week, staff and consumers at Mexican food chain, Wahaca restaurants, have reported the symptoms of norovirus infection.

Norovirus causes profuse diarrhoea and vomiting. It is one of the common stomach bugs in the United Kingdom. Norovirus is also called the winter vomiting bug, as it is quite common in winter; however, one can catch it at any time of the year. Usually, norovirus is a self-limiting disease and clears up within a few days. The signs and symptoms are very unpleasant. The infection can spread very easily, so it is important stay indoors until the infection subsides.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Profuse and watery diarrhoea
  • Projectile vomiting
  • Generalised weakness
  • Headache
  • Painful in upper abdomen
  • Aching limbs
  • Fever

These symptoms are experienced after a day or two of virus invasion and typically last for two to three days. Special care should be taken in children, as they easily get dehydrated due to vomiting and diarrhoea.

Things to do

You need to stay home and take bed rest until you feel better. Norovirus is incurable and you have to let the virus run its course. In the meantime, you can follow the below-mentioned tips:

  • Drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration caused by diarrhoea or vomiting
  • Use special rehydration fluids to correct electrolyte imbalance
  • Use diarrhoea and vomiting medicines
  • Take Paracetamol for fever and body aches
  • Eat plain foods such as rice, soup or bread

Since winter vomiting bug is contagious, it is important that you wash your hands thoroughly before and after eating. Remember, it is a viral infection so antibiotics will not help.

Preventing norovirus is not possible; however, taking certain precautions would help, such as disinfecting infected objects or surfaces, washing clothing and bedding, and avoiding sharing of flannels and towels. For more information on norovirus, you can see your GP.