Arthritis

There are more than 100 types of arthritis but the common ones are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.Arthritis is simply joint inflammation.There are several factors that influence arthritis which include:- age,family history , infection and immune system dysfunction and lifestyle.

Osteoarthritis- is mostly associated with tear and wear of the joint as one ages,  inflammation in the joint and a previous damage to the joint such as fracture or any other injuries.

symptoms

  • joint pain
  • progressive stiffness that develops gradually.
  • Decreased range of motion

Managing osteoarthritis

  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Avoid sports injuries through proper equipment
  • Adequate training and safe play help prevent tears
  • Exercise frequently

Rheumatoid arthritis.

This refers to painful swelling, inflammation and stiffness in the fingers, arms, legs and wrists occurring in the same joints on both sides of the body especially when one wakes up.

Symptoms and management are similar to those of osteoarthritis mentioned above

In rheumatoid arthritis body’s immune system attacks the lining of the joint capsule.This  lining known as the synovial membrane becomes inflamed and swollen.If the disease progresses it can destroy cartilage and bone within the joint.

Arthritis is diagnosed through imaging services and lab tests.

Treatment

Arthritis treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and improving joint function.One can try out the  medications according to the type of arthritis to find out that works best.

 

 

 

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New prevention methods for HIV

PREP and PEP.

Although individuals, health practitioners and organisations have put much effort on fighting against HIV/Aids,It is still among the major killer diseases in the country. People who are at high risk of getting HIV include gays (MSM), sexual workers, people with multiple sexual partners and people who inject illicit drugs.Recently Prep has been introduced as a new prevention method which people who don’t have HIV infection take a pill daily to reduce their risk of becoming infected.

Both PREP and PEP are medications for preventing transmission of HIV virus. Pre exposure prophylaxis(PREP) is an HIV prevention option for those people who are at a high risk of getting infected. It is highly effective for preventing HIV if used as prescribed but less effective when not taken consistently.

PREP is a once-daily pill which is supposed to be taken for 28 days before exposure to a risk of being infected.

Who is supposed to take PREP

PREP is for people who are at high risk of being infected with HIV.They include:-

  • Sexual workers
  • discordant couples(HIV positive and HIV negative partners in a sexual relationship).
  • People with multiple sexual partners.
  • Gays.

prep is supposed to be used along with safer sex practices such as condom use and regular HIV testing.This drug is taken before exposure to risk of infection.

Pep

post exposure prophylaxis is taken within 72 hrs after exposure to HIV and consist of a month of treatment.

Pep is mostly for:-

  • people who have had forced sex(rape)
  • if breakage of condom has occurred.
  • when one has had sex (unprotected) with people whose status  is unknown.

 

 

October- Breast cancer awareness month

Breast cancer

is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth  in the breast with the potential of spreading to other parts of the body.

Most of the time the first sign of breast cancer is a new lump( painless, hard and has even edges is more likely to be cancer) in the breast that you or a doctor can feel. Though a times cancer can be tender soft and round.

symptoms

Breast cancer symptoms vary from lumps to swelling to skin changes and many breast cancer have no obvious at all. Below is some of the most common symptoms of breast cancer,

  • Breast pain
  • swelling of the breast
  • nipple discharge other than breast milk
  • a lump in the under arm area.
  • Skin irritation
  • redness/thickening of the nipple/breast skin

Changes also can be signs of less serious conditions that are not cancerous such as an infection/cyst.

Regular screening is important because to many women breast cancer  have no symptoms.

Diagnosis of breast cancer.

Breast  cancer can be diagnosed in different ways which include:- Breast Self Examination (BSE), imaging test to find breast cancer and biopsy.

  • Breast Self Examination.

BSE refers to examining breast on your own ,it is recommended every woman should do this monthly.It helps one familiarize themselves with their breast structure so it is easy to identify any changes.

Breast self examination while lying down.

  • Lie down and place a folded towel under your right shoulder.Put your right hand behind your head ,place your left hand on the upper position of your right breast with fingers together and flat.Body lotion may make this easier.
  • Think of your breast as a face on a clock .Start 12’o’clock and move toward 1 o’clock keeping your fingers flat and in constant contact with your breast.When the circle is complete another circle around the clock.Continue in this pattern until you’ve felt the entire breast. Make sure to feel the upper outer areas that extend into your armpit.
  • Place your fingers flat and directly on top of your nipple , feel beneath the nipple for any changes . Gently press your nipple inward . It should move easily.
  • Repeat these steps on your other breast . Don’t forget to check the upper outer area of the breast nearest to the armpit.

imaging test find breast cancer includes:-

  • Mammograms
  • Breast ultrasound
  • Breast MRIs

– is done when mammograms or other imaging tests show a breast change that may be cancer. It’s the only way to know for sure if it’s cancer.

Treatment of breast Cancer.

  • Chemotherapy

Is a treatment that uses powerful drugs to kill cancer cells.A doctor may recommend it after you have surgery to kill any remaining cancer that operation might have left,this helps minimize the chance that breast cancer will come back. This is the main treatment for women whose cancer has spread to the body parts outside the breast and lymph nodes.

  • Radiation therapy.

Uses high powered energy beams , such as X-rays, to kill cancer cells. Adjuvant Radiation therapy focuses on the affected area to reduce the risk of cancer recurring in that area.

  • Hormone therapy.

For the cancers sensitive to hormones this kinda therapy is used to block the effect of hormones on the cancer.Hormone therapy can be used together with surgery radiation /chemotherapy.

  • Immunotherapy

Works with your body’s immune system to fight off remaining cancer cells.Can either stimulate your body’s own defenses or supplement them.

  • Targeted therapy.

Aims to alter specific abnormalities present within cancer cells. For example women with a type of breast cancer that makes too much protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2(HER2) may choose a targeted therapy drug that blocks the action of that specific protein.

October is a breast cancer awareness and most of the health care institutions such as Nairobi Women’s Hospital and others offer free Breast Cancer Screening.Why don’t you make a date with your girls and help us fight against breast cancer?…

 

 

 

 

What is TB?

Tuberclosis (TB), is a disease that affects young and old, men and women, rich and poor. It is caused by a germ that destroys the lungs, but any organ such as the heart,intestines, liver or bladder can be affected.

How does someone get TB?

When someone with TB does not get treatment and coughs or spits, he or she sends thousands of gems into the air that are breathed in by other people. That’s how the infection can spread.

How do i know if i have TB?

If you have any of these symptoms , go immediately to the nearest health facility for a TB test.

  • Cough lasting more than 2 weeks.
  • Blood stained sputum
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pains
  • fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • weight loss
  • Night sweats
  • neck or joint stiffness
  • swollen belly(bloating)

Is there a cure for TB?

Yes! TB is curable if the disease is discovered early enough and the patient receives regular treatment for 6 to 8 months without interruption.TB treatment is free and available at public health facilities.

Is there a connection between TB and HIV?

There exists a strong connection! A person living with HIV has a high risk of getting TB. Although TB is curable, it is the leading cause  of death among people living with HIV. If you are HIV positive and have symptoms of TB , you should get tested and treated immediately.

How can I avoid spreading TB?

  1. When you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth or nose with a tissue paper or article of clothing.
  2. Spit into a can with sand, cover,and bury it deep when full.
  3. Leave windows open to let in sunlight and keep the house/matatus well ventilated.
  4. Ensure that you are tested and treat TB soon as possible.

TB treatment

  • TB treatment is available for free at all public health facilities.
  • TB is curable as long as the patient starts treatment as soon as possible.
  • Treatment lasts 6 to 8 months.
  • The patient must take the medication exactly as prescribed by a health professional.

Treatment should never be interrupted.

Side effects of TB medication

Nausea and vomiting

skin itch and rash

yellow eyes

dizziness

pain or burning sensation of the feet

if you have any of these problems go immediately to the nearest health facility.

“Urine and tears may turn orange. This is normal and no cause for concern.”

Lung cancer

Though lung cancer is known to affect cigarette smokers and inactive smokers there are other factors which include family history of cancer and  radon gas or asbestos. Both smokers and non smokers are vulnerable to lung cancer and therefore should take care of their body. If you smoke, it is good you talk with an expert about quitting, “it is never late to quit.”

Your lungs are a pair of sensitive and large organs in your chest .They are part of your respiratory system. Cancer begins in cells, the building block that make up all tissues all tissues and organs of the body including the lungs. Cells in the body grow and divide to form new cells as they are needed normal cells grow old or get damaged and die thereof being replaced by new cells.These cells build up forming a mass of tissue called a growth or tumor, these tumors in the lung can be cancerous or non cancerous.Most people diagnosed with lung cancer fall under non small cell type of lung cancer.

Tobacco use causes many types of cancer including cancer of the lung, larynx(voice box), mouth, esophagus, throat, bladder, kidney, stomach,pancreas, colon, rectum and cervix as well as acute myeloid leukemia.

How do you know that you are suffering from lung cancer?

Signs and symptoms of lung cancer usually occur when the disease is advanced.

  • Cough that doesn’t go away.
  • chest pain
  • losing weight without trying
  • coughing up blood even a small amount
  • shortness of breath
  • changes in chronic cough
  • wheezing

How is lung cancer diagnosis done?

Can be done through:-

  • Ct scans
  • screening
  • sputumcytology
  • tissue sample(biopsy)

Over 8 billion sticks of cigarettes are smoked in Kenya every year according to recent statistics from WHO.

Here are some ways you can quit smoking cigarette

  • Expect some physical symptoms. If your body is addicted to nicotine, you may go through withdrawal when you quit.
  • Keep yourself busy.
  • Quit gradually.
  • Look into using a nicotine replacement if you need to.
  • If you slip up, don’t give up!
  • Reward yourself.

Orofacial Cleft

Is a group of condition that includes cleft lip ,cleft palate or both (CFP). Cleft lip is a physical split of the two sides of the upper lip and appears as a narrow opening in the skin of upper lip which extends beyond the base of the nose while cleft palate is an opening in the roof of the mouth, can involve the hard palate and or the soft palate.

This is how it occurs.

While a baby develops during pregnancy, body tissue and specific cells from both side of the head  grow toward the centre of the face joining together to make the face.The orofacial cleft is as a result of tissues of the face not joining properly during development.

Children with orofacial cleft might develop some other problems like: Not able to speak clearly, hearing infections and feeding problems.

Causes

In most cases the causes are unknown . Although the said risk factors include:

  • Smoking during pregnancy.
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Acne drugs containing accutane.
  • Genetic and environment- There is a probability of clefting  in a newborn if a parent, sibling or relative has had the problem.

Cleft lip, cleft palate or both can be treated through a surgery.

In Kenya,the condition incidences are high in central regions and least in coastal regions.

 

 

 

 

Malaria

Is a preventive and curable infection caused by parasitic protozoans belonging to the plasmodium parasite which is transmitted to people through bites of infected female anopheles mosquito.

Mode of transmission

Anopheles mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, which hatch into larvae which later grows into adult mosquitoes, The female mosquitoes seek a blood meal to nurture their eggs thus introducing the parasites into human blood (host) through bites. The parasites travel to the liver where they mature and produce affecting the cells in the liver. Malaria incubates and later presents itself with initial flu-like symptoms that include:- fever, headache and vomiting it is always fever like illness.

Malaria can progress to severe illness which could lead to death or serious brain damage especially in children and pregnant women.

Environmental and host factors that favor transmission.

climatic conditions.

Temperature There being different types of plasmodium species , the development cycle of malaria also varies differently in differently in different temperature degree.

Development of the mosquito larva depend on temperature,High temperatures increases the no. of blood meals taken and the number of eggs laid by the mosquitoes, increasing the number of mosquitoes in a given area.

Minimum temperature for mosquito development is between 8-10 degree Celsius , optimum temp is 25-40 degree Celsius and the maximum temperature is 40 degree Celsius.

Attitude:– Influences the distribution and transmission of malaria indirectly, through its effect on temperature where the higher you go the lower the temperature and the lower you go the higher the temperature.

rainfall

Mosquitoes breed in water therefore right amount increases their breeding , however too much rainfall can flush away breeding habitats temporary, that’s why mosquitoes start breeding as soon as the rain stops.

Malaria vectors mainly breed in stagnant water collections, rarely in slightly moving water and not in rapidly flowing rivers and streams.

Relative humidity

This refers to the percentage of moisture in the air. Relative humidity affects malaria transmission through its effect on the activity and survival of mosquitoes.

Non-climatic factors

Malaria vectors

Female anopheles mosquito is the only one responsible for malaria transmission and different plasmodium species vary in terms of their favorable conditions for development.

Water development projects.

This include:- dams, ponds and irrigation challenges  which can increase malaria in areas near such projects.

Travelling and migration.

If one is moving from a place that is vulnerable to malaria he/she might have malaria parasites which can be transmitted to their place of destiny. It is always advisable that if one is travelling to  a place where malaria cases are intense, one should take antimalarial early in advance to increase resistance against malria.

Urbanization

Rural areas are said to have more malaria cases compared to urban places. This is due to bigger space in rural areas than in towns where there is high population. However construction projects in urban areas can also increase the breeding areas for mosquitoes.

Host immunity.

People with high immunity are less likely to get malaria infection while people with low immunity are highly likely to get malaria infection.

People are asked to manage their environment by clearing bushy areas and draining stagnant water, insect repellents and insecticides spray are also encouraged not forgetting sleeping under treated mosquito net as prevention measures for malaria.

Interventions for malaria.