Habits To Curb Mouth Odour

Habits To Curb Mouth Odour

By Millicent Arebun Onuoha

Everyone, at one point or the other in life, has had to deal with bad breath. Unfortunately, if the smell does not improve after brushing, flossing, and rinsing the mouth with an alcohol-free mouthwash, it may be chronic.

Consistently having bad breath is not only off-putting but can morph into a health issue with life threatening consequences if left unchecked.

Bad breath, also called halitosis in medical terms, is the emanation of a foul smell or odour from the mouth cavity. This odour can originate in the mouth, throat or tonsils and can be acutely embarrassing to anyone. The condition which afflicts approximately 50 per cent of the world population is brought on by consistent unhealthy oral hygiene and lifestyle.

The oral odour is usually caused by a group of anaerobic, sulphur-producing bacteria that breed beneath the surface of the tongue and often in the throat and tonsil area. The term ‘anaerobic’ literally means living without oxygen, and in fact, these bacteria do not require oxygen to live. They occur naturally in the oral environment and are essential because they assist in digestion by breaking down proteins into amino acids.

As these bacteria feast on proteins in the mouth, sulphur compounds are released from the back of the tongue and throat. The bacteria excrete waste as hydrogen sulphide, methyl mercaptan, and other odorous and bad tasting compounds known as volatile sulphur compounds. As long as the anaerobic bacteria feed on proteins and excrete volatile sulphur compounds unchecked, your breath will become worse and worse.

The good news is that; with a few simple adjustments to food, lifestyle and oral hygiene, anyone afflicted with chronic bad breath can breathe easy without fear of embarrassment.

Listed below are 11 simple and super easy self-care techniques to help minimise and eliminate bad breath.

1. Prevention: This is always better and less expensive than cure, so develop and cultivate the right habits always.

2. Proper oral care: Brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day. Be sure to get a toothbrush with soft bristles (as to not damage tooth enamel or gums) and also use fluoride toothpaste. Brushing and flossing helps to remove any food and plaque which can be used as a fuel source by the anaerobic, sulphur-producing bacteria that are at the root of this problem.

3. Brush occasionally with baking soda: The bacteria that causes bad breath thrives in an acidic oral environment. Brushing your teeth with baking soda helps neutralise excess acid found in the oral cavity.

4. Eat foods rich in fibre: High fibre foods help prevent halitosis. Avoid or reduce your intake of heavily processed foods that contain refined carbohydrates such as cookies, cakes, sweets and ice cream.

5. Stimulate your salivary flow: Prevent dry mouth with chewing gum, lozenges, or mints that are sugar free.

6. Never use alcohol based mouthwash: Some mouthwash or oral rinses are effective at preventing bad breath. However, you should never use alcohol based mouthwashes because the alcohol makes the mouth very dry, which will actually make the problem worse.

7. Drink green and black tea: They contain polyphenols that help eliminate sulphur compounds and reduce oral bacteria.

8. Avoid products with sodium lauryl sulphate or alcohol: Do not use any oral hygiene products that contain sodium lauryl sulphate or alcohol because the alcohol makes the mouth very dry, one of the most common causes of bad breath.

9. Clean your mouth after eating meat, fish or dairy products: Practicing consistent and thorough oral hygiene is an effective prevention tool.

10. Stop smoking: Studies have shown that smokers are at higher risk of developing periodontal disease and dry mouth. Furthermore, people who smoke may also engage in other habits that promote this condition such as dieting, drinking alcohol, and suffering from chronic anxiety conditions that require exacerbating prescription medications.

11. Eliminate dairy products from your diet: Lactose intolerance can be an underlying cause of halitosis.

Credit: Leadership

Dental pain and what you should do

Dental pain and what you should do

by Dr Joel Akande   

Pain is an indicator of an underlying disease process. Pain in itself is not an illness, but a foreteller of an impairment requiring our attention.  Dental pain is any form of pain that relates to the lower jaw, upper jaw, cheeks and teeth structures. This distinction is important so that readers may know that dentists (doctors that deal with dental issues) are more suitable to deal with some disease states.

What causes dental pain? To start with, we need to understand that everyday of our lives, we use our mouth to eat food and drink water and other liquids. To chew the food into pieces for easy digestion, we need our teeth. Our tongue helps us to move the food around our mouth. The saliva that we produce helps to moisten the food and soften it before we pass the food into the stomach for digestion. We also need to drink water, especially to facilitate the breakdown of the food for easy digestion. As it so happens in any bone and joints that are in constant use, over time our teeth undergo wear and tear. As we also try to clean our teeth, our toothbrush and chewing sticks push back on the gums as we age.

Similarly, as is the case in all abuse scenarios, if we misuse our food and drink or apply inappropriate substances on our teeth and mouth, we may accelerate diseases affecting our teeth, gums and tongue. Thus, decay in our teeth may be due to poor personal oral hygiene. This decay may affect the gums and the teeth in which case we call the tooth decay as caries and the gum decay as gingivitis. Both of these may cause us incredible pain in our mouth.

Poor brushing habit with hard brush which may not be appropriate for our teeth may cause the gums to recede and become painful. Consumption of fast food, sweets, “chocolates,”sugary substances, especially as often the case in children often results in dental caries and gingivitis. This is even more likely to be so if the oral hygiene is poor.  Long term alcohol misuse combined with poor oral cleaning is a risk that may lead to dental caries.  Similarly, use of substances that distort the brain so much that the individual is unable to look after himself or herself could also lead to serious oral pain. Other causes of painful oral experience are physical injuries such as accidents and falls or assaults on the mouth and jaws.

How does oral pain present itself? Pain in the mouth may be so severe that the patient may have to look for help wherever he or she can get help. The pain may be accompanied with mouth swelling, bad mouth odour, inability to eat or swallow food or drink. The pain could radiate to affect the ears, throat and the facial areas. Simple painkiller may not be so helpful after a while. If it occurs at night, sleep can be impaired. Headache may occur severely.

Home Solutions: At the outset of noticing the pain, try to use paracetamol for not more than a day. Use a little salt in warm water to gaggle the mouth and throat. To some extent, these measures may lessen the pain temporarily. While this relief is in place, head to the nearest dentist or a physician as soon as possible. The physician will liaise with dentist colleagues to deal with the excruciating pain.

Specialist care: Oral pain and dental issues, not just for pain, are specialist matters that are best handled by dentists. Once you notice changes in your teeth, feel pain, can’t tolerate cold or hot water in your teeth, then it’s time to see a dentist.

Prevention:  Readers are advised to brush and clean their mouth at least twice (morning and night) in a day, using clean water, moderately hard brush or soft brush that is suitable for you. Occasionally, maybe one to twice in a week, only use mouth solutions to subdue oral bacteria, but not remove them entirely. Dentists advise that oral mouth solutions should be used sparingly. Take care of your teeth and mouth so that they can last you your lifetime.

Credit: The Nation

Best way to prevent recurring boil

Cleanliness, best way to prevent recurring boil — Expert

An occupational health doctor, Dr. Lekan Adelakun, discusses boil and its treatments with TOPE OMOGBOLAGUN

How would you define boil?

A boil is an infection on the skin caused by a germ called ‘staphylococcus aureus’. It is the commonest cause of boil on the body.

What causes recurring boil?

Staph aureus is a normal commensal of our body; a part and parcel of our skin. It is normally a part of our lives, it doesn’t cause us harm in whatever way. But the moment there is a break in the continuity of the skin and it penetrates, it causes harm.

Usually one is likely to have a boil when one plucks or shaves one’s hair from the body and there is a small cut, it heals. The next time you shave and the same occurs,a person is likely to have a recurrence of boil.

The follicle of the hair is an easy way for germ to penetrate, a break in the skin is also an avenue to allow germ access the body.

Is this why people have boils more in their private areas?

Yes, that explains it especially when they shave those areas. Also, the issue of cleanliness is also a major factor. We sweat a lot in those areas because they are not as open as other areas. If attention is not paid to those areas, they will invite germs easily.

What are the symptoms of boil?

It is an infection and one of the major symptoms of infection is swelling and pain. Boil comes with a pain, and then goes away gradually. Usually, a boil starts as a hard, red, painful lump. After some days, the lump becomes softer, larger and more painful. Soon a pocket of pus forms on the top of the boil.

How can boil be treated?

Usually what happens is that one has boil under with a little pore on it. What one can do is to give it a warm compression. Clean it regularly and wash several times for about four or five times daily. Whenever one watches it, one should give it a warm compression. That will help to relieve one and also soften the boil. In most cases, we put people on antibiotics. If it is not a big one, it will start to resolve from the edges or eventually becomes big enough and it has a point. If it has to be broken or incised, then it must be done in the hospital.

Are complications from the condition responsible for cases when some people underwent surgeries to remove boil?

It shouldn’t be but if the boil has pores, it can be extremely painful depending on where it is, because it exerts so much pressure like when one has whitlow. When it gets to that stage, it becomes extremely painful and because of the pain, a person can go to the hospital. The doctors will do what we call higher incision and drainage and then the patient will take antibiotics. Otherwise, if it didn’t get to that level and one does warm compression and take antibiotics, it will disappear. One can treat it conservatively but when it gets to a higher level of pain and it becomes a carbuncle, then it requires a higher level of treatment.

What does it signify when a person has recurring boil?

One of the things that we, as medical practitioners watch out for when people have recurring boil, is their sugar level. We want to know if they are not diabetic or have high sugar level. The way the mouth loves sugar is the same way germs love sugar. One of the things manifesting in diabetic people is recurring boil. Also when one shaves and has a boil, does the same thing again and the situation occurs, it is normal for the place to become hardened. When one shaves that place again and it tends to have more cuts than the natural skin, one is likely to have a recurrence there.

Is it effective to apply shea butter to boil?

I don’t have a problem with applying shea butter to boil. Wash the place very well, damp it with a warm pack for about 10 to 15 minutes and apply the shea butter. Just ensure that you sterilise the warm pack that you use. I have no problem with applying shea butter for treating boil at all.

What is your opinion about over-the-counter drugs to treat boil?

There are some things that their treatment is simple. One has a painful infection and desires to get rid of the pain. Analgesic, non-steroidal and inflammatory drugs are over-the-counter drugs. One can buy them to relieve the pain because one knows they are good for pain relief. Antibiotics generally should be by prescription. People are not supposed to have access to such drugs because they lead to resistance. For instance, we have what is called methicillin resistance staphylococcus infection; it is a resistance to antibiotics due to abuse of the drug. We take too much antibiotics in this country because we have access to it. People even get it in a bus. We have different kind of germs with different sensitivity. Thus, one should get medical personnel to tell which of the antibiotics is best for one’s condition. Incidentally because staphylococcus is part of our life, it has got used to the individual and environmental abuses and has become largely resistance to common drugs. It is better for doctors to prescribe the right drug for that purpose. Take a history look at it for that purpose. One should be unable to buy antibiotics over-the-counter but for analgesics, yes.

Why do babies have boil?

Babies are handled a lot and they have little resistance. They are exposed to the environment and because they have little resistance, environmental factors affect them a little bit more. It is from exposure that they develop more resistance overtime. Babies will naturally come down with things in the process of growing; they tend to come up with some things and boil is one of them.

What is the relationship between boil and carbuncle?

A boil is officially called a carbuncle when there is an aggregation of two or three boils spread together to become something large. It is like a bigger brother to boil. In most situation of carbuncle, you have to end up with incision and drainage.

What differentiates a boil from other swellings on the body?

Other thing you are likely to have like that is cyst and other minor swellings on the body but usually they are not painful. Boil is an infection. If one has acne on the skin like pimples, unless it comes with racketing and gets infected, that is when it becomes painful. But for boil, the moment it starts to develop, it comes with pain. In fact, most times, what attracts attention to boil is the pain before one sees the swelling.

How does one handle the itch associated with boil?

Usually, boil doesn’t come with itch; its major symptom is pain. Part of the healing process in a lot of condition is for one to experience an itch. It is not part of the symptoms. Usually, when one has wound or surgery and it is healing, it comes with an itch. It is part of the healing process, not in any way particular to boil.

What is your advice on how to treat boil?

The first thing or the critical thing about boil or any other diseases generally is prevention and that starts with education. I said a germ called staph causes boil when there is a break in the continuity of the skin. Everything associated with infection is traceable to uncleanliness. The cleaner one is, the less one’s chances of getting infected. Personal and environmental hygiene are major preventive measures.

Also, when one wants to shave, one should do it in a way that one wouldn’t be injured. When you shave; clean the place well. Wash the part with soap and water after shaving. You don’t have to apply spirit, wash with soap and plenty water. The moment you finish shaving, wash thoroughly with soap and water. Don’t break your skin and once you do, make sure you clean well. If we keep to personal and environment hygiene, we will not be prone to infection.

Top ways to prevent Urinary Tract Infections

Top ways to prevent Urinary Tract Infections

By Nini Iyizoba .

Remember that time when you were running to the bathroom every second to urinate? Oh and remember that most times, there would be a burning painful sensation every time you urinated.
But you blamed it on your partner then because you could have sworn that he or she had given you a sexually transmitted infection.

Only for you to find out later that infact it was a urinary tract infection (UTI). How embarrassing that must have been but you are not alone.

Urinary tract Infections are very common, affecting more than 150 million people a year, and just like you most people presenting with such symptoms automatically think it’s a sexually transmitted infection (STI).

Urinary tract infection is an infection that happens along your urinary tract or in the kidneys. It is caused by bacteria around your genitals that enters your urinary tract.

Some people can get a UTI after sex but that does not necessarily mean it’s an STI, although sex can be another way for bacteria to enter your body from the outside.

There are several bacterial strains that can cause a UTI, from Escherichia coli to Enterococcus faecalis. People that present with UTIs usually have classic symptoms; hence it is most times a clinical diagnosis made by the doctor.

Majority of people that present with such symptoms such as dysuria (painful urination), urinary frequency, and urinary urgency most likely have a urinary tract infection.

Your doctor might choose to do a Urine culture and/or Urinalysis to ascertain it.

Since it is bacterial infection, antibiotics such as Fluroquinolones taken for about 3-7 days are the drug of choice depending on the severity.

Sometimes your doctor would go ahead and start treating even before urine culture and urinalysis test results are out.

This is because we do not want the bacterial infection to progress to even more severe condition such as acute pyelonephritis which is kidney inflammation; hence treatment is started immediately.

If the patient has symptoms such as abdominal pain, back pain (due to inflamed and infected kidneys) in addition to above symptoms, then the UTI has most likely progressed to pyelonephritis.

In such scenarios, the patient would have to be admitted and given IV antibiotics till the patient starts feeling better then you can discharge and continue oral antibiotics for 2 weeks.

UTIs are common infections and are easily treated with antibiotics. In fact, approximately, 60 % of people will experience a UTI at least once in their lifetime.

It is very important to quickly identify and treat UTIs in order to avoid this severe condition known as pyelonephritis which is when your kidneys are infected and inflamed.

20-30% of patients with untreated UTI will develop pyelonephritis so if you are experiencing such symptoms, please visit your nearest medical centre or talk to your doctor.

Hygiene also plays a major role in preventing UTIs, here are some tips on how to remain UTI free.

#1 Rule – Always wipe from front to back after urinating. This will prevent germs from being transferred from anus to urinary opening.

Try to urinate at least 20-30 minutes after sexual intercourse. This will reduce the chances of transferring post coital bacteria into the urinary tract.

Avoid taking prolonged bubble baths, because the water maybe contaminated and therefore, prolonged stay may allow the bacteria to reach urinary opening.

Therefore, ladies, think twice before running yourself a hot bubble bath, take a warm shower instead.

Please don’t hold your urine for long periods at a time, holding your urine will only give the bacteria a chance to multiply.

Drink plenty of fluids especially water not soft drinks or juice concentrates.

The only juice you are permitted to drink is cranberry juice. Water and cranberry help to flush out bacteria from the urinary tract.

Avoid using scented vaginal products such as scented douches and sprays because they can cause UTIs and other infections.

Stay away from all these perfumed products designed for your intimate area, they are harmful. Avoid too much sugary foods as excess sugar decreases your body’s ability to fight infections.

Credit The Guardian

Understanding causes, symptoms of piles

Understanding causes, symptoms of piles

By Anthony Nwaoney

Haemorrhoids (also known as piles) are swollen and inflamed veins in the rectum or anus

Haemorrhoids (also known as piles) are swollen and inflamed veins in the rectum or anus.
Typical symptoms are pain, itching and bleeding around the anal area.

Treatment and prevention will often involve non-prescription ointments, other home treatments and lifestyle changes.

Haemorrhoids that don’t clear up may require a visit to your doctor and, in some cases, minor surgery.

The exact cause of haemorrhoids is unknown. However, they are associated with an increase in pressure in the lower rectum, which can cause the blood vessels in the lower rectum to become swollen and inflamed.

The following factors can increase pressure within the lower rectum and hence may increase the risk of developing haemorrhoids: Straining to have a bowel movement; Sitting for long periods of time, especially on the toilet; Chronic (long lasting) constipation or diarrhoea; Being overweight or obese; Pregnancy; Anal intercourse; Low-fibre diet; Spinal cord injury; Poor posture; and Family history of haemorrhoids.

Haemorrhoids are common and occur in most people at some stage during their lives. They tend to occur more frequently later in life due to age-related weakening and stretching of the tissues supporting the veins in the rectum and anus.

Signs and symptoms of haemorrhoids may include: Pain or discomfort, especially when sitting; Pain during bowel movements; Itching or irritation around the anal region; Bright red blood on your stools, toilet paper or in the toilet bowl; Swelling around the anus; and one or more lumps near the anus, which might be tender or painful.

Most cases of haemorrhoids can be self-treated. More serious or repeat cases may require medication or a surgical procedure. Haemorrhoids can recur after treatment; hence, they are controlled rather than cured.

Home treatment is often all that is required to relieve mild pain, swelling, and inflammation associated with haemorrhoids.

Home treatments include: Use of non-prescription haemorrhoid ointments, creams, suppositories, or pads containing a mild corticosteroid, e.g. hydrocortisone, or witch hazel extract; Soaking the anal area in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes two or three times a day; Using stool softeners, which help stools to be passed more easily; Ensuring that the anal area is kept clean by bathing or showering daily – soap is not necessary, and the affected area can be dried with a hair dryer; Using moist towels or wet toilet paper (that do not contain perfume or alcohol) rather than dry toilet paper, to help keep the anal area clean after passing a stool; Applying ice packs or cold compresses on the affected area can relieve swelling; Taking oral pain medication, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, can help to relieve discomfort.

Keeping your stools soft is the best way to prevent haemorrhoids from occurring.

The following steps can help to prevent haemorrhoids from occurring and reduce symptoms of existing haemorrhoids: Eat high-fibre foods; Drink plenty of fluids; Consider using fibre supplements; Avoid straining when on the toilet; Go to the toilet as soon as you feel the urge; and Get plenty of exercise.

• Lose weight if you are overweight

• Avoid sitting for long periods

• Avoid taking medication that can cause constipation, example codeine-based painkillers

Credit: The Guardian

What men should know about prostate cancer

World Cancer Day: What men should know about prostate cancer — Professor

Ebuka Onyeji

Oseremen Aisuodionoe-Shadrach, health expert on prostate cancer.
Monday was World Cancer Day; an international event marked on February 4 to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment.

Cancer is when abnormal cells divide uncontrollably. Also called malignancy, it is an abnormal growth of cells and may eventually spread into other tissues.

Some types of cancer cause rapid cell growth, while others cause cells to grow and divide at a slower rate. There are more than 200 different types of cancer. It develops anywhere in the body.

Of the many common types of this ailment, prostate cancer is the second most common and sixth leading cause of cancer deaths among men globally. In spite of this, awareness of prostate cancer seems low when compared to other types of cancer.

Prostate cancer is to men what breast cancer or cervical cancer is to women. It has the potential to grow and spread quickly. But for most men, it is a relatively slow growing disease.

The prostate is a walnut-sized gland that is part of the male reproductive system. It is located beneath the urinary bladder and in front of the rectum.

The prostate makes some of the fluid that nourishes and protects sperm cells in the semen. Just behind the prostate are the seminal vesicles, which make most of the fluid for the semen.

In this interview with PREMIUM TIMES, Oseremen Aisuodione-Shadrach, the principal investigator of the Abuja site for MADCAP Network study in Nigeria, explains why black men should be wary of prostate cancer.

Men of African Descent and Carcinoma of the Prostate (MADCAP) is the ‘largest study to date’ to explore the genetic causes of prostate cancer in men of African descent, according to the network.

Mr Aisuodione-Shadrach, a professor of Urology at the University of Abuja, also shed light on what men should know about prostate cancer.

What are the most common signs or symptoms of prostate cancer?

Aisuodione-Shadrach: Often, early-stage prostate cancer has no symptoms or signs. It is usually found through a PSA test or DRE, a process called screening. If a PSA test or DRE indicates that prostate cancer may be present, more monitoring and testing is needed to diagnose prostate cancer. When prostate cancer does cause symptoms or signs, it is usually diagnosed in a later stage. These symptoms and signs may include frequent urination, weak or interrupted urine flow or the need to strain to empty the bladder, blood in the urine and blood in the seminal fluid.

If cancer has spread outside of the prostate gland, a man may experience pain in the back, hips, thighs, shoulders, or other bones, swelling or fluid build up in the legs or feet, unexplained weight loss or fatigue.

What are the major causes of prostate cancer?

Aisuodione-Shadrach: Age: The risk of prostate cancer increases with age, especially after age 50. More than 80 per cent of prostate cancers are diagnosed in men who are 65 or older.

Race/ethnicity: Black men have a higher risk of prostate cancer than white men. They are also more likely to develop prostate cancer at an earlier age and to have more aggressive tumours that grow quickly. The exact reasons for these differences are not known and may involve genetic, socioeconomic or other factors.

Family history: Prostate cancer that runs in the family, called familial prostate cancer, occurs about 20 per cent of the time. This type of prostate cancer develops because of a combination of shared genes and shared environmental or lifestyle factors.

Several types of research attribute the high prevalence of prostate cancer among black men to genetic factors. How true is this?

Aisuodione-Shadrach: Different factors cause different types of cancer. Researchers continue to look into what factors cause prostate cancer and make the condition especially worse in black men and men of African descent. The purpose of the on-going research efforts is to ascertain without any reason to doubt that genetic factors must be responsible for this racial disparity in outcomes among patients with prostate cancer. Although there is no proven way to completely prevent this disease, you may be able to lower your risk.

Can prostate be transferred genetically?

Aisuodione-Shadrach: There is sufficient reason to believe so. This is because if a man has a first-degree relative, meaning a father, brother, or son; with prostate cancer, his risk of developing prostate cancer is two to three times higher than the average risk. This risk increases even further with the number of relatives diagnosed with prostate cancer.

How can men check for early signs of prostate cancer?

Aisuodione-Shadrach: The only way to do this is by screening. Screening is used to look for cancer before you have any symptoms or signs. When cancer is found earlier, it is often at an earlier stage. This means that there is a better chance of successfully treating the cancer. To screen for prostate cancer, a man needs to have a digital rectal examination (DRE) and a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test.

How do you manage prostate cancer?

Aisuodione-Shadrach: This depends on at what stage of the disease that the patient was diagnosed. If it is early prostate cancer, the entire prostate containing cancer is removed in an operation called radical prostatectomy. However, if the cancer is advanced, there are other methods of management that will be discussed with the patient.

What is the statistics of men living with prostate cancer in Nigeria?

Aisuodione-Shadrach: Prostate cancer is a leading cancer diagnosis and cause of cancer-related deaths among men. It is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Nigerian men with an estimated hospital prevalence of between 127 to 182.5 per 100,000 male admissions in the hospital. Until large scale population studies are done in the country, the actual population prevalence will be difficult to estimate.

Can regular sex help reduce chances of prostate cancer development?

Aisuodione-Shadrach: There is no conclusive evidence at the moment that this is true. Some studies have suggested that men with a higher frequency of ejaculations may have a slightly lower risk of prostate cancer. However, this difference appears to be very small while other studies haven’t supported this conclusion.

Ebuka Onyeji
Ebuka Onyeji is a health reporter at PREMIUM TIMES. He also has a penchant for music and art. Ebuka holds a degree in Mass communication from Anambra State University.

Stroke shouldn’t mean end of life

Is stroke the end of life?

Strokes should not be the end of our lives since we could prevent and ameliorate its effect.

If you are above 40, you must read this. If you had seen anybody, with even a mild stroke, you will understand that this is not an illness you will wish your worst enemy. Stroke marks the beginning of one’s deterioration in life. Nobody deserves to experience even the mildest of strokes.

• Most patients at the brink of strokes, could be rescued by competent and observant medical teams, by just paying attention to the 10 under listed points.

• Prof Heidi Moawad has done a lot of research on stroke, he compiled 10 signs, that if observed will allow us to live happily ever after.

• How would you know if you were at the risk of a stroke? While there is no absolute way to know that, you will, or will not ever have a stroke in your lifetime, there are signs that indicate, that you are at high risk of stroke.

• The good news is that you can do something about every one of these signs, so as to significantly lower your stroke risk. Please pay attention.

1) Your blood pressure is out of control.

• If you consistently have high pressure or if you are trying to avoid actually finding out what your blood pressure is – that is bad news. I call it living in denial, you refuse to check your blood pressure, lest it might be high.

• The good news is that high blood pressure can be managed with medication, diet and lifestyle adjustment such as lowering stress and not smoking, and you will live to a very ripe old age without infirmities.

• Make sure you see your doctor to find out what your blood pressure is and, under your doctor’s supervision, start making changes if you need to.

2) Your blood sugar is high – or you don’t know what it is.

• Erratic blood sugar, chronically elevated blood sugar or uncontrolled diabetes can damage blood vessels, increasing your risk of stroke.

• Make sure to see your doctor regularly, so that you can get appropriate diabetes screening and proper treatment, through diet and medication.

• Unmanaged diabetes could lead to cataract formation, blindness, atherosclerosis, hip joint necrosis and foot drop.

3) You smoke.

• Smoking is a hard habit to break. It is one of the most significant signs that you are at risk of having a stroke.

• The good news is that, despite the harmful stroke- causing-impact of smoking, these effects amazingly reverse over time after you quit smoking.

4) You don’t get enough exercise.

• Exercise is easy to ignore. It can seem like a hassle. It can be tough to start exercising, if you have aches and pains.

• But no matter what your health situation is – whether you are healthy, or if you have already, had a serious stroke, there are safe and easy exercises that can keep you fit, while decreasing your stroke risk.

5) You have high cholesterol.

• This is a confusing one, especially lately. While, American Heart Association(AHA), recommendations for dietary cholesterol, have changed recently, you still need to maintain recommended levels.

• It is now known that dietary fat and genetic factors cause high cholesterol.

6) You are always flying off the handle.

• Stress is a major contributor to Hypertension, heart disease and diabetes – all of which cause stroke.

• Stress control and an overall calm, relaxed lifestyle can significantly decrease your stroke risk.

7) You carry deep stress.

• Stress isn’t always manifested as blowing your fuse. Some people are stressed out because of the burden of hiding something, living secret anger, and constantly trying to impress someone who is hard to please, or endlessly chasing after approval.

• Overcoming hidden stress is equally as important as overcoming more obvious stress.

8) You don’t take your medications.

• Most stroke risk factors can be managed, but it requires regularly taking your medications, buying your drugs and doing regular check ups.

9) You don’t get attention for your heart disease.

• If you have shortness of breath when you walk or exert yourself, or if you experience chest pain, then you are running a huge risk of a stroke or a heart attack. So consult your doctor.

10) Ignoring Transient Ischaemia Attack(TIA)

Whenever you notice any of the signs I listed above, please consult your doctor. Always be medically guided.

■Please follow me on twitter ; @ _ DRSUN.

Credit: The Sun

Paracetamol Does Not Cure Any Disease!

Paracetamol Does Not Cure Any Disease!

All children get fever from time to time and most parents resort to paracetamol, an over-the-counter (OTC) medicine, to ensure relief. However, in this report by Sade Oguntola, experts say paracetamol is not a cure for any disease and so children feeling feverish still need to be taken to the hospital for appropriate treatment.

By Sade Oguntola

THE two-year-old was rushed to the hospital, gasping for breath. The nurse seeing the sick boy immediately launched into action to salvage him. While working to save his life, she asked the mother to know when the illness started.

“Mohammed started with fever last week. He came back from school, with his body slightly hot and I gave him paracetamol,” Mrs Haliya Haruna, the mother explained.

Mrs Haruna continued to give him paracetamol, but when she found him unable to breathe well on the third day, she decided to take him to the hospital.

Initially, Mohammed felt better the first two days and could play a little as his mother continued to give him paracetamol until the third day when he became weak and breathless and had to be rushed to the hospital.

Examining Mohammed, the nurse said Mohammed had malaria which had made his blood volume to drop greatly. She said he was dying and needed to be transfused with blood urgently because his low blood level was already affecting his heart.

Unfortunately, many children like Mohammed had died because their mothers were only giving them paracetamol when they had fever. They were not promptly taken to the hospital to ensure the actual cause of the fever is determined and treated appropriately.

Fever is a common childhood problem and is one of the commonest reasons parents take their children for medical attention. It is estimated to be the primary complaint for as many as one-third of all paediatric consultations in general practice.

Parents and caregivers see fever as a useful indicator of whether a child is seriously ill and commence treatment such as giving paracetamol or to tepid-sponge at home before presentation in the hospital.

Fever is not a disease; it is just one of the symptoms of a disease. It is also the body’s way of heat-killing germs. Just like germs are killed by boiling or burning, the body increases the body temperature in an attempt to kill the infecting germs. The more severe an infection, the higher is the fever.

Also, for those germs that are heat-resistant, the body has to increase its temperature much higher. Viruses are very heat-resistant, which is why viral infections often result in very high temperatures, and is not easily controlled with normal medication like paracetamol.

The body’s normal temperature is around 37 degrees Celsius (°C); however, it can vary according to the time of day. If the temperature is over 38°C when measured with a thermometer, then such is considered to have a fever.

Paracetamol (acetaminophen) is the most frequently used medicine to help relieve discomfort and reduce fever. It is both a pain-relieving and fever ‘relieving’ drug. Since it is readily available, accessible and cheap, it is not surprising that it is the most frequently used drug by the mothers.

But, giving a child running fever paracetamol syrup and then seeking medical care, say after two days, because the body temperature seems to persist is wrong, said Dr Babatunde Ogunbosin, a consultant paediatrician at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan.

Dr Ogunbosin added that the advice by paracetamol manufacturers on radio that individuals should consider seeking medical care after taking paracetamol for two days if their symptoms persist is also wrong.

Since many things can cause a fever or a raised body temperature in a child, he stated that giving paracetamol and leaving it at that for two days is rather dangerous.

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According to him, children with fever, especially those below age five, should be seen by a doctor as soon as possible to prevent complications setting in, including death.

Dr Ogunbosin stated that causes of fever in children include infections such as malaria, pneumonia, typhoid fever, bacterial meningitis and cold, adding, “What we expect is for the mother to give the first dose of paracetamol and bring the child immediately to the hospital to seek care.”

Malaria, one of the biggest killers of children all over the world, is the commonest cause of fever in children. Nigeria contributes a significant portion to these deaths, which is highest among children less than five years.

Unfortunately, most children that develop cerebral malaria, a severe form of malaria, will die within two days. “So, if you are waiting to give paracetamol for two days before you see a doctor, most of such children may end up with severe anaemia, cerebral malaria and other complicated forms of malaria,” he stated.

Notably, pneumonia also accounts for many children dying all over the world. A child that has pneumonia will have a fever. There may be other subtle signs like difficulty with breathing, fast breathing and cough.

Now, the mother may have given cough syrups, which really gives little or no relief, alongside paracetamol for the raised body temperature and so, by the time the child eventually gets to the hospital, they already have the advanced form of the disease. Of course, complications of the disease may have developed, thus increasing their chances of dying.

He added: “Yes, it is good to give children paracetamol to bring down the fever and prevent febrile seizures or convulsion as well as other symptoms like headache and body aches that might make them uncomfortable, but that is not the treatment for what is causing the fever. You do not treat the raised body temperature, while leaving its underlying cause.”

No doubt, medical doctors encourage parents to give children malaria medicine when they suspect a child has malaria, especially when they cannot get to health facility as soon as possible.

Howbeit, Dr Ogunbosin said that the ideal thing is that a child suspected to have malaria should be tested to confirm that it is malaria, treated with recommended malaria medicines and followed up to see how they respond because, again, it is not only malaria that causes fever.

He added that the follow-up is very essential because a wrong diagnosis may have serious consequences.

Source: Tribune

Conjunctivitis: What is pink eye?

Conjunctivitis: What is pink eye?

By Anthony Nwaoney

Conjunctivitis is often called “pink eye.” It happens when the conjunctiva is irritated by an infection or allergies. Your eyes are red and swollen (inflamed), and sometimes they have a sticky discharge.
You can have conjunctivitis in one or both eyes. Some types of pink eye are very contagious (easily spread from person to person).

There are three main types of conjunctivitis: viral conjunctivitis; bacterial conjunctivitis; and allergic conjunctivitis.

How do you get pink eye? Viral conjunctivitis: the same virus that causes the runny nose and sore throat of the common cold most commonly causes Conjunctivitis.

Bacterial conjunctivitis: Bacterial infections cause conjunctivitis that produces lots of sticky pus in the eye.

Some bacterial infections, however, may cause little or no discharge.

Sometimes the bacteria that cause pink eye are the same that cause strep throat. Both bacterial and viral conjunctivitis are easily spread from person to person.

Bacterial and viral conjunctivitis can be quite contagious. The most common ways to get the contagious form of pink eye include: direct contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids, usually through hand-to-eye contact; spread of the infection from bacteria living in the person’s own nose and sinuses; and not cleaning contact lenses properly. Using poorly fitting contact lenses or decorative contacts are risks as well.

Children are the people most likely to get pink eye from bacteria or viruses. This is because they are in close contact with so many others in school or day care centers. Also, they don’t practice good hygiene.

Allergic conjunctivitis: Sometimes having an allergic reaction to pollen or animals can cause conjunctivitis.

The irritation can also come from cigarette smoke, car fumes, pool chlorine or other toxic substances.

The main symptom of allergic pink eye is itchy eyes. Other symptoms include red, burning and tearing eyes and puffy eyelids. Allergic conjunctivitis is not contagious.

Pink eye symptoms- Your pink eye symptoms may include: the feeling that something is in your eye, or a gritty sensation in your eye; red eyes; burning eyes; itchy eyes; painful eyes (this is usually with the bacterial form); watery eyes; puffy eyelids; blurry or hazy vision; being extra sensitive to light; and lots of mucus, pus, or thick yellow discharge from your eye. There can be so much that your eyelashes stick together (usually with bacterial conjunctivitis).

Pink eye treatment: Treating your pink eye usually depends on the type of conjunctivitis you have. If your conjunctivitis is caused by a viral infection, there are no specific treatments.

Your body fights the virus on its own. Placing a cool, wet washcloth on your eyes can help make them feel more comfortable.

If your pink eye is caused by a bacterial infection, your ophthalmologist may prescribe antibiotic eye drops, depending on how severe your symptoms are. Antibiotics do not treat an infection caused by a virus or by allergy.

If your conjunctivitis is due to allergies, you might be told to use certain eye drops to help with the itchiness and puffiness.

Sometimes conjunctivitis can be caused by a chemical or other substance in your eye.

In this case, rinse the eye free of the substance. You might be told to use certain eye drops or ointment for the eyes.

Stop pink eye from spreading: Some conjunctivitis can spread from person to person. Follow these tips so you will not infect other people or re-infect yourself.

* Use a clean towel or tissue each time you wipe your face and eyes.

* Wash your hands very often. Always wash them before and after you eat, when you go to the bathroom, or after you sneeze or cough.

* Try not to touch your eyes. If you do, wash your hands right away.

* Bacteria can live in makeup. This can cause pink eye and even a dangerous infection of the cornea.

Do not use eye makeup while your eyes are infected. Replace your makeup if you have an eye infection. And never share eye makeup with others.

* Make sure to clean your contact lenses exactly as your ophthalmologist recommends.

Conjunctivitis usually goes away on its own within one–two weeks. If your symptoms last longer than that, you should see your ophthalmologist. He or she can make sure you don’t have a more serious eye problem.

*Dr. Anthony Nwaoney is an epidemiologist

Credit: The Guardian

Excess ginger consumption can cause miscarriage

‘Excess ginger consumption can cause miscarriage’

Dayo Ojerinde

A Paediatric nurse at the Life Line Children Hospital, Lekki, Lagos, Mrs Alexis Essien, has cautioned pregnant women against consuming excess ginger.

Essien, in an interview with our correspondent, said that ginger could cause heartburn for those with an ulcer.

She said, “Ginger has many benefits for pregnant women if consumed in moderation. However, if you consume excess amounts of it during pregnancy, it may lead to miscarriage.

“It is not considered dangerous if what is consumed is less than 1500mg, but a pregnant woman should check with her doctor before consumption. Ginger may affect the blood sugar levels of pregnant women. For those with gestational diabetes, it is best they consult their doctor if they wish to consume ginger during pregnancy.”

She also advised pregnant women to avoid ginger if they had a history of vaginal bleeding, dizziness, clotting disorder or miscarriage.

According to parenting.firstcry.com, moderate consumption of ginger by pregnant women helps regulate cholesterol levels and boosts the blood supply to the foetus as well.

By consuming ginger, the blood circulation in your body gets spiked up. This boosts the blood supply to the foetus as well.

Ginger is effective in providing relief from nausea and morning sickness. It may help the body to absorb nutrients from the food consumed.

Taking ginger before bedtime helps to ease pregnancy-related indigestion, gas and bloating. It also helps to ease muscle pains and aches during pregnancy.

Moderate consumption of ginger during pregnancy improves the supply of iron and Vitamin C in the body and helps in boosting the baby’s immune system.

Source: The Punch