Medical Blog

Saudi German Hospital's Medical Blog

A place where we publish health matters, stories, education and news from all over the world! Get involved with us. We look forward for your engagement on our interactive health platform. See you around

HIV/AIDS

 

AIDS


What is AIDS?
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a subgroup of retrovirus. Two types of HIV have been identified; HIV-1 and HIV-2. These viruses share similar epidemiological characteristics although they are relatively distinct serologically and geographically. HIV-2 has been found to be less pathogenic than HIV-1.
The HIV virus attacks the immune system, which is the body’s defense against different types of infections and certain types of cancers, and therefore the body loses its ability to fight infectious viruses and cancers, this virus is called (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), or HIV.
The most advanced stage of HIV infection is Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS), which can take from 8 to 10 years to develop. Those who contracted the virus can live for some years without apparent symptoms, however majority of patients in the developing countries die within three years from being diagnosed with the HIV.

Methods of infection:


How do you get HIV or AIDS?
Most commonly, people get or transmit HIV through semen and vaginal fluids during sexual intercourse without using a condom, and most of the cases worldwide are between men and women and in developed countries in particular, homosexuality is the primary means of the transmission. In addition to sexual intercourse the HIV can be transmitted through sharing drug needles contaminated with blood infected with the virus, and through transmission of blood or its products from an infected person. It is also transmitted from an infected mother to her baby before, during and immediately after birth.

Mother-to-Child transmission of HIV during Pregnancy?
Mother-to-child transmission of HIV is the spread of HIV from an HIV-infected pregnant woman to her child through the blood and infection is more likely to occur if the mother is infected recently or at an advanced stage of Aids. Likewise the HIV can be transmitted during delivery when the baby is exposed to his mother's blood and in some cases through the breast milk. Transmission of HIV from mother to her baby constitutes 30% of all cases.

Can HIV be transmitted through blood?
Yes, if it is contaminated with the virus. Currently, safe blood transfusion system is applying throughout the Kingdom by blood screening for HIV virus and others.
 
Can AIDS be transmitted through injection?
Yes, if injection utensils are contaminated with HIV-infected blood. Avoid using the injection unless it is a must. Make sure that the needles and syringes are kept in sterilized containers.

Can AIDS be transmitted through insect bites or usual contact with an infected person?
HIV infection cannot be transmitted through insect bites, touching, hand-shaking, sharing food and drink tools, and using same toilets, bathroom and swimming pool, working or sleeping in room with an infected person.
 
Can AIDS be transmitted through usual coexistence?
HIV infection can't be transmitted through normal social activities; such as shaking hands, or travelling in the same bus, or eating from the same utensils; and it is also not transmitted through hugging or kissing. Mosquitoes and insects do not spread the virus and it is not transmitted through the air or drinking.
 
Do sexually-transmitted diseases increase risk for HIV infection?
Yes, many of sexually-transmitted diseases (STD) increase the risks for HIV infection and its transmission to others. These risks include: increase the chances of HIV transmission by about 50-300 times in the case of a genital ulcer, and increases the likelihood of infection with HIV in the case of a genital infection for several reasons:
·    The virus can spread easily through the genital ulcer in the skin or mucous membranes.
·    The virus may attack many of the white blood cells in the genital secretion caused by sexually transmitted infections.
·    A large amount of the virus exists in the genital ulcer and fluids (such as semen and cervical secretions) for patients with certain sexually transmitted infections such as: gonorrhea and genital herpes, syphilis and chancroid.

Diagnosis:


How HIV infection is diagnosed?
Blood tests are the most common way to diagnose HIV, looking for antibodies to the virus. The antibodies are special type of protein to fight the virus and can take the body anywhere from 1-3 months to develop them.

There are two types of antibodies testing for diagnosing HIV and AIDs, namely:
·     ELISA Test, which stands for enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
·    Western Bolt.


Symptoms:
The symptoms of HIV vary depending on the stage of infection. Though people living with HIV tend to be most infectious in the first few months, many are unaware of their status until later stages. The first few weeks after initial infection, individuals may experience no symptoms or an influenza-like illness including fever, headache, rash or sore throat.

As the infection progressively weakens the immune system, an individual can develop other signs and symptoms, such as swollen lymph nodes, weight loss, fever, diarrhea and cough. Without treatment, they could also develop severe illnesses such as tuberculosis, cryptococcal meningitis, cancers and other diseases.


Risk factors:
Behaviors and conditions that put individuals at greater risk of contracting HIV include:
·    Persons having taboo sex and homosexuality;
·    Having another sexually transmitted infections which cause ulcers in the vaginal organs, making it easier for the virus to enter the body;
·    Sharing contaminated needles, particularly by drug users;
·    Experiencing accidental needle stick injuries, including among health workers.


Treatment:


Is there a cure for HIV and AIDS?
There are a number of medications used to treat infections associated with AIDS; they also act to prevent viral replication. They don't cure HIV infection; rather they delay the onset of symptoms of AIDS and death.

The focus now is on combination of drugs including new drugs called protease inhibitors which makes treatment very expensive, and the current policy of the World Health Organization (WHO) doesn't recommend using anti-retroviral drugs. Instead it calls for strengthening clinical therapeutic management of opportunistic infection associated with HIV such as: tuberculosis, diarrhea, and welfare programs that have shown the best results to improve the quality of life and prolong the survival of people living with HIV AIDS.


Prevention:
·    Avoiding sex outside of marriage, and it is also important to avoid homosexuality.
·    Using condom if one of the spouses is infected with the disease.
·    Don't share syringes or piercing tools or razors.
·    Until now there's no cure for HIV/AIDS.

Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
72 Hits

Polio

 Polio

Polio is a highly infectious viral disease, which affects children and invades the nervous system, especially the nerves of the lower limbs. The virus causes complete or partial paralysis, and may lead to death in some cases.

Causes:
The main cause for polio is poliovirus. It is transmitted through the mouth or nose, and reproduces inside the intestines.
 
Infection Transmission:
Polio is transmitted through:
Direct contact with a polio-infected person
Mucus and phlegm from the mouth and nose, in addition to the stool contaminated with the virus.
Water and food contaminated with the virus.

Symptoms:
1)- Non-Paralytic Polio (flaccid paralysis):
It is a type of polio that doesn’t cause paralysis of limbs, but usually causes symptoms similar to those of flu, including:
·    Fever
·    Sore throat
·    Headache
·    Vomiting
·    Fatigue
·    Back pain or stiffness
·    Neck pain or stiffness
·    Arm and leg pain or stiffness
·    Muscle tenderness
·    Meningitis

2)- Paralytic Polio:
It is the type of polio which leads to paralysis in the limbs or spine, according to the body part affected with the virus; the spine (spinal polio), the brainstem (bulbar polio), and both of the spine and brainstem (bulbospinal polio).

Symptoms include:
·    Loss of limb reflexes.
·    Severe muscle pain or weakness
·    Loose and floppy limbs.

3)- Post-Polio Syndrome:    
Post-Polio Syndrome is a group of signs and symptoms that affect some people for several years (an average of 35 years), including:
·    Muscle and joint weakness and pain
·    General fatigue and exhaustion.
·    Muscle atrophy.
·    Breathing or swallowing problems.
·    Sleep-related breathing problems, such as sleep apnea.
·    Low body temperature (Hypothermia).
·    Cognitive problems, such as difficulty in concentration and memory.

Who is at risk?
·    Children not vaccinated against polio.
·    HIV patients.
·    Unvaccinated travelers to polio-infected areas.

Treatment:
There is no cure for polio, but it is recommended to embrace the following health tips:
·    Taking rest.
·    Taking painkillers to relieve symptoms.
·    Maintaining physiotherapy to avoid muscle immobilization
·    Maintaining healthy nutrition

Prevention:
Children should be vaccinated against polio regularly, according to the vaccination schedule. This would protect them for a lifetime, Allah willing.

Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
173 Hits

Wash Your Hand

Hand washing with water and soap is one of the most effective and inexpensive way to prevent the spread of many kinds of pathogenic infections such as diarrhea and pneumonia, the major cause of mortality among children. Also, handwashing with water and soap helps to avoid skin and eye infection and the spread of seasonal flu.
 
There is no doubt that handwashing is a simple and easy behavior that can be practiced at all times and in any circumstances, whether at home, school or place of work, in addition to health facilities where clean hands prevent the spread of germs from one person to another, and in spite of that some people are careless about this behavior.
 
When to wash your hands?
·    Before, during, and after preparing food.
·    Before eating food.
·    Before and after caring for someone who is sick.
·    Before and after treating a cut or wound.
·    After using the toilet.
·    After changing diapers or cleaning up a child who has used the toilet.
·    After coughing or sneezing.
·    After touching an animal, animal feed or animal waste.
·    After touching garbage.
 
Misconception about handwashing:
Some people may think that washing hands with water only is enough to clean them; on the contrary water alone is not enough to kill disease-causing germs. However, soap gets rid of fats and grime that carry germs.
 
Parents can help their children to make handwashing a habit:
·    Teaching them techniques of washing hands thoroughly.
·    Reminding them to wash their hands.
·    Wash your hands together with your children. 

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers:
In place of water and soap you may use alcohol-based hand sanitizers. The product content of alcohol ranges from 60-80%, and it is fast-acting and suitable to get rid of most of the germs on your han

Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
285 Hits

The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness

 

The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness

Arthritis is inflammation of one or more of your joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age.
Symptoms:
·    Pain.
·    Stiffness.
·    Swelling.
·    Redness.
·    Weakness of movement.
Arthritis Risk Factors:
·    Family history: Some types of arthritis run in families, so you may be more likely to develop arthritis if your parents or siblings have the disorder. Your genes can make you more susceptible to environmental factors that may trigger arthritis.
·    Age: The risk of many types of arthritis — including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout — increases with age.
·    Your sex: Women are more likely than are men to develop arthritis.
·    Previous joint injury: People who have injured a joint, perhaps while playing a sport, are more likely to eventually develop arthritis in that joint.
·    Obesity: Carrying excess pounds puts stress on joints, particularly your knees, hips and spine. Obese people have a higher risk of developing arthritis.
Complications:
Severe arthritis, particularly if it affects your hands or arms, can make it difficult for you to do daily tasks. Arthritis of weight-bearing joints can keep you from walking comfortably or sitting up straight. In some cases, joints may become twisted and deformed.
 
Diagnosis:
·     Lab tests:
Examining and analyzing various body fluids could help identify inflammation type.
Body fluids to be examined and analyzed are:
·    Blood.
·    Urine.
·    Joint fluid.
Imaging:
·    X-Ray imaging.
·    CT scan.
·    Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
·    Ultrasound.
Treatment:
Arthritis treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and improving joint function.
Medication:
·    Analgesic drug: This type of medication helps to ease the pain, but it does not affect the inflammation.
·    Non - Steroidal Anti - Inflammatory Drug (NASID).
·    Corticosteroid.
Physical therapy: Can be helpful for some types of arthritis. Exercises can improve range of motion and strengthen the muscles surrounding joints. In some cases, splints or braces may be warranted.
Surgery: If conservative measures don't help, doctors may suggest surgery, such as:
·    Synovectomy
·    Joint replacement.
·    Joint fusion.

Arthritis is inflammation of one or more of your joints. The main symptoms of arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, which typically worsen with age.
Symptoms:
·    Pain.
·    Stiffness.
·    Swelling.
·    Redness.
·    Weakness of movement.
Arthritis Risk Factors:
·    Family history: Some types of arthritis run in families, so you may be more likely to develop arthritis if your parents or siblings have the disorder. Your genes can make you more susceptible to environmental factors that may trigger arthritis.
·    Age: The risk of many types of arthritis — including osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout — increases with age.
·    Your sex: Women are more likely than are men to develop arthritis.
·    Previous joint injury: People who have injured a joint, perhaps while playing a sport, are more likely to eventually develop arthritis in that joint.
·    Obesity: Carrying excess pounds puts stress on joints, particularly your knees, hips and spine. Obese people have a higher risk of developing arthritis.
Complications:
Severe arthritis, particularly if it affects your hands or arms, can make it difficult for you to do daily tasks. Arthritis of weight-bearing joints can keep you from walking comfortably or sitting up straight. In some cases, joints may become twisted and deformed.
 
Diagnosis:
·     Lab tests:
Examining and analyzing various body fluids could help identify inflammation type.
Body fluids to be examined and analyzed are:
·    Blood.
·    Urine.
·    Joint fluid.
Imaging:
·    X-Ray imaging.
·    CT scan.
·    Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
·    Ultrasound.
Treatment:
Arthritis treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and improving joint function.
Medication:
·    Analgesic drug: This type of medication helps to ease the pain, but it does not affect the inflammation.
·    Non - Steroidal Anti - Inflammatory Drug (NASID).
·    Corticosteroid.
Physical therapy: Can be helpful for some types of arthritis. Exercises can improve range of motion and strengthen the muscles surrounding joints. In some cases, splints or braces may be warranted.
Surgery: If conservative measures don't help, doctors may suggest surgery, such as:
·    Synovectomy
·    Joint replacement.
·    Joint fusion.

Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
270 Hits

Risk Factors for Breast Cancer

 Risk Factors for Breast Cancer


Breast cancer is the growth of abnormal cells in the breast. These abnormal cells grow and divide faster than normal cells. They can also invade the breast and surrounding tissue and spread to lymph nodes or other parts of the body. Breast cancer is a disease of humans and other mammals; while the overwhelming majority of cases in humans are women, men can also develop breast cancer.

Risk Factors for Breast Cancer:
-Being a woman : simply being a woman is the main risk factor for breast cancer. Men can get breast cancer , too, but this disease is about 100 times more common in women than in men.

-As you get older, your risk of breast cancer goes up. Most breast cancers are found in women age 55 and older.

- If a close relative has or has had, breast cancer, the risk is higher.
Women who carry the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer or both. These genes can be inherited. TP53 is another gene that is linked to a greater breast cancer risk

- Women who have had breast cancer before are more likely to have it again, compared with those who have no history of the disease.
Having some types of benign, or non-cancerous breast lumps increases the chance of developing cancer later on. Examples include atypical ductal hyperplasia or lobular carcinoma in situ.


-Overall, white women are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer than African-American women. But in women under age 45, breast cancer is more common in African-American women. African-American women are also more likely to die from breastcancer at any age. Asian, Hispanic, and Native American women have a lower risk of developing and dying from breast cancer.

- Breast cancer is more likely to develop in higher density breast tissue

-Women who have had more menstrual cycles because they started menstruating early (especially before age 12) have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer. The increase in risk may be due to a longer lifetime exposure to the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

-Women who have had more menstrual cycles because they went through menopause later (after age 55) have a slightly higher risk of breast cancer. The increase in risk may be because they have a longer lifetime exposure to the hormones estrogen and progesterone.

-Women who were treated with radiation therapy to the chest for another cancer (such as Hodgkin disease or non-Hodgkin lymphoma) when they were younger have a significantly higher risk for breast cancer. This varies with the patient’s age when they got radiation. The risk is highest if you had radiation as a teen or young adult, when your breasts were still developing. Radiation treatment after age 40 does not seem to increase breast cancer risk.

- Women who are overweight or have obesity after menopause may have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, possibly due to higher levels of estrogen. High sugar intake may also be a factor.

-Not being physically active

-Women who have not had children or who had their first child after age 30 have a slightly higher breast cancer risk overall. Having many pregnancies and becoming pregnant at an early age reduces breast cancer risk. Still, the effect of pregnancy seems to be different for different types of breast cancer. For a certain type of breast cancer known as triple-negative, pregnancy seems to increase risk.

-Not breastfeeding

-Some studies suggest that breastfeeding may slightly lower breast cancer risk, especially if it’s continued for 1½ to 2 years. But this has been hard to study, especially in countries like the United States, where breastfeeding for this long is uncommon.

-- The use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and oral birth control pills have been linked to breast cancer, due to increased levels of estrogen.
Symptoms
The first symptoms of breast cancer are usually an area of thickened tissue in the breast, or a lump in the breast or in an armpit.
Other symptoms include:
 a pain in the armpits or breast that does not change with the monthly cycle
 pitting or redness of the skin of the breast, like the skin of an orange
  a rash around or on one of the nipples
 a discharge from a nipple, possibly containing blood
a sunken or inverted nipple
 a change in the size or shape of the breast

  peeling, flaking, or scaling of the skin on the breast or nipple
Most lumps are not cancerous, but women should have them checked by a health care professional.

Prevention
There is no sure way to prevent breast cancer, but some lifestyle decisions can significantly reduce the risk of breast and other types of cancer.
These include:
§    avoiding excess alcohol consumption
§    following a healthy diet with plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
  getting enough exercise
   maintaining a healthy body mass index (BMI)
  Early detection and treatment is still the best strategy for a better cancer outcome. The following is a common strategy, but ask your doctor exactly what you should do to help prevent breast cancer or find it early:
-Check your breasts once a month, three to five days after your menstrual period ends. Have a thorough medical checkup once a year, and have annual mammograms. Some experts, including the American Cancer Society, recommend starting screening mammography at age 45, while others recommend beginning regular mammogram screening at age 50.Some experts recommend starting mammograms at age 40 or earlier, especially if you have a family history of breast cancer. Talk to your doctor about when you should have your first mammogram.

  If you use contraception, ask your doctor about the pros and cons of birth control pills.
  If you are near or in menopause, ask your doctor if you should use hormone replacement therapy to treat menopause symptoms. Studies suggest that hormone replacement, especially therapies with a combination of estrogens and progestins, can increase the risk of breast cancer. You and your doctor can make this decision based on your risk of breast cancer.
  If you are at high risk for breast cancer, certain drugs that block the effects of estrogen, such as raloxifene and tamoxifen, have been shown to reduce the risk of breast cancer. The risks and benefits of using these medications should be discussed with your doctor.

Rate this blog entry:
Continue reading
280 Hits