What Alcohol Does to Your Body

 Less than 1 minute of sipping alcohol, your body will react spontaneously to its intoxicating power. The experience is comparable to a mild electric discharge journeying up to your brain. And once it reaches up there, it will immediately disconnect the processes going on in your brain by slowing down the pathways and chemicals that are required by brains cells for sending out coherent messages. You may become drowsy, experience slow reflexes or lose your mindfulness altogether. There is every possibility that you may become moody, unbalanced, and drunk!

Direct effects of Alcohol on your body

 A small, occasional sip of alcohol may not produce any observable side-effects; in fact, having a little amount of alcohol every now and then is considered to be good for your health. However, binge-drinking of alcoholic drinks may cause the following serious health problems in your body:

  • Too much alcohol may increase your stomach acid level and eventually cause painful ulcers.
  • It may lead to having a chronic Liver Disease.
  • Your brain shrinks if you drink too much alcohol. This means that your ability to think, reason properly, and to remember things may be hampered by too much booze.
  • You may have diarrhea and heartburn.
  • It may cause your kidneys to wear out and make you to urinate every now and then.
  • Too much booze may destroy your pancreatic glands and lead to diabetes.
  • Alcohol may increase your blood pressure.
  • You may have weaker immune system if your drinking is just too much.
  • Alcohol may hinder the smooth functions of your hormones.
  • It may cause you to lose your sharp hearing.
  • Too much booze will thin your bones and produce less muscle.
  • On top of that, you will have a hangover the following day that may render the day boring and unappetizing to you.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms described above, it is very essential that you see your doctor. Because it is very dangerous to let your kidney, liver, and pancreatic glands damaged before seeking for a medical intervention.

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The War on Opioids: Some Important Facts You Should Know

On Thursday, October 26, 2017, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services declared opioid addiction in the United States as a “public health emergency.” This scourge of drug addiction and abuse has had significant impacts on people’s lives, their finances, and the public healthcare system. It is reported that about 60,000 people lost their lives in 2016 due to opioid addiction. Highlighted in this article are some important facts everyone should know about this epidemic.

What are opioids?

When prescribed appropriately by doctors, opioids are medications used to lessen the moderate to severe effects of pain. They work by binding to opioid receptors in the spinal cord, brain, and other parts of the body. They reduce the feeling of pain by lowering the quantity of “pain messages” sent to the brain. Some common examples of opioid drugs include but are not limited to codeine, fentanyl, methadone, hydrocodone, morphine, meperidine, and oxycodone. Normally, these are prescription pain-relievers, with certain dosage requirements. However, when people abused its usage by not sticking to their doctors’ recommendations, it may lead to some uncomfortable outcomes, including deaths.

Some side-effects of opioid addiction

Unmanaged opioid treatment may produce the following undesirable side-effects:

  • Death (in extreme circumstances)
  • Constipation
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle pain, irritability, and anxiety

Opioid tolerance versus addiction

Do not confuse opioid tolerance with addiction. After taking certain opioid drugs for some time, your body may require more dosage to achieve the same initial palliative effect. In that case, you are experiencing opioid tolerance. Addiction occurs when you obtain and use the opioid drugs inappropriately; that is, without your doctor’s supervision.

Staying healthy and safe

Proper opioid prescription management is the only surest way you can stay healthy and safe. This requires that you should work closely with your doctor while undergoing opioid drug treatment. Your doctor will be able to know:

  • If your body is responding quite well to the prescribed opioid drug
  • If there are any side effects and promptly remedy the situation
  • If you are using the opioid drug properly
  • If there are other medical conditions in your body that may increase the chances of a disastrous side-effect
  • If you need an opioid drug or not, because not all pains require opioid prescription

Bad Breath Busters: 8 Strategic Things You Can Do to Beat Bad Breath

  Bad breath, otherwise known as halitosis, is a condition whereby bad odor exudes from some people’s mouths. It may be a temporary or a chronic thing. There are different causes of mouth odor or bad breath and we explain, in this article, eight (8) strategic things you can do to rid yourself of embarrassing and mostly debasing mouth odor.

Causes of bad breath

Mouth odors occur due to various factors; however, some of its causes are highlighted below:

  • Poor dental hygiene: If you don’t brush and floss your teeth every day, you may carelessly leave some food particles that may increase the number of bacteria in your mouth. When the food particles are broken down by the bacteria, this process will produce a terrible odor.
  • Mouth infections: You may have bad breath if there is an infection in your mouth such as gum disease, tooth decay, mouth sores, and so on.
  • Foods that produce an odor: Garlic, onion, spices, and other foods the produce natural, offensive odors can cause bad breath.
  • Tobacco products: Smokers and tobacco users tend to have a terrible bad breath from the horrid odor the products produce. Sometimes, a smoker may also be affected by a gum disease.
  • Dry mouth: A condition of dry mouth or xerostomia occurs when there is a reduction in the amount of saliva in your mouth. Normally, saliva is very useful for cleaning the food particles and other disease-causing substances from the mouth. But when the quantity of saliva decreases, your mouth may have an unpleasant odor. Dry mouth normally occurs in the morning before waking up, which somehow makes morning breath to be odoriferous. The chronic dry mouth may be caused by some diseases or a problem in your salivary gland.
  • Medications: Some medications tend to increase the dry mouth condition, which will then lead to bad breath. Other medications may have bad-smelling chemicals that may give your breath an unpleasant odor.
  • Other causes: Bad breath may be caused by some infections or inflammations in the nose, mouth, and throat. Metabolic disorders, chronic reflux of stomach, or some cancers may cause bad breath.

 8 Strategic Things You Can Do to Beat Bad Breath

You can strategically beat bad breath by:

  • Brushing and flossing your teeth more often
  • Keeping your gums healthy
  • Using brush to scrape your tongue every day
  • Rinsing your mouth every now and then
  • Not eating food that is going to give your mouth a bad odor
  • Stopping smoking or using tobacco
  • By drinking plenty of water to moisten your mouth and increase the amount of saliva
  • By avoiding after-dinner chewing gums and mints

If your mouth still has a bad odor after you have carefully carried out the above-mentioned procedures, you should see a dentist.

The Medical Cost of A One-Night Stand

Despite the development in the medical technology, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently sounded a serious alarm that the rate of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) is quite on the rise, with about 20 million infections recorded every year. While it is impossible to claim that all those infections arose from poor judgement usually associated with one-night stands; however, for the fact that half of new Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) occurs among young people aged 15-24, the demographic that are the most sexually-active and fondest of engaging in the heat of one-night stands, whereby two lusty strangers undermined the significance of safe sex and dived into sexual intercourse unprotected.

How are STDs transmitted?

According to Mayo Clinic, sexually transmitted diseases are mainly transmitted through sexual intercourse. Although, it is possible to contract STDs through non-sexual contacts. For example, a newly born child may get any type of the STDs from his/her mother through contact with the mother’s infected blood or body fluids. STIs are caused by bacteria, yeast, viruses, and parasites.

Different kinds of sexually transmitted diseases

There are 20 types of STDs, but the most virulent ones are Gonorrhea, HIV/AIDS, Syphilis, Chlamydia, Genital herpes, HPV, and Trichomoniasis.

(i) Gonorrhea: This STI is caused by bacteria and it can infect the genital tract, anus, or mouth. It is common in young adults, and an infected pregnant woman can pass it to her baby during childbirth. Some symptoms of gonorrhea are:

  • Pain when urinating
  • Discharge from penis/vagina
  • Bleeding between periods for women

(ii) HIV/AIDS: HIV harms your body by weakening your immune system and destroying the white blood cells that fight infections. AIDS is the final stage of HIV, but not everyone develops AIDS. It may be contracted through sexual intercourse or contact with infected blood. Some of the symptoms of HIV are:

  • Swollen glands
  • Flu-like symptoms

(iii) Syphilis: This STI is caused by bacteria. Many people may not notice Syphilis symptoms for years. And some of these symptoms are:

  • Small painless sore
  • Swelling in the nearby lymph nodes
  • Non-itchy skin rashes

(iv) Chlamydia: This STI is caused by bacteria, Chlamydia trachomatis, and it can infect both women and men. Women can get chlamydia in the throat, cervix, or rectum. Men can have it in the rectum, urethra (inside the penis), or throat. Some of the symptoms of chlamydia are:

  • Abnormal, smelly vaginal discharge (women)
  • Pain during intercourse (women)
  • A burning sensation when urinating (both men and women)
  • Discharge from penis (men)
  • Burning or itching around the penis’ opening (men)
  • Swelling and pain in one or both testicles (men)

(v) Genital herpes: This is caused by a herpes simplex virus (HSV), and it can be contracted from having sexual intercourse with someone who has already been infected by the virus. Some of the genital herpes symptoms are:

  • Sores on genital, buttocks, rectal area, or things
  • Pains or itching around the genitals, thighs, and buttocks

(vi) HPV: Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a group of connected viruses, and they are mainly spread through sexual contact. There are 200 types of these viruses, and about 40 of them affect genitals. High-risk HPV can cause various cancers such as vaginal cancer, cervical cancer, penile cancer, vulvar cancer, and so on. Some of the HPV symptoms are:

  • Cause warts on different parts of the body
  • Itching in your genital
  • Bleeding with intercourse
  • Gray or flesh-colored swellings in your genital area

(vii) Trichomoniasis: This STD is caused by a parasite, and can be contracted through sexual contact. It may not show any symptoms within 5 to 28 days after infection. Some of the trichomoniasis symptoms are:

  • Itching in or near the vagina
  • Vaginal odor
  • Discomfort during sex
  • Painful urination
  • Yellow-green or gray vaginal discharge

                                                              STD/STI treatments

If you detected any of the symptoms highlighted above, you should immediately see your doctor for proper diagnosis. STIs that are caused by bacteria such as gonorrhea, Trichomoniasis, Syphilis, and Chlamydia may be treated with antibiotics. There is no cure for HIV/AIDS and HPV, but genital herpes can be treated with antiviral drugs.

                                                        Playing Safe

  According to CDC, the total estimated direct cost of Sexually Transmitted Infections annually in the U.S. is about $1.6 billion. That’s a whole lot of money to be squandered on sexual indiscretion! Play safe by using barriers such as condoms, which may reduce the rate of infection but may not completely stop an STI. Abstaining from sex or/and maintaining a monogamous union can also help you to avoid contracting STIs. If you want to show love to your partner, engaging in low-risk acts such as kissing and cuddling may protect you against STIs than having sexual intercourse. And if you can exercise some patience, you may be lucky to detect that your partner has already been infected with an STD and quickly advise him/her to get tested.

Lupus: 6 Important Facts You Need to Know

Lupus has no cure, and it is a chronic inflammatory disease you have when your tissues and organs are attacked by your body’s immune system. Some people are born with a greater possibility of developing lupus than the others. And the inflammations caused by lupus can affect several organs or systems in your body, such as liver, heart, lungs, kidneys, joints, blood cells, brains, and skin.

Symptoms of lupus

Sometimes it is difficult to diagnose if someone is having lupus or not. This is because lupus exhibits symptoms that are very similar to other diseases, as highlighted below:

  • Having chest pain
  • Experiencing fever and fatigue
  • Having dry eyes
  • Experiencing shortness of breath
  • Incessant joint pain, swelling, and stiffness
  • Having a memory loss, headaches, and constantly feeling confused
  • Having skin lesions that seem to worsen when exposed to the sun
  • Fingers and toes turning white or blue when exposed to stress or cold
  • Having butterfly-shaped rash on your face that spreads from the cheeks to your nose’s bridge

Causes of lupus

On most occasions, the cause of lupus is unknown, but some people who inherited lupus gene may develop it when there are sudden changes in their environments. Generally, lupus may emerge when exposed to the following conditions:

  • Infections: It is possible for certain infections to bring up lupus.
  • Medications: Some blood pressure, antibiotics, and anti-seizure medications can trigger lupus.
  • Exposure to sunlight: Lupus skin lesions may surface due to the excessive exposure to the sun. Or the lesions may appear in some internal parts of your body.

              Some risk factors

The following factors may increase your risks of developing lupus:

  • Age: Despite affecting people of all ages, lupus is commonly diagnosed between the age of 15 and 40 years old.
  • Race: African-Americans, Asian, and Hispanics are more susceptible to lupus than people from other races
  • Gender (Sex): Lupus is more common in women.

                     Complications arising from lupus

Lupus may lead to any of these health complications:

  • Causing kidney failure and problems
  • Leading to headaches, behavioral changes, dizziness, strokes, and hallucinations when lupus affects one’s brain and nervous system
  • Increasing bleeding problem and risk of anemia
  • Making breathing difficult owing to an inflammation of the chest cavity lining (pleurisy), and causing people to be susceptible to pneumonia
  • Increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attacks, because of the inflammation of the heart muscle
  • Increasing the risk of cancer
  • Leading to pregnancy complications
  • Increasing the vulnerability of people to other infections
  • Causing the death of the bone tissue

Testing and diagnosing lupus

It may be misleading to only consider the physical symptoms of lupus because other diseases have similar signs. However, there are three categories of tests that can be carried out on people to detect if they have lupus or not:

  • Laboratory tests: These include:
  • Complete blood count
  • Erythrocytes sedimentation rate
  • Urinalysis
  • Antinuclear antibody (ANA) test
  • Kidney and liver assessment
  • Imaging tests: These include:
  • Echocardiogram
  • Chest x-ray
  • Biopsy: This test provides better information on how far lupus has been affecting a patient’s kidney. A sample of the person’s kidney tissue is required to complete this test.

               Treatments for lupus

Your lupus will be treated based on your symptoms. Your doctor will determine which medications are the most appropriate for you. Sometimes as your health improves, the medications may have to be changed to other ones. Make sure you are constantly discussing the progress of your recovery with your doctor. In most cases, lupus can be treated with any of these medications based on the patient’s symptoms:

  • Antimalarial drugs
  • Immunosuppressants
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Corticosteroids

Kidney Stones: Pay Serious Attention to these Warning Signs

 According to the National Kidney Foundation, one in ten people experiences kidney stone problem at a certain time in their lives. And, each year, more than 500,000 Americans are treated for kidney stones. Paying deliberation attention to these warning signs or symptoms may prevent you from being sent to the operation room.

             Types and causes of kidney stones

Kidney stones are hard objects that are made from some chemicals in the urine. Highlighted below are some types of kidney stones and their corresponding causes:

  • Uric acid: Purines are natural chemical compounds found in high concentrations in shellfish and some organ meats. It is believed that high intakes of purines produce a high amount of monosodium urate, which may form kidney stones under the right conditions.
  • Calcium oxalate: This is the most prevalent kind of kidney stone, and it is caused by the combination of calcium and oxalate in the urine. When there is no adequate fluid in your body or calcium, it may lead to the formation of calcium oxalate.
  • Struvite: This kind of kidney stone is not very common, and it can be caused by an infection in the upper urinary tract.
  • Cystine: These are the rarest types of kidney stones, and they tend to be hereditary.

Warning signs (symptoms) of kidney stones

These are the warning signs you must pay serious attention to:

  • Having some blood in your urine
  • Chills and fever
  • Experiencing severe pain on either side of your lower back
  • Having urine that smells horribly or appearing cloudy
  • Feeling like vomiting or nauseated
  • Unending vague pain or stomach ache that refuses to stop

How kidney stones are diagnosed?

When you begin to experience any of the symptoms described above, the most sensible thing to do is to see your doctor. Your doctor will then investigate your medical history and perform some physical examinations on you. However, you will need some imaging tests to determine the exact size and shape of the kidney stone.

Examples of imaging tests

  • Using high-resolution CT Scan, from the kidney down to your bladder
  • Using an x-ray called “KUB X-ray” which stands for kidney-ureter-bladder x-ray. This will help your doctor to determine the size and shape of the stone and recommend the most appropriate treatment
  • Or using IVP (intravenous pyelogram), which is a kind of x-ray of the urinary system

                     Treating kidney stones

Kidney stones affect both kids and adults, and they are diagnosed and treated almost the same ways. Your doctor may recommend any of the treatments below for your kidney stones:

  • By drinking a lot of water
  • Taking medications that would make your urine to be less acidic
  • Too big kidney stones are removed by surgery using any of the methods below:
  • Shock-wave lithotripsy—this is a non-invasive procedure that utilizes high-energy sound waves to break the stones into smaller pieces that can easily be eliminated through urination.
  • Ureteroscopy—An endoscope will be inserted through your ureter to take out the stone or demolish it.
  • Percutaneous nephrolithotomy/nephrolithotripsy—this procedure is used to remove a very large kidney stone.

                    What you can do to prevent kidney stones?

You can safeguard yourself and your child from kidney stones by following these simple steps:

  • Drink a lot of water, at least more than 10 glasses a day
  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Reduce the amount of salt in your food
  • Eat balanced diets that will provide your body with the necessary nutrients
  • Watch your weight because obesity may increase the chance of having kidney stones