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Monthly Archives: April 2017

World Health Day

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Image is from Easypromos

What is World Health Day?

The World Health Day is a global celebration by people from all over the world and is held each year on 7th April. The day is sponsored by the World Health Organization which held its first assembly in Geneva in the year 1948 and it was then that the World Health day was founded. It was first celebrated in 1950 and has been celebrated since. Each year, WHO carries out a variety of events that rotate around a specific theme. Some of the themes that have been used before are;

  • 2003- Shape of the future life
  • 2005- Road Safety
  • 2007- International Health Security
  • 2008- Protecting Health From Climate Change

The annual event is used to raise public awareness towards issues concerning health and safety. The theme is chosen to guide activities for the whole year. A good example is the Polio Eradication Theme which was in 1995, most countries are now free from polio due to the concerted efforts that were led by WHO.

WHO target global health issues from where programs are derived from and organized by WHO and other health organizations such as schools, NGOs and even governments. This day is celebrated to remember the establishment of WHO which is under the United Nations. WHO has played a significant role in combating diseases such as smallpox, TB, chickenpox and leprosy especially in developing countries.

Duties and responsibilities of WHO

  1. Promote development- poor health is mainly attributed to poverty, therefore, uplifting the economic status of a population leads to improved health.
  2. Strengthen Health Systems- In poor countries, the health systems are usually weak or lacking, WHO provides medicines, relevant technology and infrastructure to improve them.
  3. Reduce health risk- WHO is entrusted to reduce or avoid the outbreak of new or existing diseases.
  4. Promote research and gather information- WHO requires accurate data to set health regulations and therefore consults with world leading authorities and institutions to come up with technical guidelines.
  5. Enhance partnerships- by working with various governments and health organizations, information is easily shared and WHO can disseminate technical guidelines that are supposed to be used in building health systems
  6. Improve Performance- WHO is a large organizations with set goals and therefore it needs to constantly evaluate itself to ensure that it improves it performance by implementing results based management.

How World Health Day is celebrated

World Health Day is celebrated worldwide by governments and NGOs who organize activities that relate to public health issues so as to create awareness. Organizations that participate in this activities highlight their efforts through media reports such as press releases. Health authorities make their pledges in support of health issues in the domain. Other activities that are carried on include; debates on related topics, exhibitions, essay writing competitions and award ceremonies aimed at recognizing efforts of individuals and institutions in tackling health issues.

Why World Health Day is celebrated?

WHO focuses on increasing the life expectancy by promoting good health practices and some of the objectives of why the day is celebrated yearly are;

  1. To increase awareness on the causes and prevention of various diseases
  2. To provide detailed knowledge to the masses and relevant institutions on ways of preventing various diseases
  3. To encourage the vulnerable group of people to speak out and be heard by relevant authorities.
  4. To promote self-care among the people
  5. To encourage world health authorities to make their own effort in promoting the agendas of World Health day
  6. To protect families and other vulnerable people who are prone to diseases

 

 

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Importance of Infant Immunization

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Image is from New Health Advisor

Immunization is one of the most important achievements in the last century. It has saved countless lives while preventing millions of people from getting sick or incurring a lifelong disability. It is a testament to the power of vaccines that many childhood diseases that often resulted in hospitalization or death are now preventable.

It is only natural for a parent to want a good life for their child, a life free of ailments or pain. Immunization is the single most effective way of protecting a child from many serious diseases that exist today. The decision to immunize your child, therefore, is a crucial one since there is no alternative to it.

The Immunization schedule

The vaccine schedule is recommended by the AAP, CDC and most physicians. It is always reviewed on a yearly basis by a group of qualified healthcare providers and changed as necessary based on the latest research.

For your child to be fully protected, they have to be immunized starting at 2 months of age, then 4 months, 6 months and 18 months. Immunization starts at two months since this is the safest time to start the immunization process. Those babies who are not immunized at this time stand a huge chance of developing serious harm if they get sick within the first 2 years of their lives.

It is highly advisable to follow the immunizations schedule keenly and get all the shots on time. Delaying the vaccination process can be risky. Below are some of the reasons why it is best to follow the immunization schedule;

  • It will ensure your child is protected as soon as it can be.
  • The routine schedule is based on the best science today and is safe and works well.
  • Your child will get used to the needle and this will reduce their anxiety.
  • The risk factor for side effects remains the same whether you take one vaccine or four.
  • You will have fewer visits to get your child’s shots if you follow the schedule.

Common Infant Immunization Myths

  • Vaccines cause autism- there has not been any direct link that has been established between autism and vaccines.
  • Vaccines can cause serious side effects- since it is always mandatory for a child to have a physical evaluation by a trained medical professional, it is rare to have a child develop an allergy or fatality.
  • Vaccines are not needed- Vaccination has led to a decrease in serious diseases that are fatal and a drop in vaccination will lead to a resurgence of these diseases.
  • It is okay to skip some vaccines- once a vaccination is skipped, the only thing protecting the child is the immunity of the people around them.
  • Infant immunization is too early- children are immunized at an early age since this is the time they are at risk of having fatal complications.

Reasons to Vaccinate Your Child

  1. It can save your child’s life- vaccination can now protect your child from more diseases than ever before, all thanks to the progress being made in science. A good example is polio which used to be one of the most feared diseases in the world and now there are no reports of it.
  2. Vaccines are safe and effective- after much review from doctors and scientists, vaccines have proven to be safe.
  3. Immunization protects those around you- there are still cases of babies who die from vaccine-preventable diseases because they are too young to be vaccinated, by ensuring you and your kin are vaccinated, you are also protecting these babies.
  4. Saves time and money by saving you from prolonged disabilities.

 

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Understanding Meningitis

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Image is from Pinterest

Meningitis is a fairly rare infection of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord. These membranes are called meninges, hence the term meningitis. There are several types of meningitis:

  • Bacterial Meningitis is contagious among people in close contact and can be deadly.
  • Viral Meningitis is usually less severe, and most people recover completely from it.
  • Fungal Meningitis is rare and usually only appears in people with compromised immune systems.

How Does it Happen?

Most of the time, meningitis is caused by virus or bacterial infection. It begins elsewhere in the body, such as the upper respiratory tract, sinuses, or ears, and then spreads to the meninges. It can also be caused by medications, autoimmune disorders, or fungal infections, but these are more rare.

Bacterial Meningitis

This is a very serious illness that requires immediate medical attention. Death or permanent damage to the brain or other areas of the body can occur within hours if left untreated. There are several different kinds of bacteria that can cause it:

  • Meningococcus, which is the most common
  • Pneumococcus, which occurs in older patients with a weakened immune system
  • Haemophilus Influenza, type B, was common in infants and small children until a vaccine came out called hib.

Vaccines are also available for Meningococcus and Pneumococcus bacteria and are highly recommended for people with a special risk, such as a compromised immune system.

An infected person can pass the bacteria by sneezing or coughing. It is important for you to contact your health care provider if you are exposed to meningitis to find out what you can do to prevent contracting it. When bacteria gets into your bloodstream, it can travel to your brain and cause meningitis.

Viral Meningitis

This form of meningitis is more common and is usually less severe. There are many viruses that can trigger it, several of which cause diarrhea. Viral meningitis patients usually recover completely and are less likely to incur any brain damage.

Fungal Meningitis

This type of meningitis is rare. However, if you are suffering from a compromised immune system, from HIV for example, your chances of contracting it are greater.

Who is at Risk?

While anyone can contract meningitis, there are some age groups that have a higher incidence than others. These are:

  • Adults over age 55
  • Teens and Young Adults from age 16 to 25
  • Children under the age of 5

Certain medical conditions can also put you at risk, such as chronic disease or a damaged or missing spleen, and especially immune system disorders. These disorders occur when your immune system is either overactive or under active. When it is overactive, the body attacks itself; when it is under active, it decreases your ability to fight off infections. Some examples of immune system disorders are:

  • Rheumatoid Arthritis
  • Lupus
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Guillian Barre Syndrome
  • Psoriasis
  • Graves Disease
  • Vasculitis
  • Rheumatic Fever

Meningitis outbreaks are most likely to occur in areas where people are living in close quarters, such as a college dorm or army personnel living in barracks. This is because certain germs that cause it can be contagious. People who travel are also at higher risk, particularly if you are traveling to certain parts of Africa where the disease is known to be prevalent.

Keep in mind, however, that even if you are in one of the higher risk groups for contracting meningitis, it is still a rare disease, and there are steps you can take to minimize your chances of getting it.

 

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Understanding the Importance of Immunization

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Image is from Impatient Optimists

Many health professionals recommend immunization for protection against diseases. Immunizations are where you get vaccinated with weakened antigens to prevent you from getting that illness. It works by making your immune system produce antibodies to fight off that particular infection ensuring you get added immunity.

These diseases you are vaccinated against, are usually infectious and can be difficult to treat. Immunizations are usually given to children at a young age. There are vaccination campaigns encouraging parents to get their children vaccinated and for adults who were not vaccinated to get their vaccines. However, there is need to understand the importance of immunization and why every child should get vaccinated as early as possible.

  • Immunizations save the lives of children. New-born children get their immunity from their mothers. However, the immunity runs out within the first year, and they become more susceptible to getting infections. Through getting vaccinated, children get protection from diseases that were once fatal. Some diseases have been eradicated as a result of these vaccinations.
  • Vaccinations are effective, and there are no serious side effects after getting immunized. All vaccines undergo extensive testing and review to ensure they are safe for administration. Other than the initial soreness at the entry point, it is extremely rare for people to get seriously affected by the vaccine.
  • By getting all your vaccines, you protect those around you. Immunizations make sure your immune system is strong enough to fight infections. As a result, you will not spread infections to those who have weaker immune systems. Children and adults who are not vaccinated can pass these dangerous diseases to those who have compromised immune systems like those who have cancer or do not respond to vaccines or children who are too young to get immunized. These diseases can result in long-term complications or even death.
  • Immunizations save you time and money that would have been spent treating diseases that are preventable. In some schools and child care facilities, children who are not vaccinated are denied attendance since they pose a risk to the other children. When they get an infection, you will have to spend a lot of money getting treatments that can be avoided at an early age. You will also have to take time from work to take care of the child, and all this would have been prevented by getting the child vaccinated at an early age.
  • Immunization also protects future generations by eradicating very dangerous infections. Through vaccines, smallpox has been eradicated worldwide, and children no longer need to get the vaccination since the disease does not exist. The risk of pregnant women passing rubella to their unborn children has also greatly reduced as a result of getting vaccinated at an early age. Through immunization, other diseases are expected to be eradicated making it safer for future generations.
  • Since you interact with different people, it is easy to get infections if you are not vaccinated. Immunizations ensure that you can safely interact with foreigners without the risk of getting diseases they might unknowingly be carrying.
  • Vaccinations reduce the risk of disease outbreaks, especially in school. Outbreaks usually occur when children are not immunized.
  • Vaccination gives children protection against serious illnesses and the complications that arise as a result of these illnesses. These complications include paralysis, deformities, amputations, brain damage and in severe cases death.

It is recommended to ensure children get immunized at an early age to reduce the chances of getting an infection. Through immunization, you get increased immunity without having to get sick first.

 

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What is Pollen?

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Image is from Everyday Health

If you’ve ever seen acorns scattered about a residential lawn – or countryside, for that matter – as the fall seasons approaches, then you intuitively know what pollen is. Much like trees cast off these acorns so that they can perhaps grow into trees later on down the line, many plants, weeds and grasses cast off pollen in order to reproduce. The grains are usually very small – microscopic, in fact – and so are carried great distances on a springtime breeze.

How Does Pollen Affect People?

The primary mechanism by which pollen in its natural state affects people is the size of the individual grains. Some trees cast off large grains of pollen that are sticky (usually, these are fruit-bearing trees), and these don’t generally cause allergic reactions. The large size restricts the ability of the wind to carry them far, and the stickiness tends to keep them rooted to the ground or other surface objects.

The microscopic grains of pollen are the troublemakers for many humans; the breeze can carry them quite some distance from the progenitor, and they can get inside your body through your mouth and nose. Once inside, your immune system treats the pollen as an invasion and marshals a response to it. This is precisely what most allergies are; the following are the resulting symptoms of your body’s defense:

  • Sneezing may be one of the most common causes to breathing in the fine powder that comprises pollen
  • Runny or stuffy nose – general nasal congestion
  • Watery eyes
  • An allergic response can trigger a decrease in your ability to taste and smell food
  • Sinus pressure
  • Asthmatic reactions
  • Hay fever
  • Allergic rhinitis

Allergies to pollen can’t be cured – and the reason why makes sense when you think about it. After all, your body is actually trying to protect you from an alien invasion of very fine pollen grains. The origin is the immune system, itself, and it is conducting what would ordinarily be its most useful service. It simply doesn’t recognize that pollen is generally harmless; it simply “knows” that it shouldn’t be in your body and so takes steps to defend against it.

How Can You Fight Pollen-Induced Allergies?

Most health professionals agree that avoidance is the best measure when feasible. Plants such as ragweed, oak pollen and grass pollen are trying fertilize at the same time every year – sometime around late spring and very early fall.

There are national broadcasts detailing days when you can expect high pollen counts; usually, the fine powder is in the air in the early to late morning hours. If you can avoid it, or protect your nose and mouth, then this will significantly reduce the chances that you trigger an immune response. Dry, windy days are when people who are susceptible to pollen allergies should try to stay indoors as much as possible. Invest in a dust mask if you must go outside, and make sure to close windows and doors to avoid letting in insects that carry pollen grains.

If you are beset by allergy symptoms, then you can always see a doctor. Most are well aware of the range of allergens, and can refer you to a specialist if needed. Over-the-counter antihistamines work adequately well for many people, as well as decongestants to provide relief for symptoms. There are home remedies to help you avoid pollen altogether, such as HEPA filters, dehumidifiers and air conditioning. An allergy shot is always an option as the season for plant fertilization nears; these tend to do a great job of dampening your immune response to pollen.

 

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How Important are Your Eyes?

Image is from Think About Your Eyes

Although we at times take it for granted, seeing is undoubtedly one of the most important functions of the human body. The role played by your eyes cannot be underestimated at all since the eyes are helpful in almost all the aspects of your life. In many cases, the eyes have been referred to as the camera of the body. They have been likened to a camera for reasons such as:

  • Both devices perceive images
  • After gathering light, they both focus and transmit it through the lens
  • Both help in creation of images of the surrounding environment

Taking care of your eyes begins with knowing how important they are and the specific functions they have. Below is an outline of the importance of your eyes.

  • Color and Image Perception

As a sense organ, the eyes help in distinguishing different images and colors. The eye’s retina is a part that contains millions of light-sensing neurons called cones and rods. They are responsible for the perception of color details after which they convert the light into electrical impulses. The converted impulses are then sent to the brain for interpretation. The eyes give the vision needed for activities such as driving, reading and making decisions when you are required to choose from various things.

  • Production of Tears

Many people think that tears are only useful when they need to express their emotions like when they are happy or sad. Tears, however, have many other functions such as nourishment of the eyes, vision maintenance, washing away debris and lubrication. Your eyes have a tear system that involves three parts: the glands that form tears, the openings through which tears flow from the eyes and ducts that drain tears into the nose. The eyes are therefore very essential to the production of tears.

  • Keeping us safe

Sight is essential for safety and self-preservation. Life is full of dangerous obstacles, and the eyes help us avoid them. It would be very dangerous to walk around or do different things without the eyes. They are therefore very instrumental in ensuring your safety and provide awareness of any danger within our environment.

  • Connecting with the surrounding

You would never get to connect with the many things that happen in the immediate surroundings. Even if you hear about them, it would not be as good as it would be if you witnessed them occurring. Your eyes give you the ability to perceive movements as well as assess the intentions for different forms of motion. Eyes help in bringing out the beauty of the world around us. Most of our preferences depend on what we see. We like the things which are more appealing to our eyes.

  • Sensing

Other than perceiving images, your eyes help in sensing. There are times when one of your senses could be missing. When you have a cold, for instance, you tend to lose the sense of taste and smell. It, therefore, becomes very different to detect rotten foodstuffs which upon consuming would cause digestion problems. In such a scenario, the eyes take over this work. The only way to distinguish what is edible from the inedible would be by carefully scrutinizing the foodstuffs to identify traces of molds or any other indication of food spoilage.

Due to this, it is important to take care of your eyes. The best way of looking after your eyes is by visiting an optician regularly to get checked. Through this it will be easy to detect any issues and correct them before it is too late, maintaining your quality of life.

 

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STI Awareness Month

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Image is from English Press Release

It that time of the month where we recognize STD Awareness. With over 20 million new infections every year, this is a serious issue that requires more attention from all the institution involved. The cost of STD to the economy is about 16 billion dollars. This is just the amount that goes to direct medical costs.

There was a time in our recent history when STD cases were on the decline, however, the rise in infections is unprecedented and that is why the CDC would like individuals to do three things: Talk, test and treat. It is even more necessary to get tested since, many STDs and STIs do not have symptoms.

So why is there a sudden increase in the rates of the three common STDs-Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Perhaps it could be because sex seems to be more accessible more than ever before or even perhaps many people are in denial and living with the ideology that “it can’t happen to me”. And if you have an STI or STD, do not worry since you are not alone. It has been estimated that half of all new infections occur in persons of between the ages of 15 to 24.

STDs Versus STIs

The two are similar yet different. A sexually transmitted infection may not have any symptoms and may not even develop to become a disease. However, an infection can still be contagious and can be transmitted through sexual contact.

Myths About STDs

There are those people who believe that having many sexual partners puts them at risk of contracting and STD, it only takes one sexual partner to contract an STD and that is why people are encouraged to take tests if they are sexually active.

There are also those who feel that getting tested once gives them a clean bill of health and do not se the need to get tested again, this is false. As long as you have different sexual partners, you need to get tested often. There are also some STDs that take months to be detected bust still remain contagious.

Options for Getting Tested

It is STD month and this means that you should get out and get tested. It might be embarrassing but just think- You are doing it for yourself and for your sexual partners. Plus doctor-patient confidentiality means that nobody will ever know unless you tell them.

Getting tested doesn’t’t even have to be expensive, there are many free or reduced rates clinics such as Planned Parenthood (yes, men can go as well) where you can be tested for STDs and HIV for free. I think that is important so as to know if that no-condom slip up gave you a bout of syphilis.

In addition, you can get tested without leaving the comfort of your home through the myLAB Box. They send you a five minute package which you send them back and receive lab-certified results and even a free physician treatment consultation.

DO not be afraid of getting tested. Most STDs and STIs are treatable, but you need to get tested first. If you would like to know where you can get tested, visit the CDC website where you will find the nearest place to get a quick and confidential test.

 

 

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Different Types of Pollen

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Image is from Pollen.com

As we roll into spring and then the summer months (they’ll be here before you know it), the presence of pollen in the air starts to become a concern for millions of Americans. In fact, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (the AAFA), about 18 million adults and 7 million kids will be affected each year by dust and pollen. It is helpful to know what kind of pollen is in the atmosphere, and the sources from which they derive.

Grass – Ryegrass Pollen

Even if you didn’t know the name before now, if you’ve ever been to a rural area where farmland is abundant and the vegetation is lush, then you’ve likely seen the tall green stalks of ryegrass. Although there are ryegrass extracts that are marketed to help with noncancerous enlarged prostate glands, the natural pollen can cause allergic reactions in those susceptible to it.

Grass – Timothy Grass Pollen

This pollen derives as the offshoot of a grass that grows up to four feet tall. The spores are especially small, and you may inhale them without knowing it – only to be beset by a mild to serious allergic reaction later in the day. Allergy season for Timothy grass pollen generally starts in June and ends a month later.

Tree Pollen

Tree Pollen is of a wide variety, and includes Willow, Hazelnut, Cedar, Hornbeam, Birch, Alder, Olive and more. Early spring is the harbinger, which is around very late March. Usually the dust is even smaller than grass pollen, and so can be carried very far on the wind. An interesting fact is that trees that bear flowers tend to have larger pollen grains, which don’t trigger allergies nearly as much since they can’t easily be carried on the wind.

The closer you live to tress such as Cottonwood or Elm, the more likely you could be subject to allergies caused by their airborne pollen. The good news is that there are alerts as when the pollen count is high, and all you have to do is avoid being outside unprotected during those times (as well as keeping your windows and doors shut). Also – avoid eating the fruits from such trees, as they can trigger your propensity to getting an allergic reaction from the pollen.

Weed Pollen

Weeds are plants that pollinate, too, and the some of the ones to watch out for are Ragweed, Sorrel, Mugwort, Goosefoot and Nettle weeds.

In particular, Mugwort weed releases very allergenic pollen that derives from a 6-foot tall plant in North America, Asia and Europe. You’ll find it in rural areas and places where the terrain is rough; where a hardy plant is required in order to survive. In North America, pollen season for Mugwort is from late summer to early fall – not very long. However, it is known to cause oral allergy syndrome and hay fever.

Nettle actually comes in a large variety of weeds; all of which generally possess small spikes. There’s the Stinging Nettle, Dwarf Nettle, California Nettle and Dog Nettle as examples. Strangely enough, nettle leaves can also be used to help relieve allergies when made as a tea – it has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. In its pure form, however, the pollen it releases can cause you to sneeze all summer long.

For the most part, the types of pollen that exist are covered in the general categories of trees, grass and weed. They all have the potential to react negatively with your immune system, which treats it as a foreign object and engages an immune response.

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What is Oral Cancer?

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Image is from Market My Laser

Oral cancer is a persistent growth or sore inside the mouth that is caused by an uncontrollable growth of cells that invade and cause damage. It will not go away on its own. It includes the following surrounding tissues:

  • Throat
  • Tonsils
  • Sinuses
  • Hard and Soft Palate
  • Floor of the Mouth
  • Cheeks
  • Tongue
  • Lips

What are the Symptoms?

There are numerous symptoms associated with oral cancer. The most common ones are:

  • Any lesions or swelling on the lips, gums, or other areas inside your mouth
  • Unexplained oral bleeding
  • Unexplained numbness, tenderness, or pain in any areas of the mouth, face or neck
  • Persistent sores in the mouth or the neck and face that do not heal within two weeks.
  • Red, white, or red and white speckled patches in your mouth
  • A feeling that something is caught in the back of your throat
  • Difficulty speaking, chewing, swallowing, or moving the tongue or jaw
  • Chronic sore throat, hoarseness, or change of voice
  • Earache
  • A change in your teeth or the way your dentures fit together
  • Large weight loss

If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to make an appointment with your dentist or primary care physician as soon as possible.

Who is at Risk?

It is estimated that over 40,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer each year. Men face twice the risk than women, and men over the age of 50 face the greatest risk of all.

Oral cancer risk factors include:

  • Smoking. Whether you smoke cigarettes, cigars, or a pipe, you are six times more likely to contract oral cancer than nonsmokers.
  • Using smokeless tobacco. Chewing tobacco, snuff, or dip makes you 50 times more likely to develop cancers of the lining of the lips, gums, or cheeks.
  • Drinking a lot of alcohol. You are six times more likely to contract oral cancer than nondrinkers.
  • Family history of cancer. If cancer runs in your family, then you are more genetically predisposed.
  • Too much sun. If you have excessive exposure to the sun, especially when you are young, it increases your odds of contracting oral cancer.
  • If you have been diagnosed with HPV (Human Papillomavirus), some strains put you at a higher risk for contracting oral cancer.

It is important to note, however, that 25% of diagnosed cases of oral cancer do occur in nonsmokers and social drinkers.

What Can You Do to Prevent a Diagnosis?

There are some things you can do to lower your risk, such as:

  • Drink alcohol in moderation, and do not smoke or use any tobacco products.
  • Maintain a well-balanced diet.
  • Limit your exposure to the sun, and when you are out in the sun, apply UV-A/B sun blocking products on your skin and lips.

Early Detection is Key

The earlier you see any symptoms, the greater the chance of successful treatment. You can also take an active role in early detection by doing the following:

  • Do a Self Exam Once per Month – Use a bright light and a mirror to examine all the surfaces of your mouth and lips. Feel for lumps and thoroughly look over every part of your mouth, throat, and gums. Check for enlarged lymph nodes in the neck. If you find anything suspicious, contact your health care professional immediately.
  • See your Dentist Regularly – No matter how thorough, you can’t always see everything, so ask your dentist to conduct an exam at your next visit.

Remember, understanding what oral cancer is and how to detect it increases your chances of successful treatment.

 

 

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Autism Risk Factors

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Image is from Spectrum

What is Autism?

Autism was first defined in 1943 by Leo Kanner as the inability to create normal, determined, emotional contact with others. Other definitions surround this primacy of lack of social reciprocity. Over the years, there has been major improvements in the conceptualization of autism and related disorders.

Risk Factors for Autism

There has been a lot of awareness that has been created concerning autism due to the rising number of autism cases in the last decade, but most people are still in the dark when it comes to establishing what puts unborn babies at risk of developing this disorder. With 10-15% of all babies being born with one neurodevelopment disorder or the other, it is crucial for people to be knowledgeable on the avoidable and unavoidable risk factors.

Mycotoxins

Mycotoxins are mold byproducts that are mostly found in wine, grains, coffee and pork. Several studies have been able to positively link the presence of mycotoxins in these foods with autism. Mycotoxins are known to put males at a higher risk of developing theses disorder. Although there are numerous studies being conducted on the effects of mycotoxins on animals and human beings, the jury is still out on the long-term effects. This does not mean that mycotoxins are not a risk factor just that you need to be careful with foods that contain them.

C-Sections

There has been a new study that has shown that babies who are born through C-Section, rather than other traditional methods stand a higher chance of developing autism-related disorders. This study is important because 1 in 3 babies in the United States is born via C-Section. The reason for the increased risk is because the babies are born before their due date. It is therefore important for parents to pursue other methods of giving birth before settling on C-Section.

Maternal Antibodies

This is an unfortunate risk factor since our own bodies produce these maternal antibodies which attach themselves to the baby’s proteins that are used for cognitive and neurological development therefore hindering the normal process of fetal development. Scientists are now working on ways of separating these antibodies and prevent them from causing autism.

Placenta abnormalities

Studies have established a relationship between placentas that have an abnormal structure and children who have neurological disorders such as autism. It is therefore advisable to check the condition of the placenta at birth so as to predict whether the child will have any neurological disorder.

Smoking

Tobacco smoking comes with a plethora of health issues and unfortunately, smoking while pregnant can lead to autism in children. Although a direct link has not yet been established between smoking and autism, women who smoke while pregnant stand a higher chance of birthing children suffering from Asperger’s (an autism spectrum disorder).

Air Pollution

New evidence has come out suggesting that some particles in polluted air may increase the risk of autism. By reducing air pollution indoors and doing our part as the society to deal with outdoor pollution, we can contribute to an overall healthy society.

Endocrine Disruptors

Endocrine disruptors affect chemicals that are crucial in the development of the thyroid and many experts believe that they are hormone related since males are 4 times more likely to be diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders.

Vaccines

Thimerosals and aluminum found in vaccines have a causal relationship with autism. Vaccines have the power to save lives but we need to do more research so as to establish a clear relationship between ingredients in vaccines and neurological development.

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