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Proper Hand Washing

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Proper hand washing is one of the critical steps we undertake to avoid falling ill and spreading germs to others. Many conditions and diseases can be spread through poor hand hygiene, and therefore it’s essential to wash your hands using clean running water and soap. If running water is inaccessible, you can use the available clean water and soap. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol can substitute soap and water if the two are unavailable. It’s important to note that regular soaps are as effective as antibacterial soaps. In any case, prolonged use of the antibacterial soaps might lead to the development of bacteria that are resistant to its antimicrobial agents.

How to wash hands properly

Hand washing can be referred to as a DIY (do-it-yourself) vaccine that you can take to stay healthy and keep respiratory and gastrointestinal diseases at bay. Regular hand washing before and after particular activities has proven to be effective to remove and prevent the spread of germs to others. Hand washing is simple and quick and most importantly prevents diseases. Proper hand washing involves five simple steps namely; Wet, Lather, Scrub, Rinse, and Dry.

  • First, you will use clean water running from the tap to wet your hands then apply soap after turning off the tap
  • You will then use soap to lather your hands (front and back, under the nails, in between your fingers) by rubbing them with soap.
  • Scrub your hands carefully for about twenty to thirty seconds.
  • Open the tap to rinse your hands with clean water running from the tap.
  • Use a clean towel to dry your hands or simply air dry them

What to do if Soap and Clean Running Water are Unavailable

Washing your hands with water and soap is the best way to eliminate germs on most occasions. However, if soap and water are not accessible, you can use alcohol-based hand sanitizers as mentioned earlier. Although these sanitizers can quickly reduce the number of germs on your hands, they do not eradicate all types of bacteria and might not eliminate harmful chemicals. Hand sanitizers might not also be as effective when your hands are excessively dirty or greasy.

How to use Hand Sanitizers

Hand sanitizers are usually very simple to use. You should read the label for instructions and the correct amount to use for efficacy. Start by applying the sanitizer to the palm of one hand. You will then rub your hands together and apply it over all surfaces, i.e. in between your fingers and the back of your hands until they’re dry.

When to Wash Your Hands

Physicians recommend that you wash your hands especially after these activities that are mostly associated with dangerous germs that cause diseases;

  • Before eating food
  • After using the toilet
  • After handling pet treats or pet food
  • After cleaning up a child who has used the toilet or changing diapers
  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • After blowing your nose or sneezing
  • Before and after caring for a sick individual
  • After touching garbage
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After touching an animal, animal waste, or animal feed

Proper hand washing saves lives. Proper hand hygiene can protect you, your family, and many others whether you’re at work, at home, traveling, or even when you’re already sick. It’s crucial to help your children stay healthy by teaching them to wash their hands properly and frequently. You can show your kids how to do it properly by washing your hands with them. Proper hand washing can simply be put as a win for everyone except for the germs.

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Signs of Diabetes

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Diabetes is divided into two main categories, type 1 and type 2. They are both chronic diseases that develop when the body is unable to regulate blood sugar, also known as glucose. Individuals diagnosed with diabetes lack the ability to use or store sugar from their food, which is vital for producing energy to live. Insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas, delivers glucose into the bloodstream, resulting in sugar distribution to the muscles, liver, fat, and other cells in the body. Insulin levels control sugar levels by indicating to the organs when the body needs fuel, and when insulin needs to be stored in the liver for future energy use. Almost all cells in the body require the presence of insulin to procure glucose from the blood. Diabetes results in protracted high blood sugar levels, which heighten the risk of complications. Following are recognizable signs of diabetes displayed by the two types of diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

Individuals who have type 1 diabetes are unable to produce insulin. The cause for this type of diabetes is still under investigation, however researcher do know that in type 1 diabetic individuals, the body’s immune system is flawed, mistaking healthy body cells for foreign invaders. In responding to the “attack”, the immune system eradicates the beta cells in the pancreas that are responsible for producing insulin. The complete lack of insulin production causes diabetic symptoms to rapidly develop, in just a matter of weeks. Symptoms are typically severe and include:

  • Extreme thirst and increased urination
  • Intense hunger, even after eating
  • Headache
  • Unexplained, rapid weight loss
  • Sores or cuts that don’t heal appropriately
  • Weakness and exhaustion
  • Visible emotional or behavior changes
  • Distorted vision
  • Fruity-smelling breath

Type 1 diabetes is typically diagnosed in childhood, or adolescence, and is often referred to as juvenile diabetes. Insulin must be systematically injected, or pumped, into the body to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Type 1 diabetes cannot yet be prevented, and there is no cure. Healthy living requires consistent blood sugar testing.

Type 2 Diabetes

The signs of type 2 diabetes often develop very gradually, and may not be apparent to the individual. According to the Mayo Clinic, approximately one-third of all people that have this type of diabetes, do not know they have it. With this type of diabetes, insulin is being produced by the individual, but their body is not able to effectively use the insulin produced. Type 1 and 2 diabetes, share many warning signs, but individuals with type 2 diabetes may experience additional symptoms, because of the delay of onset. For example, pre-diabetes, a condition that occurs when glucose levels are higher than normal, may not produce any systems, and can often, only be determined by a blood test. If the pre-diabetes is not addressed by lifestyle or diet changes, it typically develops into type 2 diabetes within a matter of five years, or less. Along with the symptoms listed above for type 1 diabetes, type 2 sufferers may experience:

  • Red, swollen, tender gums
  • Numbness or tingling in the hands and feet
  • Dry, itchy skin, particularly around the groin or vaginal area
  • Recent weight increase
  • Numerous yeast infections
  • Darkened skin changes of the groin, armpit, and neck regions
  • Impotency,
  • Decreased vision

A glycated hemoglobin (A1C) test, is the primary method of establishing a diagnosis of diabetes, as it analyzes blood sugar levels for the prior two to three-month period. See your physician if you are experiencing any of the signs of diabetes, or have any concerns.

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What is Colon Cancer?

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Colon cancer is the accumulation of cancer cells in the lower part of the large intestine. These tumors typically begin as small benign growths referred to as polyps that turn into malignant tumors over time.

Stages of Colon Cancer

When a patient is diagnosed with colon cancer, they will be diagnosed with a stage of the disease, depending on it advancement. Colon Cancer is broken up into stages Tis to T4b.

  • Tis -In this stage, cancer cells are only found in the top layers on lining in the colon.
  • T1 –At this stage, the cancer cells have begun to spread to the tissue below the lining of the colon.
  • T2 – During stage T2, the cancer cells have developed into the deeper tissue that is involved in pushing along waste during the digestive process.
  • T3 – At T3 the cancer has spread to the connective tissue that connects the colon to other parts of the body, as well as permeating into some of the other surrounding tissues.
  • T4a – At this point the cancer cells have grown throughout all parts of the colon.
  • T4b – At this final stage the cancer cells have spread past the colon into other parts of the body.

What are the Symptoms of Colon Cancer?

Symptoms of colon cancer can come on suddenly or develop gradually over time. Often times symptoms of colon cancer are mistaken for gastrointestinal issues or discomfort. Some symptoms of colon cancer include,

  • Blood in the stool
  • Weakness
  • Fatigue
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Abnormal changes in your bowel habits, such as constipation or diarrhea that lasts for more than a month
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort
  • Fullness in bowel even after going to the bathroom.

Risks for Colon Cancer

While there is no specific cause for every case of colon cancer there are risks that may make you more likely to develop colon cancer.

History of Polyps

While many times polyps are found and easily removed, repeated development of polyps is linked to an increase in colon cancer.

Low Fiber Diet 

Low fiber and high fat diets have been linked to an increased chance for developing polyps and colon cancer.

Obesity 

Those with a BMI in the obesity level have an increased risk of getting colon cancer as well as an increased risk of suffering more complications from it.

Inflammatory Gastrointestinal Problems

Chronic disease of the gastrointestinal track, including colitis and Crohns disease, can increase the risk of development of colon cancer.

Age

Most colon cancer patients are 50 years of age or older.

Genetics

A family history of colon cancer increases your chance of developing the disease as well. There are also genetically passed conditions that can greatly increase your risk for colon cancer including,

  • Hereditary nonpolyposis colorectal cancer, otherwise known as lynch syndrome
  • Familial adenomatous polyposis, which leads to an increase of the development of polyps in the colon.

Diagnosing Colon Cancer

Diagnosis of colon cancer is either done through routine screenings that are part of annual physicals or testing when gastrointestinal problems are present. To diagnose colon cancer patients will,

  • Receive blood tests to check for cancer markers
  • Undergo a colonoscopy which involves a camera scope of the patient’s rectum, colon and intestinal track.

Treatment Options

Treatment options for colon cancer are typically determined based on the stage of cancer the patient is in. Treatment options can include,

  • Polyp removal during colonoscopy
  • Partial colectomy
  • Removal of lymph nodes
  • Colon resection
  • Targeted drug therapies
  • Chemotherapy
  • Radiation treatment

When it comes to treating colon cancer, routine wellness screenings are important as early diagnosis will lead to the best prognosis.

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Types and Causes of Kidney Failure

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Your kidneys are one of the most significant organs in the body. They are a pair of organs located towards your lower back and serve the purpose of filtering your blood to remove toxic and waste substances from the body. The toxic substances can be detrimental to your health if they are not removed out of the body.

What is a kidney failure?

Kidney failure is the condition where both of your kidneys or just one of them cannot serve their function to the required level of performance. This can be brought about by a myriad of factors that may interfere with the health and proper function of your kidney. Some of them include:

  • Kidney trauma
  • Some acute and chronic diseases
  • Toxic exposure to environmental pollutants
  • Severe dehydration

When your system is burdened with toxins and dangerous wastes resulting from a kidney failure, what follows are life threatening conditions that can be dangerous to your health. This is the reason why you should always seek the services of a doctor the moment you realize you have a kidney problem.

What causes kidney failure?

The following factors could predispose you to kidney failure

  • Loss of blood flow to the kidney

Kidney failure is often prompted by a sudden loss of blood flow to the kidneys. Some of the diseases and conditions that may lead to loss of blood flow to the kidneys include:

  • Heart attack
  • Severe burn
  • Dehydration
  • Liver failure
  • Allergic reactions
  • Urine elimination problem

When your body finds it difficult to eliminate urine from the system, there is a consequent build up and overloading of the kidneys. Certain cancers can lead to blockage of urine passageways. Such cancers include prostate cancer, cervical cancer, colon cancer, and bladder cancer. Other conditions which that can interfere with urination include

  • Trauma on the nerves controlling urination
  • Blood clots within the urinary tract
  • Kidney stones
  • Enlarged prostate

Other causes

Certain diseases and conditions can lead to kidney failure. They include:

  • A clot of blood in the kidney
  • Drug and alcohol
  • Dyes used in certain imaging tests
  • Chemotherapy drugs (medications that treat autoimmune diseases and cancer)
  • Overload of toxins from heavy metals
  • Thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura. (A disorder that causes blood clot in tiny vessels)

Types of kidney failure

Below are the types of kidney failure

Acute Prerenal kidney failure

Without enough flow of blood into the kidneys, the kidneys find it difficult to filter out the toxic wastes hence the occurrence of acute perennial kidney failure. This problem is usually solved once the problem leading to the low supply of blood has been determined.

Acute intrinsic kidney failure

Direct trauma causes this kind of kidney failure to either one of the kidneys or both of them. An accident or physical impact can lead to the trauma. Its causes are ischemia and toxic overload making it difficult for the kidney to perform its function in the right manner. Ischemia may be caused by

  • Obstruction of renal blood vessel
  • Shock
  • Severe bleeding
  • Glomerulonephritis

Chronic Prerenal kidney failure

This is the condition where the kidney begins to shrink thus losing its function. The primary cause of this is insufficient blood flowing into the kidneys.

Chronic intrinsic kidney failure

This usually occurs when there is a long-term damage to the kidneys as a result of intrinsic kidney diseases. Direct trauma causes these intrinsic kidney diseases to the kidneys like severe bleeding or insufficient oxygen.

Chronic post renal kidney failure

This is caused by a long-term blockage of the urinary tract thus hindering urination. The consequent is pressure which in turn cause kidney failure.

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Think Pink: Breast Cancer Awareness Month

The Pink Ribbon

Conquering Cancer

Breast Cancer Awareness Month is between October 1st and 31st this year. This tragic condition affects approximately 1 in 8 women throughout their lives. That’s 12.5 percent of the total population, according to those numbers. If the world has a population of seven billion, that means a whopping 875,000,000 women will eventually encounter breast cancer at some point in their lives.

Now, the funny thing about statistics is that they’re prospective, not necessarily representative. While they can be used to identify a trend, and help prevent against that trend, they aren’t ironclad numbers representing the history of that trend’s ultimate impact. For example, statistically, it may be unlikely for a person to make a living as, say, an entertainer. Artists who paint, act, tell jokes, or make music represent a minority of the population; though they do ultimately have a big impact. But just because it’s statistically unlikely to be a successful artist doesn’t mean you can’t be a successful artist. It just means getting there is more difficult.

Likewise, with breast cancer, just because statistically 1 in 8 women come down with this condition over the course of their lifetime doesn’t mean that out of eight women you know, one of them will find a malignancy in her breast. According to the American Cancer Society, it is estimated that 2017 will see 252,710 invasive breast cancer cases diagnosed in women (because, though a minority of the population, men can also get breast cancer), and it’s predicted that 40,610 will die from this condition. You’ll notice that this represents a fraction of the 12.5% supposed by the earlier statistic. Though it is still a debilitating condition, in some countries it is being successfully contended with.

That said, these numbers also don’t take into account the many women who get breast cancer but go without diagnosis until it is too late, and they’re already terminal.

Surprising Causes

What is known is that there are certain causes for breast cancer which are often ignored by mainstream media outlets for reasons of economy. For example, certain compounds in beauty products are often toxic. Have you ever used deodorant and found yourself breaking out where you applied it? This is because the deodorant blocks your pores. Now according to the ACA

, only a few studies have ever indicated a correlation between antiperspirants/deodorants and breast cancer; but there have been studies that have found a link.

It’s just possible that part of breast cancer’s cause stems from social norms which are unhealthy. Without raising awareness for this reality, the scourge of preventable cancer will not be lessened. But that scourge is lessening, and part of that has to do with the pink ribbon army sweeping our nation.

Get Your Pink Ribbon

You’ve seen the ribbons on license plates, bicycles, instrument cases, bumpers, back windows, bulletin boards and more. The pink ribbon represents breast cancer, and raising awareness for the condition. This coming October, you may feel compelled to do your part to combat breast cancer. Some suggestions involve:

  • Buying And Decorating Visibly With Pink Ribbons
  • Raising Awareness On Social Media
  • Doing Your Own Research To Better Understand The Condition
  • Reaching Out To Friends And Loved Ones Living With This Cancer
  • Helping To Educate Women On Possibly Dangerous Activities

The best way to fight cancer is with proper diet, proper exercise, healthy supplementation, and the avoidance of known unhealthy activities. Don’t spend too much time in the sun, don’t use substances which are known to be toxic, and avoid questionable beauty products. The more aware people are, the better this cancer can be fought.

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Alcohol and Drug Abuse Awareness

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Alcohol has been shown to statistically cause more teenage fatalities than all other drugs put together.

Because alcohol has been shown to be strongly correlated with the three leading causes of death among young adults – suicide, murder, and accidents , such as car accidents – the threat that alcohol poses to young populations needs to be taken more seriously.

The health care costs of both drug and alcohol abuse are staggering as well. The National Institute of Drug Abuse found that alcohol abuse costs $27 billion every year in health care costs and drug abuse collectively costs $37 billion for illicit and prescription drug abuse combined. Those numbers are worrying.

More worrying still is the fact that these numbers are only a drop in the bucket compared to the overall costs that alcohol and drug abuse take on a nation in terms of lost productivity, increased crime, and as already alluded to skyrocketing health care costs.

When you add up these three costs (lower productivity, higher crime, and higher health care costs) you’re talking about nearly a quarter-trillion or $249 billion annually for alcohol abuse and over a quarter trillion for illicit and prescription drugs combined.

The Monitoring the Future study’s results show some promising trends as well as areas for continued concern with respect to today’s youth and tomorrow’s future. Alcohol use among 12th graders, for instance, has gone down about 7% over the last 3 years whereas illicit drug use has pretty much stayed steady with about half of 12th graders indulging in illicit drugs.

Fortunately, the number of 8th graders choosing to partake in alcohol use has gone down since 2013 when it was 27.80% – today that number is 22.80%, which means that fewer than one in four 8th graders is choosing to use alcohol. The number of 12th graders using marijuana, though, has remained fairly constant at around half (~48%) over the last three years.

The frightening reality for many substance abuse, mental health experts, politicians, and concerned parents is that youngsters that drink are more than 7 times more likely to partake in other illicit drugs. And get this: A kid who drinks who 50 times more likely to use cocaine illicitly and on a recreational basis than another kid who abstains from alcohol altogether through his or her middle school, high school, and early adult years.

Recent data shows that among the nearly 4 million people who were treated in 2005 for substance abuse a full 2.4 million were also treated for alcohol abuse. That’s because there’s a big comorbidity (or co-occurrence) between the two kinds of abuse. There also happens to be a big correlation between drug abuse, alcohol abuse, anxiety disorders, and depression.

This is still a chicken or the egg question that psychologists and mental health professionals are trying to work out but it’s currently believed that anxiety disorders, major depression, or bipolar disorder could predispose certain people to start using certain illicit substances and alcohol in order to self medicate. This is never appropriate and a mental health professional and substance abuse counselor should always be called in to help.

Help is needed more desperately than ever because more Americans are falling prey to drug and alcohol abuse. Worryingly, a full 40% of violent crime has been associated with alcohol use, according to the United States Department of Justice. In a single year (2007) alcohol-related traffic fatalities topped 10,000 people. That’s more than should ever succumb to these kinds of accidents.

If you or a loved one are struggled with drug abuse or alcohol abuse contact a substance abuse counselor today for help.

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GlycoMark®, Inc. Announces Partnership with Premier Medical Laboratory Services to Expand Diabetes Test Menu

New York, NY. Sept. 25th, 2018 – GlycoMark®, Inc. has announced a partnership with Premier Medical Laboratory Services (PMLS) to increase the availability of the GlycoMark test, the only FDA-cleared blood test specific to detecting recent hyperglycemia and hyperglycemic excursions in patients with diabetes. With the partnership, PMLS will promote and offer the GlycoMark test to its network of physicians through its sales organization and MD DiabeticPro® laboratory services.

“As an industry leader, we strive to provide physicians with innovative solutions that enable the best possible care for patients,” said Melanie Stallings, Director of Laboratory Operations of Premier Medical Laboratory Services. “We believe that the GlycoMark test provides important additional information to help physicians personalize patient treatment plans and drive better clinical outcomes.”

Hyperglycemia, which leads to numerous diabetic vascular complications, isn’t always easily detected. Nearly 40% of patients who are deemed to be in “good control”, based on A1C glucose averages, may have significant postprandial hyperglycemia or glycemic variability. Furthermore, a periodic blood glucose is not always reliably timed or performed, and may yield inaccurate results.

“We are very pleased with our partnership with Premier Medical Laboratory. By adding the GlycoMark test to PMLS’s MD DiabeticPro menu, physicians will have increased awareness and access to the test to help improve the management of patients with diabetes,” said Hiro Ishibashi, President of GlycoMark, Inc.

ABOUT GLYCOMARK

GlycoMark, Inc., based in Manhattan, New York, is dedicated to improving the management and health of patients with diabetes. The company is a joint venture among Toyota Tsusho America, Inc. (New York, NY), Toyota Tsusho Corporation (Tokyo, Japan), and Nippon Kayaku Co., Ltd. (Tokyo, Japan), and is the exclusive supplier of the GlycoMark test in the U.S., Europe, Australia, Indonesia and the Middle East. The GlycoMark test is the only FDA cleared non-fasting blood test that detects hyperglycemia and hyperglycemic excursions occurring in the prior 1 to 2 weeks. Since its discovery, the GlycoMark Test, a quantitative test for 1,5-Anhydroglucitol (1,5-AG), has been described in more than 1,300 scientific and medical publications and is shown to be independently associated with complications of diabetes. More information is available at www.GlycoMark.com.

ABOUT PREMIER MEDICAL LABORATORY

Premier Medical is a highly complex, advanced diagnostic lab with multiple specialty programs and a full complement of chemistry, immunoassay and hematology testing, located in Greenville, SC.

With our partnership with GlycoMark, we would like to announce our new test panel:

  • MD DiabeticPro
  • Glucose w eAG
  • Hemoglobin A1C
  • GlycoMark
  • Hemoblobin A1C/GlycoMark Ratio
  • Adiponectin
  • Insulin
  • C-Peptide

PMLS also offers the following specialty tests, to provide clinicians with clinically relevant testing in order to improve patient outcomes and quality of life:

  • MD HeartPro – An advanced cardiovascular profile that identifies hidden risk factors not identified by common cardiovascular testing
  • MD AllergyPro – Serum based IgE testing
  • MD DrugPro – A Medication Compliance Monitoring toxicology program
  • MD WellnessPro – A comprehensive look at a patient’s wellness profile
  • MD GeneticPro – Premier Medical’s constantly growing molecular department’s menu includes
      • Pharmacogenomics
      • Hereditary Cancer Panels
      • Women’s Health Vaginitis/Vaginosis/STI panel
      • Respiratory Pathogen Panel
      • Gastrointestinal Pathogen Panel
      • Hepatitis C Genotyping

GlycoMark is a registered trademark of GlycoMark, Inc. MD DiabeticPro is a registered trademark of Premier Medical Laboratory.

 

MEDIA CONTACT

Lauren Lehman, Marketing and Partner Relations

lauren_lehman@glycomark.com

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Understanding Meningitis

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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 Immunotherapy

Immunotherapy also known as biologic therapy is a type of treatment that induces or enhances the body’s immune system instead of using medicines. This process is usually done to treat cancer by stimulating the immune system to become more active in attacking cancer cells or by sustaining the body with man-made immune system proteins.

How Does the Immune System Work?

The immune system is the sum of all components that work together to maintain the normal functions of body organs. These components include but not limited to white blood cells, nutrients, and organ functions.

When the surface of skin is wounded, white blood cells work to heal the wound by eliminating foreign substances. When the wound is larger, it requires a lot of white blood cells to cover the wounded area. This will result in the appearance of lymph nodes near the area. This is where white blood cells build up.

In the process of eliminating foreign substances such as bacteria, germs, and cancer cells, body nutrients such as vitamin C may work to repair the damaged tissues and collagen.

Meanwhile, body organs work together to prevent disease-causing agents to stay inside the body. Kidney works to filter toxins, which are excreted through the urine. Digestive system separate important substances needed by the body from waste. The heart continues to pump blood to carry white blood cells and red blood cells needed to heal wounds.

These are some examples of how the immune system work. The immune system is not a single substance nor a single organ. It is an integration of several body systems that work together to protect the body from certain diseases.

The Immune System as Treatment for Cancer

There still no single medicine that can cure cancer. So far, an effective way to suppress the spread of cancer cells is through the immune system. The immune system serves as the police inside the body. It detects unwanted substances that may infect any area of the body.

However, cancer cells are not detected by the immune system as they appear to be like normal cells by of sending signals to the PD-1 CTLA-4 receptors. These signals confuse the immune system. This is why even a healthy body with strong immune system cannot prevent cancer.

Nonetheless, there is a way to make cancer cells detected by the immune system. The use of immunotherapy drugs such as inhibitors can disrupt the signals that are sent by cancer cells. This will let the cancer cells exposed to the immune system. Cytokines and cancer vaccines are examples of these inhibitors.

Monoclonal Antibodies

Monoclonal antibodies are man-made immune system proteins. These proteins attach to cancer cells thereby flagging the cancer cells to be recognized by the immune system. On the other hand, monoclonal antibodies work to block the abnormal proteins in cancer cells, so they can also be used to prevent cancer cells from spreading.

These are examples of man-made antibodies:

  • Pembrolizumab (Keytruda)
  • Nivolumab (Opdivo)
  • Ipilimumab (Yervoy)

Non-Specific Immunotherapies

Non-specific immunotherapies are used to boost the immune system to directly stop and kill cancer cells. Examples of these are interferons and interleukin’s.

Conclusion

The use of the immune system is still the most recommended method in the treatment of cancer. It only needs the help of inhibitors to let it work properly on the target. The problem with the immune system is that it is not intelligent enough to keep cancer cells from being hidden. This is why there is still a need for human intervention with the help of man-made antibodies.

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Understanding Gluten Intolerance

basics-of-gluten

Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, barley, rye, kamut, spelt, and other grains. A gluten intolerance does not necessarily mean you have Celiac disease. There are many people who cannot tolerate gluten that do not test positive for Celiac disease. Tests for Celiac disease include:

  • Biopsy of small intestine
  • Reticulin antibody test
  • Endomysial antibody test
  • Transglutaminase antibody test

Many of the patients who tested negative for Celiac disease do have results that indicate they are gluten intolerant, however, which is a good starting point to receiving proper treatment.

How to Test for Non-Celiac Gluten Intolerance

The Gliadin antibody test is often positive when other tests, such as those above, are negative. While Gliadin antibodies will not result in a diagnosis of Celiac disease, they do indicate that your immune system is reacting against the Gliadin, which is a part of what makes up gluten.

Celiac disease is just another name for a condition called villous atrophy, which causes visible changes in the lining of your digestive tract. While villous atrophy can result from an immune reaction to gluten, it is only one possible result. In a nutshell, Celiac disease is just one type of gluten intolerance.

Other Tests for Gluten Intolerance

IgE and IgG are antibody tests for allergic reactions that can include numerous foods and food components. In this case, these tests are run to determine gluten intolerance. Most non-Celiac gluten sensitivity patients have elevated antibodies to:

  • Gluten
  • Gliadin
  • Barley
  • Rye
  • Wheat
  • Spelt

These patients usually feel much better after eliminating the foods they test positive for. In addition to several GI symptoms such as IBS, constipation, diarrhea, heartburn, bloating, or gas, patients with gluten sensitivity can also experience:

  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Eczema or other skin rashes
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Arthritis

What if You Already Know You Can’t Gluten?

According to Dr. Stephen Wangen, co-founder and Medical Director of the IBS Treatment Centers in Seattle, WA, and Los Angeles, CA, there are many patients who determine, through trial and error, that they can’t eat gluten. And if you have already found this to be true and have stopped eating gluten, it is highly likely that any tests run will come back negative.

Treatment

The treatment plan for any type of gluten intolerance is as simple as it can be complicated: avoid gluten. It is complicated, because gluten hides in many foods that you would not think contained any gluten. One example of this is corn syrup. Corn syrup contains gluten and it is a very common ingredient in so many of our processed foods today. It is even most sodas, condiments, sauces, and ice creams.

Avoiding the list of grains above is the easy part, however, in order to maintain a gluten-free diet, you must read labels on every product you buy. It sounds daunting, but after a few trips to the store, you will have a good working knowledge of what you can and cannot digest. Then you will just have to read the labels on any food product you have never eaten before.

More and more grocery stores are now carrying a gluten-free line of foods and many of them are quite tasty. Again, you will go through a process of trial and error trying these new foods and determining whether you like them or not, but it is definitely worth it.

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