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Types and Causes of Kidney Failure

dt_160111_kidneys_800x600

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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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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Hepatitis Causes and Prevention

hepatitis

Image is from National Hemophilia Foundation

Hepatitis means inflammation of a person’s liver cells due to an injury to the liver. There are different types of hepatitis you can get that can be determined through a laboratory test. Hepatitis can heal on its own without the need of treatment, but in some cases, treatment is necessary since the virus causes a chronic infection. The main types of hepatitis are A, B, C, D, and E. Hepatitis A, B, and C cause the most liver damage.

Hepatitis can be a symptom of another disease, and it is mainly a symptom of autoimmune diseases. The hepatitis is a disease that is mainly caused by a viral infection. Hepatitis often starts as an acute disease but can progress and become chronic if not detected early. The disease can cause liver cirrhosis, liver failure or liver cancer to the patient.

Causes of Hepatitis

Hepatitis can be caused by toxins from drugs, alcohol or other sources of toxins. It can also be caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites or an autoimmune disease where the body attacks the liver. However, the most known common cause of hepatitis is a virus.

Hepatitis A and E are short term viral infections that are mainly transmitted through water or food that is contaminated by human or animal waste. Other sources of these forms of hepatitis include under cooked food or raw food that has not been handled in a hygienic way.

Hepatitis B can be spread through having direct contact with infected blood. It can also be sexually transmitted or spread to a child during childbirth.

Hepatitis C can be spread through direct contact with infected blood. It is rare for the disease to be spread from mother to child during childbirth or during sexual intercourse.

Hepatitis D can also be spread through infected blood. However, you can only get hepatitis D if you were infected with hepatitis B. Those who are at the greatest risk of getting the infection include drug users since most share needles. Other at-risk groups include those who have unprotected sex with multiple partners.

Prevention

New cases of hepatitis have been significantly reduced through vaccinations. There are vaccines available for prevention of hepatitis A and B. the vaccinations are effective in reducing the number of infections in children as well as adults.

Currently, there is no vaccine for hepatitis D. however; the disease can be prevented once you get immunized for hepatitis B.

Babies who are delivered to mothers suffering from hepatitis B should get the vaccine within 12 hours of birth to prevent them from getting infections.

Other things that can be done to prevent infection include the following:

  • Washing your hands and encouraging other people to do the same with water and soap after changing a diaper, after coming from using the bathroom and before handling any food.
  • Avoid eating raw foods from unknown places and always drink bottled, boiled or chemically treated water.
  • Practice safe sex. Using condoms goes a long way in preventing the spread of the infection.
  • Do not share sharp objects or toothbrushes.
  • When performing first aid, always wear gloves.
  • Disinfect all blood spills and wear gloves when cleaning up any body fluids.
  • Seek regular prenatal care when you are pregnant.

To reduce the risk of getting a non-viral type of hepatitis, avoid taking excessive alcohol. Also, consult a physician before starting a new prescription and on taking supplements. Hepatitis is a disease that needs to be taken seriously as it can cause severe damage to your liver.

 

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Understanding Meningitis

7ab7d5a4905749f8d59d5c0190d39652

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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Types and Causes of Kidney Failure

dt_160111_kidneys_800x600

Image is from Medscape

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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Understanding Hepatitis B

hepatitis-s1-liver-hepatitis-virus

Image is from MedicineNet

Hepatitis B is an infection in your liver. It can cause cancer, liver failure, or scarring, and it can be fatal if left untreated. It is transmitted when you come in contact with body fluids, blood, or open sores of an infected person.

The good news is, however, that most cases of the disease resolve in a few months, because your immune system kicks in to fight it it off. Once it is resolved, you are then immune to it, which means you cannot contract it again.

How Do You Know If You Have It

When you first get it, the warning signs include:

  • Jaundice – This is when your skin and/or the whites of your eyes turn yellow, and your urine turns orange or brown.
  • Bowel movements are light in color.
  • Fever
  • Persistent fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain

Your symptoms may not show up for one to six months, and about one third of those infected, do not experience any symptoms at all. It is important to see your doctor for a blood test if you believe you have been exposed.

What Happens If You Have It

Most people recover, and your doctor will be able to confirm that when your blood tests show no sign of infection.

A few people, however, will not get rid of the infection. This is determined if your blood tests are still positive after six months. At this point you may not have any symptoms, but you are a carrier of the disease. This means you can spread it to others by:

  • Contact with your blood or an open sore.
  • Unprotected sex.
  • Sharing syringes or needles.

The disease does eventually resolve in a small number of carriers. For the rest, it becomes a chronic condition, and due to the ongoing infection, you can develop the scarring or cancer mentioned above.

If you are currently infected or a carrier, you may not donate:

  • Blood
  • Plasma
  • Sperm
  • Tissue
  • Organs

You also have a responsibility to tell anyone you may infect, such as sexual partners, your dentist, or your doctor, so that the necessary precautions can be taken.

How It Is Treated

It is important to see your physician as soon as you believe you may have been infected. He or she will administer a vaccine and a shot of hepatitis B immune globulin. This protein will help fight off the infection by boosting your immune system. You may have to go on bed rest to ensure a faster recovery.

You will also have to avoid liver-damaging substances such as Tylenol and alcohol. It is important to check with your doctor regarding all drugs, supplements, or herbal treatments. Some of them can be harmful, too. Be sure to eat a healthy, balanced diet. This will also help you fight off the infection.

If your infection resolves, your doctor will tell you that you are an inactive carrier. If it does not resolve within six months, your diagnosis will be chronic active hepatitis B, and he or she may prescribe some of the following treatments:

  • Interferon alfa (Intron A, Roferon A, Sylatron) – This is an injection that you take for at least six months. While it does not cure the disease, it does treat the inflammation.
  • Lamivudine (Epivir) – This medication is available in liquid or tablet form that you take once per day. Most patients tolerate it well. It is not recommended for long-term use, because you can become immune to it.
  • Aidfovir dipivoxil (Hepsera) – This works well for patients who do not respond to Lamivudine treatment. It comes in a tablet form. High doses, however, can cause kidney problems.
  • Entecavir (Baraclude) – This is the newest medication available. It is available in a tablet or liquid form.
  • Tenofovir (Viread) – This medication is available in tablet or powder form. You will need routine tests to ensure it is not damaging your kidneys.

Should You Get The Hepatitis B Vaccine

You should be vaccinated if you meet any of the following criteria:

  • Come in contact with body fluids or blood of infected family members or friends.
  • Use needles to administer recreational drugs.
  • Have sex with more than one person.
  • Are a healthcare worker.
  • Work in a jail, school, or daycare center.

While Hepatitis B is not curable, it’s treatable and occasionally resolves on its own. Be sure to take the precautions above to minimize your risk of contracting the disease, and see your doctor as soon as possible if you develop any symptoms.

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Understanding Polio

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Image is from GOOD Magazine

Poliomyelitis, popularly known as polio is a crippling, infectious and potentially harmful viral infection transmitted by the poliovirus. The virus can spread from a person to another and acts swift once in the body, infecting the brain and spinal cord.

The result is paralysis and potential death. Even though the virus isn’t common in most developed countries, polio could me a menace to people who travel out of the country often.

Poliovirus Transmission and Infection

The primary mode of transmission is via person-to-person contact. The virus resides in the human mouth or intestines meaning that it can be transmitted through contact with human excrement even in the tiniest bit.

A less common infection route is by inhaling sneeze or cough droplets. Any traces of feces in your hands when touching your mouth or putting infected items like toys into your mouth could lead to an infection.

Since infected people can be carriers for up to two weeks, it is hard to know who to avoid as apparently healthy people could be a threat. This combined with the fact that the virus can live out of the human body for weeks means that the risk of infection from contaminated food or water is very high especially in low sanitation areas.

Popular Poliovirus infection Symptoms

Most of the people with the poliovirus will show no visible symptoms. Worse still, up almost 25 percent of the infected will have nothing more than flu-like symptoms. These could be

  • A sore throat
  • Fever, nausea and tiredness
  • Headache and stomach pain

These symptoms could linger for a week or so before they ebb depending on whether your immune system was strong enough to fight off the virus or not.

If unaddressed the virus could develop into serious brain and spinal cord injury causing:

  • A constant feeling of pins and needles in your legs (paresthesia)
  • Meningitis (the infection of the spinal cord, brain or both)
  • Paralysis

Paralysis is the worst of the poliovirus infection symptoms. If the patient is lucky, the paralysis could affects limbs leaving the person disabled. In rare but more severe cases, the virus could affect core muscles, for instance muscles controlling your breathing hence leading to death.

When Does the Poliovirus Infection Become Polio?

Poliomyelitis, by definition, is a paralytic disease. Consequently, only people whose poliovirus infection results into paralytic disease are technically considered to have the disease.

With no actual control over how the virus will react once in the human body, it is always safe to stay clear of the virus.

Poliovirus Infection Prevention

As with most viral infections, preventing the infection is always better than trying to cure it. As of to date, there is no known cure for polio. The best medicine can offer to infected individuals is:

  • A proper nutritious diet
  • Bed rest with pain relievers
  • Moderate physical therapy to keep the muscles working
  • Drugs and medication to control the virus’ spread and effect

While things like improved sanitation and personal hygiene might reduce the spread of the virus, it is wise to take the polio virus at the designated times. There is a total of four shots in the regime.

  • When two months old
  • When four months old
  • Six to 18 months old
  • Between four and six years

Adults could also consider taking the vaccine when traveling to high prevalence areas. Even though the immunity gathered from childhood vaccines would be enough to keep you safe as long as you live, it would do you no harm to get an extra shot when you can.

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