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The human ear is divided into three parts, namely the outer, middle and inner ear. All these parts function in coherence with each other and help us in converting vibrations into sound and information. The middle ear consists of the air space between the inner ear and the outer ear and contains the bones that transmit the vibrations of the outer ear and translate them into information. This area is prone to infections, especially among children and thus may cause discomfort or pain.
Symptoms of middle ear infections: Middle ear infections primarily tend to manifest themselves as inflammation of the tissues and buildup of fluids. Some of the symptoms are mentioned below.
- Ear pain either sitting or standing up and especially while lying down
- Irritability and crying, which in infants could translate to more than usual crying
- Problems with sound and difficulties in hearing
- Fluid buildup causing balance related problems
- Discharge of fluid in certain cases
- Unable to sleep and also loss of appetite
- In some cases children may have high fever
Causes of middle ear infections: The primary cause of middle ear infection is due to the presence of bacteria or virus in the area. The Eustachian tube, which runs from the middle ear to the back of the throat, is connected to nasal passages as well. Any infection that affects the throat or the nose may also affect the middle ear through this tube. Primary causes for the infections could be
- Cold or flu like symptoms, which then infect the middle ear as well
- Otitis media, which is the buildup of fluid and inflammation either due to the presence of bacteria and viruses or even without it
- Seasonal infections, which are common during late autumn or winters
- Air pollution is also known to be a factor
- Infection from others, especially in the case of children when they are part of a group care
- Children from 6 months to 2 years are also susceptible to middle ear infections as their immune systems are much less developed.
Treatment of middle ear infections: Usually, middle ear infections resolve on their own within a day or so. You can try warm compress with a soft piece of cloth to ease the pain. However, if pain persists for too long then antibiotic medications may be required to fight the infection with pain relief medications to lessen the pain and discomfort.
In healthy individuals, the liver contains little or no fat. In overweight or obese people, gradual fat accumulation leads to significant liver disease. Interestingly, these individuals may be consuming minimal to no alcohol. So, alcohol, which is the main cause of liver damage, does not have a significant role to play.
The non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has 4 significant stages as outlined below. It is a chronically progressive disease and may take years to reach the final stages of cirrhosis and fibrosis.
1. Simple fatty liver (steatosis): This is usually identified when diagnostic tests are done for some other suspected conditions. There are usually no symptoms obvious in this stage, other than the buildup of fat in the liver.
2. Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH): The second stage where the liver is inflamed to a greater extent due to fat accumulation.
3. Fibrosis: The next degree of inflammation where blood vessels may be narrowed leading to scarring in the liver with impaired liver functions.
4. Cirrhosis: This is the most severe stage that occurs due to years of cumulative inflammation. The liver shrinks in size is scarred, and liver functions are markedly impaired and can also result in liver cancer.
Risk factors for NAFLD: The exact reason why a person develops NAFLD is not established, but some of the risk factors include-
1. Obesity, with more weight concentrated around the abdomen
2. Type 2 diabetes
4. High cholesterol levels
5. Age greater than 50
Symptoms: This will depend on the stage in which it is identified. While there are no symptoms in the early stages, in some people there could be a dull, aching below the ribs, unexplained weight loss, weakness, and extreme tiredness. As it progresses to cirrhosis, there could be jaundice, fluid accumulation in the abdomen and feet, and itching of the skin.
Management: While there is no treatment aimed at curing the disease per se, there are ways to manage the symptoms, as noted below.
1. Weight loss: Reducing excess accumulated fat will help reverse symptoms and prevent further progression of the disease. A BMI of 18 to 26 is considered optimal.
3. Exercise: Whatever your choice of workout, it will do wonders for NAFLD. Keep a target of an hour or two of moderate to intense exercise per day to reduce weight.
NAFLD is highly controllable with these changes and other damages can be reversed too.
If you are experiencing a whizzing sound while you breathe or having difficulty in breathing, you are suffering from asthma. It is a medical condition characterized by paroxysmal wheezing respiration dyspnoea. There is no definite way to prevent asthma, but by following a step-by-step daily plan, you can prevent asthma attacks or keep them in check.