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Lung cancer is the cancer killer of both men and women in the U.S. When you think of risk factors for lung cancer, what comes to mind? Most of us think about the risk associated with smoking cigarettes, but did you know that air pollution can also cause lung cancer? Overwhelming evidence shows that particle pollution in the outdoor air we breathe—like that coming from vehicle exhaust, coal-fired power plants and other industrial sources can cause lung cancer. Particle pollution increases the risk of dying early, heart disease and asthma attacks, and it can also interfere with the growth and function of the lungs.
What is particle pollution?
Particle pollution is a mix of tiny solid and liquid particles in the air and can be made up of a number of components, such as acids, organic chemicals, metals, soil and dust particles. It can be emitted directly from wood stoves, forest fires, vehicles and other sources, and it can also form from other types of pollution that come from sources like power plants.
Why does particle pollution harm our bodies?
While breathing in larger sizes of particle pollution can be harmful to our health, smaller particles are more dangerous. Bigger particles can irritate your eyes, nose and throat, but our natural defenses help us to cough or sneeze them out of our bodies. Unfortunately, those defenses don't keep out smaller particles, which get trapped deep in the lungs and can even get into the bloodstream, causing damage to our health.
Who is most at risk?
As for who is at risk for health problems from breathing in particle pollution. Those who live where particle pollution levels are high is at risk. Some people face higher risk, including children, the elderly, people with lung and heart disease and diabetes, people with low incomes, and people who work or exercise outdoors.
How do we protect ourselves from particle pollution?
Check the air quality index forecast for the day and limit your activity if pollution levels are high. Avoid exercising along heavily traveled highways regardless of the overall forecast.
As individuals, we can play our part in reducing air pollution levels by trying to avoid creating more of it. Choosing ‘active travel’ options where possible, like walking and cycling, can help reduce pollution levels from transport and is also a great way to be more active, which is linked to a reduced risk of cancer and other diseases.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Uterine fibroids are referred to as benign, abnormal growths which tend to develop in the uterine walls of a woman. The size of such growths can range from a few centimeters to even excess of a few inches. As such, they can cause the uterus to increase to the size of a five month pregnancy. Although, the symptoms of fibroids are not always apparent, they often cause heavy bleeding and pain in women. A recent research concluded that around 60 to 75 percent women contract such fibroids by the age of 50, at least once in their life.
Depending on the site of formation, uterine fibroids are distinguished into different types. Intramural fibroids in the lining of the uterus and subserosal fibroids which develop outside the uterus are the most commonly observed fibroids.
What causes Uterine Fibroids?
Although, the exact reason for the formation of fibroids are obscure, medical professionals have determined certain factors that may affect their formation. Some of them are:
1) Hormones: Progesterone and estrogen, produced by the ovaries regenerate the uterine lining during each menstrual cycle and trigger the growth of fibroids.
2) Family history: If you have had a family history of uterine fibroids, then you're likely to develop the condition yourself as well.
3) Pregnancy: The production of progesterone and estrogen increases during pregnancy which increases the likelihood of fibroids.
What are the signs of the condition?
Depending on the location and size of the tumors, symptoms of such fibroids include:
1) Heavy bleeding and blood clots during periods
2) Pain in the pelvis
3) Frequent menstrual cramps
4) Pressure and pain in the lower abdomen
5) Swelling in the abdomen
6) Pain while intercourse
What is the procedure of the treatment?
Ultrasound and pelvic MRI are common diagnostic procedures to check for uterine fibroids. After diagnosis, depending on your age, size of the fibroid and your comprehensive health, the doctor would prescribe you with appropriate medications. Only after medications prove futile, doctors opt for minimally invasive surgeries. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a doctor and ask a free question.
Adenomyosis is a condition which occurs when the muscle wall of the uterus is broken by the endometrium lining. You experience pressure in the lower abdomen, menstrual cramps and bloating, before the onset of menstrual periods, resulting in heavy bleeding during the periods. This disorder is not life threatening but is known to cause pain and heavy bleeding.
The symptoms of adenomyosis are severe pain during periods, prolonged periods and pressure in the abdominal area. You may also experience heavy bleeding during the periods and may also experience intense pain. Sex may be very painful as well. The lower abdomen might feel tender and bigger; this occurs when the size of the uterus increases in this particular condition.
The exact cause of this disorder is not yet ascertained. However, certain possible causes could be:
- Congenital Defect: In this case, the condition is known to occur from birth wherein the endometrial tissue grows on the uterine muscle wall during the fetus formation.
- Invasive Growth of Tissues: This is said to occur when endometrial cells invade the uterus lining, leading to adenomyosis. This can also be triggered by a C-section operation.
- Inflammation During Childbirth: During the childbirth process, inflammation may occur in the lining of the uterus leading to this disorder.
In addition to the possible cause, there are certain risk factors which increase the risks of the disorder, such as:
- Giving birth to a child
- Surgery related to the uterus such as a C-section
Once you reach menopause, this disorder tends to subside. So depending on how close you are to menopause, the treatment is designed accordingly. The various treatments for adenomyosis are –
Anti-inflammatory Medications: If you are nearing menopause, then anti-inflammatory medications will be administered. This helps in reducing pain and the heavy blood flow.
Hormone Medications: Hormone medications such as hormone patches can also help with the bleeding and pain.
Hysterectomy: If the pain turns intense, then the doctor may recommend hysterectomy, a surgery to remove the uterus.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers in women about 1 in 8 women in the USA develop invasive breast cancer. The incidence of breast cancer has increased with changes in lifestyle including smoking, drinking and loss of physical activity. The risk factors are age, ethnicity and family history cannot be changed. However, there are some risk factors that can definitely be acted upon to reduce the chances of developing breast cancer.
- Weight management: Obesity is one of the major risk factors for breast cancer and managing weight and a good body mass index will help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer. This is especially important in women undergoing menopause.
- Reducing smoking: The benefits of quitting it are manifold and reducing the risk for breast cancer is one of them. This will, as a byproduct, also result in a host of other benefits including improved quality of life, reduced chances of heart disease, stroke, and other cancers.
- Physical activity: In addition to helping in weight management, this also helps reduce the risk of breast cancer. Ideal recommendation is 30 minutes of physical activity per day, plus strength training.
- Breastfeeding: This helps in reducing the risk of breast cancer. Prolonged feeding is shown to have a greater protective benefit.
- Hormone replacement therapy: When possible, limit the use of hormone replacement therapy for prolonged periods of time. Explore options of non-hormonal substitutes or use the least permissible or required dose. Be sure to get periodic check-ups when on hormone therapy.
- Reduce exposure to environmental pollution: Higher levels of pollutants are linked to a higher incidence of breast cancer. When possible, avoid getting exposure to environmental pollutants.
- Screening: If there is a strong family history or other risk factors, then screening can help detect breast cancer very early in the process. Recommended ages for mammography are as follows:
- If you are age 40 – 44: Go for annual mammograms after discussing risks and benefits with the doctor.
- If you are age 45 – 54: Go for annual mammogram.
- If you are age 55 or over: Mammograms are recommended every other year. You can choose to continue to have them every year. Self-breast exams are not sufficient. However, if being done, they can also be an input to an abnormality.
- Cautious use of birth control pills: Birth control pill usage to be discussed with your gynaecologist if you are above 35 years of age and smoke. The good news is that the risk associated with it disappears slowly after the pill is stopped.
These will help reduce the risk of developing breast cancer, early detection, and improved prognosis.
The uterus or womb, is a muscular structure and is held in place by ligaments and pelvic muscles. If these muscles or tendons become weak, they cause prolapse and are no longer able to hold the uterus in its place.
Uterine prolapse happens when the uterus falls or slips from its ordinary position and into the vagina or birth waterway. It could be complete prolapse or even incomplete at times. A fragmented prolapse happens when the uterus is just hanging into the vagina. A complete prolapse depicts a circumstance in which the uterus falls so far down that some tissue rests outside of the vagina. Likewise, as a lady ages and with a loss of the hormone estrogen, her uterus can drop into the vaginal canal. This condition is known as a prolapsed uterus.
Risks: The risks of this condition are many and have been enumerated as follows:
- Complicated delivery during pregnancy
- Weak pelvic muscle
- Loss of tissue after menopause and loss of common estrogen
- Expanded weight in the stomach area, for example, endless cough, constipation, pelvic tumors or accumulation of liquid in the guts
- Being overweight
- Obesity causing extra strain on the muscles
- Real surgery in the pelvic zone
Symptoms: Some of the most common symptoms of prolapse involve:
- Feeling of sitting on a ball
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Increase in discharge
- Problems while performing sexual intercourse
- Seeing the uterus coming out of the vagina
- A pulling or full feeling in the pelvis
- Bladder infections
Nonsurgical medications include:
- Losing weight and getting in shape to take stress off of pelvic structures
- Maintaining a distance from truly difficult work
- Doing Kegel workouts, which are pelvic floor practices that strengthen the vaginal muscles. This can be done at any time, even while sitting down at a desk.
- Taking estrogen treatment especially during menopause
- Wearing a pessary, which is a gadget embedded into the vagina that fits under the cervix and pushes up to settle the uterus and cervix
- Indulging in normal physical activity
Some specialists use the following methods to diagnose the problem:
- The specialist will examine you in standing position keeping in mind you are resting and request that you to cough or strain to build the weight in your abdomen.
- Particular conditions, for example, ureteral block because of complete prolapse, may require an intravenous pyelogram (IVP) or renal sonography. Color is infused into your vein, and an X-ray is used to view the flow of color through your urinary bladder.
- An ultrasound might be utilised to rule out any other existing pelvic issues. In this test, a wand is used on your stomach area or embedded into your vagina to create images of the internal organ with sound waves. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Gynaecologist.
Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy (ESWT) is a highly effective and innovative treatment option in a variety of fields, from urology to cosmetology including orthopedics. This is a non-invasive method that employs high-energy shockwaves to bring about the healing of the affected tissues. It has been found to provide good results for recalcitrant orthopaedic problems like frozen shoulder to certain chronic degenerative or tendon conditions such as Achilles tendinitis (injury of the Achilles' tendon due to overuse) and plantar fasciitis in heel pain.
How does it work?
The procedure is basically an outpatient/ daycare job. It involves the application of a non-invasive probe to the affected tissue. This is followed by the external generation of shockwaves focused on the target area. The shockwaves cause a force to be created that brings about healing. Although it's still not clear as to why this kind of therapy works, the dominant understanding is that shockwaves render an improvement in the flow of blood so as to promote the body to fix and heal itself.
Depending on individual cases, high or low energy waves may be employed. While pain may occur during the transmission of high energy waves and would require short general anaesthesia, low-energy ESWT is carried out without anesthesia.
What problems can this form of therapy effectively tackle?
ESWT can be used to treat a number of musculoskeletal disorders. From plantar fasciitis (heel pain), tennis elbow, shoulder rotator cuff, degenerated tendons (Achilles' tendon) to hip and knee pain, the therapy has been found to reduce pain as well as accelerate healing in individuals.
Complications are very few and far between with this therapy. Individuals who suffer from hypersensitivity or poor sensation in the affected area are usually not recommended this procedure. Even individuals with heart conditions, seizures and open sores need to consult a doctor before going forward with the therapy.
The therapy has also been found to be very effective in bone healing as well as treatment of bone necrosis (a disease that occurs due to permanent or temporary loss of blood flow to the bones). Additionally in place of surgery, ESWT may also be a valuable option for non-healing fractures. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
I am a student. Usually I used to sit more than 8 hours a day in chair. Now a days I am feeling very much pain on regions of backbone and neck. Is this a chance of disk failure?
The spine plays a very crucial role, both from a person’s movement and sensation point of view. It carries the nervous supply for a lot of internal organs and the lower body. By virtue of its structure, it also helps in movement through the disks. Due to various reasons, spinal injury is common, causing pain along the back, lower extremities, neck etc.
Medicines and exercise are the first line of treatment for most spinal injuries. The issue, however, is that these only provide relief from the pain and the medicines, but do not actually ‘rectify’ the underlying problem. Whether it is a herniated disk or a pinched nerve, the medicines and exercise can relieve the symptoms, but the disk continues to be herniated and the nerve continues to be pinched. Definite treatment is in the form of surgery, and with recent advancements in the field of spinal surgery, there are minimally invasive surgical options, which provide complete cure with minimal recovery time. Some of the benefits of this are listed below-
Smaller incision compared to traditional surgical procedures, where only the injured area is accessed
The surrounding tissues are untouched, unless they are injured and require repair
Lesser bleeding compared to earlier techniques
Lesser painful procedure
Reduced hospitalization period
Quicker recovery and return to normal activities
The question, however, is whether this is indicated in everybody. A detailed discussion with your surgeon keeping the below points in mind will help identify the answer for this. The main driver should be the answer to the question – will the surgery be able to effectively relieve you of the pain and symptoms? Additionally, the following factors help in getting better results out of a minimally invasive spinal surgery.
Presence of symptoms relating to nerve compression, including pain from the spine down the leg.
Recent onset of symptoms, with pain starting days to months before seeing the doctor. This indicates the condition is relatively new and so damage is minimal, indicating favorable outcome. Chronic pain conditions take slightly longer time compared to recent injuries.
People with active lifestyle who engage in regular physical exercise are likely to have better benefits from the minimally invasive procedure.
Smoking reduces blood flow to the spine, leading to disk degeneration and weakening of bones. Healing is highly slowed down and recovery is overall delayed.
Excessive weight puts strain on the back, and so healing can be delayed or badly affected with more complications. It is not a contraindication, but be prepared for a longer recovery period.
A spinal cord injury is damage to the spinal cord. It’s an extremely serious type of physical trauma that’s likely to have a lasting and significant impact on most aspects of daily life.
The spinal cord is responsible for sending messages from the brain to all parts of the body. It also sends messages from the body to the brain. We are able to perceive pain and move our limbs because of messages sent through the spinal cord.
If the spinal cord sustains an injury, some or all of these impulses may not be able to ‘get through’. The result is a complete or total loss of sensation and mobility below the injury. A spinal cord injury closer to the neck will typically cause paralysis throughout a larger part of the body than one in the lower back area.
A spinal cord injury is often the result of an unpredictable accident or violent event. The following can all result in damage to the spinal cord:
- a violent attack such as a stabbing or a gunshot
- diving into water that’s too shallow and hitting the bottom
- trauma during a car accident (specifically trauma to the face, head and neck region, back, or chest area)
- falling from a significant height
- head or spinal injuries during sporting events
- electrical accidents
- severe twisting of the middle portion of the torso
Some symptoms of a spinal cord injury include:
- problems walking
- loss of control of the bladder or bowels
- inability to move the arms or legs
- feelings of spreading numbness or tingling in the extremities
- pain, pressure, stiffness in the back or neck area
- signs of shock
- unnatural positioning of the head
If you suspect that someone has a back or neck injury:
- Don’t move the injured person – permanent paralysis and other serious complications may result
- Call 911 or your local emergency medical assistance number
- Keep the person still
- Place heavy towels on both sides of the neck or hold the head and neck to prevent them from moving until emergency care arrives
- Provide basic first aid, such as stopping any bleeding and making the person comfortable, without moving the head or neck
Treatment should be focused upon that individual and tailored specifically to their condition. A treatment programme is formulated following a thorough physical assessment which might include:
- Stretching activities to maintain muscle and tendon length and reduce or keep muscle spasms/spasticity to a minimum.
- Flexibility and strengthening exercises for the whole body.
- Breathing exercises to maximise lung function and prevent chest infection.
- Balance and posture exercises which can help to reduce pain associated with poor posture and balance impairment and ensure correct transfer techniques (in/out of wheelchair, bed, toilet/bath, car etc.)
- Functional activities to improve fundamental movement patterns such as rolling over and sitting up, and standing where appropriate.
- Walking re-education, if there is sufficient muscle activity and power in the legs.
Your physiotherapist might also be able to advise an individual on use of appropriate equipment such as wheel-chairs and pressure releasing cushions, exercise equipment and electrical muscle stimulators.
Because spinal cord injuries are often due to unpredictable events, the best you can do is reduce your risk.
Some risk-reducing measures include:
- Always wearing a seatbelt while in a car
- Wearing proper protective gear while playing sports
- Never diving into water unless you’ve examined it first to make sure it’s deep enough and free of rocks
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!