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Dr. Prasanth Kumar

Radiologist, Hyderabad

250 at clinic
Dr. Prasanth Kumar Radiologist, Hyderabad
250 at clinic
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Our team includes experienced and caring professionals who share the belief that our care should be comprehensive and courteous - responding fully to your individual needs and preferences....more
Our team includes experienced and caring professionals who share the belief that our care should be comprehensive and courteous - responding fully to your individual needs and preferences.
More about Dr. Prasanth Kumar
Dr. Prasanth Kumar is a trusted Radiologist in L B Nagar, Hyderabad. He is currently practising at Kamineni Hospital - LB Nagar in L B Nagar, Hyderabad. Book an appointment online with Dr. Prasanth Kumar on Lybrate.com.

Lybrate.com has a nexus of the most experienced Radiologists in India. You will find Radiologists with more than 26 years of experience on Lybrate.com. Find the best Radiologists online in Hyderabad. View the profile of medical specialists and their reviews from other patients to make an informed decision.

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Kamineni Hospital - LB Nagar

162,Main Road,Central Bank Colony,L B Nagar. Landmark: Near Big Bazaar, HyderabadHyderabad Get Directions
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Dear sir I have problem of slip disc or disc herniation in cervical. Kindly solve my problem?

MBBS, cc USG
General Physician, Gurgaon
Hello kindly review with X ray cervical AP and Lateral report consult neurosurgeon/orthopedic surgeon
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I am having neck pain radiating to my right thumb which started around oct'2014. I am working in it sector and prolonged hours I have to sit infront of computers. I took some treatment in ayurveda for almost one month. Then later shifted to idd therapy which showed hood results and I was able to get back into my job after 1-2 months treatment. There's a disc prolapse in c5 c6 region and that's the reason. So, now the pain again started to come back although not severe and I am afraid I have to quit my job and go for surgery. Can any body help me send a suggest a solution without surgery.?

DNB (Radiodiagnosis), DMRD, MBBS
Radiologist, Bangalore
Hi, thanks for writing in to us. Your mri scan shows disc problem at c 5 - c 6 level. This requires rest, physical therapy and pain relief as first line of treatment. Maxgalin er is a good medicine and will treat nerve related pain. The condition you have might be due to trauma or degeneration. It is unlikely to heal completely. You can try a rehabilitation and treatment with nerve pain reliever like maxgalin er. Please do not stress your neck for a long duration and avoid sudden neck movement. Go slow on your job. Non surgical pain relief options are best. They might be steroid shots or rf ablation. Regards,
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I am 39 years my weight is 95 kg, my height is 5.4, I have ligament tear in my right knee, I have slip disc in l4, l5, high bp. Etc, please suggest how to loose weight. Rapidly fast if any medicine that can help to reduce the weight.

MBBS, MS - Orthopaedics
Orthopedist, Delhi
I am 39 years my weight is 95 kg, my height is 5.4, I have ligament tear in my right knee, I have slip disc in l4, l5...
Weight reduction can not be done over night. You have to take it as a way of life. Do diet control. No sugar in tea, coffee, milk etc. No sweets take small frequent feeds. When you get used to it, skip one meal. You should do non weight bearing yoga exercises. For your knee problem you would need arthroscopic knee surgery. It is a very safe procedure in our hands with uniformly good results. We have very good well equipped center in delhi. Do ask for detailed treatment plan. Don? t ignore it lest it become beginning of a bigger problem.
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Treatment of Cerebral Ischaemia and Cerebral Congestion With Homeopathy

BHMS
Homeopath, Gurgaon
Treatment of Cerebral Ischaemia and Cerebral Congestion With Homeopathy

Cerebral ischaemia or brain ischemia is a medical condition that restricts the flow of blood to the brain, resulting in an unmet metabolic demand. This leads to limited oxygen supply in the brain, which could result in death of brain tissues, cerebral infarction or an ischemic stroke. Thus, a cardiorespiratory arrest, a stroke, and irreversible brain damage are few possible consequences of cerebral ischaemia.

People with compressed blood vessels, low blood pressure, congenital heart defects or sickle cell anaemia have a high risk of developing cerebral ischaemia, since compressed blood vessels or very low pressure can lead to restricted blood flow. Also, sickle-shaped cells have a greater tendency to clot, causing obstructed blood flow.

Patients with cerebral ischaemia experience a host of symptoms, such as weakness in the body, problems in coordination and movement, vision and speech impairment and unconsciousness.

Cerebral congestion, on the other hand, refers to excessive quantity of blood in the brain vessels, causing pressure on the cerebral substance. Cerebral congestion is of two types. It is termed as active when there is too much arterial blood flow and passive when there is undue quantity of venous blood in the veins of the brain. Both conditions cause symptoms, such as severe headache, insomnia, irritability and unconsciousness. The patient gets little sleep and is disturbed, often followed by dreams. When awake, the patient’s mental activity in the brain is very high.

Homeopathy is now a well-established school of medicine backed with years of research and practice. Gone are the days when homeopathy was considered no more than an extension of herbal home remedies. Homeopathic laboratories around the world produce large number of medicines covering almost all ailments. The benefits of homeopathic treatment are now well established due to its holistic approach and minimal side effects. Homeopathy is undoubtedly a ray of hope for patients with cerebral ischaemia and cerebral congestion, as it delivers a comprehensive treatment plan designed to target the signs and symptoms of the disease and address its non-occurrence.

The medications deal with mild to severe symptoms, including inflammation of the brain, headache, vomiting, insomnia, stroke/convulsions and seizures. The stramonium drug, for example, deals with seizures. Belladonna is an effective remedy for sharp shooting headaches, a common symptom of cerebral congestion. Ferrum is believed to be a valuable remedy for brain ischaemia. Few drugs deal with the symptoms of both ischaemia and congestion—nux is a suitable drug for the treatment of ischaemia as well as for passive cerebral congestion. Similarly, phosphorus can be used to treat brain ischaemia and congestion. Zincum metallicum is a highly recommended drug for chronic cases of ischaemia.

The treatment is comprehensive and long term and shows substantive results. Regular follow-ups and consultation with a homeopath specialist is the key to an effective treatment.

4598 people found this helpful

Uterine Cancer - Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

DGO, MBBS
Gynaecologist, Chennai
Uterine Cancer - Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment

Uterine cancer is also known as endometrial cancer. It is a cancer which begins in the lining of the uterus. The uterus is the part of a woman's body where the fetus develops. Uterine cancer is one of those rare cancers in India, which can be diagnosed in its early stages. This is because excessive vaginal bleeding occurs, thus making it a very serious and an apparent symptom. It is also one of the few forms of cancer which can be cured as removing the uterus is often more than enough to cure the patient of uterine cancer.

Here are the causes, diagnosis and treatment of uterine cancer:

Causes

The exact cause of uterine cancer is not yet known, however, there is a theory on what causes uterine cancer. Hormones in a woman's body have been thought to increase the chances of getting uterine cancer. This is because it has long been thought that having high levels of estrogen is the cause of uterine cancer. Increased estrogen thickens the endometrium and thus, increases the likelihood of uterine cancer.

Diagnosis

There are several tests used to diagnose whether you have uterine cancer including:

1. Pelvic exam: This is an examination in which the vagina, bladder, rectum and uterus are scanned for lumps. If they are found, it might be due to uterine cancer.
2. Pap test: A pap test is a special test designed to scan for uterine cancer.
3. Transvaginal ultrasound: A transvaginal ultrasound uses high-intensity sound waves so that pictures of the uterus can be taken.
4. Biopsy: During a biopsy, the doctor will remove tissue from the endometrium and it will then be analyzed for cancerous growths.

Treatment

1. Surgery: This is the most common treatment as it removes the entire uterus and prevents the spreading of the cancer.
2. Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy involves giving drugs which kill cancerous cells. They are given through either an intravenous line or even in pill form.
3. Hormone therapy: This is a therapy in which either progesterone levels are increased or estrogen levels are decreased.
4. Radiation therapy: In this treatment, high energy laser beams are used to destroy cancerous cells.

3753 people found this helpful

I have had a limbo sacral spine MRI. Conclusion of result is "Mild annular disc bulge with superimposed broad based posterocentral disc protrusion and annular tear at L4-L5 level is causing indentation on thecal sac. No central canal or existing foramina stenosis or nerve root compression" can anybody tell is it worrisome.

MBBS
General Physician, Mumbai
The report is not very worrisome coz there is no nerve compression .But you should be careful ,follow your exercise routine and treatment properly. Do spine extension exercises. Do not lift weights. Take calcium supplements. Take anti-inflamatory medication when needed.
4 people found this helpful
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Hi sir my mother 72 year old she is suffering slip disk problem mri report conclusion/impression- Mr. Imaging reveal degenerative changes affecting lumbar spine with disc bulge-herniation at l1-2, l3-4, l4-5 and l5-si levels, more at l2-3, l3-4, l4-5 and l4-s1 level (protrusion), together with ligamentum flavum hypertrophy and facetal arthropathy are producing secondary canal stenosis with narrowing of bilateral neural foraming. Canal stenosis is most sever at l4-5 level.

Dip. SICOT (Belgium), MNAMS, DNB (Orthopedics), MBBS
Orthopedist, Delhi
Hi thanks for your query and welcome to lybrate. I am Dr. Akshay from fortis hospital, new delhi. It is good that you have actually mentioned mri report of your mother which shows degenerative changes in spine with degenerative discs at multiple levels and ligamentum hypertrophy. But since we have to treat the patient and not mri, please elaborate her problem as to a detailed discussion of back pain which means duration of pain and mode of onset. I would also like to ask you if it is associated with any leg pain or any other neurological symptoms like numbness, paraesthesias (electrical shock like abnormal sensations) or any weakness in limbs. Please also tell me about any associated symptoms like fever, weight loss etc. What medications she generally takes and what has been her treatment history till now for existing problem. Do not hesitate to contact me if you need any further assistance.
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Breast Cancer - The Most Common Cancer In India

FICMCH, Diploma In Laproscopic Surgery, Certified in Laparoscopy & Hysteroscopy, DNB (Obstetrics and Gynecology), MBBS
Gynaecologist, Gurgaon
Breast Cancer - The Most Common Cancer In India

Breast cancer is on the rise in india. Surveys show that every 4 out of 5 Indian women who have breast cancer, suffer from an advanced stage of the disease by the time they reach the doctor. Urban women are at two times more risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer than rural women. Being overweight, eating unhealthy food, and consuming excessive alcohol or tobacco are some of causes that can make you susceptible to this disease.

How you can avoid breast cancer?

  1. Every woman should do a self-breast examination every month after the periods. You should check for any abnormal lump, change in skin texture or any abnormal discharge from the nipples. Any abnormality above aspects should be promptly investigated by a doctor's appointment, and an ultrasound or Mammography, as required.
  2. Apart from self-examining your breasts every month for a lump, going for a mammography (an X-Ray of the breast) is vital for early detection of the problem.
  3. Consult a gynaecologist before going for the test as its frequency depends on your age and risk factor. About 80-90% of tumours can be traced through this screening.

Breast cancer may run in family. If there is no family history of breast cancer, you start doing mammogram at 40 yrs of age but if there is a family history you start even earlier as advised by your gynaecologist.

I am 26 years old boy, I am suffering fron hip disorder problem, Avn. How to get rid out of this, I do not have money for operation,

Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS), Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS)
Orthopedist, Trichy
AVN of the hip at this age is usually due to either Alcohol intake or Steroid intake. Once AVN has developed then it depends on the stage of the disorder. if its advanced then only hip replacement will help.
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Breast Cancer - Signs That Help You Spot It!

MBBS, DNB - Surgery, Fellowship in Breast Surgical Oncology
Oncologist, Gurgaon
Breast Cancer - Signs That Help You Spot It!

Breast cancer is an abnormal growth of cells in the tissues of the breast. Mainly it occurs in females but less than 1% of all the breast cancer cases develop in males. The majority of breast cancers start in the milk ducts. A small number start in the milk sacs or lobules. It can spread to the lymph nodes and to the other parts of the body such as bones, liver, lungs and to the brain.

With more reliable early detection methods as well as the trend towards less invasive surgery, there is hope that even more women with breast cancer will be treated successfully and will go on to resume their normal lives.

Signs & Symptoms 
It is painless, especially, during the early stage. Watch out for the following changes in the breast:

  1. A persistent lump or thickening in the breast or in the axilla. 
  2. A change in the size or shape of the breast. 
  3. A change in the colour or appearance of the skin of the breast such as redness, puckering or dimpling. 
  4. Bloody discharge from the nipple. 
  5. A change in the nipple or areola such as scaliness, persistent rash or nipple retraction (nipple pulled into the breast).

Consult a doctor immediately if you notice any of these changes.

Risk Factors 
Being a woman puts you at risk of getting breast cancer. There are certain factors that increase the risk of breast cancer. Some of them have been listed below:

  1. The risk increases with age; most cases of breast cancer develop after the age of 50 
  2. Genetic alterations in certain genes such as BRCA1 and BRCA2 
  3. Family history of breast cancer 
  4. Being overweight 
  5. Early menarche (onset of menstruation before the age of 12) 
  6. Late menopause (after the age of 55) 
  7. Never had children 
  8. Late childbearing 
  9. No breast feeding 
  10. Excessive consumption of alcohol 
  11. Use of hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) for a long period of time

However, most women who have breast cancer have none of the above risk factors. Likewise, not having any of these risk factors does not mean that you will not get breast cancer.

Early Detection and Screening

More treatment options are available when breast cancer is diagnosed at an early stage and hence the chances of recovery is also higher. So regular breast screening is important for early detection even if there are no symptoms. Following are the ways of screening:

  1. Breast Self-Examination (BSE): Perform BSE once a month about a week after your menses are over. If you no longer menstruate, choose a date each month which is easy to remember e.g. your date of birth or anniversary.
  2. Clinical Breast Examination: Get a breast specialist to examine your breast once a year if you are 40 years and above.
  3. Mammogram: Go for a screening mammogram once a year if you are 40 to 49 years old and once every two years if you are 50 years and above even if you do not have any symptom. It is not recommended for younger women (less than 40 years of age) as they have dense breasts, making it difficult for small changes to be detected on a mammogram. So ultrasonography of the breasts is advisable to them.

Types of Breast cancer

  1. Non-Invasive Breast cancer: These are confined to the ducts within the breasts. They are known as Ductal carcinoma in-situ (DCIS).
  2. Invasive Breast cancer: It occurs when cancer cells spread beyond the ducts or lobules. Cancer cells first spread to the surrounding breast tissue and subsequently to the lymph nodes in the armpit (Axillary lymph nodes). These cells can also travel to the other parts of the body such as bones, liver, lungs or brain and hence known as metastatic breast cancer.

Making A Diagnosis 

If you notice any unusual changes in your breasts, you should see a doctor immediately. He will examine you clinically and may ask you to undergo some tests so that a definitive diagnosis can be made. Further, the staging work up is done to find out the stage of the disease and management accordingly.

Treatment options 
Treatment of breast cancer may include various methods such as surgery with or without breast reconstruction, chemotherapy, radiation therapy, hormonal therapy and targeted therapy. Treatment options offered, depend upon the number of factors such as the stage of cancer and likelihood of cure, your general health and your preference. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult an oncologist.

1931 people found this helpful

Lung Cancer: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

MD PULMONARY, DTCD
Pulmonologist, Faridabad
Lung Cancer: Causes, Symptoms and Treatments

Lung cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in one or both lungs. These abnormal cells do not carry out the functions of normal lung cells and do not develop into healthy lung tissue. As they grow, the abnormal cells can form tumors and interfere with the functioning of the lung, which provides oxygen to the body via the blood.

Lung cancer is the most common cause of death due to cancer in both men and women throughout the world. According to the U.S. National Cancer Institute, approximately one out of every 14 men and women in the U.S. is diagnosed with cancer of the lung at some point in their lifetime. Lung cancer is predominantly a disease of the elderly; almost 70% of people diagnosed with lung cancer are over 65 years of age, while less than 3% of lung cancers occur in people under 45 years of age.

What Causes Lung Cancer?

The development of lung cancer is strongly associated with cigarette smoking, approximately 90% of lung cancers are attributable to use of tobacco. Pipe and cigar smoking can also cause lung cancer, but the risk is not as high as with cigarette smoking. Tobacco smoke contains more than 4,000 chemical compounds, many of which are cancer causing (carcinogens). Passive smoking, i.e. the inhalation of tobacco smoke by non-smokers who live or work with smokers, is also an established risk factor for the development of lung cancer.

Genetic susceptibility (i.e. family history) may play a role in the development of lung cancer. Other causes of lung cancer include air pollution (from vehicles, industry, and power generation) and inhalation of asbestos fibres (usually in the workplace).

Lung Cancer Symptoms:

Early symptoms and signs of lung cancer:

There may be no symptoms at the onset of the disease. When present, common symptoms of lung cancer may include:

  1. Coughing: This includes a persistent cough that doesn't go away or changes to a chronic smoker's cough, such as more coughing or pain.
  2. Coughing up blood: Coughing up blood or rust-colored sputum (spit or phlegm) should always be discussed with your doctor.
  3. Breathing Difficulties: Shortness of breath, wheezing or noisy breathing (called stridor) may all be signs of lung cancer.
  4. Loss of Appetite: Many cancers cause changes in appetite, which may lead to unintended weight loss.
  5. Fatigue: It is common to feel weak or excessively tired.
  6. Recurring infections: Recurring infections, like bronchitis or pneumonia, may be one of the signs of lung cancer.

Signs of advanced stages of lung cancer: Advanced stages of lung cancer are often characterized by the spread of cancer to distant sites in the body. This may affect the bones, liver or brain. As other parts of the body are affected, new lung cancer symptoms may develop, including:

  1. Bone pain
  2. Swelling of the face, arms or neck
  3. Headaches, dizziness or limbs that become weak or numb
  4. Jaundice
  5. Lumps in the neck or collar-bone region

Treatment: Treatment for cancer involves a combination of surgery to remove cancer cells, chemotherapy and radiation therapy to kill cancer cells. Lung cancer is incurable unless complete surgical removal of the tumour cells can be achieved. Surgery is the most effective treatment for lung cancer, but only a few percentage of lung cancers are suitable for surgery i.e. Stage I and II NSCLC and cancer that has not spread beyond the lung.

Radiation therapy may be used for both NSCLC and SCLC and is a good option for people who are not suitable for surgery or who refuse surgery. Chemotherapy is used for both NSCLC and SCLC. Chemotherapy drugs may be given alone or in combination with surgery or radiation therapy. Chemotherapy is the treatment of first choice for SCLC since it has usually spread extensively in the body by the time it has been diagnosed.

Also used in the treatment of lung cancer are targeted therapies. These are drugs (gefitinib and erlotinib) or antibodies (cetuximab, bevacizumab) that block the growth and spread of cancer by interfering with specific molecules involved in tumor growth and progression. They are used in some patients with NSCLC that does not respond to standard chemotherapy.

3096 people found this helpful

I have disc bulge and getting pain in my left leg. I have MRI report my nerve is compressed of left leg.

MS - Orthopaedics, MBBS
Orthopedist, Hyderabad
I have disc bulge and getting pain in my left leg. I have MRI report my nerve is compressed of left leg.
If it's small disc bulge then it's treated with medication, exercises, physiotherapy. If no much relief then needs epidural steroid injection. Last resort with no improvement then needs discectomy.
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I am having ls S1 disk bulge problems if I am having physiotherapist it will cure or not?

DNB (Radiodiagnosis), DMRD, MBBS
Radiologist, Bangalore
Hi, thanks for your query a l 5 - s 1 disc bulge might respond to physical therapy. It cannot be cured completely like before but with precautions and medicine you will feel much better and have a normal life. Please take care not to involve yourself in any activity which might stress your lower back. This will delay recovery and might also cause complications and the pain and discomfort to increase. Avoid doing sudden movement involving lower back and lifting weight more than 5 kg. This will help you recover quickly. For mild pain you should use ointments with muscle relaxant and pain relief. In severe pain plase adk your doctor for oral ner pain reluef medicine and non steroidal anti inflammatory pills. Use of heat pack is also recommended. Regards.
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I have got pain in my leg from two years. The MRI shows this diffuse posture lateral iv disc at L4-L5 level causing anterior epidural space and lateral recess narrowing with mild thecal sac indentation and abutting transversing nerve fibres and existing neural foramen stenosis.(2) subtle L3 -L4 diffuse posture lateral iv disc bulge causing anterior epidural space and lateral recess effacement. What is the treatment of it .is surgery necessary for it.

BPTh/BPT, MPTh/MPT
Physiotherapist, Noida
I have got pain in my leg from two years. The MRI shows this diffuse posture lateral iv disc at L4-L5 level causing a...
: keep your leg raised while sitting or lying quadriceps strengthening exercises- quad clenches: lie flat on your back or sit upright on a chair with leg kept horizontally on another surface. Now, tighten the muscle on the front of the thigh by pushing your knee down. You should feel your thigh muscles clench, hold for 3 secs. Repeat 10 times twice a day. Short arcs: lie flat on your back or sit upright with your leg placed horizontally on a flat surface like a chair or bed. Place a rolled up towel under the knee. Pull your toes towards you and clench you thigh muscles. Slowly lift your foot up off the bed until your knee is straight (keep your knee resting on the towel). Hold for 3 secs and slowly lower them on the chair. Repeat 10 times twice a day. Straight leg raise: lie flat on your back. One leg and knee will be straight and other leg should be bent. Pull your toes towards you and tighten/clench the muscle on the front of the thigh, locking your knee straight. Lift your foot up in the air, about 6 inches off the bed. Hold for 3 secs and slowly lower the leg. The knee must remain straight the whole time you are doing this exercise.
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I am suffering from suffering from slip disk. What would be the best treatment for it?

DNB, Diploma in Medical Radio Diagnosis (DMRD)
Radiologist, Durg
Is it confirmed on MRI. If not you need to get an MRI done first. Then visit an orthopedic surgeon who would assess the severity of the condition. Minor bulges may be taken care off with medicine and lifestyle changes. However severe ones may require surgery depending on your health status.
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Sir I am FROM CHENNAI having back pain when mri scanned impression as follows Early lumbar spondylosis. Mild disc bulge with focal posterocentral and bilateral postrtolateraldisc at l3_ 4 disc level causing thecal sac ibdentation and bilatrral mild beural foranimal narrowings (L>R) MILD ligamentum flavum hypertrophy at L3_4 & L4_5 disc level causing mild posterior thecal sac indention Disc desiccation in L4_5 & L5_ S1 DISC LEVEL AS LOSS OF HYPERINTENSE SIGNAL ON T2W1 PLEASE HELP I REPLY ME POSITIVELY

Dip. SICOT (Belgium), MNAMS, DNB (Orthopedics), MBBS
Orthopedist, Delhi
Hello Sir, This is Dr Akshay from Fortis Hospital, New Delhi. It appears from your report that you have degenerative spine with multiple levels more at L3/4 level. I need to understand from you - How is your back pain? - Leg Pain? - How much distance can you walk? - Is there any numbness in legs, wekaness in legs etc? Please get back to me with answers and then we can start your treatment accordingly. Thanks & Regards Dr Akshay Email : akshaysaxena2004@yahoo.co.in
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I have problem of sleep disc, and sometimes its agony what are the exercise for this?

M.D. (Ayurveda )
Ayurveda, Patiala
I have problem of sleep disc, and sometimes its agony what are the exercise for this?
Slip disc is a serious problem and can become debilitating too. Ayurveda has panchakarma to maintain such serious conditions. It can reduce the pain as well as its recurrence. Kindly consult some panchakarma consultant for best treatment. And consult yoga expert for exercises. Good luck.

I'm 25 years old. I've mild disk bulge in L4 and L5. Whether I can lead normal life or not? And it's curable completely or not? Pls tell me.

Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS), Membership of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS)
Orthopedist, Trichy
Mild disc bulge is nothing serious. As long as you do not have any back pain radiating to your legs then the nerve roots are not getting compressed. Make sure you do not lift heavy objects or strain urself, avoid long distance 2 and 4 wheeler rides, back exercises help.
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ECMO New Era of Medicicne

Homeopath,
ECMO New Era of Medicicne

What is ECMO?
Like dialysis for unfunctional kidney, Ecmo for unfunctional lung.

Ecmo stands for extracorporeal membrane oxygenation. It is a method of giving oxygen for the body when icu pateint lungs and/or heart are not able to supply oxygen on their own. 

Why ICU pateint put on ECMO?

Doctors place ICU patients on ECMO when patients are not able to supply oxygen to the body.

ICU patients’ lungs fail for a number of reasons including pneumonia, lung cancer, pulmonary edema, pulmonary embolism and COPD.

 When a patient’s lungs fail, he/she first is intubated (breathing tube) and hooked up to a ventilator (breathing machine).
 However, sometimes lungs are so damaged that providing oxygen through intubation is not enough.

This is when doctors turn to v-v ecmo.
A heart can fail for many reasons including heart attack, pulmonary embolism, bad valve disease, or worsening heart failure. When a heart fails, doctors try to fix the underlying problem. They may also start medications (called ionotropes) to help improve the pump function of the heart. If medications are not enough, doctors will turn to v-a ecmo.

How long can someone stay on ecmo?

That is a complicated question. Due to the risks of ecmo discussed above, doctors try to keep patients on ecmo for as short a time as possible. Often patient will be on ecmo for several days up to 1-2 weeks. Every day, several blood and imaging tests are done to determine if a patient is ready to come off ecmo. As the technology of ecmo improves, hopefully side effects will decrease and patients can remain on ecmo for longer periods of time.

What is the difference between ecmo and a ventilator (breathing machine)?

Both ecmo and a ventilator aim to provide oxygen to the body when the patient’s own lungs and breathing are failing. The ventilator assists the patient’s own lungs by pushing oxygen with pressure into the lungs. Ecmo instead provides oxygen directly via a catheter placed in a patient’s vein or artery. We almost always try oxygenating a patient with a ventilator first. However, when a patient’s lungs are too sick for this, we turn to ecmo to assist in providing oxygen to the body. V-v ecmo provides oxygen through a vein. This blood then has to travel to the heart and be pumped around the rest of the body through arteries. Therefore, with v-v ecmo or with a ventilator, a patient must have a well-functioning heart to get the oxygen pumped throughout the body. V-a ecmo has the additional advantage of pumping blood directly to arteries. This “by-passes” the heart and is therefore the method of ecmo we use when a patient’s heart is failing.

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