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Malaria Breath test shows promise

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People with malaria give off a distinctive “breath-print” that could be used as a test for the disease, according to American scientists.

They had already tried out a crude prototype breathalyser in Africa, a tropical medicine conference heard.

The test was reasonably good at detecting cases in children, but needs developing to become a routine device.

One of the odours it sniffs out is identical to a natural smell that attracts insects that spread malaria.

Pine trees and conifers emit these terpenes to summon mosquitoes and other pollinating insects, say the researchers, from Washington University in St Louis.

man with a mosquito on his handImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

They believe people with malaria who have this odour in their breath may also attract mosquitoes and infect more of the biting insects, which can then spread the disease to other people that they bite.

Although the test needs perfecting, it could offer a new cheap and easy way to help diagnose malaria, Prof Audrey Odom John and colleagues say.

Distinct odour

The prototype breath test detects six different odours or volatile organic compounds to spot cases of malaria.

The researchers tried it on breath samples from 35 feverish children in Malawi, some with and some without malaria.

It gave an accurate result in 29 of the children, meaning it had a success rate of 83%.

This is still too low for the test to be used routinely, but the researchers hope they can improve its reliability and develop it into an off-the-shelf product.

Simple, rapid blood tests for malaria are already available, but they have limits, say the Washington University researchers.

Testing blood can be expensive and technically challenging in rural settings.

A non-invasive method of detection that does not require blood samples or technical expertise could be of great benefit.

Prof James Logan from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said: “The rapid detection of asymptomatic malaria is a challenge for malaria control and will be essential as we move towards achieving the goal of malaria elimination. A new diagnostic tool, based on the detection of volatiles associated with malaria infection is exciting.”

He said more work was now needed to see if it could be made into a reliable test.

The findings are being presented at this year’s annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.

Source: http://www.bbc.com/news/health-41820346

 

Hepatitis B: Why you should get tested

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Hepatitis is a group of viral infectious diseases. The five known hepatitis viruses are types A, B, C, D and E.

Hepatitis B and C cause acute and chronic liver disease and lead to death, according to World Health Organisation.

Speaking at a recent Hepatitis Symposium in Kampala, Prof. Ponsiano Ocama, the president of the Uganda Gastroenterology Society, noted that hepatitis is a significant global epidemic that infects one in 12 people.

According to WHO, Hepatitis B is a potentially life-threatening viral infection that attacks the liver and can cause both acute and chronic disease.

When a person is first infected with the hepatitis B virus, it is called an “acute infection” (or a new infection). While some adults are able to get rid of the virus, others are unable to get rid of it and after six months, they are diagnosed, through a blood test, as having a “chronic infection”.

Most of the burden of Hepatitis B virus-related disease results from infections acquired in infancy (before five years) because infection acquired at an early age is more likely to become chronic than infection acquired later in life.

The health ministry encourages members of the general public to test and get to know their status. In addition, those who are negative should seek vaccination to protect themselves against acquiring the disease. Vaccination is done in three doses, ie, at the beginning, after one month; and after six months from the first dose.

Those who are positive are encouraged to seek medical care for further evaluation. According to information from the health ministry, some of those who test positive might need to be put on treatment, while others will just be observed and advised to do regular tests.

According to Emmanuel Seremba from the Uganda Gastroenterology Society, Hepatitis B cannot be cured, although it can be controlled. He adds that treatment aims at preventing progression of the disease, particularly to cirrhosis (liver damage due to scarring), liver failure and liver cancer.

Speaking at the recent Hepatitis Symposium to Mark World Hepatitis Day, Seremba noted that before treatment, a patient is supposed to be assessed through tests such as liver and kidney functioning. He noted that treatment might be lifelong for some patients, while for others, it can be discontinued in certain situations.

Before treatment, doctors recommend that a patient should be counseled about its implications (especially cost), likely benefits and side-effects; the need to go for regular monitoring and importance of adhering to treatment. Adherence is necessary for the drugs to be effective and to reduce the risk of a patient developing drug resistance.

The virus can be passed from mother to child. That is why babies are vaccinated withing the first weeks of birth
Vaccination
The Government has been providing free vaccination for people who test negative in areas with high prevalence. However, Ocama advises that vaccination is more needed for newborns and people in areas with low prevalence. He explained that chronic infection is usually developed if people are infected in infancy or before the age of five years, noting that almost 80% of adults who acquire Hepatitis B clear it/ expel it from their bodies. Therefore, he explained that adults in high prevalence areas could have been exposed to the virus and their bodies expelled it, making them develop immunity. However, those in low prevalence areas might never have been exposed to the virus. This means, they could develop acute infection if they got exposed. Therefore, they need to be vaccinated in order to get protection.

Even the new WHO guidelines state that children should be given the hepatitis B vaccine at birth because many children are exposed to the virus in the first weeks of life if their mother has it or a family member. Therefore, the Government is urged to introduce the Hepatitis vaccine for babies at birth.

Prevalence
According to the Ministry of Health, Uganda is one of the countries most affected by Hepatitis B. Statistics from the ministry show that:
– About 3.5 million (10% of population) are living with chronic hepatitis B infection
– Highest infection rates are in Karamoja (23.9%), Northern Uganda (20.7%), West Nile (18.5%), and Western Region (10.0%).
– Central Region (6%) and South-Western (3.8%) have lower rates.
– Liver cancer (one of the complications of Hepatitis B) accounts for 2% of admissions at the Uganda Cancer Institute.

Mode of transmission
– Contact with infected blood and other body fluids
– Mother-to-child transmission, especially of newborns
– Unsafe blood transfusion
– Use of unsafe sharp materials such as needles, razor blades
– Sexual intercourse
– Child to child (horizontal transmission) especially in high prevalence areas

There different types of Hepatitis, why is focus only on Hepatitis B?
According to Dr. Freddie Bwanga, a senior lecturer in medical microbiology at makerere University, there are five types of hepatitis viruses, that is hepatitis A, B, C, D, E.

Focus is mainly on Hepatitis B, because people with Hepatitis A usually get better without treatment, while hepatitis C is curable. 95% of people with hepatitis C can be completely cured within two to three months of being on treatment. In Uganda B and C cause the most damage. If left untreated, chronic infection with hepatitis B and C may progress to liver cirrhosis or cancer.

Hepatitis B
Hepatitis B can either be acute or chronic. Acute infection is a short-term illness that occurs within the first six months after someone is exposed to the Hepatitis B virus.

Acute infection is usually self-limiting, although it can lead to chronic infection. Chronic infection is long-term illness that occurs when the hepatitis B virus remains in a person’s body.

Chronic hepatitis B is whereby a person test positive for atleast six months.

Symptoms
Most people do not experience any symptoms during the acute infection phase. However, some people have acute illness with symptoms that last several weeks, including yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), dark urine, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. A small subset of persons with acute hepatitis can develop acute liver failure, which can lead to death.

In some people, the hepatitis B virus can also cause a chronic liver infection that can later develop into cirrhosis (a scarring of the liver) or liver cancer.

Many people with chronic Hepatitis B do not know they are infected since they do not feel or look sick. However, they can still spread the virus to others and are at risk of serious health problems themselves.

Who should go for Hepatitis B screening?
Adolescents and adults, including pregnant women born before 2002, especially in areas with high prevalence

Who does not need to go for screening and vaccination?
Children below 15 years, except those who missed the routine UNEPI infant vaccinations because since 2002, all infants received the Hepatitis B vaccine. In Uganda, childhood vaccination for hepatitis was rolled out in 2002 and the vaccine is incorporated into a combination vaccine of which children receive three doses. The combination vaccine is given to children at six, 10 and 14 weeks after birth.

Source: https://www.newvision.co.ug/new_vision/news/1465325/hepatitis-b-tested

Government of Uganda launches New Drinking Water Technology

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The Government of Uganda in collaboration with Uganda Health Marketing Group (UHMG) and Vestergaard have launched a new drinking water technology dubbed “LifeStraw” that ensures access to safe drinking water for families, communities and schools. LifeStraw is an instant microbiological water purifier that treats water at the point of use. The chemical free technology, is primarily made to remove bacteria, viruses, protozoan parasites, dirt and small particles.

While launching the new drinking water technology, Minster of State for Health in charge of General Duties, Hon. Sarah Opendi noted that the innovation will save the Government shs.389billion used in treating preventable diseases, some of which are caused by poor sanitation and hygiene and contaminated water.

“This innovation will go miles in curbing the high child mortality due to Cholera and other water related diseases” Hon. Opendi noted. LifeStraw is an instant water purifier with an in-built safe storage container that provides safe drinking water for up to 100 individuals per day and ideal for communities with no access to safe drinking water.

Hon. Opendi pledged her support to roll out the new drinking water technology in schools especially those located in rural areas and refugees who at a high risk of contracting water borne diseases. “The Ministry of Health will avail the necessary support to such innovations that aim at improving the well-being of the Ugandan population” she said.

In Uganda, 14,000 children die annually due to diarrheal diseases like Cholera, Typhoid and Bilharzia.  Only 28% of the rural population in Uganda use protected water sources while others use shallow wells. 15.4% of the urban dwellers have no access to safe drinking water and open defecation is still a practice by 3.3 million people in rural parts of country.

Steven Otieno, Country Director of Vestergaard noted that point- of- use treatment is an approach that can accelerate the health gains associated with the provision of safe drinking water to risk populations. “It empowers people to control the quality of their own drinking water” he said. 

Otieno said that treating water in the home at the point-of-use also reduces the risk of waterborne diseases arising from recontamination during collection, transport and use in the home, a well-known cause of water quality degradation.

Uganda is the 12th country to receive the technology after its roll out in 11 countries around the globe.

Source: http://health.go.ug/content/government-uganda-launches-new-drinking-water-technology

 

10 Things You Should Never Say to Someone With a Chronic Illness—Seriously

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1. “Can I try your medicine?”

I’m in constant pain. I take very serious, strong pain medication that helps me live my life, but even with the help of morphine there are times when I just can’t wear clothing or even get vertical. I need my medicine to survive, so no, you can’t have any. It’s no party to rely on these pills. Don’t be an idiot and don’t ask for them. We could die from misuse of these drugs.

2. “Everyone gets sick and tired. Don’t be such a wuss.”

When you’re in pain, it feels even worse to let your loved ones down. It feels unbearable to not be believed. I am a patient advocate, and I write books and articles. I go around the country speaking about pain and healthcare issues. Yet some people I’ve known for decades can’t understand that I have about 50% good days and 50% bad days. I get teased about gaining weight from prednisone—or just gaining weight. A woman I’ve been tight with since we were in out early 20s complained that I talk too much about chronic illness, and it will hurt my on-camera career. Um . . .what career?

3. “You look tired.” “You don’t look like yourself.” “You’ve gained weight, Chubs.”

Well, the chemo has really been taking it out of me. Thanks for noticing! And it’s true the steroids aren’t doing much for my figure. But I’d rather take my medicine than live up to your beauty standards.

4. “Keep me posted about your test results.”

The last thing I want to do is discuss my personal medical information over and over again. Unless you are wearing a lab coat and I am paying you a bloody fortune for your guidance, I’ll keep this information limited to my close circle of friends—and they don’t need to ask. Sometimes it’s a bummer to think about, never mind talking about it and explaining it.

5. “Let me know if there’s something I can do.”

I’m trying to manage my life and my illness—you want me to come up with your to-do list also? How about you use your noodle and figure it out for yourself? My sister Kate has a friend who was facing a long series of daily treatments for breast cancer. Her friend has a large family, so Kate and her circle of friends got together and bought a used refrigerator and put it in the woman’s garage. On the door of the refrigerator was a list of what had been delivered and what was needed. When friends and neighbors drove by they would drop off milk, eggs, prepared meals, and household staples. This way the family had meals delivered to their door but they didn’t have to deal with a constant stream of people knocking on the door, adding to their stress. If you want to help a friend in need, ask if there’s something specific you can do—like walk the dog, mow the lawn, take out the recycling, or give her a whipped cream foot massage.

6. “Call me.”

Why don’t you call me? Then I can decide if I want to answer. I enjoy a chat as much as the next chronically ill gal, but when I’m down I don’t answer my phone. I can’t deal with the burden of speaking to anyone—it actually hurts to hold the phone up to my ear. If you call and I don’t answer, send a card. I’ll appreciate it.

7. “I’m not good at this. I’m so upset about your illness, I can’t handle it.”

Hey, jackass! It’s not about you. I’m not asking you to donate a kidney. Having to deal with your dramatic overreaction is not helping. I have “friends” who act like my illness is the worst thing that’s ever happened to them!

8. “You’re sick because you work too hard.”

Ugh, how the hell do you know? I could be a gold-bricking malingerer for all you know. I choose to fill up my life as best I can with things that make me happy: my friends, my family, working, and volunteering. It’s not like I’m pounding rocks in a Chilean copper mine. I’m just living my life. These are the same jackasses who tell me when I’m bedridden, “You need to get up and around more!”

9. “Focus on you.”

My spiritual and emotional fulfillment is based not on who I am or what I have, but what I can give. Many of my favorite phi- losophers have suggested that self-fulfillment is found through service. Who am I to argue with great philosophers? I’m a firm believer that life gives to the giver and takes from the taker.

10. “Don’t take chemo, it’s toxic—it’s rat poison.”

What is toxic is this type of comment from friends. If you don’t know what to say to someone who’s been recently diagnosed with a serious illness, just acknowledge her situation. “I’m your friend. I know you are in pain. I don’t know what to say, but I’m here for you.”

Enduring a chronic illness takes a lot from you; it also takes a lot from your friends. Not everyone who was a friend is going to stick with you, or be the right friend for your new life. The five people you hang out with the most have the greatest impact on your life, so choose wisely.

I keep a pair of beloved four-legged jackasses at my farm, and I’m well acquainted with how to motivate them. I’ve spent a lot of time in this chapter wielding a stick, now it’s time for the carrots—positive things you can say and do when someone’s ill. Knowing how to behave will give you the power and confidence to be compassionate to a sick friend. Here are some quick tips on non-jackassery:

Make eye contact. Don’t act like you just encountered a leper you can’t bear to gaze upon.

Be supportive, even if you don’t agree with how your friend is dealing with the situation.

Be an active listener. Give your friend your full attention. Turn off your phone before you even walk in the door.

Don’t pretend it didn’t happen.

Don’t talk too much about yourself.

Think ahead: What do you think your friend could use?

Can you bring pet food? Coffee? Some snacks for her to share with her other visitors? Stamps for letter-writing? If you do bring a little something, make it nice. I think people tend to skimp on giftsfor sick people, maybe because they think they’ll die soon so it’s not worth it.

Tell the truth. When you lie, the temperature of your nose increases and the redness is called the Pinocchio effect. By all means share the latest gossip—which can have positive physical benefits!

The isolation of a chronic illness can be as painful as the malady. Aristotle wrote, “A friend is a second self.” Be a second self to a friend in need.

Source: http://www.health.com/pain/sarcoidosis-karen-duffy

 

A Good Relationship with Your Parents Is Good for Your Health

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A strong and loving bond with parents may help protect kids’ health for decades, a new study suggests. A well-off home also benefits long-term health, but only if the children also have a warm and healthy relationship with their parents, the Baylor University study found.

“Previous research has associated high socioeconomic status with better childhood nutrition, sleep, neighborhood quality and opportunities for exercise and development of social skills. But good parent-child bonds may be necessary to enforce eating, sleep and activity routines,” researcher Matthew Andersson said in a university news release. Andersson is an assistant professor of sociology in Baylor’s College of Arts & Sciences, in Houston.

In 1995, he asked more than 2,700 adults between the ages of 25 and 75 how their parents had treated them during childhood. Roughly a decade later, almost 1,700 participants completed follow-up surveys, allowing Andersson to examine their health during middle-age.

His conclusion: Childhood abuse or mistreatment offsets the health advantages of growing up in a well-off home.

The benefit of strong parent-child bonds may also be undermined by low socioeconomic status, the study found. Previous studies have suggested that parents with less education and less financial security are more likely to use force or threats with their kids, which may weaken the bond between them.

Children who are mistreated or lack warm relationships with their parents also have higher rates of inflammation and disease as adults, the study found.

Andersson said children in strained or abusive homes may also lack regular meal times, increasing the likelihood they will eat sugary or high-fat snacks instead of healthy foods.

They are also less likely to have regular sleep and activity schedules that would help them develop habits that are important for healthy aging, according to the study.

“Much research continues to view socioeconomic status and parent-child bonds as highly related or even interchangeable. But in fact they may quite independently influence a child’s well-being,” Andersson said.

“The key takeaway is that without adequate parent-child relationship quality to match, socioeconomic advantage during childhood may not offer much protection at all against major chronic disease as children become adults and reach middle age,” he said.

The study findings were published Sept. 20 in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

Source: http://www.health.com/family/close-bond-between-kids-parents-has-long-term-health-benefits

How safe are you from Breast Cancer (10 Risk factors)?

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Breast cancer usually starts in the inner lining of milk ducts or the lobules that supply them with milk. From there, it can spread to other parts of the body.

The exact cause remains unclear, but some risk factors make it more likely. Some of these are preventable.

  1. Age

The risk increases with age. At 20 years, the chance of developing breast cancer in the next decade is 0.6 percent. By the age of 70 years, this figure goes up to 3.84 percent.

  1. Genetics

If a close relative has or has had, breast cancer, the risk is higher.

Women who carry the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, ovarian cancer or both. These genes can be inherited. TP53 is another gene that is linked to a greater breast cancer risk.

  1. A history of breast cancer or breast lumps

Women who have had breast cancer before are more likely to have it again, compared with those who have no history of the disease.

Having some types of benign, or non-cancerous breast lumps increases the chance of developing cancer later on. Examples include atypical ductal hyperplasia or lobular carcinoma in situ.

  1. Dense breast tissue

Breast cancer is more likely to develop in higher density breast tissue.

  1. Estrogen exposure and breast-feeding

Being exposed to estrogen for a longer period appears to increase the risk of breast cancer.

This could be due to starting periods earlier or entering menopause later than average. Between these times, estrogen levels are higher.

Breast-feeding, especially for over 1 year, appears to reduce the chance of developing breast cancer, possibly because pregnancy followed by breastfeeding reduces exposure to estrogen.

  1. Body weight

Women who are overweight or have obesity after menopause may have a higher risk of developing breast cancer, possibly due to higher levels of estrogen. High sugar intake may also be a factor.

  1. Alcohol consumption

A higher rate of regular alcohol consumption appears to play a role. Studies have shown that women who consume more than 3 drinks a day have a 1.5 times higher risk.

  1. Radiation exposure

Undergoing radiation treatment for a cancer that is not breast cancer increases the risk of breast cancer later in life.

  1. Hormone treatments

The use of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and oral birth control pills have been linked to breast cancer, due to increased levels of estrogen.

  1. Occupational hazards

In 2012, researchers concluded that exposure to certain carcinogens and endocrine disruptors, for example in the workplace, could be linked to breast cancer.

In 2007, scientists suggested that working night shifts could increase the risk of breast cancer, but more recent research concludes this is unlikely.

Cosmetic implants and breast cancer survival

Women with cosmetic breast implants who are diagnosed with breast cancer have a higher risk of dying from the disease and a 25 percent higher chance of being diagnosed at a later stage, compared with women without implants.

This could be due to due to the implants masking cancer during screening, or because the implants bring about changes in breast tissue. More research is needed

Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/37136.php

What is breast cancer?

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Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, after skin cancer. One in eight women in the United States (roughly 12%) will develop breast cancer in her lifetime. It is also the second leading cause of cancer death in women after lung cancer. Encouragingly, the death rate from breast cancer has declined a bit in recent years, perhaps due to greater awareness and screening for this type of cancer, as well as better treatments.

Breast cancer is a disease that occurs when cells in breast tissue change (or mutate) and keep reproducing. These abnormal cells usually cluster together to form a tumor. A tumor is cancerous (or malignant) when these abnormal cells invade other parts of the breast or when they spread (or metastasize) to other areas of the body through the bloodstream or lymphatic system, a network of vessels and nodes in the body that plays a role in fighting infection.

Breast cancer usually starts in the milk-producing glands of the breast (called lobules) or the tube-shaped ducts that carry milk from the lobules to the nipple. Less often, cancer begins in the fatty and fibrous connective tissue of the breast.

New cases of breast cancer are about 100 times more common in women than in men, but yes, men can get breast cancer too. Male breast cancer is rare, but anyone with breast tissue can develop breast cancer.

What causes breast cancer?

Breast cancer is caused by a genetic mutation in the DNA of breast cancer cells. How or why this damage occurs isn’t entirely understood. Some mutations may develop randomly over time, while others are inherited or may be the result of environmental exposures or lifestyle factors.

Most breast cancers are diagnosed in women over age 50, but it’s not clear why some women get breast cancer (including women with no risk factors) and others do not (including those who do have risk factors).

Some breast cancer risks may be preventable. Of course, you cannot control every variable that may influence your risk. Here are the key breast cancer risk factors to know.

  • Age and gender. If you are a woman and you’re getting older, you may be at risk of developing breast cancer. The risk begins to climb after age 40 and is highest for women in their 70s.
  • Family history. Having a close blood relative with breast cancer increases your risk of developing the disease. A woman’s breast cancer risk is almost double if she has a mom, sister, or daughter with breast cancer and about triple if she has two or more first-degree relatives with breast cancer.
  • A breast cancer gene mutation. Up to 10% of all breast cancers are thought to be inherited, and many of these cases are due to defects in one or more genes, especially the BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes. (Scientists are studying several other gene mutations as well.) In the U.S., BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations are more common in Jewish women of Eastern European descent. Having these defective genes doesn’t mean you will get breast cancer, but the risk is greater: A woman’s lifetime risk of breast cancer with a BRCA1 gene mutation, for example, may be more like 55% to 65% compared to the average 12%.
  • Breast changes and conditions. Women with dense breasts or with a personal history of breast lumps, a previous breast cancer, or certain non-cancerous breast conditions are at greater risk of developing breast cancer than women who do not have these conditions.
  • Race/ethnicity. White women are slightly more likely to develop breast cancer than Asian, Hispanic, and African American women. But African American women are more likely to develop more aggressive breast cancer at a younger age and both African American and Hispanic women are more likely to die from breast cancer than white women.
  • Hormones. Women with early menstrual periods (starting before age 12) and late menopause (after age 55) are at greater risk of getting breast cancer. Scientists think their longer exposure to the female hormone estrogen may be a factor, because estrogen stimulates growth of the cells of the breast. Likewise, use of hormone therapy after menopause appears to boost the risk of breast cancer. Oral birth control pills have been linked to a small increase in breast cancer risk compared with women who never used hormonal contraception. But that risk is temporary: More than 10 years after stopping the pill, a woman’s breast cancer risk returns to average.
  • Weight. Women who are overweight or obese after menopause are more likely to get breast cancer. The exact reason why isn’t clear, but it may be due to higher levels of estrogen produced by fat cells after menopause. Being overweight also boosts blood levels of insulin, which may affect breast cancer risk.
  • Alcohol consumption. Studies suggest women who drink two or more alcoholic beverages a day are 1 1/2 times more likely than non-drinkers to develop breast cancer. The risk rises with greater alcohol intake, and alcohol is known to increase the risk of other cancers too. For that reason, the American Cancer Society (ACS) recommends that women stick to one drink a day–or less.
  • Radiation exposure. A woman’s risk of developing breast cancer may be higher than normal if she had chest radiation for another disease as a child or young adult.
  • Pregnancy history. Having no children or having a first child after age 30 may increase your risk of breast cancer.
  • DES exposure. Women who were given the now-banned drug diethylstilbestrol to prevent miscarriage decades ago face a slightly increased risk of breast cancer, as do their daughters.

Scientists are studying a slew of other factors to determine what role, if any, they may play in the development of breast cancer. There’s not enough evidence to say for sure whether smoking, dietary fat, or environmental exposure to certain chemicals, for example, ramp up the risk for breast cancer because study results to date are mixed.

KMCH joins the World Preeclampsia Day This May

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World Preeclampsia Day

On the occasion of the inaugural World Preeclampsia Day on May 22, we have signed this proclamation to highlight our support of this worldwide initiative to raise awareness of preeclampsia and its global impact on the lives of mothers, babies, and families.

 

We join together to bring to light the relatively high prevalence and devastating impact of preeclampsia and other hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (HDP). HDP are not rare complications of pregnancy: indeed, they affect 8-10% of pregnancies worldwide. Globally, preeclampsia and other HDP are a leading cause of maternal and infant illness and death, resulting in 76,000 maternal and 500,000 infant deaths every year.2 Preeclampsia is a common factor in preterm delivery and accounts for approximately 20% of all neonatal intensive care admissions3. For the mother, complications of HDP cause illness for an extended period of time and are strongly associated with the future development of a range of debilitating non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes and renal impairment.4

The World Health Organization has highlighted that the condition has a highly disproportionate impact on low-to-middle income countries (LMIC)5, where over 99% of pregnancy-related deaths occur.6 It is estimated that 16% of maternal deaths in LMIC are the result of HDP.7 It is the leading cause of maternal mortality in the Americas6 accounting for a quarter of all maternal deaths in Latin America and a tenth of maternal deaths in Africa and Asia.5

Too many lives are taken or seriously affected by these disorders, underscoring the importance of symptom recognition and timely and effective response by trained healthcare workers. This is especially true in areas where access to care is reduced.8

With limited understanding of the cause, or preventative or effective treatments, the need for basic and clinical research to advance our medical options and healthcare practices must be prioritized.

We support all efforts that:

  • Call upon governments and health systems to recognize the importance of preventing and treating these disorders;
  • Encourage additional research funding into preeclampsia and related disorders;
  • Prioritize patient and community education and treatment for these disorders;
  • Prioritize education, training, and access to medical resources for healthcare providers;
  • Address prevention through a better understanding of the causes and through access to appropriate, safe, and effective treatments;
  • Encourage collaboration and partnerships between public and private sector organizations to support and advance these goals.

 Working individually and in partnership, we must continue to shine a strong light on preeclampsia and related disorders to ensure that they are minimized and their tragic impact reduced.

 The opportunity to reduce the prevalence of these disorders and their impact on women, infants, families, and communities worldwide is within our grasp.

To know more about this Campaign, click on this link:

World Preeclampsia Day

 

Why You Should Exercise

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It can reduce your risk of major illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and cancer by up to 50% and lower your risk of early death by up to 30%.It’s free, easy to take, has an immediate effect and you don’t need a GP to get some. Its name? Exercise.

Exercise is the miracle cure we’ve always had, but for too long we’ve neglected to take our recommended dose. Our health is now suffering as a consequence.This is no snake oil. Whatever your age, there’s strong scientific evidence that being physically active can help you lead a healthier and even happier life. People who do regular activity have a lower risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, and some cancers. Research shows that physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Health benefits

Given the overwhelming evidence, it seems obvious that we should all be physically active. It’s essential if you want to live a healthy and fulfilling life into old age. It’s medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have:

  • up to a 35% lower risk of coronary heart disease and stroke
  • up to a 50% lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • up to a 50% lower risk of colon cancer
  • up to a 20% lower risk of breast cancer
  • a 30% lower risk of early death
  • up to an 83% lower risk of osteoarthritis
  • up to a 68% lower risk of hip fracture
  • a 30% lower risk of falls (among older adults)
  • up to a 30% lower risk of depression
  • up to a 30% lower risk of dementia

What counts?

To stay healthy, adults should try to be active daily and aim to achieve at least 150 minutes of physical activity over a week through a variety of activities.For most people, the easiest way to get moving is to make activity part of everyday life, like walking or cycling instead of using the car to get around. However, the more you do, the better, and taking part in activities such as sports and exercise will make you even healthier. For any type of activity to benefit your health, you need to be moving quick enough to raise your heart rate, breathe faster and feel warmer. This level of effort is called moderate intensity activity. One way to tell if you’re working at a moderate intensity is if you can still talk but you can’t sing the words to a song. If your activity requires you to work even harder, it is called vigorous intensity activity. There is substantial evidence that vigorous activity can bring health benefits over and above that of moderate activity. You can tell when it’s vigorous activity because you’re breathing hard and fast, and your heart rate has gone up quite a bit. If you’re working at this level, you won’t be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath.

A modern problem

People are less active nowadays, partly because technology has made our lives easier. We drive cars or take public transport. Machines wash our clothes. We entertain ourselves in front of a TV or computer screen. Fewer people are doing manual work, and most of us have jobs that involve little physical effort. Work, house chores, shopping and other necessary activities are far less demanding than for previous generations.

We move around less and burn off less energy than people used to. Research suggests that many adults spend more than seven hours a day sitting down, at work, on transport or in their leisure time. People aged over 65 spend 10 hours or more each day sitting or lying down, making them the most sedentary age group.

Sedentary lifestyles

Inactivity is described by the Department of Health as a “silent killer”. Evidence is emerging that sedentary behaviour, such as sitting or lying down for long periods, is bad for your health. Not only should you try to raise your activity levels, but you should also reduce the amount of time you and your family spend sitting down. Common examples of sedentary behaviour include watching TV, using a computer, using the car for short journeys and sitting down to read, talk or listen to music – and such behaviour is thought to increase your risk of many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes, as well as weight gain and obesity.

Whether it’s limiting the time babies spend strapped in their buggies, or encouraging adults to stand up and move frequently, people of all ages need to reduce their sedentary behaviour.

Crucially, you can hit your weekly activity target but still be at risk of ill health if you spend the rest of the time sitting or lying down. For tips on building physical activity and exercise into your day, whatever your age, read Get active your way.