5 Reasons Why Electronic Cigarettes are Safer than Traditional Cigarettes

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As British society becomes more health conscious, and the amount of events around improving our health increases, many smokers have now become vapers in a bid to quit their nicotine addiction.
Especially as e-cigarettes are often deemed to be a lot safer than traditional cigarettes smoking with a new report from Public Health England stating that vaping was 95% “less harmful” than smoking.

Here are 5 main reasons why vaping is a lot safer than smoking:

  1. Absence of tobacco

As e-cigarettes are tobacco free (the e-liquid used in electronic cigarettes contains a small dose of liquid nicotine, propylene glycol or vegetable glycerine), they are considered to be a bit less harmful than traditional cigarettes. This is due to the fact that a large variety of dangerous chemicals such as tar, carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide can be found in tobacco smoke.

These chemicals are very dangerous as most of them can cause cancer if someone is exposed to them for high periods of time.

  1. Less Toxic Chemicals
    As there is no tobacco in an electronic cigarette, it means vapers are not exposed to highly toxic substances; therefore leading to a decrease in the risk to the vaper’s health.
  2. No Tar!
    Tar is one of the most important components of cigarette smoke and is very harmful to a smoker’s health. This is because the tar found in tobacco smoke contains a high amount of toxic chemicals which are more often than not the cause of respiratory problems suffered by heavy smokers because paralyzes the cilia that are found in the lungs.Other consequences of ingesting the chemicals contained in tobacco smoke are, rotting teeth and an increased chance of mouth or throat cancer.
  3. Less Radiation Agents so less chance of cancer
    The toxic substances contained in cigarettes can be found as both chemical agents and radioactive agents (e.g. led). However, the radioactive agents are far more likely to cause cancer than the chemical agents.

These radiation agents are far less present in electronic cigarettes which is why they are safer than traditional cigarettes.
Furthermore, this is confirmed recent research published in the Journal of Public Health Policy states that these agents are 1000 less present in electronic cigarettes.

  1. Less Nicotine

While nicotine is essentially an addictive stimulant and is usually the reason why smokers crave cigarettes. E-cigarettes can contribute to stop smoking because they allow the vaper to choose the amount of nicotine present in their e-liquids (the liquid which is used to produce the vapor that comes through the atomizer).

However, the above is only true if the e-liquids are used correctly as ingesting a toxic dose of nicotine would defeat the object of a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes.

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Posted by admin - November 28, 2015 at 12:46

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Anal Fissure: Symptoms, Causes, Risk factors, Diagnosis, Complication, Management and Prevention

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Anal fissure is small tear in the mucosal lining of anus. It may be due to passing of hard stool (as seen in constipation) which may lead to pain and bleeding and also sometimes spasm of anal sphincter. Anal fissure can occur to anybody (at any age and both sexes are affected), although it is common among infants. Anal fissure usually heals on its own within 4-6 weeks time. If it does not heal within 6 weeks medical attention should be sought.

What are the symptoms of anal fissure?

Signs and symptoms of anal fissure include:

  • Pain during defecation, which may be severe at times.
  • Bleeding during bowel movement, this may be seen on toilet paper or in stool.
  • Pain after bowel movement may last for several hours.
  • A tear or crack can be seen in and around anus
  • Irritation and itching in anal area
  • There may presence of skin tag or small lump/swelling near the crack on the skin

What can cause anal fissure?

Anal fissure can be caused by following:

  • Constipation, that generally leads to passing of hard and large stool. Constipation also lead to straining during bowel movement and lead to tear in the skin/mucosa around anus
  • Chronic diarrhea, this leads to passing of watery and acidic stool. Acidic content of watery stool cause erosion of anal mucosa. IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) can also cause anal fissure, especially in diarrhea predominant IBS.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease cause inflammation in anorectal area and lead to development of anal fissure
  • Childbirth is can also cause anal fissure
  • Less commonly anal fissure may be caused by HIV infection, tuberculosis, herpes, syphilis, human papilloma virus infection and anal cancer

What are the risk factors of developing anal fissure?

Risk factors of developing anal fissure include,

  • Infants are at high risk of developing anal fissure. The reason of high risk is not known.
  • Elderly individuals are also at higher risk of developing anal fissure. In elderly the cause most likely is reduced blood flow in anorectal region due to slowing down or weakening of circulatory system.
  • Constipation: this is the most important preventable cause of anal fissure. Straining and passing of large and hard stool by constipated person lead to tearing of skin and mucosa of anal area.
  • Anal fissures are common after childbirth among women.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn’s disease increase risk of developing anal fissure

What are possible complications of anal fissure?

Possible complications include,

  • Non-healing of anal fissure, despite optimal treatment/management
  • Recurrence after healing/cure of anal fissure is another common complication
  • Tear in skin and mucosa may extent to nearby muscles, especially to those muscles that hold the internal anal sphincter. This lead to failure to heal as well as there is risk of developing incontinence of stool due to weakening of internal anal sphincter.
  • Infection to the fissure/crack

Diagnosis of anal fissure:

Thorough physical examination is usually adequate to diagnose anal fissure. Sometimes, your doctor may perform digital rectal examination (insert two fingers inside your rectum), but it is usually avoided because it may be too painful.

However, your doctor may ask you to undergo certain tests such as colonoscopy, flexible sigmoidoscopy etc. These tests are helpful in finding out the possible cause of anal fissure.

What are the treatment options available for anal fissure?

The treatment options available include medical and surgical.

Anal fissures usually heal by itself within 4-6 weeks. However, some measures can speed up the healing process, such as increasing fiber and fluid intake (to make stool soft and prevent constipation), soaking in warm bath for 10 to 20 minutes after bowel movement. If these measures fail to heal anal fissure, you may require medications for treatment. These include,

  • Use of nitroglycerine externally to improve blood flow to the fissure area and improve healing and relax anal sphincter. This is commonly used treatment modality when conservative measures mentioned above fail.
  • Botulinum toxin injection to cause paralysis of anal sphincter muscles and relax spasm.
  • Steroid cream may relieve discomfort associated with anal fissure
  • Certain blood pressure medications (calcium channel blockers) can help relax anal sphincter and promote healing
  • Antiseptic solutions such as povidine iodine to prevent infection to fissure/crack/tear in mucosa and skin is also helpful in healing

Surgical option of management is used when medical management fails to heal anal fissure. Common surgical procedures include anal dilatation, lateral internal sphincterotomy etc. Surgical option is never first option for treatment of anal fissure and reserved for those, who did not respond to medical management.

Prevention of anal fissure:

Certain measures can help prevent anal fissure. Constipation is one of the common preventable causes of anal fissure. Hence, by preventing constipation it is possible to prevent anal fissure to certain extent (those caused or enhanced by constipation). Take foods rich in dietary fiber and take plenty of liquid and avoid straining during bowel movement. These measures can prevent constipation and help preventing anal fissure. Treat diarrhea promptly to prevent anal fissure caused by diarrhea. Doing regular exercise is also helpful in anal fissure. Regular exercise improve blood circulation in all parts of the body including anorectal region and exercise also help in promoting regular bowel movement, that is useful in anal fissure.

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Posted by admin - November 27, 2015 at 13:28

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Menorrhagia Symptoms

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Menorrhagia is abnormally prolonged and heavy menstrual bleeding. Normally a menstrual cycle is about 21 days to 35 days in duration and bleeding lasts for about seven days and total blood flow of 25 ml to 80 ml. If bleeding is more than 80 ml or blood flow lasts for more than 7 days can be termed as menorrhagia. Heavy menstrual bleeding is common around menopause (perimenopause), however the bleeding is not usually heavy enough to be termed as menorrhagia.

Menorrhagia is fairly common gynecological problems and affects large number of women of reproductive age (15 to 45 years of age). If menorrhagia continues it may lead to various problems such as anemia, abdominal cramp and too long blood flow that it hampers routine activities. It is therefore important to seek medical advice, if you suffer from menorrhagia (especially when you dread of menstrual period) and hopefully there is effective treatment available for your problem of excess and prolonged menstrual bleeding.

What are the symptoms of menorrhagia?

Signs and symptoms of menorrhagia include,

  • Due to heavy blood loss, there is soaking of one or more sanitary pads (sanitary napkins/tampons) every hour for several consecutive hours.
  • You may need double sanitary protection during menstrual bleeding
  • Menstrual bleeding lasts longer than a week (although a normal period lasts approximately five days)
  • You may have to wake up at night to change sanitary pads during menstrual bleeding
  • Blood clots may pass for more than one day during menstrual period
  • Due to excess and heavy menstrual bleeding your daily routine activities may be hampered or affected
  • If menorrhagia is present for long duration, it may lead to anemia and its symptoms may become apparent such as tiredness, shortness of breathing, fatigue etc.

You should seek medical advice if you have one or more of the above mentioned symptoms of menorrhagia. You may also experience some other problems related to menorrhagia and should seek medical attention such as vaginal bleeding after menopause, bleeding between menstrual periods etc.

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Posted by admin - November 25, 2015 at 13:23

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How To Prepare For Doctor’s Appointment If You Have Male Infertility?

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Infertility is inability to conceive a child by a couple, despite having frequent, unprotected sexual intercourse for a year or longer, and if the cause is due to male partner, it can be termed as male infertility. Infertility (female as well as male infertility) is a complex issue and encompasses different factors; hence need to understand the problem clearly. It is therefore important to have a clear idea about questions your doctor may ask and questions you should ask your doctor regarding your problem, i.e. male infertility.

What questions your doctor may ask you during consultation for male infertility?

The following questions may be asked by your doctor and you should be ready with the right answers for your treatment of male infertility to be successful:

  • Have you ever fathered a child before?
  • What was your age when puberty started in you?
  • Do you have any history of undescended testes?
  • Have you even had sexual problems such as erectile dysfunction (inability to maintain an erection of penis during sexual intercourse), premature ejaculation (ejaculating too soon during sexual act), or any difficulty/disability to ejaculate (may be due to retrograde ejaculation)?
  • Did you undergo surgical operations such as vasectomy, scrotal surgery, hernial operation, or any surgery involving pelvis or abdomen?
  • Do you have any previous history of exposure to toxins, chemicals such as heavy metals, pesticides, radiation etc.?
  • Do you have any addiction to drugs such as cocaine/heroin, anabolic steroid (commonly used for performance enhancement in sports) or marijuana?
  • Do you currently take any medications, including dietary supplements?

What questions you should ask during consultation for male infertility?

You should ask following questions to know clearly about male infertility.

  • What is the most probable cause of my problem of male infertility?
  • What are the other causes that may be affecting me?
  • What type of tests do I need and does my partner also need to undergo certain tests?
  • What is the best treatment option available for me?
  • Do I have any other alternative treatment modalities?
  • What restrictions do I have to follow?
  • Do you have any printed material or brochure that I can read/use to upgrade my understanding about my problem of male infertility?
  • Do you suggest me to check any website regarding my problem?

Do not hesitate to ask any other question you may have in your mind to clear your doubt about male infertility.

To make your appointment more successful you can do following things:

  • Take your partner along with you during the appointment.
  • Write down the medications you are taking at present for any other medical condition. Preferably take the prescriptions along with you.
  • Write about symptoms (if any) you are experiencing or experienced.
  • Find out family history of infertility as well as if you had undescended testes.
  • Write down the questions you would like to ask your doctor during appointment, because you may forget to ask important questions during appointment, if you have not written them beforehand.

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Posted by admin - November 23, 2015 at 14:10

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Acute Sinusitis: Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors, Complications, Diagnosis, Management, Prevention and Home Remedies

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There are cavities (air pockets) around your nasal passages known as sinuses. In acute sinusitis, these sinuses become acutely inflamed and swollen, leading to mucus build up due to interference of drainage. It may also be difficult to breathe through your nose and area around your eyes and face may become swollen and there may also be throbbing headache or facial pain.

Most commonly, acute sinusitis is caused by common cold (due to virus). Other causes of acute sinusitis include bacterial infection, fungal infection (less common) and allergy. Treatment depends on the cause of the problem. If not adequately treated it may become chronic sinusitis (acute sinusitis that last for more than eight weeks or if it recurs frequently is termed chronic sinusitis).

What are the symptoms of acute sinusitis?

Symptoms of acute sinusitis include.

  • Nasal congestion and obstruction, leading to breathing problems through nose
  • Cough, may be worse at night
  • Greenish or yellowish discharge from nose or back through throat
  • Swelling, pain and tenderness (pain on pressure) around eyes, forehead, nose or cheeks
  • Sense of smell and taste may be reduced.
  • Headache, earache
  • Fever
  • Halitosis or bad breath
  • Pain in upper jaw and/or teeth
  • Fatigue, which may be due to dehydration

You should consult your doctor, if symptoms last for more than few days or if you have fever, recurrent acute sinusitis, severe headache and other symptoms that trouble you.

What are the causes of acute sinusitis?

Causes of acute sinusitis include:

  • Viral infection: this is the most common cause of acute sinusitis and usually by common cold virus.
  • Bacterial infection: it less common than viral infection. However, sometimes bacterial infection may superimpose on viral infection and complicate the situation. Usually bacterial infection leads to symptoms lasting for more than 10 days.
  • Fungal infection: may occur if you have weak immune system or abnormality in sinuses
  • Allergy: this is a common cause of acute sinusitis. Common allergy include house dust, pollen etc.
  • Deviated nasal septum (DNS): a crooked nasal septum may cause frequent acute sinusitis due to anatomical abnormality.
  • Nasal polyp: growth of polyp may lead to blockage of nasal passage and sinusitis.
  • Other causes of acute sinusitis include, tooth infection, GERD, immune system problem, cystic fibrosis etc.

What are the risk factors of developing acute sinusitis?

The following conditions may increase risk of developing acute sinusitis:

  • Abnormality of nasal passage due to DNS or deviated nasal septum (a common cause of chronic sinusitis), nasal polyp, or tumor
  • Allergy, including hay fever or other allergic conditions that affect para-nasal sinuses
  • Exposure to pollutants/irritants such as cigarette smoke.
  • Certain medical conditions such as GERD, cystic fibrosis, immune system abnormality etc.

What are the possible complications of acute sinusitis?

Possible complications include,

  • Chronic sinusitis: this is the most common complication of acute sinusitis. Once, it becomes chronic, it becomes very difficult to cure/manage.
  • Flare-up of asthma
  • Ear infection is another complication of acute sinusitis.
  • Meningitis
  • Infection may spread to eye socket, which lead to vision problem, and need immediate treatment as it is a medical emergency.

Diagnosis of acute sinusitis:

Diagnosis of acute sinusitis involves proper physical examination. To help diagnosis, your doctor may also ask for imaging (such as CT or MRI), nasal endoscopy, allergy testing, culture and antibiotic sensitivity of nasal and sinus secretions.

Management of acute sinusitis:

Treatment of acute sinusitis depends on the cause of the sinusitis. Most commonly it is due to viral infection that also causes common cold. Hence, home remedies done for common cold also useful in such cases and usually may not require anything else to be done.

However, if acute sinusitis is caused by bacterial or fungal infection may require appropriate antibiotic and anti-fungal therapy. If the cause is due to allergic condition and there is frequent incidence of acute sinusitis, it may require immunotherapy.

For symptomatic relief of acute sinusitis, the following can be of help:

  • Nasal decongestants: these drugs available over the counter (such as oxymetazoline) help in reducing nasal congestion. They are available as nasal drops or as nasal spray. These are commonly used for few days, because prolong use may cause side effects, such as rebound congestion.
  • Corticosteroid nasal spray, for action locally is also used for symptomatic relief from acute sinusitis.
  • Saline nasal spray to rinse nasal passage.
  • Over the counter pain medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen (Tylenol), ibuprofen (Advil) etc. are also helpful in acute sinusitis.

How to prevent acute sinusitis?

Following steps are useful in preventing acute sinusitis,

  • Avoid common cold and upper respiratory tract infection. Wash hands frequently with soap and water, especially after contact with persons suffering from cold. Best, if you could avoid persons suffering from cold.
  • Avoid cigarette smoke and other air pollutants that irritate respiratory system, including sinuses.
  • Use humidifier if you live in dry area or if your home is dry. Dryness cause nasal mucosa to crack and lead to infection and acute sinusitis.
  • Manage properly if you suffer from allergic condition.

Home remedies for acute sinusitis:

Following home remedies for sinusitis can be tried:

  • Drink plenty of fluid: to keep one hydrated one need to drink plenty of fluid such as water, fruit juice, oral rehydration salt, or other drink. Well hydration help in keeping mucosal secretions thin and easy to remove. Avoid beverages that may cause dehydration such as caffeine, alcohol etc.
  • Take plenty of rest
  • Drape a towel over your head and inhale water vapor from a hot water bowl/pan. Alternately take a hot shower. This will moisten nasal cavities and help drain mucous.
  • Sleep with head elevated to help drain sinuses during sleep.
  • Rinse your nasal passage with saline spray or plain water or distilled water.
  • To prevent facial pain, put a warm, damp towel over your face.

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Posted by admin - November 20, 2015 at 14:34

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Chilblains: Symptoms, Causes, Risk Factors, Treatment and Prevention

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Chilblains (also known as perniosis or pernio) is a medical condition (a type of cold injury) that occurs to person (who is predisposed) when exposed to cold and humidity. This is sometimes confused with frostbite or trench foot, both of which occur below freezing temperature, whereas chilblains usually occur above freezing temperature. Chilblains generally lead to damage to capillary bed in exposed skin and cause redness, itching, swelling, inflammation and blister formation (in extreme and untreated cases). Common site for chilblains include toes, fingers, earlobes and nose.

Chilblains may heal on its own, especially if weather warms up in one to three weeks. There is a tendency to recur every year as this condition usually occurs to individuals predisposed to this condition. Chilblains usually do not cause permanent damage to any body parts, however may cause infection which may lead to serious problem, if left untreated. We can keep chilblains away if we take precautions and protective measures against exposure to cold, especially if anyone is predisposed to it.

What are the symptoms of chilblains?

Signs and symptoms of chilblains are,

  • Small, itchy, red, warm area on exposed part of skin, which may gradually become larger
  • Swelling of the red area
  • Pain in the area
  • Color of skin may change from red to dark blue
  • There may be blistering in the area
  • There may be ulceration in the affected area
  • Burning sensation of the affected area.

What is/are the cause(s) of chilblains?

The exact cause of chilblains is not clear. Many experts believe it to be a type of cold allergy, because it usually occurs among persons predisposed to this condition, and there is possibility of recurrence every year. Affected individuals tend to react abnormally during rewarming after getting exposed to cold.

What are the risk factors of getting chilblains?

The following factors may increase risk of getting chilblains:

  • Exposure of skin to cold (need not to be freezing cold) and damp condition may lead to development of chilblains.
  • Place where you live may increase risk of chilblains. If you live in cold non freezing temperature and high humidity risk of chilblains is high. Risk is not high if you live in dry and cold area.
  • Females are at greater risk of chilblains than males. The cause is not known.
  • People who are underweight are at greater risk of chilblains.
  • If you are suffering from Raynaud’s phenomenon (another cold-related medical condition that affects the extremities) you are at greater risk of chilblains.
  • If your blood circulation to extremities is poor you are at greater risk of chilblains.
  • Chilblains commonly occur early winter to spring and usually disappear in spring time.

What are the complications associated with chilblains?

Chilblains usually do not lead to serious complications. However, if left untreated or inadequately treated, it may lead to infection of affected area, which itself has its complications. Blister formation and ulceration may be encountered in chilblains.

What treatment modalities are available for chilblains?

Treatment options for chilblains include,

  • Corticosteroid cream applied locally to affected area for prevention of swelling (inflammation) and itching.
  • Medications: nifedipine (a commonly used blood pressure lowering drug) can be used for chilblains, because it can cause increase in blood flow by widening the arteries. Another drug that may be used is pentoxyfylline (brand name Trental) which also act by increasing blood flow to affected area.
  • Prevention of infection is also important aspect of management of chilblains. Blisters may lead to ulceration which needs to be managed to prevent infection with regular dressing and cleaning.

Prevention of chilblains:

As chilblains is a cold related problem, avoiding exposure to cold is the most important aspect of prevention. Following measures can be helpful in preventing chilblains:

  • Avoid exposure to cold, especially extremities, where chilblains commonly occur.
  • Use several layers of warm clothing.
  • Prevent moisture and try to keep extremities dry in cold weather.
  • Cover all exposed parts before going out in cold.
  • Keep hands, face and feet warm.
  • Keep your home and office warm.
  • If you get exposed to cold, re-warm gradually. Never attempt to re-warm rapidly as this may lead to chilblains.

Lifestyle and home remedies for chilblains:

Chilblains usually heal by itself, although it takes one to three weeks. Following measures may speed up healing process:

  • Avoid further exposure to cold.
  • Keep affected area warm, but keep it away from direct heat.
  • Use lotions to prevent itching and swelling. Avoid scratching the affected area.
  • Keep affected area clean and apply antiseptic and bandage.

Chilblains is a common problem in cold (need not to be freezing cold) and moist (high humidity) regions. However, it is possible to prevent chilblains with some care. You need to be extra cautious, if you are predisposed to develop chilblains.

More info about chilblains: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chilblains

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Posted by admin - November 17, 2015 at 14:28

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