Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Eggs, peanuts, fish, others trigger asthma – Expert

An Abuja-based physician, Dr Okezie Emenike, has said that shortness of breath experienced by some people could be an indication of allergic asthma.

He told the News of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja weekend, that allergic asthma was the type caused by allergy, which is also known as allergy induced- asthma.

According to him, allergy asthma occurs when a patient’s immune system overreacts to the presence of some harmful substance known as an allergen. He said that allergic asthma was the most common type of asthma, which often times runs in the family with the history of asthma and other allergies, such as hay fever.

He said that some people may develop breathing problems whenever they inhale allergens that usually occur when the airways swell as part of an allergic reaction. Emenike, however, attributed pollen, pet dander as well as dust as factors that could predispose one to allergic asthma. He also mentioned that shellfish, eggs, peanuts, fish and milk could trigger the development of the condition in some people.

The medic stated that smoking, smoke from a fireplace and incense were some other causative factors to the condition. “Air pollution, cold air, strong chemical odours as well as perfumes could pose a risk of developing the condition.

“Air fresheners, dusty work place, grasses and weeds could also irritate the body, which could lead to the condition,” he said. Besides, Emenike said that allergic asthma was not preventable, stating that avoiding substance that triggers it was key.

He said that treating allergic asthma involves the treatment of allergy, the asthma and most times both.
He said that the treatment also include antihistamine medication in order to reduce the immune systems allergic response.

Emenike recommended that allergy shots be administered where allergy symptoms are more severe in order to treat the condition. He also suggested the use of inhalers in preventing asthma as well as the fast-acting inhaler used in the treatment of asthma symptom.

He enjoined patients with the condition to use medications such as nasal sprays and eye drops to ease allergy symptoms in treating allergic asthma. The physician cautioned that allergic asthma could result to serious complications such as anaphylaxis.

The complications, if left untreated, could cause life threatening conditions such as low blood pressure, among others.

This story was published in Newswatch Times on August 29, 2015.

Chronic endometritis could lead to infertility in women – Gynaecologist

An Abuja-based Gynaecologist, Dr. Adaora Ukoh, has revealed that untreated sexually transmitted infections could result in endometritis, a major cause of infertility.

Ukoh said this during an interview with the an online news agency in Abuja. She described endometritis as an inflammation of the inner lining of the uterus, which is usually caused by infection.

According to her, endometritis is often associated with inflammation of the fallopian tubes, ovaries, as well as the pelvic which commonly occurred after childbirth. She further said that endometritis could be divided into two categories. She gave the two groups as pregnancy-related and unrelated endometritis.

Ukoh, however, identified pelvic inflammatory diseases that were sexually transmitted such as Chlamydia and gonorrhea as factors that contribute to the development of endometritis. The consultant added that womb infection in early pregnancy; prolonged labour and placement of intrauterine device as causative factors of the condition.

She also stated that some certain types of medication such as steroid and some procedures to check the uterus could also pose the risk to developing endometritis. 

She further explained that caesarian section, retained tissue after delivery or miscarriage could predispose women to the condition. The expert said that amniotic fluid, ovarian abscess, abortion as well as anaemia also cause the condition. She further stated that tuberculosis and a mix of normal vaginal bacteria also posed a risk to the development of the condition.

Ukoh recommended that treatment of endometritis should start from knowing the exact cause.
The physician mentioned that treating sexually transmitted infections early was important in preventing endometritis.

She suggested the use of prescribed antibiotics for the treatment and prevention of the condition.
The physician also recommended evacuation in order to remove tissues left in the womb as a measure of treatment.

She said needle aspiration and surgery could also be sought in treating endometritis. Ukoh advised partners of women that had been treated for endometritis caused by sexually transmitted diseases to get treatment to avoid reoccurrence.

She admonished women to have safer sex such as the use of condom, stressing that it is key to healthy life.

This story was published in Newswatch Times on August 29, 2015.

Nurses call for concerted efforts in disaster management

The Executive Secretary, West African College of Nursing, Mrs Henrietta Okedo, has called for concerted efforts to manage the natural and man-made disasters witnessed on a daily basis in the country.

Okedo made the call at a certificate course for Nurses. It was organised by the college in Lagos, with the theme: “Disaster Nursing: Emergency Preparedness.”

“With the fast changing global trends in technology and development, and its attendant effect on the lives of the masses, the health workers need to be constantly trained.

“We wake up every day without knowing what the day holds in stock for us. “In Nigeria, no week passes without news of bomb blast in one area or the other. “It is, therefore, necessary for all stakeholders in the healthcare sectors to come together and find ways of managing disaster situations,” she said.

Cross-section of participants at the 2013 world disasters risk reduction
day held in Abuja recently
She added that the country is yet to be prepared for emergency situations due to low budgetary allocations to health, inadequate equipment to manage disasters and lack of rehabilitation centres. Okedo urged the Federal Government to put in place measures that would manage disasters starting from the hospitals to rehabilitation centres.

“We cannot be caught napping; we need to be prepared for these disaster and emergency situations.
“Hence, the re-training of nurses and other health workers in disaster preparedness and management,” she said.

Also speaking, the Course Coordinator of the event, Mrs Victoria Etuk, urged the government and other civil agencies to fund programmes that would encourage training of health officials for emergencies. 

Etuk said, “Disasters are unplanned and when programmes to train health workers are well funded, especially at the emergency state, the first aid given to an individual in an emergency situation will go a long way in life saving.”

She urged nurses to acquire more knowledge on how to manage disasters and design plans in their localities in managing them.

This story was published in Newswatch Times on August 29, 2015.

Natural ways to prevent visual impairment, cognitive dysfunction

Cognitive decline leaves one in four individuals over the age of 65 with increasing memory loss and various levels of functional impairment. A recently published study from the Archives of Ophthalmology (Volume 130, page 895) adds a new dimension: Older people with visual impairment, particularly those with cataracts or moderate to severe diabetic retinopathy, are more likely to experience cognitive dysfunction.

The research analyzed 1,179 patients, ages 60 to 80, who participated in the Singapore Malay Eye Study. While other studies have linked reduced visual acuity to poor cognitive function, this population-based trial was one of the first to investigate specific vision-threatening eye diseases that may be associated with cognitive impairment.

The researchers were unable to uncover any data showing a relationship between glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and cognitive dysfunction. That was not the case, however, with visual impairment due to cataract and moderate to severe diabetic retinopathy, both of which were found to be strong indicators of cognitive deficiencies.

If anything, these findings underscore the need to effectively diagnose and treat the causes of visual impairment. Researchers have revealed that eating iron-rich foods such as steak, spinach, nuts and liver can help ward off dementia. The University of California San Francisco made an important connection between anaemia and dementia in a recent study.

People with anaemia, which is where the level of red blood cells are lower than normal, were more likely to develop brain degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s. The condition has also been linked in studies to an increased risk of early death, said lead researcher, Kristine Yaffe. Anaemia is common in the elderly and occurs in up to 23 per cent of adults aged 65 and older.The study looked at more than 2,500 people aged between 70 and 79. Dr Yaffe thinks the rationale behind the findings, is that anaemia may play a role in dementia by reducing oxygen supplies to the brain, which can damage neurons and have been shown to reduce memory and thinking abilities.

It was previously thought that high iron levels in the blood were bad for people with Alzheimer’s and leads to the production of free radicals that can damage neurons in your brain. The best way to reduce your risk of dementia is to lead a healthy lifestyle, according to experts. Enjoy a balanced diet rich in fruit and vegetables, oily fish and take regular exercise, but, do not smoke.

Foods that nourish brain
Walnuts (and almonds, pecans, hazelnuts) – filled with Omega-3 fatty acids

Salmon (and mackerel, sardines, other fatty fish) – fatty fish like salmon can lower blood levels of beta-amyloid, a protein thought to play a role in Alzheimer’s

Berries – these contain polyphenols, a type of antioxidant which helps stop inflammation and allows brain cells to work better.

Turmeric – studies have shown that turmeric, the spice used in curries, and its main active component curcumin, can help prevent Alzheimer’s.

This story was published in Newswatch Times on August 29, 2015.

…Hair dying causes cancer

Meanwhile, Prof. Folahan Adekola of the Department of Chemistry, University of Ilorin, has warned that dying of hair increases risk of cancer. Adekola also said this  during the week, as reported by an online medium. 

He revealed that hair dye formulations contain chemicals known as Yombo-fitta and Yombo-tumtum, which he said are freely sold in Nigerian markets for people to dye their grey hair and look younger.
According to him, these same dyes are also used to dye clothing materials. 

The expert explained that research had revealed the presence of highly toxic metals such as lead and arsenic and other carcinogenic compound in the dyes. Adekola pointed out that given the widespread use of hair dye products; even a small increase in risk may have a considerable public health impact.

“The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reported that hairdressers and barbers are at increased risks of bladder cancer due to exposure to these chemicals,” he added. The chemists suggested that it was important to therefore eliminate human exposure for sustainable development in the country. 

“Especially human exposure to carcinogens and other toxic chemicals found in air, water and food and other consumer products,’’ said Adekola.

This story was published in Newswatch Times on August 29, 2015.

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