Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What Kind of Disease is HFMD?

A child infected with HFMD
Several weeks ago, HFMD (Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease) has been the talk of the town when actress and TV host, Ms. Kris Aquino admitted that her children have had HFMD. Many people have been wondering what this disease is and some have been alarmed and confused.

While watching Pinoy MD, I’ve learned that intestinal viruses of which, the most common are Coxsackie A and Enterovirus 71 cause HFMD. The disease usually affects infants and children and is moderately contagious. It spreads through direct contact with the saliva of feces of the infected patient. Although, it occurs mostly in children, older persons with weak immune system may also acquire the disease.

It is also important to stress that HFMD is different from the Hoof and Mouth Disease that plague swine and cattle.  

A child infected with HFMD would begin to have fever and sore throat. Normally, the child loses appetite and becomes melancholic. After two days, lesions or sores would appear on the hands, feet and mouth particularly inside the cheeks. The child may become irritable because of these painful sores. Occasionally, diarrhea may also follow.

Doctors treat patients with HFMD with the usual medical treatment for fever. It doesn’t require hospitalization. However, we have to be careful also because patients are susceptible to acquire infections, which may result in severe complications like viral meningitis or even encephalitis, which can be fatal. It can also result in paralysis and pulmonary hemorrhage.

I guess, cleanliness can prevent diseases like this. Wash hands thoroughly before eating and don’t experiment on medicines or self-medicate. Seek professional help when necessary. 

Image above courtesy of:

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Don’t Take Breast Discomfort for Granted

Image from ABCNews Blogs
Brassiere provides support for the breast in women, to enhance the size of the breasts, restrict movement during physical activity, push the breasts up to augment the cleavage or lift sagging breasts from the chest wall. Manufacturers continually work on designs that would provide both functional and visual appeal.

Brassiere is essential not only for aesthetic purposes but also for good body posture. It is especially helpful for those who have relatively large breasts because women with large breasts tend to lean forward and that put a big strain on the backbone.

However, there are instances that women feel discomfort on their breasts because of tight brassieres. These minor discomforts can lead to dermatological infections if left unchecked.

Thus, it is particularly essential that women wear the right size of bra to avoid discomfort. Experts say that in order to know the right bra size, a woman should get the measurement of her breasts (apex), and her measurement below the breasts. Example: A woman measures 36 inches (apex), and the measurement below her breasts is 34 inches. Subtract 34 from 36 and the difference is equivalent to her cup size. So, her bra size is 36B.

Apex:     36 in.
Below:   34in.

1 inch = cup A
2 inches = cup B
3 inches = cup C
4 inches = cup D

Minor skin irritation can cause serious infections that pose a hazard to a woman’s health. It is essential that women wear the bra that fits their size right.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Can Breast Cancer be Avoided?

Like any other disease, breast cancer has a number of risk factors that we can try to manage in an attempt to avoid it. Yes, we can avoid breast cancer if we will be conscious about our individual lifestyle and the risk factors that may be affecting us.

The hormone estrogen acts like food for breast cancer cells so breast feeding helps reduce the risk of breast cancer since breast feeding lowers estrogen level. Pregnancy reduces the number of menstrual cycle in a woman’s lifetime so it practically lowers the risk of developing the disease.

Obesity could be a factor too. Women with large breasts also have a higher risk since more fats in the breast cause increase in estrogen level. Fat tissues become the main source of estrogen especially after menopause since the ovary has stopped producing the hormone.

Unhealthy diet is also a suspected contributing factor to develop cancer in the long run. Too much fat and cholesterol in the food can increase the risk in developing cancer cells. Even alcohol intake is a potential risk since it hampers the liver’s ability to check estrogen in women.

Medical practitioners also say that taking artificial birth control pills may be a potential risk factor. The risk of breast cancer is related to a woman’s natural hormones and the fact that pills manipulate these natural hormones may elevate the risk considering that not having children alone is already a potential risk in women. However, recent study reveals that such risk is only for a limited period of time.

Early detection is still crucial to an effective treatment. Doctors encourage women to self examine. Example, raise the left arm to examine the left breast. Gently massage the breast in circular motion from the nipple to the outer section and try to feel if there is any lump or cyst. Do the same on the right side. They should do it one week after menstruation. If you feel a lump regardless of size, see a doctor for proper diagnosis.

Together as a human society, we can help each other avoid breast cancer.

Image: (top)

Image: (below)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I have an aunt who lost both of her breasts due to breast tumors. It’s a good thing that on those two incidents, both have been benign. However, I have heard about cases of women who have not survived malignancy.

Breastcancer.org. explains that:

“Breast cancer is an uncontrolled growth of breast cells...

Cancer occurs as a result of abnormal changes in the genes responsible for regulating the growth of cells and keeping them healthy. The genes are in each cell’s nucleus, which acts as the “control room” of each cell. Normally, the cells in our bodies replace themselves through an orderly process of cell growth: healthy new cells take over as old ones die out. But over time, mutations can “turn on” certain genes and “turn off” others in a cell. That changed cell gains the ability to keep dividing without control or order, producing more cells just like it and forming a tumor.

A tumor can be benign (not dangerous to health) or malignant (has the potential to be dangerous). Benign tumors are not considered cancerous: their cells are close to normal in appearance, they grow slowly, and they do not invade nearby tissues or spread to other parts of the body. Malignant tumors are cancerous. Left unchecked, malignant cells eventually can spread beyond the original tumor to other parts of the body.

The term “breast cancer” refers to a malignant tumor that has developed from cells in the breast.”

Millions of women around the world have been diagnosed with breast cancer and are suffering from it and around 1 out of 8 cases, the patient dies. Present medical studies have done great technological advances in the cure of the killer disease but still early detection is crucial for a complete cure.

The Pink Ribbon is symbol of Breast Cancer Awareness campaigns

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