Probiotics

Probiotics are live microorganisms that are thought to produce many health benefits when ingested. Many people are surprised to learn that the human body actually needs certain bacteria in order to function properly and that not all bacteria is harmful. The Harvard Medical School cites over 500 different beneficial microorganisms being present in a healthy human intestinal tract. Most commonly used in treating digestive problems, probiotics are friendly bacteria that can be taken as a pill or powder supplement, or ingested in some of your favorite foods and beverages.

 

Yogurt can be a great option when introducing probiotics into your lifestyle. Choosing one can be a challenge, though, as not all yogurt is made with live cultures and cow’s milk. Different yogurts contain different microorganisms, with Activia being one of the best choices due to its use of the bacteria Bifidus regularis, which is known to help regulate the digestive system. Cured olives that are free of sodium benzoate and apple cider vinegar are also excellent options to consider. Fermented olives contain lactobacilli, a microorganism that reduces pathogens found in the digestive tract and relieves the discomfort often associated with gut dysbiosis and Chron’s disease. The apple cider vinegar contains raw apples that help the stomach acid digest important nutrients and proteins, and feed the healthy bacteria located within the digestive tract.

 

Probiotics are also used to treat other conditions such as those affecting the mouth and colic in babies. In both cases, the bacteria Lactobacilli is the live microorganism. When using probiotics to treat or prevent tooth decay, the lactobacilli was found to reduce streptococcus and candida growth (the cavity causing bacterias). Probiotic use for colic in infants is considered typical throughout Europe. In fact, Dr. Indrio of the Aldo Moro University in Italy says she routinely prescribes probiotics to cure and/or prevent colic in babies up to 3 months of age. The lactobacillus bacteria is used as liquid drops and regulates the infant digestive system, reducing common gastrointestinal issues like acid reflux and constipation.

 

Although the microorganisms found in probiotics are healthy and good for the body, taking introducing probiotics does come with risks due to the complexity of bacteria-host interactions. Typically, side effects are minimal and include ailments like gas and bloating. However, people who have compromised immune systems, for instance, those with autoimmune or metabolic disorders, premature infants and the elderly, are at risk for bacteremia which often leads to sepsis. Further research is being done on the long-term effects of probiotics. The overstimulation of the digestive system could cause gastrointestinal problems over time, and the effects of how probiotics affect genes are still unknown.

 

Current research on probiotics includes the Tulane University study on the use of probiotics to treat diarrhea in children of underdeveloped countries, the Tufts University research on the treatment of MRSA with probiotics and the Mayo Clinic trials focusing on using probiotics in the reduction of substances found in urine that would cause kidney stones. Once further research has been completed in the United States, probiotics could easily become a “go-to” natural treatment option for a number of diseases and disorders.

 

When taking probiotics, it is important to always do so under the care of your physician. If you experience any side effects you should consult your doctor. Keep in mind that not all probiotics are the same. Each one contains a different type of living microorganism. While one probiotic may cause you to become gassy, choosing a different one may yield only positive results. Probiotics have and will continue to be a rapidly growing alternative to prescription drug treatments.

 

Sepsis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Sepsis is known as the medical complication that is due to the acute immune response of the body against the infection. The biochemicals that are spread in the blood stream to remove the infection causes swelling in the body. This inflammation becomes the root cause for organ damage and even the blood clotting during sepsis results in obstructed blood flow to limbs and internal organs that blocks the flow of nutrients and oxygen.

In severe conditions, sepsis results in single or multiple organ failure. The advanced level of this condition leads into major falling blood pressure that is known as the septic shock conditions which may result in multiple organ failure at the same time including kidneys, lungs, and liver resulting in death. The common people usually get confused with the term septicemia that is condition of serious secondary level infection that worsens quickly and may result in death.

Sepsis Causes and Risk Factors

The most prevalent cause for sepsis is the bacterial infections; while it can be caused due to other infections also. This condition may occur by beginning of the infection in body due to bacteria or any other infectious microbes.

The conditions responsible for sepsis may vary from the simple infections that are negligible like cracked cuticle or broken skin as well as due to the serious medical issues like meningitis, appendicitis, bone rooted infections, pneumonia or urinary tract infection. The hospitalized patients suffering may also catch infections from the IV sets or other surgical procedures. Anyone may be affected by sepsis but certain categories of people are largely at risk which includes.

  • Patients suffering from weak immunity like as patients of cancer or HIV/AIDS. Apart the people taking immune suppressor for organ transplant may also get prone to sepsis.
  • Infants and very young babies
  • Old people with health issues
  • People who have undergone major surgery or prolonged hospitalization.
  • Diabetic patients.

Symptoms of Sepsis

As the beginning of the sepsis may initiate from any part of the body the symptoms are quite varied but the common signs include faster breathing and the change in mental state like increased confusion or diminished senses. Along with this the common symptoms that are observed in sepsis are as below:

  • Febrile Chills or too low body temperature
  • Low or reduced urine output
  • Higher pulse rate
  • Faster breathing
  • Nauseating and vomit
  • Diarrhea

Treatment of Sepsis

It is quite important to diagnosis the conditions of sepsis in early stage. The suspected patients are examined for differential tests that include the:

  • Presence of Bacteria in blood stream or other body fluids
  • Investigating of the infection source by methods like X-ray, Ultrasound or CT scan
  • Higher or reduced White Blood Cell count
  • Reduced platelet count
  • Continued Low Blood Pressure
  • Acidosis in blood
  • Disturbed Kidney or Liver related functions

In the case of sepsis the patients are placed in the ICU for preventing the conditions of sepsis and maintain the appropriate functioning of the organs.

Medication and line of treatment for Sepsis

The common line of treatment for sepsis is base on the below steps:

  • Injecting the Broad-spectrum antibiotics to invade bacterial growth.
  • Managing the Blood Pressure by administering IV fluids.
  • Maintaining Oxygen saturation to maintain normal blood oxygen level

This is the first step in treating sepsis; while the root cause for bacterial infection is detected. After that the physician may start on the drugs for particular type of bacteria. In other cases as per the severity of the conditions that patients are given the supports like dialysis, or oxygen supply or in some cases surgical intervention may be required to remove the infection.

Gouts: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Gouts are a kind of inflammatory arthritis; recurrent swelling, tenderness, redness and hot attacks in joints characterize gouts. Gout pain comes quickly in duration of less than 12 hours. In almost half of the gout cases, the most affected part is the joint present at the base of the first (big) toe. Sometimes gouts also end up in kidney stones or urate nephropathy, or sometimes tophus due to the deposit of uric acid crystals. An attack of gout is always due to the high crystallization of uric acid deposited in joints and the surrounding tendons and tissues in crystallized form.

Causes of Gouts

Excess of uric acid in the blood (hyperuricemia) is the initial cause of gouts. Production of uric acid in the body is due to the breakdown of purines- in foods such as seafood, poultry, and meat, purine a specific chemical compound is very high. Kidneys filter the uric acid dissolved in the blood to excrete it from the body through urine, the excess of uric acid builds up needle-like crystals which cause inflammation in nearby tissues.

Factors that increase hyperuricemia and therefore gout

  • Lifestyle

Sweetened drinks (fructose), alcohol consumption in a large amount, seafood, meat, poultry etc are rich in purine, this purine-rich diet cannot be broken down by the body and therefore the removal of uric acid is difficult. This lifestyle of purine-rich diet is a major cause of gouts.

  • Genetics

Some genes like- SLC2A9, ABCG2, SLC22A12 are linked with gouts, variations caused in these genes double the risk of gouts. If during mutation SLC2A9 and SLC22A12 genes don’t mutate, hereditary hyperuricemia is caused which reduce urate reabsorption and secretion.

  • Age and Gender

Production of uric acid is more in men as compared to women. But, during menopause, the production of uric acid in women reaches the level of men.

  • Exposure to lead

Some rare cases of gouts are a result of prolonged exposure to lead. Chronic lead increases the level of uric acid and crystallizes, causing gouts.

  • Medical conditions

The occurrence of gouts is sometimes come along with other medical issues. Metabolic syndrome is a major cause found in approx. 75% cases, this is a combination of abnormal lipid levels, hypertension, abdominal obesity, and insulin resistance. Kidney failure, psoriasis, hemolytic anemia, myeloproliferative disorders, and solid organ transplant are some other conditions. Gouty arthritis is often related to Lesch-Nyhan Syndrome.

  • Weight

Overweight or obesity cause the extra turnover of the tissues, which is more production of uric acid. Production of proinflammatory cytokines by fat cells increase systemic inflammation, this is due to high level of fat cells caused by body fat.

Symptoms and signs

The main symptom is the recurrent attack of severe inflammatory arthritis. Gouts mainly affect the joint of the big toes, Fingers, ankles, elbows, knees and wrists. There are four stages:

  1. Asymptomatic hyperuricemia

At this stage, uric acid forms crystals and cause slight damages due to its deposit in the tissues and cells.

  1. Acute Gouts

At this stage, the deposited urate crystals cause sudden severe inflammation and stinking pain. This attack is also known as ‘flare’ which subsides, usually within 3-10 days.

  1. Interval or inter-critical Gouts

At this stage, more urate crystals get deposited. Flares may or may not occur for months altogether, but if not treated immediately they may occur more frequently and last longer.

  1. Chronic tophaceous gouts

This is the final stage, at this time joints and kidneys may have been permanently damaged. The patient may suffer from tophus and chronic arthritis.

Treatment

Severe attacks can be avoided by medications that decrease the levels of uric acid. Settling the symptoms of a severe attack is the first aim of the treatment. A decrease in pain can be observed by the application of ice for 20-30 minutes according to tentative evidence. Avoiding purine-rich diet or reducing the levels of uric acid intake can also be of great help.

NSAIDs

Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are the initial treatment for gouts. These are taken orally and reduce pain and inflammation in the places affected by gouts.

Colchicine

If NSAIDS are intolerable due to side effects, Colchicine is a good alternative. It may intermingle with other supplementary prescribed drugs like atorvastatin and erythromycin.

Steroids

Improvements can be seen if steroids are injected. In the case of joint infection, steroids must be excluded as they worsen the condition.

Pegloticase

It reduces the levels of uric acid; it’s given out through intravenous infusion every two weeks. It can be used to treat tophi, but has a lot of side effects.

Constipation: Types, Symptoms & Treatment

The medical practitioners are quite cautious about the conditions related to constipation. It shall not be considered in a casual manner as it can be an alarming sign for many deadly complications. In this article, we will discuss the different aspects of constipation which include the types of constipation, symptoms, possible reasons, the line of treatment and precautions while taking medicines.

This will not only help us in getting information about the complications but also make us careful about any sort of health issues that we may already have in our bodies.

Constipation – Definition and categories

The most common definition of constipation is considered as the state of reduced or disturbed bowel movement that results in obstructed or difficulty in passing stools. This is generally a condition that everyone may face in life in some or the other way. Bowel habits and routines are different for different individuals. The tendency to constipate depends on various factors that we will discuss hereinafter.

Types of Constipation

It is mainly divided into two types; one is simple and the second is chronic constipation. Simple constipation may develop in anyone because of several reasons, including irregular food habits or due to side effects of any medicine. In chronic constipation, the patients suffer from the conditions pertaining to constipation for a continued period of time which may result in certain other complications.

Symptoms

The symptoms of constipation are quite similar in both the types which is indicated by the below conditions:

  • Fewer bowel movements
  • Difficulty in having a bowel movement (have to put pressure for passing the stools)
  • Less and Hard stools
  • Sensation to pass stools again and again
  • Pain in the belly or swelling in the colon region

When is the right time to call or visit a doctor?

It is advised to call or visit your doctor immediately when you feel constipation with pain in your paunch and you find it difficult to pass gas or stool.

Reasons for Constipation

There are several reasons for constipation that largely depends on the below areas that relate to various factors like medication, as the symptom of complications, or irregular dietary habits.

  • Due to medication: There are certain medicines that are known to develop constipation. The antacid medicines that contain aluminum or calcium are a major cause for the same. Sometimes less intake of water and consumption of antidepressants and iron pills result in constipation.
  • Due to changes in dietary habits or lifestyle: Many times the change in sleeping pattern and heavy diet may result in constipation. A lot of calcium-rich products like dairy foods may result in constipation. Pregnant women also have to face constipation.
  • Diseases: There are diseases that reflect constipation as one of the symptoms like colon cancer, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, neurological conditions like Parkinson’s & multiple sclerosis. The disorders in the digestive system, as well as hypothyroidism, may also cause constipation.

Treatments

In simple constipation related complications the things may be worked out by simple measures like bringing changes in routine. Maximizing the intake of water can simply help in resolving the complications along with the addition of roughage and dietary fiber to support bowel movements.

In chronic conditions, the treatments include the use of suppositories and laxatives for relieving from constipation.

Suppositories: These are administered in the rectal region for relieving constipation. These contain glycerin-based medicines that increase the water content in the intestine resulting in bowel movements. These are effective in relieving constipation within 15 to 60 minutes. Patients with piles and fissures shall be avoided to take this support.

Laxatives: These are usually known as stool softeners and consist of different medicines that fall into categories like fiber or lubricant based and stimulant-based laxatives. These three act in different ways to release constipation by relieving stools.

Precautions for taking Laxatives: The laxatives shall not be taken too often as it tends to form a habit for regularizing the bowel movements. Prolonged intake may reduce the natural tendency of bowel movements that cannot be restored to normal conditions easily making constipation as a chronic issue for you.