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January 11, 2019

What is the pituitary gland?

With a shape and size that resembles that of a pea, the pituitary gland is a small gland located just below the base of the brain – between the eyes and behind the nose. The area where this gland is located is also known as sella turcica or pituitary fossa. The pituitary is often referred to as the “master” gland because it’s responsible for controlling & regulating the secretion of most of the body’s hormones that control several other glands throughout the body.

What is a pituitary adenoma?

Pituitary adenomas are benign growths which tend to grow relatively slowly. Pituitary adenomas are considered to be the fourth most common intracranial tumor and also by far the most common disease that affects the pituitary gland. More often than not, these tumors originate from the anterior lobe of the pituitary gland. It also needs to be mentioned that in the majority of the cases, tumors in the pituitary gland are benign in nature, and in most cases, turn out to be pituitary adenomas. For instance, 1 in 5 people have been estimated to have pituitary adenoma at some point in their life. However, there have been cases of malignant tumors developing in the pitui tary gland – although such instances are considered to be extremely far and few between. As per statistics, there have only been about 100 cases of maligna

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January 11, 2019

Overview

The prostate gland is a walnut-sized gland and an integral part of the men’s reproductive system. Located directly under the bladder, the prostate plays an important role in the urine control and erectile function. Prostate cancer develops when the abnormal cells within the prostate gland become malignant thus forming a tumor. As compared to other types of cancer, prostate cancer is said to grow at a relatively slower pace. In addition, there are three distinct types of prostate cancer:  

  • Early or Localised prostate cancer – where the cancer is contained within the prostate gland and has not spread to other parts of the body.
  • Extracapsular prostate cancer – where the cancer has spread to the tissues surrounding the prostate gland.
  • Metastatic prostate cancer – in cases where the cancer cells spread to the various parts of the body.

  The occurrence of prostate cancer is very high in men with as many as 1 in 7 men developing it at some stage or the other during their lifetime. As a matter of fact, over the years the frequency of prostate cancer has increased owing to increased life expectancy rates. This coupled with the fact that 80 percent of all prostate cancer cases are prevalent in men 65 years of age (or older). As per The American Cancer Society, this form of cancer is the most common cancer

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January 11, 2019

Overview

Cardiomyopathy is termed as a progressive disease that affects the heart muscle – also known as myocardium. Often described as the leading cause of heart failure, especially in younger people, cardiomyopathy causes the heart muscle to get thick, enlarged and affects its ability to pump blood efficiently. It can also cause dangerous & irregular heart rhythms. This condition is only said to affect the heart – the left ventricle or main pumping chamber, in particular. There are four primary types of cardiomyopathy: Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM): which affects the left ventricle of the heart causing it to enlarge and subsequently weaken over time. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM): thickening of the myocardium or heart muscle cells, which results in the walls of the heart to become abnormally thick. Restrictive cardiomyopathy (RCM): affects the lower ventricle walls eventually impairing their ability to function effectively by making them rigid and inflexible. Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy: affecting the right ventricle, this particular variant of cardiomyopathy is usually linked with abnormal heart rhythms and can even result in sudden death.

Symptoms

It’s not unusual for people suffering from cardiomyopathy to never exhibit any signs or symptoms. Moreover, in the early stages of th

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January 3, 2019

Overview

The onset of winter can evoke mixed reactions; some people welcome the cold weather while others dread struggling through the brutal winter weather. While most people worry about catching the flu or getting frostbite, there’s another cause of concern which many people might not even be aware of. Cold weather conditions can result in the blood vessels getting constricted which can raise blood pressure thus increasing the risk of heart attack and stroke. As a matter of fact, as per a study published in Circulation, the chances of a person suffering from heart attacks goes up by nearly 33 percent during winter. Although most people take adequate precautions by shielding themselves from the common lifestyle risk factors such as poor diet, lack of exercise, smoking, excessive alcohol consumption etc. – little do they realize that winter can cause inadvertent damage to the heart without even noticing it. Needless to say, it is imperative that people take adequate care to stay warm during the winter. Elders specifically tend to be vulnerable during these cold months as the cold can cause a dramatic drop in their body temperature thus leading to hypothermia. If the body temperature dips under 95 degrees, the resulting hypothermia can cause severe damage to the heart muscle. Further, patients afflicted with Angina need to be particularly careful as the cold

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January 3, 2019

What is post-traumatic stress disorder?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can be described as a serious, chronic illness which can impact both children and adolescents alike. It’s an impeding and debilitating condition that follows a traumatic event leading the person exposed to that particular event to endure chronic, unwanted feelings of distress and frightening memories long after the event has elapsed. This event could have led to an exposure to a traumatic incident such as a possible serious injury or death to themselves or others. PTSD is said to occur immediately after the incident (in most cases) and the affected individual might feel emotions varying from overwhelming fear, severe anxiety to helplessness and intense nightmares. However, some children have reported having faced PTSD long after that event has passed – sometimes even after six months. This feeling of emotional and physical distress can cause a serious impairment in the child’s daily activities and can affect their ability to function optimally. Further, affected children may become emotionally numb to their feelings and indifferent to various situations in general as a coping mechanism. That being said, it needs to be mentioned that not every child who suffers from a traumatic incident goes on to develop PTSD. Depending on how bad the trauma is or how deeply the child has been affect

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January 3, 2019

Overview

Attached to the colon – in the lower right part of the cecum (large intestine) – appendix is a finger-shaped organ. Appendicitis can be described as an inflammation or infection of the appendix leading to it getting blocked. The procedure to remove the appendix is called an appendectomy. This surgery is one of the most common abdominal surgeries which if left untreated can result in the appendix getting ruptured. Although it can occur at any given age, more often than not, it afflicts children between the ages of 8-16. Appendicitis is usually an emergency operation. Simple appendicitis is when the appendix is swollen but hasn’t burst yet. However, complicated appendicitis describes a case where the rupture has already happened resulting in the infection spreading through the abdomen. If left to rupture, it can have serious implications even leading to death. The appendix is not an important organ though and most healthcare professionals and experts are still unsure about its purpose or function. Which is why a surgery to get rid of it isn’t considered to be detrimental to the body’s optimal functioning. As it is, most patients, including children, are said to recover post-surgery without any long-term issues.

Symptoms

Symptoms of appendicitis tend to differ from child to child. The most common symptoms are:  

  • A feeling

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January 3, 2019

What Is Hypomagnesium?

As one of the many electrolytes present in the body, magnesium is a vital mineral which is considered to be extremely important for the optimum functioning of the human body. Magnesium is crucial for regulating the blood pressure in the body. It’s also considered to be an important electrolyte required for strengthening of the bones. In addition, it’s responsible for over-regulating over 300 metabolic reactions in the body. As per studies, it has been reported that nearly 2 percent of the general population suffer from hypomagnesemia. Further, this percentage is said to increase in case of hospitalized individuals. Hypomagnesemia is described as an electrolyte imbalance which occurs when the magnesium levels dip lower than usual. In adults, the normal magnesium values are in the range 1.5-2.5 mg/dL. Needless to say, maintaining ideal magnesium levels is extremely important for maintaining the functioning of the body’s heart and nervous system. When this disorder is left untreated, it could lead to serious health implications while also decreasing the levels of calcium and potassium in the body. When an individual’s magnesium levels are registered to be under 1.25 mg/dL, then the condition is considered as a case of severe hypomagnesemia.

Symptoms

One of the issues associated with hypomagnesemia is that its asymptom

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January 3, 2019

Overview

Hyperbilirubinemia or Jaundice is a term which is used to describe a condition which results in the skin and the eyes showcasing a peculiar yellowish tinge. It’s caused by the accumulation of a brownish-yellow substance known as bilirubin in the blood and body’s tissues. Bilirubin is a waste material found in the blood which forms as a result of old or damaged red blood cells breaking down. Ordinarily, bilirubin goes through a metabolization process initiated by the liver that allows it to be excreted safely via stool and urine. However, in cases where the red blood cells get broken down quicker than the usual process or when the optimum functioning of the liver is affected, hyperbilirubinemia can occur. Depending on the levels of bilirubin present, the color of the skin and the whites of the eyes will differ. This is because bilirubin has a yellowish pigment or coloring. Hence, in case of moderate levels, the skin or the eyes give out a yellowish tinge while in case of high levels, it can even appear brown. Most healthy babies tend to have hyperbilirubinemia – especially in the case of infants born before the 38-week gestation period. As a matter of fact, as per a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it has been reported that nearly 60 percent of all newborn babies experience hyperbilirubinemia. That being said, while this co

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December 21, 2018

Overview

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid arthritis is an auto-immune condition which is caused as a result of the immune system mistakenly attacking the lining of the joints. This causes joint pain and inflammation which can be incredibly painful. Over a period of time, if left untreated, this condition can cause substantial damage not only to the joints but the cartilage and nearby bone as well.

How Does Cold Weather Affect Rheumatoid arthritis?

For several people who are struck with arthritis, the onset of winter means one thing – a long, hard battle tackling daily aches and pains and dealing with a subsequent increase in discomfort. Studies have long revealed that during the colder parts of the year, individuals living with rheumatoid arthritis and other similar ailments suffer from increased pain in the joints. As a matter of fact, research has proven that a change in the barometric pressure is directly responsible for exacerbating joint discomfort and joint stiffness. This is because a sudden drop in the barometric pressure causes the joints in the body to swell up thus increasing the pressure on the nerves that are responsible for controlling the pain centers present in the body. Simply put, as the mercury levels drop, the body swells up, thereby causing the pains, stiffness, and aches to become more prominent. An

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December 18, 2018

Overview

Gout – also known as gouty arthritis – is a common form of arthritis which can be extremely painful. It usually occurs as a result of uric acid building up in the bloodstream and can affect the big toe, ankle, foot, knee, wrist, hand and elbow joints. This, in turn, causes severe inflammation, pain, redness, and swelling in the joints. Moreover, there are chances that gout may remain dormant for a number of years but can get triggered for a variety of reasons. This condition is usually more prevalent in men and women after menopause. Further, although it can affect men of any age, the first attack usually strikes men between the ages of 40 and 50. There’s also a common misconception that gout is caused by overeating and drinking excessive amounts of alcohol. Although this could increase the likelihood of getting gout, it’s not the whole story and hence not the primary cause of the disorder.

Symptoms

An attack of gout can occur at any given point of time, but it often starts at night more often than not. An individual might go to sleep feeling no signs of discomfort and then suddenly wake up in the middle of the night with a painful episode of severe joint inflammation. In some cases, it might affect more than one joint at a time. When that happens, the condition is called polyarticular gout. Although rare, there are chances of go

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