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Rheumatoid Arthritis: Facts and Home Remedies

The Kashmir Monitor

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Rheumatoid arthritis or RA is an autoimmune disease wherein the body’s immune system attacks the joints. The condition may be acute in nature, but it may also be long-term in other people.

Causes

In normal physiology, the immune system protects the body’s cells and tissues by attacking foreign bodies, such as debris and microorganisms. According to Arthritis Foundation, the exact cause of rheumatoid arthritis remains idiopathic or unknown; however, the abnormal response of the immune system has a pivotal role. The autoimmune attacks, which lead to the inflammation and joint damage, are also associated with both genetic and environmental factors. As per the publication, studies have demonstrated that people with the genetic marker called the HLA, which controls the immune response, have increased risk of having rheumatoid arthritis. Four other genes linked to rheumatoid arthritis include PTPN22, which is linked to the development of the condition; TRAF1 and C5, which are related to chronic inflammation; and STAT4, which is pivotal in the regulation and activation of the immune system.

 

Statistics

Rheumatoid arthritis has had its numbers in history. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC, the condition affected around 1.5 million of United States adults aged 18 years old and above in 2005 and its prevalence is claimed to have a range of 0.4 to 1.3 percent on a global scale. Also, women have two to three times higher risk of having the disease than in men and its onset peaks when they reach 60s. As per a Canadian study, it was found that the prevalence of the medical condition among men and women increased from 1996 to 2010; according to the publication, the increase was linked on risk factor changes and early diagnosis and treatment.

Signs and Symptoms

Rheumatoid arthritis presents a number of signs and symptoms. According to Medicine Net, these include fatigue, joint tenderness, joint pain, joint redness, joint swelling, joint stiffness, loss of join range of motion, joint warmth, joint deformity, limping, anemia, loss of joint function, and fever.

Home Remedies

While medical management through pain and anti-inflammatory medications is available to counter rheumatoid arthritis, the following home remedies can also be used.


Turmeric and Ginger Tea

Turmeric and ginger tea are two among the known remedies for rheumatoid arthritis. According to Everyday Roots, both have anti-inflammatory properties, which enable them to treat rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Turmeric has curcumin, a potent antioxidant that is capable of reducing the levels of enzymes that contribute to the development of the inflammation. As per the publication, the ingredients include two cups of water, half teaspoon of ground turmeric, half teaspoon of ground ginger, and honey to taste. To prepare, two cups of water are brought to a boil. Next, half teaspoon each of the ground turmeric and ground ginger are added. The preparation is reduced to a simmer and is allowed to stay for 10 to 15 minutes. Finally, they are strained and honey is added. The preparation produces two servings.

Green Tea

Tea is one of the common beverages most people consume, aside from water, coffee, milk, and juice. According to rheumatologist Dr. Beth Jonas, as cited by Everyday Health, green tea contains polyphenols, which help reduce inflammation and protect joints. Polyphenols are also antioxidant-rich, which means they are capable of reducing the abnormal autoimmune response of the body’s immune system to the joints.

Exercise

Doing exercises also serves as a remedy for rheumatoid arthritis. According to Health Line, exercise fights fatigue while boosting muscle strength and joint range of motion. As per the publication, the exercises that a person with rheumatoid arthritis can do include gentle stretching, swimming, walking, and water aerobics.

Overall, rheumatoid arthritis may not be as severe as cancer; however, the pain it gives to a person removes the person’s comfort and interferes with his activities of daily living. Thus, medical management and the above home remedies are considerations in responding to the condition.


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Health

Hepatitis A Causes and Symptoms

The Kashmir Monitor

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Generally speaking, hepatitis A is more common in parts of the planet that are developing. It’s for the fact that sanitation and food handling practices are by and large poor. However, medical experts say that living in developed countries can also put you at risk of having hepatitis A, but it’s really a rare occurrence.

Just like what’s mentioned earlier, hepatitis A is caused by the hepatitis A virus or HAV. It can be spread around by someone who has hepatitis A because he or she is a carrier of the virus behind it. It is said that a person with hepatitis A is most infectious about 2 weeks before he or she begins to experience signs and symptoms.

Here are some of the ways that hepatitis A is spread around:

 

Consumption of food that is prepared by a person who has hepatitis A. This is most especially true if he or she has not properly washed his or her hands.

Drinking of water that is contaminated with the hepatitis A virus.

Intake of raw or undercooked seafood obtained from contaminated water.

Close contact with someone who has hepatitis A. This includes having sexual intercourse with an infected person, especially when the rectal or anal area has been touched with the fingers, mouth or tongue.

Using illegal drugs, especially when paraphernalia contaminated with the hepatitis A virus are used.

Symptoms

Medical experts say that it may take a while before the various signs and symptoms associated with hepatitis A show up. They say that someone may experience them about 4 weeks after getting infected. It’s even possible for someone with hepatitis A to not experience any sign and symptom at all.

Some of the initial signs and symptoms of hepatitis A include:

Tiredness and malaise
Achy muscles and joints
Pain in the upper right section of the abdomen
Loss of appetite
Mild fever
Headaches
Sore throat
Diarrhea or constipation
Hives or raised rash that’s itchy

These initial signs and symptoms associated with hepatitis A can last anywhere from a few days only to a couple of weeks. Afterwards, as the infection of the liver progresses, the following may be experienced by the individual:

Jaundice, which is the yellowing of the skin as well as the whites of the eyes (sclera)

Pale colored stools
Dark colored urine
Skin itching

Tenderness and swelling of the upper right section of the abdomen

Although it rarely happens, hepatitis A can cause liver failure. When such develops, the person who is infected may experience severe vomiting, frequent bruising, bleeding of the nose and gums, drowsiness and confusion.

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Health

Busting myths around blood donation

The Kashmir Monitor

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As per the World Health Organisation (WHO) norms, ideally, one per cent of the total population should regularly donate blood to meet the requirements, which is anywhere between 1% and 3% of country’s population that would require blood in a year.

Contrary to the myth about blood donations making a person weak or anaemic, the body replenishes the lost blood in a matter of a few days, say experts.

“A healthy bone marrow makes a constant supply of red cells, plasma and platelets, so there is no question of becoming weak, much less anaemic. It is a myth and should not deter people from donating blood,” says Dr RK Singal, chairman, internal medicine department, BLK super-speciality Hospital.

 

The donors can give either whole blood or specific blood components, as there is sophisticated equipment available these days that extract relevant components from blood and the rest of the blood can be transfused back to the donor.

As per the World Health Organisation (WHO) norms, ideally, one per cent of the total population should regularly donate blood to meet the requirements, which is anywhere between 1% and 3% of country’s population that would require blood in a year.

About 65% of India’s population is young and if this section donates blood regularly, chances of the country facing blood shortage will be remote. Hence, there is all the more reason for people, especially youngsters, to come forward and be regular blood donors.

How to prepare

Have enough fruit juice and water in the night and morning before you donate

Have a full meal 3 hours before donation; never on an empty stomach

Have some rest for about 10-15 minutes after donation

Have some snacks or a juice with high sugar content after donation

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Health

Erectile dysfunction’s connection with lifestyle

The Kashmir Monitor

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By Dr Anjani Kumar Agrawal

healthy-lifestyle-can-reverse-effects-of-hypertensionAll over the world, but perhaps more so in India, men are embarrassed to admit that they may have a problem getting or keeping an erection — a condition known as erectile dysfunction (ED).

All over the world, but perhaps more so in India, men are embarrassed to admit that they may have a problem getting or keeping an erection — a condition known as erectile dysfunction (ED). From my research, I have found a strong link between ED and stress. Other major causes include smoking, drinking, diabetes, hypertension or high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. My advice to these patients is — do not get even more stressed over this situation. Instead, focus on taking the right medication and making some changes to your lifestyle, so you can once again enjoy a satisfactory sexual life.

 

DIAGNOSIS OF ED

We normally diagnose ED and its underlying causes by asking the patient a few questions about his medical and sexual history. This is sometimes done by sharing a questionnaire with the patient. The questions that we ask are designed to help us understand the cause of ED in the particular patient.

We also do a physical exam, ask for certain blood tests to rule out other medical conditions responsible for erectile dysfunction, and recommend imaging tests (if required) to determine whether the person is physically able to have an erection or not.

SHORT-TERM SOLUTION, LONG-TERM CURE

Underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and hypercholesterolaemia (high cholesterol levels) can cause ED. In these cases, ED can be reversed once the patient starts treatment.

In my experience, many men suffer from ED because of work stress, family pressure and anxiety. So, changes in lifestyle with regular exercise, yoga, abstaining from alcohol and smoking, and proper counselling help in treating ED. Along with this, medicines for ED are usually prescribed for about 3 to 6 months by which time lifestyle changes start to take effect and the patient is physically and mentally healthier, which helps resolve the problem.

An estimated 16% to 25% of men experience ED at some point in their lives. I would urge them not to be embarrassed about it. Seek medical help from a urologist or andrologist; get the necessary advice/medication; and go on to enjoy a healthy, fulfilling sexual life.

The author of this article is Dr Anjani Kumar Agrawal, head, andrology, department of urology sciences, Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital, Saket

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