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World Hemophilia Day: Blood Clotting Factors and How To Cure Them

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Every year, April 17 is observed as World Hemophilia Day. Hemophilia is a bleeding disorder in which the blood doesn’t clot in the usual way. While Hemophilia A is caused by deficiency of clotting Factor VIII, Hemophilia B is caused by deficiency of Factor IX. Hemophilia A and B are both inherited in X-linked recessive pattern of genetics. Thus, males are most commonly affected by Hemophilia A and B, and females are usually carriers of the disease. The severity of the disease, however, varies from individual to individual.

Hemophilia makes a person bleed from any site in the body. The condition can damage joints because of repeated episodes of bleeding.

A person with hemophilia lacks enough blood-clotting proteins or clotting factors. Small cuts don’t cause much of a hassle among people with haemophilia. However, it is the deep bleeding inside the body which is a major cause of concern. This is especially if the bleeding happens in ankles, knees and elbows. Internal bleeding because of haemophilia can be life-threatening as it can cause damage to organs and tissues.

 

Hemophilia symptoms

Depending on the clotting factors, signs and symptoms of haemophilia vary from person to person. Among people whose clotting factor is only mildly reduced, the bleeding might occur only after a surgery or trauma. But in case of severe deficiency of clotting factor, the bleeding is severe and spontaneous.

Spontaneous bleeding is characterised by excessive bleeding from cuts and injuries, or excessive bleeding after a surgery or a dental operation. If a person has numerous large and deep bruises, it might be because of spontaneous bleeding. People with spontaneous bleeding also experience unusual bleeding after vaccinations, pain and swelling in joints, blood in urine and/or stool, sudden nose bleeding and unexplained irritability in infants.

Causes for hemophilia

While most forms of hemophilia are inherited, about 30% of them happen to people without any family history of the disorder. These people suffer from the condition because of an unexpected change or spontaneous mutation in the genes.

A rare form of hemophilia is known as acquired hemophilia, in which a person clotting factors in the blood are attacked by a person’s immune system. This condition can be associated with multiple sclerosis, autoimmune conditions and pregnancy.

Bleeding in the brain

People with severe hemphilia might experience bleeding in the brain with a slight bump in the head. Symptoms for bleeding in the brain include severe and prolonged headaches, repeated vomiting, lethargy, weakness and convulsions.

Inheritance of hemophilia

Hemophilia is known to be passed from mothers to son through one of mother’s genes. Most women are simply carriers and experience no symptoms of hemophilia. However, some carriers can experience symptoms of bleeding in case their clotting factors are reduced mildly.

When to seek treatment

In case you witness symptoms of bleeding in the brain, an injury in which the bleeding won’t stop or swollen joints that are extremely hot and painful, you need to seek treatment for hemophilia.

Treatment of hemophilia

Replacement of the specific clotting factor is the main treatment of hemophilia. This replacement therapy helps in stopping the bleeding episode which is in progress. The clotting factor can be replaced through donated blood or recombinant clotting factors which aren’t made from human blood.

  1. Physical therapy

A physical therapy can help in easing symptoms if there has been damage to joints because of internal bleeding. Severe damage to joints may need treatment through surgery.

  1. Clot-preserving medications

These medicines help in preventing breakdown of blood clots.

  1. Desmopressin

This treatment is used in case of milk hemophilia. Desmopressin is a hormone which can stimulate your body to release more clotting factors. The hormone is injected in the body through a vein or is provided as a nasal spray.
4. Fibrin sealants

These are medicines which are applied directly on the wounds in order to promote blood clotting and healing. This kind of treatment is helpful in dental therapy.

  1. First aid

For minor cuts, using bandages and pressure can take care of the bleeding. Ice pack can be used to treat bleeding beneath the skin. To reduce bleeding in the mouth, you can use ice pops.

  1. Vaccinations

Immunisation against hepatitis A and B can he taken in order prevent symptoms of hemophilia.


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Health

This winter control asthma with inhalation therapy

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Whether youre indoors or outdoors, winter will exacerbate asthma attacks. Winter is the most loved season, but it might be unpleasant for patients with lung diseases. An American Lung Association fact-sheet states that asthma is one of the most common chronic disorders and currently affects about 7.1 million children under 18 years. The World Health Organisation Global Burden of Disease Study estimates that 13.8 million disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) are lost yearly due to asthma, representing 1.8 per cent of the total global disease burden.

For 300 million people around the globe suffering from asthma, the cold winter months often lead to a worsening of their symptoms.

The cold environment it not suitable for asthma patients. Their lungs and airway passages are quite sensitive. To a larger extent, asthma symptoms related to winter can be in controlled and managed by precise treatment and medication. Due to the swelling in the lining of the airways which leads to their narrowing, and the sticky mucus or phlegm build-up that blocks the airways, breathing is difficult and forced for asthmatic patients.

 

During winter, the cold air causes airways to tighten further, making it even more difficult to breathe.

Many patients and their family members are misinformed about the causes of asthma and the treatment options available. It is a necessity to educate patients and caregivers about the disease and treatment with minimal side-effects of inhaled corticosteroids, i.e. inhalation therapy.

Many pharmaceutical organisations are running campaigns to bust myths around inhalation therapy. Often, the word steroids evokes apprehensions in the minds of patients causing them to shy away from inhalers. The steroid is produced by the human body naturally to deal with inflammation and it is also safe for children and pregnant women. The inhalation therapy consists of an inhaler pump to send the corticosteroids into airway passages.

According to a research article published in Respiratory Medicine journal, the correlation between inhalation therapy for asthma and clinical efficacy is positive, with improved symptom-control and lung-function shown in most studies of adults, adolescents and children.

In the inhalation therapy, the inflammation of the airway requires a very small quantity of corticosteroids — around 25 to 100 micrograms — but when it is consumed through the oral/intestinal route the amount administered is very large — about 10,000 micrograms, since only a fraction of the drug reaches the lungs. This means that every time an asthma patient pops a pill or a tablet, he/she is actually taking almost 200 times the amount of medication required, leading to ill-effects on health.

Inhalation therapy directly gives body only that amount of steroid needed to control the symptoms. Against this, oral medication first gets dissolved in the blood and then reaches various organs, including the lungs.

Thus, inhalation therapy is a simple and easy solution for asthma patients to enjoy their winter to the fullest.

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Some nose, throat bacteria less likely to develop into flu: Study

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US researchers have identified a cluster of nose and throat bacteria that made their hosts less likely to get flu.

The researchers from the University of Michigan (UM) looked at samples of nose and throat bacteria and used DNA sequencing to identify which bacteria were present.

Analysing the bacterial composition across all samples, they found five clusters.After taking into account other known factors that could affect an individual’s
susceptibility to influenza, such as age, exposure to tobacco, crowded household and flu vaccination, the researchers then looked to see if individuals with a given cluster were less likely to get influenza.

 

“We looked at who had which cluster and whether it makes a difference on whether they got influenza, and it does,” said lead author Betsy Foxman, Professor at UM. “That’s the exciting thing about it. It tells us if you have this bacterial community, you have lower risk for getting the flu. That’s big news because it really hasn’t been shown before.”

However, the findings published in PLOS ONE journal also bring new questions.”Is it really possible to push someone’s microbiome in a way that would make a difference? Is it possible that we could tell people – ‘Here’s your microbiome pill?'” Foxman said, adding that “It’s a very long road and we’re at the beginning.”

Researchers hope that similar studies can be done in a different population and possibly follow them longer for secondary bacterial infections.”We know we are always going to need new antibiotics but this way we could hold on to them longer and, presumably, if we could intervene in this way there would be fewer side effects,” Foxman said.

For the study, the team enrolled 717 participants from 144 households. Household members of individuals with confirmed influenza were recruited for the study and followed for 13 days or until they developed influenza, whichever came first. They included only the 537 individuals who tested negative for influenza at the beginning of the study.

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Taking artificial sweeteners as a sugar substitute? Study says it may not be effective

The Kashmir Monitor

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While some people who are trying to avoid sugar are increasingly opting for artificial sugar, a recent study has revealed that taking artificial sugar may not be a good idea after all.”Growing concerns about health and quality of life have encouraged people to adapt healthy lifestyles and avoid the consumption of food rich in sugars, salt, or fat to prevent obesity and other non-communicable diseases. With increased consumer interest in reducing energy intake, food products containing non-sugar sweeteners (NSSs) rather than simple sugars (monosaccharides and disaccharides) have become increasingly popular”, the study stated.

But replacing sugar with artificial sweeteners used in Diet Coke and other soft drinks has no effect on weight loss and their long-term health effects are still poorly understood, the review said. The study titled ‘Association between intake of non-sugar sweeteners and health outcomes: systematic review and meta-analyses of randomised and non-randomised controlled trials and observational studies’ was led by the University of Freiburg and published in the BMJ.

It also highlighted the absence of research on the long-term health effects of sweeteners when taken over years or decades. In this comprehensive systematic review, a broad range of health outcomes was investigated to determine a possible association with non-sugar sweetener used by a generally healthy population.

 

“The studies were set up to look at different types of sweeteners, measuring weight, blood sugar (glycaemic) control, oral health, cancer, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, mood and behaviour in consumers. For most of them, there was no statistical difference in weight loss or health benefits of adults and children using higher doses of sweeteners rather than small amounts or none”, a report in The Guardian stated.

This comprehensive systematic review covers a broad range of benefits and harms of NSSs in a generally healthy population of adults and children, following rigorous systematic review methods. “Overall, we included 56 studies of adults and children, which assessed the associations and effects of NSSs on different health outcomes.

For most outcomes, there seemed to be no statistically or a clinically relevant difference between NSS intake versus no intake, or between different doses of NSSs. No evidence was seen for health benefits from NSSs and potential harms could not be excluded. The certainty of the included evidence ranged from very low to moderate, and our confidence in the reported effect estimates is accordingly limited”, the study stated.

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