Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bugs That Cause Cancer- And What You Can Do About It

I found this in this doctor's blog website..

The two easiest ways to help to prevent two common cancers is easily obtainable but not generally known to the public.

Stomach cancer, which is the second leading cause of deaths due to cancer, shows a worldwide incidence but seems to be more common in the Far East where it is attributable to the consumption of pickled and salted foods. However, it is now known that a cause of stomach cancer is a bug well-known for causing stomach and duodenal ulcers, called Helicobacter pylori (H pylori). Now, researchers have shown that if they were to eliminate this bug from those suffering from early stages of this cancer, they were able to effect a cure. Read more of this here.

More doctors believe that if one’s stomach contains these bugs,it may be better to rid of them by swallowing a course of antibiotics.

For patients having symptoms suggestive of stomach ulcers(the non-cancerous kind), the presence of H pylori can easily be detected by a few easy ways, including breath tests and blood sampling. Sometimes, a scope needs to be inserted into the stomach to obtain tissue samples. Once the test is confirmed positive, a 2-week course of antibiotics that includes one or more of these -lansoprazole, amoxycillin or clarithromycin- is given to eliminate this bug from the stomach.

Primary liver cancer, the fifth most common cancer in the world, is a deadly cancer for which the outlook is bad as, by the time someone has symptoms, the cancer is far-advanced and has spread to other organs. Again, a bug - the hepatitis B virus-has been identified to be the cause in 50% of primary liver cancers aka hepatocellular carcinoma, aka hepatoma.

The role of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in causing liver cancer is well established. So much so, an effective means of prevention is to get Hepatitis B immunisation shots after a prior blood test has confirmed the absence of previous infection due to hepatitis B virus. In most countries in Asia, it is already mandatory for all newborns to be immunised, so there is a real chance that the incidence of liver cancer due to hepatitis B will fall dramatically in the near future.

On other note, my father passed away due to liver cancer. So do take this seriously.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Headache during pregnancy

Lately, I experienced this.. and it really hurts!

Is it common to get headaches during pregnancy?

It's not unusual to get tension headaches when you're pregnant, especially in the first trimester. Tension headaches — the most common kind of headache — can feel like a squeezing pain or a steady dull ache on both sides of the head or the back of the neck. If you've always been susceptible to tension headaches, pregnancy can make the problem worse.

Experts don't know exactly why carrying a child tends to make your head ache more often, but one good guess is the hormonal free-for-all that's taking place in your body. Going cold turkey on caffeine can also make your head pound.

Other potential culprits include lack of sleep or general fatigue, sinus congestion, allergies, eyestrain, stress, depression, hunger, and dehydration.

For most pregnant women, headaches tend to diminish or even disappear during the second trimester, when the flood of hormones stabilizes and the body grows accustomed to its altered chemistry.

What about migraines?

Migraines are another common type of headache. Experts estimate that about one in five women has a migraine headache at some time in her life, and about 15 percent of migraine sufferers get migraines for the first time when they're pregnant (most often in the first trimester).

Migraine headaches cause moderate to severe throbbing pain, typically on one side of the head. They last from four to 72 hours (if untreated) and are aggravated by physical activity. They are also accompanied by other symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, or sensitivity to light and noise.

Some migraine sufferers have what are known as migraines with aura — that is, headaches that are preceded by symptoms that may include visual changes (such as bright flashing lights or blind spots), sensations of numbness or "pins and needles," weakness, and speech disturbances. These symptoms may start as long as an hour before a migraine and may last up to an hour.

Fortunately, about two thirds of women who are prone to migraines notice that they improve during pregnancy. (This is more likely if your migraines tended to be worse around your periods or started when you first began menstruating.) Others notice no change or find that their headaches become more frequent and intense.

Even if you're part of the unlucky minority whose migraines don't improve during pregnancy, you can at least take some solace in the fact that migraine sufferers don't appear to have a higher risk of pregnancy complications than other women.

Can a headache be a sign of something more serious?

Yes. Most headaches during pregnancy are unpleasant but harmless, but a headache can be a sign of a more serious problem. If you're having a migraine or other severe headache for the first time ever, you'll need a full medical evaluation to be sure nothing else is going on.

In the second or third trimester of pregnancy, a headache could be a sign of severe preeclampsia, a serious pregnancy-induced syndrome that includes high blood pressure, protein in the urine, and other changes.