Posts made in March, 2014

World Tuberculosis Day | 24 March 2014

Posted by on Mar 24, 2014 in Health Topics | 0 comments

World Tuberculosis Day  |  24 March 2014

World Tuberculosis Day is a worldwide event that aims to raise public awareness of tuberculosis and the efforts made to prevent and treat this disease. This event is held on March 24 each year and is promoted by organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO). What do people do? Various World Tuberculosis Day events and activities are organized by various organizations involved in the Stop TB Partnership. WHO is a United Nations’ (UN) health authority that works with this network to promote World Tuberculosis Day each year. Campaign activities include: Community discussion groups that are organized to look at ways to prevent TB. Award ceremonies or other events to honor the life and work of those who dedicate their lives to prevent and fight against TB. Photo exhibitions that showcase images to raise worldwide awareness of TB. Charity events to raise funds for disease control (of TB) in countries that need assistance. People, community groups and government agencies may also take the time to work with broadcast, print and online media to promote stories on the awareness of tuberculosis and the works of those who help fight against the spread of the disease.   Background Tuberculosis, or TB, is an infectious bacterial disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which most commonly affects the lungs. It is transmitted from person to person via droplets from the throat and lungs of people with the disease. WHO estimates that the largest number of new TB cases in 2005 occurred in south-east Asia, which accounted for 34 percent of incident cases globally. However, the estimated incidence rate in sub-Saharan Africa is nearly twice that of south-east Asia. World Tuberculosis Day, annually held on March 24, marks the day in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch detected the cause of tuberculosis, the TB bacillus. This was a first step towards diagnosing and curing tuberculosis. World Tuberculosis Day can be traced back to 1982, when the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease launched World TB Day on March 24 that year, to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Dr Koch’s discovery. In 1996, the World Health Organization (WHO) joined the union and other organizations to promote World TB Day. The Stop TB Partnership, called the Stop TB Initiative at the time of its inception, was established in 1998. It is a network of organizations and countries fighting tuberculosis. WHO works with this partnership on to support the activities and events that take place on World Tuberculosis Day each year....

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Flu Questions and Answers

Posted by on Mar 21, 2014 in Health Topics | 0 comments

Flu Questions and Answers

What is flu? Easily confused with a cold, flu is a viral infection that causes serious respiratory tract infections. The symptoms are similar to cold symptoms, except that the onset is very sudden. One morning you may be well, and that afternoon you’re running a high fever and feel really ill. How is it spread? Via droplets when infected people cough or sneeze near you. When you touch contaminated surfaces and then touch your eyes, mouth or nose straight afterwards. Through particles in enclosed, crowded spaces like elevators. What’s the difference between a flu epidemic and a flu pandemic? When flu simultaneously affects a lot of people in one country or area, it’s an epidemic. When many people in different countries across the world are simultaneously affected by flu, it’s a pandemic. Why are pandemics so serious? The viruses that cause pandemics spread very quickly due to the fact that they are new influenza strains that the population have no immunity against. What can I do to protect myself and my family? Get vaccinated with the seasonal flu vaccine. You can also protect yourself and others by adhering to good hygiene practices. How do flu vaccines work? The vaccine is made up of a small inactive part of that season’s flu virus. Being inactive, it cannot infect your body with the virus, yet it allows your body to make antibodies to fight the flu. In that way, you’re building up immunity. Should a pandemic occur, at least your body has had time to acquire immunity to currently circulating flu viruses. Are some people more at risk than others? Yes. These are the high-risk groups: People aged 65 or older, especially if living in a retirement home. Anyone with a heart problem, lung problem, including asthma, or with chronic illnesses like anaemia, diabetes or kidney failure. Immune-suppressed people, including those who are HIV-positive. Caregivers and close contacts of any of the above. Smokers, as they are more prone to respiratory illnesses. Cancer sufferers. Children under the age of 12 years. The WHO reports that some preliminary studies suggest that obesity, and especially extreme obesity, may also be a risk for more severe disease. What about children? Children at school or in day care centres have an increased risk of catching flu, so it’s wise to have them vaccinated. Why should I get vaccinated annually? Flu viruses change, and every year the flu vaccine is adapted to the virus in circulation in that year. What are the “Flu like symptoms” of influenza? Runny nose Fever Aches and pains Fatigue Vomiting Coughing Diarrhoea Sore throat Remember FLU FACTS: F = Fever A = Aches and pains C = Chills T = Tiredness S = Sudden onset source:...

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Glaucoma and your eyes

Posted by on Mar 14, 2014 in Health Topics | 0 comments

Glaucoma and your eyes

Glaucoma is a condition that causes damage to your eye’s optic nerve and gets worse over time. It’s often associated with a buildup of pressure inside the eye. Glaucoma tends to be inherited and may not show up until later in life. The increased pressure, called intraocular pressure, can damage the optic nerve, which transmits images to the brain. If damage to the optic nerve from high eye pressure continues, glaucoma will cause permanent loss of vision. Without treatment, glaucoma can cause total permanent blindness within a few years. Because most people with glaucoma have no early symptoms or pain from this increased pressure, it is important to see your eye doctor regularly so that glaucoma can be diagnosed and treated before long-term visual loss occurs. If you are over the age of 40 and if you have a family history of glaucoma, you should have a complete eye exam with an eye doctor every one to two years. If you have health problems such as diabetes or a family history of glaucoma or are at risk for other eye diseases, you may need to visit your eye doctor more frequently. Why Does Pressure Rise in the Eye Cause Glaucoma? Glaucoma usually occurs when pressure in your eye increases. This can happen when eye fluid isn’t circulating normally in the front part of the eye. Normally, this fluid, called aqueous humor, flows out of the eye through a mesh-like channel. If this channel becomes blocked, fluid builds up, causing glaucoma. The direct cause of this blockage is unknown, but doctors do know that it can be inherited, meaning it is passed from parents to children. Less common causes of glaucoma include a blunt or chemical injury to the eye, severe eye infection, blockage of blood vessels in the eye, inflammatory conditions of the eye, and occasionally eye surgery to correct another condition. Glaucoma usually occurs in both eyes, but it may involve each eye to a different extent. How can Glaucoma be prevented? Currently, regular eye exams are the best form of prevention against significant glaucoma damage. Early detection and careful, lifelong treatment can maintain vision in most people. In general, a check for glaucoma should be done: before age 40, every two to four years from age 40 to age 54, every one to three years from age 55 to 64, every one to two years after age 65, every six to 12 months Anyone with high risk factors should be tested every year or two after age 35. Those at higher risk include people of African descent, people with diabetes, and people with a family history of glaucoma. You are at increased risk if you have a parent or brother or sister with glaucoma....

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World Glaucoma Week | 9-15 March 2014

Posted by on Mar 13, 2014 in Health Topics | 0 comments

World Glaucoma Week  |  9-15 March 2014

            ‘BIG – is Beat Invisible Glaucoma” World Glaucoma Week is commemorated to raise awareness of this silent robber of vision. Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that cause progressive damage of the optic nerve at the point where it leaves the eye to carry visual information to the brain. If left untreated, most types of glaucoma progress (without warning nor obvious symptoms to the patient) towards gradually worsening visual damage and may lead to blindness. Once incurred, visual damage is mostly irreversible, and this has led to glaucoma being described as the “silent blinding disease” or the “sneak thief of sight”. Glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness worldwide. It is estimated that 4.5 million persons globally are blind due to glaucoma1 and that this number will rise to 11.2 million by 2020. It is noteworthy that due to the silent progression of the disease – at least in its early stages – up to 50% of affected persons in the developed countries are not even aware of having glaucoma. This number may rise to 90% in underdeveloped parts of the world. There are several types of glaucoma. Some may occur as a complication of other visual disorders (the so-called “secondary” glaucomas) but the vast majority is “primary”, i.e. they occur without a known cause. It was once believed that the cause of most or all glaucomas was high pressure within the eye (known as intraocular pressure sometimes abbreviated as IOP). It is now established however, that even people without an abnormally high IOP may suffer from glaucoma. Intraocular pressure is considered therefore today as a “Risk Factor” for glaucoma, together with other factors such as racial ancestry, family history, high myopia and age. Some forms of glaucoma may occur at birth (“congenital”) or during infancy and childhood (“juvenile”); in most cases however, glaucoma appears after the 4th decade of life, and its frequency increases with age. There is no clearly established difference in glaucoma incidence between men and women. The most common types of adult-onset glaucoma are Primary Open Angle Glaucoma (POAG) a form most frequently encountered in patients of Caucasian and African ancestry and Angle-Closure Glaucoma (ACG), which is the more common in patients of Asian ancestry. Angle-Closure Glaucoma is often chronic, like POAG, but can sometimes be acute, in which case it usually presents as a very painful ocular condition leading to rapid vision loss. There is no cure for glaucoma as yet, and vision loss is irreversible. However medication or surgery (traditional or laser) can halt or slow-down any further vision loss. Therefore early detection is essential to limiting visual impairment and preventing the progression towards severe visual handicap or blindness. Your eye-care professional can detect glaucoma in its early stages and advise you on the best course of action. Source: World Glaucoma...

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