Category Archives: doctor

Keep Your Body and Mind Healthy by Walking

hippocampusAerobic exercise has always been known to be good for the heart. But recent studies show that it is also beneficial for the brain. If you take regular walks, it can help protect the center of your brain. However, the same researches have also found that stretching exercises can shrink the hippocampus – the center of the brain.

Moreover, regular walking such as three times every week can help increase the volume of the hippocampus. This is important especially for the elderly as it will improve their memory as proven by a control group of mid-60’s men and women who’ve been walking regularly for about a year.

On the contrary, a control group who’ve been taking stretching classes for a year showed a decline in the volume of the hippocampus. This was reported by Dr. Arthur Kramer and his colleagues of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.

This research is very useful, especially for the older age group because it shows that there is a way to overcome memory loss. By doing simple exercises such as walking, the age-related decline of the hippocampal can be prevented. It can also improve your health and well-being.

The Hippocampus

Hippocampus is a major part of the brain and is located on each side, left and right. It belongs to the limbic system and plays an important part in the processing of information from short term to long term memory. Unfortunately, it is one of the parts of the brain which is first to suffer damage such as memory loss and disorientation. Some of the causes of these damages are oxygen starvation and medial temporal lobe epilepsy. When there is extensive damage, you may experience inability to retain or form new memories.

The volume of the hippocampus tends to drop as you grow older, at least 1 or 2 percent every year. This can lead to impaired memory or even dementia if not prevented. Aerobic walking at least 3 times a week can improve your fitness and memory. There is around 2 percent increase in the volume of the hippocampus if simple exercises are performed. If you cannot walk around your village, you may walk on a treadmill and enjoy the same benefits too.

The study conducted by Dr. Kramer and his team showed that their control group showed better memory performance compared to individuals who did not participate in the walking exercise. Aerobic exercises is neuroprotective and a regimen that enhances the cognition of an individual.

6 Tips to Have a Successful Surgery

successful surgeryAlmost everyone is scared of the idea of undergoing surgery, especially a major one. What makes us really worry about surgical procedure? Why are we so hesitant about it? There could be many possible reasons and each of us has a different way of handling it.

Here are 6 helpful tips to ensure that we have a successful surgery and fast recovery. Preparing ourselves on what we can expect and seeking proper post-surgical care are big help to make the entire ‘stressful’ process bearable for us.


Understand Your Options

It’s quite understandable that some of us may have violent reactions and mixed emotions when told that we’ll need to undergo surgical procedure. But what we have to remember is that we must focus and think about our options. We have to carefully discuss with our doctor if we have a choice of alternative or if we have a number of surgical procedures to choose from. We must make it a point to schedule more than one consultation with our attending physician.

Select an Experienced Surgical Team

We should seek the help of our doctor to choose an experienced surgical team and facility that specializes in our particular condition. We should also ensure that we schedule our operation in a facility that has a high volume of surgical procedure of what we are having because this is one proof that they are trusted in the area.

Follow Pre-Surgery Prep Instructions

For a more successful surgical procedure result, let us always follow our doctor’s advice and take good care of ourselves before the ‘big’ day. Our bodies undergo great stress because of surgery so we need to be physically strong to handle that blow. We should always get enough sleep, eat a healthy diet and avoid bad vices like smoking.

Be Aware of Possible Complications

Having a positive mind is always helpful for our fast recovery. However, there are times when complications happen and we have to be ready for them. As good patients, we always have to be well-informed.

Get Proper Follow-Up Care

The real work begins after surgery – we have to recover from it! We should always get a better understanding of the follow-up care that we need after the operation. The process may require us, our family and caregivers to learn new skills and we should encourage everyone to help us to avoid experiencing any serious complications.

Our Road to the New Us

Let us not be afraid to ask our doctor everything we need to know after our operation. Our family should have immediate contact with our doctor in case there is further information that we need. Most importantly, we need to get enough rest and sleep to regain our strength. Eating the recommended diet for our condition is also prime! Our road to recovery will be easier if follow our surgical team’s advice before and after the operation.

Dangerous Bacteria Lurking Outside the Hospitals

clostridium difficileMost people think that the outside world is a lot safer than being contained in the hospital – where different kinds of bacteria and virus are living due to varying illnesses suffered by patients. However, recent study has shown that dangerous bacteria called Clostridium difficile is also present outside the hospital. The said bacteria can cause serious infections that can lead to death and other serious conditions.

What is Clostridium Difficile?

This is a deadly diarrheal infection that can pose deathly threats to anyone who is affected. Ileana Arias, principal deputy director at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, stated that the bacteria have caused many Americans to suffer and some even passed away. In fact, it has been linked to more than 14,000 deaths in the United States annually.

According to medical experts, people who are susceptible to the bacteria are those that often take antibiotics and also receive medical care from any health center. Generally, the illnesses caused by Clostridium difficile are treatable and can be prevented from getting serious if proper treatment is just seeked.

Most of the time, the bacteria’s rapid growth in a patient’s system is due to excessive use of antibiotics. People who lead unhealthy lives and diet are at higher risk of acquiring the bacteria.

Affected People

Based on the report, 50% of the patients who have Clostridium Difficile are under the age 65. But those who usually die are the ones in the older age group. Moreover, the other 50% of the patients were infected due to improper care from hospitals and other health care centers. These cases could have been prevented if only health care workers would follow simple infection control precautions.

For one, doctors can prescribe lesser antibiotics and wash their hands often especially before and after dealing with infected patients. Simple measures like these, when followed, can reduce the infections caused by Clostridium difficile by 20% as proven by hospitals in Illinois, New York and Massachusetts.

Why Does Too Much Antibiotics Trigger the Bacteria?

The study shows that too much antibiotic intake can diminish the body’s ‘good’ bacteria for several months. When the ‘good’ bacteria is absent in the body, this is when Clostridium difficile grow and make patients sick.

Symptoms of infection include diarrhea, fever, nausea and loss of appetite. Diarrhea can often lead to dehydration which can turn into a deadly infection. The medical experts highly recommend that proper treatment and tests should be conducted to a patient taking antibiotics who suffer from diarrhea thereafter.

Visiting Your Doctor is Important

regular check up with doctorRegular visits to your doctor are worth more than a pound of cure. It’s one efficient way to avoid incurring any illness that may harm your health and well-being. As a child, your parents made sure that you visit your doctor regularly to make sure everything is fine. However, as you grow up you may have set that habit aside.

This is one of the biggest mistakes that adults usually commit. If you visit your doctor on a regular basis, you can help them identify risk factors to your health and prevent these illnesses from getting worse. Logically, if diseases are detected at an early stage the treatments usually work really well. Keep in mind that a short trip to your doctor is one way to the roads of living a long, healthy life!

Prevention Check-up

Your regular check-up with your doctor will depend on several factors like age, sex and family medical history. Your visit may include but is not limited to the following:

  • Tests to check your overall health – eyes, blood, urine, etc.
  • Blood pressure, cholesterol level and weight may be assessed
  • Diet and lifestyle will be discussed
  • Booster shots & immunizations
  • Screenings to check your possibility of having or developing serious medical conditions
  • Depending on age, tests for HIV and other sexually transmitted disease may be conducted
  • Evaluation of mental health

Concerns for Men

Men are usually checked for their weight, blood pressure and other basic assessments. For men who are 50 years and below who have a family history, a rectal test for abnormal bumps in the prostrate will be conducted. A specific blood test may also take place to determine if you have prostate cancer. For men who are between the ages of 65 and 75 who are and were smokers, you will undergo an abdominal check-up to make sure that you do not have an enlargement in your aorta. The weakening of the lining in your aorta can lead to life threatening diseases if not properly treated.

Concerns for Women

Just like men, women are checked for their weight, blood pressure and other basic assessments. Their specific check-ups include a test for cervical cancer every one to three years. They are also tested for breast cancer for any unusual lumps that they may feel in your breast. From the age of 40 and younger, a breast cancer screening with mammogram is highly recommended. This should be done every one to two years to ensure that you are safe. At the age of 65, your doctor may advise you to undergo bone density test to check if you have osteoporosis. This condition involves brittle and fragile bones that typically happen to older women. However, it may also occur in women that belong to younger age groups.

The Relationship between Oral Contraceptives and Brain Cancer

oral contraceptionWhen a woman reads something about oral contraception and the big ‘C’, she gets alarmed and maybe even frightened. Truth is, when it comes to these two things the news is fairly relieving. First of all, proper intake of the pill can protect you from the risk of ovarian and uterine cancer. However, recent researches show that it can increase your risk of developing breast cancer whilst other studies say it’s a hoax. Now, you are confused and you start to ask which is really which?

To further your anxiety, recent news has been showing that birth control pills are linked to brain cancer. This leaves you, and plenty other women, panicky! The British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology has conducted a study on the incidence of brain cancer called glioma among a group of young women in Denmark. They were eager to find out if the hormones in the pill had a direct effect on glioma and they poured through all the resources that they can find. They looked into the cases of all Danish women from ages 15 to 49 who were diagnosed with glioma and checked if they were taking birth control pills.

They made a record of which type of birth control pills the women were taking and for how long they were taking it. They also compared them to a group of women of the same age range who do not have glioma. The final results show that women who took the pill have 50 percent higher risk of incurring glioma as compared to those who do not. Moreover, the risk is even higher for those who are taking progestin-only pills for a minimum period of 5 years.

Progestin-only Pills Cause Glioma

The people who conducted the research do not guarantee that the progestin-only kind is the responsible factor in the link. To be clear, the study only showed correlation and not causation. What’s clear is that the risk is higher in women who are pill takers. Glioma is a very rare health condition, there are about 5 women who develop it out of a 100,000. In a nut shell, the study does not suggest that you get rid of your pill pack just because of its results. There is no direct relation between the pill’s hormones and glioma risk. Generally, the benefits of hormonal contraception still outweigh its risks. Consult your doctor for more information.

Simple Tips for Proper Grooming

personal hygiene

Time and again, we’ve been reminded by our parents that healthy personal habits can help us ward off illnesses and even improve our confidence. Our everyday personal hygiene routine can be as simple as washing our hands regularly and brushing our teeth at least twice daily.

These practices will help keep bacteria and viruses from giving us illnesses. Moreover, proper grooming also has mental and physical benefits. It boosts our self-esteem and generally makes us feel good about life.

Bathe Regularly

We should wash our hair and body on a regular basis. Cleaning our body and shampooing our hair will help maintain our overall well-being. Our body is constantly shedding skin and we need to scrub that off because it can cause serious diseases.

Cut Your Nails

We should trim our fingernails and toenails regularly to avoid hang nails and infected nail beds. Also, if our feet are always dirty and damp it is more likely for us to develop athlete’s foot.

Floss and Brush

It is highly suggested that we brush our teeth every after eating. If that’s not possible, then we should at least brush our teeth twice every day. Brushing our teeth helps minimize bacteria buildup in our mouth which can lead to tooth decay and various gum diseases. Some gum problems may also lead to serious valve problems which cause our teeth to loosen or break easily. When this happens, we would have difficulty in eating and we won’t have a healthy smile. We should make it a habit to visit our dentist regularly.

Always Wash Your Hands

Let’s all make it a habit to wash our hands before preparing or eating food. Also when after we use the bathroom, after we sneeze or throwing out the garbage. Washing our hands regularly can help prevent spreading the bacteria and viruses. Let’s also make it a habit to keep an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with us for instant hand-washing when water and soap are not available.

Get a Goodnight’s Rest

We should always get plenty of rest every night. We need at least 8 hours of good sleep so that we are refreshed when we wake up in the morning. If we lack sleep, we also slack off during the day. We tend to neglect our chores or have poor performance at work. Let us not leave our bodies feeling run down as this can weaken our immune system.

Reasons Why Women Miss Out Their Monthly Periods

missing out on a woman's monthly periodPeople almost always associate the miss of a monthly period to pregnancy. However, that is not always the case. There are other factors that may be to blame when your period goes M.I.A. Here is a short list of the other reasons you should know about.

Major Weight Loss or Excessive Exercise

If your BMI goes below 18 or 19, you may start to experience irregularity in your monthly period. However, this is not limited to your BMI as other factors may be anorexia and bulimia. Excessive physical activities like training for a marathon may also cause you to miss your period. Nature has its own way of protecting a woman from getting pregnant if you are undergoing an extreme change or exercise. What happens is that your body lacks estrogen, there’s the absence of the big uterine lining and you will not have your period.


If you undergo extreme stress in your life, it can lead to hypothalamic amenorrhea. The hypothalamus is the area of your brain where the hormones for your period are regulated. When this area is affected by great stress such as death in the family, huge breakup or big move, your monthly period can stop.

Irregularity in Your Thyroid

The neck is where your thyroid gland is located and it is responsible for regulating your metabolism. It also works with other parts of your body to keep everything running the way they should. If you have a thyroid imbalance then that can be a reason why you have complications with your monthly period.

Polycystic Ovary Symptom

This is a type of hormone imbalance that results to a lack in ovulation. It alters your levels of estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. PCOS has been a common condition among women for a few years now and the degrees vary. It is also a major cause for a woman to miss out on her menstruation and suffer from fertility issues. But you don’t have to worry as your doctor can help you come up with a treatment plan.

Premature Menopause

This usually happens to women under 40 who have their hormones misfiring in a significant way. This experience can lead to premature menopause which is also referred to as premature ovarian failure. Some signs of this condition are missed periods, vaginal dryness, hot flashes and excessive sweating. However, the possibility of this is very rare and it’s nothing to worry about.

Reasons to Change your Birth Control

birth control pillsFinding the right birth control option for you can be quite difficult and it is usually a case of trial and error. However, all the effort that it takes is worth it in the end because you’ll be fully protected and ‘accidents’ will not happen. You don’t want to have an unplanned pregnancy, do you? Based on a survey, half of the women in the United States who have had unplanned pregnancy were using birth control methods when it happened. If you don’t want to be in the same situation, make sure to use your choice of control properly or it will pretty much defeat the purpose.

Signs that Mean You Should Switch Up

You can’t remember taking your daily pill, even if you put on dozens of alarms. Many studies show that women forget to take their pill four times a month on an average. Although forgetting one and taking it a bit late does not cause a major problem, forgetting it multiple times will lead to high failure rate. If that is the case, you definitely should look for another birth control method. Talk to your doctor and ask information about this.

You undergo breakthrough bleeding. Breakthrough bleeding usually takes place at the beginning of a new method. It usually goes away after a while. However, if it persists you should definitely let your doctor know. He or she can prescribe you with a pill that has higher dose of hormones. The bleeding may seem a bit alarming but it’s really harmless. Talk to your doctor about it.

Dealing with Mood Swings. This is fairly normal when you are under the pill because it contains a certain amount of progestin. Keep in mind that different birth control pills have varying progestin content and this affects your mood in different ways. If it bothers you that much, consult your doctor about it.

Your Sexual Appetite is Low. Pills stop the ovaries from creating sex hormone testosterone as well as suppress ovulation. Generally, women who take pills find their libidos dampen and if you’re one of them just talk to your doctor about it. He or she may suggest another method for you to take instead of the pill.

You feel bloated. Pills contain a certain level of estrogen which helps retain fluid in your body. The side effect of this is that you may feel bloated. Again, just talk to your doctor about any concerns that you may have as they can find an alternative if the pill is not working well for you.

Protecting Yourself and Your Baby from Dengue

dengue on pregnancy

Dengue is one of the most serious illnesses that anyone can incur – it’s life-threatening if you don’t get the right treatment. The information below should keep you updated about the disease and how to protect yourself and your family from it.

Avoid being bitten by a mosquito, especially when you’re pregnant as it can harm your unborn baby

Dengue is transmitted by the bite of mosquitoes that have Aedes aegypti. If you are pregnant and you are bitten by an infected mosquito, the virus may also harm your baby. You should get the proper treatment once you are infected as this serious illness can lead to death of your unborn child, low birth weight and premature birth.

Moreover, if you just incurred dengue while you’re delivering your baby then the child may develop the illness for the first two weeks of life. To protect yourself from developing dengue virus while pregnant, you have to use mosquito repellants that have up to 50% DEET, picaridin, IR3535 or oil of lemon eucalyptus. Some products that contain these ingredients are OFF, Repel and Cutter. You may ask your doctor about it to ensure that it’s safe for you.

How to protect your baby from developing dengue (babies 4 to 12 months of age are at a higher risk for this disease)

  • Make sure that your baby’s crib, stroller and carrier have netting all day, indoors and outdoors.
  • Ask your baby’s doctor what product your baby can use to protect him or her from mosquito bites.
  • Repellants are not recommended for use on babies below 2 months of age.
  • Dress your babies in clothing that keeps his or her arms and legs fully covered.

How to know if you are infected with dengue

You will know if you have dengue if you experience the following symptoms:

  • You have high fever that is over 38 degrees Celsius
  • You are experiencing severe headache
  • Your eyes are hurting with movement
  • Extreme muscle pains especially in the bones and joints
  • Rashes
  • Your gums are bleeding

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to detect dengue in babies. But some signs that you could watch out for are high fever, fussiness, agitation, irritability and lack of appetite. Immediately see your doctor whenever you suspect that you and your baby are experiencing symptoms of dengue fever.

Everything You Need to Know about Kidney Stones

kidney stonesWhat are kidney stones?

Kidney stones are composed of salts and minerals found in the urine. When these components stick together, they form small pebbles which are called kidney stones. The size of these stones may vary – they can be as small as sand grains or as large as cherry tomatoes. They can also either stay in your body or travel out through your urinary tract. And when the stones travel through the tract, it may either cause unbearable pain or none at all.

Causes of kidney stones

Kidney stones are usually formed when there is an imbalance among the minerals in your body – water, salt and other things found in urine. One of the most common reasons for having kidney stones is lack of water intake. Always make sure that you drink at least 8 to 9 glasses of water every day. This will make your urine light yellow or clear in color. Others acquire kidney stones because of an existing medical condition like gout. It may also be genetic. So if you have a family history of kidney stones, there’s a high risk that you may have them as well.

Symptoms of kidney stones

As mentioned above, having kidney stones may be painless while they are in the kidneys. However, they can also cause severe pain as they start to travel through the urinary tract. Consult your doctor immediately when you suspect that you have kidney stones to get proper treatment. Some signs to watch out for are pain in your side, belly or groin. Your urine will also look pink or red. You may feel nauseous or sick to your stomach.

Treatment for kidney stones

For most situations, doctors would recommend that you take extra care of yourself at home – like drinking more water, eating a healthy diet and getting enough rest. Your doctor may prescribe some medicine for the pain and advise you to keep hydrated. Doctors may also give you medicine to aid in the passing of the stone.

However, if the size of the kidney stones that you have is too large to pass through smoothly then you may need to get more intense treatment. Out of 10 kidney stones situations, 1 or 2 need more than home treatment. The most common treatment that doctors recommend is extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy. The process will include shock waves to break down the kidney stones into tiny pieces.