Saturday, March 14, 2009


Bronchitis is an inflammation of the air passages within the lungs. It occurs when the trachea (windpipe) and the large and small bronchi (airways) within the lungs become inflamed because of infection or other causes. When these tubes get infected, they swell and mucus (thick fluid) forms inside them. This makes it hard for you to breathe.

Symptoms include:
* Coughing up extra mucus, sometimes with blood
* Inflamation of the bronchus (lower trachea)
* Hardening (oedema) of the smooth muscle
* Blockage of the alvola
* Wheezing (bubbling - refered to as "bubble wrap effect" when heard with stethescope)
* Difficulty breathing (due to above symptoms)
* Blocked/Runny nose

Bronchitis can be acute or chronic. An acute medical condition comes on quickly and can cause severe symptoms, but it lasts only a short time (no longer than a few weeks). Acute bronchitis is most often caused by one of a number of viruses that can infect the respiratory tract and attack the bronchial tubes. Infection by certain bacteria can also cause acute bronchitis. Most people have acute bronchitis at some point in their lives.

Chronic bronchitis, on the other hand, can be mild to severe and is longer lasting — from several months to years. With chronic bronchitis, the bronchial tubes continue to be inflamed (red and swollen), irritated, and produce excessive mucus over time. The most common cause of chronic bronchitis is smoking.

People who have chronic bronchitis are more susceptible to bacterial infections of the airway and lungs, like pneumonia. (In some people with chronic bronchitis, the airway becomes permanently infected with bacteria.) Pneumonia is more common among smokers and people who are exposed to secondhand smoke.

Bronchitis is commonly treated with an antibiotic called Amoxicillin or with inhalers as with asthma. A rescue puffer, Ventolin, Salbutomal or Novo-Salmol, is commonly used for a respiratory emergency (dyspnea). Other inhalers can be prescribed for daily therapy use. When left untreated, or the infection spreads to the lower airways, it can often lead to Bronchiolitis which is more difficult to treat.

Chronic bronchitis is one sub-category of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or disorder). Emphysema is another sub-category of COPD. With COPD, each interferes with the absorption of oxygen into the blood stream. COPD patients can degrade to the point where their breathing system does not recognize high levels of carbon dioxide buildup. Their breathing mechanism will respond to low levels of oxygen instead. So applying oxygen for treatment of a COPD patient can potentially shut down the respiratory drive. However, COPD is a secondary issue. The oxygen is required for treatment of the main injury or illness. The main point is to monitor and ensure that if the respiratory drive shuts down, rescue breathing or CPR can be immediately administered (if no signs of circulation). It is estimated that one in twenty smokers suffer from COPD (making it the main cause of the disease) most of which are middle aged men, smoking 20-40 cigarettes per day for a prolonged period of 20 years or more.

What's the best way to avoid getting bronchitis? Washing your hands often helps to prevent the spread of many of the germs that cause the condition — especially during cold and flu season.
If you don't smoke, don't ever start smoking — and if you do smoke, try to quit or cut down. Try to avoid being around smokers because even secondhand smoke can make you more susceptible to viral infections and increase congestion in your airway. Also, be sure to get plenty of rest and eat right so that your body can fight off any illnesses that you come in contact with.

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common cold

common cold is a highly contagious,viral infectious disease of the upper respiratory systems,primaly caused by picornaviruses(including rhinoviruses) or coronaviruses.
after initial infection,the viral replication cycle begins within 8 to 12 hours. symptoms can occur shortly thereafter,and usually begin within 2 to 5 days after infectioun,although occasionally in as little as 10 hours after infection.

the first indication of a cold is often a sore or scratchy throat. other common symptoms are a runny nose,congestion,sneezing,and cough. these are sometimes accompanied by muscle aches,fatigue,malaise,headache,weakness or loss of appetite. the symptoms usually resolve spontaneously in 7 to 10 days but some can last for up three weeks. symptoms may be more severe in infants,young children and tobacco users/smokers, and may include fiver and hives.

The common cold usually resolves spontaneously in 7 to 10 days but some symptoms can last for up to three weeks. There are no medications or herbal remedies proven to shorten the duration of illness. Treatment often is given via symptomatic supportive options, maximizing the comfort of the patient, and limiting complications and harmful sequelae.
The common cold is self-limiting, and the host's immune system effectively deals with the infection. Within a few days, the body's humoral immune response begins producing specific antibodies that can prevent the virus from infecting cells. Additionally, as part of the cell-mediated immune response, leukocytes destroy the virus through phagocytosis and destroy infected cells to prevent further viral replication. In healthy, immunocompetent individuals, the common cold resolves in seven days on average.

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases suggests getting plenty of rest, drinking fluids to maintain hydration, gargling with warm salt water, using cough drops, throat sprays, or over-the-counter pain or cold medicines. Saline nasal drops may help alleviate congestion.
Treatment that may help alleviate symptoms include: analgesics, decongestants, and cough suppressants,[citation needed] first-generation anti-histamines such as brompheniramine, chlorpheniramine, diphenhydramine and clemastine (which reduce mucus gland secretion and thus combat blocked/runny noses but also may make the user drowsy). Second-generation anti-histamines do not have a useful effect on colds.

The best way to avoid a cold is to avoid close contact with existing sufferers; to wash hands thoroughly and regularly; and to avoid touching the eyes, nose, mouth, and face. Anti-bacterial soaps have no effect on the cold virus; it is the mechanical action of hand washing with the soap that removes the virus particles.
In 2002, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended alcohol-based hand gels as an effective method for reducing infectious viruses on the hands of health care workers. As with hand washing with soap and water, alcohol gels provide no residual protection from re-infection.
The common cold is caused by a large variety of viruses, which mutate quite frequently during reproduction, resulting in constantly changing virus strains. Thus, successful immunization is highly improbable.
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Friday, March 13, 2009


Osteoarthritis, sometimes called degenerative joint disease or osteoarthrosis, is the most common form of arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage in your joints wears down over time.
Osteoarthritis can affect any joint in your body, though it most commonly affects joints in your hands, hips, knees and spine. Osteoarthritis typically affects just one joint, though in some cases, such as with finger arthritis, several joints can be affected.
Osteoarthritis gradually worsens with time, and no cure exists. But osteoarthritis treatments can relieve pain and help you remain active. Taking steps to actively manage your osteoarthritis may help you gain control over your osteoarthritis pain.

Osteoarthritis usually develops in people who are over 50 years of age, and it is more common in women than in men. It is commonly thought that osteoarthritis is an inevitable part of getting older, but this is not true.
Younger people can also be affected by osteoarthritis, often as a result of an injury or another joint condition.
Osteoarthritis is often thought of as a critical and disabling condition, but this is not usually the case. The symptoms vary greatly from person to person, and between different affected joints.
There can also be variation between the amount of damage to the joints and the severity of the symptoms. For example, a joint may be severely damaged without causing symptoms, or symptoms may be severe without affecting the movement of a joint.
There is no cure for osteoarthritis, but the symptoms can be eased by using a number of different treatments. Mild symptoms can often be managed through exercise or by wearing suitable footwear. However, in more advanced cases of osteoarthritis other treatments may be necessary. Treatments include analgesics (painkillers), physiotherapy or surgery.

The main symptoms of osteoarthritis are:
* pain,
* stiffness (which is worst when you wake up in the morning but improves within about 30 minutes when you start to move), and
* difficulty moving your affected joints.
Other symptoms of osteoarthritis may include:
* joint tenderness,
* increased pain and stiffness when you have not moved your joints for a while,
* joints appearing slightly larger, or more 'knobbly' than usual,
* a grating or crackling sound or sensation in your joints,
* limited range of movement in your joints,
* weakness and muscle wasting (loss of muscle bulk), and
* warm joints.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis in the knees
If you have osteoarthritis in your knees, it is likely that both of your knees will be affected, unless it has occurred as the result of an injury or another condition.
Your knees may be most painful when you walk, particularly when walking uphill or going up stairs. Sometimes your knees may 'give way' beneath you or lock into position so that you cannot straighten your legs. You may also hear a soft, grating sound when you move the affected joint.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis in the hips
Osteoarthritis in your hips often causes difficulty moving your hip joints. You may find it difficult to put your shoes and socks on or to get in and out of a car.
If you have osteoarthritis in your hips, you may have pain in your hips. However, it is quite common to have pain in your knee and not in your hip. Rarely, you may have pain in other areas such as the thighs, buttocks, knees and ankles. In most cases, pain will be at its worst when you walk, although it can also affect you when you are resting.

Symptoms of osteoarthritis in the hands
There are three main areas of your hand that are often affected by osteoarthritis - the base of your thumb, the joints closest to your fingertips, and the middle joints of your fingers.
Your fingers may become stiff, painful and swollen and you may develop bumps on your finger joints. However, over time the pain in your fingers may decrease and eventually disappear altogether, although the bumps and swelling may remain.
You may find that your fingers bend sideways slightly at your affected joints, or that you develop painful cysts (fluid-filled lumps) on the backs of your fingers.
In some cases you may also develop a bump at the base of your thumb where it joins your wrist. This can be painful and you may find it difficult to perform some manual tasks, such as writing, opening jars or turning keys.


conservative care
conservative measures such as weight control,appropiate rest and exercise, and the use of mechanical support devices are usually beneficial.regular exercise if possible, in the form of walking,swimming,or other low impact activities are encouraged.applying local heat before, and cold packs after exercise can help relieve pain and inflammation.

supplements which may be useful for treating OA include: glucosamine,chondroitin,omega-3 fatty acid,folic acid,cobalamine.

specific medication
-paracetamol treat the pain from OA
-nsaid(non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs) may reduce both the pain and inflammation.most prominent drugs in thhe class include diclofenac,ibuprofen,naproxen,ketoprofen.
-COX-2 selective inhibitors such as selecoxib,rofecoxib,valdecoxib.
-narcotics for moderate to severe pain, narcotic pain relievers such as tramadol,and eventually opioids may be necessary
if the mangement above in inefective,joint replacement surgery may be required

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