Most Common Health Conditions in Men

Ischaemic Heart Disease

It’s often said that men tend to neglect health problems until they become serious and are less likely to see a doctor than women, and there’s some truth to both of these statements. More men than women die from virtually every illness both sexes can experience. Even in diseases that affect more women than men, men will sometimes experience worse outcomes once diagnosed, possibly due to the tendency to seek help only once the illness has progressed. The good news is simple lifestyle changes can prevent many of the most common health conditions men suffer. Keep reading to learn about some of the most common health conditions in men and what you can do to avoid them. Cardiovascular Disease In Men According to data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, ischaemic heart disease, a form of cardiovascular disease also known as coronary heart disease or coronary artery disease, was the leading killer of men in Australia in 2021. What Is Cardiovascular Disease? Cardiovascular disease (or heart disease) is a disease affecting the heart and blood vessels What Are The 5 Most Common Cardiovascular Diseases? 1) Coronary Heart Disease Coronary heart disease, also known as ischaemic heart disease or coronary artery disease, is a chronic condition caused by blockages to the arteries that provide blood to the heart. Coronary artery disease can cause a heart attack or cardiac arrest. 2) Heart Failure And Cardiomyopathy Heart failure (or congestive heart failure) is a chronic condition that occurs when the heart has become so weak it can no longer pump blood effectively, and pressure builds up in the blood vessels of the lungs, making them leak fluid.  The term cardiomyopathy covers a series of diseases that affect the heart muscle and constrict the heart’s ability to pump blood. Although the AIHW does not differentiate between heart failure and cardiomyopathy and puts them jointly at number two, cardiomyopathy is a heart muscle disease that affects the heart’s ability to pump blood around the body adequately and can be a cause of heart failure. Cardiomyopathy can cause cardiac arrest. 3)  Atrial Fibrillation Atrial fibrillation is a particular type of irregular heartbeat caused by the fibrillation, or quivering, of the heart’s upper chambers. Atrial fibrillation is manageable but can lead to heart failure, stroke and other complications if left untreated. 4) Stroke A stroke is a disruption of the blood supply to the brain. This can be either due to a blood clot or an accumulation of plaque blocking a blood vessel (ischaemic stroke) or when a blood vessel in the brain ruptures (haemorrhagic stroke). 5) Peripheral Arterial Disease Peripheral arterial disease is a lack of blood flow to body parts other than the heart or brain due to the narrowing or blockage of blood vessels. It can cause serious consequences like organ damage or loss of limbs, fingers or toes.

First Aid For Burns

Burn injuries can occur unexpectedly, leaving victims in pain and distress. Whether it’s a minor kitchen accident or a more severe incident, knowing how to provide immediate first aid for burns is crucial. In this article, we will explore the various aspects of first aid for burns, including types of burns and scalds, assessing burn severity, and the steps to stop the burning process. Additionally, we’ll discuss the management of burns, burn care, procedures for major burns, and significance of a first aid course. If you’re wondering, “What is the medical treatment for burns?” and “How to treat minor burns or severe burns”—this article will equip you with the knowledge you need to respond effectively. Understanding Different Types of Burns Burns are injuries to the skin and underlying tissues that result from exposure to heat, chemicals, electricity, or radiation. They can vary in severity and are typically classified into different types based on the cause, depth, and extent of the injury. The classification of burns helps healthcare professionals determine the further medical treatment and assess the potential for complications. Thermal Burns Thermal burns are the most common type of burns and are caused by exposure to heat sources. They can be further classified into three categories: Superficial (First-Degree) Burns. Superficial burns affect only the top layer of the skin, the epidermis. They are characterized by redness, pain, and mild swelling. Sunburn is a common example of a superficial burn. Partial Thickness Burns (Second-Degree). Partial thickness burns damage both the epidermis and part of the underlying dermis. Burnt skin are often characterized by blistering, severe pain, redness, and swelling.  Full-Thickness Burns (Third-Degree). Full-thickness burns damage the entire epidermis and dermis and may extend into the underlying tissues. Burned skin often appear white, black, or charred. Full-thickness burns are typically painless because nerve endings are destroyed. Scarring is a significant concern in such cases. Chemical Burns Chemical burns result from exposure to caustic substances like acids, bases, solvents, or household chemicals. The severity of chemical burns depends on the type of chemical involved and the duration of contact. Immediate and thorough irrigation with water is critical to minimize damage. Electrical Burns Electrical burns occur when an electrical current passes through the body. The severity of electrical burns can vary widely, with damage both at the entry and exit points of the current. Internal injuries may not be apparent externally, making a comprehensive medical evaluation necessary. Electrical burn can also cause complications, such as heart arrhythmias or muscle damage. Medical treatment is often required, especially for severe chemical and electrical burns. Radiation Burns Radiation burns result from exposure to ionizing radiation, such as X-rays or nuclear radiation. These burns are relatively rare but can be severe. The severity depends on the type and duration of exposure. Radiation burns are typically seen in medical settings, industrial accidents, or as a result of nuclear events. Friction Burns (Road Rash) Friction burns occur when the skin rubs against a hard surface. Road rash from a motorcycle or bicycle accident is a common example. Depending on the depth and severity, deep burns can result in complications such as infection and more. Cold Burns (Frostbite) Cold burns, or frostbite, occur when skin and underlying tissues freeze due to extreme cold temperatures. Frostbite can result in tissue damage and necrosis. Rapid rewarming and medical attention are essential to prevent further damage. Inhalation Burns Inhalation burns occur when the airway is exposed to hot, toxic gases or smoke, often in fires. Depending on how serious burns are can cause respiratory distress and can be considered a medical emergency. Treatment includes airway management and supportive care. It’s important to note that the severity of a burn can evolve over time which can affect total body surface area. Prompt and appropriate medical evaluation and treatment are crucial to minimize complications and scarring. Additionally, deep burns can lead to complications such as infection, fluid imbalance, burnt skin, and scarring, which may require ongoing medical care, skin graft surgery, and rehabilitation. Burn Types and Characteristics Type of Burn Causes Characteristics Superficial (First-Degree) Burns Heat (e.g., sunburn) Redness, pain, mild swelling Partial Thickness (Second-Degree) Burns Heat, scalding liquids Blistering, severe pain, redness, swelling Full-Thickness (Third-Degree) Burns Severe heat, electricity, chemicals White, black, or charred skin, may be painless due to nerve damage Chemical Burns Acids, bases, solvents Varies depending on the chemical; can cause deep tissue damage Electrical Burns Electrical current Entry and exit wounds, internal damage, potential heart issues Radiation Burns Ionizing radiation (e.g., X-rays) Varies based on exposure; can be severe Friction Burns (Road Rash) Skin rubbing against hard surfaces Abrasions, possible deep skin layers damage Cold Burns (Frostbite) Extreme cold Skin freezes, leading to tissue damage and necrosis Inhalation Burns Hot gases, smoke in fires Respiratory distress, airway damage First Aid Treatment For Burns Ensure Safety. Before approaching the burn victim, make sure the scene is safe. Ensure there are no ongoing risks, such as flames, hot surfaces, or hazardous materials. Call for Help. If there are major burns involved (covering a large area, deep, or affecting the face, hands, feet, genitals, or major joints) or if the person is having difficulty breathing, call 911 or your local emergency number immediately. Assess the Situation. Evaluate the severity of the burn. Burns are typically categorized into three degrees: a. First-degree burns: Superficial, minor burns  affecting only the top layer of skin, resulting in redness and mild pain. b. Second-degree burns: Affecting both the top and underlying skin layers, causing blisters, clammy skin, severe pain, and redness. It is also known as ‘partial thickness burn’ which can be mild burns or worse, affecting the total body surface area. c. Third-degree burns: Full thickness burn is most severe burns, involving all skin layers. It often with a white or charred skin burns with large or deep burns and potentially less painful due to nerve damage. Protect Yourself. If safe, wear appropriate protective clothing such as disposable gloves to prevent infection when treating the burn.

First Aid For Cuts And Scrapes

First aid for minor wounds is a crucial skill that empowers individuals to address injuries promptly and promote optimal healing. Minor wounds, such as cuts, scrapes, puncture wounds, and abrasions, are common occurrences in daily life and can be effectively managed with skills learned in a first aid course. Know About Different Types Of Wounds Before diving into first aid techniques, it’s important to understand the different types of wounds. First Aid Course Experts can help you distinguish the difference between these minor injuries. Cuts: Cuts, also known as incisions, is a break or opening in the skin caused by a sharp object. Cuts can vary in depth and length, and their severity depends on the force and nature of the injuring object. Scrapes: Scrapes occur when the skin is rubbed or friction occurs against a rough surface. These wounds are characterized by superficial damage to the outer layer of skin, resulting in pain and exposed, often raw tissue. Puncture Wound: Puncture wound are caused by sharp, pointed objects such as nails, needles, or animal or human bite. These wounds create small, deep holes in the skin, making them prone to infection. Abrasions: Abrasions result from the skin rubbing against a rough surface, causing the outer layer of skin to wear away. They are often characterized by pain, redness, and sometimes bleeding. What Do I Need In My First Aid Kit? Before we delve into specific first aid techniques, having a well-stocked first aid kit is essential. Here are some must-have supplies for treating cuts and scrapes: Antiseptic wipes or solution: To clean the wound and prevent infection. Sterile gauze pads: For covering the wound and absorbing any blood or fluids. Adhesive bandages: Various sizes to suit different wounds. Antibiotic ointment: To promote healing and prevent infection. Tweezers: For removing any debris or splinters from the wound. Medical tape: To secure dressings in place. Disposable gloves: To protect both the caregiver and the injured person from infection. Pain relievers: Over-the-counter pain relievers can help manage pain. First Aid Guide for Cuts and Scrapes Step Action Details 1 Stop the Bleeding Apply direct pressure with a clean cloth or sterile dressing. Elevate if possible. 2 Clean the Wound Gently rinse with clean water. Avoid harsh chemicals. 3 Protect the Wound Apply antibiotic ointment and cover with a sterile dressing or bandage. 4 Elevate the Injured Area If possible, elevate to reduce swelling and promote circulation. 5 Pain Management Use over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen as needed. 6 Monitor for Infection Watch for signs of infection like increased redness, swelling, or pus. 7 Seek Medical Care Consult a professional for deep cuts, potential infection, or if tetanus shot is needed. Wounds First Aid: Cuts And Scrapes Here’s a step-by-step guide for basic wound care: Stop the Bleeding Apply direct pressure to the wound using a clean cloth or sterile dressing. Use your hands, gauze pad or gentle dressing to apply firm, steady pressure to stop bleeding. If the bleeding doesn’t stop, elevate the injured area if possible and continue applying pressure. If the bleeding is severe, consider using a tourniquet as a last resort to cover and treat the wound. Note the time the tourniquet was applied and communicate this information to emergency services. Clean the Wound Rinse the wound gently with clean water to remove dirt and debris. Deep wounds caused by sharp objects can result into fragile skin. Avoid using soap, hydrogen peroxide, or iodine directly in the wound, as they can be harsh and delay healing. If available, use a mild antiseptic solution around the wound but not inside it. Call your doctor for further advice on wound first aid treatment. Protect the Wound Apply an antibiotic ointment to the cleaned wound to help prevent infection. Cover the wound with a sterile dressing or a clean bandage to protect it from further contamination. Elevate the Injured Area Elevating the wound (minor cuts, scrapes, puncture wound) can help reduce swelling and promote better circulation, which aids in the body’s natural healing process. However, not all wounds may benefit from elevation, and the decision to elevate should be based on the specific circumstances of the injury. Pain Management If there is increasing pain, you can give over-the-counter pain relievers like acetaminophen or ibuprofen, following the recommended dosage. These can help the person as the wound heals. While for minor cuts, the pain is manageable and the pain often goes away as the skin heals. Monitor for Signs of Infection Keep an eye on the wound for signs of infection, such as increased redness, swelling, warmth, or drainage of pus in the surrounding skin. Get immediate medical attention if signs of infection develop. Seek Immediate Medical Care Encourage the person to seek professional medical care, especially if there is deep cut caused by a dirty or rusty object, or if there is a risk of infection or significant blood loss. Getting a tetanus shot may also be recommended. Call your doctor for further medical attention. Conclusion Mastering the art of wound care involves not only understanding the diverse nature of injuries but also adopting a proactive approach to providing immediate assistance. Whether it’s a minor cut, a scrape from a fall, or a more serious wound, the principles of first aid remain consistent: assess the situation, prioritize safety, control bleeding, clean the wound, protect it from infection, and seek professional medical attention when necessary. In times of injury or uncertainty, choosing a first aid training that prioritizes your safety is important. By choosing to enroll in our individual or corporate booking, you are investing in a safer and more resilient community. Armed with the knowledge gained from our training and first aid blogs, you become a valuable asset in emergency situations, potentially making a difference in someone’s life. Join us on this empowering journey towards building a community of confident and capable first aid responders – because preparedness today ensures a safer tomorrow.

Symptoms of Concussion: What to Look For

Life sometimes throws unexpected bumps our way, and one of those bumps could be a concussion. A concussion happens when you get a hard knock or blow to the head, causing some tricky things to happen inside your brain. It’s important to know what to look for and how to help right away. In this blog, we’ll talk about concussions – what they are, how you might spot them, and why doing the right thing first (aka learning first aid) is super important. Let’s break it down into simple steps and learn how a little knowledge can go a long way in making things better when someone gets a bump on the head. What Is a Concussion? A concussion is a type of mild traumatic brain injury resulting from a forceful impact to the head, face, neck, or body. This impact causes the brain to move rapidly back and forth within the skull, leading to chemical changes in the brain and sometimes damaging brain cells. Contrary to popular belief, concussions don’t always result into lose consciousness; in fact, most concussions (even a serious injury) occur without this symptom. Concussion Symptoms And Causes Here are some of the common symptoms of concussion: Headache: One of the most common symptoms of concussion is a persistent headache. This can range from a dull ache to a throbbing pain and may worsen with physical or mental exertion. Nausea and Vomiting: Feeling nauseous or actually vomiting is another indication of a concussion. This can be an immediate response to the injury or develop over time. Slurred Speech: Concussions can affect speech, leading to slurred or slowed verbal communication. If you notice changes in someone’s ability to speak clearly, speech problems could be a sign of a concussion. Dizziness and Balance Issues: A person with a concussion may experience double or blurry vision, loss of balance, or difficulty maintaining coordination. These symptoms of concussion can make simple tasks challenging. Fatigue: Unexplained fatigue or a constant feeling of being tired is a common symptom following a concussion. This can be a result of the brain working hard to heal itself. Sensitivity to Light and Noise: Concussion sufferers often become sensitive to light and noise. Exposure to bright lights or loud sounds may exacerbate their symptoms. Changes in Sleep Patterns: Concussion symptoms can disrupt normal sleep patterns, leading sleep problems (insomnia) or an increased need for sleep. Changes in sleep can hinder the recovery process and affect overall brain function. Cognitive Issues: Difficulty concentrating, learning difficulties, memory problems, and general cognitive issues are frequent symptoms of a concussion. These can interfere with daily activities and work. Mood Changes: Concussions can impact a person’s mood, leading to mood swings, irritability, anxiety, or feelings of sadness. These emotional changes are part of the overall disruption to brain function. Symptom Description Onset Time Headache Persistent ache to throbbing pain Immediate to hours Nausea and Vomiting Feeling sick or actual vomiting Immediate to hours Slurred Speech Difficulty in clear verbal expression Hours to days Dizziness and Balance Issues Loss of balance, blurry vision Immediate to hours Fatigue Unexplained or constant tiredness Hours to days Sensitivity to Light and Noise Discomfort from bright lights or loud sounds Hours to days Changes in Sleep Patterns Insomnia or increased sleep need Days Cognitive Issues Concentration or memory problems Hours to days Mood Changes Irritability, anxiety, sadness Days How Long Does a Concussion Last? The duration of a concussion varies from person to person and depends on the severity of the brain injury. Mild concussions may resolve within a few days to a couple of weeks, while more severe cases such as blow to the head, repeat concussions, or injury from high risk sports can take several weeks or even months. It is crucial to note that returning to normal activities too soon can increase the risk of prolonged symptoms or complications. What to Do After a Concussion: Concussion First Aid Steps Following a concussion, providing immediate care is crucial to facilitate a complete recovery process. Follow these first aid steps to know what to do if you have a concussion. 1. Rest The cornerstone of concussion treatment and other head injuries is complete rest. This includes both physical and cognitive rest. Physical rest involves avoiding activities that could strain the body, while cognitive rest means limiting mental activities that require effort, such as reading, watching TV, or using a computer. 2. Monitor Symptoms Keep a close eye on symptoms and seek medical attention if they worsen or if new symptoms emerge. Monitoring symptoms is vital for assessing progress and adjusting the treatment plan as needed. 3. Gradual Return to Activities As symptoms improve, individuals can gradually resume normal activities. It’s crucial to progress slowly and pay attention to any signs and symptoms of recurrence. If brain injury symptoms reappear, it may be necessary to scale back activities temporarily. 4. Consult a Healthcare Professional Seeking medical attention is essential after a head injury. A health care provider can assess the severity of the concussion, recommend appropriate treatment, and provide guidance on the recovery process. 5. Follow Up Care Adhering to the prescribed treatment plan for brain injury is crucial for a successful recovery. This may include rest, medication, and gradual reintroduction of activities. Ignoring treatment recommendations can prolong symptoms and increase the risk of complications such as severe headaches, lose of consciousness, fatal brain swelling, or post concussive syndrome. Concussion In Children Childhood is a time of boundless energy and exploration, but it also carries the risk of injuries, including pediatric concussions. In a traumatic brain injury involving children, a child may exhibit signs and symptoms such as headaches, nausea, dizziness, slurred speech, or changes in behavior after a head injury. However, it’s essential to note that young children, especially, may struggle to express their discomfort verbally. Parents and caregivers should be vigilant for any alterations in mood, sleep patterns, or physical coordination. In the event of a suspected concussion, child care first aid becomes

Everything You Need to Know About Fungal Infections

Fungal Infections learn the types, symptoms and treatments

When you hear the word ‘infection,’ you probably think about bacteria or viruses. And you’d be right – those two families of microorganisms account for the common cold, the flu, COVID-19, strep throat, whooping cough and most kinds of food poisoning. Still, fungal infections make up some of the most common maladies doctors and pharmacists hear about, including athlete’s foot and thrush. Let’s dig into the world of fungal infections, find out the symptoms and treatments for the most common types, and learn about some more serious (and, thankfully, less common) ones. What Is A Fungal Infection? A fungal infection (or a mycosis) is an infection caused by a particular type of microorganism called a fungus (the plural is fungi). These organisms include yeast, mould, and the mushrooms we eat. Humans naturally have billions of fungi, bacteria and other living things on and in our bodies, usually with no ill effects, as part of an ecosystem called a microbiome. Fungal infections occur when the fungi that are naturally present are allowed to grow out of control or when fungi that aren’t usually found on or in you find a home in or on your body and start a colony. Fungi reproduce by releasing spores, which can be picked up by touching or inhaling them, and this is how humans can get infected with fungi that don’t naturally live on us. Common Types Of Fungus That Can Cause Infection In Humans Most of the common fungal infections found in humans are caused by three different types of fungi: dermatophytes, Candida and Malassezia. Dermatophytes  Dermatophytes are a type of fungi that feeds on keratin, the non-living tissue that makes up most of your hair and nails, as well as the outer layer of your skin. They are behind athlete’s foot, jock itch, ringworm and fungal nail infections. Candida  Candida albicans is a yeast that lives naturally on most people’s bodies without causing problems. It only causes trouble when it is allowed to grow out of control or gets into the bloodstream. Candida causes thrush (or ‘yeast infections’), most commonly on and in the genitals and mouth. Malassezia Malassezia is another type of yeast that usually makes a home in people’s bodies without any trouble, but if the microbiome gets out of balance, its populations can surge, resulting in an infection. Malassezia causes Malassezia folliculitis (fungal acne) and is thought to have a role in seborrhoeic dermatitis. Immunosuppression And Fungal Infections People whose immune systems are weakened either by health conditions or medications are at a greater risk of getting fungal infections and of experiencing serious complications if they do get fungal infections. This condition is sometimes called being immunocompromised, immune-compromised or immunosuppressed. Immunosuppression can be caused by health conditions including: AIDS or HIV Poorly-controlled diabetes Cancer  Malnutrition  Immunosuppression can be caused by taking medications including: Corticosteroids  Biologics and biosimilars Chemotherapy drugs  Organ transplant medications If any of the above applies to you, and you think you may have any of the fungal conditions described in this article, see your doctor before attempting self-treatment with over-the-counter products.  Athlete’s Foot Also Called Tinea pedis Where Is It Unsurprisingly, athlete’s foot is found on the feet. But the fungus can spread to other parts of the body. Type Of Fungus Dermatophytes Symptoms Itching, burning or stinging sensation on the foot, especially between the toes Cracking, peeling, scaling or blistering of the skin Discolouration of the skin A soft, mushy texture in the affected skin Skin layers starting to break down Diagnosis A doctor may diagnose the symptoms just by looking at the skin.  Skin scrapings may be taken and examined under a microscope. Treatment Over-the-counter topical treatments Prescription topical treatments are available for more severe infections that don’t respond to over-the-counter preparations, containing ingredients including clotrimazole, econazole, and ciclopirox During treatment, keep your feet clean and dry and avoid going into public showers or changerooms barefoot. Risk Factors Athlete’s foot is common in athletes, hence the name. The fungus thrives in warm, moist areas like locker rooms and public showers, so athlete’s foot is more likely to be a problem for people who use these facilities more often. In addition, it’s more common in people who wear tight, closed shoes and sweaty socks for too long without changing them.  Is It Contagious? Yes, athlete’s foot can spread from one person to another, and you catch it from surfaces or items with the fungus on them, like floors or shoes. Prevention  Keeping your feet clean and dry and wearing sandals in locker rooms and public showers can help to prevent athlete’s foot. See A Doctor If You Have Suspected Or Diagnosed Athlete’s Foot And: The condition doesn’t improve within two weeks of beginning treatment with over-the-counter products You have diabetes You have trouble with your circulation Jock Itch Also Called Tinea cruris Where Is It Jock itch is found on the groin, inner thighs and buttocks. Type Of Fungus Dermatophytes  Symptoms Redness (on light skin, may be brown or grey on darker skin) There may be a circular red rash A burning sensation Itching Flaking skin Cracking skin  A rash that worsens when you exercise Diagnosis A doctor will usually be able to recognise jock itch by the visible condition of the skin, but they may also take and test a sample of skin cells to rule out other conditions like psoriasis. Treatment It’s frequently possible to control jock itch with over-the-counter antifungal topical products. During treatment, it’s important to keep the area clean and dry and change your clothes daily, especially your underwear. Risk Factors Jock itch is most common in men and boys. Being overweight can provide a more hospitable environment for the fungus, as it means there are more folds of skin to give it somewhere warm and moist to live. For the same reasons, having a tendency to sweat a lot, wearing a lot of tight clothes or living in warm, humid climates makes it more likely that you’ll get it.

Fungal Acne: What It Is, How To Identify It, And How To Treat It

Fungal Acne What It Is, How To Identify It, And How To Treat It

If you’ve been struggling with breakouts, and none of the advice you try seems to work, it could be that the pimple-like lumps on your skin aren’t acne at all – they could be fungal ‘acne’. Keep reading to learn more about this condition: what it is, how it differs from real acne, and what to do if you think you have it. What Is Fungal Acne? First of all, the condition popularly called fungal acne is not acne at all, but fungal folliculitis, an inflammation of the hair follicles caused by an overgrowth of fungus. The fungus in question is the Malassezia yeast (yeast is a type of fungus), and this kind of folliculitis is sometimes called Malassezia folliculitis or Pityrosporum folliculitis. But by convention, it’s often called fungal acne due to its superficial similarity to real acne, even by experts who know what it really is. What Causes Fungal Acne? Malassezia furfur is naturally present on the skin of about 90% of people. Usually, it causes no trouble and lives in harmony with the other fungi and bacteria that live on your skin, but it can grow out of control given the right environment and circumstances. Certain things can throw out this natural balance and cause Malassezia yeast populations to explode, leading to fungal acne. Factors that can contribute to yeast overgrowth leading to fungal acne include: Warm, Humid Climates Since it’s a fungus, Malassezia yeast grows particularly well in places where the weather is warm, and the air is moist, just like mushrooms do.  Trapped Moisture Similarly, anything that traps moisture close to your skin, like wearing sweaty clothes for too long after exercise (especially if they’re tight, or in fabrics that don’t breathe), will provide a hothouse environment that enables the growth of Malassezia. Immune-Suppressing Medications Certain medications, including corticosteroids, are used to treat health conditions in which the immune system attacks the body’s healthy tissues. These medications work by suppressing the immune system, which can have the side effect of allowing organisms like bacteria and fungi to grow out of control. This situation can lead to fungal acne and other infections. Antibiotics It’s common to get an outbreak of fungal acne after you finish a course of antibiotics. As well as killing the bad bacteria that cause bacterial infection, antibiotics kill the good bacteria (antibiotics only target bacteria; they don’t affect fungi). These good bacteria usually live in balance with the yeast that naturally lives on the skin, and without the bacteria there, yeast can multiply, causing fungal acne. A Weakened Immune System In addition to medications, your immune system can be weakened by health conditions, including diabetes and HIV, leaving your body more vulnerable to fungal, bacterial and viral infections. A Fungus-Friendly Diet Yeast feeds on sugars and carbohydrates, and eating too much of these fuels the yeast that causes fungal acne. Oily Skin Malassezia yeast feeds on oil, so oily skin creates a more hospitable environment for it to grow, whether it’s the sebum naturally produced by your skin or the oil in heavy skincare products. Is Fungal Acne Contagious? No, there are some forms of folliculitis that you can spread to other people, but fungal acne is not one of them. Who Is Most Likely To Get Fungal Acne? You have a greater likelihood of getting fungal acne if you: Live in a hot, humid climate Have a weakened immune system Take immune-suppressing medications Take antibiotics Are a teenager, because of the higher oil production of teenage skin People who use lots of skincare products that contain oil Are male: fungal acne is more common in males, although it does occur in females What Are The Symptoms Of Fungal Acne? Fungal acne is marked by clusters of small, red bumps (papules) on your skin. Sometimes, they may have white heads filled with pus (pustules), making it easy to confuse them with regular acne (acne vulgaris). Whatever fungal acne bumps look like, they’re often very itchy. What Is The Difference Between Fungal Acne And Normal Acne? So if both fungal acne and normal acne cause red lumps, which may or may not have white heads, what’s the difference?  Under Your Skin Human skin is covered with holes called pores. Each of these pores is the opening of a canal, called the follicle, through which a hair grows (there is usually just one hair per follicle, but not always). There is a gland secreting oil into the follicle from inside, the sebaceous gland (the oil it produces is called sebum). This oil travels up the follicle and out of the pore to reach the surface, forming a protective layer on the skin to keep it from drying out. How Regular Acne Forms Normally, sebum reaches the skin’s surface with no problem. But sometimes, the follicle can get blocked with a mix of dead skin cells and excess oil. This blockage allows a normally-occurring bacteria called Cutibacterium acnes (formerly called Propionibacterium acnes) to grow out of control and causes lumps called comedones. Comedones may be red due to inflammation in the follicle and may have a white, pus-filled head.  How Fungal Acne Forms Like regular acne, the fungal folliculitis that we commonly call ‘fungal acne’ involves inflammation inside the hair follicles. Its appearance resembles regular acne, presenting as red lumps, sometimes with pus-filled heads. However, fungal acne is not caused by a blockage of oil and dead skin cells that allows bacteria to flourish. Instead, it’s caused by an overgrowth of Malassezia yeast, a type of fungus, inside the follicle. This, in turn, causes inflammation, and the inflammation causes the redness, itching and acne-like lumps that typify fungal acne.  In regular acne, inflammation in the follicle is a possible symptom caused by the blockage. In fungal acne, the inflammation in the follicle is the point – the ‘itis’ in folliculitis means inflammation. Remember, real acne is bacterial, not fungal – topical antibacterial treatments like the sprays and creams you might find in your first

Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Hand, foot and mouth disease is a very common childhood illness. In fact, only a few people will reach adulthood without experiencing its unpleasant but mostly harmless effects. Whether you’re the parent of a patient or one of the rare adults to suffer through the blisters and mouth sores that are part of the illness, find out all you need to know about the causes, symptoms and treatment of this widespread disease below. What Is Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease?  Hand, foot and mouth disease (enteroviral vesicular stomatitis, HFMD or HFM) is a viral illness common in children under the age of 10. Its name comes from the characteristic rash it causes, which often appears on the hands, feet and mouth but can be found elsewhere on the body. Outbreaks of HFMD frequently occur in warmer weather and are more common in certain parts of the world, like Asia. Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease vs Foot-And-Mouth Disease – What’s The Difference? Foot-and-mouth disease affects livestock and is rarely passed to humans, and hand, foot and mouth disease affects humans and can’t be passed to animals. What Causes Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease? Hand, foot and mouth disease is caused by viruses from the enterovirus family, usually, a strain of the coxsackie virus, coxsackievirus A16 (CA16) being the most common. Other enteroviruses that can cause include enterovirus 71 (EV-A71 or EV71), which is more likely than CA16 to cause serious complications. How Does Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease Spread?  Hand, foot and mouth spreads through contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids and wastes. These substances could include saliva and mucus (especially airborne droplets generated by coughing or sneezing), faeces, blood, or fluid from popped blisters. HFMD blisters cease to be infectious when they dry up. Contact with fluids carrying HFMD can be via the infected person or a surface they have had contact with.  Who Is At Risk Of Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease? Children under the age of 10 are most vulnerable to hand, foot and mouth disease, and it spreads rapidly in environments like schools and childcare centres where children play games together and share toys.  Can Adults Get Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease From A Child? Children usually gain some immunity to hand, foot and mouth after exposure to the virus, which is why it becomes less common after the age of ten (most people have been infected by the time they’re old enough to start worrying about atherosclerosis). However, it is possible for an adult to get hand, foot and mouth disease, especially if their immune system is weakened. What Are The Symptoms Of Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease? Symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease may resemble those of the flu, including: Fever Runny nose Sore throat Tiredness Irritability Enlarged lymph nodes in the neck The rashes and blisters that come with HFMD may appear a few days after the flu-like symptoms, and depending on which specific virus caused the infection, may take the form of: Small, white blisters on the palms of the hands, the soles of the feet, inside and around the mouth A red rash with a brown, scaly texture on the surface of the limbs, hands, feet, around the mouth and the buttocks. How Is Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease Diagnosed? A doctor will usually diagnose hand, foot and mouth disease by looking at the rashes and blisters and interviewing your child about other symptoms. Occasionally, they may also take samples for testing, including throat swabs or stool samples. What Are The Potential Complications Of Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease? People with hand, foot and mouth disease almost always recover within 10 days with little or no treatment, but there can be complications on rare occasions. Dehydration Children may find it hard to get enough liquids if painful sores are inside the mouth, which can result in dehydration. Parents should take care that they drink enough and look out for the warning signs: Dry lips and tongue Dry skin Cold hands and feet with a blotchy appearance Drowsiness Rapid breathing Sunken eyes A sunken soft spot (fontanelle) on top of the head in babies Dark yellow urine Fewer wet nappies Fewer tears when crying Children with sores inside their mouths may find cold drinks soothing, and some commercially-available drinks meant for treating dehydration are also available as ice blocks. Loss Of Fingernails Or Toenails Sometimes fingernails or toenails may fall out shortly after a bout of hand, foot and mouth disease, but doctors can’t confirm that the illness is the reason for this. In any case, when nails are lost after HFMD, they typically grow back on their own. Serious But Rare Complications Of Hand, Foot And Mouth Disease Very rarely, hand, foot and mouth disease can cause serious complications, including encephalitis, meningitis, paralysis and myocarditis. These are not usually caused by coxsackievirus A16, the most common cause of HFMD. They are more likely to be caused by less common HFMD-inducing viruses, like enterovirus 71 or enterovirus D68. Complication What It Is Symptoms Encephalitis  Inflammation of the brain Fever, confusion, fatigue, headache, stiff neck, stiff back, nausea, vomiting, confusion, memory loss, aches in the muscles or joints, sensitivity to light, muscle weakness, problems with speech or hearing, personality changes, confusion, seizures, paralysis, coma In babies or younger children: A bulging fontanelle, not feeding well, stiffness over the whole body, irritability or fussiness Meningitis  Inflammation of the membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord (the meninges) Fever, sensitivity to light, stiff neck, severe headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, drowsiness, confusion, irritability, pain in the muscles or joints, bruising or blotchy red or purple rash that may look like small dots (especially if it doesn’t blanch when you press it with a glass), seizures, cold hands and feet In babies or younger children: Fever, a bulging fontanelle, unusual sleepiness, floppiness, feeding problems, an unusual cry, constant crying, vomiting, difficulty feeding, difficulty waking, yellow skin, a blotchy red or purple rash that may

Atherosclerosis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment And Prevention

Atherosclerosis: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment And Prevention

Your entire body relies on your arteries, the blood vessels that carry oxygen-rich blood to every part of your body. These vessels do their important work round the clock, unnoticed, but when there is a blockage, things can go dangerously wrong. Atherosclerosis is the accumulation of fat and other material in the arteries. If allowed to continue long enough, it can cause dangerous health problems, including heart attack and stroke. Atherosclerosis becomes more likely to develop as you age, but it isn’t inevitable. Keep reading to find out what contributes to the development of atherosclerosis, what it can do to your body, and it can be treated and prevented. What Is Atherosclerosis? Atherosclerosis is the process where the arteries of the body become narrowed due to a buildup of fatty plaque. As the blockage continues to grow, atherosclerosis gradually restricts the blood supply to the body’s organs and tissues. Arteries carry freshly-oxygenated blood from the heart to the rest of the body, and atherosclerosis can cause various problems depending on where the blockage occurs. What Is The Difference Between Arteriosclerosis And Atherosclerosis? Arteriosclerosis is when the arteries become thicker and less flexible. Atherosclerosis is a type of arteriosclerosis caused by fatty plaque building up in the arteries. What Does The Plaque Do In The Arteries? Once the plaque is inside the arteries, there are three things that could happen. Firstly, plaque may grow to a certain size and then stop. If the blood flow isn’t obstructed, there may never be symptoms. Secondly, it may grow slowly and eventually cause serious blockages. The type of damage this causes depends on where in the body the blockage is. Thirdly, it may rupture suddenly, causing a blood clot inside an artery. Depending on where this occurs, the result can be a stroke or a heart attack.  The kind of plaques that rupture are called unstable plaques, or vulnerable plaques. Those at a lower risk of rupture are known as stable plaques. What Causes Atherosclerosis? Arteries are blood vessels that carry freshly-oxygenated blood all over the body. Every artery is lined with a thin layer of cells called the endothelium. Atherosclerosis begins when the endothelium is damaged. This makes LDL cholesterol (‘bad’ cholesterol) stick to the damaged part of the artery’s inner wall. This process triggers an immune response, and white blood cells come to the site to clean up the damage but cause inflammation. This mixture of cell material, cholesterol and other substances continues to build up in the artery and may cause a blockage. Such a blockage can result in constriction of blood flow, or, if a piece of the plaque ruptures, a blood clot. Either can be life-threatening, causing life-threatening medical issues like stroke and heart attack and requiring immediate first aid. What Is Arterial Plaque Made Of? Also called atheroma, arterial plaque is made of substances including cholesterol and other fats, calcium and cellular waste products. What Are The 4 Stages Of Atherosclerosis? The development of atherosclerosis can be divided into four stages: The endothelium is damaged: this can be caused by factors including high blood pressure, obesity, high cholesterol levels, smoking and inflammatory diseases. This damage causes white blood cells to flock to the area, resulting in inflammation. A fatty streak forms: when white blood cells consume too much LDL cholesterol in their efforts to clean up damage in the artery, they become foam cells (this name comes from their foamy appearance. The yellow streak formed by these foam cells is the first visible indication of atherosclerosis. Fibrofatty plaque develops: material, including dead foam cells, accumulates over the fatty streak, and the plaque becomes larger. A fibrous cap of connective tissue develops over the top of the plaque to stop pieces of it from breaking off and floating away in the bloodstream. The continued growth of the plaque makes it increasingly hard for blood to get through the artery. Plaque ruptures: the fibrous cap is the body’s protective measure to stop the plaque from breaking up, but this cap can break. When this happens, a blood clot forms over the top of the opening that’s left. This clot blocks blood flow; if it is dislodged and travels away in the bloodstream, it can cause serious problems, including stroke. Where Can You Get Atherosclerosis? Atherosclerosis can develop in any artery in the body, and it has different names depending on where it occurs. Carotid Artery Disease  Carotid artery disease is the accumulation of plaque in the walls of the carotid arteries, which supply the brain with 80% of its required blood and provide blood to the face and neck. Carotid artery disease is sometimes called carotid artery stenosis (narrowing). Vertebral Artery Disease The vertebral arteries provide the other 20% of the brain’s blood supply, connecting to the back of the brain, including the brainstem and cerebellum. They also supply blood to the spinal cord. Plaque buildup in these arteries is called vertebral artery disease or vertebral artery stenosis. Coronary Artery Disease  Coronary artery disease (CAD) is a buildup of plaque in the arteries that provide blood to the heart. Mesenteric Artery Ischaemia  Mesenteric artery ischaemia is the accumulation of plaque in the arteries supplying blood to the small and large intestines. Renal Artery Disease Also called renal artery stenosis, renal artery disease is atherosclerosis in the arteries that carry blood to the kidneys. Peripheral Artery Disease Peripheral artery disease (PAD, also called peripheral arterial disease) is the growth of plaque in the arteries that take blood from the heart to the other parts of the body and is most commonly experienced in the legs. What Are The Symptoms Of Atherosclerosis?  The symptoms of atherosclerosis differ depending on where the arterial plaque is in the body and how much of the blood flow is blocked. Location Of Atherosclerosis In The Body Symptom Heart and coronary arteries Chest pain from reduced blood supply to the heart (angina)  Shortness of breath (dyspnea) during light exercise or cold weather Heart palpitations Erectile dysfunction

Fatty Liver: Types, Causes, Complications And Treatment

Fatty Liver Types, Causes, Complications And Treatment

Fatty liver is mostly a lifestyle-related condition that is becoming increasingly common in developed countries as the average diet becomes less healthy and the average person more sedentary. But fatty liver often has no symptoms, and many people live with a fatty liver with no apparent ill effects. So why does it matter if someone has fatty liver? Because it can be a valuable warning sign before serious health conditions develop. A diagnosis of fatty liver disease is a chance to implement some healthy lifestyle changes and prevent worse health problems before they begin. What Is Fatty Liver Disease?  Fatty liver disease (hepatic steatosis) is a condition where extra fat is stored inside the cells of the liver, specifically when the liver accumulates an amount of fat that is 5 to 10 percent of its total weight.  What Does The Liver Do? The liver is the largest organ in the body and one of the most important. It has many functions, but one of the main ones is processing waste products. The liver has an amazing capacity to regenerate itself as long as it remains healthy. The liver filters waste from the blood and carries it away on a substance it secretes called bile. Bile is also used to digest food, especially fatty food, and is stored in a pouch called the gallbladder for this purpose.  Functions Of The Liver Filtering wastes, including medications and bacteria Digesting and absorbing dietary fats to use as energy Making proteins, including those needed for blood coagulation, iron storage and the transport of vitamins and enzymes around the body Storing iron and other vitamins and minerals Storing and releasing glucose Dealing with wastes from the processing of proteins: the liver transforms toxic ammonia created by the digestion of amino acids into urea that leaves the body through urine Regulating hormones Types Of Fatty Liver Disease Fatty liver disease can be divided into two main types: one that is caused by long-term excessive alcohol use and one that isn’t. A third type can occur during pregnancy, but this is rare and is usually considered a separate disorder.  Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a fatty liver disease that isn’t caused by alcohol use. It is also known as Metabolic (dysfunction) associated fatty liver disease, or MAFLD. NAFLD can be further divided into two subtypes, non-alcoholic fatty liver and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Non-alcoholic fatty liver (NAFL) is a type of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) where there is fat in the liver but no inflammation. NAFL is also called simple fatty liver or simple steatosis. Notice it’s NAFL without the D on the end – NAFLD is an umbrella term which can refer to both NAFL and NASH Non-Alcoholic Steatohepatitis Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a type of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease where there is fat in the liver and also inflammation. NASH can be thought of as either a type of NAFLD or a worsening in the condition of NAFL, but not all cases of NAFL develop inflammation and become NASH. Steatohepatitis is not related to the infectious forms of hepatitis caused by viruses. How Common Is NAFLD? NAFLD affects almost one-third of the Australian population, with similar rates in Europe and the US. Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Alcoholic fatty liver disease (AFLD), also known as alcohol-related liver disease (ARLD) or just alcoholic liver disease (ALD), is a fatty liver disease caused by long-term heavy drinking. It is possible to have both NAFLD and AFLD simultaneously if you have risk factors for NAFLD and drink in excess. Like Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, AFLD can be divided into two subtypes based on the presence or absence of inflammation: alcoholic fatty liver or alcoholic hepatitis. Alcoholic Fatty Liver Alcoholic fatty liver without inflammation is the first stage of alcoholic liver disease. It can appear even after only a few days of heavy drinking, but the damage is reversible at this stage, and the liver should heal itself if the drinking stops for two weeks.  Alcoholic Hepatitis When alcoholic liver disease progresses to a point where there is both fat and inflammation in the liver, this is called alcoholic hepatitis. Not every person who drinks heavily will develop alcoholic hepatitis, and as with alcoholic fatty liver, the damage is likely to heal on its own if drinking stops. However, alcoholic hepatitis can be fatal if it is severe. Alcoholic hepatitis is not related to viral hepatitis. Acute Fatty Liver Of Pregnancy  Acute fatty liver of pregnancy is a rare but serious complication of pregnancy, usually occurring in the late third trimester, which can threaten the life of the mother and baby if the condition is not quickly diagnosed and first aid given. The causes are unknown, and the only treatment is to deliver the baby as soon as possible. After this, most patients make a complete recovery with medical care. What Causes Fatty Liver Disease? The cause of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is unknown. However, there are risk factors associated with a higher likelihood of developing it, and these are mostly lifestyle-related. Like heart disease, NAFLD is more common in adults but is becoming more common in children due to the increasing incidence of childhood obesity. It is because of increasing rates of obesity and type 2 diabetes that NAFLD continues to increase worldwide. Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver disease Your chances of developing NAFLD are increased if you have any of these health conditions: Being overweight or obese, especially having fat around your midsection (central obesity) Having insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes Your blood cholesterol levels, specifically having high LDL cholesterol, low HDL cholesterol or high cholesterol overall Having high blood pressure NAFLD also occurs occasionally in people who have: Reactions to medications, including steroids, chemotherapy drugs, or HIV medications Haemochromatosis a condition where the body absorbs too much iron and becomes overloaded Chronic hepatitis B Chronic hepatitis C Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) Hypothyroidism Sleep apnoea Fatty Liver And Gallbladder Removal Increasing

How To Respond To Heart Problems In Children: Tips For Parents

How To Respond To Heart Problems In Children Tips For Parents

Parenting is a constant source of stress. Money problems, sleep deprivation, tantrums: the list could go on forever. But what about the possibility of more serious problems? Heart problems in children sound like a nightmare to parents, but they’re more common than you think. The good news is there are almost always early signs of trouble, and with continuing advances in medical science, the outlook for these patients has never been better. Read on to learn about heart problems in children and how to identify the symptoms for the earliest and most effective treatment. What Are The Most Common Heart Problems In Children? Heart disease in children can be divided into two types: congenital or present at birth, or acquired, meaning not present at birth. Congenital heart defects (CHDs) are the most common form of heart disease in children in Australia, affecting about one out of every 100 births. But not all of these are equally serious; many cause no noticeable ill effects and are not detected until adulthood. The most common form of acquired heart disease in children worldwide is rheumatic heart disease occurring because of damage to the heart from rheumatic fever, which occurs at higher rates in areas with more poverty and overcrowding. What Are The Most Common Congenital Heart Defects? According to a report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare drawing on data from five states, the three most common congenital heart defects in Australia (in order from more to less common) are ventricular septal defects, atrial septal defects, and patent ductus arteriosus.  How Are Congenital Heart Defects Found? Many congenital heart defects are discovered via ultrasound while the baby is still in utero. Others may be picked up shortly after birth via pulse oximetry, a non-intrusive test measuring the blood’s oxygen level. If blood oxygen is lower than it should be (a condition called hypoxaemia, or hypoxemia), this may indicate a congenital heart defect, and more tests will be carried out to confirm. Pulse oximetry can’t pick up all congenital heart defects consistently but can flag some of the most serious ones. If a CHD is not picked up through prenatal ultrasounds or pulse oximetry, there are frequent symptoms that can alert medical staff to the condition. Some of the most common symptoms of CHD are a bluish colouring of the skin (cyanosis), rapid heartbeat, rapid breathing and tiredness. But some CHDs are so mild they may not be detected until later in life. Heart Murmurs  A heart murmur is not a congenital heart defect but can be one of the early signs indicating a CHD: it is a ‘whooshing’ sound that can be heard when listening to the heart using a stethoscope. On the other hand, a normal heartbeat has a two-part sound, sometimes described as ‘lub-dub’ or ‘lub-dup’, made by the valves that separate the different sections of the heart and the heart from the pulmonary artery and aorta.  Innocent Vs Abnormal Heart Murmurs Heart murmurs are not always dangerous. A doctor might determine that a heart murmur is an ‘innocent’ one (also called a ‘functional’ heart murmur) and doesn’t need any treatment. The vast majority of heart murmurs are innocent. On the other hand, an ‘abnormal’ murmur can be caused by several heart conditions, including serious ones. It can provide a valuable warning sign if they have yet to be brought to doctors’ attention by other means.  Congenital Heart Defects Before examining some of the most common (and less common) congenital heart defects, let’s briefly examine how a normal heart functions.  The Normal Heart A normal heart has two upper chambers (atria) and two lower chambers (ventricles). These chambers are separated by solid walls of tissue, and blood is only allowed from one chamber into another with the opening and closing of four valves, and only in one direction. The right side of the heart receives oxygen-poor blood from the body and pumps it through the pulmonary artery to the lungs so it can take on oxygen. Then the left side receives the freshly-oxygenated blood and pumps it through the aorta to the rest of the body. The heart is mostly made of muscle, and it pumps by contracting this muscle rhythmically, following electrical signals. So there are four separate chambers and two large arteries carrying blood to different places for different purposes. If any part of this system doesn’t develop properly, there may not be enough oxygenated blood for the body’s needs, causing the hypoxaemia and cyanosis that accompany many congenital heart defects. Ventricular Septal Defect This defect is a hole in the ventricular septum, the inner wall of the heart, which separates the two ventricles (lower chambers) from each other. If this hole is small enough, it may not cause any problems, and it is common for the hole to close up without treatment as the child gets older. But if the hole is bigger, the oxygenated blood mixes with the deoxygenated blood and excess blood is pumped into the lungs. The result is higher blood pressure in the lungs and a higher risk of serious complications. Surgery may be needed. Atrial Septal Defect Like a ventricular septal defect, an atrial septal defect is a hole in the inner wall of the heart, but this time, between its two upper chambers or atria. Like a ventricular septal defect, it can result in an increased amount of blood flowing into the lungs and overwork the heart if it’s large enough, or if small enough, it may cause no symptoms and close on its own with time. As with ventricular septal defect, surgery may or may not be needed depending on the size of the hole and whether it’s causing any serious problems, and it can close on its own. Patent Foramen Ovale  Patent foramen ovale (PFO) is a specific type of hole in the atrial septum, the wall between the upper chambers of the heart, or atria (the word ‘patent’ in this context means ‘open’). What is