Facts
ASTHMA
A chronic disease of the bronchial pathway that facilitates the smooth passage of air through the airways, Asthma chokes the airways that carry air to and from your lungs resulting in wheezing and breathlessness. People who suffer from this chronic Asthma are said to be asthmatic.

What makes airway get choked? When the inside walls of an asthmatic's airways are swollen or inflamed resulting in narrow airways and passage of less air through them, both to and from the lungs. As the airways become narrower, more mucus is produced in the airways, undermining the flow of air even more. The airways become extremely sensitive to factors that cause irritations thereby making the asthmatic extremely susceptible to allergic reactions.

Prominent symptoms of narrow airways are wheezing (a hissing sound while breathing), chest tightness, breathing difficulties and coughing. These symptoms are usually experienced by asthmatics mostly during nights and early mornings several times in a day or week and can take place suddenly. It can be mild, moderate or severe. The intensity of breathlessness and wheezing vary in severity and frequency from person to person.

CAUSES
The most likely causes that trigger allergic reactions or irritate the airways leading to breathlessness include:
  • Genetic Predisposition
  • Indoor Allergens like house dust mites in bedding, carpets and stuffed furniture, pollution and pet dander.
  • Outdoor Allergens (such as pollens and moulds).
  • Tobacco smoke.
  • Inhaled Substances and particles.
  • Chemical irritants in the workplace.
  • Air pollution / Cold Air.
  • Extreme emotional arousal such as anger or fear.
  • Extreme Physical Exercise.
  • Certain medications like Aspirin, Non-steroid anti-inflammatory drugs, and beta-blockers (used to treat High blood pressure, Heart conditions & Migraines).

Recurrent asthma symptoms frequently lead to sleeplessness, daytime fatigue, reduced activity levels and school and work absenteeism. It is estimated that nearly 300 million people currently suffer from asthma. It is the most common chronic disease among children. Though, Asthma is said to have a relatively low fatality rate compared to other chronic diseases, medical surveys reveal that worldwide, unnecessary asthma deaths are estimated at 1 million per decade, mainly due to improper medical care or delay/neglect in seeking emergency care when their symptoms worsened.

TREATMENT & CARE

Asthma patients have extremely sensitive air passages, or airways, due to the presence of alien substance or fluctuating atmospheric changes. This in turn result in acute breathing difficulties.

Asthma currently has no permanent cure. The only way out is prompt and early detection and treatment that will help in maintaining effective control over asthma and prevent asthma attacks. This in turn will help in preventing damaging suffering, disability, and deaths.

A professional treatment plan will help in good disease control for the vast majority of asthmatics thereby helping one to lead a normal life that is uncompromised by breathing trouble. A good treatment plan involves:
  • Monitoring Asthma symptoms and flow.
  • Ensuring avoidance of Asthma triggers.
  • Effective Asthma Treatment with medications.

MONITORING ASTHMA SYMPTOMS & FLOW

Monitoring Asthma symptoms is essential to gain effective control of your asthma. A monitoring handheld device called Peak Flow Meter allows you to measure and determine the airflow in your lungs. Airflow flow rate called the Peak Expiratory Flow Rate (PEFR) measures how fast air is moving out of the lungs.

A decrease in flow rate indicates that your Asthma Condition has worsened while an increase indicates that your Asthma condition is improving.

ENSURING AVOIDANCE OF ASTHMA TRIGGERS
It is essential to avoid asthma triggers, that is, stimuli that irritate and inflame the airways. Identifying them is the key to keeping at bay factors that are responsible for triggering Asthma.

Once the triggers have been identified, either avoid the trigger entirely or ensure that you have limited exposure to the triggers. For an effective plan to combat the triggers, a detailed talk with your doctor and action plan would help.

TREATMENT WITH MEDICATIONS

Now comes the critical part – keeping Asthma under control with proper medications. Medication plan should be based on the frequency with which you experience Asthma attacks and this can be either Quick Relief Treatment Plan or Long-Term Control Treatment Plan.

Quick Relief Treatment
Inhaler or Bronchodilators provide quick relief asthma treatment by helping to keep the symptoms at bay and relax the smooth muscles in the narrowed airways.

Long Term Treatment
People who experience asthma symptoms three or more times a week or experience asthma symptoms at night three or more times a month, are categorized as severe asthmatics.

For effective long-term treatment, long-term medications need to be taken daily even when one feels in good health condition so as to control the underlying inflammation and prevent symptoms and exacerbations. The idea behind Long Term Medications is to ensure that they will minimize susceptibility to irritants, which is recognized as one of the leading causes of asthma attacks and ensure that swelling in the airways, if any, is reduced to the minimum or prevented altogether, thereby avoiding triggering asthma attacks.

Long-term asthma control medications may include inhaled anti-inflammatory drugs (medications that reduce or prevent the swelling in the airways) and long-acting bronchodilators (medications that open the airways by relaxing muscles around and in the airways that tighten during asthma).

It is very important that long-term control medication is taken every day, even if the person is feeling well, to ensure that Asthma is managed and controlled well.

CANCER
Itís described as a class of more than one hundred separate diseases that can affect any part of the body characterized by unregulated and out-of-control cell growth. The Cells affected by cancer are called Malignant Cells. When these abnormal Cells multiply and divide rapidly to form lumps or masses of tissue called tumors, they begin to destroy surrounding body tissues and spread to other parts of the body through the blood and lymph systems in a process that is known as metastasis.

Tumors begin to interfere with the digestive, nervous, and circulatory systems, and can also release hormones that alter body functions. There are two main types of tumour – benign and malignant. Benign tumors aren’t cancerous and don’t spread to other parts of your body nor invade surrounding tissues. They usually grow slowly and as they get bigger, they may start attacking the organs and tissues surrounding it. On other hand, malignant tumors are cancerous and can spread to other body part areas and invade surrounding tissues. They grow faster than Benign Tumors and can cause tumors in other areas of your body.

Cancer can develop anywhere in the body, and at any age. Some well known Cancers are Skin Cancer, Lung Cancer, Stomach Cancer, Breast Cancer, Brain Cancer, Prostrate Cancer, Colon Cancer, Liver Cancer, Ovarian Cancer, Bladder Cancer, Colorectal Cancer (Colon & Rectal Cancer), Pancreatic Cancer, Cervical Cancer, Kidney Cancer, Thyroid Cancer, etc. Some cancers are more serious than others, some are more easily treated than others (particularly if diagnosed at an early stage), and some have a better outlook (prognosis) than others. But all types of cancer have a common factor in cancer cells that are abnormal and multiply out of control.

Today, Cancer is a leading cause of deaths worldwide. Each year globally, 12.7 million people learn they have cancer, and in 2011, nearly 7.7 million people died from the disease. In developed countries, the most common cancers among men are prostate, lung and colorectal cancer and among women, the most common cancers are breast, colorectal and lung cancer. In developing countries, the three most common cancer among men are lung, stomach and liver, and among women, breast, and cervix uteri.

CAUSES
The human body is made up of many types of cells. Normally, these Cells grow and later divide in a controlled way to produce more cells that are needed to keep and maintain the body healthy. But when these Cells become either old or damaged, they die and get replaced with new cells. However at times, the growth and division of cells does not go as it should. The genetic material (DNA) of a cell can become damaged or changed, producing mutations that affect normal cell growth and division. When this takes place, the old cells do not die and new cells form when the body does not need them. These extra cells can form a mass of tissue called a tumor and they can be either benign or malignant.

Cancer begins in cells which are called the building blocks of a human body, arising from a single cell causing the transformation of a pre-cancerous lesion to malignant tumors. This could be the effect of either external agents or inherited genetic factors. Other causes include Physical carcinogens such as ultraviolet and ionizing radiation, Chemical carcinogens such as asbestos, components of tobacco smoke, aflatoxin (a food contaminant) and arsenic (a drinking water contaminant) and Biological carcinogens such as infections from certain viruses, bacteria or parasites.

Ageing is another premier factor for the growth of cancer. With age, there is possibility of cancer rise and growth due to a buildup of risks that increase with age. The overall risk accumulation is combined with the tendency for cellular repair mechanisms to be less effective as a person grows older.

Tobacco use, alcohol use, low fruit and vegetable intake, and chronic infections from hepatitis B (HBV), hepatitis C virus (HCV) and some types of sexually transmitted Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) are leading risk factors for cancer in developing countries. In advanced countries, tobacco use, alcohol use, and obesity / overweight are major risk factors for cancer. Physical inactivity and Urban air pollution are also responsible for spawning cancer cases across the world, especially developing and poor nations.

TREATMENT & CARE
Many forms of cancer can be avoided, and many more with early detection & treatment can be cured. When diagnosed early with cancer, a cancer specialist or Oncologist will provide you with the cancer treatment plan based on the type of cancer, how far it has spread, and other important factors like your age and general health.

A person's cancer risk can be reduced by avoiding tobacco, limiting alcohol use, avoiding excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun and tanning beds, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, maintaining a healthy weight, and being physically active.

Early Detection
Detecting cancer in its early stages is essential to ward off the dangers of cancer. Medical reports have disclosed that the dangers of around one-third of the cancer can be decreased considerably or eliminated altogether if they are detected and treated early.

Early detection of cancer is based on alert observation for symptoms like lumps, sores, persistent indigestion, persistent coughing, and bleeding from the body's orifices. If detected early, then effective steps can be taken to localize them within the cancerous body spot will ensure that they do not spread to other body area parts.

The other detection procedure is Screening to identify early cancer or pre-cancer cells before they get out of control. Some prominent screening procedures include accurate diagnosis through imaging technology (ultrasound, endoscopy or radiography or PET/CT technology imaging) and laboratory (pathology) investigations. Good examples are Mammography for breast cancer and Cytology for cervical cancer.

After detection, the next step would be timely access to effective treatment cum care which will help to cure, prolong life and improve quality of life for patients. Some of the most common cancer types like breast cancer, cervical cancer and colorectal cancer, have high cure rates when detected early and treated according to best practice.

Prominent treatment methods include Surgery, Radiotherapy, Chemotherapy and Biologic or Targeted Therapy. Relief from pain and other problems can be achieved in over 90% of cancer patients through palliative care.

DIABETES
Also called as Diabetes Mellitus, Diabetes is classed as a metabolism disorder. Metabolism relates to the process our bodies use digested food breaking it down into Glucose for energy and growth. Glucose is a form of sugar in the blood which is a principal source of fuel for our bodies.

On digestion of the food, the glucose enters the body’s bloodstream and the body cell uses the glucose for energy and growth. Its here that the Glucose needs Insulin to allow the body cells to take In the glucose and later facilitate the Glucose to enter the body cells.

Now what’s Insulin? It’s a hormone produced by the pancreas which gets automatically released after the body is through with the eating process. Insulin enables the glucose present in our blood to move into the cells, and it also lowers the blood sugar level.

Now when the glucose in the blood is highly elevated (a condition called as Hyperglycemia), then the body does not produce enough insulin or produces no insulin, or has cells that do not respond properly to the insulin the pancreas produces. This in turn causes the build up of excess glucose in the blood which eventually passes out of the body in urine. Thus a situation arises wherein the blood has plenty of glucose, but the cells are not getting it for their essential energy and growth requirements. This condition in medical parlance is called as Diabetes.

There are three types of Diabetes: Diabetes Type 1 - You produce no insulin at all, Diabetes Type 2 - You don't produce enough insulin, or your insulin is not working properly and Gestational Diabetes - You develop diabetes just during your pregnancy.

According to WHO, Diabetes is one of the major causes of premature illness and death worldwide. It estimates that if proper remedial measures are not taken, the number of people with diabetes will rise from 366 million in 2011 to 552 million by 2030. In 2011 itself, nearly 4.6 million died from Diabetes. The WHO survey report also disclosed that around 80% of people with diabetes live in low and middle income countries and the greatest number of people with diabetes is between 40-59 years of age.

CAUSES
  • Hereditary Factors: Diabetes often occurs in families. It is believed that strong genetic link vide close blood relationships have increased risks of diabetes. In case, both of your parents are diabetics, chances of you contracting diabetes are far greater than what it is with only one parent being a diabetic. The gender of the parent will also affect the threat of developing diabetes.
    However, genetic factors by itself are not so powerful to cause the problem. It will need something like environmental causes to trigger the onset of diabetes.
  • Environmental Causes: There have been several cases whereby people do not develop diabetes, despite their genetic background. Its herein that environmental factors play a role in germinating the seeds of diabetes in such people. Cold climate will sow the seeds for the onset of diabetes. For instance, Type 1 diabetes has a higher presence in places with cold weather, rather than other areas being closer to equator. Viral infections are another causative factor which can trigger diabetes in a person who is prone to diabetes, because of genetic factors.
  • Lifestyle Factors: A person with a sedentary lifestyle is prone to Diabetes than people who are more active and who workout frequently each week. An active lifestyle with a proper exercise and diet program coupled with active work lifestyle helps to ward off the threats of diabetes. Muscles along with brain are prominent glucose consumers in our body. Lack of fitness exercise causes our muscular system to decline in terms of size and functionality and this in turn reduces a muscle’s ability to use glucose properly leading to a possible cause of insulin resistance.
  • Diet Factors: Improper Diet like a diet with poor intake of nutrition, protein and fiber, OR a diet that is high in Saturated Fat also play a crucial role in diabetes formation.
  • Excess Weight: Overweight and obesity induces Body mass index to go past the danger mark of 27 which makes the control of blood glucose difficult in diabetics. This occurs because high amounts of fat prevent muscles from metabolizing glucose properly and can cause or worsen the disease.
  • Metabolic Syndrome: means the status of a person’s health which includes the following characteristics:
    • Excess fat around the waist.
    • Increased level of bad cholesterol (LDL).
    • Low level of good cholesterol (HDL).
    • High total cholesterol.
    • Increased presence of triglycerides in the blood.
    • High blood pressure.
  • Anxiety & Stress: A chaotic lifestyle with a lot of pressure has huge repercussions on the metabolism of the body. They fuel extreme anxiety and stress which can cause diabetes as they alter the blood sugar levels in the body.
  • Age Factor: Another major cause of diabetes affecting as many as 80% of people at or above the age of 45. The incidence of diabetes increases with the age factor due to the fact one becomes less active and gains weight, which in turn affect the functioning of the pancreas and insulin production and increases the blood sugar levels finally leading to diabetes.

Symptoms of Diabetes include:
  • Frequent urination.
  • Intense or Extreme Hunger.
  • Disproportionate or Abnormal Thirst.
  • Increased Fatigue / Unusual Tiredness.
  • Irritability.
  • Sudden Weight Gain.
  • Unusual weight loss.
  • Nausea / Vomiting.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Itchy Skin.
  • Skin and/or yeast infections.
  • Swollen and Red Gums.
  • Improper or Failed healing of Cuts and bruises.
  • Frequent gum disease/infection.
  • Sexual dysfunction among men.
  • Numbness or tingling, especially in your feet and hands.

TREATMENT & CARE:
Diabetes last a lifetime and have no known cure. Once a person gets the disease, it is not possible to cure the same and you need to take care of your health for entire life. The only solution is to control the problem with a well-charted program of proper medications (incl insulin injections), physical exercise and healthy diet.

If diabetes is not adequately controlled, then there are great chances of the patient developing complications, such as hypoglycemia, ketoacidosis, and nonketotic hypersosmolar coma. Longer term complications could include cardiovascular disease, retinal damage, chronic kidney failure, nerve damage, poor healing of wounds, gangrene on the feet which may lead to amputation, and erectile dysfunction.

A proper treatment could include:
  • Blood Sugar Level : Have your blood sugar level checked more frequently, to be on the safe side and ensure that no harm is being caused by diabetes.
  • Blood Glucose Monitoring : Monitor your blood glucose level regularly. Later, depending on the severity of your condition, you will be advised by your doctor about the intervals, when you should take the test.
  • Medications : Follow regular doses of medicine or insulin, as have been prescribed.
  • Regular Exercise : It helps to control glucose levels. However, care should be taken to avoid few exercises, that are known to cause further complications like cardiovascular diseases, hypoglycemia etc.
  • Weight Reduction : Ensure that your weight is normal and take all preventive measures to make sure that they don’t exceed excess category.

Diet Plan
A diabetic should follow a healthy diet that
  • Is based on Low Carbohydrates, Low fats & Moderate proteins. The diet should be high in complex carbohydrates. That is, a diet filled with High fibre items like vegetables, whole legumes, whole wheat products, oats etc.
  • Restricts products made from refined wheat flours.
  • Avoids High Fat Salad Dressings but does not prevent other kind of salads.
  • Includes Fruits recommended by your dietician. However, Fruit juices should be avoided as much as possible. Preferably avoid fruits along with your meals and you can take it 2 hours after or before a meal.

Diabetes cannot be cured completely, but can be effectively controlled. People with diabetes can lead a healthy life provided they maintain their blood glucose level under control.

HEPATITIS - A
A liver infection caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV), Hepatitis - A is an inflammation of the liver due to the A type virus. It is also called as Infectious hepatitis and is said to be the least serious form of hepatitis since the infected carrier does not experience the chronic form of the disease, but it can cause debilitating symptoms. However, severe cases are rarely fatal.

According to WHO findings, an estimated 1.4 million cases of hepatitis A occur annually and is widely found in developing nations like India, Pakistan, China, Bangladesh, Central and South America, and some SE Asian nations. In developed countries with good sanitary and hygienic conditions infection rates are low.

CAUSES
Symptoms of Hepatitis- A include:
  • Flu-like symptoms like Fever, General aches and headaches.
  • Extreme Tiredness / Sickness.
  • Ache over your liver (the upper part of the right side of your abdomen below your ribs).
  • Loss of appetite, diarrhoea, nausea.
  • Abdominal discomfort.
  • Dark-colored urine.
  • Jaundice (a yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes).

Transmission
Humans are the only reservoir of hepatitis A virus which is transmitted vide:
  • Faeces of infected patients, either by person-to-person contact or by consumption of contaminated food or water that have been contaminated with the stool of a person with the virus.
  • Eating raw and undercooked Vegetables and Fruits harvested from contaminated water.
  • Drinking contaminated water.
  • Sexual transmission among men who have sex with men. The virus can also be transmitted through oral and anal sexual activity.
  • Waterborne outbreaks, associated with sewage-contaminated or inadequately treated water.

Casual contact among people does not spread the virus but is more easily spread under poor sanitary conditions and when good personal hygiene is not practiced.

TREATMENT & PREVENTION
Hepatitis-A has no specific treatment. Only a well charted plan of prevention and care helps in keeping the disease at bay and clear the immune system from the infection symptoms.

People with Hepatitis-A usually don’t require hospitalization except wherein they are severely ill or are vomiting and are dehydrated. Recovery from symptoms following infection may be slow and take several weeks or months.

A single dose of Hepatitis A vaccine protects people from the virus and their side-effects and develops protective levels of antibodies to the virus within one month. A two- or three-dose vaccination for hepatitis A before exposure to the virus prevents the disease for as long as 20 years. Even after virus exposure, a single dosage of the vaccine helps within two weeks of virus contact ensures protective effects.

Prevention
  • Keep a check on how your liver is working through Blood Tests at regular intervals.
  • Follow a Healthy and safe Diet that eliminates Fatty Foods. Also avoid Alcohol and Drink Safe Drinking Water.
  • Avoid eating and drinking in high-risk countries:
    • Raw or inadequately cooked shellfish.
    • Raw salads and vegetables that may have been washed in contaminated water.
    • Other foods that may have been grown close to the ground such as strawberries.
    • Untreated drinking water, including ice cubes made from untreated water.
    • Unpasteurised milk, cheese, ice cream and other dairy products.
  • Take plenty of rest to get rid of tiredness.
  • Proper intake of Medications like painkillers and anti-sickness medications.
  • Wear Loose clothing and avoid hot baths or showers.
  • Ensure excellent personal hygiene.
    • Thoroughly wash your hands after going to the toilet.
    • Avoid handling food when infected with the virus.
    • Avoid having unprotected sex when infected with the virus.
  • Maintain proper sanitation like proper disposal of sewage within communities, etc.


TROPICAL DISEASES
Tropical Diseases refers to diseases that are infectious and bloom in hot and humid conditions. They are prevalent in tropical and subtropical regions and are less prevalent in temperate climates, predominantly due to the extreme cold season which controls the insect population by forcing hibernation.

Insects such as mosquitoes and flies are by far the most common disease carrier, or vector. These insects may carry a parasite, bacterium or virus that is infectious to humans and animals and is transmitted by an insect bite which causes transmission of the infectious agent through subcutaneous blood exchange.

Tropical Diseases include a whole lot of diseases like African Trypanosomiasis (Sleeping Sickness), Burulu Ulcer Disease, Chagas Disease, Cholera, Dengue and Dengue Haemorrhagic, Ebola Harmorrhagic Fever, Lassa Fever, Leprosy, Lymphatic Filariasis, Malaria, Rabies, Rift Valley Fear, Schistosomiasis and Yellow Fever.

Tropical diseases affect millions of people worldwide. It is said that Human exploration of tropical rainforests, deforestation, rising immigration and increased international air travel and other tourism to tropical regions, all of which led to the increased incidence and spread of such diseases.

CAUSES
Tropical Disease is caused by organisms like Bacteria, Viruses and Parasites. All of these types of agents are referred to generically as Pathogens which means any organisms that cause disease.

In the temperate climate zones, viral and bacterial diseases are spread directly from person to person, by airborne routes of transmission or by sexual contact. On other hand, in the tropical zones, insects may carry a parasite, bacterium orvirus that is infectious to humans and animals. Most often disease is transmitted by an insect bite which causes transmission of the infectious agent through subcutaneous blood exchange.
In addition, many diseases are spread by contaminated water and food sources, since clean water and sanitary conditions are poor in developing countries.

Viruses
An minute infectious agent that generally consist only of genetic material covered by a protein shell, Viruses replicate within cells, which provide the synthetic machinery needed to produce new virus particles.

Bacteria
More complex than viruses, Bacteria contain genetic information and such like needed for producing energy. They replicate independently, but some can only reproduce when growing inside a cell, from which they derive required nutrients.

Parasites
It’s an organism that lives within or on another organism, obtaining some advantage such as nourishment. This group of pathogens includes the protozoa (single-celled organisms more complex than bacteria) and the helminths(multicellular organisms commonly referred to as worms).

TREATMENT & PREVENTION
Tropical Diseases are also caused by parasites including worms, female aedes, anopheles and other mosquitoes. Flatworms and snails also can cause tropical disease.
  • Mosquitoes cause the tropical diseases, dengue fever and yellow fever. To avoid the same, opt for Vaccination and personal protection against the mosquitoes that transmit the diseases.
  • Disease can be contracted from swimming in fresh water or bathing and drinking it. Avoid them; Chlorinated pools and salt water is considered lower risk.
  • Ensure bathing water sit for 3 days before using it.
  • Avoid habitats such as mud, adobe or thatch building, especially those that have cracks or crevices where bugs can get in.
  • Use netting over beds to help prevent infection.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and knee-high boots and also use insect repellent that contain DEET. It is necessary to sleep using mosquito netting.


MALARIA
An infectious disease caused by a parasite Plasmodium that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans affecting the blood cells, Malaria is characterized by cycles of chills, fever, pain, and sweating. A serious and at times fatal disease, Malaria affected people are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness.

There are four kinds of malaria parasites that infect humans: Plasmodium falciparum, P vivax, P ovale, and P. malariae Infection with P falciparum, all of which if not promptly treated, may lead to death. Although malaria is a deadly disease, illness and death resulting from malaria can usually be prevented with proper preventive steps.

Malaria occurs in parts of Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Central / South America. According to the World Health Organization, each year 300-500 million cases of malaria occur and more than 1 million people die of malaria, especially in developing countries. Most deaths are of young children.

CAUSES
Malaria is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium, which is transmitted via the bites of infected mosquitoes. Once infected, the parasites multiply in the infected human body in the liver, and then infect red blood cells.

Symptoms of Malaria include :
  • High temperature (Fever)
  • Chills
  • Muscle Aches
  • Headache
  • Sweats
  • Tiredness (Fatigue)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dry cough
  • Diarrhea
  • Back pain
  • Muscle ache
  • Enlarged spleen

The symptoms usually appear between 10 and 15 days after the mosquito bite. Infected persons may suffer from cycles of chills, fever, and sweating that repeat every one, two, or three days are typical. At times, there can be vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, and yellowing (jaundice) of the skin and whites of the eyes due to destruction of red blood cells and liver cells. If not treated quickly or on time, malaria can turn life-threatening by disrupting the blood supply to vital organs.

People who are infected with severe P falciparum malaria can develop bleeding problems, shock, liver or kidney failure, central nervous system problems, coma, and can die from the infection or its complications. Cerebral malaria (coma, or altered mental status or seizures) can occur with severe P falciparum infection. It is lethal if not treated quickly; even with treatment, about 15%-20% die.

Transmission
Malaria parasite (Plasmodium) is transmitted vide humans and Anopheles mosquitoes. Humans are infected when an infected Anopheles mosquito, usually female, bites a person and injects a minute quantity of the malaria (plasmodium) parasite into the blood. After one week, the same infected mosquito takes its next blood meal. The plasmodium parasites mix with the mosquito's saliva and are injected into the human.

The other sources of transmission include organ transplant, shared use of needles/syringes, and blood transfusion. Also, an infected mother can transmit malaria to her infant before or during delivery (this is called Congenital Malaria.

TREATMENT & PREVENTION
Treatment should start within 24 hours after the first symptoms appear. The treatment process can either be on outpatient basis or hospitalization. Since the disease can be fatal, one is advised to take preventive steps.

Vector Control
One should avoid as much as possible contact with vectors of disease. A vector is an organism, such as a mosquito, or tick that carries disease-causing microorganisms from one host to another. Effective control of mosquitoes can dramatically reduce malaria incidence, as well as other mosquito-borne diseases.

ITNs (Insecticide-Treated Bed Nets)
Sleeping under bed nets (ITNs) and treated with insecticide can reduce malarial infection incidence and also mortality especially in endemic areas.

Medications
Proper and on time use of anti-malarial medications can stop the malarial parasites from multiplying and acting dangerously in the blood. The type of drugs and length of treatment depend on the type of malaria, where the person was infected, their age, whether they are pregnant, and how sick they are at the start of treatment.

Other Preventive Methods
  • Spraying insecticides on walls to kill adult mosquitoes that come inside.
  • Using insect repellent and wearing long-sleeved clothing if out of doors at night.

OBESITY & OVER WEIGHT
Obesity is a medical condition referring to the accumulation of excess body fat and Overweight refers to the inappropriate or excess weight for one’s body structure and height.

In medical parlance, a person is termed as obese wherein the body mass index (BMI) over 30 kg or more and a person with a BMI equal to or more than 25 is considered overweight. BMI is a term that indicates the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in metres (kg/m2).

Obesity is among the major medical disorders in the world that affects millions especially in the developed world. Excess fat build-up associated with obesity may cause adverse health effects where in many cases can lead to other metabolic, cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Obesity is one of the major causes that is responsible for causing for serious diet-related chronic diseases, including type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension and stroke, and certain forms of cancer. Chronic overweight and obesity contribute significantly to osteoarthritis, a major cause of disability in adults. Obesity and Overweight also causes adverse metabolic effects on blood pressure, cholesterol, triglycerides and insulin resistance. The health consequences as a result of the impact of Obesity and Overweight include reduced life expectancy, increased risk of premature death and other serious chronic conditions.

Globally, there are more than 1 billion overweight adults, at least 300 million of them clinically obese. A WHO survey report has revealed that Obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, with at least 2.6 million people dying each year as a result of being overweight or obese. Once said to be confined to the developed world, today Obesity is spreading fast in low- and middle-income countries. Factors like rapid economic growth, modernization, urbanization, globalization of food markets and lifestyle factors are said to be responsible for the epidemic of Obesity.

CAUSES
Worldwide the phenomenal rise in Obesity has been attributed to:
  • A shift in diet based on increased intake of energy-dense foods that are high in fat and sugars but low in vitamins, minerals and other micronutrients; and
  • An alarming trend towards decreased physical activity caused by factors like increasingly sedentary nature of many forms of work and home (more time is spent seated), changing modes of transportation, and increasing urbanization.

Factors responsible for Obesity include :
  • Overeating and Negative Energy Balance.
  • Physical Inactivity.
  • Bad Eating Habits like having too much of one or more nutrients in the diet, etc.
  • Genetic and Environmental Factors.
  • Illnesses
  • Medications
  • Emotional Factors
  • Environmental Factors
To sum it up, hereditary predisposition together with overeating and less physical activity are the main causes of obesity.

Symptoms of overweight and obesity include:
  • Enlarged stomach, waist, thighs, and/or buttocks.
  • Fatigue / Sweating a Lot.
  • Saggy breasts (in women).
  • Breathlessness
  • Snoring
  • Difficulty sleeping.
  • Inability to cope with sudden physical activity.
  • Back and joint pains.

TREATMENT & PREVENTION
Treatment includes a well-oiled combination of healthy diet and exercise program, behavior modification, and the right dosage of weight loss drugs. In certain cases involving severe obesity, gastrointestinal surgery is prescribed.

For Overweight people, losing 7-10 percent of body weight may improve many of the problems linked to being overweight, such as high blood pressure and diabetes. It is advisable to opt for slow and steady weight loss of no more than 1-2 pounds per week as it is safe and healthy compared to rapid weight loss which can cause you to lose muscle rather than fat and also increase your chances of developing other problems, such as gallstones and nutrient deficiencies.

Adhering to sound long-term changes in your eating and physical activity habits is the only way to lose weight and ensure that weight gain is kept at bay.

Prevention
Prevention is better than cure and it perfectly sounds fine for tackling Obesity and Overweight.
  • Healthy Eating Habits: Follow a healthy eating program of nutritious diet. Eat a variety of foods, especially pasta, rice, wholemeal bread, and other whole-grain foods. Reduce your fat-intake. You should also eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
  • Exercise Program: Make physical activity a part of your daily life to help control your weight. Try to perform at least 30 minutes of physical activity a day every day. It can be done in stages, 10 minutes now and 20 minutes later, adding up to 30 minutes a day. Other physical activities could include taking the stairs instead of the elevator or cycling / walking to place of work which is nearby. These things can make a big difference in health over time. Adults 18 and older need 30 minutes of physical activity on five or more days a week to be healthy.
  • Curb to a large extent or altogether eliminate tobacco, drug, and alcohol use.
  • Reducing stress through resort to Meditation / Yoga exercises.

Preventing overweight and obesity, especially in children, should include not just eating a healthy diet and getting enough physical activity (Children and teens need 60 minutes of activity a day), but also adopting a healthy lifestyle. It would be worthwhile for parents to curtail their screen time, that is, time spent watching TV, playing video games, or on the computer.

CARDIO VASCULAR DISEASES
It’s a class of diseases that involve the Heart or Blood Vessels (Arteries and Veins) affecting the cardiovascular system. Cardiovascular diseases include
  • Coronary heart disease – disease of the blood vessels supplying the heart muscle.
  • Cerebrovascular disease (Ischemic Stroke) - disease of the blood vessels supplying the brain.
  • Peripheral arterial disease – disease of blood vessels supplying the arms and legs.
  • Rheumatic heart disease – damage to the heart muscle and heart valves from rheumatic fever, caused by streptococcal bacteria.
  • Congenital heart disease - malformations of heart structure existing at birth.
    • Deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism – blood clots in the leg veins, which can dislodge and move to the heart and lungs.

Cardiovascular Disease results in an increase in risk for heart attack, heart failure, sudden death, stroke and cardiac rhythm problems resulting in either decreased quality of life and decreased life expectancy OR death. Heart attacks and strokes are usually acute cases that are caused by a blockage that prevents blood from flowing to the heart or brain. These can be detected by symptoms such as pain, confusion, swelling, or shortness of breath.

Cardiovascular diseases are the biggest cause of deaths worldwide, though it has considerably declined in the advanced nations. But surprisingly during the same period of decline in the advanced nations, it has increased at an astonishing pace in the developing world.

According to the WHO, worldwide, it is estimated that around 17 million people die from cardiovascular disease every year. The percentage of premature deaths from cardiovascular disease is around 4% in advanced nations and 42% in developing nations. The phenomenal increase in CVDs in the developing world have been attributed to factors like genetic disorders, changing habits, sedentary lifestyles, poor diet and high blood pressure, physical inactivity, psychological factors such as stress and depression and lack of progress in implementation of changing healthcare policies. It is forecast that by 2015 almost 20 million people will die from cardiovascular diseases mainly from heart disease and stroke.

CAUSES
The most common cause of cardiovascular diseases is cholesterol, Low Density and High Density. Too much of Low Density or too little of High Density can cause CVD.

High blood pressure is another premier cause of Heart Attacks or Strokes. It places enormous strain on the heart organ as increased volume of blood is pumped through the heart. High BP can also cause the arteries to rupture particularly when they are hardened with plaque build-up. Then there is Atherosclerosis which refers to the buildup of plaque in the arteries leading to aneurysms and blood clots, which in turn can result in thrombosis, heart attack, and stroke.

Risk factors which are responsible for the cause of CVDs include:
  • Family history of heart disease is ten times more likely to cause Cardiovascular disease.
  • Smoking increases risk of atherosclerosis not only in the arteries leading to the heart, but also to the legs and the aorta.
  • Inadequate Exercise / Physical Inactivity cause High Blood Pressure, High Cholesterol, Weight Gain & Poor flow of Blood Circulation leading to Ischemic Heart Disease.
  • Food with high fat and high carbohydrates increase the risk of blood clotting.
  • Excess Weight OR Obesity has a negative influence on blood pressure and cholesterol.
  • Excess Alcohol Consumption damages Heart Muscle by weakening and stretching it leading to a condition called Alcoholic Cardiomyopathy leading to Heart Failure in both men and women.
  • Illegal Drug Use cause the Heart Muscle to stretch and sometimes thicken, limiting the heart's ability to fill with and pump out blood.
  • Depression & Stress release certain chemicals, which can increase heart rate and raise blood pressure.

Unpreventable risk factors include Previous heart attack, Family member with Heart disease, Increasing age, Gender and Race. Warning Signs of Heart Attack include Chest Discomfort, Upper Body Discomfort, Shortness of Breath, Dizziness, Cold Sweats, Nausea, Confusion/Trouble speaking or understanding, Blurred Vision, Trouble Walking / Dizziness or Loss of Balance or Co-ordination and Severe Headache. Brain death from cardiac arrest can be experienced in just four minutes.

TREATMENT & CARE
Medical Research Survey have revealed that people can lower their risk for cardiovascular disease enormously by as much as 82 percent by following with commitment a sensible health program based on healthy habits, regardless of age, background, or health status.

The steps for preventing cardiovascular disease involve:
  • Recognizing and understanding your risk factors.
  • Monitoring your health status.
  • Knowing your family history.
  • Following healthy lifestyle changes.
  • Taking medication.

An effective and sensible health program includes medication combined with exercise and a healthy diet powered by a firm commitment to live a healthy lifestyle, helps in cardiovascular disease prevention.

The Health Program plan can involve:
  • Exercising like taking a brisk walk or jogging.
  • Eschewing Smoking, Drinking & Drug taking.
  • Maintaining healthy weight.
  • Following a heart-healthy diet including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains with decreased amounts of sodium, fat, and cholesterol.

By controlling your risk factors with lifestyle changes and medications, you may prevent or slow down the development of cardiovascular disease.