Thursday, December 10, 2009

Mesothelioma a Rare Disease

This is a uncommon form of cancer, commonly attached to exposure to asbestos. In Mesothelioma, cancerous cells develop in the mesothelium, a defensive lining that covers most of the bodies inner organs. The most common site for Mesothelioma is the outer lining of the lungs along with chest cavity (known as the pleura lining), but it may also occur in the lining of the abdominal cavity (also known as the peritoneum) or the outer lining of the heart (pericardium).

Individuals who develop Mesothelioma have typically worked in jobs where they were exposed to asbestos particles via airborne means, or by direct contract with contaminated materials used by loved ones or friends in such occupations.

Mesothelioma symptoms

It may take upwards of 30 to 50 years after exposure to asbestos for Mesothelioma symptoms to become apparent. Among the symptoms of Mesothelioma one might see, the primary two associated with plural cavity Mesothelioma are:

  • shortness of breath

  • pain in the chest - most likely due to an accumulation of fluid in the pleural space

Symptoms of Mesothelioma that are affecting the peritoneal cavity may include

  • weight loss

  • abdominal swelling

  • pain due to ascites (a buildup of fluid in the abdominal cavity).

  • bowel obstruction

  • blood clotting abnormalities

  • anemia

  • fever

If the cancer has spread then the symptoms may diversify as well. General symptoms of metastasized Mesothelioma may include pain, trouble swallowing, or swelling of the neck or face.

All symptoms on this page may be caused by Mesothelioma, especially if the individual had a prior exposure to high levels of asbestos earlier in life. However, all of these symptoms can be caused by less serious conditions.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Dengue Alert

What is dengue?

Dengue fever is a relatively common problem in Asia and periodically reaches epidemic proportions in some countries like Indonesia, Philippines and others, usually every 4-5 years. Rarely fatal in fit adults, the patient is often left debilitated and requires considerable time for convalescence. Dengue Fever is most common during the rainy season (November - May) as the mosquito requires clean standing water to reproduce.

Dengue occurs due to infection by a flavivirus which is transmitted by the bite of the Aedes mosquito. (Unlike malaria, this disease occurs in greater Jakarta - urban dengue occurs in nearly all tropical countries like I said it before).


Certainly in the aboriginal stages of illness, dengue fever is difficult if not impossible to distinguish clinically from the many other possible causes of similar symptoms and signs.


The deposit of the dengue virus in the skin by the bite, there is an incubation period of 2 - 14 (usually 4 - 8) days.

Thereafter onset of symptoms is usually abrupt, coinciding with viremia (the virus multiplying in the bloodstream) with chills, headache, backache, weakness, pain behind the eyes, flushing of the face, muscle and joint pain, and lassitude. The joint and back pains can be very bad indeed; hence the older name 'breakbone fever'.

The temperature rapidly rises, often to 40°C (104°F), and there is a low heart rate (compared to the degree of, and other causes of, high fever). The blood pressure is often low also. A transient rash which blanches under pressure may be seen during the first 24 hours of fever.

During the 2nd to 6th day of fever, nausea and even vomiting may occur, and the patient may develop one or more of the following; skin hypersensitivity, generalized swelling of regional lymph nodes, swelling of the palms, changes in taste sensation, loss of appetite, constipation, anxiety and depression.

Within 2 to 4 days a temporary improvement can occur with a sudden drop in temperature and subjective improvement - for 24 hours until there is a second rapid temperature rise. A generalized morbilliform (“measles-like”) rash appears a characteristic rash on the trunk, limbs, palms and soles especially. (This second febrile phase does not invariably occur). This rash usually disappears in 1-5 days, the skin in these areas turn bright red and may peel. The temperature should fall back to normal and the infectious episode is effectively over.

Epistaxis (“nose bleeds”), petechiae (“red skin spots”) and purpuric skin lesions (“purple skin spots / bruises”) can occur at any stage of the disease, varying with age, sex, and type of dengue virus. Bleeding from the gastrointestinal tract, and excessive vaginal bleeding if menstruating can also occur, but do not usually occur in most cases.


A fever occurs in nearly all dengue infections in children; the other most common symptoms are a red throat, a (usually mild) runny nose, cough, and mild gastrointestinal symptoms which of course may present similar to pharyngitis, influenza, and upper respiratory infections.

The presentation of dengue in the younger child is much less characteristic than in the older child and adult as above.


It has no particular cure for the infectious caused by dengue virus in dengue fever or DHF / DSS. The complications can and should be treated, and in the rare cases of DSS, treatment for shock as well as a low platelet count is both essential and available including fresh blood and / or platelet transfusion but there is no medicine or vaccine anywhere available that can act specifically against the virus.

It has been suggested that DHF is more likely if the patient has previously had an attack of dengue within the last calendar year (generally within the last eight-twelve months), and that the occurrence of DHF relates to this previous "sensitization". Previous exposure may raise the incidence of subsequent DHF, presumably (as experiments have shown) by the antibody elicited in response to the first infection, being capable of enhancing the infection due to the virus found in the second episode.

Uncontrolled bleeding distinguishes this from uncomplicated dengue fever. Bleeding can occur from the gums, nose, intestine, or under the skin as bruises or spots of blood especially under a tourniquet this test should be employed if there is any suspicion. The liver is often enlarged.

More Public Transportation, Less Obesity

The problem of obesity is known to be at an all-time high in the United States, with an ever-increasing number of young people being found to either be obese or be at risk of it. This is, of course, a bit of a severe problem, and the federal government has attempted to take numerous steps to try and fix the problem. However, recent research has also started to delve into what might be the cause for these problems. According to a study that looked into the frequency of obesity in various countries, it seems that there may be a connection between walking, biking, and public transportation and the frequency of obesity in people.

The study has found that countries where walking, biking, or taking public transportation to work, shopping, or school have largely lower frequencies of obesity in the general population. The study found that the higher the rate of use for public transportation and methods such as bicycles or walking, the lower the recorded instances of obesity. It was also noted that Americans, who largely prefer to travel by car from one location to another, have the highest obesity rates in the world, and are also the people least likely to walk, cycle, or take mass transit.

An estimated 12% of all people use active transportation in the United States, with 9% of that number walking, 1% riding bikes, and 2% taking a bus or train. As for the rest of the population, the car is found to be the favored means of getting around – incidentally, a third of that segment of the population have been found to be obese. This is in comparison to the 67% of commuters in Latvia, 52% of the population that prefers to walk in the Netherlands, and 62% of Swedes who walk, bike, or use mass transit. The obesity rate for Latvia is at 14%, while the Netherlands has it at 11% - significantly lower than for the US.

Part of the reason for this was found to be the structure of most European cities. The roads tended to be narrower and allowed less traffic flow, discouraging people from using cars. In contrast, US areas have much wider roads to allow for more vehicles to pass, and to speed up the flow of traffic. European cities, therefore, are structured to discourage too many people from driving cars, while American cities are designed to accommodate large numbers of vehicles on the road at once.