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Understanding Conjunctivitis Symptoms and Signs : A Comprehensive Guide
Conjunctivitis, also referred to as pink eye or eye flu, is an eye condition that can make people feel uncomfortable, irritated, and have red eyes. The thin membrane that covers the white area of the eye and the inner surface of the eyelids, the conjunctiva, becomes inflamed, which is how it is identified. To assist you in recognising and comprehending this widespread eye condition, we will break down the conjunctivitis symptoms and indicators in this post. Redness of the Eye The redness of the eyes is one of the main and most obvious signs of conjunctivitis. Because of the pink or red colour of the eye caused by the inflamed blood vessels in the conjunctiva, the condition is frequently referred to as "pink eye." Depending on the underlying cause of conjunctivitis, the degree of redness can range from mild to severe. Itching and Irritation Conjunctivitis frequently causes itching and irritation in the affected eye or eyes. People may feel the urge to touch their eyes to ease the itching, which can range from mild to severe. However, in the event of infectious conjunctivitis, scratching the eyes can exacerbate the illness and possibly transmit the infection. Watery or Discharge from the Eye Conjunctivitis can cause the eyes to tear excessively or discharge. While bacterial conjunctivitis may provide a thicker, yellow or greenish discharge, viral conjunctivitis typically results in a clear and watery discharge. Due to the body's immunological reaction to allergens, allergic conjunctivitis can also result in watery discharge. Swollen Eyelids Conjunctivitis occasionally results in swollen eyelids, making it difficult to fully open or close the eyes. The inflammation that affects the tissues of the eyelids usually causes swelling. Sensitivity to Light (Photophobia) Conjunctivitis can cause photophobia, a condition in which the eyes become sensitive to light. People who have conjunctivitis may experience discomfort and suffering when exposed to bright lights or sunshine. Crust Formation on the Eyelids Particularly after waking up in the morning, bacterial conjunctivitis can cause the development of crusts or "eye boogers" on the eyelids. These crusts develop as a result of dry discharge gathering on the eyelids while you sleep. Foreign Body Sensation Some people with conjunctivitis could feel as though they have grit or a foreign body in their eyes. This sensation may be uncomfortable and increase the desire to massage one's eyes. For early detection and suitable care, it is essential to recognise the symptoms and signs of conjunctivitis. A qualified eye care practitioner must be consulted if you suffer redness, irritation, excessive tearing, or discharge from your eyes in order to make an accurate diagnosis and receive the appropriate treatments. While the majority of conjunctivitis instances are not dangerous and can be treated with self-care or medical procedures, prompt treatment can help reduce discomfort and stop the conjunctivitis from spreading to other people. Keep in mind that having healthy eyes is crucial for sustaining vision and general wellbeing.
NextGen HLA Typing in Organ Transplantation - Metropolis New Test Launch
Organ transplantation is often the last step in many chronic diseases. The human leukocyte antigen is among the primary protein whose compatibility decides the transplant's success. Besides, the accuracy of HLA testing plays a crucial role in promptly recognising potential donors' organ tissue. This article comprises the advantages of the next-generation sequencing technology (NGS) from Metropolis Healthcare. Read more to learn how the NextGen HLA typing test will transform accuracy compatibility for transplantation. NextGen HLA typing procedure: Overview The NextGen HLA testing provides the maximum HLA typing matching between recipient and donor. Among other factors, three antigen types, A, B, and DR, play a crucial role in recipient and donor compatibility. This NextGen HLA testing is a higher-resolution molecular test for solid organ and haematopoietic stem cell transplantation. Know more about this compatibility test, which helps seamless tissue matching and organ transplantation in recipients with maximum accuracy. How does the NextGen HLA testing work? Every individual inherits two pairs of A, B, and DR proteins from their parents. The NextGen HLA typing test analyses suitable donors through the matching for tissues, bone marrow, and organ transplantation. The highest chances of compatibility lies between twins and siblings. The HLA proteins are a part of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). It functions in tandem with the T-receptor cells. This means the detection of foreign antigens in your body. Besides, it helps distinguish between self-cells and those of foreign origins to prevent auto-immune reactions. If your body contains incompatible tissues or preexisting cross-matching antibodies, HLA testing reduces rejection chances. What makes NextGen HLA testing state-of-the-art? Often in the HLA typing procedure, there's an ambiguity in choosing antibody incompatibility as the compatibility sign for transplantation. But it can also lead to rejection if other factors like lymphocyte matching are left ignored. The NextGen HLA typing test considers the following conditions: Ethnicity Antibody testing Lymphocyte cross-matching Blood typing These factors make NextGen HLA testing accurate to detect maximum HLA compatibility. Besides, it considers allelic variants in your genes to ensure the most accurate allelic profiling for donor selection. It reduces the chances of the destruction of inserted tissues in the future and enhances the success rate of organ transplantation. What are the advantages of NextGen HLA testing? The NextGen HLA typing test comprises genetic and immunological factors. These ensure maximum compatibility between donor and recipient. It offers confirmation of successful transplantation based on available stem cell transplants or solid organs from a foreign donor. Check out the various advantages of the NextGen technique over other HLA typing results: It helps predict the underlying presence of pathogenic and auto-immune disorders. NextGen technique ensures maximum allelic compatibility for haematopoietic tissues and organ transplantation. It helps choose the most suitable donor based on the preexisting allelic profiling of the recipient. Considers all existing compatibility factors to remove HLA typing ambiguity, providing near-perfect transplantation outcomes. It saves time and resources. This means higher compatibility ensures successful organ transplantation without immunity rejection issues. What else should you know about the NextGen HLA testing? Unlike most HLA typing procedures, the NextGen technique earns its impeccable reputation as the best HLA testing. Thanks to its state-of-the-art allelic characterisation, it comprises all factors that may come into play during foreign tissue and organ transplantation. Considered the gold standard approach, it's among the best available HLA typing in organ transplantation. Besides, this technique also compensates for the potential complications of graft rejection. It provides qualitative compatibility to ensure patients undergoing haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT) and organ transplantation don't experience graft vs host issues. The NextGen HLA typing procedure compensates for the recipient's survivability, especially when vital organ transplantation (kidney, liver, pancreas) happens. It also considers potential factors like underlying auto-immune disorders or conditions that can thwart a healthy organ or tissue transplantation. NextGen HLA typing - Final word The role of organ transplantation is peerless to save patients who have an impaired organ system or lost one from underlying conditions. The NextGen HLA typing procedure ensures maximum compatibility between the recipient system and potential donors. This state-of-the-art diagnostic procedure has helped reduce unexplained graft rejections in patients with suitable HLA antigen compatibility. The best part is that the NextGen HLA testing for kidney transplants is available in India. It reduces the expensive treatment cost while enhancing the accuracy towards near-perfect organ transplantation. Besides, this technique helped reduce unnecessary donor organ and tissue waste, making it a path-breaking solution in transplantation procedures.
Kidney Function Test (KFT): Purpose, Types and Procedure
Kidneys play a critical role in eliminating metabolic body wastes and in maintaining the body's overall water and electrolyte balance. The kidney function tests (KFT) help you understand whether your kidneys are working efficiently or not by examining how effectively your kidneys are removing wastes from your body. A 24-hour urine sample, a blood test, or both may be required for kidney function evaluation. What Do Your Kidneys Do? Your genito-urinary system includes your kidneys, which are positioned just below your left rib cage at the back of your belly. Kidneys help your body in removing waste products through urine excretion. The additional functions of the kidneys include: Production of blood pressure-maintaining hormones Production of the oxygen-carrying red blood cells that circulate through your body Production of vitamin D, which keeps your muscles and bones healthy So, it is evident that taking care of your kidneys is of utmost importance. You can get a kidney function test (KFT) for a proper evaluation of your kidneys' current health. What Symptoms Can be Caused By Kidney Problems? Symptoms that may indicate a problem with your kidneys include: Frequent urges to urinate Difficulty beginning urination Pain during urination High blood pressure Blood in the urine Swelling of the hands and feet Your doctor will evaluate your symptoms, correlates it with the test findings, and arrive at a diagnosis. Also, a single symptom may not always mean something serious. What Are Kidney Function Tests? Bodily waste or toxic substances including excess fluid are usually removed from the bloodstream by healthy functioning kidneys. Blood specimens and urine tests indicate how properly your kidneys are working and how effectively wastes are excreted from the body. Urine tests can help detect whether the kidneys are leaking any amount of excessive protein, which is a sign of kidney damage. Here we will discuss various tests that are used to understand kidney function. Most of these kidney function tests assess the glomerular filtration rate (GFR). GFR measures how well your kidneys remove waste from your system. What are The Different Types of Kidney Function Tests (KFT)? To diagnose the proper health of your kidneys your physician may prescribe different types of kidney function tests. The following are the different tests that are commonly included in KFT: Serum Creatinine The body's metabolism produces creatinine as a waste product. The kidneys remove it from the blood and excrete it via urination. Generally, creatinine is almost eliminated from the body through the kidneys. In this way, our bodies maintain a low level of creatinine because this creatinine excretion is an ongoing process. Therefore, a high creatinine level could be a sign of kidney issues. In general, For adult men, the normal range of serum creatinine lies between 0.74 to 1.35 mg/dL For adult women, the normal range of serum creatinine lies between 0.59 to 1.04 mg/dL Uric Acid When our body chemically breaks down organic compounds metabolically, uric acid is created. The kidneys filter and eliminate this uric acid waste product through urine. Therefore, both higher or lower uric acid levels could indicate kidney damage. In general, the normal range of uric acid lies between 3.7-9.2 mg/dL. Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) When the body breaks down proteins, it results in urea nitrogen production. Urea nitrogen is also a waste product that the kidneys eliminate through urine. Generally, the level of urea nitrogen in your blood should fall between specific limits. Other than kidney issues, some medications may also cause a rise in urea nitrogen levels in our blood. Therefore, if your BUN level is greater than usual, talk to your doctor for a detailed diagnosis and also inform him about your current medications. In general, the normal range of BUN lies between 7-25 mg/dL. Electrolytes Electrolytes are minerals present in the blood and body fluids that facilitate several body functions. They can be positively or negatively charged. An electrolyte test helps monitor the body’s electrolyte levels and is a strong indicator of how well your kidneys are functioning. Sodium, potassium, and chloride are some of the main electrolytes. The normal range for each electrolyte can vary to some extent in men and women, and different age groups. Estimated Glomerular Filtration Rate (eGFR) The GFR calculates your kidneys' ability to filter waste materials from the body. Your normal GFR results may not always correspond to your normal serum creatinine level. To evaluate your proper renal function, it is, therefore, preferable to estimate glomerular filtration rate or eGFR, also known as the "gold standard" measurement. Your serum creatinine, age, race, and sex, all will be used to estimate your GFR. Because this test result roughly equates to your remaining kidney function, this test helps you get easy-to-interpret information regarding the degree of your kidney damage. In general, The normal level of GFR is considered at 60 or above A below 60 GFR test result may indicate kidney-related diseases A below 15 GFR test results may indicate severe kidney failure Additionally, your doctor may also conduct 24-hour urine testing, such as: Microalbuminuria: This test searches for a specific protein known as albumin in your urine. In general, a urine albumin level below 30 is considered normal, whereas an albumin level above 30 indicates that you may have kidney problems. Urinalysis: This test examines your urine and looks for blood and proteins. Purpose of Kidney Function Tests Conditions such as high sugar levels or diabetes and high blood pressure or hypertension are two major conditions that have an impact on how well the kidneys work. If someone has either of these conditions, their doctor may prescribe KFT or kidney function tests to monitor their progress. Similarly, if one is presented with symptoms that point to kidney problems, the person may also require a kidney function test. Among these symptoms are: increasing blood pressure blood present in the urine frequent urination difficulty urinating pain during urination buildup of fluids in the body leading to swelling of the hands and feet Are There any Preparations Needed Before the Kidney Function Test (KFT)? No, you do not need to take any preparation before your KFT test. You can either visit your nearest laboratory for KFT tests or can have your blood drawn for the KFT test at your home by trained professionals. Procedure of Kidney Function Tests As mentioned in the article earlier, 24-hour urine samples and blood tests are usually key requirements for kidney function tests. Urine Test After 24 Hours A 24-hour urine sample culture is often used to determine creatinine clearance tests. It helps to identify the level or amount of creatinine a patient's body removes in a single day. Doctors provide a special container to store urination. During the collection process, it is advised to keep the container sealed and refrigerated. Make sure to properly mark the container and explain the reason to store it in the refrigerator to other family members. Blood Samples BUN and serum creatinine tests both require blood specimens to be taken in a lab or health clinic. Before drawing blood, the technician ties a band around the upper arm. This highlights the veins from which blood needs to be drawn. After that, the technician cleans the area and inserts a hollow needle into the patient's vein through the skin. The blood will be collected with the help of a test tube and sent to a lab for further analysis. When Should You Go for a Kidney Function Test? KFT helps you detect any kidney-related health conditions that you might have. However if you have any of the following health conditions, or have certain lifestyle habits, kidney function tests are more crucial for you: Any kidney-related health conditions Any symptoms related to kidney damage Any kidney-damaging health conditions, like high blood pressure or diabetes Have a family history of kidney-damaging conditions Aged above 60 A heavy smoker If you think you have any of the above conditions, check your kidney health today. Book a kidney function test online and get tested from the comfort of your home by trained professionals. Who Can Perform a Kidney Function Test (KFT)? Generally, a healthcare provider, known as a phlebotomist, or any trained professional will draw your blood, for your kidney function tests. Your blood samples will be then sent to diagnostic laboratories for further diagnosis. Can Your Kidney Function Get Better? Kidney disease can be treated if diagnosed well within time. Advanced treatment options are also available to help delay or prevent kidney failure in severe kidney damage. No matter what your results are: Maintain your blood pressure, blood glucose, and blood cholesterol in your target range. Cut back on salt and choose a balanced diet for kidneys. Keep yourself physically active. Take medicines the way your provider tells you to. Get tested from time to time to keep an eye on kidney health. Are Kidney Function Tests Risky? The KFT blood tests are quite common and have no significant risk factors. However, at the time of blood collection, you may feel a little discomfort or pain which will go away eventually. Conclusion Kidney function tests help you ensure that your kidneys are functioning properly. Your body's ability to eliminate waste materials is dependent on your kidneys’ health. You may face poor kidney functions due to health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, or due to other health-related concerns. Book your kidney function test at Metropolis Healthcare which provides a wide range of blood testing and health check-up services. Qualified blood collection technicians will collect your blood by visiting your home at your convenience. Your blood sample will be processed at their cutting-edge laboratory using the 8-state MET Protocol. Your test reports will be sent to you through email. To download or share your reports, you may also download the Metropolis TruHealth app.
Common Monsoon Diseases in Rainy Season and Tips for Prevention
India usually experiences its monsoon between the months of July and September, however, this year monsoon has knocked our doors quite early. While the rainy season gives a break from scorching heat during the hot summers, it also brings a wave of various infections ranging from uncomplicated ones to others posing serious threat to you and your family. Monsoon diseases in India Monsoon, also known as the season of the flu, is regarded as the most fertile breeding season for harmful microorganisms. Owing to humidity, mud and stagnant water as means of propagation for multiple viruses and bacteria, the risk of infections in monsoon is higher than other seasons. Therefore, implementing a healthy lifestyle by improving hygienic living conditions can be a right precautionary step during this time of the year. Most of the monsoon illnesses share fever as the common symptom. A right diagnosis forms the cornerstone of getting the right course of treatment and helps you recover early. The most common monsoons diseases are transmitted through four primary mediums; mosquitoes, water, air, and contaminated food. Mosquitoes borne diseases: Monsoons are considered as the breeding season for mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases. India faces a huge burden of mosquito-borne diseases, contributing 34% of global dengue and 3% of global malaria cases. Malaria: It is a life-threatening disease caused by plasmodium parasites, which are transmitted through the bite of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes Although, it is preventable and curable, it accounted for approximately four lakh deaths in 2019, globally Children aged under 5 years are the most susceptible group affected by malaria Its transmission depends on climatic conditions with peaks during and just after the rainy season diseases Symptoms usually appear 10–15 days after the infective mosquito bite, which can include: High fever in rainy season Body ache Moderate to severe chills Fall in body temperature resulting in excessive sweating Headaches Nausea Vomiting Diarrhea. Book Malaria Smear Examination here. Dengue: It is a mosquito-borne viral disease transmitted by female mosquitoes mainly of the species Aedes aegypti Dengue virus usually produces only mild flu-like illness. However, occasionally this develops a potentially lethal complication called dengue haemorrhagic fever Symptoms usually persist for 2–7 days, after an incubation period of 4–10 days after the bite from an infected mosquito Dengue should be suspected when a high fever (40°C/104°F) is accompanied with two of the following symptoms: Severe headache Pain behind the eyes Muscle and joint pains Nausea Vomiting Swollen glands Rash. Suspecting dengue? Get Dengue NS1 antigen test done. Chikungunya: Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes (Ae. aegypti) and is caused by the chikungunya virus These mosquitoes breed in stagnant water and can bite you not only during the night but also during the day The disease mainly occurs in Asia and Indian subcontinent. India reported 62,000 cases in previous years Symptoms usually occur 4-8 days later and include fever and joint pain. Advised for Chikungunya IgM antibody test? Book now. Tips for prevention from mosquitoes borne diseases Malaria, dengue, and chikungunya usually present with high fever, chills, body aches, and fatigue. If you notice any of these symptoms, consult a doctor immediately. Follow these precautionary measures as monsoons starts: Monsoon diseases Prevention for mosquito breeding: Don’t allow water to stagnate or collect anywhere in and around the house; Domestic water storage containers such as coolers, buckets, etc. should be covered, emptied and cleaned on a weekly basis; Dispose solid waste properly; Maintain hygiene and wash your bathrooms regularly; Properly use insecticides to treat water storage/outdoor containers. Personal protection from mosquito bites: Use personal household protection measures, like repellents, insecticide treated nets etc. These precautions must be implemented during the day both inside and outside of the home, as mostly mosquito bites throughout the day; Wear clothes that reduce skin exposure to mosquitoes; Sleep under an insecticide-treated net, which can reduce contact between mosquitoes and humans. Water borne diseases According to WHO, at least 2 billion people use a contaminated drinking water source, which is estimated to cause approximately more than 4.8 lacs diarrhoeal deaths each year. Children are the easiest victims because of a developing immune system and it has been reported that 2.9 lac deaths in children aged under 5 years could be avoided each year if they had access to safe drinking water. Typhoid: Typhoid fever is a life-threatening infection caused by Salmonella Typhi. It is usually spread through uncovered or spoilt food or contaminated water. Reports suggest that 11–20 million people get sick from typhoid and between 1.2 to 1.6 lac people die from it every year, globally. Symptoms include: Prolonged fever Fatigue Headache Nausea Abdominal pain Constipation Diarrhea A Widal test can help detect typhoid fever. Book here. Cholera: Cholera is caused by ingestion of food or water contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. It is associated with diarrhoea, which can kill within hours if left untreated. WHO reports that each year world faces 1.3 to 4.0 million cases of cholera Most of those infected have no or mild symptoms including watery loose motions with severe dehydration. Leptospirosis: Leptospirosis is a disease that affects humans and animals and is caused by bacteria of the genus Leptospira. The bacteria spreads through the urine of infected animals, which can get into water or soil and can survive there for weeks to months. It occurs most commonly in monsoons due to contact with dirty water or muck/mud. It can cause a wide range of symptoms, including high fever, headache, chills, etc. Besides, other commonly occurring diseases due to contaminated water includes jaundice, hepatitis A and gastro-intestinal infections like gastroenteritis. Tips of Prevention from food and water-borne diseases Ensure clean and safe drinking water Cautious about adequate sanitation, hygiene among food handlers Keep your hands clean by washing them consistently Always boil water and wash fruits and vegetables thoroughly before consumption Ensure open drains and potholes in your locality are covered Do not swim in water that might be contaminated with animal urine Eliminate contact with potentially infected animals Get your children vaccinated if they are not already. Air borne diseases: Monsoon triggers multiple air-borne infections that are transmitted by tiny pathogens through the air, which results in flu, common cold, cough, and sore throat. Older people and children are more prone to infections during this season due to a weak or developing immune system. Common cold: Sudden fluctuations in temperatures during the monsoon can cause common cold and flu like viral infections. Common cold and flu have similar symptoms; it can be difficult to differentiate between them based on symptoms alone. Flu is worse than the common cold, and symptoms are more intense whereas colds are usually milder than flu. Influenza: It is commonly known as the seasonal "flu" and is caused by influenza viruses that infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It spreads easily from person to person through air. Flu usually comes on suddenly and can experience some or all of these symptoms: Fever or feeling feverish/chills Cough Sore throat Runny or stuffy nose Muscle or body aches Headaches Fatigue Vomiting and diarrhea. Book a Influenza profile and get to know what is causing the high temperature. Tips of Prevention from Air borne diseases Cover your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing Keep your children away from people who are already infected Maintain proper hygiene by washing hands and feet thoroughly once children come home from outdoors Drink warm water every few hours Keep your homes are well-ventilated at all times Get vaccinated with the flu vaccine every year. Monsoon diseases prevention is always better than cure, therefore, it is essential to keep informed and protect yourself and your family from these common monsoon diseases in India. However, do not self-diagnose and avoid over-the-counter medication. If you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms, consult your doctor immediately. Make sure to rule out COVID-19 if you have flu-like symptoms. Book a home sample collection here.
Important lab tests during pregnancy
Lab tests are part of routine health care during pregnancy. Few of these tests are performed with a blood sample while others use a urine sample or a sample of tissue taken from your vagina, cervix, or rectum. These tests called prenatal tests are designed with the primary goal to help your health care provider find out how you and your baby are doing during pregnancy. The different kinds of tests available for pregnant women include: Tests to confirm pregnancy Routine screening tests, which can assess mother’s health along with baby’s health status Maternal health screening used to identify specific disease and infection increasing the risk of complications for you and your baby Diagnostic tests done for high-risk pregnancies. The different phases of pregnancy will need different types of tests to track mother’s and baby’s health. Various lab tests required for various phases of pregnancy are discussed below. Screening in First Trimester of Pregnancy Although the following tests are conducted in early pregnancy, your doctor can request you these lab tests at any time of the pregnancy. Complete blood count Complete blood picture can determine the counts of different types of cells including red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs), and platelets The number of RBCs can detect whether you have a certain type of anemia and determine the status of iron, vitamin B12, and folate deficiency The number of WBCs can determine how many disease-fighting cells you have in your blood, indicative of an infection in the body The number of platelets can show whether you have a problem with blood clotting. Blood group and Rhesus compatibility screening The results of blood group ABO and Rh typing will figure out if the woman is type A, B, AB, or O and if they are Rh negative or positive Identifying the ABO blood group is highly important in pregnant women so as to ascertain your blood group for emergencies like heavy bleeding at the time of birth Besides, knowledge of the Rhesus (Rh) factor of the mother is crucial so as to determine Rh compatibility with the growing baby. The Rh factor is an inherited protein found on the surface of red blood cells (RBCs). If your RBCs have the protein, you are Rh positive. If you RBCs lacks the protein, you are Rh negative. Rh incompatibility occurs if a woman is Rh-negative and her fetus is Rh positive, the woman’s body can make antibodies against the Rh factor These antibodies can damage the fetus’s RBCs This usually does not cause problems in a first pregnancy, when the body makes only a small number of antibodies However, it can cause issues in a subsequent pregnancy In cases of Rh incompatibility, most women will be given a shot of Rh-immune globulin at 28 weeks and again a few days after delivery. Rubella antibody status All pregnant women should be monitored for rubella antibodies If rubella virus infects a developing fetus in thefirst 16 weeks of pregnancy, affected babies will have severe birth defects including deafness, eye defects, heart defects, mental retardation The risk of complications decreases if the infection occurs after 20 weeks gestation The goal of the test is to recognize women who have not been immunized or have reduced immunity and have higher chances of contracting rubella However, non-immune mothers should not be vaccinated during their pregnancy and should receive the vaccination after giving birth in order to protect future pregnancies. Screening for sexually transmitted infections Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can cause complications for you and your baby All pregnant women should be tested for syphilis and chlamydia early in pregnancy. The screening is important, as a baby born to mothers infected with syphilis can be stillborn You can also be evaluated for gonorrhea, if you are 25 or younger. Infants born to mothers infected with hepatitis B will become carriers and have a higher likelihood of developing chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis, liver cancer, etc. Prevention of transmission of hepatitis B virus from mother to infant is achieved by administration of hepatitis B vaccine and immunoglobulin to the infant at birth. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) screening is crucial and all pregnant women should be screened for HIV Women who are HIV positive will be given treatment in order to decrease the risk of HIV being transmitted to their infant Measures to reduce mother-to-child transmission of HIV infection include antiretroviral therapy, elective cesarean section delivery, and the avoidance of breastfeeding. Additionally, if a pregnant woman is believed to be at risk for HIV, hepatitis C screening should also be considered. Maternal serum screening/ Dual marker test Pregnancy-associated plasma protein-A screening (PAPP-A) is done in early pregnancy, and its abnormal levels are linked to a higher risk for chromosomal defects Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) is a hormone made by the placenta in early pregnancy. Its abnormal levels are associated with chromosomal issues Both these tests in combination have a greater potential to diagnose genetic birth defects such as Down syndrome (trisomy 21) and trisomy 18 in the developing baby. Book your first trimester maternal serum screening dual marker test here. Apart from these screenings in the first trimester, testing for varicella antibody status in pregnant women even with no history of illness or vaccination should be considered. Vitamin D screening of mothers is also important, as vitamin D is required for normal bone growth development in the fetus. Screening in Second Trimester of Pregnancy Screening at 26–28 weeks’ gestation mainly includes another round of complete blood count, blood group of antibodies, and glucose tolerance test. Glucose tolerance test A glucose screening test is used to determine gestational diabetes, a temporary condition that develops during pregnancy Although this disease usually disappears after the baby is born, women who develop gestational diabetes have a higher possibility of developing type 2 diabetes later in life Gestational diabetes can increase your chances of needing a cesarean delivery as babies born to mothers with gestational diabetes are usually born larger. Test for Urine infection All pregnant women should have a midstream urine culture at first and again at the second trimester and then at 36 weeks gestation, to exclude a sub-clinical urine infection. Alpha-fetoprotein screening (AFP) This blood test, also known as MSAFP (maternal serum AFP) measures the level of alpha-fetoprotein in your blood during pregnancy. Abnormal levels of AFP may indicate: Open neural tube defects like spina bifida Down syndrome Complications in the abdominal wall of the fetus Twins An incorrect due date. Most of the times, the doctor can advise a triple marker test because it looks at the levels of AFP, and two pregnancy hormones, estriol and hCG to determine the presence of any chromosomal abnormalities in the baby. Screening in Third Trimester of Pregnancy Group B streptococcus test Group B streptococcus (GBS) is most commonly found in the vagina and rectum of women and can pass from a pregnant woman to her baby during labor Although this occurs rarely to 1 or 2 babies out of 100, GBS can lead to severe neonatal infection or sepsis Hence, taking a vaginorectal culture at 35 to 37 weeks gestation can rule out GBS infection. Prenatal screening tests act as a vital source of information for pregnant women. These tests are periodically done to evaluate women’s and baby’s health, and the presence of any pathological condition. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns if you are not sure if you should be screened or if you are feeling anxious. Have a happy pregnancy!
7 Scientific Tips for Aging Gracefully
The population of the world, as a whole, is living longer. It is thus essential to implement proactive steps to create changes at both individual and environmental levels, which can promote aging in a better way. The concept of aging well is a fundamental requirement to improve health and well-being in order to enhance length and quality of life. Aging well highlights the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle and keeping wellness on priority while growing older. Here are 7 scientific tips that can help you age gracefully: Keeping physically active It has been observed that poor health in old age is mainly caused due to the effects of multiple lifestyle choices, such as physical inactivity, poor diet, and smoking. Regular exercising lowers the risk of several diseases such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, etc. Several studies also suggest that aerobic exercises may improve the symptoms of Alzheimer disease. Moreover, certain evidence have demonstrated the beneficial effect of physical activity on aging at cellular levels, causing an increase in energy, flexibility and overall sense of well-being. Various types of physical activity that can be done are: Simple exercises such as walking, jogging, yoga, weight lifting or a dance class possess multiple benefits as they can control weight, uplift mood, and makes you sleep better A 30 minute-walk every day, it can also be broken into shorter strolls It has been recommended that an adult should do 2½ - 5 hours per week of moderate-intensity exercise, 1 ¼ - 2 ½ hours per week of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercises, or a combination of these two. If you haven’t been exercising, discuss with your doctor about how you can get started gradually. Eating a balanced diet Diet is shown to play an active part in how well you age. Nutritious diet helps in keeping an individual mentally sharp and gives energy to enjoy day-to-day activities. Eating a balanced diet not only helps you age well, but also prevent oneself against various diseases such as heart diseases, diabetes, etc. Numerous studies have shown that chronic illnesses, particularly auto-immune diseases such as fibromyalgia and arthritis, can be associated with our diet, hence, a diet rich in anti-inflammatory components such as fresh fruits and vegetables is recommended. In addition, avoiding processed food with a higher glycemic index can raise your BMI, increase your waistline, and raise your blood sugar. Enough vitamin D level is essential as it helps contribute to bone health as you age. Salt should be kept to minimum to prevent high blood pressure. The recommended diet for aging well should include the following: Fruits and vegetables Whole-grain cereals, breads, rice, or pasta Lean protein, such as fish and beans Low-fat or fat-free dairy, such as milk, yogurt or cheese that contain vitamin D Focusing on mental health Mental health is very crucial as happiness with less stress levels can help a person age gracefully and liver longer and healthier. Various tips for improving your mental health includes: One should practice the habit of staying optimistic. Keeping a positive outlook can cure stress associated with life problems. One should stay connected as loneliness is harmful for your mental health. A lonelier individual has higher levels of stress hormones that cause inflammation, linked to disorders like arthritis. Meaningful relationships and a strong social network enhance both mental and physical well-being and longevity. Learn to embrace different aspects of life with a positive attitude. Find new hobbies as exploring new and meaningful things can provide a sense of purpose and keep your anxiety levels to minimum. Keep yourself busy to lessen stress about things you can’t control. Getting enough sleep The sleeping habit of an adult in this era has been greatly affected by changed lifestyle and work pressure. This sleep-deprived state in turn, leads to fatigue and premature aging of body cells. It has been observed that insomnia is more common in older adults. Thus, sticking to a sleeping schedule is important as it can keep a body in sync for appropriate sleep. For an uninterrupted sleep: Keep the room a little cooler and dark Avoid caffeine or alcohol in the evening Avoid electronics before bedtime which emit blue light. Usually sleeping hours are majorly dependent on your age, an 8-hours sleep is recommended for an adult for better mental and physical health. It has been reported that our skin cells build and repair themselves during sleep, and that’s why we feel renewed and rejuvenated. Beneficial effects of appropriate sleep include: Reducing stress and anxiety Lowering the risk of heart disease and stroke Reducing the risk of obesity Improving focus and concentration. Restricting smoking and alcohol consumption Smoking and alcohol, both have shown many negative effects on the process of aging. Cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and other products with nicotine can cause ailments like heart disease, cancer, lung and gum disease, etc. Similarly, limit your alcohol consumption to avoid risk of health diseases including liver ailments. Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but there are resources that can help you quit. Seek the help of a healthcare professional. It has been reported that your body begins to heal within 20 minutes of your last cigarette. Scheduling health tests on time As you age, your body organs also age. The aging body organs are more prone to get diseased and less likely to repair themselves. By getting your health tests done regularly, you are keeping an eye on the aging body. This helps to identify any health condition at an early stage, and take action. Ensure to get a full body check up done twice a year. Maintain hydration Hydration is vital to our bodies as drinking water regularly helps in releasing out toxins and aids in digestion. Additionally, it aids in sleeping better, and improves focus and weight loss. Adequate water intake can also help you avoid dry, flaky skin and fine lines, which in turn, can help your skin look younger.
Why you need more vitamin D in the Winter
The sunshine vitamin, vitamin D, requires exposure to ultraviolet-B (UVB) rays from the sun for its synthesis. During the sunny summer days, making enough vitamin D can be very efficient. However, as soon as the winter arrives, less sunlight is available and the risk of vitamin D deficiency increases. As per many researchers, your body needs vitamin D not only to maintain bone health but also to keep healthy and to fight infections. The irony is that in winter, when you need vitamin D the most, you end up getting deficient for this essential vitamin. You can fix a problem only when you know it exists. Especially during the winter months, experts recommend a blood test that assesses the amount of vitamin D in the body. It is particularly important for you to get tested for vitamin D if you are over age 70, have darker skin, have malabsorption problems or take medicines that interfere with vitamin D absorption (for example, glucocorticoids). If you have liver and kidney disease, you can be often deficient in vitamin D. These organs are required to make the active form of the vitamin, whether it comes from the sun or from food. For a good gut health during winter Enough has been known and written about vitamin D deficiency leading to bone diseases like rickets in children and osteoporosis in adults. However, research has shown that vitamin D plays an important role in maintaining a healthy digestive tract. One of the ways vitamin D functions is by keeping the gut microbes healthy. If you have sufficient vitamin D levels, you are more likely to have those healthy gut bacteria just right in number and diversity. This helps reduce inflammation throughout the body. On the other side, low vitamin D levels can be associated with inflammatory bowel disease in some people. Strong immunity needs vitamin D There has been a lot of buzz around the role of vitamin D in boosting immunity. This holds great significance in the times of COVID-19 pandemic. Some scientists have claimed that the immune system has vitamin D receptors that determine which cells can use vitamin D. Having enough of this sunshine vitamin might help improve your ability to fight infections and reduce inflammation. Less time spent outside In the winter, you are more likely to catch infections. Also, you are more likely to lie comfortably in your cozy blanket and spend less time outside. This leads to more and more of us getting vitamin deficiency in the winter. Vitamin D and Calcium, the best friends Vitamin D helps you absorb calcium from your diet. Along with vitamin D, calcium plays a significant role in keeping your bone and muscles health intact. Eat healthy to get enough vitamin D Apart from exposure to the sun, you can get enough vitamin D for your body through certain food items as well, including tuna, sardines, mushrooms and fortified dairy and orange juice. Adding vitamin D supplements can be a good way to reach the recommended vitamin D intake. Lack of sun exposure during the winter months would be less of a problem if diet provided adequate vitamin D. But there aren't many vitamin D–rich foods , and you need to eat a lot of them to cover up the recommended vitamin D intake of 10 μg/day (400 IU/day) for adults. The COVID-19 angle Some of the recent researchers have claimed that people who are deficient in vitamin D are more likely to get severe COVID-19 illness. Vitamin D deficient people might have a higher chance of getting hospitalized too. Whether vitamin D has any role in preventing coronavirus infection or not, it isn't clear yet and needs more data and robust evidence. Think you have symptoms suggestive of COVID-19? Book a COVID-19 test and get tested at home. Overdoing is prohibited, too While you aim to get enough vitamin D, keep in mind that too much vitamin D can be harmful. Want to know exactly how much vitamin D healthy adults should have? Or confused about when to get tested for vitamin D? Check out this article to stay in the know. Remember that the same UVB rays that help in vitamin D synthesis, can damage your skin as well. Under the right circumstances, 10 to 15 minutes of sun on the arms and legs a few times a week can generate nearly all the vitamin D we need. However, various factors affect this synthesis: the season, the time of day, where you live, cloud cover, and even pollution levels. In addition, your skin's production of vitamin D is influenced by age, skin color, and sunscreen use. Book a vitamin D test to be sure if your levels are enough to support a healthy you. This winter, get tested on time and don’t let your body suffer from lack of vitamin D by taking early steps. Also read "Why and when you should get tested for Vitamin D?"