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507, 2019

Understanding COPD

By |July 5th, 2019|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: |0 Comments

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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, more commonly known by its acronym COPD is used to describe as an all progressive lung disease similar to asthma, chronic bronchitis, and emphysema. One of the common symptoms of this disease is that the patient often feels breathlessness.

Since this is a progressive disease, there are no known forms of complete cure. However, with medicine and a healthy lifestyle, COPD can be managed to make the patient feel better and breathe easily.

Symptoms of COPD

While shortness of breath and coughing can be signs of aging, it can also be signs of COPD. If you notice any of these symptoms in yourself or your family members, it is time to speak to your healthcare professional

  • Shortness of breath
  • Frequent coughing without mucus
  • Wheezing
  • Breathlessness
  • Tightening of your chest

How to Diagnose COPD?

COPD cannot be diagnosed by a single test. It needs a complete physical examination, along with answers on your lifestyle and family history in certain cases. A physician generally uses spirometry to assess lung function.

Additionally, invasive tests like arterial blood gas test, which measures the oxygen and carbon dioxide content in your blood is also a way to determine if your lungs are functioning properly.

Treatment

Once you are diagnosed with COPD, the next step is treating your condition. Based on the symptoms and the diagnosis, your doctor can provide various forms of treatment. The most common ones are given below.

Medicine

Medications and dilators help relax your airway muscles, making it easier for you to breathe. You can take it through a nebulizer or an inhaler. In order to lower risk of any type of infections while taking in these medicines, you can take a flu shot along with a tetanus shot to prevent whooping cough.

Oxygen

Under dire conditions, a patient can be administered oxygen through a cannula or a mask. Portable oxygen cylinders can also be used in case the patient needs to be moved from one place to another. This method is administered only when the oxygen level of blood is too low.

Surgery

This is the last measure against COPD and is undertaken when other methods have failed. However, not all forms of COPD can be cured or alleviated with surgery. When you have severe emphysema, bullectomy can be conducted. In this procedure, your surgeons would remove abnormal air spaces from your lungs.

Lifestyle Changes

If you are looking forward to alleviating your breathing problems, you should also undertake some lifestyle changes. Common steps include

  • Regular sleep cycle
  • No smoking or alcohol
  • Avoiding exposure to smoke and fumes
  • Balanced diet

Try drinking plenty of fluids all around the year and limited caffeine intake when you are looking for progressive changes.

Final Thoughts

When you are suffering from COPD, try to relax as much as possible to prevent exerting your lungs. Sometimes patients who have lung cancer also experience COPD, however, the opposite is not always true. At the end of the day, if you maintain a healthy lifestyle, you can always see progress despite your health conditions.

2806, 2019

Understanding Asthma

By |June 28th, 2019|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: |0 Comments

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According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, over 26 million Americans suffer from Asthma. Asthma is a chronic lung disease that narrows the airways and causes inflammation in your respiratory tract. It causes several problems like wheezing, short of breath, tightness of chest and coughing. While it attacks people of all ages, the most often stage of its development is during childhood.

What Causes Asthma?

Asthma is a chronic disease, the causes of which are not clinically proven. While some researchers think that it is genetic, others have cited different reasons. Some of the most common ones are

  • Atopy or an inherited tendency of allergies
  • Parents suffering from asthma
  • Childhood respiratory infections
  • Contact with allergens
  • Lack of proper hygiene, especially with children

Symptoms of Asthma

Not always breathing problems are caused by asthma. Sometimes a simple panic attack can also seem like an asthma attack to the inexperienced eye.  This is why you should know about the common symptoms of asthma. They are

  • Coughing at early mornings or late at night, causing erratic sleep patterns
  • Wheezing
  • Tightness in chest
  • Shortness of breath

The best way to diagnose asthma is to do a lung test if you experience one or all of these symptoms. Remember, that asthma can be kept under control with proper medication and a healthy lifestyle.

Prevention of Asthma

Since it is a chronic disease with long-lasting effects, asthma cannot be clinically prevented or cured. However, once you or a person is diagnosed with it, you can try preventing its symptoms by

  • Learning about asthma and what causes the stimulation
  • Following a proper plan of action and using prescribed medicines
  • Get regular checkups
  • Avoid things that trigger an asthma attack

What Can You Do?

If you are a primary caregiver to an asthma patient, then you need to make sure that the patient gets ongoing medical support and care. If you are a parent who has a child affected with asthma, you should avoid smoking in confined areas or cars.

As for employers, having a healthy workplace with fresh air and ventilation is a must – have in the office space. Moreover, the employers should promote measures to counterattack the asthma attack by providing medical benefits, reimbursement for inhalers and any long-term medicines or promote educational sessions about the chronic ailment.

In order to provide care to the asthma patient everyone should be knowledgeable about the Asthma Action Plan Stages. It is divided into three stages

  • Green zone meaning little to no symptom and the patient is doing well
  • Yellow zone meaning moderate symptom and the patient is getting worse
  • Red zone means that the patient needs medical intervention and it is an emergency

Final Thoughts

While asthma patients need to be handled with care under certain situations, they are not invalid, and it should be kept in mind. It is also the responsibility of an asthma patient to stay away from the sources that cause the attack, while it is the responsibility of the family members, friends and colleagues to not do anything to trigger the attack. Only through mutual work can everyone achieve a healthy lifestyle.

 

2206, 2019

What is Arthritis & How You Can Manage It?

By |June 22nd, 2019|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: |0 Comments

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Arthritis is a condition that affects millions of Americans of all ages. This is an ailment in which an individual experiences inflammation of joints. There are several different types of arthritis based on which part of the body is affected along with its cause. The most common types of arthritis are rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.

Symptoms of Arthritis

Since it is an inflammation of joints or affected body parts, the most common symptoms of arthritis are

  • Stiffness
  • Joint pain
  • Decreased range of motion
  • Redness of skin around the affected part (joints)
  • Swollen joints

Causes of Arthritis

Human joints have a cushion named cartilage between joints. It is a connective tissue and is responsible for absorbing the shocks and pressure when you move your joints. A reduction in this connective tissue causes arthritis.

Some of the common causes of arthritis can be

  • Age and normal wear and tear of the connective tissue
  • Accidents affecting your joints
  • An autoimmune disorder where your immunity system attacks the tissue in your joints
  • Weight & Lifestyle
  • Genetic traits like having HLA class II genes

Diagnosis

Arthritis is diagnosed with several physical examinations to check the level of fluids in your joints. Certain blood tests like anti-CCP and ANA helps in diagnosing if a patient is suffering from arthritis or not.

Additionally, common methods like X-rays, MRIs, and imaging scans can also be performed to check if the cartilage in the joint is worn out or not.

Treatment

Once you are diagnosed with arthritis, you can take pain medications suggested by your doctor. Under normal conditions, analgesics, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help. You can also take immunosuppressants to reduce the inflammation in your joints.

Other methods of treatment are surgery, physical therapy, and major lifestyle changes to cope with arthritis.

Lifestyle Changes You Can Try

Physical activity can be very effective in coping with arthritis. It can not only reduce pain but also improve your mood and prevent other health conditions. Make sure you prepare a routine and follow it based on your arthritis symptoms.

Weight management is another way through which you can cope with arthritis. More weight means you are putting more pressure on your joints. Additionally, when you reduce weight you reduce the risk of other chronic health conditions like diabetes.

Protecting your joints or affected areas are a common way by which you can keep your arthritis in check. If you have had a previous injury, make sure you consult with your physical therapist and choose any low-stress activities to keep them active. Some of the most common ones you can try are biking or swimming.

Final Words

One in every four US citizen suffers from arthritis. While you can control some risk factors, others cannot be controlled and need proper treatment. If you are suffering from arthritis, make sure you take the above-mentioned steps to lead a healthy lifestyle. The healthier you are, the better protected may be from arthritis and other progressive or chronic health conditions.

1406, 2019

Rashes & What You Should Know

By |June 14th, 2019|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: |0 Comments

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A rash is essentially a swelling and itchiness on your skin. It can be caused by different agents and combined with other symptoms like joint pain, nausea or fever, and they can be lethal. This is why you should pay proper attention to the rashes, and treat them when they appear.

Before you treat the rashes, you need to know the cause and symptoms of the most common rashes. Here they are for you.

Eczema

This is common for kids, as well as adults. In this skin condition, the affected areas turn dry and chapped. It is generally caused in the areas around elbows and knees but can be found in other body parts too.

Rash by Lyme disease

A tick bite causes Lyme disease, and the onset of rashes mark that the person has been affected. It is not painful, but warm and develops in different parts of the body with the emergence of fever.

Tularemia

This is yet another rash that is caused when an organism enters the body. It starts as a rash, then develops to an ulcer, and swells depending on the exposure. Groins and/or armpits are the affected areas in this type of problem.

Hives

In the case of hives, you would see pale and red bumps of different sizes on your skin suddenly. It also causes swelling around the eye, the genitals, and the lips. Additionally, you might also experience swelling of the throat, the tongue, and problems with breathing. It is an allergic condition that needs medical attention but is not contagious.

Irritant-Based Rash

This type of rashes is caused when the skin is exposed to some chemical or artificial irritants. It can be soap, skin lotion or even a piece of fabric. It doesn’t cause much problem if the contact agent is removed, although the affected area can remain itchy and swollen for a few hours.

Allergen-Based Rash

It is a rash that is caused when your skin is exposed to something you are allergic to. It can be something normal like a rubber band or even something complex like nickel. For people who suffer from metal allergy, exposure to that specific metal can cause rashes and itching.

Rash Prevention & Treatment

When you are suffering from a rash, it is most likely caused due to physical contact with something. In most of the cases, removing the irritant object or material cures you of the problem. However, in severe cases like eczema, tularemia or a bug-based rash, you might need medical attention.

If you have sensitive skin, you should always apply sunblock lotion when you are moving out. It is the case with allergens. You should cover yourself and try not to expose yourself to the allergic materials. At times anti-irritant skin cream might help you with the rash. Additionally, make sure that you keep your house clean and free from bugs and ticks. Certain ticks are known to cause severe health problems like the Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

 

506, 2019

The Top 5 Deadliest Diseases

By |June 5th, 2019|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: |0 Comments

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When we think about the world’s deadliest diseases we immediately jump to those that are fast-acting and incurable. The ones that get our adrenaline going when we realize we are running out of time, and fast. The sad truth is, many of the deadliest diseases are actually those that progress slowly. In this article, we are going to review the top 5 diseases that have caused the most worldwide deaths, listed by the World Health Organization.

Ischemic heart disease also known as coronary artery disease

The top deadliest disease in the world is CAD, or coronary artery disease. This disease involves the blood vessels around the heart, causing them to become narrowed and thus lessening the blood supply. If left untreated, CAD will lead to chest pain, arrhythmias, and heart failure.

Despite its status as the top deadliest disease, mortality rates have lessened in both the US and many European countries. The main cause for this decline is due to public education, various forms of prevention, and widespread healthcare.

Risk factors for CAD include:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity

CAD can be prevented with proper health and sometimes medication.

Stroke

Strokes take place when an artery in the brain has been either blocked, or broken. The lack of oxygen causes the brain cells to begin dying in mere minutes. Stroke causes numbness, confusion, with issues walking and seeing. An untreated stroke can result in long-term disability.

Risk factors for stroke include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • African-American race
  • Female gender

Stroke can be prevented with proper health and some medications.

Lower Respiratory Infections

Lower respiratory infections typically involve both the airways and lungs. Common illnesses include:

  • Influenza or flu
  • Pneumonia
  • Bronchitis
  • Tuberculosis

Viruses and bacteria both can cause LRI’s, symptoms include breathlessness, wheezing and a tightness in the chest. If left untreated, LRI’s may lead to lung failure and death.

The best preventative one can take against all respiratory infections is to stay vaccinated, wash hands regularly, and stay home when feeling ill.

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, also known as COPD, is typically a lifelong lung disease that progressively gets worse over time and makes breathing difficult. Two types of COPD include chronic bronchitis and emphysema.

Risk factors of COPD

  • Smoking and secondhand smoke
  • Inhaling of lung irritants such as chemical fumes
  • History of respiratory infections

Currently there is no cure for COPD and the progression of this disease can only be slowed by medication.

 

Trachea, bronchus, and lung cancers

There are a variety of cancers that affect the respiratory system, including cancers of the larynx, bronchus, lungs, and trachea. The most common causes of these cancers include:

  • Smoking and secondhand smoke
  • Environmental toxins
  • House chemicals
  • Household pollutants like molds

Diabetes mellitus

Type 1 and type 2 diabetes affect how the body produces and reacts to insulin. In type 1 diabetes, insulin is unable to be produced, causing those afflicted to have to supplement their insulin through use of pens, pumps, or both. The cause for type 1 diabetes is unknown, as it can affect both children and adults alike.

Type 2 diabetes is when the pancreas either does not produce enough insulin, or the insulin produced is ineffective. Type 2 diabetes has several causes, including an unhealthy diet, obesity, and lack of exercise.

 

2905, 2019

The Difference Between Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetes

By |May 29th, 2019|Categories: Blog and News, NHIA Blog|Tags: |0 Comments

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Diabetes is a chronic disease, which impacts the blood sugar level of your body. Glucose is the driving force of your body, which gives you the ability to continue. This is why diabetes is a serious ailment, which needs proper care and treatment.

There are two types of diabetes, namely diabetes type 1 and type 2. So, what’s the difference between type 1 & 2? Patients suffering from type 1 diabetes cannot produce insulin in their body. On the other hand, patients suffering from diabetes type 2 don’t respond to insulin and thus has abnormal blood sugar level. Both are chronic conditions, which can lead to death, if not treated.

Risk Factor or Causes

The causes or risk factors of diabetes type 1 are

  • Age – It is found predominantly in children
  • Family history – People with a sibling or parent suffering from type 1 diabetes are more prone to suffer from the same

The risk factors of type 2 diabetes are

  • Elevated blood sugar levels before diagnosis for a prolonged period
  • Overweight
  • Aged above 45
  • Physically inactive or have belly fat

Diagnosis of Diabetes

The test for determining if a patient is suffering from diabetes or not is a blood test termed as a glycated hemoglobin test. It tests for your blood sugar level over a period of two weeks to two months.

Treatment

Diabetes is an incurable medical condition. For patients suffering from type 1 diabetes, insulin injection or an insulin pump is a solution, which helps to control the blood sugar level.

As for patients suffering from type 2 diabetes, maintaining a healthy lifestyle along with a balanced diet and regular checks for blood sugar levels is a good treatment. You should also visit your physician to make sure that you are on the right track.

Living With Diabetes

Unlike other health conditions, you can manage diabetes with some help from medical professionals or caregivers. Some of the steps that you can undertake are

  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Having a healthy and regular lifestyle
  • Avoiding smoking and alcohol
  • Consuming enough fluids
  • Exercising
  • Checking your blood sugar level regularly
  • Manage stress levels
  • Take care of yourself and check for any changes in health to identify the onset of other health issues

Support Groups

There are different support groups for people suffering from diabetes, of which you can be a part. You can also be a part of a diabetes education program in your area, helping other people learn about diabetes and ways of controlling it.

This helps when you are away from home or don’t have a permanent caregiver. Speaking with health professionals and making sure that you stay on track is the most effective way in which you can deal with diabetes.

Final Thoughts

If you have health insurance, you might be covered for diabetes, especially if it is diabetes type 2. However, make sure that you speak to your insurance provider, and clear your doubts about the coverage and benefits.

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