World Hepatitis Day- Time to take a look at your liver

World Hepatitis Day commemorates the birthday of Dr. Baruch S. Blumberg, who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for identifying the hepatitis B virus and developing its preventive vaccine. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of discovery of the hepatitis B virus. The discovery helped save hundreds of millions of lives from there on. Presently, about 400 million people are living with hepatitis B or C worldwide. About 1.4 million people die from viral hepatitis annually. The shocking part is all these deaths are preventable. Let’s take a brief look at this disease and get to know about the ways to prevent it.

What is it?

Hepatitis is an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis viruses.

What causes it?

Five types of hepatitis viruses cause this condition of the liver. They are type A, B, C, D and E. They cause acute or chronic diseases of the liver which may lead to cirrhosis, liver cancer and even death.

How to identify acute liver infection from a chronic one?

Acute infection may or may not show any symptoms. Symptoms may vary from yellowing of skin and eyes, dark urine, extreme fatigue, nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

Chronic infections often lead to cirrhosis. It may also result in liver failure or liver cancer. Hepatitis B and C are the major cause of chronic hepatitis in millions of individuals across the globe.

How do people contract this infection?

hep transmission 1The most common mode of transmission of hepatitis A is through consumption of contaminated food and water. Lack of hygienic habits such as no hand washing before eating or after using the restrooms are the common causes of hepatitis transmission. Hepatitis E  is transmitted through contaminated blood.

Hepatitis B, C and D are transmitted through infected blood and unprotected sexual contact. Contaminated blood transfusions, organ transplants or invasive procedures like injections, tattoo procedures with reused needles, and mother to new born transmission also spreads this deadly infection.

How to prevent this infection?

hepatitis prevention

Preventive measures differ from one hepatitis virus to the other. It also changes with the mode of transmission.  However, using basic hygienic practices, safe sex and avoiding contact with infected blood can curb the transmission of these viruses. Vaccination is another key preventive measure against these viruses. Outreach programs to increase awareness can mobilize healthcare stakeholders and educate patients.

 

As part of the World Hepatitis Day, several health organizations are taking initiatives across the world to create awareness about viral hepatitis, to adopt better prevention programs and for better treatment access . Let’s all join hands in creating a world free of hepatitis one step at a time.

Young athletes… stay in the game!!!

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Sport is one of the most common recreational activities which is associated with numerous benefits to the participating youth. Its benefits include improved cardiovascular fitness, bone and muscle health and reduced risk of obesity. Researchers suggest that youth participation in sports improves social well-being and most importantly their psychological health. Sports and exercise are also often associated with improved academic performance and healthy behaviors. But, participation in sports also comes with the risk of injuries to the athletes. It is important to take these into consideration as youth sports account for substantial morbidity and cost. With intense training, frequent competition and early single sport specialization, injuries and burn-out have become common. It is often seen that the most common type of sports related injuries is due to overuse of a body part when participating in a particular sport. These overuse injuries require lengthy recovery periods and may result in long term health consequences.

The RICE treatment

RICE stands for Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. This process will minimize  damage, reduce any swelling, limit inflammation and restore blood flow as soon as possible. However, any injury involving swelling, deformity or any loss of function should be seen by a doctor ASAP.

Rest

  • The degree of rest depends on the extent of injury
  • It is better not to use the injured area for a few days until evaluated by the physician
  • Use crutches if there is a limp while walking

Ice

  • Ice should be applied directly over the injury
  • Start icing immediately post an injury. You can continue for 10–20 minutes and repeat every 1–2 hours for the first few days
  • Crushed or cubed ice, frozen peas all have the same effect
  • Do not sleep with ice on the injured area

Compression

  • Use a compression bandage or stocking when possible to minimize any bleeding or swelling
  • Start wrapping from the bottom of the injured area and move upwards
  • It is best to leave toes and fingers exposed
  • Do not apply compression too tightly
  • Look for numbness and discoloration, and loosen appropriately
  • Do not sleep with the wrap

Elevation

  • When possible elevate the injured area above the level of the heart. This way it is easier for any swelling to escape

Prevention

Although, being in sports is associated with physical risks it is ideal to prevent these injuries. The most potential ways of prevention are pre-season physical exams, readily available medical services, appropriate coaching, adequate hydration and proper equipment.

The doctors at Texas Medical Concierge are readily available to diagnose and treat all sport-related injuries of youth and adolescent athletes. Our primary and only focus is to return these hurt athletes to their sport safely and quickly. Contact www.texasmedicalconcierge.com to know about our services.

Wellness at workplace

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Mental health requires serious attention of organizations as it is a significant health issue affecting businesses globally. We might avoid talking about mental health at workplace but it is important considering its cost to employers.

A healthy workplace values and supports its employees, providing them a positive workspace attitude. Regardless of what work one does or where he or she fits in the organizational hierarchy, an active engagement of oneself in the organization with a sound emotional health holds the key to a healthy and happy business.  A happy workplace also ensures increase in productivity, improves presentism and also can lower the total medical costs.

Employees undergoing emotional issues face incredible challenges at the workplace, where they tend to get misunderstood and underutilized. Organizations however, cannot afford to be indifferent to this situation when there is already a shortage of skilled manpower across the globe. Misconceptions about cost- effectiveness of the treatment and a general wariness about all things related to mental health are the major blocks for organizations from addressing the emotional health issues of their employees.

The high cost of mental illnesses can be mitigated with a timely diagnosis and intervention. Appropriate workplace with psychiatric management improves the overall wellbeing of an employee and increases his or her productivity. Below are some data to support this statement:

  • A 1.7:1 return in investment was achieved by Abott for having conducted a depression screening program[i]
  • About 86 % of employees  showed improved work performance after being treated for depression [ii]
  • A Harris Poll showed that 80% of patients reported high levels of efficacy and satisfaction after being treated for mental illness[iii].

Things to be done at your workplace  to promote mental health:

  • Encouraging active employee participation in decision making
  • Defining  set roles and responsibilities for employees
  • Encouraging work-life balance
  • Workload management
  • Continuous skill development and learning
  • Conflict resolution practices at work place
  • Effective employee recognition

How can Texas Medical Concierge help your organization?

Texas Medical Concierge offers priority access to The Menninger Clinic which is one of the leading International Clinics with expertise in mental well-being for working professionals who need support. The Menninger Clinic is a specialty psychiatric hospital which treats adults and adolescents with complex mental illnesses such as anxiety, severe mood swings, personality and addictive disorders.

At Texas Medical Concierge we understand the importance of holistic therapies for emotional & psychological wellness. We offer our esteemed members the benefits of complementary services like yoga, transcendental meditation and hypnotherapy to cope with the stress of urban lifestyles and work pressure.

To know more about our services, please contact www.texasmedicalconcierge.com

 

References

[i] Abbott Targets Depression Among Employees; Reduces Total Medical Costs, Mental HealthWorks 4th qtr 2003.

[ii] Finkelstein SN et al: Improvement in Subjective Work Performance after Treatment of Chronic Depression: Some Preliminary Results. Psychopharmacology Bulletin, vol. 32, 1996, pp. 33-40.

[iii] Therapy in America 2004: Poll Shows Mental Health Treatment GoesMainstream. See http://psychologytoday.com and click on Therapy in America