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Lupus: Introduction, causes, associated risk factors and available treatment options

Lupus is one of the chronic inflammatory diseases characterized by involvement of several organs and systems of the body and thus leading to wide variety of symptoms. Commonly involved organs include the kidneys, lungs, heart, brain, blood cells, blood vessels, skin, joints etc. The course of the disease also varies from person to person, in some the symptoms may emerge gradually over years are usually of milder form whereas in some of the patients the symptoms worsen very fast with extensive symptoms. In most of the patients of lupus usually there is milder form of symptom which may worsen suddenly for a limited period of time (known as episodes of flare).
There are several complications associated with lupus these are kidney failure, respiratory distress, repeated attacks of convulsion, loss of memory as characterized by easy forgetfulness, lightheadedness, episodes of hallucination etc, skin rashes, heart failure, pericarditis etc.
Lupus is considered to be an autoimmune disease as characterized by abnormal functioning of the immune system of the body in which the immune system wrongly attacks body’s own cells.
Women and people with specific ethnic background like being American, African increases the risk of suffering from lupus.
Treatment options include NSAIDs, anti inflammatory agents like corticosteroids, various immuonsuppressing drugs etc.
Like other autoimmune disease in lupus the immune system wrongly stimulates production of various attacking cells of the body along with secretion of several harmful chemicals even in presence of any invading foreign agents leading to damage of the own body cells and organs.
The exact underlying cause which leads to abnormal functioning of the immune system is not known however several factors proposed to trigger the abnormal immune response have been identified. These are
1. Exposure to sunlight in susceptible persons
2. Taking certain drugs: some of commonly prescribed blood pressure lowering (antihypertensive) drugs, anti epileptic drugs etc may lead to symptoms of lupus, Drug induced lupus usually resolve following stoppage of the offending drug.
3. As such it can be said that symptoms of lupus is more common in people with certain inherent genetic factors which increase the risk of suffering from attack of lupus.
Risk factors
There are several risk factors associated with the causation of lupus. These are
1. Being women
2. Aged: lupus usually affects young people like those in between 15 and 40 years of age
3. Racial factors: these are people belonging to Asia, Africa, America including those with Hispanic background having increased susceptibility to suffer from lupus
Treatment of lupus depends upon the stage, severity and presence or absence of complications etc. Commonly used drugs to relieve symptoms include
1. Pain killers like NSAIDs like naproxen, paracetamnol etc
2. Anti-inflammatory agents are given to suppress inflammation like hydroxyl chloroqine etc
3. Steroids like prednisolone  is given to life threatening conditions like amniotic fluid embolism,
4. Several immunosuppreassant agents namely or cyclophpshamide, azithromycin etc as these drugs are available to suppress the immune reaction
5. During an attack increased dose of drug is required along with antibiotics drugs are required.

Artificial pancreas can treat diabetes efficiently

An external artificial pancreas can help improve the glucose control and Type-1 diabetes as per a recent study. This has paved it's way against the conventional diabetes treatment. Type-1 diabetes can lead to major health issues such as cardiovascular ailments, vision loss, etc that arises from the autoimmune destruction of the insulin-producing beta cells present in the pancreas, that ultimately leads to increased amount of glucose in urine and blood.

The external artificial pancreas comprises of an auto mated system that helps stimulate the normal functioning of pancreas by continuously adapting insulin delivery based on the variations in the glucose levels.

Two configurations exist: The single-hormone artificial pancreas that delivers insulin alone and the dual-hormone artificial pancreas that delivers both insulin and glucagon. While insulin lowers blood glucose levels, glucagon has the opposite effect and raises glucose levels.

The study also confirms that the artificial pancreas systems enhances and improves the glucose control and also lessens the risk of hypoglycemia in comparison to conventional pump therapy. The researchers compared the dual-hormone artificial pancreas, the single-hormone artificial pancreas and the conventional insulin pump therapy in 30 adult and adolescent patients with Type-1 diabetes, who had been using an insulin pump for at least three months. With the early generation on continuous glucose control levels, the technology should be made available commercially.

Heart patient? Avoid rush hour traffic

A recent study has suggested that avoiding rush hour traffic would lead to less risk of developing heart ailments or prevents the worsening of any cardiovascular disease that exists. "There is now ample evidence that air pollution is associated with cardiovascular morbidity and mortality," said corresponding author Robert Storey from the University of Sheffield, Britain."It not only makes existing heart conditions worse but also contributes to development of the disease," Storey added.

Irrespective of the place where you stay, tiny air pollution particles in the air can lead to major problems to your heart. It could come from anything around such as traffic jam, factories, power generation, wildfires or even if you cook food with the help of a wooden stove.

When many pollutants combine together they give out more of toxicity and tends to have greater impact than that of individual pollutants. A simple example could be that of diesel exhausts combining with ozone. The combined effect is always greater than that of separate effect.

There always exists a two way interaction between the air pollution and other cardiovascular risk factors. Obese people and those with diabetes may be at higher risk of the cardiovascular effects of pollution, while air pollutants may exacerbate and instigate the development of risk factors such as high blood pressure and impaired insulin sensitivity.

Toxic chemical linked to leukemia found in hookah smoke

Hookah smoking is no less safer than cigarette smoking. It consists of a water pipe along with a smoke chamber, a bowl, pipe and a hose. The only difference to be noted is that the tobacco becomes less toxic in the hookah pipe and the water that is seen inside the hookah does not filter out the toxins contained in the tobacco smoke. One smoking session has much more amount of smoke contained in it than that of cigarette smoking. So eventually, hookah smokers may actually inhale more tobacco than cigarette smokers.

Researchers analyzed levels of S-phenylmercapturic acid (SPMA), a metabolite (byproduct) of benzene, in the urine of 105 hookah smokers and 103 nonsmokers exposed to smoke from the water pipes. After an event in a hookah lounge, SPMA levels were four times higher than normal in hookah smokers and 2.6 times higher than normal among people who had attended but hadn't puffed on a hookah.

After a hookah-smoking event in a private home, SPMA levels were two times higher among hookah smokers, but normal among nonsmokers. Many of us believe that because there is no safe level of exposure to benzene, their results call for interventions to reduce or prevent hookah tobacco use, regulatory actions to limit hookah-related exposure to toxicants including benzene, and include hookah smoking in clean indoor air legislation.

Gutka ban is working, but is not enough

The ban on Gutka has laid an impact in access, usage, price and display the point of sale as per the study conducted by the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and the World Health Organization Country Office for India.

The products that are brought separately and mixed to be consumed as Gutka should also be banned. Government is deciding on expansion of Gutka ban to all smokeless tobacco products. In order to ensure the complete compliance of the ban, enforcement mechanisms needs to be more emphasized and strengthened.

Provision for tobacco cessation services to be scaled up to cater to the unmet need for cessation after the ban. It is important to stop production and sale of gutka. All kinds of pan masala and gutka contain addictive substance which is being projected as lifestyle and desirable product.

The products like pan masala are also made in use to produce products such as Gutka and also for manufacturing purpose under the same brand name. The pan masala products are largely advertised and also acts as a surrogate or alternate advertising medium for smokeless and effectless tobacco. Therefore, the Government needs to take urgent action to stop advertisements of pan masala to protect the vulnerable sections of society including the youth.

Unethical medical trials in France

The oral trial was being conducted by a private laboratory in the north-western city of Rennes, Marisol Touraine said. The trial has been suspended and the firm is recalling the volunteers. It is unclear how many people are involved.

Media reports that the drug is a cannabis-based painkiller have been denied by the health ministry. The Paris prosecutor's office said an investigation had been opened. The drug was taken in a licensed laboratory, the ministry said in a statement (in French).The study was a Phase I clinical trial, in which healthy volunteers take the medication to evaluate the safety of its use, the ministry said.

Phase I tests for safety
A small number of people, sometimes healthy, and sometimes with a medical condition, are given a tiny dose of the drug under careful supervision, not to test if the drug works, but in order to check for any side effects

Phase II
Sees the drug given to people who have a medical condition to see if it does indeed help them Phase III Trials are only for medicines or devices that have already passed the first two stages, and involve them being compared to existing treatments or a placebo. The trials often last a year or more, involving several thousand patients

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Lupus: Introduction, causes, associated risk factors and available treatment options

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Basal Cell Carcinoma - symptoms and complications

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