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Asthma

Asthma or bronchial asthma is a chronic condition affecting the lungs wherein the recurring inflammation and narrowing of the airways (bronchi) result in the obstruction of airflow in response to the sensitivity to certain allergic or non-allergic factors. This makes breathing difficult and may trigger recurrent episodes of coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath.

For some patients, asthma is minor trouble, but, for a few patients, it can be a major problem that may interfere with their daily activities and may lead to life-threatening asthma attacks.

Asthma is a very common condition affecting people all over the world. It may affect people of any age group, ranging from a month-old baby to elderly people.

Asthma can be controlled with proper management, and one can live a healthy and productive life.

 

Arthritis

 

Arthritis and rheumatism are among the commonest forms of chronic disease and, with an aging population, are set to become commoner still. Strictly speaking, arthritis means disease of the joints, while rheumatism is disease of the soft connective tissues which support and move the joints. In fact, the distinction is often artificial, since many of these conditions affect both the joints and connective tissues.

Osteoarthritis, the commonest of these conditions, is basically “wear and tear” of the joints. The root of the problem is wearing out of the cartilage, the tough, slippery “gristle”, which allows the ends of the bone to slide smoothly over each other and absorbs shocks. The joint becomes stiff and painful, and may creak as it is moved.

As the cartilage wears down, the bones on either side of the joint may react by forming small bony outgrowths called osteophytes. One of the sites where bony nodes can easily be seen is the last joint of the fingers. Spondylosis is a similar problem affecting the spine; here the main problem is degeneration of the disks which separate the vertebrae.

As one would expect with a degenerative condition the prevalence of osteoarthritis increases with age, it affects nine per cent of the total population but around 70 per cent of the over-70s. It is the commonest of all rheumatological conditions, and indeed probably the commonest of all chronic diseases, because many sufferers live with it for many years. Not surprisingly it tends to affect weight-bearing joints (eg low back, hips and knees). Joint injuries or overuse (for instance heavy physical work or professional sport) predispose to osteoarthritis later in life. Overweight is another important factor. 

The other two main groups of arthritis and rheumatism are inflammatory arthritis, of which the commonest form is rheumatoid arthritis, and soft tissue rheumatism. Rheumatoid arthritis affects about one person in a hundred; it is nearly three times commoner in women than men (for unknown reasons). Its cause, too, remains frustratingly elusive. It tends to come on at an earlier age than osteoarthritis (typically in the 30s to 50s) and is more aggressive, running a more rapid course: about a third of sufferers are seriously disabled within ten years, although it is very variable. It particularly affects the small joints, especially of the hands and feet, causing a typical hand deformity where the fingers slant sideways. But it can affect almost any joint in the body, and also cause nodules under the skin and eye problems. There are many other forms of inflammatory arthritis, some of them associated with infections.

The final group is true rheumatism, affecting the soft connective tissues rather then the joints themselves. There are many forms, some with picturesque names. They include enthesopathies which affect the point at which tendons connect to the bones – the best known of these are tennis elbow, affecting the outer side of the elbow, and golfer’s elbow, which affects the inner side. Capsulitis – inflammation of the capsule of tissues that surround the joint – most commonly affects the shoulder, and may lead to a stiff “frozen” shoulder. Some of the more amusing names are reserved for bursitis – inflammation of the bursae, cushioning pads which overlie many joints. These include Housemaid’s Knee (also known as Clergyman’s Knee), from too much kneeling. But my favourite is Weaver’s Bottom – so called because it used to affect weavers who had to shuffle up and down long benches to tend their looms!

The most common form of soft tissue rheumatism, however, is fibromyalgia (which used to be known as fibrositis). It affects about two per cent of people and is much commoner in women than men. It is a controversial condition; some believe that fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome (ME) are varieties of the same condition, certainly there are similarities. The typical features are widespread musculoskeletal pain and aching with tender points at several specific locations. It is frequently associated with poor sleep and fatigue as well as other problems including migraine and irritable bowel syndrome.

There are many problems with current conventional treatment of arthritis and rheumatism. For instance, although osteoarthritis rarely, if ever, killed anyone, a group of drugs often used in its treatment, the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDs), including aspirin, Ibuprofen and Voltarol among many others, certainly has. There are some 12,000 hospital admissions and 2,000 deaths from these drugs every year in the UK alone. Although the new generation of NSAIDs is safer, they are only glorified painkillers, which do not affect the basic disease process. Similarly for rheumatoid arthritis, a range of powerful drugs is available but all of these have long and alarming lists of side effects.

 

 

Cervical spondylitis

Cervical spondylitis is a common degenerative condition of the cervical (neck) spine that most likely is caused by age-related changes (wear and tear) in the intervertebral disc and vertebrae of the neck. Research has shown that CSM (cervical spondylotic myelopathy) is the most common cause of non-traumatic weakness in limbs and a persistent stiffness and nagging pain in the neck.

  

'Spondylo' is a Greek word-meaning vertebra. Spondylitis (or Spondylosis) means changes in the vertebral joint characterized by increasing degeneration of the intervertebral disc with subsequent changes in the bones and soft tissues.

Most often in people above the age of 40, the intervertebral discs get progressively dehydrated and they become more compressible and less elastic. Mineral deposition starts occurring in the intervertebral disc resulting in secondary changes. Although the majority of individuals over 40 years of age demonstrate significant radiological evidence of the above changes, only a small percentage develop symptoms of the same. Another noteworthy point is that sometimes the degenerative changes in the cervical spine can be visible on the X-ray as early as in 30’s but it does not call for any treatment if the patient is not symptomatic.

The above changes result in compression of the nerves leading to radiculopathy (pain, numbness, weakness, and loss of reflex due to compression and irritation of spinal nerve) or compression of the spinal cord resulting in cervical spondylotic myelopathy (CSM) (commonly caused by spinal stenosis resulting in loss of movements and sensation). Both the neural and spinal cord compression will result in radiculomyelopathy.

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Thyroid

Thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland, located in your neck, wrapped around the windpipe, and is located behind and below the Adam's Apple area. The thyroid produces several hormones, of which two are key: triiodothyronine (T3) and thyroxine (T4). These hormones help oxygen get into cells, and make your thyroid the master gland of metabolism. Normally, of all the hormone produced by your thyroid, 80% will be T4 and 20% T3. Once released by the thyroid, the T3 and T4 travel through the bloodstream. The purpose is to help cells convert oxygen and calories into energy. The hypothalamus in the brain releases something called Thyrotropin-releasing Hormone (TRH). The release of TRH tells the pituitary gland to release something called Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH). This TSH, circulating in your bloodstream, is what tells the thyroid to make thyroid hormones and release them into your bloodstream.

You have a higher risk of developing thyroid disease if, among a variety of factors:
 

  • You have a family member with a thyroid problem
  • You have another pituitary or endocrine disease
  • You or a family member have another autoimmune disease
  • You've been diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • You've been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia
  • You're female
  • You're over 60
  • You've just had a baby
  • You're near menopause or menopausal
  • You're a smoker
  • You've been exposed to radiation
  • You've been treated with lithium
  • You've been exposed to certain chemicals (i.e., perchlorate, fluoride etc.)

 

Sexual Problems

Every man and woman experiences low sex (loss of libido) drive during some period in life. If low sex drive is continued and lasting, it calls for treatment. Almost 15% of men have this problem all the time; while over 30% females have it, but may not voice about it.

As you know every disease has complex medical name. Similarly, Low sex desire is also called as (Hypoactive Sexual Desire Disorder - HSDD).

Let us look at the most common factors which contribute towards low sex drive.

 

In men, following are the common causes:

  • Stress
  • Lack of spark in marriage life
  • Alcohol or/and smoking, drugs
  • Drugs: Drugs depression, hypertension, pain killers
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Low levels of testosterone hormone
  • Hypothyroid (Under active thyroid)
  • Anxiety, depression or other emotional diseases

 

In women, one must check the following common factors:

  • Stress
  • Lack of love in marriage life
  • Child birth
  • Reduced blood supply to vagina, leading to painful intercourse
  • Hypothyroid (Under active thyroid) (More common than in men)
  • Contraceptive pills
  • Alcohol, smoking, drugs
  • Diabetes
  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Nerve injury following removal of uterus (hysterectomy)
  • Drugs: Drugs depression, hypertension, pain killers
  • Anxiety, depression or other emotional diseases
  • Traumatic events in childhood such as child abuse

 

Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition in which sugar (glucose) builds up in the bloodstream. Problems with insulin production and function lead to this condition.

Cases of diabetes have increased across the globe. The number of people worldwide who are living with diabetes has grown from 108 million in 1980 to 422 million in 2014, estimates the World Health Organization. This rise is expected to continue.

Diabetes is usually treated with a change in diet, exercise, and prescription medications to control blood sugar. Still, many people with diabetes have trouble controlling their symptoms. Symptoms can include:

  • persistent hunger
  • fatigue
  • excessive thirst
  • excessive urination
  • dry mouth
  • skin sores
  • blurry vision

Brochitis

Bronchitis simply means an inflammation of the bronchus, the windpipe. This is usually caused by infection (viral, bacterial, fungal, etc) or allergy or both. This condition is widely prevalent throughout the world and is a frequent cause of absenteeism from school and work.

Bronchitis seems to be slightly more common in women as compared to males though the difference is not significant. It is more common amongst the younger age-group as compared to the adult population.

 

Causes of Bronchitis:

  • Allergy (environmental and industrial pollutants, pollen, etc.)
  • Tobacco
  • Infections (viral, bacterial, fungus
  • Immunological
  • Exposure to temperature changes (extreme cold, change from cold to heat and vise versa, etc.)

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