About Dr. Harshal Narkhede

Dr. Harshal Narkhede (MBBS, MD, PGDHHM, MS-CIT) is the Assistant Professor of Biochemistry at Government Medical College, Nagpur. A specialist in Clinical Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Diagnostics, he has close to five years of medical experience.

The Complete Canine Diabetes Diet – What To Feed Your Dog

While planning a canine diabetes diet, you should first understand the basic metabolic interaction of carbohydrates. The right diabetes diet for dogs will mainly involve regulated amounts of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, along with some fiber content.

Things To Know About Framing A Canine Diabetes Diet

The dosage of insulin to be taken and the frequency of the dosage largely depend on the body’s carbohydrate tolerance. Blood glucose levels typically rise after meals, and for this reason, the need for insulin is increased.

canine diabetes diet

A canine diabetes diet needs to have the right amount of all nutrients

Diabetic dogs usually have low levels of insulin in their body, and for this reason, carbohydrates have to be supplemented cautiously in their diet as they contribute towards excessive blood sugar. Different dogs respond in different manners to dietary modifications, so there is no ‘specific diet’ for diabetic dogs. You can however vary the dietary components while framing a canine diabetes diet.

How To Plan A Canine Diabetes Diet – The Many Components

Carbohydrates

The energy required for day-to-day activities is mostly derived from carbohydrates. The doses of insulin that you provide to your dog and the amount of carbohydrates to be supplemented largely depend on each other. If you keep the dietary carbohydrates steady, insulin needs can also be maintained steadily.

  • Simple carbohydrates (like propylene glycol, sugars) are easily broken down by the body, causing a steep rise in blood sugar. These should be avoided.
  • Complex carbohydrates are slowly digested and so, the blood sugar levels do not rise abruptly. These can be included in small quantities.

The Right Glycemic Index

The glycemic index is a measure of the effects of dietary carbohydrates on blood sugar levels. It measures the rise in blood sugar per gram of carbohydrate in food, with respect to its rise due to glucose. It is ideal to add foods that have a low glycemic index in the canine diabetes diet.

  • Low Glycemic Index

Foods items that fall under this category release glucose slowly but steadily. Fresh vegetables, fruits, grains, and legumes are examples that can be immediately added to any diabetes diet.

  • Medium Glycemic Index

Foods like whole wheat products, honey, sweet potatoes, sucrose, and brown rice fall under the Medium Glycemic Index category. Such foods can be rarely included in a canine diabetes diet.

  • High Glycemic Index

Glucose, white rice, and white bread have a high glycemic index. These foods cause a rapid rise in blood sugar levels after their consumption and should be avoided.

Charts that display the glycemic indices of various food products are commercially available, and you can use these while framing a canine diabetes diet.

Proteins

Proteins do not raise blood sugar levels abruptly, so you can increase the protein content in order to cut down on the carbohydrates. Foods that are based on cereals and pulses are rich in protein, and fishes, meat are protein-rich foods too.

Fatty Foods

Like most diabetic dogs, if your dog is overweight, food items that contain fat should be restricted. Obesity is the main culprit in canine diabetes, as fat accumulates and increases the body weight, posing risk to your canine.

Omega fatty acids should help in this regard as they are good for the body. Fish oil and liver oil are rich in omega fatty acids.

For weight reduction in dogs, additional L-carnitine supplements can be included. L-carnitine is an amino acid that improves the breakdown of fats and helps maintain the body mass. Beef is a good choice in this regard. L-carnitine also helps prevent muscle wasting during weight loss.

Fibrous Foods

Fibrous foods are extremely essential for the body, and there are two types of fibers involved. These are:

  • Viscous Fibers

These are soluble fibers that are responsible for the formation of gases in the intestines. The bacteria present in the colon ferment and produce gases, and excess gas can speed up the absorption of glucose. High soluble fiber supplements can cause diarrhea and abdominal discomfort in your dog, so soluble fibers should be avoided.

Soluble fibers mainly include pectins, psyllium, guargum, and lactulose.

  • Insoluble Fibers

These are inert and have water retention properties, and they do not form gases. They swell up by absorbing water, so you should provide adequate water to your dog to prevent the risk of constipation. The side effects of insoluble fibers include vomiting, voluminous stools, flatulence, and retarded absorption of other nutrients.

The Need For Snacks In A Canine Diabetes Diet

As insulin dosages and carbohydrates are closely dependent, it is important to provide your dog extra treats between meals. They help prevent sudden spells of hypoglycemia (sudden fall in the blood sugar level). Examples of such snacks include dehydrated meat pieces, dried salmon, freeze-dried liver, and dried beef tendons.

It is important to find the best food items that best suit your dog in order to plan the right canine diabetes diet. The contents of commercially available diabetic dog foods usually have rich protein, high fiber, and complex carbohydrates.

Epilepsy Prevention Tips – Keeping The Fits At Bay

Epilepsy is a medical condition characterized by seizure episodes. There are different types of epilepsy as well as various causes for the condition. The exact cause is even obscure in many cases. In a person with a history of seizures, epilepsy prevention mainly aims at avoiding known causes of epilepsy that act as triggers.

If you have a person with epilepsy in your family, you should keep an eye out for his epileptic attacks to ensure that you can get him medical aid on time. Familial association and support are important while considering epilepsy prevention.

epilepsy prevention

Begin epilepsy prevention by reducing your alcohol intake.

Epilepsy Prevention – Tips That Can Help

As epilepsy is caused by a variety of factors, preventive measures mainly aim at avoiding the causative factor. Here are some ways to avoid epileptic fits:

  • Get Sufficient Sleep

    Epileptic patients are prone to abrupt seizure episodes if they do not get adequate sleep. If you have had seizures in the past, avoid sleep deprivation to prevent their recurrence.

  • Avoid Alcohol Consumption

    Heavy alcohol consumption is one of the triggers for epileptic episodes, so cutting down on alcohol will reduce the chances of seizure precipitation.

  • Beware Of Drug Overdose

    The use of illicit drugs like cocaine (and certain drugs of common medicinal use) also provoke seizures. Withdrawing from the drugs by following the doctor’s advice will automatically reduce the worsening of this condition.

  • Ensure Proper Care In Case Of High Grade Fever (Febrile Seizures)

    High grade fever in children between 3 months to 5 years of age may provoke seizures. Taking utmost care of the child during such bouts of fever reduces the possibility of seizures in future. Medication prescribed in cases of febrile seizure episodes depends upon the frequency and the nature of the seizure.

  • Learn To Manage Stress

    Sudden emotional, psychological, or physical stress can be an epileptic trigger. If you are an epileptic, you must learn to gain control over day-to-day stress. Meditation might help in this regard.

  • Keep Tabs On Hormonal Changes

    A woman with a history of seizure episodes should be very vigilant about possible fluctuations in hormones and other bodily behavior, such as during menopause. Remain cautious during this phase.

  • Avoid Exposure To Flashes Of Light

    Exposure to frequent and varied-intensity light fluctuations may trigger epileptic attacks. Hence it is prudent to avoid such exposure by refraining from driving at night amid the excessive glares of headlights, and not watching television in a dark or dimly lit room.

  • Pay Attention To Neurological Infections

    Infections (bacterial, parasitic, or viral) in the brain may also prove to be a trigger for epileptic fits. Intense medical care of patients with such infections reduces the risk of seizure episodes.

The Role of Prenatal Care In Epilepsy Prevention

The prenatal period refers to the duration of a baby’s life before its birth. Ensure that you receive appropriate prenatal care and protection from infections during pregnancy, to prevent damage to the brain cells of the baby. This reduces the risk of the baby developing epilepsy later in life.

Control over the mother’s blood pressure during pregnancy is also crucial to avoid ‘eclampsia’, a condition characterized by seizures in pregnant women due to uncontrolled high blood pressure.

Epilepsy Prevention At The Genetic Level

Regulating the mechanism of defective genes is a new method to prevent epilepsy from occurring later in life. This type of measure targeted at epilepsy prevention is under trial.

Breathing Exercises For Epilepsy Prevention

Excessive rapid and deep breathing (hyperventilation) has been reported as the primary factor in epileptic attacks. The body mechanism ensures that oxygen is taken inside the body while breathing in, and carbon dioxide is expelled from the body while breathing out.

In the case of epileptic fits, rapid and deep breathing causes a decrease in the carbon dioxide level in the blood, which makes neurons hyper-excitable.

During respiratory exercises (meant to prevent epilepsy), slow and shallow breathing is advocated. This raises the carbon dioxide level in the blood, which reduces the hyper-excitability of neurons and alleviates the risk of a seizure.

Recent research literature suggests that regular breathing exercises help prevent episodes of seizures, but they must be performed only after consulting a doctor.

Three Important Tips For Epilepsy Prevention

  • Stick To Medication Dosages And Schedules

    In patients with epilepsy, drug dosage schedules must be followed accurately, as prescribed by the doctor. Never modify the drug or its dose on your own. An improper or irregular dosage may precipitate an attack of epilepsy.

  • Maintain Medical Records

    Keep regular records of even the slightest event related to epilepsy. Watch yourself for any weird sensation like an abnormal smell/light/sound, as it could be an ‘aura’ (Symptoms which precede the onset of epileptic seizure). The ‘aura’ should be reported to your doctor without delay. It may be an indication that a change in drug therapy or an alteration in dosage schedules is required.

  • Speak Up

    Do not keep mum. Discuss your epileptic attacks with loved ones and people who surround you every day. So in case you experience an epileptic attack, people around you will know how to handle the emergency. Patients of head injuries, metabolic disturbances, and high grade fever are potential candidates who may be affected by epilepsy.

Epilepsy symptoms can be highly disturbing and traumatic for those who undergo them as well as those who witness them. Epilepsy prevention is best done by strictly avoiding epileptic triggers. In addition to this, in cases where an individual already has epilepsy, taking the prescribed medication without fail is an important part of epilepsy treatment.

Gingivitis In Cats – The Condition, Its Symptoms And Treatment

Gingivitis is one of the commonly observed dental diseases in cats, and this condition inflames their gums. Gingivitis in cats is often a result of inadequate oral hygiene and neglected dental care. It is a reversible condition and can be treated with utmost ease.

gingivitis in cats

Red and swollen gums are common signs of gingivitis in cats.

Gingivitis In Cats – Understanding The Condition

Gingivitis is a form of periodontal disease caused by microbial organisms like peptostreptococci, porphyromonas, and actinomyces. Normally, the teeth in both humans and animals fit snugly into the gums. When a cat is affected with gingivitis, rough tartars form over the surface of the teeth and at the interface of the teeth and gums.

Tartars (hard yellowish dental deposits) are generally a mixture of organic and calcium compounds (Calcium Carbonate and Calcium Phosphate). These tartars force the gums to loosen out the teeth at those sites. The separated gums-teeth interfaces form gum-pockets, the sites where foods particles get lodged. Millions of bacteria grow in these areas and form soft colourless plaques, composed of bacteria and food particles.

Tartars are yellowish brown patches that can be pointed out easily. The irregular surfaces of teeth favour the formation of tartars, which are ideal sites for plaque formation.

The Symptoms Of Gingivitis In Cats

The following are the symptoms of gingivitis in cats.

  • Red and swollen gums that bleed easily while chewing
  • Halitosis or Bad breath
  • Loss of appetite
  • Swelling and redness along the teeth and gums
  • Tooth decay
  • Drooling while chewing

Cats above 2 years of age are susceptible to gingivitis. In very rare cases, younger cats are affected.

The Common Risks Of Gingivitis In Cats

  • Loss Of Affected Tooth/Teeth

    Untreated gingivitis leads to local tissue destruction in the form of:

    • Loss of bone
    • Spacing between teeth
    • Pus formation in ‘gum-pockets’
  • Lymphocytic Plasmacytic Gingivitis

    It is a painful condition under which eating and swallowing becomes difficult.Once serious infection sets in, the bacteria may travel through the blood to distant organs like the kidneys and the heart. Some cats may exhibit severe oral infection that extends up to the back of the throat.The resulting condition is known as ‘Lymphocytic Plasmacytic Gingivitis’ (LPG). The mechanism of LPG is not exactly known, but has been attributed to the body’s extensive reaction to the microbes present along the teeth.

  • Feline Panleukopenia

    This is a serious complication that may prove to be fatal. It is also known as Feline Distemper, and is caused by the Panleukopenia virus, which destroys white blood cells.Infected cats present with high fever, vomiting, and loss of appetite.

Treatment Of Gingivitis In Cats

Gingivitis treatment principally involves clearing up the existing infection and preventing its further recurrence.

  1. Get A Dental Check-up Done 

    If the tartar is well settled, the teeth should be thoroughly cleaned by a veterinarian. This is very similar to the dental procedures that you might have gone through. Gingivitis being a painful condition, you can’t expect your cat to sit still during the procedure, so the doctor will mostly administer prior anaesthesia.

  2. Provide The Right Medication

    Antimicrobials, steroids, and anti-inflammatory drugs are generally used to treat gingivitis in cats, and these can be administered orally or through injections.

  3. Brush Your Cat’s Teeth

    Brushing your cat’s teeth everyday or at least twice or thrice a week is essential, as this helps in maintaining good oral hygiene and prevents the recurrence of the disease.

    Tartars can be cleaned up through dental cleaning and polishing, and if ignored, they may redevelop within a week after cleaning. Regular brushing is the key to prevent its recurrence.

    To begin with, gently rub your cat’s teeth with your finger. You can use toothpastes and brushes that are specially designed for cats for this disease. Never use brushes and pastes that have been manufactured for general use.

  4. Frame A Special Diet

    Use food items that have been specially developed to protect your cat’s oral hygiene, as these will make it easier to reduce plaques and tartars in cats. Run the diet by your veterinarian once and get his approval before you implement it. A well framed diet always helps in managing gingivitis in cats.

Prevention Is Better Than Cure, So…

It is always better to avoid the problem than to worry about a solution or remedy, so ensure that you read up on preventive steps that explain how to stop gingivitis in cats. Brushing the teeth regularly, incorporating adequate measures for oral hygiene, and keeping an eye out for the anticipated risk will definitely serve the purpose.

Allergic Conjunctivitis 101 – An Introduction To The Disease

As the name describes, allergic conjunctivitis is a disease the affects the conjunctiva of eye and results due to an allergic reaction. Knowing this condition better will help you understand the basic mechanism behind it and take measures against its occurrence.

allergic conjunctivitis

Exposure to the fur of a pet can cause allergic conjunctivitis in some people.

An Introduction To Allergic Conjunctivitis

‘Conjuctiva’ is a thin, transparent layer that covers the white portion of eye. Conjunctivitis is a term used to refer to the inflammation of the conjunctiva, a condition that occurs due to variety of reasons.

What Causes Allergic Conjunctivitis?

Allergic conjunctivitis is an excessive reaction of the body’s immunological defense system upon exposure to some allergens (allergy-provoking substances). It appears as an inflammation of the conjunctiva and is characterized by allergic conjunctivitis symptoms redness and itchiness in the eyes. Excessive tears, pain, and swollen eyelids may also appear as symptoms in some cases.

Allergic Conjunctivitis – Some  Common Allergens

  • Pollen grains shed by plants, grass, and weeds (they account for most cases of this disease)
  • Fur of animals/pets
  • Objects of regular use, such as perfumes, deodorants, cosmetics, and other makeup materials
  • Air pollution
  • Eye medicines/devices, for example, eye drops and contact lenses

The Mechanism That Triggers Allergic Conjunctivitis 

The basic mechanism that causes the allergic response of the eye is the sensitization of the conjunctiva to a particular substance (allergen). So whenever the conjunctiva is exposed to such an allergen, sensitization sets in to trigger an allergen-specific response, usually during subsequent exposures to such allergens.

Such an allergic reaction is associated with the release of chemicals like histamine, prostaglandins, interleukins, and allergy-specific antibodies (Immunoglobulin E or IgE).

The main cells involved in this cascade are ‘Mast cells’ and ‘T-helper cells’. Mast cells are components of the human body’s defense system and T-helper cells are a part of the white blood cells that protect the body from different foreign particles.

After exposure to allergens like pollen, T-helper cells release IgE antibodies that attach themselves to mast cells and activate them to release various chemical mediators like histamine and prostaglandins.

Histamine is responsible for the dilatation (widening) of the blood vessels of the conjunctiva. Excessively dilated blood vessels in the conjunctiva give it a “reddened look”.

As inflammation sets in, the conjunctiva becomes red and itchy. Excessive watering from the eyes and eye pain may supervene.

When Does Allergic Conjunctivitis Occur?

The symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis normally occur during seasons like summer and early spring, due to the high presence of pollen in the air during these times of the year.

Are You Prone To This Condition?

If you are prone to regular allergies, you might also be prone to allergic conjunctivitis. People with allergic diseases like asthma, hay fever, eczema, urticaria, and allergic dermatitis are also susceptible to allergic conjunctivitis.

Is Allergic Conjunctivitis Contagious?

Allergic conjunctivitis is not a communicable disease. Though other types of conjunctivitis may spread from one person to another, allergic conjunctivitis is restricted only to people with allergic hyper-responsiveness.

Types Of Allergic Conjunctivitis

  • Seasonal Allergic Conjunctivitis

    It is the commonest form of ocular (eye) allergy. Seasons like early spring and summer are associated with the shedding of pollen from trees, weeds, and grass. An allergic response to these particles leads to a condition called ‘hay fever’. Additional symptoms like a runny nose, sore throat or sneezing may be seen. Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis may repeat every year at these particular times. Symptoms typically last for few weeks after the exposure.

  • Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis

    It is a rare form of allergic conjunctivitis seen in contact lens users, usually due to poor maintenance of contact lenses. Allergy to the contact lens material or the debris retained behind contact lenses provokes this response.

  • Vernal And Atopic Conjunctivitis

    Vernal conjunctivitis is seen in children residing in warm climates and atopic conjunctivitis occurs in males between 30 and 50 years of age.

  • Phlyctenular Conjunctivitis

    It occurs as an allergic reaction to certain microorganisms (mainly TB bacilli, Chlamydia, etc.)

The Complications Of Allergic Conjunctivitis

Complications are rare with allergic conjunctivitis, but in cases where the condition is ignored or untreated, an infection may develop, especially if appropriate hygienic measures are not taken.

While it’s not a fatal disease, allergic conjunctivitis can nevertheless cause serious problems for the eye if not countered on time through allergic conjunctivitis treatment measures.

All You Need To Know About Typhoid Fever – A Brief Look

Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection that occurs in human beings, affecting people of almost all age groups. It is called so because its neurological and behavioral symptoms resemble the symptoms of the typhus infection (caused by a different microbe). It is also known by other names like pythogenic fever and nervous fever.

What Causes Typhoid Fever?

typhoid fever

A strain of the Salmonella bacteria causes typhoid fever.

The Salmonella Typhi bacteria is the primary cause of typhoid fever. A variant of typhoid fever is called paratyphoid fever. This infection is caused by the bacteria Salmonella Paratyphi. Typhoid fever and paratyphoid fever are collectively called enteric fever.

Are You A Carrier Of Typhoid Fever?

A carrier of typhoid fever is a person who does not show any symptoms of typhoid, but harbors the Salmonella Typhi bacteria inside his body. A patient may turn into a carrier of typhoid bacteria even after his symptoms have disappeared. A carrier may keep shedding the Salmonella Typhi bacteria through his stools or urine for about more than a year, and acts as potential source for the contamination of food/water and the spread of the disease.

How Does Typhoid Fever Spread?

Inadequate hygiene and poor sanitation contribute to the spread of the bacteria that causes typhoid fever. When a person drinks water or eats food that is contaminated with such bacteria, he acquires the infection. The food and water may be contaminated by any of the following:

  • The stool or urine passed by a typhoid patient may spread the disease as they contain such bacteria. When these infectious microbes mix with a source of water, they cause its contamination.

  • People such as hotel cooks, hospital workers, and hospital staff carry a high risk of being carriers and contribute to the spread of typhoid fever.
  • People who use antacids frequently are at risk of spreading the infection, as antacids reduce acid production in the stomach and create a favorable environment for the bacteria to thrive.
  • Patients with intestinal diseases, biliary diseases, or diseases of the stomach are also capable of spreading typhoid fever.
  • Children who are less than 1 year of age and people who inadvertently use antibiotic medicines also carry the risk of transmitting this infection.

The Symptoms Of Typhoid Fever

The general symptoms of typhoid include:

  • Fever: The body temperature of the affected individual may rise up to around 103or 1050 Fahrenheit. About 75% of typhoid patients experience fever as the main symptom of the infection. The fever may fluctuate and may be associated with chills as well.
  • Aches: The patient is likely to experience muscle pain, generalized body ache, and headaches. Fatigue and weakness are also common symptoms.
  • Abdominal Pain: This can be observed in around 20 to 40% of typhoid patients.
  • Low Appetite: This is also one of the most common typhoid symptoms.
  • Constipation/Diarrhea: Some patients report constipation, while some complain of diarrhea. The frequency of stools may increase up to 6 to 8 times a day. The stool also carries a characteristic smell.
  • Neurological Symptoms: The patient’s behavior is altered, and he often wears a confused look.
  • Rashes: Rose spots may appear over the skin of the patient’s chest and in his abdominal region.

Besides these general symptoms, the typical pattern of fever experienced by patients helps distinguish typhoid from other diseases. After acquiring a typhoid infection (i.e. after the entry of the Salmonella bacteria into the body), the incubation period can vary from 3 to 21 days. Once it is over, the symptoms start appearing. The pattern of symptoms and signs varies as per the duration of typhoid and the course of treatment adopted. The symptoms vary during the first through the fourth/fifth week.

Why Is Typhoid Fever A Serious Condition?

Though the symptoms of typhoid fever appear like those of very commonly occurring illnesses, typhoid may prove dangerous if not diagnosed early through a typhoid test or paid adequate attention. In untreated cases, typhoid fever may complicate things with intestinal perforation, spread of the infection to the peritoneum (sac around the intestines, in the abdomen), intestinal bleeding, or other serious complications. This fact makes it very important to diagnose and treat typhoid fever at the earliest. Previously it was a fatal disease, but with the use of antibiotics, death rate due to the disease and its complications has reduced to a great extent nowadays.

Diagnosing Typhoid Fever – The Options Available

A variety of tests are used to diagnose typhoid, each having its own benefits and limitations:

  • Widal Test is a serological test to detect typhoid antigens (H and O) in the blood of the patient
  • Microbiological Culture Test helps detect and isolate the Salmonella Typhi bacteria
  • Urine Culture, Stool Culture, and Blood Culture tests help detect the presence of the typhoid bacteria and diagnose the disease

Typhoid Fever Treatment Measures

Though the typhoid fever treatment measures are many, the disease is mainly countered in three ways.

  1. Treating The Main Cause

    Destroying Salmonella Typhi present in the patient’s body is the aim of such therapy. Various antibiotics are used to kill these bacteria, and examples of these include Ciprofloxacin, Ceftriaxone, and Cefotaxime. The choice of drug, its dosage, and the duration of the therapy depend on factors such as the severity of the illness, the age of the person, and the sensitivity of drugs.

  2. Treating The Symptoms

    For fever, antipyretics (fever-reducing drugs) like paracetamol are used. For headaches, body aches, and muscle pains, analgesics (painkillers) like ibuprofen and diclofenac are used.

  3. Treating The Complications (If Any)

    Complications of typhoid such as intestinal perforation and peritonitis have to be treated with surgical intervention. The treatment depends upon the type and severity of the complication.

Measures To Prevent Typhoid And Its Spread

If you have had typhoid fever in the past, you might still be a potential carrier of the typhoid bacteria even if there are no visible symptoms. Even if you have not had typhoid before, you are susceptible to the condition. To avoid being struck with typhoid, it is recommended that you:

  • Take adequate hygienic and sanitary measures. Insist on important practices like washing hands properly, eating uncontaminated food, and drinking uncontaminated water.
  • Boil water or simply chlorinate it before drinking.

Typhoid fever can turn out to be fatal if it‘s not diagnosed and treated at the right time, and the best way to beat it is by preventing it in the first place.

All About Photosensitive Epilepsy – The Condition And How It’s Triggered

Epilepsy is a condition featured by frequent seizure episodes, as a result of abnormal electrical fluctuations in the brain cells. Photosensitive epilepsy is a type of epilepsy in which fits occur in an individual due to exposure to variable typical patterns of light.

photosensitive epilepsy

Exposure to lights of high brightness or intensity is one of the main causes of photosensitive epilepsy.

The Common Triggers Of Photosensitive Epilepsy

Stimuli that trigger photosensitive epilepsy may be in the form of:

  • Intense flashes of light
  • Flickering lights
  • Moving light patterns
  • ‘Striped’ or ‘chequered’ colored graphics

These visual stimuli excite the neurons and cause abrupt seizure episodes to occur.

The Mechanism Behind Photosensitive Epilepsy

The basic cause for the seizure is the hyper-excitation of brain cells due to visual signals. Varying yet typical light patterns trigger fluctuations in the electrical activity of the neurons. Abnormally high electrical discharges are spread over wide areas of the brain, resulting in either ‘localized’ or ‘generalized tonic-clonic’ type of contractions in the muscles, making the body stiff.

Some Important Facts About Photosensitive Epilepsy

  • Characteristically, bright lights, high contrast lights, intense flashes and flickering light patterns provoke seizure episodes.
  • Different persons may be susceptible to this condition at different wavelengths of light.
  • Certain typical patterns like ‘bright-colored stripes over a contrasting background’, or common color combinations like red and blue may also be triggers.
  • Some patients experience photosensitive epilepsy with their eyes open, while some experience it with their eyes closed.
  • If flickers of light cover the whole field of vision, chances of a seizure episode are high. In this case, lower exposure to such flickers lessens the risk.
  • Different people are susceptible to the seizures at different frequencies of flickering light. Some patients may be sensitive to as low as 3 flickers per second, while some may require as high as 60 flickers per second, for the seizures to occur. Most of the patients are sensitive to a frequency between 16 – 25 per second.

Who Can Be Affected By This Condition?

Here are some details on who can suffer from the condition.

  • Of all the cases of epilepsy, about 3 to 5 % amount to the photosensitive type.
  • Children and adolescents (aged between 7 and 19 years) are most susceptible to photosensitive epilepsy.
  • Children who watch TV or play video games for hours together may be affected at a higher rate.
  • Those who have a family history of photosensitive epilepsy also face a higher risk.

Typical Light Patterns That Provoke Seizures

  • Light From Television Screens

    Television has been the most common cause behind the precipitation of photosensitive epilepsy. Sitting close to the TV or watching it in a dark room can be a seizure-provoking factor. TV monitors emit light in the form of flickers. These flickers are not normally perceived by the human eye as their frequency falls outside the range that a human eye can note.

  • Light From Computer Screens

    Working on computers with bright and high contrast displays can cause photosensitive epilepsy.

  • Video Games

    Prolonged staring at video game screens is also one of the primary causes.

  • Strobe Lights From Ambulances Or Police Vans

    Staring at the alternating bright flashes that are emanated by strobe lights of ambulances or police vans can bring about a seizure.

  • Lights In Movie Theatres

    Bright lights projected over the screen in movie theaters  which create a contrast with the dark surroundings, also cause photosensitive epilepsy.

  • Headlight Glares

    The bright glare of headlights of vehicles passing by, while driving at night is another major factor.

  • Camera Flashes

    Exposure to multiple camera flashes at the same time can trigger seizures.

  • Sunlight

    Also, individuals with this problem should watch out for sunshine creeping through trees, and bright flashes of sunlight that are reflected off mirrors or the surface of water.

  • Welding Flames Or Firecrackers

    Looking directly at the flames during welding or continuously watching bursting firecrackers can trigger a seizure.

  • Tunnels

    Exposure to the overhead lights while passing through tunnels is another major cause.

  • Decoration fabrics

    Visually taking in brightly colored or high contrast garments, particularly with striped or chequered patterns, can trigger seizures.

Diagnosis Of Photosensitive Epilepsy

If you have ever experienced a seizure due to prolonged exposure to bright lights or while watching TV, you might have photosensitive epilepsy.

When you consult a doctor for photosensitive epilepsy, you are likely to be tested for any change in the pattern of your EEG (Electroencephalogram) waves. The doctor will ask you to look at a rapidly flickering source of light, and while you do so, the electrical activity of your brain will be recorded.

Certain typical changes in your EEG waves will help confirm the diagnosis of photosensitive epilepsy. The presence of photosensitive epilepsy symptoms will also be noted.

Measures To Prevent Photosensitive Epilepsy

If you have photosensitive epilepsy, here are some ways to avoid further episodes of the same:

  • Maintain a minimum distance of 8 feet while watching TV. For computer screens, this distance should be at least 2 feet. This helps reduce the effect of flickering lights of high intensity, high brightness, or heavy contrast.
  • Choose flat screen models for TVs and computers, as they produce fewer flickers.
  • Set a low brightness level while watching TV or while working on a computer. The contrast level should also be kept low, especially in dark surroundings.
  • Lessen the time you spend working in front of such monitors if you have had seizures in past.
  • If such exposure is unavoidable, close one eye during the exposure. This reduces the level of excitation required to exceed the threshold for seizures to occur.
  • Use polarized glasses or goggles while going into areas with bright and high contrast light flickers.
  • Take regular medication. Never alter the dose of the drug or its schedule without the doctor’s advice.

Photosensitive epilepsy can be prevented by taking strict precautions, particularly while watching television and working on computers. Doctors will advise you to limit your exposure to the most common light patterns that trigger this condition, especially if you have experienced it in the past. With a little bit of care, you can protect your eyes from the source of such epileptic seizures.

Allergic Conjunctivitis Symptoms – How To Identify The Problem

Allergic conjunctivitis is caused due to the body’s overreaction to allergens (substances that provoke allergies) like pollen, perfumes, and animal fur. Different eye diseases often present similar symptoms, however, certain distinctive allergic conjunctivitis symptoms make it easy to distinguish this condition from other types of conjunctivitis and eye diseases.

allergic conjunctivitis symptoms

Red, itchy, and painful eyes are key allergic conjunctivitis symptoms.

Allergic Conjunctivitis Symptoms – An Overview

Some of the most common allergic conjunctivitis symptoms include:

  • Redness In The Eyes

    The eye’s allergic response is associated with the release of chemical transmitters like histamine, prostaglandins, and interleukins. These substances cause the widening of the small blood vessels of the conjunctiva, and this process, known as vasodilation, makes the eyes appear red.

  • Itchy Eyes

    Intense itching in the eyes is the most common of all allergic conjunctivitis symptoms. It is seen in more than 75% of the cases of allergic conjunctivitis. Itching worsens when the eyes are rubbed. Histamine released from the mast cells (cells that provoke the allergic response of the eyes) irritates the nerve endings and causes an itching sensation in the eyes.

  • Foreign Body Sensation

    The patient is likely to experience a constant feel of something stuck within the eye. Itchiness and swollen eyelids may cause this type of feeling.

  • Painful Eyes

    The patient might experience a sharp pain in his eyes. 

  • Excessive Watering Of The Eyes (Lacrymation)

    The itchiness and inflammation trigger reflex tearing over time, causing the eyes to water.

  • Photophobia (Intolerance To Light)

    As the symptoms worsen, the patient will lose the ability to tolerate bright lights.

  • Trouble With Routine Activities

    Photophobia will make it difficult for the patient to carry out regular activities like driving, writing, reading, and working. 

  • Swollen Eyelids

    The inflamed lids may appear thick and swollen.

  • Nodule/Papillae Over The Eyelids

    These do not appear in every case of allergic conjunctivitis. Nodules are small lumps seen with the phlyctenular type of allergic conjunctivitis.

    Papillae are small, soft, and flat swellings along the insides of the eyelids, and are often seen in the giant papillary type of conjunctivitis.

When Do Allergic Conjunctivitis Symptoms Occur?

Unlike other types of conjunctivitis, allergic conjunctivitis has characteristic triggers for the onset of its symptoms:

  • Seasonal Variation – Allergic conjunctivitis symptoms often occur during seasons like summer or early spring, when the pollen from trees, weeds, and grass are shed into the air. Exposure to such allergens may precipitate the symptoms of allergic conjunctivitis.
  • Exposure To Allergens – Exposure to substances like pollen, animal hair, fur, bird feathers, perfumes, and cosmetics can also trigger this condition.
  • Climate A warm and dry climate worsens allergic conjunctivitis and aggravates its symptoms. But cool and moist weather conditions are soothing and comfortable for patients.

What Causes Allergic Conjunctivitis Symptoms?

When the conjunctiva is exposed to allergens such as pollen, the mast cells and T-helper cells in the body are activated. These cells release histamine, prostaglandins, and other chemical transmitters. Histamine causes vasodilation i.e. the widening of the blood vessels. It also irritates the nerve endings within the conjunctiva. The overall cascade manifests externally in the form of allergic conjunctivitis symptoms.

Identifying The Main Allergic Conjunctivitis Symptoms

Allergic conjunctivitis presents symptoms that often resemble other types of conjunctivitis and other eye diseases. But it does have certain distinguishing features:

  • Seasonal onset and worsening of symptoms during warm and dry weather
  • Repeated occurrence of the condition, specifically during summer and early spring every year
  • Worsening of symptoms with increased exposure to specific substances like animal hair, feathers, pollen, etc.
  • Association with other conditions like Hay fever, a runny nose, sneezing, and asthma

Laboratory Findings That Point To Allergic Conjunctivitis

  • Eosinophilia

    Eosinophils are components of white blood cells, and they are specifically meant to tackle allergic diseases in the body. Most allergic conditions are characterized by an increased count of eosinophils (Eosinophilia) in the blood during the symptomatic phase. In allergic conjunctivitis, the eosinophil count in the blood is usually found to be higher than normal.

  • Skin Test

    Skin test is a test conducted to evaluate a person’s response to certain allergens. If he/she is allergic to that substance, the skin test appears positive. So, if you have allergic conjunctivitis or any other associated allergic disease like asthma, you are likely to test positive on the skin test.

  • Excess IgE

    Immunoglobulin-E (IgE) is an antibody produced in the body in response to allergen exposure. IgE levels are normally found to be high in the blood of patients with allergic conjunctivitis.

Allergic conjunctivitis is not a not a fatal disease, but it’s still dangerous and could cause serious trouble to your eyes. If you experience some of the allergic conjunctivitis symptoms detailed above, consult your doctor immediately to start allergic conjunctivitis treatment.

Allergic Conjunctivitis Treatment – Measures That You Can Take

Allergic conjunctivitis treatment depends upon the severity of the symptoms in the patient. This is mainly because mild allergic conjunctivitis symptoms may not require much treatment except for the use of cold compresses, while severe symptoms like ocular pain, intense itching, watering, and redness of the eyes need treatment with various medicines.

allergic conjunctivitis treatment

Staying away from allergens like pollen is recommended as part of allergic conjunctivitis treatment.

Allergic Conjunctivitis Treatment – A Look At What’s Involved

Allergic Conjunctivitis Treatment For The Root Cause

An allergy specialist will help you identify the substance that is inducing allergic conjunctivitis. Avoiding exposure to such allergens will automatically reduce the chances of the worsening and recurrence of this condition.

Treating The Symptoms Of Allergic Conjunctivitis

The most commonly preferred mode of allergic conjunctivitis treatment is topical (local or ocular) medication. As the symptoms arise mainly due to the activation of mast cells and the release of histamine, treatment is based on the use of eye drops or eye ointments that contain anti-histaminic and anti-inflammatory properties. Mast cell stabilizer drugs or steroids are also used for treating this condition.

  • Anti-Histaminics

    Allergic conjunctivitis symptoms arise due to the histamine released from the mast cells. Histamine causes redness, itching, and watering of the eyes. Anti-histaminic drugs (like Ketotifen, Cetirizine, Chlorpheniramine) destroy this substance and relieve the symptoms.

  • Mast Cell Stabilizers

    Mast cells are the main cells that initiate the chemical cascade for allergic reactions in the conjunctiva by secreting various chemical transmitters like histamine and interleukins. Exposure to the allergens generally activates the mast cells, and when the mast cells are stabilized, the cascade stops at that particular level and no further symptoms occur.

    Commonly used mast cell stabilizing eye drops contain drugs like Lodoxamide, Sodium Chromoglicate, and Nedocromil. They act by blocking the calcium-mediated gateways that cause the release of histamine from the cells. Mast cell stabilizers take quite a long time to act, but they are well known for their long-lasting action.

  • Dual Action Drugs

    Some drugs have both mast cell stabilizing and antihistaminic effects, and work by performing a dual action. Ketotifen and Olopatadine are examples of this type.

  • Steroids

    Steroids are hormones secreted by the adrenal gland of the body. They work by suppressing the immunological cells and decreasing the production of antibodies. Examples of steroids include Dexamethasone and Fluorometholone.

Essential Information About Steroid Use

Before using steroids, you should know what you’re getting into. Here are some basic facts that you need to know.

  • Steroids must be used cautiously and under a doctor’s observation only.
  • They must be used only in cases of severe allergic conjunctivitis and not for early and mild symptoms of the condition.
  • As the side effects of using steroids may outweigh their curative effects, they must be used with utmost caution.
  • Steroids suppress defensive cells in the body and favor the growth of organisms that cause infections. When used improperly, they may cause severe bacterial growth that affects the eyes, and this might permanently affect your vision.

Allergic Conjunctivitis Treatment – Dealing With The Other Types

  • Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis – Usually seen in contact lens users, this condition can be treated by discontinuing the use of lenses till the symptoms disappear.
  • Contact Conjunctivitis – As this condition is caused by contact with cosmetics and perfumes, it can be treated by avoiding exposure to such allergens.

Desensitization Allergen Immunotherapy

This is a method that involves the gradual desensitization of a person to allergens. The treatment follows the belief that administering allergens below the skin at certain intervals over a period of time can reduce the intensity of the allergic reaction.

This must be carried out only under medical supervision. Not all cases require this kind of treatment, but it is particularly helpful for atopic individuals.

Measures To Prevent Allergic Conjunctivitis

Prevention is always better than cure, so apart from allergic conjunctivitis treatment options, here are tips on preventing the condition. To prevent it, ensure that further exposure to the allergens does not occur, especially if you have had allergic conjunctivitis in the past.

  • Avoid the use of eye make-up materials
  • Do not use ocular (eye) medicines without medical advice. You may be allergic to some of them.
  • Never share your contact lenses with others.
  • Avoid rubbing the eye even if it itches intensely during conjunctivitis.
  • Wash your clothes, linens, and napkins properly so that no allergens are released.
  • Observe if your symptoms aggravate on exposure to your pet, as its hair or fur may be inducing or increasing your allergy.
  • Learn and adapt proper hygienic methods for handling contact lenses.

Never try to follow allergic conjunctivitis treatment measures of your own, no matter how mild it seems. Consulting an eye specialist at the first sign of this condition is highly recommended, in order to prevent the infection from turning severe.

Angioplasty Recovery – Long Term And Short Term Tips

The time taken for overall angioplasty recovery depends on many smaller factors, including the exercise routine that you follow, your daily activities, the medications you take, and your diet. Your aim during the entire recovery phase after an angioplasty should be to keep your heart healthy and well.

Here are some short and long term tips that can help you keep your heart healthy and speed up the recovery process.

angioplasty recovery

Walking helps in speeding up the angioplasty recovery process.

When Does The Angioplasty Recovery Phase Start?

Patients are often discharged on the same day or immediate next day after an angioplasty procedure. They may return to performing routine activities within a week of the procedure.

Some routine activities can be performed in the given timelines.

  • Bathing/Getting Dressed – Same day or the day after discharge
  • Walking (With Assistance) – 6 hours after an angioplasty
  • Cycling – 2 weeks after an angioplasty
  • Returning To Work – This depends on the type and duration of work (usually after 7-10 days)
  • Sex – 3 to 4 days after an angioplasty
  • Driving – Should be avoided for at least 7- 10 days after an angioplasty
  • Travelling – Possibly 4 weeks after an angioplasty

Short Term Angioplasty Recovery Tips

These are immediate measures to be followed for keeping your heart healthy.

Exercise

Exercise in the form of comfortable, non-exhaustive movements may be started within 3-4 days after an angioplasty. When you feel comfortable, you can begin with moderate exercises that don’t involve a lot of activity. You can plan the regimen as per your convenience too.

Remember that you should not have chest pain (angina) while exercising; rather it should make you feel energetic and better.

The different types of exercise that you can try are:

  • Walking
  • Alternating between standing and sitting positions
  • Raising and lowering your arms
  • Marching on the spot

Three to four days after the angioplasty, you may start walking. To start with, it is good to walk 1-2 miles (30-60 minutes) a day. This can be extended to even 3-5 miles a day around six to eight weeks later, as per your comfort and ease.

Exercising will make your heart beat rapidly, and this will help improve its efficiency day by day. These moderate exercises will keep you energetic and your heart healthy.

When Should You Stop Exercising?

The below signs will warn you that you’re exceeding the capacity of your heart:

  • Chest pain
  • Chest discomfort
  • Breathlessness
  • Feeling of exhaustion

Diet

It is extremely important to eat and drink healthy food items during the angioplasty recovery phase.

Foods You Should Avoid

Avoid foods with high fat content. They mainly contain saturated fatty acids that increase ‘bad’ cholesterol (LDL-Low density lipoproteins) in your blood, and can damage your heart after an angioplasty. 

  • Butter and cheese are rich in fats
  • Fast foods/ processed food (biscuits, cakes) have high fat content

Food You Should Eat

During the angioplasty recovery phase, choose food with low fat content, and make sure that your diet features cereals, beans, rice, pulses, and grains as they have very low fats in them. 

Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids (PUFA) and omega fatty acids are beneficial for you. Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids cut down the levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol and increase the level of ‘good’ cholesterol (HDL- High density lipoproteins) in the blood.

  • Olive oil, rapeseed oil, sunflower oil, corn and soya oil are rich in PUFA
  • You can eat oily fishes like sardines, mackerel, herrings, and pilchards, as they are rich in omega fatty acid 

Also, enrich your diet with fruits and green leafy vegetables and take your meals regularly.

Long Term Angioplasty Recovery Tips

Long term angioplasty recovery measures involve adapting to this healthy lifestyle on a daily basis.

What You Should Do On A Long Term

  • Exercise: Make it a part of your daily routine.
  • Stress Management: Meditation can help you relax in this regard.
  • Avoid Smoking: If you are a chronic smoker, you are directly posing a risk to your heart again.
  • Alcohol: Use should be sensible, and not more than 21-28 units (for men), and 14-21 units (women) per week.  (‘1 unit’ equals ‘half a pint’ of normal strength beer) 
  • High BP and Diabetes: High blood pressure and diabetes are strongly associated with heart diseases. Regularly check your blood sugar and blood pressure. Eat less salt, as it raises the blood pressure.
  • Medicines: Strictly follow the dosages and schedules advised by your doctor. Never skip/ stop them abruptly without your doctor’s advice.

Remember, you are on your own when it comes to angioplasty recovery. The better measures you take, the sooner you’ll recover.

Common Angioplasty Risks You Should Watch Out For

It is important for you to know the different angioplasty risks you can face, as this is the case with all medical procedures that involve invasive intervention.

Angioplasty helps in restoring the blood flow to certain parts of the body, and this process involves the surgical correction of defects like narrowing or blockages in the arteries with the use of stents (wire meshes) and balloons.

It should be noted that the benefits of the angioplasty procedure outweigh the risks and complications. If you have been advised coronary (heart) angioplasty, here are a few risks that you would be susceptible to.

angioplasty risks

Angioplasty risks are often indicated by chest pain and swelling in the site of catheter insertion.

The Two Types Of Angioplasty Risks

Angioplasty risks are of two types: 

  • Delayed Complications, which occur a few months after the angioplasty
  • Acute Complications, which occur during the procedure or immediately after the procedure

Angioplasty Risks During The Procedure

  • Allergic Reaction: You may face an allergic reaction to the radiographic dye (also known as radio-contrast dye), which is used for visualising the blood vessels during an angioplasty. The symptoms of an allergy are itching, restlessness, apprehension, sweating, an increase in body temperature, and a rapid pulse rate.
  • Blood Vessel Damage: This might be caused when the blood vessels are penetrated with the catheter. Bleeding at the place where the catheter is inserted is also common.
  • Arrhythmia: Due to the procedure, you might face an irregularity in your heartbeat, also called arrhythmia.
  • Chest Pain: This is a risk that you might face if the balloon blocks the blood vessel and cuts the supply of blood to the heart.
  • Heart Attack: This happens in 3-5 % of the cases, and it may occur due to the abrupt closure of the coronary artery. This stops the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart. The death rate in such cases is very low (around 0.1 %), and emergency surgery during the procedure is required in less than 3% of subjects, if a mishap occurs.
  • Kidney Damage: The radiographic dye that’s injected into the blood may damage the kidneys. Patients of prolonged kidney diseases especially face this risk.
  • Stroke: This occurs in less than 1% of the cases. Blood clots might form in the blood vessel due to the stent (a wire mesh used to repair the vessel), and these may move to the brain, causing a stroke.

Angioplasty Risks After The Procedure

Complications Due To Stents

Re-stenosis, a condition under which the artery gets blocked again due to the development of excessive tissues, is a complication caused by stents. This excessive tissue growth occludes the lumen and reduces the blood flow, and it might take weeks or even months to occur. Re-stenosis has been reported in around 15% of the cases, when stents are used. It should be noted that 30% of the patients develop re-stenosis even without the stents.

Radiation Risk

Patients also face a risk due to exposure to radiation. The use of X-rays for visualising the blood vessels during an angioplasty may cause these side effects. To counter this, doctors only use acceptable levels of X-rays.

Are You Prone To Angioplasty Risks?

You are prone to complications if you:

  • Have multiple blockages in the coronary arteries
  • Are aged 65 or above
  • Are in shock due to severe loss of blood from the body
  • Have prolonged kidney disease

How Can You Identify Angioplasty Risks?

The following signs should warn you of an underlying complication:

  • Chest pain that crops up days/weeks/months after the procedure
  • Redness, oozing, swelling, or pain at the site of catheter insertion

In such cases, you should contact your doctor immediately. To minimize the risk of complications, you must talk to your doctor if:

  • You are already on any medication
  • You have had an allergic reaction to any substance

It is easy to protect yourself from angioplasty risks once you know what to expect, and follow the instructions of your doctor. Post surgery care is equally important for successful angioplasty recovery.