HYPERTENSION

Hypertension is considered as the biggest single risk factor for deaths worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), hypertension causes 7 million deaths every year while 1.5 billion people suffer due to its complications. According to the Philippine Society of Hypertension (PSH) in 2012, 21 percent of Filipino adults are hypertensive.  Hypertension is defined as physiologic conditon where there is an increase in arterial blood pressure above normal. It is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against the artery wall is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease.                           Other factors which places the person at risk: Increasing age ( above 40 years old for males and menopausal age for female) Smoking Being overweight Heavy alcohol consumption High serum cholesterol level Family history of heart disease, diabetes and kidney disease SYMPTOMS Often hypertension has no symptoms, that’s why it was also called a “silent killer.” But some may develop the following:                                                 DIAGNOSIS Blood pressure is taken by placing an inflatable arm cuff around your arm and measure your blood pressure using a pressure-measuring gauge, a sphygmomanometer. A blood pressure reading, given in millimeters mercury (mm Hg), has two numbers. The first or upper number measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats (systolic pressure). The second or lower number measures the pressure in your arteries between beats (diastolic pressure). Blood pressure measurements fall into four general categories:               Two to three blood pressure readings each at three or more separate appointments should be taken before diagnosing one with high blood pressure. This is because blood pressure normally varies throughout the day, and sometimes specifically during visits to the doctor. TREATMENT Anti-hypertensive medications to control and maintain blood pressure are given, depending on the existing condition. It may be any or a combination of: • Diuretics • ACE Inhibitor • Angiotensin Receptor Blocker • Beta Blocker • Calcium Channel Blocker • Aldosterone Antagonist HOME CARE Home blood pressure monitoring can help keep your blood pressure normal, show if medication is working, and even alert you and your doctor to potential complications. Home blood pressure monitoring...

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ACUTE GASTROENTERITIS

Acute Gastroenteritis is diarrhea or vomiting, or both, of more than several episodes or days duration.   FACTS: – Viral gastroenteritis is a leading cause of severe diarrhea in both adults and children. – Many types of viruses can cause gastroenteritis. Rotavirus is the most common cause of acute gastroenteritis worldwide in children and vaccination will have a major impact on disease incidence. – Most people with acute gastroenteritis are not dehydrated and can be managed at home. – Dehydration, electrolyte disturbance and other complications can be prevented and treated by fluid therapy – Those with mild-moderate dehydration can be treated with oral rehydration solutions. – Severely dehydrated or shocked usually need intravenous fluids and hospital admission – Drugs are usually unnecessary and may do harm SYMPTOMS Most often appear within 4 to 48 hours after contact with the virus. Common symptoms include: – Abdominal pain – Diarrhea – Nausea and vomiting – Chills, clammy skin, or sweating – Fever – Joint stiffness or muscle pain     – Poor feeding – Weight loss DIAGNOSIS The health care provider will look for signs of dehydration, including: – Low or no urine output; concentrated urine that looks dark yellow – Dry or sticky mouth – Severe weakness – Low blood pressure – No tears – Sunken eyes   Tests of stool samples may be used to identify the virus that is causing the sickness. Most of the time, this test is not needed for viral gastroenteritis. A stool examination may be done to find out if the problem is being caused by bacteria. TREATMENT The goal of treatment is to prevent dehydration by making sure the body has enough water and fluids. Fluids and electrolytes (salt and minerals) that are lost through diarrhea or vomiting must be replaced by drinking extra fluids. Even if you are able to eat, you should still drink extra fluids between meals. Try eating small amounts of food frequently, including cereals, bread, potatoes, lean meat, plain yogurt, bananas, fresh apples, vegetables. Drink small amounts of fluid (2 – 4 oz.) every 30 – 60 minutes. Do not try to force down large amounts of fluid at one time, which can cause vomiting. Use a teaspoon or syringe for an infant or small child. If you have diarrhea and are unable to drink or keep down fluids because of nausea or vomiting, you may need fluids through a...

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ZIKA

ZIKA is spread mostly by the bite of an infected Aedes species mosquito (Ae. aegypti and Ae. albopictus). These mosquitoes are aggressive daytime biters. They can also bite at night. There is no vaccine or medicine for Zika. TRANSMISSION Zika can be passed from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Infection during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects.             SYMPTOMS Many people infected with Zika virus won’t have symptoms or will only have mild symptoms. The most common symptoms are: Symptoms can last for several days to a week. People usually don’t get sick    enough to go to the hospital, and they very rarely die of Zika. Once a person  has been infected with Zika, they are likely to be protected from future  infections.           DIAGNOSIS Infection with Zika virus may be suspected based on symptoms and recent history of travel (e.g. residence in or travel to an area with active Zika virus transmission). A diagnosis of Zika virus infection can only be confirmed through laboratory tests on blood or other body fluids, such as urine, saliva or semen. The Zika virus testing centers in the country are in place such as the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Alabang, Muntinlupa City, and six other DOH-retained hospitals. TREATMENT Zika virus disease is usually mild and requires no specific treatment. People sick with Zika virus should get plenty of rest, drink enough fluids, and treat pain and fever with common medicines. If symptoms worsen, they should seek medical care and advice. There is currently no vaccine available. PREVENTION There is no vaccine to prevent Zika. The best way to prevent diseases spread by mosquitoes is to protect yourself and your family from mosquito bites. The following are the recommendations for prevention: 1. Insect repellent – Use insect repellants with one of the following active ingredients: DEET, picaridin, IR3535, or oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol. – Always follow the product label instructions. – When used as directed, these insect repellents are proven safe and effective even for pregnant and breastfeeding women. – Do not use insect repellents on babies younger than 2 months old. – Do not use products containing oil of lemon eucalyptus or para-menthane-diol on children younger than 3 years old. 2. Clothing – Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants. – Treat your clothing and gear with permethrin or buy pre-treated items....

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TUBERCULOSIS

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infection caused by slow-growing bacteria, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, that grow best in areas of the body that have lots of blood and oxygen. – contagious and airborne – most often found in the lungs, called pulmonary TB, but TB can also spread to other parts of the body, which is called extra pulmonary TB. – mortality has fallen 47% since 1990 – effective diagnosis and treatment of TB saved an estimated 43 million lives between 2000 and 2014 Despite these advances and despite the fact that nearly all cases can be cured, TB remains one of the world’s biggest threats. The Philippines is 8th among the 22 TB high-burdened countries in the world in terms of TB cases. Tuberculosis ranked as the 8th leading cause of sickness in the country (based on 2010 data) and the 6th leading cause of death (based on the 2009 Philippine Health Statistics) SYMPTOMS Although your body may harbor the bacteria that cause tuberculosis, your immune system usually can prevent you from becoming sick. For this reason, doctors make a distinction between an inactive state which cause no symptoms. It is also called inactive TB or latent TB infection, which is not contagious. Active TB, on the other hand is a condition which makes you sick and can cause spread of disease to others. It can occur in the first few weeks after infection with the TB bacteria, or it might occur years later. Symptoms include: – Coughing that lasts three or more weeks – Coughing out of blood – Unintentional weight loss – Fatigue – Loss of appetite – Fever – Chest Pains – Chills – Night sweats DIAGNOSIS Making a diagnosis of TB among people identified as TB suspects involves referral for a diagnostic test. The primary diagnostic test to confirm the most infectious form of pulmonary TB is sputum smear microscopy; chest X-ray is also important and will often detect pulmonary TB. The National Tuberculosis Program (NTP) requires three-samples be taken, when possible, at least one should be an early morning sputum sample. TREATMENT Cases of TB should be classified to ensure that correct treatment is administered, in accordance with NTP guidelines. Classification is based on a number of factors, including the site of TB, degree of infectiousness of pulmonary TB, similarity in clinical presentation, and previous history of TB. The NTP provides a standard treatment regimen for each category. The aim...

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INFLUENZA

What is Flu? Influenza is an contagious acute viral respiratory infection that affects mucous membranes of the nose, mouth and eyes. Influenza circulates worldwide and can affect anybody in any age group. Influenza is a serious public health problem that causes severe illnesses and deaths for higher risk populations. Symptoms of Flu – fever (often high 38-40˚C) – headache – extreme tiredness – dry cough – sore throat – runny or stuffy nose – muscle aches – Stomach symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea How Flu Spreads? Person to person – coughing or sneezing of people with influenza. Cross contamination – touching something with flu viruses on it and then touching their mouth or nose. * Healthy adults may be able to infect others beginning 1 day before symptoms develop and up to 5-7 days after becoming sick. – That means that you may be able to pass on the flu to someone else before you know you are sick, as well as while you are sick. Treatment – Paracetamol is taken for fever. – Adequate rest. – Increase intake of oral fluids and eat nutritious foods. Consult your physician if symptoms persist. – Use of antiviral agents within the first two days may halt the course of influenza illness. – Antibiotics to be given only to complications of influenza such as Pneumonia or Otitis media. Flu Prevention Tips Take everyday actions to prevent the spread of influenza and other infections: • Cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue or the inside of your elbow — not your hand. • Wash your hands often with soap and water. Or use an alcohol-based hand cleaner. • Don’t get too close to people who are sick. • If you get sick yourself, avoid close contact with other people. • Stay home from work or school until your fever has been gone for at least 24 hours, without fever-reducing medicine. The single best way to prevent seasonal flu is to get VACCINATED each year. Benefits of Flu Vaccination – Decreases the number of episodes upper respiratory illnesses 25%-34% – Reduces days of sick leave from work due to upper respiratory illnesses by 32%-43% – Lessens work absenteeism due to illness by 36% – Decreases Physicians visit for upper respiratory illness by 34%-44% – Reduces influenza like illnesses by 25% Reference: Nichol, KL et al. The Effectiveness...

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HIV / AIDS

The country has recorded the highest number of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) new cases ever reported since 1984. Citing data from the HIV/AIDS Registry of the Philippines (HARP), the Department of Health (DOH) reported a total of 841 new cases of the potentially deadly infection in June. HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks the immune system, the body’s natural defense system. Without a strong immune system, the body has trouble fighting off disease. Both the virus and the infection it causes are called HIV. This damage to the immune system makes it harder and harder for the body to fight off infections and some other diseases. Opportunistic infections or cancers take advantage of a very weak immune system and signal that the person has AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). AIDS can take more than 8-10 years to develop after infection with HIV. CAUSE Scientists identified a type of chimpanzee in Central Africa as the source of HIV infection in humans. They believe that the chimpanzee version of the immunodeficiency virus (called simian immunodeficiency virus, or SIV) most likely was transmitted to humans and mutated into HIV when humans hunted these chimpanzees for meat and came into contact with their infected blood. TRANSMISSION HIV is transmitted through – body fluids: semen and vaginal fluids through sexual intercourse – drug injection by the sharing of needles contaminated with infected blood; – transfusion of infected blood or blood products – infected woman to her baby – before birth, during birth or just after delivery. HIV is not spread through ordinary social contact – shaking hands – eating from the same utensils – by hugging or kissing Mosquitoes and insects do not spread the virus nor is it water-borne or air- borne. SYMPTOMS Some people may experience a flu-like illness within 2-4 weeks after HIV infection. But some people may not feel sick during this stage. Flu-like symptoms can include: • Fever • Chills • Rash • Night sweats • Muscle aches • Sore throat • Fatigue • Swollen lymph nodes • Mouth ulcers These symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. During this time, HIV infection may not show up on an HIV test, but people who have it are highly infectious and can spread the infection to others. One should not assume you have HIV just because you have any of these symptoms. Each of...

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