Lymphedema: How to care and manage?

What is Lymphedema?

Lymphedema is a chronic disease associated with the lymphatic system, which results in swelling in one or more parts of the body. It usually develops in the arms or legs due to the accumulation of lymph fluid.

This condition occurs when the lymph fluid doesn’t flow properly in the lymphatic vessels due to the loss of lymph nodes or a blockage resulting from cancer treatment, trauma, surgeries etc.
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Taking Antibiotics for everything could be harmful

Do you take antibiotics for your common cold and sometimes experience that your antibiotic isn’t working? Do you always complete your antibiotics course? Have you been missing days in-between your antibiotics dose?

Do you always consult your doctor before taking any antibiotics? If you have had such experiences, then continue reading to find out more.

What are Antibiotics & how they help treat infections?

Antibiotics are the drugs that fight bacteria. They work either by killing the bacteria or by slowing down their growth. Antibiotics, therefore, are also known as, Antimicrobial or Antibacterial.

Antibiotics are used to treat infections caused by bacteria and certain parasites. Viral infections such as bronchitis, stuffy nose, flu, common cold, and sore throats should not be treated with antibiotics.

Increasing Consumption of Antibiotics “The Miracle Drugs”

Antibiotics are the wonders of modern science and are often considered “miracle drugs”. The burden of infectious diseases is comparatively high in developing countries like India. Antibiotics have a critical role in reducing morbidity and mortality.

As per a study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which projected the total global antibiotics consumption through 2030 by tracking the data from 76 different countries, it has been shown that the antibiotic consumption in India has shot up by 103% from 2000 to 2015. The average consumption has also increased by 63% between the same years.

The increase in antibiotic consumption may expose humans to possible side effects.

What is Antibiotic resistance?

Antibiotic resistance is the ability of a microorganism to withstand the effects of an antibiotic. It occurs naturally because of antibiotic misuse. It is one of the biggest threats to global health and development today.

One should always take antibiotics on a doctor’s consultation and must always complete the therapy course. Whenever we leave the course incomplete, a few bacteria including superbugs survive and are able to thrive. The antibiotic is not able to work in such cases and thereby you develop ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE.

Antibiotic Misuse leading to Resistance & Emergence of Superbugs

It is not necessary to take antibiotics for all mild infections like a cold, cough, flu, etc. Taking the antibiotics when we don’t need them and leaving the course incomplete may put us at more risk. It thereby becomes essential to take the antibiotics’ dose as recommended by the doctor or as instructed in the patient information leaflet.

Healthcare organizations worldwide have been working to minimize the use of antibiotics especially in cases where they are not required. Antibiotic misuse has led to the emanation of SUPERBUGS. Superbugs are strains of bacteria that have developed resistance to different antibiotics.

Following are few of the Superbugs:

  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
  • Clostridium difficile
  • Multidrug-resistant- Tuberculosis bacteria
  • New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase bacteria (NDM-1)
  • Carbapenemase-producing Enterobacteriaceae (CPE)

The concern is that the existing antibiotics can’t effectively manage these new strains of bacteria. The infections caused by these superbugs are serious and difficult to treat as well. Such infections are increasing the mortality rate across the world.

No new antibiotic has been developed since the 1980s and the new antibiotic pipeline is nearly empty. A large number of people are developing resistances every year. On an average 21,000 people die in the US because of antibiotic resistance.

In India, the problem of Antibiotic Resistance is a major concern because of an increased infection rate, poor waste management, and indiscriminate antibiotics use. Antibiotics Resistance has become an ordeal for the healthcare industry because several procedures like Cancer Chemotherapy and Organ Transplantation are also at risk.

Don’t Borrow Antibiotics

We should never take antibiotics from anyone else to use. We should only take what is prescribed to us. Antibiotics may have drug interactions with other medications that you are taking or may not be suitable for you as it is possible to be allergic to certain antibiotics.

Some antibiotics may not be suitable to take in certain medical conditions like pregnancy or breastfeeding. It is thereby recommended to read the patient information leaflet before starting the antibiotics course and discussing with your physician.

Save your Antibiotics & Antibiotics will Save You

So next time you feel a bit under the weather, don’t take antibiotics as a first course of treatment. A cup of ginger tea could work better for you. Taking antibiotics when you don’t need them could make them stop working for you when you actually need them.

So, save antibiotics, yourself and your loved ones from untreatable bacterial infections. Always seek an expert’s advice before taking antibiotics.


Blood Transfusion: Life Saving

Have you ever thought about how many lives could be saved by blood transfusion? As per the American Red Cross Society, 1 donation can potentially save up to 3 lives. In India, every two seconds someone needs blood.

If you are amazed by this fact then you should learn more about this. Blood transfusion is not only helping to save lives but also helping to change millions of lives as it is essential during surgeries, cancer treatment, traumatic injuries, and chronic illnesses.
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Lung Cancer: Not just a Smoker’s Disease

Did you know that lung cancer is responsible for the highest number of deaths in India? This number even exceeds the deaths caused by other types of cancers including ovarian, breast, prostate and colon, put together.

FACT: 50% of the patients suffering from lung cancer had never smoked.

Lung Cancer, which originates in one or both the lungs, is defined as an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the lungs. These abnormal cells can grow into the tumorous form and interfere with the normal functioning of the lungs.

As per the WHO study, 70% of lung cancer occurs in patients aged 65 years or above, while the rate of lung cancer patients is just 3% in people aged 45 years or below. The main reason for lung cancer is smoking followed by prolonged exposure to toxic and polluted air, asbestos fibers and radon gas.

Types of Lung Cancer

Small Cell Carcinoma:

  • This is the fast-growing type of lung cancer and occurs mostly in smokers.
  • The tumorous growth first starts in the bronchi (the breathing tubes) and then spreads throughout the body (metastasizing).
  • Symptoms include cough, chest pain, phlegm, or shortness of breath.

Non-Small Cell Lung Carcinoma:

  • NSCLC affects both smokers and non-smokers. This is the most common type of lung cancer accounting for 85% of all lung cancers.
  • NSCLC is sub-classified into Adenocarcinoma, Large Cell Carcinoma and Squamous cell carcinoma, based upon the types of cells the tumor consists of.
  • NSCLC is often asymptomatic until the cancer reaches a more advanced stage.
  • Symptoms include chronic cough, weight loss, fatigue, chest or back pain, shortness of breath or coughing up blood.

Complications of Lung Cancer

  • Shortness of breath: As the cancer cells grow, they block the airways making it harder for the lungs to expand fully to inhale and thus causing shortness of breath.
  • Coughing up blood: The cancer cells may cause bleeding in the airways, leading to the patient coughing up blood, which is called Hemoptysis.
  • Pain: In advance stages, the lung cancer metastasizes to other body parts like the bones that cause pain.
  • Fluid in the chest (pleural effusion): As the tumor cells grow, the fluid gets accumulated in the pleural space (chest cavity) which causes shortness of breath.
  • Cancer metastasis: Lung cancer originates in the lungs but often spreads to different body parts like the brain and the bones. Once cancer becomes metastatic, it becomes difficult to treat it.

Lung Cancer no longer just a Smoker’s Disease?

Smoking is the major cause of Lung Cancer but this is not the only factor which is taking your life away. There is an increased risk of the disease if you are an active smoker and also if you are exposed to second-hand smoke (passive smoker). But, lung cancer has been seen affecting those people who have never smoked in their lives.

Following are a few other risk factors that could lead to lung cancer:

  • Passive Smoking: Any exposure to a secondhand smoke is also as harmful as smoking.
  • Toxic Air & Air pollution: An exposure to radon gas, which is produced by the natural break down of uranium in the soil, water or rock and which ultimately mixes with the air that we breathe in, is also unsafe.
    • As per a report of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) released in November 2017, the air quality index of Delhi breached 999 which was equivalent to smoking 50 cigarettes a day. International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) which is a part of the World Health Organization has classified the outdoor pollution as carcinogenic.
  • Genetic Basis/Family History: People who have a family history of lung cancer are at an increased risk of developing the disease.
  • Compromised Immune System: People who have compromised immune system like those suffering from indications like HIV and people who are on long-term steroid treatments are also at risk of developing lung cancer.

There is no 100% guaranteed sure-fire way to prevent lung cancer, but there are a few ways in which you can reduce the risk.

  • Quit Smoking and avoid other tobacco-related products
  • Don’t Start Smoking
  • Avoid Passive Smoke
  • Avoid carcinogens
  • Eat a healthy & nutritious diet full of fruits and vegetables
  • Exercise regularly
  • Breathing exercises: deep inhalation and exhalation early mornings.

Globally, Lung Cancer accounts for nearly 1 in 5 cancer deaths. Once considered a man’s disease and a smoker’s disease it is now taking lives of women too. We need to follow a healthy lifestyle and be aware of the signs and symptoms of the disease.

Creating awareness, approaching the doctor at the right time and seeking diagnosis with appropriate treatment can help save lives. November is “Lung Cancer Awareness Month” and we @ Datt Mediproducts are spreading awareness.