The Lethal Pancreas

It is not my intention to discourage you with this story because I believe life needs to be enjoyed to its fullest. But I also like to be real and call it the way it is with factual information. This blog is motivated by what I’ve noticed going on recently within our community and healthcare in general. First of all, an important question needs to be asked; why should people lose their lives prematurely as if life is nothing to be tossed like garbage? Recently a 41-year-old woman lost her life, few years ago my coworker in her early fifties also lost her life and earlier this year a young man in his forties lost his life to the same condition. The common sickness among all of these people is that they were diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Their death happened within few months just after their diagnosis without giving enough time for therapy. I would imagine some of you may’ve heard about or even know someone who died from pancreatic cancer shortly after the diagnosis. My investigation into this problem reveals a terrible scenario; with pancreatic cancer by the time doctors make the diagnosis the cancer has already advance to late stages.

Let’s see what’s happening with the pancreas which is turning into a “lethal weapon” for human lives. What is the Pancreas? The pancreas is a vital organ or gland about six inches long shaped like a thin pear lying on its side between the stomach and the spine. It is vital because of the important functions it performs in the human body. It releases enzymes that help us digest the food we eat and the hormones that control the sugar in our body. If your Pancreas is damaged you’re in big trouble because your system will not work properly leading to the demise of the body cells and ultimately death. 

What causes pancreatic cancer?

It is so unfortunate that despite the advancement in medicine and healthcare the cause of this cancer is still unknown but there are risk factors that may lead to the disease. The risk factors for getting pancreatic cancer are the following:

  1. Genetic – This is related to your family history. It is not absolute that if you have family history of pancreatic cancer you will get it but just be aware that family history gives you a higher probability than a person who doesn’t have the family history. When we speak of family history it means a member of your immediate family being diagnosed of the cancer in the past. It is also possible that with passage of time people may not even remember or be aware of family history through the ages, that of great grandparents, distant uncles, aunts, et cetera.
  2. Diabetes – Are you diabetic or prediabetic? That is a risk factor implicated.
  3. Chronic inflammation –  Pancreatitis or chronic inflammation of the pancreas predisposes an individual to pancreatic cancer.
  4. Obesity – If you’re overweight or obese that is a high-risk factor.
  5. Smoking- Are you a smoker? Just be aware of the link with pancreatic cancer which is not good.
  6. Old age – This is a risk we can’t avoid. Pancreatic cancer affects older people over 65 years old than younger people.

Signs & Symptoms: The following are the things that may indicate the possibility of pancreatic cancer. Please know that some of these signs and symptoms are also implicated in other disease conditions.

  1. Loss of appetite with weight loss for no reason – You chronically don’t feel like eating and you’re losing weight without even trying.
  2. Blood clots – Whenever you have blood clot that is not normal so it needs to be checked out by qualified medical professional.
  3. Fatigue – Are you chronically feeling tired? A lot of things may make you feel this way so it is important to know the reason especially if the fatigue lasts longer than normal.
  4. Pain in upper abdomen radiating to the back – This unusual pain is a bad sign that requires further evaluation.
  5. Depression – Being depressed is not without a cause including possible pancreatic cancer.
  6. Dark urine – Your urine should never be dark in color, it could be a bad sign of a major illness.
  7. Yellowing of skin and the whites of the eyes – This is called jaundice and a possible sign of a damaged pancreas.

Prevention: These are things that are recommended for you to help prevent pancreatic cancer.

  1. Stop smoking – Despite all the warnings do you still smoke? Here’s another reason to stop smoking; it helps to prevent all kinds of cancer including pancreatic.
  2. Maintain a healthy weight – Since overweight is a risk factor it makes sense to reduce weight and keep a healthy weight through exercise.
  3. Healthy diet – Watch what you eat, add more fruits, vegetables and whole grain in your diet.
  4. Regular medical checkup – If you’re missing this life-saving responsibility you owe it to yourself to have annual medical checkup with your personal physician. This allows your doctor and you to monitor any changes in your health and help in early detection of any illness including pancreatic cancer. 

The Lethal PancreasPancreatic Cancer

Reference:

https://www.cancer.gov/types/pancreatic

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Americans With Disability Act – ADA

What is the Americans with disabilities act (ADA)?

It is very important that everyone becomes aware of what this law entails. I believe it is a responsibility and a civic duty for all Americans to be treated equal without regard to their physical or mental health conditions. In a nutshell the ADA or Americans with disabilities act is a civil rights law that was passed and became effective in 1990 which prohibits discrimination against people who are disabled in all areas of public life, jobs, schools, transporations, etd.

Question: 

The ADA creates a protected class called “qualified individuals with disabilities”. What does this phrase means and how does one qualifies for protection. 

Response:

There are many people who are disabled with one ailment or another but who can still be productive if given an employment opportunity. Disability here is defined under the ADA rule to include: Physical or mental impairments that substantially limits one or more major life activities, a record of such impairment as well as being regarded as having such an impairment (Walsh, David J., 2012). 

The ADA act is to protect the disabled individuals from discrimination. There are important things that need to be met for the ADA act, first the person must be disabled and fall into the definition of disability as stated above. This implies that the persons have a physical or mental impairment that greatly limits one or more major of their life functions, they have a record of impairment or they are regarded as having an impairment.  

When the individuals have been established as disabled then they also need to be qualified for the job they are seeking. This implies that they are able to perform the essential functions of the job they are seeking with or without reasonable accommodation by the employer. A qualified individual with disability should satisfy the skills, education, experience, and other job-related requirements for the job held or sought (Walsh, David J., 2012). It is important to know that a disabled person is regarded as qualified even if he/she cannot perform all of the job functions as long as they can accomplish the essential functions of the job. The unessential functions of the job are irrelevant as far as the ADA law is concerned. If the employer is to provide accommodation for the disabled employee, the accommodation should be reasonable in that it shouldn’t cause the employer undue hardship.

The last important thing that needs to be satisfied is that the disabled person is not a direct threat to their own health and safety or that of other individuals while performing the job they are hired. Any threat that cannot be eliminated by reasonable employer accommodation is not considered qualified.

americans with disability act ada

Reference:

Walsh, David J., Employment Law For Human Resource Practice, 4th edition, 2012

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Harassment – Important Q & A

Q1. What is harassment?

Many people hear about harassment without knowing exactly what it is. When you hear about harassment I’m sure the first thing that comes to your mind is sexual harassment but there is more to harassment than sexual. Harassment is an unwelcomed behavior to another individual and it could be sexual, racial, age, disability, religious beliefs or national origin. Harassment is a form of discrimination though sexual harassment is the most common form of this kind of discrimination. Sexual harassment is not always against the opposite sex because there is same-sex harassment exhibited by homosexual individuals. This is motivated by sexual desire for people of the same sex.

Q2. How does employer liability for harassment by a co-worker or third party compare or differ with the company’s liability for harassment by supervisors, managers or other top officials?

The main issue here is the level of liability for the employer when the problem of harassment is caused by a top company official like the supervisors, managers, CEO Vs. if the harassment is perpetrated by a co-worker or a third party like vendors. We must understand that companies take the problem of harassment very serious because it can cost them a lot from bad reputation to millions of dollars in liability. In the process of maintaining a positive social responsibility having policies on how to manage the problems of harassment is a very good thing for corporations. The grounds for attributing liability to employers for harassment differ depending on whether the harassment results in a tangible employment action and the organizational position of the harasser (Walsh, J. David, 2012).

When co-workers and third parties are the harassers they will create a hostile work environment for the victims who do not welcome the harassment. But if the receiver of the harassment appreciates it then we’re good because there is no problem. It is sad to know that there are instances where an employee may welcome harassment especially if the harasser is a top company officer and the victim is getting some favor from it like promotion or preferential treatment. A co-worker does not have the same authority as a supervisor/manager to create or enforce a tangible employment action that will adversely affect another employee. Therefore the employer is only liable for the harassment caused by a co-worker or third party if the victim can show that a) the employer knew or should have known about the occurrence of the harassment; and 2) the employer also failed to take prompt and effective steps to stop the harassment.

If the harasser is a top company official like Supervisors, Managers, CEO or administrator then it’s a bigger problem for a company. This is because top company officers have the ability to make an employee suffer a severe tangible employment action like loss of employment, reduced salary or loss of promotion. When this happens and the victim sues and proves it the employer is liable with no excuse to avoid penalties. The employer can only avoid liability if no tangible employment action was suffered by the victim and the employer can prove two things; a) the employer exercised reasonable care to prevent and correct any harassment promptly and b) the harassed victim failed to take advantage of any corrective or preventive opportunities that the employer provided through their company policies and procedures against harassment.

It is very important that employers maintain and publish a formal harassment reporting policy and procedures and strictly follow the policy as written.

Businessman Sexually Harassing Female Colleague

Reference:

Walsh, J. David, Employment Law for Human Resource Practice, 4th ed. 2012

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Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

The problem of Urinary Tract infection which is also known as (Aka) UTI is so common than you’ll even imagine. Urinary tract infection simply is the infection of that part of the body responsible for urination, that is a layman common sense simple explanation. But there is more to that elementary definition. Let’s get the details here.

The urinary tract:
Before writing about the infection of the urinary tract it is important to know what the urinary tract is. The urinary tract is made up of the bladder, the kidneys, the ureter, and the urethra. These are just parts of the body that are responsible for removing the urine and other liquid body waste. The kidneys help filter the blood of waste and excess water to form the urine. This urine then flows down through the Ureters to be stored in the bladder until they are ready to be removed through the Urethra when you urinate.
What is Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)?
Urinary tract infection (UTI) is an infection of all or any part of the urinary tract. It could be infection of the kidneys, the bladder, the ureter or the urethra. This infection is usually cause by bacteria, especially the bacteria named E. Coli (Escherichia Coli) and others like Chlamydia and Mycoplasma.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of UTI?
The most common symptoms of UTI are:

–     Pain and burning sensation when urinating

–       Cloudy, bloody, or strong smelling urine

–       Strong and frequent urge to urinate

–       Nausea and vomiting

–       Abdominal pain and muscle aches

–       In case of a severely infected kidney the patient may have pain in the upper back

–       Fever, fatigue, shaking chills and mental changes demanding emergency care.

What are the risk factors of getting UTI?

–       Diabetic patients have a high risk, others are

–       Inability to empty your bladder during urination

–       Blocked urine flow

–       Patients carrying urinary catheter

–       Pregnant patients

–       Patients with suppressed immune system

–       The use of spermicides and tampons

–       Excess us of antibiotics, because it disrupts natural flora of the urinary tract.

–       Sexual irregularity, that is multiple partners or excessive sex

–       Holding urine for too long or inability to empty bladder completely

–       Enlarge prostate

–       Uncircumcised men

–       Wiping from back to front after bowel movement, brings bacteria into urethra

–       Women gets UTI more often than men

–       Older adults have UTI more than younger people.

When to see a doctor for UTI:

You should call your doctor when you experience any of the symptoms with

–       Fever and shaking

–       Nausea and vomiting

–       If you have diabetes

–       If you’re pregnant

–       Children and elderly

–       When taking cancer drugs, on chemotherapy because of suppressed immune system.

How to prevent UTI:

–       Drink lots of water daily 6 to 8 ounces to flush out bacteria

–       Wipe yourself from front to back after bowel movement

–       Urinate before and after sexual intercourse

–       Wear clean underwear or pantyhose every day

–       Avoid using diaphragm as contraceptive

–       Don’t soak in a bath for more than 30 minutes at a time, no bubble bath for kids

–       If you’re uncircumcised man, wash your foreskin regularly

Home Remedy for UTI:

–       Reduce the intake of processed food, fruit juice, alcohol and sugar

–       Use heating pad

–       Supplements like Vitamin C, beta-carotene, and zinc to boost immune system

–       Probiotics like lactobacillus and acidophilus can help protect against bacteria

–       Cranberry juice can help but has not been proven effective

Treatment of UTI:

Contact your doctor for complete diagnosis to rule out other medical problems.

–       Doctor will do simple test of urinalysis and urine culture

–       Antibiotics are usually ordered to kill the bacteria causing UTI

–       You should finish the antibiotics ordered by the doctor and dispensed by the Pharmacist. Follow all instructions as directed and report any problems you may have to your doctor or Pharmacist.

Below is a picture of the urinary tract that is affected by the UTI

UTI no 2

References:

https://www.medicinenet.com/urinary_tract_infection/article.htm

https://medlineplus.gov/urinarytractinfections.html

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The Touch of Faith 

“If I may but touch His garment, I shall be whole.” Matthew 9:21.
It was a poor woman who spoke these words—a woman who for twelve years had suffered from a disease that made her life a burden. She had spent all her means upon physicians and remedies, only to be pronounced incurable. But as she heard of the Great Healer, her hopes revived. She thought, “If only I could get near enough to speak to Him, I might be healed.” Christ was on His way to the home of Jairus, the Jewish rabbi who had entreated Him to come and heal his daughter. The heartbroken petition, “My little daughter lieth at the point of death: I pray Thee, come and lay Thy hands on her, that she may be healed” (Mark 5:23), had touched the tender, sympathetic heart of Christ, and He at once set out with the ruler for his home. *When was the last time you touched the garments of Jesus? Yes we can do it with faith and receive the healing miracles that we need.

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Fibromyalgia: What you should know

Have you ever felt a weird pain over your entire body that just won’t go away? The pain is just persistent and unusual that even your doctor can’t figure out what is making you sick. The good doctor may even order a lab test of your blood but the result will show that everything looks good. When this happens it is about time to start thinking about Fibromyalgia. Do you know what it is? Have ever thought about it? Okay don’t worry this blog will familiarize you with this chronic debilitating health condition that is so common but still unknown to many people.

FIBROMYALGIA

What is it?
Fibromyalgia is a very common and chronic condition that affects the bones and muscles with generalized pain and fatigue. It will last for a very long time and for some people it will last their lifetime.

What causes it?
Medical researchers have been studying this condition but unfortunately they haven’t found the cause of the problem. They only suspect that it may be due to some kind of problem between the brain and spinal cord that affects the processing of pain signals from the nerves. At this time the conclusion is that nobody knows the cause of Fibromyalgia.

What are the predisposing factors?
Unfortunately about 80 to 90% of those that gets it are adult women but men and children also get the problem. So females are more predisposed to getting it than men. Generally about three million people are affected by fibromyalgia every year and these people fall into the age group of 18 years and older. The other predisposing factors for getting fibromyalgia are:

  1. Lack of exercise
  2. The presence of arthritis or infection
  3. Mood disorder or anxiety disorder
  4. Depression and
  5. Post traumatic disorder (PTSD)

What are the symptoms?

  1. The major one is general body pain and aches affecting the muscles, joints and bones. There is muscle pain, burning, twitching and tightness.
  2. There is tender point and low pain threshold
  3. Fatigue
  4. Trouble concentrating and remembering things, this has been referred to as “fibro fog”.
  5. Headache and patient peeing often than normal
  6. Numbness, tingling in the face, arms, legs, feet and hands
  7. Lack of sleep or insomnia

Diagnosis: There is no lab test for finding if you have fibromyalgia but your doctor will try to rule out if there are other reasons for your general body pain.

Treatment:

  1. Depending on how severe the problem is, the doctor will prescribe pain medicine, antidepressants or muscle relaxers. The three medicines currently approved by the U.S Food and drug administration (FDA) to treat fibromyalgia are Duloxetine, Milnacaprin and Pregabalin.
  2. Regular exercise is the key to controlling fibromyalgia
  3. Complementary treatments with acupuncture, massage therapy and chiropractic manipulation can help with aches and stress.Fibromyalgia 1

    References:
    https://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/fibromyalgia/
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Hepatitis A Infection

Recently there has been outbreaks of hepatitis A infection in many cities when we thought this infection is under control. The recent outbreaks has been in Southern California cities of San Diego and Los Angeles. It’s about time we review this viral infection and the important preventive measures to protect our health.

What is Hepatitis A?

This is a viral liver disease which is caused by the Hepatitis A virus. It will cause you to have a mild to severe illness and it is usually acute or of short duration because people will get better after few weeks even without treatment.

How is hepatitis A spread?

This disease is mainly spread through the faecal-oral route; when an uninfected person ingests food or drink that has been contaminated with the faeces of an infected person. The disease is spread through food, water, poor hygiene and poor sanitation which could be from lack of hand washing.

Symptoms:

In some cases the patient may not show any symptoms, common ones are

  1. Dark yellow urine and skin i.e. jaundice
  2. Loss of appetite
  3. Nausea and vomiting
  4. Fever
  5. Abdominal pain
  6. Diarrhea
  7. Fatigue
  8. Malaise

Predisposing factors:

  1. Lack of vaccination with Hepatitis A vaccine
  2. Travel to countries with poor sanitation and contaminated water
  3. Sex with an infected person Hepatitis A
  4. Caring and living in the same house with infected person

Complications:

Hepatitis A infection may lead to liver failure especially in people over 50 years old or people with other liver diseases.

Diagnosis

Doctors will check the symptoms and a blood test. The blood test will show antibodies to the hepatitis A virus specific immunoglobulin G (IgM).

Treatment:

There is no specific treatment but the following are recommended:

  1. Get enough rest
  2. Drink plenty of fluid to replace that lost from diarrhea and vomiting
  3. Eat healthy food
  4. Avoid alcohol because of the effect on the liver
  5. Your doctor may recommend pain medicine

Prevention of Hepatitis A:

  1. Immunization with vaccine, 2 shots of Hepatitis A vaccine is recommended for long-term protection of 5 to 8 years.
  2. Food safety with improved sanitation
  3. Safe clean drinking water
  4. Proper disposal of sewage
  5. Personal hygiene practice including proper hand-washing

Hepat A 4

Reference

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs328/en/

https://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/hav/pdfs/hepageneralfactsheet.pdf

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