Monthly Archives: September 2016

Information About Fever

A person with a fever has an abnormally elevated body temperature. A fever is usually defined as an oral temperature that is over 100.4 degrees F (38 C). Fever can be caused by infections and a variety of conditions that cause inflammation. Most cases of fever are due to viral or bacterial infections. Fever is of great concern in those with a poorly functioning immune system, because the body is unable to fight infections normally.
Symptoms depend on the underlying cause for the fever. Symptoms that commonly occur with fever include excessive sweating, chills, and headache. Additional symptoms that occur with fever include body aches, muscle aches, weakness, fatigue, cough, sore throat, rash, and sinus congestion.
Treatment for a fever depends on the underlying cause. Treatment for fever may include rest and plenty of fluids, as well as acetaminophen, aspirin, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Additional treatment for a fever caused by an infection may include antibiotics or antiviral medications.

Know More About Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are small chunks of solid material that can form in your kidneys, a pair of organs that filter your blood.

The “stones,” which are usually yellow and brown, vary in size and shape.

For instance, some may be jagged and as small as a grain of sand, while others may be lumpy and the size of golf balls.

A stone may stay in the kidney or travel down the urinary tract — the body’s waste and excess-water drainage system — and get stuck, causing severe pain in the belly or side of the back.

Other symptoms may include nausea, chills, and blood in the urine.

Prevalence and Demographics of Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are one of the most common disorders of the urinary tract, resulting in more than a million visits to health care providers and 300,000 emergency room visits each year in the United States, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK).

About one in 11 people in the United States, or 8.8 percent of the population, have had a kidney stone, according to a 2012 report in the journal European Urology.

Kidney stones affect both men and women, though struvite stones are more common in women and uric acid stones are more common in men.

Overall, however, the prevalence of kidney stones is higher in men than women.

Kidney stones are also more common in obese people than non-obese people, and less common in non-Hispanic African and Mexican-Americans than in non-Hispanic Caucasians, according to the European Urology study.

What Are the Kidneys?

Part of the urinary system, your two kidneys are fist-sized, bean-shaped organs, located just below the rib cage, one on each side of the spine.

They have a number of important functions, mainly filtering the blood to remove waste and excess water, resulting in the formation of urine, which is stored in the bladder and emptied from the body through the urethra.

The kidneys also:

Balance the body’s levels of electrolytes, including sodium, potassium, and phosphate, to maintain the body’s balance of acids and bases
Produce hormones involved in regulating blood pressure, producing red blood cells, and maintaining bone strength
Prevent the buildup of waste and fluid in the body
Development of Kidney Stones

Kidney stones develop when the concentration of normal kidney substances (especially calcium, oxalate, and phosphorus) increases substantially.

This process — sometimes known as nephrolithiasis — can be due to various factors, including low fluid intake, diet, or medications such as diuretics and calcium-based antacids.

A number of issues can increase a person’s risk of developing kidney stones, including:

A family history of kidney stones
Medical conditions that affect the levels of urinary substances
Urinary tract blockage
Digestive problems
Recurrent urinary tract infections
Types of Kidney Stones

There are four main types of kidney stones: calcium, uric acid, struvite, and cystine stones.

Calcium stones, of which there are two forms — calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate — are the most common type of kidney stone.

In most cases, calcium oxalate stones form from high levels of calcium and oxalate in urine.

But if there are high levels of urine calcium and the urine is alkaline (has a high pH), calcium phosphate stones may form instead.

Uric acid stones develop from overly acidic (low pH) urine.

This can result from a diet high in purines, substances that are broken down to form uric acid and are found in high concentrations in animal protein.

Struvite stones, sometimes called infection stones, are made of magnesium, ammonium, and phosphate, and typically form in alkaline urine.

They develop from upper urinary tract infections, including kidney infections, when bacteria produce urease, an enzyme that helps convert urea (a compound in urine) into ammonia and other products.

Cystine stones result from a genetic disorder that causes cystine, an amino acid, to leak into the urine from the kidneys.

Should Know About The Dangerous Bacteria Outside Hospitals

The dangerous bacteria Clostridium difficile spreads not only in hospitals but also in other health-care settings, causing infections and death rates to hit “historic highs,” U.S. health officials reported Tuesday.

“C. difficile is a deadly diarrheal infection that poses a significant threat to U.S. health care patients,” Ileana Arias, principal deputy director at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a morning news conference. “C. difficile is causing many Americans to suffer and die.”

The germ is linked to about 14,000 deaths in the United States every year. People most at risk from C. difficile are those who take antibiotics and also receive care in any medical facility.

“This failure is more difficult to accept because these are treatable, often preventable deaths,” Arias said. “We know what can be done to do a better job of protecting our patients.”

Much of the growth of this bacterial epidemic has been due to the overuse of antibiotics, the CDC noted in its March 6 report. Unlike healthy people, people in poor health are at high risk for C. difficile infection.

Almost 50 percent of infections are among people under 65, but more than 90 percent of deaths are among those aged 65 and older, according to the report.

Previous estimates found that about 337,000 people are hospitalized each year because of C. difficile infections. Those are historically high levels and add at least $1 billion in extra costs to the health care system, the CDC said.

However, these estimates might not completely reflect C. difficile’s overall impact.

According to the new report, 94 percent of C. difficile infections are related to medical care, with 25 percent among hospital patients and 75 percent among nursing home patients or people recently seen in doctors’ offices and clinics.

Although the proportion of infection is lowest in hospitals, they are at the core of prevention because many infected patients are transferred to hospitals for care, raising the risk of spreading the infection there, the CDC said.

Half of those with C. difficile infections were already infected when they were admitted to the hospital, often after getting care at another facility, the agency noted.

The other 50 percent of infections were related to care at the hospital where the infection was diagnosed.

The CDC said that these infections could be reduced if health care workers follow simple infection control precautions, such as prescribing fewer antibiotics, washing their hands more often and isolating infected patients.

These and other measures have reduced C. difficile infections by 20 percent in hospitals in Illinois, Massachusetts and New York, the CDC said.

In England, infections have been cut 50 percent in three years, the agency said.

Patients get C. difficile infections mostly after taking antibiotics, which can diminish the body’s “good” bacteria for several months.

That’s when patients can get sick from C. difficile, which can be picked up from contaminated surfaces or spread by health care providers.

The predominant sign of C. difficile infection is diarrhea, which can cause dehydration. If serious, the infection can become deadly. Other symptoms include fever, nausea and loss of appetite.

The CDC advises that if diarrhea occurs after a patient starts antibiotics, C. difficile should be suspected and treatment continued with another antibiotic.

Commenting on the report, infectious disease expert Dr. Marc Siegel, an associate professor of medicine at New York University, said, “All these recommendations are fine; the problem is they are not going to work, you can’t stop these practices. This bug exists in a climate of overuse of antibiotics.”

It is hard to eradicate C. difficile because it buries itself in the colon, then recurs and testing isn’t always accurate, Siegel said. “It’s a pervasive problem in hospitals, and even in communities,” he said.