Health Decisions Blog


Colon Cancer-What is?

January 30, 2014

In cancer of the colon there is an uncontrollable growth of tumor cells in the lining of the large intestines or bowels.

The cancer may spread to the walls of the intestines, adjacent structures and to other organs.

There are about 100,000 new cases of colon cancer in the USA each year and about 60,000 deaths. Worldwide there are about 600,000 deaths. The disease affects both women and men.

Risk factors and causes- Cancer of the colon is commoner in industrialized countries where meat consumption is high. Risk factors include:

  • Age over 50
  • History of colon cancer in the family
  • Diet high in saturated fat
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Low fibre diet
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Inflammatory conditions

Signs& Symptoms
Signs and symptoms are usually evident when the tumor gets to a certain size. They are often related to the presence of the tumor mass in the area. They are:

  • Change in bowels habits
  • Blood in the faeces
  • Abdominal distension
  • Constipation
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • Anaemia

Prevention of colon cancer
Consumption of red meat seems to contribute to the higher incidence of colon cancer in industrialized countries. Developing a healthy eating pattern is therefore an important preventive action. Other preventive measures include:

  • Regular screening for those at risk
  • Keeping physically active
  • Avoiding tobacco
  • Keeping weight within limits
  • Controlling alcohol consumption
  • A high fibre diet

Surgery-This is the removal of the section of the colon affected, along with the blood supply and lymph nodes. Following this resection either an anastomosis or a colostomy would be performed

Anastomosis- In this procedure the ends of the remaining colon are joined together by a re-constructive procedure.

Colostomy- If the re-constructive procedure is not possible or is too risky, a colostomy is performed. This involves bringing the end of the remaining colon through the abdomen and sewing it to the skin. A stoma is created through which faeces is excreted. This may be temporary or permanent.

Radiation-Radiation is used following surgery to remove the tumor cells not removed by resection or when there is metastases.

Chemotherapy-This is the use of anti-cancer drugs. Chemotherapy is used when there is a risk that the tumor will return. It is also used for stage 4 cancers when surgery is not possible. 


Managing Asthma Attacks

January 28, 2014

Asthma is a respiratory disorder in which the airways become inflammed causing wheezing, shortness of breath and coughing.

According to recent studies 1:3 people can expect to develop asthma at some point in their lives. The person is more likely develop the disorder during childhood, but the risk can persists into adulthood.

Cause-The main cause of asthma is an inflammation of the airways; the inflammation causes the lining of the air passages to swell.

With individuals who are espe...

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Kidney Infection-Pyelonephritis

January 23, 2014
Pyelonephritis is an infection of the kidneys and ureters, the infection can be acute or chronic.

The chances of developing infection of the kidneys and ureters are increased if you have:
  • A history of cystitis
  • A history of kidney stones
  • A history of chronic urinary tract infection

The ones most vulnerable to pyelonephritis are the elderly, and those whose immune system are suppressed. These patients are at increased risk of developing blood infections and shock.

Prevention- If one is prone to u...

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Cardiovascular Disease

January 23, 2014
World Heart Day is a health awareness event that is hosted every year on September 29.

Each year cardiovascular diseases take the lives of 17 million people, with 80% of these deaths occurring in low and middle income countries. Of these cardiovascular diseases, 7.3 million are deaths due to heart disease and 6.2% to strokes.

Cardiovascular disease is a major non-communicable disease that can be prevented by developing a healthy lifestyle.  

Cardiovascular diseases are:

  • Heart disease
  • Strokes
  • Rh...

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Colon Cancer

January 23, 2014

If you have a family history of colo-rectal cancer or you if you are over 50, you are one of those people who should be watching your health for colon cancer. 

Colon cancer is cancer of the large intestines, also called the bowels.

The symptoms of colon cancer are:
  • Blood in the faeces
  • Constipation
  • Weight loss
  • Anemia
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Change in bowel habits

There are avoidable health risk factors for colon cancer that can be eliminated these include:

  • A low fibre diet
  • Smokin...

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Giving Gifts of Health

November 30, 2013

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Christmas is a time for celebrations, parties, shopping and giving gifts, it is also a time when one's health may be taken for granted. Our health may not be a priority due to the excitement of the season; however, there is a way use the excitement for the benefit of  the health of another.

According to research,  people who give experience a feeling of well-being when they give to others. The study was a large one and involved several countries. The result of the study was the same acr...

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Problem Gene Increases Risk For Alzheimer's

November 8, 2013
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A gene which is said to help the immune system control inflammation in the brain  has been linked to alzheimer's disease.

According to a recent study the problem version of the gene triples the chances of one developing the disease.

Medical experts are excited about the discovery, because it paves the way for more research and new treatment. They believe that treatment to correct the gene's malfunction may help in the treatment of the alzheimer's.

The gene is called TREM2, and is pr...

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Men Who Cuddle Are Happier

October 30, 2013
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According to a study men who cuddle are three times more likely to be happy in relationships than men who don't.

Participants in the study were 1000 couples living in:

  1. Japan
  2. Brazil
  3. Spain
  4. Germany
  5. USA

The men were all 40-74 years of age and either married or been living with their partners for at least a year. They were given questionnaires to complete.

Researchers examined relationship happiness as well as sexual satisfaction.

The study also found that with women there was only a small diffe...

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Bedside Device Helps The Unconscious Patient Communicate

October 11, 2013
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Family members with loved ones who are hospitalized in a vegetative state may soon be better able to meet their needs.

A bedside device which enables doctors to read the minds of patients hospitalized in a vegetative state would soon be available.

According to researchers those patients may soon be able to have their thoughts and feelings communicated.  The device would bridge the communication gap between patients , their family members and hospital caregivers; it will serve as a form o...

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Quit Smoking To Prevent Another Stroke

September 23, 2013
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Give smoking cessation support and encouragement to a family member or friend, it could save their life.
If you or a family member is a smoker, there are reasons to quit. if you or a family has had a stroke attack, there are still reasons to quit.
In a recent study, researchers found that people who are smokers at the time of a stroke attack are 30% more likely to have another stroke.
The study involved 1,500 survivors who had a stroke between 1996 and 1999; they were followed f...

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