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Five Things To Know About ‘Wear And Tear’ Arthritis, Osteoarthritis

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Osteoarthritis is the most common chronic joint condition. OA as mostly abbreviated is also called wear-and-tear arthritis, degenerative arthritis, and degenerative joint disease.

According to a health platform, Healthline, Osteoarthritis often happen at the point where the two bones come together. It could cause pain, stiffness and other symptoms.

The Nigerian Orthopaedic Association claimed that the prevalence of Osteoarthritis causes about 1.5 million Nigerians to suffer from the disease.

Although it is unclear how health service access influences current estimations and whether prevalence varies across the diagnosis possibilities of time, age, and person.

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Factors such as under-resourced healthcare infrastructure and limited clinical expertise might affect access to diagnostic services, with considerable variability in the prevalence of existing types of arthritis.

Africa estimates six types of arthritis prevalence; namely rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, juvenile arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, gout, and ankylosing spondylitis.

Recently, The PUNCH reported that a former male national U-17 team striker, Mbetobong Ibanga, was diagnosed with osteoarthritis and this ended his footballing career about 12 years ago.

During his diagnosis, Ibanga said a renowned professor of orthopaedic and trauma, Temitope Alonge, who was the Chief Medical Director of UCH then, said he had a knee degenerative disease, also known as osteoarthritis, and it had already spread throughout the knee, causing it to wear out.

Having looked at the story of Ibanga and some of the other victims of this disease, The PUNCH highlights five things you need to know about Osteoarthritis and its medications from data gathered on the Healthline website.

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1. Osteoarthritis mostly affect the hands, fingers, shoulder, spine (typically at the neck or lower back), hips, and knees.

2. It causes disability, joint malformation, obesity and poor posture.

3. The commonest symptoms of the disease include joint pain, stiffness in the joint, loss of flexibility, tenderness or discomfort when pressing on the affected areas with your fingers, inflammation, crepitus, or grating, crackling, clicking, or popping sounds when you move your joints and bone spurs, or extra lumps of bone, which are typically painless.

4. OA is a progressive condition with five stages from 0 to 4. The first stage (0) represents a typical joint. Stage 4 represents severe OA. Not everyone who has OA will progress all the way to the stage.

5. The treatment of OA is centred upon symptom management. The type of treatment that will help you the most will largely depend on the severity of your symptoms and their location.

 

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Cough: What You Need To Know

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By Silver Yeibake

The cough reflex is a protective mechanism that helps to clear the airways of mucus, irritants, or foreign particles. When our airway is irritated, it sends a signal to the brain, which then triggers the muscles in our chest and abdomen to quickly expel air, clearing or removing the irritant. This reflex acts as a crucial defense mechanism for the respiratory system. “Cough is not a disease process.”

Kindly note the beautifully coordinated steps involved in the action we know as cough:

1. Irritatant detection: The first step in the cough reflex is the detection of an irritant in the airways, such as dust, smoke, or mucus by special protein complexes called irritants receptors (for convenience) which convert the sensation into an electrical impulse.

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2. Signal Transmission: The receptors in the airway send the signals along nerves to the brain, specifically to a part called *”the cough center”* located in the medulla oblongata, a part of the brainstem.

3. Signal Processing: The brain processes these signals and responds by sending nerve impulses back to the muscles involved in the coughing process.

4. Muscle Contraction: The diaphragm, abdominal muscles, and muscles in the chest wall contract, increasing the pressure in the chest and forcing air out of the lungs at a high speed, making the sound that is characteristic of cough.

5. Expelling Irritant: The forceful release of air clears the airway, expelling/removing the irritant and helping to protect the respiratory system.

The above steps are designed to occur repeatedly until the irritant is removed from the airways or respiratory system or drugs are given to suppress this important protective function.

Although taking cough medication for relief as first aid is usual, it is best to identify and address the cause as soon as possible. Seek medical attention if 2 to 3 days of therapy do not give improvement or the symptom worsened rapidly.

Dr. Yeibake, Weriwoyingipre Silver, a
Senior Registrar, Faculty Of Pediatrics, West Africa College of Physician (WACP), writes from Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

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Urinary Retention: What You Need To Know

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By Yeibake Silver

Urinary retention is defined by an inability to empty the bladder completely. It can be caused by a number of circumstances, including a urinary tract obstruction, nerve issues, drugs, and certain medical diseases.

There are two types of urine retention: acute and chronic. Acute urine retention happens unexpectedly and is frequently painful, necessitating quick medical intervention. Chronic urine retention, on the other hand, occurs gradually and may not be as painful.

Urinary retention symptoms include a frequent urge to urinate, difficulties commencing urination, a weak urine stream, dribbling after urination, and the sensation that the bladder is not completely emptied. In more severe situations, urine retention can result in consequences such as urinary tract infections, kidney damage, or bladder damage.

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Treatment for urine retention may include addressing the underlying cause, such as eliminating a urinary tract obstruction or modifying medications. Catheterization may be required to empty the bladder in severe situations. In some cases, surgery may be required to address the condition causing urine retention.

It is important that individuals having symptoms of urinary retention seek medical attention and therapy to avoid problems and enhance their quality of life.

Dr. Yeibake, Weriwoyingipre Silver, a
Senior Registrar, Faculty Of Pediatrics, West Africa College of Physician (WACP), writes from Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

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HEALTH CORNER: What You Need To Know About Peptic Ulcer Disease

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Peptic ulcer disease (PUD) is a condition that affects the stomach and first part of the small intestine. It is characterized by open sores(wounds), known as “ulcers,” that form in the lining of these organs.

Peptic ulcer disease (PUD) affects four million people worldwide annually and has an estimated lifetime occurrence of 5−10% in the general population. Its frequency is reducing among young males and increasing in older females.

The most common cause of PUD is a bacterial infection called  “Helicobacter pylori”  (H. pylori), but it can also be caused by long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Aspirin, Diclofenac, Ibuprofen, Puroxicam, or excessive acid production in the stomach in some disease conditions.

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The risk factors include alcohol abuse, smoking, prolonged use or use of high doses of NSAIDs, misuse of steroids such as Prednisolone and Dexamethasone, and exposure to high doses of ionizing radiation.

“Stress, carbonated soft drinks, and spicy foods do not cause ulcers but can make them worse.”

Symptoms of PUD can vary from person to person, but they commonly include:

1. Burning or gnawing abdominal pain, usually in the upper middle part of the abdomen.
2. Feeling full and bloated after eating.
3. Nausea or vomiting.
4. Loss of appetite.
5. Weight loss.
6. Dark or black stools (indicating gastrointestinal bleeding).

If a person has symptoms suggestive of PUD, it is important to seek medical attention for an accurate diagnosis.

A healthcare provider will take relevant history, perform a physical examination, and may recommend tests such as an upper endoscopy, a breath test for H. pylori, or blood tests.

Treatment for PUD typically involves a combination of medications and lifestyle changes. Medications may include proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and antihistamines to reduce stomach acid production, antacids to neutralize already produced acid, and antibiotics to eliminate H. pylori.

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Lifestyle changes may include avoiding NSAIDs, alcohol, and smoking, as well as managing stress levels and eating a healthy diet.

In severe cases of PUD, complications like bleeding, perforation (a hole in the stomach or intestine wall), or obstruction may occur. These require immediate medical attention and may lead to hospitalization or surgery.

“Please do understand that PUD, just like Malaria, is curable with appropriate and adequate treatment, and not a life-long diagnosis. However, it can recur as many times as possible as long as the patient keeps exposing himself/herself to the causative agents or keeps indulging in behaviours that can trigger and/or worsen its symptoms.”

It is worth noting that while PUD can cause discomfort and complications, with proper treatment and management, most people can find relief from their symptoms and prevent recurrence.

It is important to follow the healthcare provider’s advice and attend regular follow-up appointments to monitor the condition.

Dr. Yeibake, Weriwoyingipre Silver is a Senior Registrar, Paediatrics, Federal Medical Centre, Yenagoa, Bayelsa State.

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