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Mind
6 Common Types of Depression

Depression is not only hard to endure, but it is also a risk factor for heart disease and dementia. Depressive symptoms can occur in adults for many reasons. The four most common types of depression are major depression, persistent depressive disorder (formerly known as dysthymia), bipolar disorder, and seasonal affective disorder. Major Depression: The classic depression type, major depression is a state where a dark mood is all-consuming and one loses interest in activities, even ones that are usually pleasurable. Symptoms of this type of depression include trouble sleeping, changes in appetite or weight, loss of energy, and feeling worthless. Thoughts of death or suicide may occur. It is usually treated with psychotherapy and medication. For some people with severe depression that isn't alleviated with psychotherapy or antidepressant medications, electroconvulsive therapy may be effective.  Persistent Depressive Disorder: Formerly called 'dysthymia', this type of depression refers to low mood that has lasted for at least two years but may not reach the intensity of major depression. Many people with this type of depression type can function day to day, but feel low or joyless much of the time. Other depressive symptoms may include appetite and sleep changes, low energy, low self-esteem, or hopelessness. Bipolar Disorder: People with bipolar disorder; once known as a manic-depressive disease; have episodes of depression. But they also go through periods of unusually high energy or activity. Manic symptoms look like the opposite of depression symptoms: grandiose ideas, unrealistically high self-esteem, decreased need for sleep, thoughts and activity at higher speed, overspending, and risk-taking. Being manic can feel great, but it doesn't last long, can lead to self-destructive behaviour, and is usually followed by a period of depression. Medications for bipolar disorder are different from those given for other depression types but can be very effective at stabilizing a person's mood. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): This type of depression emerges as days get shorter in the fall and winter. The mood change may result from alterations in the body's natural daily rhythms, in the eyes; sensitivity to light, or in how chemical messengers like serotonin and melatonin function. The leading treatment is light therapy, which involves daily sessions sitting close to an especially intense light source. The usual treatments for depression, such as psychotherapy and medication, may also be effective. Depression Types Unique to Women: Although women are at higher risk for general depression, they are also at risk for two different depression types that are influenced by reproductive hormones; perinatal depression and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Perinatal Depression: This type of depression includes major and minor depressive episodes that occur during pregnancy or in the first 12 months after delivery (also known as postpartum depression). Perinatal depression affects up to one in seven women who give birth and can have devastating effects on the women, their infants, and their families. Treatment includes counselling and medication Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD): This type of depression is a severe form of premenstrual syndrome or PMS. Symptoms of PMDD usually begin shortly after ovulation and end once menstruation starts. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as fluoxetine (Prozac) and sertraline (Zoloft), may reduce symptoms.

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June 28, 2020
Dr. Khalid Al Shamsi
Neurologist
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Body
What are Thyroid Disorders?

Thyroid disorders are conditions that affect the thyroid gland, a butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck. The thyroid has important roles to regulate numerous metabolic processes throughout the body. Different types of thyroid disorders affect either its structure or function. The thyroid gland is located below the Adam's apple wrapped around the trachea (windpipe). A thin area of tissue in the gland's middle, known as the isthmus, joins the two thyroid lobes on each side. The thyroid uses iodine to produce vital hormones. Thyroxine, also known as T4, is the primary hormone produced by the gland. After delivery via the bloodstream to the body's tissues, a small portion of the T4 released from the gland is converted to triiodothyronine (T3), which is the most active hormone. The function of the thyroid gland is regulated by a feedback mechanism involving the brain. When thyroid hormone levels are low, the hypothalamus in the brain produces a hormone known as thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) that causes the pituitary gland (located at the base of the brain) to release thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH). TSH stimulates the thyroid gland to release more T4. Since the thyroid gland is controlled by the pituitary gland and hypothalamus, disorders of these tissues can also affect thyroid function and cause thyroid problems. What are the specific kinds of thyroid disorders? Hypothyroidism: Hypothyroidism results from the thyroid gland producing an insufficient amount of thyroid hormone. It can develop from problems within the thyroid gland, pituitary gland, or hypothalamus. Symptoms of hypothyroidism can include: 1. Fatigue  2. Poor concentration or feeling mentally foggy  3. Dry skin  4. Constipation  5. Feeling cold  6. Fluid retention  7. Muscle and joint aches  8. Depression  9. Prolonged or excessive menstrual bleeding in women Some common causes of hypothyroidism include: 1. Hashimoto's thyroiditis (an autoimmune condition that causes inflammation of the thyroid gland)  2. Thyroid hormone resistance  3. Other types of thyroiditis (inflammation of the thyroid), such as acute thyroiditis and postpartum thyroiditis Hyperthyroidism: Hyperthyroidism describes excessive production of thyroid hormone, a less common condition than hypothyroidism. Symptoms of hypothyroidism usually relate to increased metabolism. In mild cases, there may not be apparent symptoms. Symptoms and signs of hyperthyroidism can include:  1. Tremor  2. Nervousness  3. Fast heart rate  4. Fatigue  5. Intolerance for heat  6. Increase in bowel movements  7. Increased sweating  8. Concentration problems  9. Unintentional weight loss Some of the most common causes of hyperthyroidism are: 1. Graves disease  2. Toxic multinodular goitre  3. Thyroid nodules that overexpress thyroid hormone  4. Excessive iodine consumption  Goitre: A goitre simply describes an enlargement of the thyroid gland, regardless of cause. A goitre is not a specific disease per se. A goitre may be associated with hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, or normal thyroid function. Thyroid Nodules: Nodules are lumps or abnormal masses within the thyroid. Nodules can be caused by benign cysts, benign tumours, or, less commonly, by cancers of the thyroid. Nodules may be single or multiple and can vary in size. If nodules are excessively large, they may cause symptoms related to compression of nearby structures. Thyroid cancer: Thyroid cancer is far more common among adult women than men or youth. About 2/3 of cases occur in people under age 55. There are different kinds of thyroid cancer, depending upon the specific cell type within the thyroid that has become cancerous. Most cases of thyroid cancer have a good prognosis and high survival rates, especially when diagnosed in its early stages. What is the outlook for thyroid disorders? In most cases, thyroid disorders can be well managed with medical treatment and are not life-threatening. Some conditions may require surgery. The outlook for most people with thyroid cancer is also good, although patients with thyroid cancer that has spread throughout the body have a poorer prognosis. Therefore, as always, regular checkups are a lifesaver.

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June 28, 2020
Dr. Hams Ali
Clinical Pathologist
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Body
How to Build Bone Strength?

Strong, healthy bones are vital to our well-being and something everyone should pay attention to, not just older people. Healthy, good bones keep us standing tall. They protect our organs and hold our muscles in place. Bones store calcium and send it to other parts of the body when needed. Genetics play a large role in bone health. But you can't blame your genes for it all! Your diet, exercise and other lifestyle choices affect the strength of your bones, too. If you want to stay healthy, mobile and fracture-free, you need to start taking care of your bones now, whatever your age. Aren't older people the only ones who need to worry about bone health?  It's true that the older you are, the more vulnerable you are to bone problems. When we're young, we build new bone faster than we break it down. Most of us reach our peak bone mass by about age 30, according to the National Institutes of Health. After that, we begin losing bone mass faster than we rebuild it. It is important to develop as much bone mass as you can before age 30. The more you have, the slower you are to likely lose bone mass and therefore bone strength. Puberty is a crucial time for developing bone mass. It's the stage when women create half of their calcium stores and men make up to two-thirds of theirs, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Men have about 50 per cent more body calcium than women when puberty is over and continue to have stronger bones throughout their lives. Menopause is particularly hard on women. Estrogen protects bones by helping the body absorb calcium. When estrogen levels drop during menopause, bone loss occurs more quickly. Weaker bones lead to more fractures and an increased risk for osteoporosis, which is much more common in women than men. About 1 in 4 women aged 65 and over will be diagnosed with osteoporosis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Just 1 in 17 men aged 65 and over will develop the disease. Top ways to build good bones and slow bone loss: Bad health habits and a couch potato lifestyle don't do your bones any favours. Develop healthy habits now. It's never too late. Eat a healthy diet, rich in calcium and vitamin D: Think of your bones as the United States Mint of the body. Instead of money, they store calcium. And when the body needs more calcium, it makes a withdrawal from the bones. As we age and our bones don't restore as quickly, that can be a problem. To build those calcium stores, add calcium-rich foods to your diet: dairy products, almonds, green, leafy vegetables like broccoli and kale, salmon, sardines and soy products. At the same time, make sure you're getting enough vitamin D, which helps the body absorb calcium. Good sources of vitamin D include egg yolks, fortified milk, and oily fish such as tuna and sardines. Don't forget to get out in the sunshine for a healthy dose of vitamin D. How much calcium and vitamin D you need depends on your age. The older you are, the more you need. Sometimes it's hard to get a sufficient amount of either in our diet. Adolescents, postmenopausal women, men over age 70 and others may require a calcium supplement. Most of us would also benefit from a vitamin D supplement. The American Academy of Pediatrics has recognized that most children don't get nearly enough of the vitamin from their diets or sunlight and recommends supplements. Exercise for good bones: Physical activity isn't just good for your heart. It's vital to maintaining strong bones. Remember that bones are living tissue. When you exert force on them with things like jumping, running or other weight-bearing exercises, your bone builds more cells and becomes denser. Since the teen years are the time of fastest bone growth, adolescents need to exercise. While physical activity won't increase bone mass for the elderly, they shouldn't drop the barbells just yet. Exercising four or five days a week can: 1. Slow bone loss  2. Build muscles to strengthen bone  3. Improve balance and coordination to reduce falls and fractures. Abstain from cigarettes and alcohol: Studies have shown that smoking and drinking are related to poor bone health. Heavy smoking has been associated with increased risk for osteoporosis, fractures and lower bone density. It's unclear how moderate or light smoking affects bone health. Smokers have a higher risk of osteoporosis, but it could be because they're usually thinner, exercise less, drink more alcohol and may have poor diets; all risk factors for osteoporosis. How alcohol affects bone health can be just as murky. We know that alcohol can inhibit the absorption of calcium and that those who abuse alcohol have more fractures and slower bone healing. Discuss bone health with your doctor: Some people just don't have good bone metabolism, which is how we rebuild healthy bones. Diet and exercise can help, but healthy habits won't completely offset bad genes. Your primary care physician or an orthopedist can evaluate your family history and other risk factors like hormonal disorders, long-term use of corticosteroid or other medications, and weight. They all affect bone health. Your bone health is in your hands, so many of us are obsessed about wrinkles and saggy skin as we age. But we should be just as obsessed with how our insides look. Our bones do a lot of the heavy lifting for our bodies. If we want them to be as healthy as they can so we can have the healthiest life we can, act now; Adopt healthy habits and never take your bones for granted.

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June 28, 2020
Dr. Rabie Hedia
Orthopaedic Surgeon
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Body
Age-Related Eye Diseases

Getting older makes us more vulnerable to vision-impairing diseases. This article examines common ailments and their causes: Age-related macular degeneration:  Among the numerous eye conditions in which the central portion of the retina deteriorates, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common. Wet AMD is rarer but more aggressive, while the more common dry AMD progresses slowly. While AMD usually occurs in the elderly, it may also be seen in people who are about 50 years of age. If you are above 55, have a family history of AMD or are a heavy smoker, it is best to have tests done regularly, which will help you maintain your vision for longer. Age-related cataract: A cataract is a clouding of the lens, which affects vision. Over time, a cataract may grow larger and cloud more of the lens, making it harder to see. It can occur in either or both eyes, but does not spread from one eye to the other. Although there are other types of cataract, most are related to ageing. However, You don't have to be a senior citizen to get this type of cataract. People can have an age-related cataract in their 40s and 50s. However, it is after 60 that most cataracts occur and the risk of cataract increases over the years. Other risk factors include diseases such as diabetes, smoking and alcohol use and prolonged exposure to sunlight. Glaucoma: it is a group of disorders where the optic nerve gets damaged due to increased pressure, leading to loss of vision and irreversible blindness. It is called the silent thief of sight because it is painless and by the time symptoms show up considerable sight may be lost. Glaucoma usually affects both eyes, but one eye may be more severely affected than the other. Although there are congenital and infantile forms, glaucoma only occurs in people over 40. While people over 60 are at increased risk, the risk also increases with each passing year. Studies indicate that diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease are linked to glaucoma. Other common factors are thinner corneas, chronic eye inflammation and medications that increase eye pressure.

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June 28, 2020
Dr. Edna Joyce Santos
Ophthalmologist
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Body
Debunking the myth: HDL vs LDL

There are two types of lipoproteins which carry cholesterol to and from the cells. One is Low-Density Lipoprotein, also called LDL. The other is High-Density Lipoprotein, commonly called HDL. The levels of both LDL & HDL in your body can be measured through a simple blood test. LDL cholesterol is viewed as 'bad cholesterol' since it adds to fatty build-ups in the arteries (atherosclerosis). This condition narrows the arteries which in turn increases the risk of a Heart Attack, Stroke and Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). HDL cholesterol can be thought of as the 'good cholesterol'. In the case of HDL cholesterol; the higher the level, the better. Experts believe that HDL acts as a scavenger, carrying LDL (bad) cholesterol away from the arteries and back to the liver, where the LDL is broken down and passed from the body. But HDL cholesterol does not completely eliminate LDL cholesterol. Only one-third to one-fourth of blood cholesterol is carried by HDL. A healthy HDL cholesterol level may protect against heart attack and stroke. Studies show that low levels of HDL cholesterol increase the risk of heart disease.    

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June 27, 2020
Dr. Maysa Ahmed
General practitioner
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