Archive for June 2014

Common Allergies That Affect Man

While watching TV the other day an ad that’s being aired frequently claimed that most Americans have an allergy of some sort. I didn’t have any medical evidence to refute the claims but, believed that there was some truth in the claims. Of course the ad was selling a drug that was meant to treat allergy symptoms. The thought of most people having an allergy led me to think, “What are the most common allergies.” This led me to researching two of the most common allergies affecting people today.

yeast allergyYeast allergy

Allergic reaction to yeast is on the rise today. The reason for this is that yeast is found in many of the foods and beverages consumed today. Yeast is a fungus which is usually safe for consumption. However, it might overgrow and become potentially harmful to the body.

Allergy to yeast can come in either of two ways. First, the fungus Candida albicans which is found on the body can overgrow leading to yeast infection and eventual allergy. Second, yeast allergy can result from consuming everyday foods such as bread, cake or taking beverages containing yeast such as beer and vinegar.

Symptoms

Symptoms can manifest themselves within minutes or hours after coming into contact with yeast. Some of the common symptoms affect the digestive system and they include bloating, indigestion, heartburn, diarrhea and stomach cramps. If the amount of yeast consumed is high enough, it can reach the bloodstream and move to different areas of the body. Some of the symptoms that result include fatigue, dizziness, joint and muscle pains and, shortness of breath.

Prevention and treatment

The main prevention measures include avoiding foods that contain yeast. Ensuring that the body’s skin maintains proper pH also ensures that the fungi-bacteria balance is maintained.

Treatment of allergy will usually involve taking antifungals which will counter the effects.

Corn allergy

Like yeast, corn is found in many products including food and medicines. Although not very common, allergic reactions to corn aren’t unheard of. The reactions can be mild or severe with cases of anaphylactic shock being reported in severe cases.

Some of the products containing corn include the following. Cereals, jams, syrups, snacks and processed meats, flavored dairy products and, cookies.

Corn allergy symptoms

Some of the common symptoms associated with corn allergy include the following. Initial symptoms affect the digestive system including nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. As the allergen find their way into the blood stream through the thin walls of the mouth and digestive system, symptoms such as itching and swelling of lips and tongue can result. The swelling can advance to the respiratory tract causing difficulty breathing. Other symptoms include dizziness. In severe cases, anaphylaxis which is a life threatening condition can result.

Prevention and treatment

There is no clear cut way of avoiding corn as it’s found in many foods and products. However, ensuring to avoid foods that might contain corn and, preparing your own foods can go a long way in preventing allergic reactions. In case of allergy, medical attention will be necessary where medications such as epinephrine can be administered.

What You Need To Know About the Pictus Catfish

The other day, I was watching a wildlife documentary on fish that are commonly kept as pets. Several catfish species were featured and one in particular caught my eye, the Pictus catfish. I had previously seen them in aquariums but didn’t take much notice as I thought them just another catfish species. However, the documentary sparked my interest in this catfish species. I did some research on these and I’m currently waiting for my group of 5 Pictus cats to arrive sometime next week. Before placing my order, I had to make sure they were ideal for my home aquarium. I did conduct some research which revealed the following.

Origins

The Pictus traces its origins in the Amazon and Orinoco river basins and can be found in Peru, Columbia and Brazil. These cats favor freshwater streams and live in shoals.

Body

This catfish has a silvery body that’s covered with black spots. Two subspecies are identifiable, the large spotted subspecies which is more common in aquariums and is smaller than the small spotted subspecies. Their bodies are slimy and aren’t covered with scales. An adult Pictus grows to about 5 inches in length. Females are generally larger than the males.

Other distinct features include the extremely long barbells which can grow as far as the caudal fin. Their dorsal and pectoral find have sharp spines which makes netting these fish difficult. The spines on the dorsal fin have mild venom which can cause irritation and inflammation if you get pricked by mistake. They also feature a forked tail and downturned mouth which makes foraging for food easy.

Diet

Like most catfish, Pictus cats are omnivorous. They will feed on anything including live catfish bait like worms and invertebrates. Sinking fish food is recommended for cats that are held in aquariums as they are bottom feeders. Being an omnivore, this catfish will feed on smaller fish if provided with the opportunity. It’s therefore recommended that you place it in the same aquarium with same size or larger peaceful fish.

Temperament

The Pictus cat is a highly active fish. Having a large enough aquarium is necessary as this fish loves swimming fast. It’s a social fish and prefers living in schools. A group of up to 8 fish can work well for a large aquarium. However, the Pictus can live on its own with other fish. It however tends to be shy and hide away when it’s the only Pictus in the aquarium. This is a nocturnal fish and tends to keep hidden during the day.

Best aquarium conditions

This catfish thrives in freshwater conditions with a good supply of oxygen. The aquarium can be planted with driftwood and some rocks which provide hiding spaces for the Pictus. A layer of fine sand at the bottom is a good substrate as it will not damage the delicate barbels. The water pH should be between 7.0 and 7.5. Being a freshwater fish, avoid adding salt or using medicines that contain copper as these can harm its skin and barbells.

Conditions That Affect the Arms

The other day, I happened to walk into a medical documentary. Unfortunately, I only caught the last minutes before it ended. The episode was focusing on different forms of pain that can be felt on either arm. What intrigued me was that pain in one arm can be referred from other organs in the upper body. For example, pain in right arm can be a symptom of heart attack. Id thought of looking at conditions that can affect either arm and came up with the following.

Heart attack is one of the serious health conditions that can affect the arms. The onset of heart attack can present itself as numbness in left arm and left side of the thoracic cavity. The numbness then transforms into a sharp pain which can be felt in the left shoulder and jaw. Heart attack usually occurs when the heart isn’t receiving enough blood to allow it to function normally.

Pain and numbness can also be caused by problems of the nervous system. Compressed and damaged nerve endings can be a source of pain at the particular area of compression. There are other instances where the pain can be the result of nerve damage not within the arm but in a different part of the body such as the liver.

Poor supply of blood to the arms will also cause numbness and tingling. Compression of blood vessels limits the amount of oxygen supplied to tissues in the arms. As such, the patient will experience numbness and pain in the affected arm.

Stroke although affecting the brain can cause numbness and pain in the arms. Stroke deprives the brain of oxygen. This can negatively affect the relay of signals between the brain and the arms. As a result, a sensation of numbness and at times pain in the affected arm occurs.

Crutch palsy is a condition that affects the radial nerve. This nerve passes under the underarm and is responsible for relaying signals between the brain and the arms. Persons using crutches are at higher risk of developing this condition as the supports can apply pressure on the nerves. This leads to numbness and tingling in the arms.

The cubital tunnel syndrome is another condition that can lead to pain and numbness in the arms. This condition occurs when the ulnar nerve is compressed at the elbow joint. This leads to numbness and possible pain in the forearms and hands. Reducing compression usually provides relief.

Overuse of a specific hand can result in painful conditions such as golfers elbow and tennis elbow. This results after the muscles and tendon around the elbow area become strained from overuse. Golfers elbow affects the inside part of the elbow joint while tennis elbow affects the outer bony area of the elbow. The painful symptoms can last for a number of weeks before they fade.

The mentioned are just a few of the conditions that can affect the arms causing pain or numbness. Some of these are directly linked to the arms while others are referred pain from other body parts. In most instances, medical attention will be necessary to identify the cause and find treatment options for these conditions.