header image Professor Hakim Dilshad Hussain Tabssum (Gold Medalist) Ex-member: American Infertility Association (USA)
 
 

Asthma-Migrane-Depression

Asthma-Migrane-Depression

  what is Asthma  Causes and  treatment ?

Asthma is a disease affecting the airways that carry air to and from your lungs. People who suffer from this chronic condition (long-lasting or recurrent) are said to be asthmatic.

doctor examining a lung x-ray

The inside walls of an asthmatic’s airways are swollen or inflamed. This swelling or inflammation makes the airways extremely sensitive to irritations and increases your susceptibility to an allergic reaction.

As inflammation causes the airways to become narrower, less air can pass through them, both to and from the lungs. Symptoms of the narrowing include wheezing (a hissing sound while breathing), chest tightness, breathing problems, and coughing. Asthmatics usually experience these symptoms most frequently during the night and the early morning.

For information on the different causes of asthma (allergy, colds, stress, exercise, etc)

According to recent estimates, asthma affects 300 million people in the world and more than 22 million in the United States. Although people of all ages suffer from the disease, it most often starts in childhood, currently affecting 6 million children in the US. Asthma kills about 255,000 people worldwide every year.

Children at Risk

Asthma is the most common chronic disease among children – especially children who have low birth weight, are exposed to tobacco smoke, are black, and are raised in a low-income environment. Most children first present symptoms around 5 years of age, generally beginning as frequent episodes of wheezing with respiratory infections. Additional risk factors for children include having allergies, the allergic skin condition eczema, or parents with asthma.

Young boys are more likely to develop asthma than young girls, but this trend reverses during adulthood. Researchers hypothesize that this is due to the smaller size of a young male’s airway compared to a young female’s airway, leading to a higher risk of wheezing after a viral infection.

Allergies

Almost all asthma sufferers have allergies. In fact, over 25% of people who have hay fever (allergic rhinitis) also develop asthma. Allergic reactions triggered by antibodies in the blood often lead to the airway inflammation that is associated with asthma.

Common sources of indoor allergens include animal proteins (mostly cat and dog allergens), dust mites, cockroaches, and fungi. It is possible that the push towards energy-efficient homes has increased exposure to these causes of asthma.

Tobacco Smoke

Tobacco smoke has been linked to a higher risk of asthma as well as a higher risk of death due to asthma, wheezing, and respiratory infections. In addition, children of mothers who smoke – and other people exposed to second-hand smoke – have a higher risk of asthma prevalence. Adolescent smoking has also been associated with increases in asthma risk.

Environmental Factors

Allergic reactions and asthma symptoms are often the result of indoor air pollution from mold or noxious fumes from household cleaners and paints. Other indoor environmental factors associated with asthma include nitrogen oxide from gas stoves. In fact, people who cook with gas are more likely to have symptoms such as wheezing, breathlessness, asthma attacks, and hay fever.

Pollution, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, ozone, cold temperatures, and high humidity have all been shown to trigger asthma in some individuals.

During periods of heavy air pollution, there tend to be increases in asthma symptoms and hospital admissions. Smoggy conditions release the destructive ingredient known as ozone, causing coughing, shortness of breath, and even chest pain. These same conditions emit sulfur dioxide, which also results in asthma attacks by constricting airways.

Weather changes have also been known to stimulate asthma attacks. Cold air can lead to airway congestion, bronchoconstriction (airways constriction), secretions, and decreased mucociliary clearance (another type of airway inefficiency). In some populations, humidity causes breathing difficulties as well.

Obesity

Overweight adults – those with a body mass index (BMI) between 25 and 30 – are 38% more likely to have asthma compared to adults who are not overweight. Obese adults – those with a BMI of 30 or greater – have twice the risk of asthma. According to some researchers, the risk may be greater for nonallergic asthma than allergic asthma.

Pregnancy

The way you enter the world seems to impact your susceptibility to asthma. Babies born by Caesarean sections have a 20% increase in asthma prevalence compared to babies born by vaginal birth. It is possible that immune system-modifying infections from bacterial exposure during Cesarean sections are responsible for this difference.

When mothers smoke during pregnancy, their children have lower pulmonary function. This may pose additional asthma risks. Research has also shown that premature birth is a risk factor for developing asthma.

Stress

People who undergo stress have higher asthma rates. Part of this may be explained by increases in asthma-related behaviors such as smoking that are encouraged by stress. However, recent research has suggested that the immune system is modified by stress as well.

what is Migrane headaches ?

A migraine is a severe, painful headache that is often preceded or accompanied by sensory warning signs such as flashes of light, blind spots, tingling in the arms and legs, nausea, vomiting, and increased sensitivity to light and sound. The excruciating pain that migraines bring can last for hours or even days.
Migraine headaches result from a combination of blood vessel enlargement and the release of chemicals from nerve fibers that coil around these blood vessels.During the headache, an artery enlarges that is located on the outside of the skull just under the skin of the temple (temporal artery). This causes a release of chemicals that  cause inflammation,  pain and further enlargement of the artery.
A migraine headache causes the sympathetic nervous system to respond with feelings of nausea,diarrhea and vomiting. This response also delays the emptying of the stomach into the small intestine (affecting food absorption), decreases blood circulation (leading to cold hands and feet) and increases sensitivity to light and sound.
According to the National Library of Medicine1, approximately 12% of Americans get migraine headaches. Females are much more likely to get them than males.
The National Headache Foundation5 (Foundation) says that over 37 million people in the United States suffer from migraine. It is a vascular headache which tends to affect people between 15 and 55 years of age. Approximately three-quarters of all migraine sufferers have a family history of migraine.
The Foundation adds that fewer than half of all migraine sufferers have been properly diagnosed by their healthcare provider. Migraine is commonly misdiagnosed as tension-type headache or sinus headache.
Recent developments on migraine headaches from MNT news
Childhood migraines linked to behavioral problems – researchers from the Glia Institute, Sao Paulo, Brazil and the Einstein College of Medicine, New York, USA, found that kids with migraines are much more likely to also have behavioral problems, such as attention issues, anxiety and depression, compared to children who never have migraines.
Brain lesions and migraine link – women who suffer from migraines have a greater risk of having deep white matter hyperintensities (brain lesions) compared to other women, researchers from Leiden University Medical Center, the Netherlands, reported in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) (November 2012). They added that migraine severity, frequency and how long they had been going on for were not associated with the progression of lesions.
Incomplete artery brain structure cause of migraines – researchers from the University of Pennsylvania reported in PLoS ONE that an incomplete network of arteries that supply the brain with blood may contribute to migraine headache risk. Variations in the arteries may result inconsistent blood flow, causing migraines.
Migraines may alter long-term structure of the brain – researchers from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark reported in the journal Neurology that migraines can alter the long-term structure of the brain and may well cause brain lesions.
What causes migraines?
Some people who suffer from migraines can clearly identify triggers or factors that cause the headaches, but many cannot. Potential migraine triggers include:
    • Allergies and allergic reactions
    • Bright lights, loud noises and certain odors or perfumes
    • Physical or emotional stress
    • Changes in sleep patterns or irregular sleep
    • Smoking or exposure to smoke
    • Skipping meals or fasting
    • Alcohol
    • Menstrual cycle fluctuations, birth control pills, hormone fluctuations during menopauseonset
    • Tension headaches
    • Foods containing tyramine (red wine, aged cheese, smoked fish, chicken livers, figs, and some beans), monosodium glutamate (MSG), or nitrates (like bacon, hot dogs and salami)
  • Other foods such as chocolate, nuts, peanut butter, avocado, banana, citrus, onions, dairy products and fermented or pickled foods.
Triggers do not always cause migraines and avoiding triggers does not always prevent migraines.
Recent developments on the possible causes of migraine headaches from MNT newsIs there an association between obesity and migraines?A higher percentage of obese people have episodic (occasional) migraines compared to individuals with a healthy body weight, researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine reported in the journal Neurology.

Scientists find migraine gene mutation

A team of scientists, including Emily A. Bates, PhD, from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Brigham Young University, who has been plagued by migraines since her teens, have identified a gene mutation that increases a person’s susceptibility to migraines. 

What are the signs and symptoms of migraine?

Symptoms of migraine can occur a while before the headache, immediately before the headache, during the headache and after the headache. Although not all migraines are the same, typical symptoms include:

  • Moderate to severe pain, usually confined to one side of the head, but switching in successive migraines
  • Pulsing and throbbing head pain
  • Increasing pain during physical activity
  • Inability to perform regular activities due to pain
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Increased sensitivity to light and sound.
  • Migraines with auras – many people experience migraines with auras just before or during the head pain, but most do not.Auras are perceptual disturbances such as:
    • confusing thoughts or experiences
    • the perception of strange lights, sparkling or flashing lights
    • lines in the visual field
    • blind spots
    • pins and needles in an arm or leg
    • stiffness in the shoulders, neck or limbs
    • unpleasant smells.

    According to the National Health Service2 in the UK, about one third of people who get migraines also have auras.

    When migraines with aura affect vision, the patient may see things that are not there, such as transparent strings of objects, not see parts of the object in front of them, or even feel as if part of their field of vision appears, disappears and then comes back again.

    It is common for patients to describe the visual disturbance as similar to the sensation one has after being photographed with a very bright camera flash, especially if one walks into a darker room straight away.

    For many migraine sufferers, the auras act as a warning, telling them that the headache is soon to come.

    The four pictures on the right show how vision may be affected in migraines with auras.

    The Migraine Trust3 says that in adults auras usually occur before the headache, but in children they may happen at the same time.

    Migraine sufferers also may have premonitions called prodrome that can occur several hours or a day or so before the headache. These premonitions may consist of feelings of elation or intense energy, cravings for sweets, thirst, drowsiness, irritability, or depression.

  • How is migraine diagnosed?

    Physicians will look at family medical history and check the patient for the symptoms described above in order to diagnose migraine. The International Headache Society recommends the “5, 4, 3, 2, 1 criteria” to diagnose migraines without aura. This stands for:

      • 5 or more attacks
      • 4 hours to 3 days in duration
      • At least 2 of unilateral location, pulsating quality, moderate to severe pain, aggravation by or avoidance of routine physical activity
    • At least 1 additional symptom such as nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light, sensitivity to sound.

    Tests such as electroencephalography (EEG), computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spinal tap may also be performed that check for:

    • Bleeding within the skull
    • Blood clot within the membrane that covers the brain
    • Stroke
    • Dilated blood vessel in the brain
    • Too much or too little cerebrospinal fluid
    • Inflammation of the membranes of the brain or spinal cord
    • Nasal sinus blockage
    • Postictal headache (after stroke or seizure)
    • Tumors.

what is Depression ?

The normal ups and downs of life mean that everyone feels sad or has “the blues” from time to time. But if emptiness and despair have taken hold of your life and won’t go away, you may have depression. Depression makes it tough to function and enjoy life like you once did. Just getting through the day can be overwhelming. But no matter how hopeless you feel, you can get better. Understanding the signs, symptoms, causes, and treatment of depression is the first step to overcoming the problem.

What is depression?

Sadness or downswings in mood are normal reactions to life’s struggles, setbacks, and disappointments. Many people use the word “depression” to explain these kinds of feelings, but depression is much more than just sadness. Some people describe depression as “living in a black hole” or having a feeling of impending doom. However, some depressed people don’t feel sad at all—they may feel lifeless, empty, and apathetic, or men in particular may even feel angry, aggressive, and restless. Whatever the symptoms, depression is different from normal sadness in that it engulfs your day-to-day life, interfering with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and have fun. The feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness are intense and unrelenting, with little, if any, relief.

What are the signs and symptoms of depression?

Depression varies from person to person, but there are some common signs and symptoms. It’s important to remember that these symptoms can be part of life’s normal lows. But the more symptoms you have, the stronger they are, and the longer they’ve lasted—the more likely it is that you’re dealing with depression. When these symptoms are overwhelming and disabling, that’s when it’s time to seek help.

Signs and symptoms of depression include:

  • Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. A bleak outlook—nothing will ever get better and there’s nothing you can do to improve your situation.
  • Loss of interest in daily activities. No interest in former hobbies, pastimes, social activities, or sex. You’ve lost your ability to feel joy and pleasure.
  • Appetite or weight changes. Significant weight loss or weight gain—a change of more than 5% of body weight in a month.
  • Sleep changes. Either insomnia, especially waking in the early hours of the morning, or oversleeping (also known as hypersomnia).
  • Anger or irritability. Feeling agitated, restless, or even violent. Your tolerance level is low, your temper short, and everything and everyone gets on your nerves.
  • Loss of energy. Feeling fatigued, sluggish, and physically drained. Your whole body may feel heavy, and even small tasks are exhausting or take longer to complete.
  • Self-loathing. Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt. You harshly criticize yourself for perceived faults and mistakes.
  • Reckless behavior. You engage in escapist behavior such as substance abuse, compulsive gambling, reckless driving, or dangerous sports.
  • Concentration problems. Trouble focusing, making decisions, or remembering things.
  • Unexplained aches and pains. An increase in physical complaints such as headaches, back pain, aching muscles, and stomach pain

Warning signs of suicide include:

  • Talking about killing or harming one’s self
  • Expressing strong feelings of hopelessness or being trapped
  • An unusual preoccupation with death or dying
  • Acting recklessly, as if they have a death wish (e.g. speeding through red lights)
  • Calling or visiting people to say goodbye
  • Getting affairs in order (giving away prized possessions, tying up loose ends)
  • Saying things like “Everyone would be better off without me” or “I want out”
  • A sudden switch from being extremely depressed to acting calm and happy

If you think a friend or family member is considering suicide, express your concern and seek professional help immediately. Talking openly about suicidal thoughts and feelings can save a life!