Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What to do Before ''PREGNANCY''.

Husbands and wives may need to discuss how many children to have. In developing countries it is common to see women with small children nursing a baby and, at the same time, expecting another. Careful planning and consideration might allow time to elapse between the birth of one child and the next, resulting in relief for the woman, who would then be able to recuperate after giving birth.

How can you make your ''PREGNANCY'' Safer?

ACCORDING to the United Nations Population Fund, each year more than half a million women die of pregnancy-related causes. In addition, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) notes that annually more than 60 million women suffer acute complications from pregnancy and that nearly a third of these sustain lifelong injuries or infections. In developing countries many women are trapped in a cycle of pregnancies, deliveries, and self-neglect, leaving them worn out and ill. Yes, pregnancy can be harmful—even dangerous. Is there anything a woman can do to make her pregnancy safer?

Is ''Screened BLOOD Safe to USE''?

THIS question came to the fore when it was found that a baby girl was infected with HIV through a blood transfusion she received at an hospitals.

According to the hospital’s medical director, soon after Eniola’s birth, she was found to be jaundiced. An exchange blood transfusion was prescribed, and the father donated some units of blood. But the father’s blood was found to be incompatible, so blood from the hospital’s blood bank was administered. Before long, the baby tested positive for HIV, though both parents tested negative. According to the hospital, “the blood transfused into the baby was screened and found to be HIV-negative at the time it was transfused into the baby.”

How, then, did the baby get infected? The Nigerian government investigated the controversy and concluded that the likely source of the infection was the transfused blood. The Nigerian Tribune newspaper quoted a virologist as saying: “At the time of donating the blood, the donor was at the window period of HIV infection.”

This is but a single case, yet it highlights the fact that blood transfusions are not risk free. Describing the HIV window period, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says: “It can take some time for the immune system to produce enough antibodies for the antibody test to detect and this time period can vary from person to person. This time period is commonly referred to as the ‘window period’. Most people will develop detectable antibodies within 2 to 8 weeks (the average is 25 days). Even so, there is a chance that some individuals will take longer to develop detectable antibodies. . . . In very rare cases, it can take up to 6 months.”

So, the fact that blood has been screened for HIV is no guarantee that it is safe. The San Francisco AIDS Foundation warns: “Although HIV may not be detected by a test during the window period, HIV can be transmitted during that time. In fact, individuals are often most infectious during this time (shortly after they have been exposed to HIV).”

The ''Witnesses'' have long followed the Bible’s direction to “keep abstaining from . . . blood.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Diabetes "The Silent Killer"

WHEN he was 21 years old, Ken developed a puzzling, unquenchable thirst. He also had to urinate frequently—eventually about every 20 minutes. Soon Ken's limbs began to feel heavy. He was chronically tired, and his vision became blurry.

The turning point came when Ken caught a virus. A visit to the doctor confirmed that Ken had more than the flu—he also had Type 1 diabetes mellitus—diabetes, for short. This chemical disorder disrupts the body's ability to utilize certain nutrients, primarily a blood sugar called glucose. Ken spent six weeks in the hospital before his blood-sugar level stabilized.

That was more than 50 years ago, and treatment has improved considerably during the past half century. Nevertheless, Ken still suffers from diabetes, and he is not alone. It is estimated that worldwide, more than 140 million people have the disorder, and according to the World Health Organization, that number could double by the year 2025. Understandably, experts are concerned about the prevalence of diabetes. "With the numbers we're starting to see," says Dr. Robin S. Goland, codirector of a treatment center in the United States, "this could be the beginning of an epidemic."

Consider these brief reports from around the world.

AUSTRALIA: According to Australia's International Diabetes Institute, "diabetes presents one of the most challenging health problems for the 21st century."

INDIA: At least 30 million people have diabetes. "We hardly had any patients under 40 about 15 years ago," says one doctor. "Today every other person is from this age group."

SINGAPORE: Nearly a third of the population between 30 and 69 years of age have diabetes. Many children—some as young as ten—have been diagnosed.

UNITED STATES: Approximately 16 million people are afflicted, and each year some 800,000 new cases are diagnosed. Millions have the disease but do not yet know it.

Treatment for diabetes is made more difficult because a person can have the disease a long time before it is diagnosed. "Because the early symptoms are relatively mild," notes Asiaweek magazine, "diabetes often goes unrecognized." Hence, diabetes has been dubbed the silent killer.

In view of the prevalence and the severity of this disorder, the following articles will address the questions:

* What causes diabetes?
* How can those who have the disorder cope with it?
The term "diabetes mellitus" comes from a Greek word meaning "to siphon" and a Latin word meaning "sweet like honey." These words aptly describe the disorder, for water passes through the person who has diabetes as if it were being siphoned from the mouth through the urinary tract and right out of the body. Furthermore, the urine is sweet with sugar. In fact, prior to the discovery of more efficient techniques, one test for diabetes was to pour a patient's urine near an anthill. If the insects were attracted, this indicated the presence of sugar.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


When Food Is Your Enemy

Reflecting on her teen years, Jean vividly recalls being a target of teasing and ridicule. The reason? She was the tallest and largest girl in her class at school. But that was not all. "Even worse than being big, I was shy and socially awkward," says Jean. "I was often lonely, wanting to fit in somewhere, but most of the time I felt like an outsider."

Jean was convinced that her size was the cause of all her problems and that a lean, trim figure would fix everything. Not that Jean was obese. On the contrary, at six feet [183 cm] tall and 145 pounds [66 kg], she wasn't overweight. Nevertheless, Jean felt fat, and at age 23 she decided to lose weight. 'When I'm thin,' she reasoned, 'other people will want me around. At last, I will feel accepted and special.'

"That kind of foolish logic led to a twelve-year trap named anorexia nervosa and bulimia," Jean explains. "I got thin all right, so thin I almost died, but instead of building a happy life, I ruined my health and created more than a decade of depression and misery."

JEAN is not alone. According to one estimate, up to 1 out of 100 American females develops anorexia nervosa as a teenager or young adult, and perhaps three times that number are bulimic. "I've been working on schools and college campuses for years," says Dr. Mary Pipher, "and I see firsthand that eating disorders are just as rampant as ever."

They are also diverse. Once thought to be a problem of the wealthy, eating disorders are now considered to be common in all racial, social, and economic levels. Even the number of men being diagnosed is increasing, causing Newsweek magazine to call eating disorders "equal-opportunity plunderers."

What is especially alarming, though, is that the average age of those being treated for eating disorders appears to be getting lower. "There are girls younger than 10, even as young as 6, being admitted to hospital programs," says Margaret Beck, acting director of an eating disorder center in Toronto. "It is still a small number," she adds, "but it is growing."

All told, eating disorders affect millions—primarily girls and young women. * "They don't think about food or use food the way the majority of people do," notes social worker Nancy Kolodny. "Instead of eating when they're hungry, eating for nutrition and good health, eating for pleasure, or eating to share good times with others, they get into bizarre relationships with food and do things that aren't considered 'normal'—such as developing odd rituals before they allow themselves to eat, or needing to immediately rid their bodies of the food they've eaten."

Let us take a close look at two common eating disorders: anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. So in this case, when we say females, we are actually refering to both sexes.

Friday, July 3, 2009


"EVERYONE takes drugs." That sweeping statement may be used to induce the naive to experiment with illicit drugs. But depending on how we define "drugs," those words contain an element of truth.

The term "drug" is defined as: "Any chemical substance, whether of natural or synthetic origin, which can be used to alter perception, mood or other psychological states." That is a useful, broad description of what are called psychoactive drugs, although it does not cover many medicinal drugs used for physical ailments.

According to that definition, alcohol is a drug. The danger lies in its immoderate use, which is evidently increasing. A survey of colleges and universities in a Western country found that "binge drinking is the most serious drug problem on college campuses." The survey revealed that 44 percent of students were binge drinkers.*

Like alcohol, tobacco is legally available, although it contains a powerful poison, nicotine. According to the World Health Organization, smoking kills about four million people a year. Yet, tobacco barons are wealthy, honored members of society. Cigarette smoking is also highly addictive, perhaps more so than the use of many of the illegal drugs.

In recent years numerous countries have curbed tobacco advertising and imposed other restrictions. Nevertheless, many people still see smoking as an acceptable social activity. Smoking continues to be glamorized by the film industry. A University of California at San Francisco survey of top money-making films between the years 1991 and 1996 found that 80 percent of the leading men portrayed characters who smoked.
Young people overdrinking

Binge drinking is a major problem on many college campuses
What About "Safe" Drugs?

Medicinal drugs have certainly benefited many, but they can be abused. Doctors may at times prescribe drugs too easily, or they are pressured by patients to prescribe drugs that are not necessary. One physician commented: "Doctors don't always take time to sit with the patient to work out the cause of his symptoms. It's easier to say, 'Take this pill.' But the primary problem is not addressed."

Even nonprescription drugs, such as aspirin and paracetamol (Tylenol, Panadol), if abused can lead to serious health problems. Over 2,000 people worldwide die each year as a result of misusing paracetamol.

According to our earlier definition, the caffeine in tea and coffee is also a drug, although we hardly regard it as such when drinking our favorite breakfast brew. And it would be absurd to view socially acceptable drinks like tea or coffee in the same light as hard drugs like heroin. That would be like comparing a domestic kitten to a fierce lion. Nevertheless, according to some health experts, if you habitually drink more than five cups of coffee or nine cups of tea a day, it could do you harm. Furthermore, if you were to cut a very high intake drastically, you could undergo withdrawal symptoms similar to those of one tea drinker who experienced vomiting, severe headaches, and sensitivity to light.

Man smoking a cigarette Many view cigarettes and "recreational" drugs as harmless

What About the Illicit Use of Drugs?

A more controversial issue is the use of drugs in sports. This was highlighted at the 1998 Tour de France when the nine cyclists of the top team were expelled for using performance-enhancing drugs. Athletes have devised various ways to counter drug tests. Time magazine reports that some have even gone so far as to have "'urine transplants,' meaning [that] someone else's 'clean' urine is inserted into their bladder via a catheter, an often painful procedure."

We have yet to deal with the bewildering array of illicit drugs used for "recreational" purposes. These include marijuana, ecstasy (methylenedioxy-methamphetamine, or MDMA), LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), uppers (stimulants like cocaine and amphetamines), downers (depressants like tranquilizers), and heroin. Not to be forgotten are the various inhalants, such as glue and gasoline, that are popular among the young. Of course, these inhalants are not banned substances and are readily available.

The common notion of an emaciated drug addict shooting up in a dingy room can be deceptive. Many on drugs are still able to function relatively normally in everyday life, although their addiction must affect the quality of their life to a greater or lesser degree. Nevertheless, we cannot minimize the dark side of the drug scene. One writer describes how some cocaine users "are capable of 'shooting up' dozens of times in a single session, converting their bodies into needle-pricked, bloody, and bruised messes."

After an apparent decline in the late 1980's, illegal drug use is on the rise again worldwide. Newsweek magazine observed: "Authorities are overwhelmed by an onslaught of drug smuggling, a rise in drug use of almost every kind and a dearth of funds—and information—needed to fight it." The Star newspaper of Johannesburg, South Africa, stated that according to government statistics, "one in four people living in South Africa are addicted to alcohol or drugs."

The UN Research Institute for Social Development pointed out that "drug producers and traffickers . . . have organized themselves on a global scale and put a significant proportion of their drug profits in financial centres offering secrecy and attractive investment returns. . . . Drug traffickers are now able to launder illicit profits by moving money around the world electronically with few national controls."

It appears that many Americans may handle cocaine daily, albeit unknowingly. An article in Discover magazine explained that most American bank notes bear traces of the drug.

The fact is that today the use of drugs, including illicit drugs, has become acceptable to many, viewed as a part of everyday life. Considering the widely publicized damage caused by illicit drugs as well as tobacco and alcohol, the obvious question is, Why do people abuse them? As we ponder this question, it is a good time to reflect on our own views about drugs.

* Binge drinking was defined as 'consuming five or more drinks in a row for men, and four or more for women.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

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