Tag: St. Ives

August 6, 2018

Image credit: bigstockphoto.com

-by Dr. Lawrence Oshiogwe

 

How many times have you disregarded suspected health issues with your kids just because you think such are normal for their ages? Like the persistently irritated infant running some bit of temperature that you presumed is a sign of teething? And how often have you resorted to self-medication in treating some health-related issues in your child because you “felt’ you knew what was wrong?

We all do it many times or have done it severally; but how wrong have we always been… and most importantly how dangerous a habit this actually is. My meaning of kids here covers all children below the puberty age: from neonates to toddlers and all the way to pre-teens and adolescents.

By virtue of being kids, these younger ones rely on us adults to nurture and protect them. At some stage, they cannot express themselves, and at other stages they cannot sufficiently explain themselves; so, when they are affected by infirm conditions, it is expected of us to help them fight off ailments and regain good health.

The best way to go is to first understand their situation, and the best way to start is to get them to qualified medical personnel instead of applying unprofessional guesswork that may put them in greater jeopardy.

You may be right that certain conditions such as little temperature or frequent eating is nothing to worry about. However, some of the symptoms you think are normal could portend a high risk to your child’s health, either in the short or long term. Thus, you may run into problems if you can’t figure out that margin between the normal nature of kids, and the red flags signaling something more serious.

In addition, those signs that you assumed you know could be entirely signaling something else. Thus, your self-medication could be making a bad situation worse. Therefore, when it comes to kids, please NEVER GUESS and NEVER SELF-MEDICATE A CHILD.

So, to help you take notice of these signs of health danger, I have outlined the most common six of them. The article will expose you to various consequences of these symptoms you are not aware of. It will also prepare you to take the right steps once you find out about them.

 

Sleeping Disorders

So, your child is sleeping significantly more or less than you deem normally appropriate. Wait, before you start off with the usual assumptions of laziness or exhaustion, and exert all energy on correcting the behavior, keep it in mind that this may not be medically unrelated. And It’s best you start your corrective measures with appropriate medical evaluation.

Dr. Charles Ezeh of St. Ives with a family and their baby

 It’s not always laziness, exhaustion or boredom. Children with upper respiratory tract obstruction, obesity, anxiety and depression drill into sleep for longer hours than other kids.

Most sleeping disorders are attributed to psychiatric and emotional disorders. If this is becoming frequent, and non-responsive to behavioral attempts at treatments, you should check with the doctor before taking further medical steps.

 

Weight Issues

Suddenly you might realize that your kid is losing or gaining weight. Either way, it will be obvious enough for you to notice.

Interestingly, I have come to notice that most parents take pleasure in their children putting on weight: I have heard them justify children adding weight as just developing the kid’s stature, signs of good feeding by them the parents etc. As such, they take pride in this development especially among other parents. On the other hand, some others will claim losing weight is related to a child growing taller.

The truth is that none of those justifications should cause conspicuously significant changes in a child’s weight, and I will explain how such weight issues can affect your kids, negatively.

First, adding immense weight is moving your kid towards obesity, and that clearly says something is wrong. It could have been caused by poor diet (which parents mistake for good feeding), genetics, sedentary lifestyle or stress.

Irrespective of the reason, a child piling on the weight, if not curtailed, could lead to diabetics, heart diseases, joint pain and asthma. And likewise, that extreme weight loss in children could be symptomatic of one serious disease or another?

So, when you notice that your kid is increasing or reducing in weight significantly, you need to speak to a pediatrician or any medical practitioner as early as possible.

 

Mood Swings and Inconsistency of Behavior

Children’s health magazine, Healthy Children, reported that mood swings in kids could stem from dysthymic disorder, major depressive disorder (MDD), and bipolar disorder. These will also be characterised by chronic low-grade depression, persistent irritability, and low self-esteem.

Image credit: bigstockphoto.com

All of these affect kids’ behaviour immensely. So, please don’t be quick to dismiss any of these signs as normal tantrum.

You might just be seeing the mood swings, but without a closer look or a medical examination, you wouldn’t understand the underlining issue(s). Poor appetite or overeating, insomnia, fatigue low self-esteem and poor concentration are other associated symptoms you should look out for.

Most parents make the mistake of passing these over as a mere ‘child’ thing. However, it could degenerate into total mental breakdown for the kid. And unfortunately, the longer it stays untreated, the more complicated it becomes.

What are you still waiting for? You can speak to one of our expert child health physicians right away.

 

High Fever

Probably because high temperature is quite common on daily basis and accepted that you shouldn’t freak out each time your child’s temperature is high, it is not regarded as a situation worthy of serious attention. Hey, remember we are discussing children here who might not be able to accurately express themselves, so you need to keep an eye out for the extreme points and/or other accompanying signs.

 

Image credit: bigstockphoto.com

When you notice that the temperature is accompanied by fatigue, poor appetite, cough and sore throats, it’s high time you visit the doctor. In no time, and if you delay in treating it, ear pain, vomiting, seizure and diarrhea could join the symptoms.

There is a stage worse than rising temperature that you shouldn’t allow your kid’s condition to get to, as then it might be too serious. Once the first line of symptoms come, get your child attended to, and treated by relevant medical personnel.

 

Frequent Sore Throats

If your child has runny nose, cough, sore ears, tiredness and a poor appetite, don’t merge everything into cold and catarrh. It could also have an element of fever and sore throat.

The sore throat is not the main problem here. It might have been a symptom of flu, glandular fever or streptococcal infection, all of which are extremely uncomfortable for a child.

So, when again you find these symptoms running along with sore throat, don’t wait another minute before you call the doctor.

 

Breathing Problems

I know that cold and cough cause difficulty in breathing, but when this is happening repeatedly, whether there is cold or not, you need to seek medical attention.

Health encyclopedia, Patient.info, lists viral infections, bacterial infections, asthma, allergies, passive smoking, exposure to pollution, blockage of the airway by an inhaled object or cystic fibrosis, as issues that could affect breathing in children.

Given its very important role in sustaining life, you should be proactive in reporting any breathing issue to a doctor. You can’t be sure of what’s actually wrong until you seek medical help.

Children are delicate creatures that must be properly monitored, nurtured and cared for, more so as they rely on us adults to help them navigate the rough terrain of life called growing up, therefore, you need specialist child nurses and pediatricians to thoroughly check on your child’s health and ensure any symptom such as discussed above or others do not escalate and become fatal.

And that’s exactly what we offer at St Ives Specialist Hospital.

We seek to help you have a perfectly healthy family, and your child’s health is a big part of that. Our pediatric practice is not restricted to children delivered in our family clinics, we are happy to help with your child, regardless of their age. Contact us now to book your appointment.

 

About the author:

Dr. Lawrence Oshiogwe is an expert Child Health Physician and Head of Pediatrics at St. Ives Specialist Hospital, Ikeja. You can book an appointment for consultation with him or any of our specialists at 

 

 

August 6, 2018

 

“Prevention is better than cure” might be a cliché, but the expression is one of the truest gospels when it comes to healthcare. However, it is quite ironic that when it comes to people’s wellbeing, preventative measures are often neglected in favor of curative measures.

In a November 2016 report, the Centre for Disease Control, CDC estimated that preventable deaths from 5 leading causes which were diseases of the heart, cancers, stroke, chronic lower respiratory diseases (CLRD such as asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema), and unintentional injuries (accidents) accounted for 63 percent of deaths in that year in the United States.

Though the statistics cited above is from the United States, the utter disregard of preventative medicine in Nigeria is a widespread social habit with morbid repercussions on many levels. We have this endemic apathy to preventative medicine that is telling hard on community health across board.

A Shocking statistics showed that 70% of pregnancy-related deaths in Nigeria could be attributed to preventable diseases; diarrhoea has a 10% death rate in the country due to poor prevention; while malaria claims hundreds of thousands of lives every year because we fail to take the most basic prevention steps.

This unpleasant collective phenomenon is only an apt reflection of our reactive nature as a people on personal levels. When last did you visit the hospital for a quick check up? Better still, what deliberate steps are you taking to keep yourself healthy? Unfortunately, not many Nigerians can answer that positively. But what do we expect when only 30% of health facilities are public and affordable? And a mere 43% of the people are the only ones with access to quality health care. Meanwhile, government funding of the health sector keeps diminishing.

Notwithstanding the trend highlighted above, each one of us has the responsibility to adopt preventative medicine on our own and imbibe it religiously in order to influence the larger collectives, because it is the best way to go in living consistently healthy lives.

 

What is preventative medicine?

Preventative medicine are deliberate measures or interventions taken with the purpose of eliminating or reducing the risks or threats of impending diseases or injuries well before the onset of symptoms. For example, routine Pap tests for women or prostate exams for men. Medications, like low-dose daily aspirin therapy, and counselling services, such as nutrition and exercise guidance, are also examples of preventative care and services.

There are three main categories: primary prevention aims to stop diseases or injuries before they ever occur; secondary prevention involves reducing the impact of a disease or injury that has already occurred; while, tertiary prevention entails softening the impact of an ongoing illness or injury that has lasting effects.

Since our focus is on actual prevention, I will highlight seven simple but essential types of preventative medicine that basically fall under primary and secondary preventive care. These are proven strategies that you can adopt right away as they are effective in deterring diseases and minimizing negative impacts so you enjoy a consistently healthy lifestyle.

 

Lifestyle Modifications

Everything about preventative medicine is lifestyle medicine. It goes beyond regular hospital visits or occasional buying of insecticides to kill mosquitoes. It involves a set of activities that are applicable to every aspect of our daily lives, and which must be consistently practiced. Simply put: It is A Lifestyle.

From what we eat to how and when we eat. From how we work to how and how much we rest and play.

It starts with a decision to live a healthy life, followed by making a number of health-preserving choices across various aspects of our life. These set of choices must also be matched with the sacrifice of cutting out hazardous activities or habits that endanger health. Finally, the preventive step must be cemented by religiously consistent practice and the determination to not fail.

From the above, it is clear that preventative lifestyle is a give and take practice: you take up some habits, and you do away with certain others in order to have that overall positive balance that boosts and sustains good health.

For example, a decision to start eating healthy diet and exercising will not yield desired result if you are still smoking and taking excessive alcohol. Or the measure to use insecticide treated net to ward off malaria attacks will be jeopardized if you do not practice strict personal hygiene, especially with regards to food handling to keep away infections and other communicable diseases.

Preventative medicine is wholistic and the lifestyle modifications undertaken must be comprehensive enough to protect us from both physical and mental impairments. More importantly is to start by identifying and doing away with certain habits that constitute health hazards as we take the steps to start eating right, drinking right, working right, sleeping right and living right.

 

Regular Health Assessments

Ideally, everyone: man, woman and child, should have scheduled regular visits to the doctor for brief checks and assessments of our health. This is important on so many levels, but more so because early detection of some unavoidable serious ailments like cancers helps in successfully fighting them or minimizing their unpleasant impacts. But we have this wrong and damaging mindset in Nigeria that regular medical checks are only for the rich.

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Diseases have both obvious and subtle symptoms, which means you may not have any idea of an impending danger. During such sessions, the assessments and diagnostic procedures will check for symptoms of impending ailments, minor or otherwise such as diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and a few other conditions you won’t usually detect on your own such as screenings for various types of cancers.

At St. Ives, one of our foremost services is our comprehensive checks and assessments offerings for men and women. These entail a set of specialized tests, procedures and screenings carefully packaged for both individual and corporate clients, with the aim of helping them identify their health status on different fronts so as to perform better and live more fulfilling lives.

 

Routine Vaccination

Here, the medical practitioner provides injection medications that protect against deadly diseases such as polio, measles and bumps. Also known as immunization, this is mostly applicable to children. However, adults may need to be immunized in certain cases like women getting immunized against cervical cancer.

Routine vaccinations for children are mostly free and can be easily accessed in most medical facilities, but with thousands of children dying yearly to those diseases, it is safe to conclude that the general public’s approach to this aspect of preventive medicine is considerably poor, and thus needs improving.

This is another reason you need to count on us on all issues around family care. We make it our priority to ensure your new-borns enjoy perfect health in their starts to life, and that involves compulsory vaccinations against most common and deadly diseases, especially with our WHO approved EPI, the Expanded Program on Immunization made available for children delivered in our hospitals and those registered with us after birth.

Women are also advised to go for vaccinations in form of test kits meant to prevent cases like cancer of any kind. There also medications with calcium, vitamins, iron and folic acid, all working to keep the bones strong and help prevent complications during pregnancy.

 

Hygiene Awareness

Tuberculosis, meningitis, hepatitis, diarrhoea, cholera… The leading causes of death in Nigeria are communicable diseases. And communicable diseases are infections that are easily preventable.

The high prevalence and fatality of these infectious diseases is a direct testament to the appalling level of our hygiene practices as a people. This is in spite of repeated calls by medical practitioners and several other organizations for improved hygiene awareness and practice in the country.

What is required is a concerted increase in levels of personal hygiene, which starts basically with inculcating the habit of regular handwashing; but people only take up handwashing when there is outbreaks of epidemics, and they are quick to revert to their previous unhygienic habits soon after the epidemics is contained. We can and should do better.

Other hygienic practices should include ensuring clean and safe drinking water, strict food hygiene, and personal grooming.

 

Fitness Regimen

We can’t over-emphasize the importance of physical activities in health maintenance. From burning excess calories and keeping the heart active to ensuring seamless blood flow throughout the body, exercise has clear impacts on a healthy lifestyle.

With reduced calories, you are free from the fear of gaining unnecessary weight. Exercises decreases the deposits of cholesterol, thereby preventing health conditions like stroke, depression and diabetics.

As simple as taking a walk up your street for a few minutes or early morning jugs, you will be keeping yourself fit. The physiological impacts cuts across every body structure, ensuring to keep everything in balance.

An insight from Mayo Clinic adds that physical exercise enhances your mood, sends energy high, promotes better sleep and reward you with an active sex life.
So, what’s stopping you from creating an exercise schedule right now?

 

Smoking Cessation

The devastating hazards of poisonous air to health and wellbeing of human beings cannot be overemphasized. Tobacco remains the leading preventable cause of death in the world as it is found to be a major factor in four out of the five leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung disease and stroke. It causes about a third of heart disease and cancer, and most emphysema.

Therefore, conscious efforts must therefore be made to STOP SMOKING and keep the air around you and your loved ones free of smoke as much as possible in all areas that you inhabit such as the home, workplace, schools and playground.

This requires even more vigilance and steadfastness because most times, you are not the one committing the act. So, even if you don’t smoke yourself, watch out for, and avoid inhaling side-stream smoke and/or carbon monoxide from burning elements or exhaust from vehicles in traffic.

 

Health Insurance

Finally, this is one area that Nigerians really need to inculcate into their lives.
Beyond taking away the burden of having to ‘pay-out-of-pocket’ for healthcare, the benefits of having health insurance or subscribing to managed-care plans are manifold and far-reaching.

Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) plans are fundamentally focused on wellness and illness prevention with the core philosophy that these preventative measures are more cost-effective than treating chronic conditions that develop due to negligence or lack of screening.

Therefore, HMOs make preventative medicine easier. Most of their plans come with predefined schedules that cover regular assessments and screening tests, based on a patient’s age, sex and other risk factors. Common preventative services found in managed-care plans include routine physical exams, some adult immunizations, routine gynaecological exams and Pap-smear tests for women, mammographic screening for women over 40, as well as paediatric care and immunizations.

One such managed care organization is Ives Medicare HMO that offers reliable plans that cover year-round health assessment benefits is Ives Medicare. You just need to subscribe to a plan that suits you among the available options for a low monthly fee. Then, the rest is up to you.

 

Conclusion

It does feel great when you can avoid health complications before it surfaces at all. However, it won’t happen on its own as it takes serious committed work.

By observing the seven steps here highlighted in addition to others, you can enjoy all-round good health and wellbeing, saving you high hospital bills, time wasted, as well as the pain and inconvenience of treating full-blown diseases or injuries.

Do you need help keeping to any of these disease prevention methods? We can provide you with insights, approaches and steps to take to imbibe them as a lifestyle. Add your comment about your struggles below, and let’s take it up from there.

 

About The Author

Dr. Babatunde Okewale is a UK trained Obstetrician, Gynecologist and a leading fertility expert, heading the St. Ives Healthcare Group in Nigeria.

May 30, 2018

 

It might come as a surprise to many that infertility is a big issue in our society, but this is not news to those of us in medical practice, especially in women health services. The causes of this high incidence are many and they vary from social to environmental and to medical factors, either separately or combined.

Infertility is described as when efforts to get pregnant fail repeatedly for up to one year or more, of regular unprotected intercourse. While the challenge affects both men and women in more ways than one, almost half of all the cases are traceable to the female folks. And an alarming report claims that one in every six women has had to deal with infertility at one point of her life.

But one reason the problem persists in most cases is not unconnected to the fact that many women or couples refuse to acknowledge that it is a problem the fact they are struggling to conceive, till well into the woman’s late thirties or forties when the quality of her eggs is naturally diminished.

Some of the causes are attached to lifestyle patterns and habits, and others are health challenges that could be medically avoided or treated. However, whether you’re just considering having your own kids, or you have already encountered infertility in some ways, understanding the causes from the medical perspectives will put you in a better position to achieve the pregnancy you so desire.

In that case, this article will give you some ideas of what usually causes infertility. When it happens, you have a list to run through first without having to panic.

 

Harmful Consumption Habits

Before we even talk about diseases and other unnatural issues associated with infertility, you should realize that your eating and/or drinking habits could be the problem. Saving yourself from infertility could be as simple as switching this into the positive.

How do you expect your system to remain balanced when you love heavy smoking? Oh, you don’t smoke yourself? But you hang out in lounges and nightclubs… those environments where side-stream smoke is the air people breathe and which sadly is actually more harmful to the human body.

Smoking and inhaling smokes damage the efficiency of female hormones that are connected to your reproduction system. And the same goes for the consumption of excess sugar and/or high cholesterol, which could lead to diabetes and/or being overweight, both of which could hamper the normal activities of the female reproductive systems.

 

Radiation

If you have undergone certain medical procedures involving radiation such as chemotherapy, your reproductive system might have been affected.

Radiation is capable of disrupting the interactions between hormones and body systems that regulate ovulation.

And you will agree that without that taking place efficiently, pregnancy remains far away.

 

Genetic Disorders

Have you checked the possibility of your infertility being hereditary? Does your mother, or older siblings have a similar experience?

A defect in genetics could pass down through generations, which signifies an inherent infertility. It could be a recurring malfunction of the ovaries, fallopian tubes or any other body parts.

 

Excess Prolactin Hormone

There is a little bit of irony here in this case also referred to as hyperprolactinemia, the condition when a woman has the prolactin hormone in excess.

This is because prolactin is one of the major hormones that make women, women. It develops the breasts and helps produce breast milk.

Ideally, the level is higher during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and this is so as to make you less likely to conceive while breastfeeding a baby or you are currently pregnant.

However, when the hormone is active at a time you’re not doing any of the two, the reproductive system is suppressed. Ovulation becomes irregular, before completely stopping, and this will lead to infertility.

 

Premature Ovarian Syndrome

This is when the quality and number of eggs produced in the ovary are abysmally low in a young woman. The two factors reduces the possibility for conception.

It could be as a result of surgical injuries to the ovaries or exposure to toxins during surgical procedures. The syndrome is also congenital, transferring down the family line.

Some of the symptoms you may find include irregular or absent periods, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, mood swings, and insomnia.

 

Blockage of the Fallopian Tube

Fallopian tubes help with transmitting eggs and sperms. It is also the nexus for the two to fertilize. However, when there is a blockage of the tube in one area or perhaps each side, natural pregnancy is not likely.

This could have been caused by sexually transmitted infections (STI) such as Chlamydia, or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). The more you allow such infections to linger in your body, the more you are at risk of tubal occlusion.

 

Abnormal Growth of Endometrium

The endometrium is the tissue that lines the uterus. It thickens and grows every menstrual cycle, preparing the uterus for the fertilised egg. But when there is no pregnancy, it is ejected through menstruation.

The abnormality comes when endometrium grows outside of the uterus, into the lungs, fallopian tubes or ovaries. Extremely painful menstrual period, pelvic pains, and pain during defecation or urination accompany it.

Growing outside the uterus means it blocks away the uterus, and this may prevent an egg from getting to the fallopian tubes. Hence, pregnancy can’t happen.

 

Dysfunction of the Thyroid

Thyroid gland is part of the endocrine system. It produces hormones that regulate metabolism and energy in the body.

However, the challenge comes when this hormone is being produced in inadequate proportion. It leads to irregular ovulation, thereby making it difficult to conceive.

If you have thyroid dysfunction, you may experience fatigue, weight gain, frequently feeling cold, depression, anxiety, insomnia, and unusual weight.

 

Hormonal Imbalance

Hormones like androgen are male hormones for the development of physiological characteristics. It should ideally be at the lowest level in women, but when the case is otherwise, infertility is bound to happen.

When you have irregular or absent menstrual cycles, acne, oily skin, abnormal hair growth, and obesity, it is very likely that your androgen levels are higher than normal.

Likewise when the delicate communication between the pituitary gland, the ovaries and the follicles does not work properly, ovulation does not occur.

Imbalance hormone causes irregular ovulation, or sometimes stops it from happening at all. The condition is so virulent that it is sometimes responsible for miscarriages.

 

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

A significant number of STIs are deadlier than people generally acknowledge, hence are not strongly prevented or treated.

For example, chlamydia and gonorrhea are two of the most virulent STIs responsible for infertility. They eat deep into the female reproductive systems, disrupting the normal flow of activities.

If you want to know whether you have either of these, you can look out for symptoms like pelvic pain, spotting, and unusual discharges.

There is also the Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), which clogs the fallopian tube, and prevents fertilization from taking place.

 

Conclusion

Now that you have learnt about the most common causes of infertility we have seen over the years. If taken to heart, you can be more observant and aware of yourself, your body and organs in particular whenever you’re having issues conceiving or suspect such to be the case.

More importantly, it is strongly advised that you take any concerns you might have or suspect to your medical doctor or a trusted relevant medical practitioner in good time, so that a proper check and analysis can be made regarding what the issue could be.

I believe that this will help you make informed decisions when seeking treatment, or trying to prevent infertility from happening at all. Just like in general healthcare, the earlier the better. This is true for issues relating to infertility in women or problems with conception.

Our approach at St Ives IVF/Fertility practice is result-oriented because we are focused on getting you results. We only stop when you have the bundle of joy you desire in your loving arms. You just need to book an appointment now, and you can be one of our remarkable success stories.

 

About The Author

Dr. Osahon Ede-Edokpolor is an obstetrician-gynecologist, and a fertility expert with the ST. Ives IVF/Fertility Unit. He is also the Chief Medical Officer at St. Ives Specialist Hospital, Ikoyi, Lagos.