Welcome to our health library. The information contained here offers a straightforward view of common illnesses and health conditions. This health library, however, should not be intended to substitute a medical consultation with a qualified physician or medical professional.

Acute Disease Management

Chronic Disease Management

Senior Health

Acute Disease Management

An acute disease is something that suddenly appears and worsens rapidly, as distinguished from a chronic condition that develops gradually and takes time to worsen. Moreover, a condition is classified as chronic if the symptoms persist for at least three months.

With the rapid onset of the condition, the symptoms of acute diseases are sudden and having a duration ranging from a few days to a week. As they are sometimes unavoidable, preventive medicine is crucial to avoiding acute diseases.

In many cases, acute diseases are resolved without treatment. Other conditions, however, may require over-the-counter medication or involve a brief stay in the hospital.


Allergy Symptoms

Allergy symptoms are triggered by dust, pollen, pet dander and airborne particles. Certain food items and chemical substances can also bring about these indications, which include frequent sneezing or nasal congestion, watery eyes, skin inflammation and irritation in the digestive system.

Did you know one in five Americans, or about 50 million, are struggling with some form of allergy? As these individuals come into contact with an allergen, it causes their immune system to react, resulting in the appearance of symptoms.

Allergies equally affect both men and women and can develop at any age. For people with a family history of allergy, they are more prone to develop one.

Prevention is the best option to avoid allergy symptoms. For people suffering from nasal allergies, consider the use of facemasks or simply avoid going outside when dust, pollen or airborne particles proliferate. For food allergies, steer clear of the usual items that activate the symptoms.

Common medications to control allergy symptoms include steroid nasal sprays, decongestants, antihistamines and allergy shots.


Bronchitis & Coughs

Coughing is the body’s way of getting rid of mucus or phlegm. Thus, it should not be a cause for alarm if you have a cough. However, if the cough persists and is characterized by thick green or yellow phlegm or accompanied by a high fever or night sweats, it could be a sign of a more serious condition.

Persistent cough is an underlying symptom of bronchitis. Also known as a chest cold, this condition is the inflammation of the airways in the lungs due to too much mucus. There are two types:

Acute Bronchitis: Worse than a regular cold but not as serious as pneumonia, acute bronchitis is triggered by viral infection and aggravated by smoking.

Chronic Bronchitis: This condition can persist up to two or three months and is generally triggered by smoking.

If you notice any irregularities such as prolonged persistence of coughing or the thick texture of mucus, speak with a physician.


Earaches & Ear Infections

Sharp or burning pain is a common indication of an earache. The sensation may range from mild to unbearable. Where fluid is trapped in the ear/s, even if not infected, it may result in bulging and throbbing as the fluid puts pressure on the inner ear.

Earache can also be caused by a cold virus, which usually affects the middle ear. Infections of this nature are extremely painful at the onset.

Symptoms of ear infection may include the following:

    • Loss of appetite, especially in children as ear infection causes pain while swallowing
    • Poor sleep quality, which can contribute to irritability
    • Fever
    • Vertigo
    • Fluid discharge from the affected ear/s
    • Hearing difficulty

 

Should these symptoms persist, speak with a physician.

  • Flu-Like Symptoms
  • Flu, or influenza, is a common respiratory condition that is triggered by infection. A contagious disease, symptoms of flu include fever, headache and muscle soreness. Not all flus are created equal. Some cause mild symptoms while others can make the patient terribly ill.

    Did you know there are about 49,000 mortality cases and over 200,000 hospitalizations every year due to flu? Types A and B are the likely culprits, which include symptoms such as running a high fever and body aches. Type C, on the other hand, has less severe indicators.


    Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis)

    Commonly known as pink eye, conjunctivitis is the swelling or redness of the conjunctiva, the mucus membrane that outlines the surface of the eye and eyelid. Normally the conjunctiva appears clear, but when there is irritation or infection, it turns red.

    In most cases, pink eye goes away between seven and ten days without treatment. The common causes of the condition include:

          • Lack of tears
          • Exposure to sun or wind
          • Contact with chemicals, smoke, fumes or other irritants
          • Allergic reaction

    Proper hygiene is crucial to prevent the spread of pink eye. It is also important to avoid sharing a towel or washcloth. Frequent handwashing also contributes to curtailing the proliferation of the condition.


    Shingles Treatment

    The viral strain that causes chickenpox also triggers shingles. As a result, both conditions share virtually the same symptoms, like the outbreak of blisters or rashes on skin. These indications usually go away within seven to ten days.

    Other symptoms of shingles include itching or stabbing pain felt under the skin. It may also be accompanied by fever, headaches or stomach upset.

    People with low or weakened immune system, under constant stress or who have been ill are at a higher risk for shingles. The same goes for individuals who have had physical trauma or are over the age of 50.

    Treatment for shingles is not focused on curing the condition; rather, it serves to ease the pain or discomfort as well as heal the skin rashes. Antiviral medication, pain relievers and over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are often prescribed to patients suffering from shingles.


    Sinus Infections & Congestion

    Sneezing and a stuffed-up nose are common symptoms of a cold or a sinus infection. Even though it may seem like a cold or a case of nasal congestion, if the condition persists, it may indicate something more serious.

    A common cold is caused by a viral infection. In addition to nasal congestion, the condition is characterized by a runny nose, postnasal drip, fatigue and headaches. These symptoms may gradually peak then slowly go away.

    When the condition involves swelling of the sinuses, causing pain particularly in the areas around the eyes and accompanied by the presence of thick green or yellow mucus, it may be a case of sinus infection.

    Normally the sinuses are hollow and filled with air. But when inflammation, the cavity is filled with fluid and bacteria. Common symptoms of a sinus infection include:

          • Foul-smelling, thick yellow mucus discharge, including postnasal drip
          • Headaches, including pain around the eyes
          • Nasal congestion
          • Cold that doesn’t seem to go away, extending to more than ten days
          • Fever or cough


    Sore & Strep Throat

    Sore throat may accompany a common cold. However, a sore throat usually goes away after a day or two. If it persists, it could be a more serious case of throat irritation or inflammation such as strep throat or tonsillitis.

    Strep throat is caused by the streptococcus bacteria. On the other hand, tonsillitis is the inflammation of the tonsils, which are located at the back of the throat.

    To relieve the pain, drinking warm liquids or gargling saltwater is highly recommended. The patient may also suck on ice chips, which can soothe the inflammation. Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and naproxen can also relieve the pain. For a sore throat caused by postnasal drip, decongestant nasal sprays can greatly soothe the burning sensation. Lozenges and sore-throat sprays are also available options.

    Upper Respiratory Infections

     

    A more severe variant of the common cold is called respiratory syncytial virus infection, commonly referred to as upper respiratory infection. It is a contagious condition that affects children as early as 2 years old.

    While this respiratory disorder is not something to be completely worried about, upper respiratory infections can lead to pneumonia, especially in babies, if not timely and adequately treated.

    An upper respiratory infection attack and manifests like a common cold. It affects the nose, throat, eyes and lungs. Its symptoms include fever, sore throat, earache and nasal congestion.


    Urinary Tract & Bladder Infections

    The urinary tract is a conduit through which urine is carried out of the body. This system includes the kidneys, bladder and their connecting tubes. When bacteria get into these vital organs or components, it results in a condition commonly referred to as urinary tract infection.

    Where the infection is isolated in the bladder, the condition is simply called bladder infection. If treated, it is not serious. However, if not suppressed, the infection can spread to the kidneys, which can pose a serious risk of permanent damage.

    Women are more prone to urinary tract and bladder infections than men. Diabetes and pregnancy can also increase the risk of developing these disorders.

    The common symptoms of urinary tract and bladder infections include:

          • Burning sensation or pain during urination
          • Pain or discomfort in the lower belly
          • Frequent urges to urinate
          • Cloudy, foul-smelling or reddish color in urine
          • Pain in the backside area under the ribs, where the kidneys are situated
          • Nausea, vomiting, fever and/or chills

    Chronic Disease Management

    As distinguished from being acute, chronic disease takes time to develop and worsen. Acute conditions tend to appear all of a sudden and gets worse rapidly. They usually go away in a couple of days or weeks. To be classified as a chronic condition, its symptoms should persist for at least three months.

    Did you know one in three Americans, or about 90 million, are suffering from a chronic condition? While acute conditions generally resolve without treatment, chronic diseases may call for extended care or even hospitalization.

    Chronic diseases like migraine, asthma or back pain may require a change in diet or fitness routine. Kidney disease, on the other hand, calls for regular medication and treatment, including dialysis.


    Stroke

    Sometimes referred to as a “brain attack,” stroke is a condition that occurs when blood flow to the brain is obstructed, resulting in the deprivation of oxygen and glucose.

    Did you know high blood pressure can increase the likelihood of stroke by as much as six times? If uncontrolled or untreated, high blood pressure can lead to hardening of the large arteries, which contributes to obstruction and weakening of the small blood vessels in the brain.

    Common signs of a stroke include the following:

          • Sudden numbness of the face or extremities
          • Sudden and temporary loss of vision, or at least having blurry vision
          • Abrupt dizziness or migraine, which may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting
          • Difficulty swallowing
          • Slurred speech
          • Loss of balance or poor coordination
          • Temporary loss of consciousness


    Hypertension

    Commonly known as high blood pressure, hypertension affects millions of people around the world, including teens and children. This condition is the number-one cause of stroke and a major contributing factor to heart attack. Over 30 percent of American adults are struggling with hypertension.

    Having high blood pressure is a dangerous health condition because it can lead to weakening of the blood vessels, which increases the risk of stroke. Hypertension is also a known risk factor for heart failure.

    If you believe that you or a loved one has high blood pressure, it is important to have a routine checkup. A definite medical diagnosis and timely treatment can help bring blood pressure under control.


    Diabetes Management

    Did you know there are around 23.6 million Americans suffering from diabetes? That’s about 7.8 percent of the U.S. population. Of this figure, close to 18 million have been diagnosed while the remaining 5 million or so have yet to see a physician for a definite medical diagnosis. Every year, this figure increases by 1.6 million on account of 20-year-olds or older diagnosed with this serious, lifelong disease.


    Obesity

    Having too much body fat can be dangerous to one’s health. Obesity contributes to higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and stroke. Thus, it is important to shed excess weight, not just for esthetic purposes but also to save oneself from these health disorders. With a change in diet, physical activity habits and overall lifestyle, one can beat obesity.

    But how much body fat should there be to be classified as obese? Using a BMI (body mass index) measurement, doctors can determine if one is obese or not. Taking into consideration the person’s waist size, height and weight, having a BMI of 30 and higher is considered obese.


    Hyperlipidemia

    Hyperlipidemia is commonly referred to as high cholesterol. This condition arises when there are excess deposits of lipids, or fats, in the blood.

    High cholesterol is a lifelong yet treatable condition. For starters, the patient needs to watch what he or she eats. Food high in saturated fat and trans fat should be avoided so as not to raise the cholesterol level. These food items include fried or processed food, cheese and red meat. Regularly exercise is also highly recommended.

    By lowering the cholesterol to safe levels, the patient will experience a decrease in the risk of many health disorders.


    Cardiac Disease

    Heart disease is one of the leading health disorders with a high mortality risk in the U.S. If you believe you or a loved one has a heart health problem, getting into a cardiac rehabilitation program is highly recommended.

    This program includes a tailored diet and exercise program that is aimed at maintaining a heart-healthy lifestyle for the patient. It also includes education and support to help the patient get over unwanted habits like smoking and get him or her to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

    The main objective of the cardiac rehabilitation program is to improve the patient’s quality of life. With the reduced risk for heart disease, the patient can enjoy an improved outlook on life and emotional stability.

    Patients who have experienced or undergone any of the following can benefit from a cardiac rehabilitation program:

          • Suffering from a cardiovascular disease
          • Recently had a heart attack, heart failure or any cardiac event
          • Underwent a cardiac procedure like heart surgery or angioplasty


    COPD Treatment

    Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD, is a serious, life-long disease that affects the lungs. This condition includes lung disorders like emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Its symptoms include the following:

          • Persistent cough accompanied by thick yellow or green mucus
          • Frequent shortness of breath
          • Tightness in the chest

    Smoking is one of the leading causes of COPD. Years of tobacco exposure can result in damage to the lungs. This causes breathing difficulties for the patient. Unfortunately, the lung damage cannot be undone. If left untreated, COPD can only get worse. Medication and lifestyle changes can prevent further lung damage.


    Arthritis

    Arthritis is a general term used to describe joint inflammation. It commonly occurs in the large joints such as the knees and hips. While inflammation is the body’s natural reaction to injury or disorder, prolonged or recurring inflammation can lead to further damage to the surrounding tissues.

    To facilitate smooth movement, the bones connecting the joints are enveloped by a spongy material known as cartilage; this cushions the bones and absorbs impact that may result from movement of the joint. The joint is also covered in synovial fluid that prevents friction as it moves. For a smooth, friction-less movement, a capsule wraps around the joint.

    In arthritis, the joint becomes inflamed, resulting in pain, limited mobility and stiffness. Joint movement is not smooth, giving the sensation of friction between the bones that comprise the joint.

    Did you know there are over 100 different types of arthritis? The common ones include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and gout.

    Treatment for arthritis includes physical or occupation therapy, regular and controlled exercise, pain relievers and rest. In serious cases, surgery may be required to fix the damage in the affected joint/s.


    Memory Loss Evaluation & Dementia

    Dementia is a mental condition characterized by impairment of the cognitive abilities. A person diagnosed with this disorder may suffer from memory loss or a decline in attention span. Problems may also arise in the patient’s logical reasoning or problem-solving skills, which interferes with the person’s social functioning.

    Temporary confusion or being forgetful is not dementia but may result from the use of medication, an underlying health condition or exposure to certain substances.

    Did you know 1 percent of 60-year-olds and above in the U.S. have reportedly suffered from dementia? The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. The causes of dementia include brain injury or infection, brain tumors, HIV infection, multiple sclerosis and stroke. This mental disorder is not caused by major depression.

    Treatment of dementia is aimed at managing the symptoms. In severe cases, medications are prescribed to slow progression of the cognitive decline.

    Senior Health

    It is undeniable that some diseases become more prominent as one ages. In addition, there may be psychosocial issues that contribute to physical and mental health decline in the elderly. With routine screening tests and preventive medical care, older adults can enjoy healthier, happier lives.

    As people age, there are physiological changes that are happening in the body. In most cases, these changes are accompanied by health challenges that are, unfortunately, a natural part of aging.

    However, not all bodily changes are indicative of health distress. Thus, it is important to be aware of which changes are associated with an underlying disease and to adopt measures to prevent these conditions from getting worse.

    So what aging-related bodily changes are to be expected? Here are some of them:

    Skin becomes more susceptible to bruising. Wrinkles, age spots and skin tags also become more noticeable. As natural oil production is diminished, the skin tends to be more itchy and dry as one ages.

    Older adults tend to be more prone to fractures. Bone density decreases while muscles shrink. As a result, wear and tear is common as the musculoskeletal system becomes weaker. Mobility and balance are also greatly affected.

    With an aging musculoskeletal system comes vertebral alteration. If you’ll notice, older adults tend to have shorter body stature due to a noticeable curvature of their back. With the considerable muscle loss, they also tend to have fat primarily distributed to their abdomen and buttocks.

    Memory lapses tend to occur more frequently – although minor memory problems do not necessarily denote Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.

    These are just some of the physiological changes that older adults experience as their age advances.


    Vision & Hearing Problems

    As people age, hearing and vision tends to suffer. Older adults tend to suffer from hearing loss; higher frequencies are more difficult for them to hear.

    Age-related vision problems are also prevalent with age. Older adults may experience blurry, out-of-focus vision. Their eyes may require corrective glasses or contact lenses to improve eyesight.


    Sleeping Difficulty

    Sleeping patterns tend to change as people age. These changes may affect the quality and duration of sleep as well as alter sleeping and waking hours. Facing the difficulty of going to sleep, here are some pointers to bear in mind to improve sleep quality:

          • Staying physically active during the day can help regulate sleep.
          • Drinking alcohol or coffee, especially near bedtime, may affect sleeping patterns.
          • Limit daytime naps to 30 minutes at the most.
          • If chronic conditions like arthritis are causing sleeping problems, speak with a physician.


    Balance Issues

    Did you know fall-related injuries are the leading cause of long-term disability and pain in older adults? Balance issues are generally borne out of age-related deterioration of bones, joints and muscles in the elderly. As a result, older adults tend to have more limited mobility. Incorporating balance and strength training can greatly reduce the risk of falling in the elderly.


    Senior Nutrition

    The key to sustainable good health is a healthy diet. This is especially true for the elderly. With the right intake of essential nutrients, the risk of developing serious, lifelong conditions like heart disease, hypertension and certain cancers is greatly diminished.

    A good diet consists of fruits and vegetables, fish, whole grains and fiber. Saturated and trans fat should be minimized, if not eliminated completely in one’s diet. Fluid intake is also a crucial component for maintaining good health.

    For older adults suffering from heart or kidney disease, certain dietary restrictions may need to be observed, such as limiting salt or fluid intake. Carbohydrates may have to be restricted for those with diabetes.

    While the quality of food is the main focus, its quantity should not be neglected. Moderation is another important aspect to a good, healthy diet. As much as possible, older adults need to aim for a daily calorie intake of 1,500 to 2,000, unless otherwise prescribed. Empty calories should be avoided, as well. While high in calorie content, food and beverages like chips, donuts, sodas and alcohol do not offer good nutritional value.


    Osteoporosis

    Osteoporosis is fragility of the bones, contributing to a higher risk of fractures. Bone density gradually declines after age 35. In addition, women are more predisposed to bone loss right after menopause. People with osteoporosis generally have no idea they have the condition until fractures have occurred.

    Family history and vitamin deficiency are the two most common risk factors for osteoporosis. Smoking and alcohol consumption are the other key contributing factors. People who have a personal history of rheumatoid arthritis or have had fractures before also have a higher risk for osteoporosis.

    Calcium and vitamin D are essential nutrients that help strengthen the bones and fight osteoporosis. To improve one’s chances against this bone condition, adequate exercise is also essential. Quitting tobacco and alcoholic beverages is also highly advisable.