2 Jun 2023
Alzheimer’s And Brain Awareness Month "100 billion nerve cells" "100 trillion synapses" "Dozens of neurotransmitters" Yeah! That's huge in numbers. Did you know that this "strength in numbers" is the raw material for your brain? If not, then pack your tools and get ready! Let us examine the intricate workings of the brain and delve into the new world named Alzheimer's disease this Alzheimer’s and brain awareness month 2023. As we welcome you to our exceptional Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness month Blog, prepare to ignite your mind for an intellectual journey to the absolute limits of neuroscience, unraveling the perplexing complexity of the brain and revealing the profound truths concealed therein. I bet your understanding of the human brain will be permanently revolutionized at the end of this journey. Whether you are a carer looking for advice, a healthcare professional on the front lines, or simply someone curious about the fascinating region of the human brain, then this blog is a sanctuary of knowledge and hope. June is Alzheimer’s and brain awareness month. So, supporters, volunteers, health professionals, carers, and family gather every June month to raise Alzheimer's and brain awareness. We think that by raising awareness and educating the public about Alzheimer's disease, we can eliminate the stigma associated with the disease and build a brighter future for those impacted by it. Within this digital page, we go on a mind-bending journey through the magnificent tapestry of Alzheimer's disease, a disorder that calls into question the very core of our humanity. We shall uncover the surprising secrets at the heart of this puzzling disorder as we travel the complex halls of memory and cognition. INSIDE YOUR BRAIN; 3 POUNDS - 3 PARTS Your brain is the most powerful organ in your body, yet it weighs only roughly three pounds and has the consistency of hard jelly. The brain has three main parts. * Cerebrum: The cerebrum occupies the majority of your skull. It aids with memory, problem-solving, thinking, and feeling. It is also in charge of the movement. * Cerebellum: The cerebellum is located beneath the cerebrum at the rear of your skull. It is in charge of coordination and balance. * Brain Stem: The brain stem is located underneath the cerebrum and before the cerebellum. It bridges the brain and spinal cord and regulates automatic functions like breathing, digestion, heart rate, and blood pressure. Education and awareness are two important effective methods to enhance brain health for yourself and others. Looking for a method to stay up to date? Here are five interesting facts you should know about Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia: 1. ALZHEIMER'S DISEASE AND DEMENTIA KEY FACTS Alzheimer's disease is a progressive brain disorder [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/neurology/alzheimers-causes-symptoms-treatment] that usually begins with modest memory loss, disorientation, and trouble solving problems. As it continues, it can evolve into more severe symptoms, such as the inability to communicate, recognize loved ones, and perform basic chores. If you or your loved one has dementia, you are already aware of many difficulties with neurodegenerative (brain-based) conditions. We all know that dementia-related memory loss, cognitive decline, and communication lapses can have disastrous effects. * Alzheimer's disease affects about 6 million Americans. This figure is expected to climb to approximately 13 million by 2050 [https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/facts-figures]. * More than 4 million people in India [https://www.alz.org/in/dementia-alzheimers-en.asp] suffer from some form of dementia. * Alzheimer's disease or similar dementia affects one out of every three seniors. It claims the lives of more individuals than breast and prostate cancer combined. * At 45, the lifetime risk of Alzheimer's disease is one in five for women and one in ten for males. * An adult brain has approximately 100 billion nerve cells. * The most common type of cell damaged by Alzheimer's disease is neurons. 2. TREATMENTS ARE AVAILABLE, BUT THERE IS NO CURE. Alzheimer's disease is the 7th leading cause of death [https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/deaths.htm#:~:text=Number%20of%20deaths%20for%20leading,Accidents%20(unintentional%20injuries)%3A%20224%2C935] in the United States. Alzheimer's illness currently has no cure. However, there are medications available that can temporarily alleviate the symptoms. Medicines for Alzheimer's disease symptoms are only one component of dementia therapy. Other therapies, activities, and support, including support for carers, are equally vital in assisting individuals with dementia to live well. Meanwhile, be aware that medicines are available to help slow the onset of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia. Certain drugs can help reduce daily symptoms, allowing people with dementia to live better. Other drugs are available to assist in treating the anxiety and sleep problems common in Alzheimer's patients. 3. RECOGNISE THE COMMON SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS Only some senior citizens get cognitive checkups. When you visit a healthcare professional; it is important to remain informed about the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer's and other forms of dementia, such as, * Memory lapses * Issues acknowledging relatives and friends * Item losing * Difficulties with daily chores such as dressing * Extraordinary emotional outbursts * Poor decision-making and judgment * Reading, writing, or communication issues Although these symptoms do not always indicate Alzheimer's disease or dementia, it is necessary to utilize the month of June to examine your or a loved one's behavior. 4. EARLY DETECTION AND SCREENING Get the Key to the brain! Early identification of degenerative diseases can make or break intervention and treatment choices. When you or a loved one visits your primary care physician, mention concerns about changing behavior, memory loss, or concentration lapses. Your primary care doctor may be able to ask some preliminary questions to determine whether you are at risk of Alzheimer's. In some circumstances, you may be directed to a professional who will assess your cognitive and psychological status. 5. FIVE COOL TIPS TO PROMOTE BRAIN HEALTH * Recommit to "Brain-Healthy Habits," such as regular exercise, eating healthy nutrition, hitting the books, stumping yourself with strategy games, and catching some ZZZs. * Return to normal at your own pace; many people are nervous about returning to normal life after the pandemic, so it's important to return to your normal routine at a pace that doesn't make you anxious. Follow your heart and reduce the risk factors for cardiovascular diseases. * Help individuals and heads up; studies show that being helpful to others reduces stress and anxiety. As helping others, it is also important to help yourself while driving and performing sports activities by wearing helmets. * Unplug and Buddy up; experts warn that excessive stimulation from our phones, laptops, social media platforms, and news headlines might exacerbate our already elevated anxiety levels. Make time during your day to disconnect from electronics. Sometimes, staying engaged through social media may support your brain health. It is important to balance the unplug and buddy-up strategy. * Manage stress before it controls you; according to the Alzheimer's Association, chronic or repetitive stress can wear down and damage the brain, resulting in major health problems such as depression, anxiety disorders, memory loss, and an elevated risk of dementia. Stress can be effectively managed through meditation, exercise, music, or a favorite activity. TAKE THE LEAD AND GO PURPLE. In June, Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month promotes awareness of the disease, its impact on individuals and families, and the significance of early identification and diagnosis. People can show their support by wearing a purple ribbon. The purple Alzheimer's awareness ribbon symbolizes the struggle against Alzheimer's disease and the hope for a cure. We stand in awe of the huge impact that this exploration has had on our understanding and compassion as we conclude our journey through the intricate landscapes of Alzheimer's and brain awareness. We delved into the human mind, revealing the complexities of Alzheimer's disease and putting light on the hardships that individuals and families impacted by this condition endure. Keep in mind that the journey doesn't end here. It is a never-ending quest driven by curiosity, empathy, and an unyielding commitment to make a difference. We have the potential to bring change to National Alzheimer's and brain awareness day by working together to create a world where understanding and support flourish.
31 May 2023
World No Tobacco Day The World Health Organization (WHO) initiated "world no tobacco day" to underscore the harmful effects of tobacco. World no tobacco day was first marked on May 31, 1987, after passing the resolution in the committee to stop the tobacco epidemic and prevent deaths due to high tobacco consumption. This special day is honored every 31st of May to primarily educate individuals about the many risks associated with tobacco consumption and its harmful effects on society. THEME AND OBJECTIVE The theme of world no tobacco day 2023 is "We need food, not tobacco." Global campaign aims to raise awareness among tobacco farmers about alternative crop production and marketing opportunities. It promotes sustainable and nutritious crop cultivation while exposing the tobacco industry's interference in transitioning from tobacco farming. The campaign's overarching objective is to contribute to addressing the global food crisis. On world no tobacco day 2023, read this article to gain insights regarding the process of tobacco production and its destructive effects on humankind and some tips to quit tobacco. CONSEQUENCES OF TOBACCO According to a WHO report, tobacco consumption causes 8 million deaths [https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/tobacco#:~:text=Tobacco%20kills%20more%20than%208,exposed%20to%20second%2Dhand%20smoke] every year across the globe. Consuming Tobacco in any form can cause harmful effects on your body, reduce your lifespan, and the quality of life declines as it is the major risk factor for several diseases. Tobacco can have adverse effects on every organ in the body. Health Risks: Tobacco use is a leading cause of preventable diseases and premature death. It is associated with various health problems, including lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), heart disease, stroke, respiratory infections, and various types of cancers (such as mouth, throat, bladder, and pancreas). Addiction: Tobacco contains nicotine, a highly addictive substance. Regular tobacco use can lead to nicotine dependence, making it challenging for individuals to quit or reduce their tobacco consumption. Respiratory Issues: Smoking damages the respiratory system, leading to shortness of breath, persistent coughing, wheezing, and increased susceptibility to respiratory infections such as bronchitis and pneumonia. Cardiovascular Problems: Tobacco use significantly increases the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and stroke. Smoking damages blood vessels, increases blood pressure, reduces oxygen levels in the blood, and promotes the formation of blood clots. Harm to Others: Secondhand smoke, which is the smoke exhaled by the smoker or emitted from the burning end of a cigarette, poses health risks to those exposed. Secondhand smoke has been linked to respiratory problems, heart disease, and lung cancer in nonsmokers, particularly children, and individuals with pre-existing health conditions. Harm to the Unborn: Pregnant women who smoke or, when exposed to secondhand smoke have a higher risk of complications such as premature birth, low birth weight, miscarriage, stillbirth, and developmental issues in their babies. Financial Burden: Tobacco use is expensive where smokers results in spending a significant amount of money on cigarettes or other tobacco products, which can strain their finances over time. Social and Environmental Impact: Smoking is increasingly restricted in public places due to its harmful effects on public health. The smell and smoke from tobacco can be unpleasant and irritating to others, leading to social isolation and limitations on where individuals can smoke. TIPS TO QUIT TOBACCO "One small step to quit tobacco, one giant leap towards a healthier you." * Attend tobacco cessation counseling. * Consider using nicotine replacement products [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5003586/]such as patches, gum, lozenges, or inhalers to help manage cravings. * Join a quit-smoking [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/health-care/national-no-smoking-day-2023] support group. * Be physically active. * De-stress yourself by indulging in relaxation activities such as yoga, body spa, or meditation. * Make strong affirmations to quit tobacco products and think of their benefits. FACTS ABOUT TOBACCO * Over 80% of people in the UK don't smoke * Smoking gives bad breath. * Up to half of tobacco users risk dying from its harmful effects. * In 2020, there were 1.30 billion tobacco users worldwide, which is expected to decrease to 1.27 billion by 2025 [https://www.who.int/news/item/16-11-2021-tobacco-use-falling-who-urges-countries-to-invest-in-helping-more-people-to-quit-tobacco]. * Tobacco kills more than eight million humans each year. STOP TOBACCO TO LIVE LONGER Now having known the fact that tobacco is such an unpleasant substance to both human and environmental health, let's spread the word of "End Tobacco" in our communities to protect ourselves and our planet. Therefore, on world no tobacco day 2023, people who are addicted to tobacco smoking must pledge themselves to get off Tobacco and develop some concern toward their families. Moreover, it is the responsibility of non-smokers to take a step forward and educate smokers about the harm they are doing to themselves and the environment. Put down the coffin nails; Give up the cancer sticks.
30 May 2023
World Multiple Sclerosis DayWorld Multiple Sclerosis Day is observed on the 30th of May to advocate the suffering of individuals battling multiple sclerosis. World Multiple Sclerosis Day was first started in 2009 as an initiative of the Multiple Sclerosis International Federation [https://www.msif.org/about-us/who-we-are-and-what-we-do/advocacy/world-ms-day/] to promote awareness of multiple sclerosis to the public. The theme of World Multiple Sclerosis Day 2023 is "I Connect, We Connect." This theme -aims to raise solidarity by supporting the patients and creating connections with each other, as multiple sclerosis takes a toll on the affected individual's self-esteem and mental health. WHAT IS MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS? Multiple sclerosis is a chronic autoimmune disease [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/immune-disorders/most-common-types-of-autoimmune-diseases] in which the body's immune cells target and attack the myelin sheath (modified plasma membrane), a protective layer of nerve fibers around the brain and spinal cord that leaves a permanent scar. It is called multiple sclerosis since it leaves a scar over multiple areas, such as the brain stem, spinal cord, and optic nerves. This scarring of nerve cells leads to inflammation which causes alteration in generating brain signals to different body parts and functions. CAUSES OF MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS * Vitamin D and Vitamin B 12 Deficiency: Vitamin D is crucial for the functioning of the immune system; a decline in the counts of vitamin D causes dysfunctions in the immune system leading to autoimmune diseases. Vitamin B 12 plays an essential role in myelin sheath production; when the levels are low, the myelin sheath synthesis gets reduced and eventually degenerates. * Virus: It has been reported that the Epstein-Barr virus can increase the risk of multiple sclerosis. * Function of the immune system: The immune system plays a crucial role in protecting the body from harmful substances and pathogens. However, in the case of multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disorder, the immune system malfunctions and mistakenly attacks healthy cells. Scientists are actively researching the factors that contribute to this erroneous targeting and damage caused by immune cells. * Lifestyle factors: Smoking and obesity are two significant factors that trigger inflammation and lead to a hyperactive immune system that can progress into an autoimmune disease. TYPES OF MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS * Relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis: If a recurrent episode succeeds the initial attack, the patient is likely to have relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis [https://www.nationalmssociety.org/What-is-MS/Types-of-MS]. Almost 85% of patients are primarily diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Patients are presented with the first set of symptoms only in their 20s, followed by that they may experience recurrent attacks of multiple sclerosis, which is called a relapsing phase. Since the recovery from the attacks requires weeks to months, it is called the remitting phase. * Primary progressive multiple sclerosis: This type of multiple sclerosis occurs in people aged above 40 years. Primary progressive multiple sclerosis is tough to treat, and the patients show poor response to the treatment as the symptoms are worse due to frequent episodes of relapse and no remitting phase. * Secondary progressive multiple sclerosis: Since multiple sclerosis is a degenerative and progressive disease, people diagnosed with relapsing and remitting multiple sclerosis can develop secondary multiple sclerosis gradually after 10-20 years. This type is developed as a result of the extended remitting phase. SYMPTOMS OF MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS: * Lack of coordination * Difficulty walking * Numbness or tingling sensation * Urinary incontinence * Visual difficulty * Difficulty concentrating * Tremors * Muscle contraction * Weakness in muscles * Bowel and bladder problems * Sexual dysfunction DIAGNOSTIC TEST Since the symptoms are similar to other neurological conditions, it is often difficult to diagnose multiple sclerosis. Yet there are few diagnostic tests to confirm the condition, including, * Neurological examination: Your neurologist may perform a physical examination test to find the nerves' reflexes, muscle strength, and it's functioning. * Blood Test: It is performed to check for specific biomarkers associated with multiple sclerosis conditions. * Spinal fluid tap: It is also called a lumbar puncture, a procedure to extract the spinal fluid will be done to analyze the constituents of the fluid and detect the presence of proteins responsible for causing inflammation. * Imaging tests: A MRI Scan will be conducted to investigate the presence of lesions over multiple areas in the brain. * Evoked potential test determines the individual's neural activity in response to the electrical activity. TREATMENT OF MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS Although no permanent cure for multiple sclerosis exists, treatment options are available to slow down the disease progression and decrease the relapsing episodes. * Disease-Modifying therapies: These agents are administered as injections. The disease-modifying agents are prescribed to prevent the relapse of multiple sclerosis. Glatiramer and Natalizumab decrease the episodes of multiple sclerosis. Natalizumab will be used as a first-line treatment for treating severe multiple sclerosis. These medicines inhibit the circulatory immune cells that damage the nerve fibers. * Muscle relaxants: Most multiple sclerosis patients find difficulty balancing due to the uncontrollable muscle contraction that makes the limbs stiffer. Certain muscle relaxants like Baclofen are prescribed to ease lower limb stiffness. * Chemotherapy: Mitoxantrone is a drug that suppresses the overwhelmed immune system and reduces the inflammation that triggers multiple sclerosis. * Interferons: Interferons Beta- 1a and 1b will be given to prevent the exacerbations of the symptoms and reduce the disease frequency. The goal of administering interferons is to prevent multiple sclerosis relapse, which is given via intravenous mode that acts by blocking the immune cells that damage the myelin sheath. * Physiotherapy: Physical therapy can be used as a complementary therapy to alleviate muscle contraction. BOTTOM LINE "Believe you can, and you're halfway there." Many people lack awareness of multiple sclerosis and fail to empathize with the affected individuals. Multiple sclerosis is a disabling disease [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/immune-disorders/fatal-autoimmune-diseases] that must be brought into the limelight, so on this World Multiple Sclerosis Day 2023, let's spread awareness in our social circle. Thus, let us build connections and keep the patients from feeling isolated.
28 May 2023
International Day Of Action For Women's Health INTRODUCTION Women's health matters! Women's health is a branch of modern science dedicated to improving women's physical and emotional well-being. Every year on May 28th, the world meets to observe the International Day of Action for Women's Health. International Women’s health day is a significant day that serves as a reminder of the importance of women's health [https://www.stjohnhealth.com.au/blog/medical/the-importance-of-womens-health/] and rights and the need for gender equality in healthcare systems worldwide. This blog will delve into the significance of this day and explore the crucial issues surrounding women's health. Many Indian women suffer from reproductive issues due to inadequate access to health care. WHY IS https://www.mrmed.in/condition/womens-healthWOMEN'S HEALTH, A CALL TO ACTION "Women's health is still under dim light." Women are subjected to various bodily changes right from birth. Women deal with triangular events in their lives that involve menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause. The latest survey shows that women are uncomfortable expressing their reproductive health issues due to the societal stigmas around them, and that's why we consider the International Call for Action on Women's Health an opportunity to talk about the health concerns that women face in their everyday lives. Equal healthcare access for women in India is still a distant reality- This International Women's health day 2023 [https://www.internationaldays.co/event/international-day-of-action-for-womens-health/r/recwCDpPf0zm1hzkY#:~:text=May%2028%2C%202023%20%2D%20Sunday&text=May%2028th%20is%20the,regarding%20sexual%20and%20reproductive%20health.], let's be vocal and discuss the common health issues that women face in India: * Malnutrition is a significant health concern that causes premature deaths and preterm deliveries due to the low intake of fruits and whole grains. * Domestic violence is also a health issue because it has a massive impact on women's mental health, but it is often neglected. The problems such as dowry deaths, marital sexual abuse, and physical cruelty by husbands or relatives are still reported in high numbers, which is the root cause of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and depression in women. * Emotional Abuse: Women always fall prey to many kinds of abuse. Emotional abuse such as verbal abuse, body shaming, criticism, isolating of women during menses, and insult for not having a child diminish women's self-esteem and affect their mental well-being. TOP 5 HEALTH DISEASES IN INDIAN WOMEN The following are the top 5 health issue [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/womens-health/women-health-challenges] in women- * Cancer – According to the latest WHO report, it is found that breast cancer and other gynecological cancers, such as cervical and ovarian cancer, are among the top leading cancers in India. * Maternal Issues - The maternal mortality rate is still high in India; the UNICEF [https://www.unicef.org/nutrition/maternal]reports state that pregnancy-related complications are one of the leading causes of death among women. * Infections: Due to poor installation of toiletries in rural regions, women are prone to get infected with bacterial genital infections. * Sexually transmitted diseases: Due to limited awareness of safe sexual practices and the nature of the female reproductive system, such as the delicacy of the vaginal lining, makes women more vulnerable to contracting STDs like syphilis, gonorrhea, HIV, and chlamydia. * Anemia- The National health survey- 5 [https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/centre-mulling-over-new-testing-modes-after-anaemia-surge/article37689619.ece] reported that 57% of women are anemic between the ages of 15-49 due to vitamin B12, zinc, folic acids, and iron deficiency from the diet. FACTORS AFFECTING HEALTH AND HYGIENE IN WOMEN * Cultural constraints: People still refuse to accept menstruation due to ancient generations' myths about menstruation. * Poor socio-economic conditions: Several women in underprivileged categories suffer from maternal deaths due to the poor affordability of health services. * Lack of education and stigma around sexual health: There is always a cloud of misconceptions about menstrual and sexual health. Compared to men, the literacy rate of females remains low in India. * Inadequate health resources: It's alarming that only 36 percent of women [https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/menstrual-health-is-a-matter-of-human-rights-7391784/#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20National%20Family,napkins%2C%20lo] in India use sanitary napkins. GET SCREENED PROMPTLY AND LIVE HEALTHILY * For women between 20 – 30 years of age, it is vital to have annual health checkups that include complete blood counts to rule out anemia. * Consider having annual cancer screening tests that include clinical breast and pelvic examinations. * If you have a history or family history of Ovarian and breast cancer [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3283135/], have a mammogram annually or biennially. * If you are at the age of above 15 years, get jabbed against HPV infection to prevent the risk of cervical cancer. * Maintain a healthy BMI, and indulge in physical activity such as walking or yoga. * If you are at an age above 40 years, keep track of your blood sugar levels and blood pressure to prevent diabetes and heart diseases. * Since many postmenopausal women develop osteoporosis, it is advised to check for calcium and vitamin D levels and commence with the supplements if needed. THE CONNECTION BETWEEN WOMEN'S HEALTH AND WOMEN'S RIGHTS Women's rights and women's health are inherently interconnected. Access to quality healthcare and making informed decisions about one's health are fundamental rights that every woman should enjoy. However, numerous challenges persist, including gender-based discrimination, limited access to healthcare services, and societal norms that hinder women's well-being. ADVANCING WOMEN'S RIGHTS * Legal Reforms: Governments must enact and enforce laws that protect women's rights and address gender-based discrimination. This includes laws against domestic violence, sexual harassment, and gender-based crimes and policies promoting gender equality in education, employment, and political participation. * Gender-Responsive Policies: Policymakers and institutions must adopt gender-responsive approaches to address women's needs and challenges. This involves integrating a gender perspective in policy formulation, budget allocation, and program implementation. * Empowering Women and Girls: Empowerment programs that provide education, skills training, and economic opportunities can enhance women's agency and autonomy. * Changing Societal Attitudes: Challenging deep-rooted gender stereotypes and promoting positive masculinity are essential for transforming societal norms and behaviors. * Collaboration and Solidarity: Achieving gender equality requires the collective efforts of governments, civil society organizations, and individuals. Collaboration, networking, and sharing best practices can accelerate progress and amplify the voices of women's rights advocates. SHOW YOUR STRENGTH, CELEBRATE YOU EVERYDAY BY STAYING HEALTHY On International Women's Health Day 2023, advocate bodily autonomy for women, combat violence and abuse, and empower young women's health choices. Mobilize healthcare communities to serve rural areas and prioritize maternal and child nutrition. Break taboos, and encourage open discussions on feminine wellness.
26 May 2023
Melanoma And Skin Cancer Awareness MonthEMBRACE THE SUN! PROTECT YOUR SKIN! As the sun's warm rays intensify and summer approaches, our spirits soar, and our skin delights in its gentle touch. It's a time when beaches beckon, outdoor adventures call, and the joy of basking in the sun's glow becomes irresistible. But amidst these vibrant shades of sunshine, there's a shadow we must not ignore – the threat of skin cancer. Imagine a world where each beach umbrella protects not just the bodies seeking cover from the sun but also the mindful hearts that recognize the value of sun safety. Picture a society where wearing a wide-brimmed hat is accepted as a sign of empowerment and sunscreen is as essential as a vibrant swimsuit. Are you prepared to set out on this enchanted voyage of self-discovery, embrace the sun, and protect your skin during this skin cancer awareness month? Let us then unfold our parasols, pack our sun protection necessities, and embark on a journey that will permanently alter how we enjoy the sun's warmth. Welcome to a month that honors our inner and exterior light, making us genuinely shine together. Every year in May, melanoma and skin cancer awareness month roll around to increase public awareness of skin cancer and its impact on people. Health organizations, doctors, and other concerned people team up to spread awareness of skin cancer prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment during this month. In order to safeguard ourselves and those we care about from the negative impacts of skin cancer, it is essential to have a clear understanding on the causes, the risk factors involved, and the prevention tips. UNDERSTANDING SKIN CANCER Melanoma of the skin [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/cancer-care/melanoma-monday-2023] is the 17th most prevalent cancer in the world. It is the 13th most common male and 15th most common female cancer [https://www.wcrf.org/cancer-trends/skin-cancer-statistics/#:~:text=Latest%20skin%20cancer%20data&text=It%20is%20the%2013th%20most,most%20common%20cancer%20in%20women.]. Skin cancer is the uncontrolled division of abnormal skin cells that can form tumors. Skin cancer is the umbrella term for this form of the disease. However, there are two types: melanoma and non-melanoma. Non-melanoma is further classified into two types. We'll explore both types of skin cancer. Skin cancer is classified into three types: * Basal cell carcinoma * Squamous cell carcinoma * Melanoma Non-melanoma skin cancers develop in the top layer of the skin (the epidermis). Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) or squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) is the most common non-melanoma type. Non-melanoma cancers typically form in sun-exposed areas such as your face, ears, hands, shoulders, upper chest, and back. Both types of skin cancer can not spread to other regions of your body, while SCC tumors can move to your lymph nodes in rare circumstances. Melanoma is the most deadliest skin cancer because it can spread to other body parts. Skin cancer can become life-threatening and spread to other body parts if not treated or detected early. CAUSES AND RISK FACTORS OF SKIN CANCER All skin cancers are caused by excessive sun exposure or usage of sunbeds. A few risk factors can enhance your chances of developing this type of cancer: * A prior non-melanoma skin cancer. * Skin cancer runs in the family. * Skin that is pale and quickly burns. * More moles or freckles. * Using a treatment that suppresses your immune system. * A co-existing medical issue that weakens your immune system. PREVENTION OF SKIN CANCER Prevention is the key! By following sun safety, you can reduce your chances of developing skin cancer, * It is necessary to put sunscreen with a high SPF to shield your skin [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/cancer-care/sunscreen-prevent-skin-cancer] from the harmful effects of the sun. * Wear protective clothing and sunglasses when you are outdoors. * It's better to avoid spending too much time outdoors in the sun between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. when the sun's rays are strongest. * Sunbeds and sunlamps should be avoided. Checking your skin regularly for signs and symptoms of melanoma and skin cancer can lead to an early diagnosis and boost your chances of effective treatment. SCREENING FOR SKIN CANCER More than one in every four skin cancer cases is diagnosed in adults under 50, which is exceptionally early compared to most other types of cancer. Screenings for skin cancer are an important tool for early detection. During a screening, a dermatologist will examine your skin for atypical moles, discoloration, or texture changes. They may also use a dermatoscope to enlarge the mole to evaluate whether it is suspicious. If your general doctor suspects a suspicious mole, you may be advised to consult a dermatologist for a biopsy or other tests to evaluate whether the mole is malignant. SKIN CANCER SAFETY TIPS FAQS What sunscreen factor (SPF) should I use? When going outside, apply a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 to safeguard against Ultraviolet (UVB) and at least 4-star UVA protection. Before using sunscreen, consult your dermatologist to determine which is best for your skin type. You should not rely just on sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun. Wear appropriate clothing and spend time in the shade when the sun peaks. When and how to apply sunscreen? Most people do not apply enough sunscreen. If sunscreen is applied too thinly, the amount of shield it gives is decreased. If you plan to be outdoors in the sun, sunscreen must be applied twice. Sunscreen should be reapplied to all exposed skin areas, including the face, neck, and ears. Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before going out. Sunscreen must be reapplied liberally and frequently and according to the manufacturer's instructions and doctor's advice. What are the signs of skin cancer, and what should individuals be looking for? ABCDE is the answer. This applies to new or changing moles. A represents asymmetry, B represents irregular boundaries, C represents color variation, D represents a diameter bigger than 6 millimeters (approximately the size of a pencil eraser), and E represents evolution or any change in a mole, such as itching or bleeding. Any new lesion that bleeds or scabs and does not go away after four weeks should be reported to your doctor. END NOTE Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves seen! Finally, Skin Cancer Awareness Month is a timely reminder of the significance of summer skin care tips [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/skin-care/skincare-tips-summer], sun protection, early detection, and preventative actions in the fight against skin cancer. This month, we've focused on the dangers of prolonged sun exposure, the importance of frequent skin checks, and the role of education and prevention in lowering the incidence of skin cancer. Remember that the fight against skin cancer is a team effort. It is a collaborative effort motivated by compassion and a common desire for a future free from this sickness's shadow. So, let us face the future with confidence, knowledge, and a shared commitment to safeguard our skin. We can all unite to make a significant difference and make skin cancer a thing of the distant past.
24 May 2023
World Myopia Awareness Week“The eyes are the windows to the soul.” Welcome to MrMed's visionary blog to learn about World Myopia Awareness Week. According to the BHVI (Brien Holden Vision Institute) - a nonprofit organization announcement, Myopia Awareness Week 2023 will be honored from May 22nd – 26th. Myopia is one of the most widespread ocular conditions globally and an important risk factor for children's visual impairment. With an increasing number of people worldwide experiencing myopia, this awareness week is a powerful platform to educate, inform, and inspire action. In this blog post, join us to explore the importance of World Myopia Awareness Week and discover how it aims to promote a clear vision for all. THEME OF THE YEAR The theme of World Myopia Awareness Week 2023 is "Keep Your Eye On Myopia." Organized and sponsored by BHVI (Brien Holden Vision Institute), Myopia Awareness Week aims to highlight the importance of myopia management as a crucial aspect of maintaining good eye health, with a particular focus on children. WHAT IS MYOPIA? Myopia, also called nearsightedness, is a refractive error of the eye that makes it difficult to see clearly in the distance while surrounding things appear clear. It is a visual impairment that can appear in childhood, adolescence, or even adulthood. Myopia occurs when the eyeball's shape is longer than average, or the cornea has an excessive curvature. These structural irregularities disrupt the normal pathway of light entering the eye, causing it to focus in front of the retina rather than on it directly. As a result, distant objects appear blurred to individuals with myopia. HOW FREQUENT IS MYOPIA? Research findings indicate that the worldwide occurrence of myopia is projected to increase from 28% of the global population, equating to around two billion individuals in 2010, to 50% of the world's population, approximately five billion people, by the year 2050 [https://myopiainstitute.org/myopia-awareness-week-2022-make-your-eye-moves/] (i.e.), up to half of the world's population is expected to be myopic by 2050. In India, between 1999 and 2019, there was a critical rise in the prevalence of myopia among urban children aged 5 to 15, increasing from 4.44% to 21.15%. [https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33860952/] SIGNS OF MYOPIA * Blurred vision while looking at the distal object * Squinting (both eyes partly closed in an attempt to see more clearly) * Eye strain * Headaches * Difficulty Driving or Seeing Road Signs Children with myopia may encounter challenges when seeing whiteboards or screen projections in the classroom setting. While younger children may not expressly communicate their visual difficulties, they may exhibit certain behaviors that indicate potential vision issues. Some of these behaviors include: * Persistent squinting * Sitting closer to the object * Rub their eyes frequently * Lack of interest or participation RISK FACTOR Risk factors include family history, environmental factors, age, screen time, and prolonged close-up activities. While these factors are linked to a higher risk of myopia, it is crucial to understand that their presence does not guarantee the development of myopia in every individual. Genetic and environmental factors influence each person's susceptibility to myopia; not everyone with these risk factors will develop the condition. High myopia increases the chance of developing glaucoma (nerve damage at the back of the eyes), cataracts (cloudy appearance), myopic degeneration (damage to the retina), and retinal detachment (thin tissue layer of the retina behind the eye pulls away), leading to impaired vision. The elongation of the eye in myopia can lead to an increased risk of eye floaters caused by [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/health-care/eye-floaters-causes-treatment] structural changes in the eye. TREATMENT * Prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses are designed to rectify the refractive error and provide clear vision. Your doctor will suggest the right option for you. * Orthokeratology (Ortho-K) involves wearing special contact lenses overnight to reshape the cornea temporarily. * Atropine eye drops dilate the pupil during the eye examination procedure and before and after eye surgery. It slows down myopia progression in children. * Refractive surgeries like LASIK (Laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis), Laser-assisted subepithelial keratectomy (LASEK), Photorefractive keratectomy (PRK), or Small incision lenticule extraction (SMILE) may sometimes be considered for stable myopia. HOW TO PREVENT MYOPIA? Myopia can be prevented by including certain steps, such as spending time outdoors instead of using devices (reducing screen time). It is encouraged to get exposed to natural light to reduce the myopia risk. Maintain a healthy lifestyle and right posture while reading or using digital devices to lower the straining of the eyes. Additionally, regular eye examination has to be done to detect early symptoms of myopia. If any changes are detected, consider myopia control methods, such as orthokeratology (specially designed contact lens), multifocal contact lenses, or eye drops, as your physician prescribes. MYTH BUSTING Myth: Myopia can be caused by seeing in low light or sitting near the TV Fact: These activities may pressure the eyes temporarily but do not directly cause myopia. Genetic and environmental factors are the primary cause. Myth: Wearing contact lenses or prescribed glasses makes myopia worse. Fact: Glasses or contact lenses correct refractive errors and provide clear vision. They do not worsen the condition. Wearing proper vision correction can reduce eye tension and improve visual comfort. Myth: Doing alternative therapies or eye exercises can cure myopia. Fact: No available scientific evidence supports the effectiveness of eye exercises or alternative therapies in curing myopia. Vision therapies may improve visual skills and comfort but do not eliminate the underlying refractive error. Myth: Myopia is not a serious eye condition. Fact: Myopia problems such as retinal detachment, cataracts, myopic macular degeneration, and glaucoma can all result in visual loss if not treated or managed. To avoid such consequences, it is crucial to monitor and treat myopia. Myth: If you have a myopia condition, you are not eligible for eye donation. Fact: Individuals who wear glasses or have conditions like myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism, or have undergone cataract surgery can still donate their eyes [https://www.mrmed.in/health-library/health-care/national-eye-donation-week-2022] since these conditions typically do not impact the suitability of the cornea for transplantation. REMINDER TO KEEP YOUR EYE OPEN On World Myopia Awareness Week (May 22–26), encourage early detection and treatment, and push for better support and research. Millions of people impacted by these illnesses can be better with this awareness. It's important to raise awareness about myopia to enrich the lives of those with this condition. Show your support by uploading your images on social media using the hashtag #myopiaawarenessweek and #maw2023 https://myopiainstitute.org/bhvi-launches-myopia-awareness-week-2023/to raise awareness and promote solidarity.