Poop comes in all shades, often a result of what we eat and chemical changes due to bile as our food gets digested.
Normal poop color is brown though sometimes if we eat green leafy vegetables it could be on the greener side. A sudden color change could be indicative of a health problem.
Know what your poop color indicates and when it could mean trouble:
Green: Green colored stool could be due to iron supplements, green leafy vegetables, however, it could also mean that the food is moving too quickly through the large intestine as a result of which bile doesn’t have the time to break down the food completely.
White, Clay or Grey: Whitish, grey or clay-colored stools indicate lack of bile and often indicate a problem with gallbladder or liver. The problems could be as varied as liver cirrhosis needing a liver transplant or liver failure due to hepatitis A, Hep B or Hep C.
Yellow: Unless, you are having too many yellow colored liquids, yellow stools indicates, excess fat or poor fat absorption.
Poor fat absorption could be due to blocked bile ducts, a problem with the pancreas, and may indicate lack of enzymes for food digestion or may even point towards chronic pancreatitis, celiac disease.
Red: Unless you have been eating beets, carrots, tomatoes, cranberries, food with red coloring, bright red colored stool may indicate bleeding due to hemorrhoids, anal fissure, and even colon cancer or cancer of the rectum or even bowel cancer.
Black: Black colored stools, may indicate bleeding from the intestines, stomach which may even indicate stomach cancer and need an immediate follow-up call with a doctor.
A diet rich in blueberries or black licorice, iron supplements, bismuth subsalicylate could be other exceptions.
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The PET CT Scan is one of the sought after diagnostic tests. Let’s find out more about what is a PET CT and why is it preferred over other diagnostic tests, such as an MRI, CT Scan or an ultrasound.
What is a PET Scan?
A PET Scan is a nuclear medicine technique which produces images of the human body at a molecular level.
A PET CT uses radioactive tracers in conjugation with isotopes such as oxygen, nitrogen, carbon etc. These radioisotopes act at a molecular level and work as probes which seek out disease, cancer in the body while giving out radio signals which are captured to produce an image.
This can help in the diagnosis of even the tiniest lesions, thus increasing the accuracy of the investigation, subsequent diagnosis and hence cancer treatment.
A PET CT Scan, therefore reveals a lot more about the body than standard diagnostic tests such as MRI, CT Scan or an ultrasound.
What happens during a PET Scan?
A PET CT Scan, is always on a price appointment basis as the radioisotopes, having a very short half-life need to be brought in just before the scan.
A PET CT, is usually carried out empty stomach on overnight or at least 6 hrs fasting.
The creatinine levels, need to checked prior to conducting the PET CT by simple blood tests called KFT or Kidney function test
If the creatinine levels are in order, the patient is tested for blood sugar and if found in order, the patient is given an injection of glucose with a radioactive tracer.
After the injection, the patient is made to rest for about 90 mins and then taken for the actual scan which takes about 30 mins to 45 mins depending on the imaging required.
During the scan, the patient is made to lie on a comfortable table that moves slowly through the ring like PET scanner.
After the scan, the patient can leave immediately. However close contact with others especially children and pregnant women is best avoided for the next 4-6 hrs.
It is also good to drink a lot of water, to flush out the radioactive tracer from the body.
The imaging can be seen by the doctors and the nuclear medicine specialists almost immediately for evaluation, though a formal written report takes a day to be handed over to the patient.
Are there any side effects or discomfort due to the scan?
There are no side effects or discomfort due to the PET CT Scan, except the minor prick while injecting the tracer.
The PET CT scanner also does not make any sounds while the scan is going on, unlike a few other diagnostics tests.
What are the diseases for which a PET CT Scan can be used?
The most common use case for a PET CT Scan is for detecting and treating cancer. However other applications, include diagnosing cardiac or heart problems and also neurology.
During the initial stages of the disease, a PET CT helps distinguish between benign and malignant disease and also cancer staging, that is knowing and determining the stage of the disease and also its characteristics, which further helps oncologists decide the best treatment option for the patient.
During the course of treatment, it helps determine response to therapy or cancer treatment and if the metabolic activity decreases on the PET CT Scan, the oncologists know that the drugs being administered are working.
On the other hand, if the metabolic activity on the scan increases, it indicates that the treatment option is losing its efficacy or is not working and helps oncologists change the line of treatment to benefit the patient.
Neurology: Alzheimer’s at an early stage can be diagnosed using a PET Scan leading to early intervention.
A PET CT Scan helps locate tumors, distinguish between benign and malignant tumors and also scar tissue for brain surgery.
A PET CT is also useful for the treatment of epileptic seizures. It can help locate the origin and focus of seizures and assess sites for intervention if any is required.
What is the difference between a PET CT and an MRI or a CT ?
A CT or an MRI works on the physical level and can give the size and location of the tumor with accuracy.
However since both tests do not work on the molecular level, they cannot indicate metabolic activity of the tumor which only a PET CT Scan can indicate, thereby making a PET CT, a diagnostic test of choice for oncologists, cardiologists, cardiac or heart surgeons and interventional neurologists.
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We often hear of Precision Medicine for Cancer, but what is Precision Medicine, how is it different from standard treatment protocols and what can be the benefits for choosing Precision Medication over standard protocols?
The diagnosis and treatment of cancer at a cellular or molecular level is known as Precision Medicine.
Cancer is a heterogenous disease, with different genetic profile not only between patients with different cancers but also differences in genetic , molecular and cellular profile even within the same type of cancer.
All cancers are genetic by nature and with cellular profile changing over time even in the same patient, till now no single drug is known to cure even a single type of cancer let alone different types of cancer’s.
Standard chemotherapy protocols focus of administering standard chemotherapy drugs ( one size fits all) without taking into account cellular or genetic profile of the patient.
Precision medicine on the other hand focuses on accurate and effective treatment to each patient based on the genetic profile, the proteins feeding the tumours or the cancers.
There are sufficient number of detractors even amongst the best doctors but precision medicine or administering drugs based not a specific tailored patient profile not being the best option is a pre mature conclusion.
Breast cancer treatment in India beyond surgical options of lumpectomy, mastectomy involves administering chemotherapy and radiotherapy, with chemotherapy being the first line of treatment.
Difference in outcomes depends upon whether the patient has been tested for HER2(human epidermal growth factor receptor 2), ER, PR or not.
For patients testing positive for HER 2, addition of trastuzumab to chemotherapy slows down disease progression. Lapatinib plus chemotherapy (i.e., capecitabine) achieved a longer median time to disease progression compared with chemotherapy alone.
A combination of pertuzumab, trastuzumab, and chemotherapy further improved the median overall survival time to a median of almost 5 years compared with a combination of only trastuzumab and chemotherapy for a median of 3 and half years.
Similarly treatment with ado-trastuzumab emtansine, a conjugate of a HER2 monoclonal antibody and a cytotoxic drug, significantly improved the length of progression-free survival and overall survival with lower adverse effects when compared with lapatinib and chemotherapy
The above examples clearly show how genetic profiling, identification of key mutations like the Bcr-Ablfusion or HER2 can benefit a large number of breast cancer patients.
Genetic profiling also enables identification of molecular targets for intervention.Cell death is caused by a combination of deficiencies in the expression of two or more genes, whereas deficiency in only one of these genes can increase viability or enhance multiplication of mutant cells. For example, BRCA (mutant gene responsible for particularly aggressive breast cancers( and poly ADP ribose polymerase (PARP) genes were found to have a synthetic lethal relationship.
For example, by using olaparib, a PARP inhibitor, to treat BRCA-mutant ovarian cancer patients, the progression-free survival of BRCA-mutant ovarian cancer patients was significantly prolonged by olaparib compared with standard chemotherapy protocols.
This methodology focusses on identifying cancer vulnerabilities and subsequent tailored treatment based on patient profile.
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Cyber knife is totally non invasive and offers hope for inoperable localised cancers such as small cell lung cancer,for inoperable lesions where there is no other alternative for the patient to be treated. CyberKnife can spot the exact size, shape and location of the tumor and delivers highly concentrated beams of radiation with precision ranging from 1 to 5 mm and this leads to minimal damage and bleeding.
Since CyberKnife treatment is totally non invasive, it is used for treatment of inoperable cancers as an alternate to surgery or as an alternative to surgery to minimise trauma, avoid complications and reduce risk.
Most patients can be treated several times with the CyberKnife and even treated again or retreated with minimal side effects leading to a better quality of life.For example for prostate cancer, even for a repeat surgery, CyberKnife can be used very successfully.
CyberKnife treatment is FDA approved and can spot patient movement even while breathing. The radiation beams can be aimed from several directions, thereby never losing the precision which is hall mark of a CyberKnife treatment.
CyberKnife treatment usually gets completed in 3 to 5 sessions spread over a week. Most patients can lead normal lives post CyberKnife treatment Most CyberKnife treatments are covered by insurance providers all over the world.
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Since the treatment involves a high degree of expertise, CyberKnife treatment is not offered by most hospitals.
The stage, location and size of the tumour or the cancer plays an important role, hence multiple teams of doctors and oncologists need to be involved before a decision on use of CyberKnife as treatment option can be arrived. To connect to the best hospitals in India, offering CyberKnife, and to know if CyberKnife is a treatment option for your medical condition, send us an email on email@example.com or Consult Now.
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The minute most of us hear “Diabetes”, we think of Blood Sugar.
Blood sugar is elevated level of sugar or glucose in the blood which if unchecked overtime, leads to diabetes. Diabetes is a disease in which the body’s ability to produce or respond to insulin is impaired, resulting in abnormal metabolism of carbohydrates, inability of our body to convert sugar into glucose and subsequently elevated levels of glucose in the blood.
We all know about Type 1 Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes but whats important is what happens in the body, when we have elevated levels of sugar in the body for long.
Common Effects and Risks associated with high sugar levels and diabetes are:
Risk of stroke: Diabetes or elevated sugar levels, increase our risk of stroke, about 4 times more than non diabetics
Risk of Heart Disease: Diabetes increases risk of heart attack , heart disease. As the blood vessels get damaged, it puts the heart under pressure and an increased risk of heart attacks. High glucose levels also lead to fatty deposits. Coupled with obesity, high blood pressure, it puts you at a severe risk and an angioplasty or an open heart bypass surgery may even be required.
Risk of Cataract: Diabetics are at an increased risk of developing cataracts
Risk of Glaucoma: Glaucoma risk is significantly more for diabetics. If left untreated, Glaucoma can lead to blindness.
Risk of Pancreas Malfunction: A malfunction in pancreas leads to diabetes and higher blood sugar levels in turn continue to damage the pancreas. Risk of Gastroparesis: Increase in blood sugar levels also makes it hard for the stomach to empty completely. This also in turn leads to an increase in blood sugar levels. Nausea, vomiting, bloating, and heartburn are common symptoms. Risk of Kidney Damage: Unchecked High sugar levels and diabetes, damages the kidneys, leads to diabetic neuropathy and eventually one may need a dialysis or even a kidney transplant. Risk of Nerve Damage: Diabetics often have tingling sensation in the foot and suffer from nerve damage. Lack of sensation or peripheral neuropathy is dangerous as due to lack of sensation, one may fail to notice injuries
. Foot Problems: Unchecked diabetes can lead to diabetic foot where the entire foot may even need to be amputated. Ketoacidosis: In absence of insulin, the body uses alternate hormones to turn fat into energy, which creates a high level of toxic chemicals such as acids and ketones, which may lead to a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis. Diabetic ketoacidosis often leads to loss of consciousness and other life threatening complications. A Fruity Breath or a sweet smelling breath is often an indicator of diabetes and calls for a check on blood sugar levels. Visual Problems: Diabetics often face visual problems, as high glucose levels often lead to swollen, leaky blood vessels in the eye, leading to a condition called diabetic retinopathy. These vision problems, may even lead to partial or total loss of vision Vision problems can be gradual hence routine eye checkups if you are diabetic or have pre diabetes are a must.
Risk of damage to blood vessels: High blood sugar levels or high glucose levels,
restrict blood flow, damaging the blood vessels.
As unchecked diabetes, leads to a host of problems, it is important to make life style changes. Pre diabetes conditions can be reversed by exercise and dietary changes. Type 2 diabetes can be controlled and even reversed if significant life style changes are made.
One of the most important life style change is to Quit smoking as diabetes and smoking leads to an enhanced risk of heart disease.
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Uric acid is produced naturally by the body as a result of metabolism. Our kidneys filter and throw out uric acid normally.
In some cases, the body produces more uric acid than it can excrete or the kidneys are not able to excrete uric acid being produced, it leads to a rise of uric acid levels and leads to a condition called hyperuricemia.
Hyperuricemia is defined as an excess of uric acid in the bloodstream. If your uric acid is in excess of 7 mg/dL – you may have hyperuricemia.
Hyperuricemia has a few major health effects. They are as follows :
Gout : It is defined as a type of arthritis that causes inflammation in the smaller bones of the joints. Typically, chalky deposits of uric acid called “tophi” deposit as lumps under the skin causing severe pain and redness specially in the base of the big toe over a long period of time. This tophaceous gout compresses the nerves and is visible to the naked eye – making it disfiguring and making the pain worse. Gout, is characterised by episodes of intense pain. Sometimes uric acid crystals start to deposit in other joints such as elbow, knee, fingers, hand etc and may also damage surrounding cartilege.
Though extremely rare, sometimes, due to damage of the cartilage a joint replacement surgery such as total knee replacement may be required.
Doctors very rarely let patients come to this stage though and prescribe medication to take care of the pain and to shrink the uric acid crystals.
Incase Tophi or the uric acid crystals become too large or become infected, a surgery though rare, may be needed to remove crystals.
Large Tophi may also affect the range of movement of the joint such as hand or knee and a simple surgery may be required.
Kidney Stones : Kidney stones are defined as a hard mass formed in the kidneys due to insoluble calcium compounds. Initially, the kidney stones are small and pass out with the urine; however, over time the kidney stones become larger and block the urinary tract causing a difficulty in the passing of urine and urinary tract infections due to the buildup of bacteria in the tract. A high level of Uric acid is also a predictor and indicate’s renal dysfunction well in advance before the dialysis stage or the kidney transplant stage .
In patient’s with Rheumatoid arthritis or RA, high uric acid levels, call for a visit to the doctor.
Possible surgeries and procedure to take care of kidney stones are SWL(Shockwave lithotripsy), Ureteroscopy, PCNL(Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy ).
PCNL is best for treatment of medium to large stones , for complex stones or if there are too many stones in one kidney and needs a good, trained urologist.
Ureteroscopy is slightly more invasive than Shockwave lithotripsy but is good for stones which are very small and also way down in the urinary tract.
The best way to take care of gout related problems is to prevent hyperuricemia.
The following natural remedies are easy to implement and help prevent hyperuricemia : Lemon Juice : Lemon is a natural antioxidant and contrary to popular belief, helps neutralise the uric acid in the body. A glass of lukewarm lemon juice water in the mornings before breakfast may go a long way in preventing uric acid buildup. Apple Vinegar : Vinegar contains malic acid that helps to breakdown uric acid and make the solution alkaline. A glass of water with 2 tablespoons of apple vinegar has anti – inflammatory benefits. Water : It is supposed to flush out toxins from the body and regulate kidney function. 8-10 glasses of water a day help dilute uric acid in the body and help excrete out the same from the body. Additionally, care should be taken to include water rich fruits such as watermelon and vegetables such as cucumber in ones diet. Berries : Cherries and other purple or blue coloured berries contain anthocyanin that have anti- inflammatory and anti- oxidant properties and that help lower uric acid in the body. A bowl of cherries a day greatly reduces the risk of hyperuricemia.
These natural remedies are suggested to be followed post a doctor consultation and are by no means an alternative to prescription medication which is critical for treatment of gout.
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Teeth: As per Merriam Webster, teeth are defined as the hard bony appendages that are borne on the jaws in the mouth or pharynx and exist for eating food and as weapons of offense and defense.
Over the years, modern physicists have discovered that there is indeed a direct relationship between teeth and Qi ( Energy ). The Chinese found a way to measure Qi and map the pathways – this led them to the conclusion that if Qi was normal, there was good blood flow in the body ; however, if there was disturbed Qi – it symbolised disease and disturbed blood flow.
According to them, teeth are indicative of the state of internal organs in the body and hence pain often indicates trouble in the connected body organ. One’s lips are related to the spleen, teeth are related to various organs in the body, the gum is related to the stomach, and the tongue is related to the heart.
Below are a few health problems which our teeth, gums and tongue indicate :
The normal colour of lips is bright red and moist. Dry lips indicate pathogenic dryness, Pale lips indicate blood shortage or anemia, and purple lips indicate coldness or poor circulation.
Dry teeth indicate insufficient liquid in the kidneys.
Pale gums indicate blood deficiency, Red and swollen lips indicate stomach fire, and Bleeding from the swollen gums indicates the blood vessel damage. Furthermore, the various teeth in the mouth also indicate the state of various organs.
Bladder, Kidney and Ears : Link to Upper and Lower Incisors
But, does this mean that the damage of the teeth is responsible for all internal damages? Thankfully, no. However pain in various teeth may indicate problems with specific body organs.
Given below are the connections between the teeth and the organs :
As the top and bottom 4 incisors are directly related to the kidney and bladder. Pain in upper and lower incisors could mean infection or inflammation in the kidney, inflammation of the prostate gland or even middle ear infection.
As top and bottom 2 canines are directly related to the liverand bladder. Thus pain in your canines could indicate a Hepatitis A,B. C infection or inflammation of the gall bladder.
Lungs and large intestines are related to the top and bottom 4 bicuspids or premolars, pain may indicate, inflammation of the colon, bronchitis, asthma, other lung problems such as COPD.
The first and second molars are directly related to the spleen and stomach and pain could indicate gastric problems, pancreatitis and even ulcers.
The third molars or the wisdom teeth are directly related to the small intestine and the heart and pain may indicate cardiac disease, coronary heart disease and even congenital heart defects such as PDA, TOF, Fontan, VSD, ASD , ASO, AV Canal and may even pre empt a CABG or an Angioplasty
Build up of plaque in the arteries, problems with arteries, varicose veins may be the actual trouble spots if you have pain in the sixth lower teeth.
Thyroid problems such as hypothyroidism, sinus, spleen and even inflammation of ovaries may be the real reason behind pain in sixth upper teeth.
Arthritis, problems with colon, pain in joints such as knee, elbow and shoulder may be the reasons for pain in the upper and lower fourth teeth.
So next time you have tooth pain, look for the real reason before heading for a tooth extraction or ( RCT) root canal treatment. A tooth pain, may be a warning in disguise for you to watch out and take care of the impending health problem?
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