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February 15th, 2011

While thrush is not often considered to be a venereal disease it can be spread sexually.
Thrush is caused by a yeast organism, known as Candida or Monilia, which is a normal inhabitant of the bowel. It is an opportunistic organism which rarely causes primary infection but tends to invade areas when the natural resistance has been lowered by other factors.
Thrush may affect the vagina during pregnancy, in diabetes, when the woman is on the Pill or following antibiotics taken for infection elsewhere.
It may be due to the wearing of tight synthetic briefs, pantyhose and tight jeans. It causes severe irritation or itching in the vagina. The woman’s sexual partner may contract the disorder and develop a rash on the penis.

Thrush responds rapidly to the use of specific drugs applied locally as ointment or pessaries. Gentian violet is an old but still effective remedy. However, it is messy to use and has been superseded by the newer drugs.

Sometimes these drugs are also given by mouth to reduce the numbers in the bowel.
Trichomonsas vaginalis is a minute one-celled animal which can cause a distressing vaginal infection.

It causes an offensive, frothy, yellowish-green discharge which is intensely irritating.

Although about 60% of male sexual partners may carry the organism, only about 4% have symptoms. When the woman is treated, her sexual partner should also receive treatment or else re-infection is common.

Metronidazole taken for a week or tinadazole taken in one dose are effective drugs in clearing trichomonas infections.


General health


February 15th, 2011

Another drug such as erythromycin may be used in those allergic to penicillin.
Other causes of sore throat, particularly those due to viruses, don’t respond to antibiotics.
Recurrent severe tonsillitis may be an indication for removal of the tonsils. Recurrent sore throats not involving the tonsils are no reason for taking out these important organs.

In the past, few children escaped into adulthood with their tonsils intact. We now recommend against the operation except for some clearly defined indications.

Recurrent severe tonsillitis, say three or four definite attacks diagnosed by the doctor and requiring antibiotics over one or two years may be an indication, particularly if associated with complications such as ear infection.
Enlargement alone is rarely, if ever, an indication for removing the tonsils. All this lymphoid tissue may enlarge during childhood and then slowly decrease in size and become insignificant in later life.

Occasionally the tonsils may be so large that they meet in the middle and this may interfere with speech or with swallowing. But this rarely requires an operation.

The complications of recurrent tonsillitis may force the hand of the doctor in deciding on tonsillectomy.


General health


February 15th, 2011

Cholesterol. It’s one of those words everyone automatically labels as bad while, in fact, the jury is still out deliberating. Somewhere along the line, you’ve probably noticed that less ink is being spilled in books and magazines on the word diet and more on heart disease and cholesterol.

Frequently connected with the topic of cholesterol are words such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, lipoproteins, HDL, LDL, and triglycerides. No matter how many times we hear them, many people are forever confused. What do they all mean, and what relationship do they have to the health of your heart and cardiovascular system?

Let’s start with the easy part, the definitions. Cholesterol is a waxlike, fatty substance that is natural to all animals. It is necessary to the working of our bodies, which make and use it, for example, to manufacture substances in our cell membranes and nerves. We ingest cholesterol by eating food products obtained from animals. The cholesterol we eat is called dietary cholesterol. The cholesterol in our blood is called serum cholesterol. When you are tested for cholesterol, your serum cholesterol will be measured and you will be given a number that represents a certain number of milligrams of cholesterol per 100 milliliters of blood. Anything under 200 is considered to be healthy. From 200 to 240 is considered to be borderline high, 240 to 300 is high risk, and over 300 is dangerous.

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February 15th, 2011

Here’s a brief overview of the most commonly prescribed medications to treat high blood pressure, along with their side effects.

• Diuretics such as HydroDIURIL, hydrochlorothiazide, Lasix, furosemide, and Bumex have been used for many years to treat high blood pressure. They help remove body water and therefore reduce pressure within the circulatory system. Side effects of diuretics can include dehydration, potassium depletion, weakness, and elevated cholesterol levels. Your doctor may also recommend you take a potassium supplement. In addition, people who are taking diuretics need to reduce their intake of salt, since increased sodium levels can also deplete the body’s stores of potassium.

• Beta-blockers slow the heart rate and the metabolic rate, helping to reduce the buildup of pressure in the circulatory system. They include medications such as Inderal (propranolol), Corgard, Tenormin, and Lopressor. Some side effects of beta-blockers include coldness in the extremities, a slowed heart rate, and elevated cholesterol levels. Beta-blockers can also cause wheezing in asthmatics and people who have emphysema. If you must stop taking beta-blockers, it’s important that you be weaned from them gradually; since beta-blockers slow the heart rate, if you stop taking them, your heart rate will suddenly increase, causing an increase in the amount of oxygen that is delivered to the heart. This added stress can lead to angina or a heart attack.

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