At least 2.7 million Americans carry the hepatitis C virus, making it the most common blood-borne infection in the United States, says one research report. Hepatitis C is spread from person to person primarily by means of sexual contact or through infested blood. Those most at risk of contracting the disease are intravenous drug users who share needles.
People who engage in unprotected sex, in this category the youth is the most at risk. Because the youth are found to be complacent of the consequence of unprotected sex. They tend to think they are young and free from any infection. Lack of enough knowledge about sex among the youth also contributes the high incident of hepatitis C and they become careless. The importance of quality condoms cannot be overemphasizing.
The infection can also spread, however, by tattooists and acupuncturists who do not properly clean their equipment.
People who have received blood transfusions are also at risk.
Every year, about 1000 people in the United States receive liver transplants as a result of liver failure caused by the virus.
The most common cell in your bloodstream gives blood its red color and is thus called a red blood cell. Just one drop of your blood contains hundreds of millions of such cells.
When viewed through a microscope, they look like doughnuts with a depressed center instead of a hole. Each cell is packed with hundreds of millions of hemoglobin molecules is, in turn, a beautiful spherical structure made of about 10,000 hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and sulfur iron, which give the blood its oxygen-carrying ability.
Hemoglobin facilitates the transport of carbon dioxide from the tissues to the lungs, where it is exhaled.
Another vital part of your red blood cells is their skin, called a membrane. This marvelous covering enables the cell to stretch into thin shapes so as to pass through your tiniest blood vessels and thus sustain every part of your body.
Your red blood cells are manufactured in your bone marrow. Once a new cell enters your bloodstream, it may circulate through your heart and body more than 100,000 times. Unlike other cells, red blood cells have no nucleus.
This gives them more space to carry oxygen and makes them lighter, which helps your heart to pump trillions of red blood cells throughout your body. However, lacking a nucleus, they are unable to renew their internal parts.
Thus, after about 120 days, your red blood cells begin to deteriorate and lose their elasticity. Large white blood called phagocytes consumes these worn-out cells and spit out the iron atoms.
The scarce iron atoms attach themselves to transport molecules that take them to your bone marrow to be used in the manufacturing of new red cells. Every second, your bone marrow releases two million to three million new red cells into your bloodstream.
If your trillions of red blood cells were suddenly to stop functioning, you would die within minutes.
CLIMBING STAIRS IMPROVES HEALTH:
Taking the stairs regularly is a simple and practical means to improving health. Researchers asked 69 sedentary employees to use the stairs at their place of work instead of the elevators.
After 12 weeks, the workers aerobic capacity had increased by 8.6 percent, which gave them a 15 percent reduction in all-cause mortality risk. The workers also saw significant improvement in their blood pressure, cholesterol, weight, fat mass, and waist circumference.
Chagas’ disease comes from a parasitic transmitted through the feces of a blood sucking insect commonly called the kissing bug. The disease is endemic in rural areas from Mexico to Argentina. An estimated one and a half two million Mexicans are affected with parasite.
However, Chagas’ disease is spreading to other part of the world. One way is through blood transfusions. Mexicans biologist Bert Kohlmann explains: we have already got reports from Australia, Europe, the United States of America and Canada of infections through blood transfusions.
Migrants from the Americas who are usually healthy give blood and nobody in those other places even thinks about screening for chagas.
The world health organization estimates that in the western hemisphere, 16 to 18 million people are infected with the disease and 100 million more are at risk. At present, there is no cure for the disease [chagas], which is often fatal.
YOUR eyes are itching and watering, you sneeze all day, your nose keeps dripping, and you have difficulty breathing. What is happening? You might have a cold. But if these symptoms afflict you when you are around pollen, you may well be suffering from hay fever. If so, you have plenty of company. The number of people whose condition is diagnosed as hay fever keeps rising every year.
HAY fever is nothing more than an exaggerated reaction of our body toward a substance it considers harmful, reports the magazine Mujer de Hoy. The immune system of people with allergies rejects all agents it considers foreign –including pollen –even though these are not really dangerous. And when the immune system overreacts in this way, it causes the annoying symptoms described at the outset.
HOW ALTITUDE AFFECTS YOUR BLOOD
Most of the problems are caused by lack of oxygen. Because the atmospheric pressure is lower the higher you go, at 2,000 meters above sea level, a given volume of air contains some 20 percent less oxygen, and at 4,000 meters, air contains 40 percent less oxygen.
Lack of oxygen affects most of your bodily functions. Your muscles can do less work, your nervous system can take less stress, and your digestive system cannot handle fat as well.
Normally when your body needs more oxygen, you automatically breathe more heavily and fill the need. Then why doesn’t this happen when you arrive at a high altitude?
Just how your body controls your rate of breathing is a wonder that is not completely understood. But when you exert yourself, heavy breathing is not triggered simply by lack of oxygen.
Rather, the carbon dioxide buildup in the blood produced by the muscle activity seems to be a key factor in making you breathe more.
You do breathe more heavily when at a higher altitude but not enough to compensate for the persistent oxygen shortage.
What causes the headaches? A speaker at the First World Congress of High Altitude Medicine and Physiology, held in Las Paz, Bolivia, explained that many of the symptoms of mountain sickness result from an accumulation of fluid in the brain.
In some people this causes pressure inside the head. Apparently, because of the size of their cranium, some people do not experience these effects.
Nevertheless, in rare cases a life-threatening condition can develop. Loss of muscular control, blurred vision, hallucinations, and mental confusion are signs that warn you to seek medical help immediately and get down to a lower altitude.
The effects of high altitude reach their peak about the second or third day, so a few days before and after arrival, it is best to take only light meals, especially at night.
After arrival, you should eat carbohydrates, such as rice, oats, and potatoes, rather than fatty foods. You may do well to pay attention to the advice. “Eat breakfast like a king, but eat supper like a beggar.”
Also, avoid physical exertion, as it can bring on a bad attack of mountain sickness. Perhaps because young people tend to disregard this advice, they are often the ones who suffer most.
“Slip on a hat, and slop on some sunscreen cream” is good advice here too, since there is less atmosphere to protect you from the dangerous rays of the sun.
Those rays can irritate or even damage your eyes, so use good sunglasses. The thin mountain air also dries up your tears, causing further eye irritation. The advice is to drink plenty of fluids.
Doctors have warned people who are seriously overweight or who have such conditions as high blood pressure, sickle-cell anemia, or heart or lung disease to have a careful medical evaluation before deciding on a trip above the clouds.
Some doctors prescribe acetazolamide to stimulate breathing at very high altitudes. Other drugs for mountain sickness are advertised, but not all doctors recommend them.
If you have a bad cold, bronchitis, or pneumonia, it may be wise to delay your trip, since high altitude together with a respiratory infection or heavy physical exercise can sometimes cause a dangerous buildup of fluid in the lungs.
Respiratory complaints can cause even lifelong highlanders to become oxygen starved and experience serious health problems.
On the other hand, asthmatics often feel better living higher up. In fact, a group of Russian doctors reported to the First World Congress of High Altitude Medicine and Physiology that take patients with certain complaints to a high altitude clinic as therapy