AIDS/HIV

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AIDS

Overview

  • AIDS is a chronic, life-threatening condition caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
  • AIDS means ‘acquired immune deficiency syndrome’. AIDS is the later stages of an HIV infection.
  • By damaging or destroying the cells of your immune system, HIV interferes with your body’s ability to effectively fight off viruses, bacteria and fungi that cause disease. This makes you more susceptible to certain types of cancers and to opportunistic infections your body would normally resist, such as pneumonia and meningitis.

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HIV

Overview

  • HIV means ‘human immunodeficiency virus’. As with all other kinds of virus, HIV does not have an individual metabolism and, therefore, has to attack other living cells and use their metabolism to make copies of itself.
  • Unfortunately, HIV attacks some of the cells that are vital to a healthy immune system, including the white blood cells known as T-helper cells or CD4 cells.

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Who is at risk?

HIV transcends all cultures, national borders and religions. Anyone of any age, race, sex or sexual orientation can be infected, but you’re at greatest risk of HIV/AIDS if you:

  • Have unprotected sex with multiple partners. You’re at risk whether you’re heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual. Unprotected sex means having sex without using a new latex or polyurethane condom every time.
  • Have unprotected sex with someone who is HIV-positive.
  • Have another sexually transmitted disease, such as syphilis, herpes, chlamydia, gonorrhea or bacterial vaginosis.
  • Share needles during intravenous drug use.
  • Have received a blood transfusion.

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Screening and Diagnosis

  • For those of us who are HIV-infected, it is important to be tested as early as possible, so that our doctor can monitor our health and begin therapy when it will be most effective.
  • For those of us who are not HIV-infected, being tested can help reduce anxiety and provide an opportunity to personalize our own HIV-prevention plan with a trained counselor.
  • An HIV-Antibody test is a blood test that detects HIV-antibodies in your blood. The presence of HIV antibodies in the blood shows that the person has been infected.
  • As the virus reproduces in the body, the antibodies become weaker and unable to fight the virus.

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Treatment

New and more efficient treatments to fight HIV and reduce the content of virus in the blood are being developed all the time.

Unfortunately, HIV is a very efficient virus that can change some of its own characteristics, mutate and create new HIV variants, which are resistant to the medicines used in treatment.

To reduce the risk of developing resistance to the medication and fight the virus from several directions, you will be offered a treatment that includes several types of medication.

These are:

  • Antiviral medicines against HIV that stop the virus from spreading in the body. You will not be cured and you are still contagious, but the treatment strengthens the immune system so that your risk of getting ill is reduced. It is still not known how long the effects of the treatment will last.
  • Vaccination against illnesses such as flu, pneumonia, and infectious hepatitis.
  • Treatment of the symptoms connected with HIV infection and AIDS, for instance treatment of nausea and loss of appetite.

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Self-care

  • If you do not have anyone to talk to about the situation, you might like to visit your GP, a counselor with relevant experience, or a psychologist.
  • You should discuss your worries and the depression that often follows the discovery you are HIV-positive.
  • You should be treated for all infections and illnesses that result from the HIV virus. If serious, you will have to be treated in the hospital.
  • The earlier the diagnosis is made, the more effective the treatment. If you have been exposed to infection, you should undergo a test, even if you still feel healthy.
  • Contact AIDS and HIV support groups.
  • Make sure you eat a varied and healthy diet as the disease affects the digestive system.

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Supplements

  • Proper supplementation will help a person maintain a well- balanced diet and thus help to inhibit viral activity and stimulate immune function.
  • Co-enzyme Q10 – a powerful antioxidant and significant immune stimulant. Helps increase circulation and energy.
  • Alpha Lipoic acid – a powerful antioxidant to prevent free radical damage.
  • Essential fatty acids – important element for cell repair.
  • Multivitamin- Comprises most of the Vitamin and mineral to help prevent the nutrient/ micronutrient depletion. Studies also shown that multivitamin supplement delay the progression of HIV disease and delay the initiation of antiretroviral therapy in HIV-infected women.

 

*Consult a pharmacist at Lovy Pharmacy when choosing a supplement for your condition.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”10vh”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]

Prevention

There’s no vaccine to prevent HIV infection and no cure for AIDS. But it’s possible to protect yourself and others from infection. That means educating yourself about HIV and avoiding any behavior that allows HIV-infected fluids (blood, semen, vaginal secretions and breast milk) entering your body.

 

If you’re HIV-negative:

  • Educate yourself and others.
  • Know the HIV status of any sexual partner.
  • Use a new latex or polyurethane condom every time you have sex.
  • Use a clean needle. If you use a needle to inject drugs, make sure it’s sterile, and don’t share it.

 

If you’re HIV-positive:

  • Follow safe sex practices.
  • Tell your sexual partner(s) you have HIV.
  • If your partner is pregnant, tell her you have HIV. She needs to receive treatment to protect her own health and that of her baby.
  • Tell others who need to know. This is not just to protect them, but also to ensure that you get the best possible medical care.
  • Don’t share needles or syringes.
  • Don’t donate blood or organs. The virus will spread to other people.
  • Don’t share razor blades or toothbrushes.
  • If you’re pregnant, get medical care right away.

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Arthritis

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Overview

Arthritis means joint inflammation. It is often a chronic disease which can affect you over a long period of time.

The most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

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Osteoarthritis

  • Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis.
  • The cartilages break down allowing bones to rub together, causing pain and stiffness, although generally there is little or no inflammation.
  • Most often occurs in the weight-bearing joints-hips, knees, spine or hands.

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Rheumatoid arthritis

  • In this condition, the lining of the joint becomes inflamed.
  • Commonly affected joints: fingers, wrists, shoulders, knees or feet.

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Signs and Symptoms

  • Stiff joints when getting out of bed or after sitting for a long time.
  • Recurring pain or tenderness in any joint.
  • Swelling in one or more joints.
  • Limited joint movement.
  • Redness and warmth in a joint.
  • Unexplained weight loss, fever or weakness with joint pain.
  • Joint deformities

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Medicines

  • Medicines can relieve symptoms, control pain, slow down damage to the joints and reduce disability.
  • Ask our doctor/ pharmacist on the medicines available to help you.

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Self-care

  • Exercise can help to maintain strength of the muscles and improve mobility of the affected joints. Choose exercises (e.g. swimming, Tai Chi) that do not strain your joints.
  • Heat and cold – Warm towels, hot/ice packs can provide temporary pain relief.
  • Distribute weight – use both arms to carry heavy objects, try not to sit /stand/lie in one position for too long.
  • Weight reduction is necessary for obese individuals as it reduces the strain on your hips and knees.

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Supplements

  • Glucosamine and chondroitin – proven to be effective in relieving symptoms of osteoarthritis by stimulating the biosynthesis of the mucopolysaccharides (the essential components of the cartilage) and enhance the lubricant activity at the joint.
  • Omega-3 Fish Oil and Evening Primrose Oil – shown to have anti-inflammation properties that reduce inflammation of arthritis.
  • Vitamin C – slows the progression of the disease, reduces the risk of cartilage loss, and reduces the risk of developing knee pain.
  • Vitamin E, zinc and selenium may decrease free radical damage to the joints lining, which diminish swelling and pain.

 

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Antalvisc

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Acne

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Overview

Most teenagers will have a few blackheads and pimples, and some will have more severe and inflamed acne. As the body’s hormone levels change, especially during adolescence, the hair follicles and oil glands of the skin may be affected. Although it is most common in teenagers, acne can occur at any age.

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Causes

Acne commences when the sebaceous ducts in the skin become blocked by skin overgrowth to form a whitehead, or by plugs of sebum which darken on exposure to air forming a blackhead When the sebum trapped in the whitehead or blackhead is forced into the deeper skin layers, an inflammatory reaction causes a red lump called a papule. If infection follows, pus collects and the classic pimple is seen. When the inflammatory condition is severe, large, painful cysts may form. Bacteria propionibacterium acnes can cause inflammation causing scarring or hyperpigmentation.

 

Other factors that can cause acne:

  • Some skin care and hair care products increase the amount of oil on the skin and may block the hair follicle e.g. oil-based make-up, hair oils, sun tan oils, soap and liquid soap washes.
  • Working with oils and greases may also increase the amount of oil on the skin e.g. deep frying foods.
  • Scrubbing, scratching, squeezing or picking the skin.
  • Sweating a lot.
  • High humidity.
  • Hormonal changes e.g. prior to a period, thought to be due to changes in progesterone levels.
  • Stress, anxiety or illness.
  • Medications includes steroids, lithium, some anti-epileptics.
  • Genetically

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Treatment

The aim of treatment is to remove the plugs, so that the sebum is able to flow freely, and to reduce the bacteria on the skin. Treatment should reduce come done formation.

Regular cleansing of the skin morning and night, including after exercise, is vital to controlling the oiliness of the skin. Use a non-soap cleanser at all times. Some cleansers also contain antibacterial agents to reduce bacteria on the skin’s surface.

 

Treatment for acne includes:

  • Topical agents used to unblock the comedone (eg. benzoyl peroxide) – has a keratolytic action, which increases the turnover of skin cells, helping the skin to peel, and also antibacterial properties, which should help to reduce the skin flora.
  • Topical or oral agents to reduce the bacteria (eg. tetracycline, doxycycline, clindamycin, erythormycin).
  • Medicines used to reduce the activity of the sebaceous gland.
  • Anti-inflammatory agents.
  • Topical retinoids have anti-inflammatory effect and also comedolytic effect. (Tretinoin)

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Self-care

  • Gently cleanse the area affected by acne twice a day and after exercise. Use an antibacterial wash morning and night and a gentle soap substitute at other times. It is important to ensure that the non-soap cleanser selected does not block your pores. Pat dry with a soft towel.
  • Do not pop, squeeze or pick at acne.
  • Heavy oil-based facial products can make acne worse. Use water-based makeup moisturizers and sunscreen.
  • Thoroughly remove makeup at the end of the day.
  • Exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet with lots of fresh fruits and water. This will improve general health and be reflected in the condition of the skin.
  • Eat a diet rich in antioxidants such as berries, brightly colored vegetables like carrots and tomatoes.

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Supplements

  • Zinc – Essential mineral used for wound healing and the normal oil gland function of the skin. It is also involved in the maintenance of vitamin A levels, for protein synthesis and to help maintain hormonal balance.
  • Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) – Contains essential fatty acids (GLA, LA) which help to dilute sebum that over secreted in some people with acne. Besides, EPO also help in reducing the risk of pores becoming clogged and lesions developing.

Note: Doctor may prescribe antibiotics or other medications to treat acne. However, you may start with natural options first as some of these medications are associated with adverse effect.

 

*Consult a pharmacist at Lovy Pharmacy when choosing a supplement for your condition.[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”10vh”][/vc_column][/vc_row]