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All you need to know about diphtheria — the disease ravaging states

NMA, Resident Doctors
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Kayode Sanni-Arewa

A new disease called diphtheria has surfaced in some parts of Nigeria and it is lethal.

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Last week, Aminu Tsanyawa, the Kano commissioner for health, said 25 confirmed death cases, mostly children, of diphtheria were recorded in the state.

The disease is gradually spreading across the country, raising concerns among health officials and Nigerians.

According to the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (NCDC), Kano recorded the first suspected cases; Lagos has also registered confirmed cases, while probable cases in Yobe and Osun states are under observation.

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Though the NCDC said it is working with state ministries of health and partners to enhance surveillance and response to the outbreak, it also warned that the infection is contagious and most cases have been laboratory confirmed.

Unlike COVID-19 awareness rate, many Nigerians have no idea what this new infection is about, what the symptoms are, whether it is deadly, transmissible or preventable. These and more will be looked into in this explainer.

What is diphtheria and its possible symptoms?

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The NCDC defined diphtheria as a serious bacterial infection caused by bacterium called corynebacterium species that affects the nose, throat and sometimes skin of an individual.

Corynebacterium is a genus of gram-positive bacteria and the disease comes in two types – the respiratory and cutaneous.

When an individual is infected with the respiratory diphtheria, a sore throat with low-grade fever will surface and the membrane attached to the tonsils, pharynx, or nose will be affected. Simply put, the disease is capable of infecting the breathing organs of its victim.

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However, each kind of diphtheria, after it has reached a severe level, can be identified through its symptoms.

The respiratory diphtheria, in severe cases, can lead to neck swelling, serious breathing problems, blood disorder, paralysis, coma and even death.

But in the case of cutaneous diphtheria, which is considered a rare kind of the disease, it affects the skin and can cause wounds which may become swollen, reddened and painful.

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Is diphtheria a new disease?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the bacterium was discovered by Edwin Klebs in 1883 when the disease was considered one of the most dreadful infections in the world.

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Health

REVEALED: S3x during menstruation increases risk of HIV, other STDs, says Gynaecologist

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A professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Solomon Avidime, has cautioned against having vaginal sexual intercourse with a menstruating woman, noting that it could expose partners to the risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.

According to the gynaecologist, the risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases is high when partners have sexual intercourse when the woman is menstruating.

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Prof. Avidime who made tyis dosclosured stated that HIV infections can occur as a negative consequence of sexual intercourse during menses.

Besides the risk of contracting STIs, the professor said that vaginal sexual intercourse with a menstruating woman could also lead to an increase in the flow of menstrual blood because the veins of the uterus are congested and prone to rupture, and thus could be damaged easily.

Prof. Avidime stressed that sexual intercourse during the menstrual period also exposes partners to the risk of different kinds of sexually-transmitted infections.

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“The risk of contracting sexually-transmitted diseases is high during sexual intercourse when the woman is menstruating. It is high in both women and men.

“HIV infection can occur as a negative consequence of sexual intercourse during menses. The risk of contracting gonorrhea and hepatitis is also high.

“So, to prevent infection, it is better to avoid sexual intercourse during menstruation. It is not safe it”, he said.

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When asked if a woman could ovulate during her menstrual flow or get pregnant during such a period, Prof Avidime said it is remotely possible for a woman to get pregnant during her monthly period if she engages in sexual intercourse.

He said this is especially common among women that have shorter cycles like 21 days or less.

He, however, said that ovulation does not occur during menses.

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According to an online portal, American Pregnancy, menstruation or a period is the bleeding that occurs when the endometrium is shed 12 to 16 days after ovulation.

With this definition, a woman cannot ovulate while on her period.

The portal, however, said some women experience mid-cycle or ovulatory bleeding (bleeding that occurs around ovulation) and may mistake it for a period.

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“This can happen to women with very irregular cycles coming once every three months or two to three times in one month.

“Mid-cycle bleeding can occur in women with regular cycles as well. They may experience what appears to be a period, but, in reality, this is most likely ovulatory bleeding. Ovulation can occur when you experience mid-cycle or ovulatory bleeding.

“Keep in mind that while you cannot technically ovulate while on a period because sperm can live in the body for three to five days after sex, pregnancy could occur from intercourse that takes place during a period,” it noted.

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According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, most women experience a 28-day menstrual cycle.

“This cycle lasts from the first day of menstrual bleeding to the day before bleeding begins the following month.

“The length of the cycle varies between individuals, but is usually between 26 and 32 days long, with 28 days being the average.

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“The most fertile time of the menstrual cycle is between days eight and 19,” ACOG said.

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Ultra-processed foods may raise cancer risk in women, Study reveals

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By Francesca Iwambe

Eating ultra-processed food could increase the risk of cancers, especially ovarian cancer in women, a new study has revealed.

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The study conducted on over 197,000 people with more than half being women looked at the association between eating ultra-processed foods and 34 different types of cancer over 10 years.

The study which was published in the medical journal eClinicalMedicine, an open-access clinical journal, published by The Lancet, examined information on the eating habits of the 197,426 people who were part of the UK Biobank.

The study noted that the amount of ultra-processed foods consumed by people in the study ranged from a low of 9.1 per cent to a high of 41.4 per cent of their diet.

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Over the years, the eating patterns were compared with medical records that listed both diagnoses and deaths from cancer.

A statement made by Imperial College London on the findings of the research stated that “each 10 per cent increase in ultra-processed food consumption was associated with a 2 per cent increase in developing any cancer, and a 19 per cent increased risk for being diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

“Deaths from cancers also increased. For each additional 10 per cent increase in ultra-processed food consumption, the risk of dying from any cancer increased by 6 per cent, while the risk of dying from ovarian cancer rose by 30 per cent.”

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Of note also is the fact that “these associations persisted after adjustment for a range of socio-demographic, smoking status, physical activity, and key dietary factors,” the authors revealed.

According to Heath.harvard.edu, ultra-processed foods most likely have many added ingredients such as sugar, salt, fat, and artificial colours or preservatives and are made mostly from substances extracted from foods, such as fats, starches, added sugars, and hydrogenated fats.

These overly processed foods may also contain additives like artificial colours and flavours or stabilizers.
Foods classified as ultra-processed or overly processed include foods like pre-packaged soups, sauces, frozen pizza and ready-to-eat meals, hot dogs, sausages, french fries, sodas, store-bought cookies, cakes, candies, doughnuts, and ice cream.

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Also, soft drinks, cold cuts, and salty snacks are ultra-processed foods.

Speaking on the study, the first author and National Institute for Health and Care Research fellow at the Imperial College London School of Public Health, Dr. Kiara Chang explained that ultra-processed foods are produced with industrially derived ingredients and often use food additives to adjust colour, flavour, consistency, texture, or extend shelf life.

She, however, added that the different human bodies would react differently to these ultra-processed ingredients and additives as they do to fresh and nutritious minimally processed foods.

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Common causes of mental illnesses many people don’t know about

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By Francesca Iwambe

Mental illness according to webmd, is a common condition that affects millions of people around the world. While there are many well-known causes of mental illness, such as genetics and traumatic events, there are also many lesser-known causes that can contribute to the development of mental health issues. In this article, NaijaBlitzNews HEALTH explore some of the common causes of mental illness that many people may not be aware of.

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Medical conditions:

Certain medical conditions can increase the risk of developing mental illness. For example, people with chronic pain, heart disease, or diabetes may be more likely to develop depression or anxiety. Additionally, certain medications used to treat these conditions can also contribute to the development of mental health issues.

Substance abuse: The use of drugs and alcohol can also contribute to the development of mental illness. For example, people who abuse substances such as cocaine and methamphetamine may be at a higher risk for developing psychosis, while those who abuse alcohol may be more likely to develop depression or anxiety.

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Social isolation: People who are socially isolated may be at a higher risk for developing mental illness. This is because social connections and support can provide protection against mental health issues. People who are isolated may also be more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as substance abuse, which can further increase their risk for mental illness.

Trauma: Traumatic events, such as physical or sexual abuse, can also contribute to the development of mental illness. For example, people who have experienced trauma may be more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can lead to symptoms such as flashbacks, anxiety, and depression.

Nutritional deficiencies: Nutritional deficiencies can also contribute to the development of mental illness. For example, people who do not get enough of certain vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B12 and folate, may be at a higher risk for developing depression and anxiety. Additionally, people who have eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia, may also be at a higher risk for developing mental health issues.

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Sleep disorders: Sleep disorders, such as insomnia or sleep apnea, can also contribute to the development of mental illness. For example, people who do not get enough sleep may be at a higher risk for developing depression and anxiety. Additionally, people who have sleep disorders may also be more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as substance abuse, which can further increase their risk for mental illness.

Chronic stress: Chronic stress can also contribute to the development of mental illness. For example, people who are under constant stress may be at a higher risk for developing depression and anxiety. Additionally, people who have chronic stress may also be more likely to engage in risky behaviors such as substance abuse, which can further increase their risk for mental illness.

It is important to note that mental illness is complex and can be caused by a combination of different factors. Additionally, not everyone who experiences these risk factors will develop a mental illness.

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However, understanding these common causes of mental illness can help people take steps to reduce their risk and seek help if they do develop mental health issues.

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of a mental illness, it is important to seek help. Treatment for mental illness can include therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. Additionally, it is important to seek help early, as early intervention can increase the chances of a successful outcome.

In conclusion, mental illness is a common condition that affects millions of people around the world. While there are many well-known causes of mental illness, such as genetics and traumatic events, there are also many lesser-known causes that can contribute to the development of mental health issues.

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Understanding these common causes of mental illness can help people take steps to reduce their risk and seek help if they do develop mental health issues.
It is important to note that mental illness is a complex condition that can be caused by a combination of different factors.

Additionally, not everyone who experiences these risk factors will develop a mental illness. However, understanding these common causes of mental illness can help people take steps to reduce their risk and seek help if they do develop mental health issues.

One of the key ways to reduce the risk of mental illness is to maintain good physical and mental health. This includes getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and managing stress. Additionally, people can also reduce their risk of mental illness by avoiding substance abuse and engaging in positive social activities.

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Another important step in reducing the risk of mental illness is to seek help early if symptoms develop. This can include seeing a therapist or counselor, taking medication, or participating in a support group.

Early intervention can increase the chances of a successful outcome, so it is important to seek help as soon as possible.

In conclusion, mental illness is a common condition that affects millions of people around the world. While there are many well-known causes of mental illness, such as genetics and traumatic events, there are also many lesser-known causes that can contribute to the development of mental health issues.

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Understanding these common causes of mental illness can help people take steps to reduce their risk and seek help if they do develop mental health issues. By maintaining good physical and mental health, avoiding substance abuse, and seeking help early, people can reduce their risk of mental illness and improve their overall well-being

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