Ectopic Pregnancy: Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, and Treatment

“I’m pregnant!” This is likely one of the most exciting expressions a woman can utter. Unfortunately, pregnancy is not as easy as it may seem. Anything can go wrong, and one of the most common problems that could transpire is an ectopic pregnancy.

What is ectopic pregnancy? Well, a pregnancy starts when the sperm and egg meet. Afterward, the implantation of the fertilized egg normally happens inside the lining of the uterus. Sadly though, the fertilized egg can also grow outside the uterus, and that condition is called ectopic pregnancy. It is an abnormal growth of the fertilized egg, and in most cases, the egg won’t survive.

Causes

The most common form of ectopic pregnancy is tubal pregnancy. Normally, the fertilized egg travels down by the fallopian tube going to the uterus. But if there are damage and deformity in the fallopian tube, the fertilized egg may be trapped on the way to the uterus. Another cause of ectopic pregnancy is a hormonal imbalance.

Symptoms

Ectopic pregnancy exhibits normal symptoms of pregnancy like morning sickness or feeling nauseated and vomiting, amenorrhea or absence of menstrual period, and tenderness of the breasts. A pregnancy test will also be positive. Early signs of ectopic pregnancy include pain in the pelvic area, light color vaginal bleeding and severe pain in the abdomen as blood drips from the fallopian tube. There’s also pelvic discomfort that triggers a bowel movement. Also, hemorrhage or heavy bleeding causes pain on the shoulder—or depending on the nerves affected or the location of blood accumulation.

Risk Factors

Every condition is predisposed by several risk factors. As for ectopic pregnancy, one of the major risk factors is having a history of ectopic pregnancy—if you’ve had one, you’ll most likely have another. Women who have undergone a surgical procedure on their fallopian tubes will likely develop a deformity on the fallopian tube and might increase their risk of having an ectopic pregnancy. A woman also has an increased risk for ectopic pregnancy if she has Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI). These are infections a person acquires through sexual intercourse with someone infected. Gonorrhea is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections.

Also, women who have undergone fertility treatment will make themselves at risk for developing ectopic pregnancy. Additionally, contraceptive methods can make women at risk. For example, becoming pregnant while using an Intrauterine device (IUD) could lead to ectopic pregnancy. Also, if a woman becomes pregnant after tubal ligation—an invasive procedure that involves tying off the fallopian tubes—this will also lead to ectopic pregnancy. Lastly, women who are chain-smokers and smokes during pregnancy have higher risks for developing this condition.

Treatment

Women who have ectopic pregnancy needs close monitoring. The doctor needs to monitor for bleeding and run some blood tests. Medications for pain are also given as needed. The most common intramuscular drug administered to women for the treatment of ectopic pregnancy is Methotrexate. This medication is given to stop the pregnancy by stopping the dividing of cells. After all, the fertilized egg won’t survive outside the uterus and there is no procedure yet for it to be saved.

But it doesn’t end there. The fertilized egg needs to be removed through surgery. And that involves the removal of the affected fallopian tube. The tube can be removed or repaired through laparoscopy. Laparoscopy involves a small incision in the abdomen. 

However, for emergencies like severe pain in the pelvis and heavy bleeding, the doctor needs to perform surgery through a larger incision in the abdomen, and this procedure is called laparotomy.

Levels of Pain: Tipping the Scales

As we go through our lives every day, we can encounter all sorts of accidents which will cause varying amounts of pain depending on the severity of the wounds we incur. Some small cuts and bruises can bring discomforting but tolerable pain. On the other hand, some may cut off our consciousness over the great amount of pain we feel such as dismemberment of a limb on a road accident. Indeed, pain can be classified depending on its severity, and distinguishing each can help us better understand what our brain is trying to tell is on the condition associated with such pain.

From a biological perspective, pain is our body’s ‘alert’ system. It is our brain’s way of telling us that something is wrong with our bodies. By determining the cause of pain, we can prevent further damage and alleviating the pain can mean that the issue is no longer prevalent. Depending on the severity of pain we feel, we can gauge just how much damage our body has incurred.

The first type of pain is the ‘psychogenic pain’ or pain felt from prolonged exposure to emotional, mental, or behavioral nuisances. Examples of these include back pain, headaches, and stomach pain from too much work. This type of pain usually goes away when the person is removed from the source. 

Next, we have the ‘phantom pain’ which is felt from the loss of an organ or limb. The inability of the body part to receive physical signals from the brain is countered by this form of pain. This pain is usually experienced by quadriplegics and amputees. 

We also have ‘acute pain’ that is felt suddenly but disappears shortly after. Lastly, the ‘chronic pain’ is the opposite of acute wherein it is felt for longer periods and can indicate other health conditions

Aside from the source of pain, we can also identify it through the level that we feel. The pain scale lists down the different intensities and behaviors of the people that have felt them. This is a form of assessment that enables professionals to gage pain from an objective standpoint based on accounts of others that went through them.

The scale starts at 0 and goes all the way to 10. Level 0 indicates no pain at all. In levels 1 to 3, the pain increases to the point of being noticeable, but still tolerable. Such pain arises from pinching, cuts, or injections. In these levels, the body is still able to adapt to the pain without much effort since it is still relatively weak.

Levels four to six fall to the moderate category. In these levels, the pain can interfere with daily activities and cause much discomfort since the pain is no longer adaptable. Incidents include a toothache, trauma to the body, and sprains. In level 5, the pain does not dull over time. In level 6, the pain begins to overdrive one’s senses, making it difficult to even think clearly. Performing activities can become almost impossible due to our inability to numb out the pain since it does not subside.

For levels 7 to 10, the body experiences severe pain levels to the point where we are unable to perform any activities and will require external assistance. Such is comparable to childbirth, throat cancer, and mutilated appendages. Those who experience it can also lose consciousness due to the brain’s excessive activity over the pain received. 

While pain varies among people, studies have been done to gauge it more accurately to improve our understanding of it. As of now, the different types and levels of pain help us paint a better picture of how our body works and how pain reacts to the different situations we encounter. 

Sinus Infection: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Sinus infection, commonly referred to as sinusitis, is a serious health issue that inflicts 31 Americans. On average, Americans spend over $1 billion annually on OTC medications to treat the condition. Sinus infection accounts for close to 16 million doctor visits and nearly $ 150 million in prescription medications. Having allergies, structural blockages, and asthma puts you at a greater risk for sinusitis. Having a weak immune system also presents a significant risk. Sinusitis is ideally the inflammation of the sinuses. Whereas healthy sinuses should be filled with air, infected sinuses are filled with fluid and become blocked. This may cause germs to grow and cause serious infections. Sinus blockage is commonly caused by the common cold, a deviated septum, allergic rhinitis, and nasal polyps.

Chronic sinusitis takes place when the inside of the nose and head becomes swollen and inflamed for three months or more despite attempts to obtain treatment. The condition affects how mucus drains and causes the nose to become stuffy. You may experience some difficulty breathing through the nose and cause the area around your eyes to become tender and swollen. An infection can cause sinusitis when there are growths in the sinuses. This condition is commonly referred to as chronic rhinosinusitis and can affect both children and adults. 

Causes

Chronic sinusitis may be caused by nasal polyps, which are tissue growths that may block your nasal passages. Deviated or crooked nasal septum may also limit or block nasal passages, thereby worsening the symptoms of sinusitis. Similarly, respiratory tract infections, such as colds, can cause inflammation of the sinus membrane and blockages along mucus drainage. Inflammation with allergies like hay fever can also block the sinuses. Other medical conditions that have been associated with sinusitis include HIV, cystic fibrosis, and immune system-related diseases

Symptoms

Common symptoms include nasal inflammation, postnasal drainage, thick nasal discharge, low sense of taste and smell, swelling and pain around the eyes, nose, forehead, and cheeks, and nasal congestion or obstruction that causes difficulty breathing via the nose. Other symptoms may include bad breath, fatigue, ear pain, sore throat, throat clearing or cough, and aching in the teeth or lower jaw.

Treatment

Your doctor will examine your nose for tenderness or perform imaging tests using MRI or CT to show details. An allergy test may also be performed to determine what causes your nasal flare-ups. Treatment often includes nasal corticosteroids to treat and prevent inflammation. These include budesonide, fluticasone, triamcinolone, beclomethasone, and mometasone. Saline nasal irrigation and injected or oral corticosteroids may also be used to help relieve inflammation. 

Sometimes, aspirin desensitization treatment is recommended for those who have reactions to aspirin. Larger doses are given under medical supervision to increase tolerance. 

Similarly, antibiotics can be used to treat a bacterial infection, but if allergies are the major cause of your sinusitis, immunotherapy (allergy shots) may be used to reduce your body’s reaction to certain allergens. In rare cases, surgery is considered if a patient seems resistant to medication. If left untreated, a sinus infection in the rear central part of the head may spread into the brain and result in meningitis or similar life-threatening conditions. Other complications that may be caused by untreated sinusitis include brain abscess, bone infection, thrombosis (sinus cavity blood clot) and eye infection. 

Sinusitis is a serious health issue and should be treated as soon as possible before the condition develops into other health complications. A doctor will often carry out an examination and recommend the best treatment plan for you. Therefore, if you have symptoms of sinusitis, see your doctor as soon as possible.

Bipolar Disorder: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Among the various mental health conditions that have been studied, there is one among them that may be hard to detect due to the fluctuations in behavior that it can cause. This is no other than the bipolar disorder, which can cause extreme swings in a person’s mood. Let us get to know this condition a lot more to get a better understanding of its causes, symptoms, and effects.

Bipolar disorder can be described best through the drastic changes it can cause to those with the condition. Such emotions can range to extreme highs or mania, medium highs or hypomania, and lows, or depression. When the person is in a state of hypomania, they may feel outbursts of energy that often lead them to be irritated easily. On the other hand, depression can make them feel hopeless and lose interest in activities that they used to find exciting. 

These emotional extremities are the prevailing symptoms of bipolar disorder. The episodes can last for days or weeks and can swing between depression and mania consecutively. As such, the condition can seriously affect a person’s day-to-day activity, sleep, judgment, and behavior. It can also hamper one’s productivity as one struggles to contain emotions while their episodes are ongoing. The person also finds it hard to maintain good relationships with those around them since their emotions make them too unstable to be sociable enough with other people. 

The disorder can be classified into several types depending on the severity of the symptoms observed on those afflicted by it. In the Bipolar I disorder, the subject had experienced at least one manic episode followed by an extremely high or low episode. For the Bipolar II disorder, he has gone through a major depressive and hypomanic event.

Those with Cyclothymic disorder have had at least two years of many hypomanic and depressive events. There are also other types that can be induced by drugs or alcohol when the person is also suffering from another medical condition. 

As of now, there is no definitive cause yet for the disorder. What is known is that the condition physically affects the brain of those who have it in terms of fluctuations in brain activity when undergoing depressive or manic episodes. First-degree relatives of those with the condition also have a high chance of bearing the disease, which indicates that genetics can be a cause of the disorder. Traumatic events that induce high levels of stress such as the death of loved ones have also been known to cause the disorder. Lastly, certain drugs and alcohol have also been seen as probable causes of the condition. 

Currently, there is not yet a solid cure for bipolar disorder. Treatment is available to help prevent it from worsening and developing into more serious mental conditions. Patients are advised to pay close attention to their symptoms so that they may control the onset of extreme emotions. This can be done by determining patterns in the episodes to pinpoint their triggers. To help you find them, you should consult a doctor and ask for help from relatives. It is also important to quit substances that can aggravate the condition such as drugs and alcohol. The patient must also diligently take his medications exactly as prescribed. 

Though it seems that bipolar disorder can truly hamper a person’s life, those with the condition can still live to the best they can if they are cautious of their condition and stay true to the treatment prescribed to them. It takes great awareness of the condition to be able to control its effects and prevent further damage to one’s mental health. 

Modern Medicine and Alternative Medicine—What’s the Difference?

It’s human nature to survive. That’s why we do everything we could to stay alive. And one of the factors that can greatly affect the quality of life is health. Hence, if our health is in danger, well, so is our life. And we know that sickness is the primary factor that endangers our health. If you are sick, you have two treatment options—modern medicine or alternative medicine. Which would you prefer? Knowing the difference will help you decide.

Modern Medicine

Imagine a sick person who needed medical help. After seeing his doctor, he headed to the nearest drug store and bought the prescribed medications. This standard of medical care is known as modern medicine. Modern medicine is usually practiced by medical doctors. The health care team, which consists of registered nurses, physical therapists, and psychologists, also practice modern medicine. The most common approach in this field is palliative care—to alleviate pain and treat the symptoms.

Pros. The advancement of modern medicine nowadays is at an increasing rate because of so many medical research and studies. New medications and treatments are being introduced in hospitals and clinics. These aid in the reduction of fatalities due to life-threatening conditions such as heart disease, AIDS, and even cancer. Moreover, when it comes to emergencies, modern medicine is the most effective. 

Take for example an allergic reaction to a certain type of food. A worst case of allergy could be life-threatening, but thanks to modern medicine, a person’s life can be saved by just a single shot of antihistamine. Thus, we can say that the effects of modern medicine are faster compared to alternative medicine which requires long term use. Also, the medications are approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which means it’s proven to be safe and effective. 

Cons. On the other hand, taking medications comes with a list of side effects—some even have adverse effects. Besides, doctor appointments, buying the prescribed drugs, and undergoing some laboratory tests will cost you time and money. Needless to say, modern medicine does not cure diseases. In most cases, it can only reduce pain or lessen the severity of the condition. 

Alternative Medicine

People all over the world are attracted to something that is “natural”. And that’s what alternative medicine is all about. It is a natural or traditional way of treatment. Acupuncture, chiropractic care, and herbal medicines are examples of alternative medicine. For some, going to the doctor is their last option. What has influenced this viewpoint? The advertisements and testimonies of people about alternative medicine everywhere.  

Pros. People who opt for alternative medicine spare themselves of painful injections and time-consuming laboratory tests. It’s more of a natural way of healing. Also, it is non-invasive—no surgeries, nor knives involved.

Cons. However, there are also risks in taking in something that isn’t prescribed by your physician. Some supplements may be effective and good for others. For some, however, it can be damaging. Since most of the alternative medicine products have not undergone a deeper study or medical research, some might contain minerals that are toxic to our body and might cause damage to body organs. 

Additionally, most of the alternative medicine has “No Approved Therapeutic Claims”, which indicates that the medications do not have a study that supports and proves its effectiveness. As mentioned earlier, this approach does not give quick results. Since it’s intended for the long term, it will also cost an amount of money.

After discussing the difference between modern medicine and alternative medicine, as well as their corresponding pros and cons, each individual will need to decide for himself—based on his own needs, circumstances, and preferences.

How Homeopathy Works: Its Pros and Cons

Homeopathy is a Greek word that means “similar suffering” and provides a special kind of cure different from other medical remedies such as Allopathy and Ayurveda, which is ideally a natural herbal therapy. On the other hand, Allopathy applies different chemical compositions to tackle illnesses. For instance, Allopathy dries a runny nose to cure it. This ideally involves drying up the nose by getting rid of the mucous. Some people prefer homeopathic medicine because it is not addictive yet economical. 

However, several debates surround their prescription and dosage. Some believe that homeopaths do not require any expertise to enable them to prescribe medicine, as long as one hand over a bottle with the disease name on it. This makes it very easy for the typical layman to get a bottle from off the shelf and obtain the cure without the intervention of an expert.

Homeopathy has been considered the second most popularly used medical system globally and has gained prominence in the U.S. as well over the last 10 years. Perhaps its success can be partly credited to the fact that it provides an alternative to traditional medicine, which is founded on the principle of “like cures like”, referring to the fact that an illness or disease can be cured by introducing a low dose of a substance that portrays similar symptoms to healthy people. Its success can be linked to several advantages, although some people remain doubtful and question the effectiveness of the therapeutic system. If you’ve heard about homeopathic treatment and would like to try it to cure your disease, below are the pros and cons to consider before making your ultimate decision.

Advantages

Perhaps the most obvious advantage of homeopathy is that the medicine is 100% safe, with no side effects when used to treat an illness. The medicine can also be administered to children without the fear of serious side effects that could harm their health. It is also recommended and safe for pregnant women and the remedy can be taken concurrently with other medications. These remedies are prepared using natural substances and are considered good for health. 

Similarly, homeopathy is considered very effective in the treatment of illness, as long as you follow the prescribed diet and make the necessary diet changes. This can deliver quick and long-lasting results. The remedy is also easy to take and parents can easily administer it to their children even if they dislike bitter medicines. These medications commonly come in sweet, tasty drops, powders, or simply tiny tablets. In addition, the remedy is not addictive and one can easily stop taking it after feeling some relief. 

However, if it does not bring the desired relief, then you must be taking the remedy the wrong way or taking the wrong remedy altogether. Taking homeopathy does not suppress the immune system, unlike other traditional medicines. It is also a holistic approach and treats all symptoms equally.

Disadvantages

While the remedy may have several advantages, it also has a few shortcomings. You may not get the right remedy at your local pharmacy. The right remedy may also take longer to cure than traditional medicine and there are only a few experts in the field.

Homeopathic treatments have several advantages and disadvantages and understanding these can help you make the right decision concerning your health. While it is not scientifically proven to work, its effectiveness has been demonstrated in successful cases. It may be more effective on some people than others but it is worth trying out to determine whether you can derive the health benefits.

The Difference Between a Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest

“Heart attack” and “cardiac arrest” are two terms that are often used interchangeably. However, what most people don’t know is that they are two distinct conditions even though they are related. Whereas many people may not care whether they can tell the difference or not, understanding the two are different can be helpful when assisting someone with either of these conditions during an event. 

Perhaps the easiest way to tell the difference between the two is that a heart attack can be viewed as a circulation issue whereas cardiac arrest is an electrical issue. A heart attack occurs when blood flow is physically blocked by a narrowed or clogged artery that supplies blood to the heart. The severity of the damage caused by a heart attack depends on how long the attack lasts. When the heart muscle is deprived of blood and oxygen supply, parts of the heart’s tissue begin to die. In contrast, a person with cardiac arrest does not experience blockage of blood flow. Instead, an electrical malfunction occurs and stops the heart from beating, thereby stopping the flow of blood to every part of the body.

Another major difference between the conditions is that they present vastly different symptoms. To begin with, cardiac arrest causes people to lose consciousness and pulse. This shows just how serious the condition can be. Cardiac arrest can go from severe to fatal in a matter of minutes. In contrast, a heart attack does not cause you to faint or lose your pulse, but it is likely to cause some chest or arm pain. Other symptoms of a heart attack include shortness of breath, nausea, fatigue, sluggishness, and cold sweats, and these are common among women.

Sudden cardiac arrest happens suddenly and without prior warning. An electrical malfunction can easily cause this condition, as the heart’s pumping function is disrupted and it can no longer pump blood to reach the brain, lungs, and other vital organs of the body. It only takes a few seconds before you lose consciousness and pulse. You can die in minutes if you don’t get the urgent treatment you need.

Therefore, cardiac arrest can be deadlier than a heart attack, as symptoms of the latter can start several hours, days or weeks before a full-blown attack. This gives the patient some time to seek medical attention if they are in a position to do so. It is advisable to call 911 immediately if someone is exhibiting symptoms of cardiac arrest or a heart attack because they can lose their lives in minutes if they do not receive urgent treatment. It is also important to note that numerous cardiac arrests that occur in adults are caused by a heart attack because a heart attack causes the heart to develop a dangerous rhythm that can potentially result in a cardiac arrest. Regardless, all of them are emergencies that require urgent treatment.

If you or a loved one is experiencing a heart attack, dial your emergency response number immediately because every minute counts. Similarly, sudden cardiac arrest can be deadly but it is also reversible if treated in time. If you are having trouble differentiating between the two, you should remember that a heart attack is caused by the blockage of the artery supplying blood to the heart whereas cardiac arrest is an electrical malfunction that causes the heart to stop beating. You should also remember that both can be deadly but a heart attack may give warnings in advance whereas cardiac arrest can be sudden.

Tips for a Healthier Lifestyle

What makes or breaks the best-laid “top ten goals for a healthier me”? Inertia, and it can’t wait to wreck all our plans. Counter-solution: stay focused on the positive stuff we will gain, right? To some, that is applicable and realistic, but to others, that sounds easier said than done.

Enter the concept of planning and aiming smart, not just planning to get tough. Read on to find out how gradual changes increase your chances for inner and outer success, more than just wishing for a shot-in-the-dark grand slam.    

1. Select a goal and aspire to achieve it.

Write down a healthy target, and make sure it is Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. An example of a well-written SMART goal is: “I will (particular activity) to burn at least (X target) calories through (realistic: exercise?) in this (time frame).”

Here are some examples of some diet goals broken down into simpler targets:

Instead of the norm: a huge share devoted to carbs, then some protein, then a so-so bit of vegetables, try to set up in reverse order. Half your plate is for vegetables, then split up the remaining portion between a starch (consisting ideally of complex carbs) and a protein.

Another goal could be to drink a glass of water before eating.

Yet another is that for every hour spent sitting, step out and go for brisk five-minute walks. Sitting for most of the day is the hallmark of a sedentary lifestyle, and it is no help for your cardiac health. But remember what we said at the start: it may feel unrealistic to push yourself to exercise when you’re the activity go-getter, so scattering movement throughout your day might just be what suits you. Doing the above will help you achieve a total of a 40-minute walk.

2. Floss!

There are many reliable reports on how flossing daily is strikingly related to a longer life expectancy. Flossing helps you in two ways: it reduces the risk of gum disease, and may even prevent heart disease.

Now here’s something else to make you put that dental floss beside your toothbrush: there is some evidence linking bacteria found in a common type of gum disease to dementia. Just the same, many scientists, for now, can only say there’s enough of a connection to persuade everyone not to take chances. So, try to have healthier gums by incorporate flossing into your dental routine.

3. Get a healthy amount of sleep.

The stuff of nightmares for fitness lovers: getting a near-fatal stroke at a relatively young age. But similar news made the rounds of social media some weeks ago; a fitness instructor (who is also a family man, too) pointed to his stroke’s root cause in his 6 hours of sleep or less.

There is no way around your body’s request for 7 to 8 hours of sleep to repair cells. Try going to bed five minutes earlier each night (or just every few nights, if you find it tough). The point is to hit the seven to nine hours of sleep for adults, recommended by the National Sleep Foundation.

4. Make your social network (the actual real-life variety) add value to your lifestyle.

Tone down on TV and online gaming and devote it to developing better social connections. A good number of people nowadays describe social networking (allotting time for family and friends) as a time-consuming effort.

Nevertheless, these real-life investments are worth the effort when it comes to getting support to be able to face life-changing events (family issues, unemployment, a life-threatening disease, etc).  

Sometimes lifelong friendships start with mere effort to improve your communication with them (start with e-mail, phone or in person) by having a great story to share. What makes a great story? It builds connections, it’s a motive to collaborate, or that it simply implies concern and empathy.  

We could go on and on with great small steps you can take to start a healthy lifestyle. But remember, the lifestyle itself would be just a symptom of your success. The goal and target is a more meaningful time for people who matter to you, and this is possible because you are healthy, you can focus, or put effort into reciprocating them. But it’s easier for your brain to process a healthy lifestyle by breaking it down into SMART goals and aspiring to achieve them.

The Difference between a General Pediatrician and a Developmental Pediatrician

A mother and a boy walk hand in hand for a morning appointment. First, they stopped by the child’s favorite restaurant to have some breakfast. While the child roams around the restaurant with very high energy for a typical morning, his mother prepares his food on a plate. She calls the child and he comes rushing—bumping the table—and the glass of water spilled. After eating, they proceed to the second floor of the building and enter the clinic of the boy’s pediatrician for his regular check-up. The doctor performs his routine and asks many questions while the boy’s energy is still high. The doctor’s eyebrows slightly creased. After almost an hour of questioning and check-up, with a soft voice and calm manner, the pediatrician advised that they must see a developmental pediatrician.

This suggestion might bother many caring mothers. Countless unsaid questions and worries about their children come to mind. Why see a developmental pediatrician? Is there something wrong with my child? Will my child be fine and normal as he or she grows? What do developmental pediatricians do? These are some of the many questions that run through a parent’s mind. Identifying the differences between a general pediatrician and a developmental pediatrician might answer some of these questions.

General Pediatrics vs Developmental Pediatrics

Care, diagnosis, and treatment of many medical conditions and concerns from infancy up to early adulthood are usually under the scope of general pediatricians. On the other hand, developmental-behavioral pediatricians or most commonly known as Developmental Pediatricians have advanced experiences and are well-trained in analyzing, determining, and providing treatment plans for numerous kinds of developmental problems and behavioral concerns of children. They are also trained to provide treatment sessions, document the progress and changes, and prescribe appropriate medication suitable to the child’s needs. They can also assist parents and families as the child goes through different levels of education.

Education

General Pediatricians and Developmental-Behavioral Pediatricians went to medical school and spent years acquiring the knowledge and skills needed for the field. Four years of study and a year of internship are the requirements in the United States. A medical student will have to choose whether he wants to further his studies by focusing on a subspecialty during the internship period. Medical students will, later on, be general pediatricians if they choose not to take up subspecialty; while medical students will, later on, be developmental-behavioral pediatricians if they choose otherwise and go through further three years of residency in the field of pediatrics in order to be equipped and skilled in diagnosing and treating any behavioral problems and concerns on the development of children. Both are medical doctors who graduated and passed a national licensure examination.

Functions

The general health and care of a child are under the scope of general pediatricians. They look into the child’s attributes such as social, mental, physical and behavioral, and they compare it to the attributes generally accepted as standard or norm. Should there be any differences, concerns, or delays, they refer it to developmental pediatricians. Specialists in the development and behavior of children are called developmental pediatricians. Some (but not limited to) examples of the conditions they diagnose and provide treatment plans for are: behavioral disorders like anxiety, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and depression; learning disorders such as dyslexia and writing problems; developmental incapacities like spina bifida, mental retardation, visual and hearing defects and cerebral palsy, habit disorders; developmental delays such as cognitive and speech; and regulatory problems such as sleep and feeding difficulties and toilet-training problems.

Knowing the difference between a general pediatrician and a developmental pediatrician can guide loving parents in choosing the appropriate medical practitioner that can properly address their child’s medical needs.

Eating Disorder—Types and Its Effect on Our Overall Health

Almost everyone loves to eat. How about you? We eat, not just because we want to, but because we have to. It is one of the basic human needs, other than clothing and shelter. However, eating and healthy eating, are two completely different things. After all, everyone has their very own “favorite foods.” Still, no matter how basic a topic eating may be, there is something that needs to be addressed about it. Have you ever heard about eating disorders? Let us cover the most common types of eating disorders and their corresponding effects on our well-being.

Anorexia Nervosa: This is a grave and life-threatening eating disorder marked by excessive starving of oneself and extreme weight loss. Signs include visibly notable low body weight for one’s physical health, age, or sex, fear of becoming fat and gaining weight, distorted view of body appearance and weight, restricting oneself to eat then binge afterward. Fasting and excessive exercise to avoid weight gain are also exhibited by the affected individual. 

This should never be taken lightly as studies have shown that this type of eating disorder is possibly associated with depression. If prolonged and left untreated, it further leads to suicidal instincts, heart failure, hormonal imbalance, menstrual irregularity in women, weakened heart muscle, and gastrointestinal complications. Aside from that, a person with anorexia nervosa may experience frequent stomach aches, bloating, sexual deprivation, insomnia, irritability, and social withdrawal.

Bulimia Nervosa: Similar to anorexia, this is also life-threatening if left untreated. However, contrary to anorexia, bulimia is characterized by binge eating—then to be followed by self-induced vomiting to compensate for binging. Signs include a series of binge eating with the patient subconsciously having the idea that he is losing control over his eating behavior. Just like anorexia, overly conscious weight monitoring and self-evaluating one’s body weight or shape may also be noticed. 

Associated features are also very close to that of anorexia: menstrual irregularity, poor dental health, high suicide risk, and gastrointestinal complications. In addition to that, there can be also ruptured blood vessels, cardiac arrhythmias, pancreatitis, and chronic dehydration.

Binge Eating Disorder (BED): This may sound similar to bulimia, which is true, but there is one significant difference—no compensation for weight-control is done to counter the binge eating. Signs include intake of large amounts of food regularly, then feeling guilty and ashamed afterward. Hoarding food in strange places, the disappearance of great quantities of food in just a short time, and eating very quickly even when not hungry are also telltale signs of this disorder. 

Complications associated with BED include: obesity, type II diabetes, hypertension or high blood pressure (including abnormally high cholesterol levels), heart disease, gallbladder disease, and the overall quality of life is affected. 

Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID): This type of eating disorder is similar to anorexia—it also ends up in extreme weight loss. However, this is linked to zero interest in appetite to food such that no response is manifested by the patient. If there is such a thing as poor appetite, then people suffering from this technically have ‘no appetite.’ This is not because of the lack of food sources. 

Signs and symptoms of this disorder are both physical and psychological. 

Similar to the previously stated disorders, these also include excessive weight loss, fear of gaining weight, restricting food intake which results in significant nutritional deficiency, and gastrointestinal complications. If left untreated, it can take too much toll on the body and disrupt the processes and normal functions taking place which will eventually result in death.