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Understanding Kidney Stones: Its Symptoms, Causes and Treatment.

Understanding Kidney Stones: Its Symptoms, Causes and Treatment.

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Let’s recap what we hear about kidney stones. We often hear people say it’s an extremely painful peeing experience that happens when you don’t drink water. Well that isn’t entirely wrong but there’s so much to it. 

One in every 10 people get affected by this and in Sri Lanka, kidney stones are much more common due to the weather over here. In a minute, you’d know why as you learn the causes of kidney stones. 

Let’s start with the basics. 

What are Kidney Stones?

On a normal day, your kidneys remove waste from your blood by creating urine. 

When there is a lot of waste in your blood and your body is unable to produce enough urine, crystals (made of hard deposits of minerals, salts and other waste) begin to form in your kidneys. 

Kidney stones (also known as urinary stones) can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball. And the more they are left untreated, they can get bigger and even cause the failure of your kidneys. Oops. 

kidney stones formation

Dr Nishantha Liyanapathirana, Consultant Urological Surgeon, has mentioned that most of the urinary stones are made of minerals or calcium along with a smaller percentage of toxic materials like uric acid and cysteine. 

On that note, let’s explore what it’s like to have these stones in our urinary tract.

Kidney Stones Symptoms

Usually, if it’s a small stone, you won’t feel anything as it passes with your urine. This is given you drink enough water for it to pass and not grow bigger.

If it’s a relatively big one, you’re going to experience the below signs of discomfort: 

  • Severe pain on either side of your back
  • A constant stomach pain that won’t go away
  • Blood in urine
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fever and chills
  • Foul-smelling, unclear urine
  • Pink, red or brown urine
  • Severe pain or burning sensation while passing urine. This happens when the stone is big enough to block the flow of urine and result in irritating that area. 

 

symptoms of kidney stones

If you’re having any of the above kidney stones symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. 

To ease the discomfort in the process of getting yourself treated, opt for an online medical consultation via oDoc. Our network of highly professional medical doctors would be able to prescribe any treatment or screening with just a phone call. 

Ever wondered what may cause this uncomfortable situation? Having the answers to this, could help you avoid and stay clear of kidney stones in the future. 

Kidney Stone Causes

  • If you have a family history of kidney stones, a combination of unhealthy lifestyle habits could push you towards kidney stones. 
  • Not drinking enough water to pass out the bodily waste. 
  • Obesity 
  • Having health problems related to the digestive system.
  • Any weight loss surgery 
  • Eating too much protein, sodium, fructose and salt. 
  • Having polycystic kidney condition 
  • Having a health problem that causes your urine to contain high levels of cystine, oxalate, uric acid or calcium. These constituents define the different types of kidney stones. 

 

Types of Kidney Stones
  • Calcium oxalate: This one is common.  And this is created when calcium combines with oxalate in the urine. Inadequate calcium and fluid intake, and a few other conditions, are the cause of this.
  • Uric acid:  Foods such as organ meats and shellfish have high concentrations of a natural chemical compound known as purines. High level of purine leads to a higher production of monosodium urate, which, under the specific conditions, may form kidney stones.
  • Struvite: They are less common and are appear due to infections in the upper urinary tract.
  • Cystine: These stones are rare and tend to run in families. They reoccur and cannot be cured but can be managed well with a healthy lifestyle. 

So, what’s the next step?

 

Kidney Stone Diagnosis

Let’s say you have your first consultation call with one of our doctors via the oDoc app, depending on your medical history and symptoms, our doctors may direct you to a few tests like X Rays, blood and urine tests. 

Kidney Stone Treatment:

If you ever get diagnosed, your doctor will prescribe a combination of lifestyle changes and medications to alleviate the pain and help pass the kidney stone out of your body. In an event when the kidney stone is too big, surgeries might be suggested, they are usually minimally invasive. Remember, any surgery is usually a last resort to treat kidney stones.

Caution: People make the mistake of taking ibuprofen without asking the healthcare provider. This drug can boost the risk of kidney failure, especially when you have a history of kidney diseases and related illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity.

Final Takeaway

Cliché but drink lots of water. And keep tabs on intake of sodium, animal protein, carbs and oxalate-rich foods. 

Most importantly, don’t self-diagnose. Kidney stones are usually treatable very easily, mainly when you get it checked earlier as possible. 

Your doctor is only a call away! Download oDoc app here:

Sources

  • Mayo Clinic
  • Healthline
  • Cleveland Clinic

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How to Go Vegan: A Beginner’s Guide to Veganism

How to Go Vegan: A Beginner’s Guide to Veganism

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You’ve been wanting to become a vegan, but you don’t know where to start. Fret not, we got you!

Veganism is a way of living in which you avoid, as much as possible, all forms of animal exploitation and cruelty. Therefore, veganism covers beyond your diet and includes any form of consumption relating to the use of animals. It’s a way of life. 

Did you know? The number of people following a vegan diet has increased by 350% over the last decade. 

It might feel refreshing to try something new like a vegan diet but it’s essential to know the ethics surrounding veganism. In other words, it’s best to know why it’s practiced. 

Why do people go vegan?

1.True vegans believe that all creatures have a right to life and freedom. Simply because, they believe all conscious beings don’t want to endure any suffering, both psychological and physical.

Therefore, vegan consumption doesn’t only extend to meat but also to the animals’ milk, eggs, honey, silk, etc. 

2. Some opt for vegan food for its health benefits. Generally, diets high in meat are linked to various diseases like cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, etc. Whereas plant-based meals are proven to be helpful to prevent these chronic diseases. Not just that, vegan food also comes with benefits like improved digestion, prevention of Alzheimer, hormone-related conditions and obesity. 

Having said that, a vegan diet can also reduce the chance of consuming a range of key nutrients like vitamin B12, vitamin D, calcium, zinc, iron, iodine, etc. This is why it’s key to talk to a nutritionist to help you plan better. This way, you have a healthier vegan lifestyle, with all the benefits included. 

We have listed some of the highly valued nutritionists in the country on ODoc. To connect with them at your most convenient times, download the ODoc app here. 

Meanwhile, this is our guide to improving your vegan diet in the meantime. 

Reasons to consider veganism

Simple Tips to Improve your Vegan Diet

Perfect diet ideas for veganism

Finding vegan food can feel like an extreme sport at times. Especially, due to the price hikes and less availability of vegan ingredients. 

In the beginning, you may feel your vegan diet is restrictive. It’s okay, all you need is a perspective shift. Instead of thinking about what you are not eating, always ask yourself: What else can I eat? 

Here are some of our recommendations: 

  • Vegetables are your best friend. Generally, veggies are packed with vitamins (A, K and C), minerals like potassium. The key is to consume high protein vegetables, they help you reach your calorie count easily and are usually high in fiber. A win-win in all sides. Some examples are green peas, spinach, artichokes, sweet corn, avocado, mushrooms, kale, potatoes, the list goes on!
  • Make sure your meals include ALL the important nutrition like the vegan protein, carbs, fats, vitamins, minerals and water (the forgotten nutrient). You should eat produce from all colours of the rainbow. For instance, red tomatoes help against prostate cancer, orange fruits help protect your immune system and greens like broccoli help to clear toxins from the body.
  • Pick whole grains. Replace your refined grains like white bread for whole grains, such as brown rice and quinoa. This brings more iron and B vitamins to your diet. Not just that, whole grains come with a better fiber content, this means it’s more satisfying too.
  • Find new plant-based vegan proteins. It’s advisable for women to have a daily consumption of 46g of protein and for men, it’s 56g. Since a vegan diet eliminates the common sources of protein that include red meat, eggs and dairy, you have some exploring to do. In a way, it’s amazing because finding new plant-based protein is generally a healthier choice. You could start with tofu, lentils, chickpeas, beans, almonds, sunflower seeds and so much more!
  • Beware of processed vegan foods. These are usually made with saturated-fat-laden palm oil and coconut oil. Instead, pick whole, nutritious foods with vegan ingredients such as carrots and hummus, nuts and dried fruit, whole-grain tortilla chips with guacamole.
  • Don’t miss out on vegan omega-3 fatty acids. They are essential for many bodily functions including, heart health and brain development. However, omega-3 fatty acids are found in fatty fish like tuna and salmon. Having said that, there are vegan sources such as walnut, soymilk, canola oil, etc.
  • Prioritise vitamin B1, iron and vitamin D: These are another set of very important contents for healthy living, and these are usually found in animal-based produce. But again, there are plenty of healthier, vegan alternatives like legumes, energy bars, mushrooms. 

With the help of a nutritionist, a better vegan balanced diet and extensive meal options are highly accessible. Speak to a nutritionist for more details from the safety and comfort of your home via oDoc today!

Sources

  • Healthline
  • Vegan Society 
  • WebMD

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Chronic Inflammation kills. Don’t ignore the signs

Chronic Inflammation kills. Don’t ignore the signs

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A lot of people ignore chronic Inflammation because the term sounds a bit heavy. It’s a simple yet highly important concept. 

Chronic inflammation is the reason why some suffer with back pain, muscle problems, diabetes, asthma, heart diseases and even Alzheimer.

Globally, 3 of 5 people die due to chronic inflammatory related diseases like stroke, chronic respiratory diseases, heart disorders, cancer, obesity, and diabetes.

Therefore, it’s essential to know about chronic Inflammation. Where do we start? Let’s quickly tell you what inflammation is.

Explaining Inflammation

It’s a beautiful day until an outside threat like virus or bacteria tries to enter your body. OR let’s say, you tripped and fell. In either case, your body will activate its immune system. Your immune system will then send out the first responders: inflammatory cells and cytokines (substances that stimulate more inflammatory cells).

These cells create an inflammatory response by trapping the bacteria and other offending agents or start healing the injured tissue. This obviously helps your body. But as it is healing, you will be left with pain, swelling, bruising or redness. This is called acute inflammation. In other words, acute inflammation is just your body reacting to the fight between an outside threat and your inflammatory cells.

When you’re healthy, the effects of inflammation, like irritation and pain, gets better quickly. 

But when your immune system keeps fighting when there is no threat, then inflammation becomes a problem. We call THIS, chronic Inflammation.

So, when do you know you have chronic Inflammation?

Symptoms of Chronic Inflammation

Feeling dizzy or off-balance: Your overly functioning immune system can attack your nerve coatings. This can make it hard for nerve signals to get through. 

Diabetes: Insulin controls the blood sugar level and when chronic inflammation affects it, the insulin won’t function well. This can lead to high blood sugar levels, therefore, diabetes. 

Weak muscles: Chronic inflammation can break down muscle fiber and make it weak. It usually happens around the torso, hips and shoulders.

Lower back pain: Chronic inflammation usually affects the spine and, in some cases, the hips, neck, knees or chest. When this happens, you may feel stiffness in the lower back, mainly in the mornings. 

You’re always tired: This is a usual sign of inflammatory diseases like fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. 

Hardening of the Arteries: If you’re gaining body fat or smoking a lot, your body will respond with chronic inflammation. This can cause fatty build up on the inside walls of your arteries. This is known as arteriosclerosis, it’s the main cause of heart attack and stroke.

Remember: Some signs of chronic inflammation such as  heart or brain problems are silent. Symptoms  like fatigue or back pain can be easily confused with other complications

Therefore, it’s key to get in touch with your doctor when things don’t seem to be going the right way, of course, with your health. Diagnosis is the way to go. 

symptoms of chronic inflammation

Diagnosis of Chronic Inflammation

The first step is a consultation with a general practitioner, this can be done from the comfort of your couch on ANY convenient day. The oDoc app makes diagnosis easy with a list of highly credible health professionals from Sri Lanka

After your consultation, expect blood tests for diagnosis. 

On that note, if you are diagnosed with any inflammatory condition, the doctor may prescribe a combination of medications, surgeries, supplements and lifestyle changes.

This depends on what kind of chronic inflammation illness you are diagnosed with. However, one usual common factor is lifestyle changes that can apply to anyone wanting to keep chronic inflammation at a distance. 

Healthy Lifestyle Changes

lifestyle changes for chronic inlammation
  • Quit smoking.
  • Limit alcohol intake.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Manage stress
  • Get regular physical activity.
  • Improve your diet with anti-inflammatory ingredients like olive oil, nuts, fatty fish, tomatoes and fruits like cherries, berries and oranges.

Take your regular check up seriously. Speak to a GP from the safety and comfort of your home via oDoc today!

Sources

  • WebMD
  • Healthline
  • Cleveland Clinic

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