About Amlodipine: The Action, Side Effects, Adverse Effects Of Amlodipine or Norvasc

Amlodipine is classified as an antihypertensive drug and more specifically a calcium channel blocker. It is used to treat hypertension and chest pain also known as angina. They are used to manage irregular heart beats or arrhythmias as well. Other medications in this class include the following:

  • diltiazem
  • verapamil
  • felodipine
  • nifedipine
  • isradipine

How Amlodipine Works

Calcium is needed by the body for muscle contraction. The heart is a muscle that is constantly contracting to pump blood through out the body. Calcium channel blockers like amlodipine work by blocking the flow of calcium into the muscles of the heart and smooth muscles of blood vessels. The blood vessels relax and become wider plus the pumping action of the heart is reduced. The effect of this is an increase in blood supply to the heart, leading to reduced chest pain, a decrease in how fast the heart pumps and a decrease in blood pressure.

Side effects of Amlodipine

Besides the therapeutic effect of this medication, there are other side effects that may occur and they are:

  • dizziness
  • sleeping problems
  • drowsiness
  • tiredness
  • swelling of the hands and legs
  • headaches
  • dry mouth
  • nausea, vomiting, heartburn
  • constipation, diarrhea
  • stomach cramps
  • gum enlargement
  • flushing

Serious side effects that need to be reported to a doctor immediately are adverse effects. These type of side effects for amlodipine are:

  • chest pain that occurs more frequently
  • irregular heart beats
  • slow heart beats
  • severe dizziness

Before Taking Amlodipine

It’s important to what medications to avoid when takin amlodipine and some are as follows:

  • Be aware that it can lower blood pressure if taken with other antihypertensives, fentanyl, nitrates, quinidine or alcohol.
  • Know that its antihypertensive effects may be reduced by medications like ibuprofen.
  • Consider the fact that it reacts with lithium to cause toxicity in the nervous system.

Precautions

Doing the following may increase the effectiveness of amlodipine and help prevent some side effects.

  • Learn how to check pulses and blood pressure. Take blood pressure reading weekly and report any unusual values to a healthcare provider.
  • Take the medication as prescribed even well feeling well.
  • Get up from a sitting or standing position slowly to prevent falls due to dizziness.
  • Do not drive or do anything that requires alertness until the drug effects are determined because the medication may cause drowsiness.
  • Maintain good dental hygiene and keep all dental appointments to reduce the occurrence of gum enlargement.
  • Consult a health care provider before using any over the counter medication like ibuprofen.
  • Report severe headaches, bothersome side effects and adverse effects to a physician immediately.

Its important to take amlodipine as prescribed and to discuss all other medication being taken with a physician before starting on this medication.

Causes of Renal Failure: Degenerative Conditions Invoke Compromise to Kidneys

Renal failure can be caused by a number of prominent and degenerative precursors, stressors, and diseases.

Renal failure, a physically and biochemically degenerative condition in itself, can be caused by an array of other life-threatening complications and conditions. Its onset may occur suddenly, as typical of acute renal failure or regressively over a period of time (months or years), as customary with chronic renal failure.

Catalysts which bear the potential to trigger a downward spiral in kidney function have been disclosed here (briefly), yet this outline is not all-inclusive.

Severe Dehydration Causes Kidneys Stress

Severe dehydration may be due to poor fluid intake; excessive diarrhea, fever, sweating, and vomiting. Some medications (like diuretics), may also induce excessive fluid loss and thereby invoke undue stress on the kidneys.

Chronic Diabetes is a Major Cause of Renal Failure

Chronic diabetes mellitus, otherwise known as “sugar diabetes” is due to long-term unregulated blood glucose levels. It includes:

  1. Type 1 diabetes
  2. Type 2 diabetes

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the pancreas’ insulin production is inadequate for the body.

In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas produces adequate insulin for the body but the body is unable to process it.

Acute and Chronic Glomerulonephritis

Glomerulonephritis is a type of kidney disease which results in the occurrence of blood and protein in the urine and a decrease in urine output. This is a disease of the glomeruli capillaries in which they become damaged or inflamed, thus interfering with the kidney’s natural ability to filter and remove excess waste and fluid from the body. A compromised immune system as well as other diseases and unknown causes can give rise to glomerulonephritis. Glomerulonephritis may be detected by urinalysis and confirmed through renal biopsy.

Chronic Hypertension is a Major Cause of Renal Failure

Hypertension (a.k.a. high blood pressure) is a condition in which a person’s systolic pressure and diastolic pressure are above 140 mmHg and 90 mmHg respectively, for prolong periods of time.

Renal Failure From Hypovolemia

Hypovolemia is a condition of low blood volume within the body. It may develop because of severe blood loss (resulting from a tragic accident or injury, etc.) and can bring about a lack of blood supply to the kidneys.

Kidney and Bladder Stones Can Block Urine Flow

Kidney stones and bladder stones are comprised of mineral deposits which precipitate out of urine and form stones. These stones may block and hinder the flow of urine within the urinary tract and could potentially result in obstructive uropathy or reflux nephropathy.

Medications and Renal Failure

Some medications though helpful for other areas of the body, may stress the kidneys causing them harm and toxicosis.

  • Diuretics
  • Regular use of analgesics (aspirin, acetaminophen)
  • Lithium

Multiple Myeloma Incites Renal Failure

Multiple myeloma causes the kidneys to be more susceptible to infection and disease. This condition is often referred to by several other names, such as: cancer of blood plasma cells, cancer of white blood cells, cancer of the immune system or cancer of bone marrow.

Obstructive Uropathy Damages Kidneys

Obstructive uropathy is an obstruction of urine flow from the ureters or the bladder, resulting in damage to the kidneys. This condition may be caused by enlarged prostate (in men), bladder cystocele, tumors and a host of other disorders and chronic diseases found in both men and women.

Defects From Polycystic Kidney Disease (PKD)

Polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a chromosomal (non-sex type) disease caused by several dominant and recessive genetic defects. PKD is responsible for a variety of kidney defects and deformities.

Prostate Disease May Precede Renal Failure

Prostate disease impedes the healthy production of semen (semi-produced) by the prostate gland found in men. This disease may also lead to renal failure.

Reflux Nephropathy Scars Kidneys

Reflux nephropathy is the unnatural, backward flow of urine into the kidneys. This condition may occur as a result of obstructive uropathy and can cause scarring or other damage to the kidneys.

Renal Toxicity From Rhabdomyolysis

In rhabdomyolysis (a hefty breakdown of muscle tissue), myoglobin (which happens to be toxic to kidneys) is released from the muscle cells as they break down. Rhabdomyolysis may stem from a number of biological, chemical or physical impairments and complications.

Sepsis is a Renal Detriment

Sepsis (a.k.a. blood poisoning) is an infection of the blood stream or other tissues in the body. It is caused by an unhealthy accumulation of pathogens or other toxins in the body. This condition is an absolute detriment to the kidneys.

It’s apparent that the catalysts which trigger renal failure are abundant and can occur simultaneously or even be intertwined. Diabetes and high blood pressure have become infamous for being the leading, known causes of reduced kidney function and ultimately, renal failure. It is important however, to remain conscious of the other varied agents which have harmful and toxicological effects on the kidneys.

Disclaimer

This article is intended for informational purposes only. It does not take the place of a doctor’s advice. Before making decisions regarding your health, seek the consultation of a well-trained, medical professional.

Lung Diseases – Restrictive vs Obstructive Types: How are COPD and IPF Different from Each Other?

COPD is Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. IPF is Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Nearly 30 million Americans suffer from one of these major lung diseases.

Respiratory diseases count for about one in seven deaths every year. Interstitial lung disease affects five million people in the world annually; other major lung diseases include cystic fibrosis, tuberculosis, mesothelioma, sarcoidosis, and pulmonary hypertension.

What is a Lung Disease?

Any disorder that affects one’s ability to breathe, including lung cancer, which results in a nagging cough, shortness of breath, pain in the chest and a decrease in one’s ability to perform any significant exertion, is a lung disease.

Definitions of Restrictive and Obstructive Lung Disorders

When the airways of the lungs become narrow or are blocked so that one cannot exhale completely, the disorder is defined as “obstructive.” Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema, and asthma are considered obstructive lung diseases. Generally these are caused by inflammation in the airways.

When the lungs have lost tissue or the cells stiffen due to invasive environmental factors, the lungs lose their ability to expand on inhalation. They are restricted, and the term “restrictive” is applied to the disease. Lung cancer is a restrictive lung disease as are pulmonary fibrosis (PF) and pneumonia. This eventually impairs the body’s ability to transfer oxygen into the bloodstream.

“Interstitial” refers to any restrictive disease of the air sacs around the lung cells. Interstitial Lung Disease (ILD) was a synonym for IPF but now is used as an umbrella term which includes IPF.

Thus, an obstructive lung disease prevents proper exhalation, and a restrictive lung disease prohibits proper inhalation. Someone with obstructive lung disease can take a full deep breath, but cannot exhale it completely (risking the retention of carbon dioxide in the bloodstream and further inflammation of the airways). A person with restrictive lung disease cannot take a deep breath but has no difficulty exhaling all that he does inhale. As his disease progresses, the lung tissue stiffens in greater amounts and the capacity to hold oxygen in the lungs diminishes steadily. Less and less oxygen is supplied to the body’s organs.

Differences Between Two Types of Lung Disease

COPD is characterized by heavy mucus production and a constant loose cough. Effective treatments include prescribed inhalants using handheld inhalers, nebulizers or other forced-air equipment. As the disease progresses, supplemental oxygen may be used to assist the active patient. There is no cure for these diseases; current treatments can enable the patient to continue a fairly active lifestyle for a number of years.

Pulmonary Fibrosis (referred to as IPF if it is “idiopathic,” or has no known cause) does not produce mucus, nor is it helped by inhalants to clear obstructed airways. Many patients experience a dry cough which becomes extremely debilitating. Other symptoms include increasing demands for supplemental oxygen and a decline in ability to perform daily living tasks. Lung capacity diminishes to as little as 11% of normal, and oxygen requirements can exceed 12 liters per minute (unlike COPD oxygen requirements which seldom exceed 2 liters per minute in most patients.)

A standard of treatment used to be giving the patient high doses of prednisone (a steroid) to halt further progression of scarring thought to be caused by an inflammation. However, prednisone treatment is successful in a smaller percentage of patients than previously thought, and its side effects are so damaging to the body that many health professionals feel prednisone is no longer the preferred choice of treatment. Drug trials have been conducted for many years to find a more successful treatment for IPF, including pirfenidone, which is currently awaiting FDA approval following a series of favorable trials. At present, however, there are no known drugs that successfully treat IPF and the only “cure” available is lung transplant. Progression of the disease is usually more rapid than with COPD.

Differencesmay be Confusing

Since the greater number of lung disease cases tend to be obstructive, such as asthma and COPD, many healthcare professionals are ill-prepared to treat restrictive diseases such as IPF. There is a tendency, unfortunately, to assume that those treatments that succeed with COPD will also work for IPF. Consequently, IPF patients are often taught “pursed-lip exhalation” in which one forces the exhaled breath out between tightly pursed lips. This is a useless strategy for anyone who has no difficulty exhaling but can’t inhale sufficiently.

Other misguided treatments include prohibiting IPF patients from having greater amounts of supplemental oxygen than 2 lpm, because “the patient might become dependent on it” or “it will damage the lungs.” COPD patients do have issues with high-flow supplemental oxygen, but patients with restrictive lung diseases need all the oxygen they can get. Loss of oxygen to the brain, to the extremities, and to other vital organs can seriously affect quality of life and will hasten death.

Preventing Lung Disease

The most obvious preventive strategy is never to smoke. Quitting is the number one health measure to prevent lung disease. Other measures include maintaining a healthy diet, keeping active with cardiopulmonary exercise, and avoiding exposure to such environmental triggers as asbestos, second-hand smoke, and air pollution. Some lung disorders are inherited, so be aware of family history and prepare accordingly to keep one’s lungs as healthy as possible.

If anyone begins to experience symptoms such as unexplained fatigue, shortness of breath on exertion, or a persistent nagging cough, he or she should see his physician as soon as possible. Treatment at the earliest stages of lung disease will prolong life and extend one’s quality of life immeasurably.

What Vaccinations Does My Puppy Need? Vaccinations and the Symptoms of Canine Infectious Diseases

Vaccination is a crucial step in the health care of your dog to prevent Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus and Kennel Cough.

Most people know the importance of having their puppy vaccinated. Here are some details about canine diseases commonly vaccinated against in Australia. In addition to these diseases, some countries also vaccinate against Rabies, Leptospirosis, and Coronavirus etc. Not all vaccinations (apart from Rabies) are necessary and may depend on factors, such as pet health and the area you live in. Please see your local Veterinarian for further information. Here are 4 common diseases that should be vaccinated against:

  • Distemper
  • Hepatitis
  • Parvovirus
  • Kennel Cough (Canine Contagious Respiratory Disease)

What is Canine Distemper?

Canine Distemper is an infectious viral disease (related to measles) that has a high morbidity rate and depending on factors including patient and the treatment provided, has a varying mortality rate. There is a risk for any dog to contract distemper, however, more susceptible are dogs between 3-9 months of age.

Distemper virus is shed in faeces, urine, vomit, saliva and nasal and ocular discharge. It is most commonly transferred by contact with an infected dog via inhalation of droplets or aerosol.

Symptoms can include:

  • Depression
  • Anorexia
  • Pyrexia (fever)
  • Tonsillitis
  • Pharyngitis (inflammation of pharynx/sore throat)
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dehydration
  • Loss of body condition
  • Hyperkeratosis of nose and footpads (thickening of skin)

What is Canine Hepatitis?

Canine Hepatitis is another infectious disease and affects the liver, lymph nodes and vascular endothelium (layer of cells of the cardiovascular system that regulates the transport of blood). Mortality is high with sudden deaths common in neonatal (newborn) puppies, which may not show clinical signs.

The virus is shed in faeces, urine and saliva and transmission is via dog-to-dog contact or contact with infected faeces/urine.

Symptoms can include:

  • Anorexia
  • Depression
  • Pyrexia
  • Shock
  • Collapse
  • Abdominal pain

What is Canine Parvovirus?

Canine Parvovirus is an infectious disease that causes myocarditis (inflammation of heart tissue) in puppies and acute gastroenteritis (stomach/intestine inflammation) in puppies and adults.

Parvovirus is shed in faeces and contact with contaminated faeces is the main source of transmission. Because Parvovirus is resilient, it can remain viable off the host for up to a year, facilitating its spread. It can also be transmitted through dog-to-dog contact.

Symptoms can include:

  • Depression
  • Anorexia
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhoea (containing blood)
  • Dehydration
  • Shock
  • Death (within a short time if not treated)

What is Kennel Cough?

Canine Contagious Respiratory Disease commonly known as Kennel Cough is a highly infectious disease and, as its name suggests, often occurs where dogs are kept together such as kennels or animal shelters.

It is transmitted via dog-to-dog contact via inhalation and is not life threatening like the previous viruses discussed, but still very uncomfortable for your dog and on occasion, the infection can last for months.

Symptoms can include:

  • Dry cough
  • Frequent coughing
  • Retching
  • Vomiting
  • Nasal discharge

How Often Should I Vaccinate?

This can vary slightly from vet to vet, but generally your puppy will need 3 vaccinations at the following intervals:

  • 6 weeks
  • 8-10 weeks
  • 10 – 12 weeks/14 weeks (depending on when the previous vaccination was administered)

The reason your puppy needs 3 vaccinations is because it is impossible to determine when the immunity the puppy received from its mother will ‘run out’. After your puppy has had its 3 vaccinations, it will require ongoing annual boosters, as this will build a good immune response.

Diabetes Linked With Alzheimer’s Disease: Patients Who Develop Type 2 Diabetes Before Age 65 At Risk

New research shows that type 2 diabetes doubles a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease later in life, making the prevention of diabetes even more significant

Type 2 diabetes is the most common type of diabetes, responsible for over 80% of North American diabetes cases. The blood sugar disturbance has been linked to dozens of different health problems, from vision deterioration to stroke – and the latest research points to a connection between diabetes and later development of Alzheimer’s.

What is Type 2 Diabetes?

Diabetes is a blood sugar illness in which the body’s insulin signals are not properly translated into storage of blood sugar. This results in unhealthy peaks and low points in a person’s blood sugar (which needs to be maintained within a fairly limited range for the body to function) and eventual pancreatic exhaustion from insulin production.

Unlike Type 1 diabetes, people aren’t born with Type 2: the disease is usually linked to unhealthy diet and lack of exercise. People who are overweight or obese are considered 8 or more times as likely to develop diabetes as those with a smaller body mass index.

The number of Americans with type 2 diabetes has doubled in the past 15 years, and the incidence worldwide has gone from 30 million to 200 million since 1985.

Risk Factors Associated with Type 2 Diabetes

Diabetes has historically been linked with a long list of symptoms and illnesses, including:

  • vision deterioriation or “diabetic retinopathy,” leading to blurring and eventual blindness
  • circulation problems
  • 3-4 times the risk of cardiovascular diseases like myocardial infarction and stroke
  • renal (kidney) failure
  • necrosis that can require amputation

New Research Links Diabetes with Development of Alzheimer’s

For some time, diabetes has been linked with vascular dimensia, a type of brain deterioration caused by damage to the brain’s blood vessels. Recent Alzheimer’s disease research also indicates a significant connection between type 2 diabetes and later development of Alzheimer’s disease and memory loss.

A survey of over 13,000 Scandinavian twins shows that those who were afflicted with diabetes before the age of 65 had more than double (225%) the chance of Alzheimer’s of their non-diabetic twin. The presence of both diseases in one twin (but neither in the other) indicates that the link between the two may be more significant than even the hereditary factors in both diseases.

Diabetes Prevention Protects Your Brain

These findings are of particular concern given the rising numbers of diabetes patients and the aging baby boomer generation. The Mayo Clinic reports that the number of diabetics in the United States is expected to double in the next 40 years – a frightening number, given the mental consequences as these adults reach their later years.

The new findings linking Alzheimer’s with type 2 diabetes highlight the importance of education and action on this totally preventable blood sugar disease.

Treatment and Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes: Managing and Controlling Diabetes During Pregnancy

Symptoms, complications and risk factors associated with gestational diabetes. Treatment involves a carefully controlled diet and regular exercise.

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that occurs in pregnant women. Unlike type I and type II diabetes, gestational diabetes goes away once the baby is born. However, in some women, blood glucose levels remains high even after giving birth and they develop type II diabetes.

Insulin Resistance and Gestational Diabetes

The digestive system in the human bodies breaks down food into glucose. The cells in turn consume glucose to produce energy. A hormone called insulin helps in moving the glucose from the intestine into the cells through blood.

In pregnant women, hormones from the placenta interfere with the action of insulin. This is called insulin resistance. In most women, the pancreas produces enough insulin to overcome the insulin resistance. In some pregnant women, the production of insulin is not adequate to overcome insulin resistance and this leads to gestational diabetes.

Symptoms of Gestational Diabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association, about 4% of all pregnant women are affected with GD. Though most women do not show any symptoms, some women may show excessive weight gain or may experience excessive hunger or thirst or excessive urination.

Risk Factors

Some women are more at risk for developing diabetes during pregnancy. Some of the risk factors are:

  • obesity or overweight
  • diabetes during a previous pregnancy
  • family history of diabetes
  • age over 30
  • race- African Americans, Asians, Latinos and Native Americans are more likely to develop gestational diabetes than Caucasians.
  • having previously given birth to a large child
  • having given birth to a baby who died at birth or shortly after birth

Treatment of Gestational Diabetes

Since the diabetes goes away once the baby is born, treatment for gestational diabetes aims to keep the blood glucose levels at normal levels. This is achieved by following a diet plan (provided by a doctor or registered dietitian), regular exercise, careful monitoring of blood glucose levels and in some cases through medication.

Complications of Gestational Diabetes

When the diabetes is poorly controlled, the high blood sugar levels in the mother’s blood can pass through the placenta into the baby and this causes the baby to grow very large. A very large baby can cause problems at birth and some women may need a C-section.

During pregnancy, the baby’s body makes more insulin to control the high glucose levels. If the pregnant woman has high glucose levels in the blood just before giving birth, the baby’s body compensates by making extra insulin. After birth, this extra insulin can cause the baby’s glucose levels to drop too low, causing hypoglycemia.

Babies of diabetic mothers are slightly more at risk for stillbirth. Jaundice and respiratory difficulties are some other problems found in babies of women affected with gestational diabetes.

The Four Phases of Alzheimer’s Disease: Read More about this Disease

Alzheimer’s disease most often occurs after the age of 65 and progresses through four phases of thought and physical deterioration.

Research is ongoing and weekly headlines outline new theories and discoveries but the cause for Alzheimer’s disease has not been defined. There is no permanent cure and very little besides the standard rule to eat well, exercise, and strive to stay mentally active are given as preventative measures.

What has been established however, is the pattern of decline in cognitive and physical abilities. Although the progression is different for each individual, seven years is the average life expectancy after diagnosis. Alzheimer’s disease has four defined stages.

More about the Four Phases of Alzheimer’s

Predementia is the first definable stage. The difficulty to remember recently learned information is probably the most noticeable display of failing brain function. A variety of small struggles with planning, abstract ideas and attentiveness can be witnessed in the course of daily living during this early stage of the disease.

The inability to remember the meaning of words and understanding the relationship between concepts are also symptoms of predementia. It is in this stage that apathy is first seen in patients.

Early dementia is when the patient’s impairment meets the clinical definitions and measurements of Alzheimer’s disease. Individuals can still take care of most tasks by themselves, but do need help with activities involving decision making. Memory issues and difficulty executing a series of movements become more apparent in this stage.

Language skills begin to suffer as the patient’s vocabulary gets smaller but can still communicate basic thoughts. It is not understood when and what memory areas the disease will effect, since Alzheimer’s disease does not impact all areas of the brain equally in a predictable manner.

More on the Phases of Alzheimer’s

The name “moderate dementia” is misleading as it is in this phase that an individual’s independence is lost. Speech, reading, writing and gross motor skills deteriorate progressively. The patient may no longer recognize family or friends and long term memory begins to fade.

Behavioral and mental disorders that must be dealt with include: uncontrolled laughing or crying, sudden aggressive outbursts, wandering, and sundowners syndrome. Extensive caregiving is required.

Advanced dementia is the final and heartbreaking stage of Alzheimer’s disease. Bedridden, and eventually completely without speech, patients can sometimes only communicate through emotional signaling. Apathy and extreme fatigue usually replace the aggressive behaviors displayed previously.

Patients literally wither away and most often expire from some other medical condition. Alzheimer’s disease is very seldom the sole cause of death itself.