Tuesday, March 27, 2007

What is Heart Failure?

Heart failure is a condition due to the inability of the heart to pump oxygenated blood and essential substances to the body parts caused due to the weekness in its muscles. This is a serious medical illness, and requires critical care admission.

Surgical correction is required if the heart failure is due to vavular diseases. Some symptoms are Fatigue, breathlessness on exertion or swollen veins in the neck area, enlargement of the liver etc., Patients with advanced heart failure and severe pumping defect of left ventricle have to be treated with ventricular repair procedures or ventricular assist devices.
Some patients may develop a condition called stent thrombosis after agioplasty with stenting. This is due to improper dialation of stent or an uncovered dissected area where stenting was carried out. Some symptoms are chest pain and breathlessness. These patients may require hospitalisation and repeat agioplasty if necessary.

There are various types of stents available in the market. The cost of the stents depends on the brand, special features and stent designs.The cost also depends upon the older generation and newer generation manufactury.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Longest River in the world -Nile

Nile- The longest river in the worl, flowing about 6677 km. The Nile gets its name from the Greek word "Nelios", meaning River Valley. Nile Valley is called the cradle of civilization. Nile is the main water resource for Egypt. The two main tributaries of the Nile River are the White Nile and the Blue Nile. Lake Victoria is the source of the White Nile and the Blue Nile begins in the Ethiopian Highlands. The two tributaries converge in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan where they form the Nile River. The Nile flows from the mountains in the south to the Mediterranean in the north. Egypt is called the gift of Nile.

Before the construction of the Aswan High Dam; the Nile rolled through a series of six rapids, called cataracts, between northern Sudan and southern Egypt. The construction of the dam has caused major changes in the flow of Nile. Lake Nasser is a man-made lake created by the construction of the Aswan High Dam, opened in 1971. The dam was built to regulate the flow of the Nile River.

The major cities that are located on the edge of the Nile and White Nile are: Cairo, Gondokoro, Khartoum, Aswan, Thebes/Luxor, Karnak, and the town of Alexandria lies near the Rozeta branch.The major dams on the Nile are Roseires Dam, Sennar Dam, Aswan High Dam, and Owen Falls Dam. Fishing is a main source of income and wealth for many who live on the banks if Nile. Each year thousands of tonnes of fish are caught. Many modern travelers to Egypt today take a Nile cruise as part of their package.

Monday, March 12, 2007

What is Metabolism?

The body gets the energy it needs from food through a process called metabolism. Metabolism means transformation. Metabolism is a collection of chemical reactions that takes place to transform the food we eat into the energy needed by the body to perform actions. Metabolism is a constant process that begins when we're conceived and ends when we die. It is a necessary function that allows our bodies to use food and other resources to maintain the working parts, repair damage, heal injury and rid the body of toxins. Apart from aiding in digestion Metabolism aids absorption of nutrients. The metabolic activity is mostly influenced by the nutrition intake, adequate hydration and physical activity. When any one of these is lacking, the metabolic rate decreases.
After we consume food, the molecules in the digestive system called enzymes break proteins down into amino acids, fats into fatty acids, and carbohydrates into simple sugars. These compounds are absorbed into the blood, which transports them to the cells. After they enter the cells, other enzymes act to speed up or regulate the chemical reactions involved with "metabolizing" these compounds. During these processes, the energy from these compounds can be released for use by the body or stored in body tissues, especially the liver, muscles, and body fat. In this way, the process of metabolism is really a balancing act involving two kinds of activities that go on at the same time - the building up of body tissues and energy stores and the breaking down of body tissues and energy stores to generate more fuel for body functions.

Metabolism is a complicated chemical process. A calorie is a unit that measures how much energy a particular food provides to the body. The body stores the energy initially in form of fat. If a person consumes too many calories and his physical activity is not enough to utilise the consumed amount the excess remains as fat in the body thus resulting in increase of weight. The basal metabolic rate, or BMR, is a measure of the rate at which a person's body "burns" energy, in the form of calories, while at rest. Low calorie dieting slows your metabolism, making it progressively more difficult to lose weight and keep it off.

Anabolism or constructive metabolism, supports the growth of new cells, the maintenance of body tissues, and the storage of energy for use in the future. During anabolism, small molecules are changed into larger, more complex molecules of carbohydrate, protein, and fat.
Catabolism or destructive metabolism, is the process that produces the energy required for all activity in the cells. In this process, cells break down large molecules to release energy. This energy release provides fuel for anabolism, heats the body, and enables the muscles to contract and the body to move. As complex chemical units are broken down into more simple substances, the waste products released in the process of catabolism are removed from the body through the skin, kidneys, lungs, and intestines.
Several of the hormones of the endocrine system are involved in controlling the rate and direction of metabolism. Thyroxine , a hormone produced and released by the thyroid gland, plays a key role in determining how fast or slow the chemical reactions of metabolism proceed in a person's body.
The pancreas secretes hormones that help determine whether the body's main metabolic activity at a particular time will be anabolic or catabolic. For example, after eating a meal, usually more anabolic activity occurs because eating increases the level of glucose - the body's most important fuel - in the blood. The pancreas senses this increased level of glucose and releases the hormone insulin , which signals cells to increase their anabolic activities.

Metabolic disorder is caused by an abnormal chemical reaction in the body's cells. Some metabolic diseases are inherited. These conditions are called inborn errors of metabolism.