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Health and Disease

Insomnia

By Bharathi Arivazhagan

Published 1:10 AM EST, Thurs May 6, 2021

What Is Insomnia?

Insomnia can be caused by numerous reasons in an individual’s life. Two types of insomnia can be experienced in someone’s life. There is acute insomnia and chronic insomnia. Acute insomnia is short-term and can be caused by a multitude of various causes. Immense pain in itself can cause acute insomnia due to its disruption to a person’s ability to sleep. Jet lag when traveling to another country is another prominent example of acute insomnia. Acute insomnia is caused when someone is getting used to a new environment and any stress that may be widely significant during that certain time for that person. Chronic insomnia has to last for three months at least to be considered as so as chronic insomnia. It can be distinguished between as either primary or secondary. Primary is when there is no known or aware cause to be able to be identified for that specific condition of insomnia. Secondary insomnia can be caused by underlying conditions in terms of psychology. This includes psychological conditions for anxiety and depression. Diabetes is another example of something that can promote insomnia in the lives of individuals. Medical conditions can also promote the prominence of insomnia in the lives of many individuals. Furthermore, acute insomnia can be caused by stress which can emphasize insomnia in that certain person’s life. This can be also emphasized by a trauma the person witnessed, which could have deeply upset them in order to trigger an instance of insomnia in their life. If someone changes their environment, such as staying in a new place, or a new country, due to unfamiliarity, the person can undergo acute insomnia due to this unfamiliar situation. There is also the instance of certain intakes of certain medicines that can promote acute insomnia in the individual who is ingesting the specific medication. In regards to chronic insomnia, substance use is an example that would emphasize this is in regards to substance use. Medical conditions vary for insomnia including cancer and sleep apnea. Additionally, there are also some instances that it could occur in regards to insomnia, in regards to food intake. When you eat too late in the day, the uncomfortable sense of your full stomach will cause discomfort in terms of sleep.

What Is Transient Insomnia

Transient insomnia is another type of insomnia that a person can gain. Transient insomnia is when it lasts for less than a week for the individual affected. This differs from someone possessing chronic or acute insomnia. Going into detail of the symptoms that may arise due to insomnia are all in regards to difficulty in terms of sleep in the affected individual’s life. It is related to waking up, leading to either waking up at insufficient times. It could lead to waking up too early or waking up in the night. It can cause difficulty in starting to sleep at night, causing one to stay awake amidst vast hours. This will cause overall stress in terms of one’s performance on an ongoing day afterward. This will affect one’s attention span, as it’s difficult to manage focus due to the lack of sleep. There will be trouble remembering and managing focus in regards to remembering certain things they needed to do. This will cause a decrease in accuracy in terms of the person’s performance in daily activities as the lack of sleep has a major prominent effect on their life overall.

Treatment For Insomnia

Treatment can be taken in regards to insomnia. Above all, a doctor must be contacted in regards to what action can be taken to combat insomnia for that specific person. Some doctors prescribe melatonin supplements for people who have insomnia. When there are higher melatonin levels present in one’s body, they tend to become sleepier. The dosage is highly influential for how well it will perform for a person’s body, as higher dosages can cause some detrimental alterations to a person’s sleep. Dosages can be discussed with their doctor. Other sleep medications can also be prescribed to the patient by the doctor to help with sleep. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is also recommended by some doctors to aid with sleep overall in the individual. Insomnia affects many individuals on a day-to-day basis, and more research is being dedicated to learning more about it today. 

Bharathi Arivazhagan, Youth Medical Journal 2021

References

“Insomnia.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 15 Oct. 2016, www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355167.

“Effects of insomnia on the body.” Healthline https://www.healthline.com/health/insomnia-concerns#see-a-doctor

“Everything You Need to Know About Insomnia.” Healthline https://www.healthline.com/health/insomnia

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Health and Disease Uncategorized

Overview of Influenza

Introduction

  Influenza, or the flu, is known and experienced in many lives. It is an infection that is experienced in the human body, specifically a viral infection. The risk level of Influenza varies and can be detrimental, or even deadly, to one’s life. Influenza has been very prominent throughout history, exemplified in many cases. A common example of this is shown through the 1918 Flu Pandemic, where a third of the global population was affected by the influenza virus. It was a viral origin as stated commonly for influenza, caused by the H1N1 virus. World War 1 was occurring during this time period, which had played a huge role in the spreading of the infection as expected. The lack of vaccines and safer conditions during the time did not help, and as a result, a huge amount of people were greatly affected by influenza or the flu, given that it is a contagious infection that can be spread to a multitude of people from vast, and various places.

Method of Transmission

The infection is spread to others through droplets, which can travel through the air and can potentially affect someone with influenza or the flu. It occurs, for example, if someone were to speak, the droplet will contract in the air, and be carried. It can then potentially affect anyone or anyone as the droplet can possibly be inhaled or touched, and be transferred to the body as a result. For instance, one can touch the surface where one who had influenza touched contracting any form of droplets the person may have left. They can transfer it through the touch as stated, and the respiratory system will be affected as soon symptoms will appear indicating that another person has contracted influenza or the flu, as they began exhibiting the known symptoms.

Symptoms

Symptoms consist of possibly fever or a cough. A sore throat can be experienced as well as aches. The symptoms experienced by one with influenza or also known as the flu can be experienced as similar to a cold, whereas the flu can be dangerous due to certain factors that are in the person who is experiencing the flu or influenza. Those who are very young such as ages up to 5 years old as well as those who are 65 and older may have a higher chance of complications due to the flu or influenza, as age plays a crucial role in regards to how much impact the person will experience in terms of having the flu or influenza. One can also experience eye pain as well as a runny nose, as they are some common symptoms experienced by those who have had influenza or the flu. Someone who may possess a weaker immune system may have a harder time in regards to combating influenza or the flu than someone who does not have any problems regarding immunity, causing one to have a higher chance of having greater risk or complications with the viral infection. Other illnesses that may be present as well in the human body of the person experiencing influenza or flu can possibly and potentially cause the person to experience greater risk or complications with the disease.

Complications

Those with pregnancy can also experience a higher chance of complications in terms of combating influenza, as well as obesity playing a role in terms of complications with the viral infection. These factors affect the varying risk level that occurs with influenza or the flu, as the level in which it will affect one depends on the personal health situation and circumstance of the one who is being affected by influenza or the flu. In terms of risk level with the viral infection, dangerous symptoms can also be experienced where immediate medical attention is needed. There could be shortness of breath which is a dangerous symptom, where one needs to get medical attention immediately due to the risk of the viral infection. Seizures are another dangerous symptom that could occur which signifies that this requires serious medical attention, and can be detrimental and dangerous. Severe pain can be experienced throughout the body, throughout the muscles, which can be proven to be very serious and detrimental due to influenza. Some other symptoms could also include dizziness or blue lips which are required of immediate medical attention, as they are emergency symptoms. Those experiencing any symptoms of influenza or the flu seek attention from medical professionals, and flu vaccinations are taken to prevent this from occurring. 

Bharathi Arivazhagan, Youth Medical Journal 2021

References

“Influenza (Flu).” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 19 Dec. 2020, http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/flu/symptoms-causes/syc-20351719. 

“1918 Pandemic Influenza Historic Timeline.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20 Mar. 2018, http://www.cdc.gov/flu/pandemic-resources/1918-commemoration/pandemic-timeline-1918.htm. 

Categories
Health and Disease

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome: The Perceptual Disturbance

Introduction and Symptoms

Alice in Wonderland Syndrome (AWS), also known as Todd’s syndrome, is a neurological condition where one’s visual perception is greatly distorted. To those with Alice in Wonderland Syndrome, things around them may appear to be bigger, closer, and more distorted. One’s own body can be perceived through a distorted viewpoint as well, as they may see themselves as smaller or bigger than they actually are in reality. Things or objects in the individual’s environment may appear farther as well, a symptom called Teleopsia. Another term is Pelopsia, where items in the surrounding environment appear to be closer to the individual. Micropsia is another symptom that describes things around the individual that seem smaller in perception, and Macropsia is when things in the surroundings of the individual appear to be bigger in perception and in perspective. Time perception can be greatly affected as well to those with the condition. Migraines are also a prominent symptom to those with Alice in Wonderland Syndrome. However, it does not only affect one’s vision. It can affect other senses as well, including the sense of touch and sound. For example, things may be louder in sound to an individual with the neurological condition of Alice in Wonderland Syndrome. There can also be a loss of maintaining coordination for those with Alice in Wonderland Syndrome. Some state that AWS can lead to seizures as well.

Background

AWS, AIWS, or Todd’s syndrome is named the way it is due to Dr. John Todd, who identified it in the 1950s. He named it the Alice in Wonderland Syndrome as he felt that the symptoms were similar to those that were experienced by Alice in the novel: Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. He felt that the experiences Alice the protagonist experienced in terms of becoming smaller and bigger were reminiscent of those with the conditions. There was also the perception of time that was affected in the story, similar to how many felt with the condition. The name remained to describe this interesting neurological condition. 

Causes

Causes of Alice in Wonderland Syndrome or Todd’s Syndrome are emphasized through migraines, as well as temporal lobe epilepsy. Electrical activity in the brain can also progress to developing Alice in Wonderland Syndrome, as when unnatural electrical activity occurs it can cause blood to go into areas of the brain that are responsible for visual perception. This as a result affects the individual’s ability to perceive objects, the environment, and at times themselves. Brain tumors are also seen as a factor for the condition. Genetics can also play an important role in regards to developing the condition of Todd’s Syndrome. Head trauma can play a role in developing the condition, as well as stress. Epilepsy and stroke can also play a primary cause for an individual to develop Alice in Wonderland Syndrome. For children, the Alice in Wonderland Syndrome is most commonly caused by infection, while for adults, Alice in Wonderland Syndrome is mainly caused by migraine. Migraines are also seen to be a symptom as well, as those with the neurological condition can experience frequent migraines. Alice in Wonderland Syndrome is most commonly found to occur in children, however, can be still developed in adulthood as well. Moments, where perception feels distorted commonly, lasts for a couple of minutes, but it can extend to an hour and thirty minutes.

Treatment and Conclusion

There is no proven treatment or cure yet provided for Todd’s Syndrome or Alice in Wonderland’s Syndrome, and rather will be seen to slowly fade after certain periods of time. Treatment can be provided for relief, in order to aid with the condition and migraine that may be present. For example, migraine prophylaxis may be used to treat those with Alice in Wonderland Syndrome upon a medical professional’s instructions and directions. Being a rare condition, not many cases have been well known, and is still undergoing research today. Professionals continue to learn more and bring more insight in regards to this fascinating condition today. 

Bharathi Arivazhagan, Youth Medical Journal 2020

References

Weissenstein, Anne, et al. “Alice in Wonderland Syndrome: A Rare Neurological Manifestation with Microscopy in a 6-Year-Old Child.” Journal of Pediatric Neurosciences, Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd, 2014, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4302569/

Holland, Kimberly. “Alice in Wonderland Syndrome: Symptoms, Treatment, and More.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 17 Apr. 2019, www.healthline.com/health/alice-in-wonderland-syndrome

Blom, Jan Dirk. “Alice in Wonderland Syndrome.” Neurology Clinical Practice, Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. on Behalf of the American Academy of Neurology, 1 June 2016, cp.neurology.org/content/6/3/259

Categories
Health and Disease

Congenital Analgesia: The Condition Where You Cannot Feel Pain

While you may feel the rush of pain through your body when you stub your toe, the feeling is not felt at all to those with congenital insensitivity to pain. Congenital insensitivity to pain or congenital analgesia is an extremely rare condition when one is unable to experience physical pain. While this may seem beneficial to some, it is in reality quite detrimental, as those with CIP are unaware of any injuries that potentially could have occurred to them. This can potentially affect the life expectancy to those affected, as many health related issues and injuries can go undetected.

Congenital insensitivity to pain is caused by a mutation on the SCN9A gene, and is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait. SCN9A codes for the production of voltage gated sodium channels called Nav1.7s and when there is a mutation present, these channels are as a result affected.  Nav1.7 channels are on nerve cells, specifically on the ends of nociceptors or nerves that sense pain. When the mutation on the SCN9A gene occurs, these channels are affected, therefore affecting the individual’s ability to sense pain. 

People with congenital insensitivity to pain are able to distinguish whether something is sharp, or hot, however, they are unaware of any pain that is resulting due that specific stimulus. Due to this, people with CIP may experience bone fractures, burns, and underlying health issues. 

While there is no treatment for CIP, those affected are recommended to take annual X-rays and MRI’s, due to any possible injuries that could have occurred, as well as avoiding circumstances of self-injury. 

Congenital insensitivity to pain or congenital analgesia is a fascinating condition that affects very few individuals. Even though no treatment is available yet, many professionals in health care continue to research and bring more insight and understanding to this condition today. 

References

“Congenital Insensitivity to Pain.” Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, rarediseases.info.nih.gov/diseases/12267/congenital-insensitivity-to-pain.

“Congenital Insensitivity to Pain.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 20 June 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Congenital_insensitivity_to_pain.

“Life Without Pain .” :: Medical Discovery News :: http://www.medicaldiscoverynews.com/shows/260-pain.html.

“Nav1.7.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Apr. 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nav1.7.

“Treatment: Is There a Treatment(s) for Congenital Insensitivity to Pain?” ThinkGenetic, http://www.thinkgenetic.com/diseases/indifference-to-pain-congenital-autosomal-recessive/treatment/4530.

Bharathi Arivazhagan, Youth Medical Journal 2020