Simple Answers to Medical Questions


Cholera (Vibrio Cholerae) Bacteria Traveler’s Diarrhea

What is Cholera?

Cholera is a bacterial disease where the intestinal infection leads to profuse watery diarrhea. The cholera bacteria is spread by consuming contaminated food or water. Although diarrhea is not an uncommon symptom, cholera diarrhea is so severe that it can cause severe dehydration within a very short while. The degree of dehydration leads to complications and ultimately death if appropriate medical intervention is not forthcoming. There are vaccines for cholera prevention but it only offers immunity for short periods. Therefore vaccination is only considered when there is a risk of outbreaks.

Continue reading

What is Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) in Girls and Women?

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is infection and inflammation of the female reproductive organs, caused most often by a sexually transmitted infection (STI) such as chlamydia or gonorrhea. Infection may travel up through the vagina and cervix to involve the uterus, fallopian tubes, ovaries, and surrounding tissues. While PID may occur at any age, sexually-active adolescents and young women are most likely to suffer from it. Treatment with antibiotics is usually effective in curing the disease. If left untreated, long-term complications may include chronic or persistent pelvic pain, infertility (difficulty in falling pregnant) and increased risk of ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy developing outside the uterus usually in the fallopian tube).

Continue reading

What is Cellulitis? Deep Infection Under The Skin (Dermis)

Cellulitis is an inflammatory condition involving the deeper layers of the skin – dermis and subcutaneous tissue. It tends to almost always occur due to a bacterial infection. Cellulitis tends to arise in the periphery of the body, more commonly on the legs and less frequently in the arms. Most cases are associated with impaired immune defences and poor circulation. Although cellulitis is easily treated with antibiotics, it is a serious medical condition that can quickly progress and lead to complications and even death.

Continue reading

What is Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) and HAART for HIV?

Antiretroviral drugs are medication that are active against retroviruses. These days it is employed as a cocktail of drugs (HAART) in the treatment of HIV infection. Antiretrovirals are a sub-class of antiviral drugs.

How do antiretroviral drugs work?

The traditional antiretroviral drugs inhibit reverse transcriptase enzyme or protease enzyme. The reverse transcriptase enzyme is responsible for synthesis of DNA from the viral RNA and the protease enzyme is responsible for breaking down larger proteins to smaller functional proteins. Some drugs act by preventing the entry of the virus into human cell and some by preventing integration of viral DNA into the human DNA.

Continue reading

What are Antiviral Drugs (Medication)?

Antiviral drugs (antivirals) are medicines that are used to treat or prevent the infections caused by virus. Antivirals act specifically against particular groups of viruses and its actions are limited to these groups alone. A virus has no cell membrane and can multiply when it infects a cell’s nucleus in the human (host) body. The virus invades the host cells and multiplies rapidly thereby resulting in the particular infection.
Continue reading

What is Gonorrhea (STD)? Sexually Transmitted UTI & Discharge

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD), caused by bacteria known as Neisseria gonorrhoeae (gonococci). It is a very common STD in the United States, along with genital herpes. Gonorrhea is often seen as a disease that causes recurrent urinary tract infections (UTI) and genital discharge, and while these are the common clinical features, other signs, symptoms and complications of gonorrhea infection may develop over time.

Continue reading