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Laughing gas: How harmful is this recreational substance?

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Governments in the US and Europe seek to control nitrous oxide, sometimes known as laughing gas, which is a party drug used by young adults. What you should know is as follows.

The first (and only) time I used laughing gas, or nitrous oxide, for amusement, I was seventeen years old. It was demonstrated to me by some friends who I was with in the grocery shop.

I was suspicious as a nervous teenager, but it helped ease my mind that I could legitimately buy it at the grocery store. I reasoned that if it was truly so dangerous, no one would be able to purchase it.

This is a typical way to introduce the party drug, according to health experts. Children are frequently told by their peers that laughing gas won’t hurt them. The lack of warnings on whipped cream canisters in stores may lead them to believe it. To obtain the drug, you don’t even need to locate a dealer or be 21.

A lot of teenagers are unaware of the dangers of laughing gas.
According to a 2018 study that appeared in the journal Frontiers in Psychiatry, 92% of UK teenagers who had heard of laughing gas “were not aware of any side effects” related to its application.

Governments are now taking action to control the chemical. In 2023, the UK enacted legislation outlawing nitrous oxide. In the Netherlands, it is regarded as a drug. Furthermore, in May 2024, Louisiana became the first state in the United States to enact legislation banning the retail sale of laughing gas. A ban is also being considered by German regulators.

However, why? Why is nitrous oxide harmful? Here are some things to be aware of regarding laughing gas and its potential health risks.

What is laughing gas, and why can you find it so easily?
Nitrous oxide is a transparent gas that is commonly referred to as “laughing gas.”

In medicine, it is used to calm patients during labour or procedures like wisdom tooth extractions.

Users refer to the euphoric experience that nitrous oxide can produce as a “head rush.” You can have lightheadedness, vertigo, or confusion.

The gas’s effects are fleeting when used recreationally, lasting between thirty and sixty seconds. It is possible for users to inhale it more than once in one session.

Nitrous oxide is available at your neighbourhood grocery store because it is used to manufacture whipped cream in addition to being utilised in medical settings.

In Europe, the canisters are apparently also offered for sale at corner stores and kiosks.

According to medical professionals, the number of sellers of nitrous oxide has increased dramatically since 2017. Devan Mair of Queen Mary University of London’s N2O: Know the Risks student initiative says as much.

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Nitrous oxide is a chemical molecule consisting of one oxygen atom and two nitrogen atoms, with the formula N2O.

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World Blood Donor Day 2024: 5 reasons to give blood and information about its health advantages

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World Blood Donor Day 2024: Donating blood is a noble task, and it also comes with multiple health benefits. Blood transfusion is done to treat multiple health disorders such as anemia, cancer, etc. People are urged to donate healthy blood as it helps in a steady supply of blood for the healthcare industry. Every year, World Blood Donor Day is celebrated on June 14 to establish the importance of donating blood and how it helps in patient treatment. However, donating blood is a double bonanza–it helps the one donating blood, as well as the one receiving it. As we celebrate the important day today, here are a few things that we should know.

Unexpected health advantages of blood donation:
Promotes heart health:
The act of giving blood improves cardiovascular health. It also lessens blood viscosity, which helps to lower the risk of strokes and heart attacks. Donating blood contributes to maintaining a healthy blood supply, which lessens cardiac strain.

decreases iron stores:

Hemochromatosis, a disorder that can harm organs like the liver and heart, is brought on by an excessive amount of iron in the blood. Regular blood donation reduces extra iron, which is beneficial to general health.

Creation of new blood cells:

The body attempts to make up for blood lost after donating. This promotes the body’s ability to create new cells and carry out tasks efficiently in addition to aiding in the development of new blood cells.

Free health screening:

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It is required to undergo a basic health examination, which includes measuring blood pressure, body temperature, pulse, and haemoglobin levels, prior to donating blood. This can assist us in better understanding our bodies and, if necessary, addressing any health issues that may arise.

enhances mental health
We get a psychological lift and feel better when we know that the blood we have donated may save a life or aid someone in need.

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Women are more vulnerable than men to gonorrhea due to rising antibiotic resistance.

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Don’t engage in sexual activity. It is “the only way to completely avoid STIs,” according to public health organizations. Avoid engaging in any oral, anal, or vaginal sex.

It is a sobering piece of wisdom. However, it also makes perfect sense when you look at the most recent data on the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR) and bacterial STIs, such as gonorrhea, from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Antibiotics including azithromycin, ceftriaxone, and cefixime are frequently used in medicine to treat gonorrhea, but their efficacy is declining. And that might be a factor in the rise in gonorrhea infections and STI cases in general throughout Europe, if not the world.

In a study released on June 10, 2024, the ECDC stated that there were 70,881 confirmed cases of gonorrhea in 28 EU/EEA (European Union/European Economic Area) nations in 2022, a 48% increase from the previous year.

AMR is one reason why antibiotics across the board — whether it’s for STIs or an earache — are failing public health efforts. Either we use them too much, or we don’t bother to take all the pills, with the result that bacteria are able to build up a resistance to many of our “go-to” drugs of the past 100 years.

Gonorrhea: What is it?
The Neisseria gonorrhoea bacteria is the cause of gonorrhea. It may impact the esophagus, rectum, or genitalia. Infections are common in young persons (ages 15 to 24).

Women are more likely than males to get an infection since diagnosis is more difficult for them. Women also frequently don’t have symptoms, and when they do, they are typically minor and can be confused for another vaginal or bladder infection. particularly expectant mothers, who may transmit STI infections to their fetus. Undiagnosed sexually transmitted infections can cause pregnancy problems in women or cause infertility.

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However, men do experience symptoms, such as painful or enlarged testicles, a burning feeling when peeing, and a discharge that can be white, yellow, or green.

However, this is less common in women than it is in them. Teodora Elvira Wi, who oversees the global HIV, hepatitis, and STI programs at the World Health Organization in Geneva, stated that women must be given priority because they are asymptomatic.

“We need opportunities for women to be screened for STIs, and especially people at higher risk, people who have multiple partners and sexually active adolescents,” stated Wi.

Concerning’ antimicrobial resistance to popular medications for gonorrhea
In the ECDC paper, 4,396 gonorrhea samples (also known as “isolates”) from 23 different nations were analyzed. These samples were taken in 2022.

They discovered that “isolates resistant to azithromycin increased significantly to 25.6%, compared to 14.2% in 2021.”

Since azithromycin and ceftriaxone are frequently used together, the ECDC deemed this result to be “particularly concerning.”

Ciprofloxacin resistance rose as well, though not as dramatically: in 2022, 65.9% of isolates showed resistance, up from 62.8% in 2021.

Cefixime resistance remained “low at 0.3%.”

All things considered, the World Health Organization’s data from other regions—Africa and Asia, for example—reflects the ECDC figures.

According to Wi, 73 countries worldwide have reported antimicrobial resistance data in gonorrhea. “Antimicrobial resistance is not the only cause [there], but in countries where antimicrobial resistance is even higher than in Europe, it is contributing to the increase in bacterial STIs,” Wi added.

Pharyngeal (throat) gonorrhea was on the rise in 2022, according to ECDC data, although genital and anorectal gonorrhea cases stayed steady.

How to reduce STI transmission
According to WHO data from 2020, 374 million new cases of syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis among individuals aged 15 to 49 occur worldwide each year. The increasing incidence of STI cases was attributed by the WHO to the following factors:

An increase in risky sexual conduct, such as the usage of fewer condoms and a rise in the number of casual and committed relationships

Socioeconomic factors and asymptomatic infections; biological considerations

Due to underfunding of services, there is a paucity of STI services, poor access to STI services, and a shortage of diagnostic test instruments.

Stigma: As a result of stigma, STI services and research are underfunded, and patients are less likely to seek treatment.

In public health initiatives to limit STIs, addressing and/or reversing these variables would be a smart place to start.

Wi advised against quitting entirely, saying that having sex should be accompanied by education. “Have sex, have pleasure in sex, make it a voluntary thing, do it for your sexual well-being and protect yourself the way you protect yourself from other infections,” she stated.

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Kidney cancer: 7 lifestyle choices that harm your kidneys and increase your risk of developing the disease

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Without any obvious symptoms, kidney cancer can begin to grow silently in the cells of your vital organ. Age is a risk factor for this malignancy, and lifestyle choices have a significant impact on its development. In 2023, there were about 4,600 new cases of kidney cancer, with an average age of 65 at diagnosis.

The risk of kidney cancer is twice as high for smokers as it is for non-smokers. As you age, you are heavily at risk for kidney cancer even if you do not smoke or drink and you do not lead an active lifestyle or eat poorly. Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is the most prevalent kind of kidney cancer, making up roughly 90% of cases.

Without any obvious symptoms, kidney cancer can begin to grow silently in the cells of your vital organ. Age is a risk factor for this malignancy, and lifestyle choices have a significant impact on its development. In 2023, there were about 4,600 new cases of kidney cancer, with an average age of 65 at diagnosis.
The kidneys are organs that function to control blood pressure, preserve electrolyte balance, and filter waste and extra fluid from the blood. However, a number of factors, such as medical disorders and lifestyle decisions, might impair kidney health. Kidney cancer is one such issue, which is typified by the aberrant proliferation of kidney cells. Kidney cancer can progress quickly if treatment is not received, offering major health hazards, even though it may not necessarily show symptoms in its early stages. Dr. Raghunath S.K., Senior Consultant and Director of Uro-oncology and Robotic Surgery, HCG Cancer Centre, KR Road, Bangalore, adds that fortunately, there are actions you may do to enhance kidney health and lower the chance of kidney cancer and other related issues.

Without any obvious symptoms, kidney cancer can begin to grow silently in the cells of your vital organ. Age is a risk factor for this malignancy, and lifestyle choices have a significant impact on its development. In 2023, there were about 4,600 new cases of kidney cancer, with an average age of 65 at diagnosis.

“Smoking, obesity, and genetic predisposition are among the factors that are frequently associated with kidney cancer. Urine with blood in it, back discomfort, exhaustion, and weight loss are some of the symptoms. Imaging examinations are part of the diagnosis. According to the patient’s condition and the cancer’s stage, treatment options include immunotherapy, surgery, targeted therapy, and clinical trial participation, says Dr. Raghunath.

A better prognosis requires early detection. It is necessary to take some preventative steps in order to reduce the risk of kidney cancer.

Lifestyle errors to prevent kidney cancer
In order to protect your kidneys from cancer, you should avoid the following lifestyle faults, as advised by Dr. Raghunath SK:

1. Not eating a balanced diet: Make fruits, vegetables, and whole grains your top priorities and cut back on processed meats, sugar-filled drinks, and harmful fats. These foods are rich in nutrients and include vital vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that promote healthy kidney function and lower the risk of kidney cancer.

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2. Excess weight: Make conscious eating choices and frequent exercise your way to a healthy body weight. Being overweight raises the risk of cancer and renal disease as well as puts strain on the kidneys. To promote weight management and general health, concentrate on eating a range of nutrient-rich meals in sensible portions.

3. Not drinking enough water: Drinking enough water is crucial for healthy kidney function as well as the body’s removal of waste and pollutants. To maintain optimal kidney health, strive for at least 8 glasses (or 2 litres) of water throughout the day. Keep an eye on the colour of your urine; pale yellow pee denotes sufficient hydration.

4. Alcohol and smoking: Excessive alcohol intake and smoking are important risk factors for kidney cancer. You can lower your chance of developing cancer and preserve your kidneys by giving up smoking and drinking in moderation. If you need help reducing or quitting drinking or smoking, get in touch with support groups or medical specialists.

5. Not controlling blood pressure: High blood pressure raises the risk of renal disease and cancer by causing gradual damage to the kidneys. Regularly check your blood pressure and make lifestyle changes (balanced diet, regular exercise, stress reduction, medication if needed) to maintain it within a healthy range. Seek advice from your healthcare provider for specific recommendations.

6. Elevated blood sugar: Diabetics are more likely to develop renal problems and cancer. Keep your blood sugar under strict control with a healthy diet, regular exercise, medication, and monitoring. To reduce the risk of kidney issues, keep an eye on your carbohydrate intake, get regular exercise, and follow your diabetes treatment plan.

7. Abusing a lot of painkillers: Overuse of several over-the-counter painkillers can be harmful to the kidneys. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) have to be taken with caution and under a doctor’s supervision. Think about complementary and alternative methods of treating pain, like heat therapy, acupuncture, or physical therapy. Never exceed the stated dosage limits, and do not use NSAIDs for an extended period of time without a prescription.

By implementing easy-to-use yet powerful techniques into regular routines, individuals can take proactive steps towards protecting their kidneys and maintaining optimal health.

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