Oregon Faith-Healing Parents Charged With Manslaughter In Daughter's Death …

On Friday, Travis and Wenona Rossiter were brought before a judge in Linn County, Ore., and plead not guilty to charges of manslaughter for their daughter Syble’s death. In February, the 12-year-old girl died in their home because of complications due to type 1 diabetes. She did not receive medical treatment for the condition.

“The 12-year-old had a treatable medical condition and the parents did not provide adequate and necessary medical care to that child,” said local police Captain Eric Carter. “And that, unfortunately, resulted in the death of her on February 5 of this year.”

Although unconfirmed, the couple is rumored to have withheld medical treatment in favor of faith-based healing.

The Rossiters attend the Church of the First Born, a church that allegedly encourages its members to seek faith-based interventions for illnesses instead of modern medical treatment. Its website cites biblical verse James 5:14, “If any be sick, call for the elders of the church, let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.”

Syble suffered from type 1 diabetes, formerly known as juvenile diabetes, a condition in which a person is unable to produce insulin. Without insulin therapy, type 1 diabetes is fatal. The most common cause of death among pediatric diabetics is diabetic ketoacidosis. Resulting from the buildup of fat metabolites called ketones, diabetic ketoacidosis  is characterized by vomiting, dehydration, confusion, and eventually leads to coma and death if left untreated. The clinical details of Syble’s death have not been made public.

With insulin therapy administered through injections or an insulin pump, people with type 1 diabetes can live nearly as long as the general population. 

The church websites explains that its members should comply with local health officials. “If you choose not to take your child to a doctor, then we urge you to immediately notify the county health department and the state department of human services using our corporate forms.”

Tragically, if the Rossiters are found guilty, they would not be the first parents deemed liable in the death of a child within the church. In 2012, Brandi and Russel Bellew, also of the Church of the first Born, pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide after their son, Austin Sprout Creswell, died at age 16 from an untreated infection secondary to a burst appendix. At least 22 children associated with the Church of the First Born have died from lack of medical treatment since 1964, according to the group Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty.

A neighbor interviewed by local CBS affiliate KOIN 6 News described Syble as a quiet girl who enjoyed riding her bike. “She seemed shy to talk to people because they picked apples out of my yard,” the neighbor said.

Diabetes drug back with warning, but will patients swallow the pill?

Govt directive warns that Pioglitazone should not be first line of therapy

Diabetes drug pioglitazone and its combinations are back, but with a box warning in “bold red letters” to caution patients.

For a drug suspended a month ago for its possible links to urinary bladder cancer, its revocation could end up being a tough pill to swallow, especially for new patients with type II diabetes, say doctors.

Patients who have controlled diabetes with pioglitazone may still go back to the drug, says diabetologist Rajiv Kovil.

But putting new patients on pioglitazone may fall by at least two-thirds, he says, as they would be “extremely anxious”.

An engineer by profession, 43-year-old Rishi Kumar, for instance, would not like to take the medicine, now that he has doubts about its safety. He would, in fact, go for a second opinion if he is prescribed the medicine again.

Warnings

Pioglitazone is used as a third line of treatment. In its latest directive, the Government has emphasised the need for caution, insisting that the drug not be used as the first line of therapy, says Kovil.

The Government has brought back pioglitazone with several riders. Doctors need to run tests on the patient before initiating treatment, restrict use of the drug in elderly patients and prescribe it only after knowing the patient’s history.

It also requires patients on pioglitazone to be put through 3-6 monthly reviews.

Diabetologist V. Mohan is happy that, after much discussion, the Government has laid down several conditions on the use of pioglitazone. He was also involved in the discussions on pioglitazone and its suspension.

Patients will go by what the doctor says, and the doctor needs to share all these risks with the patient before starting the drug, he points out.

Precisely the sentiment of 69-year-old A.N. Dutta, suffering from type-2 diabetes for 10 years.

“I would not like to second-guess my doctor on this issue. Ultimately, it is about having faith in your doctor’s judgment. Now that the ban has been revoked, if he prescribes the medicine (piloglitazone) again, I will take it,” he says.

jyothi.datta@thehindu.co.in

aesha.datta@thehindu.co.in

Type 1 diabetes treatment could reduce need for insulin injections


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Human trials have begun on a new type 1 diabetes treatment that
could improve the lives of future sufferers of the disease.

Developed by scientists at the University of Cambridge, the
treatment could reduce a patient’s insulin injections from several
per day to potentially just a few times a week.

The immunological treatment slows damage to the pancreas,
meaning that newly diagnosed patients, in future, may be able to
retain the ability to produce insulin naturally.

“Our aim is […] to rebalance the immune system so that
patients can significantly reduce the number of insulin injections
needed to just once or twice a week by slowing the progression of
the disease,” 
says Frank Waldron-Lynch
, clinical study lead at the University
of Cambridge.


Type 1 diabetes
is caused when the body’s immune system attacks
insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. Around 400,000 people in
the UK suffer from the disease. Unlike type 2 diabetes, it is not
triggered by lifestyle factors like obesity.

Over the last ten years researchers at Cambridge, led by
Professor John
Todd
, have identified the IL-2 gene pathway as one of the
origins of the disease. The pathway codes the protein
“interleukin-2”, which controls the regulatory part of the immune
system.

Low levels of interleukin-2 result in an unbalanced immune
system, resulting in damage to the pancreas.

This damage reduces and eventually destroys the pancreas’
ability to create insulin, causing type 1 diabetes. Sufferers of
the disease require injections of artificial insulin on a regular
basis, usually before or after eating meals.

Waldron-Lynch and his colleagues, with support from the Wellcome
Trust, are investigating whether injections of interleukin-2, in
the form of a drug called aldesleukin, can slow the damage caused
by the immune system.

By preferentially boosting the regulatory part of the immune
system, he says, they hope patients will be able to retain the
ability to produce their own insulin, reducing the need for
artificial insulin injections.

It is unlike immunosuppression treatments, which dampen the
immune system generally. Injections of interleukin-2 simply boost
the number of regulatory T-cells.

The trial, run jointly by researchers at Addenbrooke’s Hospital
and Cambridge University’s Institute for Medical Research, began in
May and currently has six patients. Early results are positive,
with no side-effects detected, says Waldron-Lynch. The study aims
to find out what doses are most effective, and how regular
injections of the drug will need to be — once a week or once every
two weeks may be possible, he says.

The treatment will only be useful to patients in the early
stages of type 1 diabetes, up to two years after diagnosis, before
damage to the pancreas becomes too extensive. (The team are looking
for more patients to join the trial — more details
can be found here
).

Injections of interleukin-2 have also been investigated as a
possible way of treating graft-vs-host disease
, where the body
attacks stem cell or bone marrow transfusions, or other tissue
transplants.

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Advanced forms of long-lasting artificial insulin also reduce
the number of injections a patient needs to take, with one,
“degludec
“, allowing for injections only three times a week.
However, these long-lasting insulins don’t address the problem of
damage to the pancreas and have the potential side effect of
hypoglycaemia, or low blood sugar levels.

'Artificial pancreas' promises to transform treatment of diabetes

The device monitors blood glucose levels and uses an infrared data link to relay information to an insulin pump attached to the patient’s body, which adjusts insulin levels accordingly.

It had previously been tested in hospitals, but five people in the UK with Type 1 diabetes have now successfully used it at home, in a world first for such an invention.

The successful home trial offers people with Type 1 diabetes – where the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin – the tantalising prospect of no longer having to worry about the balance of blood glucose and insulin in their bodies, and could also save thousands from limb amputations, kidney failure, eye problems, strokes and early deaths.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge, funded by the charity Diabetes UK, have been working on the artificial pancreas for several years.

By the end of this year, 24 people will have taken part in home trials of the device. It will be some years before it becomes commonly available as a treatment for Type 1 diabetes, and will initially be used only to stop people’s insulin levels from falling too low at night. But researchers said the technology could have developed “within a decade” to a point where users would no longer have to manually monitor blood glucose levels.

Type 1 diabetes is a lifelong condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high. It develops when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin, which allows glucose to enter the body’s cells. This leads to a build-up of glucose in the blood. Left untreated or inadequately treated, this can lead to a number of health problems, as the excess glucose damages blood vessels, nerves and organs.

About 10 per cent of the 2.9 million people in the UK diagnosed with diabetes have Type 1. This tends to develop earlier in life and is distinct from the more common Type 2 diabetes, which typically affects people who are overweight.

The artificial pancreas could one day be used to help people with Type 2 diabetes, researchers said, but this was still a long way off.

Dr Alasdair Rankin, the director of research at Diabetes UK, said that while the technology was still in its early days, the successful home trials marked a landmark in the history of diabetes research.

“As the technology progresses, we expect to make Type 1 diabetes an increasingly manageable condition until eventually we will reach the point where people might check their artificial pancreas when they get up in the morning and then do not have to think about their diabetes for the rest of the day,” he said. He described the five trial participants, who spent four weeks using the artificial pancreas at home without medical supervision, as “pioneers at the cutting edge of Type 1 diabetes research”.

According to Diabetes UK, the NHS spends £10bn on diabetes care every year – about 10 per cent of its budget.

Mark Wareham, 42, from Cambridge, one of the participants in the trial, said the benefits of using the artificial pancreas had been enormous.

“I felt fantastic and my energy levels were through the roof,” he said. “It felt like I was on holiday for the whole month’s duration… Waking up almost every day with blood glucose levels within their target was something new for me and gave me a sense of stability I don’t get just by using the insulin pump [on its own].”

The neglected side of diabetes

Poor adherence to diabetes medications and treatment has been reported to be a prime reason for the increasing morbidity due to diabetes in Kerala, where diabetes affects nearly one in five persons in rural areas.

A recent cross-sectional survey conducted among known diabetes patients in rural Kerala reported that the levels of non-adherence to medication is as high as 74 per cent — underlining the need for immediate interventions to improve patient awareness about the disease.

The study, conducted by researchers at the Achutha Menon Centre for Health Science Studies, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, appears in the latest issue of Asia-Pacific Journal of Public Health. In a State which has one of the highest levels of diabetes prevalence at 20.6 per cent and has reported the highest proportion of out-of-pocket spending on health in the country at 90 per cent, poor adherence to treatment of a systemic disease such as diabetes could have catastrophic effects on the health system’s resources as well as individual family budgets, it is pointed out.

The community-based study was conducted among 346 diabetes patients in rural Thiruvananthapuram, specifically from 24 wards from the panchayats of Kadakkavoor, Chirayinkeezhu, Sreekaryam, Kudappanakkunnu, Vembayam, Karakulam, Balaramapuram, and Vizhinjam.

The prevalence of diabetes in Thiruvananthapuram district is estimated to be 16 per cent. Most of the patients in the sample had co-morbid diseases, mainly hypertension (77.5 per cent). Majority of them were on a combination therapy and the most commonly used medication was metformin, followed by glibenclamide. The researchers reported that patients using oral hypoglycaemic agents (OHAs), those with irregular blood sugar monitoring, those who received limited instructions from doctors, those who resorted only to symptomatic management, and those who did not have a family member’s help to remember to take medications were more likely to have poor adherence to treatment.

Diabetes management instructions from doctors are an important modifiable factor associated with treatment adherence. Detailed, individual instructions from doctors may improve adherence rates, especially since diabetes patients are known to require constant motivation and intensive patient education. However, the high patient load and staff shortage in public sector hospitals often result in inadequate patient-physician interaction. Hence, counselling for both patients as well as doctors may be necessary to improve treatment adherence, the study pointed out.

Adherence might improve if patients are made aware of the rationale behind the management of diabetes and the importance of taking their medications regularly regardless of symptoms. The study’s findings thus underline the importance of patient’s awareness of his disease and his habits of self management in achieving adequate glycemic control (proper blood sugar levels) and thus minimising the complications of diabetes. Another finding was that the family played a big role in encouraging drug adherence. Patients whose family ensured that they took medication on time had better drug adherence.

Lower socio-economic status is another factor to be taken into account. Those with lower per capita expenditure were more likely to report poor adherence.

The study also reported that adherence rates were higher for insulin use than for OHAs. Those taking oral drugs were likely to discontinue their treatment unlike those using insulin. Patients who did not monitor their blood glucose levels regularly were nearly five times more likely to be poorly adherent to treatment, it was found.

The study has pointed to the urgent need for better efforts to improve drug adherence in the case of chronic non-communicable diseases, as the complications of diseases such as diabetes can lead to increased morbidities as well as increased cost of treatment. More effective interventions are needed so that patients have a better understanding of the disease and are self-motivated to comply with their doctors’ instructions.

Breakthroughs in diabetes treatment: Better outcomes, lower cost

20070913katula0521

When Jeffrey Katula and his research colleagues set out to determine if they could help prevent patients from developing diabetes using group-based problem solving, he didn’t expect such drastic results.

At the end of the two-year project, called the Healthy Living Partnerships to Prevent Diabetes (HELP PD) Study, the participants had lost about the same amount of weight and produced similar low fasting blood-sugar levels as participants in an earlier benchmark study – which cost nearly three times as much.

The results of the research, “The HELP PD Study: 2-year effects on fasting blood glucose, insulin, and adiposity,” appear online in advance of print publication in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, along with a cost analysis of the program. The project was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

A multidisciplinary team of researchers from Wake Forest University, Wake Forest School of Medicine and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, led by principal investigator Mara Vitolins of the medical school, conducted the research.

“Traditional behavioral weight loss programs rely a lot on education – how to exercise, how to read food labels,” said Katula, assistant professor in the Department of Health and Exercise Science and lead author of the paper. “Our program decreased the emphasis on didactic education and instead focused on a problem-solving, empowerment-based model. Participants talked about what things were getting in the way of losing weight, then they worked as a group to determine ways to overcome the barriers.”

The end result was that HELP PD participants lost an average of nearly 13 pounds, and kept it off over the two years of the study; weight loss is a key factor in preventing and controlling diabetes.

And because the program was administered at the grass-roots level by community health workers in local recreation centers, the cost of the care was $850 per person. In the benchmark study, the Diabetes Prevention Program, cost of care was $2,631 per person.

“A new, effective, low-cost treatment for diabetics and pre-diabetics would bring the cost down substantially for an enormous threat to U.S. and global public health,” said Michael Lawlor, director of the Health Policy and Administration Program in the Department of Economics and lead author of the HELP PD cost-effectiveness paper.

In early March, the American Diabetes Association estimated the total costs of diagnosed diabetes, including hospital inpatient care, medications, diabetes supplies, physician office visits and nursing facility stays, had risen to $245 billion per year in 2012. The ADA last reported annual costs of diabetes in 2007, when the total was $174 billion.

HELP PD recruited more than 300 participants who were guided through the weight-loss program by community health workers (CHWs) – residents who had a history of healthy lifestyles and well-controlled diabetes. The CHWs were paid a minimal amount – $100 per week to lead weekly group meetings for the first six months, and then $200 a month for the remainder of the study. They were trained by registered dieticians in the community, and had very little contact with researchers or other high-level experts.

“We wanted to harness as much existing community resources and systems as possible, and reduce the role of study resources and study personnel,” Katula said. “We wanted to know, could we accomplish what was accomplished in the original study at a lower cost? Not every community has access to a diabetes investigator – so could we develop a program that could run in any community in the country, even without access to expertise?”

The research team is now testing the program in five county health departments in North Carolina to determine if Medicaid can save money using this model.

“The Medicaid program could be interested in expanding reimbursement for diabetes prevention programs to community health workers,” Katula said. “If we could help more people avoid developing diabetes, it would reduce the need to pay for diabetes care down the line.”

 

Breakthroughs in diabetes treatment: Better outcomes, lower cost

20070913katula0521

When Jeffrey Katula and his research colleagues set out to determine if they could help prevent patients from developing diabetes using group-based problem solving, he didn’t expect such drastic results.

At the end of the two-year project, called the Healthy Living Partnerships to Prevent Diabetes (HELP PD) Study, the participants had lost about the same amount of weight and produced similar low fasting blood-sugar levels as participants in an earlier benchmark study – which cost nearly three times as much.

The results of the research, “The HELP PD Study: 2-year effects on fasting blood glucose, insulin, and adiposity,” appear online in advance of print publication in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, along with a cost analysis of the program. The project was supported by a grant from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

A multidisciplinary team of researchers from Wake Forest University, Wake Forest School of Medicine and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, led by principal investigator Mara Vitolins of the medical school, conducted the research.

“Traditional behavioral weight loss programs rely a lot on education – how to exercise, how to read food labels,” said Katula, assistant professor in the Department of Health and Exercise Science and lead author of the paper. “Our program decreased the emphasis on didactic education and instead focused on a problem-solving, empowerment-based model. Participants talked about what things were getting in the way of losing weight, then they worked as a group to determine ways to overcome the barriers.”

The end result was that HELP PD participants lost an average of nearly 13 pounds, and kept it off over the two years of the study; weight loss is a key factor in preventing and controlling diabetes.

And because the program was administered at the grass-roots level by community health workers in local recreation centers, the cost of the care was $850 per person. In the benchmark study, the Diabetes Prevention Program, cost of care was $2,631 per person.

“A new, effective, low-cost treatment for diabetics and pre-diabetics would bring the cost down substantially for an enormous threat to U.S. and global public health,” said Michael Lawlor, director of the Health Policy and Administration Program in the Department of Economics and lead author of the HELP PD cost-effectiveness paper.

In early March, the American Diabetes Association estimated the total costs of diagnosed diabetes, including hospital inpatient care, medications, diabetes supplies, physician office visits and nursing facility stays, had risen to $245 billion per year in 2012. The ADA last reported annual costs of diabetes in 2007, when the total was $174 billion.

HELP PD recruited more than 300 participants who were guided through the weight-loss program by community health workers (CHWs) – residents who had a history of healthy lifestyles and well-controlled diabetes. The CHWs were paid a minimal amount – $100 per week to lead weekly group meetings for the first six months, and then $200 a month for the remainder of the study. They were trained by registered dieticians in the community, and had very little contact with researchers or other high-level experts.

“We wanted to harness as much existing community resources and systems as possible, and reduce the role of study resources and study personnel,” Katula said. “We wanted to know, could we accomplish what was accomplished in the original study at a lower cost? Not every community has access to a diabetes investigator – so could we develop a program that could run in any community in the country, even without access to expertise?”

The research team is now testing the program in five county health departments in North Carolina to determine if Medicaid can save money using this model.

“The Medicaid program could be interested in expanding reimbursement for diabetes prevention programs to community health workers,” Katula said. “If we could help more people avoid developing diabetes, it would reduce the need to pay for diabetes care down the line.”

 

Psoriatic arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is an inflammatory joint disease associated with the skin ailment, psoriasis. Like all arthritis, it most commonly affects the joints in the hands and feet, but can also cause inflammation, swelling and pain in larger joints, including the knees, elbows, hips and the spine. In cases of psoriatic arthritis, the tendons (the fibrous tissue attaching the muscle to the bone) can also be affected.

Psoriasis causes red, scaly patches on the skin called plaques, which can become itchy and sore. The plaques can cover a small area (usually on the head, knee, elbows and buttocks) or a larger area. It also affects the nails.

The chances of getting psoriasis or psoriatic arthritis are the same for men and women, although women are at more risk after pregnancy or the menopause.

Psoriatic arthritis can occur at any age. It usually only develops if the sufferer already has psoriasis. However, having psoriasis does not automatically mean it will develop into psoriatic arthritis. In around 70% of cases psoriasis precedes psoriatic arthritis, in 15% the skin and joint conditions occur at the same time and in the remaining 15% psoriatic arthritis is present before the skin condition psoriasis appears, according to the Psoriasis Association.

People with psoriasis can also develop other forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid or osteoarthritis. The severity of psoriatic arthritis isn’t necessarily related to how bad the psoriasis is. This means bad psoriasis can come hand-in-hand with little or no arthritis, or well-controlled psoriasis with more severe arthritis.

There are five types of psoriatic arthritis, according to Bupa, and some overlaps:

  • Symmetric arthritis affects the same joints on each side of the body – symptoms in several joints are likely.
  • Asymmetric arthritis affects different joints on each side of the body, for example a few finger joints and a knee joint.
  • Distal interphalangeal predominant (DIP) arthritis happens in the joints closest to the finger- and toenails.
  • Arthritis mutilans leads to serious deformity in the fingers and toes, and can also affect the spine.
  • Spondylitis – the arthritis develops in the spine and the sufferer will experience pain and stiffness in the back and neck.

What are the symptoms of psoriatic arthritis?

Symptoms of psoriatic arthritis can come and go and vary from mild to severe. Common ones include:

  • General tiredness.
  • Tenderness, pain, redness and swelling over tendons
  • One or more entire fingers or toes swelling up – this is called dactylitis, caused by the joints and tendons becoming inflamed
  • Stiffness, pain, throbbing and swelling in one or more joints
  • A reduced range of movement
    Nail changes – pitted or thickened nails
  • Flaking white patches of skin with red, inflamed skin underneath
  • Conjunctivitis or sore, red eyes

[adsense]How is it treated?

There are many different medicines and treatments available for psoriatic arthritis and they depend of the type and severity of the condition. Seeking professional medical advice is essential to managing the condition properly. Living with the illness can be frustrating and a change in lifestyle, as well as close cooperation with a doctor, is essential.

Keeping up a moderate amount of exercise is important as otherwise the muscles around the joints will weaken and become stiff. Exercise will also help reduce pain and stiffness and make it easier to move around.

There are three types of exercise that can help, according to Bupa, including:

  • Strengthening the muscles around your joint
  • Range of motion exercises to maintain joint motion and improve flexibility
  • Aerobic exercise, such as walking, swimming, cycling or hydrotherapy (supervised exercises in a pool)

Click here to read about how rheumatoid arthritis can negatively affect your sex drive, a study into whether or not aerobics is safe enough for arthritic patients and how social rejection can trigger arthritis.

Images: Wikimedia Commons

Robbie Williams undergoing treatment for mysterious illness

Robbie Williams says he is suffering from a mysterious illness, which is to blame for the limited success of his comeback album Rubebox. According to www.dailymail.com, the singer, who had taken his depressive state for granted earlier,woke up to realise that it was more than just a state of mind. He recently said in an interview : “I thought I was lethargic and depressed as a person. I thought that was my make-up.”

The singer recorded the album in 2006, after staying out of the public eye for three years. However, the album failed to generate much of a storm in the charts. He added “Running alongside the three years off, the Rudebox, the lack of confidence, I was lethargic and depressed and I thought I was lethargic and depressed as a person.”

Robbie Williams, who has a long history of alcohol and drug abuse, has been battling with depression for a number of years. As reported by www.musicrooms.net, the singer now admits that ever since he came to terms with the illness, his life has undergone a huge transformation for better due to the treatment. The singer, who quit his boy band ‘Take That’ in 1995 after he decided to go solo, also admitted that it was a rough phase of his life. However, the 36-year-old star believes that it was the struggle to keep up with the new-found fame that had him go “mental”. He added, “I don’t think anybody’s responded to it particularly well when they get to a certain level.” He said “Elton John went mental, Elvis (Presley) went mental, I went mental. Everybody at some point, at some stage, goes bonkers.”

Other celebrities who have battled with depression include Kirsten Dunst, Heather Locklear, Hugh Laurie and Jim Carrey

Images: PR Photos

Urinary Incontinence

What is urinary incontinence?

Urinary incontinence (UI) is the passing of urine unintentionally. It is a common condition which can affect all adults but is most prevalent in older people and more women than men are thought to be affected. According to the NHS, one in five women over the age of 40 suffers from UI.

The health expert highlights the two types of urinary incontinence:

  • Stress incontinence – when the pelvic muscles preventing the bladder from releasing urine until a suitable time become too weak
  • Urge incontinence – when incorrect signals are transmitted between the brain and the bladder. Normally, the bladder sends a signal to the brain when it is full, making the individual aware that they need to use the bathroom. The brain then sends a signal to the bladder to release the urine at the appropriate time. Urge incontinence occurs when this process has been disrupted.

Medicine Net points out a third type – overflow incontinence, which is the constant release of urine, causing the sufferer to go to the toilet frequently and in small amounts.

What causes it?

Stress incontinence is caused by the weakening of the pelvic muscles. So, any extra pressure on them, such as laughing or sneezing, can make urine leak out. Certain factors can weaken these muscles in women:

  • Pregnancy and childbirth can overstretch the muscles
  • Getting older usually means muscles become weaker
  • Obesity can create excess pressure
  • Menopause causes a fall in the level of oestrogen, which can weaken muscles
  • Having a hysterectomy can damage the muscles
  • Urinary infections such as cystitis can also have an effect

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UI is less common in men, but many still suffer from it, according to Medicine Net. Common causes for men and some women include:

  • Diabetes – those who have suffered from the condition for a number of years may develop nerve damage which affects their bladder control
  • Illnesses such as Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis and stroke can all affect the way the brain interacts with the bladder
  • A spinal cord injury can also affect the process by interrupting nerve signals
  • Treatment for prostate cancer in men or an enlarged prostate gland, which can irritate the urethra

What are the symptoms?

The main symptom of UI is passing urine without intending to. Those suffering from stress incontinence sometimes find this happens during physical activity such as laughing, sneezing, coughing and exercise. Urge incontinence may cause you to pass a larger amount of urine after suddenly feeling the need to go to the toilet while overflow incontinence may give the sufferer the sensation that their bladder is never fully empty.

How can it be treated?

Treatments for UI vary depending on severity and type on incontinence. However, certain lifestyle changes have been known to reduce symptoms regardless. These include:

  • Losing weight
  • Drinking less caffeine
  • Reducing the amount of fluid intake if it is excessive
  • Doing pelvic floor exercises daily to strengthen muscles
  • Wearing incontinence underwear to increase confidence

If these prove to be ineffective, your doctor may recommend more intrusive treatment. There is a large number of surgical procedures available to minimise the effects of UI, as well as medication.

One celebrity who has suffered from urinary incontinence is actress Helena Bonham Carter.

Images: Wikimedia Commons