Diseases and Conditions
What is rheumatoid arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the second most common type of arthritis after osteoarthritis. It is an autoimmune condition where the body’s immune system attacks the lining of the joints. This causes inflammation that is seen and experienced as pain, swelling, redness of the skin and sometimes heat over the joint. In more severe and long term cases, rheumatoid arthritis may lead to complications such as joint nodules and deformities. RA is a chronic condition. There may be periods where the symptoms are very mild or totally disappear but it returns again in the future.
If you are experiencing pain in the chest, then you may be having an angina attack. It is a very serious condition that can pass on its own when you rest. But sometimes it may be a warning of an upcoming heart attack. Any chest pain should be assessed by a doctor and treated accordingly. If you are a person who is at high risk of coronary artery disease or a heart attack, you need to see a doctor immediately. Even though these attacks of chest pain may pass on its own, it can eventually be a heart attack and be deadly.
Nighttime heartburn is one of the many reasons for sleeping problems. And it is more common than most people think. But often the symptoms are not well understood and you spend an entire night looking at the ceiling trying to pinpoint the cause of your insomnia. Heartburn is a symptom and not a disease. It occurs when your stomach acid flows backward from your stomach (where it is produced) to your oesophagus (food pipe). And while it may worsen after a meal or with specific foods and drinks, most people do not know that heartburn worsens at night when the stomach acid production peaks even if you have not eaten .
Most of us in South Africa have come to accept that medical aid is a matter of necessity rather than an optional extra. If you want to access private health care services, be it your GP, a specialist, blood tests and scans or treatment in a private hospital, then medical aid is the only means to afford this level of care. But newer financial products that will help you fund your private healthcare needs are constantly emerging and medical insurance is slowly gaining ground in the South African market. Will it replace medical aid someday? Highly unlikely but medical insurance is a cost effective option for South Africans who cannot manage with the ever-increasing costs of medical aid contributions.
We constantly hear about high blood cholesterol and how bad it is for us. But it is not just lip service. High blood cholesterol can cause permanent disability and even lead to death. The idea that it won’t happen to you is just a way of making yourself feel better about a problem that you do not want to attend to.
Without tackling your high blood cholesterol as soon as possible, you are sitting on a ticking time bomb which will most likely explode in due course. The fact is that high blood cholesterol can cause a range of complications and affect your body in several ways. The two most commonly known and feared conditions associated with blood cholesterol is a stroke and a heart attack.
Itching of the head is a common symptom and most people experience the odd bout in life. Although many of use use the word head, it is actually the scalp that we refer to when we talk about itching of the head. The scalp is the skin where the hair on the head grows. Hair itself cannot feel sensation- neither pain not itching. Therefore itchy hair is an incorrect term. Scalp itching in most cases is not serious. It is usually temporary and often eases without the need for any medical treatment. However, in some instances an itchy scalp may be related to a skin problem or even systemic disease and medical intervention is therefore necessary.