Posts filed under ‘Health matters’

“Long time between drinks”

Yes, it’s been a while since I posted: apologies. Life got in the way, and most recently a nasty little kidney stone has really knocked the socks off me!  After 4 days in hospital and one operation to insert a stent (see below) and now 3 weeks at home being very restricted in what I can do and relying on analgesia, I am hoping to have a second operation soon to remove the stent and smash the stone if it hasn’t gone. So, in honour of kidney stones, here are some useless facts you probably didn’t know – and probably don’t need to know:

  • they’ve been around for years: one was found in a 7,000 old Egyptian mummy!
  • many of us get kidney stones, but they pass through and cause no problems (usually if less than 5mm in diameter)
  • 4 times more men than women ‘suffer’ stones – ie, they cause pain and problems
  • around 5% of people will have kidney stone problems
  • by far the most common kinds are made of calcium, others may be made of strurite or of uric acid
  • once you’ve had problems with a stone, you are much more likely to have more stones
  • the biggest problem tends to be when the stone moves out of the kidney and into the ureter (the tube going to the bladder)
  • once in the ureter, the stone may block it, causing the urine to ‘back up’ in the kidney and resulting in the kidney swelling and potentially being damaged
  • or the movement of the stone down the tiny tube is extremely painful
  • renal colic is the name given to the pain experienced in these circumstances, and it is generally said to be the most severe pain experienced (I’ll vouch for that)

Treatment includes

  • temporarily inserting a stent or tube into the ureter to go around the stone and allow the kidney to drain again. The stent also expands the ureter, which may help the stone to pass down it.
  • breaking the stone into smaller pieces so that they can exit the kidney or ureter.  This may be done by a laser or by shock waves.
  • if really necessary, cutting into the kidney to remove the stone.

Biggest thing everyone can do to prevent problems: drink at least 2 litres of water a day!

January 28, 2012 at 5:32 am 1 comment

Avastin – wonder drug or serious risk?

Since posting this morning, I’ve come across some more information on the BBC news site – please see end of story.

A few days ago, the New York Times reported that the Food and Drug Authority in the USA had announced a ban on the drug Avastin for use in advanced Breast Cancer. This was because it was found to be not improving survival time, and was causing serious side-effects such as high blood pressure and haemorrhaging. It is, however, still able to used for treating other kinds of cancer in the USA.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported yesterday that our Therapeutic Goods Administration (more…)

November 22, 2011 at 12:08 am 1 comment

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