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Numbness of Foot

Editors Advisory –
Self Diagnosis is helpful but never conclusive in determining the cause of your condition.
Please ensure to read carefully all of the sections of this article before consulting your doctor, as many of these questions will be asked. Read this Preparatory Guide to getting the most from your visit. Alternatively, if you are in severe distress call your Emergency Services or – Click Here for immediate consultation with a doctor online.

The article is arranged in the following headings –
1 – What is numbness in your foot?
2 – What are the symptoms of numbness in your foot?
3 – What causes numbness in your foot?
4 – When to seek medical help for numbness in your foot?
5 – How is numbness in your foot diagnosed?
6 – How is numbness in your foot treated?

What is numbness in your foot?

Your feet rely on a sense of touch to pull away from hot surfaces and to navigate changing terrain. But if you experience numbness in your foot, you may have little to no sensation in your foot.

Numbness in your foot may be a temporary condition or it can be the result of a chronic condition, such as diabetes. The symptom can also be progressive. You may begin to lose some sensation in your foot then slowly lose more and more feeling as time goes on. Seeking medical advice for numbness in your foot may help slow or delay its progress.

What are the symptoms of numbness in your foot?

The chief symptom for numbness in your foot is losing sensation in your foot. This affects your sense of touch and balance because you can’t feel your foot’s position against the ground.

While sensation loss is the main symptom of numbness in your foot, you may experience some additional, abnormal sensations. These include:

  • prickling
  • pins-and-needles sensation
  • tingling
  • weak-feeling foot or feet

These additional symptoms can help your doctor diagnose what’s causing the numbness in your foot.

What causes numbness in your foot?

Your body is a complex network of nerves that travel from the tips of your toes and fingers to your brain and back again. If you experience damage, a blockage, infection, or compression of a nerve that travels to the foot, you may experience numbness in your foot.

Medical conditions that can cause numbness in your foot include:

You may also experience numbness in your foot after prolonged episodes of sitting. This sensation loss — often called “going to sleep” — occurs because the nerves that lead to the foot are compressed while you sit. When you stand and blood flow returns, your foot may feel as if it’s numb. A pins-and-needles feeling usually follows before circulation and sensation return to your foot.

When do I seek medical help for numbness in my foot?

Numbness in your foot that occurs suddenly and with other symptoms, such as difficulty breathing, can be cause for concern. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience the following symptoms as well as numbness in your foot:

  • confusion
  • difficulty talking
  • dizziness
  • loss of bladder or bowel control
  • numbness that begins in a matter of minutes or hours
  • numbness that involves multiple parts of the body
  • numbness that occurs after a head injury
  • severe headache
  • trouble breathing

While not always an emergency, a combination of foot numbness and these symptoms can be a sign of:

Make an appointment to see your doctor if the numbness in your foot is causing you to trip or fall frequently. You should also see your doctor if the numbness in your foot is getting worse.

If you have diabetes, make an appointment to see your doctor or podiatrist for foot numbness. Diabetes is a common cause of foot numbness because the metabolic changes can cause nerve damage.

How is numbness in your foot diagnosed?

Diagnosing foot numbness depends upon how severe your symptoms are. A doctor may order a computed tomography (CT) scan if you’re having stroke-like symptoms. This allows a doctor to view your brain and identify any blockages or bleeding that could be causing your symptoms.

Your doctor will also take a medical history and ask for a description of your symptoms. Questions asked may include:

  • How long does the numbness last?
  • What other symptoms do you experience along with the numbness?
  • When did you first notice the numbness in your foot?
  • When is the numbness worse?
  • What makes the numbness better?

After you share your medical history with your doctor, a physical examination typically follows. Your doctor will most likely examine your feet and determine if the sensation loss impacts one or both feet. Some studies your doctor may order include:

  • electromyography, which measures how well muscles respond to electrical stimulation
  • magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study to view abnormalities in the spine, spinal cord, or both
  • nerve conduction studies, which measure how well nerves conduct electric currents

Additional tests depend upon the suspected diagnosis.

How is numbness in your foot treated?

Numbness in the foot is a common cause of imbalance and can increase your risk of falling. Working with a physical therapist to develop a balance program will help reduce your fall risk.

Movements and exercises that don’t irritate your foot numbness are great ways to improve blood flow to the affected nerves. Talk to your doctor and physical therapist about designing an exercise program that works for you.

Treating numbness in your foot is very important. A lack of sensation can increase your risk for foot wounds, trips, and falls. You may experience a cut or injury without knowing it if you cannot sense the foot well. Your wound may not heal as quickly if you have decreased circulation.

Treating the underlying cause of numbness in your foot may help the symptom go away.

Your doctor may also recommend seeing a podiatrist at least yearly if you have chronic numbness in your foot. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • inspect your feet regularly for cuts or wounds
  • put a mirror on the floor so you can see the soles of your feet better
  • wear well-fitting shoes that protect your feet to minimize your risk for foot wounds

Keeping these precautions in mind can help minimize any other potential problems that can be caused by foot numbness.

Source – Healthline.com

Editors Advisory –
Self Diagnosis is helpful but never conclusive in determining the cause of your condition.
Please ensure to read carefully all of the sections of this article before consulting your doctor or
Click Here for immediate consultation with a doctor online.

Quitting Alcohol

Benefits of Quitting Alcohol

Abstaining from alcohol can lead to several mental health benefits, including improved focus, energy, memory and sleep. It can also reduce your risk for heart problems, liver problems and several types of cancer.

Excessive drinking does a lot of long-term damage to the body. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, abusing alcohol can impair the immune system, harm our organs and increase cancer risk.

The most obvious immediate side effects of drinking are related to the harm it causes to the brain. You feel dizzy, confused and disoriented right after drinking a lot of alcohol. The next day, you feel groggy and may have a headache. Other common physical side effects of alcohol include nausea, vomiting, and low body temperature.

These effects are symptoms of the internal damage that alcohol causes. Vital organs and other internal parts of the body can recover from infrequent, moderate drinking. But the regular binge drinking and heavy drinking that often accompany alcohol addiction can cause long-term damage that lowers your quality of life. Drinking this way increases your chances of developing numerous alcohol-related diseases.

Fortunately, the body can usually bounce back if you quit drinking. Recovery from liver damage may even be possible. You may not realize that alcohol is hurting your everyday health until you quit drinking and start to feel better.

Physical Benefits of Abstaining from Alcohol

The most noticeable physical benefits of sobriety occur in the brain. Depending on how much you’re used to drinking, these can occur fairly quickly.

Within a few days or weeks, you’ll notice improvements in your:

  • Focus
  • Critical thinking
  • Problem-solving
  • Memory

Cutting back on alcohol intake may help you lose weight. It can also help improve nutritional deficiencies related to drinking. Quitting alcohol can also lower the risk of developing different cancers.

Quitting alcohol can potentially prevent:

  • Liver cancer
  • Breast cancer
  • Mouth cancer
  • Esophagus cancer
  • Pharynx cancer

Alcohol also harms the immune system. People who drink regularly may be more likely to get sick. Abstaining from alcohol allows your body’s natural defenses to operate at full strength and protect you from the disease.

Mental Health Improvements During Sobriety

In addition to physical side effects, alcohol can cause several mental health problems. It often disrupts sleep and mood. People who drink heavily are at an increased risk for anxiety disorders and depression. Extremely heavy drinkers may also experience hallucinations. Quitting alcohol can help you recover from many mental health ailments.

The mental health benefits of sobriety include:

  • Longer and deeper sleep
  • Stabilized mood
  • Anxiety relief
  • Depression relief

If you continue to experience mental health problems after months of abstinence, you may have a co-occurring disorder that’s independent of alcohol use. Alcohol can make existing mental health conditions worse, but co-occurring disorders are treatable if you receive therapy.

Other Benefits of Quitting Alcohol

Drinking too much alcohol can lead to embarrassing moments and regrettable situations. People who overdrink or drink too often are more likely to experience problems in other parts of life.

When you quit drinking, you may experience:

  • Greater academic success
  • Improved relationships
  • Fewer financial and legal problems
  • Increased confidence in yourself

Many people don’t notice that alcohol is impacting other parts of their life. They may not realize that they’re spending less time with friends or family because they’re recovering from a hangover. Or they may not recognize that sluggishness at work or school is related to drinking the night before.

In the earliest alcoholic recovery stages, alcoholics may also rationalize their drinking or deny that there’s an issue — even when all signs point to a problem.

How Each Person Is Likely to Benefit

It’s difficult to estimate when a person will experience benefits from sobriety because each person is different. Factors such as your age, gender, weight, family history, and existing health conditions affect the benefits that you’ll experience.

For example, a 55-year-old man who has been drinking three beers each day for 20 years has probably developed minor liver problems. Abstaining from alcohol is likely to have a major impact on his life. His liver will be able to heal itself after a month or two of abstinence, and he’ll likely feel more energetic and focused within weeks of quitting.

A 25-year-old woman who only drinks a few glasses of wine on the weekend may not experience clear health benefits when she quits drinking. But she may notice that she has fewer groggy mornings.

However, a 25-year-old woman who binge drinks at every Friday happy hour and Sunday brunch will probably experience significant physical and mental health benefits after reducing her alcohol intake.

Some people with alcohol addiction may take longer to recognize the benefits of sobriety. They could continue to keep the alcoholic mindset even though they are sober. These people, sometimes referred to as dry drunks, may act recklessly or dysfunctionally.

Fortunately, recovery programs can help people adopt healthier ways of thinking and behaving to prevent alcohol relapse.

Overall, high-risk drinkers are more likely to benefit from abstinence because alcohol is causing more health problems in their lives than it causes in the lives of responsible drinkers. But anyone can benefit from sobriety because the potential benefits of alcohol don’t outweigh its known harms and risks.

Author – Chris Elkins, MA,

Source – drugrehab.com

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The following video is a charming, friendly & personal account of the Top 10 Reasons To Quit Drinking Alcohol, from Wranglerstar.

Top 10 Reasons To Quit Drinking Alcohol
Watch this video on YouTube.

The Top 10 Reasons To Quit Drinking Alcohol are as follows –
#1. Stop doing stupid things.
Drinking alcohol breaks down inhibitions leading to stupid & unnecessary spending, (especially online), inappropriate social behavior, excessive eating, etc.
#2. Don’t become ‘The insufferable Bore’ in social situations.
There is nothing worse than the new convert to sobriety in a social gathering virtue-signaling about the wonders of not drinking alcohol. It is like the old joke about how do you know the Vegan at the dinner party? (They’ll tell you).
#3. Sleep. Enjoy the “Sleep of the Just’.
Excessive drinking of alcohol disrupts deep & healing sleep which is vital to maintaining health.
#4. Sobriety clears your mind to accomplish more in your life.
Experience the clarity of thought & purpose in your life without the after-effects of a heavy night’s drinking.
#5. Save money.
Speaks for itself!
#6. Loose weight.
As stated in #1. Eating fattening food is common while intoxicated.
#7. Respect.
Excessive drinking will inevitably lead to others in your social circle losing respect for you. Especially if you are a father & husband.
#8. See #2
#9. Self-pride.
Having the strength of character to firmly but gently resist alcohol will enhance your self-worth.
#10. Quitting will make you a happier person.
There is an old quote about alcohol –
‘Alcohol will preserve everything except – Health. Happiness & Money.

Quote –
Don’t judge a man by where he is, because you don’t know how far he has come.

C.S.Lewis on Judging others.

Medicine Of Templars

The Medicine Of The Templars

At Paris, 18 March of 1314, on the island of the Seine in front of the Garden real, Jacques de Molay, the last Great Master of the Templars, and Geoffroy de Charny, preceptor of Normandy, were burned as heretics.

Thus finishes the history of the Knights of the Temple after two centuries. The Templars would have been in possession of the most hidden secrets of alchemy. They were first to use the IPERICO on burns and hurts from cut, like antiseptic, astringent, healing, and in order to improve humor of the soldiers that remained immobilized in bed for months.

The Templars created a mixture with pulp of Aloe, pulp of Hemp and wine of Palm called “ELISIR of GERUSALEM”, with therapeutic and nourishing properties, they used the Arborescens ALOE for its antiseptic, bactericidal and fungicide actions and for its capacity to penetration in the deeper layers of the skin. Robert Anton Wilson, in his book on the Templars, asserts that they used the hashish and practiced a shape of Arabic Tantrism; the doctrine of enlightenment as the realization of oneness of one’s self and the visible world, combining elements of hinduism and paganism, including magical and mystical elements.

The authors of Holy Blood and Holy Grail, Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln, comment that the Templars need to treat wounds and illness, made them experts in the use of drugs and the Order in advance of their time regarded epilepsy not as demonic possession but as a controllable disease. Interestingly, cannabis is the safest natural or synthetic medication proven successful in the treatment of forms of epilepsy.

The esoteric inheritance and the alchemical-spagyrics acquaintances were handed from the Templars to the Crocifers. From these Orders, that one of Saint Giacomo or Jacobite managed many Hospitals during the XV century. To the Jacobite monks , in quality of experts in the cure of the diseases of the skin, the task was entrusted to cure the wounded soldiers during the Crusades, in the Hospitals of Malta and Cyprus.

To them, in fact, was attributed the capability to create miraculous ointments. In such historical context it must estimate the work of the Templars concluding with recognizing that they, anticipating the times, had a modern vision of the Medicine and, although were considered heretics and consigned to the fire, recently a document has been recovered in Archives Vaticans from the studious Barbara Frale that demonstrates as Pope Clemente V secretly pardoned Templars in 1314, acquitting their Great Master from the heresy accusation.

Absolution’s parchment for Templar Leaders including Jaques de Molay by the Apostolic Commission “ad inquirendum” of the 3 papal legates Bérenger Frédol, Etienne de Suisy and Landolfo Branacci
Chinon, Tours diocese, 1308 august 17-20. Archivum Secretum Apostolicum Vaticanum, Archivum Arcis, Armarium D 218.
Bibliography:
1)“The trial of the Templars in the Papal State and the Abruzzi” (Città del Vaticano, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, 1992) 2)Aries, P. 1985. Aries, P. 1985. Images of Man and Death. Harvard University Press, 271p. 3)Chronicon Monasterii S. Salvatoris Venetiarum Francisci de Gratia (1141-1380), ed. A. M. Duse, Venezia 1766, pp. 69-70. 4)L. Green Chronicle into History. An Essay on the Interpretation of History in Florentine Fourteenth-Century Chronicles Cambridge 1972. 5)A. Coville Documents su les Flagellants «Histoire littéraire de la Françe» 37 (1937),pp 390-411 6)Tononi AG. La Peste Dell’ Anno 1348. Giornale Linguistico de Archeologia, Storia e Letteratura 1884;11:139–52. 7)Horrox R, editor. The Black Death. Manchester: Manchester University Press; 1994. p. 14–26. 8)Hecker JFC. The epidemics of the Middle Ages. London: Sydenham Society; 1844. 9)R. Guarnieri, Prefazione storica, in M. Porete, Lo specchio delle anime semplici , traduzione di Giovanna Fozzer, prefazione storica di Romana Guarnieri, commento di Marco Vannini, Edizioni San Paolo 1994, p. 39. 10)Alfred D. Berger, “Marijuana,” Medical World News, July 16, 1971, pp. 37-43; reprinted in Marijuana Medical Papers. 11)B. Guenée Storia e cultura storica nell’occidente medievale. Bologna 1991, pp. 255-61. 12)V. Rutenburg Popolo e movimenti popolari nell’Italia del ’300 e ’400, introd. di R. Manselli, Bologna 1974, p. 109. 13)N. Biraben Les hommes et la peste en France et dans les pays européens et méditerranéens, voll. 2, Paris – La Haye 1975-76 (Civilisations et Sociétés 35-36), 2, p. 69. 14)Umberto da Romans, De eruditione praedicatorum, II, XCII, in Malato, medico e medicina nel Medioevo di J.Agrimi-C.Crisciani, Torino 1980.

15th Congress of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, Rhodes-Greece
Prof. Camillo O. Di Cicco, M.D.
(Abstract)

Author – Camillo Di Cicco
Source – Science20.com

Philosophy and Practice of Medicine in Ancient Egypt – (Video Analysis)

Watch this video on YouTube.

 

Topics Covered –

  • Egyptian Civilization far exceeded other contemporary cultures.
  • Much more is known about Egyptian Civilization due to their language & arts, particularly Hieroglyphics & architecture.
  • Mummification teaches us a lot.
  • Much has been preserved in ancient writing carved in stone or written on paper scrolls called papyri.
  • Immortality central to Egyptian Civilization.
  • Book of the Dead. Example of an individual facing judgement whose heart is being weighed against the Feather of Truth.
  • The importance of the heart.
  • Modern Egyptian Civilization developed around the Nile Delta.
  • Desiccation important part of mumification.
  • The practice of embalming.
  • A substance called Natron used in mummification. Natron is comprised of Sodium Bi Carbonate & Sodium Carbonate.
  • Autopsy of mummies. First performed in 1825 in England.
  • CT Scan & Xray as an alternative to invasive Autopsy.
  • Interesting data on height of Egyptians compared to modern people.
  • Egyptians who lived during the Dynastic period shorter than those who lived before.
  • Egyptians who lived before the Dynastic period existed by hunting & so had higher protein diet. Those who lived during the Dynastic period existed by agriculture & had higher consumption of grain.
  • Lack of bone growth also due to disease.
  • Data on Life Expectancy. 57.30

5 Antibiotic Myths

Watch this video on YouTube.
Play Video
5 Antibiotic Myths. A useful video from Consumer Reports.

The misuse of antibiotics has fueled the growth of bacteria called superbugs that are resistant to once effective drugs. Knowing the misconceptions around antibiotics will help you and your doctor decide when to take them, and when to steer clear.

Topics Covered –

  • Problem of Self medication
  • Antibiotic misuse & ‘Superbugs’
  • Bacterial Resistance
  • Antibiotic misuse in treatment of Viruses
  • Antibiotics ineffective against Flu Common Cold & most Bronchitis
  • Antibiotics treat only bacterial infections
  • Side effects using Antibiotics. Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, yeast infections, nerve damage.
  • Antibiotics destroy healthy bacteria in the intestines.
  • C. Difficile
  • Shorter Course of Antibiotics works for. Ear Infections, Urinary Tract Infections, Sinus Infections.
  • Important to consult Doctors on the proper course of Antibiotic treatment.
  • Difference between Broad-spectrum & narrow-spectrum Antibiotics.
  • Ciprofloxacin
  • Penicillin
  • The problem of taking outdated medication.

The Mysterious Dancing plague of 1518

The Mysterious Dancing plague of 1518

Dancing plague of 1518, event in which hundreds of citizens of Strasbourg (then a free city within the Holy Roman Empire, now in France) danced uncontrollably and apparently unwillingly for days on end; the mania lasted for about two months before ending as mysteriously as it began.

In July 1518, a woman whose name was given as Frau (Mrs.) Troffea (or Trauffea) stepped into the street and began dancing. She seemed unable to stop, and she kept dancing until she collapsed from exhaustion. After resting, she resumed the compulsive frenzied activity. She continued this way for days, and within a week more than 30 other people were similarly afflicted. They kept going long past the point of injury. City authorities were alarmed by the ever-increasing number of dancers. The civic and religious leaders theorized that more dancing was the solution, and so they arranged for guildhalls for the dancers to gather in, musicians to accompany the dancing, and professional dancers to help the afflicted to continue dancing. This only exacerbated the contagion, and as many as 400 people were eventually consumed by the dancing compulsion. A number of them died from their exertions. In early September the mania began to abate.

The 1518 event was the most thoroughly documented and probably the last of several such outbreaks in Europe, which took place largely between the 10th and 16th centuries. The otherwise best known of these took place in 1374; that eruption spread to several towns along the Rhine River.

Contemporary explanations for the dancing plague included demonic possession and overheated blood. Investigators in the 20th century suggested that the afflicted might have consumed bread made from rye flour contaminated with the fungal disease ergot, which is known to produce convulsions. American sociologist Robert Bartholomew posited that the dancers were adherents of heretical sects, dancing to attract divine favour. The most widely accepted theory was that of American medical historian John Waller, who laid out in several papers his reasons for believing that the dancing plague was a form of mass psychogenic disorder. Such outbreaks take place under circumstances of extreme stress and generally take form based on local fears. In the case of the dancing plague of 1518, Waller cited a series of famines and the presence of such diseases as smallpox and syphilis as the overwhelming stressors affecting residents of Strasbourg. He further maintained that there was a local belief that those who failed to propitiate St. Vitus, patron saint of epileptics and of dancers, would be cursed by being forced to dance.

Author – Patricia Bauer
Source – Britannica.com


Further coverage of this fascinating subject can be found in the following video by Smart by Design entitled – ‘Mass Hysteria And The Dancing Plague Of 1518″

Mass Hysteria And The Dancing Plague Of 1518
Watch this video on YouTube.

Topics Covered –

Explaining Antibiotic Resistance

Explaining Antibiotic & Antimicrobial Resistance

Introduction:

This article explores issues concerning the growing problem with resistance to antibiotics & antimicrobials worldwide. From overuse of antibiotics in the general populations to lack of understanding of the proper use of antibiotic medication to ease of purchase of over the counter antibiotics in certain jurisdictions, to the over-prescription of antibiotics by physicians.
I reference numerous authoritative sources explaining antibiotic resistance, its causes, effects & possible solutions to the problem.

1 – Antibiotic & Antimicrobial Resistance Definition:

Antibiotic Resistance (AR or ABR) & Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR or AR): are generally defined as the capability of bacteria and other microorganisms to prevent the effects of an antibiotic or biocides to which they were once receptive. Antibiotic resistance is a major concern & is caused by many complex factors including the overuse & over-prescription of antibiotics. Also known as drug resistance. (The term antibiotic resistance is a subset of AMR, as it applies only to bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics).

Antimicrobial resistance is the ability of a microbe to eliminate the effects of medication that in the past successfully treated the microbe. Resistant microbes are more challenging to treat, requiring alternative medications or higher doses of antimicrobials until the treatment is no longer productive. This treatment can be more expensive, more toxic or both. Microbes resistant to multiple antimicrobials are called multidrug-resistant (MDR). Those considered extensively drug-resistant (XDR) or totally drug-resistant (TDR) are sometimes termed “superbugs“.

The three mechanisms of resistance –

  • Natural resistance in certain types of bacteria.
  • Genetic mutation.
  • Cross-species. Where species acquire resistance from another.

All classes of microbes can develop resistance. Fungi develop antifungal resistance. Viruses develop antiviral resistance. Protozoa develop antiprotozoal resistance, and bacteria develop antibiotic resistance. Resistance can appear spontaneously because of random mutations. However, extended use of antimicrobials appears to encourage selection for mutations which can render antimicrobials ineffective.

Preventative measures –

Prevention can be effective when only using antibiotics when required, thereby halting the misuse of antibiotics or antimicrobials. Narrow-spectrum antibiotics are preferred over broad-spectrum antibiotics when feasible, as effectively and accurately targeting specific organisms is less likely to cause resistance, as well as side effects. When home-medicating without supervision, education about proper use is essential. Both public & Health care providers can minimize the spread of resistant infections by the employment of correct sanitation and hygiene, including handwashing and disinfecting between patients, and should encourage the same of the patient, visitors, and family members.

(Please see this useful video on the 5 Myths about Antibiotics).

The growing problem of drug resistance is caused mainly by the use of antimicrobials in humans and other animals, and the exchange of resistant strains between both. Expanding resistance has also been connected to the disposal of inadequately treated effluents from the pharmaceutical industry, especially in developing countries where bulk drugs are produced. Antibiotics increase selective pressure in bacterial populations, causing vulnerable bacteria to die; this increases the percentage of resistant bacteria which continue growing. Even at very low levels of antibiotic, resistant bacteria can have a growth advantage and grow faster than vulnerable bacteria. With resistance to antibiotics becoming more common there is a greater need for alternative treatments. Calls for new antibiotic therapies have been issued, but new drug development is becoming less & less viable due to high costs.

Antibiotic & Antimicrobial resistance is increasing worldwide because of the greater availability of antibiotic drugs in developing countries. Statistics estimate there are 700,000 to several million deaths resulting per year. Each year in North America, at least 2.8 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics and at least 35,000 people die as a result. There are public calls for worldwide collective action to address the threat that includes proposals for international treaties on antimicrobial resistance. Worldwide antibiotic resistance is not completely identified, but poorer countries with weaker healthcare systems are more affected.

(Please see this complete definition of the word Antibiotic in our Knowledge Base).

2 – Facts about Antibiotic Resistance:

  • Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today.
  • Antibiotic resistance is a global threat & can affect anyone, of any age, in any country.
  • Antibiotic resistance has always occurred, but the misuse of antibiotics in medical care for both humans and animals is exacerbating the problem.
  • A growing number of infections – such as pneumonia, tuberculosis, gonorrhoea, and salmonellosis – are increasingly difficult to treat as the antibiotics used to treat them become less potent.
  • Antibiotic resistance results in longer hospital treatment, increased medical costs and an increase in mortality.
The Threat of Antibiotic Resistance
  • A survey conducted by PEW Research in 2014 on The Threat of Antibiotic Resistance & its effects on the US Healthcare sector found the following-
  • 63% of infectious disease doctors have treated patients with infections that did not respond to any antibiotics.
  • Antibiotic resistance costs the US Healthcare system up to $20 Billion per year.
  • Every antibiotic in use today is based on a discovery made more than 30 years ago.
  • 2 Million Americans acquire serious infections caused by antibiotic-resistant bacteria each year.
    23,000 people die as a direct result of these infections.

3 – Causes of Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic resistance is now a global threat & if left unchallenged may well become an existential threat. It is important to examine the complex background that has led Global medicine to this situation. As if by magic, discoveries in antibiotics, originally over 30 years ago, were once hailed as miracle cures, but overuse has led to a sharp decline in their effectiveness

The importance of correct treatment.

The deployment of antibiotics has saved countless lives, but its habitual use to treat any & all infections, whether serious, minor, or even viral will logically lead to an increase in antibiotic resistance & mutation.  Antibiotics strictly target bacteria, but it is challenging to differentiate between viral and bacterial infections without costly tests. It is often less time-consuming and more cost-effective to proactively prescribe antibiotics, rather than take precautions and prescribe only the correct treatment.

Another issue with antibiotics is the inability to monitor patient intake.  Antibiotic dosages are devised to combat entire populations of the pathogens. When antibiotics are not taken for the entire prescribed course, pathogenic bacteria can adapt to the presence of low dose antibiotics, and eventually create a population that is totally resistant to the antibiotic regardless of the dosage.

Antibiotic usage is also not exclusive to humans. Every day, antibiotics are used to treat livestock and fish to prevent infections.  Similar to overuse in humans, uncontrolled use of antibiotics creates a reservoir of bacteria that could become resistant, thus rendering the antibiotic impotent.

City living can be lethal. As a result of cities becoming more densely populated, its inhabitants are exposed to more pathogens all the time. Hospitals and clinics are experiencing more and more patients with infections, and it is extremely difficult to inhibit the spread of a pathogen in a population. Identification, isolation or treatment of all infectious diseases are not always feasible, resulting in the addition of more pathogens to the immediate environment. Along with a lack of hygiene and poor sanitation, large urban conurbations become an ideal breeding ground for bacteria.

Antibiotic development has declined significantly in the past few decades.

Additionally, a major issue in antibiotic resistance is the decline of new & more adaptive antibiotics being developed by the pharmaceutical industry. Following an unparalleled number of antibiotic discoveries in the past 4 decades, the number of new antibiotics being identified has almost completely ceased. Without new drugs to combat the ever-increasing number of antibiotic resistance, society is running out of options in the treatment of infections.

In summary, the 6 main causes of antibiotic resistance have been linked to:

  • Over-prescription of antibiotics
  • Patients not finishing the entire antibiotic course
  • Overuse of antibiotics in livestock and fish farming
  • Poor infection control in health care settings
  • Poor hygiene and sanitation
  • Absence of new antibiotics being discovered
  • Increased Globalisation & Immigration

4 – Prevention & Control of Antibiotic Resistance

Amala's story: how to prevent antimicrobial resistance
Watch this video on YouTube.
Amala’s story: how to prevent antimicrobial resistance. A video by the WHO.

Antibiotic resistance is increasing worldwide due to the overuse and misuse of antibiotics.
Newborn baby Amala has a life-threatening infection called septicemia. Will her antibiotic treatment work?
This video from the World Health Organization (WHO) explains what people can do to prevent the spread of antibiotic resistance.
For more information:
www.who.int/antimicrobial-resistance/en/
www.who.int/medicines/access/antimicrobial_resistance/en/

5 – Scale & Scope of Antibiotic Use & Resistance

According to ‘Dose of Reality’, an examination of the Global use of Antibiotics by The Economist in 2015 the following chart displays usage by country.

Global use of Antibiotics

As examined above, Antibiotic resistance happens when bacteria adapt in a way that renders antibiotic drugs used to kill them impotent. Antimicrobial resistance concerns resistance not just to antibiotics, but also to other antimicrobials used to treat other microbes, such as viruses, fungi, and parasites. But what is the scale & scope of the problem?

The global medical establishment has been passive in recognizing the scale of the problem and to act, even though the first record of resistance to quinine as an antimalarial was noted in the 19th century and the first case of penicillin resistance in a patient was recorded in 1947, just five years after the antibiotic went into worldwide use.

Eventually, all medications encounter resistance and too few alternative treatments are coming forward. For example, the gonorrhea bacterium has become very challenging to treat. Much modern surgery would be too risky if infections cannot be treated. Cancer chemotherapy and organ transplantation would no longer be viable. This is now a real danger, as bacteria continue to develop resistance while the flow of new antibiotics has diminished.

There is a requirement for a deeper understanding of the factors causing antimicrobial resistance, as well as an assessment of its economic impact and security implications. There are many challenges facing all sectors of public health.

  • What actions do governments need to take regarding stewardship and infection control?
  • What needs to be done to stimulate new drug development?
  • What cross-sectoral actions, particularly in the food and agricultural sector, need to be taken?
  • What should governments do together to combat this global threat?

6 – Infections & Illnesses affected by Antibiotic Resistance

In 2013, CDC published the first AR Threats Report, which sounded the alarm to the danger of antibiotic & antimicrobial resistance. The report stated that each year in the U.S. at least 2 million people get an antibiotic-resistant infection, and at least 23,000 people die. The 2013 AR Threats Report helped inform the National Action Plan for Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria.  The 2013 and 2019 reports do not include viruses (e.g., HIV, influenza) or parasites.

The report was published listing 4 main categories of antibiotic & antimicrobial resistance.

Urgent Threats

Serious Threats

Concerning Threats

Watch List


Further Reading.

7 – Antibiotic & Antimicrobial Resistance in the Food Chain

The CDC has produced an educational infographic concerning the spread of Antibiotic & Antimicrobial Resistance in the Food Chain, from farm to Table.

Antibiotic & Antimicrobial Resistance in the Food Chain

8 – Medical & Technological Solutions to Antibiotic Resistance

In a 2018 article titled ‘Medical technologies in the fight against antimicrobial resistance’, healtheuropa.eu reports that –

Diagnostic tests and other medical technologies have an essential role to play in preventing the spread of antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which has been widely recognised as one of the most significant public health challenges of the 21st Century. Drug-resistant bacteria threaten to undo decades of hard-won progress in the fight against ill health and disease and return medicine to a pre-antibiotic era in which common, everyday infections become untreatable superbugs.

Further Reading

9 – The Controversy around Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic & Antimicrobial Resistance is, (literally,) deadly serious & for this reason, controversy rages continually around this subject.
While it is impossible to apportion blame to any one of many possible causes it may be instructive to watch the following video entitled –
“Antibiotic Resistance is Real. We Need to Take it Seriously”, a lecture given by Dame Sally Davies, Chief Medical Officer of England, Dept. of Health. Hosted by WIRED UK.

Antibiotic Resistance is Real. We Need to Take it Seriously
Watch this video on YouTube.

Topics covered in this video –

  • Welcome Trust & calls for government action from Ghanian, Indian & Thai governments.
  • Post Apocalyptic scenario of ‘Flemings Bugs’ ‘getting their way’.
  • Problems caused by lack of data.
  • Comparison of Antibiotic Resistance to Climate Change.
  • Babies in India dying of Drug Resistant Sepsis.
  • Antibiotic & Antimicrobial Resistance currently impacting on the ‘YOPI’s’. The Young. The Old. The Pregnant & The Immune Compromised.
  • 5000 Deaths in England per year.
  • 1 in 4 Prescriptions of antibiotics don’t work.
  • 1 in 3 take Antibiotics once a year.
  • Problem of casualization of use of Antibiotics.
  • Projection of 10 Million deaths per year by 2050.
  • Impact on Global economic growth.
  • Impact on Sustainable Development Growth.
  • The ‘Discovery Void’. New classes of Antibiotics ceased in late 1980’s. Leading to ‘Market failure’ & disinvestment in new research.
  • Requirement for new ‘Market Pull Mechanisms’.
  • Problems in Aqua Culture, fish vaccinations in Asia. Discharge of excess Antibiotics into the environment, water table.
  • Problems in Agriculture & Food Chain. Use of Antibiotics for growth promotion which stimulates resistance. Example of resistant salmonella.
  • Problem of Antibiotic both treating a bacterial infection but also giving patient Antibiotic resistant bugs which can sit in gut for 6 – 12 months.
  • Problem of Globalization. ‘Bugs know no Borders’.
  • Challenge of Surveillance of Antibiotic Resistance spread internationally.
  • Challenge of building new partnerships in fight against Antibiotic Resistance. Public, private, pharmaceutical, governmental & with NGO’s.
  • Interesting new innovations in Big Tech. ie. Drones for delivery, mobile diagnostics. etc.
  • Better use of social media for public education & awareness.
  • Challenge of making the case for new investment.
  • Challenge of TB, HIV, malaria resistance.

10 – Further Reading. Sources & Publications

1918 Spanish Flu historical documentary | Swine Flu Pandemic | Deadly plague of 1918

1918 Spanish Flu historical documentary | Swine Flu Pandemic | Deadly plague of 1918
Watch this video on YouTube.
Play Video

1918 Spanish Flu historical documentary | Swine Flu Pandemic | Deadly plague of 1918

Summary.

An in-depth documentary which examines the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic. It’s causes, origin, transmission & treatment

Topics Covered.

Spanish Flu pandemic. Historical pandemics. World War 1. Army living conditions. Civilian living conditions. Troop movements, War machine. Disease contagion. Epidemiology. Civilian population. Civilization. Southeast Asia origin of flu pandemics. Incubation. Public health issues. Food shortages. Viral mutation. Viral species transfer. Flu symptoms. Secondary infections. Pneumonia. Controversy. Political mismanagement. American Medical Association. Dengue. Vertigo. Headaches. Blindness. Double vision. Mucus excretions. Poison gas. Hemorrhagic fever. Oxygen starvation. Delirium. The ‘Blue Death’. Speed of death. High death rate. Hospital overcrowding. Quarantine. Philadelphia. San Francisco. Avian flu. H1N1. John Hopkins Center. Immunization. 2009 Swine flu.

Quote.

“I had a little bird. Its name was Enza.
I opened the window & in-flu-Enza”

Children’s rope jumping song. 1918

Publisher.

Chromosome8. Youtube. Oct 1, 2018