September, 2014

Complications of HIV Infections

Friday, September 5th, 2014

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a progressive disease that attacks the body's immune system, our natural defense against infections and diseases. HIV is a life-threatening disease that progresses to AIDS, which is the final stages of HIV. Opportunistic infections often arise in those with compromised immune systems. To follow is a brief overview of the most common infections patients with HIV experience.

  1. Tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious infection that starts in the lungs. HIV patients that are infected with TB often experience excessive coughing, extreme weight loss and fatigue.
  2. Thrush (candidiasis) is a fungal infection of the mucus lining in the mouth, tongue and throat. Thrush causes a thick white mucus and inflammation making swallowing, chewing, and speaking very painful.
  3. Kaposi's Sarcoma (KS) is a cancer that presents with purple/brown/black lesions on the skin. These lesions  can also develop inside the body in the mouth, throat, stomach, digestive tract, and vagina. This disease can damage the immune system of someone with HIV so severely that they are moved into the AIDS stage of the disease.
  4. Cryptosporidiosis is a medical term for what is commonly called "food poisoning." It is an infection caused by a parasite that lives in soil, food and water. This infection causes dehydration, weight loss, stomach cramps, fever, nausea and vomiting.
  5. Cryptococcal Meningitis causes inflammation of the membranes and fluids surrounding the brain and spinal cord. This infection spreads rapidly within the central nervous system and can cause confusion, headache, weakness, loss of motor function, fevers, seizures, watery diarrhea, neck pain/stiffness, memory loss/mood changes, nausea and vomiting.
  6. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) often does not cause symptoms in those with healthy immune systems. However, those with HIV/AIDS experience sore throat, swollen glands, fatigue, fevers, blurred vision, difficulty/painful swallowing, diarrhea and abdominal pain.
  7. Mycobaterium Aviam Complex (MAC) can quickly become a life threatening infection for someone with HIV/AIDS. Those with HIV/AIDS with a MAC co-infection are likely to experience a high fever, chills, weight loss, diarrhea, fatigue and swollen glands. MAC can lead to other conditions such as blood infections, hepatitis, and pneumonia.
  8. Hepatitis A is a contagious, generally short-term liver disease that's typically transmitted by sharing food and drinks or needles with someone who has the virus or has come in contact with the feces of someone who is infected.
  9. Hepatitis B infects nearly 10% of the population of people living with HIV in the United States. Hep-B is transferred much like HIV, through contact with infected blood, feces, urine, semen, or sexual contact.
  10. Hepatitis C infects nearly 25% of HIV patients in the United States. Hep-C is primarily transmitted through exposure to infected blood, most often by sharing infected needles for drug use. This co-infection is the most fatal for those with HIV, and greatly complicates HIV treatment.

Board Certified Physician in Astoria

If you are living with HIV/AIDS and may have developed a co-infection, seek immediate medical attention. For more information,  contact us today and schedule an appointment. Our offices are located in Astoria, and you can reach us at (718) 204-7550. We hope to hear from you soon.

Three Main Types of Contact Dermatitis

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Contact dermatitis is the medical term for a red, itchy rash that is caused by a substance or allergen that comes into contact with the skin. Contact dermatitis is not contagious, or life threatening, but it can be very irritating for an individual experiencing the condition. Generally, contact dermatitis will subside on its own through avoidance with the substance or allergen that caused the rash. However, if certain symptoms present, it is necessary to seek medical attention. To follow is a brief overview of the three main types of contact dermatitis and when it's time to see a doctor.

Irritant Contact Dermatitis

  • Most common type
  • Categorized as a nonallergic inflammatory reaction in the epidermis (top layer) of the skin
  • Reaction can begin as quickly as a few minutes after exposure to an irritant. In some instances the reaction doesn't start for a few hours.
  • Most common irritants are strong chemical products such as solvents, rubbing alcohol, bleach, saw dust, wool, or newly introduced personal hygiene products such as soaps, deodorants or cosmetics

Allergic Contact Dermatitis

  • Occurs when skin comes into contact with a substance that provokes an immune reaction. When this happens, the substance causing this reaction is referred to as an "allergen."
  • Rash generally remains in area of body that came into direct contact with the allergen
  • Can also be caused by the ingesting of an allergen found in food, medication, or dental hygiene products
  • Once you have developed an allergen to a substance, you are likely to always have an allergic response to the substance, regardless of amount you have come into contact with
  • Most common skin allergens are nickel found in costume jewelry, medications (oral antihistamines and antibiotic creams), perfumes, certain brands of cosmetics, mouth wash, adhesives (formaldehyde found in band aids), deodorants, hair dye, nail polish, tattoo ink, poison ivy, air fresheners
  • Another type of Allergic contact dermatitis is when a combination of allergens and sun exposure cause a rash. This is called photoallergic contact dermatitis.

Occupational Contact Dermatitis

  • Rash resulting from exposure to skin irritants while on-the-job
  • Can be considered irritant or allergic contact dermatitis
  • Professionals at a higher risk are often in the  medical, pharmaceutical, construction and cosmetology fields. Other workers at a higher risk are commonly restaurant servers, swimmers, household cleaners, dry cleaners, gardeners and landscapers.

When You Should Visit a Doctor

Rashes aren't often a medical emergency, although it is possible that from repeatedly scratching a rash that the skin may break. When skin breaks it is a breeding ground for bacterial and fungal infections. If your rash has begun to ooze, or feels warm and is accompanied by a fever, contact a doctor immediately.

Contact Dermatitis Treatment in Astoria

To learn more about treatment for contact dermatitis, or any other conditions we treat, contact Dr. Katechis to schedule a consultation, or visit us today. Walk-ins are always welcome at our office in Astoria. You can reach us directly at (718) 204-7550. We look forward to meeting you.

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