The effects of socio-economic factors on rates of obesity within the UK

Socio-economic factors can also contribute to obesity, in a way that more affluent areas are more likely to have a lower proportion of individuals that are obese than those who live in deprived areas. In fact, the highest rate of obesity in the most deprived area of the UK is located near to the north east in places such as Boston with a 32.6% proportion of the population in the area being classed as obese. The more affluent areas, such as central London, in places such as Kensington and Chelsea, the rate is substantially lower, at around 20%. Reasons that reflect the statistics is that an increase in fresh produce through inflation and Brexit, has led to an imbalance in food prices. This means that healthier fruit and vegetables are more expensive than unhealthier processed foods, due to excess tariff costs associated with international trade links of non-European countries. This was seen in April 2017 where it was documented that after Brexit was announced in 2016, the average household were spending £21.31 more on shopping for fresh produce. People in more affluent areas also have more access to open spaces and facilities that promote exercise such as the gym. Linking this to childhood obesity, the barrier of access to open spaces in deprived areas means that most of these children will face obesity during adulthood as well. Education also provides a role in bringing to the public’s attention. People who are more aware of the dangers of excess fat and lack of exercise are more likely to be encouraged to find a solution, whereas people who are less educated in terms of what is considered a healthy lifestyle, tend to not be aware of the dangers that it poses, or the importance of it.

Image result for deprivation and obesity

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/image_data/file/62661/6.3206_PHE_TH_Health_Matters_Obesity_Online5.png

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/image_data/file/62661/6.3206_PHE_TH_Health_Matters_Obesity_Online5.png

Sources:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3101796/

https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0065407

https://www.nature.com/articles/0801674

How Obesity Relates to Socioeconomic Status

 

The implications of Type 2 diabetes

Almost 90% of people with type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese. Having large amounts of fat, can mean that the body cells are put under higher amounts of stress. Specifically, being obese, causes excess pressure on the network of membranes inside cells, within the endoplasmic reticulum. Insulin is the hormone produced in the β cells of the pancreas and controlled by the pituitary gland and it allows sugar from carbohydrates to enter cells, in essence is regulates the blood glucose level. In the event of high blood sugar level insulin is secreted. It stimulates the uptake of excess glucose by the liver, which is stored as glycogen. Fat cells convert glucose into glycerol, meaning that there is less glucose within the bloodstream. When the receptors on the endoplasmic reticulum, sense more nutrients that it can handle, it sends an impulse to the hypothalamus to reduce the ability of insulin receptors, which when it is a frequent occurrence, results in insulin resistance. Consequently, the cells within the body do not respond to the insulin and have difficulty in absorbing the glucose. The pancreas, in response produces more unresponsive insulin, in some cases the pancreas is over worked and thus secretes less or no insulin.

Some of the symptoms include hyperglycemia results in slow healing in terms of cuts and wounds, due to high glucose levels stiffening blood vessels, meaning blood flows less easily. This means the ability of oxygen and nutrients to get to the damage site is reduced. Diabetics also have a less effective immune system due to the production of enzymes and hormones. Dehydration and constant urination are also associated with having diabetes. The excess glucose is instead flushed out in the urine, where to replace the water lost, homeostasis allows for an increase in water intake as the body becomes dehydrated. Furthermore, the optimum conditions for fungal growth are provided in the glucose rich urine, causing issues around genitalia e.g. thrush.

https://www.drugwatch.com/wp-content/uploads/xtype-2-diabetes-352×0-c-default.png.pagespeed.ic.sYtuThFl2d.webp

Sources:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/type-2-diabetes/

https://www.diabetes.org.uk/diabetes-the-basics/what-is-type-2-diabetes

https://www.bupa.co.uk/health-information/diabetes/type-2-diabetes

What is the difference between type 1 and type 2 diabetes?

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Cardiovascular Disease (CVD)

 

Cardiovascular disease is usually associated with restricted blood flow to and from the heart, which causes problems such as death of tissues leading to heart failure and angina.

CVD occurs when fatty deposits from saturated fat build up within the artery, blood pressure increases as the size of the lumen decreases, this therefore means that the same volume of blood is flowing through a smaller space, meaning higher blood pressure. This high blood pressure results in the increased risk to damage to the endothelium. When the endothelium is damaged there is an accumulation of fats, calcium and cholesterol within the breakage. Chemical reactions then occur which allow the cholesterol to oxidised, initiating an inflammatory response, releasing chemicals that are identified within the blood. Monocytes then travel to the damage site, which then, via the stimulation from oxidised cholesterol convert into macrophages. The macrophages then digest the cholesterol molecules, which form foam cells, which in turn accumulate to a plaque. The artery then continues to produce smooth muscle cells which also deposit at the damaged site, firming the plaque resulting in a fibrous plaque. If this occurs within a vessel in the heart, it could cause the death of a specific area in the heart, as the atheroma means that blood cannot reach the area, thus oxygen cannot be delivered to the respiring cells. This also occurs within blood vessels in the brain, causing thrombosis whereby the blood supply to the organs is completely cut off, thus causing the brain to be starved of oxygen, hence temporary paralysis if not treated in time.

Some of the other symptoms include, weakness, difficulty breathing, and facial numbness due to areas of the brain not being able to function properly as of the lack of oxygen, thus the cells cannot respire completely.

 

Image result for cvd heart(National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Diseases and Conditions Index)

https://medlineplus.gov/magazine/issues/winter09/articles/winter09pg25-27.html

Sources:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cardiovascular-disease/

https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/conditions/cardiovascular-disease

https://heart.bmj.com/content/102/24/1945

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20353118

 

Three’s a charm

Three-drug combination – Cystic Fibrosis

New advances in medical research has led to the discovery of the wonder “three drug combination” for cystic fibrosis. Caused by mutations in the CFTR protein, which regulates the flow of water and chloride, (which helps regulate the amount of fluid in and out of the cells that line the lungs, pancreas and other organs) cystic fibrosis is the accumulation of thick stick mucus that affects the digestive, respiratory and reproductive system.

Drugs such as potentiator and another type of drug called a corrector are used. With potentiators such as ivacaftor being prescribed, where the gated state of the CTFR protein channel is improved allowing increased flow of cl-, however these are not as useful in as the protein doesn’t even reach the surface membrane. Correctors, such as tezacaftor, increase the surface density of the CTFR protein at the membrane and help the faulty protein to form the right shape so it can move to the correct position within a cell for chloride flow. Production Correctors are also used, which alter the functioning of the ribosomes to monitor premature termination codons during translation, protein synthesis. Therefore full-length CFTR protein are produced and is transported to the Golgi for further processing, sugar chains added and folded.

Drugs like this can be used in conjuction, tezacaftor and ivacaftor and another drug- VX-659 are able to target all part of the CFTR protein, with results of an increased in lung function by up to 12.5% in some patients.

This conjunctive technique has been used to treat different cancers and other disease and is very effective, one of the disadvantages is that occasionally the interactions between the drugs are unknown and thus could bring unpredictable complication in a patients, however it is likely that the benefits outweigh the risks.

Image result for drugshttps://cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/150827130939-medicine-pills-capsules-exlarge-169.jpg

http://www.cftr.info/clinical-management-of-cf/cftr-modulators/potentiators-correctors-and-production-correctors/

https://www.imperial.ac.uk/news/188767/triple-combination-drugs-shows-encouraging-trial/ https://www.cysticfibrosis.org.uk/…cystic-fibrosis/cystic-fibrosis…/treatments-and-med

https://www.nhs.uk › Health A-Z › Cystic fibrosis

 

Aman Kumar

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia

What is it?

Schizophrenia is a mental health disorder which sees an individual unable to distinguish their thoughts from their reality. Although there is no notable cause for this disorder, scientists have come to a conclusion it is influenced and stimulated by genetic and environmental factors.

How is it caused?

Genetics play a role, whereby if a relative has the a fault in chromosome 6, the chance of their kin developing a similar trait increases as well. According to further research, genes makes up for 80% of the cause. Environmental factors such as drug abuse can also play a role in increasing the risk of developing schizophrenia, since drugs alter the balance of serotonin and dopamine levels, which also influences schizophrenia developing.

Breakthroughs in research

The C4 gene within chromosome 6 was researched to a great extent within early 2016. Using humans and mice as experiment, it had appeared that scientists had found out that one of the possible causes was because of the C4 gene, via synaptic pruning, was involved in destroying connections between neurons. Synaptic pruning is a process that eliminates these connections to enable more quicker and efficient electrical and chemical signalling. More promising information provided showed that symptoms of Schizophrenia occurred during adolescence, the same time where synaptic pruning is at its peak.

Treatment

The state of schizophrenia is usually improved by a combination of both therapy and medicine. Therapy can include community mental health teams provided by the NHS. Another service the NHS provides is CPA, which is the care programme approach, whereby you are assessed to enable a care plan to be provided, further appointed a key worker, this could be a social worker for example, and then the treatment is reviewed. Arts therapy is an example of expressing emotion, non-verbally, this s shown to improve the negative symptoms, such as shaking and trembling.

Aman Kumar

Sources:

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/schizophrenia/treatment/

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental…/schizophrenia

https://www.yourhealthinmind.org/mental-illnesses-disorders/schizophrenia

https://bestpractice.bmj.com/topics/en-gb/406

Mental Media

Mental Health & Media

Grief, Exams, Relationships, Image, Status, a few of the things that trigger stress and your mental health to go, well, “funny”, ironically there is no humorous side to it, in fact mental health affects 1 in 4 people, taking into consideration in a given household with an average family of 4 people, at least 1 of them will suffer from anxiety, stress or depression.

In an ever growing society to live up to high expectations, encouraged by the use of social media, it is clear to see why people are so critical of themselves, on a physical, mental and psychological level. With the growing popularity of dieting and slimming down, people are given the ideal of six pack abs and nothing less. This influences eating disorders which have been on the rise, as well as starvation caused on purpose. Similar to what happens to us where our mental health is on the brink, for example in education, deadline after deadline, exam after exam we are pushed to the limit, until we finally collapse, where it happens all over again. We are accustomed now to labeling ourselves, where we wage war, physical against mental, forgetting the fact that there is no real winner, only two losers.

Self Harm is also on the rise, especially in young people, this again is reflective of the amount of stress they are put under today, seen in the shake up of the new GCSE’s for example as well as the new style A-Level courses, becoming more difficult. Young people today turn to harming themselves or finding a negative to relieve themselves including the rise in young people using drugs, as well as crime. Adults are also affected by the workload at jobs, or going to jobs that they hate going to, but knowing it is their only way to put food on the table. Some not able to go any longer and resort to extreme measures.

Linking back to the above, more people are unintentionally isolating themselves, becoming hooked on social media, watching people enjoy themselves and have fun, with pictures of large groups of friends, or so it seems, and yet we believe it, and we wouldn’t be telling the truth if we said we didn’t want something like that. We slowly are taken in by the bingeing of insights into other peoples lives, and join the cycle that kills our social side, leaving us alone, afraid and ultimately isolated.

In conclusion we are led to believe that in lives across Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook, everything is perfect, their life is stress free, but it truly isn’t the case. They say a picture can paint a thousand words, but it can also hide a million.

Aman Kumar

Mind Games

Mind Games

 It’s a weird phenomenon that everything we do is controlled by this one wrinkly ball of matter, how it is the control centre, connecting every neuron together, forming its very own network, capable of solving complex problems within seconds, pushing the boundaries constantly trying to remember larger and larger quantities of information, coordinating every leap, jump, sprint, skip and pen flick but for some reason decides to leave you when you open the first page of an exam or try to speak to someone attractive. This form of temporary cloudiness is caused by a reduction in cognitive functioning.

 “Brain Fog” is a term commonly associated with the cloudiness of ones thoughts, again caused by temporary reduction in cognitive functioning. This can be due to stress, where the hormone cortisol accumulates, causing a disruption of the synapse regulation, resulting in an anti-social hold that makes an individual feel depressed . Stress can destroys brain cells, reducing the overall size of the brain. Severe cases of stress have a shrinking effect on the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for memory and learning; lack of sleep, this is a common trait of most people, taking into consideration demanding jobs that have long hours of work, this effects the brain, particularly the hippocampus which is responsible for memory, lack of sleep also impairs normal neuron function as well as the temporal lobe responsible for visible perception, thus making us less alert of our surroundings.

Having recently been to a Neuroscience lecture, I discovered that there was more to than meets the eye when it comes to “You look a bit tired”, where, in fact, we should be more concerned rather with what is going on internally, and how some factors can affect the brain in multiple ways, we were shown how different areas of the brain are affected, some of which are highlighted above, all of which will be useful in not just in a medical environment but overall understanding how “sloppy” behavior comes around.

Aman Kumar

Sources:

https://www.livescience.com/60875-sleep-deprivation-sluggish-brain-cells.html

https://www.healthline.com/health/brain-fog

https://www.webmd.com/brain/ss/slideshow-brain-fog

Images from Primary source.

Welcome to my Medicine blog!

Here I will document any information I learn along the way in my venture to become a medical doctor, through work experience, volunteering and research, and will present it in the form of articles, blogs, and all round information. Well that’s the plan anyway.