A well-functioning organism depends on iron reserves. Nowadays, iron deficiency is one of the most common deficiencies worldwide.
In principle, anyone, at any age, can suffer from iron deficiency due to insufficient supply, intestinal malabsorption or increased iron loss.
Women who menstruate, pregnant women, children and adolescents, older people, competitive athletes and people with chronic diseases (e.g. intestinal diseases) are in the risk group for iron deficiency or, in severe cases, iron deficiency anaemia.
Tiredness, diminished physical performance, reduced cognitive abilities and hair loss may be signs of iron deficiency. In the case of iron deficiency anaemia, symptoms such as heart palpitations and shortness of breath may occur.
Such extreme situations should not arise, though, as iron deficiency is relatively easily and well treatable.
If laboratory results indicate iron deficiency along with the corresponding symptoms, treatment is justified provided there are no reasons to suspect another cause of the condition.
Renal Insufficiency and its consequences
A major problem with patients requiring regular dialysis as a result of chronic kidney disease (renal failure) is their blood phosphate level. If this is permanently elevated, it may have serious consequences for the patient. This is why these patients require phosphate binders.
Depressive disorders are among the most common and significant clinical conditions worldwide. They affect up to 20% of the population in various forms. Contrary to popular preconceptions, suffering from depression does not mean that one is mentally ill or crazy.
There is evidence that people have suffered from depression as long as written records have existed. Countless public figures have suffered from various forms of depression, including J.W. Goethe, C.F. Meyer, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill and Ingmar Bergmann.
What is depression?
Depression is a disturbance of the emotions and mind which can manifest itself in feelings of sadness, a loss of interest/joy and a loss of motivation. Usually there are other characteristic symptoms such as sleep disturbances and loss of libido, changes in weight, feelings of guilt and feelings of worthlessness.
What are the signs of depression?
Depression can affect all of us.
We have all had periods in our lives in which we have felt sad, lonely or unhappy. These phases are completely normal. One could even say they were necessary! If our lives always went ahead smoothly, we would not be able to appreciate the special moments as such.
However, if a sad period in which the person affected no longer views life as a "normal succession of" highs and lows lasts for weeks or more, this could indicate a depression.
Can depression be cured?
Depression is an episodic disease and can have many causes. It is in no way a sign of personal weakness or failure. No one who suffers from depression should feel guilty or inferior. Depressions involve disorders affecting messengers in the brain. These disorders can be successfully treated with suitable treatment concepts and modern drugs. Talk to your GP or medical specialist, as the earlier depression is diagnosed and treated, the faster you will begin to feel better again.
Antidepressants are predominantly used in the medical treatment of depression. Contrary to a widespread assumption, antidepressants are not addictive. Unlike pain medications and sedatives, which have an immediate effect, it usually takes antidepressants 10-14 days to produce an initial improvement in symptoms. It is important that patients are aware of this before beginning treatment so that they do not independently stop taking the prescribed medication after a few days because it is not yet having any effect. Antidepressants are usually taken for at least six to nine months. During treatment, the dosage should be reviewed regularly by the treating physician and adjusted to individual needs.
Mild cognitive Impairment
Memory impairment is the most common cognitive disorder in old age. It is usually trivial and solely a result of a general age-related slowdown.
Often, the intensity of memory disturbances - paired with other cognitive problems such as difficulty concentrating and fatigue - exceeds normal levels without reaching the stage of dementia. This condition is known as mild cognitive impairment.
If this impairment worsens and additional disturbances occur with speech, cognition and the ability to name objects and increasing "clumsiness" is observed, it is important to consult a doctor.
Why am I becoming forgetful?
In some older patients, the ageing process takes place in an ideal and successful manner without the impairment of cognitive and intellectual functions. An older patient could:
- age normally, with a slowdown in sensory and intellectual functions
- be affected by minor cognitive disturbances that are more pronounced than in the normal ageing process, but without reaching the stage of dementia
- develop Alzheimer's or another type of dementia
Causes of cognitive impairment
There are various causes and theses do not result in dementia in all older people. For most elderly people, disorders will remain stable and for some, they may even disappear.
Memory problems may have causes other than dementia: other diseases (depression, hypothyroidism, anaemia, diabetes, etc.) or taking certain medications (e.g. antipsychotic drugs).
Complaints during menopause do not have to be simply tolerated. Hot flushes, sweating and depressed mood can strongly impact quality of life during menopause. Effective options exist to treat these conditions.
Urinary tract infections
Urinary tract infections are often caused by bacteria and are associated with: pain, discomfort, burning while urinating, unusually frequent daily urination, cloudy urine or urine with a foul or strong odour which may sometimes also contain blood.
Respiratory tract infections
Respiratory tract infections are split into upper and lower respiratory infections. Upper respiratory infections include rhinitis (the common cold), sinusitis, sore throat, inflammation of the middle ear and laryngitis and are rarely severe. Lower respiratory infections include infections of the airways (trachea and bronchi) and lungs (bronchitis, acute bronchitis and pneumonia). These infections can sometimes become severe.
Cystic fibrosis (CF), or mucoviscidosis, is a genetic metabolic disorder. It leads to the production of viscous mucus in various organs, mainly in the lungs and pancreas. Because the disease is incurable, those affected by it suffer from the illness throughout their lives. Thanks to new treatments and medicines, the life expectancy and quality of life of patients today is much greater than in the past.
Alpha-1-antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) is an inherited genetic disorder in which an enzyme deficiency affects mainly the lungs. Although the disease is incurable, it is possible to slow down the loss of lung function through the regular administration of Alpha-1-antitrypsin.
Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis
What are Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis?
Crohn's disease (named after Dr Burrill B. Crohn, who discovered it) also called ileitis, is an inflammation of the small intestine (ileum). In most cases, the end of the small intestine, known as the terminal ileum, is affected; however, portions of the large intestine or the entire large intestine, oesophagus and stomach can also be inflamed.
Colitis is a term designating inflammations of parts of the colon (large intestine) or the entire colon. If these inflammations take the form of small or large ulcers, this is known as ulcerative colitis.
Ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease are chronic conditions. One of their characteristics is the episodic manner in which active phases of the disease alternate with phases of several months to years without any severe symptoms. However, these relapse-free intervals do not mean that the disease has been permanently cured.
Oncology and supportive care
Over 6‘000 men in Switzerland develop prostate cancer each year. This makes it the most common form of cancer. Therapy approaches such as surgery, radiation, hormonal treatment or chemotherapy depend on the extent to which the tumour has spread and how aggressively it is growing.
Some patients undergoing cytostatic chemotherapy may experience severe nausea and vomiting. Preventive treatment with an antiemetic may reduce or even prevent these unpleasant side-effects.