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Vitamin D: to take or not to take?
It is an undeniable fact that in the times of the COVID-19 pandemic we went out much less, trying to avoid contact with other humans. Now that summer is over, we may be going out even less. However, staying at home longer than usual can contribute to the decrease in the levels of vitamin D that we have in the body. What levels of Vitamin D in the blood are considered normal?In Spain, the references are as follows: Deficiency: <10. Insufficiency: 10-30. Sufficiency: 30.01-100. Toxicity: >100. Vitamin D, vitamin D2, or vitamin D3?Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) and vitamin D2 (ergocalciferol) are simply two different forms of vitamin D. The former is formed in the skin under the influence of ultraviolet rays in sunlight and also comes from animal sources. The latter comes from plant sources. They are measured in international units. How is vitamin D synthesised? Vitamin D is formed in the skin when it is exposed to sunlight, through ultraviolet B rays, which help synthesise vitamin D. These rays cannot pass through glass, clothing or sunscreen. On the other hand, it can enter the body along with certain foods. First of all, these are fatty sea fish, fatty dairy products and egg yolks. However, if you are deficient or insufficient in this vitamin, you cannot get enough of it from food or sunlight alone (on top of that, ultraviolet rays can also be dangerous). For example: the daily intake of vitamin D is contained in 20 egg yolks. Therefore, taking vitamin D supplements is the best option in case of deficiency or insufficiency. Furthermore, in practice, milk and dairy products do not always contain vitamin D or contain only its insignificant traces, so their consumption, unfortunately, cannot guarantee the coverage of our needs for this vitamin. Why is it a good idea to try and avoid vitamin D deficiency and insufficiency? The main function of vitamin D is to regulate the metabolism of calcium and phosphorus. It helps the absorption of these elements from the intestines, thus participating in the growth and maintenance of bones and skeleton. If this vitamin is lacking in the body, a person can develop rickets and osteoporosis. On the other hand, in almost all organs and tissues, there are receptors for vitamin D. Therefore, it has a large number of functions not only related to the development and growth of bones. It also plays a role in the development of the nervous system. With its deficiency, sleep disturbances and cognitive disorders such as memory impairment can occur. In adults, it can contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, or senile dementia. In many cases, people with vitamin D deficiency are at increased risk of developing cancer, cardiovascular diseases, infectious diseases, and many others. Its deficiency is also one of the factors that increase tissue resistance to insulin, contributing to the development of diabetes. This prohormone is also a powerful agent for reducing chronic inflammation. Some peculiarities to take into consideration. Elevated vitamin D levels can lead to functional vitamin K2 deficiency. In this case, since vitamin K2 regulates calcium transport, calcium does not reach the bones and is deposited in the arteries and soft tissues, which can lead to hardening of the arteries. So, if you take vitamin D, you create a higher demand for vitamin K2 in your body. Both vitamin D and K2 work together to strengthen your bones and improve the health of your heart. Therefore, if you are taking vitamin D via supplements, you also need to intake extra vitamin K2. Who needs vitamin D the most? An increased need for vitamin D arises from a lack of ultraviolet radiation, naturally dark skin, old age, vegetarianism and adherence to low-fat diets, indigestion, pregnancy and lactation, a period of intensive growth and development. These people need additional vitamin D. Therefore: – pregnant or breastfeeding women: vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy leads to inadequate formation of the fetal immune system. – Children: in children, vitamin D deficiency leads to a sharp deterioration in anti-infective protection. Frequent illnesses can be a consequence of this vitamin’s deficiency or insufficiency. – Older people: ageing skin loses its ability to synthesise vitamin D, and older people are most at risk of developing all kinds of previously mentioned diseases. And so now what? Taking a walk in the sun for just half an hour a day would be enough in our area in Spain to activate vitamin D, provided that its intake from the diet or through supplements is adequate. At Clínica La Siesta, we carry out the 25-hydroxy vitamin D (25-OH Vitamin D) test, which is considered the most effective way to measure the amount of this vitamin in the blood. If in doubt, you can consult our GP to determine if you need to check your blood vitamin D level. By knowing exactly what levels of vitamin D you have in your blood, you can take appropriate action. Only the doctor can assign the doses of supplements necessary for each particular case, since it will depend on the level of vitamin D already present in the blood, the person’s lifestyle, their nutrition and the climate of the country of residence. In addition, an overdose of vitamin D can also have serious adverse health consequences, so it is best to consult your doctor. To make an appointment at CLS, please contact us by email firstname.lastname@example.org, by calling us at +34 966 784 195, or by writing us a WhatsApp to +34 692 134 136.
The COVID-19 kit: top 5 things to have you covered
In the following article we have compiled the 5 essential things that should be in your COVID-19 kit in the times of the pandemic. Find out what they are, their importance, and how it is best to use them. Face Masks Of course, the first on our list are the face masks. Nowadays here in Spain, it is mandatory to carry one at all times when you are out on the street. However, there are several considerations to take into account before choosing which mask to wear and where. Surgical masks are waterproof and protect their wearer from larger respiratory droplets that come out when coughing or sneezing, but they serve above all to not infect the others. If you are wearing this mask, you are protecting those who surround you, so make sure that they show you the same respect. Cloth masks are very similar: in the first place they serve to prevent the spread of the disease and they also represent an obstacle for the respiratory droplets of others. The thicker masks are hygienic masks (images 3 and 5). They are the most suitable for the common population and should be carried by healthy people who have not been in contact with the virus and do not show any symptoms of the disease. However, you should remember that professional face masks should be reserved for healthcare workers. You do not need one in your everyday life. Sanitisers Sanitisers have grown to become essential in times of the pandemic. Now we can find it at the entrances of practically all public establishments. It is important to keep your hands clean and avoid touching your face, however, you should not abuse sanitising hand gels. When using them, you kill not only harmful microbes but also potentially benign ones in the microbiome of your hands. You do have to have one with you just in case there is no access to soap and water. However, it should not become a habit to disinfect your hands every time you touch or do something. An antiseptic hand gel should be used in case of necessity. On the other hand, it might be a good idea to disinfect your computer keyboard (if you work a lot in front of the screen), because, as you would agree, the thought process is often accompanied by the face touching. A thermometer Another thing that should be part of your COVID-19 kit is a thermometer. On the one hand, the demand for thermometers has gone up and today they are scarce in pharmacies. But the good news is that the thermometer has always been part of a family’s medicine cabinet, so you probably already own one. You should always have access to a thermometer, either electronic or mercury one, so that you can measure your body temperature when you have COVID-19 symptoms. This way, when you call the doctor, you can explain your situation in more detail and they will be able to provide you with more personalised service. Another detail that you have to take into account is that compliance with the law requires that your body temperature is measured before you enter certain public establishments. Contactless thermometers come in the shape of a “gun”, so don’t be afraid when you see a masked police officer or medic pointing it at you – they just want to measure your temperature. Pulse oximeter Another item in your COVID-19 kit should be a pulse oximeter. Since this infection in most cases affects the lungs of the patient, it is important to remember that the oxygen level in the blood can drop without noticing. This is very dangerous, because if the oxygen level drops too low, you can lose consciousness or it can even have fatal consequences. So you are better off keeping it under control. Yes, you may be able to feel the oxygen drop on your own, experiencing breathing difficulties, but it is always better to be on the safe side. The levels considered normal are around 97 – 98. If your oxygen level is lower than 95, you should be alarmed and consult your doctor immediately. You may require hospitalisation. All in all, a pulse oximeter could be a good investment for your COVID-19 kit. It is very easy to acquire and it is also easy to use. Some common sense Last but not least: some common sense. Stress can be just as bad for your body as any other illness. So, don’t get obsessed with the coronavirus and try to live your life as normally as possible. If you sneeze or cough, it does not necessarily mean you have coronavirus. You need to monitor symptoms carefully and cautiously to see how they progress. If you see that you do show symptoms, you can always call Clínica La Siesta and ask for a consultation or get tested for COVID-19. At Clínica La Siesta, you can test for coronavirus with our rapid test for only 30€. The same day you will know the result and make your worries disappear. To learn more about the rapid test of the Clinic, follow this link. Clínica La Siesta also offers the PCR tests to its patients. To make an appointment or if you have any inquiries, please contact us by phone or via WhatsApp (+34 692 134 136) or write us an email at email@example.com.
The 5 differences between rapid test and PCR
How many tests are there? What are the differences between one test and the other? Which one is the most effective? Which one suits me best? Today, there are only two ways to test for coronavirus: a rapid test and a PCR. This article should help you answer all the above questions and explain in a concise and straightforward way what each one represents. As you may have guessed, the rapid test has earned its name for the speed with which it delivers the result to the patient. Today, the doctor can tell you if you have been infected with the coronavirus within 5 minutes. However, PCR takes longer to produce the result. The sample is sent to a laboratory and, in theory, it has to take 24 hours, while, in practice, there have been cases of people who have had to wait up to 2 weeks to know their result. The method of extracting the biological material constitutes another difference between the two tests. As for which method is more or less painful, it depends on the case and your personal sensitivity. PCR consists of a respiratory sample: nasal or throat swab. While the La Siesta Clinic rapid test requires a sample of venous blood from the arm extracted with a painless fine needle. The Clínica La Siesta rapid test: among 126 infected subjects, confirmed by clinical research, 110 samples tested positive for the IgG and IgM antibody test, hence the sensitivity was 87.3%. Among 62 uninfected subjects, 62 samples tested negative IgG and IgM antibody test, the specificity was 100%. An overall consistency of 91.49%. According to studies, PCR is also not 100% accurate, especially when it comes to a negative result: the amount of viral RNA that is collected with the sample is sometimes insufficient to produce a reliable result. According to the research carried out by Fang et al. (2020), the sensitivity of PCR is 71%. The rapid test detects if a person has had the disease and detects two types of antibodies, IgG and IgM. The former are the residual antibodies, so they indicate whether you have had the disease in the past. And the latter are recent antibodies that are the first to appear, and they disappear after a short time (15 days), therefore, they indicate if you are suffering from the disease at present. The PCR detects the viral load specifically of COVID-19 and indicates whether you have an active infection. So, if you present symptoms and test positive in the rapid test, you will need to proceed with the PCR, so that public health workers can decide whether isolation is necessary for you. The drawback of PCR, especially if you decide to test through the public sector, is that it will take a long time to know the result. It also cannot tell you whether you have had the coronavirus at any time in the past. The drawback of the rapid test is that IgG and IgM antibodies will not be produced in the earliest phase of infection, so if it is negative, you may be required to do a PCR test (in case you present coronavirus symptoms and have had recent contact with the infected) to rule out the possibility of the disease entirely. At Clínica La Siesta, you can test for coronavirus with our rapid test for only 30€. The same day you will know the result and make your worries disappear. To learn more about the rapid test of the Clinic, follow this link. Clínica La Siesta also offers the PCR tests to its patients. To make an appointment or if you have any inquiries, please contact us by phone or via WhatsApp (+34 692 134 136) or write us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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