Teens Worry over Good Looks, Acne, Depression, Skin, Hair, Behavior & Health, etc...
Teenage Health Issues of the Month
Acne in Teenage Children
Acne is one of the most common problems in teenage children affecting almost 20-million teens in the United States. Acne is a skin disorder involving sebaceous glands and hair follicles. Acne results from the clogging of sebaceous glands leading to the formation of pimples and cysts. The condition usually begins with the onset of puberty. Going by the facts, as teens attain puberty the androgens also called male sex hormones are produced in high number leading to sebaceous glands becoming over active which results in sebum being produced in high proportions.
Sebum, which is nothing but body oil is produced by sebaceous glands which travel to the skin surface through hair follicles. But, skin cells block the follicles which results in oil also being blocked. When these hair follicles are blocked it results in the development of skin bacteria known as Propionibacterium Acnes within the follicles which in turn results in swelling of the skin called Acne. If the hair follicles are partially blocked it results in blackheads. If the follicles are completely blocked they result in whiteheads. But if these plugged follicles are not treated they ultimately burst causing the oil, bacteria and skin cells to spill all over the skin resulting in irritation and formation of pimples. Acne can be shallow as well as deep in various individuals depending on the nature of skin and amount of oil produced.
There can be various causes why Acne Rosacea starts in teenage children. Apart from rising hormone levels due to puberty it can also be attributed to other factors like intake of drugs which contain lithium, barbiturates and corticosteroids. Acne can also be caused due to excess grease and oil in the scalp, due to cooking oil and use of some cosmetics can actually alleviate the acne problem. Acne rosacea problems sometimes can be inherited too. Acne is worsened if the pimples are squeezed or scrubbed too hard.
Acne rosacea may be located at most any place in the human body but they most commonly form in bodily areas where there sebaceous glands are present in high proportions like on the face, chest, shoulders, neck and upper back. The symptoms may differ from person to person but commonly seen symptoms are: formation of blackheads, whiteheads, lesions filled with pus and which are very painful and lastly nodules. One may get confused sometimes as symptoms of acne may be like some other skin condition and it is always advised to consult a doctor in this scenario.
There are lots of treatments available today to treat acne. The primary goal of the treatment is to reduce scars and better appearance. There are various treatments and the doctor decides which specific treatment you need based on: the extent of acne problem, age, medical history, overall health, tolerance to specific medications and procedures, expectations and last but not the least what teenage patients prefer.
Treatment of acne is classified into topical and systemic drug therapies which are given based on extent of severity. In some instances the combination of both the methods might be the way to go for acne treatment. Topical medication is nothing but creams, gels, lotions, solutions etc. prescribed to patients for acne treatment. Some of the examples of topical medication are: Benzoyl Peroxide which kills the Propionibacterium Acnes bacteria, antibiotics helps in stopping or slowing down the growth of the bacteria and also reduces inflammation, Tretinoin helps in stopping the formation of new acne lesions and Adapalene reduces formation of comedo.
Systemic drug therapies involve prescription of systemic antibiotics primarily for the treatment of acne problem which is moderate to severe in nature. The examples of antibiotics prescribed are Doxycycline, erythromycin and tetracycline. In some cases an oral drug called Isotretinoin is prescribed for teenagers with severe acne problem which shrinks down the sebaceous glands that produce oil. The results are pretty good and almost ninety percent of the adolescents have success with this oral drug. But the drug has some serious side-affects and thus it is very important that one consults a doctor before use.
Hair-Care & Skin-Care are Important for a Teenagers Self-Respect1. Wash your hair regularly, but only as often as you need to. Washing too often can strip away the natural oils that give teenage hair its nice shine and body.
2. If you see white flakes in your teen hair or on your shoulders, try a shampoo which treats dandruff. Dandruff shampoos are sold near other hair-care products.
3. Use shampoos, conditioners, and hair styling products that are right for your hair type and color.
4. Try different hair styles and looks. But be careful about using hair products that color or perm hair at home. They have chemicals that can damage your hair. Excessive hair styling with hair-dryers or curling-irons and hair flattening irons can cause your hair to dry out or break.
5. Protect your hair and face (facial and neck skin too) from sun damage by wearing a scarf or wide hat to cover the back of your neck and face.
6. Protect your hair from chlorine (found in most pool water) by wearing a swim cap or rinsing/soaking your hair soon after swimming also helps.
Depression in Teenage Children
Depression in adolescents is a disorder which occurs due to persistent sadness, loss of interest, loss of self worth and discouragement. Depression is normally a temporary reaction towards stressful situations. Depression is a normal part of the maturation process of adolescents. It is even induced due to production of sex hormones. Adolescent females are depressed twice more than adolescent boys according to a study.
Adolescent behavior is normally marked with good and bad moods. The transition from a good mood to bad mood and vice-versa, can take minutes, hours and even days. That is the reason why true depression is very difficult to find out. Depression in adolescents can be caused due to bad school performance, break up with boyfriend or girlfriend, and failing relations with friends and family. These causes can lead to persistent depression. Other serious causes are chronic illness, obesity, child abuse, stressful lifestyle, poor social skills, unstable care giving and depression in family history.
Symptoms of depression in adolescents are eating disorders, weight change, irritable mood, excessive sleeping in daytime, excessive temper, criminal behavior, memory loss, fatigue, self preoccupation, sadness, difficulty in concentrating, worthlessness feelings, loss of interest, self hatred, obsession with death and thought & attempts of suicides. When these symptoms are being noticed for more than two weeks, it is important to get treatment for the adolescent. Depression not only affects interpersonal relationships, but school performance as well. Depressed adolescents are more prone to take drugs and alcohol as an attempt to overcome their depression. Such problems require intense treatment programs.
The doctor will take blood test and perform physical examination to determine the cause of depression. Sometimes seasonal depression can be an issue too. The adolescent can also be tested for substance abuse such as smoking, heavy alcohol consumption, marijuana smoking, and usage of other drugs. After the physical examination, psychiatric evaluation is also done to understand the cause of sadness, loss of interest and irritability. Depression can also lead to the development of other psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, mania and anxiety. It is also important to determine whether the adolescent poses a risk for himself/herself and others. Family and school personnel can provide valuable information about the adolescent to the doctor.
Treatment for depression for adolescent is similar to the treatment of depression for adults. Along with the treatment, the adolescent are given antidepressant medication and psychotherapy. Antidepressant medications include tricyclic, Prozac, selective serotonin re uptake inhibitors or SSRI. Some of the medicines increase the risk, so it is a good idea that parents discuss the possible risks with the doctor. Only some of the antidepressant medications are meant for children and adolescents. Adolescents with severe depression need to be hospitalized as they are more prone to kill themselves.
Family and school support is necessary to tackle the depression of the adolescent. Parents can get their children admitted in emotional growth schools, boot camps or wilderness programs, to solve the behavioral problems. These programs consist of non medical staff and confrontational therapies. But care must be taken as some of the programs can in turn harm children who are depressed and sensitive. Adolescents, who get caught due to criminal offense, should be taken special care of by their parents. It is best that the child face the consequences and learn a lesson from it. Depressed adolescents respond well to treatment if they are treated comprehensively and early. More than half of the adults are known to have depression when they were in their teens.
Eating Disorders in Teenage Children
Since the adolescence is the age where bones are sprout and grow rapidly, well nourished foods must be given to the adolescent to facilitate normal growth & development. The nutritional intake must be monitored regularly and modified depending upon the growing needs. Teenagers tend to develop eating disorders which affect their nutritional health. The eating behavior must be corrected as early as possible as it can lead to the development of complex illnesses. Eating disorder is the third common chronic illness, especially in adolescent females and the number has been increasing rapidly from the past thirty years.
There are two subcategories of eating disorders, anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Anorexia nervosa is the restrictive form, where the intake of food is limited severely. In bulimia nervosa is the eating disorder where the adolescent binges on food and then tries to minimize the effects by forcibly vomiting, fasting, and catharsis or over exercising. When handling adolescence eating disorders, they must be handled differently from adult eating disorders. Adolescents face problems such as growth retardation, suppressed height, abnormal weight, pubertal delay, menstrual periods absence, and menses unpredictability. When the adolescent is growing there will be critical tissue components loss like loss of body fat, muscle mass and bone mineral.
Nutritional imbalance is also caused which reflect abnormalities in the levels of vitamins, mineral and other trace elements. The problem is that these abnormalities cannot be recognized clinically. But since protein and calories are essential to the growth of the adolescent, it is important to trace their abnormalities. Because of the problems, healthy adulthood is not a possible thing. Because of all these reasons, it is important to diagnose adolescence eating disorders as early as possible. Eating disorders give rise to peak bone mass impaired acquisition in case of adolescents. When they turn into adults, this problem aggravates to osteoporosis. Even internal organs get affected due to eating disorders. All this can be prevented by early intervention so as to limit, prevent and ameliorate medical complications, which can turn become life threatening.
Adolescents who practice unhealthy weight control practices and are obsessive about figure, weight, food or exercise should be treated clinically. Not only should the symptoms be checked, but their duration, intensity and frequency should also be checked. Although most of the physical complications caused due to eating disorders get solved with the help of nutritional rehabilitation some of the conditions become irreversible and the long term consequences of this are very dangerous. It is best if the eating disorders are recognized in the early stages as it won’t result in irreparable damage. The medical monitoring should be pursued until the teenage children return back to appropriate psychological and medical health.
Eating disorders not only result in physical abnormalities, but also psychological abnormalities. Adolescents with eating disorders take onto social isolation, low self esteem, affective disorders, low self concept, substance abuse, anxiety, and depression. Usually adolescents switch to unhealthy eating habits because of depression and lack of knowledge about affective techniques to lose weight. So the patients who are being treated for eating disorders must also be treated for psychiatric illness, if they have any. Even if the habits doesn’t fit the strict criteria, adolescents who limit food intake, binge, vomit or purge accompanied with or without harsh weight loss, should be monitored because of the involvement of risk of even death. Early treatment will have an improved outcome. But the level of intervention in adolescents should be less when compared to adults.
Obesity in Teenage Children
Obesity and overweight are the second most major reasons of preventable deaths in America. Stagnant lifestyle and junk food is to be blamed for more than three hundred thousand deaths per annum. The sad thing is that this problem is on the rise. Obesity is a chronic disease which poses serious health risk to the health of an individual. Also, obesity is the easiest recognizable medical problem, but is very difficult to deal with.
People usually confuse obesity with overweight. Overweight is gaining of a few extra pounds. A person is considered obese when the total body weight is minimum ten percent more than the recommended weight for his/her body structure and height. According to an estimate every year hundred billion dollars are spent on the obesity problem. It is very important to treat the problem as early as possible. Obese children between the age of ten and thirteen have eighty percent chances of growing into obese adults, unless they change their ways and adopt a healthier lifestyle. The obesity problem starts from the age of five and continue till adolescence.
Obesity can be caused due to complex reasons including biological, genetic, cultural and behavioral factors. Usually a person gets obese when he/she consumes more calories than the body burns. Also there are fifty percent chances of becoming obese when both one of the parent is obese and when obesity has affected both the parents, the chances increases to eighty percent. One percent of obese people can have that fat because of health reasons, as obesity can be caused due to few medical disorders. The causes of obesity in adolescence are overeating, family history, bad eating habits, little or no exercise, medical illness, low self esteem, medications, depression, emotional problems, stressful life, and family problem.
Obesity can cause many major problems. Some of them are diabetes, sleeping disorders, high blood pressure, breathing problems, emotional problems and increase in heart disease risk. Teenagers are more prone to get emotional problems. Because of the weight, they develop low self esteem. They get into depression, obsessive compulsion disorder and anxiety.
Adolescents who want to tackle the obesity problem should approach a pediatrician who will thoroughly evaluate the cause. If no physical disorder is to be blamed, the weight is reduced by limiting the calorie intake and increasing physical activity. The doctor can advice a weight management program and change the eating habits of the teenager, slowly. The patient must avoid oily, fatty, fast and junk food. The potions must be reduced in order to decrease the calorie intake. If the adolescent has developed emotional problems because of obesity, an adolescent psychiatrist can collaborate with the pediatrician in order to make a comprehensive plan for treatment. The plan includes reasonable goals, behavior modification, family participation, and management of physical activity.
Self motivation is extremely necessary in loosing weight. Because obesity is more a family problem and not an individual problem, the whole family can switch to eating healthy food and exercising regularly. This can make the weight control program a success. Parents can play a major role by boosting the self esteem of their young children (who soon will become teenage children) by concentrating on their strengths and encouraging them, instead of targeting the weight problem. The whole family should eat meals together, instead of eating individually while watching a movie. This helps all the members to focus on the food and the quantity being eaten. If the teenager isn’t getting support from his family members, he/she can join support groups which can help towards the goals.
After the adolescent has lost weight, it is very important that he/she maintains it. In majority of the cases, people shift back to their old eating habits after loosing weight. That is the reason why obesity is more of a lifetime issue. So the main aim of any weight loss program must be make the adolescent like healthy food. He/she must also be made to exercise regularly, irrespective of the weight.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in Teenage Children
Obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD starts from adolescence onwards. OCD is feeling of strong obsessions and compulsions which result in intense discomfort and affects daily functioning. Obsessions are thoughts which are persistent and recurrent. They even include unwanted images and impulses which lead to distress and anxiety. These feelings and thoughts are usually irrational or unrealistic. Compulsions are repetitive rituals or behavior such as checking something again & again, or mental acts such as counting. These obsessions & compulsions cause intense distress and anxiety and can interfere with the daily activities, relationships, social activities and academic functioning. The person with OCD thinks that he has no control over his actions. OCDs are relapsing and chronic illness.
The thoughts change as the adolescent grows. Often times younger children suffering from OCD often have thoughts of harm befalling on them and their family such as thief getting into the house through an unlocked door. This will make the children to recheck the door and windows again and again fearing that they might have left the door unlocked accidentally. Teenagers suffering from OCD fear that they might get fall sick due to germs, contaminated food and AIDS. The adolescent develops certain rituals, such as washing hands innumerable times, in order to get over the fear. These rituals help them to think that they have overcome the problem for the time being and give temporary relief. If they do not perform these rituals, they become more and more anxious.
OCD is a sign of brain circuitry’s unusual functioning and it involves the striatum part of the brain. The brain activity patterns of such people differ from normal people and people with other mental disorders. Researchers have concluded that OCD is usually a family problem and is a disorder of the brain. Streptococcal bacterial infection can create or worsen the condition of OCD. Adolescents with no family history of OCD can also develop it. Most of the adolescents feel embarrassed to talk about their OCDs. They think that people will label them as crazy and this will make them feel ashamed. This will make it difficult for the parents to talk to their children about their OCD, in order to solve them. Parents need to develop good communication skills for this purpose. Parent’s support is also very important to the adolescent. Cooperation is extremely important along with treatment, because if the problem is not treated the adolescent will grow into a disturbed adult.
Most of the adolescents with OCD can receive effective treatment. The treatment can include psychotherapy and intake of medications such as fluoxetine, clomipramine, fluvoxamine, paroxetine, sertraline and other serotonin reuptake inhibitors. When OCD is caused due to streptococcal infection, the adolescent can be administered with antibiotics to kill the bacterium which is causing it. Exposure and response prevention behavioral therapy is very useful in solving OCD. In this therapy, the adolescent is wontedly exposed to his/her fears which give him/her obsessive thought. After that he/she is trained to avoid these thoughts and the rituals which he/she carries out to tackle the anxiety.
An adolescent having OCD can also have depression, substance abuse, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, teenage eating disorders, and other types of anxiety disorders. When a person with OCD and other mental illness, is treated, OCD becomes more difficult to treat and even diagnose.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases in Teenage Children
Sexually transmitted diseases are transmitted thru unprotected sexual intercourse and are highly infectious diseases. Unprotected sexual contact risks the lives of teenagers by giving teens sexually transmitted disease such as HIV infection, and even unwanted pregnancy. Every year, nearly 20-million cases of sexually transmitted disease is reported in the USA alone and out of these, half of the cases involve people from the age group of fifteen years to twenty-four years old.
The best way to make sure the adolescent doesn’t contract sexually transmitted diseases is to abstain from all types of sexual activities. In spite of this, if the adolescent becomes sexually active, he/she must be advised by the parents to take precautionary measures to reduce the risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease. The best precautionary measure is to use a condom every time the adolescent has sexual intercourse. Only when other sexually transmitted diseases are prevented and controlled, HIV infections can be prevented.
It is best when the adolescent delays and abstains from sexual relationships, because the younger the person, the more susceptible he/she is to get a sexually transmitted disease. Having sexual contact during menstruation is also risky. It is good to avoid anal intercourse and if it is performed condom is a must, even when having oral sex. Every person should get STD checkups as frequently as possible, irrespective of being sexually active or not, after they turn into adolescents. Precaution must also be taken when getting injected by an intravenous drug, that the needle used to inject must be sterile. The adolescent must be educated about the symptoms and risks of sexually transmitted diseases.
Adolescents must be thoroughly informed even if they say they know it all. They must be asked to indulge in only safe sex, if doing so. Parents should talk honestly and calmly about safe sex and must answer all their child’s queries. Topics such as STDs, birth control methods, having sex because of peer pressure, and date rape must be discussed in detail. Most people think that kissing is safe, but it can spread the sexually transmitted disease, herpes and many other diseases. Condoms do not provide hundred percent protections for genital warts, AIDs and genital warts. Females shouldn’t douche as it can make the infection go deeper into the reproductive tract and can also wash off spermicidal protection. At a time, sexual intercourse must be provided with only one partner, who isn’t involved with any other sexual partner.
The sexually transmitted diseases are Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome or AIDS, Human Papilloma viruses or HPVs, chlamydial infections, pelvic inflammatory disease or PID, Gonorrhea, Genital Herpes, syphilis, herpes viral infections and genital warts. The symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases take time to surface. Some of them are also symptom less and even these diseases can be contagious. Especially in the case of females, the symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases can be confused with the symptoms of other diseases. But females get severe symptoms and get it more frequently. Sexually transmitted diseases can harm the fallopian tubes and uterus. It can even lead to inflammatory disease, which in turn can cause ectopic pregnancy or infertility. Cervical cancer, in females, can be associated to sexually transmitted diseases. If a female gets a sexually transmitted disease during her pregnancy, the disease can pass onto her child. Sometimes the newborn’s infections can be treated successfully, but at other times, the child can be disabled for life or die.
If an adolescent is diagnosed with sexually transmitted diseases, his or her treatment must start immediately. The early the sexually transmitted diseases are diagnosed, the easier it is to treat them successfully. The other sexual partner must be informed so that they can get themselves diagnosed and can undergo treatment. The adolescent must be instructed to stay away from sexual activity while the treatment is going on. The checkup must be followed after the treatment. Tests such as pelvic examination, Pap test, and test for STDs should be taken periodically.
Sexually transmitted diseases can affect people of all economic levels and backgrounds. Half of the cases of sexually transmitted diseases involve young people below the age of twenty five. The more sexually active the person is the more risk he/she is. And multiple sex partners at a given time are very dangerous too and must be strictly abstained from.
Smoking Related Health Problems in Teenage Children
Smoking is the cause of many diseases and kills about four hundred and forty two thousand people every year in the United States. In spite of anti smoking campaigns and billboard warnings, more and more people are joining the bandwagon of smokers every year. Out of the total number of new smokers, ninety percent are children and adolescents, replacing smokers who have quit or died early due to a disease caused by smoking. Smoking is the top cause of preventable and premature deaths, followed by obesity.
Smoking not only increases the risk of lung disease, but also increases the risk of contracting lung cancer, cancer of the esophagus, oral cancer, emphysema, stroke and heart disease. Statistics by the American Lung Association reveal alarming results. Over 5,000 adolescents smoke their very first cigarette every day, out of which over two thousand turn into regular smokers. Presently there are nearly five million adolescents smokers. Twenty percent of the twelfth graders smoke cigarettes regularly.
Smoking has many harmful affects on the health of a human being. It damages the cardiovascular system, causes high blood pressure, increases heart rate, increases the risk of ischemic stroke, increases the risk of blood clot formation, and decreases the oxygen amount which reaches the tissues in the body, reduces coronary blood flow & cardiac output, and damages the blood vessels. Smoking not only affects physical health, but mental health too. It causes psychological distress and depression.
Smoking not only affects the person who smokes but also other people who surround him/her. According to the American Heart Association, nearly thirty five thousand passive smokers die of smoke inhaled from a lit pipe, cigar or cigarette. People who do not smoke directly and inhale smoke from a cigarette smoke by his/her neighbor is known as passive smoker, secondary smoker or indirect smoker. Among the passive smokers, women, children and infants are at a higher risk. Infants and children who are exposed to smoke develop asthma, frequent ear infections and may even experience infant death syndrome.
The first lung health symptoms experienced by secondary smokers are coughing, excess mucus formation in the airways, chest discomfort, chest pain, and lung irritation. They even feel irritation of throat, nose and eyes. If the passive smokers experiences chest pain, it can be an indication of heart disease requiring coronary treatment. Sometimes the symptoms of secondary smoking can coincide with the symptoms of other medical conditions. Hence, it is recommended to contact the doctor immediately after the surfacing of the symptoms.
In active smokers, smoking, apart from building up high cholesterol in blood, increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity, high blood pressure, physical inactivity and diabetes. So smoking cessation will not only reduce the risk of coronary heart disease, which is top of the list, but also decreases the risk by fifty percent of heart attacks and deaths caused by it. But quitting smoking undertakes lots of physical and mental efforts. The person should be made mentally relaxed and stress free. In case of adolescents, they can be asked to exercise regularly and sleep adequately.
Teenagers who smoke should stop smoking as quickly as possible before their lungs get damaged and they develop serious lung conditions. How to stop smoking tips can help teenagers and all other smokers who want to quit the bad habit. Teenage smokers must first be made to understand the reason for quitting. Stress only makes even more difficult to quit smoking, so a stress free period should be chosen to quit. Family and friends’ encouragement and support are extremely necessary to persuade the smoker to quit. If the support isn’t sufficient, smokers can join a smoking cessation program or a support group to attain their nonsmoking goals. A balanced diet is a must, along with lots of rest. For more about quitting smoking please visit emphysema organization.
Sometimes taking nicotine replacement products, such as nicotine chewing gum, nicotine inhalers, and nicotine patch, are a great help to smokers who want to quit. By using these products the smokers can satisfy their nicotine craving. The good thing is that these nicotine replacement products can deduct the poisonous gases and tars emitted by the cigarettes. But nursing and pregnant women should consult a doctor before trying nicotine replacement products. For such people non-nicotine options, including new electronic cigarettes are now available.