How do I know I have Hypothyroidism: (Myxedema).


Hypothyroidism is a condition in which the thyroid gland is under-active (it is producing an insufficient amount of thyroid hormones).

Hypothyroidism is the most common thyroid disorder. Severe hypothyroidism can lead to a condition called myxedema, characterized by dry, thickened skin and coarse facial features. So Myxedema is also hypothyroidism but in its extreme form.

Hyper- and Hypo- thyroid states: comparison of symptoms.

Hyper- and Hypo- thyroid states: comparison of symptoms.

WHO IS AT RISK:

As there is very insufficient amounts of circulating thyroid hormones in the body, and since the main purpose of thyroid hormone is to “run the body’s metabolism,” it is understandable that people with this condition will have symptoms associated with a slow metabolism. The estimates vary, but approximately 10 million Americans have this common medical condition. In fact, as many as 10% of women may have some degree of thyroid hormone deficiency. Hypothyroidism is more common than you would believe, and millions of people are currently hypothyroid and don’t know it. It is estimated to affect 3-5% of the adult population. It is more common in women than in men, and the risk of developing hypothyroidism increases with advancing age.

WHAT CAUSES HYPOTHYROIDISM:

Hypothyroidism is most commonly a result of an autoimmune condition known as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, in which the body’s own immune cells attack and destroy the thyroid gland. Since the activity of the thyroid gland is controlled by other hormones from the pituitary gland and the hypothalamus of the brain, defects in these areas can also cause under-activity of the thyroid gland (such as brain tumors). Previous surgeries on the thyroid or a history of irradiation to the neck are other causes of hypothyroidism. A condition like this can also occur when Hyperthyroidism (Grave’s disease or Toxic goiter) is treated with Radioactive Iodine (I-131) and as a result the thyroid tissue is destroyed resulting in less than normal production of thyroid hormones.

CAN IODINE DEFICIENCY LEAD TO HYPOTHYROIDISM?:

Yes. In areas of the world where there is Iodine deficiency in the diet, severe hypothyroidism can be seen in 5% to 15% of the population. Examples of these areas include Zaire, Ecuador, India, Pakistan, and Chile. Severe iodine deficiency is also seen in remote mountain areas such as the Andes and the Himalayas. Since the addition of iodine to table salt and to bread, iodine deficiency is rarely seen in the United States.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF HYPOTHYROIDISM:

An under-active thyroid gland affects all organs and functions within the body, leading to both physical and emotional symptoms. Symptoms of hypothyroidism are usually very subtle and gradual and may be mistaken for symptoms of depression. The following are the most common symptoms of hypothyroidism. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently.

* dull facial expressions, lack of drive, low mood
* hoarse voice
* slow speech
* droopy eyelids
* puffy and swollen face
* weight gain, lethargy, body aches and pains
* constipation
* coarse and dry hair
* coarse, dry, and thickened skin
* slow pulse or bradycardia.
* muscle cramps
* confusion, memory loss, loss of libido (decreased sex drive)
* increased menstrual flow in women (menorrhagia)

* One reason of clinical depression is severe hypothyroidism so if you have depression, it is mandatory to get thyroid hormones evaluated from a good, reliable laboratory. As one of the reasons for hypothyroidism is raised TSH (Thyroid stimulating hormone) due to pituitary disturbances / diseases, it should be kept in mind that there are numerous cases of infertility in women which is due to hypothyroidism.

DIAGNOSIS AND TREATMENT:

Since hypothyroidism is caused by too little thyroid hormone secreted by the thyroid, the diagnosis of hypothyroidism is based almost exclusively upon measuring the amount of thyroid hormone in the blood. There are normal ranges for all thyroid hormones which have been calculated by computers which measure these hormones in tens of thousands of people. If your thyroid hormone levels fall below the normal range, that is consistent with hypothyroidism. These tests are very accurate and reliable and are so routine that they are available to everybody. Diagnosis is made by a doctor working in the field of endocrinology or an endocrinologist. The hormones are evaluated in a laboratory and methods like RIA (radioimmunoassay) give very accurate results of circulating hormones. In most cases the TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) levels are found very high.

Treatment of hypothyroidism:

The goal of treatment is to restore the thyroid gland to its normal function, creating normal levels of thyroid hormones in the circulating blood. Specific treatment for hypothyroidism will be determined by your physician based on:

* your age, overall health, and medical history
* extent of the disease
* expectations for the course of the disease

Treatment may include prescription of thyroid hormones (Thyroxine, Levothyroxine, Eltroxin) to replace the deficient hormones. Dosage of thyroid hormone may need to be increased over the years. Yearly or biyearly checkups are usually required to ensure that the proper dosage of thyroid hormones is taken. A patient usually takes thyroid hormones for the rest of his/her life. Remember you should not be shy in discussing with your doctor your blood hormone test results, symptoms, how you feel, and the type of medicine you are taking. The goal is to make you feel better, make your body last longer, slow the risk of heart disease and osteoporosis, in addition to making your blood levels normal. Sometimes that’s easy, when its not, you need a physician who is willing to spend time with you that you deserve while you explore different dosages and other types of medications (or alternative diagnoses).

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How do I know I have Hyperthyroidism: (Grave’s disease or Toxic goiter)?


Thyroid gland

The Thyroid gland


INTRODUCTION TO THE THYROID GLAND
:

All of us have a small gland in our necks called the Thyroid gland. Normally it is not visible and we cannot feel its presence inside us. It sits comfortably in its bed and does a lot of good to us through its excretions (hormone) which are synthesized by Iodine. These hormones are essential for the function of every cell in the body. They help regulate growth and the rate of chemical reactions (metabolism), and are involved in the circadian rhythms that govern sleep, among other essential functions. Optimum human health is not possible without adequate supply of Thyroid hormones. So this small gland which is not seen by others and is not felt by ourselves is critical to our health. That is why the over production of these hormones causes a disease called Hyperthyroidism which is our topic in this blog.

IODINE AND THYROID HORMONES:

The two most important thyroid hormones are thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3), and Thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), which is produced by the pituitary gland in the brain. The thyroid also makes the hormone Calcitonin, which is involved in calcium metabolization and stimulating bone cells to add calcium to bone. It is the same Iodine which is presentin Sea weed, Fish (Cod, Shrimp and Tuna etc), milk, Corn, Prunes, Banana, Cheese, Cereal, Apple juice, and some vegetables. If the level of Iodine drops in our blood and remains low for prolonged period of time we can have enlargement of thyroid gland (also called as Goiter) or a disease Hypothyroidism (we will talk about it in another blog). Remember it is the lack of Iodine in the diet which causes the Thyroid gland to swell.

Goiter or swollen Thyroid gland.

Goiter or swollen Thyroid gland.

The Goiter shown in this picture is pretty large and usually represents very long standing Iodine deficiency. But sizes even greater than this are a pretty common site in some areas of the world where the Iodine content of the water is below normal. Use of table salt containing Iodine is therefore advised in such areas. Please remember that some young females have what is called as Physiological Goiter. That is small, diffuse enlargement of thyroid gland in menstruation and pregnancy. This condition is mostly self limiting and is mainly due to hormonal changes in the body.You can have hyperthyroidism with or without thyroid gland swelling.

RISK FACTORS IN THE PRODUCTION OF HYPERTHYROIDISM:

The risk factors for development of hyperthyroidism or Graves’ disease include personal or family history of thyroid or autoimmune disease, recent pregnancy, and exposure to Iodine, among other factors. Women are affected by this illness 8 times more than men.

So it can be said that this is predominantly a disease of women. The riskiest age for developing Graves’ disease and hyperthyroidism is between 20 and 40. Pregnancy and the year after childbirth are both times of greater risk for this disease. There is an increased risk of Graves’ disease in smokers. Smokers with this disease tend to have more severe symptoms like thyroid Opthalmopathy feature (the prominent eye problems or the protrusion of eye balls) that are more resistant to treatment. Some treatments and medications can trigger Graves’ disease and/or thyrotoxicosis in some people, including: Interferon Beta-1b and Interleukin-4, immunosuppressant therapy for Hepatitis, antiretroviral treatment for AIDS, and lithium, widely used to treat Depression and Manic Depressive illness. There are two particular treatments that are known triggers hyperthyroidism: a third of patients receiving monoclonal antibody (Campath-1H) therapy for multiple sclerosis (MS) develop Graves’ disease within six months, and receiving a donated organ or bone marrow transplant from someone with Graves’ disease can also cause the disease in the recipient. Talking of risk factors in the production of hyperthyroidism it may be kept in mind that Stress is a factor that appears to trigger the onset of Graves’ disease in some patients. There is a definite connection between major life stressors – i.e., death of a spouse or close family relative/ friend, divorce or separation, loss of a job, major accident/personal injury, moving, marriage – and the onset of this disease.

SYMPTOMS OF HYPERTHYROIDISM and its treatment
(What you should be experiencing if you are suffering from it):

As the thyroid gland acts upon our body through its hormones in numerous number of ways, it is often difficult for the doctor to correctly diagnose this condition on the symptoms alone. Most of the symptoms are vague and are present in so many other conditions also. At such times the laboratory comes to the help and decides the onset of this disease as the levels of hormones are disturbed. Most frequent symptoms are:

* Sudden weight loss, even when your appetite and diet remain normal or even increase,
* Rapid heartbeat — commonly more than 100 beats a minute; irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) or pounding of your heart (palpitations),
* Nervousness, and anxiety,
* Tremor — usually a fine trembling in your hands and fingers,
* Excessive sweating,
* Changes in menstruation patterns,
* Increased sensitivity to heat, or heat intolerance,
* Changes in bowel patterns, especially more frequent bowel movements, or loose motions,
* An enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), which may appear as a swelling at the base of your neck,
* Fatigue, muscle weakness, feeling of not being well,
* Difficulty in falling sleep.
* Staring eyes (Hyperthyroid Opthalmopathy).

Staring eyes in Hyperthyroidism

Staring eyes in Hyperthyroidism

Older adults are more likely to have either no signs or symptoms or some very subtle ones, such as an increased heart rate, heat intolerance and a tendency to become tired easily. Medications called beta blockers, which are used to treat high blood pressure and other conditions, can mask many of the signs of hyperthyroidism. So never use any medication unless your doctor has prescribed it after careful evaluation of your symptoms and with the help of available laboratory tests.
Prompt diagnosis and treatment of hyperthyroidism can lead to a good prognosis or a cure in some cases. With regular medical care and compliance with treatment plans, most of the people with the disease live active, normal lives. It may be emphasized that patients with hyperthyroidism may need Radio active Iodine treatment (also called as medical thyroidectomy), surgery (removal of the whole or part of the thyroid gland), and various drugs to be taken for considerable periods of time. At the end of which, you should be sure, that even if it is not completely cured, your life will be as near normal as possible and you will enjoy all the activities of a normal healthy being.

CAN IT BE SERIOUS:

Hyperthyroidism can lead to serious, potentially life-threatening symptoms and complications, such as cardiac arrhythmias and heart failure. Seek immediate medical care if you, or someone you are with, have symptoms such as unexplained weight loss, hair loss, frequent bowel movements, excessive sweating, weakness, joint and body pains and aches, tachycardia (palpitations), heat intolerance, irritability, anxiety, irregular periods / excessive bleeding (in women only), loss of hair, loss of sleep, chest pain, or shortness of breath.

If you have any suggestions / questions please feel free to ask here.

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What happened at OJHRI CAMP in Rawalpindi in 1988.


“Ojhri” is the beef stomach which is cooked in the form of a very spicy and delicious curry in Pakistan and India. The prepared dish looks like this. However this ‘Ojhri’ camp we are talking about was an ammunition depot in Pakistan.

Ojhri Camp was a large ammunition depot of Pakistan army located in Rawalpindi / Islamabad, Pakistan. It was used as an ammunition depot for Afghan Mujahedeen fighting against Soviet forces in Afghanistan. Those were the days when CIA and America loved Islamic Jihad and Mujahideen as they gave their lives in the battle fields of Afghanistan. Soviet Russia‘s last strong hold was crumbling fast due to the impact of these Mujahedeens., and bulk of them were recruited, trained and dispatched by the famous ISI and Pakistan army. American paid them handsomely and supplied them with the latest arsenal which was distributed to them by ISI. The army officer in-charge of all this was General Akhtar Abdul Rehman who got killed in the plane crash along with Zia ul Haq.
The camp exploded on April 10, 1988, killing more than 4,000 people in Rawalpindi and Islamabad.There was speculation that the explosion was done by Pakistani agents to cover up a pilferage of the weapons stocks, including Stinger missiles. But as usual the matter was swept under the carpet by the then president, General Zia ul Haq; as fingers were being pointed at their money making operations through illicit arms deals. Zia himself and his cronies amassed millions of dollars which are still being used by their families. Recently a veteran politician, Kalsoom Saifullah has written a book in which she has told the Pakistani people that it was none other than Zia ul Haq himself who ordered the explosion to be carried out so that the threat of American checking of stinger missiles could be averted. This book is published in September 2011 in Pakistan.

On April 10, 1988 Pakistan was in the iron fist of a military dictator, General Zia ul Haq who came to power after sacking the elected prime minister, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. He later hanged him through a very dubious court proceedings and it has since been termed as the ‘judicial murder’ of Z. A. Bhutto. This was another dark period of military rule in Pakistan. A time when the military rulers danced to American tunes. This was not the era of ‘Enlightened Moderation’, but that of militant jihad-ism acceptable to the Americans. This was the era of General Zia’s Raj. This was a time when Pakistan was once again a ‘Front Line state’ and the West, particularly America and its allies were supporting the Mujahidin groups, and when of course Osama Bin Laden America’s most favorite freedom fighter was leading the Western inspired Jihad against the Soviets. Hundreds of millions of dollars were given to the Pakistani military to manage the Jihad in Afghanistan, and hundreds of millions of dollars was also spent on providing weapons and logistical support for the Mujahid groups through Pakistan. Who then were of course the sacred, adored, ‘freedom fighters’ and NOT the terrorists (as they are hatefully called today by America).

The weapons stored at OJHRI camp were sent mainly by Americana, but also, by other allies of the US, including Britain. They were shipped to Karachi and from there taken towards North of Pakistan where vicinity of Afghan border was the biggest consideration in storing them. One of the biggest central dumps was Ojhri. This dump was directly controlled by the ISI. It was an open secret that the ISI was not even answerable to the GHQ in Rawalpindi, but directly to General Zia himself.

One of the most important political fall out of this incidence was sacking of the then prime minister Mohammad Khan Junejo, a handpicked, docile politician from Sindh; by General Zia himself. The government of prime minister Muhammad Khan Junejo, installed by General Zia, was dismissed shortly after the Ojhri camp blasts and the newspapers said that an inquiry report by Junejo’s government was the reason for the dismissal.

On April 10, 1988, over one million citizens of the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad stared death in the eye. A blast in the ammunition depot of Ojhri camp wrecked havoc as shells and rockets of various shapes and sizes started raining over a radius of ten miles.Thousands perished and many more were wounded. There has been no accepted statistical data available to date but a careful account put the figure of deaths close to 4000.

The first reaction of many citizens was that India had attacked. This was during the height of the Afghan conflict, with Pakistan about to sign the Geneva accords four days later. Others argued that the Soviets had attacked Pakistan to teach her a lesson. Two committees were formed by the government to look into the affair. The first was the military committee headed by a serving General. This committee’s findings and recommendations were ignored since it called for the removal of General Zia’s right hand man, General Akhtar Abdul Rehman, along with other senior military officials. Its report, presented within one week of the incident, was rejected. Another more interesting committee was the one set up by prime minister Muhammad Khan Junejo.This was a political committee headed by a Cabinet minister and comprised of four federal ministers. Controversy surrounded the findings of this committee. The members could not reach a consensus on who was responsible for the Ojhri tragedy. In his remarks, the head of the committee, Aslam Khattak concluded, “No one was responsible. It was an act of Allah.’

News clipping found on October 2017:

A Mirza Imran Ahsan Karim wrote in the Express Tribune, Pakistan, about the eventful day and here is his narration:

Twenty-five years ago, on April 10, 1988, we were sitting in a classroom at Islamabad Model School, F-7/3, when we heard a loud blast. The blast shattered several windows of the school building and we were immediately evacuated. A huge mushroom cloud appeared over the horizon far off in the rough direction of Rawalpindi, a couple of dozen kilometres away. Our biology teacher, Mr Abdus Sami, a very intelligent person, saw this and told us that most likely a known weapons depot in Rawalpindi had exploded at Ojhri Camp. This was quite a remarkable guess as everyone else was talking about the possibility of some sort of an attack by India or even the Soviet Union.

Later that day, we heard stories of missiles flying all over the twin cities. Newspapers and the television reported that nearly 300,000 rockets and some kind of self-igniting phosphorus-fuelled missile had launched by themselves after a massive explosion, in which hundreds of trucks at the Ojhri Camp site were decimated. It was a one of a kind event during the last days of General Ziaul Haq’s rule. The then prime minister, Muhammad Khan Junejo, subtly blamed General Zia for this tragedy, something which contributed to his government’s dismissal soon after.

My father, who worked at a Rawalpindi college at the time, returned home that afternoon carrying a couple of spent rockets and a small missile. We still have the missile in our house as a souvenir.

In the incident at Ojhri Camp, hundreds of people must have perished but due to the dictatorial regime we were living under at the time, we only knew what PTV told us — with the truth about the purpose of having such a huge weapons depot inside a major city being kept a secret. The missiles destroyed property all across the twin cities. People were given inadequate compensation for the damages; for instance, a person whose roof had partially collapsed in our neighborhood in G-9/1 was offered Rs38 as compensation.

The culture of shoving everything that implicates the establishment in displaying incompetency under the carpet is still prevalent. We have a long way to go to change this culture. I expected that our free media would have covered some aspects of this dreadful event on its 25th anniversary and throw light on the lessons learnt but I have not seen any significant coverage regarding the event.

Mirza Imran Ahsan Karim

Published in The Express Tribune, April 12th, 2013. 

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Dengue Fever in Lahore. What we should know and do about it. How do I know I have Dengue fever.


Punjab and in particular Lahore is being crippled by increasing number of Dengue fever patients. We all know it is an illness caused by a virus. This virus is spread by Dengue mosquito. Without going into details of types and kinds of the mosquito, viruses and irrelevant data, I will endeavor to present here some basic facts so that if you or anyone near and dear to you has a fever these days, you should know what to do.

SYMPTOMS OF DENGUE FEVER: How can you diagnose Dengue fever.

Dengue virus infections cause a spectrum of illness ranging from asymptomatic, mild undifferentiated fever to classical dengue fever (DF), and dengue fever with haemorrhagic manifestations, or dengue haemorrhagic fever (DHF) and the dengue shock syndrome (DSS). Keep the following in mind when dealing with Dengue fever.

The symptoms generally are:

1. High continuous fever of 3 days or more

2. Abdominal pain

3. Small hemorrhages under the skin.

4. Rash. The skin rash of Dengue fever is mostly itchy and mostly occurs on the back.

5. Abdominal pain due to enlargement of Liver.

6. Fall in platelet count that precedes or occurs simultaneously with a rise in haematocrit

7. Normal WBC or leucopaenia with increase in Lymphocyte count.

8. Normal ESR (< 20mm per hour) It tends to increase in fevers caused by most of the infections in our region.

Some less common but very significant symptoms are:

• Acute abdominal pains, diarrhoea, severe gastrointestinal haemorrhage

• Severe headache,

• Inflammation of brain (Encephalitic) signs associated with or without intra-cranial hemorrhage

• Irregular pulse and heart rate

• Respiratory distress / difficulty in breathing.

PLATELETS:

In a normal person the platelet count in a blood sample is 150,000 to 250,000 / cu.mm. Platelets are the small particles which help in coagulation. If the platelet count is BELOW 100,000/ cmm, it should be considered an emergency and patient should be hospitalized. Remember the duration of fever is 5 – 7 days after which there is afebrile (fever less) phase which lasts for 2 to 5 days but is of high importance as most of the complications (including bleeding) occur in this period of time. So absence of fever in diagnosed case of Dengue does not mean that the patient should be allowed to move about.

If there is no bleeding and the platelet count is not going below 100,000 /cmm, majority of treatment consists of correcting the fluid balance, giving antipyretic medication (NEVER USE ASPIRIN as it can further complicate bleeding disorder), rest, good protein diet and antibiotics (if needed) to reduce the chance of secondary infection. As such antibiotics (Tarivid, Ofloxacin, Leflox, Ofloxin, Cephradine, Septran, Vibramycin, etc.) have no role in the treatment of Dengue fever. They are only used for any secondary infection in the body and in its absence should NOT be used.

TREATMENT OF DENGUE FEVER:

Look for these symptoms and decide:

• Restlessness or lethargy

• Cold extremities

• Bleeding in any form

• Oliguria (low urinary output), reluctance to drink fluids

• Rapid and weak pulse

Haematocrit of 40, or rising haematocrit

Platelet count of less than 100,000/mm3

• Acute abdominal pain

Most of the times such patients MUST be hospitalized and further treatment is done there.

If the patient REFUSES TO GO TO HOSPITAL, Do these:

1. Encourage the patient to drink fluids

2. Observe for coldness / blueness of extremities

3. Administer Paracetamol(Panodol, Calpol) for fever 10-15mg/kg/dose 4-6 hourly (limit to 5 doses in 24 hours)

4. Cold sponging as necessary, especially if the fever is above 102 F

5. Avoid aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (Bruffen, Feldene, Naproxyn, Synflex, Dicloran etc.)

HOW DO WE KNOW THAT THE PATIENT IS NOW OK AND DOES NOT NEED ANY MORE HOSPITAL STAY:

If these six (6) conditions are fulfilled, the patient should be discharged from the hospital:

1. Absence of fever for 24 hours without the use of antipyretics, and a return of appetite

2. Visible improvement in clinical picture

3. Stable haematocrit (laboratory finding on blood test)

4. Three days after recovery from shock

5. Platelet count greater than 50,000/mm3 and rising

6. No respiratory distress

PLEASE FOLLOW the instructions on media/ press about how to prevent Dengue fever and stay away from mosquito. Remember, this mosquito bites early in the morning and in the evenings, so avoid being outside at these times. Also this mosquito breeds in fresh water. So be careful of any such collection (leaking pipes, the drainage of air-conditioner and fridge, old/new tires, store room stuff which is not cleaned / dried daily, flower and other pots, water tanks (over head or at the ground level), kitchen and bathroom fittings where fresh water can pool and if allowed to stand for sometime will be a breeding ground for the Dengue mosquito. USE mosquito repellent when going out. AVOID going out to the public places during the time the infection is rampant. THIS INFECTION IS NOT TRANSMITTED THROUGH ANOTHER HUMAN BEING so there is no need to keep the patient in solitary rooms/ areas but as the mosquito can bite any of us after biting a patient with fever, it is advisable to avoid contact with large number of people.

If you or anyone around you have fever for more than 2 days with vomiting, headache, pain in the eyes and abdominal pain, DO NOT WASTE TIME but go to the nearest doctor/ hospital.

All dengue patients must be carefully observed for

complications for at least 2 days after recovery from fever. This is

because life threatening complications often occur during this phase.

Patients and households should be informed that severe

abdominal pain, passage of black stools, bleeding into the skin or

from the nose or gums, sweating, and cold skin are danger signs.

If any of these signs is noticed, the patient should be taken to the

hospital.

In case of emergency you can contact me also:

Tel: (+92) 0333 4307227.

PS: If you are outside Pakistan and plan to visit (particularly Lahore), this is NOT one of the best times to come back. If it is important pleases make sure you take all precautions to keep the mosquitoes away from you. That includes using mosquito repellents and avoiding going out doors. Also instead of PARACETAMOL we can use TYLENOL / ACETAMINOPHEN/ WILGESIC/ DIAGESIC. Last but not the least have faith in God. He will protect you.

WHERE CAN I GET TREATMENT FOR DENGUE FEVER AND GET MY TESTS DONE:

These hospitals in Lahore are catering for the needs of patients with Dengue Fever infection. They are mostly offering their services free of charges. Even the laboratory tests are charged at minimal rates. There are a number of private clinics/ hospitals which also take care of such patients but charge large amounts of money as their fees / lab charges.

1. Mayo hospital, Lahore.

2. Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Queens road.

3. Sheikh Zayed hospital.

4. Ittefaq hospital.

5. Services hospital, Shadman, Jail road.

6. Jinnah hospital, near Canal bank.

7. Mian Munshi hospital. Band road.

Other, expensive labs are Chughtai lab, Shokat Khanum lab, Agha Khan hospital lab, Labex, Zeenat clinic, Karachi Lab, Raceview lab, Mehran lab, and hundreds of others in virtually every area of the city.

The Punjab government has announced that 8 of its social security clinics in the city are being equipped to deal with cases of Dengue Fever. Information about these clinics can be had from the following toll-free number:
(+92)42 0800 73774. (This is not an on-line advisory service. Only for  inquiries about social security clinics).

USEFULNESS OF PAPAYA LEAVES IN RAISING PLATELET COUNT:

There is no cure as such for Dengue fever as discussed. There have been reports that Papaya (scientific name Circa Papaya) leave extract works miraculously in raising the platelet count if that goes down. Doctors working in the field of infectious diseases have confirmed this fact.

METHOD OF PREPARATION:

Papaya plant

Take two fresh papaya leaves (use only the leafy part, remove the stalks), wash, clean, pound and squeeze out the juice into a blender. That should yield approximately 2 tablespoons of bitter juice to be taken as it is. Do not boil or dilute with water. One serving per day is recommended.

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Freedom of speech or hate crime redifined?


First the excerpt from BBC News website:

Irving tests Europe’s free speech

As Europe proudly flexes its freedom of speech credentials in the ongoing row over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, even some of his enemies were uncomfortable that he faced incarceration for his unpalatable historical views.

for those readers who are mildly aware of the facts and figures of holocaust and its ramifications into the Western culture, and its ultimate inclusion in the thought process / collective psyche of the West, the guilt these facts, factoids,stories, movies, books and cornucopia of a very well planned propaganda about the real and presumed misery of a people generated in the mind of the post world war II free world, it is suggested that they read the tragedy accounts by unbiased historians and without prejudice. Nobody denies that atrocities were not committed and it surely was a crime against humanity when thousands of Jews were killed in the ghettos of Adolf Hitler’s regime. But is it fair to literally kidnap the free thinking and ban it by imposing harsh sentences in the name of ‘hate crimes’ when somebody dares to differ? Do ask yourself this question.

And its a coincidence that all claims about the freedom of speech are null and void when somebody from the same West (oh we are proud of our freedom and its these barbaric-extremist Muslims who are against the freedom of speech/ democratic values) dares to raise voice that ”hey give me a break, it wasn’t at least 6 millions Jews who perished in the concentration camps in Poland and Germany. Saying this, it’s on record, amounts to ‘hate crime’. What is hard to understand and goes against all logic, is the fact that if you do something to ridicule the very belief of a religion, you allow it, look forward to propagate it and any reactions thereof are labeled as ‘acts of terrorism and intolerance’, then its time you face the mirror and acknowledge the masked values boasting of freedom and democracy. The same thing has happened very recently on Facebook where ‘draw’ page was allowed but the pages about holocaust and Hitler were promptly banned.

The news of a famous historian, Mr. King’s trial and sentence have made me feel bad. Is he being punished for freedom of speech?

“…(Mr. King) has now been sentenced to three years after being found guilty of Holocaust denial at a trial in Vienna (reported BBC news)”.
It’s ironical that he is “guilty” of denying holocaust which is not as divine as a prophet at least, and neither is considered a book of God. But those who are guilty of making and publishing caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad (who incidentally declared that His followers are not to consider themselves faithful unless they have complete faith in the prophet hood of all the prophets from Abraham, Jesus, Isaac, Jacob to Moses) are hauled as the flag bearers of liberty and are above the law.

One section of the biased and totally under the influence of aforementioned ramification-into-collective-psyche press has the cheek to discuss this whole incidence by saying that Mr. King is a “notorious” guy who did the unthinkable by denying the ‘sacred’ holocaust (this may be noted that no sane person on earth can deny that killings are the most heinous of crimes and the killing of Jews by German authorities is lamentable and cannot be justified by any school of thought or religion. In the words of that section of the press …”Notorious British right-wing historian David Irving finally got his day in court in Vienna on Monday, where he is facing charges that could lead to up to 10 years of imprisonment in Austria on allegations that he denied the extent of the Holocaust”… How myopic we become when degrading a person whose only crime is to stay away from the mainstream; mainstream in this case means that why on earth he dared to differ from the intricately woven web of beliefs about the alleged killing of 6 million human beings, is evident from the following comments by the same ‘free speech’ advocates …”The self-confident, self-taught writer has enjoyed causing uproar, especially among mainstream historians, ever since the 1960s. His sensationally written and extensively documented biographies of leading Nazi figures were bestsellers up until the 1980s…”.

The world has a test case for its conscience. The press has to rethink about its much talked about ‘freedom’, because it’s not fair and democratic to punish someone whose crime is free speech and publication of what he thinks is right and if he is punished, then what about the Dutch cartoonist who insulted a billion people living on the same planet?

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Shortage of Water in Pakistan and Indian breach of Indus water treaty.


At Marala, on river Chenab (in Pakistan) the water flow was found to be 40% less than previous years in the second week of January 2010. The average flow at this point in last ten years has been 11,000 cusecs. The commissioner Indus water treaty in Pakistan, Mr. Syed Jamaat Ali  disclosed the facts recently. He exposed that the main reason for this decrease in the flow is due to the illegal and inhuman resource building by India on this river. According to a report during the years 2008-9 the river flow at Marala, Chenab has been less than 50% of the previous average.
It’s a matter of life and death for Pakistan that in all its rivers which come from India and Indian held Kashmir, the water flow is decreasing persistently. The fertile lands in the catchment areas of these rivers in Pakistan are being rendered barren gradually and at an alarming pace. Deforestation is at its full swing and dangerous environmental hazards are being produced. Along with the rivers Chenab, Indus, Jhelum, Ravi, Bias and Sutlej the lands are an example of barren landscape and ruins of human dwellings. The centuries old civilization which thrived along the banks of these once mighty rivers are now rapidly vanishing and social, cultural and economic impact of the Indian’s schemes of depriving Pakistan of its legal waters is monumental

India is not only building dams and power projects on these rivers but is also busy in diverting their flow. Last year only there was a shortage of 55,000 cusecs of water in Pakistan which is alarming and is becoming a cause of tension between the two countries. Its becoming vital for Pakistan to plead its case in the International court of justice because if remedial measures are not taken by India vast lands in Pakistan will convert into deserts and famine will result in Pakistan with massive loss of life and property.
The Indus water treaty of 1960 solved the water problem for India and Pakistan in a judicious manner. Both the countries were the signatories of the treaty but now very unfortunately India has taken an absolutely immoral stance and is stubbornly and deliberately depriving Pakistan of its legal waters. In a blatant violation of the treaty India is building more than sixty projects on the rivers whose water was legally owned by Pakistan. 147 kilometer up north the head Marala on river Chenab in the Indian held Kashmir, in district Doda, India is building the notorious Buglehar Dam and hydroelectric power plant. Its immediate result is that in Pakistan there has been such shortage in the flow of Chenab that they have to close the Marala-Ravi link canal which was a vital source of irrigation. In the command area of head Marala there simply is not enough water. As a result three million acres of fertile land has become barren. Pakistan couldn’t even had the Mangla dam filled at its full capacity due to this shortage. It has presented this issue on various international forums but nothing has been done in the right direction. Pakistan maintains that the design and structure of Baglehar dam is in total violation of the Indus water treaty. The World Bank was also contacted in this connection which appointed a consultant who concluded that the objections on Pakistan’s part are all valid and genuine. With this dam alone Pakistan is being deprived of 0.3 million and twenty one thousand acre feet of water annually. According to IWT (Indus water treaty) India cannot build dams to store waters on rivers Indus, Chenab and Jhelum. It can only have ‘run of river hydro electric power projects’. But in Buglehar dam alone the capacity to store water is in the tune of 0.32 million acre feet of water. By building these dams India has also reinforced its infrastructure in the Indian held Kashmir and is trying to mix the political issues with water problems. It seems that India is ready to convert the Pakistani rivers into Hakra and Sarsvati the once mighty rivers now converted into barren landscape by building dams over them.
In the last ten years India has built more than a dozen hydroelectric projects and dams on river Chenab with the resultant electricity production of 8696 megawatts. Mr. Zahur ul Hasan Dar of IWT council claims that by the year 2013 Pakistan faces the danger of being declared as calamity struck area. In October 2008 president Zardari took this issue with the prime minister of India and told him of the seriousness of the water crisis for Pakistan. But Indian government has turned a deaf ear to all these pleadings. A common opinion is that India as the eternal enemy of Pakistan, despite its claims of democracy and rule of law is deliberately trying to make Pakistan suffer due to loss of irrigation waters and power projects on its legal waters.

River Indus

River Indus

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Mian Nawaz Sharif: Democracy or Family Empire.


Nawaz Sharif of PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League) is himself the life long leader of his party. This is not a constitutional office he holds. Democracy which he claims he is fighting for, is not even an issue with him or his family who hold all important offices in the party. His younger brother Shahbaz Sharif is the Chief Minister of the biggest province, Punjab and the President of the party. The sons of Nawaz Sharif are all in the sprawling family business (in Dubai and England) and therefore have not been bestowed upon with offices of the party but his nephew, Hamza Sharif who is politically orientated is a member of National assembly. His in law, Mr. Ishaq Dar is a senator and a member of his kitchen cabinet. Husband of one of his cousins, Sohail Zia butt is the member of Central executive committee of PML(N). A sister’s son, Omar Sohail butt was chosen to become a MNA and another sister’s son, Khurram Sohail is ‘serving’ the nation in the capacity of member Punjab assembly. His wife’s nephew Mohsin Latif was made member provincial assembly and another near relative Bilal Yasin a MNA. Mian Nawaz Sharif made his son in law, Captain (retired) Safdar, got elected from Rawalpindi as MNA and when a seat of national assembly got vacant in the Mansehra district of NWFP, he gave the ticket to his brother Tahir Ali. But the guy who suffered in the hands of government agencies and was victimized, Siddiq ul Farooq was neither given a ticket for Rawalpindi or Mansehra. Even though his services for the party were commendable but he is not the part of the “family” and neither belongs to the ‘elite’ rich industrial / feudal group within the party.

Courtesy: mailto:salim.safi@janggroup.com.pk


PML(N)

Posted in CurrentAffairs, Islamabad, Pakistan, Politics, Relationship, relationships, social-sector, Society, Uncategorized, Unrest-in-Pakistan | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments

American War doesn’t make us smile.


The American missiles used inside the territory of Pakistan has killed 700 people in 2006. Only 14 wanted terrorists were killed. Senior adviser to US army, David Killculen told the congress during a briefing. He suggested that drone attacks be abolished but his advice has been neglected. If we consider this figure of 14 to be true, then the question arises that was it vital to kill them? As 98% people killed in these attacks were surely innocent, mostly women, children and old people. Can the human right groups think about this massive damage to the life of Pakistanis?
In 2009 American drones attacked Pakistani soil 44 times. During all these attacks only 5 wanted al-qaeda people were killed and 708 people died as a result of these missile attacks by man-less drones. Its like for every wanted terrorist Pakistan is made to pay for the lives of 140 innocent people. It also means that on an average 58 people die due to American missiles every month. When USA is killing 2 Pakistanis per day, how can they expect any significant number of people to support their policies in general and their Af-Pak policy in particular.

The statistics gathered by Govt. of Pakistan show that in four years (from 2006 to 2009) there has been 83 drone attacks killing a total of 1258 people. Even if 19 were wanted terrorists (why don’t you capture and try them America! is a popular slogan in Pakistan), what about the rest of 1239 innocent victims who died for US war by US drones living peacefully in their homes. How many small villages have been razed, how many destroyed houses are there and how many lost their limbs and became crippled for life? These and other questions haunt the psyche of average Pakistani where seeds of hatred against USA are growing alarmingly and US has to do something about it.

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The Lost Symbol: what it is all about.


A boy in his 20’s is lying helpless in a Turkish prison. He is cold and hungry while things around him are lousy and pathetic, the jailer is greedy and cruel. The boy has a lot of money and is the inheritor of a huge fortune. He got caught when on a spending/ whoring spree in Europe. Before landing  in his cell he was given the option of wealth or wisdom by his billionaire dad but he not only refused wisdom without the tag of money but also the college education. This boy is either killed or kills another helpless boy with the connivance of the jailer and goes to live in a Greek island where he suddenly becomes interested in wisdom and starts to devour world literature and women. Living in a posh Greek neighborhood he wants to be treated like a god. He loves Odyssey and then continues his literary pursuits till he becomes so well educated that in near future he becomes grand master of 33rd degree in the Washington DC’s freemason lodge. Who is this boy who changes his name after Moloch the unfortunate angel to Malakh. We will find later. The jailed boy with rich influential father is Zach.

Confusion is the first thing that ‘grips’ the reader while going through the latest bestseller of Dan Brown’s book “The Lost Symbol”. Not only this boy who refuses college in the first place becomes so good in literature and politics but also takes keen interest in and then starts to follow the occult and mysteries of the ancient world which according to Dan Brown are present in all the major religions of the world. The boy chooses occult as his specialty and not only his palatial mansion but his body is also decorated with sigils and tattoos depicting one or other mystery of the world. He however leaves one clean spot of skin on his forehead from which he is supposed to receive the ultimate wisdom from the evil gods or demons. This in short is the story of the boy, Malakh. Zach allegedly gets killed in the Turkish jail and the jailer after getting his booty never returns to the book though he is shown a middle aged guy and must have a family. Author thought it best to simply remove him from the scene after the murder. Readers’ sympathy winner boy is perhaps dead in a forlorn prison where his father has abandoned him in spite of his contacts with the highest officials in the state department. His dad is very well connected throughout the book but still chooses to leave his son there as if taking revenge for not choosing wisdom and college education and refusing to do anything with the mysterious family inheritance.

The famous historian / cryptic reader / Harvard professor of Mr. Brown, Robert Langdon is on a private visit to Washington DC. He has been invited there by nobody other than his rich and famous friend, Peter. Who is now in the same 33rd degree of Freemasonry as Malakh. Some decades ago, Malakh before becoming a literate mind has tried to kill the family of Peter. In that incident in which he goes to steal the secret and most sacred Pyramid from Peter’s house he kills Peter’s mother, Isabel and now the only surviving members of the family are Peter and his sister, Katherine. She is interested in Noetic sciences which is like relating the modern day science with the facts and fiction of the under world and mystery and occult and what not. Ancient knowledge is the second hero of the book and apparently that knowledge which emanated from every religion has become a tool of wisdom in the pure hands of Freemasons of Washington area. Malakh now heads them and is after the same pyramid whose capstone has been given to Langdon by Peter. Everything in the book is so secret and so wrapped in mystery that we are lost in the shroud of mystery till about 100 pages are left when suddenly a charade of events and lectures by Peter and Katherine unfold to tell us who is who.

Inou Sato is a Japanese American who is the director of CIA in Washington area. Her assistant Nola doesn’t sleep throughout the novel. In fact nobody gets any sleep during the entire length of the book which starts at about 6 pm and ends in the wee hours of the next morning. All the characters surprisingly and through some strange mystic power remain agile and a few yawns and sluggish moments apart, they are always spontaneous and ready to jump to the demands of the writer. Sato and Langdon find a cut right hand in the arena of the museum and the action starts. Robert recognizes this hand as belonging to his famous and rich and mason friend, Peter. So he is held hostage, naturally, and his life is in dire danger. Another masonry, Mr. Bellamy comes to rescue Robert from Sato and physically assaults not only the CIA director but a high police officer, Mr. Anderson. Both of them then run to the main library and the author goes on to describe the latest technological advances used by the American security agencies in apprehending the fugitives. They include night vision goggles and laser guided rifles which are so threatening. The reader at the same time lauds the efforts of Mr. Bellamy in rescuing Robert and his mate and the hi-tech equipment used by the CIA guys. Not to mention that the techie things fail and the hero and the heroine escape unharmed to the sanctuary of another Mason’s chapel. Before that we are told that the running mate of Robert, Ms. Katherine has been privileged enough to have a huge pod 5 to herself as her lab for the experiments of occult sciences and noetics where she runs weird things like measuring the human spirit in fractions of grams. The bad guy Malakh had already tried to kill her but could only destroy her pod and drown her assistant Ms. Trish in a sophisticated glass container along with a dead long squid. Katherine runs and ends up with Robert who is in the process of evading Ms. Sato and her professional killers.

During their rendezvous at the library and then at the temporary refuge at the blind pastor’s chapel they unmask the secret messages inscribed on the small pyramid and its capstone. Robert has brought this capstone with him and Katherine performs ancient scientific experiments to unmask the inscriptions on these two artifacts. As usual the historian Harvard professor, Robert Langdon is assigned the task of solving the complexities of these inscriptions which are many and present themselves at all levels. In the meantime the kidnapper has killed a CIA official also along with a lady guard and is in the process of killing both Robert and Katherine. In search of 8 Franklin squares the characters of the book spread out while Malakh goes out with his captor, Peter to an ancient temple in the mountains.

The ‘word’ is sacred. Dan Brown spends much energy and almost 100 pages in making us realize how important this ‘word’ is. All the mysterious inscriptions on the duo of pyramid and its capstone ultimately point towards this one entity. He brings examples from various cultures, religions and regions of the world in proof of his hypothesis. He has of course not studied Islam otherwise he would have known that Islam doesn’t practice occult phenomenon and everything has been made clear by its holy book Quran where God Almighty says that all the creations are there because of his omnipotence and that all He has to say is (of course a word),  “kun” and things happen, “fayakoon”. The writer spends all his energy to make this thing understood in the minds of the readers.

The climax of the book takes us to an underground deserted temple where Malakh has taken his captive, Peter with him, apparently to give ultimate blood sacrifice to possess those powers and knowledge of mysteries which have been deciphered from the little pyramid and its capstone. He believes this is the direction given by those cryptic maps on the base of the pyramid. He gives a lecture to Peter about things mysterious and ancient knowledge and how he attains to be godlike specially after he has castrated and purify himself by chanting various mantras. Peter, after having lost his right hand is in a hurry because Katherine lies bleeding in a secret chamber of Malakh’s mansion while he believes his dear and trustworthy friend; Robert is already dead in a glass coffin. Killed and drowned by the evil Malakh. But the tables suddenly turn when the evil addresses Peter and tells him that it’s the ultimate sacrifice as he is none other than his own son, Zach. Peter cries helplessly. The CIA chopper reaches the dome of the building in time to make the glass dome crash and right beneath it, on a stone slab, Malakh or Zach dies due to shattered glass shrapnel which tore his body. Back home Katherine has been saved by the CIA and they have pleasantly discovered that Robert was also alive. He was drowned in some kind of biologic liquid which maintains the circulation of air much like the circulation of oxygen inside the womb. Pretty happy ending. The harder part is after this. The legendary staircase is right there in the city and Peter who is remarkably safe and sound even after an amputated hand and much bleeding, takes Robert to those stairs where in a series of illusions and facts and glowing lights they talk about how the apocalypse is a misnomer and how the people need to burry themselves deeper into the meanings of gospel to find the true salvation. Found it confusing? Well, that’s how I felt after finishing the last page. (to be continued).

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Pakistan: Waiting for a Revolution!


The masses are shocked as in Pakistan the co Chairman of PPP Mr. Asif Ali Zardari leaves for London, then flies to Dubai and then calls the entire cabinet and the premier there. People are committing suicide because of increasing chaos and price hike and these guys are having fun on tax payers’ money. Now the people of Pakistan are saying that why not declare Dubai as the summer/ autumn/ winter capital of Pakistan.

The new government has not been able to deliver in any of the areas since it took oath in early 2008. With the lack of an independent judiciary in the state, justice has become something which is not achievable for a man in the street. This is the single most important factor which is making the lives of millions miserable. People simply have no rights. Its only the chosen few landlords/ industrialists/ ex army men who are the elite owners of the power corridors and every law can be bend to suit their needs. Recently a large number of scandals came to press in which public property was given at dirt cheap prices to the civil bureaucracy but no action has been taken against the offenders. While in Karachi a guy hanged himself to death when he couldn’t pay a small loan by the Citibank. Statistics are now available with the national assembly that billions of rupees of debts have been waived off by the banks. The big names are insiders of the government so no action will ever be taken against them. There is growing unrest in the country due to this lawlessness and no remedial measures are seen even in the distant future. The political leadership simply appears to have lost all sense of direction.

In the troubled NWFP province and in FATA (federally administered areas) the religious fanatics have reached the posh locality of the provincial capital, Peshawar, called Hyat-abad. They have ordered the cable operators to censor certain channels and the guards in the locality have been told that they will be paid by those who have given orders that if they see anything ‘illicit and against their norms’ they should inform them. Failure to comply would lead to death. This is tantamount to running a state within a state but the government is happy when its spokesperson Mr. Rehman Malik comes on the TV and tells that everything is under control. It is most certainly not. The people of Pakistan are being lost in a cloud of apprehensions created by the recent media growth. Every news channel with its so called experts and analysts keep airing the doubts about the fate of the country and there is a race to portray the darkest possible picture. Common man cannot cope with the ever increasing prices of essential utilities and commodities and people have started to either kill their children or sell them. These incidences were sporadic to begin with but now there are blaring headlines every day informing the people of the suicide rate and occurrences of any particular day. Social pressures are the most ignored ones and no academic policies have been thought of or made to counter these rapidly changing circumstances in the country. The polarization between the haves and have nots have become increasingly sharp and some believe its heading towards a bloodshed.

Posted in Culture, CurrentAffairs, International, Islam, News, Pakistan, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Politics, Unrest-in-Pakistan | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments