Browsing 'health' News

Lesley Walker / Doha News

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A 25-year-old man has been diagnosed with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), in the second case Qatar has seen this year.

The patient had sought medical advice at a primary healthcare center in Qatar after suffering from fever, cough and body pain for several days, the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) said.

He tested posted for MERS and was admitted to the hospital in stable condition.

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Health officials are working to identify the possible source of infection, as the man had not traveled out of the country recently, or been in contact with anyone else with MERS.

Other patients

MERS is a viral respiratory illness, and can spread when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms include fever, coughing, a sore throat and in some cases, diarrhea.

Last month, Qatar’s first MERS case of 2017 was announced. The 62-year-old expat was admitted to Hamad Hospital after being diagnosed with the virus.

BSIP/UIG

MERS

As with the most recent case, the patient had not traveled outside the country or been in contact with symptomatic people in the weeks leading up to his illness.

The man experienced fever, night sweats and abdominal pain before testing positive for MERS.

He has since fully recovered and was discharged from the hospital, MOPH said yesterday.

Camel link

Overall, the country has seen 20 cases of MERS since the virus was discovered in 2012, seven of them fatal.

The vast majority of cases worldwide in the past five years have originated in Saudi Arabia.

Chantelle D'mello / Doha News

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Studies are ongoing to find out how the disease spreads. Due to links to camels, people with chronic health conditions, the young and the elderly are advised against contact with the animals.

A vaccine against the illness is now in the works and is expected to be out by the end of the year, officials previously said.

The ministry has urged residents with any questions about the virus to call two 24-hour hotlines at 6674 0948 and 6674 0951.

Thoughts?

Hissa Al-Hitmi

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Qatar residents have long embraced plastic surgery as a means to improve their body shapes and facial features.

But now, many are forking over thousands of riyals to obtain a different goal: the perfect smile.

According to several dentists who spoke to Doha News, smile enhancement treatments like dental veneers and teeth whitening have been on the rise in Qatar for the past three or four years.

Reem Saad / Doha News

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The increasing popularity of such procedures appears to be related to the rise of social media and the sharing of images online.

According to Anu Rengit, a prosthodontist at Dr. Sarah’s Specialist Dental Centre in West Bay:

“It is the selfie era. Everyone will be seeing your smile, so teeth are definitely important because your smile is your calling card,” she said.

White teeth

Fatima Al-Binali can relate.

The 28-year-old business analyst said she used to be very self-conscious about her teeth discoloration.

“I didn’t feel confident when I smiled or when I laughed. I felt like every time I smiled someone was staring at my teeth,” she recalled to Doha News.

One day, she noticed and asked her cousin about her white teeth, and was told about dental veneers.

Pixabay

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Al-Binali said she went straight to the dentist the next day to ask for a similar procedure.

Veneers and lumineers

Smile enhancement treatments include procedures such as teeth whitening, dental veneers and lumineers.

Dental veneers are permanent thin ceramic layers that cover the surface of the teeth to change the appearance and color of the tooth. Before the procedure, the enamel of the tooth needs to be shaved.

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Lumineers are similar to veneers, but are thinner and require less time to do.

Al-Binali said she used to spend an average of QR5,000 a year for a whiter smile, paying about QR1,700 every four months.

However, the one-time cost for veneers ranges from QR3,000 to QR3,500, whereas for lumineers it is around QR4,000.

Oral hygiene first

Dr. Shahnaz Kader, a dentist at Yara Medical Center near Villaggio Mall, told Doha News that about half of her patients now request smile enhancement treatments.

That’s up from about a third two years ago.

Pixabay

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The trend is not limited to young people either, with patients ranging from 20 to 50 years old, Kader said.

But as the procedures get more popular, several dentists in Qatar want patients to know that oral hygiene should be their first priority.

Speaking to Doha News, Dr. Hana Hasse, a specialist in orthodontics at the German Dental Centre in Madinat Khalifa North, said:

“We have a duty, and we have an oath in the medical profession to check for cavities, root canal and broken teeth, then we look at enhancing the smile.”

The draw of cosmetic dentistry is now so strong, patients sometimes forgo necessary procedures for aesthetic improvements.

Kader for example said she has had some patients with tooth decay who, instead of getting a filling, sought out smile enhancements.

Health versus beauty

And there can be drawbacks to having a sparkly smile.

Al-Binali said she now suffers from sensitivity after her teeth’s enamel was removed.

“My confidence is boosted because of my veneers, but now my teeth are very sensitive to temperatures. I now wish that I took better care of my oral hygiene when I was younger,” she said.

Indeed, children in Qatar do not have good teeth.

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In 2013, the government began mandating dental screenings for kids after finding that seven out 10 six-year-olds suffer from varying amounts of dental decay.

Dentists said they have been trying to do their part by educating patients so that both health and aesthetic enhancements can be obtained.

Dr. Burak Gokdeniz, a specialist in prosthodontics at the German Dental Centre, said:

“Even when patients come for aesthetics, we focus on the health problems first. Without health, aesthetics is nonsense.”

Thoughts?

To raise awareness about autism, several Qatar ministries, businesses and other buildings lit up in blue last night.

Qatar joined several nations across the globe to mark World Autism Day.

The UN-designated day began a year after Qatar’s UN ambassador proposed it a decade ago.

Autism is a disorder that affects the brain’s development of social and communication skills, making it difficult for people to form relationships.

The condition typically manifests by the time children are two or three years old.

Its cause remains unknown, though both genetics and environmental factors are thought to play a role, according to Autism Speaks.

‘Huge problem’

According to the prestigious Cleveland Clinic, autism is a “huge problem” in Qatar, which has seen a sharp rise in cases in recent years.

It has been working to train doctors in the country to treat the disorder, and is also collaborating on a three-year project to determine the scope of autism in Qatar.

The “surprisingly high” prevalence is speculated to be due to genetic factors and high rates of consanguineous marriages, the hospital said in February.

Sidra

Sidra outpatient clinic

As the disorder becomes more prevalent, Qatar’s network of support services has also been expanding.

In a statement this week, the Sidra Medical and Research Center said there are now clinical services, support groups, behavioral therapies and school-based programs available in the country.

Sidra added that its doctors work quickly to conduct assessments of children referred to them with suspected autism disorders.

This allows for earlier diagnosis, intervention and treatment.

National plan

Meanwhile, a local group has been working to finalize the Qatar National Autism Plan, which is based on six pillars: Awareness; Early Recognition and Screening; Diagnosis and Assessment; Interventions; Education and Transition into Adolescence, Adulthood and Elderhood.

The plan is being spearheaded by the Qatar Autism Families Association, whose head Fatima Al Sulaiti said last year:

“Even though autism is a lifelong condition, the right support at the right time can make an enormous difference to our children’s life.”

Thoughts?