POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION
POTASSIUM CHANNEL ACTIVATORS
mental confusion, feelings of worthless-
ness, threats of suicide or harm to the
baby, and sometimes
delusions.
Hospital
admission, ideally with the baby, and
antidepressant drugs are often needed.
postpartum depression See
postnatd
depression.
postpartum haemorrhage Excessive
blood loss after
childbirth
. It is more
common after a long labour or after a
multiple birth. The haemorrhage is usu-
ally due to excessive bleeding from the
site where the
placenta
was attached to
the uterus.
post-traumatic
stress
disorder A
form of anxiety that develops after a
stressful or frightening event. Common
causes include natural disasters, vio-
lence, rape, torture, serious physical
injury, and military combat. Symptoms,
which may develop many months after
the event, include recurring memories
or dreams of the event, a sense of pers-
onal isolation, and disturbed sleep and
concentration. There may be a deadening
of feelings, or irritability and feelings of
guilt, sometimes building up to
depres-
sion.
Most people recover, in time, with
emotional support and counselling.
postural drainage A technique that
enables sputum (phlegm) or other se-
cretions to drain from a person's lungs
in order to clear them. The person lies
in a way that allows the secretions to
drain by gravity into the
trachea
, from
where they are coughed up. Tapping the
person's chest with cupped hands can
help to loosen sticky secretions.
postural hypotension See
hypotension.
posture The relative position of different
parts of the body at rest or during
movement. Good posture consists of
balancing the body weight around the
body's centre of gravity in the lower spine
and pelvis. Maintaining good posture
helps prevent neck pain and back pain.
post-viral fatigue syndrome See
my-
algic encephalomyelitis.
potassium A
mineral
needed to help
maintain normal heart rhythm, regulate
the body's water balance, conduct nerve
impulses, and contract muscles. Dietary
sources of potassium include lean meat,
whole grains, green leafy vegetables,
beans, and various fruits, such as apri-
cots, dates, and peaches.
A low level of potassium in the blood
is known as hypokalaemia. It is usually
a result of loss of fluids through diar-
rhoea and/or vomiting, and causes
fatigue, drowsiness, dizziness, and mus-
cle weakness. In more severe cases,
there may be abnormal heart rhythms
and muscle paralysis.
Excess potassium in the blood is
known as hyperkalaemia and is much
less common than hypokalaemia. It may
be due to excessive intake of potassium
supplements, severe
kidney failure
,
Addi-
son's disease,
or prolonged treatment with
potassium-sparing
diuretics
. The effects
of high potassium
levels in the blood
can include numb-
ness and tingling,
disturbances of the
heart rhythm, and
muscle paralysis. In
severe cases, there
may be
heart failure
.
potassium channel
activators A class
of drugs that are
used in the pre-
vention and long-
term treatment of
angina
. Nicorandil is
a potassium channel
activator that acts
POSTURAL DRAINAGE
Physiotherapist
Chest tapped
to loosen
secretions
Head low
to allow
secretions
to drain
POSTURAL DRAINAGE WITH CHEST PHYSIOTHERAPY
P
459
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