How to Determine if Your Liver is Safe & Understanding the Process

If you’re concerned about your health, you may have surely come across the word “liver”, perhaps on radio, TV, and even in domestic discussions. Liver stands out as a popular part of the body. Just as the term ‘liver’ is well-known, it is also known popular to hear people lose their precious lives because of complications or infections that affect the liver. These disorders include viral hepatitis, cirrhosis, bile duct obstruction, hepatoma (cancer of the liver) etc. The liver has numerous functions, including production of proteins, enzymes and certain chemicals, detoxification of alcohol and other chemicals, vitamins and minerals, and maintenance of balance of hormones, among other essential functions.

Due to this, it is highly essential for you to protect your liver.

The first step of ensuring your liver is safe is to conduct a liver function test. Your blood sample shall be taken and used to conduct the test by a medical laboratory scientist. Questions popping up in your mind are probably “how can blood be used to check the state of your liver?” Breathe out. As already said, the liver produces some enzymes and other chemicals. These chemicals produced by the liver end up in your blood. So if the quantity being produced is low or high, then it shows there’s something wrong with your liver. The machine/analyzer the Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS) uses can measure the quantity of them, and if compared to a standard reference range (normal range of values), we can tell if it’s high or low, hence determination of an ill state of your liver.

These enzymes have unfriendly names. They include

  • Alanine aminotransferase (ALT)
  • Aspartate aminotransferase (AST)
  • Alkaline phosphatase (ALP)
  • Gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT)
  • Lactate dehydrogenase (LDH)

The Total Protein (TP) in your blood is also measured. Bilirubin is measured as well.

The results for these are critically analyzed by an MLS and a physician to determine whether the ill condition is with the liver itself, or regions close to the liver. Medical attention can be sought right after, and it may involve conduction of other tests for confirmation of diagnosis.

To check your liver function state, kindly contact +233 540 666 781.

PS: This article was written by Joseph Ofori, a graduate of University of Ghana, and a practising Medical Laboratory Scientist. It was proofread by MLS Alexander Kwakye, a Modern Medical Associate and MLS at University Hospital, KNUST.

Understanding the Concept of Kidney Function Test

I’m sure by now you know there’s an essential part of your body called kidney. You may have probably heard someone die from kidney failure or other related conditions. Sometimes we panic, because these complications put to death our loved ones, and we feel same can happen to us. But are you aware that there’s a way to check if your kidney is in good state or not?

Let me introduce you to kidney/renal function test. Just as how you filter unclean water containing visible particles to get rid of the dirt or waste, the kidney filters blood and removes unwanted and harmful waste in it. After filtration, it accumulates those wastes together with excess water from the blood to form urine.

This simply means if your kidney is at fault, a lot of waste shall be kept in your system, and that could be harmful for your health.

A Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS) conducts the test. The health professional takes your blood sample for the test (or urine sample, for specific kidney function related tests). He/she comes out with values that represent the state of your kidney.

The parameters measured are mostly Urea, Creatinine, Uric Acid and Electrolytes (Sodium, Potassium, Bicarbonates). If you skipped the scientific names, welcome back. Don’t let it scare you. I’ll do my best to break it down for you in simple terms the best possible way.

The underlining principle is that the analyzer quantifies the chemicals in your serum (the liquid portion of your blood that the professional draws from you) that are filtered by the kidney to form urine. Your kidney is constantly doing its job, but definitely some of these chemicals will still be in the blood stream. So after quantification, if the above mentioned chemicals are above or below what is expected to be there (according to a reference range), then it indicates your kidney may not be in a good state.

For instance, 98% of all Creatinine produced in the body is excreted or removed by the kidney. So if you have a lot of it in your blood stream… yes, you said it, the kidney isn’t doing its job properly. It’s a similar thing with urea. All the parameters mentioned above put together gives a broad picture of how your kidney is functioning.

The results are evaluated by the MLS and physician to identify what exactly is wrong with your kidney, i.e. if your results are abnormal. Further tests may be conducted to confirm the diagnosis. And appropriate remedy is administered right after. Kidney related conditions are easier to be treated when realized early enough. To conduct your kidney function test, kindly call/SMS/WhatsApp +233 540 666 781.

PS: This article was written by Joseph Ofori, a graduate of University of Ghana, and a practising Medical Laboratory Scientist. It was proofread by MLS Alexander Kwakye, a Modern Medical Associate and MLS at University Hospital, KNUST.

Confidence; a Lost Factor in Ghanaians

Confidence breeds confidence. Confidence breeds success. Confidence can make you do the unthinkable. With confidence, you can climb the highest ladder. Confidence, although a good habit, is barely discussed in this part of the world. We don’t raise our children with confidence. When a child is very confident in Ghana, we automatically think he/she might’ve probably being raised abroad. It’s almost impossible to grow up with such a trait here.

Ghanaian adults don’t respect children. It has even gotten better now. As a kid, any adult at all could whip another’s child freely. I thank my parents for not allowing that. Think about the names we call children here… “herh”, “small boy/girl”, “eyi”, etc. You may be thinking that’s not a big deal, but it has a subconscious effect on these kids. We forget they are young kings and queens.

When a child goes wrong, we publicly insult them and treat them as foolish idiots. The number of times they hear abusive words are multiple times more than they hear praises. In primary school, the mechanism of control is putting fear in pupils. Teachers shout at them anyhow they want, to earn their respect. Actually, nobody praises them at all. Well, unless it’s a seduction to send them to buy us something. I’m not saying children shouldn’t be disciplined, but the same way we find no problem in looking down on them, we shouldn’t also find a problem with installing a dint of confidence in them.

Due to all these, we grow up timid and with small dreams or none at all. Cast your mind back into school. Do you remember the number of people who were always hiding from that teacher who liked to ask a lot of questions, all because they lacked confidence of getting it wrong? How many people were able to ask questions in your class? Yes, you’re struggling to come up with a high number, because most of us contemplated if it’s a sensible question, due to negative experiences.

I was victim of lack of confidence. Naturally, I’m a quiet person. I was very timid. Every time I tried to be active a bit, my teachers furiously told me “Ofori, you’re becoming unbecoming”, then I’d run back into my shelf. During my senior high school days, I was able to change that. I wanted to have a balance in life, so I surrounded myself with people who lived a happy and carefree life, people who entertained themselves. I learnt a lot from a friend nicknamed 2 PM and another called Alan (in uni). With them, I was able to carry out successful activities and voice my opinion out. The fear started wearing off to the point that I was able to contest for positions, organize events, MC at programmes, talk on radio and publicly, and a lot more. Accomplishments that takes confidence to undertake. However, I lose a percentage of this confidence when I go to a new environment, till I’m able to remind myself that I’m it!

Boost your confidence today. Infect your friends and family with it. Put it in your kids. Confidence will make you win.

The Downs & Ups of VGMA 2018: A Review

The 19th edition of Vodafone Ghana Music Awards (VGMA) was held last night, April 14, 2018 at the Accra International Conference center. It still stands as the only music event which Ghanaians, both old and young stay glued to their TV set to watch entirely. It also doubles up as the most criticized music event in Ghana.

Patapaa on the red carpet. Photo credit: Kuulpeeps

Amidst the trolls, disappointments, hilarious moments, and what have you, we always have a good moment and something worth discussing. Without further ado, let have a quick review of the event, shall we?

Charter House, the VGMA organizers are listeners. They’re learning from their mistakes, and correcting them bit by bit. Last night’s show happens to be one of the best I’ve witnessed thus far. As promised, the red carpet session started some minutes into 7 pm, unlike the previous years where it starts hours later. The main event started some minutes before 9 pm and ended at 1:15 am the next morning. This shows that they did a decent job with the time. However, it can get better.

The programme was handled by the MCs, John Dumelo and Berla Mundi. When news broke out that these 2 would be hosting the event, I had a smile on my face, because some of the memorable moments we’ve had at the VGMAs were when Dumelo presented awards. Berla Mundi had been already doing a remarkable job on the red carpet. The pair was fun. The shared jokes, did freestyle raps, and the famous Akwaaba dance, all to entertain the fans. Dumelo, at some points however seemed a little tensed up, but it still didn’t take away complete fun out of the night.

Mz Forson on the red carpet

VGMAs have been dealing with light problems for a while now, but this year’s was quite appreciable to the eyes. Viewers always complaining about the sound was later revealed to that it is a setback at the end of GTV, because they transmit sound in mono, producing bad sound. TV3 was the official media partner this year, exclusively showing it, so we enjoyed a better sound (hopefully, they transmit it to a better output). The stage was fairly okay.

Performances this year were comparatively enjoyable. Although there were a lot of satisfactory performances, the likes of Sarkodie, Samini and Stonebwoy stood out. One moment we all surely enjoyed was the comeback of the legendary trio, Praye. The performances which I’d say were substandard are that of Kwesi Arthur and Nasty C.

The downs of the night include the break in transmission when Nana Aba Anamoah was to present an award. Viewers quickly linked it to the bad blood between her and TV3 Network. However, they’ve apologized. Also, some artistes being given more than necessary time to perform. Lastly, the boring nature of most award presenters.

VGMA 2018 shall go into the books as one of the best in all the 19 editions since the awards started. I hope the organizers maintain the standard and work on making it better.

Why Sarkodie May Never Win a Grammy

Undoubtedly Ghana’s most decorated musician, BET and MTV award winner, and one of the most influential personalities of our time, Sarkodie has hinted several times about his desire to win a Grammy— on “Original” and other songs. Upon being the African rapper with the most awards, Sarkodie believes the highest he can go is to kiss a Grammy trophy. But I always wonder if that’s possible.

I thought Michael Owusu-Addo (real name) had given up on those dreams till quite recently, in a freestyle with Strongman, he made that statement again. Has Sarkodie really taken time to think about the possibility of him walking up that stage to grab the award?

Angelique Kidjo

It’s quite sad to face the fact that there are only 7 Africans who have won Grammys since the awards show started in 1959. GRAMMYs happens to be the most enviable and topmost awards scheme in the world presented by The Recording Academy. That’s to say if a musician wins a Grammy he/she is considered to have reached the peak of his/her career. It’s noticeable that the only categories that African performers are able to occupy and win are Best World Music Album and Best Contemporary World Music Album categories. The history-making musicians who have won Grammys as Africans are: Ali Farka Toure (Mali), Lady Smith Black Mambazo (South Africa), Tinariwen (Mali), Youssou N’Dour (Senegal), Wouter Kellerman (South Africa), Soweto Gospel Choir (South Africa), and Angelique Kidjo (Benin).

In 2016, Stonebwoy’s “Livingstone EP” was considered by The Recording Academy but couldn’t make the final nominations cut. Same happened to Blakk Rasta this year. This year, the closest Stonebwoy can get to a Grammy win is if Morgan Heritage wins the Reggae Album of the Year. Rocky Dawuni happens to be the first Ghanaian to be have a full nomination, in 2016, but he lost out. And Killbeatz? His alleged Grammy nomination is debatable.

Considering Sarkodie, a rapper (and once-in-a-while singer) who does the genres Hiplife and Hip-Hop, he stands almost no chance of winning a Grammy. Looking at the list mentioned above, they do mostly traditional and folk music filled with indigenous cultural sounds and rhythm. The closest Sarkodie has been to that is his 3rd studio album, “Mary.” In my review of “Mary”, I made mention that I thought Sarkodie would use the live recorded Highlife/Hiplife album to reach the Grammy heights he has always been talking about. But the body of work didn’t make a huge impact even in Ghana.

Hip-Hop is an untouchable genre as the United States rappers themselves compete very keenly even to gain nominations. I mean, a legendary rapper like Nas, and the current generation’s favourite, J. Cole have no Grammys to their names. So who is Sarkodie to go near that spot? To hit the nail right on its head, Sarkodie’s music does not suit any category in the Grammys as it stands. The only way he can get close to winning a Grammy is if he does pure cultural music which makes an impact in the whole of Africa (which I doubt is going to happen), or if The Recording Academy creates another category that will favour him. Another chance is to get featured on an album nominated (and won) in a category which is awarded to all featured artistes. Till then, Sarkodie’s Grammy dream may forever remain a dream.

Words by Joseph Aqweci Ofori