January 19, 2017

COPD: What is the Danger of Breathing Troubles?

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) refers to a group of progressive lung diseases that cause trouble breathing. According to the COPD foundation, nearly 30 million people are affected with this disease in the United States. Many do not realize that they may suffer from this condition because early symptoms usually include coughing and breathlessness, which is easy to mistake for a normal part of aging.

This disease is better understood when one learns the process in which the human body exchanges oxygen between the lungs and blood. This process begins when the inhaled air travels through the bronchial tubes (airways). Next it makes its way through the bronchioles– branches of the bronchial tubes– into the alveoli, which are sacs surrounded by blood capillaries. When the air reaches the alveoli the capillaries of the pulmonary arteries absorb the oxygen and the excess carbon dioxide and extraneous gasses are exhaled. The alveoli are elastic organs which allows them to inflate and deflate as air is breathed in and out.

One of the most common reasons for why people develop COPD in older age is the loss of elasticity in the alveoli. Additionally, the swelling of airways and excretion of mucus can also indicate developing COPD. A tightness in the chest and frequent colds or infections are symptoms which indicate the development of this disease. It is important that a person over the age of 65 is aware of this disease because many of the symptoms may be mistaken for a less severe illness. The course of treatment will be better optimized if there is an early diagnosis of COPD.

Sources:

COPD vs. Emphysema: What’s the difference? Fletcher, Judith. Medical News Today. Retrieved from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/314803.php

What is COPD? COPD Foundation. Retrieved from: http://www.copdfoundation.org/What-is-COPD/Understanding-COPD/What-is-COPD.aspx

COPD Overview. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved from: http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/copd/home/ovc-20204882

January 4, 2017

New Drug Promises Relief for Uveitis Patients

Filed under: health — Tags: , , , , , , , — jpestano @ 6:55 pm

7137093023_2365c21798_zUveitis is known to be a very painful condition that causes severe inflammation in the middle layer of the eyeball. There are many conventional treatments for this disease, beginning with an action as simple as using anti-inflammation eye drops to performing eye surgery in very extreme cases.

In June of 2016, an immune-suppressing drug, Humiria, has received approval to treat uveitis. This drug has been known to provide relief from the burning sensation as a result of inflammation. Although it does not cure uveitis, it is a great relief to many people who experience this condition [1]. According to the lead researcher, Dr. Glen Jaffe, this is the first drug to relieve symptoms of uveitis in FDA history that does not contain steroids [1]. In addition, this drug is able to block the proteins that are the primary cause of the inflammation caused in the eye.

Although the drug does not work towards the treatment of the condition it allows the patient to have some relief when curing the condition with additional medication.

[1] Immune-Based Drug May Ease Chronic Eye Condition. Reinberg, Steven. Health Day. Retrieved From: https://consumer.healthday.com/eye-care-information-13/eye-and-vision-problem-news-295/immune-suppressing-drug-eases-eye-inflammation-condition-714654.html

December 21, 2016

Things You Need to Know About Acupuncture

Filed under: health — Tags: , , , , , , , , — jpestano @ 5:35 pm

acupuncture-1211182_960_720Typical treatments for pain can include a variety of medications or alternative therapies such as massage or physiotherapy. Acupuncture, which is a traditional Chinese therapy, has gained popularity in North America over the past few years. This therapy is based off of traditional Chinese philosophy and uses a unique approach – needles – to cure conditions related to the digestive, endocrine, immune and cardiovascular systems [1].

The core of this philosophy is based on energy being stimulated in the human body. Traditional Chinese medicine specialists believed that there is a continuous flow of energy in the body and if it was stopped it would result in complications in the above mentioned body systems. They intended to treat this by stimulating certain parts of the body with very fine sterile needles. The more specific procedure of what occurs during a typical session of acupuncture therapy is as follows:

  • The session should begin by the therapist examining the patient’s health history. Similar to any other type of treatment, it is vital that the professional knows about any conditions or interactions that may complicate the process.
  • Next the therapist may examine different attributes of the tongue for shape, color, and coating. This is due to the fact that traditional Chinese medication outlines certain parts of the body as acupoints, which are the best points to stimulate with needles.
  • Next the therapist evaluates the primal acupoints and notifies the patient when each point will be stimulated.

It is important to remember that the results of this treatment are highly relative and may vary person to person [2]. This is due to the variance in relief each person feels. Since it is hard to definitively determine the results of the treatment, it is a wise idea to consult people or read testimonials.

[1] How acupuncture can relieve pain and improve sleep, digestion and emotional well-being. UC San Diego: Center for Integrative Medicine. Retrieved from: http://cim.ucsd.edu/clinical-care/acupuncture.shtml

[2] Acupuncture. Medicine Net. Retrieved from: http://www.medicinenet.com/acupuncture/article.htm

December 7, 2016

What You Need To Know About Multiple Sclerosis

Orange Multiple Sclerosis ribbon painted on face

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease in the central nervous system of the human body. The disease causes an inflammation in the protective covering of the nerves, called myelin, and often causes permanent damage to this covering. The myelin sheath is what transmits nerve impulses through nerve fibers. If damaged, the ability for nerves to signal to each other may be compromised and cause irreversible disability.

Although researchers have spent many decades researching this condition, they have not been able to discover a concrete cause for this disease. As of now, there is still research that is being done in order to determine the lifestyle, environmental, genetic and biological factors that contribute to this complication. Studies have shown that MS is more common in women (3 times more likely) and of people with a northern European background. It is usually diagnosed between the ages of 15-40.

Furthermore, this disease can be classified into different types divided by patient experience. For instance, relapsing remitting MS, is the type of MS where patients face the inflammation in episodes of varied length (usually from a few days to a few months) followed by periods of recovery, where many symptoms return. This is the most common form of MS, affecting 85% of patients. Progressive MS is when the symptoms continually increase in magnitude and result in permanent loss of functions.

There is no proven cure for MS. However, there are many forms of treatment that are being researched and deliberated each day. Research is concentrated on the viability of potential therapies, improving imaging technology to understand the brain better, and learning more about cause and risk factors.

Sources:

What is MS? Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. Retrieved from: https://mssociety.ca/about-ms/what-is-ms

July 15, 2010

Eight Hair Loss Myths

Filed under: baldness,hair loss — Tags: , , — patt @ 5:19 pm

balding, receding hairlineFor men and women alike, hair loss is one topic that most people choose to avoid. Losing your hair just isn’t the easiest thing to adjust to, and can be a sore topic for many men and women with receding hairlines. There are many myths surrounding the mystery of hair loss, stemmed from the beginning of embarrassment linking to hair recession.

Eight Hair Loss Myths:

  1. Hats – Just because you never took off that baseball cap when you were young doesn’t mean that you will experience hair loss. The only way that wearing a hat could cause hair loss will occur is if the hat were so tight that it cut off the circulation of the hair follicles.
  2. Hair Dryers – No hair dryer that is recommended for safe usage is able to blow off hair. If you use your hair dryer at the recommended distance, it’s extremely unlikely that your hair dryer will make a significant difference in your hair loss.
  3. Standing on your head – As the myth goes, standing on your head will increase the blood flow to your head, and in doing so provide better circulation for your scalp. The truth of the matter is that your follicles need much more than blood flow to induce growth.
  4. Haircuts Improve Hair Thickness – Sometimes it seems that when you get a haircut your hair grows back thicker and fuller, and to a point, this is true. The “thickest” part of the hair is at the base, which makes it appear that your hair is thicker and fuller at first. As the hair cycle continues, your individual hairs will grow to be the exact same diameter as they were before you cut your hair.
  5. More Sex = More Hair – There is no evidence to confirm that you will grow more hair as a result of increased sexual activities. Likewise, there is no evidence to confirm that you’ll lose more hair if your sexual activities subside.
  6. It’s Your Mother’s Fault – Many people think that the male pattern baldness gene can only be transferred from your mother’s side. This isn’t true, as hair loss is a hereditary trait and can be inherited from both mom and dad’s side of the family.
  7. Curry and Alcohol Rubs – Bathing your scalp in any substance, whether it’s curry or alcohol isn’t going to do anything to improve the growth of your hair follicles, and they’re more likely to make your head smell funny than anything else.
  8. There is No Way to Treat or Prevent Hair Loss – This is completely untrue. With the recent advances in the medical community, hair loss has become a treatable and preventable condition. If you’re concerned that you may be experiencing excessive hair loss, talk to your doctor about a treatment plan that is right for you, whether it involves taking a hair loss medication, taking a mineral supplement or receiving a follicle transplant, there are many options available to help you fight that receding hair line.