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What Is Lou Gehrig S Disease And What Can Be Done To Prolong Quality Of Life

(category: Disease-Illness, Word count: 413)
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Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis or ALS is more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease because the famous baseball player contracted it and ultimately died from it at age 37. ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects the spinal cord and nerve cells in the brain. After diagnosis, the expected life span of a patient suffering from the disease is less than five years. It is a progressive disease that eventually and inevitably leads to death.

Unfortunately, there is no known cure for this fatal disease. Riluzole, however, has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration for use in treating ALS. Although this drug does not repair damage already done, it does slow the decline, extending the life of the patient for several months. It also delays the time when life support means will be necessary. Riluzole decreases the release of glutamate, which will reduce damage to motor neurons. This new drug instills hope in ALS patients and their families that there may one day be a cure for the disease.

Other treatments for the disease are designed to improve the quality of life in an ALS patient. Because the muscles deteriorate until they no longer function and this happens at varying speeds, a physician will be able to develop a medical plan that is best suited for the individual. Each case should be evaluated for the progression and severity of symptoms at that period.

Drugs such as ibuprofen will relieve general pain and it is commonly used to enhance comfort levels. Baclofen or tizanadine will help reduce muscle spasms. Physical therapy is essential in maintaining flexibility and reducing risk of permanent muscle contractions. It will also help with pain management.

Proper nutrition is important to maintain as ALS patient need easy to swallow foods that build energy. Speech therapy may also be advised to enhance the ability to communicate verbally for as long as possible. As the disease progressives, life support mechanisms will need to be employed to sustain life. Feeding tubes and breathing machines will need to be used. Heart problems may also occur which will need treatment to prolong the life of the patient.

Lou Gehrig's disease is fatal. At this time, there are no cures but there are treatments that will help prolong life and add to the quality of life. This disease is tragic and affects the lives of the patient and family.

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Osteoporosis And The Facts

(category: Disease-Illness, Word count: 520)
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Osteoporosis is called the silent thief because you do not experience any symptoms, the first time you know about it is when a bone snaps unexpectedly. Osteoporosis means "porous bones" and it is a condition where the skeleton becomes very fragile and the bones break easily. Simple things can cause a bone to break, such as stepping off a curb, sneezing, being hugged or even bending down to pick something up. Breakages are mainly in the hips, spine and wrist and effects mainly women but men can have it as well.

Nowadays you can be tested to see what your bone mass is like and because of more knowledge you can delay the onset of osteoporosis with diet and exercise earlier in your life.

You might think that the skeleton does nothing else but holds you up but it is every bit as dynamic as other tissues, bone responds to the pull of muscles and gravity, repairs itself, and constantly renews itself. The skeleton also protects the internal organs, as well as allowing you to move about.

After the age of 30, the bone starts to breakdown and outpaces formation. The volume of the bone remains the same, but it's density declines.

Calcium intake is important to build bone but you also need vitamin D to help the body absorb the calcium. Vitamin D is produced by the skin in sunlight or can be found in many foods, such as in milk products and many breakfast cereals. It has also been found that Magnesium and Vitamin K can also assist in the reduction of bone loss. Vitamin K can be found in greens, whereas Magnesium is found in small quantities in a variety of foods, so eating a varied, healthy diet should provide what you require.

A lifelong habit of weight-bearing exercise, such as walking or biking, will also help build and maintain strong bones. The greatest benefit as you grow older is that physical fitness reduces the risk of fracture, because it gives you better balance, muscle strength, and agility, making falls less likely. Exercise also provides many other life-enhancing psychological and cardiovascular benefits.

You don't have to do too much, to get the most benefit from exercise. It is suggested that 30 minutes brisk walking five days a week is all you need. Add in a little weightlifting, and that's even better. The reason behind this recommendation is that the flexing of bones during exercise is thought to prompt the body to lay down more calcium in the bones. It's always smart to ask your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you already have osteoporosis or other health problems.

It is important to ensure that when exercising the body has enough nutrients to build muscle otherwise minerals could be leeched from the bone making the bone more susceptible to osteoporosis. It is therefore important that you do not exercise on an empty stomach.

Osteoporosis is a problem that can affect anyone in their later years and you should do all that you can to keep your bones strong.

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What Should I Know About Hepatitis B

(category: Disease-Illness, Word count: 556)
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Hepatitis B remains one of those scary terms that you occasionally hear health care professionals use. You also hear about this somewhat mysterious disease in the media from time to time. But just what is Hepatitis B and what should we know about it?

Hepatitis B is a DNA virus that can be found in the blood. It attacks the liver. A name you may run across is HBV, which is short for Hepatitis B Virus. The term, hepatitis, means inflammation of the liver.

What is important to know when considering how HBV is spread is that, as far as we know, it is transmitted mainly via blood contact. To be a little more specific, infection can occur when the blood from an infected person enters the body. Other body fluids can also contain HBV, but usually in much lower concentrations. It is possible to receive HBV via a bite from an infected person. It is suspected that the sharing of toothbrushes or razors might allow for an infection to be contracted.

HBV is also a sexually transmitted disease. The usual increased risk factors for other sexually transmitted diseases apply here as well. For example, promiscuous and homosexual behavior may increase the chances for infection.

People who are hemophiliacs are also at higher risk as well as those who live with a person who has a chronic HBV infection. Having a job that involves contact with blood can also put you at increased risk for obvious reasons. Drug use is another risk factor.

It is possible for your body to fight off an HBV infection. If that happens you will be free of the virus and you will eventually not even test positive for the HBV surface antigen in your blood. An antigen is simply defined as a substance that causes the production of antibodies. And antibodies are those proteins that are used by your body to get rid of antigens. You might have guessed that a blood test can show if a person is suffering from a HBV infection.

Some peoples' bodies do not fight the infection off completely and they suffer from chronic hepatitis. The virus remains in the body for the long term. This type of person can infect others. Currently, it is estimated that 1.25 million people in the United States suffer from a chronic Hepatitis B infection.

There are vaccines to help prevent a HBV infection and there are drugs that can be used to fight an infection. Interestingly enough, a vaccine can be useful after a possible HBV infection to help prevent the disease from developing. Check with your doctor to get current recommendations on HBV vaccinations.

Often times a Hepatitis B infection can pass without the person even being aware that they had it. Sometimes there are no symptoms. There can also be symptoms ranging from very minor to very serious. On relatively rare occasions, a Hepatitis B infection can cause death, though this happens to a very small percentage of infected individuals.

This article is for information purposes only and is not meant to diagnose, treat, or prevent any health condition. Seek the advice of a qualified medical professional if you have or think you might have any health condition, including Hepatitis B.

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First Aid For Diabetes

(category: Disease-Illness, Word count: 256)
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There are two types of diabetic emergencies: Insulin Shock and Diabetic Coma. The best and easiest way (besides asking the conscious casualty) to determine if the casualty has diabetes is to check to see if they have a medic alert bracelet. This will guide you in determining what first aid you may have to do.

In insulin shock the diabetic casualty needs sugar because they have not ingested enough food to keep their sugar levels up or they have taken too much insulin. Some of the signs of insulin shock are the casualty having a strong and rapid pulse and having shallow breathing. Insulin shock develops very quickly and need medical attention right away. Call 911!!!

In diabetic coma the casualty needs insulin because their body does not produce enough insulin to convert their ingested sugar to energy. Some of the signs of diabetic coma are a weak and rapid pulse and very deep breathing. The effects of diabetic coma take several hours or days to develop and are therefore not as concerning as insulin shock.

Since it can be difficult to determine what kind of diabetic emergency you are encountered with the first aid for both will be the same. Give sugar!! Either some sweet candy, table sugar or orange juice. This will help the casualty in insulin shock immediately but not the casualty in diabetic coma. Since diabetic coma takes hours or days, they have sufficient time to get to a hospital for treatment.

Inform yourself and save a life!!

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What Hypertension Means To You

(category: Disease-Illness, Word count: 499)
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The trouble with high blood pressure today is it is so common and talked about so often that many people don't seem to treat it with the respect it merits. High blood pressure or hypertension is a killer and should be dealt with as a killer.

Numerous scientists and doctors have spent a large amount of time, money and effort seeking to define what is a honest definition of Hypertension.

There have been large amounts of human population studies done on this subject which have generated to the doctors and scientists a broad range of blood pressure rates. Nevertheless the findings are usually skewed and the results differ from nation to nation and even from region to region within a specific country. Hence it's been resolved that the definition of hypertension can only be arrived at through perpetual observation and experimentation.

Normal blood pressure is distinguished in a similar way to a normal body weight. This is the point at which the heart and other important procedures of the body such as the circulatory system are able to keep going under the best conditions without running the chance of heart disease and other associated disorders.

There are other circumstances to be taken into account when defining high blood pressure or hypertension and some have to be omitted. For example if a healthy individual was to be shook up, their systolic blood pressure can be anticipated to climb by as much as fifty percent. This is due to their blood flow increased in reply to their extreme worked up excitement or any type of lively exercise.

All the same it doesn't stay high for long, since once the level of excitement has declined, the blood pressure also comes down to its normal level.

One way of recognizing this as a normal response is to look at the diastolic reading of the blood pressure. If it doesn't climb but stays steady throughout, it can be safely said this blood pressure is inside normal limits.

As the diastolic pressure is the more significant of the two readings, it is a superior guide to determining whether a high reading is a false positive or not. The reason the diastolic pressure is the most significant is because it reflects the state of the person's arterioles. If an individual has a high reading, this signifies their arterioles are narrowed with the channels less free flowing than they should be.

An individual with a blood pressure reading of 170/110 or above will in all likelihood experience serious headaches, fatigue or dizzy spells. If somebody suffers with a blood pressure which reads 230/130, then they are highly likely to get life-threatening medical problems such as heart disease or stroke.

Hypertension is not a disease in itself, but an important standard by which doctors can name or foretell other illnesses. High blood pressure cannot be healed as such, but it can be well controlled.

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The Bird Flu Pandemic

(category: Disease-Illness, Word count: 378)
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Are we on the brink of a Bird Flu Pandemic in the UK? That is the big question that everyone is wondering about in recent times. Only a few months ago Avian Influensa or bird flu as its known more widely was only reported in distant countries. In recent months the outbreak has been reported in European countries and now in the last month the first few cases have been reported in the UK.

Avian Influensa or bird flu is a highly contagious disease of birds caused by virus influenza. Bird flu is currently only affecting poultry and some in some cases people's infection in the Far East. The virus strain is currently named H5N1 and can be spread by animals via contaminated droppings; this can be spread among other birds and passed onto other animals through ingestion and inhalation of the droppings.

It has been reported that no bird species are immune to this Avian influenza. Migratory birds such as wild ducks, geese can carry the virus between different countries and often show no signs of the symptoms connected with illness. Poultry flocks are particular vulnerable to epidemics of a severe and quick form of the disease.

According to the World Health Organisation there is evidence that the H5N1 strain has the capacity to jump between species and cause severe disease in people resulting in potential mortality. The history of avian influenza began in poultry in Korea in late 2003. This then spread between birds in countries such as Asia, Europe, Middle East and Africa.

The United Kingdom and the European Union have controls in place to prevent the outbreak of the virus, however it is still possible for wild poultry or poultry left outdoors to become infected through contamination with wild birds. The black market also poses a risk from spreading the virus through illegally imported birds which do not meet the required control methods in place.

H5N1 is able to infect people which are the most serious risk to society, the exchange of human and animal viruses can easily occur. Of the reported cases in humans, all have been in contact with infected birds but as yet only caused mild conditions such as eye infections and mild flu symptoms.

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The Truth About Varicose Veins

(category: Disease-Illness, Word count: 508)
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We will cover something here that women don't just sit around and openly talk about. It is something that is kept covered up. Not with lies, but with pants. We will be addressing the topic of varicose veins.

When veins in the human body become enlarged, they are know as varicose veins. The color of these veins can vary. They can be a dark blue, blue, purple, or even a flesh like color. These veins look like they are wrapped and enveloped into each other. They are at their worst when they actual enlarge past the skin and protrude. These veins do not make wearing shorts fun and they develop mostly on a persons legs.

If you suffer from the problem of varicose veins, don't worry; you are by no means alone. Over half the women in the Unites States on America suffer from this problem. I always thought it was just something that happened to woman, as they get older. I then found out that there are many factors that could cause a woman to get varicose veins. I remember when my wife first started getting them. She was the ripe old age of 28. Were expecting our third child. That's when I found out that one of the causes is an increase of the flow of blood in the body. Because she was pregnant there was more blood flowing through her veins.

The problem of varicose veins can escalate into something much more serious than just bad appearances. If left untreated a woman could start to feel some discomfort in her legs. That discomfort can lead to extreme pain.

Because the legs are so far below the heart the veins located there have the hardest time pumping the blood back up. As more and more pressure is put on the legs (through pregnancy, weight gain, etc) the blood collects there. It is pumped through at a much slower rate than the rest of the body. The collection of blood could very easily lead to blood clots. This is a very dangerous situation as blood clots passed to the heart and brain cause strokes and possibly death.

Another cause of varicose veins is one that we would not think of. Women can become afflicted with varicose veins from over expose to the sun. Yes, too much sun can bring on varicose veins. These varicose veins don't show up on the legs but in a far more obvious place. They appear on the face. Also women with a family history of varicose veins are much more likely to get them too.

How can you avoid the problem of varicose veins? Well first, limit your exposure to the harmful effects of the sun. No you don't have to lock yourself inside. Just put on a good sun block with a high SPF. Also watch your weight. Don't gain too much to fast. Keep to a healthy diet and regular exercise to keep that blood flowing like it should.

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Aids Hiv Information

(category: Disease-Illness, Word count: 733)
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AIDS is an acronym for Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome it causes a destruction of the immune system. It is the most advanced stage of the HIV virus (HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus). AIDS is defined by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as the presence of a positive HIV antibody test and one or more of the illnesses known as opportunistic infections.

The HIV virus, type 1 or 2 is widely known to be the cause of AIDS. HIV breaks down and attacks your T cells so your body is unable to defend itself against different infections. The HIV virus also attacks your peripheral nervous system, this causes nerve and muscle pain, especially in the feet, legs, and hands.

HIV is spread through direct contact with semen or blood of an individual that is infected. This can be transferred in many ways the most common is unprotected sexual intercourse. Other means of infection are infected blood transfusions, mother to infant (at time of birth, or through breast milk), sharing needles with an infected person, and rarely a healthcare worker that gets pricked with an infected needle.

Often people who are infected with HIV have few symptoms and in some cases there are none. Other times, symptoms of HIV are confused with other illnesses such as the flu. This may be severe, with swollen glands in the neck and armpits, tiredness, fever and night sweats. This is where as much as 9 out of 10 of the infected individuals will develop AIDS. At this point the person may feel completely healthy and not even know that he/she has the virus. The next stage begins when the immune system starts to break down and the virus becomes more aggressive in damaging white cells. Several glands in the neck and armpits may swell and stay swollen for an extended period of time without any explanation. As this disease progresses boils or warts may spread over the body. They may also feel tremendously tired, night sweats, high fevers, chronic diarrhea, and they may lose a considerable amount of their body weight. Most cases have shown thrush as a symptom as well. At this point the person is in the final stages of HIV-AIDS. Severe chest infections with high fever are common and survival rate is above 70% but decrease with each recurrence.

A person is diagnosed with AIDS when he/she has one or more positive HIV screening and the presence of an AIDS defining condition. Some of the common conditions include but are not limited to: Meningitis, Encephalitis, Dementia, Pneumonia, Kaposi sarcoma, and Lymphoma. There is also a blood test called an Immune Profile that can be done. This test is used to measure the loss of immunity and help decide on the best treatment. There is a test that is rarely used due to its high cost, it is known as a Viral Load: This test detects the virus itself, and also measures the amount of HIV in the blood. It shows how quickly the HIV infection is likely to advance. A high viral load suggests that the person may progress rapidly to AIDS.

Although there is no cure for AIDS there are medical treatments that aide in prolonging, and maintaining the best quality of life possible. These include two nucleoside inhibitors, lamivudine and zidovudine. Actual treatment plans will vary with each patient, along with the physical aspect of this disease. The psychological side has to be addressed in order for a treatment plan to be effective.

The easiest way to escape contracting this disease is to avoid the risk factors that you are in control of. Such as: unprotected sex, not sharing a needle, and if you are in the healthcare field be sure to use all precautions necessary to avoid an accidental prick from a possible infected needle (remember that in this diseases early stages it is common for the person not to even know they are infected). Today AIDS is the fifth leading cause of death among all adults aged 25 to 44 in the United States. Among African-Americans in the 25 to 44 age group, AIDS is the leading cause of death for men and the second leading cause of death for women. Our society needs to become aware that by not protecting ourselves we are killing ourselves and that this has to stop.

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Why Is Parkinson S Disease Difficult To Diagnose

(category: Disease-Illness, Word count: 413)
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While Parkinson's disease has very distinctive features, it is rather a difficult disease to identify, particularly while it is in its early stages. Unfortunately there are no precise tests, which doctors can do to establish an exact diagnosis of Parkinson's disease and regrettably especially in its early stages it might be mistaken for other diseases. If and when this happens, it delays or prevents the appropriate action being administered in the quickest feasible time.

The trouble with diagnosing Parkinson's disease accurately is just that the symptoms are not always as clear as doctors would like them to be, Actually there are suggestions that up to 25% of those people presently being treated for Parkinson's disease might have been wrongly diagnosed and are thus getting inappropriate treatment.

Generally patients that are suspected of suffering from Parkinson's disease are given tests to guarantee they are certainly not suffering from an illness that can be diagnosed using common methods such as CT scanning, urine sampling X-ray and blood tests etc. However just because these tests may have an inconclusive answer, it doesn't always mean the person is definitely suffering from Parkinson's disease. Regrettably some doctors think this is the case, and will automatically offer a diagnosis of Parkinson's disease.

Tests that can be carried out to test for Parkinson's disease involve systematic neurological assessments that comprise testing the person's reflexes, balance, muscle strength walk and common movement. Because there are a range of neurological disorders that have similar characteristics to Parkinson's disease, it's not very surprising that Parkinson's disease is so regularly misdiagnosed. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, it doesn't always hurt to ask your doctor for a second opinion or even better to request to be referred to a physician who specialises in this kind of disease.

An early accurate diagnosis of Parkinson's disease is normally the key to the sufferer being able to preserve their independence and a decent quality of life for fairly a long time.

Some neurological conditions that are regularly confused with Parkinson's disease include: -

Multiple system atrophy

Supranuclear palsy

Benign Essential Tremor

Multiple Sclerosis

Huntington's disease

Striato-Nigral Degeneration

Brain tumour

Remaining as independent as feasible is vital to the wellbeing of most sufferers of Parkinson's disease, and ensuring the symptoms are kept to a minimum by both an accurate diagnosis and treatment is the key to achieving this.

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