Information About Breast Cancer

All cancers gets their name from the part of the body where the abnormal cells begin to develop. Breast cancer occurs when cells become abnormal and divide without order in the breast tissue of women, and in rare cases, men.

While it is not known what causes breast cancer, certain risk factors have been linked to the disease. A risk factor is anything that increases a person’s chance of getting a particular type of cancer. Some risk factors can be controlled (e.g., smoking) and others (e.g.,age, family history) cannot be changed. Being a woman is the main risk factor for breast cancer however, other factors such as environmental exposure and diet can also play a part.

The most common sign of breast cancer is a new lump in the breast that is painless, hard, and has irregular edges.

Some other signs or symptoms of breast cancer include:

•              swelling of a part of the breast

•              skin irritation or dimpling of the skin on the breast

•              nipple pain or scaliness of the nipple or breast skin

•              a nipple discharge that is other than breast milk

•              a lump in the underarm area

At this time, there is no known way to prevent breast cancer. However, some preventative measures such as reducing controllable risk factors and implementing early detection methods can increase your survival rate in the event of a cancer diagnoses. Reducing your incidence of risk where possible and following guidelines for self-examination and early detection are the best course of preventative action. Early detection improves the likelihood of successful treatment and saves thousands of lives each year. Each month, it is advised that women perform breast self-exams. Early detection screening exams often find cancers before they start to cause symptoms, while they are small and still confined to the breast. Between the ages of 20 and 39, women should have a clinical breast exam every year if they are in a high-risk group or every three years if they are not. From the age of 40, women should have a mammogram screening every year.

If breast cancer is suspected in a patient, a biopsy of the cells from the breast is performed, removing cells so that they can be examined. Cancer treatment includes surgical procedures such as lumpectomy, mastectomy, and non-surgical therapies such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and hormone therapy. If you have been given a cancer diagnosis, don’t be afraid to seek the second opinion of a breast cancer specialist for more information and treatment options.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is a chronic disease that most often affects areas of the body that are in or around joints. A joint is the area where bones meet: an example of this would be the knee. Bones are covered at their ends by a substance known as cartilage, and it is this cartilage that keeps the bones from rubbing directly against one another. The entire joint is enclosed by the synovium, a tissue that produces the synovial fluid that keeps the joint lubricated. Muscles and tendons act to support the joint and also to make it move. When a part of the joint is not working correctly it can cause the joint to change shape or alignment, which can be very painful.

Arthritis is a disease that affects one in every seven people and can occur at any age. . It is a disease that can severely limit the ability to move. It can have a slow onset, or come on quickly.  Once it starts, it usually lasts your entire life. There are many ways that its symptoms can be reduced so that people who have it can remain active.

Arthritis is often characterized by pain, stiffness, swelling, and problems with movement in one or more joints. Any of these symptoms that persist for 10 days or more should be discussed with your doctor. It is important to remember that symptoms may be constant or they may come and go. Symptoms can occur during physical activity or they can occur while at rest.

Because there are so many different types of arthritis, it is important for your doctor to perform a complete history and physical in order to make a correct diagnosis. Often the exam will include a blood test, a urine analysis, a joint fluid specimen, and an x-ray of the involved joints. To help your doctor, you should be able to tell him or her when you first noticed the pain, how long you have had it, when it hurts, where the pain is located, whether you have noticed any swelling, if you had any trauma to the area, and whether there is a family history of this type of problem.

The two main types of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis

Osteoarthritis   This is the most common form of arthritis. It is also called degenerative arthritis. It usually affects weight-bearing joints such as the hips, knees, and back, but it can affect almost any joint. It causes pain and stiffness and is due to degeneration of the bone and cartilage. Men and women are usually affected at the same rate of occurrence.

Rheumatoid Arthritis   This is an inflammatory form of arthritis that is caused by the body’s own immune system acting on the joints. The joint lining is affected first and then spreads to the cartilage and bone. It occurs in women more often than in men, and it affects the same joints on both sides of the body.

Depending on the type of arthritis and its severity, treatment plans will vary and must be customized to the individual’s specific needs. Medications that act on the pain and the swelling include those sold over the counter as well as prescriptions. Exercise programs and physical therapy have helped many people relieve symptoms and increase joint mobility. The use of ice or heat over the joint may help as well. Excess weight can also cause a person’s arthritis to worsen. In all instances it is important to discuss symptoms and all treatment plans with your doctor.

Learn The Facts About Asthma

Asthma is a disease that affects the airway’s ability to deliver oxygen to the lungs. It causes periodic attacks of wheezing and difficulty breathing. An asthma attack occurs when the airways become inflamed in response to a trigger. Triggers are factors that bring about an asthma attack. There are many types of triggers including:

• Allergens – Such as pollen, mold, animal fur, dust, dust mites, and cockroaches

• Viral Infections – Viral infections of the respiratory tract often act as major triggers, since they irritate the airways, nose, throat, and sinuses

• Irritants – Examples of irritants are perfumes, household cleaners, cooking fumes, painting supplies, coal, chalk, and sudden changes in the weather

• Tobacco Smoke and Wood Smoke – No one should smoke in the home of an asthmatic

• Exercise – It is estimated that 85% of all asthmatics encounter wheezing after exercise

• Sensitivity to Medications – Up to 20% of all adult asthmatics experience an attack as a result of allergic reactions to medications such as aspirin, ibuprofen, and sulfites

During an asthma attack, the walls of the airways become inflamed and the mucous membrane covering the walls becomes swollen with fluid. Sticky mucus fills the remaining space, making it difficult to breathe. Because air cannot flow in and out of the lungs freely, a whistling or wheezing sound may be heard. During severe attacks, wheezing may stop because there is too little air moving to make any noise.

The key to diagnosing asthma is recognition of the recurrent symptoms of cough, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, or wheezing. If these symptoms are present, a physician will perform a pulmonary function test, also known as a spirometry. The test measures the “peak flow,” which is the speed of air blown out of the lungs. Asthmatics have trouble blowing air out, and therefore have lower peak flow measurements. A normal range for peak flow is based on the person’s age, weight, and sex. Daily measurement of the peak flow at home is essential to effectively manage asthma. Decreases in peak flow will alert the patient of the need for further treatment or an emergency medical visit to the doctor.

To treat asthma, the first step is to avoid the triggers that you are sensitive to whenever possible. Prescription medicines are usually needed to combat asthma. There are two main groups of asthma medicines: bronchodilators, which help stop asthma attacks after they have started and anti-inflammatories, which help prevent attacks from starting.

After a course of treatment is prescribed, it is very important to check regularly with your doctor to make sure that the medicines are helping you.

Lactose Intolerance

Lactose intolerance is a fairly common disorder, estimated to affect 75% of the world’s population. It is caused by a lack of an enzyme produced in the small intestine called lactase. This enzyme helps the body to break down the sugar (lactose) found in milk and milk products so that it can be properly absorbed into the blood.

There are three types of lactose intolerance:

Primary lactose intolerance – this is the most common form of the condition. In this type of intolerance, the body starts off life with the full ability to digest lactose found in milk but as the body ages, this capability diminishes.

Secondary lactose intolerance – this occurs when the body’s ability to digest lactose is altered either due to surgery or as a side effect of an illness (Celiac disease, bacterial overgrowth, and Crohn’s Disease).

Congenital lactose intolerance – is the condition where babies are born with a diminished capacity to digest lactose.

The symptoms of lactose intolerance can be very uncomfortable. They include:
• Gas
• Bloating
• Diarrhea
• Abdominal cramps
• Nausea

Diagnosing lactose intolerance can be performed a few different ways. There is a Lactose intolerance test that involves drinking a liquid with a high level of lactose in it. After two hours blood samples are taken to see if there is an increase in the level of sugar in the blood. If there isn’t a significant change, this indicates that the body didn’t digest the lactose sufficiently. A hydrogen breath test can be performed ro monitor the level of hydrogen produced if lactose is digested properly. The more hydrogen produced indicates the less digestion that took place. The third test is a stool acidity test which is primarily used in patients who are unable to undergo the first two tests and it measures the amount of acid in the stool.

There are several types of foods that people who are lactose intolerant should avoid:
• Milk
• Ice Cream
• Yogurt
• Butter

Additionally, some other types of food that may contain dairy are: bread, cake, custard, chocolate, candy, instant soups and some sauces.

One of the ways to avoid the symptoms of lactose intolerance is to remove dairy and dairy containing products from the diet. There is lactase containing supplements that can be taken that may help with the digestion of lactose and also taking probiotics may be beneficial.

Kidney Stones

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Kidney stones (nephrolithiasis) are lumps of crystal made from substances found in urine. They typically build up along the inner surfaces of the kidney.  The size of a kidney stone can range from as small as a grain of sand to as large as a golf ball.  It is estimated, one in every twenty people will develop them at some point in their life.

Stones form when there is a decrease in the amount of urine produced, causing it to become highly concentrated and therefore allowing minerals to crystallize and stick together.  There are four major types of stones, they include:

  • Calcium stones
  • Uric acid stones
  • Struvite stones
  • Cystine stones

While dehydration is a major contributor to the formation of kidney stones, some people are more prone to developing them than others. People with certain medical conditions such as gout or digestive diseases, those with a family history of kidney stones, as well as people who are obese or consume a diet rich in protein, sodium and sugar are more susceptible.

Kidney stones often go undetected until they become loose and travel along the urinary tract.  When they move around the kidney or pass through the ureter, the following symptoms may occur:

  • Pain during urination
  • Pain along your side or back, below the ribs
  • Urine that is pink, red or brown in color
  • Pain in the lower abdomen or groin
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Frequent urination or urge to urinate
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Cloudy or abnormal smelling urine
  • Fever and chills

If these symptoms present themselves and persist it is advised that you see a doctor immediately.  Your doctor may perform a series of tests that may include blood or urine tests, analysis of passed stones or abdominal x-rays to assess your condition. Depending on severity, treatment may include increasing your intake of water, pain medication or surgery.

Gallstones

Have you ever experienced sudden abdominal pain and wondered if it might be gallstones?

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Gallstones form in the gall bladder, located just under the liver, and may cause no signs or symptoms. However, if a gallstone lodges in a bile duct, it could cause a blockage. Gallstone pain may last several minutes to a few hours and symptoms may include:

  • Sudden and rapidly intensifying pain in the upper right portion of your abdomen
  • Sudden and rapidly intensifying pain in the center of your abdomen, just below your breastbone
  • Back pain between your shoulder blades
  • Pain in your right shoulder

Make an appointment with your doctor if you experience any of these signs or symptoms. Seek immediate care if you are experiencing:

  • Abdominal pain so intense that you can’t sit still or find a comfortable position
  • Yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes
  • High fever with chills

Laparoscopic surgery to remove the gallbladder, called a cholecystectomy, is one of the most commonly performed surgical procedures in the United States and is the treatment of choice for gallstones that cause moderate to severe pain. Symptoms usually do not return after the gallbladder has been removed. In a small number of cases, surgery may be done to prevent complications of gallstones.

Understanding Dyslexia

Dyslexia is a language-based, learning disability that affects approximately 15% of the population living in the United States.  It is the most common learning disability in the country.

People who are dyslexic find it difficult to read because they are unable to properly identify speech sounds and learn how they relate to letters and words.  They often have difficulty with writing, math and comprehension as well.

Dyslexia is a lifelong disability that cannot be cured. However, an individual can overcome its many challenges when early intervention and specialized education approaches are applied.

The exact cause of dyslexia is unknown; however, the condition tends to run in families.  In addition to genetics, there are other factors attributed to dyslexia; they include:

  • Premature birth or a low birth weight
  • Exposure to substances such as nicotine, alcohol or illegal drugs during pregnancy

Symptoms and signs of dyslexia vary with each individual. They may experience the following:

  • Difficulty forming words correctly –they may reverse the sound in words or confuse words that sound alike
  • Late speech
  • Difficulty remembering or naming  colors , letters and numbers
  • Reading well below average
  • Difficulty playing rhyming games or learning rhyming songs
  • Problems with math or spelling
  • Difficulty following directions
  • Disinterest in books
  • Difficulty remembering details
  • Trouble understanding puns and idioms
  • Difficulty telling right from left
  • Difficulty understanding the concept of time

A significant number of children with dyslexia go undiagnosed because symptoms are not recognized. Many children who are undiagnosed, struggle in school and grow up to be adults who are unaware that they have dyslexia; therefore, it is very important for parents to note warning signs and seek assistance from a specialist.  In most cases, a diagnosis of dyslexia is determined by a licensed educational psychologist after completing a series of evaluations.

Urinary Incontinence

Urinary incontinence is the inability to control the flow of urine resulting in a person urinating when they don’t want to. The basic cause is due to loss of control of the urinary sphincter. This is a fairly common condition, occurring more frequently in women than in men.

The American Urological Association estimates that one quarter to one-third of people in the United States experiences urinary incontinence.

Types of incontinence:
• Stress Incontinence – urine leaks when there is pressure put on the bladder by coughing, sneezing, laughing, lifting heavy objects
• Urge Incontinence – the urge to urinate can be very intense and can be caused by a severe infection or a chronic condition like diabetes or a neurological condition
• Overflow Incontinence – when the bladder doesn’t empty completely it can lead to dribbling
• Functional Incontinence – when there is a physical or mental condition that inhibits you from getting to the bathroom quickly enough. (This can be due to age or a physical disability)
• Mixed Incontinence – when there is more than one factor that leads to being unable to control the flow of urine

Diagnosing urinary incontinence can be done in different ways and depends on what the underlying cause is thought to be. In men, this may include a prostate exam and in women, this may involve checking the pelvic floor. A blood test may be performed to assess kidney function. Urinalysis may show if there are signs of infection.  It may be necessary to examine the bladder by performing a post-void residual test to see if the bladder is emptying properly. A pelvic ultrasound can be used to see if there are obstructions in the ureters and bladder. A cystogram is an x-ray of the bladder. Another exam is a cystoscope whereby a tiny probe is placed into the urethra to see if there are abnormalities.

Treatment options for urinary incontinence depend on what is causing the problem. Options include muscle strengthening, delaying urination as a way of gaining control, going to the bathroom to urinate at set times to avoid a buildup of urine in the body. There are also medications that may be helpful in controlling an overactive bladder and weakened sphincters.

Senior man with bladder control problem

Bursitis

According to the Mayo Clinic, Bursitis is a painful condition that affects the small, fluid-filled sacs called bursae that cushion the bones, tendons and muscles near your joints. Bursitis occurs when bursae become inflamed. The most common locations for bursitis are in the shoulder, elbow and hip.

Although Bursitis typically affects the shoulder, elbow and hip, it can also affect your knee, heel and the base of your big toe. Bursitis often occurs near joints that perform frequent repetitive motion.

Some symptoms of Bursitis are:

  • Achy or stiff joints
  • Pain when the joint is moved or touched
  • Redness and swelling in the affected area

The treatment of Bursitis usually includes resting the inflamed joint and guarding it from further trauma.  Bursitis pain can last for a few weeks and is prone to recurrent flare-ups.

Adult Acne

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According to the American Academy of Dermatology, some adults continue to get acne well into their 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s. There is even a possibility that you can get acne for the first time as an adult.

As an adult, acne can be frustrating because the remedies you used as a teen are rendered useless or can even make your acne worse. But, how do we determine whether the marks on our skin are acne or merely a blemish?

Blemishes, or pimples, can show up on your face, neck, chest, back and shoulders because these areas have the greatest number of oil glands. The marks come and go with little or no treatment. Acne, on the other hand, has a long-term effect, requires treatment and if left untreated, may leave dark spots and permanent scars on the skin.

Women who are menopausal are more likely than men of a similar age, to get what dermatologists call “adult-onset acne.”

Some other reasons for developing adult acne are:
◾Stress
◾Family history
◾Excessive use of hair and skincare products
◾Medication side effects
◾Undiagnosed medical conditions
◾Excessive consumption of carbohydrates
◾Excessive consumption of dairy

There are many do it yourself remedies, but if nothing clears your adult acne, you should see a dermatologist. With proper treatment and a great deal of patience, it can be controlled.