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What is Chronic Bronchitis?

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Coughing is a way for your body to get rid of harmful things in your lungs. But coughing too much can be bad, too. If you’ve had a cough that’s gone on for what feels like forever, you might have a serious condition called chronic bronchitis.

Chronic bronchitis is a type of COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). COPD is a group of lung diseases that make it hard to breathe and get worse over time. The other main type of COPD is emphysema. Most people with COPD have both emphysema and chronic bronchitis, but how severe each type is can be different from person to person.

Chronic bronchitis is inflammation (swelling) and irritation of the bronchial tubes. These tubes are the airways that carry air to and from the air sacs in your lungs. The irritation of the tubes causes mucus to build up. This mucus and the swelling of the tubes make it harder for your lungs to move oxygen in and carbon dioxide out of your body.

Causes of Chronic Bronchitis

Cigarette smoking is by far the No. 1 cause of chronic bronchitis. More than 90% of people with the disease smoke or used to smoke. Other things that raise your chances for it include:

  • Secondhand smoke
  • Dust
  • Certain fumes, like hairspray if you work in a hair salon or house paint if you’re a building contractor
  • Air pollution, welding fumes, engine exhaust
  • Coal, fire smoke

Twice as many women get diagnosed with chronic bronchitis as men do. Most people who have the disease are 44 to 65.

Chronic bronchitis may make it easier for you to catch respiratory infections like colds, the flu, and pneumonia.

Symptoms of Chronic Bronchitis

Chronic bronchitis fills your airways with thick mucus. The small hairs that normally move phlegm out of your lungs are damaged. That makes you cough. As the disease goes on, it’s harder for you to breathe.

Other signs of chronic bronchitis may include:

  • Cough, often with mucus
  • Wheezing
  • Tight chest
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling tired

Your symptoms may be worst in the winter, when humidity and temperatures drop.

When to call Doctor?

Many people dismiss symptoms of chronic bronchitis, believing they simply have smoker’s cough. However, it’s important to contact your doctor right away if you have even the slightest suspicion that you might have bronchitis. Failing to receive timely treatment for chronic bronchitis greatly increases your risk of severe lung damage, which can lead to respiratory problems or heart failure.

Call your doctor right away if your cough:

  • lasts longer than three weeks
  • prevents you from sleeping
  • is accompanied by a fever above 100.4°F
  • produces discolored mucus or blood
  • causes wheezing or shortness of breath

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your smoking history and listen to your lungs with a stethoscope. You may take tests, including:

Pulmonary function tests: This is a series of measurements of how much air your lungs can hold while breathing in and out.

Chest X-ray: Uses radiation to make a picture of your lungs to rule out heart failure or other illnesses that make it hard to breathe.

Computed tomography: This CT scan give a much more detailed look at your airways than a chest X-ray.

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What is Hypertension?

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High blood pressure is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease.

Blood pressure is determined both by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure.

You can have high blood pressure (hypertension) for years without any symptoms. Even without symptoms, damage to blood vessels and your heart continues and can be detected. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke.

High blood pressure generally develops over many years, and it affects nearly everyone eventually. Fortunately, high blood pressure can be easily detected. And once you know you have high blood pressure, you can work with your doctor to control it.

What are the symptoms of hypertension?

Hypertension is generally a silent condition. Many people won’t experience any symptoms. It may take years or even decades for the condition to reach levels severe enough that symptoms become obvious. Even then, these symptoms may be attributed to other issues.

Symptoms of severe hypertension can include:

  • headaches
  • shortness of breath
  • nosebleeds
  • flushing
  • dizziness
  • chest pain
  • visual changes
  • blood in the urine

These symptoms require immediate medical attention. They don’t occur in everyone with hypertension, but waiting for a symptom of this condition to appear could be fatal.

The best way to know if you have hypertension is to get regular blood pressure readings. Most doctors’ offices take a blood pressure reading at every appointment.

Causes of high blood pressure

There are two types of high blood pressure.

Primary (essential) hypertension

For most adults, there’s no identifiable cause of high blood pressure. This type of high blood pressure, called primary (essential) hypertension, tends to develop gradually over many years.

Secondary hypertension

Some people have high blood pressure caused by an underlying condition. This type of high blood pressure, called secondary hypertension, tends to appear suddenly and cause higher blood pressure than does primary hypertension. Various conditions and medications can lead to secondary hypertension, including:

  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Kidney problems
  • Adrenal gland tumors
  • Thyroid problems
  • Certain defects you’re born with (congenital) in blood vessels
  • Certain medications, such as birth control pills, cold remedies, decongestants, over-the-counter pain relievers and some prescription drugs
  • Illegal drugs, such as cocaine and amphetamines

When to see a doctor

You’ll likely have your blood pressure taken as part of a routine doctor’s appointment.

Ask your doctor for a blood pressure reading at least every two years starting at age 18. If you’re age 40 or older, or you’re 18 to 39 with a high risk of high blood pressure, ask your doctor for a blood pressure reading every year.

Blood pressure generally should be checked in both arms to determine if there’s a difference. It’s important to use an appropriate-sized arm cuff.

Your doctor will likely recommend more frequent readings if you’ve already been diagnosed with high blood pressure or have other risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Children age 3 and older will usually have blood pressure measured as a part of their yearly checkups.

If you don’t regularly see your doctor, you may be able to get a free blood pressure screening at a health resource fair or other locations in your community. You can also find machines in some stores that will measure your blood pressure for free.

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Why Postmenopause Matters?

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Menopause commonly gets a bad rap as a point in life when hot flashes, overactive bladder, and other embarrassing symptoms begin. In fact, it’s during perimenopause (months or years before menopause occurs) when the main side effects happen. You achieve menopause itself 12 months after your final period, and you are then in the phase call postmenopause.

But as a result of several factors, including a lower level of estrogen, postmenopausal women are at increased risk for a number of health conditions, such as osteoporosis and heart disease.

How to identify Postmenopausal?

A woman is considered to be postmenopausal when she has not had her period for an entire year. Having your doctor measure your follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) level is another way to see if you are near menopause. FSH is a hormone produced by the pituitary gland (located at the base of the brain). Your FSH levels will dramatically rise as your ovaries begin to shut down; these levels are easily checked through one blood test. FSH levels can fluctuate during perimenopause, so the only way to know you are definitely postmenopausal is when you have had no period for a year.

HOW POSTMENOPAUSE AFFECTS THE BODY

We don’t fully appreciate the natural hormone estrogen until it’s gone. This humble hormone is essential for maintaining health throughout a woman’s body – not just the reproductive system. With a decrease in estrogen, your body’s major systems can be affected too.

Here’s how estrogen relates to the rest of your body once you’re postmenopause.

Heart/Cardiovascular System

Estrogen may have a positive effect on the inner layer of artery wall, helping to regulate blood flow. That’s why researchers believe a decline in estrogen after menopause may be a factor in the increase in heart disease among post-menopausal women, according to the American Heart Association. Even though heart disease risk goes up after menopause, taking estrogen as a medication can actually increase your risk further.

Bone/Skeletal System

There is a direct relationship between the lack of estrogen after menopause and bone loss. Women who’ve gone through menopause are more likely to develop osteoporosis, a condition that causes bone to become brittle and weak.

Urinary System

Lower levels of estrogen may cause the urethra lining to thin. Also, the pelvic muscles around the urethra may get weaker due to aging or vaginal childbirth. This can increase the risk of bladder leakage (incontinence), urinary tract infections, and other urogynecology problems.

Sexuality

Estrogen helps maintain the natural lubrication in the walls of the vagina. Lowered estrogen during menopause causes the vaginal tissues to become thinner and more easily irritated during sex—or dry out. This can lead to an increase in urinary tract infections and genitourinary syndrome of menopause, also known as atrophic vaginitis or vaginal atrophy.

Metabolism

Reduced estrogen may lower your metabolic rate, which prompts your body to store fat instead of burning it. But menopause alone isn’t to blame. Age-related weight gain often occurs with a natural decrease in physical activity.

When to meet Doctor?

Even if you are postmenopausal, getting regular check-ups and preventive screening tests such as pelvic exams, Pap smears, breast exams, and mammograms are among the most important things you can do for yourself. How often you need a check-up depends on your health history. Talk to your doctor to determine how often you should be seen.

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What are the Four Stages of pneumonia ?

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Pneumonia is an infection of the lungs that causes cough, fever, and trouble breathing. It can cause serious illness in young children, people over age 65, and people with other health problems. Pneumonia may affect one or both lungs.

What are the stages of pneumonia?

Pneumonia can be classified or characterized in different ways. Health care professionals often refer to pneumonia based upon the way that the infection is acquired, such as community-acquired pneumonia or hospital-acquired pneumonia.

  • Community-acquired pneumonia (CAP), as the name implies, is a respiratory infection of the lung that develops outside of the hospital or health care environment. It is more common than hospital-acquired pneumonia. CAP is most common in winter and affects about 4 million people in a year
  • Hospital-acquired pneumonia (HAP) is acquired when an individual is already hospitalized for another condition. HAP is generally more serious because it develops in ill patients already hospitalized or under medical care for another condition. Being on a ventilator for respiratory support increases the risk of acquiring HAP. Health care-associated pneumonia is acquired from other health care settings, like kidney dialysis centers, outpatient clinics, or nursing homes.

Other classification systems for pneumonia describe the way the inflammatory cells infiltrate the lung tissue or the appearance of the affected tissue (see the following examples).

  • Bronchopneumonia causes scattered, patchy infiltrates of inflammation in the air sacs throughout the lungs. It is more diffuse than lobar pneumonia.
  • Lobar pneumonia causes an inflammation of one lobe of a lung and typically involves all the airspaces in a single lobe.
  • Lipoid pneumonia is characterized by the accumulation of fats within the airspaces. It can be caused by aspiration of oils or associated with airway obstruction.

What Is the Staging for Pneumonia?

A type of pneumonia, called lobar pneumonia, has 4 stages of development and resolution which include:

  • In the first stage, which occurs within 24 hours of infection, the lung has increased blood flow and swelling to the airways, but only a few bacteria or white blood cells to fight infection are present.
  • The second stage (day 2-3), is characterized by white and red blood cells and damaged cellular debris clogging the airways and air-sacs (alveoli) and an increase in bacteria.
  • In the third stage (day 4-6), the lung has accumulation of more damaged red blood cells and an increase in fibrin as the debris thins out and becomes more fluid-like (exudative).
  • The fourth and final stage, called resolution (day 7-10), is characterized by resorption of inflammatory fluids and cellular debris and restoration of the normal airways and air-sacs. Residual inflammation may lead to chronic narrowing of airways and scar tissue (pleural adhesions).

How Do You Prevent Pneumonia?

Patients can reduce their risk of getting pneumonia in some cases.

  • Get vaccinated
  • Wash hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds

Get an annual flu shot. Flu is a common cause of pneumonia.

Children under age 5, adults 65 and older, and patients at increased risk of pneumococcal disease due to other health conditions should get pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine, a common form of bacterial pneumonia

In children: Hib vaccine, which prevents pneumonia in children from Haemophilus influenza type b

Other vaccines that can prevent infections by bacteria and viruses that may lead to pneumonia, including pertussis (whooping cough), chicken pox, and measles. Wash Your Hands

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds
  • Don’t smoke
  • Eat a healthy diet, exercise regularly, and get adequate sleep to stay healthy
  • Synagis (palivizumab) may be given to some children younger than 24 months to prevent pneumonia caused by respiratory syncytial virus (RSV)
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What Is Prostate?

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The prostate gland (the prostate) is an organ of the male reproductive system. It is about the size of a walnut and is found at the base of the bladder. The thin tube that allows urine and semen to pass out of the penis (the urethra) runs through the prostate gland. Alkaline fluid produced by the prostate gland helps to nourish sperm and leaves the urethra as ejaculate (semen). The prostate undergoes two main growth spurts. The first is fuelled by the sex hormones made by the testes during puberty. This prompts the prostate to reach an average weight of 20 grams. The second growth spurt begins when men are in their thirties.

Common Problems

Here are some examples of non-cancer prostate problems:

Benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, is very common in older men. It means your prostate is enlarged but not cancerous. Treatments for BPH include:

Watchful waiting also called active surveillance. If your symptoms are not too bad, your doctor may tell you to wait to see if they get worse before starting treatment. Your doctor will tell you how often to return for check-ups.

Medications. Medicines can help shrink the prostate or relax muscles near your prostate to ease symptoms.

Surgery. If nothing else has worked, your doctor may suggest surgery to help urine flow.

Other treatments. Sometimes radio waves, microwaves, or lasers are used to treat urinary problems caused by BPH. These methods use different kinds of heat to reduce extra prostate tissue.

Acute bacterial prostatitis usually starts suddenly from a bacterial infection. See your doctor right away if you have fever, chills, or pain in addition to prostate symptoms. Most cases can be cured with antibiotics. You also may need medication to help with pain or discomfort.

Chronic bacterial prostatitis is an infection that comes back again and again. This rare problem can be hard to treat. Sometimes, taking antibiotics for a long time may work. Talk with your doctor about other things you can do to help you feel better.

Chronic prostatitis, also called chronic pelvic pain syndrome, is a common prostate problem. It can cause pain in the lower back, in the groin, or at the tip of the penis. Treatment may require a combination of medicines, surgery, and lifestyle changes.

Be sure to talk with your doctor about the possible side effects of treatment.

The three most common types of prostate disease are:

  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia
  • Prostatitis
  • Prostate cancer

Symptoms of Prostate Problems

See your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms:

  • Frequent urge to urinate
  • Need to get up many times during the night to urinate
  • Blood in urine or semen
  • Pain or burning urination
  • Painful ejaculation
  • Frequent pain or stiffness in lower back, hips, pelvic or rectal area, or upper thighs
  • Dribbling of urine

Diagnosis of prostate disease

Prostate disease is diagnosed using a variety of tests, including:

  • physical examination, including digital rectal examination (DRE), where the doctor inserts a gloved finger into your rectum to check the size of your prostate
  • blood test for prostate specific antigen (PSA test; discuss this with your doctor)
  • mid-stream urine (MSU) tests to look for infection or blood in the urine
  • ultrasound scans and urinary flow studies
  • biopsies of the prostate.
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Heart Burn, Acid Reflux Vs GERD

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The terms heartburn, acid reflux, and GERD are often used interchangeably. They actually have very different meanings.

Acid reflux is a common medical condition that can range in severity from mild to serious. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is the chronic, more severe form of acid reflux. Heartburn is a symptom of acid reflux and GERD.

What is heartburn?

The term “heartburn” is misleading. The heart actually has nothing to do with the pain. Heartburn occurs in your digestive system. Specifically, in your esophagus. Heartburn involves mild to severe pain in the chest. It’s sometimes mistaken for heart attack pain.

What is acid reflux?

A circular muscle called the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) joins your esophagus and stomach. This muscle is in charge of tightening your esophagus after food passes to the stomach. If this muscle is weak or doesn’t tighten properly, the acid from your stomach can move backward into your esophagus. This is known as acid reflux.

Acid reflux can cause heartburn and other symptoms that include:

  • cough
  • sore throat
  • bitter taste in the back of the throat
  • sour taste in the mouth
  • burning and pressure that can extend up the breastbone

What is GERD?

GERD is the chronic form of acid reflux. It’s diagnosed when acid reflux occurs more than twice a week or causes inflammation in the esophagus. Long-term damage of the esophagus can lead to cancer. Pain from GERD may or may not be relieved with antacids or other over-the-counter (OTC) medication.

Symptoms of GERD include:

  • bad breath
  • damage to tooth enamel due to excess acid
  • heartburn
  • feeling like stomach contents have come back up to the throat or mouth, or regurgitation
  • chest pain
  • persistent dry cough
  • asthma
  • trouble swallowing

Most people can experience heartburn and acid reflux intermittently related to something they ate or habits like lying down immediately after eating. However, GERD is a chronic condition where doctors start to examine long-lasting habits and parts of a person’s anatomy that could cause GERD.

Heartburn and GERD in pregnant women

Heartburn and GERD are commonly associated with pregnancy and can occur in women who may never have had GERD symptoms before. Pregnant women usually experience GERD symptoms around the first trimester. It then worsens in the last trimester. The good news is that when your baby is born, your symptoms usually go away.

Pregnancy can increase levels of the hormone progesterone, which can cause the muscles of the lower esophagus to relax. This makes it more likely that acid will reflux. Increased pressure on the stomach from a growing uterus can also increase a woman’s likelihood for having GERD.

Symptoms include pain that gets worse after a meal and acid regurgitation. Because the symptoms tend to be temporary, a woman usually doesn’t experience the long-term complications associated with GERD, like ongoing inflammation.

When to call your doctor

Symptoms of heartburn are often mistaken for heart attack, but the two conditions are unrelated. You should call 911 immediately if your heartburn discomfort and chest pain changes or gets worse and is accompanied by:

  • difficulty breathing
  • sweating
  • dizziness
  • pain in your arm or jaw

These symptoms can be symptoms of a heart attack.

Sometimes GERD symptoms can indicate the need for emergency medical treatment. These include:

  • experiencing regular, forceful (projectile) vomiting
  • having difficulty breathing
  • having difficulty swallowing
  • vomiting fluid with bright red blood or coffee-ground-like contents

Not all heartburn requires medical care. Infrequent and mild heartburn can be treated with antacids and lifestyle changes, like avoiding spicy foods. Occasional reflux is not a cause for concern. You should consult a doctor if you have heartburn two or more times a week or if over-the-counter medications don’t relieve your discomfort.

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Heart Burn, Acid Reflux During Pregnancy

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Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid leaks out of the stomach and up into the esophagus. The primary symptom is heartburn, which is an uncomfortable, burning sensation in the chest. Pregnant women are particularly prone to acid reflux and heartburn.

Uncomfortable and frustrating, it bothers many women, particularly during pregnancy.

Symptoms of Heart Burn

The primary symptom of acid reflux is heartburn, which is a burning sensation in the middle of the chest. It may accompany a feeling of heaviness or fullness in the chest or stomach.

A person may be more likely to experience heartburn:

  • after eating a meal or drinking
  • when lying down
  • when bending over

Heartburn can affect anyone at any time, but it is particularly common during pregnancy.

Other potential symptoms of acid reflux include:

  • a bitter taste in the mouth
  • sore throat
  • cough
  • bloating
  • belching
  • nausea
  • vomiting

Does pregnancy cause heartburn?

Pregnancy increases your risk of heartburn or acid reflux. During the first trimester, muscles in your esophagus push food more slowly into the stomach and your stomach takes longer to empty. This gives your body more time to absorb nutrients for the fetus, but it can also result in heartburn.

During the third trimester, the growth of your baby can push your stomach out of its normal position, which can lead to heartburn.

However, each woman is different. Being pregnant doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have heartburn. It depends on many factors, including your physiology, diet, daily habits, and your pregnancy.

Can I make lifestyle changes that help make it stop?

Relieving heartburn during pregnancy typically involves some trial and error. Lifestyle habits that can reduce heartburn are often the safest methods for mother and baby. The following tips may help relieve your heartburn:

  • Eat smaller meals more frequently and avoid drinking while eating. Drink water in between meals instead.
  • Eat slowly and chew every bite thoroughly.
  • Avoid eating a few hours before bed.
  • Avoid foods and beverages that trigger your heartburn. Typical culprits include chocolate, fatty foods, spicy foods, acidic foods like citrus fruits and tomato-based items, carbonated beverages, and caffeine.
  • Stay upright for at least one hour after a meal. A leisurely walk may also encourage digestion.
  • Wear comfortable rather than tight-fitting clothing.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Use pillows or wedges to elevate your upper body while sleeping.
  • Sleep on your left side. Lying on your right side will position your stomach higher than your esophagus, which may lead to heartburn.
  • Chew a piece of sugarless gum after meals. The increased saliva may neutralize any acid coming back up into the esophagus.
  • Eat yogurt or drink a glass of milk to quell symptoms once they start.
  • Drink some honey in chamomile tea or a glass of warm milk.

Alternative medicine options include acupuncture and relaxation techniques, such as progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, or guided imagery. Always check with your doctor before trying new treatments.

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What is Stomach Cancer?

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Abdominal cancer is a type of cancer that occurs when there is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells anywhere in the abdomen, the area between the lower chest and the groin. The abdomen consists of many organs, including the stomach, intestines, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, esophagus, and numerous blood vessels. Abdominal cancer is a general term for a variety of cancers.

Common forms of abdominal cancers include:

  • Colorectal cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Kidney cancer (renal cell cancer)
  • Stomach cancer (gastric cancer)

Stomach cancer, also known as gastric cancer, can affect any part of the stomach. In most of the world, stomach cancers form in the main part of the stomach (stomach body).

Symptoms of stomach cancer

Signs and symptoms of stomach cancer may include:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Feeling bloated after eating
  • Feeling full after eating small amounts of food
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain
  • Unintentional weight loss
  • Vomiting

What causes abdominal cancer?

Abdominal cancer occurs when old or damaged cells divide and multiply uncontrollably. The underlying cause of this varies depending on the specific form of cancer. For example:

  • Colorectal cancer commonly develops from adenomatous intestinal polyps in the colon that are not removed while still benign.
  • Liver cancer is often caused by certain types of liver disease, often chronic hepatitis B or C infection or alcoholism. Liver cancer can also be caused by another cancer in the body that spreads to the liver.
  • Stomach cancer is linked to significant risk factors but the exact cause is not known.
  • Pancreatic cancer is linked to significant risk factors but the exact cause is not known.
  • Renal cancer is not linked to a specific risk factor in most cases.
  • Peritoneal mesothelioma, or cancer of the lining of the inside of the abdomen, is caused by exposure to asbestos.

Risk factors

Factors that increase the risk of stomach cancer include:

  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Obesity
  • A diet high in salty and smoked foods
  • A diet low in fruits and vegetables
  • Family history of stomach cancer
  • Infection with Helicobacter pylori
  • Long-term stomach inflammation (gastritis)
  • Smoking
  • Stomach polyps

When to see a doctor

If you have signs and symptoms that worry you, make an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor will likely investigate more-common causes of these signs and symptoms first.

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What is Paralysis?

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Paralysis is a loss of muscle function in part of your body. It can be localized or generalized, partial or complete, and temporary or permanent. Paralysis can affect any part of your body at any time in your life. If you experience it, you probably won’t feel pain in the affected areas.

Paralysis can cause problems with blood flow, breathing, how well your organs work, speaking or swallowing, sexual responses, or controlling the urge to go to the bathroom, depending on where you’re paralyzed and how bad it is.

Types of Paralysis

Complete paralysis is when you can’t move or control your paralyzed muscles at all. You also may not be able to feel anything in those muscles.

Partial or incomplete paralysis is when you still have some feeling in, and possibly control over, your paralyzed muscles. This is sometimes called paresis.

Localized paralysis affects just one specific area, like your face, hands, feet, or vocal cords.

Generalized paralysis is more widespread in your body and is grouped by how much of your body is affected. The type usually depends on where your brain or spinal cord is injured.

  • Monoplegia is a kind of generalized paralysis that affects just one limb.
  • Diplegia affects the same area on both sides, like both arms, both legs, or both sides of your face.
  • Hemiplegia affects just one side of your body and is usually caused by a stroke, which damages one side of your brain.
  • Quadriplegia (or tetraplegia) is when all four limbs are paralyzed, sometimes along with certain organs.
  • Paraplegia is paralysis from the waist down.
  • Locked-in syndrome is the rarest and most severe form of paralysis, where a person loses control of all their muscles except the ones that control their eye movements.

What are the symptoms of paralysis?

Symptoms of paralysis may vary based on the cause, but are often easy to spot. A person born paralyzed due to a birth defect, or paralyzed suddenly due to a stroke or spinal cord injury, will be partially or totally unable to move the affected body parts. At the same time, the person may experience muscle stiffness and decreased feeling in the affected body parts.

A person who becomes paralyzed due to a medical condition might lose muscle control and feeling slowly. The person might feel tingling or numbing sensations or muscle cramps before losing control of his or her muscles.

How is paralysis diagnosed?

Diagnosing paralysis is often easy, especially when your loss of muscle function is obvious. For internal body parts where paralysis is more difficult to identify, your doctor may use X-rays, CT scans, MRI scans, or other imaging studies.

Treatment

A doctor may also recommend lifestyle changes, medications, surgery, or other treatments to help manage potential complications.

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Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism in Children

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The thyroid gland is a butterfly-shaped endocrine gland that is located in the lower front of the neck, just above the collarbone. The thyroid’s job is to make thyroid hormones, which are released into the blood and then carried to every tissue in the body. In children, thyroid hormone helps to ensure that growth and development occur normally and that the body’s energy, metabolism, heart, muscles, and other organs are working properly.

Hypothyroidism is thyroid hormone deficiency.

In children, hypothyroidism can be present at birth (a condition called congenital hypothyroidism) or it can develop later in childhood. When the thyroid gland stops working despite being normal in the newborn period it is called ‘acquired’ hypothyroidism.

Causes of Hypothyroidism in Children

The most common cause of hypothyroidism in children is a family history of the disease. Children whose parents, grandparents, or siblings have hypothyroidism are at a higher risk for thyroid disease. This is also true if there’s a family history of immune problems that impact the thyroid.

Autoimmune conditions, such as Graves’ disease or Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, more commonly appear during puberty. These thyroid conditions more frequently affect girls than boys.

Other common causes of hypothyroidism in children include:

  • not enough iodine in a child’s diet
  • being born with a nonfunctional thyroid or without a thyroid gland (also called congenital hypothyroidism)
  • improper treatment of a mother’s thyroid disease during pregnancy
  • abnormal pituitary gland

Symptoms of hypothyroidism

There are no signs or symptoms that are unique to hypothyroidism. Also, because the condition can develop slowly over many years, the symptoms may be less noticeable or ignored.

  • Two important symptoms in children are:
  • Slowing of height – an important early sign of hypothyroidism in children and
  • Pubertal development that may be delayed in adolescents.

An important finding on physical exam is an enlarged thyroid, also called a goiter

Other hypothyroid symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue (being more tired than expected)
  • Constipation
  • Increased sensitivity to cold
  • Dry skin
  • Dry and brittle hair (more in the shower, on brush, clothing and bedding)
  • Depression
  • Irregular and/or heavy menstrual periods
  • Weight gain. Hypothyroidism can slow metabolism, but most people do not gain excess weight only because of low thyroid hormone.

Because the symptoms are so variable and nonspecific (may be caused by things other than the thyroid), the only way to know for sure whether a child or teenager has hypothyroidism is to perform a blood test.

How to Diagnosis?

The diagnosis of hypothyroidism is made with a blood test for two hormones:

  • TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) is the most sensitive test for hypothyroidism. TSH is made in the pituitary, a gland at the base of the brain that controls our hormone system. If the thyroid gland is not working, the pituitary releases more TSH to try to get the thyroid to make more thyroid hormones (T3 and T4). Less commonly, the thyroid may be normal and it is the pituitary that cannot make enough TSH. This is called ‘central’ hypothyroidism and may be caused by medications, illness, a brain injury or a mass/tumor near the pituitary.
  • T4 levels measure the amount of the thyroid hormone thyroxine (T4) that is in the blood. Often this test will measure the level of “free T4” (abbreviated FT4). FT4 is the form that is not attached to a protein and can enter and affect the body’s cells.
  • Thyroid auto-antibodies – the immune system makes antibodies against thyroid proteins (called thyroid peroxidase or TPO) and the antibody levels may be measured to confirm the diagnosis of Hashimoto’s. Many patients who have thyroid autoantibodies continue to have normal thyroid hormone levels. In this situation, it may be hard to predict if and/or when the person will need thyroid medication.
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