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What is Epilepsy?

 

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Epilepsy is a chronic disorder that causes unprovoked, recurrent seizures. A seizure is a sudden rush of electrical activity in the brain.

There are two main types of seizures. Generalized seizures affect the whole brain. Focal, or partial seizures, affect just one part of the brain.

A mild seizure may be difficult to recognize. It can last a few seconds during which you lack awareness.

Stronger seizures can cause spasms and uncontrollable muscle twitches, and can last a few seconds to several minutes. During a stronger seizure, some people become confused or lose consciousness. Afterward you may have no memory of it happening.

There are several reasons you might have a seizure. These include:

  • high fever
  • head trauma
  • very low blood sugar
  • alcohol withdrawal

Symptoms

Because epilepsy is caused by abnormal activity in the brain, seizures can affect any process your brain coordinates. Seizure signs and symptoms may include:

  • Temporary confusion
  • A staring spell
  • Uncontrollable jerking movements of the arms and legs
  • Loss of consciousness or awareness
  • Psychic symptoms such as fear, anxiety or deja vu

Symptoms vary depending on the type of seizure. In most cases, a person with epilepsy will tend to have the same type of seizure each time, so the symptoms will be similar from episode to episode.

Doctors generally classify seizures as either focal or generalized, based on how the abnormal brain activity begins.

Focal seizures

When seizures appear to result from abnormal activity in just one area of your brain, they’re called focal (partial) seizures. These seizures fall into two categories:

Focal seizures without loss of consciousness. Once called simple partial seizures, these seizures don’t cause a loss of consciousness. They may alter emotions or change the way things look, smell, feel, taste or sound. They may also result in involuntary jerking of a body part, such as an arm or leg, and spontaneous sensory symptoms such as tingling, dizziness and flashing lights.

Focal seizures with impaired awareness. Once called complex partial seizures, these seizures involve a change or loss of consciousness or awareness. During a complex partial seizure, you may stare into space and not respond normally to your environment or perform repetitive movements, such as hand rubbing, chewing, swallowing or walking in circles.

Symptoms of focal seizures may be confused with other neurological disorders, such as migraine, narcolepsy or mental illness. A thorough examination and testing are needed to distinguish epilepsy from other disorders.

Generalized seizures

Seizures that appear to involve all areas of the brain are called generalized seizures. Six types of generalized seizures exist.

Absence seizures. Absence seizures, previously known as petit mal seizures, often occur in children and are characterized by staring into space or subtle body movements such as eye blinking or lip smacking. These seizures may occur in clusters and cause a brief loss of awareness.

Tonic seizures. Tonic seizures cause stiffening of your muscles. These seizures usually affect muscles in your back, arms and legs and may cause you to fall to the ground.

Atonic seizures. Atonic seizures, also known as drop seizures, cause a loss of muscle control, which may cause you to suddenly collapse or fall down.

Clonic seizures. Clonic seizures are associated with repeated or rhythmic, jerking muscle movements. These seizures usually affect the neck, face and arms.

Myoclonic seizures. Myoclonic seizures usually appear as sudden brief jerks or twitches of your arms and legs.

Tonic-clonic seizures. Tonic-clonic seizures, previously known as grand mal seizures, are the most dramatic type of epileptic seizure and can cause an abrupt loss of consciousness, body stiffening and shaking, and sometimes loss of bladder control or biting your tongue.

What triggers an epileptic seizure?

Some people are able to identify things or situations that can trigger seizures.

A few of the most commonly reported triggers are:

  • lack of sleep
  • illness or fever
  • stress
  • bright lights, flashing lights, or patterns
  • caffeine, alcohol, medicines, or drugs
  • skipping meals, overeating, or specific food ingredients

Identifying triggers isn’t always easy. A single incident doesn’t always mean something is a trigger. It’s often a combination of factors that trigger a seizure.

A good way to find your triggers is to keep a seizure journal. After each seizure, note the following:

  • day and time
  • what activity you were involved in
  • what was happening around you
  • unusual sights, smells, or sounds
  • unusual stressors
  • what you were eating or how long it had been since you’d eaten
  • your level of fatigue and how well you slept the night before

You can also use your seizure journal to determine if your medications are working. Note how you felt just before and just after your seizure, and any side effects.

Bring the medical history with you when you visit the doctor. It may be useful in adjusting your medications or exploring other treatments.

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What is Dialysis?

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The kidneys filter your blood by removing waste and excess fluid from your body. This waste is sent to the bladder to be eliminated when you urinate.

Dialysis performs the function of the kidneys if they’ve failed. Dialysis is a treatment that filters and purifies the blood using a machine. This helps keep your fluids and electrolytes in balance when the kidneys can’t do their job.

A healthy person’s kidneys filter around 120 to 150 quarts of blood each day. If the kidneys are not working correctly, waste builds up in the blood. Eventually, this can lead to coma and death.

The cause might be a chronic, or long-term condition, or an acute problem, such as an injury or a short-term illness that affects the kidneys.

Dialysis prevents the waste products in the blood from reaching hazardous levels. It can also remove toxins or drugs from the blood in an emergency setting.

What does dialysis do?

When your kidneys fail, dialysis keeps your body in balance by:

  • removing waste, salt and extra water to prevent them from building up in the body
  • keeping a safe level of certain chemicals in your blood, such as potassium, sodium and bicarbonate
  • helping to control blood pressure

Types of dialysis

There are different types of dialysis.

The three main approaches are:

  • Hemodialysis
  • Peritoneal dialysis (PD)
  • Continuous renal replacement therapies (CRRT)

The choice will depend on factors such as the patient’s situation, availability, and cost.

Hemodialysis

Hemodialysis is the most common type of dialysis. This process uses an artificial kidney (hemodialyzer) to remove waste and extra fluid from the blood. The blood is removed from the body and filtered through the artificial kidney. The filtered blood is then returned to the body with the help of a dialysis machine.

To get the blood to flow to the artificial kidney, your doctor will perform surgery to create an entrance point (vascular access) into your blood vessels. The three types of entrance points are:

  • Arteriovenous (AV) fistula. This type connects an artery and a vein. It’s the preferred option.
  • AV graft. This type is a looped tube.
  • Vascular access catheter. This may be inserted into the large vein in your neck.

Hemodialysis treatments usually last three to five hours and are performed three times per week. However, hemodialysis treatment can also be completed in shorter, more frequent sessions.

Most hemodialysis treatments are performed at a hospital, doctor’s office, or dialysis center. The length of treatment depends on your body size, the amount of waste in your body, and the current state of your health.

Peritoneal dialysis

Peritoneal dialysis involves surgery to implant a peritoneal dialysis (PD) catheter into your abdomen.

The catheter helps filter your blood through the peritoneum, a membrane in your abdomen. During treatment, a special fluid called dialysate flows into the peritoneum. The dialysate absorbs waste. Once the dialysate draws waste out of the bloodstream, it’s drained from your abdomen.

This process takes a few hours and needs to be repeated four to six times per day. However, the exchange of fluids can be performed while you’re sleeping or awake.

Continuous renal replacement therapy (CRRT)

This therapy is used primarily in the intensive care unit for people with acute kidney failure. It’s also known as hemofiltration. A machine passes the blood through tubing. A filter then removes waste products and water. The blood is returned to the body, along with replacement fluid. This procedure is performed 12 to 24 hours a day, generally every day.

How do I prepare for dialysis?

Before your first dialysis treatment, your doctor will surgically implant a tube or device to gain access to your bloodstream. This is typically a quick operation. You should be able to return home the same day.

It’s best to wear comfortable clothing during your dialysis treatments. Also follow your doctor’s instructions. These may include fasting for a certain amount of time before the treatment.

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What is Heart Infection?

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Heart infections occur when an irritant such as bacteria, a virus, a parasite, or a chemical reaches your heart muscle. An infection can cause inflammation or damage to your heart’s inner lining, valves, outer membrane, or the heart muscle itself.

Types of Heart Infection

Your heart has three main layers, any of which can be the site of a heart infection. The types of heart infection include:

Endocarditis is an infection or inflammation of the endocardium. This is the inner most layer of the heart. The endocardium lines the inside of the four heart chambers and the four heart valves. Endocarditis is the most common type of heart infection. It most often occurs in people with pre-existing valve disease and other heart problems. Treatment usually requires hospitalization.

Myocarditis is an infection or inflammation of the myocardium. This is the middle muscular layer of the heart. Viral infections are one of several causes of myocarditis. This type of heart infection is rare.

Pericarditis is an infection or inflammation of the pericardium. This is the outer layer or membrane covering the heart. A viral infection is the most common cause. It occurs most often in men age 20 to 50 years from a viral infection. Typically, people recover with rest and treatment of symptoms.

General symptoms of a heart infection include chest pain, fever, and shortness of breath. These symptoms can also be present with a life-threatening condition, such as heart attack. Seek immediate medical care if you, or someone you are with, have these symptoms.

Causes of Heart Infection

Pericarditis can be caused by a viral infection or after a heart attack or heart surgery. It can also develop as the result of inflammatory autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis; trauma to the heart or chest; health disorders like kidney failure or AIDS; and certain medications, although this is unusual.

Endocarditis usually occurs when germs travel through your bloodstream, travel to your heart, and attach to damaged heart tissue. Bacteria can spread as the result of unhealthy teeth and gums, a skin sore, certain dental procedures, a sexually transmitted infection, or a catheter or needle.

Myocarditis is generally caused by a viral infection or autoimmune disease. Because the condition is so unusual, research is still being done on its causes.

What are the symptoms of a heart infection?

Heart infection symptoms with endocarditis can be obvious and develop quickly. This is acute endocarditis, which can rapidly become serious and life threatening. However, they can also be vague and develop gradually, even over months. This is subacute or chronic endocarditis.

Common symptoms of a heart infection

The most common symptoms of endocarditis are:

  • Chest pain, especially with breathing
  • Cough
  • Fatigue
  • Fever, chills, and sweats
  • General feeling of being unwell
  • Muscle aches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling in the abdomen or lower extremities

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

In some cases, a heart infection can cause life-threatening complications. Seek immediate medical care if you, or someone you are with, have any of these life-threatening symptoms including:

  • Chest pain
  • Confusion, disorientation or difficulty understanding speech
  • Drooping on one side of the face
  • Severe headache
  • Slurred or garbled speech, or inability to speak
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Sudden weakness, numbnessor paralysis on one side of the body or face

Even if you do not have these potentially life-threatening symptoms, it is wise to seek medical care for any symptoms of heart infection.

Treatment of a heart infection

Heart infections are generally treated with one or more of the following methods:

  • Antibiotics.
  • Medications used to treat heart failure.
  • Corticosteroids.
  • Drugs that reduce inflammation in the body.
  • Occasionally, surgery.
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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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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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What is a miscarriage?

miscarriage

A miscarriage is the loss of a baby before the 20th week of pregnancy. The medical term for a miscarriage is spontaneous abortion. But it isn’t an abortion in the common meaning of the term.

As many as 50% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage — most often before a woman misses a menstrual period or even knows she’s pregnant. About 15%-25% of recognized pregnancies will end in a miscarriage.

More than 80% of miscarriages happen within the first 3 months of pregnancy. Miscarriages are less likely to happen after 20 weeks. When they do, doctors call them late miscarriages.

Miscarriage Symptoms

Symptoms of a miscarriage include:

  • Bleeding that goes from light to heavy
  • Severe cramps
  • Belly pain
  • Weakness
  • Worsening or severe back pain
  • Fever with any of the symptoms listed above
  • Weight loss
  • White-pink mucus
  • Contractions
  • Tissue that looks like blood clots passing from your vagina
  • Fewer signs of pregnancy

If you have these symptoms listed above, contact your doctor right away. They’ll tell you whether to come to the office or go to the emergency room.

Miscarriage Causes and Risk Factors

Most miscarriages happen when the unborn baby has fatal genetic problems. Usually, these problems are not related to the mother.

Other problems that can increase the risk of miscarriage include:

  • Infection
  • Medical conditions in the mother, such as diabetes or thyroid disease
  • Hormone problems
  • Immune system responses
  • Physical problems in the mother
  • Uterine abnormalities
  • Smoking
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Using street drugs
  • Exposure to radiation or toxic substances

A woman has a higher risk of miscarriage if she:

  • Is over age 35
  • Has certain diseases, such as diabetes or thyroid problems
  • Has had three or more miscarriages

Miscarriage types

There are many different types of miscarriage. Depending on your symptoms and the stage of your pregnancy, your doctor will diagnose your condition as one of the following:

  • Complete miscarriage: All pregnancy tissues have been expelled from your body.
  • Incomplete miscarriage: You’ve passed some tissue or placental material, but some still remains in your body.
  • Missed miscarriage: The embryo dies without your knowledge, and you don’t deliver it.
  • Threatened miscarriage: Bleeding and cramps point to a possible upcoming miscarriage.
  • Inevitable miscarriage: The presence of bleeding, cramping, and cervical dilation indicates that a miscarriage is inevitable.
  • Septic miscarriage: An infection has occurred within your uterus.

How to Prevent Miscarriage

Not all miscarriages can be prevented. However, you can take steps to help maintain a healthy pregnancy. Here are a few recommendations:

  • Get regular prenatal care throughout your pregnancy.
  • Avoid alcohol, drugs, and smoking while pregnant.
  • Maintain a healthy weight before and during pregnancy.
  • Avoid infections. Wash your hands thoroughly, and stay away from people who are already sick.
  • Limit the amount of caffeine to no more than 200 milligrams per day.
  • Take prenatal vitamins to help ensure that you and your developing fetus get enough nutrients.
  • Eat a healthy, well-balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.

Remember that having a miscarriage doesn’t mean you won’t conceive again in the future. Most women who miscarry have healthy pregnancies later.

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What is Appendicitis?

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Appendicitis is an inflammation of the appendix. It’s a medical emergency that almost always requires surgery as soon as possible to remove the appendix. Luckily, you can live just fine without it.

Where Is Your Appendix?

This 3 1/2-inch-long tube of tissue extends from your large intestine on the lower right side of your body.

Symptoms of Appendicitis

Signs and symptoms of appendicitis may include:

  • Sudden pain that begins on the right side of the lower abdomen
  • Sudden pain that begins around your navel and often shifts to your lower right abdomen
  • Pain that worsens if you cough, walk or make other jarring movements
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Low-grade fever that may worsen as the illness progresses
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Abdominal bloating
  • Flatulence

The site of your pain may vary, depending on your age and the position of your appendix. When you’re pregnant, the pain may seem to come from your upper abdomen because your appendix is higher during pregnancy.

Causes of Appendicitis

In many cases, the exact cause of appendicitis is unknown. Experts believe it develops when part of the appendix becomes obstructed, or blocked.

Many things can potentially block your appendix, including:

  • a buildup of hardened stool
  • enlarged lymphoid follicles
  • intestinal worms
  • traumatic injury
  • tumors

When your appendix becomes blocked, bacteria can multiply inside it. This can lead to the formation of pus and swelling, which can cause painful pressure in your abdomen.

Treatment options for appendicitis

Depending on your condition, your doctor’s recommended treatment plan for appendicitis may include one or more of the following:

  • surgery to remove your appendix
  • needle drainage or surgery to drain an abscess
  • antibiotics
  • pain relievers
  • IV fluids
  • liquid diet

In rare cases, appendicitis may get better without surgery. But in most cases, you will need surgery to remove your appendix. This is known as an appendectomy.

When to see a doctor

Make an appointment with a doctor if you or your child has worrisome signs or symptoms. Severe abdominal pain requires immediate medical attention.

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