Wednesday, September 18, 2013

DVT - Deep Vein Thrombosis


A vein is a blood vessel that returns blood from the tissues of the body back to the heart. The body has two distinct systems of veins -- superficial and deep. The superficial system is made up of veins that are close to the skin. These are the blood vessels you frequently can see on your hand arms, or legs that can become more prominent when you exercise. The deep system is comprised of veins within the muscles of the body. The two systems are connected by small communicating veins. The body regulates the amount of blood going through both systems as a way of rigidly controlling the body's central temperature.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a condition wherein a blood clot forms in a vein of the deep system. DVTs can occur anywhere in the body, but are most frequently found in the deep veins of the legs, thighs, and pelvis. They may infrequently arise from the upper extremities usually because of trauma, or from an indwelling catheter (tubing) or device.

Thrombophlebitis is a condition in which there is both inflammation and a blood clot in a vein. Thrombophlebitis can occur in either superficial or deep veins. Superficial thrombophlebitis occurs in veins close to the skin surface, and usually causes pain, swelling, and redness in the area of the vein. Superficial thrombophlebitis usually is treated with heat, elevation of the affected leg or arm, and anti-inflammatory medications. A thrombosis in a deep vein is a much more serious problem than one in a superficial vein, because a piece of the clot can break off and travel through the deep veins back to the heart, and eventually be pumped by the heart into the arteries of the lung. When this happens, the condition is called pulmonary embolism (PE). Pulmonary embolisms occur in 30% of people with DVT, and cause 60,000 deaths annually, many of them unrecognized and labeled as heartattacks.

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Stroke Prevention Lifestyle Tips



If you've had a stroke, preventing a second stroke is a top priority. "The risk of a stroke is tenfold higher in someone who has had a stroke in the past," says Larry B. Goldstein, MD, professor of medicine (neurology) and director of the Duke Stroke Center in Durham, N.C.
Prevention of a second stroke starts by addressing conditions that caused the first stroke, such as atrial fibrillation (an abnormal heart rhythm that can cause blood to clot) or narrowing of a carotid artery in the neck. Treatment is also aimed at other factors that put you at risk, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. But it takes more than just your doctor's efforts. You also have an important role to play in preventing stroke. It's up to you to make lifestyle changes that can lower your risk.
A stroke can be a devastating experience. Surviving it can be a powerful motivation to make lasting positive changes in your life. Take charge of your future by following these recommendations.
Prescription for Recurrent Stroke Prevention
Antiplatelet drugs and anticoagulants are medicines that can help reduce the risk of a second ischemic stroke. These medicines interfere with the blood's clotting action so that clots can't form and cause a stroke. Aspirin is one of the most common, most effective, and least expensive types of antiplatelet medication.
Know Your Numbers: Keep Blood Pressure Low
High blood pressure exerts continuous pressure on the walls of the arteries. If it is left untreated, it damages and weakens your arteries, making them more likely to clog or burst and cause a stroke. Hypertension is the biggest contributing risk factor to stroke.
Don't Give Up -- You Can Quit Smoking
Quitting cigarette smoking is an important step you can take to reduce your risk of a second stroke. And the benefits come quickly -- just five years after you stop smoking, your risk for stroke will be the same as that of a nonsmoker. Cigarette smoking is one of the biggest contributing risk factors to stroke.
Revamp Your Diet
Improving your diet will address a number of risk factors for stroke -- including being overweight. "Start by replacing high-fat foods with low-fat and lean versions, and replace refined and high-sugar foods with whole grains, fruits, and vegetables,” says Julia Renee Zumpano, RD, LD, a registered dietitian in preventive cardiology and rehabilitation at the Cleveland Clinic. “These changes will provide you cardio-protective antioxidants and boost the fiber in your diet. Boosting the fiber can help you feel fuller and more satisfied. As an added bonus, certain types of fiber can also help lower your cholesterol.”
Make Your Move
When it comes to the benefits of exercise, there is really no downside to moving your body. However, because you've had a stroke, you should talk with your doctor before starting an exercise program. Once you get the OK, these tips can help you get moving.
Moderation in All Things -- Especially Alcohol
Heavy alcohol use -- more than one to two drinks a day -- increases the risk of stroke by 69% in people who haven't had a stroke. Excessive drink can also increase your blood pressure.Moderate alcohol use -- defined as two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women -- may actually help protect against stroke. Any more than that may put your health at risk. However, if you don't drink, there is no reason to start.
Make Stroke Prevention a Family Affair
"A stroke affects everyone in the family, not just the person who had the stroke," Goldstein says. "Make a plan as a family to eat healthier, get more exercise, and clear the air of cigarette smoke. By working together, you'll find it easier to stick with new habits."
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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Male Menopause

Women may not be the only ones who suffer the effects of changing hormones. Some doctors are noticing that men are reporting some of the same symptoms that women experience in perimenopause and menopause.


The medical community is debating whether or not men really do go through a well-defined menopause. Doctors say that men receiving hormone therapy with testosterone have reported relief of some of the symptoms associated with so-called male menopause.

What Is Male Menopause?

Because men do not go through a well-defined period referred to as menopause, some doctors refer to this problem as androgen (testosterone) decline in the aging male -- or what some people call low testosterone. Men do experience a decline in the production of the male hormone testosterone with aging, but this also occurs with conditions such as diabetes.

Along with the decline in testosterone, some men experience symptoms that include:

·         Fatigue

·         Weakness

·         Depression

·         Sexual problems

The relationship of these symptoms to decreased testosterone levels is still controversial.

Unlike menopause in women, when hormone production stops completely, testosterone decline in men is a slower process. The testes, unlike the ovaries, do not run out of the substance it needs to make testosterone. A healthy man may be able to make sperm well into his 80s or later.

However, as a result of disease, subtle changes in the function of the testes may occur as early as age 45 to 50 and more dramatically after the age of 70 in some men.

How Is Male Menopause Diagnosed?

To make the diagnosis of male menopause, the doctor will:

·         Perform a physical exam

·         Ask about symptoms

·         Order tests to rule out medical problems that may be contributing to the condition

·         Order blood tests, which may include measuring testosterone level

Can Male Menopause Be Treated?

If testosterone levels are low, testosterone replacement therapy may help relieve symptoms such as:

·         Loss of interest in sex (decreased libido)

·         Depression

·         Fatigue

Just as with hormone replacement therapy in women, testosterone replacement therapy has potential risks and side effects. Replacing testosterone may worsen prostate cancer, for example.

If you are considering androgen replacement therapy, talk to a doctor to learn more. Your doctor may also recommend certain lifestyle or other changes to help with some symptoms of male menopause. These include:

·         Diet

·         Exercise program

·         Medications, such as an antidepressant

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Glaucoma and Your Eyes








Glaucoma is a condition that causes damage to your eye's optic nerve and gets worse over time. It's often associated with a buildup of pressure inside the eye. Glaucoma tends to be inherited and may not show up until later in life.

The increased pressure, called intraocular pressure, can damage the optic nerve, which transmits images to the brain. If damage to the optic nerve from high eye pressure continues, glaucoma will cause permanent loss of vision. Without treatment, glaucoma can cause total permanent blindness within a few years.

Because most people with glaucoma have no early symptoms or pain from this increased pressure, it is important to see your eye doctor regularly so that glaucoma can be diagnosed and treated before long-term visual loss occurs.

If you are over the age of 40 and if you have a family history of glaucoma, you should have a complete eye exam with an eye doctor every one to two years. If you have health problems such as diabetes or a family history of glaucoma or are at risk for other eye diseases, you may need to visit your eye doctor more frequently.

Why Does Pressure Rise in the Eye to Cause Glaucoma?

Glaucoma usually occurs when pressure in your eye increases. This can happen when eye fluid isn't circulating normally in the front part of the eye.

Normally, this fluid, called aqueous humor, flows out of the eye through a mesh-like channel. If this channel becomes blocked, fluid builds up, causing glaucoma. The direct cause of this blockage is unknown, but doctors do know that it can be inherited, meaning it is passed from parents to children.

Less common causes of glaucoma include a blunt or chemical injury to the eye, severe eye infection, blockage of blood vessels in the eye, inflammatory conditions of the eye, and occasionally eye surgery to correct another condition. Glaucoma usually occurs in both eyes, but it may involve each eye to a different extent.

What Are the Types of Glaucoma?

There are two main types of glaucoma:

1.    Open-angle glaucoma. Also called wide-angle glaucoma, this is the most common type of glaucoma. The structures of the eye appear normal, but fluid in the eye does not flow properly through the drain of the eye, called the trabecular meshwork.

2.    Angle-closure glaucoma. Also called acute or chronic angle-closure or narrow-angle glaucoma, this type of glaucoma is less common but can cause a sudden buildup of pressure in the eye. Drainage may be poor because the angle between the iris and the cornea (where a drainage channel for the eye is located) is too narrow.

What Are the Symptoms of Glaucoma?

For most people, there are usually few or no symptoms of glaucoma. The first sign of glaucoma is often the loss of peripheral or side vision, which can go unnoticed until late in the disease. Detecting glaucoma early is one reason you should have a complete exam with an eye specialist every one to two years. Occasionally, intraocular pressure can rise to severe levels. In these cases, sudden eye pain, headache, blurred vision, or the appearance of halos around lights may occur.

If you have any of the following symptoms, seek immediate medical care:

·         Seeing halos around lights

·         Vision loss

·         Redness in the eye

·         Eye that looks hazy (particularly in infants)

·         Nausea or vomiting

·         Pain in the eye

·         Narrowing of vision (tunnel vision)



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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Prediabetes


What is prediabetes?

Prediabetes is a term that is used when you are at risk for type 2 diabetes. It means that your blood sugar is higher than it should be. Most people who get type 2 diabetes have prediabetes first. The good news is that lifestyle changes may help you get your blood sugar back to normal and avoid or delay diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes is a lifelong disease that happens when the pancreas can't make enough insulin and/or the body's tissues can't use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body’s cells use sugar (glucose) for energy. It also helps the body store extra sugar in muscle, fat, and liver cells.

Without insulin, the sugar can't get into the cells to do its work. It stays in the blood instead. This can cause high blood sugar levels. A person has diabetes when the blood sugar stays too high too much of the time.

Over time, high blood sugar can cause serious problems with the eyes, heart, blood vessels, nerves, and kidneys. High blood sugar also makes a person more likely to get serious illnesses or infections.

What causes prediabetes?

Doctors don't know exactly what causes prediabetes. People who are overweight, aren't physically active, and have a family history of diabetes are more likely to get prediabetes. Women who have had gestational diabetes are also more likely to get prediabetes.

What are the symptoms?

Most people with prediabetes don't have any symptoms. But if you have prediabetes, you need to watch for signs of diabetes, such as:

·         Feeling very thirsty.

·         Urinating more often than usual.

·         Feeling very hungry.

·         Having blurred vision.

·         Losing weight without trying.

How is prediabetes diagnosed?

A blood test can tell if you have prediabetes. You have prediabetes if:

·         The results of your hemoglobin A1c test are 5.7% to 6.4%.

·         The results of your fasting blood glucose test are between 100 and 125 milligrams per deciliter.

·         The results of your oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) are 140 to 199 mg/dL (2 hours after the beginning of the test).

How is it treated?

The key to treating prediabetes and preventing type 2 diabetes is getting your blood sugar levels back to a normal range. You can do this by making some lifestyle changes.

·         Watch your weight. If you are overweight, losing just a small amount of weight may help. Reducing fat around your waist is particularly important.

·         Make healthy food choices.

·         Limit how much fat you eat, and try to eat foods that are high in fiber.

·         Try to eat about the same amount of carbohydrate at each meal. This helps keep your blood sugar steady. Carbohydrate affects blood sugar more than other nutrients. It is found in sugar and sweets, grains, fruit, starchy vegetables, and milk and yogurt.

·         Talk to your doctor, a diabetes educator, or a dietitian about an eating plan that will work for you. There are many ways to manage how much and when you eat.

·         Be active. You can do moderate activity, vigorous activity, or both. Bit by bit, increase the amount you do every day. You may want to swim, bike, or do other activities. Walking is an easy way to get exercise.

·         Making these changes may help delay or prevent diabetes. You may also avoid or delay some of the serious problems that you can get when you have diabetes, such as heart attack, stroke, and heart, eye, nerve, and kidney disease.

·         Some doctors may use medicine to control blood sugar in people with prediabetes. If your doctor prescribed medicine to help control your blood sugar, take it as prescribed.

Can prediabetes be prevented?

Staying at a healthy weight, eating healthy foods, and getting regular exercise can help prevent prediabetes.

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