Categories
Tinnitus

9 Myths and Facts about Tinnitus

Tinnitus, for those who do not suffer with these constant, annoying noises, is a bit of a mystery. Here, my aim is to give you the low down on the condition.

Myth: Tinnitus only affects those with pre-existing hearing loss.

FACT: Whilst Tinnitus does indeed affect those with hearing loss and the two are closely entwined, this isn’t always the case. If you go to a gig and listen to music at a very loud volume you may find yourself with temporary tinnitus immediately after. Some people even develop tinnitus for no known reason. Some of us are just predisposed to developing tinnitus sadly.

Myth: Having Tinnitus means I will go deaf at some point.

FACT: Having Tinnitus and having hearing loss are two separate issues, just because you have one does not necessarily mean you will develop the other. Tinnitus can develop for a number of reasons but does not mean you will go deaf. Seeing an audiologist or Ear Nose Throat specialist will help to find out the cause of your tinnitus.

Myth: Tinnitus is a disease.

FACT: Whilst Tinnitus can be debilitating for the sufferer, it is not a disease but rather a condition or possibly a symptom of some other underlying health condition.

Myth: Tinnitus sounds are the same for all sufferers.

FACT: Tinnitus varies for each individual, in pitch, frequency and ferocity. Some may hear ringing or buzzing in the ear, whilst others hear bells or music. Mine personally varies considerably from day to day – one day it could be a ringing noise and then next, motorbikes.

Myth: Hearing Aids or Cochlear Implants won’t help my tinnitus.

FACT: Actually, hearing aids and cochlear implants are one of the most effective ways of managing tinnitus as you are able to focus on external sounds, thus lessening the importance of the in the ear noises.

Myth: There is no cure for Tinnitus.

FACT: Whilst there is no miracle pill you can take to make tinnitus go away, there are ways you can manage the condition – from sound therapy, relaxation techniques to hearing aids or cochlear implants.

Myth: Certain foods and drinks can aggravate my tinnitus.

FACT: Whilst some drinks, such as coffee, and food have been blamed for exacerbating tinnitus, there is no real scientific backing for this. That said, a healthy and balanced diet never hurt anyone.

Myth: No one else has Tinnitus; I must be odd.

FACT: You are not alone, there are an estimated 5 million people in the UK suffering from some form of tinnitus! Whilst hearing noises in your head may make you think you are odd, it is more common than you think.

Myth: If I had Tinnitus, I would know about it.

FACT: You would think you would be aware of a ringing or buzzing noise in your ear but the fact is, some people have been suffering with very mild tinnitus most of their life and have been completely unaware. For some, it is temporary or comes and goes so they are not always aware of it.

Categories
Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative Colitis: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

What is ulcerative colitis?

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD comprises a group of diseases that affect the gastrointestinal tract.

Ulcerative colitis occurs when the lining of your large intestine (also called the colon), rectum, or both becomes inflamed.

This inflammation produces tiny sores called ulcers on the lining of your colon. It usually begins in the rectum and spreads upward. It can involve your entire colon.

The inflammation causes your bowel to move its contents rapidly and empty frequently. As cells on the surface of the lining of your bowel die, ulcers form. The ulcers may cause bleeding and discharge of mucus and pus.

While this disease affects people of all ages, most people are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 35. After age 50, another small increase in diagnosis for this disease is seen, usually in men.

Ulcerative colitis symptoms

The seriousness of ulcerative colitis symptoms varies among affected people. The symptoms can also change over time.

People diagnosed with UC may experience periods of mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. This is called remission. However, symptoms can return and be severe. This is called a flare-up.

Common symptoms of ulcerative colitis include:

  • abdominal pain
  • increased abdominal sounds
  • bloody stools
  • diarrhea
  • fever
  • rectal pain
  • weight loss
  • malnutrition

UC may cause additional conditions such as:

  • joint pain
  • joint swelling
  • nausea and decreased appetite
  • skin problems
  • mouth sores
  • eye inflammation

Ulcerative colitis causes

Researchers believe ulcerative colitis may be the result of an overactive immune system. However, it’s unclear why some immune systems respond by attacking the large intestines and not others.

Risk factors that may play a role in who develops UC include:

  • Genes: You may inherit a gene from a parent that increases your risk.
  • Other immune disorders: If you have one type of immune disorder, your risks for developing a second are higher.
  • Environmental factors: Bacteria, viruses, and antigens may trigger your immune system.

Ulcerative colitis diagnosis

Different tests can help your doctor diagnose UC. This disorder mimics other bowel diseases such as Crohn’s disease. Your doctor will run multiple tests to rule out other conditions.

Tests to diagnose ulcerative colitis often include:

  • Stool test: A doctor examines your stool for blood, bacteria, and parasites.
  • Endoscopy: A doctor uses a flexible tube to examine your stomach, esophagus, and small intestine.
  • Colonoscopy: This diagnostic test involves insertion of a long, flexible tube into your rectum to examine the inside of your colon.
  • Biopsy: A surgeon removes a tissue sample from your colon for analysis.
  • CT scan: This is a specialized X-ray of your abdomen and pelvis.

Blood tests are often useful in the diagnosis of UC. A complete blood count looks for signs of anemia (low blood count). Other tests indicate inflammation such as a high level of C-reactive protein and a high sedimentation rate. Your doctor may also order specialized antibody tests.

Ulcerative colitis treatments

Ulcerative colitis is a chronic condition. The goal of treatment is to reduce the inflammation that causes your symptoms so you can prevent flare-ups and have longer periods of remission.

Medication

Your doctor may prescribe a medication to reduce inflammation and swelling. This will help alleviate many symptoms.

These types of medications include:

  • mesalamine (Asacol and Lialda)
  • sulfasalazine (Azulfidine)
  • balsalazide (Colazal)
  • olsalazine (Dipentum).

Some cases of UC may need corticosteroids, antibiotics, medications that suppress immune function, or biologics. Biologics are antibody medications that help block inflammation in a different way.

In 2018, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of tofacitinib (Xeljanz) as a treatment for UC. Initially used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, this drug targets cells responsible for inflammation. It’s the first oral medication approved for the long-term treatment of UC.

Hospitalization

If your symptoms are severe, you’ll need to be hospitalized to correct the effects of dehydration and loss of electrolytes that diarrhea causes. You may also need to replace blood and to treat any other complications.

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Categories
Celiac disease

100 Hidden Symptoms of Celiac Disease

There are more than 100 hidden symptoms of Celiac Disease and many more less known or rare ones. It’s important to get tested if you recognize these symptoms. Even if you think you “only” have a mild gluten intolerance, you could be wrong and putting your future (or your child’s future) at risk.

You will be more committed to completely avoiding all forms of gluten if you see elevated antibodies on a lab report. Just as with Hashimoto’s – doesn’t seeing your antibody count make you more aware of your thyroid?

While Colon Cancer may be known by alternative doctors as a sign of Celiac Disease, there are many traditional doctors who don’t know this! Educate them!

The standard Celiac test is somewhat limited as it only tests 1 or 2 antibodies. I much prefer the Wheat/Gluten Proteome Reactivity Test from Cyrex Labs with 24 antibodies. That’s how I found I had Celiac after being off gluten for a decade.

I didn’t think it was worth it to test sicne I had been strictly off gluten and teach how to be gluten free, but I ran the test anyway. (I like to run tests before asking clients to run them). But I flunked! I eventually found it was breathing a tiny bit of oat dust when handling my pony’s horse feed! If you have no access to Cyrex Labs, by all means run a standard Celiac blood test on yourself and the kids, especially if you have any of the common or hidden symptoms of Celiac.

Three Tests For Gluten Sensitivity

I don’t agree with biopsies in most cases even though this is what doctors require to confirm an official diagnisis of Celiac in your records. I think its enough to run 3 tests:

  1. Take yourself strictly off all forms of gluten for 30 to 90 days and note changes anywhere in body or mind. Then eat a sandwich 3 days in a row and observe for reactions.
  2. Take the blood test for Gluten Antibodies
  3. Find a wellness practiioner or Functional Medicine praactitioner such as myself to run the Cyrex Labs test.

Either way, I ask all my clients to avoid gluten (and grains in general) but this will give you an idea of the level of reactivity and the possible symptoms of Celiac or gluten intolerance.

Common symptoms of Celiac Disease

Common symptoms include:

  • Recurring diarrhea or constipation
  • Bloating, intestinal pain, rectal bleeding
  • Colon Cancer
  • Vomiting
  • Unexplained fertility or miscarriage issues
  • Weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Iron Anemia
  • Canker sores
  • Skin bumps and blisters often confused with Eczema (Dermatitis Herpetiformis)
  • Failure to thrive
  • Various forms of psychiatric concerns
  • Family history of Celiac

Even with these clues, most doctors won’t think of Celiac and won’t run the blood tests. With an estimated 1 in 130 Americans having Celiac Disease, only a tiny percentage are ever diagnosed.

To make it more confusing, many people have none of the common symptoms. 12 to 25% of confirmed Celiacs have NO digestive issues…

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Categories
Alopecia

3 Ways to Treat Alopecia

It’s frustrating to deal with hair loss due to an autoimmune condition like alopecia, whether your hair loss is patchy (alopecia areata), you’ve lost the hair on your scalp (alopecia totalis), or you’ve lost hair over your entire body (alopecia universalis). If you have mild hair loss, you may be able to improve the health of your hair follicles to regrow hair. For more severe or persistent hair loss, ask your doctor or dermatologist to prescribe treatments that can stimulate hair growth.

Method1

Getting Medical Treatment

Image titled Treat Alopecia Step 1
1. Get corticosteroid injections every 4 to 6 weeks. If you have mild alopecia areata, a dermatologist will inject corticosteroids directly into the area where hair has fallen out. The corticosteroids will prevent your immune system from attacking the hair follicles, and you can expect hair to begin growing about 4 weeks after your last injection.
  • Corticosteroids are also available as a topical treatment, which make them easier for children with alopecia areata to use.

 

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2. Apply minoxidil 1 to 2 times a day. Mild alopecia can be treated by spreading minoxidil on the skin for about 3 months. If you have more severe alopecia or your hair doesn’t respond to the minoxidil, ask your doctor about using it along with another alopecia treatment.
  • Minoxidil is often used along with topical corticosteroids.
  • Anthralin is another topical treatment that you might be prescribed. You’ll need to apply the cream or lotion and wash it off after 30 to 60 minutes. Hair can begin growing back within 8 to 12 weeks.
Image titled Treat Alopecia Step 3
3. Rub medication to cause an allergic reaction over the bald skin. If you have inflammation and extensive alopecia, the doctor can prescribe diphencyprone (DPCP), which can trick your immune system and restart hair growth.[3] A clinician will rub a highly concentrated amount of DPCP over your skin, which you’ll leave on for 2 to 3 days. Once you’ve had a reaction, the clinician will apply a weaker solution of DPCP on the area once a week.
  • You’ll need to use DPCP for 3 months for the hair to regrow.
Image titled Treat Alopecia Step 4
4. Take oral corticosteroids for severe alopecia areata, totalis, or universalis. Oral corticosteroids can improve your condition by suppressing your immune system. Because of the risk for side effects, doctors usually prescribe them to be used for a short period of time.
  • Side effects include glaucoma, swelling in the logs, high blood pressure, behavioral issues, and weight gain.
  • Young adults are less likely to experience side effects while taking short courses of oral corticosteroids.

 

Image titled Treat Alopecia Step 5
5. Apply topical immunotherapy for severe alopecia, totalis, or universalis. The dermatologist will spread medication directly onto the balding skin. Your immune system will send white blood cells to the area, which can cause hair to regrow.
  • Side effects of topical immunotherapy include redness, itching, and rash because your immune system is reacting to the medication.

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Categories
Parkinson's Disease

12 Things You Don’t Understand About Parkinson’s Unless You Have It

Sure, you can watch celebrities like Alan Alda and Michael J. Fox talk about life with Parkinson’s disease. You can read medical articles and understand the definition of Parkinson’s, which is a neurodegenerative disorder that targets the neurons in the part of the brain that produce dopamine. This results in motor symptoms like tremor, rigid limbs, balance and gait problems and slowness of movement; and non-motor symptoms like sleep disorders and depression. But there are some things a textbook or doctor can’t tell you — like what it’s really like to live day in and day out with Parkinson’s.

When it comes to those details, only someone else who has Parkinson’s can give you that insider knowledge. If you’re newly diagnosed, they can tell you what to prepare for, and if you’ve been living with Parkinson’s for a while, they can tell you that you’re actually not the only one experiencing that “weird” symptom. So we asked our Mighty Parkinson’s community to share something people don’t tend to understand about Parkinson’s unless they have it themselves. Check out the “secrets” they shared below. Did we miss anything? Be sure to leave a comment and explain what you would add to our list.

1. It can be frustrating not being able to do small things.

The tremors, bradykinesia (slowness of movement) and rigidity caused by Parkinson’s can make doing things requiring fine motor skills difficult. For example, you might have trouble buttoning a shirt or cutting a sandwich.

Ellie Finch Hulme, blogger at PD Mama, explained:

How frustrating it is not being able to do the smallest of things, despite willing your brain to send the right message and have the right limb, for example, receive that message and act upon it. Things as simple as moving fingers to type. Things that we take for granted in our everyday lives.

2. Tremors are not always visible — they can be internal, too.

“People who do not have Parkinson’s do not understand what internal tremors are,” Sharon Krischer, blogger at Twitchy Woman, said.

Most people are aware that external tremors are a hallmark sign of Parkinson’s, but what many people don’t know is that tremors can also be internal. This feels like a shaking sensation inside the body.

3. Women with Parkinson’s disease may present with different symptoms and challenges than men.

For women, hormones can impact Parkinson’s and vice versa — you might notice worsening Parkinson’s symptoms, heavier menstrual flow, more fatigue and less effectiveness of medications while you have your period. Some research has also suggested that during the “preclinical” phase of Parkinson’s, or period of time before a doctor’s diagnosis, women’s non-motor symptoms may be more prominent than their motor symptoms, meaning they may get diagnosed later than men do.

Maria De Leon, blogger at Parkinson’s Diva, shared:

Unless you are a young woman with PD, you don’t realize the impact that having hormone fluctuations play on the symptoms of the disease, while PD itself [can] worsen the menstrual cycle and other hormonal related medical problems like migraines. [Also], how young women with PD take longer to get a diagnosis because of the prevalent non-motor symptoms at presentation compared to their male counterparts.

 

4. Parkinson’s symptoms are not necessarily the same every single day.

Like most chronic illnesses, Parkinson’s disease does not look exactly the same every day. One day you might feel more fatigue; another day you might realize you’re not moving as slowly as you were the previous week. If you experience these “ups and downs,” you’re definitely not alone!

Blogger Linda Olson explained:

Parkinson’s disease is an erratic partner of mine. Some days I’m stiff and sore and anxious, on those days my mantra is, ‘I can do this.’ Then for no reason at all, it lightens up for a while. I look forward to these ‘gratitude days’ and make sure I share them with those around me.

5. Depression sometimes comes even before other symptoms.

Not everyone with depression will get Parkinson’s and vice versa, but it is common for depression to be among the very first symptoms of the disease to show up.

Sherri Woodbridge, blogger at Parkinson’s Journey, explained how this depression feels:

One of the first symptoms that is often overlooked (while Parkinson’s is frantically trying to make its mark on your life) can be depression. By the time you are actually diagnosed, you may feel like your whole world has caved in and your diagnosis adds a thousand ton weight upon you as you lay smothered in a pit of grief.

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Categories
Ankylosing Spondylitis

The 2 Biggest Causes Of Ankylosing Spondylitis And Manage It Naturally

  • Learn what causes ankylosing spondylitis. If you have a risk of developing ankylosing spondylitis taking steps to manage the causes can help to prevent it from happening.
  • Instead of using potentially harmful conventional medicines that often only treat the symptoms, reverse ankylosing spondylitis using natural treatments. Learn which treatments are effective and safe.

Because it is an autoimmune disease, for the longest time doctors didn’t know what causes ankylosing spondylitis. Now research has shown that there are things that can, in fact, cause an autoimmune response in the body.

Conventional mainstream medicine addresses a disease by curing the symptoms and not the cause. If you have pain they will give you pain reliever without digging deeper for the cause of the pain. If you want to live a healthier and disease-free life, you have to understand the cause and then remove the cause. It is as simple as that.

 

POSSIBLE CAUSES OF ANKYLOSING SPONDYLITIS

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS) is an inflammatory and autoimmune disease and is a type of arthritis. While a cause is not able to be determined in all cases, most cases will be caused by the following:

  • Genetics: This is the gene HLA-B27. But remember not everyone with this gene develops AS. We will take a look at why this happens to us shortly. Also if you are HLA-B27 negative, you can still have AS.
  • Injury: Injury can be physical or emotional trauma. If you have been in an accident, illness, or perhaps lost someone, it can all impact your immune system. The good news is that this can be managed by exercise and other helpful techniques.
  • Prolonged Immobility: We can reverse AS by slowly increasing your activity level.
  • Infection: Klebsiella is a type of bacteria that in people with the HLA-B27 gene can cause AS. We can kill it naturally without the use of harmful antibiotics.

We have to lower the inflammation and stop the immune system from attacking our body. Actually inflammation and the immune system are both our body´s friend. Inflammation is actually a result of the body healing itself, it is just that when inflammation becomes chronic that it can also cause disease in the body as well as pain. Your immune system is responsible for preventing pathogens from making you ill.

The two biggest causes of ankylosing spondylitis arthritis are bad digestion/infection and constant anxiety and stress. How can we fix this?

 

ANKYLOSING SPONDYLITIS NATURAL TREATMENT

1. BAD DIGESTION AND INFECTION

The number one cause of AS is infection by the Klebsiella bacteria. Klebsiella suffer from AS or develop a risk of AS have poor digestion.

will usually infect you when you struggle with poor digestion or your immune system is low. Unfortunately, it is true that many who 95% of people who have AS carry the HLA-B27 gene and one of the problems with Klebsiella is that it resembles the HLA-B27 gene. An autoimmune response is created when the body produces antibodies to fight off Klebsiella these then also attack the HLA-B27 (which is also a type of protein). Specifically, your joints are targeted.

Signs of a Klebsiella infection:

  • Fever and chills
  • Feeling unwell
  • Fatigue
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting

And if the bacteria is found in other parts of the body:

  • Coughing (often accompanied by yellow or green mucus, or sometimes blood)
  • Breathing problems
  • The symptoms can also resemble flu
  • Urinary tract infection (burning sensation and/or pain when urinating, intense urge to urinate frequently without actually needing to go, frequent urination)

Getting rid of Klebsiella can be difficult, it is often resistant to antibodies and conventional medicines like antibiotics. But starving it long-term so that it dies off and continuing to look after your digestive tract can prevent your body from attacking the B27 proteins. But how do we do this?

LOW CARB DIET FOR ANKYLOSING SPONDYLITIS

Klebsiella feeds on leftover starches (carbohydrates) in the stomach. When there is a problem with digestion, things that are difficult to digest such as carbohydrates can sometimes end up not being fully digested. This could be due to a carbohydrate intolerance which means that you don’t have enough of an enzyme called amylase to break down the carbs properly.

You don’t necessarily need to be carbohydrate or gluten intolerant to experience problems, however. Sometimes a condition called leaky gut can develop and is also cause of autoimmune diseases. Leaky gut is when your intestines start to leak pathogens and undigested foods into the rest of your body.

Leaky gut can be brought on by:

  • Too much alcohol
  • Frequently eating difficult to digest foods such as legumes, nuts, as well as wheat and other grains (they contain lectins)
  • diet high in sugar, fatty foods, and processed foods
  • Lack of fiber

  • Chronic stress

  • Over-exercising

  • Gut bacteria imbalance

Dr. Alan Ebringer is a rheumatologist who had done extensive research on AS. He and a colleague, Dr. C Wilson discovered that a low starch diet helps to get rid of the Klebsiella bacteria and can lower the inflammation in the body caused by the improper digestion of starches.

HOW TO EAT FEWER CARBS

People think carbs in term of wheat, bread, and pasta only. One must understand that carbs are present everywhere, including sugar, alcohol, fruit as well as in vegetables. It is impossible to have zero carb diet if you are not solely a meat eater. So here our aim is to limit the carbs.

Try these tips:

  • Breakfast: 2-3 Eggs with runny egg yolk and vegetables. If you feel hungry after this then add more fat or protein. An avocado is a great option.
  • Snacks: Snack on soaked nuts, but not roasted. Make sure the nuts are soaked because unsoaked nuts contain lectins that are worst for joints. You can also try hummus and veggies or Greek yogurt with a small handful of berries. Smoothiesand vegetable juices can also make great snacks.
  • Lunch: Chicken Breast Salad with Olive oil or MCT oil.
  • Dinner: Fish and some vegetables or just vegetables
  • Your protein intake should be one-third of your veggies.

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Categories
Lyme disease

23 Ways to Imagine What It’s Like to Have Lyme Disease

Dealing with Lyme disease can be challenging enough based on the complex symptoms alone.

What makes it 10 times more challenging, though, is the fact that (for most with Lyme disease) our symptoms are invisible.

We try to describe what we’re going through, but the words get lost in translation as the hearer sees us as normal, healthy individuals.

How can we be understood? To our friends, the medical community, our own families?

If I were to describe to a healthy person what a day in my shoes feels like, this is along the lines of what I might say.

If you are healthy, and truly want to understand what Lyme Disease is like, I ask you to read the following when you have enough time to let the words register. Really try to enter this world for a moment.

1. Lyme disease – that is, chronic Lyme, also known as late-stage Lyme or post-treatment Lyme disease – feels like you’re running a marathon, uphill, just to get through the day.

2. You feel like you’re at least 50 years older than you are. You’re slow to get around, you have arthritis from head to toe and you struggle with memory loss. You use one of those jumbo size pill boxes and have at least two kitchen cupboards dedicated to medication and supplements.

3. You feel like you’re on a seaside ship while walking throughout your motionless house.

4. You have to work twice as hard to concentrate on anything, whether reading words from a book or listening to a friend tell you a story.

5. Your head pounds and aches as though it were stuck in a vice.

6. You feel like you’re drunk when you’re sober as can be – clumsy, dizzy and struggling to put sentences together.

7. You feel like you gave birth last month, when in reality your baby is over a year old. Your body couldn’t be slower to heal itself.

8. You have terrible mood swings. You are also sensitive to temperature: hot one minute, shivering the next.

9. Your legs give out from under you without any notice, causing you to drag yourself around the floor like a crab, crawl like a baby or have to be picked up by a loved one (or pushed around in a wheelchair).

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Categories
Rheumatoid arthritis

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Arthritis

Most people understand that arthritis has to do with swollen and painful joints. But beyond that, there are a lot of misconceptions about the condition. Television commercials would have you believe that only the elderly experience arthritis, and that a miracle pill can get them back out on the tennis court or playing on the beach with their grandkids.

In reality, arthritis is an incurable, progressive disease that can eventually steal a person’s ability to care for themselves.

There is a lot that can be done to manage the disease and slow its progression, but it is more than just a minor nuisance that will have you rubbing your wrists with a rueful expression.

And not only that, but there are actually a staggering number of forms of arthritis, many that you may not have realized qualify. Chronic fatigue syndrome, Fifth disease, Lyme disease, and spinal stenosis are just a few examples. Stick with us to bust 7 common myths about arthritis – #1 and #5 are total game-changers.

1. Anyone Can Have Arthritis

Age can be a factor is arthritis, but it’s not true that it only affects the elderly. In fact, almost 300,000 babies and children have been diagnosed with arthritis or a rheumatic condition. And approximately 2/3 of adult arthritis patients in the U.S. are of working age, between 18-64 years old.

Arthritis also hits the genders differently. Official diagnoses are more common in women (26% of total cases) than in men (18% of total cases). Women also experience rheumatoid arthritis in much higher numbers than men do. On the other hand, men tend to experience gout and ankylosing spondylitis more often.

2. There Are Over 100 Different Forms Of Arthritis

As you may have guessed from point #1, despite being grouped under the single heading of “arthritis”, there are many different types of the disease. In fact, there are literally hundreds of kinds. The three most common forms are rheumatoid, osteoarthritis, and psoriatic arthritis.

Other fairly common types include gout, in which sharp uric acid crystals form in the joints, and fibromyalgia, which causes chronic pain anywhere in the body, fatigue, memory problems, and mood swings. Even lupus, carpal tunnel syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease may be considered forms of arthritis because they cause chronic inflammation.

3. Rheumatoid Arthritis Is An Autoimmune Disease

It’s easy to think of joint pain and swelling as something that occurs due to stress on the area. That assumption has led to the linking of obesity and arthritis, and also plays into the assumption that it is something that happens mostly to older people who have been using their joints the longest. But rheumatoid arthritis, one of the most common types, is actually an autoimmune disease.

This means that the body’s immune system wrongly believes that its own joint tissue is diseased and must be attacked. The cells within the joint capsules are then bombarded constantly and the cartilage, bone, and ligaments become deformed. Untreated, not only will the sufferer lose mobility, he or she may also experience systemic damage to their organs.

4. There Is No Cure For Arthritis

Unfortunately, there is currently no known cure for almost all types of arthritis. There are, however, various treatment regimens that can slow the progression of the disease and minimize the associated pain and loss of mobility. Therefore, early detection is critical.

Your doctor may talk to you about an anti-inflammatory diet, medication, exercise, and coping techniques. The prognosis for each different type of arthritis varies, but you can still have good quality of life with proper management.

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Categories
Breast cancer

Data Reveals DNA Variations that Alter Breast Cancer Risk in Women

Data revealed 32 new sites on the human genome where variations in DNA appear to alter the risks of getting breast cancer, according to a study published in Nature Genetics.

This analysis of genetic studies covering 266,000 women is the first to link these specific risk variants to multiple, detailed subtypes of breast cancer.

“The findings from this analysis enhance our understanding of the biology that differentiates subtypes and may improve our ability to predict women’s breast cancer risks, even at the level of specific breast cancer subtype,” said corresponding author Nilanjan Chatterjee, PhD, in a press release.

Of the 32 new risk variants identified by researchers, 15 were also independently linked to 1 or more specific breast cancer subtypes. Of that specific set of 15 variants, 7 were linked to estrogen receptor status, 7 to tumor grade, 4 to HER2 receptor status, and 2 to progesterone receptor status.

Five of these newly identified subtype-specific risk variants are linked to greater risk for some breast cancer subtypes, but a lower risk in others.

The study incorporated data from over 100 breast cancer studies from the last 15 years found in the Breast Cancer Association Consortium. This analysis used new methods to identify DNA variants that have heterogeneous effects across subtypes. These DNA variants, such as Luminal-A and triple negative, can be defined by various tumor characteristics.

This data is paramount to the scientific understanding of the “genetic architecture” of breast cancer. Even more, this data will allow oncologists to calculate accurate risk scores for women based on their variant combinations.

“Each one of these variants has a small apparent effect on breast cancer risk, and there may be a substantial effect when a person has a combination of them,” Chatterjee said in a press release.

More than 250,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually in the United States, with over 40,000 deaths. Before the analysis, researchers had identified over 170 gene variants that either increase or lower risk of breast cancer.

The hope for the further identification of gene variants is to inform women as much as possible in regard to their likelihood of developing breast cancer. And if their risk is high, it allows women to be screened more frequently.

Moving forward, the researchers hope this data can open avenues to exploring the underlying biological pathways that drive cancer. How each risk-linked DNA variation impacts gene activity and signaling networks in cells is crucial information to identifying risk levels for women.

“These variants are special and if followed up properly may lead to important insights into the biology of these breast cancer subtypes,” Chatterjee said in a press release.

Categories
Breast cancer

Side Effects From Breast Cancer Treatments

Chemotherapy and radiation destroy breast cancer cells. But these treatments can also affect healthy cells and can change how you feel. They might cause:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Mouth sores
  • Hair loss
  • Weight gain
  • Early menopause
  • A higher risk of infections
  • Bleeding
  • Diarrhea

Medications and other therapies can help ease many of these side effects.

Loss of Appetite

Breast cancer treatment may make you feel not hungry, which can make it hard to get the nutrition you need. Try these tips to make sure you’re eating a healthy diet:

  • Eat a few small meals during the day instead of three large ones.
  • Try an “instant breakfast” mix or other nutritional shakes between meals.
  • Eat your largest meal of the day when you are most hungry.
  • Drink water or other beverages either a half hour before or after meals so they don’t make you too full.
  • Try moderate exercise to increase your appetite, as long as your doctor says it’s OK.

Nausea and Vomiting

Some — but not all — people getting cancer treatment will have nausea. It can happen right after treatment or a few days later. Ask your doctor about medications that can make you feel better. Also, keep track of when you’re nauseated. You may be able to spot patterns that can help you get ahead of the problem. Also:

  • Eat small meals more often and avoid greasy foods and citrus.
  • Try foods at room temperature instead of very hot or cold.
  • When you’re nauseated, try bland foods like crackers, gelatin, ice chips, rice, plain mashed potatoes, or applesauce.

Call your doctor if you have severe nausea or you’re vomiting a lot. If you throw up, wait an hour before you eat or drink anything. Then, begin with ice chips and gradually add foods. Chamomile, ginger root tea, or ginger ale can sometimes help settle your stomach.

Weakness and Fatigue

Many parts of cancer treatment can make you feel weak or tired, including the treatment itself, worry or depression, not eating, pain, and too few blood cells in your body.

  • Make sure you get enough rest. Sleep at least 8 hours a night, and try to lie down during the day to rest if you’re still tired. Avoid caffeine late in the day.
  • Exercise. Short walks can give you more energy. If you’re more active, you’ll rest better.
  • Save your energy for the things that are really important to you. Get help from family and friends with errands and other chores.
  • If you feel pain, let your doctor know. There are almost always treatments that can help.
  • Eat plenty of iron-rich foods, like lean meat, beans, dark, leafy vegetables, and iron-fortified cereals or pasta.
  • If your body has too few red blood cells, a condition called anemia, your doctor may recommend erythropoietin or darbepoetin, treatments that stimulate bone marrow to make red blood cells. You can get them by injection, which you can sometimes do on your own at home. If you get this treatment, your doctor will watch you to see if you have rashes, allergic reactions, and problems with blood pressure.

Mouth Soreness

Sometimes, breast cancer treatments can make your mouth or throat sore. Check with your doctor or dentist to see what can stop your pain.

  • Ask your doctor about drugs to ease mouth soreness.
  • Choose soft foods that won’t irritate your mouth, such as scrambled eggs, macaroni and cheese, pureed cooked vegetables, and bananas.
  • Cut food into small pieces.
  • Avoid citrus fruits, spicy or salty items, and rough foods.

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