What Is Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)?

78405917Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) is the most common type of lupus, and is therefore often referred to simply as “lupus.” It is an autoimmune disease, in which the immune system attacks the body as if it were a foreign object. The Lupus Foundation of America estimates that 1.5 million Americans have diagnosed SLE, with additional undiagnosed cases.

Causes of SLE

There is no known cause of SLE. However, there are certain factors that can make you more susceptible:

  • Genetics—If a family member has SLE or another autoimmune disease, you are more prone to having it as well.
  • Environment—Certain environmental factors may contribute to SLE, including ultraviolet rays, a virus, certain medications, trauma and physical or emotional stress.
  • Gender and Hormones—SLE affects women more than men, and women’s symptoms often get worse during pregnancy and menstruation.

Symptoms of SLE

There are many symptoms associated with SLE, which vary depending on the person. Common symptoms are:

  • severe fatigue
  • headaches
  • painful or swollen joints
  • hair loss
  • anemia
  • rash on cheeks and nose (“butterfly” rash)
  • Raynaud’s syndrome
  • blood-clotting problems

SLE can cause complications to other parts of the body as well, including the heart, kidney and brain.

Diagnosing SLE

There is no specific test for lupus, but certain screenings can help your doctor determine whether you have it, including blood tests, urinalysis and a chest x-ray. Your doctor may also refer you to a rheumatologist, who specializes in autoimmune diseases and joint and soft tissue disorders.

Treatment for SLE

There is no cure for SLE, but treatment can ease the symptoms. The treatment largely depends on which part of your body is being affected, but can include:

  • anti-inflammatory medications to reduce stiffness and lessen joint pain
  • steroid creams for rashes
  • corticosteroids to minimize immune system response
  • antimalarial drugs for problems with skin and joints

Long-Term Complications of SLE

Since there is no cure for SLE, some individuals with the condition develop long-term complications. These can include blood clots, stroke, heart inflammation and lung damage. It can also cause complications during pregnancy, including miscarriage. Your doctor can help you reduce the risk of such complications.

Systemic lupus erythematosus is a chronic health condition, but it often isn’t a death sentence. Many with SLE are able to lead full—albeit measured—lives and enjoy decades with loved ones.

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Don’t Ignore that Bump or Lump

Blister After Having Liquid Nitrogen Therapy For Removal Of Precancerous GrowthSometime throughout your life, you will probably notice a bump or lump appear on your body. Some are harmless, while others should be checked by a doctor. Below are five types of lumps and bumps, some of which are harmless, and some that need medical attention

  1. Skin Cancer

Skin cancer can be either in the form of a melanoma or non-melanoma. The latter is more easily recognizable as something that needs to be checked, as it presents either as a reddish bump that bleeds easily or a patch of skin that won’t heal. Melanomas are dark spots and are more serious. By following the acronym “ABCDE,” you can determine whether a spot may be a melanoma.

  • Asymmetry—If your spot doesn’t look the same on both sides, it’s asymmetrical.
  • Borders—If the outline of the spot is rigid, wavy or uneven.
  • Color—If the spot is a different color or changes color over time.
  • Diameter—If your spot is larger than the diameter of a pencil eraser (more than a quarter inch or five millimeters).
  • Elevation or Evolution—If the spot is raised above your skin (like a bump) or if it changes over time (evolves).

If your spot has any of these characteristics, you should contact your doctor.

  1. Warts

Warts are bumps caused by the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which is contagious. Warts are the same color as your skin, and they usually exist in clumps. They vary in severity, so if you have warts that aren’t going away, or warts in your genital area, you will want to contact your doctor. Genital warts have been linked to cervical cancer, so the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that girls get their first HPV vaccination when they are 10 or 11, or later if they haven’t yet gotten one.

  1. Cysts

Cysts feel like small balls or pebbles, and they are yellowish round lumps that form under the skin. Cysts stay relatively small, and a cyst can form from a variety of situations, including a blocked follicle. Usually, cysts don’t cause health problems, but you may need to get yours removed if it’s in a delicate location, like the brain, or if it is in an area that causes you discomfort.

  1. Angiomas

Angiomas are small collections of blood vessels that resemble bright red or purple bumps. They don’t bleed and usually stay the same size, so they often don’t require treatment.

  1. Moles and Freckles

Moles are skin cells that didn’t disperse throughout your body and therefore retain a dark pigmentation. Freckles are dark spots that usually appear from sun exposure and are more common on light-skinned individuals. Both moles and freckles are harmless in and of themselves, but you should watch both to see if they change size or appearance. Either change could be an indication that they aren’t in fact just moles or freckles.

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Does the Glove Fit?

134164479If you have ever worn surgical gloves, you have probably wondered if you were wearing the right type of glove. Should you be wearing vinyl, latex, or maybe nitrile gloves? This decision should depend on how much protection you need for your activity. In order to make an informed decision, you need to understand the characteristics of each type of glove, which is why we’ve broken them down for you.

Vinyl Gloves

Vinyl gloves are one of the most cost-effective glove options and are especially popular for use in the food industry. These gloves are ideal for use in applications where extreme durability and protection are not required. Here are the primary benefits of vinyl gloves:

  • Static resistant
  • Latex free
  • Loose fit makes them comfortable and easy to put on your hand
  • Good for use with non-hazardous materials
  • Ideal for quick-and-easy tasks

Latex Gloves

Latex gloves are manufactured from natural rubber and commonly used in professions where enhanced protection is needed and hazardous materials are frequently handled. Because of their protective qualities, latex gloves are a favorite choice in the medical profession. When using latex, however, it must be considered that some people have latex allergies. That said, latex gloves offer many advantages:

  • Close fit conforms to your hand
  • High touch sensitivity
  • Extremely durable and ideal for long-term activities
  • Cost effective
  • Lightly powdered and easy to put on your hand
  • Enhanced elasticity
  • Biodegradable

Nitrile Gloves

Manufactured from synthetic rubber, nitrile gloves provide increased puncture resistance and are popular for use in medical professions, especially in situations where a latex allergy is present. In order to be used in medical institutions, nitrile gloves must undergo a variety of tests conducted by the Food and Drug Administration to ensure that they meet durability requirements.

  • Superior puncture resistance
  • High touch sensitivity
  • Highly resistant to many chemicals
  • Close fit conforms to your hand
  • Ideal for high-risk applications, especially situations that may involve infectious or biohazardous material
  • Highly durable and ideal for long-term activities
  • Blue or black color makes it easy to see when glove is punctured

Choosing the right glove is an essential decision, especially in the medical field, when you could be dealing with patient’s allergies or biohazardous material. Next time you scrub in, make sure that you are wearing the right gloves for the job.

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Finding the Best Surgeon for Each Procedure

200020985-001Going “under the knife” can be scary, as there is always a risk for complications. To ensure the best chance of a smooth recovery, it’s a good idea to find the best surgeon you can for your upcoming procedure. This is especially important for heart procedures and cancer surgery.

Number of Procedures

While quantity doesn’t always equal quality, a surgeon who has performed an operation more frequently generally has a higher rate of success, statistically speaking. This is especially true for complicated procedures or ones that are relatively new. Since the number of procedures isn’t a foolproof criterion in and of itself, you can also ask your doctor how many of his or her procedures went awry relative to how many went smoothly. A good doctor should answer this question honestly and with confidence.

Surgical Excellence

A quality doctor should work in a facility that routinely strives for surgical excellence. Examples of surgical excellence include using proper techniques and knowing which medications to prescribe before and after a procedure. Naturally, if a surgeon or clinic has a history of lawsuits from unhappy patients, surgical excellence has not been met.

Board Certification

Even after a surgeon has undergone training, a good one will continue to renew his or her board certification. Doing so means that the surgeon actively keeps abreast of important changes in care and service.

Hospital Infection Rate

It’s possible to check many hospitals’ infection rates through Consumer Reports. Seventeen states currently make this information public, and other hospitals outside of these states sometimes volunteer the information.

Follow-up Care

A good surgeon will provide necessary follow-up care. This care may include a phone call the day after surgery, as well as scheduled appointments. Some even offer a call-in line for any post-op concerns. Additionally, with an increase in population, some facilities are beginning to require patients to check out of the hospital quite early after the procedure has been completed. For some procedures, it may be in your best interest to stay in the hospital overnight so nurses and other professionals can monitor your care. If a surgeon discharges patients too early, it could be a sign that his or her hospital or care facility is understaffed, underfunded or both. Either could potentially have an adverse effect on your recovery.

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Guide For Packing A Hospital Bag For Expectant Mothers

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Once you reach week 36 of your pregnancy, it’s the appropriate time to have your hospital bag packed. Make sure to pack all the essentials you will need during labor, birth and post birth. Even if you are planning a home birth, be prepared to go in to hospital. Different hospitals have different rules and policies regarding what you are allowed to bring with you. Some of them may allow you to bring pillows and other personal belongings to make your more comfortable, however, you should bare in mind that these medical facilities usually have limited space. Some women choose to pack 2 bags for hospital.

What Your Hospital Bag Should Contain?

A dressing gown is an essential item during labor and also post delivery. Bare in mind that hospitals are warm places and a light gown would be adequate for you. Slipper that are easy to put on and get off are also very handy, especially those that are backless. Socks can help to keep your feet warm during labor and after birth as well. Wear a night dress or old T-shirt during labor as this will most likely get messy and it is not really worth the effort or money buying a new night dress to use during labor. If you would like to be massaged during labor, carry massage oil or lotion in your bag. Lip balm should be included in your hospital bag necessities and so should a birth ball to help the process along. Carry snacks and drinks with you to have whilst in labor. You may choose to drink isotonic sports drinks or have some glucose tablets to give you added energy. Other essentials that you may choose to take along include magazines, books, tablet PC’s and other items to help you pass the time. Hairbands and clips will come in handy if you have long hair as you will want to tie it up and carrying extra pillows should make you more comfy while you are in labor and after birth as well.

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Covering The Basics Of A Meningioma

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A meningioma is a tumor of the meninges (covering that surrounds brain and spinal cord). Up to 90% of meningiomas develop slowly and are benign. Furthermore, most people develop a single meningioma although it is possible for multiple tumors to develop at different locations. Treatment options vary depending on tumor location. Read on for more information on this topic.

Meningioma Risk Profile

People between the ages 40 to 70 are highly likely to develop meningiomas. Moreover, meningiomas are more common in females than males and very rare in children who account for only 1.5% of patients. In terms of tumor location, the male to female ratio of brain meningioma is 3:1 and 6:1 for spinal meningioma.

Predisposing Factors

Medical experts have identified two meningioma predisposing factors. The first is exposure to radiation. Hiroshima atomic bomb blast survivors were more likely to develop these tumors compared to other Japanese. Secondly, genetic predisposition to neurofibromatosis type 2 increases one’s likelihood of developing meningioma.

Meningioma Location

1. Olfactory groove meningioma

Develops along nerves located between the nose and brain.

2. Convexity meningioma

Develops on the surface of the brain mostly at the front.

3. Intraventricular meningioma

Tend to develop in the connected chambers that circulate fluid through the central nervous system.

4. Falx and parasagittal meningioma

Develop in the brain groove that contains the sagittal sinus blood vessel.

5. Spinal meningioma
Develop in the thoracic spine.

6. Intraorbital meningioma

Develop around eye sockets causing eye pressure buildup.

7. Sphenoid meningioma

Develop behind the eyes.

8. Posterior fossa meningioma

Develop on the underside of the brain.

Meningioma Diagnosis

Besides evaluating one’s medical history, doctors use MRI and contrast enhanced CT scans to diagnose this type of tumor.

Indicators of Positive/Negative outcome

Firstly, age is a good indicator of a positive/negative outcome with young patients faring better after surgery than the old. Secondly, extent of tumor removal during surgery is a reliable indicator of expected outcome. The final indicator of positive/negative outcome is tumor location and accessibility.

Meningioma Classification

Over the years, a meningioma classification with nine major subtypes has emerged as the most widely accepted among other classification systems. The World Health Organization also has developed a popular classification meningioma system.

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Everything You Need To Know About Crohn’s Disease

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According to several sources, more than one million Americans suffer with Crohn’s disease. If you are unfamiliar with this condition, you are probably wondering, what is Crohn’s disease?

Sometimes called enteritis or ileitis, Crohn’s disease is an inflammatory condition that can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract. While the exact cause is unknown, an abnormal response by the immune system in people with this disease treats food and other beneficial substances as if they were foreign and causes white blood cells to accumulate in the gut’s lining. This causes inflammation, which leads to damage to the bowel, including ulcerations.

Inflammation causes a variety of symptoms depending on where it occurs. Patients may experience pain, bleeding ulcers, fatigue, mild to severe diarrhea, mouth ulcers, anemia, loss of appetite, weight loss, anal fissures and rectal bleeding. Some patients suffer with inflammation of the liver, skin rash, eye inflammation, or arthritis.

Physicians use numerous diagnostic tests to identify this condition, including blood tests, biopsies, stool tests, endoscopy, colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy, barium X-rays and CT scans. Researchers have yet to find a cure for this disease but treatment may include surgery, nutritional supplements, medication or a combination of treatments to manage symptoms and control inflammation.

Many patients experience remission and some patients may go several years without symptoms before they recur. Corticosteroids, anti-inflammatory medication, immunosuppressants, antibiotics and anti-diarrheal drugs are among the most common medications used to help patients with this condition.

Dietary changes, including reducing intake of dairy products, alcohol, spicy foods and bulky grains can help some patients with Crohn’s disease. Children may benefit from liquid formulas that are high in calories, especially if the disease is affecting development. In rare cases, patients are fed intravenously to allow the intestines to rest.

Most patients will undergo surgery to repair blockages, bleeding, perforations or abscesses. Some patients undergo multiple surgeries. Surgery is helpful for patients when drugs fail to relieve their symptoms. Sometimes the surgeon will remove the affected portion of the intestine but in most cases, inflammation occurs in the gut adjacent to the area that was removed.

Many people with Crohn’s disease lead normal lives despite their symptoms. Consultation with a licensed physician is recommended if you experience any of the symptoms associated with this condition.

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Financing Dental Procedures For Your Family

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There are dental procedures that can improve one’s self-esteem and health. However, these procedures are not cheap especially since they incorporate advanced technology as well as highly skilled dentists. The question on many people’s minds is how to finance these procedures that carry the promise of better lives. Some dental insurance policies will help you in financing dental procedures. However, since most of these procedures do not fall into the basic category, they are either covered partially by some schemes or not covered entirely. The following are options that you can use in financing your dental procedures.

The use of credit cards may eliminate the need of applying for another loan. You should ensure that you find out whether or not your dentist accepts this form of payment before you begin the procedures. Although this has its own benefits, you may experience some disadvantages. For example, if you exceed your credit limit, you may not have cash for other important expenses in your home. The dynamic world we live in changes to accommodate our needs. Recently, cards have been designed specifically for charging dental expenses or more generally medical expenses. When seeking to get such a card, be careful to check the terms and conditions carefully including understanding how the interest rate and other charges change with time.

Alternatively, you may opt for an equity loan to finance different dental procedures. This loan has a lower charge compared to the unsecured loans. When taking out an equity loan, you are required to provide security. Therefore, this loan is more viable for people who have tangible assets that can be used as collateral. In addition, you may use the health care installment loans to finance the procedures. This loan is applicable in instances where you have a major costly procedure. Therefore you cannot charge many minor procedures to the same loan. Springstone Patient Financing is one of the organizations that can provide installment loans for you or your friends.

There are many more ways in which you can finance your dental procedures. For example, you may work with a reputable dentist who takes partial payments. You make a down payment on the treatment and then schedule to pay the balance within an agreed upon period.  This period will depend on other financial commitments that you may have but the shorter the period the better. At the surgeons scrub, we offer you ides and advice on different issues.

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Early Warning Signs Of Autism In Your Child

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Autism is a neurodevelopmental spectrum disorder whose symptoms range from mild to severe. It can affect anyone regardless of socioeconomic stature, ethnicity, and age. Nevertheless, males are more likely (up to four times) to develop autism than females. Here is some more information on the early warning signs of autism:

Early Warning Signs of Autism

An autistic child may exhibit some or all of the following symptoms:

• Avoiding eye contact
• Minimal or no social interaction
• Failure to respond to his/her own name though not deaf
• Obsessive interests
• Rocking body or spinning in circles
• Minimal or no danger awareness
• Lack of empathy
• Repetitive use of words and phrases
• Tendency to be alone most of the time
• Responding to questions with unrelated answers
• Easily upset by minor changes
• Lack of interest in “pretend games”
• Oversensitivity to external stimuli related to smell, taste, feel, look, and sound.

Other common symptoms include:

• Hyperactivity
• Regular meltdowns
• Unusual behaviors or interests
• Aggression
• Unusual sleep habits
• Short attention spans
• Self-injury tendencies
• Impulsiveness
• Extreme phobias and anxiety

Autism Diagnosis

Diagnosing autism in children is not easy because most appear normal up to two years of age. However, medical experts have come up with ways of identifying autism in toddlers. A good example is the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers, Revised with Follow-Up (M-CHAT-R/F), which is a risk assessment tool parents can use to diagnose ASD in children 16 to 30 months of age.
In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) urges all parents to ensure their children undergo ASD screening anywhere from 18 to 24 months of age. You can do so by submitting a request for free developmental screening to your State Department of Health.

An Overview of Developmental Screening

In simple words, developmental screening is a short test administered to a child to determine the level of his/her basic learning skills. Screening should occur at 9, 18 and 24 to 30 months of age.

Comprehensive Diagnostic Evaluation

Children who show signs of ASD thorough comprehensive diagnostic evaluation that may include neurological, medical and should undergo genetic testing to determine precisely where the symptoms lie on the autism spectrum disorder. Additionally, parents of such children should have a good grasp of autism signs such as social awkwardness, hyperactivity, and lack of empathy is necessary. In cases where children show autism signs, comprehensive diagnostic evaluation is highly recommended.

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Early Warning Symptoms Of Kidney Disease

537017969Kidney disease is a serious medical condition. Some people have chronic kidney disease or CKD. If left untreated, the symptoms progress and lead to kidney failure. However, most people with chronic kidney disease never have kidney failure. The early warning symptoms of kidney disease are usually subtle and mimic the signs of other diseases. The best thing you can do for your health is to notice any changes in your body.

Changes in Urination

Kidney disease can manifest in a change in urination habits. The kidneys produce urine that ends up in the bladder. If you find yourself urinating more frequently or less frequently, or if the urine output is larger or smaller although you’re drinking the same amounts of fluids, this could be cause for concern. Other signs of kidney disease are blood in the urine, urine that is bubbly, or pain when urinating.

Anemia and Shortness of Breath

The kidneys produce a hormone that helps to make red blood cells. With kidney disease, the body has fewer red blood cells and this condition is called anemia. Anemia causes shortness of breath. With kidney disease, excess fluid in the body builds up in the lungs making it difficult to catch your breath. The excess fluid also leads to swelling of the feet, ankles, legs, hands and face. Anemia also causes fatigue and feeling cold even in hot weather. With anemia, there are not even oxygen-rich blood cells getting to the brain so you may experience dizziness.

Toxic Build Up

The kidneys are a filtering system that removes wastes and toxins from the body. If the kidneys aren’t functioning properly, then wastes build up inside the body. When the blood has too many wastes, you may notice a metallic taste in your mouth or bad breath. You may also notice that food tastes differently. A large accumulation of wastes and toxins in the body can cause nausea and vomiting. It may be difficult to eat or keep food down. With a loss of appetite, you lose weight without trying. Another sign of toxic build up is itching all over the body and/or skin rashes.

If you have some or most of these symptoms of kidney disease, it could be signs of kidney disease.

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