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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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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How Do Antibiotics Work?

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If you were feeling poorly, you’ve probably went to visit your doctor in hopes of receiving antibiotics. Chances are, you’ve used antibiotics before with great results. While antibiotics have been safely used for years, it is important to learn when and how antibiotics work.

It is important to know that antibiotics cannot cure everything. One of the first things a doctor will determine is if your illness is caused by bacteria or a virus. The common cold and flu are common viral infections. These cannot be cured by antibiotics. If you have a viral infection, other medications will help alleviate your symptoms as your body heals itself.

If your illness is caused by bacteria, you will receive antibiotics. So, how do antibiotics work? The first antibiotic created was penicillin. Many of our modern antibiotics such as Amoxicillin are penicillin based. Antibiotics work to kill bacteria in your body. It also helps to stop the bacteria from multiplying. This is why it is always advised to complete the entire course of your antibiotics. Even if you feel better, your body may still have harmful bacteria. The full course of antibiotics will insure that all bacteria is killed and will not return.

You should also tell your doctor about all symptoms that you have. While broad spectrum antibiotics usually cure a wide range of illnesses, there are a few antibiotics that are specific to certain illnesses. Your doctor needs to make sure that the correct antibiotic is prescribed.

It is also important to note that there are bacteria that is not harmful to our body. Overuse of antibiotics can kill off the positive bacteria. This may lead to digestion problems and lower our immune systems.

The CDC has noticed a growing trend of patients not responding to traditional antibiotics. In most cases, this is because of past overuse of antibiotics. While it is always good to see your doctor when you are sick, discuss a possible alternative course of treatment next time you go. Chances are, your doctor may suggest the age old remedy of rest and hydration. Your body may be able to fight off infection naturally, on it’s own.

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Unlocking The Mystery Of The Alien Hand Syndrome

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Most people are used to the idea that all actions are controlled by the brain. This is why everyone is encouraged to think before doing anything to avoid mishaps. On the other hand, not all people have control over their body parts, particularly their hands. AHS or the Alien Hand Syndrome is a rare disorder that affects the nervous system and causes the hands to move, without letting their bearers know.

Is It Really Possible That My Hand Can Act Against Me?

In 1998, an 81-year old woman was admitted to a health facility and claimed that her hand had a mind of its own. It was her second day at the hospital when she was hit by her own hand, even if she didn’t want to. It was a creepy incident and everyone thought that it was totally impossible, but a neurologist from the Massachusetts General Hospital, Dr. Hakan Ay, studied the case to know what might have caused the issue.

It turns out that the woman’s right occipital lobe was damaged, which is why her visual information from the left is impaired. This makes her hand do uncontrollable hand movements at irregular speeds, even if she doesn’t think of doing them. There are many things that can cause this disease and one of them is stroke.

How Can AHS Be Cured?

At present, there are no cures for AHS. The involuntary movements don’t necessarily happen every moment or every day since there are patients who are reported to experience the symptoms every now and then only. Then again, people who have been diagnosed to have this rare condition should inform those around them so they won’t be shocked whenever their hands do unusual actions. They can also prepare ahead of time, especially if they are around infants. In one report, a man who was suffering from AHS enclosed his irrepressible hand with an oven mitt to save him from being punched in the middle of the night.

These are just a few things that you can share to others about Alien Hand Syndrome. It’s also good to know that AHS can be a symptom of epilepsy, brain tumor or aneurysm so you can get medical assistance as soon as possible if you see a person who encounters it for the first time. As you help others become aware of AHS, more and more people will be able to understand those who are suffering from this disorder.

Benefits Of Yoga For All Bodies, Ages And Abilities

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The yoga craze has exploded in the United States over the past 2 decades, and it shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. We are bombarded with images of slender, over-flexible, scantily clad models in poses that look anything but comfortable or healthy. Yet we hear how beneficial yoga is for everyone, even those of us who can’t touch our toes. And, in fact, it is true.

“To Yolk”

Yoga, an ancient Indian word, means “to yoke or join”. It can be expressed as the joining of body, mind and spirit. Yoga is more than just exercise. It is a focused discipline through which we can calm and focus the mind, engage and make full use of our breath, or life force, and improve our physical health.

Real Life Benefits

If you have doubts about the real-life health benefits of yoga, you can read any of the writings of Timothy McCall, M.D., who has authored a book called “Yoga as Medicine”. Thorough medical research has proven real relief in numerous conditions from Asthma to Scoliosis.

Beginning

If you are brand new to yoga, it is highly recommended that you start with a small beginner Hatha Yoga class. Hatha Yoga is technically the physical postures of yoga, but it has come to be associated with a gentle stretching yoga style. Before you attend, get a description of the class and bio of the instructor. Speak to your physician if there is any concern about beginning a yoga practice. Before class, always let your instructor know of any conditions you have (injuries, illnesses, chronic pain, etc.). Experienced teachers will have modifications for any poses that might be difficult or unhealthy for you.

No Need To Compare

It may be hard at first, but try not to compare the way your pose looks to that of the person next to you in class. Watching experienced students is a good way to learn, but try not to be frustrated that you are at a different point than someone else. You are exactly where you need to be at this moment to benefit from each posture if you are mindfully trying your best and keeping your body safe and comfortable.

Flexibility, stress relief, freedom from pain, digestive improvement, reduction of headaches, carpal tunnel repair, improved mental health and much more can be part of the health benefits you receive from a yoga practice.

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Fitness Advice That You Will Really Use

Fitness ti[psThe world of fitness is very vast and exciting. There are so many ways that one can enter and use their knowledge to help themselves live healthier or look more attractive. It depends completely on the individual. That said, no matter what your fitness level is, here are some tips to help you along.

Marathons used to be for serious runners only, but now they have become a popular goal for casual runners as well. Many people nowadays come to a point in their lives where they feel they want the challenge of finishing a marathon. Luckily there are many good training programs now, to help casual runners prepare for more the 26.2 mile trek.

If you are new to fitness, start slowly. It may be tempting to push yourself beyond your limits, especially with the enthusiasm that comes with beginning a new fitness regime. Pushing yourself too quickly is the fastest way to get yourself injured, as your body is not ready to deal with the added stresses you place on it. Injuries can sideline you from your workout for weeks, so start with small and realistic goals and work up to more demanding workouts.

If you want to get in shape using yoga, do your yoga stretches and poses on a hard surface. Practicing on a soft floor can lead to joint injuries and can throw off your balance, which will reduce the effectiveness of your yoga routine. In a reverse of the common practice, you can place a hard, smooth material onto a soft carpet to create the ideal yoga surface.

Fitness is a fascinating and exciting world that is only limited by the extent of a person’s limits. There are endless possibilities, products and techniques. Start experimenting to find something new for yourself or to learn something new that you can better for your own usage. Become empowered by these tips!

Help Your Loved Ones Relax With A Massage

126808310Perhaps due to the increasingly stressful and hectic nature of today’s fast-paced modern lifestyle, massage therapy is more popular than ever before. Learning to give the perfect massage takes time and effort, but if you are willing to study and work hard you can definitely become a great masseuse. This article is filled with massage tips and advice to help you on your way.

The use of massage oil really does help usher in the extra feeling and sensation. This helps reduce tension and stress in the muscles. Technique is one thing, and having the right massage oil really does do the extra trick. Massaging the oil into the skin as you deep tissue massage is just wonderful.

Massage is great during pregnancy, but wait until after the first trimester. During the first trimester, your baby is in the earliest stages of development. Toxins released during a massage can harm the fetus or inhibit growth during this delicate period. Once you have reached 16 weeks, you should be all clear to enjoy a massage.

Try giving yourself or someone a foot massage. Focusing on the soles first can really relax a person. Start stroking the soles of the foot going back and forth in straight lines. Do these motions starting from the heel to the bases of the toes. After the soles have been properly massaged, you can move on to the toes and the top and middle of the foot.

If a person wants a deeper massage, be careful on how much oil, you use. Yes, oil feels great on a person’s back and causes less friction, but the latter is the problem for deeper tissue massage. Without that friction, you won’t be able to offer a deep massage, as your hands will constantly slide. Minimize this issue by using just enough oil for the massage to be comfortable, but not so much that you lose all friction.

As was mentioned at the top of this article, massage therapy is more popular than ever before. Soothing, relaxing massages offer individuals an ideal way to soothe their bodies and spirits. If you are interested in being a great masseuse, you should carefully apply all of the information you’ve learned from this article.

Stop The Madness Of Yo-Yo Dieting! Use This Advice!

losing weightLosing weight is a very common goal that many people share. However, losing weight can be very challenging and most people are unsuccessful in meeting their weight loss goals. Fortunately, losing weight is much easier if you have the right information. This article contains great advice to help you with your weight loss goals.

Steaming foods that you would ordinarily bake or fry is a great way to decrease the fat content in your food. Steaming food will cook it without adding butter or any other unhealthy supplement. Choose fresh foods with lots of flavor,that way steaming or grilling can be a great way to cook your meals without adding fat.

Sign up with an online community that focuses on weight loss. Not only will you get valuable information, but you will be in a support group that will keep you motivated in your endeavor. This is also a good support system for people who are too self-conscious to join a group in person.

Doing aerobic exercises are a great way to burn calories and lose weight. Not only do aerobic exercises such as cycling, running, and stair stepping help you lose weight while you are performing them, they can help burn calories for hours afterwards. Pick an exercise that you enjoy and get started!

If you’re having a hard time losing weight, see a doctor. There may be health reasons that make it harder for you to lose weight than other people. Some health conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, insulin resistance, and thyroid disease make it more difficult for someone to lose weight.

As the beginning of this article has discussed, weight loss is a very common goal shared by most people. Unfortunately, losing weight can be very challenging if you are not equipped with the right advice. Use the tips in this article and be on your way to achieving your weight loss goals.

Avoiding The Pitfalls Of Cosmetic Surgery Procedures

121356346If you have chosen to have cosmetic surgery, your mind is probably on the change that you will be making. You have to rein yourself in and think about everything that will happen before you see that change. Here are some cosmetic surgery tips so you can make the choices you need to make before you see that all new you.

Check to see if your surgeon is qualified. When considering cosmetic surgery, you want to be sure that the surgeon you are using is competent. Check online reviews. Contact the medical board. If the surgeon is board-certified, and ask about any complaints. Checking the surgeon out now can save you a lot of grief later.

Education of the procedure is paramount before having surgery. You should know the details about this procedure when you talk to your surgeon. This way, you will know if your doctor is being dishonest or does not share the opinions of the resources you used to gather your info as you ask questions.

Do not allow your child to get cosmetic surgery if they are not old enough to sign the consent forms themselves. You should let your child wait until they are fully developed both mentally and physically. Once they are of age, you can support them in whatever they choose to do.

Think about paying for your procedure in cash. Surgeons are often stuck with large provider fees resulting from third-party financing; as a result, you pay more. Talk with your doctor about any savings that may result from you choosing this method of payment. There are also websites available, that can show you your options based on which doctor you choose.

It is easy to get carried away when you are having cosmetic surgery. You have to exercise caution and make sure you are fully prepared for everything you are going through. Choose wisely, and let the tips in this article help you along the way so that you can get to the new you as soon as possible.