Category Archives: Ailmemts & Remedies

Neuroblastoma

Description:
Neuroblastoma is a cancer that develops from immature nerve cells found in several areas of the body.

Neuroblastoma most commonly arises in and around the adrenal glands, which have similar origins to nerve cells and sit atop the kidneys. However, neuroblastoma can also develop in other areas of the abdomen and in the chest, neck and near the spine, where groups of nerve cells exist.

Neuroblastoma most commonly affects children age 5 or younger, though it may rarely occur in older children.

Some forms of neuroblastoma go away on their own, while others may require multiple treatments. Your child’s neuroblastoma treatment options will depend on several factors.

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Symptoms:

Signs and symptoms of neuroblastoma vary depending on what part of the body is affected.

Neuroblastoma in the abdomen — the most common form — may cause signs and symptoms such as:

  • Abdominal pain
  • A mass under the skin that isn’t tender when touched
  • Changes in bowel habits, such as diarrhea or constipation

Neuroblastoma in the chest may cause signs and symptoms such as:

  • Wheezing
  • Chest pain
  • Changes to the eyes, including drooping eyelids and unequal pupil size

Other signs and symptoms that may indicate neuroblastoma include:

  • Lumps of tissue under the skin
  • Eyeballs that seem to protrude from the sockets (proptosis)
  • Dark circles, similar to bruises, around the eyes
  • Back pain
  • Fever
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Bone pain

Causes:
The cause of neuroblastoma is not well understood. The great majority of cases are sporadic and nonfamilial. About 1–2% of cases run in families and have been linked to specific gene mutations.

Occasionally, neuroblastoma may be due to a mutation inherited from a person’s parents. Environmental factors have not been found to be involved. Diagnosis is based on a tissue biopsy. Occasionally it may be found in a baby by ultrasound during pregnancy. At diagnosis, the cancer has usually already spread. The cancer is divided into low-, intermediate-, and high-risk groups based on a child’s age, cancer stage, and what the cancer looks like.

Cancer cells grow and multiply out of control. The accumulating abnormal cells form a mass (tumor).

Neuroblastoma begins in neuroblasts — immature nerve cells that a fetus makes as part of its development process.

As the fetus matures, neuroblasts eventually turn into nerve cells and fibers and the cells that make up the adrenal glands. Most neuroblasts mature by birth, though a small number of immature neuroblasts can be found in newborns. In most cases, these neuroblasts mature or disappear. Others, however, form a tumor — a neuroblastoma.

It isn’t clear what causes the initial genetic mutation that leads to neuroblastoma.

Risk factors:

Children with a family history of neuroblastoma may be more likely to develop the disease. Yet, familial neuroblastoma is thought to comprise a very small number of neuroblastoma cases. In most cases of neuroblastoma, a cause is never identified.

Diagnosis:

Tests and procedures used to diagnose neuroblastoma include:

Physical exam. Your child’s doctor conducts a physical exam to check out any signs and symptoms. The doctor will ask you questions about your child’s habits and behaviors.

  • Urine and blood tests. These may indicate the cause of any signs and symptoms your child is experiencing. Urine tests may be used to check for high levels of certain chemicals that result from the neuroblastoma cells producing excess catecholamines.
  • Imaging tests. Imaging tests may reveal a mass that can indicate a tumor. Imaging tests may include an X-ray, ultrasound, computerized tomography (CT) scan, metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) scan and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), among others.
  • Removing a sample of tissue for testing. If a mass is found, your child’s doctor may want to remove a sample of the tissue for laboratory testing (biopsy). Specialized tests on the tissue sample can reveal what types of cells are involved in the tumor and specific genetic characteristics of the cancer cells. This information helps your child’s doctor devise an individualized treatment plan.
  • Removing a sample of bone marrow for testing. Your child may also undergo bone marrow biopsy and bone marrow aspiration procedures to see if neuroblastoma has spread to the bone marrow — the spongy material inside the largest bones where blood cells are formed. In order to remove bone marrow for testing, a needle is inserted into your child’s hipbone or lower back to draw out the marrow.

Staging:

Once neuroblastoma is diagnosed, your child’s doctor may order further testing to determine the extent of the cancer and whether it has spread to distant organs — a process called staging. Knowing the cancer’s stage helps the doctor decide what treatment is most appropriate.

Imaging tests used to stage cancer include X-rays, bone scans, and CT, MRI and MIBG scans, among others.

The stages of neuroblastoma are indicated by Roman numerals that range from 0 to IV, with the lowest stages indicating cancer that is limited to one area. By stage IV, the cancer is considered advanced and has spread to other areas of the body.

Treatment:

When the lesion is localized, it is generally curable. However, long-term survival for children with advanced disease older than 18 months of age is poor despite aggressive multimodal therapy (intensive chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, stem cell transplant, differentiation agent isotretinoin also called 13-cis-retinoic acid, and frequently immunotherapy with anti-GD2 monoclonal antibody therapy).

Biologic and genetic characteristics have been identified, which, when added to classic clinical staging, has allowed patient assignment to risk groups for planning treatment intensity. These criteria include the age of the patient, extent of disease spread, microscopic appearance, and genetic features including DNA ploidy and N-myc oncogene amplification (N-myc regulates microRNAs , into low, intermediate, and high risk disease. A recent biology study (COG ANBL00B1) analyzed 2687 neuroblastoma patients and the spectrum of risk assignment was determined: 37% of neuroblastoma cases are low risk, 18% are intermediate risk, and 45% are high risk. (There is some evidence that the high- and low-risk types are caused by different mechanisms, and are not merely two different degrees of expression of the same mechanism.)

The therapies for these different risk categories are very different.

  • Low-risk disease can frequently be observed without any treatment at all or cured with surgery alone.
  • Intermediate-risk disease is treated with surgery and chemotherapy.
  • High-risk neuroblastoma is treated with intensive chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, bone marrow / hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, biological-based therapy with 13-cis-retinoic acid (isotretinoin or Accutane) and antibody therapy usually administered with the cytokines GM-CSF and IL-2.

With current treatments, patients with low and intermediate risk disease have an excellent prognosis with cure rates above 90% for low risk and 70–90% for intermediate risk. In contrast, therapy for high-risk neuroblastoma the past two decades resulted in cures only about 30% of the time. The addition of antibody therapy has raised survival rates for high-risk disease significantly. In March 2009 an early analysis of a Children’s Oncology Group (COG) study with 226 high-risk patients showed that two years after stem cell transplant 66% of the group randomized to receive ch14.18 antibody with GM-CSF and IL-2 were alive and disease-free compared to only 46% in the group that did not receive the antibody. The randomization was stopped so all patients enrolling on the trial will receive the antibody therapy.

Chemotherapy agents used in combination have been found to be effective against neuroblastoma. Agents commonly used in induction and for stem cell transplant conditioning are platinum compounds (cisplatin, carboplatin), alkylating agents (cyclophosphamide, ifosfamide, melphalan), topoisomerase II inhibitor (etoposide), anthracycline antibiotics (doxorubicin) and vinca alkaloids (vincristine). Some newer regimens include topoisomerase I inhibitors (topotecan and irinotecan) in induction which have been found to be effective against recurrent disease.

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Effective Treatment for Neuroblastoma

NEW HOPE FOR CHILDREN WITH HIGH-RISK NEUROBLASTOMA

Child’s Neuroblastoma Cancer Responds to Nutrition

Prognosis:
Between 20% and 50% of high-risk cases do not respond adequately to induction high-dose chemotherapy and are progressive or refractory. Relapse after completion of frontline therapy is also common. Further treatment is available in phase I and phase II clinical trials that test new agents and combinations of agents against neuroblastoma, but the outcome remains very poor for relapsed high-risk disease.

Most long-term survivors alive today had low or intermediate risk disease and milder courses of treatment compared to high-risk disease. The majority of survivors have long-term effects from the treatment. Survivors of intermediate and high-risk treatment often experience hearing loss. Growth reduction, thyroid function disorders, learning difficulties, and greater risk of secondary cancers affect survivors of high-risk disease. An estimated two of three survivors of childhood cancer will ultimately develop at least one chronic and sometimes life-threatening health problem within 20 to 30 years after the cancer diagnosis.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neuroblastoma
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/neuroblastoma/symptoms-causes/syc-20351017

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Diarrhea

Description:

Diarrhea is one of the most common health complaints. It can range from a mild, temporary condition, to a potentially life-threatening one.

Globally, an estimated 2 billion cases of diarrheal disease occur each year, and 1.9 million children under the age of 5 years, mostly in developing countries, die from diarrhea.

Diarrhea occurs when a person suffers from repeated bowel movements which are loose and watery. It’s a very common condition and is not considered to be serious.Many people get diarrhea once or twice each year. It normally lasts 2 to 3 days, and you can treat it with over-the-counter medicines.

Some people frequently pass stools, but they are of normal consistency. This is not diarrhea. Similarly, breastfed babies often pass loose, pasty stools. This is normal. It is not diarrhea.

* Most cases of diarrhea are caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites

* Inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) including Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis can cause chronic diarrhea

* Antidiarrheal medications can reduce diarrheal output and zinc supplement is effective in children

* Some nutritional and probiotic interventions may help prevent diarrhea.

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Symptoms:

Some common symptoms of diarrhea include:

* Bloated stomach

* Cramps

* Thin or watery stools

* The constant feeling that you need to have a bowel movement

* Nausea

* Vomiting

More serious symptoms include:

* Blood or mucus in your stool

* Weight loss

* Fever

Causes:

Usually, diarrhea is caused by a virus that infects your gut. Diarrhea is also known as intestinal flu or stomach flu.

Some common causes of diarrhea include:

* Viruses. Viruses that can cause diarrhea include Norwalk virus, cytomegalovirus and viral hepatitis. Rotavirus is a common cause of acute childhood diarrhea.

* Contaminated food

* Alcohol abuse

* Diseases of the intestines (such as Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis)

* Eating foods that upset the digestive system

* Infection by bacteria (the cause of most types of food poisoning) or other organisms

* Laxative abuse

* Medications

* Allergies to certain foods

* Diabetes Mellitus Type 2

* Overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism)

* Radiation therapy

* Some cancers

* Undergoing any surgery related to the digestive system

* Trouble absorbing certain nutrients also called “malabsorption”

* Diarrhea may also follow constipation, especially for people who have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

Who is prone to diarrhea?

Some people could be more prone to diarrhea than others, such as:

* People suffering from illnesses like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Diabetes Mellitus Type 2

* People undergoing cancer treatments

* People who take certain medications such as laxatives, antacids, drugs that contain magnesium, NSAIDs (like aspirin and ibuprofen)* People who suffer from an intolerance of dairy products

* People suffering from gluten intolerance

* People who often take greasy fatty foods

* Older people (above 65 years) who suffer from several digestive disorders.

Diagnosis:

Besides conducting a physical exam and reviewing your medications, your doctor might order tests to determine what’s causing your diarrhea. They include:

* Blood test. A complete blood count test can help determine what’s causing your diarrhea.

* Stool test. Your doctor might recommend a stool test to determine whether a bacterium or parasite is causing your diarrhea.

* Flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. Your doctor might recommend one of these procedures to look at the lining of your colon and provide biopsies if no cause is evident for persistent diarrhea.

* Both procedures involve using a thin, lighted tube with a lens on the end to look inside your colon.

Treatment:

In most normal cases no extra treatment is requred.The doctor may advice you to increase fluid intake and adjust food for one or two days and it goes away.

Water is a good way to replace fluids, but it doesn’t contain the salts and electrolytes — minerals such as sodium and potassium — you need to maintain the electric currents that keep your heart beating. You can help maintain your electrolyte levels by drinking fruit juices for potassium or eating soups for sodium. Certain fruit juices, such as apple juice, might make diarrhea worse.

For children, ask your doctor about using an oral rehydration solution, such as Pedialyte, to prevent dehydration or replace lost fluids.

Antibiotics:

Antibiotics might help treat diarrhea caused by bacteria or parasites. If a virus is causing your diarrhea, antibiotics won’t help.

Adjusting medications you’re taking:

If your doctor determines that an antibiotic caused your diarrhea, your doctor might lower your dose or switch to another medication.

Treating underlying conditions:

If your diarrhea is caused by a more serious condition, such as inflammatory bowel disease, your doctor will work to control that condition. You might be referred to a specialist, such as a gastroenterologist, who can help devise a treatment plan for you.

Lifestyle and home remedies:

Most diarrhea cases clear up on their own within a few days. To help you cope with your signs and symptoms until the diarrhea goes away, try to:

* Drink plenty of clear liquids, including water, broths and juices. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.

* Add semisolid and low-fiber foods gradually as your bowel movements return to normal. Try soda crackers, toast, eggs, rice or chicken.

* Avoid certain foods such as dairy products, fatty foods, high-fiber foods or highly seasoned foods for a few days.

* Ask about anti-diarrheal medications. Over-the-counter (OTC) anti-diarrheal medications, such as loperamide (Imodium A-D) and bismuth subsalicylate (Pepto-Bismol), might help reduce the number of watery bowel movements and control severe symptoms.

* Certain medical conditions and infections — bacterial and parasitic — can be worsened by these medications because they prevent your body from getting rid of what’s causing the diarrhea. Also, these drugs aren’t always safe for children. Check with your doctor before taking these medications or giving them to a child.

* Consider taking probiotics. These microorganisms help restore a healthy balance to the intestinal tract by boosting the level of good bacteria. Probiotics are available in capsule or liquid form and are also added to some foods, such as certain brands of yogurt.

Studies confirm that some probiotics might be helpful in treating antibiotic-associated diarrhea and infectious diarrhea. However, further research is needed to better understand which strains of bacteria are most helpful or what doses are needed.

Prevention:

Preventing viral diarrhea:

Wash your hands to prevent the spread of viral diarrhea. To ensure adequate hand-washing:

* Wash frequently. Wash your hands before and after preparing food. Wash your hands after handling uncooked meat, using the toilet, changing diapers, sneezing, coughing and blowing your nose.

* Lather with soap for at least 20 seconds. After putting soap on your hands, rub your hands together for at least 20 seconds. This is about as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice through.

* Use hand sanitizer when washing isn’t possible. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer when you can’t get to a sink. Apply the hand sanitizer as you would hand lotion, making sure to cover the fronts and backs of both hands. Use a product that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.

Vaccination:

You can help protect your infant from rotavirus, the most common cause of viral diarrhea in children, with one of two approved vaccines. Ask your baby’s doctor about having your baby vaccinated.

Preventing traveler’s diarrhea:

Diarrhea commonly affects people who travel to countries where there’s inadequate sanitation and contaminated food. To reduce your risk:

* Watch what you eat. Eat hot, well-cooked foods. Avoid raw fruits and vegetables unless you can peel them yourself. Also avoid raw or undercooked meats and dairy foods.

* Watch what you drink. Drink bottled water, soda, beer or wine served in its original container. Avoid tap water and ice cubes. Use bottled water even for brushing your teeth. Keep your mouth closed while you shower.

* Beverages made with boiled water, such as coffee and tea, are probably safe. Remember that alcohol and caffeine can aggravate diarrhea and dehydration.

* Ask your doctor about antibiotics. If you’re traveling to a developing country for an extended time, ask your doctor about starting antibiotics before you go, especially if you have a weakened immune system. In certain cases, taking an antibiotic might reduce your risk of traveler’s diarrhea.

* Check for travel warnings. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains a travelers’ health website where disease warnings are posted for various countries. If you’re planning to travel outside of the United States, check there for warnings and tips for reducing your risk.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:

https://www.practo.com/health-wiki/diarrhea-meaning-treatment-and-symptoms/69/article

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/158634.php

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diarrhea/symptoms-causes/syc-20352241 and 20352246

Dry eye syndrome

Description:
Dry eye syndrome is a common eye condition caused by a poor quality of tears or an inadequate quantity of tears. Tears are necessary to keep the surface of the eye properly lubricated, keeping it moist and free from dust and other particulates.

In healthy eyes, basal tears continuously wet the cornea with every blink. This nourishes the cornea and provides a liquid layer of protection from a variety of environmental factors. When glands fail to produce enough tears, eye health and vision may become compromised. Tears on the surface of the eye also play a vital role in focusing light. Dryness of the eye may cause focusing and overall vision problems.

Tears are composed of water, mucus, fatty oils and over 1,500 different proteins that lubricate the eye. Along with inadequate production of tears, if the composition of the tears becomes imbalanced, dry eye symptoms may occur.

The risk for developing dry eye syndrome increases with age, and women have a higher prevalence of this condition compared to men. Certain medications and certain underlying health conditions may cause it, resulting in the bothersome symptoms including scratchy, burning, itchy, red, weeping and tearing eyes.

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Symptoms:
*Itchiness ranging from mild to severe

*Excessive tearing

*Weeping of mucus

*Stringy mucus upon waking or during the day

*Burning sensation

*Stinging

*Redness

*Feeling something is in the eye

*Eyelids feel heavy

*Blurred vision

*Sensitivity to light

*Difficulty wearing contact lenses

*Difficulty driving at night

*Eye Fatigue

Causes:
Dry eyes are caused by a lack of adequate tears. Your tears are a complex mixture of water, fatty oils and mucus. This mixture helps make the surface of your eyes smooth and clear, and it helps protect your eyes from infection.

For some people, the cause of dry eyes is decreased tear production. For others it’s increased tear evaporation and an imbalance in the makeup of your tears.

Decreased tear production:

Dry eyes can occur when you’re unable to produce enough tears. The medical term for this condition is keratoconjunctivitis sicca (ker-uh-toe-kun-junk-tih-VY-tis SIK-uh). Common causes of decreased tear production include:

Aging:
*Certain medical conditions, including diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, Sjogren’s syndrome, thyroid disorders and vitamin A deficiency

*Certain medications, including antihistamines, decongestants, hormone replacement therapy, antidepressants, and drugs for high blood pressure, acne, birth control and Parkinson’s disease

*Laser eye surgery, though symptoms of dry eyes related to this procedure are usually temporary

*Tear gland damage from inflammation or radiation

*Increased tear evaporation

Common causes of increased tear evaporation include:

*Wind, smoke or dry air

*Blinking less often, which tends to occur when you’re concentrating, for example, while reading, driving or working at a computer

*Eyelid problems, such as out-turning of the lids (ectropion) and in-turning of the lids (entropion)

*Imbalance in tear composition

The tear film has three basic layers: oil, water and mucus. Problems with any of these layers can cause dry eyes. For example, the oil film produced by small glands on the edge of your eyelids (meibomian glands) might become clogged. Blocked meibomian glands are more common in people with inflammation along the edge of their eyelids (blepharitis), rosacea or other skin disorders.

Risk factors:

Factors that make it more likely that you’ll experience dry eyes include:

*Being older than 50. Tear production tends to diminish as you get older. Dry eyes are more common in people over 50.

*Being a woman. A lack of tears is more common in women, especially if they experience hormonal changes due to pregnancy, using birth control pills or menopause.

*Eating a diet that is low in vitamin A, which is found in liver, carrots and broccoli, or low in omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish, walnuts and vegetable oils

*Wearing contact lenses

Diagnosis:
If your eyes feel dry and you suddenly find yourself unable to see as well as you used to, visit an ophthalmologist right away. After describing your symptoms, you’ll likely undergo tests that examine the amount of tears in your eyes, such as a slit lamp, or biomicroscope, exam of your tears. For this test, your doctor will use a dye such as fluorescein to make the tear film on your eyes more visible.

A Schirmer’s test may also be used to measure how quickly your eyes produce tears. This tests your rate of tear production using a paper wick placed on the edge of your eyelid. Your eye doctor also might refer you to a specialist. Which doctor they’ll refer you to depends on the underlying cause of your condition. For example, they can refer you to an allergist if you have chronic allergies.

Treatment:
Artificial Tears:
Eye drops that increase your eye moisture are among the most common treatments for dry eye syndrome. Artificial tears also work well for some people.

Lacrimal Plugs:
Your eye doctor might use plugs to block the drainage holes in the corners of your eyes. This is a relatively painless, reversible procedure that slows tear loss. If your condition is severe, the plugs may be recommended as a permanent solution.

Medications:
The medication most commonly prescribed for dry eye syndrome is an anti-inflammatory called cyclosporine (Restasis). The drug increases the amount of tears in your eyes and lowers the risk of damage to your cornea. If your case of dry eye is severe, you may need to use corticosteroid eye drops for a short time while the medication takes effect. Alternative medications include cholinergics such as pilocarpine. These medications help stimulate tear production.

If another medication is causing your eyes to become dry, your doctor may switch your prescription to try to find one that doesn’t dry out your eyes.

Nutrition:
You need a well-balanced diet with enough protein and vitamins to keep your eyes healthy. Omega-3 essential fatty acid supplements are sometimes recommended to enhance the oil content of the eye. Usually, people need to take these supplements regularly for at least three months to see an improvement.

Surgery:
If you have severe dry eye syndrome and it doesn’t go away with other treatments, your doctor may recommend surgery. The drainage holes at the inner corners of your eyes may be permanently plugged to allow your eyes to maintain an adequate amount of tears.

Home Care:
If you tend to have dry eyes, use a humidifier to increase moisture in the room and avoid dry climates. Limit your contact lens wear and the time you spend in front of the computer or television.

Prevention:
If you experience dry eyes, pay attention to the situations that are most likely to cause your symptoms. Then find ways to avoid those situations in order to prevent your dry eyes symptoms. For instance:

*Avoid air blowing in your eyes. Don’t direct hair dryers, car heaters, air conditioners or fans toward your eyes.

*Add moisture to the air. In winter, a humidifier can add moisture to dry indoor air.

*Consider wearing wraparound sunglasses or other protective eyewear. Safety shields can be added to the tops and sides of eyeglasses to block wind and dry air. Ask about shields where you buy your eyeglasses.

*Take eye breaks during long tasks. If you’re reading or doing another task that requires visual concentration, take periodic eye breaks. Close your eyes for a few minutes. Or blink repeatedly for a few seconds to help spread your tears evenly over your eyes.

*Be aware of your environment. The air at high altitudes, in desert areas and in airplanes can be extremely dry. When spending time in such an environment, it may be helpful to frequently close your eyes for a few minutes at a time to minimize evaporation of your tears.

*Position your computer screen below eye level. If your computer screen is above eye level, you’ll open your eyes wider to view the screen. Position your computer screen below eye level so that you won’t open your eyes as wide. This may help slow the evaporation of your tears between eye blinks.

*Stop smoking and avoid smoke. If you smoke, ask your doctor for help devising a quit-smoking strategy that’s most likely to work for you. If you don’t smoke, stay away from people who do. Smoke can worsen dry eyes symptoms.

*Use artificial tears regularly. If you have chronic dry eyes, use eyedrops even when your eyes feel fine to keep them well-lubricated.

*Wash your eyes with freah cold water everytime you come back home from outside.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-eyes/symptoms-causes/syc-20371863
https://www.healthline.com/health/dry-eye-syndrome#diagnosis
https://draxe.com/dry-eye-syndrome/

Degenerative Disc Disease

Description:
Degenerative disc disease (DDD) describes the natural breakdown of an intervertebral disc of the spine. Despite its name, DDD is not considered a disease, nor is it progressively degenerative. On the contrary, disc degeneration is often the effect of natural daily stresses and minor injuries that cause spinal discs to gradually lose water as the anulus fibrosus, or the rigid outer shell of a disc, weakens. As discs weaken and lose water, they begin to collapse. This can result in pressure being put on the nerves in the spinal column, causing pain and weakness.

Spinal disks are like shock absorbers between the vertebrae, or bones, of your spine. They help your back stay flexible, so you can bend and twist. As you get older, they can show signs of wear and tear. They begin to break down and may not work as well.

Nearly everyone’s disks break down over time, but not everyone feels pain. If worn-out spinal disks are the reason you’re hurting, you have degenerative disk disease.

While not always symptomatic, DDD can cause acute or chronic low back or neck pain as well as nerve pain depending on the location of the affected disc and the amount of pressure it places on the surrounding nerve roots.

The typical radiographic findings in DDD are black discs, disc space narrowing, vacuum disc, end plate sclerosis, and osteophyte formation.

DDD can greatly affect quality of life. Disc degeneration is a disease of micro/macro trauma and of aging, and though for most people is not a problem, in certain individuals a degenerated disc can cause severe chronic pain if left untreated.

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Symptoms:
Common signs include pain that:

*Is in your lower back, buttocks, or upper thighs

*Comes and goes. It can be nagging or severe, and can last from a few days to a few months.

*Feels worse when you sit, and better when you move and walk

*Feels worse when you bend, lift, or twist

*Gets better when you change positions or lie down

Some people have nerve endings that penetrate more deeply into the anulus fibrosus (outer layer of the disc) than others, making discs more likely to generate pain. In the alternative, the healing of trauma to the outer anulus fibrosus may result in the innervation of the scar tissue and pain impulses from the disc, as these nerves become inflamed by nucleus pulposus material. Degenerative disc disease can lead to a chronic debilitating condition and can have a serious negative impact on a person’s quality of life. When pain from degenerative disc disease is severe, traditional nonoperative treatment may be ineffective.

In some cases, degenerative disk disease can lead to numbness and tingling in your arms and legs. It can also cause your leg muscles to become weak. This means the damaged disks may be affecting the nerves near your spine.

Causes:
The term, degenerative disc disease is a slight misnomer because it is not technically a disease, nor is it strictly degenerative. It is not considered a disease because degenerative changes in the spine are natural and common in the general population.

There is a disc between each of the vertebrae in the spine. A healthy, well-hydrated disc will contain a great deal of water in its center, known as the nucleus pulposus, which provides cushioning and flexibility for the spine. Much of the mechanical stress that is caused by everyday movements is transferred to the discs within the spine and the water content within them allows them to effectively absorb the shock. At birth, a typical human nucleus pulposus will contain about 80% water. However natural daily stresses and minor injuries can cause these discs to gradually lose water as the anulus fibrosus, or the rigid outer shell of a disc, weakens.

This water loss makes the discs less flexible and results in the gradual collapse and narrowing of the gap in the spinal column. As the space between vertebrae gets smaller, extra pressure can be placed on the discs causing tiny cracks or tears to appear in the anulus. If enough pressure is exerted, it’s possible for the nucleus pulposus material to seep out through the tears in the anulus and can cause what is known as a herniated disc.

As the two vertebrae above and below the affected disc begin to collapse upon each other, the facet joints at the back of the spine are forced to shift which can affect their function.

Additionally, the body can react to the closing gap between vertebrae by creating bone spurs around the disc space in an attempt to stop excess motion. This can cause issues if the bone spurs start to grow into the spinal canal and put pressure on the spinal cord and surrounding nerve roots as it can cause pain and affect nerve function. This condition is called spinal stenosis.

For women, there is good evidence that menopause and related estrogen-loss are associated with lumbar disc degeneration, usually occurring during the first 15 years of the climacteric. It has a potential role of sex hormones in degenerative skeletal disorders.

Degenerative disc disease can also occur in other mammals besides humans. It is a common problem in several dog variants and attempts to remove this disease from dog populations have led to several crosses, such as the Chiweenie.

The stress of everyday movements and minor injuries over the years can cause tiny tears in the outer wall, which contains nerves. Any tears near the nerves can become painful. And if the wall breaks down, the disk’s soft core may push through the cracks. The disk may bulge, or slip out of place, which is called a slipped or herniated disk. It can affect nearby nerves.

Risk Factors:
The most common of degenerative disc disease causes is aging. As you grow older, the protein and water makeup of your cartilage changes. That makes your spinal discs more fragile, subjecting them to more wear and tear.

The more damage they take, the more likely it is that you’re going to start feeling pain in your back. The sooner you go to your doctor and get diagnosed, the better.

Inflammation is another cause that you need to be aware of. As the disc deteriorates, the inflammatory proteins can leak out into the spinal column itself.

They cause swelling and muscle tension in the spinal structures, creating more pain in the area. In fact, inflammation can be seen as the cause of many different back and spinal issues.

Hereditary  effect:
There is some evidence to suggest that you can inherit a predisposition to developing a degenerative bone disease or disc disease. A study indicated that if you have a parent or grandparent with the disease, then you could be more likely to develop it yourself. However, the scientists behind the study say that this may be down to environmental reasons, rather than genetics, and more research needs to be done.

Diagnosis:
Diagnosis of degenerative disc disease will usually consist of an analysis of a patient’s individual medical history, a physical exam designed to reveal muscle weakness, tenderness or poor range of motion, and an MRI scan to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other causes.

Treatment:
In the begining the doctor prescribe some pain killers & physiotherapy. Degenerative disc disease treatment can sometimes include steroid shots. These are most commonly administered into the epidural space in your back, or a nerve or muscle, depending on where the pain is. Your doctor would be able to tell you if this treatment is right.

Finally, if these methods aren’t working, then your doctor may recommend surgery. This can be done to remove the damaged part of the disc, taking the pressure off your back and relieving pain. If the disc is particularly damaged, then they may even remove it entirely and insert an artificial one.

Traditional approaches in treating patients with DDD-resultant herniated discs oftentimes include discectomy — which, in essence, is a spine-related surgical procedure involving the removal of damaged intervertebral discs (either whole removal, or partially-based). The former of these two discectomy techniques involved in open discectomy is known as Subtotal Discectomy (SD; or, aggressive discectomy) and the latter, Limited Discectomy (LD; or, conservative discectomy). However, with either technique, the probability of post-operative reherniation exists and at a considerably high maximum of 21%, prompting patients to potentially undergo recurrent disk surgery.

New treatments are emerging that are still in the beginning clinical trial phases. Glucosamine injections may offer pain relief for some without precluding the use of more aggressive treatment options. In the US, artificial disc replacement is viewed cautiously as a possible alternative to fusion in carefully selected patients, yet it is widely used in a broader range of cases in Europe, where multi-level disc replacement of the cervical and lumbar spine is common. Adult stem cell therapies for disc regeneration are in their infancy, however initial clinical trials have shown cell transplantation to be safe and initial observations suggest some beneficial effects for associated pain and disability. Investigation into mesenchymal stem cell therapy knife-less fusion of vertebrae in the United States began in 2006.

Researchers and surgeons alike have conducted clinical and basic science studies to uncover the regenerative capacity possessed by the large animal species involved (humans and quadrupeds) for potential therapies to treat the disease. Some therapies, carried out by research laboratories in New York, include introduction of biologically-engineered, injectable riboflavin cross-linked high density collagen (HDC-laden) gels into disease spinal segments to induce regeneration, ultimately restoring functionality and structure to the two main inner and outer components of vertebral discs — anulus fibrosus and the nucleus pulposus.

REGULAR YOGA EXERCISE  &  MEDITATION (BREATHING EXERCISE) UNDER AN EXPERT  MAY GIVE LOT OF RELIEF 

CLICK & SEE THE THREE  YOGA EXERCISE FOR DEGENERATIVE DISC DISEASE:

1.CHILD’S POPSE

2. DOWNWARD -FACED DOG POSE

3.CAT & COW POSE

Prognosis:
If you’ve been diagnosed with degenerative disc disease, and not been treated properly, then you’ll be living with it for life. The good news is that there are options for treating the symptoms. Many people today live their normal lives with the disease, using a combination of treatments that help them manage the symptoms.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
https://www.webmd.com/back-pain/degenerative-disk-disease-overview#1
https://draxe.com/degenerative-disc-disease/
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Degenerative_disc_disease

Clostridium difficile

Description:
Clostridium difficile often called C. difficile or C. diff, is a bacterium that can cause symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon.

C diff is a type of bacteria that causes inflammation and infection of the colon, known as colitis. C diff is also a shortened way of referring to the infection itself. Clostridium difficile colitis is the full name for the colon infection caused by C diff bacterium. This strain of bacteria can cause symptoms in the body ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening cases of C diff colitis or C diff infection

Illness from C. difficile most commonly affects older adults in hospitals or in long-term care facilities and typically occurs after use of antibiotic medications. However, studies show increasing rates of C. difficile infection among people traditionally not considered high risk, such as younger and healthy individuals without a history of antibiotic use or exposure to health care facilities.

Each year in the United States, about a half million people get sick from C. difficile, and in recent years, C. difficile infections have become more frequent, severe and difficult to treat.

C. difficile infections occur in all areas of the world. About 453,000 cases occurred in the United States in 2011, resulting in 29,000 deaths. Rates of disease globally have increased between 2001 and 2016. Women are more often affected than men. The bacterium was discovered in 1935 and found to be disease-causing in 1978. In the United States, healthcare-associated infections increase the cost of care by US$1.5 billion each year.

Symptoms:
Many people have C diff living in their intestines and the bacteria doesn’t cause any problems for them. When kept in check by other good bacteria, C diff can cause no symptoms. However, when something (most often antibiotic usage) throws off the balance of bacteria in the body then this is when a problem can occur and C diff can start growing rapidly.

C. difficile bacteria can release toxins that attack the lining of the colon by not only destroying cells, but also creating patches of inflammatory cells that cause watery diarrhea.

Symptoms of overgrowth C diff can include:

*Watery diarrhea (at least three bowel movements per day for two days or longer)

*Appetite loss

*Nausea

*Fever

*Abdominal pain and/or tenderness

With a C. diff infection, the colon becomes inflamed, which is medically referred to as colitis. Sometimes the colon become even more damaged by the release of toxins from the the overgrowth of the C diff bacteria. If this happens, the colon can develop patches of raw tissue that may bleed or pus, which is called pseudomembranous colitis. There are also a greater number of symptoms and more severe symptoms if a C diff infection escalates to this level. Most of the time, pseudomembranous colitis is caused by C diff.

Symptoms of severe C diff infection can include:

*Watery diarrhea 10 to 15 times a day

*Abdominal cramping and pain, which may be severe

*Swollen abdomen

*Nausea

*Loss of appetite

*Pus or blood in the stool

*Fever

*Rapid heart rate

*Dehydration

*Weight loss

*Increased white blood cell count

*Kidney failure

With severe cases, it’s common for people to become so dehydrated (from all that diarrhea) that they need to go to the hospital.

Causes:
A C diff infection is caused by C diff bacteria. C. difficile bacteria can be found in several common places including human and animal feces as well as soil, air and water. The bacteria can also be found in some foods such as processed meat. The human intestines have somewhere around 100 trillion bacterial cells and up to 2,000 different kinds of bacteria. Much of this bacteria is good because it keeps possibly problematic bacteria in check and guards the body against infection.

So when does C. diff bacteria become problematic and also symptomatic? It’s when C. diff is not kept under control and begins to overgrow. Antibiotics are the most common reason that this can occur since antibiotics not only kill the bacteria they are aiming to kill, but also all the good bacteria as well. Antibiotics that most commonly lead to C diff infections include fluoroquinolones, penicillins, cephalosporins, and clindamycin.

C diff is definitely contagious. Spores from C diff bacteria are passed in the feces and then can spread to food, objects and surfaces when infected individuals do not thoroughly wash their hands after going to the bathroom. If you touch something that has been contaminated with the C diff spores then you may end up unintentionally and unknowingly swallowing the C diff bacteria. Hospitals and long-term care facilities are especially problematic because healthcare workers can unintentionally spread C diff between patients if they do not properly wash their hands after caring for each patient. The other tricky fact about C diff spores is that they can live on objects and surfaces outside of the body for weeks or even months.

Risk Factors:
*Antibiotic use (absolutely the #1 risk factor) especially a broad-spectrum antibiotic or any antibiotic used for an extended period of time

*Hospitalization

*Living in a nursing home or extended-care facility

*Gastrointestinal tract surgery

*Abdominal surgery that requires moving the intestines aside

*Living in a nursing home or extended-care facility

*Colon health issues such as inflammatory bowel syndrome or colorectal cancer

*Having a weakened immune system

*Previous C. diff. infection

*Being 65 years of age or older

Some studies have also shown that stomach acid-reducing drugs, especially proton pump inhibitors or PPIs, may likely play a role in the recurrence of C diff infections.

Diagnosis:

Doctors often suspect C. difficile in anyone with diarrhea who has taken antibiotics within the past two months or when diarrhea develops a few days after hospitalization. In such cases, you’re likely to have one or more of the following tests.

Stool tests:

Toxins produced by C. difficile bacteria can usually be detected in a sample of your stool. Several main types of lab tests exist, and they include:

*Enzyme immunoassay. The enzyme immunoassay (EIA) test is faster than other tests but isn’t sensitive enough to detect many infections and has a higher rate of falsely normal tests.

*Polymerase chain reaction. This sensitive molecular test can rapidly detect the C. difficile toxin B gene in a stool sample and is highly accurate.

*GDH/EIA. Some hospitals use a glutamate dehydrogenase (GDH) in conjuction with an EIA test. GDH is a very sensitive assay and can accurately rule out the presence of C. difficile in stool samples.

*Cell cytotoxicity assay. A cytotoxicity test looks for the effects of the C. difficile toxin on human cells grown in a culture. This type of test is sensitive, but it is less widely available, more cumbersome to do and requires 24 to 48 hours for test results. Some hospitals use both the EIA test and cell cytotoxicity assay to ensure accurate results.

Testing for C. difficile is unnecessary if you’re not having diarrhea or watery stools, and is not helpful for follow-up treatment.

Colon examination:

In rare instances, to help confirm a diagnosis of C. difficile infection and look for alternatives, your doctor may examine the inside of your colon. This test (flexible sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy) involves inserting a flexible tube with a small camera on one end into your colon to look for areas of inflammation and pseudomembranes.

Imaging tests:

If your doctor is concerned about possible complications of C. difficile, he or she may order an abdominal X-ray or a computerized tomography (CT) scan, which provides images of your colon. The scan can detect the presence of complications such as thickening of the colon wall, expanding of the bowel, or more rarely, a hole (perforation) in the lining of your colon.

Treatment:

The first step in treating C. difficile is to stop taking the antibiotic that triggered the infection, when possible. Depending on the severity of your infection, treatment may include:

Antibiotics. Ironically, the standard treatment for C. difficile is another antibiotic. These antibiotics keep C. difficile from growing, which in turn treats diarrhea and other complications.

For mild to moderate infection, doctors usually prescribe metronidazole (Flagyl), taken by mouth. Metronidazole is not approved by the FDA for C. difficile infection, but has been shown to be effective in mild to moderate infection. Side effects of metronidazole include nausea and a bitter taste in your mouth.

For more severe and recurrent cases, vancomycin (Vancocin), also taken by mouth, may be prescribed.

Another oral antibiotic, fidaxomicin (Dificid), has been approved to treat C. difficile. In one study, the recurrence rate of C. difficile in people who took fidaxomicin was lower than among those who took vancomycin. However, fidaxomicin costs considerably more than metronidazole and vancomycin. Common side effects of vancomycin and fidaxomicin include abdominal pain and nausea.

Another important fact that the CDC points out is that when antibiotics are used to treat a primary C diff infection, the infection ends up coming back in around 20 percent or a fifth of patients. Even worse, for some C diff patients, the infection doesn’t just come back once, but again and again. You can imagine how difficult that must be on a person’s body. When the infection comes back the first time, the same antibiotic is typically used, but if the infection comes back more than once then stronger antibiotics are employed.

Surgery. For people with severe pain, organ failure, toxic megacolon or inflammation of the lining of the abdominal wall, surgery to remove the diseased portion of the colon may be the only option.

Natural Treatments for Mild C Dif:

1. Stop Antibiotics Whenever Possible

2. Load Up On Good Bacteria
Eat some top probiotic foods that buids up good bacria is to consume regularly: cultured dairy products (such as kefir, goat milk yogurt or cultured probiotic yogurt made from raw cow’s milk), raw apple cider vinegar, fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, kimchi, kvass) and probiotic beverages (kombucha and coconut kefir). To get the most out of apple cider vinegar, make sure you buy a raw variety with the “mother” intact, which means it still contains all its beneficial compounds including probiotics.

3. Avoid or Reduce Certain Foods.
As follows:
*Dairy products have been known to cause additional gastrointestinal upset and lactose intolerance has also been known to occur during a C diff infection.

*Greasy, fatty foods and processed foods that are not easy on the digestive system and may lead to more diarrhea.

*Some foods that are definitely healthy but may cause extra bloating, gas and discomfort such as cruciferous veggies (like broccoli and cabbage), onions, beans, nuts, seeds and whole grains.

*Raw fruits and veggies so cook them to reduce the likelihood of bloating effects

*Processed fat-free foods like Olestra, which have been known to cause more bloating and increased bouts of diarrhea.

*Spicy foods which are known to increase symptoms.

*Large quantities of caffeine since caffeine has diuretic effects, can bother the GI tract and lengthen recovery from infection

4. Thorough Hand Washing

5. Shut the Lid:
Another smart habit to get into if you want to prevent reinfection or the spread of C diff is to close the lid of the toilet before you flush.

6. Consume Natural Antibiotics
As follows:
*Manuka honey

*Raw garlic: Garlic inherently has antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal properties. For general health promotion for adults, the WHO actually recommends incorporatin

*Oil of Oregano

*Fecal Transplant (Surgical)
The CDC website states, ” Transplanting stool from a healthy person to the colon of a patient with repeat C. difficile infections has been shown to successfully treat C. difficile. These “fecal transplants” appear to be the most effective method for helping patients with repeat C. difficile infections. This procedure may not be widely available and its long term safety has not been established.”

On average, fecal transplantation is said to result in a 91 to 93 percent cure rate while some studies have even shown a 100 percent cure rate when fresh fecal microbiota is used.

*Fecal Transplant (Oral)
If you’re suffering from reoccurring C. difficile infections there is a less invasive fecal transplant option. Recently, successful fecal transplants have been performed by encapsulating healthy freeze-dried fecal matter and having patients ingest the capsules. A 2017 study published in The American Journal of Gastroenterology found that just one administration of the capsules to 49 patients with reoccurring C diff resulted in 88 percent of the patients achieving “clinical success”, which was said to be no recurrence of C diff infection over a two month time period.

Prognosis:
After a first treatment with metronidazole or vancomycin, C. difficile recurs in about 20% of people. This increases to 40% and 60% with subsequent recurrences.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose.

Resources:
https://draxe.com/c-diff/
https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/c-difficile/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351697
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clostridium_difficile_infection